Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Shortest Longest Line


They say that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I really don't know where heaven is located positionally, and I can claim the same ignorance as to the exact location of hell. I believe that the terms "heaven", "hell", and "location" are non-compatable, as both places exist outside of our time/space continuum. Yet when it comes to these two 'locations', no two points were ever farther apart, possessing the longest distance. Still, no two points were ever the shortest where the resurrection of Christ is concerned. Truly this comprises the Shortest, Longest Line ever!

EPH 4:8-10
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

While the LORD Jesus lay in that tomb, having endured to the end, the excruciating agonies of the cross, both physically and spiritually (for the Holy Son of God "became sin for us", He Who "knew no sin...") He suffered no corruption in this body that was prepared for Him for the explicit purpose of being sacrificed for our sins: "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]". (HEB 10:5,10, ACTS 2:27,31)

And we know scripture teaches that Christ Jesus went into hell (that is Sheol, or Hades, the abode of the dead) to preach to the spirits there of those accounted righteous by their faith in God, as was Abraham and all others prior to the crucifixion and ascension of the LORD Jesus: 1 PET 3:19; 4:6; LUKE 16:19-31

And in the midst of our LORD's spiritual work while His body rested in that cold, dark tomb, He knew that He would have to present His blood at the altar in heaven, before the Father, for that utterly perfect propitiation for the sins of mankind. 

HEB 9:11-12,23-24
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. [It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Moses was told to build the tabernacle according to the pattern shown to him, and there is no doubt that these patterns were of the heavenly things as spoken of in the passages of Hebrews as listed above. There in those places, upon that altar that would know of no stain of blood, save for that of the Lamb of God--- this was the place where Christ had to make His presentation of blood!

We have no record in scripture testifying to this, but I can imagine that Satan wanted to do everything he could to block the Messiah from achieving that goal! As much as he tried (in vain) to repress, stall, stymie and prevent the LORD Jesus from His mission while on Earth, how much more vehement would be his dam of demonic defenses to rise up and attempt to thwart the Son of God from racing towards Heaven and plaster that altar with His shed blood!

And yet those THREE DAYS finally expired! And our expired LORD arose from Sheol with Divine Determination, and as He began to ascend, there was never an apt comparison ever portrayed on any football field where a defensive line tried to hold back the opposition from making a touch down! Higher and higher the LORD raced, trailing behind Him all the righteous dead who looked ahead to the coming Messiah, knowing from the scriptures that He "would save His people from their sins" MATT 1:21! Plowing aside like the All Powerful Potentate that He is, every foul and pernicious devil that stood in His way, onward He raced!

Aside from that time, 40 days I believe while in His resurrected state, He spoke, ministered, taught and comforted His own before His final ascension, it was at some time He presented His blood; imagine all the principalities and powers, all the princes of darkness and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, all vainly trying to drag the LORD down from His lofty destiny. No tyrannical demon, no arrogantly potent devil, no malicious spirit was a match for our matchless King who finally approached that better altar in better places and presented better sacrifices and blood for the remission of sins!

How we can offer our praises and glorify God in our worship of Him who brought such salvation, from the Shortest, Longest Line: from Hades to Heaven! From destruction to destiny! From Hellish damnation to Holy Glory! 
If we could glimpse that Holy Temple in heaven right now, we would no doubt see the dried on blood of our Righteous Redeemer, still staining the mercy seat of the Holy Ark. The price has been paid, the repentant are redeemed, and the LORD of Glory is lauded as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords, to Whom EVERY KNEE WILL BOW and EVERY TONGUE CONFESS that JESUS is LORD - to the GLORY of GOD the FATHER! 

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The MUSIC That Is HEAVEN

REVELATION 7:9-12
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen

Heaven is the dream and desire of all the saints throughout the ages. Its the place we all consider our home, one that we long for. Peculiar in a way, that we are homesick for a home we have yet to even visit!
When you think of 'Heaven' what's the first word that comes to mind? Well, there are innumerable answers to that question, and no single one is the correct one.

What I think of is 'harmony', absolute, total, pure harmony "unmixed with baser matter". The very opposite of what we so often experience in this world, that is, disharmony. While I certainly don't espouse New Age thought, the idea that when the body is in disharmony it gets sick, has a measure of truth to it.

