Coincidences are God’s way of being anonymous, the saying goes. I believe there is some truth to that. I’m not a big believer in coincidences, although I’ll grant that it certainly appears that God allows certain things to happen without an immediate direct interference. Otherwise, we would all be puppets on a string, and it is obvious throughout Scripture that people are given choices when confronted with events in their lives. However, God reserves the right to intervene, mostly because:
…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
~ Ro 8:28
So, whether it is God allowing it to happen or God causing it to happen is irrelevant in that it always happens to fulfill His ultimate will.
Speaking of fulfill, I read some real Scripture twisting the other day. We just completed a series on Dispensationalism, and how it has its roots in the philosophy that the Law has been done away. So, that is the first “coincidence” if you will. Now, comes this from Peter Dizel in part 2 of his article “In what way did Jesus fulfill the law?”:
With this in mind, let’s look at Matthew 5:17, along with verse 18: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Amazingly, many who comment on these verses completely ignore the fact that the word “fulfilled” at the end of verse 18 is not translated from plēroō. It is, instead, translated from genētai, which is a form of ginomai. There can be no controversy about the meaning of this word. It means “accomplished” or “comes to pass.”
So, in these two verses, Jesus is saying that 1) He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets, 2) He did come to fulfill them, 3) heaven and earth would have to pass before one jot or tittle—the smallest parts of the law, and, therefore, they stand for the entire law—can pass from the law UNTIL all is accomplished. I capitalized “until” because it is a word that so many expositors ignore here.
Jesus is giving us two either/or conditions. The law cannot pass until heaven and earth pass or the law cannot pass until all is accomplished. One or the other can do it. Heaven and earth have not yet passed, so we will leave that aside. But what did Jesus mean by all being accomplished? The natural meaning of the language is that He was referring to what He had just said in the previous sentence: the fulfilling or completing of the law and the prophets. Once He had completed the law and the prophets, the law could pass.
“Two either/or conditions”? Talk about dishonest handling of the text! It is very convenient to insert those words into the text so you can “leave that aside”. It really makes me want to put on some Twisted Sister because it rhymes with “twisted Scripture”.
When you really ponder what Ditzel is saying, you realize that his Jesus could not have been divine. He gave an “either/or” condition because He did not know if He would fulfill that Law or if Heaven and earth would pass away first.
On the cross (or, stake if you prefer), Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” What did He mean by that? Obviously, the Kingdom is not yet here. Obviously, Satan still rules this world. Obviously, God the Father does not dwell in the New Jerusalem on the new earth. No, He meant the atonement for sin was completed. Sacrifices were no longer needed. The first stage of His mission was completed.
Those who do not keep the Holy Days do not understand. Christ was the Passover lamb. The Passover is only the first of God’s Feast Days. That was the stage completed on the cross!
It goes back to the justice of God. If God simply threw out the entire Law, and especially the Ten Commandments, then God is not just. He denied access to ancient Israel because they could not keep His Law, but He then says after they are dead that keeping His Law is not necessary. If you add in the erroneous doctrine of eternal Hell, then “god” becomes an unjust monster who is too psychopathic to stop a plan that creates the majority of people for the purpose of eternal damnation. Why would anyone with an ounce of compassion worship a “god” like that?
The 3rd “coincidence” last week was I was able to barely catch a radio broadcast about the book Jesus Nation: Belonging to and Becoming Part of the Greatest Nation Ever by Joe Stowell. I really want to get this book. I hope it is not a disappointment.
However, it struck me while listening why we keep God’s Law. We are supposed to be part of God’s culture. We are to come out of this world and live holy, that is separate, lives.
This is never more true than if you are in the Church of God (COG). We are separate. We have our own culture. We have our own laws. We have our own customs, including our own “holidays” and the traditions that go with them. We have our own dietary customs of a sort. We even have a general philosophy about the handling of money.
But, it isn’t just our culture! It is God’s culture! That is the theme of Jesus Nation, although I suspect Stowell stops short of the entire truth (even as the Protestant Reformation stopped short of the entire truth).
At any rate, I may get the book even though I’m behind on my offline reading quite a bit. I haven’t done a book review for a while.
