Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Story of the Bible-The Story of the World

In the beginning God created the world in love and gave it to Mankind, the highest of his creatures. But Satan, a cunning evil being, coveted the world for himself and purposed to rule it as his own. He convinced the first man and woman, who were yet immortal, to seek after the knowledge of evil—hitherto unknown to them. In their God-given freedom, mankind fell into the trap of Satan, rejecting God’s desire for humanity and plunging the world into decay. Satan, immortal still, took possession of the fallen earth and ruled it with the one weapon against which now mortal man could not contend—death.

But God, in his patience and love, choose Abraham from among the sons of men, covenanting with him that through his descendents the messiah would come and the world would one day be restored. Abraham believed this promise of God’s salvation, and thus entered into the covenant himself, becoming the father of all who would later come to trust in God. And so through Abraham was born the nation of Israel, the people of the Covenant and the nation through which the world would be reborn.

Yet the wickedness of the world was great and the children of Abraham were prone to evil. Thus in order to preserve this fledgling nation in the face of the world’s wickedness, God instituted—through the prophet Moses—a temporary covenant between himself and Israel. Blessings were promised for obedience, cursings for disobedience. The covenant acted as a temporary hedge, keeping the nation of Israel separated from the wickedness of the world until Messiah could come. This Law of Moses was both blessing and bane—a blessing because it enabled Israel to endure as people in the face of a decaying world, and because it foretold of the coming Messiah. Yet it was a bane for it required obedience that the children of Abraham—plagued by the disease of 'death—were not always able to give and thus they regularly fell under its curse.

But the Jewish prophets foretold of an age to come, an age in which God would destroy Satan and enact a New Covenant with Abraham's offspring. This covenant, unlike the one with Moses, would spell the end of 'death and mark the inauguration of Messiah's reign upon the earth. With it would come also the gift of obedience through the indwelling of the Word of God. With Satan defeated, the old Law of Moses would no longer be needed and set aside. Long the people of God waited for Messiah’s coming.

At last came Jesus—born not of man, but of God—the promised Messiah whose 'death and resurrection had been foretold. Yet He was 'hated by men and opposed by Satan, who, for forty days warred against Him alone in the wilderness, seeking to cast Him down. But at last, finding Him unbreakable in His spirit, Satan opposed Him in His flesh and killed Him on a cross. Yet in this Satan was deceived, for the Christ was not of mortal flesh alone; in Him flowed the divine life. And in Him also are all things for He is the head of all—the fount from which all things flow. And so in His 'death all things died to 'death and in His resurrection all things are being restored. With the power of 'death broken, the word of Moses was no longer needed and so set aside. And now, through the voice of His holy apostles and His body, the Church, the Christ calls all men everywhere to repent of their 'death and enter into His 'death-defying life. Yet not all believe nor bow before Him, and so in patience He has withdrawn to Heaven and withheld the consummation of His kingdom until a future time.

One day soon God will send Jesus again and the world in its present form will be destroyed—yet not destroyed beyond existence, but destroyed that it might be reborn and remade. Overthrowing once for all the reign of Satan and the power of sin and 'death, Jesus will reclaim the world for humanity. And so God will make a “new earth” in which He and His people—immortal once again, yet this time with the immortality of the divine life—will dwell in uninterrupted fellowship in an eternal world perfected by the power of Heaven and ruled by Jesus Christ.

No comments: