The God of this Age isn’t who you think!

There is an often quoted scripture in 2 Corinthians 4:4 which most pastors and commentators believe is a reference to Satan. “The God of this age has blinded the eyes of the unbeliever.” In a very generic sense, it is true that we could say that unbelievers are blind to the gospel and that the devil deserves the blame, yet I do not believe that an honest exegesis of 2 Corinthians 3-4 can arrive at the conclusion that Paul was writing about Satan. We will begin earlier in the letter to arrive at a proper context. Open your Bible and follow along.

This section of the letter begins with contrasts between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant is not the Old Testament. The Old Covenant is the Mosaic covenant from Mount Sinai specifically. I will bring out the core contrasts as follows: Old Covenant Reality -> New Covenant Reality

2 Corinthians 3:3, 7

Written with ink -> Written by the Spirit

Tablets of Stone -> Tablets of human hearts

2 Corinthians 3:6

The Letter kills -> The Spirit gives life

2 Corinthians 3:7

The OC was Transitory -> (See 2 Cor. 3:11, NC not transitory)

2 Corinthians 3:8

Came with Glory -> Has even more Glory

2 Corinthians 3:9

Glorious yet condemning -> Even more Glorious and brings Righteousness

2 Corinthians 3:10

Was Glorious but in comparison it has no glory -> Has surpassing glory

2 Corinthians 3:11

The Transitory had glory -> Has much more glory and it lasts, not transitory

(In summary, our New Covenant is written on the heart, it brings life not death, it brings righteousness not condemnation, it has surpassing glory, and it lasts and is not transitory.)

THEREFORE

2 Corinthians 3:13

Moses veiled his fading glory -> whereas we have hope and are bold

(OT reference, Exodus 34:29-35)

The Apostle Paul filled 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 with repetitive statements for emphasis.

  1. For to this day…
  2. Even to this day…
  1. When the OC is read…
  2. When Moses is read…
  1. The same veil remains…
  2. A veil covers their heart…
  1. Their minds were made hard… (Same word as petrified stone)
  2. A veil covers their hearts…
  1. Only in Christ is it taken away…
  2. When anyone turns to the Lord it is taken away…

A veil blocks glory, in Christ the glory blockage is removed

Even in the 1st century a veil covered their hearts

(Moses veiled his face/and the 1st century unbelievers had veiled hearts)

The same veil remains when the OC is read -> In Christ the veil is removed

Another way to say it:

Facing Moses caused a veil over the heart -> turning to face Christ the veil was removed

2 Corinthians 3:17

Where the Spirit is, there is freedom. (The NC brought us freedom)

2 Corinthians 3:18

Moses wore a veil over his face -> whereas we reflect with an unveiled face

Moses had a decreasing glory -> We have an ever-increasing glory

(In summary, Moses had a decreasing/fading glory, he wore a veil to cover the fading glory. In Christ we have an ever-increasing glory and no veil over our face, rather we actually reflect His Glory.)

(For bonus points: The word for veiled in 2 Corinthians 3:13-18, is Kalumma, which is the noun form of the verb Kalupto. In Revelation 1:1 it says, “The Revelation [AnaKalupto] of Jesus Christ” or the unveiling. The only place in the New Testament which mentions “Kalumma” is 2 Corinthians 3:13-18. So we know as a fact that the only NT Veil was the Old Covenant.)

THEREFORE

2 Corinthians 4:1-2

(The NC brought us life, righteousness, increasing glory, freedom, an unveiled face to boldly reflect Him, it removed the veil from our hearts and minds.)

Therefore: We set aside our old ways

(The NC affects our practical life. The tablets of stone told us what to do, the NC changes us and we naturally do the right thing)

2 Corinthians 4:3

Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those that are perishing

(The gospel isn’t supposed to be veiled, because its glory is being reflected from our unveiled faces.)

2 Corinthians 4:4

The God of this age [AION] has blinded the mind [NOEMA] of the unbeliever. (2 Cor. 4:4)

Notice that Paul writes, “this age,” so he was speaking in the present tense. As you will recognize from my other writings, the end of the old covenant age was coming in 70AD with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. So Paul uses the same greek word for age, AION.

So what was the god [theos], which had blinded the mind [NOEMA] of the unbelievers? Well, Paul seems to refer to this back in 2 Cor. 3:14: “But their minds [NOEMA] were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains…” But before we make the small jump to understanding what Paul was saying, let’s see that he talked about this similarly in his first letter to the Corinthians.

“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age [AION] or of the rulers of this age [AION], who are doomed to pass away [70AD perhaps?]. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden [ANAKRUPTO] and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age [AION] understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–these are the things God has revealed [ANAKALUPTO] to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Although Paul doesn’t say the word “veiled,” he uses a similar Greek word, ANAKRUPTO. Then he speaks of the temple leaders as the rulers of the AION, and reinforces how the gospel was veiled to all eyes, ears and human minds by quoting from Isaiah 64:4. Then he says that the spirit has unveiled [ANAKALUPTO] the deep things of God to us.

In summary, in 1 Corinthians 2, the temple rulers of the Old Covenant Age were blind and unable to understand the gospel, so they crucified the king of glory. Yet the believer has had the New Covenant unveiled to them, so we fathom all the riches in Christ.

Then Paul picks up the same theme in 2 Corinthians 3-4 and instead of talking about the temple rulers of the Old Covenant Age, this time he writes about their god, which was the Old Covenant itself and how it blinded the eyes of the first century unbelievers.

To say that Paul is suddenly speaking of Satan in 2 Corinthians 4:4 requires, in my opinion, a high level of eisegesis and is utter rubbish. It is much more plausible to say that the rulers of the OC Age were the temple rulers (1 Cor 2:6-10) and that their god was the Old Covenant itself (2 Cor 4:4)

PS. Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs. As you may have heard, Welton Academy enrollment has reopened for the Fall 2015 semester. THERE ARE ONLY 76 DAYS left to sign up and we are losing these spots very quickly. Please don’t procrastinate! You can go to WeltonAcademy.com to get in before our 2000 spots are sold out.

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Is the New Covenant really between the Father and Jesus?!? Or is Welton just Crazy?

Upon hearing the idea that the New Covenant was made between the Father and Son, some have had difficultly accepting this idea. There are numerous reasons that this conclusion is the most sensible, here we will work through the main points.

  1. No New Testament writer speaks of us as being in a covenant relationship with God. At least when Old Testament Israel was brought into a covenant relationship with God, they knew it was happening. In Exodus 19-20 (as well as Deuteronomy 5) we see the record of obligations and Kinship covenant ceremony ratified. Then in Deuteronomy 27 we see the people responding “amen” at length in regard to the Vassal covenant. Yet the New Covenant isn’t mentioned until the Last Supper, and Jesus doesn’t ratify the covenant with His disciples at the dinner, He simply announces that He will be making a New Covenant. There is no covenant blood-shedding ceremony, which takes place.
  1. The Ark of the Covenant between the Father and Son is in Heaven (Revelation 11:19). As we learned about how tribes had arks, which housed their covenants, here we find that the New Covenant ark is in heaven, where no earth-bound human had access. This is why Hebrews 9:11-28 tells us about Jesus going into the heavenly tabernacle to seal the New Covenant with the Father in His blood. If the Father were making a renewed old covenant, Jesus would have put His blood on the old Ark of the Old Covenant. And if the Father were making the New Covenant with the Church, then He would have to give us a new physical ark upon the earth. Yet because the New Covenant happens between God the Father and God the Incarnate Son, They keep the Ark to themselves and put His blood upon it once and for all.
  1. We receive our benefit not specifically by covenant, but by inheritance. “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Hebrews 9:15

Jesus and the Father made a covenant, and then by marriage (Romans 7:1-6) we received all that Christ received by covenant as our inheritance through His death, and then He came back from the dead to join us and make sure we got by inheritance everything He willed to us.

  1. We see a clear example of covenant language in John 17:10, “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.” As Harold Eberle writes in his forthcoming work, Father-Son Theology, “The Hebraic understanding of covenant entails two parties joining their lives. The covenant means that what one person owns the other person owns. This is similar to a modern marriage in which two people share all possessions. If a woman has a million dollar debt before she gets married, her husband will have a million dollar debt after they get married. (Page 442-443)” Therefore John 17:10 is is an extremely clear indicator of Covenant Language between the Father and Son.
  1. In Hebrews 8:8, 10 we see a quote from the prophet Jeremiah regarding the coming New Covenant which he says will be with Israel and Judah. For the Dispensationalist mind, this is a stumbling block because this is read as physical-literal Israel of the Old Testament. Yet that is not how the writer of Hebrews uses the quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Although the quote is in Hebrews 8:8-12, I will abbreviate the surrounding context so that we can see what the writer of Hebrews is doing and why he includes this Jeremiah quote:

