Kidron Saga, Part 5: The Holy Spirit
God has dwelled with humanity in some extraordinary ways throughout history: in the Garden of Eden, the Tabernacle, the Temple, and in the person of Jesus Christ. But today He dwells with people in an even more personal way—in the hearts of all who believe in Him! Our focus in part 5 of our 6-part Kidron saga celebrates the wonderful truth that God is at work inside those of us who love and put our faith in Him.
To dwell in the presence of God is an incredible blessing. How sweet is it to enjoy His presence through the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us every day! Because of His Spirit, God has made each and every believer a tabernacle and a temple that houses His presence. Let’s remember to walk through our days with this in mind and with the joy that comes from living in the power of Christ’s resurrection!
If you missed the first four parts of this series, you can find them on our Archives page!
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. I'd like to encourage you to visit our website, foiradio.org. There you can find out more about the Friends of Israel Today radio program. You'll also be able to browse our archive pages and listen to over six years worth of Chris's teaching. Again, that's foiradio dot O-R-G.
Chris Katulka: Now, for all of you listening, we are continuing our series called the Kidron saga. And the reason we call it the Kidron saga is because we are talking about that prophetic tension that exists between Mount Moriah, that's the Temple Mount, and the Mount of Olives, these two mountains that sit next to one another. There's incredible events that happen prophetically, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Today, we're going to be looking at what it means for us as believers today. So you're going to want to stick around. I think it's going to be a good one.
Steve Conover: In the news, former Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote on Facebook that he rejected an offer from the then U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, to visit Afghanistan in 2013. Kerry wanted Netanyahu to see how the United States established a local Afghani military force that could stand up to terror on its own, a model Kerry believed could help with the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank. Netanyahu said he politely declined and thought even then that Afghanistan would fall apart once the US left.
Chris Katulka: Steve, it's interesting to me that even in 2013, Netanyahu had the foresight to know that the moment that the US pulled out of Afghanistan, that he believed it would fall apart, which we're seeing happen very rapidly recently as the US pulled out of Kabul. But here's my take. Imagine for a moment, Netanyahu did listen to Kerry. Imagine Netanyahu left it to the Palestinians in the West Bank to police terrorism on their own without any Israeli oversight at all. Well, I can tell you this much, cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which are very, very close to the West Bank border, would be under constant attack. And Israel, as a fresh reminder, Israel must protect itself or else it could end up like Afghanistan.
We're continuing our six part series on the Kidron saga. We are on our fifth part of our series. And the reason that I call it the Kidron saga is because the Kidron Valley is a specific location in Jerusalem that much of biblical prophecy takes place in. In Jerusalem, there are two mountains. They sit side by side. They sit right next to one another. That's Mount Moriah and that's the Mount of Olives. And we're studying that prophetic tension that exists between these two mountains and what sits in between them. And that's the Kidron Valley. Now, as we enter into our fifth part of the series, I just want to go over that tension that I'm talking about that exists between these two mountains. So let's go back really quick.
The glory, if you remember the glory of God, the physical presence of God, came down and dwelled (shakan, Shekinah) in the temple. God's physical presence was with Israel and Judah for more than 400 years. Remember that. God's physical presence. It wasn't some ethereal concept of God. God came down in a cloud by day and a fire by night. His presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies, atop the Ark of the Covenant.
But Israel and Judah's sin was so bad that God's presence left the temple, and the path that God took to leave the temple, which is found in Ezekiel chapters eight through 11, is what we're looking at here. God left the Holy of Holies, where his physical presence dwelled. He traveled east to the East Gate down the Kidron Valley, and then he went up the Mount of Olives, which is called the Mountain to the East, and he left the people of Israel. The glory, the physical presence, left. God's glory left the temple. This is all very strategic because he shows Ezekiel his physical presence, his glory, leaving the temple before the temple was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians, so that there is no confusion that God was not present in the temple when it was destroyed. It was just an empty building at that time.
When the Jewish people were commissioned by God to rebuild the temple nearly 70 years later, to the surprise of the Jewish people that were rebuilding it, the physical presence that once inhabited the Tabernacle in the first temple built by Solomon, it never returned. The Holy of Holies was empty. There was no Ark of the Covenant. God wanted the Jewish people to build the temple. It's what we read about in the prophets, but his presence never returned like in the days of the first temple. Now, if you want to get inside the head of a Jewish person living during the days of Jesus, let me tell you, they were waiting for the moment that God's glory would return to the Holy of Holies. And they believe that the Messiah, the king of Israel, would usher it in.
Well God's glory, his physical presence, it did return to Israel, but not the way they anticipated it. God's glory was manifest in the person and the work of Jesus the Messiah. Just read John 1:14. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." That same word, dwelt (shakan) which is found way back in 1 Kings 8 and Exodus chapter 40 when the physical presence of God dwelled with his people, Israel. But Israel rejected their king. A large portion of Israel rejected their king, just as they rejected God in the Old Testament, they rejected Jesus as well. And he hung on the cross. But remember, he victoriously rose from the grave. And what did Jesus do after he resurrected? He met with his disciples for 40 days, teaching them about the kingdom.
And then he left Jerusalem. He went down the Kidron Valley up to the Mount of Olives, and there he departed. And he followed, think about this, he followed the exact same path God's glory did in the Book of Ezekiel. Now, when Jesus stood atop of the Mount of Olives in the beginning of Acts chapter one, just as God's glory did at the end of Ezekiel chapter 11, as he was standing on top of the Mount of Olives, he said this to his disciples. "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my father promised, which you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." That's Acts chapter one, verses four and five. After Jesus says this, he ascends into heaven. Now, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. And that happened just one chapter later, in Acts chapter two, the Holy Spirit came down. And after Peter preached, 3,000 Jewish people were saved that day.
Amazing. It was the birth of the church. But I want you to see how the writers of the New Testament define believers. That's you, that's me, who are listening. If you believe that Jesus is the Messiah who was born a virgin, who died on your behalf and resurrected on the third day and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, if you believe that, then you are someone who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. But I want you to see how some of the New Testament writers define this concept of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for us today. Listen to this. 2 Corinthians chapter five, verse four says this. "For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are way down, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."
Look, the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians here highlights our bodies as tents, that same root word that is connected to the coming of the glory of God and the tabernacle and the temple, and even in the person and work of Jesus the Messiah, that your body is a tent. And what happened? It's been indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Listen to what Peter says in 2 Peter, 1:13. He writes this. "Indeed, as long as I am in this tabernacle," same word, "I consider it right to stir you up by way of reminder since I know that my tabernacle," talking about his body, "will soon be removed because our Lord Jesus revealed this to me." Again, even Peter calls his body a tabernacle. That means there's something in that tabernacle, there's something in that tent, his body, that makes him special. There's the indwelt Holy Spirit that sets him apart.
But really, I think Paul nails it here when he's talking about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the presence of the spirit of God dwelling in us, changing us more into the image of Christ. Listen to what Paul writes here again in 2 Corinthians. He says, "So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times," Paul writes, "I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me, for the sake of Christ then I am content with my weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities, for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Listen, Paul is saying that the tent, our bodies, our flesh, it's prone to pride and arrogance. But to keep Paul humble, he's received a thorn in the flesh. And Paul believes God gave him a thorn so that he would boast in Christ and not himself. Remember, he writes, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Now here's what's interesting. That word for rest is the same exact word found in Exodus chapter 40 when it talks about the physical presence of God coming down into the tabernacle. It's the same word from 1 Kings chapter eight, which talks about the dwelling of God's physical presence, the glory of God, coming down and inhabiting the temple, the First Temple built by Solomon. It's the same word used in John 1:14, when the glory came down to dwell (shakan) in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
And now the Holy Spirit, which Christ promised in Acts chapter one, has come to dwell in you. I actually think the new American Standard and the NRSV get the better translation here. The New American Standard version says, "And he has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me." Look, we are walking tabernacles for the Lord. His spirit has indwelled us just as it indwelt the temple. God's presence is with us wherever we go. You know, when I first got a hold of this concept, that the presence of God is with me, it not only humbled me, but it kind of woke me up to the reality of how I honor God with this tent, my body.
