“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth much fruit (Jn.12:24).”
The context in which Jesus said this is significant. He knew his hour had come. He was the corn of wheat and his glory was in the many sheaves of wheat that would be gathered as a result of his death. Contrast it with the imagery we have of him on the mount Sion. “….With him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads (Rev.14:1).”What we see in heaven is a representation of those who are sealed before the Great Tribulation.
At the beginning of his ministry Jesus sends his twelve disciples with command, “…But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt.10:6).”In the passage following are the woes mentioned. “Verily,…it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgment, than for that city (v.15). Their persecution runs into Time.
When Jesus Christ predicted about persecution that would come we see the Spirit approaching it in general terms. But its frame of reference is in heaven as mentioned in Rev.14:1 The key to understand it however is this: “Watch ye therefore:/ for ye know not when the time is (Mk.13:35,34)” The Spirit has inserted God’s Time over passages that describe future events would happen and our Lord Savior has said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away(v.31)”. Approach of the Spirit is therefore to telescope into persecutions that shall break out locally and the conflagration overtaking in a period of time to be universal in nature. This being the case watchword for man is to take caution to heart. Faith shall determine as in the case of the Parable of the Ten virgins who are wise and who are not (Matt.25:1-13).
Let us go back to the vision of St John who saw the specific number of saints in whose foreheads they carried their Father’s name. What is the significance of this number? These are multiples of twelve that for its frequent recurrence must be considered as a tag placed by the Spirit. There were 12 tribes of Israel and when Jesus began his earthly ministry he chose twelve disciples. In the book of Apocalypse Apostle John accounts 24 elders in heaven representing them. “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw…(Rev.4:8).” This number represents as memorial of the disciples and tribes. We read of the angel commanding four angels to seal an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the children of Israel (Rev.7:3).
Significance of these is similar to seven golden lampstands in the first vision. In these lampstands are Gentiles and Israel reconciled in Jesus Christ (Eph.2:14). Such representations in heaven of events on the earth were meant for Apostle John as a testimony. What is the testimony of Christ but the spirit of prophecy (Rev.19:10)?
The Bible is in short the Testimony of God the Son in terms of Time so heavenly realities are a shadow of earthly realities set in Time. Thus new earth and new heaven are reality of eternity established by the Immanuel factor.
When we speak of being in heavenly places gives us a frame of reference to events happening on earth all in a confused manner.
“That in the dispensation of the fullness of time he might gather…(Eph.1:10)”
What is a prophecy? Is it not Time set forward? The Spirit resets time so we are adopted in Core Will of God as though foreordained. By the same token we are set forward and it is what our lives hid in Christ would indicate. It is in this context we need look at this verse “…while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: For we walk by faith….(2 Cor.5:6-7)”
Faith is what differentiates a child of God from a carnal man. For the worldly his expectations in life end with death but faith is the quality of the Lord God and it is what makes a child of promise receive blessings of eternal life.
So for all intent and purpose a child of God has moved to heavenly places (Col.3:3) because God made it possible. “(God) hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Eph.1:3-4)” Consequently we have been moved forward in time while in body. How we walk must determine the quality of faith operating in us.
We have a sure basis in the Father-Son relationship to explain how predestination works. God the Father has his Will and how the Son fulfils it shall be deemed as foreordained. Our lives are witness to it. It is as though God has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. If we move forward in Time what do we have? In the fullness of times when God gather together as the key verse indicates, all things in Christ, both which were in heaven, and which are on earth’ we are included. This is the key to predestination.
When we have escaped the earth time and are in heavenly places God’s Time ought to give us a new insight into our roles in Christ. God told Abimelech of Gerar in a dream that Abraham was a prophet (Gen.20:7). So are we as heirs of promise. Prophecies ceased with the Advent of Jesus Christ. All those who have escaped the wrath to come were they not forewarned? Having escaped condemnation they are prophets since they heeded the warning beforehand.
We have an incident in the well known story of Jonah and the great fish how prophecy works. God sent the prophet to preach before the city of Nineveh but Jonah tried to escape from his charge. God sent a great fish to swallow Jonah and vomit him out before Nineveh and he realized it was impossible to resist the divine command. The point is that Jonah had no clue as to what he represented in divine Will. The great fish also served as a sign for the death and burial of Jesus Christ.(Mt.12:40) Similarly we are signs and wonders for others of which we shall never know but God alone.
