Time’s Eternal Traveler
It was a clear, warm spring night. Shepherds were guarding their flocks on the hillsides and meadows of Judea. Suddenly, the dark, night skies lit up brighter than any fireworks display ever witnessed. An angel proclaimed to the startled shepherds . . . And you know the rest of the story! If not, read about it in the 2nd chapter of the book of Luke in the New Testament portion of the Bible.
Fullness of Time
When time was ripe . . . when time was full . . . when time was “pregnant”—God stepped out of the infinite vastness of eternity into the self-imposed, finite limitations of time and space and became fully human, while remaining fully God. Yes, when time was fully pregnant, a young unmarried, virgin teenager named Mary became fully pregnant, too, and gave birth to the God-Human, Jesus. Jesus was given the royal, eternal title, Immanuel, meaning “God is fully present with humans for all time and eternity.” After Jesus later died, was raised from the dead, and returned to eternity—in all the 2,000+ years since, Immanuel is born2 (born again) in anyone who asks Him to take up permanent residence in them and make them new-creation beings.
Yes, Jesus is the true Time Traveler who travels through each generation of time when He is born2—in their personal ripeness of time—in each man, woman, or child who enters into a personal relationship with Him by inviting Him into their lives. Over and over and over again in each passing generation of time, God once again becomes Immanuel for each person in whom He comes to live in them in his “unbodied form” of the Holy Spirit.
God. Jesus. Immanuel: The true Time Traveler who invites each of us to travel with Him throughout the ages and eons of time—and then when time ends—into the eternal state which God inhabits in all his majesty, power, and glory! The Bible is not merely a manual; the Bible is Im-manuel, telling us how God is fully present among humans in the Person of Jesus in his unbodied form of the Holy Spirit.
Many of my older readers might remember this simple Christmas chorus popular during the 1980’s:
His Name is called Immanuel—
God with us,
Revealed in us!
His Name is called Immanuel.
The Bible was not given to us by God merely to inform us. No, the Bible was given to us by God to transform us, as Immanuel lives in us and leads us on our own journey through time and eternity. 2,000 years ago God interesected time in the Person of Jesus, Immanuel. During the thousands of years since, eternity again intersects time whenever any human is born2 and becomes a new person. Sometime in the future, He will once again step out of eternity into time when Jesus returns in bodily form to establish his peace-full Kingdom upon earth. Yes, Jesus is The Eternal Time Traveler!
Time and Eternity
If the concepts of time and eternity—and their differences—are as fascinating to you as they are to me, I invite you to read one of my teachings on our ministry web site entitled Beyond The Far Shores of Time. It’s even kind of pseudo-scientific, containing a lot of up-to-date information about the latest developments in the scientific studies of time and space.
The Four C’s
What are four C’s? I’m glad you asked . . . Since this issue comes to you in the month of December, God asked me to write a little about the timeless Christmas story. You do know, don’t you that Jesus was not born on December 25th? It’s a long story, but that date was chosen and began to be used centuries after Jesus’ birth. In all likelihood, Jesus was probably born in the spring, but that’s another story, too . . . At this point, I invite you to read The Christmas Story on our web site; it’s a Bible-based story I wrote to be read aloud serially during the month of December.
Naturally, we all have a tendency during this month of the year to focus on the baby Jesus in the cradle. The cradle is the first C. And, it’s a good thing to focus on the baby Jesus in the cradle at this time of year. God did become a human being in Jesus, He was born of a human mother, He did live as a human among us. Again, his title, Immanuel, means God is fully present and living among us for all time and eternity. Our salvation begins with the baby Jesus in a humble cradle in Bethlehem. Yes, we do focus on the cradle at this time of year—the first C.
But while we concentrate on the scenario surrounding the cradle, let us never lose sight of the cross as well: the second C. The helpless baby who once laid in that humble cradle was the God-Human who willingly chose to die on the cross, there to give his life and pour out his life’s blood to emancipate all humanity from its sinful condition and from the finality of death. The despised Roman cross on which Jesus died was an instrument of unspeakable torture, suffering, and pain. Yet He willingly chose to hang there, bleed there, and die there in order to free us—you and me—from our lifelong and eternal bondage to sin and death.
