Two Realities Part 1

Which is more real, the natural physical realm or the spiritual realm? Is ‘nature’ and physical reality ‘real’ and the spiritual realm something ethereal? Do you think most people think about this very often? Do we as Christians live out of an understanding of these two realities? Does the term ex nihilo mean anything to you? It is a Latin term meaning ‘out of nothing.’ It is a term that has long been used to describe creation – the universe suddenly appearing out of nothing. In recent decades the most strongly held theory in science regarding the origin of the universe has been that the universe was created through a Big Bang (an explosion). What most don’t consider is;

  1. What was banged (bad grammar)
  2. Who banged it (more bad grammar?)

The Big Bang Theory is a good fit with scripture and it answers both those questions. When we look in various sections of scripture we get a glimpse into reality. Prior to the creation of the physical universe, which exploded out of the spiritual realm, what lay behind the curtain? We had millions and millions of angels, strange creatures orbiting a throne like electrons around the nucleus of an atom. We had a throne, a throne room, order, structure and hierarchy. Yes all of these things are laid out in scripture – go look at Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, Revelation, many of the Psalms and other places!

A confirmation of the greater reality of the spiritual realm is in Hebrews 1.

1  God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:1-3 (NKJV)

An interesting little phrase in this passage refers to Jesus “upholding all things by the word of His power.” Many translations say something like ‘the power of His word’ rather than the ‘word of His power.’ The latter is accurate as in the Greek tense it refers to a continual ongoing activity. Jesus is continually holding all of creation (the natural realm) together through the ongoing release of His power.

Further confirmation of the spiritual realm being the more real one is in the verses below.

40  And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain. Exodus 25:40 (NKJV)

5  who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Hebrews 8:5 (NKJV)

The heavenly was the pattern, the earthly was the copy.

This leads to the ‘so what’ question? The answer is that we are called to live in two realities. While two physical objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time a spiritual object can intersect physical objects and occupy the same space.

11  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NKJV)

As we become more attuned to the spiritual realm, the pattern, and learn to operate from that pattern we are more effective in the natural realm. When we do this we are walking out our calling to release the atmosphere of heaven into earth, ‘on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). Let’s become more heavenly minded so we can become of greater earthly good.

The Glorious Man Part 3

So why did Jesus become a man? It was necessary as only a sinless man could redeem what was fallen. Our Father could not simply ignore our sin. While He is by nature love, He cannot violate justice, which is also an aspect of His love. Prior to Jesus sacrifice on the cross sins were set aside but not paid for. Had Jesus never done what He did there would have been a point when people would have had to suffer the Father’s wrath for their sins.

I said I would give some attention to the passage below.

41  There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44  It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

This is our ultimate destiny. Our natural body will be transformed into a spiritual body at our resurrection, or at out translation if we are alive when Jesus returns. I believe the idea of the different glory carried by different celestial bodies is reflective of the fact that we will carry different degrees of Jesus glory in eternity based on how we have been conformed to His image in this life (Gal. 4:19). While we wait for this consummation we can sow into our future by how learn here to function in our present state, the here and now. The section below is something I wrote in recent years in my commentary on Ephesians.

If we reflect on the original creation of humanity, Adam and Eve were designed to live in two worlds and to bring the dominion present in the spiritual realm over into the natural realm. We all know that they failed, yet Jesus came as the consummate man, “the last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45) to restore what was lost. Jesus was a man able to function in two realms, not because He possessed divinity (Jesus was fully God and fully man), rather because He functioned as the first Adam was originally designed to function. Jesus was simultaneously in heaven, the spiritual realm, and on earth. As Jesus Himself said, “12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” (Emphasis mine John 3:12-13 NKJV.) Jesus declared to Nicodemus that while He was standing there speaking with Nicodemus He was also simultaneously functioning in and from heaven toward earth.

Clearly Jesus physical body was not in heaven, yet His spirit was. We need to understand that while two physical objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time, something one or both drivers in every collision fail to grasp, the spiritual realm can intersect and exist both within and beyond the physical.

Jesus functioned out of wholeness in His spirit and soul and body. We need to learn to do the same.

Jesus did what Adam failed to do – He lived as He was designed and functioned simultaneously in two realms. Jesus came to demonstrate what was possible and calls us to look to this standard. What He has called us to do is to develop the habit of listening to His spirit within us in all of our day to day activities. This requires developing the habit of internal quiet in the midst of a noisy external culture. It is often not easy but it is possible. Part of us is seated with Jesus in heavenly places. When we give more attention to that realm (Col. 3:1-4) we are more effective in this realm and better representatives of His glory and better prepared for our eternal destiny.

The Glorious Man Part 2

I began by looking at Jesus conception as a Man. What about His glorification? Paul said the following.

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5

Strange as it may seem the one who bridged the gap between God and humanity was a man! I in no way want to diminish Jesus deity. He is the creator of all that is! At the same time we need to look at what scripture teaches about the significance of His humanity in relation to our lives and why Paul focuses on there being a man as the Mediator in heaven.