David while speaking of his own case inserts this verse ‘…Mine own friend..(Ps.41:9).’ The Spirit demonstrates narrative mode in order to tie up narrative passages together. It applies to Judas. (Acts.1:16) .The primary use of Kangaroo Word is to tie up persons, events across a time reconstituted. Time as employed by the Holy Spirit is God’s Time. Ps.109:8: Through David the Jesus-Judas link is set foretold (Ac..1:16-20).
‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb.11:1). It is what empowers the word of God to achieve in us.
“…(God) hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph.1:3).”
For anyone who believes the Bible as word of God the following statement should not give any problem. ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’It is what God said and is true. This also leads us to believe that there is no such thing as accident or chance about us. We have been foreseen in the creative Wisdom and Power of God. The Spirit instructs us in righteousness. So what we were in the Core Will of God in the beginning or in the end time is worked into it. Being born again assures us that it is indeed so.
In one place the Lord God demands answer from Job and He asks, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” If God had asked me what answer can I give? I was dead in sins because of Adam’s disobedience. In order to explain I have this verse, “Since death came through one man …(1 Cor.15:21-NIV; Rom.5:12).” Because of Adam we all were dead. It is what God’s Time indicates. In number of instances the Spirit resets time so God’s Time is going back in time. St Paul’s analogy of Levi being yet in the loins of Abraham (Heb.7:10) paid tithes to Melchisedec is one example. Remember the analogy of balloon in the previous post? Time when the Spirit uses it we need see it as a kangaroo word. Shall we apply time in terms what the Spirit has done?
Think of Core Will of God as a book of remembrance. The Psalmist inspired by the Spirit writes of it as thus: “And in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them..” There is another verse: “The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. (Ps.87:6)” Lastly we have another “God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city… (Rev.22:19).” Our salvation does figure in that book and it is what we read, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” (Col.2:14-15) and it is what our redemption would indicate so in place of ‘dead in sin’ what shall be found but ‘this man was born in her (Zion) (Ps.87:5)….’ Significant is the categorical statement that follows it. ‘The highest himself shall establish her’. Our part in Core Will is assured by our Redeemer Lord and established by Almighty God.
What Spirit indicates for our instruction in righteousness, is God’s Time. Our past without Christ has been blotted out and nailed on the cross so there shall be nothing of it remaining in the book of remembrance. Kangaroo word of time signifies our redemption: we are adopted in Christ as though foreordained..
If we are so dead to the world, and are hid in Christ should we not conduct ourselves as saved from corrosive influence of the world? We ought to be ambassadors of Christ. How do we witness him?
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God of God: (Rom.8:16)”
Here is a verse in which Jesus assures his disciples of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you (Jn.14:20).” This is a classic example of the kangaroo word. The indwelling Spirit of child of God serves as an in-house tutor. It is our ‘natural’ defense given from above to resist corrupting influence of the spirit of the times. (Natural in the sense spiritual malaise of the world only Spirit can help us find out.) While a carnal man would fashion his world to match step with the world and its lusts a child of God has some thing far better. ‘…The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the word (1 John4:4).’
How can man ever settle the question of triune God without an accurate scale? The word of God must help,- and faith created by hearing by the word points out certain clues for us to believe it as true. So let us examine how wonderfully we are made.
Man as a tripartite being has his spirit, soul and body. These shall nevertheless move as one. Trinity as a theological concept cannot be strange to a child of God. While soul is betwixt and between, our body and spirit are reconciled just as we have our being among the worldly but not of them. We, as children of God bring our appetites and demands of the world under control so we may please God.
The carnal man has no appreciation for our indwelling Spirit, which works with our inner man. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. (2 Cor.4:16)” The inner world to which we apply our soul in general terms, is as ephemeral as our mind. What are our thoughts? Stream of consciousness as thought run along. It is day dreaming since it does not prompt us to follow with any concrete action. Only when we select a few ideas and put them together we have material with which we may write an article or apply them to improve our worldly goods or whatever. Mind is as inchoate as our inner world. When the Spirit as our counsellor helps us understand and we follow his lead we create our inner man. It is more like a pattern so we strike out a direction. Thus a child of God finds interpreting the word of God more to his liking, or like Martha ministering unto the saints and yet another finds intercessory prayer more natural and so on. The sphere of action for our inner man has unique fingerprint that can only be appreciated when one grows in maturity. Let us consider inner man as real as mind that helps us to find our way about in the material world.
An everlasting life is what God has promised us. ‘’…Whosever believeth in him (Son) should not perish, but hath eternal life (Jn.3:16)” is what hope of a Christian would signify. Inner man is created by indwelling Spirit and shall continue as spiritual body. For this reason we do not faint as St Paul says.
