The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Birth of Anastasis

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 
Jeremiah‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬

'In the Beginning', the world was in chaos & disorder! The Creation did not acknowledge the Covenant that the Creator had instituted & was not aware of the relationship She had with Him. When the Creator overshadowed His Creation, He began to prepare for His arrival & the consummation of all things! The Creation He renamed Israel, for She would one day rule with Him!

Israel was formed for a Purpose; She was to be a 'prophet to the nations', to spread the Good News of the Good Creator & His Great Love for His Creation! Ultimately, 'in the fulness of time', the Creator revealed Himself, in His Fulness, to His Creation, for Israel had forgotten Her First Love & begun to commit adultery with those who were not Her Creator! The knowledge of the Creator had begun to overshadow the entire Creation as the waters cover the sea, even though Israel herself had fallen into idolatry & ultimately, into the Grave, or Exile!

Though Israel, as a 'a nation of priests', had passed over into the realm of the dead through Her unfaithfulness, because of His great Mercy & Grace, the Creator Himself, as He had Purposed from the beginning, Instituted a Marriage with His Creation! Although not unforeseen, Israel had fallen & so must rise again before She could be married to Her Creator! How was this Resurrection to occur? In the short ( relatively speaking ) but sordid History of Israel, there were many examples, some clearer than others, of this phenomenon, but She, regardless of these, had missed the Spiritual Nature of the Promise ( Ezekiel 37 ) & insisted on physical signs!

Jesus embodied the Resurrection of Israel! He was the Creator, in biology & in full Revelation to His Creation! Israel had died the Death of Adam & suffered a sort of estrangement from Blessed Relation with Her Creator, so the Creator Himself took upon Himself the form of His own Creation, both to bring about the necessary Resurrection & to reveal Himself fully & finally to His Creation!

Resurrection equals New Creation! As a New Creation, dead to sin & alive to Her Creator, Israel was now fully equipped to fulfill her mission! Because of the Institution of the Marriage ( Union ) of Creator & Creation, She was no longer prone to the idolatry She was used to practicing! The Creator had consummated His Relationship with His Creation! Now Israel was free to continue Her mission, that of spreading the Good News of the Good Creator & His Great Love for His Creation!

Though the Creator now lives within His Creation, for many different reasons, chaos & disorder still seems to exist in His Creation! One of the reasons for this is that many of His Creation yet refuse to acknowledge the Creator; much less do those same obey His Covenant!

The Institution of Marriage through Covenant was given by the Creator to His Creation! Israel was created to fulfill that Plan & though the Marriage of Heaven & Earth has occurred, it has, in the greatest sense, only begun! Like the promised ( Daniel 2 ) Kingdom, the Marriage is a relatively new one, less than 2,000 years into Eternity!

We've only just begun!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Foolishness of the Gospel

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, 
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Where  [ is ]the wise? Where [ is ] the scribe? Where [ is ] the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
I Corinthians 1:18-25

To many in Jesus' day, He must have seemed like just another false Messiah; He died just like the rest of them! Even though He had come with a Gospel ( Good News ) of the Promised Kingdom & was well-accepted at first, because he stirred up trouble among the religious leaders & brought division, Jesus died just like the Man they had known He was from the start! His disciples were spreading some ridiculous story about Him rising from the dead, but who in their right mind believed such nonsense?!

The Pharisees, influenced by both Hellenistic thinking & Greek philosophy, in the wisdom of man sought after a sign of Jesus' Power & Authority ( Matthew 12:38-40 ). The whole history of Israel, from Moses on, up to the time of the Messiah had been one of signs; these sign pointed to the time of Messiah & because they would not believe He was their Messiah, they wanted Him to prove His Messiah Status. Jesus told them that the only sign they would receive was one from their history, the 'sign of Jonah' ( Jonah 1:10-2:10 ), one with which they should have been very familiar! 

The Greeks of course, with their vaunted Philosophy, sought after the wisdom of man! They thought, not unlike the Jews, that wisdom could be achieved through the study of natural law & thought process. The apostle Paul noted this in his discourse to the people ( 'men' ) of Athens ( Acts 17:16-34 ). Although they sought the Wisdom From Above, much like the Jews with whom they were set, they thought that in their own resources, they could find that Wisdom, not acknowledging that such ( Wisdom ) comes only from Above!

When Jesus came as the Messiah of Israel, He proved that He was the Wisdom From Above! In his Psalm of Praise ( 136:5 ), David proclaimed that it was through, or by His Wisdom, that God had 'made the heavens'. Echoing his father's proclamation, Solomon personified Wisdom, saying 'The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens' ( Proverbs 3:19 ). The Proverbs, especially, are full of the Wisdom of Solomon, reputedly the wisest man who ever lived!

The apostle Paul preached a crucified Messiah, which was a foolish notion to both Jew & Gentile ( Greek? )! Since the Greeks, in their earthly wisdom, did not believe in the Resurrection (Mark 12:18, Luke 20:27 ), to them, Jesus was just another dead ( false ) Messiah! To the Jews, who believed that their Messiah would lead them on an Exodus ( like Moses did ) out of physical oppression & tyranny, Jesus had failed because He died just like any other false Messiah who made promises but couldn't deliver when the chips were down! 

The apostle Paul understood & taught that this was a Spiritual Exodus, one that freed God's people from the bondage & tyranny of Sin & Death, the sin & death of Adam ( Romans 5:12, 8:2, I Corinthians 15:56 ). That Jesus had physically risen from the grave ( resurrection ) would have had no effect on this Good News for either Jew or Greek, because to the one, who didn't believe in the Resurrection, anyway. it was simple foolishness to preach that a man had risen from the dead, while to the other who didn't believe that Jesus, a Man, could be the Messiah, they wanted a miraculous sign to prove that He was the Messiah! Even though Jesus had performed many miraculous signs throughout His ministry, the hearts of the majority of Jews were hardened & their understanding was darkened!

