Friday, June 29, 2012

War in Heaven

                                Michael fights rebel angels, by Sebastiano Ricci, c. 1720

Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation, which consists principally of eschatological visions and opens with the words, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place”, includes in those events a war in heaven.

Among its visions of things to come is one of “a great sign (that) appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”, and “another sign appeared in heaven: behold a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.” This is followed by:

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9)

Book of Daniel

The war in heaven in Revelation 12 is an allusion to the war (without any casting out of heaven) "between the angel Gabriel and the princes of Persia and Greece in Daniel 10:13-14. The passage in question does not mention Gabriel explicitly nor speak of the princes of Greece; it does mention "Michael, your prince" as coming to the aid of the speaker who is identified with the angel Gabriel.

Book of Isaiah

Parallels are drawn to the passage in Isaiah 14:4-17 that mention the Morning star that had "fallen from heaven" and was "cast down to the earth". In verse 12 of this passage, the Hebrew word that referred to the morning star was translated into Latin as Lucifer. With the application to the Devil of the morning star story, "Lucifer" was then applied to him as a proper name.

Book of Enoch (not in the Christian Bible)

Book of Enoch 29:4, 31:4, where Satan-Sataniel is described as having been one of the archangels. Because he contrived "to make his throne higher than the clouds over the earth and resemble 'My power' on high", Satan-Sataniel was hurled down, with his angels, and since then he has been flying in the air continually above the abyss. According to Jewish thought, the passage in Isaiah was used to prophesy the fate of the King of Babylon, who is described as aiming to rival God.

Ezekiel 28

The Judeo-Christian tradition has stories about angelic beings cast down from heaven by God, often presenting the punishment as inflicted in particular on Satan. The name Lucifer, the Latin name (literally "Light-Bearer" or "Light-Bringer") for the morning star (the planet Venus in its morning appearances), is often given to the Devil in these stories. The brilliancy of the morning star, which eclipses all other stars, but is not seen during the night, may be what gave rise to myths such as the Babylonian story of Ethana and Zu, who was led by his pride to strive for the highest seat among the star-gods on the northern mountain of the gods (an image present also in Ezekiel 28:14), but was hurled down by the supreme ruler of the Babylonian Olympus. Stars were then regarded as living celestial beings.

Important thing is that what will happen to us by this War in Heaven.

God’s Word says in Revelation 12:10-12;

10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,

and the authority of his Christ.

For the accuser of our brothers,

who accuses them before our God day and night,

has been hurled down.

11They overcame him

by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much

as to shrink from death.

12Therefore rejoice, you heavens

and you who dwell in them!

But woe to the earth and the sea,

because the devil has gone down to you!

He is filled with fury,

because he knows that his time is short.”

Lord Jesus, Supreme Commander of the Army of Heaven, deliver us from the evil one, Satan!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Star Wars

I happened to watch the Final Battle – Obi-Wan vs. Dark Vador on Youtube.

An uploader comment from France is as follows;

Il avait peur. C'est parce qu'il avait peur qu'il faisait tout pour ne pas perdre Padmé. Mais il avait soif de pouvoir aussi d'un côté.  Mais au final,c'est lui qui tue Dark Sidious!

The big theme of the "revenge of the siths" was fear. The elders were always concerned about the fear within Anakin and that was the reason why they thought he should not be a Yedi yet. So it is similar in the Christian life. The bible often says "don't be afraid", and fear of loss (like with his mother, or anything else) can be something that hinders us in our faith. "The dark side" used this fear to make him turn away from good, fear to lose his wife. He still lost her, because he gave into this fear. Probably it's the same with faith. If one don't trust the love of God, stop being afraid, one will never be able be useful for him.

Perhaps the only relevant parallel is this:

The father Skywalker turned to the dark side, for love's sake and for power's sake. As a result, the universe plunged into darkness and despair. But his seed, Luke Skywalker, would one day rise up and restore order to the universe.

Likewise, Adam, the first man, fell into sin. He gave in to temptation. Then later, Jesus, the "last Adam", came into the world to restore order. He died on the cross to redeem humankind from sin and death.

But the difference between Star Wars and the Bible is that:

It is the woman’s seed, Jesus Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born, who redeemed humankind from sin and death. Unlike Jesus, Luke Skywalker was born through natural means, not supernatural means.

We know that believers who are not made perfect in love fear God with the wrong kind of fear, because they do not fully know that God is love. But believers who know God is love no longer fear Him because they know God will not punish them anymore, since His Son Jesus Christ had already borne the full punishment of their sins. Hence, it's the perfect love of God that casts out fear, which has to do with punishment.

So as for Anakin, perhaps he has valid reasons to fear, since he doesn't know God. He is just like any of us when we were sinners - we were all like sheep gone astray. What Anakin really need is a Savior, for without Jesus, he remains a lost and frightened sheep. He may be a powerful Jedi, but deep down in his heart, he is insecure and vulnerable to being tempted by the enemy. Only the perfect love of God can cast out every fear in his heart, and make him completely whole - spirit, soul and body.

