Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Animal Writes

The first animal to die on the Earth after sin entered was killed by whom? "Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. [Genesis 3:21].
On the Earth, the first chapter of the struggle between Good and evil was written in the blood of an animal; probably more than one, given that there were two standing naked in their sin. If Biblical typology can be retrospectively applied in this situation, I will posit that the animal(s) that were sacrificed to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve were...lambs.
Given the symbolism of the lamb...the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world...the Good Shepherd...the sacrificial service the Lord gave Moses...and the followers of Christ as His flock: we see the lamb as a recurring symbol of Christ; and it began in the Garden of Eden. 
The death of the first animals occurred in a world newly fallen into sin. Killing the animals prefigured Christ as the Lamb that would die for the sins of the world, and their skins (tunics) represent the robe of Christ's righteousness that we wear because of His death in our place.
Adam and Eve did not die (immediately) for their sins; it was innocent lambs that died so that they could be covered. The same is true of our sins; our Innocent Savior died to pay the price for our sins. Before the beginning of the life on this Earth, He had us covered! ec

Monday, December 5, 2011

In Search of the "Clinical Christ"

Once upon a time when I was young--in my 50's--I directed a pain clinic in a dental school. Eight hours a day, five days every week, they came. The AVERAGE time they had suffered chronic pain was 6 years. That's hard to imagine, but it is true; and it is only an average.
Men and women came complaining of headaches, facial pain, earache, and all manner of disease and disorder. Probably the worst pain was what we call Trigeminal Neuralgia; a pain that is felt in some part of the distribution of the Trigeminal nerve--one of the major nerves to the face and jaws.
When I thought this was the case I would ask a question: "Does the pain feel like you have been stabbed in the face with a hot knife that is plugged into an outlet?" When their eyes widened I pretty much knew I had it right. I knew their pain was excruciating.
For 18 years I saw all manner of hurting people. Most of them were women...but that's a different topic and takes time to explain.
I felt none of their pains and could not truly identify with the patients. My task was to be clinically proficient, search out the problem, and try to fix it as best I could. There were always those I could not help; and they would continue their search for healing. That was the hardest part of the work...not being able to help or heal.
Some of us have a "clinical relationship" with Jesus Christ. We are unable to feel the pain of His humanity; the Son of Man, who was, in His short life, hungry, weary, cold, insulted, taunted, accused, called a sinner, called a liar, called a devil, tormented by the weight of the sin of this world, put on trial, and executed in the preferred, Roman "excruciating" way; crucifixion.
I assume the connection between the two words is obvious, but just in case...
So we read our Bibles, go to a study class and talk about the Christ; often in a disconnected, abstract, intellectual, clinical way. Not connecting, not feeling, not really able to understand in a deep and personal way what our Lord and Creator chose to go through as the only way to rescue us from the spiritual, tumorous, tentacles of sin that permeate our hearts, minds, and bodies.
He chose to suffer and die with one thing in mind; that we would somehow grasp the eternal issues and choose Him as Lord and Savior. Intellectual discussions about diseases physical, mental, and spiritual are OK in their place. The problem is that the patient--that would be you and me--goes away with the same pain that they brought to the discussion.
Verily, verily, we cannot feel what the Christ felt, for no man or woman has ever suffered as did He, because they carried only the weight of their own sin--which can be heavy--while He carried the sin of every person who has ever lived or will live. Past, present, and future, Christ paid full price for our sins in the hope that we (you and I) would say "Yes" to his invitation: "Come unto me, all ye that labor 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" [Matthew 11:28, 29] [KJV]
Surely, someone will say to Him, "Yes Lord. I believe. I will follow You."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

They shall not cleave...

In the Old Testament book of Daniel, there is recorded Nebuchadnezzar's (King of Babylon) dream and the interpretation. The history of this dream applied both anciently and continues to do so today.
Here's why that is true: The king's dream was of a large statue of a man and consisted of a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet and toes of iron and clay. In their order, these various parts of the statue represented the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome, and the nations that followed its breakup; the nations of Europe. The sequence of these nations and their fall is verified by history.
Commenting on those nations Daniel writes; "As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. [Daniel 2:43]
There is a historical witness to this statement: Go to the internet and search a phrase such as this...Intermarriage of European Royalty...
Multiple sites explore the various lines of royalty and their attempts at unity through marriage. None of these have succeeded.
Neither by marriage, nor wars (eg. Napoleon), nor any other attempt has held.
So it is today with the European Union and the Euro. We are watching the failure (default) of EU members on the nightly news. In the last few days Merkle and others have been calling for the IMF (international monetary fund) for more assistance.
Based on the word of the Lord in Daniel, the details given of the prophesied collapse of these kingdoms and their fulfillment over the centuries since Daniel wrote, I will say that we are witnessing the continuing fulfillment of God's Word: The EU and the Euro will fall.
God's Word does not fail! ec

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Will they all say, "No thank you!"

 My mind is perplexed; our witnessing seems to fall on deaf ears.
On the first Sabbath of each month our church has a potluck--C.S. Lewis had interesting things to say about church; the umbrellas, arranging, potlucks, and other such "botheration's." And members of the church bring a well-prepared array of dishes that promote one's appetite for conversation. fellowship, and of course, eating; the least important of the three.,
Yesterday we delivered some small things that were needed to a local fellowship group. Speaking to the gentleman that accepted the items, I asked, "Why don't you folks come to our church tomorrow; there will be plenty of good food and you're certainly welcome." My wife understands how these things work, so she set about cooking while I went to the market to get more stuff. After all, if you're going to have guests you need make certain there is something to put on the plate.
Not one of them came; not one.
This small, but disappointing experience made me think of Jesus Christ; The Creator of all things [John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16. Hebrews 1:1-3, and Revelation 14:6 and 7].
God came to this earth to save us from the ultimate penalty of sin; eternal separation from Him...which will come to those who choose to say, "Thank you God, but no thank You."  The Christ was not well received. Satan (through king Herod) tried to kill Him, but Joseph, warned of this in a dream, took Mary and the infant God of the Universe into Egypt where they lived until Herod was dead [Matthew 2:7-22].
We invite friends to church where they hear the truth about the Sabbath, agree that it is so, and never return. The 7th day Sabbath is that 10% of the Ten Commandments most of the Christian world has rejected in favor of Tradition.
Perhaps I'm overstating my disappointment about a few men missing a meal...but perhaps not. For me, the real issue is jealousy; I am jealous for my God, and with Paul, I am not ashamed to say it [Romans 1:16].
When I read how the Pharisees and crowd accused Jesus of blasphemy and wanted to kill Him [John chapter 10] I don't really have much of a complaint. But there is an issue that won't go away; when we extend an invitation, will the answer be.... "No thank you." ec