Posts Tagged ‘Messiah’

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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John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.””

In the Marvel comic book The Avengers, there was a storyline in Avengers Annual #14 called “The War to End All Skrulls” (the Avengers part of this story was called “Fifth Column”). It had the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, out in space, converging on a plot by a member of the shapeshifting Skrull alien race to use a “doomsday” weapon. A renegade named Zabyk was threatening to use a galactic bomb to take command of the Skrull race in the aftermath of the destruction of its throne world by Galactus. He used the genius of an old compatriot, a scientist named Myrn, to fuel a hyperwave bomb through a dimensional interface on the old Skrull power asteroid to “change the Skrull race forever”. The Avengers had allied themselves with a Skrull contingent under General Zedrao (originally to stop Thanos’s self-proclaimed granddaughter Nebula), and partnered with Zabyk’s old rebel ally, Prince Dezan, to try and stop him. To activate the bomb, Myrn had Zabyk shapeshift his form into insulate-armor, needed due to heavy radiation leakage during the bomb’s powering up. In his moment of seeming triumph, Zabyk slew Myrn and activated the bomb. What the bomb did, though, was not what everyone thought. The dimensional radiation from the bomb stabilized the Skrulls’ deviant DNA throughout the galaxy, thus removing their shapeshifting abilities! As Myrn said, “it would change the Skrull race forever”.

Once the Avengers and the Fantastic Four had broken through the chamber to confront Zabyk, he was pitifully whimpering that he couldn’t get out of the armor! As Reed Richards commented to Zabyk and to Captain America, they had found the dying Myrn when they entered the space station. He confirmed what Reed suspected the device to be. “Ironically,” Reed commented, “Zabyk killed the only person who could have possibly helped him get out of the armor”. No one else could.

In the passage above, Jesus is at the tomb of Lazarus, who had died days earlier. In talking with Lazarus’s sister, Martha, Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again. When Martha answered that she knew he would rise in the resurrection on the last day, Jesus said to her directly, “I am the resurrection and the life”. Only through belief in Jesus as Savior and Messiah, would a Christian never die. Our old bodies may pass, but our spirits will be forever with Him! Jesus goes on to demonstrate this by physically calling Lazarus back to life.

Only one Savior can give us that promise of resurrection and life. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not any other prophet of any other religion in the world. Only Jesus gave Himself on the cross as the perfect offering for our sins, and only Jesus died and rose again to conquer sin and death’s power…forever! On this evening before Easter, think on that thought…and rejoice!

Happy Easter! He is Risen indeed!

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Isaiah 28:16 – “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.””
Ephesians 2:20 – “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”

The following dialogue comes from the new Super Secret Secret Squirrel cartoon, which Hanna-Barbera aired as part of the show 2 Stupid Dogs.

Secret Squirrel was locked up in a cell in a straitjacket. A microscopic menace named Quark had made it look like he was crazy so that he would be locked up. Quark was destroying massive buildings, to which Secret asked him: “how could a subatomic speck like you destroy all those structures?”

Quark: “oh, it’s so simple; I just pulled out the bottom atom!” (which he demonstrates by removing the bottom atom of the stool Secret had sat upon, causing it to crumble.)

After bragging about his plan to wipe out North America for his entertainment career, he escapes. Suddenly the wall falls down; there stands Secret’s faithful sidekick, Morocco Mole!

Secret: “Morocco!”
Morocco: “Secret! I knew you weren’t crazy. You’re only crazy about catching criminals!”
Secret: “Thanks, Morocco. By the way, how did you knock down that huge wall?”
Morocco: “Simple; I just pulled out the bottom brick! heh.” (showing Secret the bottom brick as he unties him.)

Now what that humorous cartoon points out is a very simple construction fact: most all structures have a dependent component that the rest of the building is fabricated upon. It’s known as the cornerstone in most buildings. Wikipedia defines a cornerstone as “The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone)

My father, a retired brick mason, always started laying out a building by constructing a corner to build the intersecting walls off of; without that steady corner, the walls wouldn’t be sound enough.

What is Jesus without the church? Well, He is still the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, God; that doesn’t change. What is the church without Jesus? That’s the point in a nutshell. Without Jesus, the church would be like other religions that eventually cave in and collapse. It would be a shell, a sham, a house of cards that would fold under pressure.

Christian, remember today that Jesus is the Cornerstone of your faith; faith built upon such a Rock can stand up to anything.

