Sign of the woman

The wonder or sign of the woman in heaven, Re 12:1&2, is apparently going to take place in the heaven as a astrological conjunction of stars, the sun, planets and the moon on Sept. 23, 2017. Actually, two wonders or signs are mentioned in the following verses.

Revelation 12:1-3 KJVS
[1] And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: [2] And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. [3] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

A short video that covers the high points of the sign of the woman.

A longer video that covers the subject in greater detail.

A link to a open source astronomy software program,that can be used to verify what is shown on the video, can be downloaded here.

A review and description of the databases used in the software confirms the reliability and accuracy of the software.

Many, theologians included, think that the woman is Israel, or the church but is not. According to Apostle Paul who was highly educated as a Pharisee, and inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the bulk of the New Testament epistles, the woman who gives birth to the promise seed is Jerusalem from above, Gal 4:22-28. Which agrees with Isa 66:6-8 and He 12:22.

Isaiah 66:6-8 KJVS
[6] A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. [7] Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. [8] Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

I recently bought the Stellarium app for my iPad to confirm the information in the videos and from my investigations using this software, the wonder or sign of the woman as described in Re 12:1, will appear in the sky on Sept. 23, 2017. What is commonly known as the rapture, is associated with the sign of the woman, Re 12:1-5, and the woman’s birth of the man child. If so, then the rapture or gathering of the saints unto the Lord, takes place at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. I base this conclusion largely on Re 10:7 and Re 11:15

Revelation 10:7 KJVS
[7] But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

The Strong’s Concordance and Thayer definition of the Greek word translated into the English word sound in Re 10:7, means a trumpet sound. Re 10:7 refers to when the actual event takes place a short time later in the book of Revelation.

Re 11:15 And the seventh messenger trumpets. And loud voices occurred in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of this world became our Lord’s and His Christ’s, and He shall be reigning for the eons of the eons! Amen!”CLV

The mystery of God is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27, and that mystery will be finished, completed when the seventh angel sounds. Study to show yourselves approved so as to be found worthy of the first resurrection and prepare yourselves accordingly. A couple nights ago I was playing around with the Stellarium app. I set the date at Sept. 23: 2017, and added the simulated land that forms the horizon and the sign of the woman was below the horizon in my location at that time of night. So I thought to try from a location further South. And then I thought, why not Israel. So I chose for the location Jerusalem in Israel, as it was one of the stored locations in the program. I looked for the Virgo constellation and panned the view around a bit, and due east came into view. The sun is just below the horizon illuminating the head of Virgo. In the app you can add or remove simple drawn images of the various constellations to appear over the stars of the constellations. And the constellation Leo the lion, with the 12 crowning stars was clearly visible above her head, just at dawn. Right at due east. Of course Venus is known as the day star and is one of the planets that completes the crown of 12 stars. Fittingly enough the brightest of all the stars in the Leo constellation. The time when I saw this was around 22 07 10, in the time field setting in the software. Two scriptures came to mind, so I found them. I felt the Spirit of the Lord move on me as I read them.

Matthew 24:27 KJVS
[27] For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
2 Peter 1:19 KJVS
[19] We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

It occurs to me that scriptures in Daniel and Revelation may have some bearing on this development of recognizing this future sign in the heavens.

Daniel 12:4 KJVS
[4] But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Revelation 10:4 KJVS
[4] And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

It is only with the increase of knowledge in computer and software technologies, that this particular alignment of planets, in conjunction with the two constellations was discovered. This sign speaks of troubling and chaotic times ahead. Some suggest that the sign of the red dragon could represent a large inbound brown dwarf star and planets with moon which could be responsible for the catastrophic disasters contained in the book of Revelation before and after the sign of the woman. Since great suffering is on the horizon for the seed of the woman. I think it is fitting that this website’s main subject matter, is the role suffering plays in being conformed to the image of Christ.


This site is primarily centered around the role suffering plays in being conformed to the image of Christ. The subject matter of this website also delves into the entire salvation process by grace and how we are being justified and sanctified. The articles should ideally be read in succession, as the subject matter of the earlier articles, sets the stage for understanding concepts contained in the articles that follow. Due to nerve damage in my left hand that inhibits typing, I am not a prolific writer. So even though this website is in a blog format, I don’t use it as such. I don’t publish articles all that frequently and the 30 or more articles contained in the website, represent years of work. I published the articles in a specific linear fashion, so as to present my understanding of the role suffering plays in salvation process, in light of scriptures. Hopefully in a organized and understandable manner. Due to the website being a WordPress blog format engine, previous and next article links at the bottom of each article may not correspond to how the articles actually appear in the main page. Questions and comments are welcome, just use the reply link above each article. I would like to thank Gary for establishing a link to my site on his website. And gladly return the favor.

Justified freely

Romans 3:23-24  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

The redemption that is in Christ Jesus, unfolds towards man in different stages, to those who first trusted in Christ, the body of Christ, Eph 1:11-12, and then all things in heaven and on earth, Eph 1:10, 1Ti 4:9&10. There is different doctrinal beliefs in today’s Christian world concerning salvation and being justified by grace. In order to understand what it means to be justified, the word itself should be defined, and then we will see what the scriptures themselves have to say about being justified. The following definition of the Greek word translated into the English word justified is from a Online Bible Greek Lexicon.

1344 δικαιοω dikaioo dik-ah-yo’-o

from 1342; TDNT-2:211,168; {See TDNT 192 } v

AV-justify 37, be freed 1, be righteous 1, justifier 1; 40

1) to render righteous or such he ought to be
2) to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
3) to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be

The primary definition of render, from a online dictionary is “to cause (someone or something) to be in a specified condition”. That specified condition is righteousness. There are two sets of scriptures that specify how the justification process by grace takes place.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Titus 3:4-7 KJVS
[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Both scriptures sets together describe in a large part how by grace we are justified. It is God working within our hearts, purifying our heart by faith with the abundant washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. In conjunction with God working on us externally, judging and correcting our errant behaviors. More on this a little later on. Many Christian denominations view justification as positional, but I see the scriptures describing it as a process. Since the end target of being justified by grace is righteousness, Ro 3:21-24, then how can justification be simply “positional”. A scripture that makes this apparent is Gal 5:5.

Galatians 5:5 KJVS
[5] For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

If being justified is positional and based solely on believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, then there would be no reason to have to wait through the Spirit for the hope of righteousness by faith. Now don’t misunderstand me, being justified can only take place by being in Christ Jesus, so in that sense, it is positional. But justification is a process a believer goes through to render him righteous.

