Have you ever stopped to consider your life: where you've been and where you're going, and what you have really accomplished in your days on the earth? It seems like so many live and die without considering the consequential effect of their life. Some have reached the conclusion that it doesn't really matter...
We have been with child, we have been in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen. (Isaiah 26:18)
Can you imagine that: laboring to give birth, only to bring forth wind? The prophet Isaiah was speaking to a people who had abandoned their very purpose and reason for living. They went on living, but fell far short of the great light of love and justice that was supposed to shine forth from them -- to illuminate and enlighten the other nations around them.
They continued to bring forth children who, like their own parents, fell far short of fulfilling the great purpose for which they were created. Isaiah described these offspring as "wind" -- a metaphor comparing them with a momentary breath of air that comes and goes with no effect. They accomplished no deliverance on the earth.
Have you ever wondered if the movement of the Sixties just brought forth wind? What did the Movement accomplish for the good of man? I suppose it would depend on how one defines "good." Sometimes the lines seem a little blurred. In the Sixties, we cast off all restraint in the name of "freedom." But did we create a better world for our children to grow up in than the one we inherited? Can we look back with satisfaction, knowing that it was worth it all?
A woman can endure labor pains for the joy of what follows -- having a child who grows up and accomplishes his purpose in life. She has hope that something great is ahead, and that gives her courage to go through tremendous suffering. But what if she only brought forth wind?
During Isaiah's time, Israel endured much suffering, but it just brought forth wind. They didn't establish the kingdom of love and justice they were supposed to. It seems that "bringing forth wind" is a metaphor for a meaningless labor -- expressing regret over the failure to be a vessel for the good.
Some ask, "Did the Movement accomplish its purpose?" Or did we just bring forth a "child" that brought ridicule and insult to our high ideals? Is the endless nostalgia just a mockery of the real passion that burned in our hearts? Do all our stories from those days just express futility because of our failure to establish the Woodstock Nation? We can tell ourselves that we made some progress for humanity, brought in a "higher consciousness," but wouldn't a higher consciousness bring about a higher reality?
The old proverb says, "He who troubles his own house will inherit wind." So was the Movement undermined from within or without? Perhaps we shot ourselves in the foot when we decided to "question authority," or dismiss what anyone else had to say as "relative truth." Who then could lead us? Can a movement succeed that is founded on rebellion?
It was all too clear to us in our idealistic youth how messed up this crazy world was, and that the root of the problem was the corruption of man. So we sought to separate ourselves from all the hypocrisy, greed, and selfishness we saw all around us. We had vision to come together and really love one another. But when it all played out we came to see that we are all made of the same stuff, and that it is too much to expect man to live according to all those high ideals. But why were those desires so deep in our hearts if it was impossible to realize?
We have come to see that it's not impossible. That deep longing for love and justice was put in our hearts for a reason -- it's what we were created for. But man, in his independence and rebellion, has lost that vital connection to our Creator, which would enable us to get beyond our own selfishness and pride and really love one another.
Once again, in these last days, God is raising up a witness on the earth of His great love for mankind and His power to redeem1 man and bring him into what He created him for in the first place. We're not talking about another charismatic TV preacher with a new angle on the truth, or a great campaign to print and distribute Bibles in every language, but a people who love one another and their Creator with all of their hearts.
That is what men and women who are being redeemed are like. Their daily life together bears witness of the kindness and mercy of God. This is the new social order that we longed for in the counter-culture of the '60s, but could never attain. This is the witness of love and justice -- not a perfect people or a Utopian life, but real, down-to-earth people who are experiencing deep salvation and tremendous healing in their souls. What we couldn't do with our best intentions and high ideals, God is doing through His Son, Yahshua. So, who do you suppose put that desire for love and justice in our heart in the first place? Surely He wouldn't call us to something that couldn't be done!
So, are you following what we're saying here? There is an actual people, a new social order, a brand new culture on the earth today where redemption is taking place. We came forth out of the dust and ashes of the '60s Movement and the Jesus Movement of the early '70s. Many of us went through those turbulent years, and we understand what that was all about. But we see that somehow we're actually coming into what was in our hearts all those years ago. How are we doing it? Well, how does a tree grow? God makes it grow. Wherever God is there is love and new life and the power to go beyond what we can do in our own strength.
So we're restoring a concept that is not the same as what you heard growing up in Church. For we see that there are three eternal destinies of man, not just two (Heaven or Hell). We understand that God does not despise the good man. Even though man could never reach his fullest potential on his own, it is still possible for a man to do good to his neighbor. You can probably think of many examples of great men and women who never claimed to have a special connection to God. But it seems that great men are disappearing from the earth...
God gave man a conscience to help guide him in the good way and protect him from the way of evil. We are all accountable for how we listen to that knowledge of good and evil that is instinctive in each one of us. Since the fall of man in the Garden, it is appointed to all men to die once and then face a judgment for how we lived our life.2 We are not automatically damned to hell as some say, but neither will we live forever just because we think we're basically good people. As someone once said, "You can't shine God on."
Justice demands that each man would be judged according to his deeds. How far did we fall from the image of God, who is love? Our conscience, which keeps a clear record of all that we have ever said or done, as well as what motivated us, will bear witness either for us or against us in that judgment to determine our eternal destiny.3
The days are becoming increasingly evil on the earth. Anyone who tries to live his life being good and honest and treating others the way they would want to be treated will face tremendous opposition and pressure to compromise. It takes the determination of a salmon swimming upstream just to maintain some kind of relative peace within your conscience. Relax for a moment and the swift current will take you quickly downstream with the rest of those who are rushing headlong towards the waterfall -- from which there is no return. And in the end, there is that appointment that we will inevitably have to keep with death.
