The Traveler

 

Turn On The Dark

 

          I’m beginning a new topic this month, and it may take a few months to finish it.  The topic is:  light.  This is based on a teaching I first presented way back in the 1970’s, but I’ve changed much of it and updated it quite a bit for this issue.  As we study together about light for a few months, I hope the Holy Spirit will use it to liberate you inside just a little more because of what Jesus has done for you.  Remember, the Holy Spirit permanently implanted within you and fused with your spirit is Jesus in his “unbodied other form.”

 

         I pray for the Holy Spirit to take whatever truth you find in this teaching and use it to release you into the true freedom of God’s love, light, and LIFE, because John 8: 32-36 teaches us genuine inner freedom is found only by knowing and experiencing the Source of truth which is Jesus.  A simple reminder:  it’s not truth alone that sets us free; it’s knowing the truth that sets us free!

 

   Let’s jump right into our study of light.  To do so, let’s first look at what science and the Bible teach us about the origins of light…and darkness.

   Frankly, about the origins of both, modern science teaches us absolutely nothing of a concrete or conclusive nature; scientists simply cannot give any plausible explanation about how light—and darkness—originated.  Nope, science cannot tell us much about the origins of light and darkness; all their attempts to do so are purely speculative theories and hypotheses, not facts.   On the other hand, even though science discloses nothing conclusive about the origins of light and darkness, we can learn much from science about the properties, action, “composition”, speed, and effects of light and darkness.  lease understand; I’m not anti-science.  I’m merely saying that science doesn’t have all the answers.

  

What Does the Bible Teach?

 

   As is so often the case in dealing with natural phenomena, we must turn to the Bible—not science—for a definitive statement about the origins of light and darkness.  For example, we read in Daniel 2: 2 that light dwells with God.  That is to say, light is part of the essence and “substance” of God.  It is part of his person, makeup, and nature.  Light is embodied and personified in God.  od is light (1 John 1: 5).  All natural light (including the entire range of the spectrum, both visible and invisible) and all spiritual light or illumination are outrayings of God’s very own Light-Being.  Light has its origin in, and emanates and radiates from God.  From the largest galaxy in the universe to the tail of the tiniest firefly—all light originates with God, because God is Light.  Psalm 104:2 teaches that God is clothed with light.  1 Timothy 6: 16 teaches us that God lives in light (not as in the focus or beam of an external light as an actor before a spotlight, but that He “inhabits” light).  He is light, and He is surrounded by light.  James 1: 17 sums up the matter of the origin of light by stating clearly that God is the Father of all that gives light.  Also, we must not overlook the classic statements about the origin of light at the time of creation as found in the first chapter of Genesis and Isaiah 45: 6 and 7.

 

Definitions

 

   Now let’s briefly examine the nature of light and a definition of light.  The simplest definition of light is that it is a radiant energy, luminous energy, or a “force” which illuminates that with which it comes in contact.  Light is the basic life-giving source throughout the universe.  By the marvelous chemical process of photosynthesis, light “creates” life by converting radiant energy to chemical energy.  Later, we’ll cover in more detail “spiritual” as well as natural photosynthesis.  Light is generalized throughout the universe, and where there is not light there is darkness, intense cold, and generally chaotic conditions.  Light, by its curbing and limiting power, is inherently “stronger” than darkness.  Various  spectrums, degrees, and types of light possess healing qualities—such as vitamin D in sunshine, the soothing, healing qualities of infra-red light, or the awesome power of laser light used in modern medical and surgical techniques.

 

   Of course, I have been writing so far about natural light; if your inner, “spiritual eyes” are open, I’m certain you have already begun to see some awesome implications of spiritual light, too, however.  By simple definition, spiritual light possesses in the spiritual realm the same illuminating and healing powers as natural light in the material realm.  Darkness—which is also a created phenomena as we read in Isaiah 45: 6 and 7—is simply the absence of light or a “force which interferes with the radiation of light.  As already mentioned, where there is no light, there is cold, chaos, and little or no life, because the amazing process of photosynthesis is rendered inoperative.  Spiritual darkness is for a person to be lacking in spiritual illumination, to be lacking in a personal relationship with God which you can have only by personally inviting Jesus to take up permanent residence in your life.  The Bible uses the expression “kingdom of darkness” to illustrate the milieu and lifestyle of those who have not yet been born again into God’s kingdom of light.  Here, please take a few moments to read and ponder Colossians 1: 12 and 13 and John 3: 3 – 8 in this study of light and darkness.

 

   Thus far in discussing the origin and nature of light my thoughts have been largely introductory.

