The Triune God is eternal and there is no progression of events in His mind, seeing the beginning from the end. Yet, for His own glory, He has created time, space and history to allow progression to take place. Interestingly, from this we derive a fundamental law of physics expressed thus: “In the beginning [time], God created [causality] the heaven [space] and the earth [substance]”. However, of utmost importance: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (Jn. 1:1-2). And yet, “to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him” (I Cor. 8:6); for God, our Father, “created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9 – see also Jn. 1:3; Heb. 1:2b), the eternal Son of God, “God manifest in the flesh”. Now, all of time, space and history can be likened to His masterful work of art – His work of redemption. The Painter is our Father. The Brush is our Lord Jesus Christ. The Interpreter is the Holy Ghost. Startling as it may be, the entire picture has been “finished from the foundation of the world” by our Father in His eternal mind over a six-day period and then He “rested the seventh day from all his works” (Gen. 2:1-2; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:3-4, 10). The background being completed, the details in the form of prophetic statements contained in Holy Writ, are added successively with each stroke of the Brush to contribute to this work of art. The Masterpiece safely can be called “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” (Matt. 17:5). All of humanity, being descendants of Adam, though “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28) and are capable of seeing a portion of the Masterpiece (Rom. 1:18-23), really have no interest in either its detail or its Painter. But the Painter has exercised mercy on some and given them eyes to see and ears to hear. That is, these “eyes to see and ears to hear” are the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost, who “guides into all truth” (Jn. 16:13).
There are major and subordinate themes contained in this Masterpiece. By His design, the Old Testament was an incomplete picture. Viewing it through the eyes of the Holy Ghost created an expectation of something complete. The Incarnation of the “Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16), though “seen afar off” (Heb. 11:13), had not yet been specifically added to the picture. Yet, even the heathen prophet Balaam knew he “shall see Him, but not now: [he] shall behold Him, but not nigh” (Num. 24:17) – however, it must be said that in this case, Balaam, a heathen, may have been referring to his own encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ in Judgment. Each successive stroke of the Brush on the canvas served to explain and clarify other strokes as well as add to this expectation. Now in human history, about 6 B.C., “the fulness of the time was come”. This was the Incarnation of the Son of God, “the Word was made flesh” (Jn. 1:14). Strangely to many, He “took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7) to reveal Himself to all the world as the legitimate heir of “all the promises of God” (II Cor. 1:20) and to enable His elect “to become partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4). But the crowning touch to the Masterpiece has yet to be added; His Second Coming, “that blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), to “gather together His elect from the four winds” (Mk. 13:27), to “put down all rule and all authority and power” and “deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father” (I Cor. 15:24-28). What will the Masterpiece be like? Well, King David gave us a hint in Ps. 17:15, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I will be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness”. John added, “and they shall see His face” (Rev. 22:4). The authors do not really understand a lot about heaven, as to its physical makeup – if it can be stated in that way. However, the Scripture writers do say a lot about this, particularly in Revelation – but much of this may be in symbolic language. One has to remember that Paul “knew a man in Christ…[who] was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (II Cor. 12:2-4). He apparently saw something which mortal flesh could not bear to see. Paul himself was not sure whether or not he was in or out of his body at the time. This we do know for sure: “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (I Jn. 3:2). The authors are most interested in seeing His face, the face of a most merciful Redeemer and Lord, and to experience the fulness of relationship both with Him and the other elect, where there is no more pretense and self involved.
(Copyright © July, 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Includes “Broken Cross” image – Reprints can be obtained by contacting us at galatianspilgrimage.com)
(Note: Don’t let our “Broken Cross” image fool you into thinking this particular cross is pagan in its origin. Actually, designed by the authors, it is intended to depict what legalism and lies has attempted to do to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike other “crosses” you may see which carry a negative connotation, ours is a sign of victory for those “in Christ”.)