Thursday, September 22, 2022

What is the Key that Opens the Door of Heaven?


And He says to him, “Truly, truly, I say to all of you, you will see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:51

In 2003 I stepped across the threshold into just such a Presence in Uganda and I said to my companion, “I don’t want to leave here the same way I came.”  A few days later I was able to say, “I will never be the same again.”

For Heaven to be Open there must be a Key The Sovereign Initiative of the Father is the Key that unlocks Heaven.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17

No natural sagacity, study, or discernment had revealed the great truth. None of these had overcome slowness of apprehension, prejudices of education, slackness of faith. No unregenerate mortal man had taught him the gospel mystery. None but the Father could have revealed to him the Son. Pulpit Commentary

God the Father chose Simon to receive this revelation.  On what basis?  Sovereign choice and Sovereign choice alone.  As my friends in the African-American community say, “He is God all by Himself.”

Beware less we think we need to stretch out the hand of flesh to steady the Ark of His Presence. “Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.” 2 Samuel 6:6b-7 

Just a few verses later Simon Peter did just that and got a severe rebuke.  “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23 

This is also proof that he was not chosen because he was choice - he became choice as a result of having been chosen. Human flaws are no hindrance to Sovereign choice. The Bible is full of just such examples. 

Human effort and/or disposition cannot raise up the Fallen Booth of David for God says He will raise it up at the Last Days and His people will be drawn into His Presence. “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,” Acts 15:16 Notice how often the pronoun “I” is used in this one verse. 

Thus we cannot create an Open Heaven - we can only Celebrate its Openness.  That is what is called True Worship. God doesn’t change, but we most certainly will be!

As I was that day in 2003...

Until the time that his (Joseph’s) word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him. Psalm 105:19 

Joseph was held firmly by this Sovereign Purpose - there was nothing that could dissuade its culmination.

Everything that happened to Joseph no matter how evil or perverse it may have seemed was the Word of the Lord for Joseph.

Joseph, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”  Genesis 50:20

What Joseph had to learn was timing.  Fruitfulness and/or giftedness are no indicators of maturity - only timing is.  All self-promotion must thoroughly be purged that which remains will only be to the Glory of God. “so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11 

As God also did for the nation of Uganda...

Once the nation was known as the Pearl of Africa.  Yet they went through the Refiner’s Fire that they only would know the Pearl of Great Price.

No matter the circumstances we are held firmly in the Grip not only of the One Who knows time - yet is time itself.  “Grace to you and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come,” Revelation 1:4

And this is our confidence.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1

He loves His own unto the end!

Mzee Ron

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Fourth Watch - January 23, 2022 - An Apostolic Church! What Is It?

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  Acts 11:19-21

The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:26b

According to Anglican Theologian Michael Green (1930-2019)* the Church at Antioch was the first sending church in the initial phases of her development.

Although there had been apostles - this was the first church that could be said to be apostolic.

This church was composed  mostly of Greeks (Gentiles) or as Green calls them Hellenists.

From the word scattered above we get the term the church diaspora (apostolic/executive).  It is accompanied by the church gathered or ekklesia (bishoped/legislative).  

Here are some observations on the Apostolic Church of Antioch by Dr. Green.

1) They believed in a God who is always on the move–not housed in a building.

2) They believed in a Jesus who is the Son of man, Lord over the whole of mankind, not simply the Jewish Messiah.

3) They believed in the God who makes all things new and does not tie us into customs of the past.

4) They believed in a faith that was as good for Gentiles as it was for Jews, not restricted to those who were already “insiders.”

5) Their message and their way of life were striking and indeed radical.  But they turned the world upside down.  These Hellenists were very manifestly open to change.

(Green, Michael, Evangelism Through the Local Church, Thomas Nelson, Inc, 1992, pages 88-89)

*His mother was Australian and his Father Welsh.

(There was once a local congregation in our community that called itself an Antioch or sending church - and it did!  Then under a subsequent pastor it changed its focus to a Jerusalem or community church and never recovered its vitality. That is my personal observation.) 

Mzee Ron

Monday, February 1, 2021

When God Stands Up to Judge!

What could I do when God stands up to judge?

How should I answer him when he calls me to account?

Did not the one who made me in the womb also make them?

Did not the same God form us both in the womb?