 

Lights Among Us

 

   Until the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth in human flesh as the only begotten Son of God, the brightest “light” the world had yet seen up to that point was Adam.  He was a glorious, scintillating, shining being arrayed in light.  He was iridescent and glowing.  [See another teaching on our website entitled Whole In One about Adam’s original state.]  This was Adam in his perfection and innocence before his fall into sin and death.  Adam was literally clothed in light before his transgression and sin in Eden; he was a spectacular light-being, beyond human language to describe.  The artistic representations we see in religious books and magazines picture Adam in the garden before the fall as a kind of “Charles Atlas” or Tarzan-like Superman.  These drawings and pictures fall far short of what Adam was really like—clothed in a garment of light that literally shone as the noonday sun, scintillating with all the colors of the spectrum as he walked and talked in unbroken fellowship with God, the Father of Lights.  Only the last Adam, Jesus, as John saw Him in Revelation 1: 14 – 16, can compare with, yes, and surpass in glory, the first Adam as he was before the entrance of sin into the experience of humankind.

 

   Only the cleansing blood of the last Adam can restore fallen humanity to that awesome place of bright fellowship with the Father of Lights that Adam once knew.  How very far we see humanity has really fallen when we see with our spiritual eyes what Adam was like before his fall.  The next great man of light to appear on this planet was Moses.  But how dim was his light compared to that of Adam.  His relative dimness compared to Adam’s brightness certainly shows the ravages of sin upon the human race in just a few thousands of years.  We all know—or should know—the story of Moses’ testings and trials as God molded and shaped him into the great leader of God’s people for that generation—as God shaped him into the forerunner of a greater Prophet—Jesus—who was yet to come.  We read in Exodus 34:29 that when Moses descended from Mt. Sinai with the two tablets of stone, he had been so close to the living god that “the skin of his face shone and sent forth beams of light by reason of his speaking with God.”  The New Testament commentary of this event (2 Corinthians 3: 7) tells us that Moses’ face shone with brilliance and glory.     Yes, the light of God shining from within Moses, much dimmer than that of Adam, shows us how far humanity had fallen by Moses’ time; and yet it is a prophetic picture—a foretaste—of that which is yet to be.

 

   Another human to have within his being a portion of the light of God was John the Baptizer.  We read of his light in John 5: 35.   Yet we do not see his light; he was merely called a light.  Adam was clothed in light; Moses’ face shone with light; John was merely called a light.  Do you see how sin in the successive generations of humanity has slowly dimmed the actual light of God shining forth from his children?  We see the progressive—or should I say regressive?—ravages of sin down through the centuries of human history.  From being clothed in light, to merely being called a light.  How very far we have fallen!

  

Another Species of Light-Beings

 

   Not only do we read of a man who was clothed in light, of a man whose face shone with light, and of a man who was called a light, but we also read of another race or species of created beings who share these characteristics of light:  Angels.  However, since it I not within th scope of this teaching to discuss these other created beings, I refer you to only two biblical references as a starting point if you wish to pursue a further study about angels:  Matthew 28: 3 and Revelation 10: 1.  The angels, too, are clothed in light.

 

Jesus, The LIGHT of the World

 

   There is one light, of course, which is the Light.  I refer to Jesus, and let’s now study at length that wonderful light4.  One basic point at the outset:  all of the characteristics—and greater—regarding light that were a part of the first Adam will, of course, be part and of person and nature of Jesus, the Head of an entirely new race of supernaturally created beings.  Whatever the first Adam had, the last Adam, Jesus, possesses in far greater measure.

 

   I want to pause again to point out that every time I refer to light in this teaching, I am referring to light in the sense of actual, literal light as well as to spiritual light.  Let’s not spiritualize away the actual, nor literalize away the spiritual.

 

   Many of my readers are familiar with the description of Jesus in the first chapter of John’s Gospel.  It seems clear that here the description of Jesus as the light of the world is primarily spiritual; on the other hand, in the first chapter of the Revelation to John we read of Jesus as the actual, literal out-raying of the light in which God dwells.  Let’s look at a few verses in John 1.  In verse 4 we read that Jesus, the light, is the LIFE of all people.  Could we say that through a process of “spiritual photosynthesis” Jesus gives LIFE to all humanity?  If not now, by the end of the ages of time?  What profound depths of truth we still need to have the Holy Spirit teach us about how Jesus gives LIFE to all people. In verse 5 we read that the light of Jesus shines on in the darkness and that the darkness cannot overpower that light.  In verse 9 of John 1, we read that the true Light illumines every person who comes into the world.

 

This teaching about Light will be continued next month

.

  “God spoke:  ‘Light!’  And light appeared.  God saw the light was good and separated light from dark.  God named the light Day, he named the dark, Night.  It was evening, and it was morning….”             --Genesis 1: 3 – 5

 

To Think About

 

   In tragedy and despair, when an endless night seems to have fallen, hope is found in realizing the companion of night is not another night, that the companion of night is day, that darkness always gives way to light!

 

   All past issues of The Traveler are archived on our ministry website, as well as about 60 of my most popular teachings. Feel free to use any of my writings.

 

Bill Boylan

Life Enrichment Services, Inc

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Revised and updated May 2019

Got LIFE

 

     As I visit with various Jesus believers and pre-believers here and there in person and by correspondence and e-mail around the world, I find that many of them have only a vague, nebulous concept of what real LIFE—eternal LIFE—is all about.

 

     Here’s what the Bible teaches:  Eternal LIFE  is God’s own uncreated, self-existent, imperishable, undiminishable,  destructible,  inexhaustible, incorruptible,  boundless, limitless, abundant LIFE He implants within people through Jesus Christ when they are born again (born2).  In short, it is God’s own LIFE in all its fullness.  It is the quality, inherent nature, or character of that LIFE, not its duration, that is paramount.  In most of my writings, I almost always capitalize God’s LIFE in us to emphasize its exceedingly wonderful quality, not its duration.

 

Many Mistaken Beliefs

 

     We mistakenly tend to think of eternal LIFE in terms of an endless, future existence in a fantasy heaven far off somewhere “beyond the blue.”  And the existence it seems to imply is a sort of religious church service in the sky “in the sweet bye and bye,” which leaves many people wondering if they would really want that kind of life to go on forever . . . as dull and boring as are some church services.

 

     But Jesus is quite clear when he speaks of eternal LIFE—He means it is LIFE that is absolutely wonderful and can never be diminished or stolen from you. He says, “I have come that you may have LIFE, and have it to the fullest.” (John 10:10)  The eternal LIFE God gives us is a life exceeding that of the highest life any human being possesses, just as the highest life a human being possesses far exceeds that of the lowliest one-celled animal.

               

     Eternal LIFE is not the mere continuity of this mortal life in an immortal, endless religious life playing harps while sitting on clouds in some far-off forever.  No!  It begins now and “ends” in a state of being called the eternal state.  All spiritual growth of a Jesus-believer during this life is simply to receive more and more LIFE from God!  Sometimes when God first implants his LIFE within us, it may lay dormant for a time.  Then when we are ready, it begins to come awake in us, blossoming into its full, vibrant expressiveness in ways that only God can “grow” it in us.

 

     There comes what I call a “magic moment” in each person’s life when God’s embryonic LIFE—whether in root, in seed, in tiny acorn—that moment in time comes when it begins to blossom and bear fruit.  That LIFE in our innermost being begins to fulfill its destiny within the Father’s new-creation son or daughter.  (2 Corinthians 5: 17)  That LIFE begins to shoot upward from where it has taken root in our spirit.  It sprouts within us, sending forth new leaves and branches and fruit, flowering and blossoming until that LIFE in us is all in all.

 

     We don’t need to experience more and more of this finite, perishable, mortal life we have on planet earth in order to have a more fuller life.  No, we need more and more of the infinite eternal LIFE of God in us—more of his LIFE-making Presence in us.  If we will simply let God pour more and more of his LIFE into us by means of the inner work of the Holy Spirit, there will never be a limit—throughout time or in eternity—to the enlargement of our existence, to the flood of LIFE that will flow into us, through us, and out of us.  Most of us simply have no conception of how full and “complete” and vast real LIFE is. 

 

Life Without LIFE

 

     The condition of most men and women without God’s LIFE in them is actually a sort of “life in death,” an unreal dream existence, an emptiness, a pointless wandering in a twilight zone.  LIFE eternal is not merely an endless elongation of consciousness.  No, LIFE eternal is given us by God—a LIFE which is his own, beyond the attack of decay or death.  Eternal LIFE is an existence in this mortal life in which the believer has been given a portion of the very self-existent, uncreated character and nature of God.

 

     I can’t emphasize it enough:  Eternal LIFE is not some sort of endless life we’re going to get (future tense) when we die.  No, it’s God’s very own LIFE He gives to us now (present tense) when Jesus comes to live permanently within us in his unbodied form of the Holy Spirit.  It’s the very LIFE of the Eternal God flowing into our mortal lives in time and space before we reach our eternal state of being.  If the Son of God lives in us by virtue of our having been born2, we have (present tense) God’s very own eternal LIFE within us . . . NOW!  (1 John 5: 11- 13)

 

How Humans Get LIFE

    

     As simply as I can put it in summary fashion, here’s how humans “get” God’s eternal LIFE.  When we are born2 (see John 3: 5 – 8), God takes a portion of his own uncreated, self-existent, imperishable, inexhaustible,  undiminishable, incorruptible, indestructible, boundless, limitless, abundant LIFE and permanently implants it within our human spirits.  And we instantly come ALIVE with that LIFE within our human spirits, inseparably and permanently fused with God’s LIFE-giving Spirit within us for all time and eternity! 

