Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fw: Deja Vu: Where Have I Seen that Before?

Déjà Vu: Where Have I Seen that Before?
Walking down the street, Thomas and his wife Corrine saw a
girl looking in a storefront window.  Suddenly, the girl turned around and looked
at Thomas with a bright smile.  Before he could smile back, she stormed
away from them, turned the corner, and disappeared from sight.  Surprised, Thomas
stopped still in his tracks.  Corrine looked at him and asked,  "What's wrong?
What happened?"  Puzzled, Thomas looked at his wife and said, "I just have a
feeling that I have been here before, and I saw this happen already."  Corrine replied,
"Oh, you had a déjà vu!"  "A What?" Thomas replied. "You know, a feeling that you
have experienced something or been somewhere before," answered his wife. 
Relieved, Thomas now turned to his wife as he nodded his head, and said, "Yeah,
maybe it was a déjà vu."  
In Matthew 18:15 - 20, Jesus explains to the disciples how to handle a person
who has wronged them.  In essence, Jesus tells them to do everything in their
power to restore the relationship using trusted witnesses, and the congregation,
if needed.  He further states, that if the person who wronged you repents, good.
If he or she does not, then let him or her go, along with the matter of the offence.
This is an admonition not only for the offended, but for all the 'witnesses.'  In verse
21, Peter asks Jesus an interesting question the answer of which is perplexing.
Lets read,
Matthew 18: 21  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my
                        brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Matthew 18: 22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven
                        times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Hmm!  Seventy times seven?  Where have I heard that before?  Is it Déjà
vu?  Hardly.  Our chapter of study this week, Daniel 9: 24, refers to this
number.  Let us read
Daniel 9: 24  --
             Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and
             thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make
             an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity
             and to bring in everlasting righteousness and to seal
             up the vision and prophecy, and anoint the Most Holy.
Was it just coincidental?  I do not think so.  Was Jesus trying to tell us
something?  I think He was.  We know that in Christ the whole world is
forgiven.  However, we also know we can throw that forgiveness away.  God
has done all in His power to forgive us, to make known to us that we are
forgiven, and to ensure that we by faith accept His forgiveness (short of
forcing us).  He used the whole universe as witnesses.  They - and
those who by faith accept Gods forgiveness - will give testimony of God's
effort to save us.  Those who by faith accept God's forgiveness, and
continue to do so until the end, will overcome and be restored to the
fellowship of brethren that did not fall.   Those who do not repent, God
will let them and the matter go.
When the Jews told Pilate, …We have no king but Caesar, (John 19:5),
they in essence told God in front of witnesses (both earthly and heavenly),
"We have no part with You."  For three and a half years further, God pleaded
with them.  In essence, He was asking them, "Please reconsider."  At the
close of the three and a half years, the Jewish nation's rebellion towards God
culminated in the stoning of Stephen.  The seventy weeks seventy times seven
of the Jewish nation was up.  The fate they chose for themselves
was fulfilled sometime thereafter.  In the year 70 AD, Roman soldiers marched
into Judah and destroyed it.  The nation of Israel no longer retained the chosen
nation of God status, it once enjoyed.
Does this mean that God did not love the Jews?  Not so, for although Saul / Paul,
a Jew by birth-- was present when Stephen was stoned (Acts 22:20), his later
conversion after the rejection of the Jewish nation, proves that God will accept
any Jew who receives Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour.
What about us?  Are our seventy weeks up?  It may be that God is pleading
with us to turn around and respond in love to Him.  Is Christ still your king, or have you
chosen a Caesar of this world?    It's His desire that you turn around so that He doesn't
have to let you and your matter go.  It's not too late.
Raul Diaz & Maria Greaves-Barnes