If God's presence is really in me through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, then what I put in this tent through my sight, my touch, my taste, the sounds I hear, all of it matters. I always tell my kids to be careful what they are watching or listening to because the garbage that you see and hear, it's not passive. It actually filters into your head and into your heart. If God's presence is real in our lives... And I think we should cling to what the Apostle Paul teaches in Philippians chapter four, verse eight, when he writes this. "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Now we're continuing our study here on the Kidron saga. And the Kidron Valley actually is in Jerusalem. Remember I said it sits between Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. The city of Jerusalem, it has been the center of the world's attention throughout history, but its greatest moments are yet to come. Dr. Randall Price has a phenomenal book called Jerusalem in Prophecy and it digs into Scripture to explain how major Bible prophecies will converge and culminate in this very city, Jerusalem, in the end times. Listen, I really want you to get your hands on a copy of Dr. Randall Price's book Jerusalem in Prophecy. You're going to find out what's going to happen, who's going to be involved and how God will fulfill prophecy in Jerusalem in this comprehensive study, Jerusalem in Prophecy. Steve, can you let our listeners know how they can purchase their copy of Dr. Randall Price's book?
Steve Conover: Yeah. The quickest way to learn more or to purchase your copy is to visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio dot O-R-G.
Chris Katulka: I want to continue this whole concept of what it means that the glory of God, the presence of God, is dwelling within us. I think it adds a level of responsibility as believers. You know, we all have favorite Bible verses. I have one in the Old Testament, Exodus chapter 34, verses six and seven, and I have one in the New Testament. The beauty of God's Word is that it tells the complete redemptive story through his son, Jesus, from Genesis to Revelation. And yet there are particular verses that we gravitate to because they speak to us in various times of our life. There are several verses that I've highlighted and underlined in my Bible, but really the verse in the New Testament that's had a profound impact on my walk with the Lord is Romans chapter six, verse four. In this one little verse, I believe Paul is saying a lot about the believer's relationship with Christ in very little words. That's what's so amazing about it.
And I think it's really worth commenting on today as we talk about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in these tents that we have. As Paul and Peter highlight the fact that our bodies are like tents. They're like little tabernacles that the glory of God through the work of the Holy Spirit has inhabited, really. Now let me read Romans chapter six, verse four. It says this. Paul writes, "Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Can I tell you, for the longest time, I considered myself simply a recipient of the salvation that came from Christ atoning sacrifice on the cross. However, when I came across Romans 6:4 many, many years ago, my understanding of my relationship with Christ completely changed.
I came to realize that we're not just recipients, but we are actively participants with him. That's amazing. Paul says in Romans chapter six, verse four, "You have been baptized into the death and burial of the Lord Jesus." That word baptized there carries the meaning of identification, which means you identify with Christ's death and burial. That is, we didn't just sit on the sidelines when we placed our faith in Christ and surrendered our life to him. We became participants in his death and burial. Our old self died with Christ, and it was buried with him. There's a lot of activity that's happening there on a spiritual plane. Paul goes on to say that if we've been identified with Christ's death and burial, then we've also become participants in his glorious resurrection.
If you've ever wondered how Jesus resurrected from the dead, Paul actually explains it in Romans chapter six, verse four. Do you hear it when I read it? That as Jesus' body was laying in the dark tomb, God acted. And it says, "The glory of the Father raised him up from the dead." I love that Paul uses the word glory there because we've seen that word glory all throughout this Kidron saga series that we've been doing, how the glory came down, the weightiness of God, the heaviness of God, the glory of God came down in the tabernacle, in the temple, in the person and work of Jesus. And here, the glory of the Father raised Jesus up from the dead. And just as Paul told us earlier, we've been identified with Christ's death and burial. Now we've been associated with his resurrection. Our old self died and was buried with Christ, but Christ didn't remain in a tomb and neither did we. We've received a new nature. Better yet, a new disposition on life.
If you believe in Jesus the Messiah, you are no longer the same you were before. You're a new person with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And since we have the power of God on our side, we have the capability of walking, I love this, in newness of life, as Paul says. Dr. Renald Showers writes this in his book, The New Nature. Paul is teaching that there is some sense in which a person actually experiences resurrection with Christ when that person becomes a Christian. We experience a spiritual resurrection in a sense, and yet we await that day when our salvation is complete and our bodies physically resurrect. I always get excited whenever I think about this notion, that the very glory of the Father, the power of God that physically raised Christ from the dead, think about this, now lives within each and every believer, enabling us to live a resurrected life today.