1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

Let’s stop being afraid for the punishment from God and rather serve Him in the perfect love of Christ who paid a full price of our sins.

Don’t we hear from Apostle Paul in Romans 8:1-2 saying, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”?

Amen and amen.

Sweetest Name of All

On the wall in my home, there is a picture frame with Jesus’ portrait same as above. And it is most unlikely that Jesus looked like He is portrayed in most movies.

Isaiah 53:2 (New Living Translation, 2007) reads;

My servant grew up in the LORD's presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

According to this Bible verse which Christians accept as a reference to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, He had no particular attractiveness in His human form. No one was drawn to Him for His looks.

The New Testament does not address Jesus' physical appearance, until the book of Revelation.

In Revelation 1:12-16, John describes the glorified Jesus this way:

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, 13 and among the lamp stands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

Isn’t it scary description of the Risen Lord?

Acutally no mention is made in the Gospel record of Jesus' appearance either by His followers or by His opponents. So any attempt to reconstruct Him is only idle speculation and in any case is unimportant. His real work of salvation was important and that is certainly mentioned along with the fact that He rose from the dead. Given the fact that He was Jewish, He undoubtedly had Jewish features and skin color.

Assuming it does give an accurate general picture, this can prove nothing specific about Jesus. His 'lack of difference' in the Garden of Gethsemane can be accounted for by the facts that it was dark and that the soldiers also would not have known Him personally.

So, quite clearly, apart from the Revelation reference which was of the glorified Christ, we cannot know exactly what He looked like.

Even though the whole world doesn’t know about Jesus, I know JESUS is the most beautiful and sweetest Name of all. I didn’t see Him face to face yet but I’ll see Him as He is someday.

A Psalmist wrote long time ago;

I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your Name for your love and your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things your Name and your Word (Psalm 138:21).

JESUS Supreme Commander

On the way to work this morning, out of blue the following Bible story flashed through my mind.

2 Kings 19 records the history of Southern Kingdom of Israel at the time of King Hezekiah when the Assyrian army invaded and encircled Jerusalem.
Verses 14 -16 explains the situation;
14Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.

Verses 35-36 record what happened in response to Hezekiah’s prayer to God;

35That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

Let me link this story to that of the night when Jesus was caught in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:51-53.

When Peter drew the sword out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear, Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” And the Lord said, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

More than twelve legions of angels?  My Father can give Me more than twelve legions of angels to defend Me. Based on this number of a legion, comprised of frequently 6,000 Roman army soldiers, the angels of God amount to more than 72,000.

If an angel can defeat 185,000 soldiers overnight, how many soldiers can 72,000 angels kill?  

Here is a multiplication math. 185,000 x 72,000 = 13,320,000,000. It’s more than 13 billion. It’s more than twice of the current world population!

When Jesus comes as King of Kings and Lord of lords to judge and carries on war with this evil world, He brings the armies of Heaven and we never know how many they are!

In Revelation 19:14 says, “The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

O Lord Jesus, the Supreme Commander of the army of Heaven, we adore You forever. Protect us from all dangers from our archenemy, Satan and his evil forces!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hand of GOD

                                 Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” – Psalm 19:1

The “hand” shown above is created by energy emanating from the nebula around the dying star PSR B1509-58. While it is certainly not the literal “Hand of God,” His hand is certainly quite evident in it.

Underlying our universe, captured so beautifully in this image, are countless physical constants that appear to be precisely tuned in order to support its present state. Was ours simply the only universe to get things right amongst an infinite number of other universes? Or does such balance point to a designer?

Imago Dei - 하나님의 형상

I believe this article will help you grasp the meaning of "image of God" in the spiritual context.

Question: "What does it mean that man is made in the image of God?"

On the last day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Thus, He finished His work with a “personal touch.” God formed man from the dust and gave him life by sharing His own breath (Genesis 2:7). Accordingly, man is unique among all God’s creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit.

Having the “image” or “likeness” of God means, in the simplest terms, that we were made to resemble God. Adam did not resemble God in the sense of God’s having flesh and blood. Scripture says that “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and therefore exists without a body. However, Adam’s body did mirror the life of God insofar as it was created in perfect health and was not subject to death.

The image of God refers to the immaterial part of man. It sets man apart from the animal world, fits him for the dominion God intended him to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and enables him to commune with his Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally, and socially.

Mentally, man was created as a rational, volitional agent. In other words, man can reason and man can choose. This is a reflection of God’s intellect and freedom. Anytime someone invents a machine, writes a book, paints a landscape, enjoys a symphony, calculates a sum, or names a pet, he or she is proclaiming the fact that we are made in God’s image.

Morally, man was created in righteousness and perfect innocence, a reflection of God’s holiness. God saw all He had made (mankind included) and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Our conscience or “moral compass” is a vestige of that original state. Whenever someone writes a law, recoils from evil, praises good behavior, or feels guilty, he is confirming the fact that we are made in God’s own image.

