That Was Then, This Is Now

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”  Isaiah 60:1-3

I’m reading a fiction this month. The novel is World War Z by Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft). More zombies?!? Yes, that’s right. But it’s the last time I’ll mention them, I promise. I’m intrigued by the origins of the zombie myth and fascinated by our fascination with the walking dead (see last month’s LOG).

Resurrection after death is the cornerstone of every Christian’s faith. Just read 1 Corinthians 15. As Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (verse 19) So it isn’t surprising that the dead rising – the nexus of all our hopes – would be twisted by our enemy into something grotesque. But that’s not really what I want to write about. I want to write a little bit more about Jesus getting those keys to death and hell. (Revelation 1:18)

What – what exactly – went on around here before the Lord was crucified and descended into the bowels of the earth to announce his Lordship there? (Ephesians 4:8-10) What exactly was the enemy capable of before that moment? I submit to you that we have no idea.

Do we have any concept of the gross darkness under which mankind suffered before the birth of Jesus? Before angels stood on a hillside near Bethlehem and announced to shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:10-14)

From the first to the second Adam, however many millennia that was, people made little progress beyond barbarism. Oppression was rampant. Almost everyone was poor. Technology was limited to stone, wood, and primitive metal works. Really primitive metal work, not yard art. Medicine was, well, let’s just say you did well to stay healthy. No one can argue these points. They are documented facts. When we imagine the ancient world, these are the things we think about. We don’t think too much about what the feel of the place was. We don’t think about how scary and inhospitable that world was. The grace that was to come in the person of Jesus Christ had not yet arrived. The Holy Spirit had not been released into the church as He was at Pentecost. There were no people who were salt or light.

Don’t you find it interesting that in the scant two thousand years since Jesus came and went, we’ve gone from wooden wheels to iPhones? We’ve gone from a world that was in large part barbaric to a world that is predominately civilized, a world that at least espouses Christian values. Remember, Christian values did not exist before Christ. I find this interesting. In fact, I find it quite remarkable considering the meager progress man made in the thousands of years prior to Jesus coming on the scene.

Why do religions that court demonic entities focus on ancient things?  Could it be that the forces behind all things mystical desire to return to the millennia before Calvary, when they worked with a much freer hand? If I were a demon, that’s what I’d want.

Is it possible that – back then – devils from time to time animated dead bodies? I imagine it’s not only possible, but likely.

I figure most people who happen across my website are believers, but whether you believe in Jesus or not, believe me when I say you have a lot to be thankful to Him for. Jesus changed everything about living and dying on earth.

In the words of songwriter Josh Wilson in That Was Then, This Is Now,

We used to hide from the light
We made friends with the night
We were headed the wrong way on a one way track
Going nowhere fast

We got used to the dark
We thought this is who we are
And we figured that we were just too far gone
But we were wrong

So go ahead, put the past in the past
Box it up like an old photograph 
You don’t have to go back
‘Cause that was then and this is now 
‘Cause that was then and this is now

© M K Simonds

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