Ga 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Many Christians are confused, I know I was in times past, about differentiating between the works of the law and grace. To understand the difference between works of the law and grace, in regards to being justified, and how it impacts the body of Christ, one has to examine the scriptures and see what they say concerning the law and what they say concerning grace and justification by grace. First, one should keep in mind, that when the Apostles mentioned the law and grace, they were often contrasting the two ways of life a individual would seek to be justified before God. A scripture that demonstrates this is in Acts.

Acts 13:39-41  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
40  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
41  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

The work that is being worked, is God’s work in justifying the ungodly man throughout his life using His Spirit in the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and chastising and disciplining the man, Titus 3:5, 2:11-12, He 12:5-8, 1 Co 11:31&32. The element of time is often and easily overlooked when reading these scriptures. Largely due to the fact that the Aorist verb tense in the Greek is most often translated in the past tense. When in fact, Aorist means without horizon, this verb tense is explained more fully by experts more qualified than I in the third article on this site. In the above Ga 2:16 verse, when it states that a man is not justified by the works of the law, one should keep in mind that the law was a way of life, that a person who lived under the law, observed their whole life, Ro 7:1. If one sinned, then he had to offer sacrifice. So attempting to be justified under the law was very much so, a way of life, revolving around animal sacrifice. A fruitless way of life, in that the inner nature of the man observing the law was never really changed, Heb 9:10, Ro 8:3. Never the less, a Jew was bound to observe and live under the law. When we are called to Christ we are justified by, or throughout a life of faith, Ga 3:24. When a man works not, Ro 4:5 , and believes that God justifies the ungodly, through His grace, then his faith in God is counted for righteousness, Ro 4:3. The Greek word and definition for the word counted or accredited for righteousness in Ro 4:3.

“G3049  logizomai  log-id’-zom-ahee

middle voice from G3056;

to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (literally or figuratively).

Might this in fact be similar to making payments on a item placed in a layaway plan? Every time a payment is made, it is counted or accredited towards the item that is being purchased. Once the total balance is paid, then the item in layaway is given to you. So to, believing throughout your life that God justifies the ungodly, that belief is counted or accredited towards righteousness until the redemption of the purchased possession, Eph 1:14.  Now remember, it is written that we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, Ga 5:5. Even though a man’s faith is counted for or towards righteousness in God’s eyes, because the man believes God, and takes Him at His word. That does not mean that work is not being done throughout the man’s entire life, justifying him. Only the work that is being done, is done by God rather than by the man himself. The end result of the body of Christ being justified, is righteousness and to be found in Christ at the first resurrection, Php 3:10.  The man is not doing the work himself, but GOD IS! Much could be written about this subject and many scriptures cited but every once and awhile you stumble across a statement that so aptly and simply describes a certain thing, that it sticks in your mind. I often go to a local used book store and they have quite a number of used bibles at different times. I bought a Catholic bible called The New American Bible for a few dollars. I bought it because it was a study bible with many footnotes. In some areas of doctrine, Roman Catholic theologians are quite good. In a footnote explaining Romans 3:26, this is written. “Divine mercy declares the guilty innocent and makes them so.”  That short description captures the essence of justification. God does in fact, by His grace, justify the ungodly. Let us see one of the ways this is done.

Tit 2:11-12 ¶  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

One aspect of the grace of God, is that through grace we are being taught/disciplined/chastised. The Strong’s definition of the Greek word that is translated “teaching” in this verse is as follows:


G3811  paideuo  pahee-dyoo’-o

from G3816;

to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by implication), discipline (by punishment).

KJV: chasten(-ise), instruct, learn, teach.

This same Greek word is used in Hebrews 12:6 & 7 as the English word “chasteneth”. It is important to understand the distinctions Apostle Paul was making between a man, by his own effort, being justified or trying to be justified by works of the law, in contrast to God justifying a man through His grace. First off, Paul makes it clear that no flesh can be justified by the deeds of the law and that by the law comes the knowledge of sin:

Ro 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Furthermore the flesh is too weak to observe the law and that is why God sent His son as a sacrifice to redeem us from the law and to condemn sin in the flesh, Ro 8:3. But all this does not somehow happen by magic, instantaneously, due to  grace, because God Himself is the one justifying us, and He does it freely, using His grace during our lives. Which teaches us and chastises us, Titus 2:12, He 12:6-11, on the one hand and then being washed in the regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, on the other hand, Titus 3:5. But notice, God is freely doing this work in our lives. Another aspect misunderstood, is the word freely and what it implies. Let’s take a look at that verse in Romans:

Ro 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

You have to go to a couple verses later in Romans to understand what is being said in the previous verse, in context with the point Paul is making.

Ro 4:4-5  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

God wants a person to realize that He is the one that is justifying the ungodly man. Man, oh how he loves the work of his own hands. But God wants to make it clear, that none of our work entitles us or deserves the wage of salvation. God is freely justifying us by His grace, working in our lives, to make us capable for our inheritance, Col 1:12, Titus 3:7. God is doing the work. Have you ever heard the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well, that is what God is doing. God is going to mature each and every one of us. God is building the house, Heb 3:6, Ps 127:1. The sacrifice of Jesus redeemed us from the law, Ga 3:13, and now God is freely justifying us by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who paid the price to redeem us from the law and reconcile us to God, and God is the one who does the work in justifying and sanctifying us, using His Spirit.

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

We are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus, Eph 2:10. A scripture that demonstrates this explicitly is Php 2:12-13, the latter part of verse 13 should read ” both to will and to work his good pleasure”.

Php 2:12 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

In Hebrews the 10th chapter, God Himself states what it is He is doing in the new covenant:

Heb 10:16-17  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

God is going to put His laws into our hearts and in our minds. He is going to teach/chastise us using His grace. He is going to purify our hearts by faith. He blesses us by his son and is turning us away from our iniquities, Titus 2:12, Ac 15:9,  Ac 3:26. God does all the work, God justifies the ungodly man freely by His grace, and that grace is only available through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. In the book of Galatians Paul uses a metaphor, that if you examine closely and in conjunction with what I have just wrote, is quite illuminating.