As a result, through His Resurrection ( Romans 1:4 ) Jesus proved the Power of God, showing that He fulfilled 'all things written' ( Luke 21:22, 24:44 )! Jesus also showed that He was the Wisdom of God, claiming that He was 'in the beginning' with God ( John 1:1-3 ( John 17:5 ). He was the Wisdom through which God had 'founded the earth' & 'established the heavens'. It was through Him, the Covenant ( Isaiah 42:6, 49:8 ( Deuteronomy 8:18 ) which God established with His People ( Psalm 2 ) that the Power & Wisdom of the Gospel was revealed! Through this Power & Wisdom, Jesus led His People in a Spiritual Exodus, out of the Land of Bondage ( to Sin & Death ), into a Land of Life & Freedom!

Charles Haddon Shank

Mixed Metaphors; Child Brides

The latest historical studies are showing that Mary, who mothered our Lord, was most likely 12 or 13 years old when she married Joseph. Although the practice of men, sometimes much older men taking brides of this age still goes on in many Middle-Eastern nations, as well as certain others, it is most certainly not acceptable in our Western Culture!

Of late, there has been a discussion going on between certain Christians & within certain groups of Christians as to whether we, as 21st Christians, or really post first-century Christians, are the Bride of Christ, the Church, or whether we are simply the Offspring of the Marriage of Heaven & Earth! Are we the Bride of Christ or simply Children of God? It is true that Jesus calls us 'brethren' ( though, in reality, it was those first-century Christians ), but was He simply saying that we are His spiritual brethren or that we are actually His brothers & sisters?

One problem that some have revealed with the claim that we are the Bride of Christ is that He has called us brethren, saying that those who follow Him are His 'brother, and sister and mother'. If indeed we, in the 21st century, are the Bride of Christ, then how are we His 'brother, and sister and mother'? This mixing of metaphors can be rather confusing when one thinks too much about it! Did the Son of God marry His sister, brother & mother? No, of course not & yes, He has made us all, as one Church, one Body, His Bride!

Another objection to the notion that we are the Bride of Christ is that, according to some, only that first-century Church was the Bride of Christ! After the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, a concept I am totally comfortable with, the claim is that we are 'simply' the offspring of that Marriage & thus not the Bride! However, if we are not the Bride, is it correct to call ourselves the Church, or even the Body of Christ? Who are we, if not the Church?! What are we, if not His Body?!

To say that we are both the Children of God, or the Offspring of the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, as well as the Church, the Bride of Christ does seem a bit confusing until one realizes that we are speaking of spiritual matters here, not biology! I have written somewhat explicitly in the past on this subject, implying that our Heavenly Father is a sexual Being! Really, when you think of His Spirit overshadowing the Virgin Mary & impregnating her with the Christ, what else are we to think?

With our innate focus on the physical, it is easy to see how we might confuse these metaphors to be intimating that we cannot be both the Bride of Christ & the Children of God! Some might see fit rather to explain that, as Jesus was/is the Son of God, when the Church was married to Him as the Bride of Christ, they ( we ) became the Children ( Sons ) of God through that Union! One could get into some pretty hot water here! Are we Sons of God because our Mother, the Church was married to Our Heavenly Father & Jesus was/is our brother, or are we Sons ( Children ) of God because we have been united in Holy Matrimony ( Covenant ) with Him?

In the past several years, certainly no more than a decade or so, the practice of solemnizing marriage by covenant rather than by state license has gained ascendency among many Christians! We realize, by this practice, that not only does the state NOT have jurisdiction in this area, but that it is covenant, not license that makes this Blessed Union of Souls! As the apostle wrote, our human ( individual ) marriages are simply a picture of the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, or Christ & His Bride! Physically speaking, the union of man & wife represents the Spiritual Union of Creator & Creation!

It is by no means wrong to say that we are the Offspring ( Children ) of that Blessed Union! It is also very correct to say that we are the Bride of Christ, the Church! As the People of God, we are the same Body as those first-century Jews & Gentiles who made Covenant with the Son of David as surely as David covenanted with Jonathan! Although centuries & millennia apart in Time, in Eternity, we are still the same Church that was formed from the side of Jesus!

As the Bride of Christ & His Body the Church, we are in Spiritual Union with our Heavenly Father! This is not a sexual Union, as that between a man & wife, thus, it produces no offspring, at least, not in the way that we normally are used to thinking. This Union expands the borders of the Kingdom of God through Spiritual Generation! The product of this Spiritual Generation is simply incorporated into the Body of Christ through means of Covenant, thus becoming part of the Church!

Even in today's day & age, it is not unusual for a man to introduce his wife as 'my bride', although they have been married quite a few years! Although some time has passed, he honors the covenant he made with his bride those many long years ago! Our Heavenly Father, even more so, though He consummated the Union with His Bride a couple thousand years ago ( though what is time, to Him ) still gazes upon His Bride with wonder & adoration!

Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sacrificial Living in an Age of a Selfishness

As we approach the end of the Month of Sacrifice ( February-Februation ), you may find it interesting that what may be the most romantic & romanticized holiday, Valentine's Day comes right ( exactly ) in the middle of the month! This may seem like a mere coincidence, because traditional history tells us that St. Valentine, a Roman Catholic priest who kindly officiated over weddings against imperial orders, was executed in a three-fold manner on the 14th of February, 269AD. The question might be asked here, 'was he summarily executed in the middle of this certain month because of the purifying manner of his death, or did mere chance decide that he would die on this certain day, in this certain way?

How many Christians, not to mention unbelievers, out there do you believe would be willing to lay down their lives, not just for their friends, but much more, simply for the sake of doing right? To lay one's life down for one's friends, Jesus said ( John 15:13 ), is the greatest example of Love that a person can show; it is the supreme sacrifice! Whether one practices it in actuality, literally dying in the stead of another, or metaphorically, unselfishly giving preference to another, or deferring to someone else, giving them the choice rather than choosing for one's own selfish ends.

