Dear Earthen Epistle,
It is once again a joy for me to sit down at my little black box and focus on the Lord, the Word, and you in order to share with you something both informational and inspirational, both educational and edifying. It never ceases to amaze me how God set it up so that little clusters of letters (occasionally arranged in the proper order here in our linguistically-challenged country), i.e., words, can be put together to make sentences and then paragraphs and then essays, booklets, and books that can change people’s lives. Of course, words influence and motivate people either to do good or to do bad.
In a war, one key to success is to sever, or at least distort, the enemy’s lines of commUNIcation. Hey, look! “uni” reminds me of unity/union, that is, oneness, and of course the prefix “com” means “with.” God wants people to be “one” with Him and the Lord Jesus (John 17:20-23), so He tells us His thoughts (see Bible) so that we can make them our own, and thus speak and act like He and Jesus do. Thoughts are the seeds of our words and deeds. Out of the abundance of the heart (which is, biblically, the core of the mind), one’s mouth speaks and his body acts.
All our thoughts are simply pictures/images with words attached to give them meaning. As a baby, you start by visually taking in a lot of pictures, like the close-up shot of the family dog licking your face. That teaches you the word “Yuk!” and eventually you hear the word “dog” enough to associate it with the canine in question, who then becomes “Spot,” “Blackie,” or whatever other clever appellative he was given.
Not wanting people to know God and the Lord Jesus, and not wanting us members of the Body of Christ to intimately connect with one another, the Devil is always trying to hinder people’s linguistic skills. He’s like, well, you know, like, whatever…and stuff. Obviously, that is to keep people from reading and understanding the Word of God, which reveals Satan’s subterfuge. It is also to cause as much havoc as possible in our personal communication with one another. Satan loves to hear people say, “Huh?” He’s also a big fan of, “That’s not what I meant.”
Ever heard the Bible called “the Good Book”? Please. It’s the BEST book! One reason it is the best book on earth is because God more precisely uses language than does any other author. Besides that, its words represent the very heart of God Almighty, and are the only source of truth, which is pre-requisite for man to know God and live a life worthy of His calling. God’s truth, as embodied in Jesus Christ, is man’s only hope to experience true love, joy, or peace, not to mention everlasting life in Paradise.
From Genesis 3:15, the written Word makes known the Living Word, Jesus Christ. The Bible is just as true as Jesus, and vice versa. If Jesus lived and was who he said he was, the Bible is what it claims to be. Both the God-breathed Word (Eph. 4:18) and the only begotten Son (John 5:26) contain the very life of God. The logos became flesh, and because Jesus chose to hide the Word in his heart and unwaveringly walk the line, so to speak, those who see him see the Father (John 1:1 and 14, 14:9).
God shows us that both His written Word and the living Word are truth (John 14:6, 17:17). Both bring us light (Ps. 119:105; John 8:12). Both give us power (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:24). Both make us free (John 8:32; Gal. 5:1). And both the written Word and our Lord Jesus heal us (Ps. 107:20; Matt. 9:35).
This inseparable duality leads us to the conclusion made clear in Scripture that the Devil hates both the written Word and the living Word and does all he can to destroy each one. You can see that in Jeremiah 36, when Satan inspired a wicked king to cut up the scroll of God’s Word and burn it in the fire. Then he cut up the living Word, and would have had him thrown (and probably burned up) in Gehenna, the city dump were it not for Joseph of Arimathea, who intervened and buried Jesus in a prominent place.
Oops, make the above “does” a “did” in regard to trying to destroy Jesus, the living Word. As you know, Satan did mutilate, and then kill, Jesus Christ, and I’m sure he was still gloating three days and three nights later when he heard the knock on his door, followed by the cheery greeting: “I’m ba-a-ck!”
I don’t know whether or not Satan was surprised, given the many Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s resurrection from the same God who had kicked his Luciferic “but” out of heaven, but I know he was negatively nonplussed when he first learned of the Sacred Secret. When the Devil heard of God’s secret plan to diversify Jesus all over the world in a body of believers equipped to be like him, it was no doubt the first time he had ever used the word “Holy,” as with Cow, Mackeral, Moley, or like, whatever, you know—none of which are at all holy.
