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In early August ten of us met in the high mountains of Colorado to pray, to discern, and to appeal to the Divine Court to bless the earth in fulfillment of His New Covenant promises.
I wrote a full report of this court case in my weblogs after returning to Minnesota, and it is too lengthy to repeat the details of that court case here. However, God gave us some deeper revelations during that time in order to better equip us to do the work that we were required to do. One of the most important revelations was about the nature of the earth that was cursed as a result of Adam’s sin, and how that curse is now being reversed through the New Covenant.
When Adam sinned, the whole earth was affected negatively by the Law of Headship. By that same law, the whole earth was affected in a positive way when Christ performed His righteous act by dying on the cross for the sin of the world. Paul explains this in Romans 5.
One of the key Scripture verses that set forth this legal process is found in Gen. 3:17-19, where God says,
17 … Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; 19 by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Most people think of this curse on the ground as being a curse upon Adam, because he was required to “sweat” in order to have food to eat. But there is a legal reason for this curse that is lost to most Bible teachers.
The Law of Redemption is set forth in Lev. 25. When a man incurred debt, whether through sin or natural causes, he often had to sell his land inheritance and work as a servant for the one who purchased the property. He always retained the right of redemption in case he should be so fortunate as to pay off the debt and repurchase his land. But if he could not do so, the land would revert back to him at the year of Jubilee.
In the interim, however, he was required to work as a servant for his new master. The Law of Redemption applied to this interim prior to the Jubilee, for once the Jubilee trumpet sounded, redemption became irrelevant, because all debts were cancelled and every man returned to his own inheritance.
All sin is reckoned as a debt in the divine law. That is because if a man sinned, he became indebted to his victim. He had to pay double restitution, or sometimes four or five times the amount that he stole (Exodus 22:1-4).
In a biblical court of law, if the sinner (debtor) could not repay this restitution, he was to be “sold for his theft” (Exodus 22:3). Whoever purchased the debtor was called a redeemer, because he took upon himself the liability to pay off the debt of the debtor. In exchange, the redeemer was given the legal right to hold the debtor as his slave/servant for the time specified by the court.
In the ultimate sense, Jesus was our Redeemer, because He took upon Himself the liability for the sins of the whole world when He died on the cross. In exchange, the law gave Him the right to be served by the whole earth.
Yet actually, there was another legal step involved in this transaction. This is what is revealed in Gen. 3:37 in the statement, “cursed is the ground because of you.” The nature of this curse is Adam’s debt that was incurred because of his sin. The earth was made liable for his sin. But this also means that Adam, his family, and his estate were sold to the ground and had to serve the ground.
In other words, the earth became Adam’s redeemer in a legal sense. Because the earth was made responsible for Adam’s debt, the earth functioned as Adam’s redeemer. At the same time, the earth received the right to rule over mankind and to be served by all men.
If the earth had had the ability to pay the debt for Adam’s sin, this ruling in the divine court might have been a blessing to the earth. However, the earth was unable to pay, and so getting the debt note became a curse to the earth.
When Israel entered the Promised Land, they attempted to establish the Kingdom under the Old Covenant. As a nation, they failed because of sin. The theme of the book of Judges is, “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25). In other words, they followed their own conscience, not knowing that “there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).
Our conscience must be guided by the word (law) of God, because death works in us and can easily deceive us. We need the written word to correct and to teach our conscience to be obedient and to see things as God sees them.
The Israelites fell into sin many times while they were in the Promised Land, and so periodically, God “sold them” into the hands of various other nations. He sold them to the king of Mesopotamia in Judg. 3:3, to the king of Canaan in 4:2, and to the king of the Philistines in 10:7.
In each case, the author used legal terminology that was based on Exodus 22:3, where a sinner/debtor was to be “sold for his theft” to a redeemer. In other words, these various nations who put Israel into captivity functioned as legal redeemers. The debt of Israel for its sin was redeemed by Mesopotamia, Canaan, and Philistia, and in each case, Israel was made their servant for a season.
The problem was that those foreign nations wanted to rule over Israel, but they were unable to pay Israel’s debt. So that debt note became a curse to them. So also was it with the earth itself, which could not pay the debt for Adam’s sin. Hence, God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you.” The liability for Adam’s sin had shifted from Adam to the ground (adamah).
The liability for Adam’s sin has been passed around to many nations, giving each the opportunity to function as a redeemer. The debt note is to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom, which is what God has always required. But God has foreordained that Christ should fulfill the requirement, and the overcomers too on a secondary level. Israel as a nation was called to fulfill that role, but as Paul tells us, “that which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest [of the Israelite people, who were NOT chosen] were hardened” (Rom. 11:7).
