Saturday, December 22, 2012
The Mayans and the Mistaken...
One might ask, "How are we Christians able to ignore the hubbub? What secret do we know which calms the faint hearted?" In answer, you see, let me say I know the code. There is a code..., and it is found in the bible… and I pass it on to you.
To make the first case for our faith walk, turn to the book of Job. This scriptural account, which is heavy reading that many biblical scholars describe as the oldest story book in the bible, tells of God allowing Satan to afflict Job. But the fallen angel cannot take the life of the wonderful servant of God. This tells us about the lower tier position of Satan from the very start. The story relates however, that after suffering both dire illness and personal loss, Job challenges God about the events which he sees as unjust and unpredictable… and God does what God doesn’t have to do… he answers his faithful servant. We read…
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements--surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:1-7)
The Creator responded therefore by calling Job to task. Using many words thereafter, in modern jargon, we would say that God demands, “Just who is in charge here!” The culmination of illness and distress experienced by Job, discussed by his friends and cursed by the man’s wife, was allowed by the Almighty. This tells us about the unfolding evils that we see in modern society… should we judge the Almighty?
From the beginning of the Jovian book we find that all this was done to demonstrate the faithfulness of God’s servant, Job. An end to the story inserts that Job was rewarded for his faithfulness. Take note that Job did not challenge God’s very existence, even though it may have seemed the end to him, but was bold enough in faith to interact with the Divine.
A second biblical account comes to us from the story of Noah…
“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (Genesis 6:9-13)
Now, we note that each time the “end of things” was spoken of, either personally in Job or corporately in the story of Noah, the Creator relented. The Divine Creator allowed each person to survive, and thus relented of wrath poured out. However, I say, that this is not a quality of God that we should abuse.
As Israel is historically formed by the mercy of God, we find that humans while neglectful of our relationship before our Creator, historically fall off the path of righteousness. And God rages once more against his “chosen” people…
“Every sickness also, and every affliction which is not recorded in the book of this law, the Lord will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. Whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude, you shall be left few in number; because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God. And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you; and you shall be plucked off the land which you are entering to take possession of it.
And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other; and there you shall serve other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. And among these nations you shall find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of your foot; but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart, and failing eyes, and a languishing soul; your life shall hang in doubt before you; night and day you shall be in dread, and have no assurance of your life. (Deuteronomy 28:61-66)
Even so, whenever it seems that an intercessory prayer of praise is spoken from an appointed follower, God turns His wrath aside from those He has chosen. The psalmists therefore declare His mercy to even the desolate of worthiness. His prophets warn and sway a remnant of the people to follow and be pardoned. Look and see for yourself! Judged by the commandments given to the ancestors, a psalmist related…
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:1-9)
But, we the people yet embrace sin, and the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel and others echo to us through scripture, pointing to the ends of era coming upon them. Centuries later, when warned by John the Baptist of wrath to come he is beheaded, and afterward Jesus gives admonitions to his own chosen few, but we persist to do what God considers as evil disobedience. Read the warning given by our Lord..,
"Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs. (Matthew 24:4-8)
We persecuted and killed the One sent, and the beginnings of persecution for the early Christian church are thus the subject of our Lord’s prophecy, given by Jesus before His death and resurrection. His apostles and disciples have since predicted the unfolding of end times, one after another, so that we today have no excuse. Today, in blatant foolishness we fall deaf to these fulfilled end time warnings, but quickly embrace the indistinct ramblings of a latter civilization. But how might the Mayans have known about the end, though shielded by the mists of time and location. Somehow they got a wierd feeling of foreboding. St. Paul writes to the church in the city of Rome…
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men, who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.” (Romans 1:18-ff).
Later in the same letter, Paul continues, “The penalty of sin is death” and we boldly add both “corporately and personally” in rather Greco exactness. In wisdom, Paul predicts the fall of cultures and challenges against the survival of God’s people. Let us ponder these words as they witness to the coming “end” of eras beneath the heavens… the fall of Rome and its empirical beast, the decline of both European and Islamic cultures into the prideful struggles of World War I, and the extreme bestiality of Hitler and the Nazi regime as it tried to apply false salvific nature to social Darwinism and progressive idealogy. Indeed, through history we sinfully evolve and dissolve, going through “end times”, paying attention to false prophets who claim the end is near… declaring that they have the answer to building the perfect world. But I say to you, the Perfect has already been born, already delivered, already crucified for our arrogance, and is already declared King of all Creation. No prophecy, Mayan or otherwise, shall change what is spoken about the End of all ends… in mystical words, John of Patmos writes of our future…
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."
And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 21:1-6)
Thus it is that the ancient biblical storytellers, prophets, psalmists and scribes foretell the future end for those who cling to false hopes, fears and predictions. Our future is not known by a date on the calendar, but in faith given to us in the Son of God. It is Jesus the Christ who was crucified and rose again, and lives eternally. In a world where the misguided speak of an end where there is no end, we surely already have the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. His name is Jesus, and through Him, God entered the realm of historical time to reveal his undying Love for us. Let us repent of our foolishness, go to church following this heavenly sign… and rightly kneel like wise men at the cradle of salvation.