The following was given at the Sunday morning service at
Medicalodge, in Neosho, MO, Dec. 10, 2000.
"He was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world...as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn. 1:9-13).
Light is the topic on my heart and mind today. In the beginning, "..the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light:' and there was light" (Gen. 1:2-3). Each one of us was, for a season, without form and void, and darkness moved upon the face of our deep. Isaiah saw it and prophesied, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (Isa. 9:2). That exactly describes us before Christ brought us the gift of salvation and eternal life. We were living in the land of the shadow of death until God's Light dawned upon us. Isaiah described the human condition like this: "So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead" (Is. 59:9-10).
There were approximately 400 years of deep shadows between Malachi, the final Old Covenant prophet, and John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the New Covenant. During those centuries, the voice of God was not heard in the land, nor His word delivered among the people. Scholars believe that it was during this time when many pagan beliefs crept into Jewish thought, such as the doctrine of an everlasting hell, which is not spoken of in the Old Testament. I have written extensively on this in my journal entitled, "Primrose Path to Gehenna" (End Note "A"), so I will not repeat it here, only to say, that the spiritual darkness was very black at the time Christ came to earth. Superstition and devilish beliefs prevailed. Men called good evil, and evil good, ascribing the handiwork of God to the devil (Matt. 12:24-30; Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15).
I was having one of my cherished heart to heart visits with God this week, pouring out to Him my personal concerns for our lives, our ministry, and our calling in Him. I have written a good deal about my conviction that when the sons of God are manifested, we will be speaking "peace to the heathen" (Zech. 9:10, KJ), or as the NIV puts it, "Peace to the nations." God gave me a vision, or a picture of several things about this topic that moved me deeply. He showed me the world as it was in Jesus' time: spiritually void, black with sin and the corruption of evil, which ruled men's hearts and minds. Against this backdrop, I saw a brilliant comet roaring through the black night sky, blazing with light and glory, dragging behind it a fiery trail, miles long. It represented the birth of the Christ, God's Anointed One, promised to the sons of Abraham and the weary offspring of Jacob. Jesus entered a sin stained, darkened world where men and women were in bondage to the ills of the flesh, and the dire consequences of never having been able to keep the law. He came to raise the dead, both those ready for the grave, and those who were burying them. "Let the dead bury the dead" (Matt. 8:22), He said, because He knew that spiritual death had come upon us all as a result of one man's transgression (I Cor. 15:21-22). He came to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, and cast out the demons of hell who had run roughshod over the lives of men and women without anyone to stop them (Luke 4:18-19). The demons knew who He was, and begged Him to let them alone. He said, "But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you" (Lk. 11:20).
The evidence of the kingdom, John reports is this: "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'" (John 8:12). That light grew brighter and brighter as more people turned to the Christ who delivered them from their sins, and gave them the courage to go tell it on the mountain, and everywhere else under heaven, that this Jesus is indeed the Son of the Most High. In AD 70, the Old Covenant received a death blow from God, delivered by the Roman General Titus, who burned the temple and destroyed the City of the great king. Persecution caused the believers to scatter to the four winds, and as a result, Christianity flourished in every corner of the Roman Empire. Some have seen by the Spirit, that God allowed this because the Roman Empire built roads and unified the language of the common man, which helped the infant church to grow and expand. From a small seed planted on the Day of Pentecost, it become a living organism, under which all creation will eventually find shelter, much like the mighty Oak tree which grows from a tiny acorn.
Nothing runs smoothly in the affairs of men, neither in love, as Bill Shakespeare remarked, nor in their political or spiritual lives either. The church became organized, quantified, qualified, and corrupted beyond recognition as the Dark Ages came and went. Men like Luther and Wesley, Knox and Calvin saw a glimmer of the same blazing light of love and freedom which had brightened the darkened sky the night Christ was born, and gradually, some of the bondage of organized religion began to break away for a time. Here and there, with one event after another, God has sprung forth in myriad ways to bring light into the lives of men and women by the power of His Spirit.
During our visit this week, the Lord showed me the considerable work left to be done. Back when I thought I had control of something, anything, I imagined myself to be free. Now that I see that He is totally in charge of everything, sometimes I feel boxed in, or confined and constrained by God's will in my life. Most of the time, I see this as part of the glorious rest promised to those who believe (Heb. 4:9-10), but sometimes, when He is showing me lands within Jan that still remain unconquered, I feel myself chaffing at the bit to get on with it. So, it was in that frame of mind that I began questioning Him about the way He sees things. And let me add here, to those who insist that we shouldn't question God, I would say, "If not God, then whom can I ask? Who else knows the end from the beginning? Who else has the answers I seek?" So, I count it all joy that I can crawl up on my heavenly Father's lap and have these little chats with Him, knowing that He may show me more of myself that needs to be "transformed into the image of Christ" (Rom. 12:2; II Cor. 3:18), but knowing that He loves me unconditionally and it's OK to ask for what my heart desires.
