What makes people holy to the Lord? Is it that they are the first-born males that open the womb, as the Law says? To us, it is that truly holy people believe in the Lord and trust in Him with every aspect of their being, and truly desire to live in His heavenly will here on earth as it is in heaven.
Think about the fact that Joseph, Moses, and David were not first-born males, but they were used mightily by the Lord, and He treated them as being Holy because they truly desired to do the will of God, even though they occasionally did things against what the Lord wanted them to do, for which they repented and were forgiven.
And throughout the ages there have always been women who were holy to the Lord, such as Mary the mother of Jesus.
And we believe that the vast majority of the first-born males are not holy to the Lord.
With these things in mind, letís take a look at Isaiah 61:10-11Ö
10. I will rejoice greatly in the LORD,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah is describing someone who the Lord considers to be holy, such as Jesus, and if we are truly Christians, we should truly desire to be like Him; furthermore, we should also desire to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, and if we live this way we share in these blessings.
11. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
To spring up before all the nations.
This is what Jesus did, and there have always been others, both women and men, who have followed in His footsteps until this very day.
Letís continue to ponder over what is written in Isaiah 62:1-5Ö
1. For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning.
The center of the Jewish culture in Isaiahís day was Jerusalem, and because the vast majority of the people were following the corrupt ways of this world, and not the way that the Lord wanted them to live, Isaiah could not keep silent, he had to speak out against the corrupt lifestyles of the people and hopefully they would have repented and followed the heavenly will of God.
2. And the nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.
Godís intent was that the Israelites would be a beacon of light to the corrupt and ungodly ways of the world around them to show them the glory of the Lord that they too would seek God, and thatís what makes people holy to the Lord.
However, the problem was that the Israelites didnít return to the Lord, just as most of the people today are living in the corrupt ways of this world, and until we truly repent and seek what makes people holy to the Lord, we will never have the full blessing of God, and the glory He wants us to have.
3. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Why do so many people turn their backs to having this glory bestowed upon them?
Why was I like them for so many years?
I donít fully know, but I suspect itís because so few people lived in the heavenly will of God, including most people and clergy in our houses of worship, but somewhere along the way I began to see the difference and wanted the glory and peace that God had to offer.
It's only when we truly become the peacemaking children of God that our lives change and we not only live in the light of Godís heavenly will and help free His creation from its present corruption, but we shine His heavenly light into the darkness of this corrupt world.
And hopefully thenÖ
4. It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken,"
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate";
But you will be called, "My delight is in her,"
And your land, "Married";
For the LORD delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.
And this is what makes people holy, and puts hope and joy in our hearts and souls.
5. For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.
We can have all of this when we allow ourselves to once again feel the pain and suffering of the whole of creation, and seek to end the horrible violent ways of this world that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year, and continually further corrupts this world.
It's time we seek what makes people holy and think about the message that Luke 2:22-40 teaches usÖ
22. And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
These were symbolic purifications, for they could not truly make anyone holy to the Lord, which only comes about through repentance and a spiritual heart and soul change, a rebirth.
23. (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every first-born male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord"),
Notice carefully that this only says that the first-born will only be called holy to the Lord, and not that they are truly holy to the Lord.
This happened in the case of Samuel, but he still had human frailties.
This only truly happened with Jesus, for He was the only one who was truly sinless.
24. and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
Killing innocent animals can never make anyone truly holy, and neither can their blood, in fact, we believe that the very act of animal sacrifice moves us further from God, for there is no pain, or suffering, or death in heaven, and we are to bring that peace to earth as it is in heaven.
25. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
God had blessed Simeon with the Holy Spirit, because he had previously presented himself as being holy to the Lord; Simeon had set himself apart from the corrupt and ungodly ways of this earth.
26. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,
Note that Joseph and Mary brought Jesus into the Temple to carry out the custom of the Law, which does nothing to make anyone truly holy to the Lord, but He had Simeon there to explain what true holiness was all about.
28. then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Note that Simeon blessed God for Jesus, for he knew that Jesus was the holy one of God, or Godís gift of true holiness to the world.
29. "Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart
In peace, according to Thy word;
What Simeon was saying was meant for the people gathered there, especially the clergy, that he saw the truth right before his eyes, as they all should have.
30. For my eyes have seen Thy salvation,
He sees and understands that our salvation would come through Jesus and not from religious traditions.
31. Which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
In other words, God wanted everyone to see this truth and not just Simeon.
32. A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Thy people Israel."
And this truth, this light was not just for the people of Israel, but for every other person in the world.
33. And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
The angel had already told Joseph and Mary who their Son would be, and we believe that their amazement came from them hearing this same message from someone else to erase any doubts they may have had, and hopefully help erase doubts we may still have today.
34. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed ó
Simeon is also telling Mary and Joseph the problems that Jesus will face when He becomes an adult, because of the hardness of heart in the world.
35. and a sword will pierce even your own soul ó to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
36. And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage,
37. and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.
Simeon wasnít the only one to see the truth; Anna also saw it.
38. And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And we believe that what Anna said was meant for the clergy even more than the other people, for they were charged with revealing the truth to the people, even if they didnít do it.
But unlike the priests of that day, Anna and Simeonís words still ring true to this very day and beyond.
39. And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.
Again, they performed the rituals of the Law, and not the spirit of the Law that Jesus would later speak about.
40. And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
And this is what we are to be celebrating today.
If we make any New Yearís resolutions, one of them should be that the Lord opens our eyes to see the truth, and to gain the wisdom and the courage to both live and speak openly as peacemaking children of God to a corrupt and ungodly world.
This is our advent.
This is looking towards Jesusí second coming.
Letís close our discussion today by looking at Galatians 4:4-7Ö
4. But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
But even to this day, it seems like most people donít live or act like they truly know who He is, for if they did, they would be living according to His teachings, which is really living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.
Furthermore, we need to remember that this happened some 2,000 years ago and we need to look at how corrupt this world is today.
If we were truly living according to the heavenly will of God, we would end the violence that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
5. in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
We donít have to look very far to see that relatively few people have truly been adopted as sons and daughters, because most people seem intent on living in the corrupt ways of this world, including most church members and clergy.
No wonder Jesus called the clergy of His day hypocrites!
6. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
It seems obvious that here Paul was only speaking to the true believers.
7. Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
This is who we should be.
This is what makes people holy.
Happy New Year
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