The Spirit uses the metaphor of eating the word of God at number of places. God gives Ezekiel a roll to eat “Son of man…eat this roll and go unto the house of Israel (Ezek.3:1-3) Similarly in the Book of Revelation we find a mighty angel coming down from heaven gives John a little book which upon eating was sweet which soon tasted bitter in his belly.(Rev.10:9-11) The symbolism of the word when rejected shall surely invite judgment.
Suppose one makes a dot on a deflated balloon, marking it as one day. What if it could be inflated to an infinite size shall not the value of day correspondingly change? The value we gave Now as a dot is a ‘kangaroo word’ in Time. It is how we should approach eternal life of our spiritual body and it is built about soul of every child of God. Its relevance we shall discuss in the next post.
(To be continued)
“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (Deut.18:15.Acts.3:22)”
Parallelism of Israel and the church refers to same persons and symbols significance of each, of course varies. The key verse spoken by Moses can well apply to Jesus as well as to Messiah who shall at the end times establish the Millennial Reign. The nation of Israel rejected the Servant King since they were seeking Messiah to deliver them from the Roman occupation. Both the Son of man and Messiah signify God the Son. Only in their understanding of the scriptures they were deceived.
Each has a symbol: Law of Moses represented by tablets of stone and the new covenant by blood with fleshy hearts (2 Cor.3:3;Ezek.36:26).
The Spirit in organizing narrative passages from God the Father and God the Son makes of persons and symbols, to use a metaphor from fishing like the long line with many branches linked to it. Thus the first advent of the Son and his second coming to gather his saints (before the commencement of the Great Tribulation) are parts of the main line stretching from the beginning till the end times.
What role does the patriarchs, prophets play? These are branches leading to the mainline. They serve as antitypes symbols while Jesus Christ is shown as the type. Each passage thus tagged makes the drift of the Spirit clear to a diligent reader. Joseph suffered in the hands of his brethren Jesus was rejected by his own brethren. He was a stumbling stone. Just as Joseph became source for Israel as a nation to survive a crisis Jesus became the cornerstone.
Let us consider the sustained symbolism of wind. God breathing into the nostril of Adam made him a living soul. Do we not see in the Vision of the Valley of the Dry bones the role the Holy Spirit plays? “And shall put my spirit in you and ye shall live. (Ezek.37:1-14)” Where God’s breath could do in one, creates an exceeding mighty army and it is what the Spirit of the Living God can do. The unity of the Church in eternity owes to it. In this context we have an incident where God is speaking to Prophet Elijah. (1 Ki.19:11-13) ‘But the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.’ God in still small voice helps us appreciate the indwelling Spirit working with our inner man.
These incidents are piled up in series of small steps through the Bible till we have the climacteric moment when the Holy Spirit is poured out in the day of Pentecost. (Ac.2:1-4) It was accompanied with sound ‘ a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind.’ Such sustained symbolism itself is provided with an imagery of ladder mentioned in the life of Jacob (Gen.28:11-16) Thus the Spirit uses one event Jacob’s ladder to instruct God setting up Salvation Plan for man in terms of visions and dreams. Jacob, Joseph, Moses are so many steps leading our attention to the holy city of New Jerusalem descending out of heaven. It is thus the Spirit keeps many events and persons as means to draw towards God.
Outpouring of the Spirit was the indication that the church was founded on the foundation of the risen Christ. Symbols like dove, ‘olive leaf plukt off (Gen.8:11)’ are processional symbols that signify God’s Will concerning the church and are tagged by symbols: these give the narrative passages context as well as unity. For example Creation of Eve as a symbol for Church is brought into its own with the advent of the Son. Similarly Noah sending a dove after the waters were abated, points to the outpouring of the Spirit.
Salvation Plan began with creation of heaven and the earth (Ge.1:1). While Jerusalem is served as a tag for God’s Will New Jerusalem is a tag for the new heaven and the earth as mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Ch.21:1).The Father-Son relationship established at the outset in terms of Core Will and its fulfillment is sustained till the last chapter of the Book of Revelation. This is Alpha and Omega aspect of God the Son who was with God from the beginning (Jn.1:3).
The Spirit presents great many branches to the main narrative as done in the long line fishing.
“The earth brings fruit of itself, first the blade, then the ear, and then the full grain...Mk.4:28”.
Glory of a grain of wheat requires time before its fruition. God’s will to send the Son had to be in fulness of time. It also marks a passage of time.
The Spirit reveals a clue to the trajectory of the Salvation Plan. It is what Core Will signifies. God the Father willed and the narrative from God the Son includes all who would be thus adopted by him to himself. This progression we find in nature and also in heavenly realities.’By accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord Savior you are finding place as though you have been foreordained.
The Spirit indicates a switchover from earth time to Time since adoption in our Savior would mean we have been transposed to Time as well. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and forever (Heb.13:8; Eph.1:4) . In short we have in heaven God, who is eternal. Salvation Plan in the Son has been lifted out of the time frame of the earth to bring God and man together. (Eph.1:10)
When the Spirit writes about the creative act of God uses a day as a length of time, which is set in God’s Time. In the epistle of Apostle Peter we read a clue to it. (2 Pet.3:8). A day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. Here we see an inversion. Naturally we find many examples to illustrate this aspect of which we shall discuss later. The Spirit places the narrative onto a mode, where all are standardized in God’s Time.
What is a mode? Mode means the consistent manner in which one may express anything that occurred or experienced: and it implies the literary devices of man his vocabulary acquires a fresh significance. Thus stream-of-consciousness passages adopted by James Joyce in his Ulysses and the Finnegan’s Wake, are in a mode. By the same token the Spirit has worked with the divine Will and in the manner God the Son fulfilled it he presents in a mode.
Salvation Plan in a nutshell is to reinstate the fallen man into peace with God. It is basically a progression from realizing his sinful state and enable him avail the power from above to reconcile with God. So the righteousness of God has marked a path to follow. Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is basically the same theme.
Parallelism of man’s progress is echoed in the Book of Exodus. The Law of Moses was only ‘a shadow of good things to come’ whereas Christ was the end of law.
Messiah and the Son of man (as Servant King) are both God’s provision for man. Moses leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land and Christ leading us under a new covenant to New Jerusalem are parallel. The Messianic prophecies concerning the Servant-King and Messiah are Kangaroo word owing to the pivotal role of Jesus Christ. Similarly the redeemed of Israel and the Church are represented in the seven lamp-stands shown in the first vision of John. Israel and the Church consequently hold passages as mentioned earlier as though buried within one another.
In a manner of speaking the old covenant is brought into the new by the atoning work of Jesus Christ so he is all and in all. Such parallelism has bearing on the Salvation Plan.
‘Everything under the sun is cyclical: seasons come one after the other.’ (Eccles.1:9) So much so one can say that there is nothing new under the sun. When God says, ‘I make all things new (Rev.21:5)’ the Spirit tags the earth and heaven as new.
God is a Spirit.
The Spirit in order to give two concepts God as Will and God as the Son of man uses words as well as many literary devices in order to aid our understanding. Principle of similitude explains these different realities: heavenly and earthly realities. By the same rationale He makes use of Time with reference to earth time that we may follow the Intent of God profitably.
The Scripture always reveals the role of Spirit as time-keeper. “And the Holy Ghost was upon him (Simeon), and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (Luke.2: 25-26)”. Simeon accordingly was present at the time Jesus was brought to the temple. We can also from the encounter of Evangelist Philip with the Ethiopian eunuch was arranged under the prompting of the Spirit. “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot…(Acts.8:26-39)” For the worldly wise spirit of man provides the coordinates wherewith he may prosper in whatever means he may employ. But the Spirit of the Living God makes a believer look to God’s Time.
Let us now consider the new earth and the new heaven to which new Jerusalem is an emblem: In the last book we read of ‘new Jerusalem, coming from God out of heaven (Rev.21:2).
We read God’s Will thus ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen.1:1)’. By principle of similitude we apply God’s Time and what have we here? The new heaven and the new earth are presented as fulfilled by the Son. The principle allows comparison. Destiny of every man woman and child is set down in divine Will and our place foreordained (Eph.1:4) for which new Jerusalem serves as the emblem. So our journey is towards New Jerusalem and not historical Jerusalem.
We shall see principle of Reconciliation coming in play as in the case of Christ and the Church mentioned earlier (at the beginning of the section: principle of Association). The time element in the verse ‘Now is the day of salvation’ refers to God’s Time. We may have heard the call in a revival meeting as Paul heard the call on his way to Damascus. It however stands cheek by jowl with our time. ‘Now’ is a catchall for every believer who either heard the call or denied it. Both groups as children of light and of darkness are determined by ‘Now’ of God’s Time.