April 18, 2014

And a Good Friday Morning to you! Like that pun! Sorry 'bout that! We will take somewhat of a break from our Aphiemi Healing series today (although it may very well seem like we're still there) because of the significance of this Passover season which includes Jesus' death and resurrection. I will probably run a bit long today.

Playing off the title of this Coffee Break, millions of Christians still regard the day we celebrate as Jesus' resurrection from the dead as "Easter." I don't want to get into a lot of irrelevant discussion and arguments, but it is important to me -- and to our family and fellowship -- that we don't engage in the paganistic rituals (e.g., the Easter Bunny, the egg rolls, the candy, etc.) which have nothing whatever to do with Jesus' resurrection.

Prior to Constantine's declaration that all Rome was now "Christian," the Romans celebrated the Feast of Ishtar at the time of the year we have treated as the last day of Passover (or Jesus' resurrection from the dead). Constantine's pronouncement allowed the Romans to continue to celebrate Ishtar under the guise of the Christian believers' celebration of Christ's resurrection.

The Feast of Ishtar (or Easter, in English parlance) was meant to honor the pagan god, Baal's, consort whom we know in Scripture as either Astarte (the deified wife of Nimrod), or Ashtaroth (as she was more commonly known). Baal was known in many cultures by a host of different names, (e.g., Marduk, Zeus, and others) and I won't take the time to go there today. Suffice it to say that none of this has a thing to do with Jesus or His resurrection from the dead. To engage in the partying and celebrations that folks associate with Easter is completely contrary to everything that Jesus did on our behalf. That's why I want to share the following with you so that this day forever becomes "Resurrection Day" on your calendar -- NOT Easter.

Let's return for a few minutes to our discussion from last week in Isaiah 53. This is a chapter that has fascinated me because of the way in which it is written. Several years ago I did a Coffee Break (or a series of Coffee Breaks) on Jesus in which I noted the striking contrasts in Isaiah's prophecy, but let's revisit it. Have you ever noticed how Isaiah puts everything in the present, and then the past tense? Watch.

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, andcarried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him strickensmitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

It's almost as though Isaiah can't quite decide if he is actually standing there watching it, or seeing it as something which has already transpired. He refers to Jesus as being (present tense) despised and rejected, and then he switches gears when he writes, "we hid our faces from Him."

Then he says, "we did esteem Him" putting it in the past. Take a look at the repeated past tense as he writes, "He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows"; "we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted"; "He was wounded"; He was bruised"; "our peace was upon Him."

Finally, Isaiah returns to the present tense when he says, "with His stripes we are healed."

There's a reason for Isaiah's putting things like this, and we'll get there in a second. The point I'm making here is that Isaiah has stepped through that time portal into eternity as he is making his observations. What he is watching unfold are the events that led to Jesus' crucifixion. He sees the beatings, the cat-o-nine tails used to scourge Him and flick away bits and pieces of His flesh. Isaiah watches the scorn on the faces of the Roman soldiers and the sadism as they torture Jesus to the brink of death.

But then he rightfully assesses the consequences of what he has just witnessed when he prophesies, "with His stripes we are healed." Get it? Isaiah pulls the future back into his present. Time stands still. What Jesus is doing some 700 years in his future now becomes a practical reality -- an available benefit for those who will believe that prophetic word. We'll come back to this again, but let's take a look for a moment at this same prophecy when viewed by the apostle Peter perhaps 30 to 35 years AFTER Jesus was crucified and resurrected from the dead.

In his first general epistle to the body of Christ, Peter writes, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

Notice how Peter phrases this. He puts all healing as an accomplished fact, NOT SOMETHING YET TO HAPPEN! For Peter, just as it had for Isaiah, time was standing still. What Jesus did on the Cross transcended time itself. From the actual point where Jesus underwent such torture as no human being had ever suffered, and then died on the Cross; and then rose again, EVERYTHING that Jesus accomplished was finished! There was nothing left to accomplish.

Every sick person was healed. Every disease was terminated. Infirmities were done away with and perfect health restored. Every demon was made subject to Jesus' name! The poor no longer needed to live their lives on the edge of nothingness. Death was canceled. Relationships were made whole. Everything was complete! EVERYTHING! Legally.

