A Thousand Years

So this is embarrassing. I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I pretend Jesus is singing this over me. And it lands me on the floor, sobbing, every time. Let’s look at the lyrics.

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

This first verse reminds me of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The turning point of history is coming.  The moment when Heaven and Earth would again be seen as one organism.  Jesus asks that the cup be passed from him but he says, “not my will…”  He watched us trying to make it on our own for thousand of years.  He knew our fear, our frustration, of trying to appease a god that seemed to be far away.

I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

This is the heart of Jesus.  The Bible says that the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.  It was plan A all along.  It was with great and exceeding joy and pleasure that God became man and died for us.  It was prophesied in types and shadows in the old covenant and was fulfilled two thousand years ago.  Passover was one shadow.  Abraham being asked to kill his son Isaac was another.  It was even on the same mountain!  (I bet you thought it was some power play of a power hungry god!)  This act of supreme love was acted out over and over again for thousands of years.  So, in a sense, he did die every day waiting for us.  What is he waiting for?  He’s waiting for us to realize that there was never any separation between God and man.  He’s waiting for us to realize that we have God inside of us.  “Don’t be afraid”, He says, “For I have loved you for thousands of years.”  “Perfect love casts out fear,” the Bible says.  What is perfect love?  It is Jesus.

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

The Bible says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  He truly will not let anything take away what’s standing in front of him.  Because it’s all HIS!  Here again, we are at the turning point of history.  Every hour has come to this.  Every hour since looks back to this.

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Ah, the bridge.  This is my favorite part of the song.  In the Garden of Eden, God asked, “Where are you?”  God, being all knowing, knew the physical location of Adam and Eve.  However, he sensed that their hearts had been blinded.  A line of communication was suddenly gone.  It was like Adam and Eve lost all the contacts in their phones.  They could still call on God but they lost his number.  But God’s plan was still in effect.  God still had their number.  He knew that in the fullness of time, our hearts would be turned back to him.  Our contacts would be restored.  And two thousand years ago, it was all fully restored.

Personally, I grew up feeling like no one wanted or needed me.  To listen to Jesus sing this over me is so powerful.  The God of the universe was and is actively pursuing me.  He loves me.  He wants me.  I am the one lost sheep.  The one he leaves the flock to go find.

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Plan A

I have said before that the cross of Jesus Christ was plan A from the beginning.  What does that mean?

Here, I propose a theory.  Not a dogma or doctrine or theological fact but a theory.  You ever watch that movie “Dogma” by Kevin Smith?  Rufus says, “I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier…”  Not that I don’t believe in anything but some things I don’t keep so close to the chest.  Anyways, I have an idea about what it means for Jesus to be “slain from the foundation of the world.”

So, where does it say that anyway?  In Revelation 13.8, it says, “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”  It is also said in I Peter 1:18-20, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”

Now, I’m a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic and I sometimes view the Bible that way.  Not as fiction but as a true story with incredible, fantastic events that science can’t explain.  So I sometimes apply sci-fi/fantasy tropes to the Bible.  One of those tropes is the idea of dimensions outside of the four we know (length, width, height, and time).  Another trope is that those dimensions bleed into our own.  With that, is also the idea of parallel universes.  It is the idea of another world occupying the same space as our own but somehow “out of phase”.  So, I sometimes see myself thinking of Heaven as a place with many more dimensions than the ones we’re used to and occupying the same space as our own world. This idea makes certain verses read an interesting way.  For example, the Lord’s Prayer.  It says, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”  This gives the idea that whatever happens in Heaven filters “down” to Earth.  It is that same idea of parallel universes bleeding into each other.

Here’s another passage.  It is Galatians 4:21-26.  It says,

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

Here we have the idea that there are two Jerusalems.  One is “above” and one is “below”.  One is a shadow of the other.  Also, we have the idea Hagar and Sarah (Ishmael and Isaac) were shadows of the old and new covenants which were both handed down from God.  So we have heavenly reality bleeding into our own.  The two realities are not separate entities.  It just looks that way to fallen man.  We can pull things out of one reality into the other.  We can freely take healings, breaththroughs, gemstones, feathers, etc from one reality to another.  We have that authority in Christ.  “On Earth as it is in Heaven”…

So what does this mean for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  It was a heavenly reality bleeding into our own.  Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world.  Before the world was made, Jesus suffered for our sins.  This event was so powerful that it bled through into our reality in the person of Jesus Christ.  Something so powerful happened in Heaven that it bled through and created this person that was fully God and fully man in our reality.  Events kept bleeding through that resulted in the death and resurrection of this person.  Again, this heavenly event was so powerful that when it bled through, it destroyed the laws of entropy (death) in our reality.  This caused the torn body of Jesus to come back together and come out of the grave.

