Friday, July 1, 2011

Publishers Pick: Those Who Are Wise Will Shine!

I wanted to share with those who follow my blog that this month my new book has been selected as a “Featured Pick” on the front bookstore page of WestBow Press. It is a great honor to me and I hope that those of you praying for me will continue to do so, that I may continue to follow the call God has placed upon my life. If you have not yet picked up a copy here is a simple excerpt that gives a little more information about the book. It is taken from Chapter Two:

The Early Days of Earth
                                      From Innocence to the Fall

Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.
Daniel 12:3

lmost nightly, after the sun has set and the darkness of the expanse above has spread its covering, I go out to gaze in wonder at the spackling of lights that scatter across the heavenly sky. To this day, I still stand in awe of something so beautiful—yet so vast—so easy to gaze upon—yet so deep to understand. Often, when I look into the night sky I think of Daniel 12:3, and I wonder to myself just what the Lord sees when He looks at us—His church. Are we shining with a life that speaks of Christ? Are we telling the world about His love, redemption, and mercy? The Lord says to those who will be faithful to the task that they will shine like the stars forever and ever.
The journey set before us is not easy, and it is not quick. If we try to understand with our own faculties, we will fail miserably. Spiritual things are understood by those who have the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10). As we read God’s Word and He gives us understanding we will discover that it is not our light alone that shines out in the darkness but the light of He who shines from within us. We who are faithful are nothing more than a facetized reflection of the effervescence of God—like Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai, his face reflecting the Burning Bush of God’s eternal presence—like Jesus on the Mountain of Transfiguration bursting forth from within with the blinding brilliance of God incarnate. So too we will shine as we, in obedience, allow the reflecting power of His Holy Word to light our understanding. The Psalmist wrote, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). God, the Most High, has handed the church His torch. We must carry it proudly never allowing the distractions of this life to extinguish it, but rather, allow God the control and the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word, which will guide our way. Truly, His grace being with us will hold us up, “For it is good that the heart be established [secured, firm] by grace…” (Heb.13:9b) (emphasis mine)

And from Chapter Four:

The Judgment and Mercy of God

Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.
Deuteronomy 10:15 ESV

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15

ike the forward to a novel or its beginning chapters, a stage begins to be set by the author that will reveal the intrigues, captivations, and the plot. All of this leads to the final crescendo where the full outcome is realized. In this way, I have tried to set a stage that allows you to get a clearer picture into God’s early redemptive acts. We have seen how gracious God was to our first parents after they sinned, and how the offering of Abel was most satisfying to the Lord. Nonetheless, we have not really dealt much with the “how” and “why” of God’s future separation and sanctification of a people, one that would be the catalyst of the priestly line of redemption that would culminate in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. It starts with understanding the lineage that follows Adam.

The Line of Redemption is Established

Adam and Eve had a third son. His name was Seth. Scripturally speaking, it is through his direct line we are lead to Noah. Note the following two verses that give us the direction that God has chosen to begin His redemptive line:

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” (Gen. 4:25)

The Family of Adam taken from 1 Chronicles 1:1-4a:

Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem...

In the previous chapter, we discussed the murder of Abel by his jealous brother Cain. Satan thought he had succeeded in destroying God’s redemptive line, but he underestimated the Lord. In God’s graciousness a third son was given to Adam and Eve named Seth. Eve’s declaration of God’s appointment of another son to replace Abel should not go without notice. Theoretically, Adam’s three sons would all be candidates to be the chosen forbearer of God’s grace but as we have shown, Abel set the stage through His obedience, but Cain murdered him. The Lord, however, in His omnipotence, would fill the gap that Satan had made by providing a third son to Eve named Seth. In the scripture, God always provides a miracle to hallow His name. At this point, Satan has two strikes against him and you can begin to see the pattern he is setting. He is always out to destroy God’s work. Seth would be the one God chooses to sanctify as the forbearer of the redemptive line. A succession of others follows Seth in faithfulness, culminating with Noah being the tenth generation from Adam. Luke in his gospel recounts the same lineage only from the reverse direction:

... the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:36b-38)

There is not a whole lot written about Seth in the Bible. On nine occasions, there is mention, but mostly in genealogical listings. However, in Genesis 5:3, an intriguing aspect concerning Seth is preserved. In this listing, the scripture declares:

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

This description sounds distinctly like that given at the time God had created Adam:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” (Gen.1:26)

The contrast is stark and the parallelism is evident, God creating man in His image and likeness and man pro-creating man in his image and likeness. The simplest way of looking at this is to accept its meaning at face value. To try to see anything deeper into it can get very speculative and theoretical, causing it to lose its intended meaning.
          God created Adam as a living soul. He breathed the breath of life into his nostrils and he rose up as an eternal being capable of having a personal relationship with God. As we have noted previously, the Lord walked with Adam in the cool of the evening (Gen. 3:8). This personal interaction is one of the key reasons God created humanity, to have fellowship with him. We, like God are eternal, and just as He is without sin, so in the beginning, was Adam. In these simple respects, we are created in God’s image. However, when Seth was born, He inherited the image of his father, Adam. He would have many of Adams characteristics just as a child does today. Yet there was one big difference between Adam and God and Adam and Seth—Seth was born as a fallen human being in need of redemption. This one characteristic is what would define his heritage. On the other hand, Adam had the likeness of His Father; innocence was his honor, that is, until sin corrupted him. In Adam, we see innocence giving way to sin, whereas through Seth we see sinfulness that eventually will give way to innocence.

Of course if you continue with the book you will see that it is Jesus that is found at the end of the Redemptive Thread! It is in Him that innocence triumphs over sin—His innocence which becomes our robe, (2 Cor. 5:21 and Is. 61:10).

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 (ESV)

There are 16 chapters each revealing a little more about God’s work in the lives of our ancient forefathers. The work He performed in their lives is the same work He performs in ours. His main mission was to present Himself to the world as the Redeemer, full of love and grace, and to never suffer that image to be tainted by the sin and syncretistic ways of the world. He chose men and women just like us to do it. Satan also appears in the book, always trying to thwart the work of God just as his minions do today in our lives. But God was always one step ahead.

The book closes with an appendix called Structuring the Nations (the Table of Nations) that I spent many painstaking hours researching in some of the best libraries available, from local, seminary, and university libraries, and also from my own collection. It is taken from Genesis and covers the seventy heads of the nations and their past and present whereabouts. This tool is very useful for the study of history, Bible Prophecy, and the Old Testament prophets. I hope you will find it as a useful reference. I have received emails from readers who have found it most helpful in their studies of the prophets. I hope you will too! 

But when it is all said and done it is not about my book or any book, it is about Jesus. He is the One who is to receive all glory both now and forever. It is by Him alone that gives our daily strength is gained. We live in a corrupted and fallen world that defies the very presence of God, yet through it all He still shines as the only hope humanity has for the future. All praise belongs to Him and no other!

Thanks again for your prayers and God Bless!

Bro. Mike


Anonymous said...

Mike, Congrats and "Praise the Lord" for the work He is accomplishing through a willing vessel

In Christ,

Tim aka soundingthealarm

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

Thanks Tim! Take a look at the article I posted on RF about Contemporary Christian movements