Ga 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The meaning for the Greek word translated as “schoolmaster” in the Authorized Version, means a slave whose duty was to escort a child to school. This slave had little or no part in educating the child.  Neither does the law, but when we are called to be in the body of Christ, we are in school. God’s school. Where He uses His word and His Spirit to discipline us and teach us.  All growth, all knowledge gained, all fruit of the Spirit, are all acquired through experience. You learn from a teacher or from books and even learn from the school of hard knocks. A school which I attended for many years and still sign up for a course every now and then. But you only learn through some form of experiencing. So that is why Paul was so concerned with the Galatian church observing the law. Because man’s effort to justify himself, by his own work, his own effort, frustrates the grace of God, and the Spirit of God.

Ga 2:20-21  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Ga 3:3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Kept by the power of God through faith

1Pe 1:5  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

If you do a word study on the word “kept” in the above verse, you will find it means to garrison, keep with a guard, protect or to hem in, so one cannot escape. The same Greek word is used in 2Co 11:32 and Ga 3:23. From past experience faith has protected me, encouraged me and kept/prevented me from walking away from so great a salvation. God be thanked. In light of being justified by grace it is essential that God garrisons us by faith so we can complete the justification process. All knowledge gained, all fruit cultivated and all righteousness acquired, so as to be found qualified for the first resurrection in Jesus Christ, can only come about by God teaching us, disciplining us, throughout our life in tandem with the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. The faith in Christ Jesus is given as a gift, Eph 2:8, and keeps those in the body of Christ from walking away from the process of God justifying that ungodly person.  Four or five years ago God chastised me sternly. I have a spinal cord injury. I was paralyzed for 10 days in 1984 following a car accident. Since 1995 I have been living with moderate to severe chronic pain. I was at a real low point. Pain dictated and controlled my life. I spent many hours in bed reading the scriptures from a small vest pocket New Testament, and due to much disinformation on the Internet concerning the validity of the bible and scriptures in general, and my inability to understand sound doctrine, I had come to the point where I was seriously questioning my faith. Due to the constant pain in my life, I was in great despair. I questioned God and His plan of salvation in Jesus Christ, and in my mind the truth of the scriptures seemed questionable. I was at the point where I was going to give up on the notion of being saved, because of the dire state of my life. It troubled me all that day. That night the presence of the Holy Spirit moved on me and I felt God’s stern presence. I was standing by the bed I spend so much time in due to weakness and pain and tucked my head into my shoulder and leaned against the wall, feeling like a five year old child being corrected by my Father. Two scripture verse came strongly to my mind.

2Ti 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The word “I” of course was not in the Philippians verse. I was being admonished for questioning my belief in Jesus Christ. This type of strong presence of the Spirit had come on me one other time. In 1984, following the accident and paralysis. I had a extremely hard and painful time walking again. It took me three months of intensive physical therapy in the hospital to be able to walk a hundred feet on my own. There was questions of whether I could go home with or with out a wheel chair. Whether a ramp would have to be built into my house. I was in a similar state of mind at that time also. And the presence of God moved on me and spoke a scripture in my head.

He 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

God’s powerful presence at these difficult times in my life galvanized me and gave me strength and patience to endure a difficult situation for many years thereafter. So as you see the power of God through faith keeps us unto salvation.  The chastising and stern correction in my life four or five years ago also brings these verses to mind.

He 10:36 & 38  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Living by faith is a lifetime occupation and if you read the 11th chapter of Hebrews you find mention of many of the old testament saints of God who demonstrated faith and although certain moments of their lives were highlighted to demonstrate their faith, it should be understood that they lived a life of faith. We are also to live a life of faith, faith in the one who saves us by his gospel, Mt 4:23, the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Ro 1:16-17 ¶  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The trial or testing of our faith , 1Pe 1:7, tests the trustworthiness and growth of our faith. Jesus learned obedience by the things he suffered, Heb 5:8. It seems obvious to me we need to learn obedience in the same manner. Obedience under fire, so to speak, is the only real determination of the trustworthiness of our godly character. The amazing thing about all the pain and suffering I have had in my life is that I have more faith now than I had 30 years ago. This refining of faith by fire and the acquisition of the other fruit of the Spirit, is the work of God in our lives. And the power of God through faith keeps us from walking away until God has accomplished His purpose in us. In Colossians, Paul gives thanks to the Father who makes us competent to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, Col 1:12.  Having faith and believing that God will accomplish in us, that which He promised since the foundation of the world, Eph 1:4 , He 4:3, can be quite difficult in the midst of grievous trials but God gives the necessary grace to overcome and grow towards maturity as children of God. The power of God keeps us by faith unto salvation, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.

Ga 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Aorist tense

Following is a couple paragraphs which I copied and pasted from a Greek and Hebrew Interlinear online and is also available for download. Before going forward, some familiarity with the aorist tense is in order, to more fully understand the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus Christ in context of the salvation of mankind and the perfecting of the body of Christ in this age. Unfortunately the links provided do not function anymore. The first paragraph lists the book source the information provided comes from and the second paragraph I believe was written by A.E. Knoch, and is important in that it states how frequently the Aorist verb tense is used in the New Testament. Luke

“” In “A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research” Prof. Robertson has this to say regarding the translation of the Aorist into English: “The Greek Aorist ind., as can be readily seen, is not the exact equivalent of any tense in any other language. It has nuances all its own, many of them difficult, or well nigh impossible to reproduce in English. We merely do the best we can in English to translate in one way or another the total result of a word, context and tense. Certainly one cannot say that the English translations have been successful with the Greek Aorist…(Page 847). The English past will translate the Greek aorist in many cases where we prefer `have’… (Page 848). The Greek aorist and the English past do not exactly correspond….The Greek aorist covers much more ground than the English past…The aorist in Greek is so rich in meaning that the English labors and groans to express it. As a matter of fact the Greek aorist is translatable into almost every English tense except the imperfect…” Again, “The aorist is, strictly speaking, timeless.””

“The tenses in biblical Greek present a logical and efficient system of temporal statement. This system is much more informative than the English system. In addition to the past, present and future tenses, Greek recognizes the need for a tense called the aorist. As the name indicates the meaning of this tense is that it abstains from indicating a timeframe (aoristos, ‘without horizon’, ‘un-defined’, ‘indefinite’). Actually, the utility of the aorist is so great that it is the most frequently used tense of a main verb in the New Testament, it being found in 43% of all main verbs.”

