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Saturday, November 18, 2006

THE MIND OF CHRIST: The Other: Neither Male Nor Female

Exploring Christian Concepts, Teaching, Doctrines, News, Commands, and lessons.

The Other: Neither Male nor Female

January 7th, 2006

The reason the first premise, at the very least in the Church must be the breaking down of walls between Jew and Greek, is because it set the foundation for a Church where belief and love mattered more than all other differences. It was not an abandonment of the Law of God: quite the contrary, for in Christ, in the Messiah, belief,faith and Love were put in their proper order, and rather than abandoning the laws of separation between the Jews and others, the new command established them. In the Old Testament [the Torah, Tenach] the commands of separation were to

1)Keep the Line of Messiah Pure, and
2)Protect Israel from falling into Sin and unbelief.

Both of these reasons were meant to set apart a Holy, Sanctified, dedicated and anointed people, of God's Choosing, who would bear his Glory, do His Will and be loved by Him. As Gentiles came to the faith through belief in the Jewish Messiah, they were adopted into the vine and made heirs of the promises and convenants, adopted as children into God's Chosen people. They did not REPLACE God's chosen people. So essentially, in belief we become a part, albeit grafted in, of the vine of Israel, the Chosen, for the same purposes : to bear God's Glory, love and be loved by Him, and carry His purposes and plans into the world.

Neither Male nor Female

If we begin to understand why there is no Jew and Gentile in Christ, no point of racial or ethnic division, then we begin to understand what it means when the vail was torn at his death, and why the carnal things that matter so much to us on earth matter far less in Christ.

The Vail was Rent

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;Matthew 27:51
And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.Mark 15:38
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.Luke 23:45

The passages above get some mention in sermons, but not enough attention is paid towards the miracle and significance of what happened the day Jesus died and the vail in the temple was torn in two. The vail in front of the Temple when it moved in the desert with Israel was of scarlet, gold, blue and white: one entered into the Holy Place through it, confronting first sacrifice and then the basin, and through a vail into the Holy of Holies[kodesh kodeshim], inside the Holy Place. It is the separation before the coming of Messiah, between Man and God, and only until that time, a High Priest could enter in to offer up the sacrifice. A vail is mentioned another time in scripture when Moses came down from the Mountain, having been in the presence of God and even his face shone with a remnant of the Glory, but it was so great, that a vail covered his face because sinful man could not look on even a small fragrance of the Glory of God. This is all mentioned because when we talk about the separations and "walls of partition", we have to realize the degree of what was done, not only to take down the vail between man and God, but between all who share in belief and the the Blood of Christ.

The first separation between Jew and Gentile is erased in the 'ikklesia' in the assembly of believers. And the second division, is also held of significantly less importance than belief: the difference between male and female.

This point may seem paradoxical at first, because in the Old and New Testament, both before salvation and after, before Pentecost and after, men and women are admonished greatly about the proper role and order of the sexes. There is a difference between agreeing to the order Christ places in the church and His creation, abiding by His order and sense, and yet still understanding that while we are given different roles and vocations, we are equal before Him: we are equal in His Love, in His Plan, and in His gifts! His order does not contradict His Love and equity.

Men and Women are given the task together to 'show' or manifest the Church and God's love in this world. In a marriage, we are admonished to allow male headship, and female submission, but in a joint effort, with two equals agreeing to the roles, both of which are excellent and critical in God's way. The husband is commanded to show Christ's love for the Church, loving his wife as Christ loves the Church [Ephesians 5:25]. The wife is commanded to show the 'Bride' of Christ in surrender to her husband's headship, in loving him and building him up as the Church is to love Christ as head. We tend to devalue what we see as a 'lesser' role of the woman but it is not lesser: it is different, and properly balanced, the two, husband and wife, made into one flesh, show Christ and His Church, and His Love to the World. It is a joint venture, a joint mission, and a dynamic, living pleasing relationship when it is in careful balance. Unfortunately, most do not keep it in balance and that is when i becomes burdensome. Headship of a church of family too often disintegrates into domination, and submission is often overthrown in its wake, or becomes a form of emotional slavery. In proper order and holiness, though, it is a mutual obedience filled with joy and peace, meeting the needs of each.

This principle carries to males and females in the Church: while there have been female ministers and some even very good, and some out of utter necessity or the Gospel would not have been preached, but it is not God's perfect order for a woman to 'head' a church: on the other hand, too many men do not realize, that God's perfect order is Christ as the head, and the 'bishop' as a servant-leader. Our concern with whether men should have certain jobs in the House of God or whether women can take those roles, is partly doctrinal and partly carnal. It is clearly 'doctrine' [His] that men should take leadership under Christ in the Church. On the other hand, there are multiple tasks and roles which women are mentioned having in God's will in the Old and New Covenants: Huldah was a prophetess and 'college' professor, Esther headed half of Persia, and saved her nation, Deborah took a man [Barak]'s place in battle winning victory and rising as a mother in Israel to become a Judge of Israel, and in the New Testament, Prisca AND Aquila headed a church and taught, and Phoebe is mentioned also in the highest esteem: Anna, a prophetess announces in addition to Simeon the premiere nature of Christ's ministry at the time of His dedication and circumcision. So the distorted repeating of 'women are to keep silence in the Church' will not totally do but must be fit into the whole of scripture, while at the same time not defacing or defaming the very Holy Order of male and female roles in the Church. If God calls a woman to do a job which is normally a man's, it is often because no man would respond to the call, or it is in judgment to shame men to take their rightful roles. When Israel sinned, God noted that women and children would become their judges. If they are anointed and appointed, even women CAN do what God has called them to do and indeed they must: they would be disobedient not to. However, it will often not work nearly as smoothly as when the Church is in proper order. When women and children take over most of the roles in a church it is a sign of God's judgment: in a nation it is the same. Deborah arose after raising a family in Israel to do God's will and say what was right. Why? Because no man was doing the right thing and Israel was failing because of it. Her phrase is astounding:

...they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel. Judges 5:7.


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