In this day & age, notwithstanding the natural selfishness of most human beings, individuals are taught, pretty much from day one, to cultivate that natural tendency! No more is Sacrificial Living taught, especially not the sort that Jesus exemplified. The tendency to do what's best for oneself is not only exemplified in our society, it's encouraged!

To a certain extent, it is true that one must take priority over others, because if one doesn't take care of oneself, how can one care for others? However, there is the Scriptural principal of bearing one another's burdens! When we take care of others in deference, there is no guarantee that this care will be returned, but if we treat others as we would have them treat us, we have  followed the commands of Christ, our Heavenly Father's House Rules! In most, not necessarily all cases, we will be blessed with reciprocity, and of course, in all ways enjoy Blessed Communion with our Heavenly Father!

Sacrificial Living, in the greatest sense then, could simply be a substitutional term for Kingdom Living! When Christians take seriously the words of the Christ, 'seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all these things will be added to you', then we may witness more growth then the Kingdom of God has seen since the First Century! As we, the Body of Christ, minister daily in this Society of Selfishness, we may, through our Sacrificial & Kingdom Living, so influence the world we live in that it will be a shining example of the Kingdom for others to seek after!

One thing, however, that we must understand, is that the selfishness of our society is so intrenched that we, as individual Christians may not see much, if any, lasting change in our world! Individualism has for so long had such an influence on virtually every aspect of society that it will be an arduous struggle to reeducate a selfish population to seek, not his own, but each others good ( well-being-I Corinthians 10:24 )!

Kingdom Living then, is Sacrificial Living of the sort that Americans, even American Christians, are not used to seeing! The Kingdom Life is not just Life lived to the fullest, it is not just pledging allegiance to no kingdom except that of our Heavenly Father; it is, as the apostle wrote, 'present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [ which is ] your reasonable service' ( Romans 12 ), it is living sacrificiallly before & for the world, for the Kingdom of God!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, February 20, 2015

The American Ouroboros

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

 Is it ever right to do wrong, even if it's so that wrong may be righted? Do the ends justify the means? Most Americans, to whatever extent, would very like answer these questions with a resounding 'YES'! Though most of the wars & police actions that the U.S. Inc., at the behest of the American Empire, has embroiled her citizens in, to be honest, have been retaliatory actions! The question should be asked, though, 'retaliation to what?' What provoked the action or reaction that we're retaliating to? ( not that this author is a citizen or employee of the Corporation known as the United States of America )

Okay, so Islamic terrorists hijacked several large airliners ( planes ) & directed them straight into several strategic targets, claiming the lives of at least 3,ooo innocent people ( ? )! At last count, ISIS, or The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the cold-blooded murder of a number of innocent civilians ( ? ), some by severing their heads from their bodies & at least one other by incinerating alive! These are terrible, dastardly & reprehensible acts, but were they unprovoked? History will show that they were not!

If memory serves, September 11th is a date, to the Muslim, that will live in infamy! Reading THIS STORY, one may ascertain that many years ago, the Islamic Turks suffered a crushing defeat at the gates of Vienna at the hands of Europe's finest. 'Okay', you may say, 'why not attack the United Kingdom?' Why NOT attack that certain part of Europe where they suffered their greatest defeat? Why not carry out their act of terrorism on British soil?

Well, first of all, in the greatest sense, they DID attack on British soil, or at least a British Institution! Many Americans, although probably familiar with the fact that the World Trade Center with its Twin Towers, was one of the greatest symbols of Economic Strength in America, but probably much fewer are aware that our monetary system is a primarily British, albeit private, Enterprise! The terrorists knew exactly what they were doing, by attacking one of the greatest symbols of European Strength in America! Why America? We'll get to that next!

America, as history will show, is rank with violence, especially when it comes to Foreign Policy! In its relatively short, but vaunted history, the American Empire ( really, just an arm of the British ) has paralleled, and even surpassed any empire before it, including the Roman, in its History of Violence! This is not necessarily to say that the Corporation known as the United States, being more civilized, has gone to the same extremes ( ? ), but probably at least as much violence, if not more, has been done in the Name of the Empire, if not in the Name of God!

Needless to say, we have many enemies as a result of this History of Violence! As evidenced by the events of September 11th, 2001  before that, Pearl Harbor, America is not well-loved in the Table of Nations! Sure, most of those we have conquered are our allies now ( if unfriendly ones ), but there are probably not many nations out there, as a whole, that would  stand by our side if it didn't suit their own purpose well!

The American Empire, as a whole & from their inception,, has not practiced the words of Jesus that we read earlier! Or maybe they have; maybe the reason that such violence is done to us is because we do violence to the rest of the world, in particular the Middle East! This is not to say that retaliatory violence is necessarily wrong, or even that we would be left alone if we kept our hands to ourselves, minding our own business! It is very likely that even had the American Empire never been formed, even if we had kept our noses clean, especially when it came to Foreign Policy, the U.S. Inc. would still suffer wrongs at the hands of their enemies! 

By following after the ancient practice of empire-building & by disregarding the words of the True Emperor, America has become what certain of her Founding Fathers feared! She has corrupted herself from within & now, because of that corruption, is reaping what she has sown. She has becom the mythical & fabled serpent, slowly devouring herself!

Charles Haddon Shank

The Truth of Everything;T.O.E.

You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel 2: 34 & 35 

Would you rather know the Truth, or simply have a Theory? In the world of particle physics & such lofty pursuits as string theory, there seems to be a lot of, well, theory, floating around out there! Many scientist, especially those who are to damn smart for their own PhD, seem to be full of theories! Because they believe that truth is relative, they have no way to gauge it ( it doesn't register ), so therefore, all they can do is theorize about the foundation of the Universe & hope to come up with a TOE ( Theory of Everything ) before their own gets stubbed!

The Universe is very obviously the product of Intelligent Design; Chance could never be this beautiful! Many people prefer to call this Intelligence 'Life', as the mathematician in the first Jurassic Park movie, 'Life finds a way' & while that may be a fair representation of things, it does not explain where Life got its beginnings, or genesis! The one-celled organism that crawled out of the primordial ooze & evolved into the complicated biology that we know so little about just doesn't cut it!

