Originally published in January 2011...

Years ago on a flight out of West Palm Beach, Florida, we had just become airborne over the ocean when a boy sitting next to the window grabbed my arm. "Look out there!," he spoke, "Look!" What I saw was one of the most magnificent sights of my life. Reaching down to the surface of the ocean and rising overhead as far as I could see was the full, unbroken circle of a rainbow. The color was indescribably brilliant with the lower part of the ring seeming to float on the surface of the water. There was not a gap in it--just the breathtaking color of God's beautiful sign of Covenant. Genesis 9:13.

I had learned a short time before that the complete rainbow, like the wedding band, is a continuous ring. It is much, much more than the mere half-circle we see from ground-level. At best, our earth-bound view reveals only part. To behold the bow's full circumference it is necessary to be above the earth looking down. The spiritual application of that truth is obvious: In this present life, we grasp only a fragment of the wisdom and strategy of God. Not until we are in Heaven looking back at history will we be able to understand the full-scope of His plan and purpose in our lives. Believers who grasp this holy truth now, seeing themselves already seated with Christ "in heavenly places," Ephesians 1:3,20. find that it releases faith powerfully within them. When life is unfair, disappointing, painful, we need to be reminded that the view from above is very different from the one below. William Cowper saw this reality nearly three centuries ago and wrote,

"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning Providence,
He hides a smiling face.
Cheer up, ye saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds you so much dread
Are rich with mercies and shall break
In blessings on your head ..."

Cowper's words and the indescribable beauty of God's Covenant were still going through my mind as our plane left the rainbow behind. Leaning back in a state of awe, a series of revelations began flooding me. First was the amazing, spiritual beauty of the bow; its colors were ethereal, unreal. Secondly, its endless circle, representing the complete cycle of God's loving, sovereign perfection in creation, was overwhelming. Nothing was omitted from its meaning. The smallest, microscopic sea-life below me to the largest galaxy in space, were all contained in the scope of His unified plan. The apex of that purpose was the redemption of man.

Covenant-truth, issuing from the Kingdom of God, is as wide as the Universe, encompassing all the wisdom, work, and wonder, of God. My mind was overwhelmed with what seemed to be scientific and theological facts radiating in all directions around me. Each was a unique display of His Covenant-plan. In that flashing moment I understood more about the glory of God than ever before. This fact seized me. All truth, regardless of its rising from the Old Testament or the New, whether it comes from Scripture or true scientific discovery, points toward one ultimate reality: God is One; God is love; God is power. Creation pulsates with that. Jesus, the One by whom the "worlds were framed," Hebrews 11:3, John 1:1, is the incarnation of all three. His Resurrection, as an explosion of that triangular-truth, defeated every opposing principle of disunity, hatefulness, and weakness, in existence.

Wonderfully, the Holy Spirit showed me the relationship between the rainbow and another Biblical, Covenant-sign: Circumcision. It too, is circular. The revelation that took place there on the plane went light-years beyond everything I had understood about circumcision before. Circumcision means "circular cutting." Some of this may seem indelicate to share but the message is too valuable to allow modesty to interfere. Beginning with Abraham, every Hebrew male bore in his body this physical sign of God's Covenant. Suddenly, I realized that the miles-wide rainbow and the few inches of circumcision were identical. Each contained all the glory, beauty, majesty, of the other. With that realization, an important question came: "Why did God place the Covenant-sign on the male genitals?" The answer which was awesome, came in one of those giant facts: First of all: The rainbow, as the greatest visible Covenant-sign in Creation, like a "Crown of Heaven," was transferred to the body of Covenant-man. Secondly, God willed that the conception of every Hebrew child take place in the mother’s womb and the Covenant-sign of his father. Half of the genes of every future generation passed through his father's Covenant-ring. God wanted that mysterious, creative act of conception in which others made "in His image" and "in His likeness," Genesis 1:26, take place within the "Sign of the Covenant."

By a painful cutting-away, shedding of blood, circumcision is the "uncovering" of maleness. In Scriptural typology, it is the exposing of man to His God. If you study the covering–and uncovering–of Tabernacle furnishings in the Old Testament, Numbers 4:5-12, you will understand more of the parabolic teaching present here. Exodus 35:12, etc. Again, this may seem indelicate but I will say it anyway: In the marriage act, the Hebrew groom's penetrating the bride's Temple-body, the shedding of her hymen-blood, and the opening of her Temple vail, was done precisely where his own Covenant-blood had earlier been shed. In the process of their being united into one, each met the Covenant-requirement of giving blood for the other. Hear this: The man gave his blood for her; she gave her blood to him.

