Christianity: The Personal Pattern
A Sense of Awe
1 have been a science-fiction freak since 1 checked out my first novel from the library in 1953. Like everything else, there is good and bad SciFi. 1 try not to let the arrogant and godless humanism, or the laughable evolutionary suppositions spoil the story line. But, one of the advantages of fiction (whether it be fantasy or SciFi) is that it stimulates the imagination to visualize things that the senses have never felt. This is not a bad thing for a Christian. There is a great deal about what is recorded in the Bible that becomes most meaningful when given some mental flesh from an active imagery.
But, as a Christian 1 know that the truth is much more fantastic than anything man's fancy can describe. The abiding theme repeated over and over in much SciFi is "Is there life beyond the earth's bounds?" God's revelation says "Yes!" There is the angelic host, a vast, innumerable body of created beings, who dwell in the heavens. An ancient race, as old as man, they have visited the earth regularly from the heavens for millenniums. They are a superior race to man, as man was created below them in God's plan. Without sex, each individual is ancient in age as each was created in the beginning and still lives. They have the capability to take upon themselves human form, and have appeared to mortals as mere men on some occasions. Like man, they possess free-will, and in their spiritual and natural form are accompanied in their appearance upon earth with blinding and glorious heavenly light. Whether they dwell beyond the second heaven, or in a parallel spiritual universe to our own is problematical and not revealed. But they certainly do not dwell on earth.
Of course, they are not some form of evolved, superior intelligence so often described in SciFi, that come from other planets. They are much more special and unique than that, for they are the messengers and servants of the Lord of the Universe, and dwell in His presence. The modern man, secure and snug in his well-defined and "natural explanation" style universe will some day be shocked from his smug complacency by the Lord and His fiery, shining servants. Modern man seems to have lost his fear and awe of God. This scientific and highly technological world we live in has conquered space, distance, knowledge, and mind - or so they believe. Man is mocked in his wisdom by God. His highest attainments pale in the face of God and His hosts.
Recently I went to see a movie called, "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind." The movie dealt with the first technological contact "of the third king" with beings from another planet. As a piece of fiction, it was very well done.
The story line, for this article is immaterial, but something happened at the end of the movie which was very illustrative. The world's scientists have gathered at a specially prepared landing strip and outdoor laboratory beside an enormous basalt mountain in Wyoming. In the dead of night, the UFO's come streaming across the sky in absolute silence and hover in formation just yards before the whirring cameras, rolling tape recorders, and humming computers. The scientists stare, impressed and excited, but still calm, assured, and confident. Contact is made, and the UFO's speed away. Silence falls, tension builds, and then bigger, more complex UFO's come pulsing in to hover close overhead the community of professional skeptics. This time the scientists fall back, somewhat frightened by the closeness of the UFO's neon glaring craft. All their equipment begins to fly about in the magnetic fiefs of the UFO's. Finally, even these UFO's, impressive though they are, streak off into the night clouds. The men cheer, impressed with the technological abilities and power of these intelligent beings. Again, silence finally falls over the crowd as they look up into the heavens.
Then, suddenly, yet slowly, like an enormous sea-beast rising from murky water, one single UFO, bigger than the entire mountain it lay behind begins to rise with glowing light from behind the mountain, to glide noiselessly over the men and touch down one small point amongst them. The photography and special effects were excellent. The UFO resembled a fairy-tale city of towering spires and minarets, clusters and globes, shining with millions of lights like some kind of bizarre Christmas tree. The glow and intensity of the light made the men squint and don sunglasses to view its glare. Its size dwarfed the mountain, and its complexity and beauty boggled the mind. This huge mountain of light then settled down like a leaf wafted on the wind and rested effortlessly and silently before and above the awed men.
The scientists gaped, their eyes widened, some fell to their knees, while others cried, or ran hiding their face. In the theater the awe of the moment was felt, even though all realized it was but a movie. At that moment it came to me, "If you think this is something, wait till you see the real thing!"
The response of the men on the screen to the glory of a space ship as big as a mountain, and bright as a klieg light was typical. Their accomplishments and ability became somewhat puny in comparison. They were outclassed, outgunned, and over their head. They felt awe and fear. but, this was make-believe. It was conceived and produced by the mind of man. The mind came from God. Man's glory does not compare with the glory of God.
I thought, as I sat watching these awe-struck men kneeling before the bright lights of a UFO from another planet of the words of David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain . . . who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: who maketh his angels' spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" (Psa. 104). It was interesting that the approach of the UFO's in the clouds was a special effect lifted from the movie The Ten Commandments.
God Is Light And In Him Is No Darkness
I have, like many I feel sure, grown accustomed to our God. Close to Him in prayer, His grandeur is subdued in the words "My Father . . . ." Even the sun, moon, and stars can be taken for granted in their majestic orbits. But, there have been certain moments in man's history when the glory of God shone through from the eternal heavens, and shone upon men's faces with an unearthly light. The vision of God's presence upon His throne has brought strong men like the prophet Isaiah quaking to hide his face in the dirt. He cried out when seeing the shining presence of the King of kings "Woe is me! I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: For mine eyes have seen the King!"
Elijah was taken into the presence of God by a chariot of blazing fire, that left the earth in a whirlwind. Elisha never forgot the glory of that moment, and the experience so marked him that "when the sons of the prophets saw him they said The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha, and they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him" (2 Kings 2:11, 15). An invisible army of these same bright and shining chariots, which blazed like fire, filled the mountains about Jerusalem, protecting it from the Syrians (2 Kings 6:13-17).
Paul was blinded by the glory of the "great light" which shone forth from heaven when Jesus of Nazareth confronted him on his way to Damascus (Acts 9). The man, trembling and astonished, fell to the earth in awe and fear.
John, in the final revelation, was taken by angels in the spirit into the very presence of God (Rev. 1:1, 10). He saw the Lord, as Daniel had seen him centuries before, "Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; His throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as a burning fire" (Dan. 7:9). The Lord's feet shone with a metallic brilliance, like a piece of finely polished brass. They glowed in the heavenly light, with the orange-red light of metal in a furnace (Rev. 1:15). Around his waist his garment was drawn with a cord of gold. His voice called out to John and fell upon his ears with all the power and strength of crashing surf in a storm, a mighty waterfall, or a raging river. He glowed with a white purity of light no man could replicate in physical cloth (Mk. 9:2, 3). As men without exception had done before him, John fell to his face like a man dead, and trembled with fear.
Man's best efforts to awe another can but elicit the "ahh's" of wide-eyed people in movie theaters. The reality of God's glory, and what it portends for us is at once awe-filled, fearsome, exciting, and humbling. A fairy city of light? It is but a mere product of man's ingenuity, shone upon a screen.
But, in every man's life, there will come a day when each will stand before the Ancient of Days, the Lord of Lords, the Lord of Glory, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, Creator of the Universe, Designer and Maker of man and angel, the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Eternal God, and answer. "Every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess, every one of us shall give an account of himself before God." In that presence, we like all others will fall and say, "O woe is me! I am undone!" Our imaginations are stunted and dull, and seldom stimulated to such glory.
Tonight, look at the stars, contemplate the heavens, and imagine your Lord coming with His universe full of angels, converging upon the earth in their flaming brilliance out of every corner of the heavens to take you home. The sky will ignite in the fervent heat and light, as we are changed instantly, in the twinkling of an eye into an, equally glorious body of light, and rise to the heavens to meet Him in the air. Our new heavens and earth will center in a city of light greater than this earth, without physical bounds. The structure of it will be with precious stone, metal, and wood. An existence with no sorrow, pain, or loss. It will be a place where Christian and O.T. men of faith alike will look into the face of deity. It may not be a city - or gold or precious material - or light as we know it - but it will be real. It will be as different as the flower is from the seed. It will be as glorious as the sun above the earth, and the stars in the sky. But, it will be real, and it will happen in your life.
Meditate upon the glory of God and His promises for you. Cold shivers run down the spine, and tears to the eye. It brings the Christian back to this world with excitement and sobriety as he begins to see the world in its true perspective: "I write to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and savior . . . the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men . . . . The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness . . . . Wherefore beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless, and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is for our salvation" (2 Pet. 3).
We all need a bit of awe and excitement. Meditating upon God and His judgment will bring each Christian closer to the richness of life promised in Him.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 32, pp. 518-520