“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
Over the last several posts we have explored how man’s need for God translates into man’s need for the indwelling life of Christ. We have discussed man’s need for God both individually and corporately, though, we have barely scratched the surface, especially that of the latter. We began our discussion in the early chapters of Genesis, the earliest origin of man’s account in Scripture. Going as far back in time as possible, we discovered the basic tenets of God’s eternal purpose for man have been there from the beginning. God’s purpose has always been for man to possess the abiding life of Christ, so God could share His fellowship with mankind. God’s plan has endured only by God’s endless pursuit of fallen man, to redeem for Himself a people with which to dwell.
The “law of Adam” exposed the sin within the hearts of Adam & the woman God had given him. They both sought to be like God, in knowledge and strength, apart from Him. Their story is an account of how man, apart from the help of God, fails to keep the first great command, to love the Lord your God with all heart, soul, mind and strength. The story of Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel, reveals how man, apart from the help of God, fails to keep the second great command, to love our fellow person as our self. Truly nothing new under the sun has taken place from the first days of creation until now, apart from Christ.
As people multiplied upon the earth the civilization of man apart from God proved no more virtuous or loving. In judgment, Cain was cursed to wander the earth a lonely soul, isolated from the righteous faithful. Eventually Cain built a city and his descendants proved just as hard and callous as their patriarch. As antiquity continued to unfold, the daughters of men mingled themselves with the sons of God, seeking greatness apart from God. Self-exalted demi-gods were born bringing destruction and oppression to the world. Again, God’s merciful judgment brought salvation to the few faithful righteous, and the world was cleansed of sin by a torrential water baptism (the Flood.)
Mankind, under the tyrannical rule of Nimrod, built another city apart from God, the city-state Babylon. They established themselves under this false demi-god, Nimrod or Marduk, and built a tower unto heaven (a religious epicenter) for the purpose of the false worship of idols. (See our previous series: Another Brick In the Wall.) The military industrial complex of earliest Babylonian origins was thwarted by God’s merciful judgment. God reveals his patience towards mankind by separating their language, thus impeding mankind’s ability to lean upon their own humanistic acumen. Dividing the collective knowledge of mankind served to preserve God’s plan of sending a promised Deliverer (Gen 3:15). Eventually the grandeur and splendor of God’s plan would be revealed to his faithful chosen.
“I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me— Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush— and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” (Psalm 87:4)
We have spent much time looking back as it were, but the same archetypal themes echo throughout history into the present day as civilization continues to ignore the life of Jesus Christ and live instead apart from His abiding. In our next two posts we will turn our heads, looking forward into the New.
For now, just as the same story of fallen man and fallen civilization repeats itself, so does the story of God’s remnant faithful. The message of hope for mankind echoes greater! Following the devastating murder of Abel, Adam & Eve continued to hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises. Seth was born, and then Seth had a son, Enosh.
“At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26)
As men were awakened to the depravity of their own heart and increasingly looked for the promised deliverer, men in faith began crying out to the Lord in prayer. God would preserve for Himself as time passed on a faithful remnant of men who walked with God. Enoch walked with God and was taken. Noah walked with God and was saved, both he and his family. Abraham believed God, and his faith was imputed to him as righteousness. To Abraham the covenant was given. Through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the scarlet thread of Hope would continue until through Moses the promised Deliverer would be revealed along with the powerful blood of the Passover lamb. God, through Moses, would make for Himself a great nation upon the earth.
Through Israel the picture God was painting would be made clearer. God longed for fellowship with His people. The Ark of the Covenant, the Law of God and the Temple were established for the kingdom of Israel, these all pointing to God’s desire to abide with man and extend His fellowship. With an obstinate heart, Israel would turn from God, be punished, return to Him, only to quickly turn again from their God. Scripture calls them a stiff-necked people. Israel proved even the best attempts at outward obedience cannot hold a candle to the life of Christ abiding within, but the time of the messiah had not yet come. Despite Israel’s unfaithfulness, God would preserve for Himself a remnant of faithful servants to fulfill His plan.
External artifacts of religious ceremony and outward attempts at representing heaven here on earth were only weak examples of what God had in mind. Eventually a new work would be done under the Son. The promised Deliverer, faithful and true, would make a way for all nations to be made new in Him. Today, we are living in that day. Today, there is no longer a temple built by hands. Our bodies are living temples and the Law of God is written on our hearts in Christ Jesus.
In the coming posts we will look at the power of corporate worship of God in and through Jesus Christ.