Hebrews 8:1-2 Jesus is a greater high priest

Hebrews 8:3-5 Jesus serves in heaven not in the earthly tabernacle, which was a copy and shadow of the greater reality

Hebrews 8:6 Jesus’ Priesthood ministry is far superior to the Levites, even as His covenant is far superior to their old covenant

Hebrews 8:7 If there was nothing wrong with the old covenant, He wouldn’t have replaced it

Hebrews 8:8-9 The human component was the problem with the old covenant. By the end of verse nine we see that the people were not faithful and God turned away from them.

Hebrews 8:10-13 He lays out the rest of what the New Covenant will look like

Hebrews 9:1-10 The old covenant system and tabernacle was a shadow of examples which pointed to the reality in Christ. The external only held until the new order came

Hebrews 9:11-14 Christ created the New Covenant with the Father by His perfect blood in the heavenly tabernacle.

Hebrews 9:15 Jesus is the mediator that received the New Covenant similar to how Moses was the mediator that received the old covenant, yet the New Covenant people are not partners, we are named as inheritors.

Hebrews 9:16-28 Jesus died to give us the inheritance (vs 16-17), then went into heaven to appear to God on our behalf (vs 24).

The fact is that the writer of Hebrews is pulling from Jeremiah to say that a New Covenant was coming, but then He spends his time disregarding the failed old system, which has been replaced by Jesus’ New Covenant system of perfect cleansing and forgiveness. To take the quote from Jeremiah and force a literal reading is to abuse what the writer of Hebrews is actually doing.

Another little known fact is that the New Testament writers understood Jesus to be the new Israel. Notice how the change occurs in the following three passages.

  • “Then say to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” Exodus 4:22-23a
  • “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Hosea 11:1
  • “So he (Joseph) got up, took the child (Jesus) and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:14-15

What does Matthew mean by quoting from Hosea 11:1 and saying that Jesus fulfilled this passage? Obviously he saw that Israel was a shadow, which pointed to Jesus who is the reality.

(These additions will be added to future printings of Understanding the Whole Bible by Dr. Welton)

PS. Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs. As you may have heard, Welton Academy enrollment has reopened for the Fall 2015 semester. (THERE ARE ONLY 76 DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER) You can go to WeltonAcademy.com to get in before our 2000 spots are sold out.

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Three ways to destroy a manuscript

I receive a lot of requests from fellow authors that are looking for endorsements and if I have relationship with the author, I typically try to make the time to do this for them.

I have recently noticed a trend, which it may be helpful to point out to aspiring authors. It is not a trend in the content, but a trend in the style. There are three things specifically that I want to bring attention to: Forewords, Fonts and Formatting.

  1. Foreword

When someone sends me a book that reads, “Forward by…” My soul cringes. I instantly wonder if I will be capable of wading through this unedited piece of self-publishing. Seriously, let’s have a moment of silence for those that don’t seem to know that “Forward” is a direction, whereas the only thing at the beginning of a book is a “Foreword” as in a “Before-Word,” a word that comes before the book. Worse still are those that can’t spell, so they write “Foreward” Thus combining foreword and forward, into a word that doesn’t even exist!

  1. Fonts

If you hate your readers and you don’t want anyone to buy or read your books, then use Arial font. Allow me to explain.

Serif: “In typography, a serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol, such as when handwriting is separated into distinct units for a typewriter or typesetter. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface.” ~Wikipedia (Examples include Garamond and Times New Roman, universally the most readable typeface.)

Sans Serif: “A category of typefaces that do not use serifs, small lines at the ends of characters. Popular sans serif fonts include Helvetica, Avant Garde, Arial, and Geneva. According to most studies, sans serif fonts are more difficult to read.” ~Wikipedia

When I receive a manuscript in a Sans Serif font, I immediately change the font to Times New Roman or Garamond, so that I am not exhausted to even look at the page. Please, if you want to gather endorsements from leaders, make it easy to read and don’t make this mistake.