In answer to my many questions, the Lord lovingly began to show me that I'm not the only one who feels confined by my life. The poor are confined by their lack of money and ability to get ahead in life; the rich are confined by their fear of losing the money and assets they have so painstakingly acquired. The sick are confined by the ravages of disease and disability on their physical bodies. Believe it or not, the healthy often dread that sickness will come upon them. The emotionally or mentally ill are confined by the ravings of an unsound mind and their inability to see the light at all, though it be right in front of them. The religious are confined by the rules and regs of their beliefs. He gave me a picture here of a woman swathed in black clothing, wearing the chador of the Muslim faith. The atheists are confined by their lack of belief in anything bigger than themselves. Can you imagine how terrifying that must be, to have to depend only on your poor personal resources? Can you imagine the fear, the terror, the horror of facing life with no power source available to you other than your own puny abilities? The feeble minded are confined by their inability to learn or understand life around them and the genius IQ types are confined by their superior capacity to understand cause and effect and yet, they can do nothing about any of it. All in all, it was a very revealing exercise the Lord led me through.
I realized somewhere in this conversation, that He was showing me that I have nothing to complain about, because depending on Him, as we do for everything we do and have and own, relieves us of great stress. He took us out of the rat race, in 1998, and I believe He was showing me how much better off we are to be out of it, even though by the world's standards, we don't make a very grand showing. It makes me rejoice that speaking peace to the heathen, at home or abroad, is His job to do through us, not ours to do alone.
At the time Jesus was born, the world was pitch black spiritually. He brought light and love into the dark void of men's souls, but remarkably, even though we have come far down the road from where the world was then, we're still only at the dawning of the New Day of the Lord. The morning star has risen in our hearts (I Pet. 1:19), but it has not yet risen over the whole creation. In the meantime, while we wait for that glorious event, God invites us to look to the light in Him rather than at the physical, emotional or financial situation that confines us. He asks us to focus on Him rather than on our wheel chair or walker, our physical ailments, our low paying job or social security check, our friends and family who need healing, our unstylish clothes, our unattractive homes or cars, our unsatisfying relationships, or whatever it might be that robs us of our joy and peace. The Psalmist said, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Ps. 121:1-2). That is another way to say, "Look to God, not to your circumstances, and you will feel the peace and joy that light always brings to our hearts." God's son is His "sonshine" remedy for all our dark moments.
When I'm feeling sorry for myself because of what I don't have, God gently reminds me that we serve "the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17). Imagine entertaining 5,000 dinner guests with five loaves and two fish; (Matt. 14: 16-21); imagine turning huge water jugs into the best wine that the banquet master had ever tasted. (Jn. 2:3-10). Imagine speaking without a loud speaker to large crowds of people and having them all hear you perfectly (Matt. 7:28; 23:1; Mk. 10:1; Lk. 8:42; 14:25). Imagine turning the world upside down with no cash, no credit cards, no electricity, no vehicles or airplanes, no phones, fax machines, computers, or e-mail. Yet, the Apostle Paul said, that the gospel has gone out to the ends of the earth. (Rom. 10:18).
Whatever lack you may have in your life today; whatever kind of confinement you are feeling is God's opportunity to break forth into the gloom of your soul's dark night and speak light into existence. Into every earth which is without form and void, He will move over the face of the deep and say, "Let there be light."
The quality of light is such, that in it, there can be no darkness at all. When the light of the world has totally transformed us, and our mortality has been swallowed up by immortality, then we, with Christ as our head, will be the light that will draw all nations to us. Marvin Cope, a dear friend of ours, has been writing on the coming of the Bride of Christ, and in his last writing, he makes a statement that fits right in here (End Note "B"). He wrote,
"God began His New Covenant with a virgin who bore a Son, who is the Christ (Matt. 1:20-23). He fulfills His New Covenant with a virgin, the Bride of Christ (Rev. 14:1-5), and from that union is birthed the manchild, the body of Christ, the New Creation. For two thousand years the Lord has been building the foundation of His New Covenant Kingdom by the self fulfilling power of His word. In this climax of the ages, the last mystery of the Bible is being revealed. At long last, the Bride has made herself ready (Rev. 19:5-9). She is a virgin (Rev. 14:4) like Mary (Matt. 1:23). Through her union with the righteousness of Christ, she reveals the virginal Bride as did Mary. Only now she is no longer local. She is Christ's global Bride and is destined to become universal. She is now ready for marriage to the Lamb with a very large family to care for and to comfort." End Quote.
Like Marvin, I am very fond of Isaiah's writings. Centuries before Christ was born, this anointed prophet saw the glorious truth, that our light will shine before all men everywhere. This is what we are looking for, waiting for, and groaning for, dear ones, and it may be a bumpy ride before we get there, but when we arrive, we will share in God's glory gleaming throughout every waiting corner of the universe, when even the heathen will hear, "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 'Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come" (Is. 60:1-5). As it is written, so let it be done in our lives.
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
End Note "A". "Primrose Path to Gehenna"
Our Holiday Greeting, "Tis the Season"
Jan's poem, "For Unto Us"
The Glory Road
We would enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister
and last edited on 11/6/08.