Deeper State?

According to the historically accurate usage of the term, Iran is not a theocracy. It could be called an “allah-cracy,” and one which appears to be dissolving at present. It is an allah-cracy and not a theocracy because as an Islamic republic it does not honor the God of the Bible. Let me explain…

Iran and other Muslim nations were not founded to revere the THEOS from Whose name (in the Greek new testament, written early in the first Christian century) the term THEO-cracy is derived. Instead, the so-called republic of Iran, ideologically antagonistic to Christianity and other religions, honors its god Allah presented in the Koran of Muhammad who died in June of the seventh Christian century.

The former Soviet Union, which existed for about seven decades of the twentieth Christian century, might be described as an “a-theocracy.” It was a state founded upon a-theistic, Marxist ideology – also consciously opposed to Christianity. That bump in the road of humanity’s annals (like other a-theistic, communist states which have come and gone to no one’s sorrow) was built not on the Rock of ages, but on utopian sand.

ANCIENT Israel – think Moses, the prophets, and David – was indeed a theocracy. It was established on earth by them and other servants of the God of the old testament, Who is the same new testament THEOS referenced above. Even that state failed! Yet throughout its existence the earnest expectation of its faithful citizens was for the coming of the unfailing, eternal kingdom of God.

One of those faithful citizens, the prophet Malachi, predicted the time when the very King of that heavenly kingdom would come into His earthly temple. When He did so c. A.D. 26 He was heralded by John the Baptizer. Both the herald and the King Himself preached the same thrilling message: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

And so as the prophet Daniel had predicted c. 600 B.C., that kingdom came with power in the days of the Roman empire. After accomplishing the earthly part of His Messianic mission through His unlawful execution by the soldiers of Tiberius Caesar and His bodily resurrection from the dead to which hundreds of eye-witnesses testified, the King ascended victoriously into heaven.

From that place of supreme exaltation, and though He is presently unseen, He rules over all. The glorious reality which Daniel and all the old testament writers foresaw and foreshadowed is writ large and with crisp clarity in the new testament of the God of Abraham…of Job…of Noah…of Enoch, Seth, Abel, and of Adam and Eve the first parents of all mankind, who all are now invited by the King to His everlasting banquet.

And what did King Jesus command His subjects, whom He loved unto death? He told them to pray to His Father and their Father thus: “Your Kingdom Come!” Now alive forevermore, having all power in heaven and earth, He their good Shepherd King continues to love His subjects, cherishing them as His younger brothers and sisters. He has commanded us to make disciples of all nations by the power of His Gospel, proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son.

And so like the mustard seed of His parable which grew into a great tree, that divine kingdom came, is coming, and will have no end. It continues to fill the earth by the peaceful yet inexorably prevailing power of the Prince of peace, displacing rivals without blood reddened swords or any modern equivalents. Like that plant in the parable, birds now nest in its branches. That is to say, temporal earthly kingdoms derive protection and benefit from its abiding presence and strength.

When nations reject the King of king and Lord of lords they are held in derison by Him. He sits in the heavens and laughs at them! They find only frustration, confusion, and failure. When they humbly “kiss the Son” (Psalm 2) they find blessing, prosperity, and peace.

Yes Lord! Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

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Whose Sports?

Women’s sports are dying an excruciating death. What should we expect, when any human can be reckoned as a woman? What do the words man and woman mean in such a mad world?

There are two human sexes and only two. A person might wear clothing that pertains to the opposite sex, abuse hormones, disfigure HIMself or HERself, but that person remains the sex to which HE or SHE was born.

So go ahead, social media platforms or whoever. Censure, condemn, call this “hate speech.” What party is the real hater? Is it the shrill, minuscule minority that have articulated and now are attempting to fully normalize what is not only clearly abnormal, but stark raving insane?

Where is the love for all the (real) young women and girls who want to compete with their peers in athletic events, only to have their hopes dashed again and again when boys or young men outperform them because male physiology and female physiology plainly differ? Sounds like those women and girls are victims of cruel, codified hatred.

Where is the love for the millions of employees who recognize insanity when they see it, but are fearful of employers who have caved to that shrill minority? Why don’t you “captains of industry” stand up for the truth for a change?

