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MESSAGE FOR THE FORTNIGHT
 



From a Beast to the Best




Benumbing…Mind-boggling…Unbelievable…Beastly…these are the words one found in the media in connection with the dastardly rape and murder of Disha-a young veterinary Doctor namely Priyanka Reddy. Like it happened in Nirbhaya’s case (remember that innocent victim of Dec, 2012) where the name of the victim was changed, to respect the dignity of the family, the Supreme Court of India passed guidelines that hereafter #Justice for Priyanka’s case would be referred #Justice for Disha. Now who isn’t outraged by the heinous crime perpetrated by 4 “Beastly” characters’ in Hyderabad on Nov 27th, 2019? While the hearts of all of Christians are pained by this horrific incident, there may not have much of a surprise in us considering our knowledge of depravity of an unregenerate heart described in the Scriptures (Jeremiah 17:9) and also the fact that the terrible crimes of this nature had occurred in the Biblical times in the Land of Israel of all places (Judges 19-20)!!! Was not “God’s will expected to be accomplished on Earth as it is in Heaven” at least in the Land flowing with “milk and honey” during the Biblical times (Deu 4:19-TLB) but alas that blessed portion of land was also “not spared” of these kind of horrific crimes!!!

Now even as national outrage was gathering momentum with many of us expecting establishment of a “Fast track” Court (like the one headed by Judge Yogesh Khanna in Nirbhaya’s case) to expedite the much-needed justice in a similar “hair-rising beastly crime” (words used by Judge Yogesh Khanna himself while delivering verdict in Nirbhaya’s case), came the chilling News of the 4 accused in this case being shot dead in an encounter in the early hours of Dec 6th, 2019?

In this message, Yours Truly with a painful heart draws spiritual lessons from the “beastly human behavior” which undergirded this horrendous crime, so as to infer the possibility of existence of hope for even those with “beastly” hearts…

UNREGENERATE…

It may shock many, if I observe that all those (irrespective of their social standing) who are not part of God’s family in Christ (Col 1:13-14) appear as “beasts” in His Holy sight (only that the degree of beastliness varies from one individual to another individual)!!!

Consider this Scripture which describes the hair-rising vision of Prophet Daniel involving Beasts…


In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction. 3 Then four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others.

The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind.

Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!”

Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast.

Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns.

As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. – Daniel 7:2-8

This vision was a re-affirmation of an earlier dream of King Nebuchadnezzar who in his dream (Daniel 2:31-33) saw a huge human statue made of different metals…


Firstly for the exposition of the afore-referred visions and dreams…

    a) The first Beast appearing as a Lion as also the Golden head of the human statue represents Babylonian Empire. It is symbolic of fierce consuming, power that Babylonian Empire was. It’s two wings stand for the speed with which the Babylonians’ became the World super power.

    b) The second beast the Bear – Mede Persian Empire- symbolizes ferocity, strength, stability and the mindless cruelty. The silver torso of the human statue is its equivalent in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

    c) The third beast the Leopard - Greek empire - symbolizes the speed and viciousness with which they conquered the world. They were swifter than their Babylonian counterparts in becoming the World’s Prima donna, hence 4 wings are seen in the Leopard’s body as against two in that of the lion. The Division of the Greek Empire amongst 4 General’s of Alexander the Great consequent to his death is symbolized by the 4 heads. In the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Greek Empire is represented by the Bronze abdomen and the thigh.

    d) The fourth beast - Roman empire- with 10 horns symbolizes the ten kings that is, kingdoms, into which Rome was divided on its incorporation with the Germanic and Slavonic tribes, (JFB Commentary). It’s equivalent in the King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was the Iron leg.

    e) The little horn that appeared on the 10-horned beast as also the feet of Iron and clay in the King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents the imminent Anti-Christ’s Empire, which shall be set-up soon after the Rapture of the Church.

    Now for the Big question. Now why did the World Emperors (existing and future) of Daniel’s time appear as Beasts to the Prophet but only as different parts of human being to King Nebuchadnezzar? While King Nebuchadnezzar an ordinary man of flesh endowed with no special gifts saw them merely as different parts of a human body, the Prophet being a “spiritual” man endowed with Divine insight (1 Cor 2:14-15) could see them “differently” for what they actually were. Yes, strange as it may seem for many an uninitiated soul, even a King/Queen or a President with all the regal splendor and high-nosed stance which goes with offices’ of authority, if he/she is in an unregenerate selfish state,-then mark my words-he/she is bound to appear as a Beast to a Holy God with the degree of beastliness varying from one individual to an another. Period. No wonder, Jesus speaking to a “religious leader” of high social standing namely Nicodemus said unequivocally “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

    Also in yet another occasion doesn’t our Lord speaking about the Galileans’ executed by Pontius Pilate (Luke 13:1-3) pointedly ask “Were these men the worst sinners”? Honestly, all of us are sinners and all need a Saviour (Rom 3:23 - I reiterate only the degree of “beastliness” varies in us). While on the subject, Pontius Pilate the Governor of Judea and Samaria only (and not of Galilee) would not have normally executed these men of Galilee- Luke 23:1-7 -but for the fact they had committed some “horrific crime” in the Roman Empire’s sight like “rebellion” against it. Similarly, it makes one wonder would the Hyderabad Police have “fast-tracked justice” (?) in Disha’s case but for the “terrible” nature of the crime committed??? Going one step ahead…another question follows…are all of us (read Christians) any better than the “Galileans’…opps sorry…I mean the 4 accused in Disha case (sic), if not for the blood of Jesus washing our depraved hearts (1 Peter 1:18-19)? If any of us (reading this article) have not repented and reconciled ourselves with our Holy Creator, then let’s do it without any further delay.