Paul uses the verb to walk in a most particular way. He uses it in a way to suggest the realm of possibility. English versions will translate the verb that you might walk. I believe Paul understood that even though we have the new disposition, we also still battle the flesh just as we heard from Paul in the first segment, that he had a thorn in his flesh. Now listen, Paul, didn't say to you, "Now you will be new," that now that you've been identified with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, you will be new. No, he didn't say that. Instead, he implies that the believers with a new disposition have every spiritual resource and tool provided by the Holy Spirit, that you might walk in newness of life. So let me ask you a question. Are you living in light of the fact that God's presence is dwelling in you? We don't have to wait for heaven. Paul's telling us that even now we can live a resurrected life today.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: Last week I had an extraordinary experience. As I was walking with my children in the Old City of Jerusalem, on the way to buy groceries, we passed an ice cream parlor. David asked me to buy him an ice cream cone, and naturally Ruth, Meno, and Victor wanted the same. And so, we went inside and bought the treats. As the children were eating their ice cream, I noticed a man sitting at a table reading aloud the Psalms. I knew this man and realized that he was not the Psalm-reading type, so I asked him if someone in his family was sick. It is customary among Jewish people to read the Psalms when a family member is sick. "No," he replied. "No one in my family is sick." He then led me into a back room, where I saw four men sitting at a table, playing cards. Intrigued, I asked, "What does reading the Psalms have to do with playing cards?" He told me a sad and sordid story.
He was a habitual card player and had lost all his money. In desperation, he went to a so-called wise man for advice. This wise man counseled him to borrow more money and hire an expert card player to win back what he had lost. He therefore borrowed a considerable amount of money and even pawned his wife's gold watch, which he had given to her before their marriage. Then he started to recite the Psalms, thinking that would help him win back his money and his wife's gold watch. Soon, however, he had lost the borrowed money and the money received from the watch. Now he was ashamed and even afraid to go home. "What shall I do?" he asked in despair.
"First," I replied, "you must immediately stop playing cards or participating in any other form of gambling. Otherwise, you will suffer an even greater calamity. Then you must pray to God to give you a new heart and a new spirit." In his anxiety and embarrassment, he promised to do all that I had told him, but he begged me to go home with him, as he was ashamed and afraid of his wife and children.
After completing my shopping, I took my children home and then accompanied this man to his home. Then I found his wife, distraught and very angry. The children looked hungry and dirty and lacked proper clothing and shoes. I spoke quietly to his wife and told her she should try and forgive him. Otherwise, the situation would become even more desperate. Little by little, I managed to quiet her. Her husband wept and promised never to play cards again. But I told him, "Unless you accept the Messiah into your heart, you will never be able to keep that promise."
His wife then asked, "How can a decent man like you befriend such a wretch as my husband, whose sins weigh more than he himself?" I told her that our Savior came to heal those who were sick, people just like her husband. "It is possible," I said, "that the Lord allowed him to get into this predicament so that he would realize his own helplessness. Perhaps God used me as His messenger to help him." After I left, the husband and wife were reconciled. A few days later he found a job, and now he works at my side. Last Sabbath, I went to this family's home and took them with me to our place of worship. After the service, I invited them to my home for dinner. Let us pray for the salvation of this family. The Lord is able.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for joining us today. Next week we wrap up our series.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, we're going to be looking at our final installment of the Kidron saga, and we're going to look at Revelation chapter 21, verse three. We're going to see how God brings to conclusion everything that he's been driving us towards here.
Steve Conover: We do hope you join us then. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Jerusalem in Prophecy
Apples of Gold: The Peacemaker
Seeing a man distraught one evening, Zvi approached him and asked if he was okay. When he heard the man had spent all of his money on gambling, Zvi told him he needed to find peace from the only One who could change his heart. The man had relationships to repair with his family, so Zvi helped the man get home to tell his wife the truth about his gambling. He then took time to share God’s promises for everlasting life with them.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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