There was nothing left for Jesus to do. He had accomplished all that He had come to do. When He cried out on the Cross, "It is finished!" it had been! When He rose from the grave, He established the New Covenant with those who believe.

Tragically, today, people don't believe it. They don't believe that Jesus did and accomplished everything that needed to be done in their lives. People still pray to be healed, not recognizing that their healing has already been accomplished -- that all they need to do is to seize it, claim it for themselves, confess their agreement with the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He has done, and walk in it.

People still pray today and ask God to make provision for them despite the fact that Jesus made every provision on the Cross. People still pray to be set free from bondage, whether bondage of the flesh or bondage that is demonic. We have a bad religious habit of praying for things, asking the Lord for things -- as if they haven't been done -- not recognizing, nor acknowledging that Jesus has already done His part. Our receiving of all that Jesus did and accomplished on the Cross is simply a matter of believing Him, believing His Word, believing that the price He paid WAS the price -- the total, the complete, the sufficient price -- for everything.

When we go to the Lord and pray, and ask Him to heal us, to deliver us, to set us free, to meet our needs, it is a total contradiction of our confession of salvation. If we believe that Jesus died on the Cross to save us -- and that is a simple matter of exercising the faith He has already given us -- but we don't believe He has healed us, delivered us, made us whole, given us health and long life, and delivered us from poverty, we effectively put Him back on the Cross saying that His death and resurrection were insufficient, and that He needs to do it again so we can receive whatever we ask.

I know that about now, some of you think I've slipped my trolley, and that I'm just playing with words. Folks, this is not a matter of semantics. This is not a play on words! I'm serious. We disregard the consequences of Jesus' death and resurrection, setting aside the price He paid as insufficient. Some of us are dumb enough to buy the lie that it is (or was) His will for some of us to be sick, and that He didn't undergo all that suffering and bear those stripes in His body for ALL of us to be in perfect health.

Some of us even believe that it is His will and desire for us to live in poverty and need -- that poverty is somehow the will of God, or that it is holy to live this way -- despite the fact that part of the purpose of His death on the Cross and resurrection finished poverty -- wiped it out, and did away with it. Notice that I said earlier, LEGALLY!

Every price that needed to be paid has been paid. But if we don't claim it and reclaim what Satan has stolen from us when we take our salvation and our fire insurance, we can live in sickness and disease, in need, and oppressed by Satan all the while we are legally healthy, free of sickness and infirmity and wealthy beyond comprehension.

Why is this?

Let's get back to Isaiah's prophecy. Although our English translations submerge this truth in phraseology that causes us to miss it, let me show you how it actually appears in the Hebrew text. Here is my translation of Isaiah 53:3-5:

"He is disdained and scorned, and considered as having ceased to exist by men: a man of anguish and pain, and has known grief by seeing and experiencing it; and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was disdained and scorned, and we maliciously fabricated, invented and treated His suffering and death as void.

"Surely He has suffered and accepted as His own our maladies, our anxieties, our calamities, our disease and sicknesses, and carried our anguish, pain and grief: yet we fabricated and maliciously invented His being stricken violently, beaten, punished, wounded and slaughtered as if by God -- choosing to believe that God browbeat, demeaned and looked down upon Him.

"But He was broken and profaned for our rebellion, our revolt, our apostasy and our [religious] quarrel against God; He was crushed, oppressed and smitten, and (emotionally) broken into pieces for our perversity, our evil, our mischief, sins and faults; the breaking and ridiculing of our peace, our welfare, our prosperity, our health and our safety was upon Him; and with His bloodied and blue wounds we are cured, mended, repaired and made thoroughly whole.

Are you seeing the picture? Notice that the Hebrew text uses the word, áLÛ瘠-- chashabwhere the translators have inserted the word "esteemed." In fact, this word, chashab', more accurately translates in today's English as: to fabricate or to inventto plot or contriveto imagine or conceive. Thus the word, "esteemed" -- while OK perhaps in Elizabethan English -- really misses the context and the photography of the Hebrew.