But contrary to the popular doctrine of the Christian church, there will be some who will actually be able to pay for their sins during their time in death, and be raised again to a second life. They will be the restored man -- restored to what Adam was like in the beginning, before the fall. The Restored man will not have the stature of the redeemed man, who actually made himself a dwelling place and servant of God. The Redeemed man will rule over the Restored man, in the kindness of God -- for eternity.4
What we're talking about here is the compassion and mercy of God towards His highest creation. His Son Yahshua understood this,5 but many of those who claim to follow Him think differently. They see God as a heartless and unjust, two-dimensional God who would throw you into the eternal Sea of Fire for the crime of never having the opportunity to give your life to Him. But don't make the mistake of banking your eternal destiny on trying to be a good person. That's not what we're saying here. It's really beyond our understanding in this day where evil is called good, and good is called evil, just what kind of justice will come in death for the sins we have committed in our lives.
God longs for the works of His hands to return to Him.6 He didn't create one single person for destruction. God devised a way for the records of wrongs we have done to be wiped clean -- through the death and resurrection of His Son Yahshua, who willingly took upon Himself what we were to suffer in death, in order to redeem us from death. Through Him we are reconciled to God and equipped to fulfill the purpose He created us for:?to bring much needed deliverance to the earth.
Okay, there you have it, two categories of man who will live forever -- The Redeemed Man (God's dwelling place) and The Restored Man (restored to the original righteousness that Adam had in the garden). So why is God so interested in man? We have drifted very far from understanding just how valuable we are to the One who put us together.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet... (Psalm 8:3-6)
"What is man that you think so highly of Him? What is man, that You are so mindful of him? That Your thoughts are continually on him without stopping?"
Would it surprise you to hear that God doesn't think about anything else except man? He can't rest until man is restored and redeemed -- delivered from the destruction that is overtaking him. He rested once, and then man fell, and He hasn't rested since -- in fact, He is listening to every word that man speaks.
When we say "all things," that means the universe -- all that His hands have made. "You look upon man with awe," it says. Man was created to rule over all that God has made. That is what man is -- all He ever desired, and all that He has ever needed. That is why the redeemed man will be "Derushah,"7 which is a Hebrew word that means "sought out, needed, and necessary."
We were not just wanted, but needed. When we have children, our children should be needed children, and not just wanted. To treat them as worthless would be to misrepresent God's heart towards them. What makes for appalling behavior is the feeling that no one cares about you, not even God.
But in every second that goes by, God is always thinking about man and about redeeming man, in order to have a people on the earth who will bring deliverance and redemption to as many people as possible in the world. That is why Yahshua came to seek and save the lost.8 And that's why those who follow Him will do the same thing.
There is never a moment that He is not thinking about us. He has no rest until He has the ones who are "of the truth," who are willing to do His will,9 who will hear His voice.10 in order that He can get on with His ultimate intentions for the universe. He can't go on. He is stopped. He can't continue on with creation, with His ultimate intentions for the universe, until He has the Redeemed Man and also the Restored Man.
It says in the ancient manuscript, "Let Us make man as Our image." So what is the image of God in man? God placed mankind as living representations, or living symbols, who express His nature. They are representatives expressing His character, goodness, and likeness, so that God, who can't be seen, can be seen in man's likeness. They are living symbols of Himself on earth to represent Him and His reign -- to be rulers for Him.11 They have been redeemed to be just like Yahshua.12
That is His end purpose, which will continue on into the universe forever once the earth is restored and filled up. God didn't make the universe without purpose. He didn't make all the planets, stars, and galaxies -- trillions of them -- for nothing. Like the earth, they were created to be inhabited.13
God will not be anyplace else, ever, except in the Redeemed Man. He will not be separate from the Redeemed Man, because the Redeemed Man will be everywhere. God doesn't need to be anywhere He can't be seen. So, He wants to be seen now (in His people who love one another) and in the eternal age, through the Redeemed Man ruling over the Restored Man. The Restored Man will continue to populate the universe, which is never ending. The Redeemed Man will be the hands of God to wipe away the tears of the Restored Man, bringing comfort, compassion and healing for all they suffered during their time on the earth and in death. In that day He will be their God and they will be His people. There will no longer be any suffering or death or tears, for the first things will have passed away?14
I don't know what your take is on abortion, but consider this: Yahshua said of Judas, His betrayer, that "it would have been good if he had never been born."15 It's interesting that He didn't say, "never existed," or "never been conceived." Surely the aborted baby would fare far better in the judgment than someone who lived his life doing evil, or even the one who never fulfilled the purpose he was created for. There would surely have been a worse judgment for Judas' mother had she chosen to abort him. But one could only imagine how eternally grateful Judas would have been if his mother had made that choice.
So what is a person to do in this day when good is called evil and evil is called good? You love your child and want the very best for him. But there are forces at work on this earth to devour your child. "Hey kid, you want to make a little money...?" "C'mon girl, everyone's doing it these days..." Sex, drugs, and rock & roll were great when we were only hurting ourselves. But somehow it's different when someone wants to get our children involved in these things, and worse... All this took over in a big way when the spanking stopped.
So people don't know what to do, whether to abort their babies or raise them to "go to hell." Is this part of the legacy of our generation?
What are the odds of someone being born today and living a righteous life worthy of a second eternal life? Although we do not advocate abortion, one would suspect that it might have been better if many people alive today had never been born. What a tragic waste it would be to labor and suffer your whole life only to bring forth wind. For in God's eyes, it is a worthless and useless human being who does not obey the natural law to do the good he knows to do.16 These are the unjust and filthy who will make themselves worthy of the third eternal destiny,17 which is the second death in the eternal Lake of Fire.18
We have a hope of something greater than this world has to offer. Our hope is based on something real that is going on in our lives -- redemption. We want to share that hope with those who still haven't found what they're looking for...