January 24, 2014
Before we get into today's discussion, I'd like to remind those of you who may have health issues that it would be our great pleasure to minister healing to you. George Robinson, Dwain McKenzie, Monty Lamb, Randy Ramhoff, and Della and I would be delighted to pray over you and decree and declare your complete healing and restoration according to the promises and covenant we have with the Lord Jesus Christ. The number to call and the access code are at the end of this Coffee Break.
Let's continue today with our direction in this study to show you that healing -- and specifically, aphiémi healing -- is a product of and integral to a covenant made by Father God with us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
In previous Coffee Breaks, we have talked about a word that takes place within covenant: kheseed. Gesenius, in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, explains the word like this in its primary applications: to love with intense desire; to show oneself gracious; zeal (towards anyone); ardor; kindness; benevolence; the grace, favor and mercy of God; tender mercies; lovingkindness.
History tells us that folks who entered into covenant enjoyed a place of oneness and unity that almost defied explanation. First of all, the two primary parties to that covenant were revered and held in high esteem by all of the family members on both sides of the covenant. One did not enter lightly into covenant, and the marks in each other's flesh denoting that covenant were held sacred.
One of the first events to occur during the covenant ceremony was the exchange of cloaks or outer coverings. It symbolized the giving of all that a person was, making all that he had available to his covenant partner: his wealth, the resources of his household, the intervention of his family in time of need or distress, and his personal guarantee or oath upon which the covenant hung.
Consider how the Lord showed His cloak during the covenant ceremony.
Abraham is put into a deep sleep as the Lord shows up to pass between the halved animals and stand in the blood. The KJV puts it that "when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces."
That's somewhat obscure in the way it gets translated, but the word translated "smoking" is the same word that gets used in some instances for cloud or vapor. Remember the cloud or pillar of smoke that stood guard for Israel when the armies of Pharaoh came after them? Now do you have the picture? It is metaphoric of the covering, the defense of the Lord on behalf of His covenant people.
The parties to covenant in Biblical times (and even in later centuries) literally became One Family! One ancient tradition we've seen -- especially in Celtic and English history -- is where each family took the other's name. Thus, for example, when David Edwards married Marie Smithson as a product of two families' covenant, the Edwards family became Smithson-Edwards or Edwards-Smithson, depending on who initiated the covenant. Likewise, the Smithson family became Smithson-Edwards, or Edwards-Smithson. By this tradition, the families and their descendants became forever linked together as a single family.
In our own Capener family, a number of years ago when my father was still alive, he received a letter from a Ralph Capener-Hurst. Dad responded and asked Ralph about the hyphenated name, expressing curiosity as to whether Ralph might be a relative somewhere in our family lineage. Return correspondence from Ralph indicated that one of his Capener ancestors covenanted with a family whose last name was Hurst.
Their covenant, and the subsequent marriage between members of each family resulted in the two families taking the combined name, Capener-Hurst. Thus all members of that particular branch of the Capener family, and all members of that particular branch of the Hurst family became known thereafter as Capener-Hurst.
We often see hyphenated names in English royalty, but few people seem to realize that those hyphenated names represented covenants of blood that were cut between some of the royal families of England and Europe. It is an aspect of kheseed denoting grace, kindness, favor and benevolence between covenanted families. kheseed is the core of covenant. It describes what we could call an "alter ego." Let me explain. When a person is in a covenant relationship, their covenant partner virtually becomes their alter ego, their "other self."
It would be appropriate to compare this to the relationship and the covenant bond that the Lord has developed between Della and me. In more than 30 years of marriage, fellowship with one another, enjoying each other's companionship, laboring together in the Kingdom and walking with one another through life's adventures, we have so become One with each other that whenever anyone sees Della or me -- even if the other person isn't around at the moment -- they see the other. If you see Della, you see me. If you see me, you see Della! You get the picture. She is my “counterpart, my other self.” I am her “counterpart, her other self.”
On numerous occasions in previous Coffee Breaks, I've talked about the significance of the Greek word, onoma, (translated "name" in the New Testament) and how it goes way beyond the concept of one's name in meaning. Paralleling the Hebrew, shem, it denotes one's character and very makeup, their personality, their identity, their rank and power, their honor, integrity and authority. Thus, the taking of each other's name within the framework of covenant symbolized their taking of each other's character, rank and honor and backing it with each other's integrity.
It is said that kheseed is the core of covenant. To this we can add, shem. Now you begin to understand the very covenant nature of what Jesus said when He told His covenanted disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, immersing them in the character, the nature, the makeup, the rank and authority of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you....." (Matthew 28:18-20 with my emphasis)
Intrinsic to the covenant that Jesus Christ made with us, and our acceptance and commitment to His covenant, is the change of our onoma, our shem. Our name is changed. We now become known as "Christ-ians." Once we have been baptized -- immersed - INTO Jesus' onoma (shem), we are "in Christ." At the same time, we get to partake of the Table of the Lord and in so doing, we "eat of Christ" (in a symbolic way, and yet there is real significance to this eating) and in so doing, demonstrate "Christ in us." That sounds really strange, I know, to put it that way (and, PLEASE, don't go running off and thinking I'm promoting some weird doctrine!)
