Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Hiding In Plain Sight"

By Charles Wheeling

Philip one day approached Jesus and said, “Show us the Father and we’ll be satisfied.”  This direct request was unusual; most of the time the disciples didn't dare just come right out and ask their questions pointedly.  The woman at the well is a good example: when the disciples returned to Jesus at the well, no man durst say anything to Him.   They were jabbering and thinking in the background, but no one came right out and asked Him what was going on.  Jesus’ answer to Philip was, “Have I been so long with you and you still don’t know who I am.” I ask myself why God would want to make himself known in a book, the Bible, that is so incomprehensible, that has taken millions of people over thousands of years to explain what this book is all about, and what this book is saying.  Why would God hide?  I have reached a conclusion: God is not hiding; He's in plain sight, but we don’t recognize Him.  What do we think Jesus meant when He said, “These people have eyes … they have ears ….” But it’s not doing them any good.  Though God appears hidden, Jesus says He's in plain sight — right here … “you're looking at Me … My Father and I are One.”  We could go into all kinds of discussion about how 2,000 years ago their language, culture and whatever were all very different from ours.  We might conclude that we are trying to read Jesus and God through all the accumulated clutter.  And that would be true.  But God, if He chose, could break through all of that clutter in a moment. 

There were a few times in the Old and New Testaments where God, through the prophets, spoke very plainly.  

Moses knew at the burning bush that he was going to have problems; that's why he said, “I don't want to do this.”  Moses knew this was going to be trouble.  Moses probably didn't even have a whiff of how great the problems were going to be.  He just sensed that Pharaoh was not going to be a happy camper.  Moses inquired of the Angel of the Lord directly, “When I get to Pharaoh’s chambers, standing in front of Pharaoh, who shall I say sent me?”  How many books do we suppose have been written on that simple phrase, “I Am that I Am”?  Do we have any idea how many books it takes to explain that?  People are still trying to plumb the depths of the simple question from Moses to the Angel of the Lord: when Pharaoh inquires, “Who is this God?”  What was Moses to tell him?  His name is “I Am.”  If you frame the expression “I Am” in English, it means “From everlasting to everlasting, I Am;” “I Am eternal.”  The expression is totally inclusive when you say “I Am;” “There is no one greater than I Am.”  This was understood even by the heathen.  This is why the Jews said, “We’ve got to get rid of this man, or we're all going to die.”  The Jews were in danger from the Romans because of, first, what Jesus was saying, and second, because of what people were saying about Jesus.  Jesus had purposefully ridden a donkey into town, while the disciples and all the people were throwing their cloaks on the streets and waving palm branches.  Every Jew knew that this was a prophecy being acted out.  In an attempt to stop this perceived heresy the leaders ran into the streets demanding that Jesus tell the people to be quiet.   The problem was that in the Roman Empire there was one king and nobody else.   “It’s better that this one Man should die, rather than we all be put to death by the Romans.” There was great fear among the Jews in Jesus’ day that they would all be wiped out by the Romans.  That was the very first thing Pilate asked of Jesus: “Art thou the king of the Jews?”  And Jesus would give Pilate no straightforward answer.  This is part of the whole business of hiding in plain sight.   “Is this something you thunk up yourself?” Jesus asked him, “Or did others tell you this?”  But Pilate has a different agenda: “The people say that you say you are a king.  Are you a king?”  He’s looking for a straight answer.  The question was straight enough.  Pilate wanted an answer.


God is still very quiet about many things.  

A perfect example is the Bible itself.  Millions of people with millions of ideas — all different — about what the Bible says, what it means and what the book is all about. Down through the ages people around the world have asked how they might get to heaven.  Each religion has a plan.  The rich young ruler asked Jesus that very question.  The jailer asked Paul, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  There are as many different answers out there as there are people on the rock. Salvation should be a pretty straightforward issue.  The question is simple enough, “How can I get to heaven?”  In Jesus’ day they had it worked out, and the key word was “worked.”  The rich young ruler asked, “What must I do that I might have eternal life?” If I do something wrong I can be lost.  We don’t have any argument with that idea.   Adam did wrong, God had told him he would die if he disobeyed, he disobeyed and the process of dying set in.  Well, then, a simple, reasonable process begins in the mind … if I can do something and be lost, then surely I can do something and be saved.  If you can do one thing wrong and be lost, surely you should be able to do something right and be saved.  I want to reverse this process. We’re back to the age-old question: are people really good at heart?  Is it true?  All we need to do is put them in a job, give them a car, give them a phone, and they will behave themselves.  Is that proving people to be good at heart?  Are people being revealed to be inherently good … or inherently bad?  People appear to be born with both the seed of evil and the seed of good within them.  Then they practice one or the other, or both.  People aren’t born with practiced evil in them; but they are definitely born with the seed of evil in every fiber of their being. If the Holy Spirit were totally withdrawn from us—which He is not—there wouldn't even be a glimmer of light in us.  The Scripture says there is a light that illuminates every man that comes into the world.   That light is the Spirit of God; and only because of grace is there ever a glimmer of goodness in—or through—anybody. The evening news plays out like this: The guy murdered 25 people, and while the parents are being interviewed it’s clear his parents believed and tearfully exclaim, “He was such a good boy.”   That’s the morning news, the lunch time news, and the evening news.  Is it not?


What the Bible really says is that not there's not a good thing in any one of us.  

“In me dwells no good thing.”  So if you see someone doing something good, how did he do it?  How did something good come out of this rotten person?  Is it not because God gave him another day, another breath?  Heaven hoping, Heaven praying that that one more breath will be all he or she needs to bring him or her to the Savior, to the light, or at least to his or her senses.  The truth of the matter is that we are so lost down here we can never save ourselves.  We don't even know where we are on the road to lostness.  We don't even comprehend how lost we are, and only God can save us. Can the Scripture formula for salvation be as simple as: “It shall come to pass in that day that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”?  Can it really be that simple?  Where in there is keeping Sabbath and paying tithe?  Can we be kept out of Heaven for not doing those things?


