Go To Meeting

Roy Assanti—May 16, 2020

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I want to begin with reading something to you, a little bit of history.

How a Rejected Block of Marble Became the World's Most Famous Statue

At the start of the 16th century the Opera del Duomo—the committee of officials…had a tricky unfinished project on its hands. A document from 1501 refers to a massive barely begun statue, "a certain man of marble, named David, badly blocked out and laid on its back in the courtyard."

A statue of David, the Biblical hero who slayed the giant Goliath, had been ordered in 1464. This commission went to Agostino…. For unknown reasons Agostino abandoned the project after doing only a little work, mostly roughing out around the legs.

Another sculptor, Antonio Rossellino, was hired to take over the project in 1476, but he backed out almost immediately, citing the poor quality of the marble…. Left without a sculptor but too expensive to throw away, the massive slab sat out in the elements for a quarter century.

In the summer of 1501 a new effort was made to find a sculptor who could finish the statue. The 26-year-old sculptor Michelangelo was chosen and given two years to complete it….

It is said that Michelangelo stated that he saw David in that block of stone. What happened is that he never really admitted this, but what actually really happened was that he chiseled and polished away on everything that was not the David.

This has not been historically confirmed that he said it, but that nonetheless is what he did. He saw the David in that stone.

Gal. 4:19—there are comparisons here, spiritual comparisons, to our calling and the work of God. The example of a master sculptor and his masterpiece are reminiscent of the work of God in those whom He calls and leads in this time.

Galatians 4:19: My little children, for whom I am again laboring in pain until Christ has been formed in you"—the very character of God!

This block of marble[transcriber's correction], the comparison there was an inferior marble. Various sculptors just let it go, they calculated and said no, it not going to be worth our time.

Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, because those whom He did foreknow He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His own Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren" (vs 28-29).

God does not call the greater model of character in those whom He seeks. He calls the inferior stone, the inferior material to work with. There's a reason for it; it's a vital part of His plan.

1-Corinthians 1:26: "For you see your calling, brethren, that there are not many who are wise according to the flesh, not many who are powerful, not many who are highborn among you."

Those whom God calls at this time are not brilliant specimens of intelligence, wisdom, ability, capability; not many!

Verse 27: "Rather, God has chosen the… [inferior marble] …foolish things of the world, so that He might put to shame those who are wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things."

If anybody thinks they are fantastic, 'I've got these abilities,' and God is calling you, that is the criteria that the great God has used in choosing those whom He calls at this time.

Verse 28: And the lowborn of the world, and the despised has God chosen—even the things that are counted as nothing—in order that He might bring to nothing the things that are; so that no flesh might glory in His presence" (vs 28-29).

There's a reason for that. This is on purpose and there's a specific reason for it.

  • What is God doing?
  • Why is this so?

God has these clumps of clay, and that's what we are. We go back to dirt! We are dirt! Clumps of clay! God is molding them into His likeness, the likeness of His character.

Genesis 2:7: "Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." That was the start of the project!

Genesis 1:26: "And God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image…'"

We're looking at the Most High and the Logos whom we know are God the Father and Jesus Christ.

"…after Our likeness…" (v 26)—just like Us, the way We are!

In 1-Cor. 15[transcriber's correction] is recorded part two of the process.

  • the flesh, blood; the mud and dirt

that's what we really are

  • 1-Corinthians 15:45: "Accordingly, it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul; the last Adam became an ever-living Spirit.' However, the spiritual was not first, but the natural—then the spiritual" (vs 45-46).

A two part process!

Verse 47: "The first man is of the earth—made of dust. The second Man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, so also are all those… [all the living that we know] …who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly One, so also are all those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the one made of dust…" (vs 47-49). That's a big one! That's a mouth full!

"…we shall also bear the image of the heavenly One. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit… [permanence] …the Kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption" (vs 49-50).

We know these Scriptures that I'm going through, some may not, but many will. The change and the strivings that we are going to encounter, the trials, the tests that come our way, that's what causes the molding of the character! When we push against our will and we need to change, that's what it's about.

There are counts of character that are cut out of us, as we're formed and changed that we don't conform to the image of what we are now, but the image of what we will be.

So, let's take a brief look at the heavenly realm. Today we see flesh and blood. Let's have a brief look at what the image of the heavenly will be like. 

1-John 3:2: "Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be; but we know that when He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him exactly as He is."

When we look at our physical life, we're used to seeing flesh. We see cats, dogs, elephants, horses, etc., etc. We see ourselves as flesh and blood, physical and temporary.

What about God's realm; let's look things in the spirit realm. We have to have our mind's eye and imagination focused here, especially the imagination.

Revelation 10:1: "Then I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud, and with a rainbow on his head; and his face was like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire."

Here it seems like John is looking for words to describe something totally out of the human experience.

Here's another one, here we get a glimpse of God's realm, where He is:

Daniel 7:9: I watched until thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days sat, Whose raiment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His Throne was like flames of fire…"

Words escaped Daniel as he's trying to describe what he sees.

"…and its wheels like burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before Him. A thousand thousands… [a million] …ministered unto Him… [and more here]: …and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court sat and the books were opened" (vs 9-10).

The spirit realm is completely different from the physical realm. This is just a keyhole view of what the spiritual realm is like.

Revelation 1:13: "And in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of man… [Christ] …clothed in a garment reaching to the feet, and girded about the chest with a golden breastplate. And His head and hair were like white wool, white as snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire" (vs 13-14).

  • What kind of power is this?
  • What kind of existence?

Certainly not flesh and blood like we're used to.

Verse 15: "And His feet were like fine brass, as if they glowed in a furnace…" power emanating! What kind of life is this?

"…and His voice was like the sound of many waters" (v 15).

Have you ever stood by the seashore and you hear the waves coming in. Amplify that many times; a roar! We're talking raw pulsating power!

Verse 16: "And in His right hand He had seven stars, and a sharp two-edged sword went out of His mouth, and His countenance…"

The way He looked! To look at His face, it would be a silly thing to look at the sun, I can tell you; but this is in vision.

"…was as the sun shining in its full power…. [What kind of existence are we looking at] …And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead; but He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last'" (vs 16-17).

What about the time when the firstfruit had changed? The first ones to be changed into this kind of existence, what happens there? Is Isa. 60 a hint? Could this be the actual words—like many waters in its roar—powerful utterances? Could this summarize what the firstborn will actually hear at a time of worldwide woe? There's a supernatural intervention in world affairs! This is what happens, Imagine many waters; powerful!

Isaiah 60:1: "Arise, shine; for your Light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you."

Will we hear words like that when the first resurrection takes place.

Verse 2: "For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the LORD shall arise upon you, and His glory…"

  • Can we imagine what we're talking about here?
  • Can we imagine a new state of life?

It's almost unimaginable, but it says it!

"…and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light… [face shining like the sun] …and kings to the brightness of your rising" (vs 2-3).

Is Rev. 20 another account of the very same event?

Revelation 20:4: And I saw thrones; and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus…"

Something must have happened; loved not their lives to the end., because they saw a greater treasure.

"…and for the Word of God, and those who did not worship the beast or his image, and did not receive the mark in their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived… [rose, arisen and shined] …and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were completed.) This is the first resurrection" (vs 4-5).

That is the vision of the destiny of what spirit life is like; just a brief look/glimpse. It sounds spectacular and incredible.

Something is needed for God to create unending life in the spirit realm. Job 38 shows us that God created spirit life first, before the earth was made, pre-mankind, before mankind was put on this earth. This narrative tells us a little bit about it.

Then a debacle occurred. So, we are going into a little bit of pre-human history as revealed by God's Word. Here is God. a Master Builder, speaking to Job:

Job 38:4: "Where were you [Job] …when I laid the foundations of the earth?…."—to create it/make it! This is what happened at that time; the only way we can know it.

