Thursday, October 19, 2017
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Return to the Father's Heart
So the Earth Will Survive
Robert B. Scott

Return to the Father’s Heart

This crucial book will pave the way for the of coming Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6, who is prophesied to bring today’s absent fathers toward their neglected or jettisoned children and bring the heart of believers back to their Father in heaven. The book offers a solution to a pervasive problem among men today: their inability to forgive abusive fathers. This modern-day Elijah will “restore all things” (Mat. 17:11), including the true gospel of the Kingdom or Family of God, revealing the dangerous error of the grace revolution leading to the appearance of the man of lawlessness, an evil leader who will fight the second coming of Jesus. Click HERE to order your copy today!

Dark Places

 

Are You Running from Your Ninevehs Like Jonah? (Atonement)

 

 

The question we would like to ask on this Day of Atonement is this: are you running from the dark places in your life that God wants you to deal with? Are you, like Jonah, running from your Ninevehs?

The Jews read the book of Jonah on this day. The rabbis say that we can all find our lives in the book of Jonah. Nineveh was an extremely dark place. They were a cruel, warlike, violent people that had mastered the art of torture, the art of keeping people alive as long as possible while they were ripping their skin off their body.

Dark acts are committed in dark places. In a dark theater in Illinois at the playing of the movie, The Dark Knight Rises, a man dressed like the character in the movie called the Joker opened fire killing a number of people and wounding many. Many acts of violence were committed in the city of Nineveh.

This day celebrates the time when the Dark Knight or prince of darkness named Satan will be cast away. It is the day when what Jesus paid for becomes a reality. He came to destroy the works of the devil in the world and in our lives, and this day is the day it will be accomplished. We are fasting for the removal of all the dark works of the devil in the life of the world and the lives of others. And we will benefit from fasting for others.

The question is this: are we willing to face the dark places in our lives, or do we want to run away from the challenge of dealing with them with the help of Jesus. He tells us to hold his hand as we go through the valleys of the shadow of death or darkness in our lives.

As we read this book today, we need to understand how personal it was for Jesus as he dealt with Jonah. Jesus knew the end from the beginning, and He knew that He would be spending three days and nights in hell as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the fish. It was the only sign He gave that he was the Messiah. He surely thought of the most important events in history to come—His death, His three days in the heart of the earth, and His resurrection.

Many doubt that Jonah’s three days in the fish's belly was a factual story. Yet Jesus spoke of it, and He doesn’t lie. Christian world believes it was all a lie. They continue celebrating Easter, which says Jesus died on Friday at 3 PM and was buried for only about thirty-six hours before He rose.

Jonah’s Flight from Jesus

What Jesus told Jonah was no lie. Jonah 1:2 Jesus commanded the prophet, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” This was a tough call for Jonah. In 776 BC he had supported Jeroboam’s expansion plan and became a vocal enemy of Assyria. He knew how dark a place it was, a place were prophets of God were not welcome. He chose not to go.

At the college I attended, we were sent out after graduation to assist in pastoring churches around the world. The saying was that most often God would send you, like Jonah, where you didn't want to go. One of my friends kept saying, “I don't want to go to Hawaii; I don't want to go to Hawaii.” Well, he didn't go to Hawaii. It didn't always work as in Jonah’s case.

“But then Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of [Jesus]. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of [Jesus]” (Jonah 1:3).

We need to see the significance of the Hebrew words used in these verses. Jonah was a son of Amittai, which meant “devoted to truth for the next generation.” Jesus wanted Jonah to be a bearer of truth to Nineveh. Instead he fled to Joppa and Tarshish. Joppa means beauty, and Tarshish signifies wealth.

Today Christians often flee to sex and riches to avoid facing what God wants them to do. Jesus warned how thorns or demons could choke the Word sown in believers. He said that “the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word…” (Mat. 13:22). We often run from the mission God has given us to flee after things that don't profit.

We are easily distracted from devotion to God and His Word. During praise and worship at church we sometimes think of our things to do list. Jonah was distracted. Jesus wanted Jonah to deal with Nineveh, a dark place where Jesus wanted him to go, but he chose to run from Jesus.

Many meanings in conceptual Hebrew come from the word describing this feast, kippur. The letters alone have meaning and their combination tells a story. The first letter pictures a hand over the head, meaning a covering. Your sins are covered. The second letter means the mouth. Two mouths means yelling or proclaiming. And the last letter means the head or most important or highest person. On this day the Most High is proclaiming loudly that our sins are covered. They have been put on the head of the goat who was sacrificed, Jesus, and the eternal responsibility for our sin has been placed on the “scapegoat” Satan who was chased into the desert. Azazel means “send him away.” Satan will be sent away into a dimension of darkness totally separate from God’s world and ours.