Let's get back to hiding in plain sight:

 God the Father, the I AM, is the One sitting on the throne.  I AM is not one, I AM is ALL. God has the unique capability of being everywhere at once.  He could be on the throne, and at the same time appear on earth as a little baby in a cow stall.  That's not two persons; because Jesus said, “My father and I are One.”  And that concept is incomprehensible to the human mind.  In this regard the Bible makes no sense to human reasoning. We see the One on the throne and we say, “That's God.”  We see this helpless baby grow into a man, then a mighty prophet, then a preacher, a healer and a miracle worker.  Finally we conclude that this is “My Lord and my God.”  He wasn't just a man.  What He essentially said to Philip was, “How many times do we need to go over this ground?  If you have seen Me you have seen the Father.”  We are one—not two.  We can’t get our heads around that, because, in our reasoning, if there's a Father and there's a Son, then that’s two.  It is two, only reckoning by created math, not Divine math.  We could say that the Father is God, and we could say that the Son is God, and we could say that the Holy Spirit is God.  You can call that the Trinity or whatever you want to call it, but the bottom line is: that's God. God is manifesting himself as one sitting on the throne; as one coming with the humility of the lamb.  He is the invisible One who can manifest Himself as fire, as a still small voice.  We could ask, which one is God?  The One on the throne?  The one in the manger?  Is He the rushing mighty wind?  Is He the fire over the head?  The answer, of course, is that they are all manifestations of God.  Here was the hitch in this get-along.  Jesus told Peter He came here to die; don't get in My way.  Don’t tell me I can’t do this; the devil is putting those words in your mouth. No matter how you look at it, God can't die.  It doesn’t matter if he's the One on the throne, the One in the manger, or the One in the upper room.  It is not possible for God to die, because God is everywhere and in every thing.  So the mind of God devised a way in the which He could die and yet live.  You and I can’t get our heads around that.  The number of ways you want to try and define God, or picture God, comprehend God are limitless.  But we are in no position to be able to define God; none whatsoever.  The reason being that we are created stuff, and that's all we ever have to compare ourselves to or connect with.  That’s exactly what the disciples were doing with Jesus.  All of the Jews were asking human questions: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  “Search the Scriptures; you’ll see Messiah is not coming out of Nazareth.”


In anticipation of His death, Jesus got the disciples alone.  

The crowds were away, so He could talk plainly to them.  He told them He was going away.  Where was He going?  He was going to the grave, and the disciples couldn’t go with Him.  “Where I'm going you cannot go.  Because if you do, you cannot come back.”  He’s hiding in plain sight, telling them plainly He’s going away.  The disciples begin to ask each other where He’s going that they cannot go.  From the human perspective this is a reasonable question.  Jesus understands the confusion, and enlarges on things.  “It's necessary—” the word is “expedient” in the King James— “It's expedient for you that I go away.”  Jesus had to practice the faith that God is asking you, me and everybody else to practice.  Otherwise how could He say, “I go to the grave—but I'm coming back”?
 The nearer Jesus got to the hour of His death the more He started trembling.  He was trembling in the Garden, blood draining from Him.  The death He’s fearful of is no ordinary death—this is the death of God!  None of the disciples understood what He was talking about.  None of the Angels understood what He was talking about—fully.  The angels were there trying to save Him out of this horrible situation; just like Peter was trying to save Him.  No one wanted to allow this to happen.  But Jesus said it was expedient for us that He go.  “If I don’t go away [to death and the grave],” He said, “The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, cannot come.”  In His last words on the cross He said, “Father, into thy hands I commend My Holy Spirit [My eternal spirit, My eternal life].”

Let’s talk for a moment about Joseph:

Joseph has dreams of majesty and power.  He dreams that one day everybody will bow down to him.  But instead of being bowed down to, Joseph winds up in Egypt, first as a slave, then as an inmate in the prison.  Time passes; things change; Joseph arrives at the moment where he knows he's going to die.  He repeats what his father Jacob said just before his death: “Swear to me that you will not bury me in Egypt.  But take me and bury me in the land that was sworn to our fathers."  Historically the story is played out so that Jacob is a stand-in for Jesus.  And Jesus is a stand-in for God.   
 But here we are with Joseph.  Joseph is repeating the same scenario.  Joseph knows he's going to die, so he calls his brothers and his family, and he reminds them, “One day God is going to bring you out of this place, and bring you into the land which He swore to our fathers.  Swear to me you will not leave my bones in Egypt.”  If you’ll check it out in the Book of Exodus, the Hebrews didn’t leave town without the bones of Joseph.  He told them, “Take my bones and bury me in the land of promise.” Jesus Himself has not yet arrived in the land of promise; He is still waiting.  But before He left Earth Jesus told the disciples, “It's expedient [a matter of absolute convenience] that I leave.”  It was necessary that He leave, because if He doesn’t leave, the Holy Spirit will not come.


In the human sphere God has done everything necessary for the salvation of mankind.  

The Godhead had an obligation to deal with our problems.  Everybody can be saved, but, of course, not everybody will be saved, because we are still left with our own choice in the matter.  It’s strange, because even though God is all powerful, He cannot keep a hold on everybody.  And everybody has the freedom to choose. When you’re trying to understand who and what God is like, you cannot just write out a few words and say, here, this is what God is like.  No, there’s a whole other side to look at.  And then there’s another side. And another. When we consider that God is representing Himself in the stories of these Biblical characters down through the ages, we get the idea that, through these characters, God is telling the universe about Himself, revealing Himself.  Remember, we’re talking about hiding in plain sight: hiding in Abraham; hiding in Isaac; hiding in Jacob, and hiding in the story of Joseph. When Jesus told the disciples it was necessary that He go, and where He goes they cannot go, they really didn't understand that He was speaking of His death.


God made it possible for us to be saved.  

He originally made us free to do righteously.  But through process of behavior we created the impossibility of doing right.  A good tree is not going to bring forth evil fruit.  By contrast an evil tree (that’s us) is not going to bring forth good fruit.  Of ourselves we can do no good thing. Our problem is that we are shortsighted.  We see a very small part of the spectrum.  But the spectrum is really quite broad.  I see that Jesus is coming … soon.  And the question I should ask is, do I see that?  Or do I want that? God is hiding in plain sight, not because he's trying to hide from us, but because we just can’t comprehend Him.  Ellen White puts this thought together like this: “Sin corrupts the thinking, and distorts our view of God.”  Sin messes with our view of life, and of basically everything.  We cannot see anything clearly.  The New Testament says we see through a cracked glass; through clouded glass.  We see everything through the distortion of sin, which in itself proves that we are full of sin.  Otherwise we would all see clearly, and comprehend everything just as it really is and ought to be.  But right now it’s just not possible. What I do know is this: when I think I have God figured out, He shows up somewhere else.  I suppose we’ve all been tempted at one time or another to think God is playing games with us down here.  The reason why we see Him first here, then there, is because He is everywhere.  And it really just depends upon your mood in that moment, and on where you are in your life and in your thinking.


No, I really do not believe God is playing games with us.  