 

    

Time and Eternity

 

     To get a better understanding of what I’m attempting to teach about eternal LIFE, it would help to understand a little about the differences between time and eternity.  So . . . let’s examine for a few moments the concepts of time and eternity.  They are both integral parts of the broader truth of God’s very own LIFE within his sons and daughters.   I’ll attempt to teach these two concepts as somewhat separate from one another, but, of necessity, there is much overlapping of the two.  When we look at the overall subject of time, we will also look at other time-concepts that are temporal, non-absolute, and relative.

Let God’s Spirit Teach Us

 

     Only the Holy Spirit, the true Author of the Bible, can teach us in depth about time and eternity. And I encourage you to ask him for assistance as you continue to read this material.  He can fill in the many gaps I’ve left out of this teaching because of my own limited understanding.  I freely admit there is much I don’t comprehend about time and eternity.   There is much yet to be learned as the Holy Spirit gives us illumination and enlightenment.  In a sense, there is much about time and eternity that only time to come and eternity can clarify for us.

 

Time and Space

 

    

     Continuing on with our thoughts, let’s think about whether or not time and space are finite or infinite.  If they are infinite, are they necessarily eternal?  By definition, space is “the expanse in which all material things are contained.”  Infinity is defined as “something lacks known or measurable limits and bounds,” not that something has no limits or boundaries.  With my present understanding, I believe that space and time do have limits and boundaries, but they cannot be measured by presently known astronomical instruments.        I am open to changing my mind as additional study might dictate.  Space, time, and the material universe are created phenomena and are infinite, but only in the sense they cannot be measured by finite humans.  I believe they are not infinite in the sense of being eternal—as only God is.

 

What Is Eternity?

 

     Now let’s consider the concept of eternity.  Please understand that the strictest, non-theological definition of eternity is “a state of being.” We shall see that it is much more than that, but it is a state of being, first and foremost.  In other words, eternity is not a created phenomena as time is.  In all candor, I believe the Bible teaches very little by way of defining or describing eternity.  Why?  Because the Bible is essentially a book of time and for time.  It was written for us who are temporal beings, not yet totally eternal. 

 

        We are presently creatures of time—journeying through time. Only when we arrive at and fully enter that state of being called eternity . . .  only when He who is Eternal becomes All in all in us . . .  only when time ends and is swallowed up into eternity . . .  only when eternity becomes an absolute reality to us . . .  only when we are spiritually metamorphosized into our eternal milieu . . . Only then will we time-beings, who were formerly physical and material beings, comprehend eternity and matters of an eternal nature.  There’s an old familiar Gospel song which speaks to the issue of our “going home” upon Jesus’ return, to our metamorphosis, to our Great Transition, to our change from mortal to immortal:

 

     “When the trumpet

     of the Lord shall sound,

     and time shall be no more,

     And the morning breaks

     eternal, bright, and fair; 

     When the saved of earth

      shall gather over on the other shore,

     and the roll is called up yonder,

     I’ll be there . . .

     On that bright and cloudless morning

     when the dead in Christ shall rise,

     and the glory of his resurrection share;

     When his chosen ones shall gather

     In Jesus’ Kingdom when He returns,

     and the roll is called up yonder,

     I’ll be there . . . . ”

 

     I hasten to say I don’t necessarily agree with all the “theology” of that old song or with the time sequence of the events it describes, but it is, nevertheless, a great old Gospel song describing us.

 

The Eternal God

 

     We read in the Bible that God is Eternal, or, more literally, the Father of Eternity (Deuteronomy 33: 27, Isaiah 9: 6).  He is called so in the sense that he is the originator and sustainer of eternity.  In short, eternity is part of God.  He is eternity.  Eternity is in God.

 

“So . . . to the King of the ages of time and eternity, to Him who is invisible, to the only God there is, full of wisdom—may honor and glory be given to Him alone for all the ages of time and eternity.  Amen!”

                                                                                                                                                   --1 Timothy 1:  17

 

    

Time To Get Ready

In continuing to consider the concepts of time and eternity, we must completely jettison any thinking that time has anything to do with eternity or is part of eternity.  Time and eternity are two separate entities.  They are mutually exclusive of one another in an absolute sense.

