It is too glorious for words. There is an inner rapture when we meditate on these two incomprehensible thoughts: the death of Jesus Christ our God, and the eternal life we now have from His slaughter. When God allowed sinful men to slaughter the sinless Son. No, no. I can never understand this - it is too painful, too vast for my limited meditation, it is, for me, unapproachable.
But a holy terror invades my soul when I think of Adam's single act of disobedience, and the terror that followed. Death to the entire human race and animal kingdom. Babies must now die. Women will give birth to stillborns. Women will die giving birth. A boa constrictor will now wrap itself around the neck of a lamb and strangle it as it bleats in horror. A brother will murder his brother, and leave his body in the field to be eaten by ants and birds and wild beasts. A body that was made in the image of God - now broken and lifeless, bloating and stinking and decomposing, food for the animals he was originally given deathless dominion over.
As horrible as these images may be, I believe they are but a drop in the bucket compared to how God sees a single lie, or a dishonest weight in the marketplace, or a blasphemous utterance. I cannot fathom how God sees sin. The more I grow in God, the more I read the word and meditate on God's testimonies and precepts - the more I behold the bloodstained cross where the slaughter of the innocent King of Glory took place, I see an infinitely holy God, a God whose righteousness and power and severity and utter hatred for [i]unholiness[/i] goes beyond my span of comprehension and shoots bolts of terror through my soul. The thought that I must one day stand alone before His awful throne while law books are opened! I utterly fear Jehovah. He is an awesome, terrible King. I am reminded Solomon slaughtered thousands and thousands of bulls during the temple dedication - so many, in fact, that the bible doesn't even record the number. I've been to a bullfight - these are mighty, powerful creatures, full of fight and endurance! I think of all those animals; the sheep, the goats, rams, pigeons. The streams of flowing blood, the fires, the screaming goat as a knife runs across its throat, the pigeon's wings flapping as a sanctified Aaronite priest in a linen ephod carrying twelve stones in a breastplate wrings the head off from the body and sprinkles the blood seven times to consecrate the altar. This is not witchcraft. This, brothers and sisters, is the way of Jehovah, the way He deals with sin. His ways are fearful and inhumanly mysterious. And it pleased Him to crush His eternally holy Son for the Satanic child pornographer. I'm sorry, but this thought just sticks my face in the dirt, rends my heart, and makes me groan. No, no, no. This utterly enigmatic, flawlessly just, universally powerful and Thrice Holy God over all creation is beyond my mortal thought. Like Job, I put my hand over my mouth and stick my face in the dirt. For I am a worm.
But, returning to the topic of death, there is no pain like the soul-pain of acknowledging an inexorable finality. I see the biggest, baddest, meanest looking guys break down like jello and weep profusely at funerals. There's something about the finality of death that [i]crumbles[/i] even the strongest men. If they weep like this for beloved grandmother, how then will they weep before Christ on the verge of the [i]second death[/i] - that is, before the conscious finality of God to their own soul? That God, is, in a sense, now forever dead to them. As before when they were dead to God, they indulged in laughter, living life, buying and selling; but now God shall be dead to [i]them.[/i] Forever. Those that mourn now shall laugh, and those that laugh now shall mourn. Oh, and how bitter those tears shall be, choking, gagging, gnawing and gnashing, suddenly finding themselves before a glorious God of inutterable riches and majesty and rapturous bliss, but now, oh brethren, only to find that this God must forever die to them. I cannot think of anything more dreadful. The bereaved shall remain alive and cognizant forever, weeping, mourning, grieving, crying, begging, praying, pleading, screaming - uttering the kinds of sounds I hear at funerals when a child has died...to a God that will forever be lifeless to them, like a corpse in the casket of their eternally-tortured memory.
