Monday, October 29, 2012

Day of Fire

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  2Peter 3:10-12 (NKJV)

The final day of judgement coincides with the absolute destruction of the earth and the heavens.  The heavens is simply everything in the sky; the universe, in short.  We are told that the earth and the heavens will pass away (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).  And Peter tells us that the elements will melt away.  Imagine, such an event that the Periodic Table ceases to exist.  Imagine a fire so hot that it melts the elements.  Its our human nature to assume that such an event has a cause that we can understand.  We could understand it, at least in part, if the Sun exploded in a supernova and consumed the earth.  For that reason, we might be inclined to think that that's what Peter is talking about.  But he says the heavens will pass away, and the elements will melt.  That means that the Sun itself will melt.  The fire that destroys the universe will be greater than any fire in the universe.  It will be hotter than the Sun, or any other star.  So what could cause such a fire?  We cannot know for sure, but we do have a hint from the book of Revelation:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away.  And there was found no place for them.  Revelation 20:11 (NKJV)

If the earth and the heavens are fleeing from the face of God, don't you think that is the elements melting away?  The science behind this will never be understood, because man simply doesn't have the ability.  But God Himself will be the consuming fire that melts the elements, even the Sun itself will melt because of Him.  How do we know this?  Well, we read later in Revelation that the earth and the heavens cease to exist.  So when there was "found no place for them" I suppose that means they were totally destroyed.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  Revelation 21:1 (NKJV)

The old has gone and a new has come.  We have no idea what the new heavens and the new earth will be like.  There is no description of them.  We have more description of New Jerusalem, but even that is up for interpretation.  But we know that God "makes all things new".  Suppose that the Periodic Table no longer exists.  Suppose that there's totally new elements.  Or maybe, instead of elements, there is something totally different than elements.  It is completely open, as to what the new heavens and new earth are like.  There is no requirement that they be anything - anything at all - like the present heavens and earth.  Its enough to make us wonder and really set our imaginations in motion.  Yet however much we imagine, it could be that the new heavens and new earth are so totally different from the present, that we cannot possibly conceive of them, even in our imaginations.  The reason that we do not have a description of them could be that its impossible to describe with words.  Just consider the colors we see; maybe new colors will exist.  Or maybe the concept of color and sight will be completely changed.  Maybe new senses will exist.  Maybe there will be something totally different than senses.  Only God knows...

There's a greater theme to consider, which is the relationship between the physical and the spiritual.  This theme is present in the Old Testament and New Testament, which is the idea of a physical foreshadowing of a greater - spiritual - reality.  I am stepping out here, so keep that in mind.  I am speaking of things I don't understand but can only guess at.  Yet it seems to me that God likes to, in His great plan, slowly reveal great truths, and do so through a physical foreshadowing.  We know that what is spiritual is greater than what is physical, because we know that God is Spirit (John 4:24), and we know that God created the universe.  So the spiritual acts upon the physical; the spiritual dictates the physical.  The idea of a shadow describes this well.  The shadow is not the reality, but only a vague image of the reality, which is caused by the reality.  And so the physical is just that - a vague image of the spiritual, which is caused by the spiritual.  As bizarre as it might seem, I totally believe that the spiritual is more real than the physical.  With a foreshadowing, it is God showing us through the physical what is yet to come; it could be a type of what is to come.  And what is to come is greater, and spiritual, and somehow totally different than our present reality.  The Old Covenant was just that.  The promised land was a foreshadowing of heaven.  The exodus represents a spiritual journey out of bondage (sin) and into the promised land (heaven).  King David symbolizes the kingship of Messiah Jesus.  The sacrificial system was meant to symbolize the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  And there are a number of other foreshadows in the OT.  I just happen to think that God is still not done using foreshadows.  I'll leave it at that, because as I said, this is something I have only a faint understanding of.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Word is Yeast and Bread

Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."  Matthew 13:33 (NKJV)

The kingdom of God is very much connected to the word of God.  Wherever the word is believed and acted upon, that is where the kingdom of heaven is.  So does the parable of the yeast make sense?  The kingdom is like yeast; yeast spreads throughout the dough until all of it is leavened.  In a very real way, we can see how the word of God spreads throughout the whole world.  Even though it hasn't happened yet, we know that the word has already spread very far over the years, and we know that modern communication makes the spread of God's word inevitable.  How could anyone keep the Bible away from someone when there's the internet?  It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep the truth hidden.  So the parable does make sense, if we understand that the kingdom of heaven exists wherever the word of God is believed and acted upon.  The word of God spreads throughout the world just like yeast spreads throughout the dough.   There is no stopping it.

That is the global aspect of God's word.  How about the personal aspect of God's word?

But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "  Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

Jesus speaks of God's word as nourishment.  It is spiritual nourishment, for in John 6:63 Jesus says that His words are spirit and they are life.  To live spiritually a man must eat spiritual food.  A merely physical man comes and goes, but really blends into the background.  A spiritual man is in some sense more real than a merely physical man.  Spiritual life is the essence of eternal life, or the life that never fades away nor blends into the background.  But don't let me get mystical on you; I want to be very practical.  We cannot know God without the Bible.  I suppose we could know that there is a God of the universe, but we wouldn't know anything about God.  And knowing God gives us the big picture, the explanation, of the universe, the world, life and everything in general.  We see clearly by knowing God.  The Bible teaches us how to live in a way that is healthy.  We Christians already knew this, but some research has found a man and wife who stay together have more money, better children and are more content about life.  In short, they live a better life.  Its no secret that promiscuous sex is dangerous to your health.  It also numbs any sense of affection in a future marriage.  The Bible teaches us wisdom; both ultimate wisdom, like what's really important, and practical wisdom, like how to avoid pitfalls.  The Bible gives us a sense of purpose, and psychologically speaking, having a sense of purpose causes a person to be more intent, passionate and generally happier.  The Bible is the word that causes us to be courageous.  We learn that heaven exists, and that by faith in Christ death is only a passage to heaven.  Because of that, we have no reason to fear death.  If we don't fear death, which is the worst possible outcome of any situation, then we don't fear anything at all.  We do fear God.  But a Christian does not fear anything but God.  You see, in very real ways the Bible is our food.  I could get more detailed and speak of more things, but I believe I have illustrated the point.  I can use mystical language to simply state how our spiritual lives are dependent on spiritual food - the Bible.  Or I can be practical and speak of all the ways that God's word teaches us and gives us life.  Either way, the truth is very simple: God's word is life.

Globally, the word of God is the only solution and the way for heaven on earth.  Personally, the word of God is your only way to know God and only way to truly live.  Yet the word is spiritual.  Ask God to give you the Holy Spirit so that you can understand the words that come from the Holy Spirit, because it was the Holy Spirit that authored the Bible.  If the book's writer is in your soul, then you will understand the meaning of the book.  And the Bible is a book that has much much meaning.


About Me

Unimpressive in person. But always praying that these letters I write will be weighty and forceful. I serve the Almighty as a servant of Christ. I strive to conquer hearts and minds with the word of God. I am nothing, but the Holy Spirit living inside me is omnipotent. By Him I can run and not grow weary, or walk and not be faint. All glory and honor be to God and to Jesus the Christ.