20  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (NKJV)

41  There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44  It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45  And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47  The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48  As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49  And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 1 Corinthians 15:41-49 (NKJV)

If we reflect on the passages above it becomes clear that everything in creation is about two men, the first man Adam, and the last Adam – Jesus. In the end our eternal destiny is determined by the image we bear. Which Adam are we found in? We are in the first Adam by our natural birth, we can be found in Jesus, the second Adam, by the surrender of our hearts to Him. Back around 1990 I was speaking in a church a said there was only one person getting into heaven Jesus. It created a bit of a stir but is true. While millions will get there He is the only one worthy and we get in by being IN Him and carrying His righteousness. The idea of being IN Christ is a core message in the book of Ephesians.

I invite you to reflect on the significance of being in Him and bearing His image and in my next post I will give some attention to verses 41-44 and there significance for our eternal destiny.

The Glorious Man Part 1

Who is Jesus? I am sure we can all provide answers about Him being fully God and fully man and answers about His virgin birth, role in the Trinity and other aspects. Yet what does that mean? What took place when He stepped from eternity into time and entered and settled into the wall of Mary’s womb? What effect did this have on the Godhead? While He never lost His deity, He set aside the use of it for over three decades. I invite you to meditate on the passage below.   

26  Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28  And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’

29  But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30  Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’

34  Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’  35  And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

The Holy Spirit in some way settled upon Mary’s life and an egg in her womb was fertilized and the divine settled into human flesh and began to grow. It is easy to miss this when we celebrate Jesus birth every Christmas season (though He was likely actually born in the fall, not December). Post creation, this was the most significant event to impact humanity outside Jesus death and resurrection. Yet neither would have taken place without this incredible act of humility, favour and grace. In the coming weeks I will delve deeper into the significance of this Glorious Man who still is fully God and fully man and trust we shall learn some things together. For now let us stand in awe at what took place 2,000 years ago.


Fire in His Eyes

What do you need to build a house? Where do you start? The building of a structure first requires the laying of a foundation. When it comes to spiritual houses we get the best foundation possible, Jesus (1 Cor. 3:9-11). However, what we take from time into eternity depends on what building material we use on this foundation. How we build is tied to how we invest our time.

A couple of decades ago now Andy Park wrote a song called ‘We Will Ride,’ calling us to join Jesus in His purposes in the earth. The lyrics are at the end of this post. The question for us to consider and hold before Him as we read, is this, ‘Are we riding with Him?’ How much of our time is being directed by Him will tell us how well we are riding.

A good friend stepped from time into eternity on December 10, 2016. She used to say, “If God doesn’t have your wallet He doesn’t have your heart.” I believe that is true yet let me share another idea. There have been efforts made over the years to create a perpetual motion machine. While I think it has been unsuccessful in the realm of engineering and physics it has been very successful in terms of busyness in western culture. The majority of us are always moving about and striving. Rarely taking time to just sit with Him. Perhaps a fulfillment of what Daniel prophetically declared?

4  “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4 (NKJV)

I have said many times over the years that we live in a culture gorged on knowledge and starving for wisdom. So, in this hour I think a concept to add to the wallet one is, “If God doesn’t have your calendar He doesn’t have your heart.”

A good scriptural example of a people who embraced their agenda instead of Jesus agenda were the believers in Corinth. Corinth was a very cosmopolitan city of about 700,000 people famous for its vices. A reading of 1 Corinthians will reveal a group of believers who focused on their agendas, were selfish, and excelled in spiritual gifts. Out of concern for them and seeking to correct their focus Paul warned them about the lives they were building and how it affected their eternal destiny.

11  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (NKJV)

The reality is that our agendas, like the Corinthians, are producing wood, hay and straw or gold, silver and precious stones. Paul says that a fire will reveal what building material we have used, what we have invested our lives in. The source of the fire coming to test our lives is revealed in scripture.

11  Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19:11-15 (NKJV)

Jesus will examine our lives and the fire of His gaze will consume all the wood hay and straw so that the gold, silver and precious stones will be revealed. We all have some wood, hay and straw but none of us want to step from time into eternity and discover we have built almost nothing on the foundation He provided. So, how are we responding to His call to ride with Him and take up His agenda? Are we building with precious things in how we use our time?

We Will Ride 

He has fire in His eyes and a sword in His hand

And He’s riding a white horse across this land

He has fire in His eyes and a sword in His hand

And He’s riding a white horse across this land

And He’s calling out to you and me

“Will you ride with me?”

He has fire in His eyes and a sword in His hand

And He’s riding a white horse across this land

And He’s calling out to you and me

“Will you ride with me?”

We say, “yes, yes Lord, we will ride with You”


We say, “yes Lord, we will ride with You

We will stand up and fight

We will ride with the armies of heaven

We’ll be dressed in white, we’ll be dressed in white”

We say, “yes, yes Lord, we will ride”

He has a crown on His head and he carries a scepter in His hand He’s leading the armies across this land

And He’s calling out to you and me

“Will you ride with me?”

We say, “yes, yes Lord

We will ride with You”

That fire in His eyes is His love for His bride

And He’s longing that she be with Him

Right by His side

That fire in His eyes is His burning desire

That His bride be with Him, right by His side

And He’s calling out to us right now,

“Will you ride with me?”

Yes Lord, yes Lord, yes Lord, yes Lord