Monthly Archives: August 2013
Posted by Shade of the Moriah Tree
A CAREFUL AND prayerful study of the New Testament will lead us to see that Christ is central throughout its entirety. He is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and particularly through the main and minor prophets, the message is clear in pertaining to the Messiah to come; this was Israel’s hope. How the Anointed One was to be manifest was where many in Israel lost their way; many were looking for the physical restoration of the twelve tribes. Even the twelve disciples were anticipating Christ overthrowing tyranny by establishing a physical reign. For Him to die at the hands of a brutal regime was absolute madness and ran contrary to what they understood of the Scriptures. Only after when Christ opened their eyes (after His resurrection) and expounded the Scriptures, from Moses and all the Prophets, did they rightly perceive the kingdom of God.
Are we falling into the same error as Israel in foretelling and reading the signs of how and where Christ will appear? The Biblical Christ is seldom proclaimed in our westernised cultures and yet so many believers get so hung-up over eschatology (Doctrine of the Last Things). How are we to be balanced in regards to prophecy, pertaining to the future and of Christ’s Second Coming, when we fail to perceive Who He really is? If we are not enlightened (by the Holy Spirit) to Who the Son of God is, how will we ever rightly prepare for His Second Coming?
Studying eschatology is important and we are misguided to shelve (disregard) any portion of Scripture through fear of confusion and controversy. It is, however, understandable to some extent as to why some avoid this subject (in so far as discussing it) for this very reason, but that doesn’t justify ignorance in these matters; we are to grow up into Christ in all things.
The other aspect is to be obsessed with prophecy on end-time interpretations to the point where we are only concerned with the phenomena of things coming to fruition. Satan will drive us to fanaticism and have us expend all our energies on end time doctrine – or any other doctrine – so long as Christ is not central. It is the subtlety that is the deception where one is driven to excess. We know that there are numerous passages in the gospels and epistles that pertain to Christ’s Second Advent, but their main and emphatic principle is that we may know the Son of God and have life in and through Him.
Was it not Paul’s calling and desire to make Christ known, crucified and resurrected? Was it not the greatest Apostle’s office to proclaim Him: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28)? Was it not Paul who said to the church at Galatia, “…my little children, for whom I am in the anguish of childbirth until Christ be formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19)?
When end time doctrine presides over and above our looking to Christ, we are actually straying into grievous error. Observing animosity on current public forums over how Christ will come and establish His kingdom (whether or not you adhere to Dispensationalism or Covenant Theology; A, Pre or Post Millennialism; A, Pre, Mid or Post rapture; A, Pre, Mid or Post tribulation) is disgracefully divisive and grieving to the Spirit of God. If the Apostle Paul (or any other Apostle for that matter) were to be among us today, he would address such people in the same manner as the ‘Christians’ at Corinth who were by nature carnal. What other fruit, besides arrogance and pride, does anyone get by insisting that their view is right and everyone else’s is unintelligible or stupid?
Whatever hermeneutics (science of interpretation) we may adopt in understanding the Last Times, do we give people a sense of panic, fear and frustration or do we encourage and build-up others in the most holy Faith by having them look to Christ, to trust and rely on Him with all their hearts? In all our discussions of the end times, do we magnify Christ and strengthen the hope of other believers? Do we exhort others to be ready for Christ’s appearing? Are we living in the light of His coming?
The Apostles, in light of this subject, exhorted the Church to walk in holiness and as John wrote, “…everyone who thus hopes in Him [expecting Christ’s appearing] purifies himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). I don’t see Christ being formed or people walking in holiness when believers are bitterly falling out with one another over the manner in which or what season and year Christ will come back. We will all find out exactly when He does actually appear in all His glory and majesty. Just as with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who were blind and ignorant to the Truth, so it shall be with many of us when we see Him for Who He is; our eyes will be opened and all our views will be infinitely eclipsed with His unimaginable blazing-grandeur.
