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.