Because these laws were destroyed, we can restore what has been lost.  We can raise the dead, heal the sick, lift up the poor.  We can spirit travel, bi-locate, or even fly.  Nothing is lacking anymore.

Am I right about this?  Probably not.  But it’s a good idea.  And I think that, at least sometimes, God likes our good ideas.

Immanuel

I started this post at Christmastime.  Now it’s Easter time and I’m revisiting the idea of “God with us”.

Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Matthew 1:23 – “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).”

God with us.  Really ponder that.  God is with us and in us.  To many, this is a foreign concept.  Many perceive God to be distant and/or angry.  But that is not the message of Gospel.  God came to restore relationship with us.  How does he do it?  Does he come on a white horse?  Does he wield a sword?  No, he is brought forth in pain and tears.  He is born as a weak little child.

If you read the Bible from the beginning, you will see a people struggling to satisfy and appease a god who is supposedly angry and distant.  They search the scriptures daily looking for some connection to the god of the universe.  They followed laws and commandments.  They followed traditions and rituals.  All the while hoping God would show himself and be pleased with them.  To those “knowledgeable” in the scriptures and theology of the time, “God with us” would be a foreign concept.  He only comes to the holiest of holy and even then it’s for brief moments of enlightenment.  His visage so bright and holy that you need a veil to shield yourself or you would die.

But God’s promise is that he would be “with us”.

The name Immanuel is associated with the Christmas story so let’s examine it.  Jesus was born in a barn.  His parents were alone, young, and scared.  They were far away from home.  Their family may have shunned them for being pregnant out of wedlock.  The smell must have been horrible.  It must have been cold at night.  With no medicine for the pain, Mary gave birth to Jesus.  Eventually, He was laid in a feeding trough to sleep.

I’ve been thinking the last few weeks about Jesus’ life on Earth.  Jesus’ earthly life was God giving us a first impression.  This life was what God wanted us to see.  Jesus on Earth was who the disciples fell in love with.  Maybe he is what we should fall in love with too.  To do that, we need to go to the beginning: his birth.  So what does God want us to see first?

He was born poor and alone.  He grew is wisdom in knowledge just like any other child.  He became a rabbi but instead of choosing the best of the best for his disciples, he chose fishermen and tax collectors.  These people were not high on the totem pole.  But he chose them to teach them a new way of thinking and living.  He was a servant who washed the feet of others.

Now it’s Easter time, a time to think about the end of his life.  Today is Good Friday.  He is being put on the cross.  “God with us” on a cross.  God came and was rejected by men.  But the greater miracle was still to occur.  The people that put him on the cross thought they were getting rid of a heretic.  If he is Immanuel, why don’t he save himself?  What they didn’t know was that his death and resurrection would bring the Holy Spirit to them.  God would be with us forever.

Even today, we have this image of a distant, angry god.  A god so wrathful that he had to brutally murder his own son to even look at us.  I don’t think this is the case.  If your child were on death row, would you turn your back on him?  No?  Then why do we think God turned his back on Jesus?  Oh, because Jesus asked, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Remember Jesus was taking on the sin of the world, he was being blinded to God’s presence just like we were in our sin.  He was asking our question.  The answer is that God has never forsaken us.

Colossians 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”  Pay attention to this.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God came looking for them.  He didn’t say, “Oh well, they messed up.  Time to find something else to do.”  He went looking for them because they were hiding.  Let me say that again.  We were hiding from God but God was never hiding from us.

His plan from before the foundation of the world was to pay our ransom so that we could be with him forever.

Alabaster

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Matthew 26:6-13

I heard this story again tonight and I had some questions.  Why did she have this perfume in the first place?  What was she initially saving it for?  In the other gospels, it is mentioned that the perfume is worth a year’s wages.  Surely, she did not buy it herself.  I imagine it was a gift.  Here, I veer into Wild Mass Guessing but here’s my thought: That perfume was part of or all of her dowry.  Or perhaps, it was her inheritance.  It was her ticket to a better life but she takes it and “wastes” it on Jesus.  The people in the room could think of many better uses for that perfume but it ended up on Jesus.

It’s like life.  We all have talents and desire in our lives that are valuable in the sight of others.  For me, it’s my talent at mathematics.  I have a master’s degree in it.  And the world has lots of ideas as to how I should use it.  But what does Jesus want me to do with it?  He wants me to “waste” it on him.  Philippians 3:8 says, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

But it is not wasted.  In the story, the perfume permeates the room.  The smell of Jesus radiates throughout the room.  You see, when we pour out our gifts on Jesus.  He will radiate those gifts and passions throughout the world around you.  Much more so than you could do yourself.  Jesus wants to use those talents and desires through us.

So Lord, help me step aside and let you walk through me in my journey through life.  Radiate my talents and passions throughout the world around me so that they turn back to you.  I want people to “smell you on me”.