Verse 7: "When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" That's the reaction that it had on them!

This verse in Job, we learn that there were morning stars and that there were sons of God. And this is before the creation of man. Eventually, with this pre-Adamic man created beings, something went wrong. Something went terribly wrong. The very best that God can create, spirit creature, went astray. However, things went wrong. We're speaking of a great angel, a cherub here, and we're cutting into the narrative in:

Ezekiel 28:13: "You have been in Eden, the Garden of God; every precious stone was your covering…"

As we go on we're not talking about any man. It is talking about a spirit created being:

"…the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your settings and of your sockets was prepared in you in the day that you were created. You were the anointed cherub that covers…" (vs 13-14).

What does that mean? That covered the very Throne of God! There are other cherubs that cover the Throne of God, and the Ark of the Covenant gives us an idea (Exo. 25:8-20). The Ark of the Covenant represents God's Throne. It is interesting that only two are mentioned 'from wing tip to wing tip': two cherubs.

Was there originally three at God's Throne? It's an interesting thought!

"…and I set you so; you were upon the Holy mountain of God…" (v 14).

Look at the spiritual realm. We can't just read passed this; this is an actual place that flesh and blood can't see, can't experience. But words tell us that it's there!

"…you were upon the Holy mountain of God… [where God's Government is] …you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled your midst with violence, and you have sinned. Therefore, I will cast you as profane from the mountain of God, and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from among the stones of fire"  (vs 14-16). Covering the Throne of God!

Verse17: "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty…"—wanted more, 'I'm better than this'! Something happened to the character of this cherub.

"…you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness. I will cast you to the ground; I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you" (v 17).

Rev. 12:4 gives us another indication of the advents that happened before the creation of man. It's in the spiritual realm. This is more fascinating than science fiction; it's incredible!

Revelation 12:4: "And his… [the dragon (v 3)] …tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven… [the angelic beings] …and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to deliver, so that he might devour her child when she gave birth."

Originally, there were three cherubs that covered the Throne of God, and I ask: Because this cherub swept away a third of the angelic realm, were a third of each of these cherubs that are mentioned: Gabriel and Michael, as well.

  • What happened?
  • What caused this debacle?
  • What caused this rebellious war? Trouble?
  • What caused it?

Isaiah 14:12: "How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!" There were nations before the creation of man!

What could have caused it? Perhaps this shinning star wanted more! Perhaps he went to God and petitioned repeatedly, but was denied and said, 'No!' It would have taken time to convince a third of these angelic spiritual beings to turn around against God.

  • Is this what caused it?
  • Is this the kind of thinking?

Verse 13: "For you have said in your heart, 'I will ascend into the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north…. [a spiritual place] …I will ascend above the heights of the clouds…" (vs 13-14).

They were given the earth as a habitation to live in, and as the start they rejoiced, as we will see.

"…I will be… [this is in the heart of this great cherub]: …like the Most High."


  • Was this shinning star, son of the morning, going to be or seeking to be above the Throne, above Michael and Gabriel?
  • Was he seeking to be #3?
  • Could this be the source of the teaching of the triune God, the trinity?

Three: the Father, the Logos/Christ and the bright shinning star

The result of the rebellion of a third of the angelic realm:

Jude 13: "Raging waves of the sea, casting up like foam their own ignominious shame; wandering stars… [that's the hint] …for whom has been reserved the blackest darkness forever!"

Flesh and blood dies; they don't live forever. It talks about stars—which refers to the angelic realm—and they have reserved "…the blackest darkness forever!"

  • What now?
  • What next after this debacle?
  • What next in God's plan?

How could this plan for eternal righteousness, character by free will be guaranteed never to have rebellion. Godly creatures serving in harmony, beauty, love and care. Is this (Ezek. 18:4) when God made this decision?

Ezekiel 18:4: "Behold, all souls are Mine…. [all people] …As the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son, they are Mine. The soul that sins, it shall die."

