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The Ten Commandments

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Middle East in Prophecy

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Have heard about the rock of Gibraltar?  Have you ever seen pictures of it? I am one of those few fortunate ones who have actually seen it. Many years ago, I was on a ship which actually passed through the straight of Gibraltar and I had the opportunity of staring in awe at that magnificent mountain. The mountain is massive, rocky and rugged. By looking at the city of Gibraltar below one gets to appreciate its size, when compared to the buildings at its base.

At the top it is round like a cap and on the Mediterranean side it drops almost vertically, it slopes softly on the Spanish side. The Rock is very solid and gigantic. In fact it looks proud, strong, and unshakable. Because of its solidity and robustness a life insurance company uses it as its logo. “Like a rock”. To them it represent, solidity, reliability and, as a result, trust. Therefore Gibraltar is an excellent symbol of unshakeableness, immovableness, and absolute reliability.

Our lives can be very unstable, shaky, fragile. Yet we have something that is totally stable and solid: our hope; our destiny; our spiritual future. In this article I would like to focus on that hope: our certain future. I want to ask you to forget the present and to join with me to re-taste the joy of the stunning future that awaits us. To do so I will start with a foundational scripture.

1 John 3:1-2 (NKJV) --  Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

1 John 3 (NIV) -- How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

We are looking forward to the day captured by this verse. On that day we will finally see Christ. Our eyes will finally behold the one who loves us without bounds and who is the author of our salvation. On that day we will see His brilliant glory, and we will finally get to talk to Him, spend time with Him, spend eternity with Him.

     There is one part of the above verses that I would like to take you back to: "…but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." That is indeed mind-boggling. We, puny humans filled with all sorts of weaknesses and limitations will be like the Eternal and glorious Jesus Christ. To help you see the powerful significance of this scripture, I would like to invite you to do something. Please replace the “WE” with “ME” and then your name. Then re-read it in that new format. I would like to now take you to I Corinthians 15: 49 -- And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

This is further confirmation that we will indeed be like our Savior.

But what does it really mean to be “Like Christ”?

Being like Christ means being a son of God. It means having His nature which no angel can attain to. It means a lot more than the human mind can comprehend. Yet God in His Goodness has given us several glimpses into that awesome future and that is what I would like to focus on in this article. What follows are five points on what it means to be like Christ.

   1. To be like Christ means to look like Him, that is to shine with power and glory.

Romans 8:18 -- For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.

 What is glory? It is what we read about in Revelation 1:12-16:

     12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, 13 and in the midst of the seven    lamp stands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

 Daniel 12:1-3

 “At that time Michael shall stand up,
      The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
      And there shall be a time of trouble,
      Such as never was since there was a nation,
      Even to that time.
      And at that time your people shall be delivered,
      Every one who is found written in the book.
       2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
      Some to everlasting life,
      Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
       3 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.

This is the destiny of true believers: “Shining like the brightness of the firmament.”

2. To be like Christ means having power and great authority

 Revelation 3:21 (NKJV) -- To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Revelation 20:4 (NKJV) -- And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a  thousand years.

Revelation 2:26-27 (NKJV) -- And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—  27 ‘ He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—  as I also have received from My Father;

Christians are therefore promised powers to rule over the nations and to rule over the heavenly hosts with Jesus Christ.

   3. Being like Christ means owning what Christ and God the Father own.

   Christians are described by the Scriptures as being inheritors of God. An Inheritor inherits all that the parents possess. Christians, like Jesus Christ will inherit all that God possesses.

Galatians 4:7 (NKJV) -- Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV) -- The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Romans 8:19-21 (NKJV) --  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:

 “ What is man that You are mindful of him,
  Or the son of man that You take care of him?
  7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
 You have crowned him with glory and honor,

 And set him over the works of Your hands.
 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Jesus Christ is the firstfruit among many brethren. He led the way to eternity, to glory to power and to possessing all that God possesses.

    4. Being like Christ means being spiritual and eternal.

The reality that we are physical and very frail hits home as we get older. We are definitely made of perishable material. Right now we are imprisoned in this inescapable reality. We are temporary.  Though our physical mortality is certain it is just as certain that there is an eternal spiritual body awaiting us. A body made specifically for us by our Great Father and the Son.

I Corinthians 15:35-49 -- But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”[ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Christians will therefore will become spiritual and immortal like Christ.

5. Being like Christ means having the mind of Christ.

Totally! His love, His faith, His joy, His tenderness, His kindness, His goodness. The truly converted Christian bears a painful load. He/she longs to be like Christ in this life. He/she longs to behave, think, react like Christ but fails all so frequently and all so frequently comes short of his goal.  It’s painful because we want to be but we cannot be. The years go by; yes we grow some, but never enough to be like Christ -- and we know it. We go through strong periods and weak periods. We have times when all seems to be under control and soon after all seems to crash again. We know the aim: Christ; but the aim is all too distant.

Yet we can rejoice nonetheless. All of that is about to end. In thinking about the resurrection, we tend to think only about our bodily transformation and we forget that there will be a stunning mental transformation as well. The moment we are changed into spirit beings we immediately inherit God’s spiritual nature. Sin will no longer be possible. The intense frustration which follows desiring to do what is good but failing to will be no more.

We will become righteousness. Total and complete. We will never again be vanquished by weakness or by sin. There will be no more mental battles, no more evil thoughts to fight. No more guilt to oppress us. The war which we Christians are all too familiar with will be over.

The war will be won forever!

All of us have tasted some of the changes that God has brought about in us through His spirit. The Holy Spirit has given to us His fruits which others see in us. But those fruits are now only partial. Upon our transformation they will be complete.

Galatians 5:22 --  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

LOVE: Total love, the inability to feel resentment, or hate or hold grudges. Love to the point of being willing to give our very being for the brethren – like Christ.

JOY:  Total ecstasy, ongoing, unimaginable happiness forever. No mind altering drugs can ever come even close to producing such joy and it will be ongoing, without pause, drops, depression. No sadness, no low points, no depression, forever.

PEACE : Total peace of mind. No interpersonal turmoil, no conflict, no  misunderstandings, no turmoil with mates, or with relatives, employers, family. No anxiety, phobias, fears of any kind.

AND ... Total patience, total goodness and total self-control.

Is that enough? Is this sufficient for all eternity? Is the reward enough to excite us, to stir us up, to drive us close to the Author of it all?

This is our hope.  This is why Jesus died: To make it all possible for us.

Have the years erased the original excitement? Has the focus been blurred over time?

This is real! More real than the physical body we live in today.

Hebrews 6:7-12 (NKJV) -- For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.  9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NKJV) -- Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

Yes, our hope is an anchor -- it is strong, it is real, it is reliable and it is reassuring.

Let’s be encouraged, therefore, as we go through our many afflictions. Ahead of us there is everything our hearts desires and much more.  Let’s keep that hope alive; Let’s think about; let’s visualize it -- let’s crave it!

It’s coming; we can almost touch it -- and soon it will be ours!

© Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2007


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