Propitiation for sins

Ro 3:25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Many Christians do not have a clear understanding of Jesus as a propitiatory sacrifice, in context with the body of Christ. They view the death of Jesus on the cross as a sin offering, as being a substitute payment for mans sin. But his death on the cross was more of a inclusionary sacrifice in regards to mankind than a subsitutionary sacrifice of atonement. The primary definition from the Strong’s Concordance for the word propitiation used in Ro 3:25, is pasted below.

“a) used of the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated); hence the lid of expiation, the propitiatory”

The sprinkling of his blood represented OUR blood being shed in payment for the penalties of OUR sin, and as such, God is appeased. That is the true nature and meaning of a sin sacrifice. We are reconciled to God, through the body of his, Jesus, flesh through death, Col 1:21-22, precisely for that reason. More than a few times in the New Testament we are told that we are crucified with Christ, Ga 2:20, Ro 6:6. Are we not baptized into his death by water baptism, Ro 6:3? These are not just figures of speech but a firm reality. The tendency to put the sacrifice and offerings for sin by Jesus Christ largely in the past tense, and as a substitution for us, negates the power of the cross in our lives. Let us take a look at a literal translation of Ro 6:6 & 7.

Ro 6:6-7 knowing this, that our old humanity was crucified together with Him, that the body of Sin may be nullified, for us by no means to be still slaving for Sin,
7 for one who dies has been justified from Sin. CLV

I bought a Concordant Literal New Testament years ago and it does a good job indicating various verb tenses and verb functions used in the Koine Greek manuscripts. The verb tense for “dies” in verse 7, is a Act form of verb, which means the verb action is incomplete with action going on.

That is more consistent with the preceding verse 6, since it states the body of sin may be nullified/destroyed, which is indicative of a incomplete and on going process. This is also consistent with 1Pe 4:1-2.  In order to understand Jesus and his offerings for sin, it is necessary to understand the component pieces. Two offerings, the offering of his blood in heaven as our blood and our death in payment for our past sins and the offering of his body on the altar outside the camp, as our body of sinful flesh, Heb 13:11. The simplicity of it is overwhelming. That is why Paul said the following to the Corinthian church.

1Co 2:2  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

In the rest of this article we are going to concern ourselves with the offering of his blood as mentioned in Ro 3:25. In a coming article the offering of his body, which most of the Christian world is largely ignorant of. The offering of his blood, as a propitiation for sin, gives those of us who have faith in his blood, remission of sins past, due to the fact that the death of Jesus and the offering of his blood represents our death in payment for the penalties associated for our sin. Remember the wages of sin is death, Ro 6:23. Since Jesus was sinless, Heb 7:26, he hardly needed to be a sin sacrifice for himself. All of this is very important to us in everyday life, in regard to the salvation process. Due to the offering of his blood as a propitiatory offering, we have remission of sins past, Ro 3:25, and we also have faith that if we confess our sins through Christ, God is faithful to forgive our sins, 1Jn 1:9. It is important to confess our sins because if we do not, we face judgment. The easiest way to understand all of this, is to look at it from God’s perspective, in light of His purpose in Christ, Eph 1:10-11. His will and purpose is to have Jesus Christ and the body of Christ, rule and reign with Jesus during the thousand year Kingdom of God, Re 20:6, from the nation Israel. God is using Jesus Christ, and his sacrifice and offerings, to purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Tit 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

In order to prepare a people zealous of good works for the age to come, God has to be able to pass judgment on them. Judgment should largely be looked at as ultimately a corrective process by God, correcting that which is wrong in us. Jesus is our advocate and Satan is the accuser or prosecuting agent. All this is taking place before the throne of grace in real time. This is all very legalistic and God plays this all out, according to His rules. In order to comply with His rule that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.

Hebrews 9:27 KJVS
[27] And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

God sent Jesus Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice for us. Simply put, God views us as dead in Christ, even though we are living, because Jesus is our propitiatory sacrifice, and in God’s view, we are dead. Thus liable for judgment.

Ga 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

2Co 5:14  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

Col 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

2Ti 2:11 [It is] a faithful saying: For if we be dead with [him], we shall also live with [him].

1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Read carefully 1Co 11:20-32 and see what the members of that church were doing and why Paul was correcting them. When the church gathered together for the love feast, some members were eating and drinking more bread and wine than they should have. When the time came to serve communion, there was not enough bread and wine to go around. Those that did not receive wine or bread, when the breaking of the bread and wine took place, which was representative of the body and blood of Christ, were shamed because they did not receive bread and or wine. That inconsiderate behavior towards fellow members of the body of Christ opened those individuals up for judgment, 1 Co 11:20-22, 29. 30, 31. Largely because they failed to understand who the Lord’s body is, 1 Co 11:29. The Lord’s body is fellow members of the body of Christ, 1 Co 10:17. It is necessary for the Lord to judge us and discipline us in order that He can correct and mature us and see that we possess the necessary fruit of righteousness, fruit of the Spirit to reign with Jesus Christ, He 12:6-11, Col 1:12. Let us look at verse 1Co 11:32, as there is so much doctrine to be learned from the verse.

1Co 11:32  But, being brought under judgment, by the Lord, are we being disciplined, lest, with the world, we should be condemned. Rotherham

The word “teaching” in Titus 2:12 and word “chasteneth” in  Hebrews 12:6 & 7 were translated from the same Greek word, G3811 paideuo, which appears in 1Co 11:32, as the word “disciplined”. Part of the Strong’s Concordance definition of this Greek word, is “to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by implication), discipline (by punishment), chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment”. Judgement is being disciplined by God so as to train mankind. We are brought under judgment by God when we do not judge ourselves and essentially force God’s hand to judge us, in light of correcting us and instilling righteousness. Always keep in mind that only the body of Christ is being judged at this time due to being dead with Christ. But even still, the problem of sin in the flesh, has not been fully dealt with. God can put His laws in our heart and minds and use His grace to teach/chastise us, to deny ungodly lusts. We can be forgiven our sins of the past and be judged when we sin against the body of Christ, in our day to day lives. But the old man, the sin nature, still resides within ourselves to plague us, Ro 7:17. That is where the sin sacrifice altar, which is outside the camp, comes into play. The place where sanctification takes place.