You might even find your workforce more productive since they don’t have to consume energy making sure they use pronouns according to the insanity you’ve endorsed, and worrying about being punished or fired for speaking freely or acting according to their consciences. How hateful you big bosses must be, making the workplace so oppressive for so many!

Where is the love and respect for women who don’t want to find some perverted and/or predatory man lying in wait when they go into that once safe place heretofore commonly called the ladies’ room? Let’s get back to where public restrooms are either for men only or for women only, and flush this insanity down the nearest toilet of any kind.

Where is the love for God and His word on the part of certain lily livered cowards (or greedy charlatans) who are wolves in sheep’s clothing occupying lead positions in the churches? To what extent will the great Day reveal that this cancer came into our society because YOU failed to be faithful? Judgment begins with the household of God.

O Lord God! Raise up many true ministers of your Word to fearlessly preach and teach the truth without compromise, whatever the consequences!

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What Year is It Again?

“Bishop Hippolytus of Rome ( c. 170 AD – c. 235 AD) wrote a commentary on the Book of Daniel sometime around 202 AD in which he claimed:

‘The first coming of our Lord, that in the flesh, in which he was born at Bethlehem, took place eight days before the Kalends of January, a Wednesday, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus…This puts the birth of Christ at December 25th, 2 B.C.’

Julius Sextus Africanus claimed the same date in his Chronographiai, which was written around the same time as Hippolytus.” — Joshua Gibbs, teacher of classical literature at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia

If Professor Gibbs and other scholars are correct, our Gregorian calendar is off by a couple of years. Meanwhile, some want to replace A.D. (Anno Domini, “year of our Lord”) with C.E. (“common era”). And other calendars exist.

Despite these quibbles, the first advent of Jesus Christ has become the historical anchor by which we reckon our common journey into the future…it is “common era” to the whole world because of Him!

Why will it not be 12 A.M. New Year’s day 246 that shortly sweeps through the globe’s time zones, counting the signing of the American Declaration of Independence as year 1? Why isn’t year 807 about to begin, setting as year 1 the drafting of the Magna Carta, so foundational to the blossoming of the enjoyment of freedom by many? Why will Friday January 1 be the first day of 2021, and not 1021 or 3021?

It is because of the birth of the Potentate of Time, as one hymn writer praised Him. It is because of the recently observed nativity of the Son of God Who brings true and everlasting freedom (cf. John 8:36). That transcendent, miraculous event utterly eclipses all other historical events, just as His eternal kingdom already has spread to every corner of the Earth, and inexorably continues to grow!

Enjoy your inescapably Christo-centric holiday on Friday, and may the whole 2,021st year of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be the year which brings His richest blessings of grace to you.

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No Prognosticator Here

Here are a couple of statements from an early Christian leader. He left this Earth and all its woes and sorrows approximately A.D. 65:

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

In the almost 2,000 years since Paul of Tarsus was martyred (according to tradition) by that wantonly savage beast, Roman emperor Nero, Christians have been comforted in times of bereavement, strengthened in times of fiery persecution, and filled with exhilarating hope in times of disappointment and dreariness by those words Christ’s apostle wrote long ago in letters to his fellow Christians in Corinth and Philippi.

They promise not merely the continuation of self conscious existence, but also of life that is LIFE indeed. They promise the personal, full fruition of God consciousness, of seeing Him in Whose presence there is fullness of joy, of being with Him at Whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Now here is a prediction. In this Orwellian, Newspeak time where linguistic IEDs are hidden in the landscape of open conversation, Christians expressing their hopes that extend beyond the grave will be counted as “entertaining thoughts of suicide.” (This despite the fact that Paul’s words refer to physical death, but say nothing of death by suicide: recognized by Christians as a sin against God our loving Creator and a horrible tragedy whenever it occurs.)

Is the day coming? On that day, suffering Christian, tell the wrong person how you long to be with your Savior in Heaven and be prepared to be denounced or reported as a danger to yourself and society, a threat that must be removed, an “extremist” whom the DHS or whatever new or expanded agency of the ever ballooning nanny state must control.

Since my predictions are quite fallible, I can only hope that I am dead wrong. Oops, I better use a different word for emphasis. I hope I am plain wrong. That’s more appropriate here on the threshold of the drab, colorless, humorless, oppressive society we might become.