  1. Formatting

There are wonderful self-published books that are so incredibly difficult to read and the simple reason boils down to bad formatting. Lines are not properly spaced, margins are too narrow, there are no sub headings, the style and design is mind-numbingly boring. This is so unnecessary! Find a person known as a “Paginator.” Don’t use a volunteer. If your book is worth reading, it is worth designing a beautiful interior.

I hope that these three clarifications will help my fellow authors widen their readership. Be Blessed!

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From My Heart

It has been a long time since I kept up with blogging weekly, for that I apologize.

I have always tried to hold to this rule, “if I don’t have anything valuable to add, then I hold my tongue.” And I haven’t felt inspired to blog in quite a while; therefore I didn’t toss content out there just for you to suffer through my uninspired thoughts.

Actually, I want to be transparent with you, I have been feeling discouraged for a few months now. It was about mid-March when I began to feel this creeping feeling of mild depression.

I have been learning a lot about myself in the last semester of Welton Academy, as we have been studying personality types, StrengthsFinder, and love languages. On the StrengthsFinder, my highest score was for “Focus.” That was very insightful for me to understand about myself.

I began to see that when March hit, I had completed a lot of large projects that have consumed my focus for a very long time. Without having those items in front of me, it felt like I lost a sense of focus, purpose and direction.

As I have been praying this week, the Lord asked me “what was my driving motivation” and I answered “freedom” (in the past I would have answered “truth,” but I came to understand that truth leads to freedom and it was actually freedom that motivated me the last five years).

He continued to speak and asked, “freedom for what?” (I love that He didn’t say “freedom from what?” which I would have had obvious answers for regarding our old nature.)

I thought for a moment and couldn’t come up with an answer….

He said, “Freedom to love fully.” In all my pursuit of freedom, I hadn’t considered the purpose of freedom. It is not freedom for comfort or selfishness, it is freedom from all the things that disempower love, calling and identity.

Freedom is not the end goal. Love is.

I lost sight of this somewhere.

I had become tired with the debates, the mean online comments, and the endless questions in my email.

Maybe it wasn’t noticeable on the outside, but inside I felt like I had packed up camp, loaded my luggage and was ready to take a long vacation away from other humans.

I didn’t want to feel this way and tried to shake it off many times, but I kept feeling like I was going in a circle: Pop my head up, get involved, be engaged, get my face slapped, step back to reevaluate, and get discouraged from popping my head up again. Then regain a little courage to go around the cycle again. Blah.

As the Lord talked to me about love, He reminded me of a verse that I haven’t thought about in a long time, 2 Corinthians 5:14a “For Christ’s love compels us…”

In other words, if Christ’s love is in the gas tank, the car will function perfectly.

Over the last three months, my heart has been slightly askew, and I haven’t been walking fully in love the way that I want to be walking. As a champion for freedom, I want to not only be free, but to be free to love. To live with an open heart, to have healthy relationships, to embrace the difficulties of life, to embrace those that know how to embrace back, as well as those that don’t.

I am getting back on the love track, yet if I have disappointed, hurt, or caused you injury in the last three months, I ask for your forgiveness and for the opportunity to start fresh. Thank you for your continued prayers and love. So many of you have poured out love and encouragement and it is greatly appreciated.

My personal conviction for the rest of May and the month of June is to spend time reading and meditating on 1 Corinthians 13 daily. It would be lovely to have you join me.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blogs, I love and value each of you,

Jonathan Welton

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Prophets in the Wilderness, Now FREE!

Three years ago, Jonathan Welton and Ben Valence headed into the woods in Upstate NY for a week of hiking. They filmed the experience as a reality show.

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See the 1 minute Trailer here

The whole series of six episodes is now available for free on youtube.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Don’t forget to subscribe to the NewCovenantRevolution youtube channel

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My Apostolic Commissioning

I have gone by a lot of titles in ministry in the last few years: Author, Itinerate, Prophet, Seer, Teacher, Theologian, Professor, and Doctor.

In the last 18 months, I have received multiple prophetic words from trustworthy individuals stating that I am called as an apostle, but that I was in a waiting pattern until leadership in the Body of Christ determined to commission me. This was confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to me.

On March 14th (sorry this update is late!), two recognized apostles: Robert Muncy and Dr. Harold Eberle both laid hands on me and commissioned me as a “sent one” into my calling. Over the next week, I experienced three types of interactions: people gave me confused looks and asked a bunch of questions, I’ve also had people congratulate me, and I’ve had others say, “man, that was long overdue!”