We have a altar

He 13:10-13 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

The altar that is mentioned in He 13:10, is the altar where the carcasses of the animals used as sin offerings, were burned outside the camp of Israel, Exodus 29:14, Leviticus 4:11-12. According to Ernest L. Martin, in his book The Secrets of Golgotha, the sin sacrifice altar, where the bodies of the sin sacrifices were burned to ash, was very near where Jesus was crucified.  It was located east of the temple, outside the camp of Israel. The encampment of the tribes of Israel, in the wilderness, was arranged in a circular pattern around the tabernacle. There was a specific area encircling the tabernacle and the encamped 12 tribes and that area was consider clean. Anything considered unclean, such as the body of the sin sacrifice, was burned outside the designated “clean” camp area of Israel. This also held true for the temple of Jerusalem. The Eastern wall of the temple was lower than the other temple walls in order that the entrance to the holy of hollies was visible from that altar, which was on the Mount of Olives. In the sacrifice of the red heifer, the high priest needed to be able to look directly to the entrance of the Sanctuary as he sprinkled the blood during that sacrifice. The lower Eastern wall also allowed God to view the sacrifices on that altar and allowed him to watch the crucifixion of Jesus. It was strictly taboo for anyone in Israel to eat flesh from the body of the sin sacrifice, whose blood was brought into the holy place, and it was also against Mosaic law to drink blood, Le 6:30 and Le 17:12. John the Baptist publicly proclaimed Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, Jn 1:29 and Jn 1:36. And yet not much later in time, Jesus proclaimed that his disciples needed to eat his flesh and drink his blood, so that in his words, they would “dwelleth in me, and I in him.”, Jn 6:56.  Is it any wonder that he lost many disciples on that day, Jn 6:66,  because what Jesus was suggesting, was repugnant and taboo to the Jewish laws and cultural morality of the day. The spiritual significance of this altar cannot be, but is quite often, overlooked. The offering of Jesus Christ as a sin offering is inclusive in regards to his body, the church, which is the body of Christ, He 2:11, He 10:5. It is not a past tense event, it is a aorist tense event. Aorist is also known as the Greek indefinite tense. As a reminder, aorist means “without horizon”.  It helps to view the sacrifice and the work of salvation by Jesus Christ from this perspective of having no horizon and indefinite in regards to verb tense and time. The offering of the body of Christ for sin, in regards to the corporate body of Christ being sanctified, is not bound by past, present or future as is resides in all three. The individual members of the body of Christ have been and are being conformed to the image of Christ by God, and this has been taking place for nearly 2,000 years. It is ongoing, and will be ongoing in the future until the work is accomplished. It is quite difficult for the English language to describe this, lacking a indefinite verb tense. But the span of time covered, and our participation in this process emerges from the scriptures and a good bible translation helps. More than a few years ago I bought a Concordant Literal New Testament. One of the unique features of this translation is that it has different punctuation marks, placed before various verbs, that denote different verb tenses and verb forms. This bible has a short description of the verb forms and tenses and the following descriptions I give, are paraphrased from the information from within this bible. There are rare times when you have a combined verb form which the translator labels a Fact- State form. These verbs are designated with a small -o before the verbs as they appear in this bible. This denotes that the verb has two combined forms, Fact and State verb form. Fact verb forms are indefinite in regards to time and when conveying abstract ideas they express timeless truth. A Fact form is the Greek indefinite or aorist tense. State forms of verbs, denote a completed form that give the state resulting from an action. So a Fact-State form would be a completed form that is indefinite as regards to time. Now to see this in action.

He 9:14 how much rather shall the blood of Christ, Who, through the eonian spirit -o offers Himself flawless to God, be cleansing your conscience from dead works to be offering divine service to the living and true God? CLV
He 10:12-13 Yet This One, when -o offering one sacrifice for sins, is seated to a finality at the right hand of God,
13 waiting furthermore till His enemies may be placed as a footstool for His feet.

In both of these sets of verses from the epistle of Hebrews, “offers” and “offering” are both a Fact-State verb form and that sheds much light on the sacrifice of Jesus and the offering of his blood and body. The sin nature of the corporate body of Christ, the church, is being destroyed/sanctified, Ro 6:6, He 10:10, as a result of the offering of the body of Christ, once for all. This offering is indefinite in regards to time and is going on presently, because we are the Lords body, Heb 2:11, Eph 5:30. That is why it says to be cleansing your conscience from dead works to be offering divine service to God. Our works means nothing in regards to being justified and sanctified because Jesus, by the offering of his blood and his body, purges our sins and destroys our sin nature. Thus presenting his corporate self, the body of Christ, flawless to God. So in He 9:14 where it states that through the Spirit, Jesus offers Himself flawless to God, you should view it as a completed action and yet at the same time, a on going process.  Does this mean that Jesus was and still is offering up his body, the body of Christ, flawless to God?  And that the offering up of the Gentiles mentioned in Ro 15:16 is a part of that offering? It certainly seems so to me. But see the difficulties one has in regards to English verb tenses, specifically the past tense, in even trying to convey this! In He 10:5 the body prepared for him, is the body of Christ and the whole 10th chapter of Hebrews which follows, explains how the last verse of Hebrews the 9th chapter will be accomplished. That being so, that verse makes a good deal of more sense when viewed from the aorist tense perspective.

He 9:28 thus Christ also, being offered once for the bearing of the sins of many, will be seen a second time, by those awaiting Him, apart from sin, for salvation, through faith.

The faith of the son of God, is to have faith that his sacrifice and the offering of his blood and offering of his body is the mechanism that forgives sin and destroys our sin nature, Ro 6:6. For a good deal of time I was intent on understanding the offering of Jesus and his body as a sin offering, by rigidly trying to compare it by type and shadow to the Old Testament day of atonement sacrifice for sin. This effort was quite frustrating, as the two events by type and shadow, did not precisely line up in the scriptures. But God be thanked when I finally understood the implications of Hebrews 10:1.

He 10:1 ¶ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

You cannot expect the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus Christ to be exact, by type and shadow, to the law and its sacrifices. One glaring difference is that the New Testament sacrifices, in Christ, are better sacrifices, He 9:23. And the sacrifices offered up to God which are in Christ, 1Pe 2:5, Ro 15:16, are spiritual sacrifices. One needs to look at what the New Testament scriptures have to say regarding this matter. Since being made perfect or mature, is the goal of the sin offering, that is a good word to take a closer look at. Below is a Strong’s Concordance definition of the Greek word translated as “perfect” from a bible interlinear I download from the following URL.

G5048 teleioo tel-i-o’-o

from G5046;

to complete, i.e. (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively) consummate (in character).

KJV: consecrate, finish, fulfil, make) perfect.

