Thursday, April 26, 2012 5 comments

The Bookends of the Bible (1)

(This is the first of two posts on the bookends of the Bible)

You can get a pretty good idea about most books simply by reading the beginning and the end of the book. It’s no different with the top-selling book of all time - the Bible.

This isn't the beginning or the end, but I think you get the idea.

The first two chapters in Genesis describe the garden of Eden. The last two chapters in Revelation describe the New Jerusalem. These descriptions contain some striking similarities that relate to themes which persist throughout the entire Bible.

Perhaps most importantly, Satan and sin do not appear in these four chapters. Throughout most of the Bible, Satan lurks like an annoying pest. But in the bookends, he is nowhere to be found! Satan enters the scene in the first verse of Genesis chapter 3. In the following verses, Satan corrupts mankind, starting a downward spiral from God's original intention for man. God has to find ways to deal with the problems Satan creates. However, in Revelation 20:10-15, God permanently eliminates Satan, death, and Hades by casting them into the lake of fire. This is just in time for Revelation 21 and 22, the last two chapters in the Bible.

What is God’s original intention for man?

We have to look no further than the bookends of the Bible for the answer.

Genesis 1:26 reveals that God created man to bear his image and to have dominion over the earth. Though Satan corrupted man, this intention is finally realized in full with the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and 22. The New Jerusalem is the consummation of the church, the bride of Christ (v. 9-10). Its appearance is like jasper (v. 11), which is like the appearance of God on the throne (Revelation 4:3). That's God's image! Meanwhile, Revelation 22:5 says that those in the New Jerusalem will reign forever. That's dominion over the earth!

How do we get to the point where we can bear God’s image and rightfully have dominion over the earth?

Once again, back to the bookends! It’s a matter of eating and drinking. Eating and drinking are related to two items that appear in both the garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem.

First, we have the tree of life. The tree of life makes its debut in Genesis 2:9, in which God places the tree of life in the middle of the garden for man to eat. The tree of life makes its final appearance in Revelation 22:2, where it grows on both sides of the river like the vine tree, which signifies Christ (John 15:1). God intends that man would eat the tree of life to be organically constituted with Christ Himself. The idea of eating Christ is also seen prominently in John 6.

The second item is the river. In Genesis 2:10, the river waters the garden of Eden and flows to the four corners of the earth. In Revelation 22:1, this same river proceeds out of the throne of God. This river also surfaces in Psalm 46:4, Ezekiel 47:5-9, and John 7:37-39, where Jesus reveals that the rivers of living water are actually the Spirit. God wants us to eat Christ as the tree of life, and He also wants us to drink the Spirit as the river of life (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Be on the lookout for the next post for more themes that begin in Genesis 1-2, continue to develop throughout the entire Bible, and reach a climax in Revelation 21-22!

Sunday, April 8, 2012 1 comments

Who is Christ to you?

Who is Christ to you? Is He merely your Savior, your Redeemer, or is He much more?

To the author of the following hymn, Christ was at least 71 different wonderful things. I bolded each aspect of Christ mentioned in the hymn and added a verse. Thanks to everyone who helped me find the verses. You know who you are! 

What’s the bottom line? Christ wants to be everything to us!

I’ve found the One of peerless worth (Song of Songs 5:10-16),
My heart doth sing for joy;
And sing I must, for Christ I have:
Oh, what a Christ have I!

My Christ, He is the Lamb of God (John 1:29),
Who full salvation brings;
He is the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2),
With healing in His wings.

My Christ, He is the Tree of Life (John 15:5, Revelation 22:2)
With fruit abundant, sweet;
My hunger He doth satisfy;
Of Him I daily eat.

My Christ, He is the smitten Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4)
Whence living waters burst;
He is the fountain in my heart (John 4:14)
Which quenches all my thirst.

Christ is my life (Colossians 3:4), my light (John 8:12), my way (John 14:6),
My comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) and my health (Psalm 42:11),
My peace (Ephesians 2:14), my rest (Psalm 62:1), my joy (Psalm 43:4), my hope (Colossians 1:27),
My glory (Colossians 1:27) and my wealth (Ephesians 3:8).

Christ is my wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30) and my pow’r (2 Corinthians 12:9),
My boast (2 Corinthians 10:17) and righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30),
My vict’ry (1 Corinthians 15:57) and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30) sure,
My truth (John 14:6) and holiness (Revelation 4:8).

Christ is my Savior (Luke 2:11), Shepherd (John 10:11), Lord (Philippians 2:11),
My Advocate (1 John 2:1) above,
My Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), my Father (Isaiah 9:6), God (Isaiah 9:6),
My Brother (John 20:17), Friend (John 15:15), and Love (1 John 4:8).

Christ is my Captain (Hebrews 2:10) and my Guard (2 Timothy 1:12),
My Teacher (John 3:2) and my Guide (Revelation 7:17),
My Bridegroom (John 3:29), Master (Ephesians 6:5) and my Head (1 Corinthians 11:3);
In me doth He reside.

Christ is my Prophet (Matthew 13:57), Priest (Hebrews 4:14), and King (Revelation 19:16);
My Prophet full of sight;
My Priest that stands ‘twixt me and God,
My King that rules with might.

Christ is the Author of my faith (Hebrews 12:2),
And its Perfecter (Hebrews 12:2) too,
My Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), Guarantee (Ephesians 1:14),
And faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5) true.

Christ is my everlasting home (Psalm 90:1),
My all-sufficient land (Colossians 1:12, 2:6-7);
My fortress (Psalm 91:2), tower (Psalm 94:22), hiding-place (Psalm 119:114),
And my eternal stand (2 Corinthians 1:21).

Christ is my sabbath (Colossians 2:16-17) and new moon (Colossians 2:16-17),
My morning (2 Samuel 23:3-4) and my day (Colossians 2:16-17),
My age (Isaiah 26:4) and my eternity (Hebrews 1:8)
That ne’er will pass away.

Christ is my trust (2 Corinthians 3:4) and my desire (Psalm 73:25),
In comeliness replete,
My satisfaction (Psalm 132:15, John 6:35) and delight (Psalm 37:4),
Who all my need doth meet.

My Christ, the all-inclusive One (ALL THE VERSES!!!),
My Christ what shall I call?
He is the first (Revelation 1:17), He is the last (Revelation 1:17),
My Christ is All in all (Colossians 3:11).

Since such a treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7) I possess,
My heart doth sing for joy;
And I must sing, and sing again;
Oh, what a Christ have I!

Source: Hymn 510