Now there's a decree, and that is God gives them a choice: choose life or you don't get life! You get a taste of life, otherwise you don't attain it unless you strive and do it right. Do you like life? You can have it, but you need to strive!

Verse 20: "The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, nor shall the father bear the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

In other words, we are responsible ourselves for our own actions. We have our future in our hands. We can decide which way to go.

Verse 21: "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins, which he has committed, and keep all My statutes… [as a way of life] …and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die." So, the choice is with us!

Then it was then that Deut. 30:11-14 was decreed. That God's creatures should choose whether they want to live or die! You can live a little while, but if you live God's way then you have a chance to have glorious in another existence, but not in the flesh!

We take note of what comes out of the mouth of God.

Numbers 23:19: "God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not fulfill it?"

In other words, 'What I say, I do! and 'What is going to be fulfilled will be fulfilled'!

At the time of the debacle that we looked at, was it then decreed that God's creatures should then choose whether choose life and live, or whether to cease from life.

Deuteronomy 30:11: "For this commandment, which I command you today is not hidden from you…"

I'm telling you that you can understand it and He's going to say it in many ways,

"…neither is it far off. It is not in heaven that you should say, 'Who shall go up to heaven for us, and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say, 'Who shall go over the sea…'" (vs 11-13). It's not that hard!

"'…for us to bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it?' But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may do it" (vs 13-14). The decision is up to you and me; up to us!

Verse 19: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death…" That's a principle that comes down to the spiritual instruction that is given to us!

"…blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live."

God had created the very, very best that He could; He gave free moral agency. This is what we're talking about, choosing the right, of free will. Now it was decreed right by choice.

It's different now. First God gave power, incredible spiritual existence! Magnificence! But now it's a different story. Is this what God Himself learned by what had happened?

Proverbs 13:11: "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished, but he who gathers by labor shall increase."

I'm going to read this in just a little different way in the Revised Standard Version:

v 11 (RSV): "Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle…"

If it's given quick by fiat, all of a sudden here it is, what happens? It will dwindle!

"…but he who gathers little by little will increase it" (v 11).

In other words, if we slowly treasure life, the principles of life that God gives us, then true wealth in character and the appreciation of life and living will grow. But when it's given all of a sudden, just like it was given to the cherub, it can diminish.

Regarding character, there's a need to develop humility. There's a principle that was established that it seems that God learned.

Proverbs 16:18—a principle: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." I'll leave that for you to think about!

Christ gave us a firsthand example; it's stated very clearly and succinctly, very simply so that anyone can understand. Look at the difference in character that is vividly portrayed here.

Luke 18:9: "And to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others, He also spoke this parable: 'Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself in this manner: "God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers—or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week, and I give a tithe of everything that I gain"'" (vs 9-12).

Look at the character, the greatness, look at what God looks to:

Verse 13: "And the tax collector, standing afar off… [not close] …would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat himself on the chest, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other..." (vs 13-14).

This is a comparison. This is now what it's like. Not humility, not greatness.

"…For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled; and the one who humbles himself shall be exalted" (v 14).

Proverbs 26:7: "As the legs of the lame hang limp… [useless] …so is a parable in the mouth of fools." That's one to think about!

If we have children whom we love, who would not sacrifice or suffer pain to relieve them from pain?

Romans 5:8: "But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

1-Peter 2:21: "For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His footsteps; Who committed no sin; neither was guile found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when suffering, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him Who judges righteously; Who Himself bore our sins within His own body on the tree, so that we, being dead to sins, may live unto righteousness; by Whose stripes you were healed" (vs 21-24).

What God does for us is a tremendous example. I get choked up when I read this. The great extent that God has shown:

  • His desire
  • His sincerity
  • His love

for us! To buy us back; redeem us! What He's done is a witness for all eternity, for all generations forever! That they look back to all life that will brought into existence. There will be no question about:

  • God's care
  • God's concern
  • God's outgoing love

for us! The narrative says it all.