Israel as a nation sought to fulfill the promises, but failed. The carnal nation of Israel failed, but “those who were chosen obtained it.” The overcoming remnant are the real “chosen people.” The rest were called, but not chosen.
Insofar as the Law of Redemption is concerned, the overcomers are the real Israelites as God defines the term. These true Israelites—not by genealogy but by the law of the Spirit—have done what the carnal nation of Israel could not do. They are redeemers under their Head Redeemer, for they are His body and His witnesses (i.e., “martyrs”). Christ is the Word, and His “Israel” overcomers are His witnesses.
This “Israel” is the one mentioned in Isaiah 41:8, 9,
8 But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant [zerah, “seed”] of Abraham My friend, 9 you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, “You are My servant,” I have chosen you and not rejected you.
Paul tells us in Gal. 3:29 that “Abraham’s seed” are those who belong to Christ, not those who reject Him. In fact, in Rom. 9:8 Paul says,
8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants [sperma, “seed”].
Because Paul makes a distinction between fleshly Israel and “those who were chosen,” it is plain that Isaiah’s prophecy was to be applied to the overcomers and not to the fleshly Israel nation. It is the overcomer nation that God is gathering from the remotest parts of the earth.
When Adam was first called to organize and subdue the earth, he was a spiritual being in an earthen body. Both he and the earth (Adam and the adamah) were fit vessels to house the glory of God. In that sense, heaven was on earth, though heaven’s manifestation was yet incomplete.
When Adam sinned, however, the physical earth received dominion over Adam, and on a more personal level, the earthy part of Adam also received dominion over his spirit. This made Adam “carnal,” and when he began to beget children, they too were born carnal. The practical result of this was this is that we are born under the dominion of the flesh, which is our “dust from the ground.” The only way to reverse this is to be begotten a second time from above by the Holy Spirit. As that New Man matures, it begins to take back the dominion mandate from the earth (dust) and to assert itself. In other words, this New Man begins to exercise the dominion mandate that was lost when Adam was sold to the ground for his sin.
Those who are destined to grow into spiritual maturity are the overcoming remnant. These are the ones called to rule on the earth and subdue it under the feet of Christ. This remnant, however, is being taken from every generation. The complete remnant, then, is not put together until the end of the six days of labor—that is, 6,000 years of Kingdom history—when the last of the remnant has been begotten.
Isaiah 42:10 speaks of the overcoming remnant, saying, “You are My witnesses.” A witness is one who has seen or heard something. Such witnesses cannot be blind or deaf, and hence Paul says that the majority of the Israelites were not of the overcoming remnant. They were blind and deaf and therefore disqualified as witnesses.
In the New Testament, the word for “witness” is martys (Acts 26:16). The word “martyr” comes from this word. A martyr is not necessarily one who has been killed on account of his faith. A martyr is one who does not love his life even to death (Rev. 12:11). He is not a survivalist. Whether he lives or dies, he bears witness to the truth.
The overcoming remnant are a body of witnesses who overcome “the great dragon… who is called the devil and Satan” (Rev. 12:9). Verse 11 says,
11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.
They overcome by two things: the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (martyria), that is, their witness to the truth about the blood of the Lamb.
The law of Witnesses in Deut. 19:15 tells us, “on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” Jesus confirmed this law in Matt. 18:16, and Paul confirmed it in 2 Cor. 13:1.
Christ’s blood was the first witness, and the blood of the overcoming remnant is the second witness. By these two witnesses, the great dragon is cast down. So it is important to note that Rev. 6:9 speaks of the martyrs’ blood in the same terms as with the blood of Christ Himself.
9 And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony [martyria] which they had maintained.
What souls are these? Why are they souls, rather than bodies? It is because when an animal was sacrificed in the temple, its blood was poured out under the altar. The blood is the seat of the soul, and so by pouring out the blood, it was said that the soul was being poured out. In the Laws of Blood, no one was supposed to eat (drink) blood, because its purpose was to atone for our souls. So we read in Lev. 17:11,
11 For the life [nephesh, “soul”] of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life [nephesh, “soul”] that makes atonement.
In other words, the soul was what gave blood its ability to atone for sins that our souls have committed. The blood is the carrier of the soul and has no atonement value apart from the soul that is in it.
When we speak of the blood of the Lamb or the blood of Jesus, we must view His blood as seen in Isaiah 53:12, where it was prophesied, “He hath poured out His soul unto death.” When He shed His blood on the cross, it was not merely blood that was poured out, but His very soul.