(edit) Some words were added here after the initial post. I'm sorry this is so thick. But this is how I like to talk about God. I get frustrated with the inadequacies of English superlatives when it comes to the things of God. Forgive my intensity! If you think this is bad, you should hear my preaching. You'll leave the meeting with a headache. :-)
Paul Frederick West
| 2006/10/27 21:22||Profile|
It is too glorious for words. There is an inner rapture when we meditate on these two incomprehensible thoughts: the death of Jesus Christ our God, and the eternal life we now have from His slaughter. When God allowed sinful men to slaughter the sinless Son. No, no. I can never understand this - it is too painful, too vast for my limited meditation, it is, for me, "unapproachable. But a holy terror invades my soul when I think of Adam's single act of disobedience, and the terror that followed. Death to the entire human race.
How solemnly privileged we are, to be called His children, to be enlightened by this incomprehensible and indiscribable love of our Father through Christ.
On my worst days, this verse reminds me that I'm not here to live for myself but supposedly for His glory, even on the days I do not give God His due glory, I must at the least
praise Christ before Him, to honor Him with the breath I'm apportioned.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Yeah, I tend to look too much forward to that day and forget how I must live up to each day I'm given on earth..
| 2006/10/27 22:22||Profile|
I do not understand this. What you are describing is how my world was [u]before[/u] He showed me His love . . . meaningless destruction, pain and cruelty - darkness all around and in everything. I still see these things, but they are now outside of me. When I reach out my hand, He takes it . . . am I missing something?
| 2006/10/27 22:58||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Death|
(edit) Some words were added here after the initial post. I'm sorry this is so thick. But this is how I like to talk about God. I get frustrated with the inadequacies of English superlatives when it comes to the things of God. Forgive my intensity! If you think this is bad, you should hear my preaching. You'll leave the meeting with a headache.
No apologies necessary, share those same frustrations and would love nothing more than to go away with the head aching and the heart burning knowing and reading what you have so often shared here brother.
On a side note, we have had a bit of discussion on this tremendous subject ... there goes those superlatives ... This matter is so ... will use Mamaluk's words, "[i]that day, that day, that day[/i]". Brother, you should write this book.
[i]Edit: Should have noted that I have long thought about writing a book on death and had some discussion with Paul prior. Was alluding to that.[/i]
| 2006/10/27 23:07||Profile|
And, though incomprehensible, we realize that God Himself died and beheld His own Son nailed to a tree, dying, crying out for the Father not to leave Him, the angels standing in breathless awe, stayed by the hand of Father from flying down that instant and wrecking the world in waves of fire. God mourning, turning His face away to weep and groan and scream in pain, tearing the earth up with earthquakes, smashing rocks, putting out the sun with His hand so no man or woman can look upon His dead, cursed Son.
And this the amazing love, even when we were dead in sins he quickened us together with Christ and riased us up together and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
When my son was deep in a life of sin, I would cry out to God for Him and God kept on giving me a picture of a dead animal in the road. Very dead, flat and putrid with no form of its intended creation.
I could not help but compare His Son's life with the life of my son which reeked of death. How could it be that He would send His son to die for mine? Amazing love, how can you respond to that extreme grace?
I realized how extreme a miracle it is that we are born-again through faith in His Son, reborn, given a form. I no longer see road-kill when I pray for my son, may God finish what He has begun in him.
| 2006/10/27 23:18||Profile|
Brother Paul, I do not understand this.
Heartsong, we were talking about death, remember. That's what this thread is about. How death came into the world through Adam, and the consequences of sin upon creation. I tried to show the terribly just nature of God as reflected in the law of Moses. That one can judge the seriousness of a crime by the severity of the punishment. In the case of sin, it's bloodshed and death. For those who have not partaken of the Passover Lamb, it's eternal death. The blood atonement set forth by God is such that an innocent creature must give up its life to redeem the guilty. I didn't make any of this up, sister. This is just the way it is, this is the system that is pleasing to Jehovah, the culmination being perfected in Jesus Christ, God's Lamb slain on the altar of the cross. All this atonement stuff may sound dark and bloody and destructive and depressing - and that's because it is! It is the curse of the law.