Hillsong sings a song called, “I Will Run to You.” But Jonah was singing, “I will run from You.” How many of us run to our addictions rather than dealing with those dark places in our lives? When problems come, we often run from God rather than to Him.

We can see God working in the beautiful areas of our lives, but we often refuse to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and… run within endurance the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1),” the race Jesus has chosen for us. We don't fix our eyes on Him and His plan for us. Yet He tells us that we have powerful weapons of warfare, “divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses [or dark strongholds in our lives]” (2 Cor. 10:4).

What is the Dark Place You Refuse to Face?  

What is your dark place that you haven't been dealing with? Where has the Joker come in to trick you and deceive you so he can keep you from dealing with these places and thus steal, kill, and destroy?

This is the day of the defeat of the Dark Knight who brought those dark places into your life. It is a day of the defeat of both the Dark One and the darkness he has caused in your life. Will you run from the God who wants to go into those dark places with you and deal with them? Will you have the courage to expose them? Will you name today that pain, that area of darkness to God? He knows it, of course, but He wants you to uncover it and deal with it by His grace.

Paul tells us, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Eph. 5:11). Will we name and confess our darkness so God's light can shine on it and expose it? Are we worshiping an idol that we have not been willing to turn over to Jesus?

Jesus warned Israel of men who set up idols in their hearts (Ezek.14:3). He even says that if one of us ask things of Him according to our idolatry, He will be “brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols” (Ezek. 14:4) so he will see that the idol cannot save him and thus run back to Jesus (Ezek. 14:5-6).

We need to realize that God is not simply at work in the good areas of our lives, making us better, but that He is at work in the dark places of our lives and wants us to come with Him and by His grace see them removed and cast away as surely as the prince of darkness is cast away on this day. Jesus is sitting in the darkness waiting to help us deal with it.

The pagans on the ship were acting better than the prophet of God. They threw overboard very expensive cargo to save the ship. They even called on Jonah’s God for help when he didn't. At Jonah's request they finally threw him overboard, and the sea became calm. The same thing happens today. More Christians divorce than the general population. Sexual and money scandals plague ministries in contrast to non-believers who often walk in more integrity than believers.

Jesus would know that Jonah’s story isn’t a fairy tale since it was He Himself who “appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17).
What happened should encourage us. Jonah blew it. He could have died in the sea. Being swallowed by a great fish was a mercy from Jesus, but it was a dark place like sheol. Yet when he cried out to Jesus from the fish’s belly, Jesus came to His rescue. When we blow it and fail, we can immediately ask forgiveness of our Father and forgive ourselves. When we do, Jesus’ blood washes us clean as if we had never sinned. So our Father sees Jesus in us, not us. He sees us as perfect, as if He were rescuing Jesus Himself. Isn’t that encouraging? Jesus promises to get us out of all our self-made messes as we reach out to Him.

Jonah and Jesus           

Jesus most probably saw Himself in Jonah. We can see how he was a type of Jesus in the words that he used. He said that, “I cried for help from the depth of Sheol” (Jonah 2:2). Jesus must have thought at that moment about His three days in sheol (hell, the heart of the earth).

Notice what Jonah experienced. He said, “I have been expelled from Your sight” (Jonah 2:4). Jesus was also expelled from the sight of His Father on the cross. He took the cloak of invisibility for us so that we could be free from invisibility and can always be seen by Him and the Father.

Jonah exclaims, “But You have brought up my life from the pit, O [Jesus],” (Jonah 2:6). In the same way that Jesus brought Jonah out of the sheol of the fish's belly, so the Father brought Jesus out of the heart of the earth and raised Him from death and hell to once again look toward His holy temple in heaven (Jonah 2:4).

Jonah finally realized that those “who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness” (Jonah 2:8). He saw that he was putting an idol before Jesus by running from him instead of going to that dark place Jesus had commanded him to visit. He gave the sacrifice of thanksgiving at last and he declared a brief prophecy of Jesus coming to save all. He said, “Salvation is from Yahweh,” (Jonah 2:9), who at that time was the Person who would be born as Jesus. His salvation was indeed from Jesus, and the only sign Jesus gave that He would be the Messiah or Anointed One who saves, Yashua ha Maschiah, was that He would be three days and nights in hell as Jonah was in the fish.

Jesus calls the fish to vomit up Jonah on the shore, and finally Jonah does what Jesus told him to do. His words of warning have significance for us today. He said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” We see that the number forty signifies the time of judgment and testing. Jesus has given our modern Israelite nations forty years to repent since the judicial approval of shedding innocent blood by abortion in early 1973. The winter solstice of 2012 is amazingly close to the date in 1973 when America made abortion official.