I like the “consummate (in character)” part of the definition because as sinners, that is what we are sorely lacking, character, godly character. But never fear God is equal to the task at hand and will remedy that situation. As stated in previous articles, Jesus death and his blood as a propitiation, it is as if his death and his blood sprinkled, is our death and our blood sprinkled as payment for our sins. That is evident in He 7:26,

He 7:26-27 For such a chief priest did become us — kind, harmless, undefiled, separate from the sinners, and become higher than the heavens,
27 who hath no necessity daily, as the chief priests, first for his own sins to offer up sacrifice, then for those of the people; for this he did once, having offered up himself; Young’s

He became us or represented us in the crucifixion so that his death for sin would be viewed by God as our death, as payment for our past sins. But it goes even deeper than that because being dead in Christ, allows us to be judged by God, He 9:27, in order to eradicate sin in our life and make us perfect/mature so Christ can appear a second time without sin unto salvation, He 9:28, 10:1. He became us, in that sacrifice/death on the cross, so that in him we might be justified and sanctified in order to become the righteousness of God in him.

2Co 5:21 For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin offering for our sakes that we may be becoming God’s righteousness in Him. CLV

Another strong image of what the sin offering is accomplishing is when Jesus said “It is finished”, Jn 19:30, and the veil in the temple of Jerusalem was split from top to bottom, Mr 15:38.  Couple that with the scriptures below and you will notice what was done.

Hebrews 10:19-23 KJVS
[19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

By offering his blood as a propitiation for sins past and his body/flesh as a sin offering, Jesus opened the way for the removeal of the body of Christ’s sin and sin natures. His flesh is our flesh and the corporate body of sin is being destroyed on a figurative and yet real altar that is outside the camp, He 13:10-13. So yes indeed, “it is finished”. But even though the salvation work of the cross is finished, it still needs to be worked out and worked into our flesh, 1 Pe 4:1&2. It is hard to make a clear distinction between being justified and being sanctified in regards to the changes being made in us, outside of just reading the definition of the two words. The definition for justified is to render just or innocent. The definition of sanctify is to make holy. But of late I am starting to view being justified as taking place in the heart and being sanctified as the slow destruction of the sin nature in us. We are sanctified by the offering of the body of Christ once for all, He 10:10, which destroys the sin nature in us, Ro 6:6. God is ultimately going to save all men, 1Ti 4:10 and that will entail all men being justified, but for those who first trusted in Christ, Eph 1:11-12, He has promised a inheritance, and those that are to receive that inheritance, are being sanctified, which has to do with the altar outside the camp.

He 13:12-13 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

The meaning of verse 13 is somewhat elusive, but some clarity results when looking at the definition of the word “reproach”.

Strong’s Concordance-G36791) a reproach
a) such as Christ suffered, for the cause of God, from his enemies.

So what was the cause of God that Christ suffered and died for? He became sin for us who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in him, 2 Co 5:21. The insidious nature of many Christian theologies of the various denominations that are present in this world, is that they undermine God’s work in our lives. They look at the work of the cross as a past tense action by Jesus Christ, and then, in some fashion, go about to establish their own righteousness with the law and laws of their own. Very much like Israel of the flesh.

Romans 10:2-3 KJVS
[2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

We are to go without the camp and bear Jesus’s approach. We are that body of sin that he died for, we individually have a sin nature that needs to be destroyed. That can only happen by submitting ourselves to the righteousness of God. I honestly don’t know how to properly interpret the words to go without the camp and bear his reproach. Obviously the Jewish religious authorities rejected Jesus as messiah, as they were ordained by God to do, Acts 2:23. But it goes much deeper than that, the religious authorities in Israel turned a religious system, the law, that was initially a punishment for transgression into a hypocritical and posturing system of men that used the system for their own enrichment. Not only monetarily but also in regards to prestige and standing in their society. How much of this is true today with the thousands of different churches, small fellowships and splinter groups in the Christian church, I will let it up to the reader to decide. But to me the whole point of being told to going out the camp to that altar, is for us to realize we have a sin nature that needs to be destroyed, Ro 6:6. And that any actions we take toward establishing our own righteousness are futile. The altar outside the camp in the Old Testament, was a place where the carcass of the animals whose blood was taken into the holy place for sin, was burned. It was also a place where the carcasses of the various sin sacrifice animals slayed by the Levite priests were burned. Those ashes were used for purification and to sanctify, He 9:13. Which is a intriguing type and shadow in its own right, of the good things that are to come. I worked 14 years in the meat packing industry and can assure you that when a animal is dead, you have a carcass to deal with in some fashion or another. The law was not a exact type and shadow of the good things to come, He 10:1. So there is no real physical body on a literal altar being burning to ashes in regards to Jesus being a sin offering for the body of Christ. But you have a spiritual body and it is the collective body of sinful flesh, the sin nature of the body of Christ, which is presently being destroyed on that spiritual altar, outside the camp, before God. Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. The Greek word for service, G2999, appears in He 9:1&6 describing the service the Levite priest preformed in the worldly sanctuary. One should read the whole 12th chapter of Romans as it offers some excellent guidelines on offering reasonable or logical service to God. Being kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, is not always easy and grates against our fleshly nature and ego at times. That is exactly what needs to be burned up on the altar outside the camp. The fire of that altar is the trials, suffering and afflictions of life, Mt 3:11, 1Pe 4:12.  How a person treats those around themselves while in the midst of these trails can be quite indicative of the flesh that still needs to be destroyed. You can confess sin and be forgiven for sin until the cows come home. You can then take those cows and sacrifice them and then burn their carcass on a sin sacrifice altar, and still the cause of sin, our sin nature, is not being destroyed. The sin nature, flesh, can only be destroyed by incorporation into the body of Christ and becoming dead in him, so that the flesh of the corporate body of Christ might be destroyed, Ro 6:6. When that is complete, then and only then, can that body of Christ become the righteousness of God in him, 2Co 5:21. The simplicity of it is astounding. It follows type and shadow up to a point but not exactly and greatly exceeds what the Old Testament sacrifice and offerings for sin could accomplish. Namely perfection. The law made nothing perfect but the bringing in of a better hope did, Heb 7:19. That hope is Christ in you the hope of glory, which enables us to draw close to God and His throne of grace, Heb 4:16. Both of whom, God and Christ, play their parts in the destruction of the flesh. But just exactly how is this body of sin destroyed?

