Road Work

On Monday, 3/14/22, I did a quick opening of my Bible, and opened it to Luke chapter 3.  It is not a chapter of the Bible which I frequently read.  The passage, as found in the Modern King James Version translation reads as follows:

"Luke 3:1  And in the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the Trachonitus country, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene—
Luke 3:2  Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests— the Word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Luke 3:3  And he came into all the country around Jordan, proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,
Luke 3:4  as it is written in the book of the Words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.
Luke 3:5  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.
Luke 3:6  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

As you can see the first two verses specifically fix the year during which John the Baptist began his prophetic ministry in Israel.  That is probably significant, but I did not get any light concerning the timing of this event.

Then Luke proceeds to tell about John's activities, quoting from Isaiah chapter 40.  The message is "PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!"

The message then continues concerning how to make His paths straight:
1.  Every valley shall be filled;
2. Every mountain and hill shall be brought low;
3. The crooked place shall be made straight; and
3. The rough ways shall be made smooth.

This sounds pretty important to me!  This was the message which God sent to His people Israel just before Jesus began His ministry.

The question which arose in my heart and mind was "What do these facets of roadwork mean?  How do we accomplish them?"

Before I give you my speculations it is only right for me to suggest to you, dear reader, that you ask God to help you to understand these verses.  Give Him a chance to provide you with the best understanding which will be specifically tailored to equip you to do the will of God!!

The next day I again did a quick opening of my Bible, and I opened to the Gospel of John, chapter 1.  It also contains information about the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry!  I started to see a pattern!  Several days later I heard the song 'Days of Elijah' by Robin Mark, which contains the line, "We are the laborers in Your vineyard preparing the way of the Lord."  I had heard that line frequently before, but it really seemed to be highlighted to my attention now!

more later.  4/3/22

The thought came to my mind that this message of repentance and preparation of the way of the Lord is a message which probably ought to be delivered to Israel and the rest of the world in these days as well as two thousand years ago!

So I began to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit because Jesus said:

John 16:7-11  Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don't go away, the Counselor won't come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.   When he has come, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment;  about sin, because they don't believe in me;  about righteousness, because I am going to my Father, and you won't see me any more;  about judgment, because the prince of this world has been judged.

We need the conviction of the Holy Spirit to bring us to repentance for our sins so that we can come into tune with Father and His heart and His plans and purposes for every creature!

I should note here that real repentance comes out of brokenness and contrition mentioned by King David in Psalm 51:7

Psa 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

My understanding is that brokenness simply means that a person has come to the realization that 'I cannot do what is right on my own', and that contrition simply means that a person realizes that 'It is my fault that I cannot do what is right on my own - nobody else is to blame for my shortcomings'.

But the second part of John's message is about preparing the way of the Lord to remove the things that hinder Him from coming to rule and reign over the people who receive Him as Savior and Lord as Father desires His Kingdom to become established

This raises the question: What are the mountains and hills which need to be brought low, and what are the valleys which need to be filled?

I believe that Jesus identified the mountains and hills as the religious institution and the religious leaders over whom He wept when He said:

Mat_23:37  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not!

Luke_13:34  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused!

We must realize here that God's Plan A in the time of Moses was that all the people would come up to meet God on the mountain, but the people were afraid to meet God in spite of the fact that Moses had successfully met with God previously.  So God's Plan B was instituted whereby Moses would meet with God and then Moses would tell the people what God wanted them to know.  The Aaronic Priesthood was instituted, resulting in what we now commonly call the clergy-laity system of lecture hall religion.

When Jesus came He established the new priesthood called the Order of Melchizedek in which the only Rabbi is HIm, and we are all siblings, kings and priests!  A HUGE CHANGE!!

But that change has not been implemented primarily because Saul of Tarsus, Pharisee of Pharisees, was converted into Paul the Apostle, and the vast majority of Christians believe more in his writings than in the words of Jesus in spite of the clear evidence in Scripture that Paul was not always correct.  Yes, he had great revelation, but he also had shortcomings which put him out of sync with our Lord and Savior Jesus!

For example, Jesus said, "Mat 5:43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Mat 5:44  But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,
Mat 5:45  that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
Mat 5:46  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?
Mat 5:47  If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?
Mat 5:48  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Paul wrote:  Rom 7:24  What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God's law, but with the flesh, the sin's law.