When martyrs bear witness of Him, they put their lives on the line, even to the point of having their own blood poured out under the altar of God. A martyr’s blood carries his soul, and God considers his soul to be poured out under the altar. The martyr’s soul is therefore poured out as a sacrifice for the souls of others. Rom. 8:36 quotes Psalm 44:22, saying,
36 Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
When a martyr is persecuted or killed for bearing witness to the truth, a wonderful and marvelous law jumps to the forefront. It is the Law of Victims Rights. All martyrs are, by definition, victims of injustice. Therefore, they are granted rights in the heavenly court.
The heavenly court condemns all injustice and then gives the victims the right to determine the fate of the perpetrator. All victims are given the right either to demand the full penalty or to forgive the sin that made them victims.
By this law, Jesus chose to forgive when He hung on the cross as the ultimate Martyr for bearing witness to the truth (Luke 23:34). By this same law, the martyrs (collectively) receive the keys to the Kingdom, having the right to bind or loose. As witnesses of Christ’s blood, they do what He did. They forgive the people, but also condemn the injustice and the world systems that keep men in bondage to sin and ignorance of the truth.
Abel was the first martyr. Heb. 11:4 says “though he is dead, he still speaks.” This refers to the fact that after he was killed, God told Cain in Gen. 4:10, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.” His death did not silence the voice of his soul. In fact, his martyrdom gave voice to his soul in the courts of heaven.
No doubt his soul was one that cried out for justice in Rev. 6:10. They were told to be patient, because there were other voices that had yet to be heard as they were killed for the sake of the truth. They had to speak as one voice, and this was possibly only after the last martyr’s blood had carried his soul to his place under the altar.
The souls under the altar asked, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:10).
The word for “judging” is krino, “to separate, discern, resolve.” They wanted God to resolve their case.
Secondly, the word “avenging” is ekdikeo, “to vindicate one’s right, to do justice.”
Here we must think with a Hebrew mindset, rather than depend too closely upon the Greek words. In the law God gave heads of households the power of attorney over the house. It was his duty to protect the family and to represent them in legal cases to ensure that they received justice.
They were known as “kinsmen redeemers” (Deut. 19:6, 12; Joshua 20:3, 5). Unfortunately, most translations use the phrase, “avenger of blood” or “revenger of blood,” giving the term a connotation of revenge, rather than justice or resolution. The biblical term is ga’al, which is a redeemer, not an avenger. “Blood” is the same as bloodline or one who is a kinsman. Hence, he is a kinsman redeemer who was to seek godly justice, not carnal vengeance.
The souls under the altar were calling for justice, not vengeance. They wanted to bring their case to a resolution. Once the Judge issues His verdict, condemning the guilty and vindicating the innocent, then the victims themselves are given the right to receive compensation or to forgive.
Lev. 17:12 prohibits men of any race to drink blood:
12 Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, “No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.”
Verse 13 says “he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.”
To drink blood was to be bloodthirsty. The Edomites were condemned in Ezekiel 35:6 for not hating blood. To drink blood is to be a man of violence in Hebrew thought. When Abel’s blood was shed, it was said that Cain had fed the earth the blood of his brother. Gen. 4:11 says,
11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
The cursed ground was bloodthirsty, or violent. Prior to Adam’s sin the ground (like Adam) was suitable as a habitation for the Spirit of God and heaven itself. But once the ground was cursed, it took on a violent nature. The ground was to drink the blood of animals and martyrs. It was to consume souls killed in a violent manner.
The antidote to this is to drink the blood of Jesus and to eat His flesh. John 6:53 says,
53 Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
The same law that places a curse upon those who drink the blood (soul) of men and animals is the law that commands us to drink the blood of Jesus in order to reverse the curse.
We are what we eat (and drink). Violent men, who kill those who bear witness of the truth, are cursed by the law. But the overcoming remnant are those who have eaten Christ’s flesh and have drunk His blood. Christ’s soul has become their soul, and in so doing, they have come into the image and likeness of Christ.
The Hebrew word for “blood” is dam, which is from the root word damah. The word damah is used in Gen. 1:26, where God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness” (damah). To be of one blood with Christ is to be in His likeness. We come into His likeness by drinking His blood—that is, by believing that His words are Truth.
Those who do this are the overcoming remnant and are able to overcome the great dragon by bearing witness to the blood of the Lamb. So let us eat His flesh and drink His blood, so that we may consume His soul and come fully into His likeness.