Mortify the deeds of the body

Early in the sixth chapter of Romans, Paul states that our old man is crucified with Christ, so that the body of sin might be destroyed, Ro 6:6. Which in my mind leaves the matter of our sin nature, the old man, and the problem of sin in the flesh, unresolved because it is written, “might be destroyed”. Now, that is not the only time in the scriptures where the reader is left up in the air, so to speak, in regards to sin in the flesh being done away with.

He 9:28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Paul asks in the sixth chapter of Romans if we should continue in sin so grace might abound, Ro 6:1. And also asks if we should sin because we are not under the law but under grace, Ro 6:15. The answer of course is no, but we are still left up in the air in regards to the problem of sin in our lives. Paul then, in the next chapter poises the problem of sin in the flesh, by describing the insidious nature of sin in the flesh. That in fact, sin has a mind of its’ own.

Ro 7:18-20  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Thankfully, in the eighth chapter of Romans, Paul gives the sinner some relief from the problematical nature of sin in the flesh, and a sinner’s worry concerning it.

Ro 8:1 ¶  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The reason for this is that God has provided a process by which the sin nature of the body of Christ will be destroyed.  Which is Jesus role as a sin offering.

Ro 8:3-4  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

But even still, the mechanics of exactly how this is all worked out in the flesh, is not made clear. There is a verse in the eighth chapter of Romans that shines some light on how the sin nature in the body of Christ is destroyed, so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.

Ro 8:13  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

This naturally brings to mind the question of how exactly does the Spirit, with our apparent involvement, mortify the deeds of the body?  It is not too much later in the 8th chapter that this question is answered but it took me a good many years to see and understand these verses and their implications.

Ro 8:26-27  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

The following is a definition from Strong’s for the word infirmities.

G769  astheneia  as-then’-i-ah

from G772;

feebleness (of mind or body); by implication, malady; morally, frailty.

I would contend that the infirmities or weakness of the flesh that the Spirit is interceding to God in our behalf, in regards to the redemption of our bodies, are largely moral weaknesses. Largely the lusts of the flesh as listed in Ga 5:19-24. But when a person reads the word infirmities, they can naturally assume it means sickness or bodily weakness. No one wants healing of the body more than I do after having lived 30 years with a spinal cord injury. But in the last decade, maybe less, I have been doing much groaning in the Spirit. I didn’t really know what was going on as I never gave it much thought. When chancing upon Ro 8:26 in my daily scripture readings, I thought it to be my ardent desire to be healed that was behind the groaning in the Spirit. The funny thing about scripture is, that as you read the verses, you often feel you know what they mean, when in fact you don’t. Not fully. You always have to read scripture in context, so let us look at a couple verses just before Ro 8:26.

Ro 8:22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Now it comes into focus. The Spirit of God in me has been interceding to God, on my behalf, for the grace to grow in the fruit God wants me to possess, in this age and the one to come. The redemption of our bodies entails our being made righteous and the fruit of righteousness are the fruit of the Spirit. It is through the travail of the difficulties of my life, that I am giving birth within myself, to a new creation. The manifestation of the sons of God, mentioned in Ro 8:19, is the birth of this new creation. This is not a easy process and the analogy of being in childbirth describes it quite well. The pain, suffering and travail are all a necessary part of my godly character development. So by the prompting of the Spirit, I groan within myself quite often. The Spirit is searching my heart and interceding on my behalf for the weakness and even hostile and negative attitudes I posses because of the difficulty of my situation. In short, God is purifying my heart by faith. Now we can fight this or facilitate it. We are told to pray in the Spirit always, Eph 6:18, and to not quench the Spirit. 1Th 5:19, and for good reason.  Because, it is by this symbiosis with the Spirit of God, that we mortify the deeds of the flesh. It is also necessary to come before the throne of grace in times of need. If you read He 4:16 in context, you will again see it is talking about infirmities of the flesh, He 4:15, and links them to being tempted, or tested by sin. The word of the Lord is a sharp two edged sword and shows you, the thoughts and intents of your personal heart, and what comes out of our hearts is often what defiles us. These scripture verses in Mark, recording the words of our Lord, and are quite relevant.

Mark 7:20-23  And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22  Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Galatians 5:19-21 also lists some of the works of the flesh and against these infirmities is what the Spirit of God is interceding to God for, on our behalf. Often times the Spirit moves on me and I pray in the Spirit, in tongues or with groanings which can not be uttered. This whole process was prophesied by John the Baptist, before he first saw Jesus.

Mt 3:11-12  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The baptism of fire is compared to burning the chaff of wheat at harvest. The chaff, outer covering of the grain, being the flesh and we know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, 1Co 15:50. Fire is also used to refine silver and gold. In my past I have smelted aluminum at a junk yard. Just before a ingot was poured you would skim the dross off of the top of the liquid aluminum in the furnace. So to, unless one has the dross brought to the surface and removed in the refiners fire, Mal 3:3, by the difficulties of life, he has little value to God in the age to come. Hand in hand with the Spirit mortifying the deeds of the flesh, is also suffering. Because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 1Pe 4:1-2, so that we no longer should live the rest of our time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. In light of the analogy of smelting or refining gold, the fire of the sufferings of life, is what brings the dross, weaknesses and impurities of character, to the surface to be removed from our hearts by God.

Fellowship of his suffering

Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

There are many scripture verses indicating the need for suffering in order to reign with Jesus Christ, Ro 8:17, 2Ti 2:12, 1 Pe 5:10. Apostle Peter in 1Pe 4:2 gives the reason why it is necessary. That we no longer live the rest of our lives to the lusts of the flesh, but to the will of God. Paul in Php 3:10, uses the phrase “fellowship of his suffering”, and that suffering is instrumental in being made conformable unto Jesus death. Part of the Strong’s definition for fellowship is “partnership, i.e. (literally) participation”. This in fact, sheds some light on 1Pe 1:11 .

1Pe 1:11  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

The sufferings of Christ also includes the sufferings of the members of his body, the church.

Romans 8:17 KJVS
[17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together.

1Pe 4:12 ¶ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

The Greek word for fellowship G2842, is also translated into the English word “communion”.

