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Posts Tagged ‘Cornelius’

Rev 22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

In the classic movie Beneath the Planet of the Apes, astronaut Brent had followed the same time-travel trajectory of George Taylor; his flight was sent to find out what had happened to him. After several adventures (encountering Nova, Taylor’s mute love interest, discovering Ape City, meeting the simian scientists Cornelius and Zira), he finally found Taylor, a prisoner like himself of a band of underground, radiation-scarred humans with psychic powers of illusion. After the three of them have killed their jailer, Taylor is attempting to treat Brent’s wound, when Brent tells him of the terrifying discovery he and Nova had witnessed: the humans’ “god”.

Brent: “Taylor…Taylor, they’ve got a bomb…atomic bomb…it’s operational! They intend to use it.” (since the gorilla army was advancing on the humans’ stronghold, they were going to fire it at Ape City)
Taylor: “What type is it?”
Brent: “I don’t know…I don’t know, what type, I’ve never seen it before.”
Taylor: “Didn’t you see a series number?”
Brent: “No numbers, just some letters…on one of the fins…Greek letters (Taylor freezes in realization)…”Alpha…”
Taylor: (resignedly) “and Omega.”
Brent: (surprised that Taylor knows) “What?”
Taylor begins dressing Brent’s wound as he explains about the “doomsday bomb”: “Another lovely souvenir from the 20th century. They weren’t satisfied with a bomb that could knock out a city. They finally built one with a cobalt casing…all in the sweet name of peace.”
Brent mutters in despair, realizing the consequences: “if they shoot it off at some of those apes, they’ll set off a chain reaction in the whole atmosphere…”
Taylor: “…burn the planet to a cinder…how’s that for your ultimate weapon?”

I replayed this dialogue on my copy of the DVD movie. Just like Taylor called it…a doomsday bomb, the beginning and the end of any conflict in which it’s used, an Armageddon. Tragically, in the movie, the bomb did go off, destroying everyone and everything.

Now, there really is going to be an Armageddon, but not with a bomb called the Alpha and the Omega. There will be a different Alpha and Omega as John tells us in his vision, which is the book of Revelation. That Beginning and End is Jesus Christ. John 1:1 and Revelation 1:8 reiterate what Christians already know: Jesus existed at the Beginning; He was, is, and always will be. He is God the Son, the Messiah. He is one of the three persons of God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). He will be there at the final battle against Satan, and He will be victorious! He is the End, too. This is part of His Majesty, being the timeless Lord He is. Though He walked the earth as the Lamb of God, He reigns in Heaven, as our Righteous King.

That’s a Beginning and End I will see one day!

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Verses 28, 34-35, 44-45: “Then he said to them, You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”

“I love it when a plan comes together.” That was the favorite catch-phrase of one LTC John “Hannibal” Smith, the wily leader of The A-Team. I enjoyed watching that old television program for its characterizations of this team of freelance soldiers of fortune and the wild inventions and schemes they would concoct to capture the bad guys. No matter how daunting the odds (or how much things went astray at times), the plan always came together in the end. Sometimes, even events that the team couldn’t foresee were used to work in their favor.

Our church had been “in the wilderness” for some time; we didn’t have a full-time pastor. God, in His perfect timing, brought us our current pastor, who’s been serving for the last 5 months here. As he shared his testimony with us upon his start in our church’s pulpit, we could see God’s hand in the absolute perfect timing of bringing our church and this pastor together. This man had been serving God in several capacities before finally bringing him to our town. Though he was able to get work in religious schools and such, teaching the Bible, he knew in his heart that God had something else in mind for him. The amazing thing was that his resume was in our list of candidates, but our pastor search committee only came back to it upon a second look through the stack. When he he shared that testimony with us, we could now easily see God’s hand in some of the reasons it took a while for us to get a new pastor…and that it took the same “while” to bring this man to our church. God was in control!

Peter’s vision and Cornelius’s vision now dovetail in this passage. Peter shares with Cornelius’s household and friends that God has revealed to him that He shows no partiality…salvation is available to all, not just the Jews. This is literally earth-shattering news at this stage of history with Jews and Gentiles (as you’ll see in Acts 11). God told Cornelius that he was to summon Peter; God showed Peter his change to the status-quo…and then brought them together for a memorable revelation.

When I shared these devotional thoughts with my wife, she stated “He (God) brought His plan together.”. This, in turn, made me remember the motto of Hannibal Smith.

I’m smiling right now, as I say….I love it when a plan comes together!

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Verses 3-5: “About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.””

In the 1998 movie rendition of Godzilla, there is a scene in Golfo de San Miguel, Panama, where Nuclear Regulatory Commission biologist Dr. Nick Tatopoulos is asking Col. Hicks why he was brought there. He states that although he is a biologist with the NRC, his specialty is not nuclear accidents (which he believes the colonel has brought him there to study). They are walking across a field and down into a hole. The camera angle is tight on the two men and their conversation.

Nick: “That’s what I’m trying to say, I’m a biologist. I take radioactive samples and I study them.”
Hicks: “That’s great. Here’s your sample…study it.”
Nick: “What sample?”
Hicks: “You’re standing in it.” (Hicks climbs out of the hole via a ladder)
Nick: “I don’t see it….”(camera begins to pull back) “where is it? I don’t see it…”(camera pans out to show Nick is standing in Godzilla’s footprint…and then Nick realizes it with opened-mouth astonishment)
Nick: (chasing after Colonel Hicks, who has walked toward a tent) “Colonel! Colonel! That was a footprint! I was standing inside of a footprint!”
Hicks: (seriously, but in a matter-of-fact voice) “That’s right.”
Nick: “But there’s no animal in the world that makes footprints like that…is there?”

Cornelius was a centurion who feared God, gave alms to people generously, and prayed to God. An angel of God appeared to Cornelius, telling him that God had been honored by his prayers and giving. The angel instructs Cornelius to send men to Joppa to bring back Simon Peter. Cornelius, like Dr. Nick Tatopoulos above, is about to soon see the big picture. He doesn’t realize it yet, but he knows that when God speaks, you better listen and do what He says. What’s neat in this chapter is to see how God brought Cornelius and Peter together for a very special conversation. More of this big picture to come!

Something to think about.

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