Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness and mercy’

I’m a Florida gal. Eastern seaboard. Grew up less than twenty minutes from Jacksonville Beach. And ‘til we were transplanted to Texas, I roamed the Florida seashores—Just love the ocean. Ocean anywhere. Wish I had a nickel for every mile I’ve walked along those beaches. So imagine my dismay when I read:

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1 NKJV).

No more sea? Really, God? Why? I was troubled and I asked why on more than one occasion. Then last week, during some extended windshield time, I listened to a radio program where a distinguished biblical scholar was asked, “Why does God say there will be no more sea in the new heaven and earth?”

I listened for several minutes as this smarter-and-more-educated-than-me prof stumbled all over himself. “I don’t know,” he finally said. “Maybe because the sea is chaotic and scary.” He attempted, yet never found biblical truth to give the caller.

While I’m driving down the highway pumping my hand in the air, shouting, “I know. I know!” Because the Bible tells me why.

Jesus instructs us:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV).

And I’ve always taken Him at His word. So when things trouble me, I ask. Don’t you? It’s okay to ask, you know. But fifteen years ago, when our daughter suddenly died I pounded heaven with my pleas of why. God answered, through His Spirit and His word—not in words I wanted to hear, but with words that satisfied and wrapped me in His peace.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV).

He let me know He had it under control. Her death was one of those secret things and asked me to trust Him.

So I preface my prayers. “Lord, if this is one of those secret things I don’t need to know. I’m okay with your not answering. ‘Cause You know my heart and know I’m not trying to be a smart-alack. I love the ocean and it bothers me there won’t be any more sea.”

Precept Bible Study teaches us the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. And so a few years ago, while studying about a totally unrelated subject, I read:

“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh, the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:13-16 NKJV).

Gracious God, I didn’t know You needed to be reminded. Silly me. So I went to my Strong’s Concordance and looked up the Hebrew word for remember—zakar—to mark, record, to recall. And the notes said: “Remember means more than ‘to recall.’ It means to retain in thought so as to take action.”

I recalled other scriptures where Isaiah said:

“But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption. For you have cast all my sins behind your back” (Isaiah 38:17b NKJV).

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake. And I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV).

And in Micah:

“Who is a God like You. Pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever. Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us. And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19 NKJV).

And it clicked in my mind. Think of the gargantuan garbage dumps of transgressions and sins God has pitched into the depths of the sea since the beginning of creation. Every sin you and I have committed—sins of all believers for all times, cast behind His back, into the depths of the sea. And covered with the blood of Jesus.

But wait, there’s so much more! And it’s all here, recorded in the pages of His Wonderful Words.

Revelation 8:8-9 tells us what God is going to do “In That Day” that will involve the sea.

“Then the second angel sounded. And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”

And in Revelation 16:3:

“Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man, and every living creature in the sea died.”

“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:13-15 NKJV).

To be sure of the word sea I consulted my Strongs Concordance again and found the Greek word used there for sea is Thalassa meaning actual seas.

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And I said, “Thank you, Lord. You had already answered my question in the pages of Your Word, but now I understand. No wonder the sea can’t be part of the new heaven and earth. Nothing impure or unrighteous can be there. The sea is putrefied and defiled from all our sins and death. So as you told John over two thousand years ago, the sea indeed must go.

The problems in churches today could largely be resolved if those who claim the name of Jesus would take the time to develop a ravenous appetite for the Word of God. Each day—every day. The only reminder of the price Christ paid for you and me in eternity will be imprinted on our King’s hands, in His side, and on His feet—forever.

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But if you, like me, have loved the ocean, don’t be dismayed. God leaves us with these words:

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:1-5 NKJV).

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book…And behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

“I, Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Off-Spring of David. The Bright and Morning Star…Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:7, 12-13, 16, 20b NKJV).

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