The New Testament makes the Covenant-meaning of circumcision more beautiful than that which the Old Testament revealed. The death and resurrection of Jesus transformed circumcision into an experience of the heart. It is no longer limited to the flesh. "He is a Jew who is one inwardly, for circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit, not in the letter, whose praise is not from men but from God." Romans 2:29. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision avails anything, but a new creation." Galatians 5:6, 6:15. Being far more than a physical cutting of the outer flesh, it is now man's inner being, his heart, that bears the Sign of Covenant. No longer an earthly sign, it is now a Heavenly one, begetting ultimate relationship with the Creator-Father.

But the Sign of the Covenant goes far beyond Noah's rainbow, Abraham's circumcision, William Cowper's encouragement, or our struggling against the seeming unfairness of life. In a remarkable way, the Holy Spirit's miraculous gifts to the church are also revealed through their Covenant-purpose and meaning. I Corinthians 12-14. Believers who find themselves powerless and insufficient should be encouraged to know that the gifts of the Spirit are Covenant-provisions which Jesus gladly imparts to all. We have a beautiful example of this spiritual-gifting in the Old Testament. Specifically: "And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold." Genesis 24:22.

Here is an important point: The sign of the Covenant is revealed through the charismatic gifts of the Spirit. I Corinthians 12. This truth is seldom seen--but is absolutely magnificent once we grasp it. We can best understand the principle through a parabolic example in the Old Testament. It is this: Abraham sent his servant to get a bride for his son Isaac. The young woman chosen for this honor was Rebekah. In Scriptural typology, Abraham represents God the Father, the servant represents the Holy Spirit, Isaac represents Jesus the Son. Rebekah symbolizes the Church. Her name means "circles" or "loops of a rope." The imagery of the rope suggests her being "inside the circle" of God's providence and grace. This is a true concept of Covenant. And in keeping with the Covenant-tradition, as soon as the servant identified Rebekah as God's chosen one, he presented her with golden "rings." Genesis 24:22. The shape of these gifts, circles, conveyed an important message which she understood. They were like binding-loops that encircled her engagement to Isaac.

Hear this point carefully: These bracelets and rings were not wedding gifts. They were "engagement" gifts. Even today, brides frequently receive two rings, one before the wedding; the other at the wedding. So it was with Rebekah. First came the engagement gift; these were followed with wedding gifts. In a similar way, Jesus sends "engagement" gifts to the Church in advance of her receiving the wedding gifts. The Church's wedding gifts, which are beyond human comprehension, will not be given until the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:9. But, please hear me carefully about gifts which come in advance of the Wedding: The charismatic gifts which the Church is now receiving, Acts 1:5,8, by which she "tastes the powers of the age to come," Hebrews 6:5, Ephesians 1:21, are engagement gifts. Through them, the Groom is showing the Bride the "glories of His Father's house." This parallel of Rebekah and the Church is exact. While Rebekah's gifts spoke of Isaac's love, they also revealed Abraham's great wealth. In the same way Rebekah had never met the man to whom she was engaged, so the Church has yet to meet her Royal Bridegroom.

The gifts Jesus is now sending through the Holy Spirit correspond to the rings and bracelets given Rebekah by Abraham's servant.

I spoke at a Baptist Church where many members were still opposed to spiritual gifts. They did not understand the miraculous operations of God and drew back from them. I explained that Christians who reject the gifts of the Spirit, I Corinthians 12:1-11, are actually telling the Heavenly Servant, "I don't like that bracelet. Put it back in your box! I won't wear it." Rebekah's acting in such ugliness is unthinkable. Not so with modern, self-centered Christians. Many become irate, incensed, at the mere suggestion of their experiencing the Holy Spirit's miraculous gifts. The gift of tongues is the primary offender because it is the only one of the grace-gifts that is deliberately designed to attack man's ego and pride. Many in that Baptist congregation saw the ugliness of their having rejected spiritual gifts and came forward, repentant, saying, "I don't fully understand the Holy Spirit’s gifting--but I want whatever bracelet God has for me! Pray that I will receive it!"