Evolution, or more correctly, adaption, is a scientifically provable fact, as far as we understand it, but in order to evolve or adapt, there must be a beginning! Something usually doesn't come from nothing! Infinity, on the other hand, allows for the Eternal Existence of....................Something! If Life always existed, with no beginning or end, then the theories that scientists like to elaborate on might find some basis; maybe there was some preexistent matter floating around out there in some preexistent space/time vacuum that collided with another bit of preexistent matter at speeds approaching that of preexistent Light & Big Bang Theory, there was a beginning!

Over millions & billions of years, individual planets were formed & became habitable, plants grew & succored Life, Biology climbed out of the aforementioned primordial ooze& evolved into all the wonderful creatures that we enjoy today! Whether or not this is a verifiably factual scenario, it had to start somewhere! Even given that the Universe is Infinite, Chance could never engineer the wonders that we witness every day!

The Simple Truth is, there IS a Creator; One so far beyond anything the intelligence of man can contrive that it is laughably wondrous! Scientists & people of all ages have tried to mimic what only the Creator of the Universe could do & have failed miserably! We HAVE adopted the ability to more or less successfully clone biology, though not human to my knowledge, but that is only a crass mimicry of what is already existent! Mankind will never be able, like their Creator, actually create, as out of nothing; we can only procreate, in essence, work with preexistent materials!

Since we know the Truth, we have no use for a Theory Of Everything! Although we have an Eternity before us & will never get to the point where we understand fully, much less comprehend this wondrous Creation, there is Assurance that what Exists IS Created & that it was Created & IS upheld in all its mysterious wonder by an Intelligent Designer!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Spirit of Noah

Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son.  
And he called his name Noah, saying, 
“This [ one ] will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, 
because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.
Genesis 5:28 & 29

There has been much discussion, in recent times, about whether, or how much historical characters & events in the Scriptures were used to represent a greater spiritual reality, in this case, our Heavenly Father Himself! If, for instance, Adam was not representative of all mankind, but was rather a type of the 'last Adam' ( I Corinthians 15:45 ) that the apostle Paul speaks of, much of the vain speculation regarding Adam's being created with the appearance of age could be laid to rest! Concerning Noah, he who would be a comforter to his people concerning the curse of the Land, if he was a picture of the Holy Spirit who brought Comfort to His people during their tribulation, this could explain why he is noted by the apostle Peter as one of 'eight souls.............saved through water' ( I Peter 3:18 ).

We know that, 'in the beginning', 'the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters' & in comparing the ministry of Noah to the Work of the Holy Spirit, we do not say that the Creation Account here was just a reiteration of the Flood Story ( although this could be argued )! Rather, by comparing these two cataclysmic events, we simply note the blatant similarities between the two accounts. 

First, note, in the Creation Account; 'The earth was without form, and void; and darkness [ was ]on the face of the deep'. Second, in the beginning of the Flood Story, 'Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and [ that ] every intent of the thoughts of his heart [ was ] only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.' ( Genesis 6:5-7 ) Reading in context the prophetic narrative set down in the first two chapters of Genesis, we recognize the results of the curse; a complete & utter reversal of the Creation!

Just like the Comforter ( John 8 & 14 ) was sent to succor the early Church in the midst of their Great Tribulation, so Noah was born into the midst of a lawless & wicked generation ( you could insert 'without form, and void' here ) to comfort the sons of God & provide means for their salvation from the coming destruction! As one of eight people saved through his ministry, through the Ark which prepresented the Christ, we can see that this Man of God also prefigured the Eighth Day!

The Study of Protology has only just recently come to the forefront ( coming closely on the heels of Eschatology ) of Covenant Theology! One reason for this is to try to maintain a more consistent view of Covenant History as regards the Story of Israel. Great strides have been made in the past decade or so in coming up with a reasonable view of Covenant Eschatology & now it is high time for the spotlight to be thrown on Covenant Protology!

In the coming days, the Study of ( Covenant ) Beginnings will doubtless continue to become the headliner in the debate over Covenant Theology! As we hash out the arguments, though, let us ever be careful not to embroil ourselves in vain speculations & useless ( even harmful ) debate! From Genesis-Revelation, the Story is about the Son of God, from Israel to the Christ to the New Israel, the New Creation of which the apostle Paul wrote!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, February 16, 2015

Priests & Pastors; Guardians of Orthodoxy

Truth is absolute; we have determined this through both our study of Scripture & our study of God, through bibliology & theology! Because we know that truth is absolute, however, we seem to be more concerned with our assertions & propositions about what that Truth is, than with the Truth Itself! Many Christians, in the past centuries especially, have been so concerned with preserving this orthodoxy, that they have almost completely defaced that most important of our Fathers commands, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  And [ the ] second [ is ] like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.''. No longer was the focus on making this world a better place; now the greatest concern of Christianity was going to heaven when you die, so that we could enjoy Him forever!

Put simply, orthodoxy is 'right thinking'! Sounds good, right? We should all be thinking rightly, right? Nothing wrong with that, as far as that goes, but is right thinking a guarantee of right practice? And who determines this right thinking, much more what right practice is? Does not our Heavenly Father spell out in the Revelation of His Word what right thinking & right practice are? Right practice really enjoys, when you think about it, much more of a focal point in the ministry of Jesus, continuing throughout the apostolic ministry!

The apostle Paul wrote the the Church in Colosse, 'As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him' ( Colossians 2:6 ) Paul's instructions to the Church were never, 'believe this, so you can go to heaven when you die', but 'because of this, that'; 'because of what Jesus did, this is how you should then live'! His emphasis was not so much on believing the Truth as it was living it!

Jesus Himself, in His short ministry, emphasized, in His Sermon on the Mount ( Matthew 5-7 ), for instance, that it was their actions, their practice, that determined their inheritance & whether or not they would enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, He told His disciples, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him' ( John 14:23 ) Jesus taught the importance of, not believing, or asserting that 'thus & thus' was true, but in acting upon those beliefs, for 'even the demons believe—and tremble!' ( James 2:19 )

For centuries, what is orthodox has been determined by what may be called 'doctrines of men'; these are propositions, based upon the truth that is found in Scripture, but needlessly complicated by the further assertions of mere men & women, assertions that are based upon their individual interpretation of the Truth of Scripture. Here, some would no doubt object, saying that, 'no, the creeds we not based upon any individual interpretation, but upon that of the majority of right thinking individuals'! Well, as history has shown, the majority is not always right!

The Roman Catholic priests, from the 'Dark Ages' ( anywhere from 500-1,000 years prior to the Reformation ) & continuing on into the present day, are proof that orthodoxy is not sufficient to guarantee orthopraxy, or right action! Even the pastors of our own day, from the most liberal evangelical to the staunchest, most seemingly steadfast Reformed, have proven that even if one has his or her doctrinal 'ducks in a row', the worst kinds of evil can still flow from their bodies when the spirit moves!

No more is our mantra that of Jesus; 'Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them' ( Matthew 7:12 ), or even 'love your enemies' ( Matthew 5:44 ). The mantra of the modern Church seems to be, not just 'keep the church pure', but 'hunker in the bunker; ' 'let's just keep our nose clean till Jesus comes back' & 'stay out of those dirty politics'! We, as the Body of Christ, seem to have forgotten that our own Shepherd, our own Leader, taught His disciples to pray that His Kingdom would come 'on earth as it is in heaven'! Yes, that Kingdom has come, it is fully here ( 'God is the Ruler yet' ), but in many or most areas, it has yet to be fully implemented, or put into practice & it is through us, through our practice, not our doctrine, as the Body of Christ, that it will be implemented!

May we realize that though all was fulfilled in the Person & Ministry of Jesus, it is continually fulfilled ( filled up ) through us, His Body! Is doctrine important? You bet it is, but as 'faith without works is dead' ( James 1:28 ), so doctrine without practice is useless! Even worse; it is a detriment to The Kingdom of Heaven!

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Doxis & Praxis

To the extent that one does what one believes, it is important what one believes, but for the most part, it's what you do, not what you say! If one lives religiously, then it is important to the safety of others that one believes what is right; for instance, if one believes that all who do not share the same belief ( infidel ) should die, then that one should probably re-examine his or her beliefs! If, however, one who claims that doctrine, but does not practice that aspect of his or her belief, but acts according to what the apostle James calls True Religion ( James 1:27 ), then does it really matter what that one says he or she believes?

Doctrine, then, is important, but unless that doctrine is practiced, like the apostle also said, it is dead, useless ( James 2:14-26 )! On the other hand, one cannot practice what one does not know, so if one does not hold to correct doctrine, then it will be hard to condemn that one for acting wrongly, right? However, since God's Law is now written on the hearts of His People, even if one does not necessarily hold correct doctrine, he or she will, 9 times out of 10, act on what they know to be right, which is 'to visit orphans and widows in their trouble'!

In many of today's Congregations, it seem that while the congregants are encouraged to do good works, more emphasis is placed upon correct, or orthodox doctrine! The doctrine of The Second Coming ( of Christ ) for instance, is one of the most important & widely-held doctrines to most Christians, yet does this doctrine feed or clothe the needy? Does this doctrine encourage its subscribers to good work, as described above by James? Truthfully, this doctrine seems to have the effect of making those who hold it almost unconcerned about this world, because they seem to believe that Jesus will change it all when He returns!

The fact that Jesus returned when He said He would, to that 'generation' ( Matthew 24:34 ) seems rather to infuriate those who claim orthodoxy! If those who uphold the glorious fact that Jesus brought His Kingdom 'on earth as it is in heaven' are living according to their belief, then why should they still be condemned by the orthodox as heretics headed for some mythical hell? Why are not many of those who claim orthodoxy living as Kingdom citizens, but simply waiting for Jesus to come back so they can be free of what the apostle Paul called, 'this body of death' ( or, more correctly, maybe, 'the body of this death'-Romans 7:24 ) & for Him to solve the problem of evil!

The Institutional Church has, for centuries, has taught as of utmost importance, propositions about Christ & assertions about who He is, rather than how we are to live in His Presence now & how we are to act as 'the leaves of the tree' ( of Life ) that are for 'the healing of the nations'! Our Father tells us plainly, in the Revelation of His Word, how we are to live, as subjects & citizens, His Family really, in His Kingdom; Jesus gave His disciples this general principle, 'Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets' ( Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31 ). Furthermore, in summation of His Law for Israel, He said 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (‭ Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭37-39 )  Anymore than this is mere propositions & doctrines of men!

It is good to hold to a certain doctrine, especially when it is the pure & unadulterated doctrine of Scripture! It is even better, however, to practice, not simply the doctrine you subscribe to, but what is right, good & just ( Micah 6:8 )! When more Christians begin to focus on Unity rather than Uniformity, and practice rather than doctrine, then we will see such a change in this world such as has not been seen since the 1st century! Now, again, doctrine is good, but doctrine only goes so far; it will not clothe or feed a needy person, only good, practiced religion will accomplish that!

So you hold to the correct & orthodox doctrine; awesome! So you practice your faith; infinitely better!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Peaceful World

People know this world is a wreck
We're sick and tired of being politically correct
If I see through it now but I didn't at first
The hypocrites made it worse and worse
Lookin' down their noses at what people say
These are just words and words are okay
It's what you do and not what you say
If you're not part of the future then get out of the way!

The latest big news concerning what's been going on over in the Middle East & especially concerning ISIS is the very disturbing image of a human being helplessly burning to death inside a cage! Before this latest development, or iteration in the cruelty of ISIS, there were the be-headings to worry about! There is so much evil in this world, along with chaos & disorder, that peace seems almost out of reach, like an unreal hope in a very livid & chaotic reality!