1-Peter 2:21: "For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His footsteps"in humility!

Hebrews 12:2: "…although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God."

Strung up, probably stark naked like a lowly criminal, beaten mercilessly, ripped opened and just strung up there.

Isaiah 53:1: "Who has believed our report? And to whom is )the arm of the LORD revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant… [this is Christ, God Himself that came down] …and as a root out of a dry ground; He has no form nor comeliness that we should look upon Him, nor beauty that we should desire Him" (vs 1-2).

Not a really 'kool' dude; a normal 'bloke' as we say in Australia.

Verse 3: He is despised… [Have you been despised? Am I despised?] …and rejected of men… [Have you and I been rejected? He was rejected more!] …a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from Him, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our infirmities… [our weaknesses] …and carried our sorrows; yet, we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted" (vs 3-4).

  • Why did this happen?
  • Because He did wrong? No!

Verse 5: "But He was wounded for our transgressions…"

If someone we dearly love—like our children—we would spare them; we would step in and say, 'Leave them alone, I'll take the punishment.' That's exactly the love that is seen here!

"…He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace… [by Him being tortured, brutalized] …was upon Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned each one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him… [we did the wrong; He caught the blame; He took it] …the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet, He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth" (vs 5-7).

'Hey, hang on, I didn't deserve this! I didn't do anything wrong!' How many times have you or I thought about that? 'Wait a minute, what did I do?'

That's an example for all of us. I can't actually go into Jacob's life because that's going to happen in part two. What we've been looking at is that Jacob's life is like you and me. He was a chunk of raw character that had to be chiseled and polished, like the sculptor of David. He was a raw chunk of marble; a raw chunk of character that had to be formed.

We are to be conformed to the likeness of God's Son. Sometimes things happen. We ask why, because it hurts! We can be hurt!

Jacob is an incredible example. The name Jacob means supplanter, shyster, trickster, and the actual meaning is taken by the heel. He was a chunk of character that desired life, desired to inherit. That's way we need to be; desire to inherit!

But we're going to take some hard knocks and Jacob took some hard knocks.

In Gen. 32:28 Jacob's name was changed from supplanter, shyster, trickster. We in Australia call someone like that a 'real rat bag.' That's the way he was; it was his nature.

Anyway, at the end Jacob was changed, and he said that his life was full of pain and hurt. It's very interesting to go through some of the trials, the gut-wrenching trials that he went through.

He was called by another name (Gen. 32:28): Israel! His name was changed from shyster to Israel, which means one who has striven with men and with God and has prevailed!

As we know he'll be in the first resurrection (Mark 12:26-27). He's made it! He's a great example for us; a chunk of raw character and was conformed, changed. His life pictures you and me and what we have to go through, and how we need to be changed.

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Galatians 4:19
  • Romans 8:28-29
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
  • Genesis 2:7
  • Genesis 1:26
  • 1 Corinthians 15:45-50
  • 1 John 3:2
  • Revelation 10:1
  • Daniel 7:9-10
  • Revelation 1:13-17
  • Isaiah 60:1-3
  • Revelation 20:4-5
  • Job 38:4, 7
  • Ezekiel 28:13-17
  • Revelation 12:4
  • Isaiah 14:12-14
  • Jude 13
  • Ezekiel 18:4, 20-21
  • Numbers 23:19
  • Deuteronomy 30:11-14, 19
  • Proverbs 13:11
  • Proverbs 16:18
  • Luke 18:9-14
  • Proverbs 26:7
  • Romans 5:8
  • 1 Peter 2:21-24, 21
  • Hebrews 12:2
  • Isaiah 53:1-7

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Exodus 25:8-20
  • Revelation 12:3
  • Genesis 32:28
  • Mark 12:26-27

Also referenced:

Article: How a Rejected Block of Marble Became the World's Most Famous Statue

Transcribed: 3/29/21

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