By contrast, though, I think a lot of people play games with God.  I think that salvation is the most serious matter that has ever come into focus in creation … not just our creation, but the whole creation.  I think the salvation issue is “the” issue.  Either God is good, or He’s not.  God is not somewhere in between good and bad.  He's either all good, or He’s not.  We don't operate that way.  The way it works right now is that a person can be good one day, and bad the next; good one moment, and bad the next.  I’ll say it again, I really don't believe God is hiding from us.  I believe that it is our condition that hides God from us.  Jesus said, “They have eyes but they don't see.” If there's any measure of truth in what I'm trying to get to here, what might we consider to be a meaningful prayer if we find ourselves in this condition?  Might it not be something like, “Lord, anoint my eyes that I might see”?  Because, realistically, we sing it, we preach it, we talk it … but we don't even know what we’re talking about. Jesus said to them, “I've been here all along. I've told you who I am.  How is it that you do not understand that My Father and I are the same?” Rather than making things complicated, He’s making things simple; so simple, in fact, that He’s hidden in plain sight.  Our eyes are focusing everywhere but the right place. The reason God is able to hide in plain sight is because we are not prepared to see Him in the everyday affairs of life, the little things.  We’re always looking for some grand and glorious demonstration in the heavens.  We’re expecting to hear some booming voice shouting, “I'm God, and you’d better straighten up.”  If you can stop your mind going off on some pantheistic roller coaster ride, the truth is that if you look for Him, God can be seen in every thing and in every where.  The only real distortion is that everything is full of and covered up with sin. All the highs and lows that I feel in my long life are a demonstration of the highs and lows that God is subjected to.  “Let us make man in Our image, after our likeness,” said God.  So it makes sense that if I can feel highs and lows, then God can feel highs and lows.  If I can feel disappointment, God can feel disappointment.


If there is a Gospel or Good News, here it is: 

you don't have to be afraid of God.  Presently, because of our sinful nature, we are all naturally afraid of God.  It is fear that we're trying to see God through.  That fear distorts everything.  God is not hiding, but we, because of our fallen state, actually hide Him from ourselves.  Naturally we are afraid to see Him.  The voice within us rises: “Hide us from the face of him that cometh ….”  Because of what He told Moses: “You can’t see Me and live,” we are afraid that we would be destroyed.

 One day we will see God—face to face—and live; live like we’ve never lived before.

 Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

"Counting Time — Measuring Distance"

By Charles Wheeling

Words can often play tricks on the mind.  When you use the word “distance,” you usually think of something way out yonder.  But that’s not necessarily true.  Two ends of a one-foot ruler are separated by distance.  Modern science asserts that time equals space, and space equals time.

Let’s kick off with the idea of an equation:

An equation is the idea in reality that whatever is on one side of the equals mark is the same as, or equal to, what's on the other side — if it's a true equation.

The Bible, from cover to cover, uses an equation.  Whether you want to talk about an hour, a day, a month, a year, or a thousand years, this important equation comes into play.  We find God using a lot of stretch words when he talks to us through the prophets about this equation.

“When ye therefore shall come into the land ….”

There's the “when” and there's the stretch.  In other words, you're not there yet; it’s going to happen.

“Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth.”

We’re not there yet; there's a stretch.  But it’s still the same equation.

A few years ago we had a big to-do all over the planet about the Mayan Calendar, and the end of the world coming on December 21.  The Mayans never said it's going to be the end of the world.  That was just Hollywood garbage; newspaper-headline garbage.  What the Mayans did say was that the earth and the sky above us would enter into a Fifth Heaven.  Well, the time, according to the Mayans, has come and gone.  The “stretch” arrived on December 21, 2012.  We’re not talking about the Heaven where God lives; we’re talking about the sky we can see when we look up.  And I’m not interested in proving the change; I’m interested in understanding why people engage in the idea … and why God engages in it.

Let’s ask this: if there's a Fifth Heaven, will there be a Sixth Heaven?

The answer, of course, is yes … when God shakes the heavens and the earth, and changes the times and the seasons.  I believe that, prophetically, we are on the way to the Sixth Heaven.  Right now we’re not going to relate it to salvation, only to time and circumstance.

According to the Mayans, on December 21 of 2012 earth and the skies above us entered into the Fifth Heaven, the fifth change, the fifth clock … the fifth something.  Prophetically speaking, in Old Testament and New Testament, we’re headed for a change in the earth and the heavens.  We're talking about big change, in the moon, the sun and the planets.  And if you change the measurement, just by a fraction, between the planets, you end up changing the entire calendar.  Even the smallest change will affect the clock.  In the past it appears that the flood was one of those changes; something happened in the sky that changed the clock.  And when the clock got changed … we got hit.

Whatever has changed in the sky is causing a whole lot more craziness.  And it’s no good to say, “Well, we’ve always had crazy.”  Things have changed.  More people are going crazy in public places.  Crazy dyes its hair pink and goes to the movie theater at midnight, then shoots as many people as appear at the end of the gun.  This is happening everywhere; it’s multiplying, not just in America — the entire globe is going crazy.  We're watching the same developments on this rock that were there before the flood and shortly thereafter at the Tower of Babel — confusion! 

In reality we live amid an ever-shifting, ever-changing earth, and an ever-changing sky above.

The Creation we live in is all very complex.  The earth is spinning.  The moon is going around the earth.  The earth and moon are going around the sun.  The earth, moon and sun are going around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.  In our own solar system there are other planets that line up at various angles.  It takes an array of super-computers just to sort all this out, and to keep our minds on an even keel.  People on earth are walking around doing their Walmart shopping, and they pay no attention to any of this … but they’re all affected by all of it.  Everything down here is affected by everything out there. 

God, through the prophets, refers constantly to “The fullness of time,” “Times and seasons.”  What are these cycles all about?  We’ve got long cycles: years.  We’ve got short cycles: days and weeks (though weeks are not astronomical).  We’ve got months.  We’ve got a fifty-year Jubilee, which might eventually line up with some astronomical event which we don’t yet recognize.  It may be seen one day that something astronomical happens in that fiftieth year.  We ought not be surprised at such a notion; every seventy-six years Halley’s Comet appears for a short time in our sky as it speeds through its cycle.

Count backward from where we are now to the day of either the birth of Jesus, or the day of His leaving, and continue counting back and back; we know that something grand and awful happened at the flood that affected everything on the rock, and we have very good reason to believe that after the flood there were other grand and great events in the heavens that impacted our earth.

Is it possible that the whole scenario of the Sanctuary, the Bible, the ongoing “time,” is all very natural?