As Christians, the Communion of the Body of Christ, we do live in A Peaceful World! Though, in actuality, we live in the midst of the world described in short above, because of the Peace of God & His Presence Within, we can live in the midst of this dangerous & chaotic, yet glorious world & have peace in our 'world', no matter what life throws at us! In very fact of the matter, we have been Invested with Glory for this very reason, to bring the Peace of God to this chaos & disorder, to show forth His Presence in this gloriously dangerous world!

Much of what has gone wrong in this glorious world of ours, as John Mellencamp ( above ) has noted & what many others have observed, has transpired because of the Failure of Christianity to let the Peace of God, 'which passes all understanding' to flow out through us to a suffering world, to show the Love of God which brings that Peace to the disorder & chaos that surrounds us on every side! The Love of God is the ONLY real answer to the problem of evil & when we fail, for whatever reason to show that Love to a needy world, then evil persists!

Certain passages of Scripture, such as Isaiah 11:6-9 give most Christians much hope for a better world, one where 'there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying' ( Revelation 21:3 ). This peaceful world that John wrote about, as did Isaiah & others before him, is not some utopian pipe-dream, it is not some 'pie-in-the-sky' affair that we will truly only experience upon our physical demise or when Jesus comes back, whichever comes first! If one reads the context of these words of hope, one will see that this is ( already ) a reality! The only way that we will see these promises fulfilled on this physical plane is when we, as the Body of Christ on Earth, the Temple of the Holy Spirit of God, allow the Love of God & the Peace that Passes Understanding to flow through us, for changing the face of this dangerous, chaotic & disorderly world!

Christians as a whole & most Christians individually, seem to be more enamored with getting all their doctrinal ducks in a row than showing the True Love of God to a desperately seeking world! Only if they hold the same truths as we do are we willing to share the Peace Within & God forbid we should live by the mantra 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'! The Failure of Christianity to truly represent both the Love & Peace of our Heavenly Father has engendered a world without God, a world where Hate, not Love, seems to reign supreme, a world that is so full of chaos & disorder that we often despair of seeing John's vision in real life!

There is however, Real Hope for our future! No, it is not the false hope of Jesus' Return ( He's already here! ), it is not in eradicating The Scourge of ISIS & the manifold evils, real & imagined, around the world! As John  ( Melllencamp ) said, 'if you're not part of the future then get out of the way'! It seems that Christianity & Christians individually have forgotten that they are the Light of the World! The Church seems to have abandoned a future on Earth for a future in Heaven!

 Only when Jesus returns, Christianity says, and burns up these elements will we see the visions of John & Isaiah fulfilled! We need to face the facts, though, as individual Christians, that it is through us, the Body of Christ, the True Son of God, that this visible change will come about! Jesus Himself promised, 'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water' ( John 7:38 ); when we keep this 'living water' to ourselves & even within the four walls of a certain building, we cut off any hope for a peaceful world of which we have been made The Light!

As long as we abandon any future hope for this world save some cataclysmic event, we not only fail to be The Light of the World, we fail to allow the Peace of God & Love of God to reign Supreme in our lives! If in some future Heaven only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable! When Christians begin to let the River of Peace flow out through their hearts instead of bottling them up for some future Hope of Heaven & the pipe-dream of a Utopian Earth, then we may see that Peaceful World, not the one that John envisioned, for that is already within us, struggling joyfully & gloriously to get out!

Let the Waters Flow!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Covenant Recreation

Praise with elation, praise every morning

God's recreation of the new day

We usually think of 'recreation' as more along the lines of something fun, or even as 'wreck-reation' ( that IS how we pronounce it ), but we need to realize that it is so much more than just playing, or having fun ( it IS that ); 'recreation' is just that, 're-creation', a following in our Father's footsteps, copying, if you will, His act ( s ) of Creation! As He created 'in the beginning', so we too are to be creators, not in the sense, of course as He who brought something out of nothing, but to further, or continue His act of bringing 'Heaven on Earth', to introduce the Blessings of His Covenant!

The doctrine of Covenant Creation is the novel idea or notion that the first couple chapters of Genesis are not so much a textbook history of the creation of our universe, or solar system, but simply a chronicle of the creation, or introduction of covenant. This is by no means a new concept & is quickly becoming the dominant, though definitely not well-accepted, doctrine when it comes to Creation Concepts! The notion is viewed by many as heretical because, as presented by most, it seems to imply ( 'they' say ) that God is not the Creator of the universe! This mistaken notion could not not be further from the Truth!

The Introduction of Covenant, we say, because though the concept or model of covenant was inherent from the beginning of creation, it had not yet been formalized as a covenant between Creator & Creation! When God 'created' Adam, He simply introduced Himself, you might say, into the midst of a barren ( 'void' ) & chaotic ( 'without form' ) Creation! Through this Creation, the Creator purposes to pursue an open ( free ) relationship with His entire Creation, universally speaking!

As we have explored previously, Covenant Creation does not deny the wonderful ( words do not suffice ) fact that the same Living God created everything that is, rather, it shows with a beauty beyond mere expression how a Kind & Benevolent Creator instituted a formal relationship by investing His Creation with His Divine Presence! Through this inaugural act, the Lord God Almighty, the Blessed Father of All instituted The Marriage of Heaven & Earth! This Marriage was consummated in the first century, when He sent of Himself to save His People from Sin & Death, thus making them His New Temple, His Home for a Blessed Eternity!

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

( ‭Genesis‬ ‭1‬:‭28‬ )

Although maybe never so elucidated before, the concept of Covenant Recreation is not new either; from the very 'beginning', when God gave Adam & Eve these instructions, what might be called The Dominion Mandate, Covenant Recreation was what our Father had in mind, the 'twinkle' in His Eye, you might say! Although the mysterious formation of a child in the womb may be the most wonderful & mysterious expression of this Grace, it is by no means the only way we have been given to glorify our Creator & enjoy Him for Eternity!