Nevertheless, our acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Covenant in a very literal spiritual sense (and we are first and foremost spirit beings) means that we take Him into us in order to initiate the transformation, the re-creation, and the restoration of the image and likeness we were first designed for.
In the place of blood, the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus flows in our veins as a result of His new covenant with us. That's the implication of our being able to take advantage of the Table of the Lord. Instead of halving in two the bodies of heifers, lambs and partaking of their roasted flesh in an earthly covenant, we partake of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for us, in the symbol of the bread.
Instead of drinking blood mingled with wine as ancient heathen customs once held, we simply drink wine -- because of Jesus' command to us -- (Yeah, I know. Some folks have a religious thing about drinking grape juice instead, but it's still all the same thing!) as representative of His shed blood. (Interestingly enough, wine is often referred to as "spirits" in colloquial speech, and it IS representative, in this case, of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.)
In so doing, we regularly remember His covenant of blood, and the sacrifice He paid when His body was given for our healing and our deliverance from the curse of death, disease and infirmity and put to death on the Cross that we might enter into an eternal covenant bound by His Word which NEVER fails and is inviolable, and implemented in our lives by a living faith.
Now maybe you're beginning to understand my early comments about how the whole concept of covenant has been so diluted and watered down throughout the centuries that we've lost the true sense of it. Yes?
Now maybe you can begin to get a grasp on the New Testament (Covenant) and the use of the word, agape, (in place of the Hebrew kheseed) as the descriptor by which the Lord commands relationship.
Put that within Jesus' statement, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have (love) agape-kheseed for one another."
Jesus wasn't talking about some kind of "sloppy agape," or some kind of mushy-gushy "Oh, I love you," kind of malarkey like we see so often in the body of Christ today. He was talking about covenant! He was talking about standing with each other to the death! He was talking about our putting our lives on the line for one another as fellow-Christians and members of that body He took to the Cross!
By THAT shall all men know we are His disciples. By agape-kheseed will the world know that we have a relationship that defies the understanding of today's world!
Remember what Paul wrote? "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)
That's a statement made from the perspective of covenant. That is a perfect visual of kheseed. Within the framework of covenant, kheseed describes a condition in which each other's blood flows in each other's veins: so deep is the sense of caring and covering for each other.
Are you beginning to understand my continuing comments about how the concept of covenant has been so diluted and watered down throughout the centuries that modern society -- and particularly Christians -- have lost the true sense of it?
I said this before and I'll say it again: maybe you can now begin to get a grasp on the New Testament (Covenant) and the use of the word, agape, as the graphic picture of the kind of relationship Jesus commands.
In Biblical times, covenant relationships defined the character and nature of those in covenant with each other. So deep was the sense of responsibility and concern for each other that they would gladly die for one another if the situation so demanded. It transferred over to the family members within that covenant so that each party to the covenant, their wives, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren -- and even aunts, uncles and cousins -- all became identified with each other.
The entire Old Testament -- the word "testament" all by itself scarcely conveys the whole picture -- is a picture of God's covenant -- His first covenant -- with Abraham and his descendants. Everything framed in the Old Testament is described within the structure of covenant relationship.
OK. How about this from David's writings? "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (see Psalm 91)
THAT's covenant writing!
"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked."
David KNEW the implications of His covenant relationship with God. He KNEW what kheseed meant as it related to the Lord. He KNEW the tender mercies and lovingkindness of the Lord. He KNEW what it meant to be protected and covered by a covenant-keeping God whose existence was wrapped up in his. He KNEW the love of the Lord in a dimension that -- sadly -- too many Christians today fail to see.
Watch how David describes the covering and protection, the zeal of the Lord on his behalf.
"Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
“Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation."
Go back for a second to our review of Abraham and the Lord, and the covenant that God made with him. Remember the "smoking furnace" and the "burning lamp" that depicted the physical presence of the Lord as He passed between the broken pieces of the animals? Remember the analogy of the smoke and the cloud as the covering and protection of the Lord as a portion of His part of the covenant to Abraham?
Good! Now you understand where David was coming from when he wrote this Psalm.
Everything -- and I do mean EVERYTHING! -- written in both Old and New Testaments comes from the perspective of the blood covenant.
Let's wrap this up with the concept of aphiémi -- erasure, eradication of the past -- finishing the picture. By fulfilling the old Covenant with His suffering, His death on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus implemented a new Covenant, a New Testament on our behalf. Those who accept and acknowledge Jesus' sacrifice as the Son of God, and His authority to create this New Covenant, and enter into this Covenant through repentance and water baptism literally have the remission -- aphiémi -- of their sins, and everything that goes with it: sickness, disease, infirmity, weakness, poverty, vulnerability to death, etc.
Aphiémi applies to the curse that came upon the human race when Adam ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It also applies to the cancellation of everything that the curse brought with it. We just have to appropriate it.
And there's more! Next week, let's take a deeper look at "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" from both a judicial and experiential perspective.
Healing conference calls have resumed with our normal schedule. If you are in need of healing please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#. Let us minister to your need for healing!
Blessings on you!
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