The cradle and the cross. But thank God that’s not the end of the story. There is also the crown: the third C. After Jesus’ horrible death on your behalf and mine, God the Father brought God the Son back to life by the power of God the Holy Spirit. Shortly thereafter, Jesus ascended back to the eternal, heavenly realms where He is now enthroned in majesty at the right hand of the Father. Jesus forever wears the crown of victory over sin and death! The cradle, the cross, the crown. They are on a continuum in our redemption’s pageant: Christmas, Easter, and Jesus’ victorious Ascension to the Father’s right hand, there to rule as the fully just and benevolent King of the universe.
But there’s more. The pageant is not yet complete. Still to come is Jesus’ return in majesty as King of all earth’s kings and Lord of earth’s lesser lords. He will return to establish his earthly kingdom and begin to consolidate his loving reign over our darkened and benighted planet. Yes, the earth will yet bask in its bright, golden age wherein King Jesus will rule with divine justice, grace, and love. At this time of the year when we normally focus on Jesus’ birth, let us not lose sight of God’s total package—his complete redemptive work on our behalf. Yes, there’s more—so much more—than Christmas alone: the cradle, the cross, the crown, and, his coming again: the fourth C!
“When the proper time had come, God sent his Son, born of a young pregnant virgin….” –Galatians 4: 4
“Jesus actually became flesh and lived awhile among us; and we saw the glory and honor and majesty of the Father’s First-Born Son, full of grace and truth.” –John 1: 14
The chorus of another older song puts it this way:
Living He loved me;
Dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my
sins far away;
Rising, He justified
One day He’s coming—
O glorious day!
I Fooled You!
Guess what I just did to you? I really fooled you. I taught you in an easy, painless manner some incarnational theology! I know, I know, some of you thought theology was what wizened old men in long “hoodies” did when they sat around by dim candlelight in a dark room discussing how many angels could dance at one time on the head of a pin . . . Here’s a simple definition of theology: It is a person’s understanding about God and his works among all humans. All of us—even atheists—have our own personal understanding about God: who we think He is, what He does, what He’s like, our relationship (or lack thereof) with Him. That’s all theology is.
Now that you know that, you can brag to all your family and friends that you are a bona fide theologian. Wow! What a way to impress people . . . I’ll bet you never thought you’d be a theologian, did you? What’s being a theologian have to do with this Christmas issue of The Traveler? I’m glad you asked. If we’re each going to have a “successful” journey through life, having the “correct” theology is vital to that journey. How do we get correct—or proper—theology? From the Bible. The Bible is where we get correct theology so we can have a great journey through life.
The Bible tells us about Jesus, our Fellow Time Traveler. It tells us who He is—for He alone is the final and full self-revelation of God to all human beings in every generation for the past 2,000+ years. Without the Bible we would not know anything about Jesus, THE Time Traveler. The baby in that cradle, the suffering Savior on that cross, that power-full resurrected God-Man, the One who returned to eternity and the heavenlies victorious over death, the conquering King who is coming again—that is all called the incarnation when the one True and Living God became eternally human. The Bible tells us that the incarnation never ended, but continues: Jesus is now and for all the ages of time and eternity fully God and fully human. He was resurrected and returned to heaven bodily, and He will return bodily.
That’s the incarnation. That’s theology. The cradle. The cross. The crown. His coming again. That’s the complete Christmas story. The incarnation of God changed everything for all time and eternity—reaching back to the very first humans, and reaching forward to include all humans who are yet to be born as the ages of time continue to roll on into eternity. God in Jesus not only intersected history for a brief 33 years of solar time, but as the God-Man seated at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus is eternally coexistent with everyone everywhere and everywhen. I’m not writing about religion. This “incarnation/Christmas thing is not about religion. It’s about having a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with the one true and living God through Jesus!
You Must Be Born2 !
If you have not yet been born2 by inviting the living Jesus to come into your life, invite Him into your life this Christmas season. Let Immanuel of history become your personal Immanuel for your own life journey: God fully with you (and in you) now and in eternity! Here’s a brief statement about what happens to us when we are born2: “Before being born2, it’s as if we’ve been stumbling around with our eyes closed. When we are born2, instantly we can see. Something dead inside us comes to life—a part of us never before recognized, never named, just waiting to be awakened. It’s not merely an increased ability to sense, know, and appreciate our world, but a new awareness . . . of something more, something wonderful just beyond what we have previously known.” (Author unknown) What a great way to celebrate this wonder-full Christmas season. Be born2 !
All previous issues of The Traveler are archived on our ministry web site, as well as some of my most popular teachings.
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Revised and Updated May 2019