Quite different!

Another example:  Jesus appeared to Paul in a trance and told Paul to get out of Jerusalem because 'they will not receive your testimony concerning me'.  How do we know this?  Because Paul came back to Jerusalem, and with the blessing of the church leaders Paul went to the temple to join in certain Jewish rituals to show the Jews that he was not anti-Jewish, but a riot resulted contrary to his and the church leaders' expectations and Paul ends up giving his testimony about Jesus to the Jews from the steps of the Roman barracks!

If Paul had obeyed the clear, unchanged instructions of the Lord, he would have not given his testimony to the Jews in Jerusalem, and he would have remained free to continue his apostleship to the gentiles.

My impression is that Paul's combination of bravado and failure to trust the Lord's appointment of Peter as apostle to the Jews resulted in another Plan B which fell short of God's Plan A for Paul and the New Testament body of Christ.

It seems to me that Paul was not purged of all of his Phariseeism, and the result was that there is a lot of Phariseeism in his writings which are out of sync with the words of Jesus.

The result is that church leaders seem to put a lot more emphasis on Paul's writings than on the words of the Lord Himself, and interpret his writings in ways which are out of sync with the words of Jesus Himself.

For example, so-called Pentecostal Christians are famous in teaching that the spiritual gift of tongues [languages] is the sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in spite of the fact that Jesus clearly said that His people would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them.  Acts 1:8.

The result of this divergence of teaching?  A lot of powerless people rattling on in languages which may or may not be from God.  I have witnessed both types of 'tongues' and, by the grace of God, was able to help a person to stop their made-up tongues and to receive a holy language from the Holy Spirit.  Details on request.

The remedy?  It seems to me that Jesus laid the foundation of how we believers are to interact with Him and with each other in Matthew 23:8-10:

Mat 23:8  But don’t you be called ‘Rabbi,’ for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers.
Mat 23:9  Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven.
Mat 23:10  Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ.
Mat 23:11  But he who is greatest among you will be your servant.
Mat 23:12  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Clearly those who have exalted themselves into positions of leadership are the hills which will be brought low.  And the institutions which promote and perpetuate the clergy-laity divisions are the mountains which will be brought low.  And the laity, the precious souls for whom Christ died and rose again as Savior and Lord, will be freed to serve the Lord as equal brothers and sisters in Him regardless of education or experience.  In the same way that the Jews who arrested Peter and John for healing a begger at the temple gate recognized that these Christians are not learned nor education  but that they had BEEN WITH JESUS, so we also who have been with Jesus will be equipped to do Father's will Father's way without interference from enemies within.

Come Lord Jesus with Your holy supernatural bulldozer and help us to prepare the way for You so that all flesh will see Your salvation!!!!

Come Lord Jesus and established Your Order of Melchizedek in which we who trust and obey you will reign with You as kings and priests!

Heb 13:20  Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus,
Heb 13:21  make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

P.S.:  I don't want anyone to think that I am against those persons who have been exercising leadership in churches.  I am not.  What I envision is that leaders will convert to becoming facilitators so that everyone can be a vessel through whom the Holy Spirit can move for the edification of the body rather than one person being 'the messenger' whom God has chosen for any particular group.  But there are many traditions of men, some of which are rooted in Scripture, which have become hindrances to the free moving of the Holy Spirit  in and thorugh God's people.  We learn from the first three chapters of Revelation that there were 'angels' or 'messengers' to whom Jesus addressed letters through the apostle John.  One of those messengers had a name that he was alive, but he was dead.  Another messenger proclaimed that he was rich and did not realize that he was not only poor, but also he was blind, naked, wretched and miserable!!!

The remedy?  Obey the command of Jesus, of course, to deny self, take up one's cross daily [die to self], and follow him to become his disciple.  Obey Jesus by taking His yoke upon us to receive the impartation of His meekness and lowliness of heart!

The anticipated result?  We believers will be able to receive the full counsel of God through whatever vessels He chooses to use day by day to equip us all with every good thing to do Father's will, with Father working in us and through us via our Lord Jesus all that He is pleased to do!

More later, Lord willing.