 

I wanted to write to bring clarity on a few things.

In the white middle-class American churches, we are afraid of the title of “Apostle.” I say this specifically because I have traveled far and wide; and when I leave America, people are not as afraid of this term, and I have been to over a dozen African American churches here in the states which are completely uninhibited by the use of “Apostle.” Our white middle-class suburban churches have made a mistake by disregarding the term “apostle.”

In the New Testament, the term “pastor” appears ONE TIME! It’s only use is in Ephesians 4:11. Whereas the word “apostle” appears over 120 times and there are 22 named apostles in the NT. Biblically we see a lot more apostles and a lot less pastors, but that’s none of my business ;)

I am not going to get into an in-depth study on apostles here, yet I do want to clarify that I am not awkward about the term because I am clear on the function.

I understand from the NT that the higher the gift of leadership, the more feet that leader is called to wash. As a Prophet I washed a lot of feet in the Body of Christ, yet as an Apostle, I am handed more rags, a few more buckets and thousands more feet are lined up for me. I recognize that I stepped into the function of serving the Body of Christ apostolically when I started Welton Academy in September 2013. Yet after a waiting period from the Holy Spirit, an official time of recognition arrived.

This is incredibly biblical. We see a similar pattern in Paul’s life. The traveling team of Barnabas and Saul were traveling around the early church. When they spent time in Antioch, the Prophets and Teachers there determined to lay hands on Saul and commission him as an apostle.

“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:1-3

After this commissioning, Saul was then called Paul, and Paul’s name began to always appear before Barnabas’ name, rather than Barnabas being listed first. This signals a significant shift in the leadership gifting on Paul’s life. Impartation occurs by the laying on of hands and a release of grace empowerment occurs as well.

Although I am not bashful about the apostolic, and about operating in its function, I am actually a very reserved person. I don’t like titles in general, and I would encourage you not to use titles when it isn’t needed. When it is needful is when it helps bring clarity.

All that to say, please don’t call me Apostle Welton. It’s weird, people aren’t used to it and it’s not typically helpful. My name is Jonathan, call me Jonathan; I know that people are trying to be respectful when they put a title before my name when introducing me. But if you respect me, I’ll feel it, even without the awkward title.

Please excuse me, I have some feet to wash

Be Blessed

Author, Itinerate, Prophet, Seer, Teacher, Theologian, Professor, Doctor, Apostle Jonathan Jim Welton the First ;)

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Welton Academy Staff Retreat

The first week of January was the first annual Welton Academy Staff Retreat. If you haven’t been following the changes, let me give you a quick update.

Karen and I were with Randy Clark for 3 years in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; we then moved back home to Rochester NY and launched out into full time itinerate ministry (I was part time for about 2 years before the move). So for about 6 years we focused on itinerate ministry and about 18 months ago we launched the first year of Welton Academy.

We thought that we would have maybe 100 students in our first year, what we didn’t plan for was that we had over 500 students register. This meant that I had to move from 6 years of working with a part time administrator to having a whole team of staff members. Now 18 months later we have 9 incredible core team members.

Leading a group like this has been a new endeavor. I have always loved listening to audiobooks from the business sector. Having run my own Roofing Company for 3 years in my early twenties, I find business fascinating. Having a large ministry is similar to having a business in the sense that they are both organizations with a purpose and goal, and both have teams to accomplish that goal.

We have a few intentional things that we do. We have a video Skype call every two weeks with all our staff. Our team members live everywhere: Arizona, Alabama, Washington, Delaware, Virginia, Illinois, California, and New York. Like Southwest Airlines, we employ mostly stay at home moms.

We also have a weekly prayer hour on Mondays, and each month we have a different staff prayer partner, which we pray for. With having remote staff members, it has been our challenge to meld hearts and build community. So having an annual staff retreat was an incredible time for connecting. Every week of this year (2015) has been incredible and I will tell you about some of my other trips in the coming blogs, but our time together as a staff was exceptionally special.

The Lord has truly blessed Karen and I by surrounding us with people that carry   the same heart and dreams. I am so excited about the dreams that are coming from the heart of our staff and how we will be walking these out over the next few years. By wading into their dreams, I can tell you this, Welton Academy has barely gotten its feet wet.

Please be praying for favor, health, rest and strategy over all our staff and Welton Academy as a whole.

We love and appreciate you,

Dr. Jonathan Welton

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