”If something in the Bible is weird, it’s probably important.”
I’ve always had a fascination for the fringe… and I’m thankful for someone who gave me a biblical worldview that didn’t exclude the unexplainable parts of God’s creation. I have been thinking about Mike Heiser for several days since I read his sobering statement that he only has a few weeks left to live, https://www.facebook.com/mike.heiser.35. I have listened to countless podcasts since 2005ish when the format was created, especially in the years I worked night shift. And though I have probably listened to somewhere around 80–90% of his podcasts from the beginning, I downloaded all 458 tonight for archiving just in case something happens down the road with his site, https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/. These will be added to the library with the 22 Peeranormal shows of his I already had.
I never got the chance to meet him in person, but he did respond to a couple of emails I sent him. Thankfully, I didn’t wait to tell him how much I appreciated his work. After putting it off, I finally wrote him a letter last November stating several specific reasons I was appreciative of his willingness to engage in topics that other Christian ran from. He emailed me stating he got the letter and it “made his day.” That’s the least I could do… many, many times he has made my day with either a printed page, a recorded interview, or an uploaded video.
May the next few days be days of grace for Mike as he is soon to behold the God who is above all gods, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, the Unseen Realm won’t be unseen to him anymore.
This line from a book on my Kindle that I take a gander at ever so often brought a smile to my face…
”The eminent linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin of Oxford once gave a lecture in which he asserted that there are many languages in which a double negative makes a positive but none in which a double positive makes a negative to which the Columbia philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser, sitting in the audience, sarcastically replied, ‘Yeah, yeah.'”
When Peter, James, and John saw the Transfiguration event, they were in the company of Moses, Elijah, and the glorified Jesus. To experience this, Jesus did not need to take them to some location on the other side of the universe far, far, far, far, far away. He simply opened their eyes right where they were. When the event was over, Moses and Elijah departed (a word used only once in the New Testament). When Paul made his trip to Paradise, he went somewhere but even he was unable to explain the physicality/non-physicality of it all…
The trip to heaven is not gained by a certain number of miles from a location but by a certain relationship with Jesus. Being in God’s presence is not spatial but spiritual, and if we really, really, really believe that (with all the curious implications that arise), then we will not say, “One day I’m going to be with God.” Instead, we will say, “I am with God right now.” And that reality will transform our life. I don’t know how near Moses and Elijah still were to Peter, James, and John when the Transfiguration ended. I don’t know how close the cloud of witnesses are to us presently. I don’t know how it works later in Hebrews 12 that the author says we come into the presence of angels, spirits, and Jesus when we worship (believing that would add reverence to our church services, wouldn’t it?).
But I do know this, Jesus said he is with us and will never leave. So Christian, no matter how lonely you feel in this life, remember the portions of the Bible where Jesus supernaturally transcends time, space, and the physical laws we think run the world. Even if it seems as if no one is watching you run this race, realize you’ve got an audience you can’t see—the Greatest of whom being so close that he isn’t just by your side but he’s in your heart.
As you look back over the past year, realize that Jesus is in control. The cries of society as well as the cries of your heart are all heard by him. As he rules this universe, he will exercise the same sovereignty in 2023 that he did in 2022. Though it may appear as if your cries are not heard, you can be confident that he is listening.
Perhaps one thing you can cry out to him about is your desire to live for him in such a way that you begin to say, “My life is not my own. I have been bought with a price. To be with Christ is far better.” Some people will not understand those thoughts, so it’s best to not even tell them. Instead, live as a citizen of heaven. Read Revelation 21–22, take a peek at where Jesus is ruling from, and live as if you have already caught a glimpse of the place that he has already prepared for you.
May that sight encourage you as you go into 2023 by faith.
This is a test for http://www.preachertony.com. More content forthcoming after saying farewell to almost 2 decades of preachertony.com and starting over from scratch. Archiving the the memories of a young Christian who tried to intersect the Bible and technology by using Transmit to download the old site. It’s a strange feeling to say goodbye to something I put a lot of time in (years ago).