Mending the Body of Christ Behind Prison Walls
The Revelation of Righteousness
Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). I am amazed at how my desires have been truly satisfied because I have sought the kingdom of God's love and His righteousness. The many desires that used to cloud my mind are no longer important, because I am satisfied basking in God's love.
As a result, "...I am not ashamed of the gospel [good news] of Christ [the anointing], for it[the gospel] is the power of God [love] to salvation [deliverance, healing, soundness, freedom and wholeness] for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God [love] is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just [righteous] shall live by faith'" (Romans 1:16,17, emphasis added).
This is a way to meditate on God's love: by examining the emphasis found in key Scriptures. For example, the Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of God's love. His love brought salvation to us through the finished work of the cross. The free gift of Christ's righteousness placed us in right standing with God. This righteousness is revealed to us through faith. Righteous living, by faith, is the heart of the gospel message.
It is God's love that brings forth the revelation of Christ's righteousness. The Apostle Paul said, "For the love of Christ compels us... that God [love] was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself ... we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God [love] were pleading through us ... For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus] " (2 Corinthians 5:14,20,21).
We are compelled by God's love as ambassadors of Christ, telling the world about the great exchange that Jesus made at His death, burial and resurrection. Christ came to take upon Himself the judgment for our sin, due to the sin nature of Adam. He gave us the gift of His righteousness that was due Him, as the second Adam. This message of God's love and grace compels us to reach the lost.
As an ambassador of Christ, the Apostle Paul made this message very clear to the Romans, saying, "For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace [God's ability] and of the gift of righteousness will reign [rule] in life through the one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).
But not everyone is compelled by love to reign in righteousness. There will be times in ministry when legalistic issues will arise such as Paul wrote about concerning what foods to eat or what day to esteem, saying, "...for the Kingdom of God [love] is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). Those who walk in revealed righteousness will have peace and joy.
The hearts of those in the Body of Christ who insist on walking in the legalistic works of the flesh instead of God's grace will be spoken to prophetically. This was the case with Zerubbabel, who, in his flesh, was weak and lost hope in his ability to rebuild God's temple as he viewed the pile of rubble before his eyes. The Body of Christ [or the temple of God] may appear to be rubble before our eyes, but there is hope.
The Lord spoke to Zerubbabel through Zechariah in a vision. He saw a golden lambstand with a bowl on top it. The seven lamps had seven pipes connected to the bowl, which was being filled by two golden pipes from two olive trees. He saw the olive oil being piped directly from the trees to the lamps without the priest having to supply the power. The Lord said, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit ... Who are you, 0 great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone[completion in Christ] with shouts of 'Grace, grace to it'" (Zechariah 4:6,7).
The Lord went on to confirm to Zerubbabel that his hands would complete the temple, "For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and from throughout the whole earth" (4:10). Be assured, though your work has begun small, the Lord will complete it as you rejoice in Him.
Finally, Zechariah asks the LORD what are the two olive branches that drip the oil into the bowl? The Lord answered, saying, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand before the Lord of the whole earth" (Zechariah 4:11-14).
The common interpretation is that the two trees or anointed ones represent Joshua, the High Priest at the time, and Zerubbabel, the representative of the Davidic King ship. Both of them were "messiahs", or "anointed ones". The expectation of two messiahs is common among some Jewish writings. Together they typify the two functions of Priest and King that are actually united in one Messiah, Jesus.
Jesus came as High Priest to offer the final sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 7:14-17; 10:11-18). He will come again as King to rule over the Earth in righteousness for 1000 years (Revelation 19:11-16; 20:4).
The Apostle John saw a lampstand like the one Zachariah saw. "Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God" (Revelation 4:5b). The revelation continues, "...in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of. God sent out into all the earth" (5:6).
The two trees or anointed ones are Jesus Christ, Who was slain for our sins before the foundation of the world. The oil is the Holy Spirit, Who has regenerated our hearts and lives within us, and Who supplies God's authority and vision for ministry. The seven fold Spirit of God empowers us with the Spirit of (1) wisdom and (2) understanding, the Spirit of (3) counsel and (4) might, the Spirit of (5) knowledge and of the (6) fear of the Lord and of (7) righteousness in Christ (Isaiah 11:1-5).
The work of the ministry is not by our power or might, but by the power of the Spirit of grace. "But where sin abounded, grace [God's ability] abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:20b,21). "For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness" (Romans 6:19b).