FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR & FORTY– Part XV
Meeting the ‘Unprecedented’ with Visions of Future Glory
“VISION: Effort and Courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”- Anon
The wise man Solomon wrote: “Without vision [revelation, N.K.J.V.], the people perish.” Proverbs 29: 18, K.J.V. It is really that simple,–that in order for any one not to perish but have everlasting life is to have vision or prophecy, i.e., in its fullest sense, extent, and comprehensive coverage taught in the plan of redemption of the everlasting gospel and illustrated in detail in the sanctuary doctrine and message. It is God’s antidote to sin and all of its evil consequences, both temporal and eternal. At the center of it all is Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
National and “international incidents” and events “breaking news stories” too numerous, simultaneous, and multi-faceted to list or even keep up with, much less analyze objectively, swamped us via finger-tip internet news services, social media, as well as in the still traditional yet technologically-updating media, unraveled before our eyes in 2016—already called “last year!” Too scary fast, too prematurely soon.
When I was growing up in the old PUC campus in Baesa, school breaks before summer classes started, felt like a year long. Life seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace within the confines of the college’s 24-hectare compound. There were multitudes of these slimy gastropod mollusks especially during the monsoon season when time became even longer and melancholy. Not anymore. Even the snails (slugs have no shells) have disappeared with the droughts. Strange coincidence? In Christian culture “snail’s pace” is symbolic of laziness. The phrase “snail mail” is used to mean regular postal delivery of paper messages versus delivery of email, which can be virtually instantaneous.
This is the age, technology, and generation I was informed, prophecy-like, was coming as “the age of information explosion” by my forward-looking boss, an electrical engineer trained here in the U.S., then president of the TSI Group of companies in the Philippines whom the government awarded the nation’s data communications (Telegraph and Telex domestic and international carriers) while PLDT was awarded all the voice communications in what was the largest merger in the Philippines back then to allegedly streamline and modernize the country’s telecommunications services). I could not fully grasp what he was saying but I did see it come to pass when we migrated here to the U.S. I am still awed and grappling with the enormity, magnitude, practically unlimited potential and life-changing powers of this “information explosion.” One thing sure, it is more than deafening! It is mind-boggling, and I sure hope not, mind-altering. It is also frightening– a fear certainly not of paranoia or unfounded—to what algorithms and brilliant young minds combined can do with this super technology. It is either a blessing or a curse depending on who is developing products out of it and the user himself.
We choose this technology to regulate, worse, control our lives and shape our values and even the future of our children/grandchildren. Yes, we must admit it; this is upon what we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17: 29) instead of in Christ “who has made from one bloodevery nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (v. 26). This adequately explains why instead of more unity, peace, and prosperity there are greater divisions, misunderstanding, hatred, war, and bloodshed among human beings. What happened to the theory of evolution—that man is evolving for the better?
These have spilled-over the trajectory of uncertainty in the New Year 2017. The truth is the demarcation line between one year transitioning to the next is not unlike the political boundary separating the nations of Europe or the now almost “Disunited States of America.” Those who have done a European Tour travelled within 10 days anywhere from 5 to 7 nations by simply crossing borders. In a way, earth time is merely a calendar reckoning but in the real time continuum of individual years, within the limits set by mortality since the Fall, we are as young or as old as our arteries and attitudes are—not how much we face-lift or cut and color our hair. An old cliché says, “Looks are deceiving.” A relative of mine told me his young cousin is “a walking time bomb”—not a radicalized “terrorist” walking around with a vest bomb but one whose cardiac arteries are all occluded so that surgical intervention poses more risk, on top of being a full-blown diabetic with all its complications. “Living on borrowed time” does not do justice to what this poor man and his family has been going through. Pure torture.
Not diminishing the gravity of the general global malaise in non-stop wars, failed and fake truces, bloody revolutions and uprisings, horrific crimes of every grade, corruption and scandal in the highest echelons of the both civil governments and churches, increasing earthquakes, multiplying disasters by land or sea and in all major lines of travel, “terrorist acts” whether branded as such to serve ulterior motives or “genuine.” Any one, any group, and not-too-long from now, religions not aligned with a global religion will also be classified as “terrorists” by being blamed for being the chief cause of the world’s deteriorating conditions.
All these seemed to be highlighted by America’s ‘unprecedented’ presidential elections whose still-to-be played-out repercussions already have and will impact and reshape not only national but geopolitik and the shifting balance of powers already precarious and unpredictable. All these plainly bode tumultuous years ahead. Would it be an exaggeration to say that American politics—the erstwhile global gold standard of democracy and the historic and traditional democratic and republican institutions is in such current disarray, it’s like an uncombed, unruly hair on a balding head—no, not of the American bald eagle, America’s symbol, but of an old man.