What you are describing is how my world was before He showed me His love
Indeed! The horrible law of death is fulfilled when a person humbles their heart and repents and gets redeemed to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. They are freed from the heinous curse of spiritual darkness and death that Adam unleashed upon us and are gloriously ushered into the law of the Spirit, which is immortality and light. The blinders come off, the spirit comes alive, and the wondrous cross is surveyed in both truth and awe. Our spirits are flooded with the grace and mercy and bask the ineffable wonder of a Sovereign God's bleeding love. Have I ever posted anything that contradicted this? Actually, if you go back and read more carefully, you'll see that the majority of my post was centered on the curse as it pertains to the unsaved. So, your response here is especially accurate!
am I missing something?
I don't think so. I think you may have missed the point of my post and got a bit confused. It is important to remember that though God is love, [i]God is not only love.[/i] I rejoice in God's love! But I also explore and meditate on the other attributes of God as well, and when I do this, His love is magnified all the more! It is therefore a profitable thing to behold the goodness [i]and the severity[/i] of the Lord. I recommend you listen to some Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts hymns. In them you'll find a terrific balance of fear and awe, of blood and love, of death and life, of mercy and judgment, of sin and righteousness, of heaven and hell. I believe we need to have this holy balance return to the pulpit. I believe we need to go back to the old paths of preaching God's eternal majesty and righteousness. There is a famine of the pure Word of God in this land, and most Christians don't know it because they've never been exposed to it from the beginning. Everything nowadays is love, love, love and if you go any deeper people begin scratching their heads (I'm not saying this is you). But if we preach a Holy and Complete God, the people will be reached by a Holy and Complete Love, which is able to truly transform the inner man, and which is much greater than the platitudinous love being preached in most churches today.
Hope this clears things up, heartsong!
Paul Frederick West
| 2006/10/27 23:28||Profile|
Santa Cruz California
Brother Paul your words have stabbed my heart. I have read many things on this site, few have so explained the vivid reality of death.
I remember when my father passed away, there and then eternity came into the temporal. It is an immense thing when that happens as we are so flippant about our eternity with Christ that we lose sight of the eternity of others without Christ. One cannot describe the sensation that grips the whole being as there is now a void that once had substance. Even as I type this, sirens are wailing in the background, and the life-flight copter is landing about two miles away from my house(I can see it). I happen to live by a highway that can be very dangerous and this is not an uncommon event. But how timely, here it is again the eternal stepping into the temporal. Not in thought or ideal, but in reality.
This is our future brethren, may we grasp the time we have left to live for Him.
Oh God break us foryour glorious name that it may be published among the lost!!
| 2006/10/28 0:17||Profile|
One cannot describe the sensation that grips the whole being as there is now a void that once had substance.
This pain, this hurt cannot be described, you are very right. This is because death is a spiritual occurence, a bottomless wound that eventualy scars over, but never truly heals. It's an intrinsic ordeal. It's of God. Do you ever wonder why you cry at weddings? It's a spiritual thing also, of God. Something just touches our eternal spirit as a man and woman make their vows and you find yourself weeping. Why? Mind you, this tearful reaction is not limited to Christian ceremonies; tears fall when the ungodly get married too. This is because, I believe, regardless of one's spiritual state of regeneration, God has ordained the marriage covenant to last forever, until death. And yet, paradoxically, even during the ceremony a death is occuring! The son or daughter is dying to their parental covenant, while a new one is being erected to their spouse. There is a finality here that provokes everyone - especially the parents - to manifest a type of grief. The notion of an inner finality. At a wedding, you experience the establishment of a spiritual covenant between two souls brought together by God. This is why adultery is so devastating. It's akin to yet another death - the unlawful shattering of the matrimonial covenant. A destroyed covenant which was inaugurated by God, with the spiritual lifeline binding the two souls now severed through one horrible act of sin. Say what you will, the relationship will [i]never[/i] be the same unless God supernaturally restores it (for the initial union was supernatural). Scripturally, a spouse is permitted to sever in the physical that which has already been severed in the spiritual. Unless, of course, he or she finds it in their heart to forgive the covenant-breaker.