Something to think about.

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Verse 15: “And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus, I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?””

In the movie Doctor Strange, we find this dialogue when Strange is learning the mystic arts (Wong and Baron Mordo are already accomplished masters helping in his training):

[Strange is experimenting with time manipulation using the Eye of Agamotto]
Karl Mordo: [bursting in] No! Tampering with continuum probability is forbidden!
Dr. Strange: I was just doing exactly what it said in the book!
Wong: And what did the book say about the dangers of performing that ritual?
Dr. Strange: I… don’t know, I hadn’t gotten to that part yet.
Mordo: Temporal manipulations can create branches in time. Unstable dimensional openings, spatial paradoxes, time loops! You want to get stuck experiencing the same moment over and over again forever, or never having existed at all?!
Dr. Strange: …They really should put the warnings before this stuff.

The preceding quotes can be found at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Doctor_Strange_(film)

It never fails: trying to tamper with forces beyond man’s ability most always leads to disastrous results (or in Dr. Strange’s case, almost does!) Here, Strange was experimenting with magic spells that he didn’t fully grasp the consequences of. In today’s Scripture passage, verse 11 states that “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,”. Even items of clothing that had touched Paul’s body were being used to heal the sick. The current Jewish exorcists and other magicians of the day figured, “hey, let’s try to cash in on this Jesus in our work!” Would that they had had Han Solo there to quote his famous line: “I got a bad feeling about this!”

So when these exorcists tried to simply use Jesus name to remove an evil spirit, the spirit responds with verse 15. The demon knew Jesus, and knew of Paul, but he lets these would-be magicians find out that they didn’t know what they were doing. They were trying to literally use Jesus’s name like a magic word. It’s through faith in Jesus, that all-saving faith, that Paul could do these miracles. Jesus wasn’t a magic wand; He is the Messiah, the Savior, God the Son! These exorcists found out the hard way that you don’t call on Jesus’s name flippantly. This particular section ends appropriately with verse 20: “So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed”.

I wish that people today who call Jesus’s name flippantly would learn from this passage.

Something to think about.

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Verses 34-37: “And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.” Therefore He also says in another Psalm: “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.”

Remember Lazarus? He was a friend of Jesus; he died before Jesus arrived back to his home to see him. He also became the central part of one of Jesus’s greatest miracles. He had been dead and in the tomb for some time, when Jesus commanded that the tomb be opened. Jesus commanded, “Lazarus, come forth!”, and Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive! All were astonished: Jesus had raised Lazarus from the grave, to live again!

But did Lazarus live forever in his human body? No. He did die again. All those who were brought back to life by Jesus and his disciples eventually did succumb to physical death, or as the passage states above “ return to corruption”. All did return to corruption…except Jesus! Because God the Father raised Him, and Jesus is God the Son! Through his sacrifice to the point of death, He conquered the sting of death, once and for all! Raised again, He reigns as our Savior and Lord, and is the only way to eternal life.

Paul is quoting several passages in the verses above: Isaiah 55:3 and Psalms 16:10. Those were the prophecies that the Holy One would not succumb to corruption. Paul again is using Old Testament prophecies and Scripture that the Jews would be familiar with to show that Jesus is the Messiah!

Something to think about.

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Verses 4-6: “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” ”

I enjoyed the movie, The Polar Express; my family actually got to see it on the local IMAX movie screen in a theater before I saw it on DVD…but I was still entranced. One scene I vividly recall is when the kids are at the North Pole, and Santa is about to make his grand entrance into the thronging crowd. The main character, a boy who was doubting, still couldn’t see Santa, or even hear a sleigh bell that had popped off a reindeer harness and landed at his feet. It was only when he made up him mind to believe, to truly believe, that he heard the bell! And then…on top of that joyous moment…he looks in the reflection of the bell and sees Santa standing behind him looking into the bell too! Santa was right there behind him!

Saul’s moment didn’t see joyous to him in the above verses; no, it was probably rather terrifying, to say the least! I cannot begin to imagine what went through his fanatical mind when he was confronted by the blinding, holy presence of Jesus! What’s more, Jesus made reference to the fact that “I’ve got plans for you” when He told him to go into the city. It is probably very well that the Lord didn’t tell him everything at one time; Saul was already overwhelmed by the presence of the very Messiah whose followers he was trying to stamp out! Get ready for the story of the beginning of Christianity’s greatest missionary. Human beings couldn’t make up a script to match the incredible story of Saul…soon to be Paul!

