Incense and offering to God’s name from gentiles

glory-sunshine-from-the-edge_1152x864_71915Malachi 1:11: For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.

Incense directly talks about prayer in the New Testament (Luke 1:10, Revelation 8:4), and offering refers to praise (Hebrews 13:15).

The prophetic possibilities being unveiled in the focus verse foresees the incoming of the gentiles in the church age. The church age began when Jesus said it is finished; even though it really was kick-started by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The declarative statement of Jesus saying it is finished together with His resurrection took care of the issue of sin (Romans 8:3, 2Corinthians 5:21). The Holy Spirit came 10 days after the ascension to put a seal on the work of Jesus in the life of the believers and to spread the benefit of the death and resurrection of Jesus through the believers to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8, 2:1-4, 5:32), the gentiles inclusive.

Jesus had told them that the coming of the Holy Spirit is so that the disciples will be his witnesses from Judea and Samaria to the uttermost part of the world; they probably thought that means preaching to Jews who were scattered throughout the world. Because when the first wave of persecution hit the church and the believers in Jerusalem dispersed, they preached only to Israelites that they meet in their new places.

The first major effort to reach the gentile was spearheaded by Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1-3). Even at that they still devoted a big chunk of their time to speaking at the synagogues of the Jews.

However, there were gentile proselytes of Judaism, who have been attracted to the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, as revealed in the Torah and the work of the prophets. But they do not deceive themselves about their place in the scheme of things; they are second class citizens in that religious setting. But the message of the gospel preached by Paul offers full access to both gentile and Jews and the gentile were rushing into the kingdom, they are being called back to their creator.

Therefore the Jews were very angry against the team of Paul and Barnabas because they preach that a new order has come where God requires nothing except faith in Jesus Christ. The Jews would hear none of it and were ready to kill them because they are destroying the very foundation of their “faith”, which is about natural lineage from Abraham Isaac and Jacob. It was if he was making mockery of their antecedent, saying God does not regard their lineage now. It was a blow to them. They reacted by stoning and physically manhandling the preachers of the gospel.

Peter preached that Jesus is the Messiah that the Jews have been waiting for as the Apostles to the Jews (Galatians 2:8). Paul preached that Jesus by his sacrifice makes it possible for anyone under the sun to be in an intimate relationship with God, their creator, and the ultimate judge through the sacrifice of his son.

From the experience of Paul, the gentile nations’ resistance to the gospel is because of threat to their idols (Acts 19:22-41). The major persecution from gentile that Paul and his team faced from gentiles was because their spiritual work was affecting the sales of the idols; and another time when he cast out a demonic spirit of divination, and the people making profit from the possessed woman stirred up a riot against Paul and his team (Acts 16:16-24).

So when reaching out to non-Jews (gentiles, the category most people on earth belong to), get ready to confront some idols (ungodly system of worship) and some satanic entrenchments (satanic power in operation); because this is the time for the fullness of the gentiles to come in (Romans 11:25), and come in they will.

Paul said: I make myself all things to all men that I may win some (1Corinthians 9:22); woe is me if I preach not the gospel (1Corinthians 9:16). He called himself apostle and teacher of the gentiles in truth (1Timothy 2:7, 2Timothy 1:11). The church has the mandate to reach the world, the words of the focus verse is coming to pass in increasing measure. There are Christians in all nations of the world who observe the practice of prayer and praise to God.

Prayer and praise are common practices of Christianity. Prayer is inculcated in the life of new Christians (Acts 2:42). And David wrote: praise waits for you oh lord in Zion (Psalm 65:1). The church life should be a praise life. (Zion equals the church in the New Testament context.)

If you are not interested in praising God, it means you have constituted yourself into a god, or you are blind to the greatness of the one true God.

And if you are not interested in praying, then we should doubt whether you are a Christian at all. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption through whom we say to God, Abba father (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6). That is a language of connection, of attachment.  Therefore as a Christian, you will want to pray, you will want to connect with your father in heaven.

However, there is nothing historically logical about that for a gentile (which includes me) because his lineage all along was not in the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who’s God, the Lord, the creator is. Her parents may be idol worshippers or agnostics, or haters of God for that matter; there may be no social connection with God the father our Lord Jesus Christ, like a person born in a Muslim country.

But regardless of whether your family or social lineage is anti-God, by the Holy Spirit coming into you when you received Jesus, you automatically connect with God as father, connect with God as Abba  father, because through Jesus you are now a child of God (John 1:12), regardless of whether you have a “Christian” name or not. You will want to spend time with God. He is your father now. Though you can’t see him, you know his love for you is unquantifiable. And you just want to pray.

The bible says that the Lord inhabits the praise of his people (Psalm 22:3), and adds that whoever offers praise honours God (Psalm 50:23). While prayer is communion, praise is honour, both in relation to God.

The focus verse shows that the practice of praise and communion will be the hallmark of the church age, in the midst of the darkness rising in the world, the church (comprising of both Jews and gentiles who have come to know the Lord) will arise in praise and prayer; and as prophesied by Isaiah that though thick darkness will cover the nations, the glory of the Lord will be seen on the people of God (Isaiah 60:1-2).

Isaiah had a vision of the Lord and angels around him saying: holy, holy, holy is the lord God almighty all the earth is full of his glory. The multiplication of that glory will soon be seen on God’s people. Because with praise and prayer, we draw the glory of God; He inhabits the praise; and prayer makes His tremendous power available (James 5:16-18).

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