How fortunate for me that the God of bloody Jewish altars has a heart of mercy and His covenant is with Jesus and not with me! I am an untrustworthy whore. Yet I trust Jesus to never break covenant with the Father. Oh, blessed assurance! All my righteousness and hope is in Christ, and I walk daily in the Spirit and allow the fire be kindled afresh on the sacrificial altar of my heart. Jesus is in covenant with the Father, and I am in Christ Jesus, and His holy blood stains the heart-altar of my temple daily! Hallelujah, to be a royal temple priest, indwelled by an eternally faithful and covenant-keeping God through repentance and faith!
Paul Frederick West
| 2006/10/28 1:21||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Writing article on death at Christian College|
Hope you are able to glean even more from all that is being offered here. What our brother Paul has brought forth is so incredibly vast to begin to ponder on it is to find the vocabulary exhausted. Death is very much a large part of my makeup if you will. My earliest gaspings after God were derived from the thought, from a child's imagination or more peculiarly to even try the attempt at 'nothing' or in adult language, annihilation but with the view of everything else being annihilated and myself, alone, in surrounding blackness.
A great deal of things expressed already have touched my own life as well, though not near the depth of our brother Paul, know something of what death is on the olfactory senses when my then young cousin died a couple of years ago. The sheer profundity and intrinsic depth of grasping this reality that death is even for the saved payment is rendered due, that door that all must pass through... But to hear it and feel it from this perspective, from a man of God who deals with this in practical experience such as our brother ... My God, what insight and understanding, what more true reality to all that we hold true ... am fumbling for words here.
Here is my humble offering Doug, something that came about shortly after my cousins death;
[url=https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=773&forum=35&post_id=&refresh=Go]Ode to Ronnie[/url]
| 2006/10/28 9:52||Profile|
| Re: Writing article on death at Christian College|
An Ode to Ronnie/Mike Balog
On the precipice of maybe.
Held by a single thread.
Wishing, longing to know
Just what was said.
Did he come to you Jesus?
Or did You beckon to him?
He longed for The Father
But it was You who ran after him.
Now we are left to ponder
Alll that could have been
A man of compassion
A nature after Him
Yet trapped as the remainder
In this world broken by sin.
Fragments and memories
Are what is left
Time for us
Life for him
Like the eunuch asking
"How can I" and
"What hinders me"
In simplicity the answer
"If you believe"
None that come to You
Do you turn away
The Shepherd searching
For the one gone astray
The thief said
And You replied
A wise person thinks about death
So let us consider
All that has been said.
For we have been given
To be known
As poor reflections
Let love be our end
And truth our means
Jesus, our only
And His sheep
Ours to tend.
It cannot be denied
Nor escape from Your gaze
We will be called to account
For this Life You have gave
And that Life is Your Son
That all may be saved
But to us it is given
To believe on His Name
Let our brevity be our unction
Death and eternity
Our focus and fact
For tomorrow is promised to no one
It is here that we must act.
The day of salvation is now
A call to repentance
Return to Him all that are His
"That the world may know that You
have sent Me, and loved them as You haved
loved Me." Jesus said
Let settled destiny
Be our never ending task
Of first importance
All else can lack
So to my dear cousin
This ode is to you
The Lord testifying
What it is I need to do
No longer will I fear men
To proclaim The Truth
Your example and your departure
Have altered my perspective
And narrowed my view
I will take of your compassion
And apply it to all
So that one day we too
Can be where you are.
How I know that you now abide
With the Lover of our soul's
Is not for me to decide
Not of wishful thinking
Or sentimental longing
But peace that passes understanding
Was given to my heart and my mind.
And as at the first
It was given to me thus:
"That God was in Christ
reconciling the world to Himself"
"For He made Him who knew
no sin to be sin for us"
But for all that, the sadness remains
A longing to be where you are
Where there is no longer pain.
I understand better why Jesus wept
At the tomb of His friend
For death is proof that all has gone wrong
No, it was not The Fathers intent.
So we will mourn that we see you no more
But that is only a delay
Like the long awaited vacation
Till we return home on that day
For now my friend we will carry on
Of duty, of giving, of helping
Of sharing and loving most of all
Let your life reminds us of what is True
That if we strip back all of what we are
It is the heart that can shine through.
| 2006/10/28 10:50||Profile|