By that I mean to say that we are absolutely too small to see the big picture; we don’t live long enough to play the whole game.  But God does see the big picture.  He does live long enough to see the end from the beginning.  

Pentecost is measured time.  Through Jesus, God says to the disciples, “Wait here until you receive the promise of the Father.”  The Father knew what day that was going to occur.  The disciples didn’t know the day it was going to happen.  “After that ye shall have received power …” or energy.  They were to receive power … energy.  Zapp!  And they got it … every which way.  Something lined up which affected the crowds, as well as the disciples.  It affected the disciples first because they were praying to be affected.  They were aligning themselves with the alignment.

God knows these moments of alignment; they are very real, and God knows exactly when they are, and when the astronomical wires get connected.  I see the end of the world as either when all the wires are connected, or all the wires are disconnected — one or the other.  Could even both be true?  Perhaps some folk, because they anticipate the time, the moment, or the event, put themselves in alignment with it and the Spirit flows through them.  God's energy will flow through them and they will blessed by it.  At the same time, though, that same energy flows through other people and they just get fried by it.

Every day, year, century and millennium that goes by shouts to us that God is an observer of the times; He knows when things are going to come together.  Jesus told the disciples in Acts Chapter 1 that God has the times and the seasons in His own hands.  That means that all God has to do is speak, and He can change the clock.  It looks to me like, at the end, everything is aligned for evil.  Everything will be bad, not only for the human beings that are here, but it will be bad for the evil spirits that are here.  These evil spirits have been captive in the pit, but they’ll be let out a little while to do their dirty work, then they’re going back into captivity for 1,000 years and then they'll be loosed a little season, whatever “a little season” is — two days, two weeks, two months, two years.  Evidently there's enough time allotted that Satan can go out to the nations and sell them his wonderful plan … again, and get them all to march from wherever they are on the rock to wherever the city is.

The Scripture says the whole creation groaneth and travaileth.

Our world is not even a corner, not even a speck, in the grand tapestry.  The whole creation groans and travails, awaiting the day of deliverance.  Meanwhile, sin is a pox on the house; a disease draining good energy from everything and everybody out there, in order to feed its evil self. 

God knows how long it's going to take until He intervenes, interrupts and interferes in order to save as many as can be saved in that present moment.  A lot of folk have already lived and are dead; for them the resurrection morning hasn't come yet.  We’re talking about the moment when everything that can go wrong … goes wrong.  But when everything goes wrong for some, everything, for some others, begins to go right.  God will demonstrate that He is the Master of time and space, He's the One that created it.  It exists by, in and through Him.

It looks to me like there is a Pentecost to come before the clock runs out.  Power from God will flow through people who choose to align themselves according to the time.  The Scripture says, “Ye know not what hour … watch therefore and pray.”  Timing appears to be everything.  Those who make their own willful choices to align themselves with God's call can receive this energy, this Latter Rain, Holy Spirit energy. 

What about the rest of the folk who didn't know it was time?

How are they going to be energized by the Holy Spirit?  I believe it’s because the first choice was a willful choice.  The final choice coincides with a true alignment, a true time, a true filling full.  At that last time the power is going to be available to everyone.  Jesus said again and again that every kindred, tongue, nation and people has to hear.  We have all kinds of ways to communicate information, but alone these ways are not enough.  Everyone hasn’t heard yet because the power has not yet been available; the time has not yet come; the deed is not yet done.  God knows when that time is coming.  God knows when the heavens speak, and He understands the language and the math.

All of this is of great significance to Adventist Christians.  Daniel Chapter 4 portrays King Nebuchadnezzar going about his business in his attitude of egotistical “Me, Myself and I.”  The Scripture goes on to portray a watcher and a holy one … who is watching what’s going on down here and what’s going on up there.  When the watched-for time comes there is a command issued in heaven by the watcher and holy one, who by the way is no ordinary man, person or angel.  This watcher is one that knows the time, the hour, and the day.  The holy one orders the tree cut down, and shortly thereafter Nebuchadnezzar loses his mind.  No one else loses their mind to the same degree because they weren’t in the way and interfering with God’s plans.  If you or I are standing in the way of Heaven’s business, God has a way of taking care of business.  It was great mercy on the part of heaven not to totally get rid of Nebuchadnezzar, or just let him go completely crazy. 

No, Nebuchadnezzar was humbled, put out in the field with the rest of the livestock, and left to eat grass for … 7 years — there's that time and space again.  At the end of Chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar looks up and praises God; there’s a new vista.  He knew the God of heaven was to be praised.

It appears to me that we're not just approaching the end, which would be the Seventh Heaven, but there's a time before it during which we should be looking, we should be expecting.  God, through the prophets, is telling us that there’s at least seven years before this event.  I believe Daniel and The Revelation are among the most valuable writings in the whole book; they are unlike the others in that God counts days and tells you how many days until …. 

In the fourth chapter of Daniel we have time and distance, because the Lord is coming at the end of the process; at the end of this last seven years. 

The coming of the Lord is the capstone of the whole prophetic structure.

The Scripture says at that time the sun is going to turn black.  We might wonder how that can happen.  Cosmologically-speaking it could happen in several different ways.  Before this year's over we’re going to have a solar eclipse, which means, at least briefly, the sun is going to turn black.  Many people who are interested in prophecy read about the events at the end, and they say the blackness will be caused by a solar eclipse.  I believe there will be a solar eclipse; I also believe there will be a lunar eclipse; and not just any lunar eclipse, but a blood moon.  There are other possibilities to consider: there are vast clouds of dust and gas in every known galactic system.  Our earth is part of a galactic system called the Milky Way Galaxy.  If a sun should live long enough, and move far enough in the system, it’s going to pass behind or through some of these immense clouds of dust and gas.  Light doesn’t penetrate these clouds; the blackness is as the blackness of sackcloth.  In whatever fashion, our sun is going to gather blackness.

The Scripture several times talks about the coming of the Lord as from the east, from the rising of the sun.  It’s possible that Jesus is going to approach the earth from behind the sun, and is not seen or recognized until the last few moments (prophetically speaking).  Ellen White speaks of the coming of the Lord as beginning as a small, black cloud.  As He draws near the earth, with all the saints amassed, and all that energy and power collected in such a small space, is it possible that the energy and power is so great that it temporarily sucks the light out of the sun? 

You have to wonder what all this would mean spiritually.

If a physical body as great … as energetic … as powerful and as hot and bright as the sun goes black in God’s presence, what could that possibly mean to us spiritually speaking?  There is no light that outshines Him.  There is no energy greater than His; no one greater than Himself.  I believe Ellen White had it exactly right.  With her impossible three grades of education in the early 1800s, she talks about the coming of Jesus in the clouds of heaven — the brightest most glorious event ever known in the history of this rock — as like a little black cloud, that, “As He drew nearer the earth the cloud became bright and overall glorious, and we could hear the angels singing.”

There was a darkened sun while Jesus was hanging on the cross about the sixth hour to the ninth hour.  Now, that was the ultimate solar eclipse.

When God says the “fullness of time was come,” it’s not just chitter chatter; He’s not just trying to fill space on the page.  God is the Master of Creation, and what He created was time and space.  Time with nothing in it is boring.  Space with nothing in it is beyond boring.  God created time and space and immediately began to fill it.  It’s possible that the principle stated in the Garden holds true all the way along the path of Creation: “Be fruitful and multiply.”

God did not create the heavens and the earth without purpose, without a plan.  Sin has interrupted God's plan, and from our perspective the devil has almost won.  “The meek shall inherit the earth.”  But not this earth; no one wants to inherit this rock the way it is.  That would be a nightmare — not a promise.  New heavens and a new earth, wherein the former things are passed away; I'll take that, and so will you.  Can you even put a price on what it cost God to get it back? and to get us back?  He could have said, “Blow them away and let's start again.”

To try and define or describe God is a lost cause.

Shall we say God is a ball of energy?  How ridiculous is that?  Energy flows from him to everything that exists.  But God is not just energy.  God creates, but then He also upholds what He creates.  That’s a marvelous thought.  I build a house and move into it, and everything’s sparkling and new.  But in fifteen years I’ve got to paint it again, and again; eventually I’ll need a new roof.  In thirty years, when the mortgage is paid, I’ll have to put a match to it and start all over again.  But this will not be true of the world to come.  When the universe is perfect again, with a perfect heaven, a perfect earth, and perfect people, at that time supreme energy — love — is going to flow out from God uninterrupted by sin.

Let’s for a moment talk about families.  Suppose you and I live 70 or 80 years down here, then suppose we have children, then suppose we lose a child before we ourselves pass away.  Do we cry?  Do we weep?  Do we experience pain?  We sometimes say, “Lord, why didn’t you let me die instead of my child?”  We sometimes say, “If I can’t have my children or my wife or my whatever, then just let me die.”  Some people, out of absolute despair, commit suicide.  But what about angels?  Angels are not blood kin to other angels; they're not married kin to other angels.  But there's obviously some kind of kinship, some connection between them.  There are families, called orders: cherubim, seraphim. 

There have been several thousand years, maybe a few million years, that angels have existed.

Angels are family, they love God, and they love one another.  When this rebellion breaks out kin start cursing kin to their faces.  Words are heard: “You know not to trust Him; He's just out for self; you're letting us all down.”  At the end of the fights those angels who remained faithful to God are still grieving over the fact that their family, their kin … are gone.  We have this picture in our minds of the end of the Millennium: we see the City of God; the saved, ransomed and redeemed are inside the City.  On the outside of the City are not just bad angels; outside are people who are kin to us.  It’s going to be painful to be on the inside watching people you have known and loved in this life who are on the outside.  Angels have never experienced death … yet.  Those angels who lost loved ones in the angelic order are going to be standing there watching for their own family.  And not until the end of all this process is the last tear wiped away.  I don't think any of us are able to even begin to comprehend the pain that sin has brought to the heart of God.  Angels are going to weep.  Angels are going to burn.  People are going to weep, and people are going to burn. 

God will not be dispassionate through the end of this horrible mess.  God is not going to shrug His shoulders saying, “Well, I tried to tell them, but they wouldn't listen.”  No, not at all.  Just like us, God is not looking forward to that day.

By God’s good grace we have an opportunity to be on the inside of the City.  Only to that end do we look forward.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Captivity Is Coming — for Some"

By Charles Wheeling

Life as we call it on this planet is very strange.  There's not a sensible person anywhere who would plan life the way it is carried out on this rock, if in fact they had a chance to plan it.  Nobody would plan it this way.  Whether because of pain and anguish … or trouble.  If you had your choice in the matter, you would not plan to have trouble, or pain.  I don't believe this is God's plan; I believe it's the byproduct of the sin problem.  

We are caught up in this mess.  And the pain is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In order to survive we have to invent escape mechanisms: if you’ve got bodily pain, you have to invent a pain pill.  If you have emotional pain, you have to invent an emotional pain pill.  You must find some way to blunt the reality of life, as we call it. 

It's interesting to me that if you go to China, and you see a mother with her dead baby lying by her side, the mother is crying.  Same thing if you go to Africa.  If you come to America and see the same scene, the mother is crying.  It appears that we all share the same sensitivity to pain.  We all have different ways of dealing with it, different escape mechanisms. 

Religion is a wonderful way for many to get a handle on the emotional and spiritual pain of life: “My child is not dead; she's gone to heaven.”  Ask the question: “Is she going to remain a child until you get there?"  "Will she remain a child forever?”  These are the questions that should be asked.  But those kinds of questions are not asked or pursued.   If the dead child has gone to heaven, why are the mothers crying?  Pain does not cause rational thinking.  Pain itself is unreasonable, therefore the escapes that we invent are unreasonable.  And that seems to make it okay for us to invent unreasonable escape mechanisms.

Even as a youth in the Baptist faith I had problems with the idea that, “If it’s the will of God that the tree falls on you, then it’s the will of God — the tree’s going to fall on you.”  I have problems with that kind of thinking.  In other words, nothing can happen to you, or will happen to you, except it’s the will of God. 

Pain produces strange and bizarre reactions, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional or spiritual; it matters not.  If bodily pain is so unbearably painful, the mind and psyche — in order to survive — must produce some way of blunting the pain.  “my child is not dead!”  “My husband’s not dead; he's in heaven.”  “Everything's okay.  Besides that, it was the will of God.”

Let’s take our thinking back a couple of thousand years to the Roman Empire:

Christianity did not have a choice as to when it would be born.  Obviously it could not be born before Jesus came as a man, and when Jesus did come as a man, Christianity was born.  Christianity was a burr under the saddle of Judaism.  Christianity was a pain, and a way had to be found of dealing with the pain.  Jesus was a pain to their thinking; He was a pain to their theology.  He was a pain!  Even though He was doing wonderful things, it was those deeply spiritual, theological issues that mattered most to the religious leaders.  And they do matter most.  That's why Jesus was paining them … because they were incorrect.  But being incorrect is painful … so we can't be incorrect.  We’ve got to get rid of Him who is the source of the pain.  “It’s better that one man should die, than that we all should perish.”  That’s reasonable thinking.  We cannot study Jesus and His activities and His sermons, and say He didn't know what He was doing.  He knew exactly what He was doing.  He knew He was stirring the pot.  He knew it … but He didn't stop it.  He didn’t stop because 1,800 and 2,000 years of Judaism had not brought the people to a safe, sound, correct position in their thinking of God and their relationship with God. 