As Paul might have written (transliterated from the Greek) ME GENOITA! Translation: May it never be! God forbid!

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Proverbially Speaking

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

In the original language of these two proverbs, the words translated WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE overlap in meaning. Together they teach us that reverently honoring our Creator, Provider, and Judge is foundational for the prudence, discretion, and life skill which is often manifest in people with little formal education.

On the other hand, it is also the only starting point on the journey to becoming learned. And no academic institution owns that journey’s many roads – some toll free, all scenic. Whether his field is history, one of the so called natural sciences, or art even a highly “educated” person is ultimately a fool, commonly an arrogant one, without that crucial fear of the LORD. That fool despises sound wisdom and instruction just as God’s infallible and redemptively aimed proverbs predict.

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Big Brother

At the time, Judah the son of Jacob knew only that the man from whom he and his brothers had purchased sustenance in Egypt was the pharaoh’s prime minister. When that food ran out, Jacob told his sons to go back to the man and buy more.

At that point Judah reminded Jacob that this man of great authority and strange ways had solemnly warned the brothers that he would not deal with them again unless Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest, returned with them. Jacob, at the time thinking he had already lost another son (Joseph) protested in anguish of heart.

So Judah made a daring promise to his father. He volunteered to sacrifice his own welfare with these courageous and loving words: “I myself will be surety for him; from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.”

Perhaps you are acquainted with the outcome of the poignant account. Judah did not have to bear perpetual blame, for Benjamin was not lost. The pharaoh’s prime minister turned out to be the very Joseph whom Jacob thought to have been killed by wild animals. Joseph sent Judah, Benjamin, and all his other brothers back to their father Jacob with food and riches. He proclaimed to them that what they had meant for evil (selling Joseph into bondage), God had meant for greater good.

Another courageous elder Brother, moved by unfathomable depths of love, volunteered to be surety for the redemption of not just one, but an untold multitude of the patriarch Jacob’s spiritual descendants. Unlike Christ’s ancestor Judah, He the Root and the Offspring of David had to follow through on what He promised His Father He was willing to do.

Because of His incarnational dignity and infinite value, the prevailing Lion of the tribe of Judah was able to bear the weight of perpetual blame once for all time. His broken body and shed blood is spiritual food; Heaven’s most precious riches for those dwelling in a spiritually hungry and impoverished land.

What those who crucified Jesus meant for evil, God intended for the eternal good of many.

“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…” (Hebrews 2:11)

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The Almost and the Actual

In Genesis 22 God has recorded the account of how He severely tested Abraham’s faith. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, but stopped him from doing so “in the nick of time” when He saw that Abraham was willing to do even that, if God required it. Abraham passed that test of faith with flying colors.

What might escape our attention is Isaac’s similar faith and obedience. Isaac was not a baby or a toddler at this time. He was a youth, able to ask intelligent questions of his father and able to carry a bundle of wood. Meanwhile, Abraham had been 99 years old at the time of Isaac’s miraculous conception.

Isaac could have easily overpowered his aged father and fled when he became aware of what was coming. Instead he proved willing to present his body a living sacrifice.

So Abraham was willing to give his son, and Isaac was willing even to die in obedience to his father.

A little over 2,000 years ago there was an even more miraculous conception. When He became a young man, the fruit of that blessed womb also carried some wood, the wood of a cruel instrument of execution. He also had questioned His Father on the way to a death He would not escape. He had asked, in Gethsemane, if it were possible that He not endure unimaginable pain and be sacrificed.

It was NOT possible – if sinners were to be forgiven. There would be no reprieve for this obedient Son. The loving Father went through with the sacrifice by which many would be saved. The Son loved His Father and He loved the ones He came to save, as an angel told Joseph, the carpenter who would serve as the blessed earthly dad of the Christ child:

“…Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (from Matthew 1)

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Two Big Ologies

THEOLOGY, having the greater Subject, is the study of our Creator and His works of providence and redemption. It has been called the queen of sciences and all other sciences are rightly pursued only in recogntion of its primacy.

ANTHROPOLOGY, having the lesser subject, is the study of humanity – God’s creature made in the divine image. Especially in light of the incarnation, it is best regarded as a sub-heading of theology. Man cannot be known aright apart from his Creator. Nor, for that matter, can anything be known properly apart from God.

The holy Bible is the primary text for both disciplines. And we are capable of error in both disciplines when we drift from that primary, authoritative text. Some errors introduce ideas that are utterly alien to the Bible – for example “reincarnation” as taught in certain Eastern religions, or the idea that any form of religious devotion is divinely acceptable so long as the devotee is sincere.

But most errors twist Biblical truth out of shape, cf. 2 Peter 3:16. Egalitarianism is such an error in anthropology. The truth it twists is the one expressly stated at Genesis 1:27 and 9:6 and preceptively revealed in the whole counsel of God. Namely, every human being whether male or female or of whatever ethnicity is a spiritual being having the high dignity of bearing God’s image.

The rest of the story so to speak is that our equality is not a cookie cutter equality. A five foot tall female gymnast and a seven and half foot tall pro basketball player are quite unequal in physical stature, but spiritually both bear the image of God.

In regard to the two sexes, God has added differences to that fundamental equality. Men and women differ not only in the obvious physical ways, but in ways less tangible. Generally speaking, men and women differ in how they think and in emotional traits. Similarly, we see differences added to the basic equality of divine image bearing as we observe the families, tribes, and nations of mankind.

Analogy: A ceramic worker might use the same lump of clay to make a cup, a saucer that holds cups, and a dinner plate. God took of the flesh of the first man Adam to make the first woman Eve. The entire human race is their offspring. So out of the same “divine image lump” the Almighty Potter sculpted us all. But we don’t all have the same gifts, callings, or roles.

Egalitarianism is the error of insisting on an equality that ignores these secondary differences. When a society is infected with it, the erosion of the “nuclear” family and its distinct roles for fathers, mothers, and children as well as various forms of destructive ungodly social trends and even social engineering follow.

Comparing the two major revolutions of the late 18th century of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is illustrative. The colonial Americans’ declaration of independence is not only the matrix of the U.S. constitution, it is a document that reveals their world view, ethos, and passion. It asserts that core human equality which comes from the Creator and goes on to profess bedrock dependence on His providence.

Despite the flaw of chattel slavery which ended about “four score and seven” years after its founding, America became the land of the most personal liberty and opportunity ever experienced in history, and a beacon of the same for the rest of the world. May it remain so.

The French revolution was rooted in a-Theistic sophistry. Its motto of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood) sounds attractive. But since it despised the Biblical doctrine of God the Creator and humanity the divine image bearing creation – endowed with certain rights by the Creator – the fruit of that revolution included baseless, jealous denouncements of the upright simply because of their prosperity, the insatiable guillotine, and the Reign of Terror.

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Having the person and work of our Lord at the forefront – of anything – is always good. And Christ’s once for all finished work for our salvation invites examination of the controversial subject of CESSATIONISM.

Cessationism is the doctrine that the miraculous signs done by Christ and the men God chose to preach Him and His gospel have ceased.

(Some bristle at this idea, believing it asserts that God is limited in what He CAN do. That is a straw man. Cessationism addresses what the God Who is able to accomplish all His holy and perfect purpose has told us He WILL do. In other words, cessationism does not deny God’s almighty power nor His ability to reveal whatever He desires.)

That group of chosen men included Moses, Elijah and others who lived on the other side of the cross, as well as the apostles and a few others like Agabus and Luke who lived on our side of it. That group is no longer inducting members. Therefore prophecy narrowly defined as a spiritual gift (charisma) through which God communicated divinely authoritative, infallible words also has ceased. More below on that.

OK, so why this cessation? The term SIGNS is not used in vain in Scripture. Those miracles served to authenticate and confirm the divine commission which that Man and those men had from the Father to preach the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit:

1. See Exodus 4:1-9, 1 Kings 18:36-39, and 2 Kings 1:9-15. Also,

2. “He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen. They performed His signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.” (Psalm 105:26,27)

3. “But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him…” (John 12:37)

4. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” (John 14:11)

5. “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” (Mark 16:20)

6. “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” (2 Corinthians 12:12)

7. “…how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:3,4)

Even though chronologically the canon of the New Testament was not complete until several decades after our Lord’s ascension, its content exactly corresponds to His once for all finished work. There is nothing to be added to the work of Christ for our salvation. Hence there is nothing to be added to the documentation of Christ’s work for our salvation.

