Archive for March, 2014

The Greatest Mystery

Everyone loves a great mystery. It is basic human nature that we long to know revealed secrets.  Besides the Bible, mysteries, whether fiction or non-fiction, are the number-one best sellers globally. Writers such as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sue Grafton, Plato and even Homer have kept us glued to many a book, turning each page to unveil its hidden secrets.new_sherlock_holmes_by_allegator-d4ll8lp

Our Heavenly Father is by far the greatest of mystery tellers.  His Holy Word, is the most prodigious collection of revealed mystery ever written.  From the open page, one reads of a God who creates the entire universe, and fills it with beauty and mystery. Gen 1:26  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. The questions begin: Who is “us”? What is His image? What is His likeness? A truly inquisitive person cannot just stop here. One must read on to find the answers, but new questions emerge. Who are we? Why are we placed here? Why are we cast out? What is sin? Why do I sin? Who is this serpent? Who is it that will crush the serpent’s head? Will we ever be able to return to that beautiful place called Eden?

However, before these and other questions can be answered, an extensive history lesson of just one race of people and their interaction with other races must be told. Before we can even begin to understand the mysteries and secrets that dominate our minds, we must come to grips with our condition, the universal human condition of sin. Before we can even comprehend such mysteries we must come to appreciate and fear or unequivocally respect our creator. We have to understand how great and devastating our sin is! How abhorrent sin is to Him, yet how much he loves us. Psa 25:14  The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

Through this special race of people will come the answers to all of our questions.  We will learn that even though they were separated to be a Holy nation, they sinned and were as corruptible as the nations around them.  We will see that throughout their history of corruption, there were always some who respected God and obeyed His commands.  We will learn that even some of these, could sin and commit terrible acts. Yet, God loved them, and when they obeyed, He protected. When they disobeyed, He punished. Heb 12:25  See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  Most important of all, we learn that through these people will come one who will reveal the mysteries we long to know. He is the one who is hinted about and referred to over and over. Who is this messiah? Who is this Immanuel?

Sometimes it is hard for us, living 2000 years after the fact, to appreciate the mystery of  which Paul said in Col 1:26-27  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.  Quite often, people are told to accept Jesus as their savior (which is truth and most wondrous), without really knowing the story or why it is that they need such salvation.  It’s like receiving two free airline tickets to a far off destination, but why? Why is someone willing to give me $2000 tickets? What do they want? What is the gimmick? Now of course,  Christ is no gimmick. To the contrary, He is the greatest gift. But, it still begs the question, Why? Why was He willing to die on the cross for my sins? Why did he have to die and die in that manner? These are the mysteries that were revealed to Paul and the other apostles long ago. (Eph.3:5)

                In recent days, Malaysian  Airlines flight 370, has become, unfortunately, a profound mystery. Each day I find myself drawn to this story, anticipating new information that will reveal the secrets of where or how this plane with 239 people aboard disappeared. Understandably so, the families of those on board want answers to this most agonizing mystery. We all long to know what happened. Was it an accident? Was it a hijacking? Was it terrorists? Knowing how profound these mysteries are may help us to appreciate how liberating it was for the people of Paul’s day to have  the hidden secrets of God revealed. Eph 3:9-11  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  (10)  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  (11)  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

                Now, we might better understand a mystery that we take for granted, but was puzzling for those long ago, Who am I and why am I here? Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

                For us living 20 centuries later, we comprehend and see that Christ’s salvation was and is intended for all men.  For the chosen race of people (the Jews), this was a hard thing to accept, yet, it was a profound revelation from our Heavenly Father, who created all men. Eph 3:6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Also see Col.1:27; Rom.16:25-26

                What a momentous story! Mystery upon mystery comes to light through the gospel of our Lord and Savior, the Messiah, Immanuel!  God’s revealing to us, through this epic tale, who we are, where were from, why we’re here and where we’re going. I can’t begin to tell you all the mysteries and sub plots in this article or a million articles after it. You have to pick up the book of mysteries and read it for yourself. Start in Genesis and read the entire Old Testament. Write down the questions you have. Then turn to the New Testament and as you read, you’ll find that all the answers to your questions are revealed.  Don’t tell me how it ends! I want to find out for myself.