For reasons that I attribute to Heaven as much to the people of Jesus’ day, they came to the conclusion that works were salvation.  If you keep every point of the Law, then you’re going to Heaven.  Jesus brought that point up with the rich young ruler, who asked Jesus,

“What can I do?”

“You know the Law.”

“I've kept all that!”

And I don't even question the veracity of that claim.

“I’ve done all that!”

Jesus responded to the rich, young ruler that the works of the Law — necessary and good as they may be — do not save your soul.  This is an enigma; it’s a problem that doesn't make sense.  If I do a bad work, I can be lost; but if I do a good work, I can't be saved.  That's not reasonable, and the entire human family sees that it’s unreasonable … so they ignore it.  Almost the entire human family who expect to be saved, practice a form of works for salvation.

As far as the people were concerned, Christianity was born at an "inconvenient time."  But the Scripture says it was in the “fullness of time” that God sent Jesus.  It was inconvenient because of the Romans, and it was inconvenient because of the Jews.  But Christianity was born when God wanted it to be born.   Christianity, as an expansion of Judaism, was inconvenient for the people.  And if it was inconvenient for the people, it was inconvenient for God.

Jesus invited people to follow Him, to be His disciples.  The word disciple is where the word discipline comes from.  In other words, we’ve got to discipline ourselves.  What is it about us that has to be disciplined?   We’ve got to put away sin in our lives.  We must discipline ourselves to endure pain and trial.  Pain and trial?  That's a different story.   My whole object in life is often to avoid pain.  That's the sermon Jesus is not preaching.  He doesn’t say, “If you follow me you'll avoid pain.”  Far from it; He says, “If you follow Me you can expect pain.”   

Within 30 to 60 years of Jesus, Peter, James and Paul there were thousands of Christians.  Christianity was spreading.  And just like Christianity within Judaism was not appreciated, Christianity within Romanism was despised.  Within a few brief years of Paul's beheading and Peter's crucifixion thousands of Christians are thrown to the lions.  Whole families: husbands and wives with their children were thrown to the lions, to the applause, laughter and glee of countless thousands in the bleachers of the arenas.  There were millions of Christians back then, today and everywhere in between, who believe it was the will of God for those people to be thrown to the lions.  “God wills it,” say the Christians.  “Allah wills it,” say the Muslims.  And I don't buy it, not in the Baptist Church, not in the Adventist church, and I don’t buy it in the history books.  I simply don't buy it.  I think they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Can it surely be that simple?  It's that simple.  People cannot choose where they are to be born, when they are going to live.  We cannot choose the circumstances that are going to surround us when we are to be born.  We’re just here. 

“Well, it’s the will of God!”

Honestly, I don't believe that.  I don't believe the circumstances that haunt you and me down here were ever the will of God — ever.  I think that we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You can reason positively and say, “No, we’re here at the right time.”  And you’re free to think that way if you choose.

Let’s consider Scripture:

Revelation 13, verse 9 counsels us that if any man have an ear he’d better listen up.  Somebody is calling someone’s attention to something.  “If any man have an ear, let him hear.  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.”  Think of this in the context of Revelation 13: the Mark of the Beast … you can't fight city hall.  Who's going to lead into captivity?  The Beast System … the Little Horn … the Woman — all of them conspiring together to get rid of you, me and anybody that doesn't go along with the plan.   If you and I are there when that happens we’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Look at the phrase again: “He that leadeth into captivity ….” — that's an action taking place — “shall go into captivity ….” — that's an action yet to take place.  While he's leading into captivity folks are being burned at the stake; their houses are torched while they and their families are sleeping at night; they’re rounded up and beheaded publicly.

“This is the will of God!”

I don't believe that at all.  They are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But ask the question: does God have any responsibility in this matter?  Expand the question: were warnings given through Jesus Himself to the early Christian church that when you see Jerusalem surrounded with armies … Run!?  Why didn’t He tell them it’s the will of God that you stand there and be brave, and make a demonstration?  He didn’t say that at all, did He?  He told them to run for it … don't even go get your umbrella or your coat — run!

If you read the Gospels carefully you will see that Jesus was brought to the point several times in His ministry where His life was threatened … prematurely.  We know He was here to die, but not before the time.  Do you and I have a time to die?  If you’re a Baptist, then, yes, you’ve got a time to die.  This view paints a very ugly picture of God, wouldn’t you say?  God is pictured in Heaven making the declaration that you will live till this hour, this minute, this day, and then you’re going to get it.  I honestly pray that this is not a true picture of God at all.

Let’s look again:

“He that leadeth into captivity 'shall' go ….” “shall” is future tense.  In other words, someone is going into captivity, before the “captivator” goes into captivity.  “He that killeth with the sword … must be killed with the sword.”  There’s a time coming when somebody is going to be killed with the sword … before the killer with the sword is killed.

“Here is the patience and faith of the saints.”

If you get caught in the big cities, and the cordon is put up, and you can’t get out, then you’d better have the patience and faith of the saints … that's all I have to say;  Because you did not understand that it was not the will of God for you to stay there.

You can say all you want: “God will take care of me!”

If there is any such thing as luck, well … good luck.

If you're going to avoid the trouble that is on the way, you're going to have to make difficult, painful decisions — before the fact … not when the fact arrives.  That upsets families.  That upsets paychecks.  That upsets kids.  “My friends are here,” we say.  Yes, it’s painful.  But do you want a little pain now … or a whole lot of pain later?  We’re all going to experience pain down here; but reasonably, sensibly, logically, we should avoid as much pain as possible, as often as possible; and the “as possible” is important.

All these mature leaders in Islam tell all these other young folks to blow themselves up.  Why don't these Islamic elders blow themselves up first?  They’ll tell you it’s important that they stay here and tell everyone else to blow themselves up.  None of this makes any sense.  Life here makes no sense.  The human condition here makes no sense.  It makes no sense because it is not God's plan.  I believe God works through it and around it; but this was never God's plan.  Just like you and I have to work around it, God is having to work around it.  I might live 70 or 80 years and have to put up with it.  But, unfortunately, God has to put up with it far longer than that.  I'm trying to look at this mess, not just through human eyes, but through Heaven's eyes, and see that this was never God's plan.

