The Long Road of Salvation, Part I

I believe that God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit created everything in six 24 hour days.  The earth was one week old after God finished His work and rested, and everything He made, everything, was very, very good.  Lucifer, the powerful cherub, began shortly thereafter to do what he does so well, that is, to deceive mankind through tricks and lies in the battle to win souls.  His end-game is to turn people away from God, to himself.  Whom and what will you worship is the spiritual warfare that has been raging since the fall of Adam and Eve, when sin, decay and death entered the world.  And so it was now year one, the very first year of human history. 

When Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and became man, some 4,000 years had passed in human history since the Creation.  Today, we are living in the 6th Millennium, about 6,016 years from Creation.  As God does things in cycles of seven, I believe the 7th Millennium will be when Jesus returns to reign on the earth in the Kingdom of God.

Now the Old Testament paved the way for the New Testament.  And early on we discover some important things regarding the Trinity: that from eternity past and all through the books of the Old Testament, all through that time period of thousands of years, that God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all spirit beings.  The Holy Spirit can never be seen; it is He that restrains much of the evil and wickedness in the world today; it is He that was sent to believers in Jerusalem on Pentecost, 33 A.D., after Jesus ascended into heaven; it is He who convicts those called by the Father to believe on His Son; it is He who is at work in the hearts and minds of the believer and the true believing church.  And it is He that enables a person to be “born again” in spirit that he may believe and be saved.

God, the Father is Spirit; no man has ever seen God; no man can look upon God and live.  “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)  

But, God so loved His people that it was made possible for the second Person of the Trinity, the Word, to come down from heaven and guide the redemptive history of Israel.  He is God, and He manifested Himself in the form of a man, with a body, flesh and bone, something one could touch, could talk to “face to face,” someone one could hold on to.  This is the God people could look upon and not die!  He would appear at various times, and then return to heaven.  Often, He talked to people from heaven, or talked to them in dreams or visions.

The whole key to understanding “the long road of salvation” is that it ends in the town of  Bethlehem Ephratah of Judea, where God was born man as Jesus of Nazareth.  He was and is fully God, fully man.  Listen to the words of the prophet Micah:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

The long road of salvation began in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 3.  There, we find three personalities involved in the first great rebellion against God: Satan, Adam, and Eve.  At the lie and deception of Satan, Eve takes of the fruit of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” which God commanded that they not eat.  And Adam ate the fruit.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

And so, as we see in the long road of salvation in human history, down through the ages, Eve and Adam, and people of all generations, lwho listened to the Devil instead of God, and they took the fruit and ate and disobeyed God.  And we also ate of the forbidden fruit.   

The very first appearance of God to mankind, on whom they can look upon and not die was in the Garden of Eden.  God walked among the trees and confronted them.  And now is set in motion the battle ground between Satan and the Jewish people in all history and the basis of “anti-Semitism,” beginning in Genesis 3:14-15:

“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; and upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  

Thus, the “seed line” that began with Eve continued through the third son of Adam and Eve, namely, Seth, and will wind its way all through the redemptive history of Israel as seen in the Old Testament.  The “seed of the Woman” comes to fruition in the ‘book of the generations of Jesus Christ’ as recorded  in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels.  He appeared on the scene as a baby boy, born of the Virgin Mary ( the “seed” is Jesus, the Son of God; the “Woman” is Mary) some 4,000 years after the Creation.  But who is the “seed of Satan”?  The “seed of Satan” will be “the Antichrist” who will appear, I believe, future, in the time of the 21st Century after the true believers in Christ, His Church, shall be “raptured” to heaven.  Then will follow the last seven years of human history of the “times of the Gentiles,” known also in Scripture as “the Great Tribulation” when God shall judge the unbelieving inhabitants of the earth.   

The “enmity” God placed between Satan and the Woman, the Jewish people, and between his seed (Antichrist) and her seed (Jesus the Messiah) is seen throughout the Holy Bible by Satan’s attempts to utterly destroy the Jewish people and their Messiah!  One only need look at Genesis six where Satan and his demons completely corrupted all of mankind, save eight souls, the righteous Noah and his family.  Mankind did only what was evil and wicked day and night, and so God brought about the world-wide flood that destroyed every living thing that breathed upon the earth!  Those saved on the Ark, man and animals, over time would repopulate the earth.  Mankind would be given a second chance to start over.  Would they run to God, or run away from God? 

When Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, and the Hebrews came to be a great number of people, Pharoah decreed that every Hebrew baby boy was to be destroyed by drowning in the Nile River!  “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.”  Yet the mother of Moses placed him in a water tight basket and set him in the Nile River.  The baby was “discovered” by Pharoah’s daughter, who raised him in the royal house.  How about the story of Esther and Mordecai and the evil Haman?  Haman, an official of the royal court had the king send out a royal decree to destroy all the Jews who lived in the Persian kingdom, who were brought there years earlier when king Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.  

If we should fast forward hundreds of years later between  the two Testaments, to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, and Judas Maccabeus in 168 B.C. (3,836 years after the Creation), we find yet another evil plot to destroy the Jews.  Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, killed thousands of Jews in and around Jerusalem, especially the young men (the “seed” line), and took into captivity the remaining women and children. 

And now we come to the year 4 B.C. (4,001 years after the first year from Creation), the year our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king.  God truly walked among us in the flesh.  Thus, the seed line and seed of the woman comes to its fulfillment in the birth of Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah.  Now Satan must destroy the “seed of the Woman,” for he surely knows that  Messiah will one day seal his doom; He shall crush his head when He comes the second time.  But Satan was concerned with the “now”- that if can kill the Messiah, He won’t be able to return a second time.  He therefore stirs up Herod, to use him to destroy the King of the Jews.   

Matthew 2:1-18:

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.  Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star which they saw in the east, went before them, til it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.  And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.  And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

O, the depths of Satan and his demons!  He is the ‘destroyer.’  And this bloodbath of the innocents has been played out in every century of human history against the Jews, and against the Church.  One only need look at the persecutions of the last century, which exceed previous centuries combined; indeed, just look at the slaughter of Christians and Jews in the world today!  The long road of salvation is covered by blood; but it is also covered in the redemptive blood of Christ.

And so it was that the Jews and Gentiles of that time saw God face to face as a human being, not as a manifestation as in the days of old.    

But Satan never gives up, and, as we know from Scripture, he greatly stirred up the Jews to kill Jesus of Nazareth.  And so, it came to pass as written, that He was crucified, died, and was buried.  The promise of the Messiah’s return was now nullified.  There would be no confinement of Satan in the “bottomless pit;” Satan could continue to deceive the nations century after century after century.  He would thus continue to be “the prince of this world!”  But how then would the prophetic word of God be fulfilled?  Therefore,  according to the Plan of God of eternity past, and by His mighty power, Jesus arose from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven to the Father.  And He will come again and defeat Satan.

The long road of history led to the fulness of time when God was among men on earth.  The prophecy of the “seed of the woman” in Genesis was fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus.  The rest of the prophecy will be fulfilled at Christ’s second coming, when He shall crush Satan’s head.

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