1Co 10:16  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
18  Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

In a previous article I pointed out that the altar outside the camp of Israel, the sin sacrifice altar, is the altar that the body of Christ is to eat/partake of, He 13:10. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ himself said:

Jn 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

It certainly stands to reason that the members of his body should have communion with the sufferings of Christ, because our Lord himself learned obedience and was made perfect or mature by the things he suffered, He 5:8-9. No one likes to suffer or be chastised but unless a person undergoes these corrections, it does not bring the peaceable fruit of righteousness, He 12:11.  In Hebrews 12:6 it states that God scourges the sons he receives. This suffering is necessary and appointed for us, 1Th 3:3, in order to conform us to the image of Christ, Ro 8:22&23, 29. Paul links the fellowship of his suffering with being made conformable unto Jesus death, Php 3:10. Which is just another way of saying conformed to the image of Christ. In order for the church to grow up to the head, Jesus Christ, Eph 4:15, it is necessary for sufferings to take place by the individual members of the body of Christ before the glory of God can take place on earth, which is the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ, Re 20:6. A somewhat convoluted set of scripture verses in 2Co 1:3-6 show how that if we share in the sufferings of Christ we also share in the consolation with Christ. Even the word often times used for patience in the scriptures, longsuffering, directly indicates the need to endure sufferings. We need to have longsuffering with the trials, tribulations, temptations and afflictions in life and most importantly with one another.

1Co 13:4-5 ¶  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

A great deal of suffering and self sacrifice is involved with being able to love in this fashion. These sufferings need to be endured, keeping in mind that they are necessary for the manifestation of the sons of God, Ro 8:17-19.  So comfort yourselves with these verses. Paul in Philippians 2:1-13 asks us to have mutual love for one another and that the same mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus. Jesus humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross. And then in verse 12, Paul asks that church to obey him and to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

Php 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. ESV

The not so obvious point being made, is that suffering is a part of the process of working out our salvation. God allows the sufferings that are necessary in order to bring ourselves to the place as having the same mind and fruit of the Spirit as Jesus Christ. Jesus took on the form of humanity in his death on the cross, so that we, the body of Christ, could be made the righteousness of God in him, 2Co 5:21. Being made the righteousness of God in him, entails we have communion, with the sacrifice and offering of his body, whose body we are, on that altar outside the camp, He 13:10-11.  If one views the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus Christ for sin, only in the past tense, and endured by Jesus alone, then the power of the cross is absent in our lives. The early church understood the symbolism of animal sacrifice on the various altars and their partaking and being one with those altars, 1Co 10:18, Jew and pagan alike. Until you understand Christ in you the hope of glory. Until you understand that a seed has to fall in the ground, your flesh, and die in order to bring forth fruit. Until you partake of the sacrificed body of Christ on the altar outside the camp of Israel, He 13:10-11, in a living way, Ro 12:1, by dying to the flesh. Until you see that your participation in the sufferings of the Christ is necessary for the sin nature in you to be destroyed, Ro 6:6-7. Then you are blind to the realities of God’s plan for the salvation of man through the cross.

2Co 4:10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Harden not your heart

Hebrews 3:8-10 KJVS
[8] Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: [9] When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. [10] Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Sufferings, trials, afflictions and even temptations are allowed by God in our lives for a reason. In the midst of a grievous trail it is easy to lose sight of that fact. For years the words “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation in the wilderness” echoed in my mind. A incomplete spinal cord injury can be quite painful and frustrating, naturally after 30 years a man can oftentimes become bitter and develop a hard heart. Many a time I have repented of having a hardening and embittered heart towards God. Many a time God has softened and lifted that great weight off my heart by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5. The definition for the Greek word translated as “temptation” in verse 8 is full of meaning in regards of knowing the ways of God.

G3986 peirasmos pi-ras-mos’

from G3985;

a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity.

KJV: temptation, X try.

God is putting to the proof the godly character He is instilling in those of us in the body of Christ. I remember Army boot camp in 1971, a war was going on, and the drill instructors made life very hard for every one involved. They were trying to get raw recruits ready for war. Obedience and discipline was hammered into every man. Not only was the body being brought into shape but a willing and obedient mind also. Back then I was in good shape, as my father worked me like a man since I was a child. I grew up along the Mississippi river, climbing the hills and bluffs, taking long walks in the woods. I could scamper up trees like a monkey. So in boot camp, I could easily do all the drills and physical training, obstacle courses and so on, quite easily. I had a little bit of a attitude, a bit cocky and towards the end of basic training the drill instructors kind of keyed in on me, even taking it to the point of trying to push me into a fight. They wanted to put me in my place, humble me. Even though I had done everything they asked of me and was in good shape, I was not torn down and humbled to the point where I was obedient from the heart. This is a apt analogy of what God is doing with justifying the members of the body of Christ. A humble Spirit and contrite heart is not something you can fake, especially with someone who knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb 4:12 . Paul makes a analogy of being a soldier in 2 Timothy.

2 Timothy 2:3-7 KJVS
[3] Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [4] No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. [5] And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. [6] The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. [7] Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

God has chosen us to be soldiers in Christ but our warefare is not carnal.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJVS
[4] (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

And Paul’s words are still a challenge and call to duty for the body of Christ today. It is not a easy thing bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Especially when we are being tested and tried. It is all about the heart. Those in the wilderness always erred in their hearts and we are warned not to develop a evil heart of unbelief.

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

We are kept by by the power of God through faith and faith worketh by love, 1Pe 1:5, Ga 5:6. Keep in mind that the qualities God is developing in us, are the fruit of the Spirit. Love , joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. These are not the qualities with which the people in this world hold in high esteem but we are not of the world. If you look at the definition for the word “kingdom” as it is used in the New Testament, in regards to the Kingdom of God you will find a interesting fact.


G932 basileia bas-il-i’-ah

from G935;

properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively).

KJV: kingdom, + reign.

The very first part of the definition is,”properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule”. The kingdom of God is largely associated with Jesus Christ and those that will rule and reign with him for a thousand years. The members of his body, the body of Christ, are being prepared by God for this task and a good many of the churches in this world have entangled themselves with the affairs of this world, 2Ti 2:4, and have lost sight of this fact. Maybe that is what it means in He 13:12&13, when it says we are to go outside the camp. In the coming age, the age of righteousness, things will be much different, in that those that rule and reign with Christ, will be no longer subject to the lusts of the flesh, as they will have died to the flesh. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, Ro 8:3. It will not be the same old same old of the last 6 thousand years. Peace, equity and love for one another and God will rule in that 1,000 year long day. It helps if one keeps all this in mind when he is being tested and tried and chastised by God.

Hb 12: 11, Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.