Listen to it again:

“If any man have an ear, let him hear.  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and faith of the saints.”

I believe — if we can know the danger ahead of time — that it is the will of God that we get out of Dodge.  I don’t believe God is glorified because we throw ourselves to the lions.  I believe there is a practical side to religion and spirituality.  If I can live longer, I think I should.  I believe that is how we were created … to want to live, and not want to die.

So, what do we do with Revelation 12:11:

“And they loved not their lives unto to the death”?

This verse is speaking of people like the disciples — maybe like us — who are caught by the circumstances of the day.  They are going to have the patience and faith of the saints.  All they can conclude is that God knows where they are, and if he wants them to be saved out of it, He will save them.  That’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel in the lions’ den.  Daniel didn't go out of his way to make sure the shades were up while he was saying his prayers; he wasn’t sure to pray loud enough that he could be heard all through the house.  He had no intention of being thrown into the lions’ den.  I don't believe the three worthies told each other to stand up, so we can burn up.  I believe time and circumstance caught up with them, and they couldn’t run anywhere.

We're coming to the end of the world.  But is it because God has said, “I have declared that there shall be no more time”?  Or is it because of time and circumstance, and because the powers of heaven are shaking, and because it's payday?  Judgment Day?  It is the end of the rock; and since we live on the rock and we’re part of the rock, we’re going to get caught up in whatever is coming.

I have come to believe and understand, that the Bible is written by human beings who believe God sent the flood, and that there could not be a flood unless God made it happen.  I personally believe that if sin had not flooded the planet before the flood of water, and all the circumstances were pointing to the flood coming, I believe God could have spoken and moved whatever out of the way and prevented the Great Deluge; the same way He spoke to the clouds and the waves, and told them to stop … be still and go away.  God is caught up in this chain of circumstances as well, though not of His own making; someone else is making and doing.  And here we are caught in this trap.  We, too, are in this prison.

By the way, had God stopped the flood that drowned the world in Noah's day, the intelligent universe would not have seen what sin produces … what the byproducts of sin are … and what the end result of sin is.  Evidently there's an end product of sin that the world has not yet seen.  Daniel 12:1 is all about a time of trouble such as never was.  There's something coming on this rock that nobody, in all the centuries and millennia before us, has ever seen.

If you're watching the news; if you're reading the news; if you know anything about recorded history, or about present history being written, you would have to be blind to not see that a storm is coming relentless in its fury.  Ellen White spoke of a dream she had; she said she looked around the morning after a storm had gone through in the night, and everything had been swept away.  There was nothing left.

You don’t have a while to think about this.  Your while time is over.  What these verses are saying to you is “Do or die;” when this time comes don't be in the way, because it's going to happen; It’s coming — quickly.

Amen, and Amen ….

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Here Comes the Beast!"

By Charles Wheeling

At its January, 2010 annual WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM in Davos, Switzerland, many nations, including the United States, signed AN AGREEMENT TO REFORM THE IMF CAPITAL STRUCTURE.

As a follow up, it would be necessary for the U.S. Congress to vote and ratify that agreement — so far they have refused to sign this agreement, even to this date!  Why?

At present, the U.S., as the largest contributor to the IMF, holds 17.69% voting power, granting the U.S. veto power over IMF decisions.

In 2010, the world said to the U.S., “Get out of the way or we will get you out of the way!”  Because the U.S. has steadfastly refused to surrender its veto power and keep the 2010 IMF Reform Agreement, the BRICS was formed and 120+ nations have since joined this new alternative to the IMF.

In November 2014, In order to further pressure the U.S. Congress — pressure which had been increasing since 2010 — the IMF secretly bribed U.S. Congressional members by allowing them and their families to purchase certain foreign currencies (soon to be released and revalued), and exchange them (ahead of U.S. citizens) for hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars. This bribe/favor was accomplished as IMF granted SDRs (Special Drawing Rights); then U.S. banks would issue favored persons SKRs (Safe Keeping Receipts), used as collateral for $ loans.

The Global Currency Reset (GCR) has been withheld to date, to punish the US economy and coerce Congress to sign the 2010 agreement.  This power-play refusal on the part of the U.S. (Congress) and the IMF, has literally brought the entire world economy to THE BRINK OF ECONOMIC MELT-DOWN!

Now the Pope is coming to the U.S. September 22, 23, to, I BELIEVE, pressure the U.S. Congress to sign this “Death to America Agreement;” I believe he will succeed and we (Congress) will accede (Surrender)!!

Then we should expect the Pope to announce this “Good News” to the whole world (via the United Nations) and the IMF will push the GCR button before September 30.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"A Little While Lower"

by Charles Wheeling

From time to time somebody writes what they believe is an intellectually, factually correct document to straighten out the rest of us on the planet.  This week I received one of these documents, which tries to tell me that it is just not possible for non-intellectuals to understand what the Bible is really saying, because non-intellectuals don't read it in Hebrew and Aramaic, and don't interpret it in Hebrew and Aramaic.  I can get a few paragraphs into it, but before long I see red, and can't see anything else.   

Let’s ask the question right off: Did the people who understood Hebrew and Aramaic murder Jesus?  The Day of Pentecost illustrated that God is no respecter of persons … or language!  It's ridiculous to paint a picture of God as though He loves only Christians or Jews, and hates and detests everybody else, and wants nothing to do with them.  Denominationalism contributes to this kind of ridiculous thinking.   

For a few minutes here let’s think about how God made us at a different time than He made the Angels.

I'm in Hebrews Chapter 2, beginning with Verse 5:

“Unto the Angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.”

For the word “subjection” the Greek also offers “submission.”  In the beginning of the Bible God made everything, then made Adam and put him at the head of it all; everything subject to Adam.

“But one in a certain place testified saying, What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the Son of Man, that thou visitest him.”

In other words, what are we?  We’re just made of dirt.  How are we worthy of God paying any attention to us at all?  Why come to visit us in the Garden?  Why converse with us and tell us He’s turning all of this over to Adam?

“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.  Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.  For in that he put all in subjection under him ….”

The word “subjection” in verse 8, in the Greek, is in agreement  with “a little lower;” “submissive;” “subjection.”

“But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

In other words, things started out with a plan.  Man was to be Lord and King over this rock, with all its animals, trees and people.  He was to be a king in subjection to higher powers, to the higher King.