How or what is going to materialise – whether the millennial kingdom is through the entire Church age or a literal one-thousand year reign on earth, with all its benefits, etc, etc – it is going to be nothing compared to the beauty and majesty of God made visible to the eyes of everyone. How so many harp on all the wonderful things in the millennial reign, while, unbeknown, Christ takes second place in their conversation (this is where Satan’s misleading comes in). When John, on the Island of Patmos, saw Christ, he fell down as though dead; that was the greatest of all revelation and so it should be to anyone of us. Christ is central and He is to be central in all our worship and living. In all the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel, the vision of God was too overwhelmingly superior to put into perfect description; human comprehension was utterly exhausted and dumbfounded.
What aspects of the coming glory do we look forward to most? My friends, I may be narrow-minded, but I don’t care if I see nothing else but God in all His glory for all ages of eternity. God forgive us for thinking that we shall not eternally gaze on Him and to not want for something else. Clothed in our right minds, we ought to say with Charles Wesley that we shall be, “Lost in wonder, love and praise.” I think it was Fanny Crosby (the famous blind hymn author) who said, in her longing for heaven, that the first thing she looked forward to was not the wonder of gaining her sight, but rather to gaze upon the beauty of Jesus. When I consider that, earth and everything of it just melts away.
I have known of great friendships dissolving due to dividing on non-fundamental doctrines. I personally know what it’s like to have broken communication (not on my part) with others due to such differences, which is saddening because I dearly miss their fellowship. If we are in unity on the fundamental and primary doctrines (and one of them is that Christ is soon returning), we have no justifiable reason to exclude anyone from fellowship or to break friendship over secondary issues. There are many godly leaders who, while I may disagree with their eschatological views, will continue to respect and hold in high esteem due to their Christ-centred preaching.
God is reiterating to the Church the same words He spoke to Peter, James and John (on the Mount of Transfiguration) “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). God speaks through His Son; we have the Scriptures – the final word that is abundantly sufficient for the entire Church age. Everything is embodied in Christ; it is in Him that ALL the promises of God are contained. He is the express Image of God and in Him all the godhead dwells. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Whom He appointed the heir of all things through Whom He also created the world. He is the radiance of His glory and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
All the phenomena, signs and wonders that we may witness are nothing compared to the majesty of Jesus Christ; He is greater than any foretelling or any inauguration of a kingdom. It was David who longed to behold the beauty of God in the sanctuary – not the kingdom nor apparels or any other instrument in the tabernacle; they were purely to aid one’s worship to focus on the God who rescued Israel out of bondage – the God Who made heaven and earth. To behold God is the essence of all things. Moses’ hearts desire was to see the glory of God; everything else was nothing to be compared. Even Christ, when addressing the Father on behalf of His disciples and others who were to believe, said, “to know You is eternal life.” To know God Himself – is that our one aim and ambition in life? Do we count everything rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ? Do we??
Are we longing to see the King of kings and Lord of lords robed in majesty – His omnipotence unveiled before the eyes of all humanity – incomparably above all other phenomenal aspects? Do we long to know a sin-free glorified resurrection to where we can look upon Him and live and so worship Him perfectly?
It is Christ – the Alpha and the Omega – it is God our souls should yearn to behold. It shall not be the back of God (as with Moses) we shall see while He mercifully veils our eyes with His hand lest we should die; we shall see Him as He is in all His awesome glory and live. Everything else will be but shadows when we see His face.
Do we long for it, do we confidently anticipate it and are we prayerfully preparing for it?
May God restore this missing jewel in the Church!
Posted in ♣ Devotional
Tags: 1 John 3:3, A-Millennialism, Alpha and Omega, beauty of God, Charles Wesley, Christ's second coming, Christ’s Second Advent, Colossians 1:28, controversy, Covenant Theology, devotional, Dispensationalism, eschatology, Ezekiel, fanaticism, Fanny Crosby, foretelling, Galatians 4:19, glorified, heaven, Hebrews 1:1-3, hermeneutics, interpretations, Isaiah, majesty of God, Mark Anthony Williams, Matthew 17:5, Messiah, millennial kingdom, millennial reign, omnipotence, phenomena, Post-Millennialism, Pre-Millennialism, prophecy, resurrection, Revelation, signs and wonders, sin-free, Studying eschatology, the glory of God, The Missing Jewel of Christ’s Return, worship