When a person first becomes a Christian there is great rejoicing in the Heavenly Realm.  There should be great rejoicing on Earth as well, but sometimes, here it is a bit subdued.  This is how the Kingdom of GOD has become today, the things that have great Spiritual relevance and importance are seen as unimportant here on earth.  What do we mean by that you may ask?  GOD has placed great store in HIS Children to represent HIM here on this earth, therefore the things of GOD's Heavenly domain should be reflected in and through HIS Children here on this planet.  But it is not happening, and the Church just keeps carrying on in the same old way as it has for generations. 

When a person comes from darkness into a place of great light it is quite literally a life-changing experience, even if they don't feel it at the time.  They have moved from a place where their destiny was to be thrown into the Lake of Fire, instead, they are now moved into a place of Heavenly Delight.  And it is our job to see that they get into that delightful place.   Our GOD is all POWER, HE is all AUTHORITY, HE is ALL KNOWING, HE is ALL COMPASSION and HE is ALL LOVE.  Since we are made in HIS Image and HIS Likeness then we too have these qualities.  It is true that satan robbed these qualities from us and replaced them with his version of them, but the great news is that at the Cross of Calvary our LORD JESUS took them all back from that evil one and gave them right back to us.  This is called Redemption.

Some have made fun of my constant mention of my favourite Scripture verses (Genesis 1:26 and 28), but how can anyone ignore the things that our GOD has shown them to be of vital importance, how can I walk away from this life-changing scripture?  It jumps off the page every time I go near it.  It is, to me at least, the most important foundational scripture in the whole Bible.  If we do not know what GOD intended for Mankind when HE first said HE was going to create us, then we have no understanding of what HIS original intentions for us, was or is.

GOD created Mankind with all of the qualities, all of the attributes, and all of the Love and Compassion that is inherent in GOD HIMSELF.  And HE gave these qualities to us so that we would reflect HIM in everything that we do, say, or even think.

On my studies of that verse 26, I was puzzled by the closeness of two words, they were "Image" and "Likeness".  As I was once a professional photographer in my past I have an understanding of seeing a likeness of someone or something in a photographic image, so to me, these two words meant the same thing, but when I spent time with the LORD, seeking HIS understanding of this passage, HE showed me the true importance of studying  them.

In Gen 1:26 we see the word "Image" and we automatically think of an object or person  being the same as something or someone, but when we look back into the original language used by the writer of that passage, then we get a better understanding of what the writer was saying at that time.

The word "image"  was originally written in the Hebrew language, It is the Hebrew word   tselem, pronounced tseh'-lem, and it is from an unused root meaning "to shade"; a "phantom", that is, (figuratively) "illusion", "resemblance;" hence a representative figure.   Whereas the word "Likeness" has the number H1823. The original word is  demûth  Pronounced dem-ooth' and it means:-- resemblance; concretely model, shape; adverbially like: - fashion, like (-ness, as), manner, similitude.

As we can see, both words actually mean "resemblance" yet their meanings differ greatly.  What is different about them is what they actually resemble.  Image means to represent a figure and Likeness means to be just like someone or something in the same manner or similitude.   That means that we are to Represent the one whose Image we are made in and to be just like HIM in our manner and similitude.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word similitude is:--  1a: counterpart, double   1b: a visible likeness: image   2: an imaginative comparison: simile   3a: correspondence in kind or quality   3b: a point of comparison

Our Likeness to GOD is as HIS Counterpart, or a  double for GOD. Does that mean that we are GOD; Of course not, but it means that we were made to be just like HIM.  When people see us they should be seeing GOD because we are HIS exact double.  We are HIS visible Likeness. 

That next word in the definition above is "simile" and it simply means:  comparing two unlike things, it is often introduced by words such as "like" or "as", (for example," as in cheeks like roses", or in," that Child is just like their Father").  That means that even though we are NOT GOD we are just like HIM.

When GOD made us in that exact Image of HIMSELF there had to be a reason for that.  And that reason is found in the last part of Genesis 1:26, we were created to have dominion over this world that GOD created for us.   Please let the importance of that statement sink into you,

GOD did NOT make this world for HIM to rule over, HE made it for Mankind to rule over.

Whenever you hear someone say that there cannot be a loving GOD if HE allows these wars and troubles to go on, point them to this truth, GOD gave Mankind the right to rule over this planet, not HIMSELF, so don't let them blame GOD for something that we have responsibility for.  It was Man that allowed, and even caused the problems that we see happening in this world today.

If Mankind (Adam and Eve) had done as GOD had commanded them to do, then those problems would not have existed.  But Mankind listened to the devil and they obeyed him rather than obey GOD.  In doing so they handed over all of that Power and Authority that GOD had created them with to the one that they obeyed, they handed it all over to the devil.

That was the bad news, but the good news is that JESUS took it all back from the devil and gave that Authority back to those who call HIM LORD.  And it was at the Cross where HE did it.   Those who refuse to follow JESUS sadly, are still subject to the whims of the devil, they still live in his tainted world.  

In John 8: 23-24 we see where JESUS is talking to the Jews in the Temple and telling them that because they refuse to accept HIM as the Messiah they are of a different world as HE is,  John 8:23  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.   John 8:24  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Here's some more good news, John 17:14  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 

Just as JESUS said to HIS FATHER in John 8:23 that HE was not of this world; So too does HE also say in John 17:14 that those who follow HIM are NOT of this world either.  Those who follow the devil are of this world, but the good news is that we who follow JESUS are NOT of this world, but are of the Kingdom of GOD. 

We have seen above that the earliest members of Mankind failed in their job and as a result, the world has been in trouble ever since, but what has the Body of CHRIST JESUS done about it ever since, not a very good job perhaps? JESUS left this world in the hands of just 12 men, they went out into the world, with the HOLY SPIRIT working in them, in their lifetimes they increased the number of Disciples into the millions,  If they could do that in just 30 – 50 years, and we have had almost 2000 years since then, at that rate of multiplication the number of Christians should now count into the high Billions, but it doesn't.  So what has happened to the Church of the post Cross days?  It is as if they have gone to sleep, or is that Church dead?  Whatever the cause, the result is the same, people are going to hell because the Church is not doing it's job.   Christianity is not just about our Salvation, it is about the Salvation of all of the people right throughout the world.

The LORD has spoken to both Anne and I and told us to tell the Church, "It is time for the Church to arise and take off their Grave Clothes" just as HE told Lazarus to "Come forth" from the Grave, so too is HE saying to us today, "Arise and come forth, be the Church that I have called you to be, take off your Grave clothes for I have set you free to do as I have done, now arise and follow me," says the LORD.

John 11:43  And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.   John 11:44  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go. 

As mentioned above, for too long now the Church has not been doing it's job, BUT, now it's up to us to make a decision, are we going to continue in our dead works, or are we going to rise up and show the world that there is a GOD, HE Loves them so much that HE gave HIS only begotten SON to die for them so that they may live with HIM forever, they need to know that.

This may appear to be a hard Teaching Letter, but the simple truth is, as we look around us we see too many souls going to the Grave without receiving JESUS as their LORD and Saviour, or at least being told about JESUS so that they can make their own choice.  This is because we, the Church, have not been serious about being Christians (myself included).  If we are just content to go to Church and be comfortable in knowing that we are going to Heaven, then be aware that when we do finally arrive in Heaven,  we who have been given this responsibility to represent GOD are going to be judged on what we HAVE NOT DONE, as well as what we have done.  I know what I have chosen, what about you?

Don Phillips   09/06/2019