    In the truthful Scripture do we also not see outwardly “righteous” men and women commanding respect of the society seeking the Saviour, confessing their sins and getting baptized in His name, so as to reinforce the fact that mere “respectable social standing” is of “little use” when it comes to obtaining God’s favour? I do not have to go beyond the transformations’ and subsequent Baptisms of the temple-visiting, Bible-reading Ethiopian Official of great authority (Acts 8:26-39), Charitable Roman Centurion Cornelius (Acts 10), devout purple cloth merchant Lydia (Acts 16:13-15) and the sympathetic , empathetic (to Paul and Silas) Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:16-35) to underscore my point.


U-TURN…


I reiterate, even at the cost of sounding repetitive that Good News with Capital G for all the unregenerate souls is that they can receive the Saviour into their hearts by making this simple prayer “Father in Heaven, I confess that I am a sinner who has no intrinsic holiness or righteousness of his own. I believe that Your Holy Son Jesus died on the Cross as atonement for my sins. I accept Jesus as my personal Saviour this very moment. Please forgive all my sins on the basis of the redemptive work of your Son on the cross and grant me a new life. In Jesus Holy and precious Name I pray. Amen”.

Didn’t Jesus launch His Ministry with this clarion call beside the Sea of Galilee two thousand years ago “The Kingdom of God has Come Near. Repent and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:14). What is the meaning of “Kingdom Of God” here? Is Jesus referring to Heaven to which all righteous souls would go to after death or is He referring to the Millennial Kingdom, which He would establish soon after His Second Coming (Rev 20). Neither of them was near two thousand years ago to His audience. To understand the meaning of Kingdom of God let Scripture interpret the Scripture. Turn with me to Romans 14:17, which reads thus: “Kingdom of God is…righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. Once an unregenerate soul repents, he or she immediately gets into a right standing (best definition for righteousness) with God and then would not peace and joy of the Holy Spirit enter into the repentant soul’s heart as day follows night, making an erstwhile sinner now “addicted to his/her former allergies (Holy Living) and allergic to former addictions (Selfish, pleasure-seeking lifestyle)”? Yes, indeed!!!

UNIQUE…


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.- I Peter 2:9

Talking of Beasts and animal world…conversion of a soul subsequent to repentance is akin to a raven becoming a dove. A hardened criminal’s repentance on the Cross is proof of the same (Luke 23:39-43), offering hope to criminals proven guilty of even horrific crimes like say rape and murder. In the same tone, it needs to be said that Law of the Land ought to take its rightful course (the repentant Criminal though given a gracious entry into the Heavenly portals, as the Scripture says was not exonerated of the capital punishment given to him) and judicial remedies like seeking Presidential clemency considered, only and only if the competent authorities can gauge and vouch for a genuine transformation in the concerned for good.

Dr Luke (typical of him), unlike Matthew or Mark doesn’t use the word “thief” (Matt 27:44/ Mark 15:27-KJV) to describe those crucified along with the Lord but so as to portray without any shades of grey their actual violent character (hey…even “non-violent” pick-pocketers’ are “thieves”) uses the word “malefactor”-in Greek “Kakurgous”(read blood-thirsty robbers- Luke 23:33-KJV). In both Matthew’s and Mark’s defense, it needs to be said that they used the Greek word “Lestes” (highly violent robbers) to describe those crucified with the Lord without deliberately coining the Greek word “Kleptes” (non-violent thief) employed elsewhere in the phrase like a “thief in the night” (Matt 24:43)!!! It is just that like on many occasions, the translation of Greek word to English in KJV failed to “carry a punch” required, making the readers’ vulnerable to arriving at an incomplete inference…, something different than was originally intended by the Gospel Writer.

Is there any doubt that once a “Beast” becomes a Christian, he or she becomes the Best in the sight of God? Consider the above-captioned Scripture portion to reflect on the high calling of a Christian, who amongst other things is also now branded Biblically as a “temple of God” (I Cor 3:16).

Honestly, to please the Almighty is anything more important than Christ-like Holiness. This Holiness which is now imputed to a Christian as a free gift (Eph 2:8) on this side of Eternity would become intrinsic to the Child of God on the other side of the same as the ever truthful Scripture guarantees...

“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” – John 3:2

Now to the One Who gives continual “Holiness” free of cost to us (the unworthy ones’- Romans 3:23) by continuously placing His Spirit (which gives us the ability to lead a Holy Life- Zech 4:6) within us, do not we owe our lifelong undivided loyalty and devotion besides a Loud Hallelujah now!!!

“UNMISTAKABLE”…

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in NOAH’S DAY.”Luke 17:26

During Noah’s time “earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence.”- Genesis 6:11

Oh I never tire of repeating the words of my Lord “Let those with ears hear” (Mark 4:9) so that we can understand the implications behind the World-wide events which are “trumpeting” the inescapable truth about Christ’s imminent return. Even after the gruesome gang rape incidents like the ones’ of Nirbhaya and Disha and public condemnation of the same, have gang rapes ceased/ or for that matter has violence in our shrinking Globe shrunk? Chilling media reports of their continuance in our Nation and elsewhere would leave many in despair for slowly but surely yet another Second Coming Biblical prophecy is coming to pass.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold- Matt 24:12

As Bible-believing Christians we should steel ourselves for the situation to worsen before it becomes better. Praise God, eventually and soon “His Will would be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven”. The best in God’s scheme of things as the wine in the wedding at Cana is always reserved for the last (John 2:10). Come Lord Jesus to reign in our hearts and also the World to abolish lawlessness in this World (Rev 20:4-6)!!!





Yours in His service,


(Suresh Manoharan)