What Isaiah is seeing, therefore, from his perspective in eternity as he draws this prophetic picture for us is that folks would treat Jesus' suffering, His death and His resurrection as null and void. He sees people treating all that Jesus went through as insufficient to pay the price and somehow contriving for themselves that God did this to Him, that God wanted Him to suffer, that suffering is the will of God, that sickness is the will of God, that we must still in some way pay for our sins, that we were not set free at the Cross, that we were not completely and totally healed, that we should live poverty-stricken lives, that it is somehow holy to do so, that God teaches us through sickness and suffering -- and on and on and on and on and on, ad nauseam! Let's continue with Isaiah's narrative:

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

I won't take the time to break this down totally out of Hebrew today because I want to move on, but there is one word of significance in the first part of verse 6. It appears in the phrase, "the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Here again, to read the English translation, it looks as though the Father did this to Jesus. In fact, the word appearing in the Hebrew is that word most often translated "intercede:" òâ‡tÈ -- paga', which more properly renders: to entreatto make intercessionto take advantage of an importunity.

Thus we can read verse 6 like this: All we like wanderers have vacillated and strayed; we have turned aside to our own paths [in the belief that there are many paths to God]; and the Father has entreated Him, taking advantage of His obedience to death to lay upon Him all of our perversities, our sins, our mischief, our faults and our evil.

Now, let me raise another question. What is it that causes us to disregard the price that Jesus paid on the Cross? What is it that causes us to believe that it is somehow His will for us to be sick, to suffer infirmity, to live in need so that He can teach us "things?"

Here's how the apostle Paul put it. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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 having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (II Corinthians 10:3-6)

This is war, folks! This is a war strategized by Satan and capitulated to (appeased?) by God's people in the one area of our flesh where Satan gets his strongholds: our minds. The strongholds in us are in our thoughts: our fears, our doubts and our unbelief. This is the only place where Satan can get a foothold -- and no one should doubt for a minute that he takes every opportunity to combat the effectiveness of Jesus' suffering for us, His death on the Cross, and His subsequent resurrection as THE FINAL VICTORY over Satan's power and stranglehold over the human race.

Why do we call them strongholds? Because they are "high things" that exalt themselves against the knowledge of what God has done, what Jesus Christ accomplished on our behalf, and what our new Covenant is with the Lord. Do you think that Satan wants us to believe that we have been healed? Do you think he wants us to believe that we have been delivered from his power and his authority? Do you think Satan wants us to walk in health, to prosper in every area of our lives, to live the abundant life available in Christ Jesus?

So how do we deal with these strongholds? We realize that these are "vain imaginations:" these are thoughts that need to brought into captivity and made obedient to the Word in the same way that Jesus was obedient to the Cross.

Let me phrase it a little differently. One does not do battle against Satan's connivances and deception with thoughts. You don't battle the flesh with the flesh. You battle it with the Spirit. You battle it with the Word. The apostle Paul describes the Word as "the Sword of the Spirit," and that is the ONLY offensive weapon we have.

And you can't just think the Word: it must come from your mouth before it goes forth as a weapon against Satan. It is all well and good to think the Word -- that's an important first step -- but the battle against "every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God," His Word, His promises, and His Covenant made in His shed blood MUST come by our speaking, our continual declaration of all that God's Word says concerning anything and everything.

Just because you don't see the immediate evidence of what you speak doesn't mean it isn't true. If you're anything like me (and I suspect a whole lot of you are), the mental programming of this world has done its job so effectively that you have to combat it with declaration after declaration after declaration after declaration of God's Word -- day after day after day after day after day after month after month after month after year after year after year -- UNTIL you see the manifestation.

This is war, folks! It is the kind of warfare that isn't finished until Satan and his lies and his deception, his fear, his doubt and his unbelief are finished!

What matters -- and the ONLY thing that matters -- to us is that Jesus accomplished everything that needs to be accomplished. His death on the Cross and His subsequent resurrection -- which we celebrate this Sunday -- were the legal finish of the curse upon the human race. It only remains for us to become the second witness in the Court of the Universe. And that takes place when we overcome by (1) the blood of the Lamb [which He shed on the Cross], and (2) the Word of our testimony in concert and in agreement with what God has declared in His Word!

Now do you see the difference between Resurrection Day and Easter?

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!







Regner A. Capener

Sunnyside, Washington 98944

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