Jesus gave America a last warning on September 11, 2001. Unlike Nineveh, the nation did not repent (Jonah 3:5) with prayer and fasting. We understand that some prophets of God did indeed warn the leadership of Manasseh and Ephraim (America and Britain) that the attack was a warning to repent. However, the leaders did not do as did the king of Nineveh, proclaiming a dramatic fast of all his people and even animals. Jesus saw their hearts and relented.

Because Christian leaders have not obeyed God and kept the feasts of Jesus, they don’t understand the prophetic timetable, secrets God promised to reveal to His servants (Amos 3:7). They persist in calling for prayer and fasting for the nation when they should be calling for reformation and revival for God's people within the nation. It's too late for the nation. Judgment time has come. Cause-and-effect has run its course, and the inevitable results must now come.

We know the story in Jonah 4 in which Jonah went into self-pity and sympathy seeking, refusing to bow to the will of Jesus. Jesus used a few miracles regarding a plant to teach Jonah a lesson about His compassion for Nineveh.

Jonah fled from Jesus, putting off dealing with his Nineveh, the difficult, dark place Jesus wanted him to address. We often do the same thing in regards to our Father Love, running away from Him.

Young Opie on the Andy Griffith show went to his daddy and told him of his intention of running away from home. His dad talked to him about what would happen if he ran away:  “Opie, what are you going to do when suppertime comes and Aunt Bee won’t be there to fix you a good meal?” Opie quickly reconsidered and chose not to run away.

Yet we often run away from our heavenly Father, not fully realizing that we are running away from His love, provision, and protection. We think we are missing out on something, and we thus run to various forms of escape, all the while missing out on the most important thing, being in the arms of love of our Father who always has the best in mind for us.

Destroying Sin and Its Originator          

Atonement represents the defeat of the originator of sin in the world and in our lives and thus the elimination of all sin. Understanding the Hebrew concept of sin will help us be victorious over it.

While a number of words for sin exist in Hebrew, these three explain the progression from the inner proclivity to sin, to the arousal of lust, and finally to the act itself. Below are those three words:

‛âvôn, iniquity

This term is used more than 200 times and is most often translated as "iniquity" [Strong's #5771]. It carries the implication of being perverse, crooked or twisted. It is the inner tendency to sin. We might call it the power of sin in us that we battle. The letters picture this: Whatever your eye hooks to multiplies, your need for the thing multiplies.

chaṭṭâ'âh, sin

Meaning of letters: a different set of boundaries becomes the authority I must fulfill. I choose another way than God’s. Lust is created.

This term is used almost 300 times and is most often translated as "sin" or "offense" [Strong's\ #2403]. It carries the implication of that which is deserving of punishment.

pesha‛, transgression
  
The letters give this word picture: My own perceptions speak to me as the ultimate reality and consume me. We actually commit the sin.

This term is used almost 100 times and is most often translated as "transgression"[Strong's\ #6588]. It carries the implication of rebellion.

One of the meanings of Atonement is that when we allow Jesus to cast Satan out of our lives, we can then become truly “at one” with our Father, reveling in intimacy with Him. We have been rescued from the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13), called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9). Job prophesied a time of great darkness to come upon this world, and it is likely to begin in the dark time of the winter solstice of 2012.

As did Jonah, the Israelites often fell into a pit of darkness somewhat like the fish's belly. Psalm 107:10-11 puts it this way: “There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God [as did Jonah] and spurned the counsel of the Most High.” But later they cried to God and “He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their bands apart” (verse 14).

Isn’t that exactly what this fast is supposed to do, “to loosen the bonds of wickedness [which it did for Nineveh], to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke?” That’s the purpose of fasting in general in Isaiah 58:6, and this fast is designed to break Satan’s yoke over the whole world.

For us today and for the world soon, “your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday” (Isa. 58:10). You will have faced your Ninevehs with Jesus, and the freedom and joy you experience will far surpass the futile search for freedom in Joppa and Tarshish.

Getting Down to the Dark Root           

Jeremiah 4:3-4 gives us some important principles about the places of darkness in our lives. God tells us to break up our fallow ground and not to sow among thorns, a symbol for demons. He tells us to circumcise ourselves, removing the foreskins of our heart. Herein lies an important principle few Christians have grasped.

The process starts with a realization of our Father’s love for us. Furthermore, before we can make real progress and see freedom in our Christian lives, we must understand the dark roots of all of our problems, and even this is a process. Farmers must remove trees from land they want to cultivate. Once they cut down the trees, they must remove the stumps, roots and all. Traces of roots will still remain, so they must use special tools that go several inches into the ground to remove residual roots that could sprout during the next year.