“He left nothing that is not put under him.”

Paul speaks of Jesus as He Who made everything; nothing made that He didn't make. There’s nothing that He is not Lord over.

“He left nothing that is not put under him.  But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

Evidently you and I are on a road that doesn't look all that prosperous most of the time.  We’re on a road going somewhere.  The question is, what does it mean, “we're a little while lower”?

The Book closes with John seeing the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.  In other words, this rock is going to be God’s everlasting, eternal resting place.  That's what’s meant when the Bible says God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom that will never pass away.  When it gets here, it’s not going anywhere else.  It’s possible that the original intent of God was to bring Himself and His city here to the earth.  It’s possible that this was the original purpose, especially when you consider that the Bible says Heaven is His throne, but the earth is His footstool.  This suggests to me that there's some process going on. 

I honestly think that the earth was meant to be God's retirement home … vacation home … country home, or whatever we want to call it.  And evidently we human beings are going to be elevated — not just re-created in body, but elevated in some way.  So when all of the visitors from other worlds come to our world, we will be the greeters, the people who host them.  We will be the ones whom God allows to represent Him.  People come; we find out if they can sing, and if they can we arrange for them to present Special Music on Sabbath.  This is how it seems to me, right now anyway.

Verse 9 says, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels …”

Meaning He became one of us …

“… for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren…”

My question here is, when Jesus took upon Himself humanity, was it a “forever” transaction?  Or when all of this is done is He going to go back and be what He was before?

Right now my feeling is that He's going to be one of us forever.  Perhaps this is one reason He’s going to be King of kings and Lord of lords … here on the earth.  This earthly kingdom is the kingdom that is going to be given to Him.  But there’s a larger kingdom.  The New Testament says that Christ will bring all things in subjection to the Father.  The Father is the Great King; then there is Jesus who is King of kings and Lord of lords, King and Lord over all that we are and all that is here.  And since He made all the rest of the worlds, is He King of kings and Lord of lords out there, too?

Verse 16 says, “For verily he took not on him the nature of Angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.  Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [comfort] them that are tempted.”  

I believe that John, who was the simplest of all New Testament contributors, was permitted to present some of the most profound, complicated things.  God is no respecter of persons, says Paul.  But John is talking about the same thing when he says it does not yet appear what we're going to be, but were going take on His nature, His appearance — both on the inside and on the outside.  

Another question is, when Jesus is buying us back — redeeming us; ransoming us … when He’s buying us back is it an incremental purchase?  There’s a blood transaction, then there’s a flesh transaction.   If you go into the sanctuary and just read the language, the process plays out like this:  You bring a sacrifice, then you take the blood of the sacrifice, then the whole sacrifice is consumed by fire.  Whatever this redemptive process is, it’s more than just buying us back.  It’s also buying the lawful right to make us all over again.  And that’s the part I haven’t fully sorted out yet.  That's really the ultimate decision in the judgment, when that final determination is made that Jesus is worthy to be King of kings and Lord of lords, then He has the lawful right to not only blot out our sins, but to make us brand-new.

What we we’re going to read next cannot take place until after the two witnesses are put to death and resurrected.

Revelation Chapter 11, verse 11 paints this picture:

“After three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them [the Two Witnesses], and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell on them which saw them.  And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither.  And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”

That cloud is interesting to me, since the same thing is said about Jesus going up in a cloud.

Verse 13: “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.  The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world ….”

Let’s clarify that the seventh angel is the Archangel.  This is the one that shouts and the resurrection takes place.

“The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.”

This is the King and Kingdom we’re talking about here.

Verse 16:  “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats [thrones], fell on their faces and worshiped God ….”

Whatever has just taken place is causing the 24 elders to fall on their faces.

“…. They fell upon their faces and worshiped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty ….”

We might ask right here, are they praying to the One on the throne?  Are they praying to the One who has just become King of kings and Lord of lords?  Let’s see:

“We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”

It appears to me they are singing this, praying this, glorifying this to the one who has just been addressed as King of kings and Lord of lords.

“Thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned ….”

“Reign-“ed;” that's a completed act.

Verse 18:  “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged [rewarded], and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”

There are two verses in the Book of Revelation that are similar to this verse 19, basically saying the same thing.

“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”

“…. And the temple of God was opened in heaven ….”

That suggests to me that it was not open until then.

“There was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.”

That's the ark of the Covenant; the Ark of His Testament, His Law, His will.

Whatever sin was and is, if God had not intervened as He did, I think there would have been instant judgment.  I think that when the angel of the Lord came back into the garden, Adam and Eve would have been consumed.  They would have been consumed because they had no covering; they were naked.  They did not have the covering of light, which is represented as the righteousness of Christ; light we lost which is going to be restored.  If God had not foreseen, foreknown, and had not fore-planned for this, if He had not set in motion, or at least put a plan in place, I believe Adam and Eve would have been destroyed.  The brightness of His coming, His appearance, would have killed them.  If the Angel of the Lord had appeared, they would have had no protection from His glory.

I agree in principle with the Apostle John when he says it does not yet appear what things are going to be like on the other side. Not just us, but what everything is going to be like.  Things are going to be very different from what we know now.  It all has something to do with this “little while lower” business.

Is it possible that the universe is stuff, as well as energy?  Stuff is nothing but energy slowed down, cooled down.  The universe has many parts and pieces — this Creation; and is it possible that God made man to appreciate all of it?  Is it possible that God made man, not at the bottom, but at the top?  And is it also possible that that's what Lucifer and his bunch saw and were jealous of?  All of these stories seem to be as much for them, or perhaps more for them, as they are for us.

Is this the older brother in the Parable?  What was he so angry about?  “You never threw a party for me,” he said.

There are 10 brothers, baby Benjamin, and Joseph in between.  Joseph shares with the family that he had a dream.  The older brothers promptly respond that they’re going to turn his dream into a nightmare.  They hated Joseph.  Murder was in their hearts.  The original purpose was to get rid of him, not to sell him off down into Egypt, and have him pop up again later on.

The point of all these lessons, which are told all the way through the Book — Old and New Testament — is that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.  We are the last, made a little lower, and we are going to be elevated.  That means that we are going to be dressed to be admired, we are going to be given positions of trust and authority.  Though we’ll be very happy to just bring in the firewood, God apparently does not have that plan for us.  It appears to me that we do not yet know what “we” shall be, or what “it” shall be like, or what “there” shall be.  We have nothing here to compare it with.  All we can do is look around us and say, “There's got to be something better than this!”

And to that day we look forward with great anticipation.