How many close friends do you have? I have trouble sitting at a table with three others and balancing my interest in the various viewpoints. I’m glad God is not like this at all.
He can maintain an unlimited number of personal intimate relationships at the same time. And why is this? Because they are not ‘at the same time’ to him. In the beginning, God created… So time and place came into being together. And before that, there was no Time. But there is Time now. But God is not subject to time since time is a subject of his and nothing God has made is ever outside his power and authority.
Do you think the world has gotten away from him? Has this world, full of so many people, slipped beyond his control? Some think so. But it is not true. Why doesn’t he stop bad people? He will stop all bad behavior in the future but He has made men responsible for all their actions and will exact an accounting from each of us for our time spent on earth.
But this great God who is not held back by time and space, has sometimes intervened. This may help us to understand several incidents recorded in the Bible.
- Enoch disappears from time and space. It says, “he was not, for God took him”.
- The creation may have run over eons. There were no humans to measure the time. It says “day” but had that word been defined? Yes, it came to mean 24 hours but try to keep track if you fly east or west through several time zones.
- Moses held up his hands and that day lasted several hours more.
- Hezekiah saw the shadow go back up the stairs.
- Phillip moved instantly from a desert oasis to a city.
But Jesus was subject to time and space for thirty some years. Yet it says, “And no man has ascended up into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the son of man who is in heaven.” John 3:13 Many have tried to explain this passage. “It can’t possibly mean what it says!”
And why not? Jesus cannot exist in two dimensions at once? Are angels no longer ‘in heaven’ when they appear on earth? Where is the line? He could be present on earth and also be ‘in heaven’ where there is no time. We know there is no time in the heavenly realm because the angels do not age. There is really no problem to be solved here.
Jesus says he is not like others in that he came from heaven. He also returned to heaven. But before he did, he demonstrated that his body was not limited by time and space. Jesus implies that he has not given up being ‘in heaven’ because he was here bodily. How does John speak of him as “The Word”? He says The Word became flesh. Did Jesus stop being The Word when he walked on earth? Now be sure of this: I am not saying I know exactly what all this means but I think you must agree that Jesus is a unique being and this allows his turning up in the past as “The Angel of the Lord”.
- Adam hears him coming.
- Abraham has him visit him at home.
- Jacob has a unique encounter and wrestles with him.
- Moses takes off his sandals is his presence and hears him speak.
- He is seen as a Pillar of Cloud and a Pillar of Fire in the Exodus account.
- Job sees him as a Whirlwind and bows.
- Gideon is shocked to be called “a mighty, man of valor” by him.
And Daniel sees “one like the son of man” brought before the “Ancient of Days”. Now, do we see God the Father here? Remember, it is a vision. Daniel had also seen several strange beasts in a vision. But this passage remains one of the most significant in the Bible. Jesus quotes from it during his trial. They saw his implication and were angry that a man on earth should say this. But they had demanded he reveal who he was.
Is Jesus any different than he ever was? Not really. In his nature and his relationship to the Father, he has not changed. He is the same wonderful being who enjoys being the Son of His Father. But in relation to the creation and men, he has changed and will change again. He will receive all he has been given by the Father and all things will be under his feet. But look what he has done already!
- The Word did become flesh and live among us.
- He did fulfill much of Daniel’s prophesy.
- He has dealt with sin in a final way.
- He, the Messiah was cut off, but not for himself.
- He “put an end to sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity”
If he has done all this, he will surely accomplish all things. He has been glorified with a body not subject to time and space. “All power in heaven and earth is given to me.” Matthew 28:18 Notice the use of the word “is” not “has been” or “will be” but “is”, a timeless word.
But the writer of Hebrews tells us two things: “You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” and “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”
And we read these words: But we see Jesus…
- Made lower than angels for the suffering of death
- Crowned with glory and honor
- Made perfect through sufferings
And also, “he that sanctified and those that are sanctified are all of one”
So how then can we expect to become like Jesus who was ‘made perfect’ through sufferings without suffering ourselves? Remember that Jesus said to a man who claimed to have kept the Law of Moses all his life, ‘give up your wealth’. But he said more than this. When the man asks, “What do I lack?” Jesus answers, “If you would be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Did the man do it? Sorry to say, he chose something else. But many have read these words and laid hold on Jesus. They gave up much and received more. They became rich before God. Does God require that everyone give up their wealth? He requires more than that. He that gives up his life will find it. Those than have left everything, have found a new life with a different reality that fills the soul and rejoices the heart.
Paul tells us, in Ephesian’s that we are seated in the heavenlies. Do you believe it? You have place in the heavenly realm. But I’m here, not there, we say. So was Jesus ‘here’ and not ‘there’. Yet, he enjoyed his Father as he willingly served him. You know, he has always done this: loved and served his Father. He is seated at the Father’s right hand, we are told. And the same God can hold you up and deliver you into the timeless eternity. And again, he said, “I will be with you always”. Another paradox. Seated there and with us, with you, here.