Just as God told Jeremiah to get another scroll and write more words than were on the first one, so there was, in essence, “more Jesus” after his resurrection. And that brings us to “A Tale of Two Bodies.” One very significant truth about what happened at the Resurrection was that God gave Jesus the new body he needed in order to finish the job God had given him when he answered the ad: “WANTED: REDEEMER OF MANKIND.”
I trust you know that the only reason Jesus could answer that want ad was because of the human body God had miraculously given him at his “first birth,” a body considerably shorter than the one God gave him at his resurrection, which was, as we shall see, his “second birth.” As the only human being born without the sin nature inherited from the First Adam, only Jesus had a chance of living a sinless life, all the way through the Cross. Like the First Adam, Jesus, the “Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), had genuine free will, so he had to choose to obey God, in stark contrast to his prevaricating predecessor.
Beginning with Genesis 3:15, the Old Testament is replete with Messianic prophecies, some of which had a present-and-future dual application, that is, they were pertinent to the writer, like David, as well as to the coming Messiah. Other prophecies had a dual application to the first and second comings of Christ to the earth to Israel. The one that follows, in Psalm 40, contains both of those applications.
(1) I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
(2) He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
(3) He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORDspan>.
(4) Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.
(5) Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.
(6) Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
(7) Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about [prescribed for] me in the scroll.
(8) I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
(9) I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD.
(10) I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.
In regard to Christ, verses 1 and 2a apply to his resurrection from the “slimy pit” of the grave. Verses 2b-5 relate to his ministry thereafter. Verse 7-10 relate to both Jesus’ earthly ministry and his post-resurrection ministry, as will be clear when we see verse 7 quoted in Hebrews 10. But first we should note what E. W. Bullinger says in his commentary on verse 7 in The Companion Bible, which I think is a key to this section coming alive as God intends it to. As noted above in bold type, Bullinger says that the Hebrew word kathab is better rendered “prescribed,” which is incredibly significant.
WOW! Does that mean that God wrote the Old Testament in large part for Jesus so that he would know his identity, his mission, and the rewards he would receive for carrying it out? Does that mean that God made the Old Testament like a blueprint or a job description for His Son? I say yes. Whenever you read anything in the Old Testament, you might ask yourself: “What did Jesus learn from this?” And keep in mind that the risen Lord Jesus then gave Paul the Church Epistles so that you and I can know our identity in him, our mission, and the rewards we will receive at his appearing. How can HOT BIBLE be that cool?
Now see the reference to Psalm 40:6-8 in Hebrews as the Word speaks of both Jesus’ earthly mission and his post-resurrection ministry. The job God gave him to do was so big that it required two bodies to get it done.
(5) Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
(6) with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
(7) Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about [prescribed for] me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God.’ ”
(8) First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made).
(9) Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.
(10) And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
(11) Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
(12) But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
(13) Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool,
(14) because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Jesus chose to use his first body to live a sinless life all the way through the agony of the Cross, and Romans 5:6 tells us that “…at just the right time [kairos], Christ died for the ungodly.” In the Bible, the Greek word chronos means the overall entity of time, while kairos refers to the moments that make up the chronos, and particularly to significant moments. Like no one before or since ever has, Jesus lived in the moment, taking advantage of every kairos opportunity to do the will of his Father. His crowning kairos moment was when he took his last breath and died, trusting God to raise him from the dead. And in the most shining kairos moment of all time, God kept His promise and gave His Son new life in a new body.
And then came the kairos moment on the Day of Pentecost, when the risen Lord Jesus first poured out the gift of holy spirit into the hearts of believers and the Church of the Body of Christ was born. And then came your personal Pentecost, the kairos moment when you were born again of incorruptible seed and began your journey through life as a son of God. Now, each new morning presents you with a steady stream of kairos moments to be like Jesus and do what he did. Seize the moment(s)!
Galatians 6:9 and 10
(9) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [kairos] we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(10) Therefore, as we have opportunity [kairos], let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
As members in particular of the Body of Christ, you and I have countless opportunities to step up for the Lord and redeem the “time [kairos]” (Eph. 5:15 – KJV). Each time we do, it is as if he takes a snapshot of that “one shining moment” and puts it in your personal picture album. A kairos moment is better than a Kodak moment. And your most shining moment will be when you stand before the Lord Jesus and he rewards you for your labor of love on his behalf. I look forward to applauding for you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter from my heart to yours. I love you and thank God for you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. The world is growing darker, but that means we can shine more brightly as we stay plugged in to the Lord. Shine on!