By simply enjoying this Covenant Recreation, whether relegated to the marriage bed ( behind closed doors ) or the great out-of-doors ( as friends of mine are currently doing in the Grand Canyon ); we partake, with our Heavenly Father, in this Grand Adventure we call Life! As we fulfill our position as 'little creators', God's 'Mini-Me', so to speak, let us always remember the Divine Order, 'Commune, Rest, Recreate'!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Chief End of Man

 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  
fear God and keep His commandments,
  for this is man’s all.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 

Question one in the Westminster Shorter Catechism is 'what is the chief end of man?' The short answer, of course, is 'Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever'. This is not a wrong answer, but how are we to glorify Him & enjoy Him forever? Well, we can see, as we read in some of the other questions & answers in the WSC & in the Scriptures as well, that we are to glorify Him & enjoy His Presence forever by loving Him & our neighbor as ourselves!

He has shown you, O man, what [ is ] good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

The Ten Commandments are fulfilled in Jesus' summation in Matthew 22; 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind........................and.........your neighbor as yourself'! As Yahweh revealed through His Servant Micah, we are to deal justly with our neighbor, to treat him or her with mercy & above all, to love our God! This, according to Scripture, is how we are to glorify our Creator & enjoy Him forever!

The question of why we were made 'a new creation' has re-surfaced, most recently, in the minds of certain Christians. Were we made thus so that we could 'go to 'Heaven' when we die' & thus enjoy Him forever? Common sense tells us, screams it out really, 'OF COURSE NOT!' The original creation mandate was 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' ( Genesis 1:28 ). It only makes sense, does it not, that God's Recreation was that this mandate might be fulfilled, brought to its fullest measure?

When we love our Heavenly Father as we ought & our neighbor as our self, we will enjoy His Presence! Just like our human fathers, if we follow his house rules, we will enjoy our time with him, living in his house, but when we live in disobedience, we're probably not going to enjoy his presence very much! Just so, our Heavenly Father, having made His Home with ( in ) us, has given us a set of House Rules, in fact, He's indelibly written them on our heart! When we follow these House Rules, which are fulfilled in & through His Son, we enjoy His Blessed Presence, but when we fail to love Him & our neighbor as our self, we lose that enjoyment, if only for a season!

This is by no means to say that if/when we do fail, which we do, every day, to love our God & our neighbor as our self that we lose His Blessed Presence, much less forever, but when we mistreat our neighbor & fail to treat him or here with justice & mercy, we tend to receive the same in turn! According to our Father's Grace & Mercy, even this is not always the case, for sometimes even those that we treat badly do not act in kind, but practice the Scriptural injunction 'just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise' ( Luke 6:31 ) & 'you reap what you sow'!

As we sow in our 'world', then, let us always remember what our Chief End ( Goal ) is; as fulfilled in the continuing Ministry of the Son of God, our aim is always to glorify our Heavenly Father & enjoy Him forever! We can only do this by following His House Rules, by loving Him & dealing justly & mercifully with our neighbor!

Our Chief End is NOW, the Goal is HERE; Jesus the Christ was the Fulfillment of all the Promises made to Israel, the People of God: the Son of God is the Chief End of Man! Since our Heavenly Father has made His Home with ( in us ), we DO enjoy His Presence forever; Glory be to God!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Knowledge of God

Do you know God; if so, how? 

How do you know that you know God? 

Can you feel Him near? 

Can His Presence be felt or known through the ( physical ) senses, biologically speaking? 

If so, how? 

If not, why not?

There are many questions surrounding this subject & just as many answers! If God can only be known spiritually, as in an ecstatic or emotional sense, then maybe the Pentecostals are right; one must have an emotionally-charged experience ( 'ecstasy' ) in order to truly experience God, or The Moving of the Spirit! Maybe God can be truly known only through the study of The Written Word, as most Christians seem to think! Must we quiet our own spirit in order for His Spirit to be known, as others might tell you?

Is it possible to know ( experience ) the Presence of God through use of the five ( physical/biological ) senses? The argument has been proffered that He can! It is through our Communion with the Body of His Son that we experience His Presence! One might ask the question, 'do we experience God only when we are in the company of, or communing with, the Body of Christ, His People, or Church?' The answer to this question might seem to be obvious & simple, but is it really? Does a Christian ( missionary, for example ) living in a foreign county among Muslims ( for example ) experience the Presence of God? Can he or she feel Him near?

Many Christians are becoming aware that the Institutional Church & even the Scriptures are not the only way to experience God ( some might argue that, in fact, God CANNOT be experienced in these ways )! How then, can we know that we know Him; how can we experience His Presence, if not through the Body of His Son, the Church, or through the written Revelation of His Word? Is there a way that His Presence can be experienced, or felt through the senses apart from these means?

All do not acknowledge their Creator & though this is a sadly undeniable fact, the argument could be made that we can know ( experience ) God through interaction with them! While it may be unorthodox to offer this suggestion, it is possible to experience the Presence of God through a sort of communion with even those who claim to be unbelievers! Even though they may not acknowledge His Living Presence or experience The Blessings of His Covenant, they are still His Creation, His Offspring, and so are in Covenant & Communion with Him!

When we leave our own comfort zone & venture into these shady areas, sharing the Love of Christ & shining our Light into the darkest regions, we may experience the Presence of God through our Blessed Interaction, even with those deemed most unworthy of our Communion! As we step out in Faith, doing what our Father has called us to do & living in Communion with His Glorious Creation, we may in fact, experience Him in ways & to degrees that we have never experienced Him before!

In encapsulation of the Ten Commandments given through Moses; Jesus, the New Moses, told us, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.........' & '..........your neighbor as yourself'' ( Matthew 22:37-39 ). The question has been asked, 'who is my neighbor?' ( Luke 10:29 ) Jesus wisely had His questioner answer his own question, that a person's neighbor was one who filled a certain need because it needed to be filled, not because the needy person had all of his or her doctrinal ducks in a row & not because they worshiped or had Blessed Communion with their Creator, but simply because the need was there!

In today's day & age, there is a most definite & obvious need for The Knowledge of God! This is not to say that we can always fill that need, or even that our sharing & shining will always have the desired effect; the sad fact of the matter is, it won't! As in Jesus' 'Parable of the Soils', some of our Seed will fall by the wayside, some will fall on stony ground & some will be choked out by weeds, but as the Body of Christ, we can be assured that some will fall on good, ready ground & bear much fruit!

Since God is a ( the ) Spirit, The Knowledge of God is spiritually discerned, but as it works its way out through our fingertips & the fingertips of the corporate Body of Christ, His Presence will be known & experienced by those who need Him! Even those who do not acknowledge or find joy in His Presence will know His Blessed Presence through His People, but only as His People shine His Light & share His Joy with His Beloved Creation, especially with those we deem unworthy of His Love!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, February 05, 2015

The True Patriot

The Kingdom of God is not now & never was nationalistic!

The question of whether Jesus would make a 'good American', itself begs the question, 'what IS a good American?' In today's day & age, a good American seems to be one who supports national pride, one who stands behind this 'great nation', even to the ignorance ( willful or otherwise ) of the evils that are perpetrated by her leaders & her citizens! A 'good American' is a patriot, put simply, 'one who loves, supports and defends one's country'!

Jesus taught, in opposition to the religious leaders of His day & even many of His own countrymen, that the Kingdom of God was not a nationalistic thing, but rather that it was a Kingdom of the heart & mind! The Coming Kingdom would not be One that would conquer through force of arms & though it would be a true Empire, it would have no certain country, or geographical base, but rather would be One that would reign over the hearts & minds of its citizens the world over!

The term 'patriot' itself comes from the Greek 'patriōtēs', 'of one's fathers' or 'fatherland'. an American patriot would thus be one who is of America, of the fatherland, so to speak! We, as Christians, are not of America; our Fatherland is the Kingdom of God, or Heaven, not these united states of America, or the American Empire!

America today has taken the stance that it is the 'city on a hill' ( with 'a thousand points of light' ) & that it is for the salvation of the world! A 'good American' stands behind America with its foreign policy of 'the ends justifies the means'; a 'good American' supports the troops in America's wars & America' practice of 'preemptive strikes'! A 'good American' believes that we must eradicate the evil ( ISIS, for instance ) & do to them what they have done to others!

Jesus, on the other hand, while proclaiming the Kingdom of God, taught instead that we should love our enemies & do good to those that hate us! Jesus taught His disciples, 'whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them' ( Matthew 7:12 ) There's nothing wrong with self-defense, in fact we should stand in the gap for those we love, but Jesus never taught His disciples to travel land & sea to build an empire & to kill all those who opposed it!

If we would be True Patriots, we need to remember our True Fatherland, Heaven, the Kingdom of God, not these united states of America & certainly not 'the good old U.S. of A.'! We must stop supporting the foreign policy of America & remembering what Jesus taught about how we are to treat our enemies, both foreign & domestic ( 'do unto others' ), realize that, not only is America NOT 'a city on a hill' ( Jesus told His disciples, 'you are the light of the world' ), as citizens of the Kingdom of God & Heaven, we may love our country & defend her against all enemies, both foreign & domestic, but ultimately, our allegiance, our patriotism belongs to our Father God, not any particular country or nation!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, February 02, 2015

The Prince of the Power of the Air

And as he sowed, some [ seed ] fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
Matthew 13:4

Have you ever wondered about this passage in the Book of Job, 'Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.' Why was Satan 'among' the sons of God? Surely he wasn't one of them! ( Compare with Genesis 3:1, 'Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.') Was this 'satan' ( adversary ) one of the sons of God, or was he simply, as traditional orthodoxy tells us, a denizen of 'Heaven', before he was 'cast out' by Jesus ( Michael-Revelation 12:7-9 )?

Jesus went on to explain what these 'birds' represented in His parable; 'then the wicked [ one ] comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart'. This 'wicked [ one ]', commonly know as 'Satan', was he who snatched away the correct understanding of the Truth! Jesus also later condemned the religious leaders of His day; 'But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in [ yourselves ], nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.' ( Matthew 23:13 ) These 'birds', as the 'serpent' in the Garden, were simply the adversary of God's Purpose, those who endeavored to hinder His Plan!

This 'Satan', supposed by most Christians today to be 'the prince of the power of the air' spoken of by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Church at Ephesus ( Ephesians 2:2 ), is  also ( incorrectly ) supposed to be ruling & reigning today on this earth & snatching away the Good News of the Kingdom which Jesus has planted in the hearts of His People! If this same spirit was alive & well today on planet earth, it would go a long way towards explaining the problem of evil & explain why mos of Christianity has no real ( present ) Solution to offer!

The argument has been offered previously that, even if this 'Satan' is/was a fallen spirit-being, he is/was no more than the 'prince' of 'the Power of the Air', God Himself! Our Heavenly Father, the Creator of all, is without question, the Power of the Air & going back to our passage in Job, it only makes sense that this 'Satan' would have come, in the assembly of the sons of God, to present himself before God! Personally, I believe that while there does seem to be some evidence that he was something more than a mere 'man' ( Isaiah 14:16 ), this 'Satan' who troubled Israel ( I Kings 18:17 & 18 ) was simply an agent, whether super-natural or not, of God Almighty, Ruler of Heaven & Earth!

As a Prince of the Power of the Air, 'Satan', is no longer; he, along with 'the beast and the false prophet' were destroyed forever in the Lake of Fire! In this day & age though, can still witness to the same selfish & wicked spirit inhabiting the minds of men & women the world over. Those who have not reconciled with their Creator & His wondrous Creation possess a spirit not unlike that adversarial spirit that possessed Israel 'according to the flesh'! There are many out there who selfishly & wickedly seek their own ends rather than the good of the Kingdom of their Heavenly Father!

Even though the 'prince' of which Paul wrote has been destroyed, we still battle his influence as well as our own selfish & wicked desires! As Agents of the Kingdom, you might even say that we are Princes of the Power of the Air! With this sobering Truth in mind, as Agents of Reconciliation & Redemption, let us be careful to always seek to enrich the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father rather than our own petty kingdoms!

Charles Haddon Shank