Sunday, March 1, 2009

So, over how many years is our life to be lived?

10 The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 90:10-12)

I have heard this passage of Scripture quoted often to justify an expectation of a short lifetime as the norm. However, the reading of this Psalm, Psalm 90, is in the context of God's judgment against the Nation in the Wilderness, because of their unbelief and refusal to obey God in the face of His continuous provision of miracles and wonders (Numbers 14 & 15).

Elsewhere, God has another perspective:

17For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
20There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. 21And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. 24And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 65:17-25)

Now, before the reader dismisses this passage as a passage that refers to "heaven", consider the following:

1. This New Heaven and New Earth has sinners in it (vs 20)
2. Children die in this New Heaven and New Earth (vs 20)
3. There is procreation in this New Heaven and New Earth (vs 23)
4. There is a cursing of sinners in this New Heaven and New Earth (vs 20)

These are not qualities of the description of Heaven that I understand from Scripture. However, they are qualities that I would expect of a nation that has fully embraced the Gospel, and established its Law-base on the Law of God. In such a nation, the fulfilment of Jesus' prayer will be manifest: "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

In such a nation, longevity will become the norm. Those who die at 100 years of age will be considered a mere child. In such a nation, rejoicing will fill the streets because of the abundance of God's blessing dispensed generally in the population. There will still exist sinners, but such sinners will be brought to justice, and those who have committed capital crimes, as defined by God's Law and witnessed by two or more witnesses, shall be cut off from amongst the people. In such a nation, there will be an abundance of food and work and all who call upon the name of the Lord will experience a long life, maybe up to 1000 years old or more. As the early chapters of Genesis reveal, our bodies were created to live lives at least 1000 years long, and that it was only sin which cut short the lives of those who lived before the flood.

Such general Gospel prosperity is not expected in my nation, in my lifetime. We have drifted from our cultural roots, and have forsaken, to a large degree, our Gospel heritage. However, our Gospel heritage has raised the longevity expectation in our nation to such an extent that people are living more often to 80 or 90 (Which is well above the 50 or 60 age of several generations back).

In the longer term, beyond my children's children's generation, I have enormous hope that the resurrection of Jesus Christ will roll back the effects of sin, and release that abundant life that Jesus promised would accompany salvation. Little by little we need to roll back the short term perspective of modern Evangelicalism. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and it is God's power over sin and death. Amen!

1 comment:

Steve from the Alice said...

Compelling argumentation throughout, but particularly the four specific observations regarding the Isaiah passage. So, if true, then our 'super' is not going to last! Our 'Super' will!