In a nutshell, God’s general self revelation by creation is universal, perpetual, and enduring. It leaves men without excuse for not honoring Him and giving Him thanks. But His special self revelation, having its zenith in Christ and documented by the closed canon of Scripture, has ceased. What an angel told Daniel, which that wise and learned man struggled to understand, concerned events which were yet to come for him but which are long past for us:

“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)

The Most Holy there is Jesus the anointed One, the Christ. It is Jesus Who already has “made an end of sins, made reconciliation for iniquity, brought in everlasting righteousness, and sealed up vision and prophecy.” What even that choice servant Daniel perceived but dimly, the new covenant believer sees clearly, cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12.

Christians who affirm the precious truth of the infallibly authoritative inerrancy of the God-breathed Bible often cite a great verse, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” but perhaps they fail to recognize the profound significance of the very next verse: “…that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

Paul is writing to his ministerial protege, his son in the Lord. But in a sense the apostle’s expression “the man of God” refers to every believer, for we all are called to be students and proclaimers of the Word according to our varying gifts, callings, and abilities.

So, having the authoritative, infallible, inerrant, God-breathed Scriptures and the indwelling Spirit to illumine them, every believer (and if one doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His, Rom. 8:9) is spiritually equipped with all he needs for life, ministry, and godliness.

No doubt God will have much, much more to reveal about Himself when we get to the celestial city. In fact, one glory of Heaven is the prospect of unending growth in the knowledge of the One Whose being is infinite and eternal.

“When we’ve been there 10,000 years” not only will we have no less days to sing His praise, but no less days to be forever and ever plumbing the riches of the bottomless depths of God…ascending to the splendors of the exhilarating heights of God which have no summit! Hallelujah! After 10,000 to the 10,000th power billions of eons, we will still be only scratching the surface of what it means to know God and His love which surpasses knowledge.

But for now, what Christian can claim even to have begun to master what God has already given us in the Bible? Why would Father give us more when we haven’t taken in and fully digested what He has already given? We have that fullness of equipment per 2 Tim. 3, but are we familiar with or even beginning to use more than a fraction of it? Let’s learn how to ride a bicycle before we try to pilot the next space mission.

Then is God now silent, a mute and distant deity who does not communicate? NO WAY! He speaks to us through that inspired Word known as the holy Bible, once for all given with confirming signs – corresponding to Christ’s once for all atoning work.

Does He hear and answer prayer, do extraordinary works of healing and provision we might call miracles or divine intervention (as if He wasn’t in control of all the contexts of every so called intervention)? Of course.

Do we have intimate fellowship with Him as the indwelling Holy Spirit illumines the precious written Word to us, the living stones who are the body of Christ, the Father’s forever family, the dwelling place of God in the Spirit? Absolutely.

Are the children of God led by the Spirit of God? Yes.

The doctrine of the cessation of verbal revelation and its accompanying signs does not inveigh against this precious heritage of the people of God. Expressly to contrary, it affirms it by giving us its “parameters” – its Scriptural nature and character per passages like Romans 8, Gal. 4:6, and 1 Peter 1 (key in on verse 8).

Now to address prophecy more expressly. In 1 Cor. 13:8 we read that prophecy shall:

1. fail, KJV and NKJV
2. cease, NIV and ESV
3. gifts of prophecy, they will be done away, NASB.’s primary definition of the pertinent Greek word is “to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative.”

However, the word prophecy has broad meaning, i.e. not limited to utterances that came via that special gift (charisma). Here it is helpful distinguish FOREtelling from FORTHtelling.

Expository preaching is the chief form of forthtelling prophecy; the kind of prophecy that has not ceased. Today’s faithful preacher rightly divides the Word of God in studious, prayerful preparation then holds it forth in public Christian worship or other gatherings. So do other teachers in the body of Christ. Parents rightly nurturing their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord prophesy in that way as well. So do we all as we obey the many injunctions in the Bible to encourage, exhort, comfort, and counsel one another.