God’s Core Principles
And, finally (or not, as our education is every ongoing) the 4th “coincidence” was last week’s sermon. It was truly timely, seeing as it was a survey of some of God’s Laws and what fulfillment – filling to the full – really means.
After all, where does Jesus take the conversation after Mt 5:17-18? He starts to magnify the Law!
First, He discusses the “least” of the commandments. Notice that whomever teaches others to break the least of the commandments will be called “least” in the Kingdom of God (KOG). It doesn’t say they will be in the KOG, it just says that those in the KOG will call them the least!
What is the “least” commandment? I submit to you that none of them are! However, there is one that many of the world consider the least! Sure, they have no problem with not killing others, not stealing, etc. Which one, though, is the one that they are most likely to forget? Well, it just so happens to be the one that starts with “Remember”! Jesus isn’t talking about which of the commandments that God considers the least, but the “least” in the eyes of the false religions that permeate this world!
The sermon then went on to point out that Jesus magnified specific laws listed in the Ten Commandments. The Pharisees were proud because they kept the physical requirements of the Law. However, Christians are to exceed their righteousness (v 20) by keeping even the spiritual application of the Law by having the right attitude and intent behind the keeping of the Law. Under the Old Covenant, if one committed adultery, you sacrificed some animals. Under the New Covenant, a Christian is to not even lust after a woman! Do you see how it was magnified, fulfilled?
The “fulfilling” of the Law was because now it involves intent and attitude. It is a matter of the heart! That’s why the Law exists! To teach our heart how to love God and love our neighbor! And we do that with the right intent and right attitude, or else it is not love!
Doesn’t it now make sense when Paul wrote:
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
~ 1Co 13:3
What is the core of the Law? What are God’s core values? The two greatest commandments, right (Mt 22:36-40)? And what is the basis for showing this love? The 10 Commandments!
How do we know this? Consider:
1. What are the only commandments written with the finger of God?
2. What are the only commandments written on stone? Remember, most of the Law of Moses was written on a scroll.
3. What went into the Ark of the Covenant?
The answer in each case is the Ten Commandments. The rest of the Law was placed beside the Ark. The Ten Commandments were placed into the Ark. The Ark of the Covenant represented God’s Heavenly throne. The cover was called the “Mercy Seat”, which is another way of saying it was where justice and forgiveness alike were dispensed. At the innermost core being of God is His sense of justice and mercy! His core values are the Ten Commandments!
I don’t know about you, but this string of “coincidences” simply put me in awe. It is difficult to comprehend them not being choreographed by the Master Choreographer.
Many of you reading this are of Israelite descent. The ancient Israelites were dispersed and punished for their disobedience. God is a covenantal God. He keeps His promises, and there are several promises to Israel for the “last days”. We are now seeing the UK and the US on the decline. So far, it has mostly been a slide down. However, when empires crash, they crash hard, and sometimes, as in Rome, they crash more than once. Slavery, death and destruction are sure if we don’t look to our Provider of our blessings for continued safety.
Unfortunately, it is not likely that we will see national repentance in any of the nations that have been under the blessing of Isaac during these last days. Terrible times will come as a result. However, there is hope!
You can still personally know God. Under the New Covenant, it doesn’t matter your race or your nationality, as the door has been opened to all who will heed God’s calling. You can still personally seek Him out and find Him! There is still time for that to occur, before the famine of the word (Am 8:11). Of those under His care now, some He will hide and shield from the worst to come. Others will be a witness to all the world, to be brought before people of greatness to testify of His love and concern for all humanity. Both groups will be given positions of power and authority in His Kingdom.
Jesus will return and redeem all that are His! First, those who are believers and have kept the faith. Then, He will put away Satan for a 1,000 year period so that he cannot blind the nations any more. Then, Jesus will set up a physical Kingdom in Israel. All physical Israelites that are left will migrate there and rebuild what has been destroyed. This will continue until the rebuilding efforts reach out over the entire globe! People will live in peace and prosperity at last!
Why? They will show love towards one another! They will follow God’s Law, but not just the letter! They will live in harmony because they will have God’s Spirit freely available so they can truly love God and each other!
And, that, my friends, is just the beginning!