Socially, man was created for fellowship. This reflects God's triune nature and His love. In Eden, man’s primary relationship was with God (Genesis 3:8 implies fellowship with God), and God made the first woman because “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Every time someone marries, makes a friend, hugs a child, or attends church, he is demonstrating the fact that we are made in the likeness of God.

Part of being made in God’s image is that Adam had the capacity to make free choices. Although he was given a righteous nature, Adam made an evil choice to rebel against his Creator. In so doing, Adam marred the image of God within himself, and he passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.

The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of God, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).


질문: 하나님의 형상 만들어졌다는 것의 의미? 어떤 면이 하나님과 닮았다는 것인가 (창세기 1:26-27)?

대답: 하나님의 창조 마지막 날에 하나님이 말씀하시길, “우리의 형상을 따라 우리의 모양대로 우리가 사람을 만들고 이렇게 하나님은 우리와 가장 가까운 관계를 맺으시고 창조를 마치셨습니다. 하나님은 사람을 흙에서 만드시고 자신의  생기를  나누어 주심으로서 사람에게 생명을 주셨습니다 (창세기 2:7). 마찬가지로 사람은 모든 하나님의 창조물 가운데 독특하며 물질적인 부분 (육체) 비물질적인 부분(영과 ) 가지고 있습니다.

하나님의 형상과 모양을 가졌다는 것은 간단히 말해서 우리 인간은 하나님과 닮았다는 것입니다. 단지 아담은 육체와 피를 가지게 되었다는 면에서 하나님을 닮지 않았습니다. 성경은 말하길하나님은 영이시라” (요한복음 4:24) 합니다. 그러므로 육체 없이 존재하십니다. 그러나 아담의 몸은 하나님의 생명을 지닌 점을 보아서 그의 몸은 완벽한 건강을 가지고 죽음에 이르지 않게 되어 있었습니다.

하나님의 형상은 사람의 비물질적인 부분을 말합니다. 이는 동물의 세계에는 없는 것으로 동물을 다스리라는 의도에 맞도록 주신 부분을 말합니다 (창세기 1:28). 그리고 이는 인간의 창조자와 교류가 가능하도록 하는 부분입니다. 이는 정신적 도덕적 사회적인 부분에 있어 유사성을 가르칩니다.

정신적으로 사람은 합리적, 자기 의지적인 존재로 창조되었습니다. 다른 말로 하면 사람은 생각할 있고 선택할 있습니다. 이는 하나님의 지적 부분과 자유를 반영합니다. 어느 때고 사람은 기계를 발명할 있고 책을 쓰고 설계도를 그리고 음악을 즐기고 숫자 계산을 하고 애완동물의 이름을 지을 있습니다.

도덕적으로 사람은 정의롭고  완벽한 무죄 상태로 창조되었습니다. 이는 하나님의 거룩하심을 나타냅니다. 하나님은 당신이 만든 모든 것을 (사람을 포함하여) 보시고는 아주 좋다 (very good)하셨습니다 (창세기 1:31). 우리의 양심이나 도덕적 잣대는 이렇게 원래 창조된 상태를 반영합니다. 사람이 법을 만들 때나 선한 행위를 칭찬하거나 죄책감을 느끼거나 모든 것이 우리가 하나님 자신의 형상으로 창조되었다는 사실을 확실하게 합니다.

사회적으로 사람은 교제를 위해 창조되었습니다. 이는 하나님의 삼위일체 속성과 그의 사랑을 반영합니다. 에덴 동산에서 사람과 하나님의 원초의 관계 (창세기 3:8), 그리고 하나님이 여자를 만드신 것은사람이 혼자 지내는 것이 좋지 않았기 (창세기 2:18)” 때문입니다. 남자가 여자와 결혼할 , 친구를 사귈 , 아이를 포옹할 , 교회를 참석할 때마다 사람은 우리는 하나님의 형상으로 창조되었다는 것을 말하고 있는 것입니다.

하나님의 형상으로 만들어진 부분이라는 것은 아담은 자유 의지를 사용할 능력이 있다는 것을 뜻합니다. 아담은 정의롭게 행동할 능력을 부여 받았다 하더라도 그는 그의 창조주를 거스르고 악한 결정을 내릴 있다는 것입니다. 그렇게 함으로서 아담은 자신이 지닌 하나님의 형상을 손상시켰고 자신의 모든 자손들에게, 현재의 우리를 포함하여, 하나님의 일그러진 형상을 넘기게 되었습니다 (로마서 5:12). 오늘날 우리는 여전히 하나님의 형상을 지니고 있습니다 (야고보서 3:9). 그러나 또한 죄의 흔적도 지니고 있습니다. 정신적으로 도덕적으로 사회적으로 그리고 육체적으로 우리는 하나님의 형상을 나타내야 합니다.

좋은 소식은 하나님이 개인을 구원하실 하나님이 우리에게 주셨던 원래 모습, “하나님을 따라 의와 진리의 거룩함으로 지으심을 받은 사람” (에베소서 4:24; 골로새서 3:10) 으로 회복하시기 시작하셨다는 것입니다. 예수 그리스도를 통하여 새로운 피조물로 만들어졌습니다. (고린도 후서 5:17)