Yes, specific future events foretold by God’s holy men are recorded in Scripture. Examples: At the word of the LORD, Isaiah tells king Hezekiah that his life will continue for 15 more years. Daniel wrote what the angel told him would happen centuries in Daniel’s future. Christ predicted His imminent death and resurrection, and the more distantly future desolation and destruction of Jerusalem (in His Olivet discourse – Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), which occurred some 40 years after His ascension. Not one stone of that temple was left on top of another just as Jesus foretold. But He began to build and is building another eternal temple…

Normally, foretelling has a conditional aspect. Jonah foretold that Nineveh would be overthrown in forty days, but an amazing city-wide repentance prevented it. No doubt the overthrow otherwise would have occurred.

The church at Ephesus evidently repented when the One Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands rebuked them for losing their first love, and threatened to remove their lampstand if they did not repent. The lampstand remained – at least for a time. But their repentence was evidently temporary as was that of Nineveh, which after Jonah’s time was overthrown.

Moreover, Biblical prophecy of the foretelling kind is never merely to satisfy the curiosity of those who want to know the future. That’s the occult business of mediums and fortune tellers, whom the children of God are to avoid like the plague (Cf. Lev. 20:27, Deut. 18:10-12). It is not good that some think of Scripture as a “crystal book” the way some regard a crystal ball.

“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’ ” (Acts 1:6,7)

That seems crystal clear. Future times and seasons are not for us to know. We walk by faith, not sight. We would all be better off having the mindset of Moses:

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

Or of the Psalmist:

“…LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.” (from Psalm 131)

So when there is foretelling in Scripture, it is primarily to motivate people to repentance and on to godliness and holiness, not to divulge those secret things which belong to God…things which are not for us to know. Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:4. Paul either could not or would not tell of certain things shown to him…

An observation concerning the Bible’s last book is offered. The way it is so often called “revelationS,” plural, reveals (excuse the pun) that many Christians think of the book as a kind of smorgasbord of mysterious future predictions…a baptized tarot deck so to speak. Grab a passage, any passage! I will declare it means X, Y, or Z while another babbler insists it means A, B, or C.

The book’s very first words blow this approach out of the water: “THE Revelation (SINGULAR) of Jesus Christ…”The Greek word is transliterated APOKALIPSIS, apocalypse in English, which means unveiling..disclosure. The purpose of the book is to reveal JESUS, not to tantalize us into seeking codes, obscure meanings, the timing of future events, etc.

The Apocalypse is jam packed with Old Testament imagery and concepts which some in their ignorance have completely overlooked and gone hermeneutically astray. To delve into them is beyond our purpose here, to search the Scriptures concerning the matter addressed by these closing citations from them.

“…the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5,6)

“…I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book…” (the Lord Jesus Christ, per Revelation 22:18)

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Looking Down

At human eye level, their differences seem quite evident. The purposeful stride and single eye contrast with the erratic amble and blank expression. Those of one group are articulate, often in the imperative mood. The others mumble incoherent, confused thoughts. Finery bedecks the well heeled and groomed fortunate sons. The unkempt have nots are swaddled in discarded garments, ripped and torn.

Glancing down from an high urban window, the up close and personal aspects of people begin to dissipate from our senses. Faces scrubbed or dirty, both demonstrative at lower levels, become commonly inscrutable disks of flesh. Authoritative and subjugated voices are rendered indistinct as they waft upward. They blend with the noise of vehicles, construction, destruction and their respective engines into a predictable urban hum.

Carefully coordinated apparel as well as glaring mismatches are turned to dull shades of gray and brown as increasing altitude removes color from our earthly spectacle. When we see them from low flying aircraft, the movements of our fellow creatures become as the business of insects. Whether they are aimlessly wandering or intently traveling in a linear fashion, it seems of little import.

An astronaut sees only the breathtaking beauty of the Earth. He knows that his loved ones and billions of others are crawling below, but he cannot discern their presence by sense. The lovely spheroid which he orbits would itself become a circle, then a speck, then a point, could he or we venture further into the heavens.

The Infinite Majesty humbles Himself to look upon the whole universe, though our little corner of it seems so vast to us. Yet, He is fully near to each of us. He holds our hearts and the whole world in the palm of His hand. He knows our inward judgments of our neighbors. He sees if those thoughts are compassionate or disdainful, actively charitable or complacently insensitive.

Having seen our world from something akin to His vantage point, we are instantly returned to the level of the dust from which we came.

Unpublished meditation written March 29, A.D. 1993. Minor revisions, August 29, A.D. 2020

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