Susan Beckett | Dwelling Place City Church
According to the Chicago Tribune, on February 21, 1995, Jeanne Calment of France celebrated her 120th birthday. At the time, she was the oldest person in the world and had become a celebrity. Medical scientists researched her life trying to discover the secret of her longevity. They found that she ate two pounds of chocolate each week for years plus smoked moderately until age 117. She cooked with olive oil, took vigorous walks, and rode her bike until the age of 100.
But, by the age of 120 she was confined to a wheelchair. “I see badly,” she said, “I hear badly and I can’t feel anything, but everything’s fine.” Someone asked her what kind of future she expected. She quipped, “A very short one!” True words!
Hebrews 9:27 tells us that, “Every human being has to die once, then experience a judgment.” We are a spirit who has a soul and we live in a body. When that body dies, our spirit and soul say adios to our earth-suits. But even though we choose now where we will spend eternity, I have to admit I’m with Woody Allen on this one: “I don’t mind dying – I just don’t want to be there when it happens!”
But we are living in a ‘fallen world’ where death is now a fact of life. Animals, trees, flowers, pets, Uncle Joe – all will someday pass away. But this always causes me to pause and ponder our Creator. God is called the “Ancient of Days” – literally, “Before days were.” Psalm 90 tells us that God has existed from “everlasting to everlasting.” He has no beginning or end. Needless to say, this is in stark contrast to man!
Fortunately for us, God has always endeavored to reveal Himself to people from the very beginning. I always smile when I hear people say that Christianity is a “new” religion. It actually began way back in Genesis 1:1 with, “In the beginning God…” In short, Adam & Eve broke the covenant with God and He promised to send a Messiah (a savior) to restore man’s relationship with Him, which He did when the Word became flesh – Jesus – the long-awaited Messiah.
People groups from around the world have captivating, ancient stories of God and many of them amazingly overlap. A fascinating study is found in the Chinese language. It’s a tough language to master I’m told – harder than English where we tell people not to touch the hot plate and in the same sentence tell our young son to stop checking out the hot chick!
The Chinese language is the oldest written language in the world, having existed since at least 6 thousand years ago. One great example has always been a real tease – it’s the Chinese symbol for ‘big boat.’ 船 It’s made up of three different characters: “eight” + “persons” + “vessel” = a “big boat.” If I were going to depict a big boat, why have only have 8 people in it? Why not 2,000 people in a boat? Why eight? Interestingly, in the Biblical account of the flood there were exactly eight people in Noah’s Ark. Hmmm!
Another intriguing ‘word’ is found in the character for “forbidden” 禁. If you look closely, you will see two “trees” on the top followed underneath by the symbol for God. Together they form the word “forbidden.” Genesis 2 tells us the Lord had planted a garden with two distinct trees – the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam & Eve that they were “forbidden” to eat from either of these two trees.
Remember – these characters are thousands of years old and the list of these ancient Chinese characters goes on and on with so many directly relating and speaking to Biblical accounts of history. I would call it amazing, but really – is it? God has always existed and people groups from “In the beginning” and on, have known and recorded God events. I love it!
Our challenge as mere humans is to put our brief life to good purpose and have a relationship with our Creator. As Jeremy Taylor rightly noted, “God has given to man a short time here upon earth, and yet upon this short time eternity depends.” Personally, I believe the promises of God enough to venture my eternity on them!
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor the Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you can contact them at DPCitychurch.org
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