Job 31:14-15 Justice - Equity 

I was recently asked to define justice. I quickly replied with one word - equity!  Equity is what Job is speaking about here.  He is saying each unborn person in the womb should have an equal opportunity to live - and to life.  

Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” Jeremiah 1:5

"Biblical justice, therefore, is the equitable and impartial application of the rule of God's moral law in society."

Tony Evans, Oneness Embraced, p261.

Paul, “But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by His grace, was pleased” Galatians 1:15

To destroy the unborn person in the womb without giving them the opportunity of life is the epitome of injustice or inequity - it is immoral. It is the arrogance of seating ourselves on the throne of God for we determine the course of life. In effect we have made ourselves judges.

Isaiah, “The LORD called Me from the womb; from the body of My mother He named Me.” Isaiah 49:1

Just as sure as the tomato is already in the seed and will become a beautiful fruit if properly nourished, so is the person already in the embryo and will become a beautiful being if properly nourished by its mother. We may not know what she or he will actually look like but the image is already there.  

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Me, “And I am a witness...”   

Monday, December 21, 2020

North America’s First Christmas Card

Wyoming County, West Virginia - The Winter Solstice - December 21, 2021

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given” Isaiah 9:6

“At the time of sunrise, a ray grazes the notch on the left side on Christmas Day, the first season of the year, the season of the blessed advent of the savior Lord Christ. Behold he is born of Mary, a woman.”

It was decided to verify the accuracy of the translation by visiting the carving in December. In ancient times, Christmas was celebrated around the Winter Solstice, so a small group met at the petroglyph on the night of December 21, 1982. Quietly they waited as the dawn sun climbed behind them to a height where it spilled over the mountains and streamed its rays toward the cliff face before them.

They watched in amazement as the first shaft of sunlight funneled through a previously unnoticed notch in the cliff overhang, and like a flashlight beam, struck the dead center of a sun symbol at the left end of the panel. Since the sun rises in a slightly different spot each morning, its rays directly hit that sun spot at no other time of the year.

Transfixed, they watched the beam expand as the sun rose, pushing the shadow from left to right, slowly bathing the entire message in sunlight like a prehistoric neon sign announcing yet another Christmas as it had done for centuries.

Before their eyes, they had received a Christmas message across the ages. Here was a message that was definitely Christian, carved in the 6th century and carved in Ogham -- a cipher used at that time only by the Irish!

Shortly after publishing their remarkable find, the investigative team learned of another petroglyph at Horse Creek in nearby Boone County. This one was larger than the first. Dr. Fell called it a sensational find. He believed it to be the world's longest Ogham message and dated it between the 6th and 8th century. This 3-line message, when deciphered, read, A happy season is Christmas, a time of joy and goodwill to all people. The second line read; A virgin was with child; God ordained her to conceive and be fruitful. Behold a miracle. The third line read, She gave birth to a son in a cave. The name of the cave was the Cave of Bethlehem. His foster father gave him the name Jesus, the Christ, Alpha and Omega. Festive season of prayer.

There is a very similar petroglyph in Count Kerry, Ireland.

(I have walked down the railroad tracks at Lynco, Wyoming County, climbed the bank and viewed this indelible testimony for myself along with my buddy Denny Westover. It is interesting to note that according to the 2010 Census the majority ancestry group in Wyoming County are Irish - a Celtic people. Other Celtic peoples in the British Isles are the Scots, Welsh and Cornish. The First Century British Warrior Queen Boudica was also a Celt.) 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Sacred Call for Men! A Boaz Company...

Can we only imagine what it would be like beginning with the first week of January 2021 for the men in our community to commit one day of all 52 weeks to pray and fast for the well-being of our community, city, region and state?  

Why the men . . . ?

“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” 1 Timothy 2:8

It is primarily the men that are responsible for the wrath and dissension in our community.  Therefore, it is incumbent on us to change the direction and see our community healed.

Can we be those of Boaz who will spread out our covering of protection over our Ruth?  (This is what happened Saturday a week ago as a Band of Brothers stretched out our canopy over our sisters of Recovery Point. If you remember the picture, Ruth was standing there surrounded by a Boaz Company.)  

Our Ruth will then be released to be all that our Father has intended for her to be. (This insight is from my own Ruth.) That is, her cloak will be full of grain - more than she could ever have gleaned by herself. Ruth is imploring - Boaz stand up!  If we do not take our stand to redeem her, there is another that will....

Will we accept the challenge?  Will we be our Ruth’s Kinsman-Redeemers? Only in this manner will our promised inheritance be guaranteed - that is, our children. 

And Naomi became Boaz’ mother-in-law and the Grandmother to the child that would be born and it was said to her that he would be a restorer of life and a sustainer to her in her old age. The indication here is that the family would be whole - providing security. 

If you can only imagine - then join with us this Thursday, 8:00AM in the Conference Room of Joe Holland Imports.

This is from no misogynist - but from the husband of one wife, the father of two daughters and the grandfather of three granddaughters - all of whom I love fiercely.  

From a World War One Era Song - so pertinent for today! 

They were summoned from the hillside

They were called in from the glen,

And the country found them ready

At the stirring call for men.

For no gallant son of freedom

To a tyrant's yoke should bend,

And a noble heart must answer

To the sacred call of "Friend."

{Ruth’s antithesis is Jezebel. There can be no Jezebel without there first being an Ahab.} 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

May We Guard Our Hearts

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Please let us not use social media platforms to disparage our brother or sister who we may deem to be of weaker faith.

I believe the Apostle Paul would have none of this.  “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4  For if we do stand, it is He that has caused us to stand.

For Paul said of himself - “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16  This letter is one of the latest penned by his hand to his young disciple as a last will and testament.  It has been said that the older the Apostle became the more aware he became of the infinite grace and mercy that called him forth from that dusty road.  I have heard it said that he “descended into greatness.”

It is the Pharisee - of which Paul had been one - who said, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.’  Yet this very tax collector implored - ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  The heart of the tax collector is one of humility while that of the Pharisee is one of arrogance. 

Let us guard our hearts and minds that the spirit of the Pharisee enter not within and cause a hardening. For we are called to “strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” 

May we be those who are repairers of the breach so it cannot be said of us, “I sought for a man among them to build the wall and stand in the breach in my presence on behalf of the land so that it won't be destroyed, but I found no one,” Ezekiel 22:30 

For our immutable hope is...

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Solomon’s Portico - A Thin Place (Portal)

What is the Eternal and Perpetual Significance of Solomon’s Portico and Its Twin Pillars?

There are only two objects in the construction of the First or Solomon’s Temple that received names.  In effect they are anthropomorphic (a non-human object given human characteristics). 

“He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference. He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz.” 1 Kings 7:15, 21

the balance of evidence appears to favour the view that Jachin and Boaz were monuments erected in the porch, to dignify the sanctuary, and to symbolize the power and eternity of the Being to whom it was dedicated P.C. (Pulpit Commentary)

Righteousness and Justice 

Jakin was a priest - he shall establish - righteousness “Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy.” Psalm 132:9 

Boaz was a prince - in it (Him) is strength - justice “The strength of the King loves justice;” Psalm 99:4

These two pillars supported the roof of Solomon’s portico - porch.  “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.” Psalm 89:14 

Primarily in Scripture we see the king as God’s chosen instrument of justice - while His chosen instrument of righteousness is the priest. 

New Testament Times

“it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.” John 10:23  It was on the Eastern side of the temple. The warmth and glow of the sun arises in the east as does its herald the Morning Star. “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Revelation 22:16 

At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico. Acts 5:12

In the days of Christ and His Apostles all that remained of the First Temple where the Glory of God dwelt was Solomon’s Portico. In the Fulness of Christ the Glory of God once again came to the Temple - to the only part that remained from the First. Yet, now it is no longer confined to the inner sanctuary to beheld by only a few - it is now to beheld by all, even the Gentiles. 

The Portico of Solomon led the way into the Court of the Gentiles.  All worshipers must pass between Jakin (righteousness) and Boaz (justice) to enter the Temple Courts.  

When Jesus cleansed the Temple it was the Court of the Gentiles that was cleansed.  He passed through Solomon’s Portico to get there.  ‘“The Jews hoped that the Messiah would cleanse the temple of Gentiles, but Jesus cleansed the temple for the Gentiles.” Christ judged the wicked and showed grace to His chosen in the very same act. God always shows mercy in the midst of judgment, but only those who trust in Him receive that grace.’  R.C. Sproul 

The roof was supported by the two pillars or columns thus it is often referred to as Solomon’s Colonnade. 