But none need perish from ignorance or despair for “God does nothing but He revealeth His secrets to His servants, the prophets” (Amos 3: 7). The prophet Habakkuk wrote, in reference to the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8: 14, which directly affects “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” since 1844: “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come.” Habakkuk 2: 2, 3, K.J.V.
Apostle Paul was granted a high and rare privilege God deemed necessary to his unprecedented call and mission to be the model “apostle to the Gentiles.” Withheld even from his fellow apostles except for John the beloved at the Isle of bleak Patmos, Paul testifies in the third person of having been taken in vision to “the third heavens, Paradise itself, where he heard language that was not lawful to speak on earth.” 1 Cor. 12: 1-10.
Paul knew by experience what he wrote by inspiration: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man what God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Cor. 2: 9. Our loving Father delights in surprising His children on earth by withholding all the details of the glorious rewards of the “inheritance of the saints in light” who will be eternally redeemed. And even if He did so now our mortality, corruptible flesh, and deteriorating mental capacity would not be able to comprehend it—not till we are eternally saved and actually behold it.
God’s Preparations For Those Who Love Him
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of men, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Cor. 2: 9.
“And to all the faithful ones who were striving against evil, John heard the promises made: ‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.’ John saw the mercy, tenderness, and the love of God blending with His holiness, justice, and power. He saw sinners finding a Father in Him of whom their sins had made them afraid. And looking beyond the culmination of the great conflict, he beheld upon Zion ‘them that had gotten the victory over the beast and his image and over his mark and number stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God,’ and singing the song of [victory] of Moses and the Lamb.” Rev. 15: 2, 3 E.G. White, Acts of the Apostles, pp. 588, 589.
“Heaven is a school: its field of study, the universe; its teacher, the Infinite One. A branch of this school was established in Eden; and, the plan of redemption accomplished, education will again be taken up in the Eden school.” – Ibid, Education, p. 301.
For those who might have lost their original missionary zeal and spirit, and their “first love” in the face of the apparent long delay of Christ’s glorious second coming, allowing for more “unprecedented” discouraging events in the world, thank God rather for revealing parts of the eternal glory that awaits those who patiently “endure to the their end.”
“We may have a vision of the future, the blessedness of heaven. In the Bible are revealed visions of the future glory, scenes pictured b y the hand of God, and these are dear to His church. By faith we may stand on the threshold of the eternal city, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life co-operate with Christ, regarding it and honor to suffer for His sake. As the words are spoken, ‘Cone, ye blessed of the Father,’ they cats their crowns at the feet of the Redeemer, exclaiming,’ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain [not Mary nor Joseph, neither one of the hundreds of “canonized” dead saints!] to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing [seven-fold!] be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Matt. 25: 34; Rev. 5: 12, 13.” Ibid, Acts of the Apostles, p. 601.
For all who made it beyond 2016 into the New Year 2017, whose number has not yet been called to their death-rest, resolve that you will make the incoming year 2017 a time to know who Jesus really is—both by closer study of the written Word, but especially by experiencing Him as an abiding Guest in your hearts! s” is
My earnest wishes and fervent prayer for all the readers and PUC/AUP alumni, as we all bid adieu forever to 2016 as it moves on to the unreachable realms of eternity, fraught with the complete and unerring records of our lives, both secret and public, that have been faithfully entered into the book of records in heaven by our guardian-recording angels, and welcomes as well the “unprecedented” New Year 2017, are embodied the following familiar Scriptures written by Apostle Paul:
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice
Let your moderation (self-control, margin) be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest (honorable, margin), whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4: 4-8, K.J.V.
Let’s all repeat this together as we welcome the New Year 2017—not merely in formal or vocal uniformity but in clarity of vision (as defined above), in the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17, and in spiritual alacrity:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” v 13.
Believe it and say it repeatedly to yourself as you are the first one who hears what you say. Let us renew our commitment to to do all His biddings, remaining, “steadfast, unmovable, and established,” unfazed, and undiscouraged by any all the desperately crafty and cruel “fiery darts” and “wiles of the devil” that he has for centuries prepared for these final days of earth’s probation! He “knows his time is short” and getting shorter each day! (Rev. 12: 12). How about us? What preparations are we making?
(God willing, continued next year!)