Something to think about.

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Acts 4:11 “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’”

My father was a brickmason by trade. I worked on many a job with him growing up during summers. I’ve been on jobs where we started with a clean slab foundation. One of the first things he would do as he began to lay brick would be to lay the bricks in a corner of the building. He would lay the brick several courses high, spanning both walls it touched, always checking to make sure everything was good and level. He would lay another corner the same way…only then after they were done, would he lay the bricks in the middle. You see, the cornerstone of a building is very important; the rest of the building wall will line up straight and level (or not) depending on how level and set that cornerstone is.

Peter quoted Psalms 118:22 here, talking about how the cornerstone (speaking figuratively of Jesus) was rejected by the leaders of the day, yet became the chief cornerstone of Christianity. Upon Him is everything based and rooted in our belief. The religious leaders of the day did not think the Messiah would come in the form of Jesus; they were expecting a conquering military and political leader. But, as usual, the religious leaders missed it, rejecting the Living Foundation of our faith.

So, for your information, Jesus is the Cornerstone (as the song goes). I can’t say it any better than that.

Oh, by the way, the next verse in Psalms following this one, is verse 23: “This was the LORD’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.”

Something to think about today.

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Luke 4:11 “and, “’In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

In the old classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Shazzan, the brother and sister who commanded Shazzan, the laughing giant genie, through the magic rings, were observing a street magician one day. Chuck gave in to the temptation to show the magician up, but he couldn’t do it by himself. He convinced his sister Nancy to summon Shazzan together, who did indeed show the magician who had the greater magic. However, the usual jovial genie was cross with them, asking Chuck, “Is this why you summoned me, young masters?” Chuck admitted he was showing off, and Shazzan left them with the warning that “he who misuses the power of the rings shall be punished.” Later on, the two run afoul of the magical Master of the Thieves, who had stolen the rings. When their lives were threatened, they used the rings to summon Shazzan to save them (which is really the main reason they ever summoned him in most of the episodes). Shazzan appeared, stating, “So, now, you really do need me!” After defeating the Master of the Thieves, the genie asked the pair of the lessons they learned, and Chuck was very apologetic, hoping Shazzan was not still angry with him. He said, “It is written, anger is like the wind…once it blows, there is nothing to mark its passing.” “Hmm, who said that, Shazzan?” Chuck asked. The genie answered, “I did, young master! HoHoHoHO!”, and laughing he launched them on their way to their next adventure.

Even though Chuck and Nancy commanded the power of a mighty genie, they still were not to misuse that power, as Chuck did in the cartoon above. Now, this example was in a cartoon. The devil thought he could get Jesus to misuse His power by tempting him to fall from the highest part of the temple, knowing that the Son of God had angels at His command. The devil even misquoted Scripture to try and back up his assertion (Psalms 91:11) Jesus didn’t need to show off, leastways to the devil of all people! He reminded Him that you shall not tempt the Lord your God (also correctly quoting Scripture back at him (Deuteronomy 6:16))! And the devil left Him alone.

So, for your information, Jesus is God. He was and is the only One who could fulfill all the prophecies of the Messiah…and He did! He died for our sin payment and lives again! What else does He have to prove? Nothing.

Something to think about today.

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Verses 26-27: “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

When is a mystery not a mystery? When it’s a secret. :-)

In the movie Kung Fu Panda, the main protagonist, Po, is frustrated and disappointed when he doesn’t understand the revelation of the legendary Dragon Scroll, which only the true Dragon Warrior will understand. Not Master Shifu, not the Furious Five, no one but the Dragon Warrior can divine the secret. It’s not until his father, a noodle chef, reveals to him the secret ingredient of his famous Secret Ingredient soup. “The secret is…nothing. There is no secret ingredient.” When his father tells him that, simultaneously Po realizes that the secret of the Dragon Scroll is that there is no secret power…it was believing that you were special that made you special…in his case, it made him into the Dragon Warrior.

The translation of the word “mystery” in today’s Scripture really means “secret”. For countless years, the Jews looked to the coming of the Messiah, believing He was just for them, God’s chosen people. The secret became “revealed to His saints”. Jesus came for all: Jew and Gentile alike. He was the way, the only way, to salvation. The secret was, and still is today: Jesus is the only way; all you have to do…is believe and accept Him.

Something to think about today.

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