                Eternity IS a state of absolute timelessness, NOT a state of unending time. There are NO endless ages of time in eternity.  Eternity IS a state of absolute simultaneousness, NOT a state that goes on and on and on with the passing of “unending” time.

                Eternity is a state of being, resident in the very nature and person of God in which such time-concepts as past, present, future, before, after, minutes, hours, and years do not exist.

 

Time Shall Be No More

 

The ages and eons of time will end; they are alien concepts in eternity. Time and eternity have no relationship with one another just as up or down, for example, have no relationship with light or dark.  The terms “up” and “light” are mutually exclusive. Time is not part of eternity just as “up” is not part of “light.”

It may seem like I’m overemphasizing this point, but it is absolutely essential that we understand such differences between eternity and time before we can begin to comprehend what the Bible teaches, for example, about eternal LIFE.  Time is not part of eternity.  Eternity is not composed of segments of time.  Eternity is not time standing still.  It simply is not time in any sense that we understand time.  Eternity doesn’t go on and on, ad infinitum.  Eternity doesn’t go anywhere or anywhen, nor does it do anything.  Eternity simply is.  It doesn’t go on and on and on. 

Time is created.  It is extra-eternal in the sense we say something is extra-biblical. Time is a measurable, fixed, limited, created phenomena.  Eternity, in contrast, is part of the very nature and person of God.

 

 

The Great “I AM”

 

                Eternity transcends beyond our comprehension anything having to do with time.  Eternity simply is, just as God simply is.  The expression, “It is that it is,” has unique reference to eternity just as “I am that I am” has unique reference to God.  Just as Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am," (John 8: 58) it can be said of eternity, "Before time was, I am."

 

 

Some Misunderstood Terms

 

                For my next point let’s consider only briefly the definitions of such biblical words and terms as “forever,” “forever and ever,” “eternal,” everlasting,” and related expressions.  By the way, have you ever pondered how there can be a “forever” with an “ever” following it?  Just asking.

                In over 500 places in most modern translations of the Bible where we find such terms in the English language as the four just mentioned, they have with very few exceptions been mistranslated from the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic languages in which the Bible was written.

                “Forever” can most often be translated as “age-lasting,” or “continuing for the ages of time.”   “Forever and ever” and “everlasting” should be translated as “for the age(s) of the  ages,” “enduring for the ages of time,” or “throughout all generations.”

                Such biblical words or expressions are not about segments of time that go on and on and on without end.  I am simply saying that these words are all time-words words expressed in time-languages, fallen languages of a fallen race of beings, languages that are inadequate to wholly express and define that which is eternal. They are not words having to do with eternity; they are only about time.  In the original languages, the biblical emphasis on such words seems to be upon the quality and purpose of such words rather than upon an unending duration.  In other words, eternal LIFE means the nature, quality, or purpose of the LIFE rather than it’s length or duration. 

 

    

     Eternal LIFE is God’s self-existent, uncreated, undiminishable, imperishable, incorruptible, inexhaustible, indestructible, limitless, boundless, abundant LIFE of God in us, a LIFE the seed of which we now possess and which will come to full fruition in eternity when the ages of time have ceased to exist. 

 

 

Check ‘em Out Yourself

 

I’ve given only a few examples of such words and expressions. An exhaustive—and startlingly convincing—personal study can be made of every such word in the Bible with the use of a good Bible concordance.

In summary, it can readily be seen that both time and eternity are concepts beyond total comprehension by fallen and limited human beings.  Our “darkened,” finite, limited minds and understanding are too limited to fully grasp their meanings.  Nevertheless, even a dim understanding of such concepts will help change our thinking and preconceived notions of space, time, the universe, God’s nature and personality, God’s "size," God’s inherent eternality, and our own future eternality.

God is cultivating within Jesus believers an eternal nature, a nature no longer rigidly bound to and regulated by time, by clocks, by seasons, by cycles.  The thoughts of God’s people are becoming boundless and eternal, no longer controlled and motivated entirely by memories of the past, by present events, or by dim hopes for an endless future in the "sweet bye and bye."  God’s people are becoming age-less and time-less, are being "caught up" to God and his throne, are becoming truly and genuinely eternal beings in many ways. The fledgling eternal spirits of God’s people are growing up into the limitless expanses of God’s own eternal, spiritual nature.

 

 

New, Eternal Beings!

 

                His people are becoming new eternal creations, no longer limited by the restrictions of the space-time continuum and by our physicality and materiality. 

 

                We are not human being having a temporary spiritual experience; no, we are eternal spiritual beings having a very brief human experience!

 

                We are seeing with our “inner eyes” of our “faith-sense” the reality of a state of being called eternity—resident in the very nature and person of God—and our hearts strain and leap upward toward that "place" in God that awaits us beyond the eons of time.  

     

I hope that brief discussion of the concepts of time and eternity will help you more fully appreciate the wonder-full, rich, abundant, eternal LIFE God has implanted within you through the eternal sacrifice and total and complete salvation God has given you through God the Son, Jesus!  He implanted that LIFE in you at the time of your new-creation, second birth and it will continue to grow within you throughout all the eons of time and then beyond time into the eternal state!  Thank God for such amazing salvation!

 

Beyond The Far Shores Of Time

 

                Here is a little scenario I recently wrote based on my own very, very limited understanding of Eternity, that place in God to which we are all journey-bound: 

 

    

             “Beyond the far reaches of the vast sea of time and space lies a fair and lovely land called Eternity.  It is a land beyond measure in which no mortal feet have yet trod.  A land of great delights, of fulfilled desires, dreams, goals, and visions.  A land where all is well and all is peacable. 

 

                A land where He Who Is . . . is All in all; there is nothing in that altogether lovely land which The Great Presence does not fully permeate and fill to the full.  We . . . you . . . me . . . all are bound for that unclouded land beyond the far borders of time.

 

                In that ever-sunny land there will be no need of the sun or lamps, for there will be no night there.  The permeating, en-Lightening Presence of Him Who is All in all will provide all Light.  And, in that wondrous land of light and beauty beyond compare, there is a pure River of Life flowing from the throne of the All in all.

 

                On either side of that River is a Tree of Life which bears fruit always, and the leaves of the Trees will heal those from every tribe, tongue, and nation who made the long journey to that wondrous Land.

 

                No dark and limiting curses will find a place in that comely Land, but only extraordinary blessings for all . . . from Him Who is All.

 

                Pure love will radiate throughout that land from Him Who is seated on the throne and from the Lamb seated at his right hand; love will be the very atmosphere breathed by all in that fair land.  And love will be the very core character and nature of all who dwell  there . . . because He is Love.

 

                It’s a land of dazzling beauty no human eye has ever seen—a land of light beyond the crystal sea.  A bountiful land of abundance, a land of milk and honey where Justice and Mercy fall and nourish the land like spring rains, sweeping gently across the lush, verdant meadowlands of Eternity. 

 

                Love and grace waft unceasingly throughout the land, filling the very atmosphere.  The knowledge of God and his Righteousness and Good cover the earth as the waters fill the seas. 

 

     Praise and joy resound from every corner of the land.  Salvation and Deliverance flow down as crystal rivers flow from high mountains.

 

                All is Peace—peace which surpasses finite comprehension, Peace which overshadows all that might cause anxiety and worry, Peace which stills any tumult and storms that might arise on the crystal seas in that radiant land to which we go.

 

                        There are still, sparkling waters, beside which the Great Shepherd of all sheep leads us into verdant meadows where Feasts surpassing abundance are ever provided to all.

 

    

We shall dwell there beyond the far shores of time, ever in the Presence of Him who fills all with Himself.  Death shall be no more.  Nothing shall ever disturb the peace and tranquility that pervades that all-spacious land over which the King of kings and Lord of lords rules with eternal benevolence toward all creation. 

 

    

Ceaseless High Praise—loud as rolling thunder—is ever heard, yet there is always a hushed and still quietness that is palpable to all.  Such Praise rolls effortlessly from all created beings, originating from deep within the redeemed who ever come singing to the Temple of God—whose temple we are, filled with all the fulness of  the Spirit beyond measure and comprehension."

    

                Dear reader, that is the wondrous land called Eternity to which we are all journey-bound beyond the far reaches of time and space.   Let’s journey on.

 

“God makes everything beautiful in its own time.  He has placed within the heart of every human ever born the knowledge of the ages of time and eternity.  But our understanding is so finite and limited that during our journey here we can never fully grasp what God is doing.  What we are able to comprehend of God’s working throughout human history is always unclear, partial, and distorted.”

                                                                                                                                              --Ecclesiastes 3: 11 

 

To Think About:

    

    “On most gravestones there’s a date of birth, a dash, and then a date of death.  The dash is very short; it represents my life from conception to death.  It’s what I do during the dash that really matters!”

