Weekly Devotionals by Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.
March 3, 2013 – From Glory to Glory, II Cor. 3:7-20
People use the word “glory” in all its different forms, i.e. glorious, glorying, etc. to indicate something praiseworthy or wonderful. When we see this word in the Bible, whether it is in the Hebrew (Kabad) or Greek (Doxa), we are seeing a word that is best reserved for the Creator of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders, Ex. 15:11.
Because this word speaks specifically about God, it is used concerning the nature of God in self-manifestation, i.e. what He essentially is and does, as exhibited in whatever way He reveals Himself in these respects, particularly in the Person of Messiah Jesus, John 13:31, 14:13, 17:4; II Pet. 4:11. It is in Jesus that God’s glory is primarily made known to us on a personal basis, John 17:5, 24; Heb. 1:3; as exhibited in the character and acts of the Messiah during His earthly ministry. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, John 1:14. The first miracle that the Messiah performed was at a marriage ceremony. When He performs the miracle of turning water into aged wine we read.
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him, John 2:11.
God’s glory (the manifestation of His glory in all its forms, i.e. God’s shekinah used in terms of His real presence in their places of worship, Ex. 29:44-46, Ex. 33:9-11, 40:34 and in the Theophany ofthe cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night (that is also identified as the Angel of the Lord, Ex. 14:19) in God’s Word, are numerous throughout God’s Word. God promised through the prophets of Israel to shine His light in the darkness.
God promised to manifest Himself to those in darkness.
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising, Isaiah 6-:1-3.
He accomplishes this through the incarnation, 7:14, 9:6; Luke 2:8-14 and in His glorious resurrection, Ps. 16:10; Is. 26:19; Ps. 22:22; Is. 53:11.
March 10, 2013 – In the Ministry of a Perfect Life
There can be no doubt that the Messiah stepped down from His throne in heaven, to enter our world for the purpose of giving His life as a ransom for a nation (and indeed the entire world) of sinful people.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief, I Tim. 1:15.
He came willingly, because God is love and His holiness demanded that the penalty for our sins had to be paid, John 3:16-18. He came to fulfill the Torah, the Mosaic Covenant on our behalf, Matt. 5:17-18. He became our Passover, Ex. 12. He is both the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, John 1:26, 36; Is. 53:7, and He is also our High Priest, making the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, Heb. 7-8.
Messiah was chosen as Israel’s Passover on the 10th of Nisan, 32 CE just as the Bible instructed them to do, Ex. 12:1-5, 21; Zech. 9:9; Mark 11:1-10. Yeshua became our scapegoat, taking the sins of His people upon Himself and being sent “out side the camp,” Lev. 16, just the way it was ultimately fulfilled in Messiah Yeshua, Ps. 22. Who was taken outside the walls of Jerusalem to Golgotha, Matt. 27:33; Heb. 13:12, accomplishing the “Great Exchange” and thereby giving us new life, II Cor. 5:17-21.
Messiah left His throne in glory for you and for me. As the old hymn said so well:
Out of the ivory palaces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.
March 17, 2013 – The Messiah returned to His heavenly throne-room with a promise to return
After His resurrection, Jesus made an appearance to the Apostles who were hiding from the authorities. When He appears in the upper room, He seals them with the Holy Spirit, John 20:19-23. After that He appeared to no less than 500 eyewitnesses, I Cor. 15:6-7. Over a period of 40 days post-resurrection, Messiah continued to minister, speaking specifically about the Kingdom of God, Acts 1:3.
We should remember that according to the prophetic Word of God, He has a plan for Israel that has not yet been completely fulfilled. All of the disciples, Matt. 24:3, and indeed all the spiritual leaders were extremely interested in the establishment of God’s righteous kingdom, Luke 17:20. This is a major theme of the Hebrew Scriptures, with numerous prophetic references to the righteous reign of the King-Messiah, who would establish the throne of David forever, Gen. 17:6, 35:11.
Once I have sworn by My holiness;I will not lie to David:His seed shall endure forever,and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon,even like the faithful witness in the sky,” Selah, Ps. 89:35-37.
Jesus never told His disciples that He would not fulfill God’s promise to His people concerning their future, He simply told them:
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” Acts 1:6-8.
An angel that was present at the ascension of Jesus told the disciples who witnessed it told them He would return the exact same way He had left, Acts 1:11. This reference to the Second Coming is clearly prophesied by Israel’s prophets.
Then the Lord will go forthand fight against those nations,as He fights in the day of battle.And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,which faces Jerusalem on the east.and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,from east to west,making a very large valley half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.Thus the Lord my God will comeand all the saints with You, Zech. 14:3-5.
March 24, 2013 – God’s sees everything from His eternal perspective
The Bible indicates that once we are born again, John 3:3, we have entered into the New Covenant, Jer. 31:31-37. While this covenant is made with the Jewish people, descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, those who place their faith in Israel’s Messiah can enter into the covenant because of their special relationship with the Testator of this covenant, Heb. 9:16-17; Gal. 3:15.
The method of growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord is clearly established in the Scriptures. God’s plan for His children is irrevocable and irreversible! He already sees His children at the Banquet Feast of the Lamb, already seated with Him, Eph. 2:6-7, because Messiah is in us, and we are in Him, John 17:20-21, bonded together for all eternity, from glory to glory!
But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord, II Cor. 3:7-18.
In this letter of the Apostle Paul, he reminds the believers in Corinth about the blindness that has temporarily come upon the majority of the children of Israel, e.g. the veil of Moses. If they come to faith in Messiah Jesus, the veil is removed. The last verse gives us insight into the way that the grace of God works in the lives of believers.
But we all, with unveiled face, when we become honest and take off our masks, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, we can then look into the mirror of the Word of God, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord, II Cor. 3:7-18, and God changes us from the inside out, by the power of His glorious grace.
March 31, 2013 – Being prepared to meet and exalt the King of Glory
Once we fully understand the Gospel, we will be prepared for the King of Glory to take up His rightful place in our lives. We are already His workmanship, a royal priesthood and a holy nation, I Pet. 2:9, created in Messiah Yeshua as His “good works in progress” and prepared to accomplish the good works of God that He has planned for us, Eph. 2:10.
King David wrote Psalm 24 about the King of Glory. Only God is referred to as the King of praise, adoration, and glory. Only those with pure hearts and clean hands can stand in His presence and be rightly called children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Rev. 19:16. He alone is the King of Glory!
The gospel of our King is a glorious message of good news. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob tells us the truth about who we are, i.e. sinners in need of the Savior, so we can see our need for redemption. This message is the power of God to transform sinners into sa ints. The gospel is so powerful that it radically changes people from the inside out, conforming them into the image and likeness of their Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus.
King David understood the grace of God. He experienced God’s chastening hand as God removed His Holy Spirit from David, Ps. 28 & 51. He longed for a restoration of fellowship with God. After he was confronted by the prophet Nathan concerning his adultery and murder, David repented and was restored. Unlike David and the Old Testament saints, we have the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit, with Whom we are sealed until the day of redemption, Eph. 1:13-14. We can certainly lift our voices and exalt as David did: