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Thursday, February 16, 2017
The Book of Life or the Good Book – 16 February 2017, Anno Domini
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. . . . . 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-4,14)
In the rural parts of Tennessee and North Georgia, the Bible is often referred to as “the Good Book;” but, though that misnomer was applied with honorable intentions, it falls too far short of the Holiness that should define the Bible. One of the greatest Russian writers Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote many literary works that are considered masterpieces of all time. These were good and great works of authorship. But all of his works combined could not lead a soul one single inch toward God and away from the gaping jaws of Hell. A good book can save no one, and neither can the good works of morally just men. The Holy Bible is certainly a good book, but far more. The Kohinoor Diamond (the largest) is surely a good diamond; but no one would define it that way because it is far more valuable than simply a ‘good’ diamond.
There is no other book that can compare with the Holy Bible. It is altogether a book like no other that has ever graced the eyes of man. It is, among other things, a history book, a science book, a guide book, chart and compass book, a medical book, a health book, a geography book, and the Word of God whose words are filled with healing and mercy. It is not simply filled with Divine Words, but it is THE Word of God! Every single word is precious and Holy, and the new critics who have invented the false versions proliferating in modern church society, have impugned that Word by their false scholarship and chicanery.
I read a story taken from the World Christian Digest (entitled the Master’s Ass) many years ago that relates the practical wisdom of the Bible: “A Haifa policeman, who knew his Bible, got on the trail of a gang of smugglers. And just as he predicted from Isaiah 1:3, “the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib,” the starving animals led the police directly to the smuggler’s hide-out!”
The Science of Meteorology was revealed in the Bible long before the science came to man’s notice less than four hundred years past. God’s Word informs us that the winds have weight long before a scientist named Isaac Beekeman proposed the same to the ridicule of all society in 1618. The atmospheric column bears weight downward and is measured in barometric pressure. 24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; 25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. (Job 28:24-25) Patterns of movement of air masses and rain are also revealed: 6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. (Eccl 1:6-7) Long before man’s exploration of space was even a dream; God informed us the earth floated in space without the support of Hercules, or the four elephants superstition of the East. 7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place (possibly a reference to the fact the North Pole has no land mass to support the ice cap), and hangeth the earth upon nothing. (Job 26:7)
Long before Matthew Fontaine Maury discovered and charted the tropical zones of the sea, God revealed to us the same: 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:8) Once while ill with the influenza, Matthew Fontaine Maury (the first Superintendent of the US Naval Observatory, first proponent of the US Naval Academy and Pathfinder of the Seas) lay in his quarters while his son read to him from the Psalms. When his son read Psalms 8:8, Maury insisted he read that line again upon which he proclaimed, “If God says there are paths in the sea, I am going to find them!” So, he began to solicit the windage, current, and temperature charts from commercial and naval vessels upon which he based his discoveries that cut shipping times by as much as two thirds.
The Bible even tells us that all material objects that we see with the naked eye are composed of tiny particles that are invisible to our naked eyes. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Heb 11:2-3) It is a simple fact a gold coin can be readily seen by the greedy, but the millions of atoms which comprise the coin are invisible. The examples of these wonders of scripture are too abundant to cover in this devotion, but the examples given should suffice to convince. 6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:6-9)
The separate and individual words of the Lord, parsed by manipulative, so-called ‘higher critics,’ are each sacred and pure. 6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. 8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. (Psalm 12:6-8) Those who invent new versions, copyrighted for profit, are among those “vilest men (who) are exalted.”
But let us examine the essence of this Holy and Sacred Scripture called the Holy Bible. What gives it its Holiness and Sacredness? It is the Personage who is revealed on every page and in every word of that Holy Book – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Word and the Life! 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev 3:4-5)
But what is in a name, the sage of Stratford-on-Avon (Wm. Shakespeare), inquired perhaps flippantly? The Bible has the answer to that question: 1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. (Prov 22:1) I would suppose the only quality of a name that makes it good is its heritage in the Lord for none other than God is GOOD!. That seems an impossible barrier for mortal man to achieve in qualifying. But man cannot qualify! It is a work of grace of the Lord that imputes goodness and a good name. We are told that the righteous shall even be given a new name in glory – one to which no sin or disreputable memories can be associated: 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Rev 2:17) The White Stone symbolizes the imputed innocence to the holder. That name is written down beyond the Gates of Splendor in God’s Book of Life. Is your name there? It certainly could be. Let me explain.
You may recall our Lord’s final prayer in the Garden at Gethsemane prior to His Passion. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:20-23) All of those names written down in the Book of Life are part of God’s Holy Word, hidden from our view, but just as real as that held in our hands. If we are One with the Word, which is Christ, and Christ is the WORD – totally and complete – then our given names written in the Book of Life are secured to us by His mercy and unmerited grace. Christ is veritably: the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) And we have become a portion with Him as One if we have received that mercy and unmerited grace. He has lost none who have been placed in His hands by the Father. If your name is recorded in that Book of Life, it cannot be erased on earth. His Word is LIFE!
I pray those who are ‘called’ Christian will become, indeed, Christian, and evidence a greater and unreserved reverence for His Word – every Word without human modification!