 

Darryl Fuller 

God’s Glorious Reflection

gods-mirror-image

Most mornings when I get up, I stumble to the sink, wash my face, put on my contacts and greet myself in the mirror.  Whoa ! What a sight! A few adjustments are needed, brush of the hair, a shave. Thank goodness I don’t feel the need to put on foundation and all that other good stuff (It wouldn’t help anyhow).  I believe most of us practice this same ritual every day. It’s called taking an assessment of ourselves.  We typically don’t like what we see, but we do it every day (some of us more than once).  Honestly, some days, (once or twice a decade) I don’t appear half bad.  Usually when I’m feeling sick or didn’t get enough rest, I look pretty bad.  Beth thinks I look good (That’s right, her seeing is getting worse), and that’s some consolation I suppose.  In all, our daily assessment of ourselves is all basically about the same (unless you live in Hollywood).  We take inventory of the problem areas and fix them if we can.  We grumble or moan about the wrinkles that appear, the eyes that sag, the hair that won’t go the way I want or won’t go period.  But each and every day we’re looking at the wrong reflection.  We should be looking into the mirror and seeing the image of our Father.  It’s not my physical appearance that I should be concerned about, but my spiritual reflection that I should be taking note of.

An amazing revelation is given to us by Paul in the 2 Corinthian letter regarding the appearance of Moses’ face after he had been in the presence of God, it glowed! So brilliant was his face that it had to be veiled.  The children of Israel couldn’t even look upon it, for fear and fascination.  Now, there are a lot of great lessons in this passage, but I want us to consider one.  We are in the place of Moses now  (And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord  v.18).

Each and every day, several times during the day if we would dare,  we should take a good look at our spiritual image.  Do you see in that   reflection, the glory of the Lord?  You should see an image of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness (Gal. 5:22).  Paul sums it up this way, Therefore we do not despair,but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person  is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison  because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen.  For what can be seen is temporary,   but what cannot be seen is eternal. (2 Cor.4:16-18).

Our faces should glow like Moses’ with the spiritual countenance of our glorious Father. As with hair or makeup, we should make sure that before we head out that door, our spiritual appearance is something to behold. If we really care how men will perceive our physical appearance, we should be 10 times more concerned of our spiritual presentation. Brethren, let’s take a good look at ourselves. Do we see the glory of God?

 

Darryl Fuller

 

Gates of Heaven and Hell

In the 18th and 19th chapter of the book of Genesis, is a great synopsis of God’s holy message to us. It begins with the Lord’s pronouncement of “the plan” being executed, (the birth of Issac will take place within a year, 18:10). It ends with God’s judgment being executed, (the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 19:24-25).

John_Martin_-_Sodom_and_Gomorrah

Within these two chapters is enough information for one to ascertain God’s love, mercy and hope for all mankind, as well as His omnipotent Judgment to destroy that which is wicked.    Ironically, the appearance of the Lord with the two angels (19:1) to announce the birth of the promised son is perhaps less than five miles from where the Lord was born in Bethlehem. Likewise, the destruction of the “cities of the Plain” in chapter 19, according to recent archaeological excavations at Tell Hammam, place it in near proximity to major Biblical events.  If the growing evidence of Tell Hammam is accurate, then the destruction of those cities of chapter 19 are just across the Jordan from another city destroyed by God’s army, Jericho. It would be the very place that the children of Israel would have passed as they crossed the Jordan into the promised land. Not far from this very place is where chariots of fire met Elijah and he was taken to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2). Also nearby is a place called Bethany across the Jordan. In John 1 is the account of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, who was the type of Elijah.

All these major, significant events that herald God’s plan to save man from his sins, taking place within a 20 mile radius, over hundreds of years, bear the mark of a supreme and loving God.

Consider the symbolism of such events:

  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven, Elijah taken to heaven with fire.
  •  Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed with the equivalence of lighting, Jericho destroyed with the equivalence of thunder (blast of the trumpets and shout of the people, Josh.6).
  • One family (Lot’s) spared in Sodom, one family (Rahab’s) spared in Jericho.
  • Two angels sent by the Lord to evaluate the city of Sodom, two spies sent by Joshua to spy on Jericho.
  • The spies were given safe haven in Rahab’s house, the angels were given safe haven in Lot’s house.
  • Both cities, never to be inhabited again.
  • Elijah crossing the Jordan to be immersed in fire, witnessed by Elisha. Jesus crossing the Jordan to be immersed in water, witnessed and performed by John the Baptist.
  • Elisha crosses back over the Jordan to preach to God’s children, Jesus crosses back over the Jordan to begin His earthly ministry.

 Within this 20 mile circle in the Jordan valley on both sides of the Jordan River, both the gates of hell and heaven were opened. Perhaps we will learn of the messages drawn out here and choose to cross the water(baptism) and enter the promised land. I fear many however are enjoying the “good times” in the cities on the plain.

Darryl Fuller