 

 

Bill Boylan

Life enrichment Services, Inc

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Revised and Updated May 2019

 

The Familiar Stranger

 

     What’s it all about?  What’s what all about?  The Bible.  That’s what what’s all about.  Is the Bible merely an ancient, outdated book that has no relevance in our modern times?  Is it just a book about the ancient history of the Mediterranean region?  Is the Bible primarily a religious book?  Doesn’t the Bible contain a lot of inconsistencies and contradictions?  Isn’t it like any other “sacred” book of other religions?  Isn’t it just a book of religious fairy tales?  Isn’t it just a book of do’s and don’ts?  Isn’t it just a religious textbook for Jews and Christians?

 

     Does the Bible contain secret codes?  Is it a book that foretells the apocalyptic future and cataclysmic end of the world?  Is it a book containing a nice set of religious rules to live by?  Are weak-minded people deceived by the Bible and by television preachers who just want their money?  Do intelligent people really believe the Bible?  Aren’t people just deluded by the Bible?  Aren’t those who believe the Bible sort of simple-minded and narrow-minded, believing they’re right and everyone else is wrong?  Aren’t they kind of right-wing extremist fanatics?  Did God really give us the Bible?  Why?  What for?  What can the Bible do for me—if anything?

 

     All of those questions—and many similar ones—have been asked by multitudes of people now, and for many centuries.  All of those are good questions asked by well-meaning people.  Portions of the Bible have been read for around 3,500 years.  The entire Bible in the format we have today has been around for 1,700 years or so.  What gives the Bible such staying power?   For centuries—and even in our times—some people have attempted to destroy and burn all Bibles.  Many people have died trying to preserve and protect the Bible.  Many   people   who believe   the Bible have  been imprisoned, tortured, and killed . . . even around the world today!  All or parts of the Bible have been translated into over 3,500 languages.  The Bible is on CD, DVD, on television, on computers, on tablets, on smart phones and on other electronic devices.  Popular movies have been made based on the Bible.  In whatever “form” it takes, the Bible is still the most widely distributed book in human history.  Why?  Why?  Why?  I’m glad you asked.  I will devote several issues of The Traveler to attempt to answer lots of questions that have been asked about the Bible.

 

     First, I’ll make a simple statement, and then take a few issues to elaborate and expand on my statement.  Here’s my simple statement: 

     The Old Testament portion of the Bible (written before the life and times of Jesus) is the prologue to the main story about Jesus in the first four books of the New Testament portion of the Bible.  The remainder of the Bible is the epilogue . . . without an end!

     That’s it . . . In summation . . . Bottom line . . . Simply stated . . . In a nutshell . . . In conclusion . . . In one way or another, the entire Bible is about Jesus.  Period!

What?  Why?  Where?  When?

 

     The Bible is not one large book beginning with chapter one and going chronologically through to the last page of the last chapter.      Rather, the Bible is a compilation of 66 small and large books (actually scrolls and letters) written by 40 authors over a period of 1,500 years.  For the most part, those 40 writers were just ordinary people like you and me.  Those 40 people were guided by God’s Spirit to write what He wanted them to write—using their own writing styles and personalities as they wrote.  The first “book” of the Bible was written approximately 3,500 years ago—1,500 years before Jesus—and the last book of the Bible was written about 30 years after his death and resurrection in 33 A.D. 

 

     There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.  They’re not necessarily in chronological order.  Some of them are books of history, some of poetry, some of prophecy, some of biographical information, some of teaching, some a blending of various types of literature.  Some things written in the Bible are literal, some aren’t.  Some are clear, some aren’t.  Just as any other literature does, the Bible uses various forms of writing:  hyperbole, metaphor, symbolism, parables, figurative language, etc.  As you study, you need to know from the context which forms of writing are being used at any given time.  The Old Testament is about God before the time of Jesus.  The New Testament is about Jesus and events in his life and in the lives of his followers for about 30 years after Jesus died, was resurrected, and returned to heaven.

 

     The Bible was written in three languages:  Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  The Bible in its present form was compiled and completed about 400 years after the time of Jesus.  If you intend to be a serious student of the Bible, I strongly recommend you take the time and effort to memorize the names of the 66 books of the Bible so you can more readily look up things as you study the Bible.

 

     The Bible is basically a book in which God takes the initiative in revealing himself to humankind.  God also reveals himself to us through Jesus.  The Bible is God’s written revelation of Himself to humankind; Jesus is God’s living revelation of Himself in human form.  If you want to know what God is really like, look at Jesus!  Symbolic hints and prophecies—alongside clear teachings—about Jesus are found in every book of the Bible.  And, Jesus, during his time here on earth, taught his disciples that the Old Testament was really all about him in veiled and shadowy form.  The written word and the living Word blend and interact; they are interwoven together.  They are one.  If you dig deep enough you will find “Jesus in every book of the Bible.”  So . . . in veiled form Jesus can be found in each of the 39 books of the Old Testament.  And in clear form the 27 books of the New Testament are all about him.  One other minor matter.  Originally, the Bible was not divided into chapters and verses; those chapters and verses were added many years after the Bible was put together in its present form.