Disharmony is seen in cataclysmic storms like hurricanes and tornados. It's seen politically in wars, civil unrest and national strife. We observe it in times of economic depression when certain interest groups desire things opposed to by the general public. Disharmony is what started this existence of sin: 

Lucifer was no longer in harmony with the will and plan of God, and in the great symphonic orchestra of creation and the Plan of God, Satan struck a series of discordant notes that disrupted the entire score  (ISAIAH 14:12-14).

Harmony however will be restored. The Music of the Messiah will resound and overcome all opposition until it is finally silenced, and in the reign of righteousness all things will conform to the Divine Will which seeks the Way of Peace and Love and Joy for all God's creatures.
There will be an end to strife, contention, frustration and wrath. The lion will lay down with the lamb! Of course the lion lays down with the lamb today as well, the only difference is the lamb is INSIDE of the lion!

A result of the disharmony disaster that is sin, is the fatigue and weariness of life that began when Adam harvested thorns and thistle, and Eve gave birth in pain. The LORD Jesus Himself declares:

MATT. 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

In heaven when we see the LORD face to face, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, and we shall know Him even as we are known of Him! (1 JOHN 3:2; 1 COR 13:12).
Such revelation and understanding will dissolve all conflicts of confusion, will melt away all sorrows, wash away all pain of loss and regrets. The harmony we will know on that Day will be the accord with which we shall love and worship the LORD Jesus, in absolute and total agreement in our proclamation that He is indeed WORTHY of our worship and praise and thanksgiving.

Even more so, the love experienced in heaven by the saints, will be so overwhelmingly powerful that the LORD Himself will be the supreme and holy influence whereby we shall "be one" by His Spirit.

We are admonished in the Word to keep the unity of the faith, a certain means of harmony within the body of Christ. Note it doesn't say obtain or acquire unity of the faith, but to KEEP. One cannot KEEP something one does not already possess. 
With such an emphasis among churches and even world religions for UNITY, we Christians posses unity already and only have to MAINTAIN this unity of the faith (the faith refers to that body of doctrine that's recorded in holy scripture) in accord to what the BIBLE says. Regardless of what ecumenism says today, DOCTRINE IS IMPORTANT and is the means by which we can keep the unity of the faith, via the Holy Spirit. EPH 4:3,13

This harmony is something we can know today in a very real way; this very day you can have a taste of the joy of heaven. How? It's simple, if done by the power of the Holy Spirit, Whom EVERY Christian has access to. WALK IN THE SPIRIT, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (GAL 5:16,25)! For is not this sinful, carnal, lustful flesh the source of all disastrous disharmony of sin and destruction (ROM 7:5)?

WALKING in the SPIRIT is walking in harmony with the will and accord of the LORD Jesus, it is putting on the mind of Christ (PHIL 2:5-8), it is following in the footsteps of our LORD: accomplished ONLY by the power of the Spirit Who resides in us as a result of our spiritual regeneration, aka being born again. 

Mortifying the flesh with all it's sin and spiritual ugliness, by reckoning ourselves to be dead indeed to sin is the other side of this endeavor (ROM. 8:12-14). The flesh is discordant with the Spirit and the Spirit with the flesh (GAL. 5:15-16) - to acquire this harmony is to silence the awful and raucous cacophony of corruption and let the Spirit have free reign in us, making His music!

Together, you and I, as children of the Living God, disciples of the LORD Jesus, the ONLY Way, Truth and Life that leads to the Father (JOHN 14:6), can participate in the grand orchestra that is integral to the plan that the LORD has scripted for all of us, writing each note on the music bars of said orchestration.

So lets make some beautiful music together, inspired by our LORD, a melody and harmony so  infectious that others will be drawn to that music, and persist in playing this music from here to Heaven, the place of absolute harmony! Amen!

Personally I have a lot of ideas about what heaven will be like; once we arrive I will most likely feel embarassment for my paltry notions, but perhaps by the Spirit of the LORD, He might grant us some insights about this wondrous place, insights that are based on and in accord with Scripture? I will consider these ideas in a potential 'Part 2' of this article . . .

REVELATION 21:1-7
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.