Signs And Wonders

While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus,” Acts 3:11-13 

Flavius Josephus writes of it: “the work of king Solomon, who first founded the whole temple.''  The historic writings of Josephus give an eyewitness account to the First and Second Temples, as well as Herod's Temple, all shared the same fore-mentioned east wall of the Temple complex. The east boundary line of the Temple complex never changed. Josephus was clear that Herod refused to let his builders make any changes in the ancient works of the east wall because of the great expense. Herod allowed the construction of new courts on the north, west and south sides of the Temple but the east wall remained intact and undisturbed.

Although it was completely destroyed in 70AD by the Romans (They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.") the foundation on which the pillars rested remains - longingly.   

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, Ephesians 2:19 -20 

"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock (foundation stone) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18 

This is where Jesus walks!  

The porch of Solomon was no doubt a special place for Jesus. It was here that Jesus was seen often, speaking and teaching the people or just walking, as in John 10 during the festival of "lamps" or chanukkah, which commemorates the re-dedication of the temple and of God to His people. Later, after His death his disciples gathered here often.

All have access!  Just as they did at the tabernacle of David.  The portico was named after David’s son - but it would represent the Presence of great David’s Greater Son.  Solomon’s throne would come down while the Throne of the Messiah would endure forever.  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”  Jeremiah 23:5 

“Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.”  Psalm 97:2

A Spiritual Reality - A Portal 

Let the reader understand that I am not talking about rebuilding another physical building for God destroyed the first and successive ones for a reason.  To attempt to do so would be akin to the building of the tower of Babel.  “But I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Revelation 21:22 

For Solomon’s Portico was not only a porch - it was a portal.  The Celts would call it a “thin place” or a horizon - where heaven and earth come close.  The only portico that will be re-built is the one built by Christ Himself. “I will build my church...” I believe I heard Him say that it would be His - thus it would go by no other name. 

The twin pillars represented an opening - door-way - through which the King of Glory Himself would enter. “Lift up your heads, O gates (opening), And be lifted up, O ancient doors (entrance way), That the King of glory may come in!” Psalm 24:7  

As with the rest of the temple it was built true - level and plumb.  “I will make justice the measuring (level) line and righteousness the plumb line;” Isaiah 28:17a NIV  

But the LORD of Hosts will be exalted by His justice, and the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. Isaiah 5:16 

The Latter Glory

'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says the LORD of hosts (Heaven’s Armies), 'and in this place I will give peace,' declares the LORD of hosts." Haggai 2:9  Although there is a warfare motif here, the word peace doesn’t just mean the absence of war.  We transliterate it as “shalom” which means welfare, health, prosperity. 

These words of the prophet reference the building of the Second Temple under Zerubbabel (prince) and Joshua (priest).  “But the promise is not fulfilled by this; the peace promised to the spiritual temple is that peace of heart and conscience which is given by him who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and which includes all the graces of the Christian covenant.”  "This house" means the temple at Jerusalem, regard not being paid to the special building, whether of Solomon, or Zerubbabel, or Herod. To us it speaks of the promise of Christ, God incarnate, in the holy city and in the temple itself, and of his presence in the Church, wherein he abides forever. P.C. 

The first temple was built by the king (Solomon) whose name is "Peaceful;" the second is glorified by the presence of the "Peace bringer.”  P.C.  "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh (Peace-maker) comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10  Shiloh can also mean “he whose right it is.”

I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ 1 Kings 9:5 

Priests and Kings 

Thus when Shiloh came - He walked in what had prefigured His coming - Solomon’s Portico. “He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade.” John 10:23  Whose supporting columns are those of righteousness and justice - priests and kings.  “and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:6  

Solomon was a type of priest-king for the Queen of Sheba said to him: "Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you, setting you on His throne as king for the LORD your God; because your God loved Israel establishing them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness."  2 Chronicles 9:8

The Regeneration

At the consummation - regeneration - Christ will return through the Portico of Solomon - between Jakin and Boaz. This temple will be a spiritual one - impervious to destruction by the hands of men - eternal in the heavenlies. “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;” Hebrews 9:11


Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. Psalm 100:4