How?

 

     A person can know the Bible is the written Word of God only by means of one’s inner “faith-sense”; to one’s “outer” five senses the claim that the Bible is the written Word of God is foolish, illogical, and irrational.  You cannot understand the Bible by means of your five senses, mental abilities, and intellect alone, only by means of our “faith-sense” God dispenses to every human being.

 

     God gave humankind the Bible primarily to transform our lives and restore us back into his clear image, an image marred and blurred because of our sin.  Yes, God uses the Bible to clean up our lives and make us more whole and complete persons as we read, study—and obey!—it.  Reading, studying—and obeying!—the Bible gives you wisdom, defined as comprehensive insight into God’s plans and purposes for all creation, for all humankind, and for you.  This leads to gaining a biblical worldview, as contrasted with a purely materialistic and naturalistic, secular worldview. 

A Story

 

        On the “viewing screen” of your imagination, picture the following story based on some incidents in the New Testament portion of the Bible.

     “On the outskirts of the city of Jerusalem, Israel, Jesus was crucified 3 days ago, hastily buried in a borrowed tomb, and God raised Him from the dead yesterday, 72 hours after he had been killed.  This morning—the day after—two of his followers are fleeing from Jerusalem on foot for fear they, too, could be captured and killed.  The two disciples are on their way to a suburb of Jerusalem, the village of Emmaus about 7 miles away.  As they are walking along, they are deep in conversation discussing the events of the previous few days.  Suddenly, in the midst of their conversation a person appears alongside them and asks what they’re so intently discussing.  He mentions they look like they had just lost their best friend.  The disciples ask the person if he’s a stranger to the area because he doesn’t seem to know about the momentous events of the past few days involving Jesus of Nazareth.  Everybody has been talking about what had happened to Jesus.   

 

     The stranger responded with an unusual   statement.  He asked them why they were so thick-headed and slow-hearted.  He asked why they didn’t understand that the entire Old Testament portion of the Bible taught about Jesus.  The stranger went on to explain that all the events concerning Jesus had been predicted and prophesied by all the Old Testament books.  He continued by explaining in great detail to the disciples all that the Old Testament scriptures taught about Jesus, beginning with Genesis clear through to the last book of the Old Testament by the prophet Malachi. He pointed out everything in the Old Testament that pertained to Jesus.   

 

     The three men draw near to the outskirts of Emmaus where they were staying and the stranger acts as if he is going to go farther.  The two disciples urge him to stay with them in Emmaus that night because it was getting dark and travel alone in the dark can be very dangerous.  The stranger decided to stay.  While they were eating supper, suddenly the eyes of the two disciples were opened and they understood the stranger was Jesus.  Immediately, Jesus disappeared!  Even though it was dark and dangerous to travel, the two disciples immediately left to return to Jerusalem; they didn’t waste a minute.  When they arrived, they reported to Jesus’ closest eleven followers what had happened.  The two disciples of Jesus went over everything they had seen and heard . . . and explained that earlier while they were having supper together they recognized the stranger was Jesus.  While the two disciples were excitedly explaining all they had seen, heard, and experienced, suddenly Jesus appeared among them—right out of nowhere!       They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death.   He told all who were present not to be afraid and don’t let all those doubting questions take over.  He then asked all those who were present to touch him to ensure that they weren’t merely seeing an apparition.

 

     Sitting down to eat with them, Jesus then opened their understanding and explained to them all that the Old Testament scriptures taught about him.  He explained to them that something about him could be found in all 39 books of the Old Testament.  Then Jesus told all of them to remain where they were for a few days until their Father would bestow upon them the Holy Spirit as He had previously promised.”

To be continued next month

 

     “God’s Word, the Bible, is LIFE-giving, energizing, and full of God’s power.  It’s sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel, penetrating and cutting through everything—right down to the deepest parts of our being, laying us open to listen and obey.  It exposes and sifts and analyzes everything about us. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word.  We can’t get away from it—no matter what.   The Bible wasn’t concocted by humans.  It resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to write it down, using their own personalities and styles.”

                                                                                                                                         --paraphrased from Hebrews 4: 12 and  1 Peter 1: 21 in the Bible

To think about this month

 

     God’s Word, the Bible, will keep me from self-centered and self-absorbed sin . . . or sin will keep me from the Bible!

 

     All past issues of The Traveler are archived on our ministry website, along with many of my most popular teachings.

 

Bill Boylan

Life Enrichment Services

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Revised and Updated May 2019

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