"And upon its hem (the robe of the High Priest) you shall make pomegranates ... and bells of gold: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around." Exodus 28:33,34.

Finally, it is important that you understand the Covenant-meaning of the golden bells and pomegranates decorating the hem of the High Priests garment. Jesus is the High Priest portrayed in Israel's Tabernacle worship. Hebrews 3:1. The pomegranates and bells on his garment symbolize the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9, and the gifts of the Spirit. I Corinthians 12:4-11. As Jesus bears both fruit and gifts, so those who would be like Him must bear the same. Christians who reject any of the gifts are ripping them off the garment of Jesus. Don't do it. When viewed from the bottom, the bell is a perfectly round ring. It is through that circular opening (the gift in operation) that the music of the Spirit is heard. When Scripture says, "Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound," Psalm 89:15, it speaks of those who have seen the circle of God's Covenant and rejoiced in the sound ringing from it. That ring is as wide as the rainbow or as small as the scar on a man's body.
One of the great hymn writers said, "All nature sings and round me rings, the music of the spheres."Receive the gifts. Wear the bracelets. Accept the message of the rainbow. See the revelation of the pomegranates, golden bells, and circumcision. Its all there!

I REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR IN A DIFFERENT WAY

The day Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor the American flag flying above the U.S. Naval base at Honolulu had a second flag beneath it: It was a simple white banner containing the Cross of Christ. In full view, and with the approval of every government office from Hawaii to the White House, the Cross shared the same pole with Old Glory. No one dared challenge it. From the 1776 birth of this Nation forward, the Cross protected believer and unbeliever alike, identifying, defending, fortifying, the moral fabric and heritage of the nation.

I remember the Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941, when every radio broadcast across the land was suddenly interrupted with the news of the Japanese attack. At the time I was an eleven year old boy standing in our yard in Miami, Florida, and ran to the window to find out why the adults in the house had begun shouting. Pearl Harbor was being bombed. We soon learned that one of our neighbors was killed on the Arizona. Four years later, as a High School student, I remember my class breaking into shouting when the announcement came that the war was over. We had won! Japan had surrendered unconditionally. Germany soon followed. That night Flagler Street and Biscayne Boulevard were jammed with people dancing, shouting, crying, laughing, in the streets. Today, we are losing a different war. As I write this, the 5% minority of Americans atheists--and their unscrupulous politicians--are organizing efforts to remove the Cross from the graves of the very soldiers who died to preserve it. Not only so, the 5% are determined to destroy the rights and heritage of the 95% by eliminating every reference to God in public life.

Our Forefathers did not leave us without guidance concerning faith in public matters. They emphatically expressed their posture in the Declaration of Independence when they said: "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, and Fortunes and our sacred Honor." In 1892 the United States Supreme Court followed their example by declaring "Our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind." Every President until now has sought the Nation’s prayers. Not so with Obama. He refused the White House participation in the National Day of Prayer then publicly took part in a Muslim “Call to prayer”. America, are you blind? This President’s behavior slaps the face of all American heritage and truth. The attack is two-fold: Destroy Christianity and throw open the door to Islam. The 5% are steadily moving forward. More alarmingly, the 95% are letting them get away with it. The Cross no longer flies above Pearl Harbor. America! Wake up and speak up! CC

REPRODUCING BY DYING Story Of A Single Grain Of Corn

One grain of American corn (Indian corn) in the first generation produces a solitary stalk with possibly 5 ears. Each ear may contain 900 seed each. That first grain reproduces itself by giving birth to approximately 4,500 seed. If you planted all those seed and each reproduced proportionately the second generation would yield 16,000,000 seed. If all those were planted and brought forth their maximum potential the third year would produce 72,000,000,000 seed. Statistics for the fourth-year harvest gets off the charts. That is a lot of corn! Never underestimate the power of a small beginning. Jesus began His ministry with 12 ordinary men. Today there are more than 2, 000,000,000 Christians worldwide. With corn there can be productivity only in cross-pollination. Identically, there can be no Christian productivity except by our impregnation with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus in the Jordan, the disciples in the Upper Room, us today as we personally receive Him. He, alone, is the source for the church’s power. His crop is guaranteed to be good! The death of self is a significant point. Jesus explained it this way: “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:23-26.

He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." Mark 4:26-29.
CC