Thursday, April 30, 2020
When Christ was born, God finally after millennia of promises turned His face towards the human race.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him, and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'" 16 For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
None of us have seen Him or heard Him. So when John says “we beheld His glory,” he might mean himself and the other apostles and the many others who were able to behold Him during His first advent.
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life — 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
So by the proclamation of John and the other apostles, we can behold what they beheld, and if we do, we have fellowship with them, meaning the fellowship they share with the Father and the Son.
That means that we don’t have to see Jesus with our eyes and hear Him with our ears, which is very good news, but we do have to behold what is proclaimed, and for this task, God gave all believer a brand-new inner man.
God has given us a brand-new inner man so that we can see and hear Christ as well as the apostles.
The importance of the source of the proclamation is the subject of the rest of John’s letter, 1Jo. In the next paragraph and for the rest of the letter, he launches into a warning against the false teachers who say that also “fellowship” with Christ, but John says that they walk in darkness. He uses his pen to describe their traits and many inconsistencies. Our source of truth concerning the One that we must see and hear has to be John and the other apostles and the inspired writers of scripture.
We who can see the face of God in the Person of Jesus Christ are to be transformed from His glory to our glory, by the Holy Spirit within us, having soul, spirit, and heart all in agreement as to the value and joy of the life of Christ given to us by His grace.
For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
This is the most amazing news.
As I was reading Isaiah today, I was struck by how much of his poetry was new to me. I’ve written lengthy articles on those very words, but coming back to them again just a few months later, I see new things. This phenomenon of the word of God is both literal and mystical.
Every line of the word of God is jam-packed with meaning. I will find more of that meaning when I read it again.
The literal factor is that the lines and sentences are packed full of information. God revealed Himself in a limited space. The Bible has covers, a beginning and an end. God packed each line with loads of meaning. When I return to any part of it, I am likely to find some meaning that I had missed before.
Every image in the word of God creates a picture in my mind. This picture will change as I mature while its deep meaning remains the same.
The mystical factor is trickier because it can be used for misinterpretation. What I mean by mystical is the meaning of the imagery, the poetry, the parable, the metaphor, and the simile. These things are meant to convey pictures and images in our souls that will change with time and growth. ALERT - INTERPRET EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE LITERALLY.
I will explain this briefly. If you want more explanation, ask me and I will send it to you. Some have taken a lot of literal things in the Bible and made them allegorical, destroying their meaning. They say that Christ didn’t rise from the tomb or that His miracles didn’t literally happen or that the future prophecies of His thousand-year reign is not literal. Instead they think up a meaning to these historical facts that fit their fancy and then label themselves modern-day geniuses and saviors of the church. This is liberal theology and it is to be exposed as evil and destructive from the pit of hell. This is not what I mean at all by mystical.
When you and I read the parable of the sower, for instance. Every time I read it, my mind may conjure a slightly different picture. I may see something in that picture I hadn’t seen before. This is what imagery is meant to do. The image conveys one basic meaning, the one who receives the seed of God’s word with joy will produce much fruit in his life. That’s it in a nutshell. But I may see the birds eating the seed differently than I did before as I have come to learn more of the evil propaganda and depth of deceitfulness of Satan and the kingdom of darkness. I may see the thorns, which the Lord said represented the deceitfulness of riches in a different mental image in my own mind as I have matured and witnessed the great evil that the love of money enacts upon this world and its people.
If I have come to understand more deeply the saga of mankind who reject the provisions of God in His Son Jesus Christ and who rather throw all that away for something so base as the hope of wealth or the lust of the eyes or flesh, and perhaps I have come to see this in people close to me, to whom I have shown the light of Christ again and again, and then I read ISA 8:6 again.
"Inasmuch as these people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah,
And rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah;
My image of these gentle waters of Mt. Zion that God gave for His sacred city may change in my mind and my image of the people who rejected them may change. The name Shiloah, so beautiful and sweet and appropriate for something gentle and flowing may ring in my ears for the first time.
And then I move to the next line that hits like thunder:
“Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates,
Even the king of Assyria and all his glory;
And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks.
8 Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through,
It will reach even to the neck;
And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”
What is the picture now? Each of you should have one and each of them will be somewhat different. And when you read this again, the picture will be different while the meaning will not change. The beauty of imagery, poetry, parable in the word of God is that they are meant for our own pictures in our own minds.