The four-part believer

While at a conference recently, I heard a response that those who believe that Yeshua is LORD, are not three-part beings, but four.  This is not what the traditions of men have taught.  I thought I would search the scriptures to see if this were true.

The idea of a four-part being helps make sense of the following text:

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Why would our spirit need to be sanctified if this was the same thing as Holy Spirit?  No, this text from Paul only makes sense with the idea that everyone is born with a human spirit, but not everyone has the Holy Spirit living inside them.

This transformation happens the moment we accept and believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough for us to be saved (2 Corinthians 5:17).  As a result, a personal prayer transacted in communion might read something like this.  “This is my body, LORD.  I recognize and thank you that I am now part of your body, accepted by you and a part of you.  You live in me as evidence that I have accepted your body, broken for me.”

One of my prayers for many years has been that “I submit my body and soul to my spirit, and I submit my spirit to you, Holy Spirit.  Have your way in me.”

We as transformed beings are four-part beings, body, soul, spirit, and God.  Christ IN you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Let’s look at a passage in the book of Daniel that has been relegated as historical, but that I believe has prophetic symbolism, pointing to a life in Christ.

To set up the story, let’s look at the context and the meaning of the players in Hebrew.

The context of the story is that the Chaldeans were bringing charges against the Jews, and a Babylonian king, named Nebuchadnezzar had made a golden image of himself, demanding that everyone fall down and worship it.  If all the people didn’t bow down and worship the image, the penalty was to be thrown into a fiery furnace.

Daniel’s three friends refused to worship this “god,” and as a result would have to pass through fire.

Daniel – God is my judge (Belteshazzar)
Hananiah – God has favored (Shadrach)
Mishael – Who is what God is, rule of God (Meshach)
Azariah – God has helped (Abednego)

Babylon – means “confusion by mixing”

Like Bablyon, I believe the new pagan names (Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego) were given to Daniel and his friends to cause them to lose their sense of identity and to forget their connection with God.

Like Daniel and his three friends, I believe we are appointed as overseers over chaos to bring God’s Kingdom order, but it may cost us to get there.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said to his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?”  “Yes, of course, Your Majesty,” they replied to the king.
25 He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of God.”

The fourth is like a “son of God.”

I believe that this is a prophetic picture of starting as three-part beings and in trusting God to save us, we become four-part beings.  They passed from death to life, trusting in the power of God to resurrect them.

The king ordered that the furnace be made seven times hotter.  Why?  Seven is the number of fullness and completion.  I believe that seven, in this context, shows that this was a complete work.  Jesus taught that our works would be tested, as if by fire.  Only what is of God would survive a trial by fire.  That which is more precious than gold was their faith (1 Peter 1:7).

28 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent His angel and rescued His servants who trusted in Him. They violated the king’s command and risked their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
29 Therefore I issue a decree that anyone of any people, nation, or language who says anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb and his house made a garbage dump. For there is no other god who is able to deliver like this.”

I believe Christ was the fourth in the fire.  If Christ is in you, the revealing will convict the world, just like it did to Nebuchadnezzar.

If I Be Lifted Up

I named this blog “Adonai Nissi,” the Lord my Banner. A banner is a standard that gets lifted up. This name for Yeshua (Adonai Nissi) is first found in Exodus 17. Moses found victory over Amalek and his army when he held up his staff as a banner. Of course, he couldn’t do it on his own, but Moses recognized that the victory was the Lord’s.

The Hebrew word for banner (H5251) is נֵס pronounced “nays”. This word is translated standard, signal, pole, ensign, banner, sign, and sail.

Yeshua means deliverer or salvation in Hebrew. There is no other means that man might be saved. Yeshua said about himself in John 12:32 that if He was lifted up, He would draw all men unto himself.

John 12:32
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

This scripture is a fulfillment of that prophesied about Yeshua in Isaiah 11:10:
In that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.

It is interesting to me that John 3:16 is quoted so often, but John 3:14 is glossed over. I see John 3:14 as an amazing expression of the expression of God’s love for us.

John 3:14
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

This passage is making reference to Numbers 21. In the context of the scripture, the Israelites have a complaint against the character of God and of Moses. Interestingly, this was directly after the Israelites made a vow to God and the Lord gave them victory over their Canaanite enemies. They named the place of victory, Chormah, meaning “devotion”. If you read Numbers 21 in isolation, the curse that came seems severe. When you flip back through the chapters in Numbers and Exodus and count the number of times the people of Israel complained, you’ll see that God was longsuffering. The Israelites continued to eat from the wrong tree, believing they knew what was good, apart from relationship with God. They were poisoned in their thinking and their speaking.

The curse that came their way was the following in Numbers 21:6:

The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.

What is interesting in this text is that the Hebrew that has been translated as “fiery serpent” is the Hebrew word שָׂרָף(saraph), which means burning one and translated as seraphim other places. In the context of scripture, seraphim were to be feared as they normally were seen in the context of judgment (see Isaiah 6).

As the people repented, and Moses stood in the gap as prophet and priest, Yeshua provided the people a means of deliverance, foreshadowing his death on a cross/pole/tree. Bronze is a color/material usually used in the context of judgment.

Numbers 21:8-9:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”
And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

This death was to fulfill the death penalty that each of us deserved.

Deuteronomy 21:22
If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree.

Galatians 3:13
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A *TREE”—

Yeshua became a curse for us in every sense of the word, that we might receive every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). He was cut off so that we might be restored and come into fullness of life.

Notice that they those who had bitten into the wrong tree, received life when they saw someone else become a curse in their place. Obviously the fiery serpent was a type of the one who was to come, but it points to the fact that only God can make a way to save us.

Yeshua and the standard (the cross), become a place where a divine exchange happens as a measure of both the mercy and grace of God. Where we exchange death for life.

How do we lift Him up?

I lift him up when I recognize him as the one who saved me from all the fiery serpents from my rebellion, vows, and complaints. I lift him up when I recognize that he is responsible for every single victory in my life. I lift him up when I recognize that He is my banner. I lift him up when I recognize and remember that I am saved by grace through faith (it has nothing to do with my works). I lift him up when I testify about the power of his bloodline to redeem mine and yours. I lift him up when I recognize his goodness, and love. I lift him up when I think about all he’s done for me.

Is the Lord your Banner? Lift him up in the meditations and thankfulness of your heart.

As we ascend in our meditations, we can’t help but get wrapped around the vine…