We at Freedom Church of God often find the true root of our issues years after we thought we knew the root. It’s a continual process. We practice New Covenant circumcision by laying down our long-term problems on the new moon. We thus remove the unclean roots in our lives, giving them to Jesus.

Jesus illustrates this principle when He says that if your hand is the problem, the root, then cut it off. He uses this image to show the importance of finding the root of a problem and cutting the root. We must focus on the dark places in our lives, asking Jesus to shine His light on those places. Otherwise that leaven or sin will grow and could eventually cause us to lose out on salvation.

Jesus spotted the root or main problem in the man in Matthew 19:16. Jesus told him that in order to have eternal life, he must keep the commandments, which he thought he had kept. But Jesus showed him that he'd broken the first commandment by putting the god of wealth before the true God. Proverbs tells us that curses don’t come without a cause, nor does a problem come without a root.

Jesus knows the root of all the problems of this world. That's why He must eliminate Satan the first thing He does when He returns. He sends him away, which is the meaning of the word azazel, the goat sent away in the desert with the sins of Israel on his head on the Day of Atonement. Satan is the source and root of every problem in this world and every problem in our lives. We need to find the specific root or specific demon causing our problems.

As we discover these dark roots or dark places in our lives, we need the light and love of God to shine on them and give us the grace to overcome them, for it is only the overcomers who will inherit the Kingdom of Love.

Atonement Fulfilled in Jesus           

We should stand in awe of the love of our Father as did the New Testament writers as they saw the Day of Atonement fulfilled before their eyes. They knew about the details of the ceremonies of this day as revealed in Talmud and other Jewish writings.

As the high priest laid his hands on the goat that represented Jesus on which he placed all the sins of the nation, he was struck with emotion and turned his head away from the goat, just as the Father had to turn His head away from Jesus on whom all the dark sin of the world was placed.

A bit later the high priest would lie down against the goat and press his body against his, as if to squeeze the sins of the nation into him. Gethsamene comes from the word for pressing, since it was a place of stamping the juice out of olives and apparently grapes. Jesus was greatly pressed, grieved, and pressured in the garden, even sweating blood. He took the traumas of the world upon him there.

Paul spoke of being pressed on every side. God allows Satan to put the pressure on us, especially before the feast days, so that we may learn to rely on Jesus who went through the “pressing” or pressure for us. God allows the pressure and trial to squeeze out of us the dark poisons Satan has put into us. We learn to release the pressure to Jesus and rest in His supernatural ability. Every feast involves some sort of release to Jesus of the dark places in our lives and the grace to make changes. He has already defeated Satan. We simply have to claim the victory by faith.

At the ninth hour or at 3 PM on that day, the priest would declare after killing the goat, “It is finished,” exactly the words Jesus spoke at the same time on the day of the crucifixion.

The high priest would then take the blood of the goat, swirling the blood around in a cone-shaped vessel so it would still be live blood. He would say, “Don't touch me. I have not presented the blood on the altar (of the Holy of Holies).” When Jesus arose, He also said, “Don't touch me, for I have not ascended to my Father.” He had not yet presented himself as the blood sacrifice at the altar of His Father in heaven. He did on the “morrow after the Sabbath” of His resurrection. Later He told Thomas to touch him and feel the wounds.

They would then attach a red cord to the temple door. When the goat disappeared, it would turn miraculously white, just as Isaiah 1:18 explains.

Everything Jesus did during those few days of His crucifixion and resurrection were prefigured exactly in the ceremony of the Day of Atonement. He has not yet fulfilled all the meaning of Atonement. He will soon finish what He started by ousted Satan when He returns so the glorious fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles can come to pass, a world of love, joy, and peace without Satan around to tempt, kill, steal, and destroy. And that kind of world can begin for us when we name our dark places and begin to allow Jesus to deal with them. We can start today.

It’s time we lived up to our name, Freedom Church of God. We are sowing a seed for our freedom today by fasting for others and for the removal of Satan from this world and from all of our lives. Name your pain today. Name your shame. Name your dark place and begin allowing Jesus to deal with it. We must face our Ninevehs. Grace is not the freedom to ignore and flee from our dark places. It is the power of Jesus in us to deal with and overcome our darkness. Only He can illumine our darkness, as we expose it to Him. Today we say, “Jesus, here is my darkness. I turn it over to You to deal with and defeat. Satan is defeated, and so is the darkness he has brought into my life. You are saying a loud “kippur” to me today: “The blood has been shed. It is finished. And the goat has left the temple and chased into the desert. Your sins are forgiven. I have given you My righteousness, My grace. Deal with that dark place today knowing your Father loves you, that you have My righteousness. Don’t fear to go into that dark place today. My grace is more than sufficient for you.”