Jonathan Edwards on Pleasure

Jonathan Edwards:

If we spend our lives in the pursuit of a temporal happiness; as riches or sensual pleasures; credit and esteem from men; delight in our children, and the prospect of seeing them well brought up, and well settled, and etc.

All these things will be of little significance to us. Death will blow up all our hopes, and will put an end to these enjoyments…

God is the highest good of the reasonable creature; and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.

Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance.

These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun.

These are but streams; but God is the fountain.

These are but drops; but God is the ocean.”

The Christian Pilgrim, Section II p. 530

 

 

The Condescension of Christ

From Jonathan Edwards: The Excellency of Christ


There do meet in Jesus Christ, infinite highness, and infinite condescension.

Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth; for he is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven.

So great is he, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him, all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high, that he is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to him, and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend him.

Proverbs 30:4, “What is his name, and what is his Son’s name, if thou canst tell?” Our understandings, if we stretch them never so far, can’t reach up to his divine glory. Job 11:8, “It is high as heaven, what canst thou do?”

Christ is the Creator, and great possessor of heaven and earth: he is sovereign lord of all: he rules over the whole universe, and doth whatsoever pleaseth him: his knowledge is without bound: his wisdom is perfect, and what none can circumvent: his power is infinite, and none can resist him: his riches are immense and inexhaustible: his majesty is infinitely awful.

And yet he is one of infinite condescension. None are so low, or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them. He condescends not only to the angels, humbling himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but he also condescends to such poor creatures as men; and that not only so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are of meanest rank and degree, “the poor of the world” (James 2:5).

Such as are commonly despised by their fellow creatures, Christ don’t despise. 1 Corinthians 1:28, “Base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen.” Christ condescends to take notice of beggars (Luke 16:22) and of servants, and people of the most despised nations: in Christ Jesus is neither “Barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free” (Colossians 3:11).

He that is thus high, condescends to take a gracious notice of little children. Matthew 19:14, “Suffer little children to come unto me.” Yea, which is much more, his condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill deservings.

–Yale Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 19, 565-66

Our Daily Bread Crust

bread-1393447_1920Bread has crust. It*s a scientific law of breadmaking.

It will have a crust, because it’s got an inside and an outside. And the outside will become crusted in the oven. BREAD CRUST holds a special meaning for Christians, or it should.

We pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and yet we look to tomorrow.  We ponder it, worry over it, plan it, hate it, anticipate it, can’t wait for it. We’re always wanting to live for tomorrow, live in tomorrow–almost like the proverbial green grass over the fence.

We want to make sure we’ll have tomorrow’s bread. So we worry over making right choices today, double-guessing our decisions today, regretting today and rejoicing in dreams of tomorrow. But all this time we forget that our daily bread has a crust.

Just like bread has a crust, days have an edge surrounding them front back and sideways.

We only have today.

Jesus said, “Sufficient for the day is the trouble thereof” just after he commanded his disciples, and those listening to NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW. All we have is today, and the grace we are given is sufficient for the day.  But as for tomorrow, that belongs to God.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  So, in our time of need (our right now) we can draw near and find grace.

Just like you cannot OBEY God for your friend,
or GIVE TITHES for your uncle from your salary,
or COMMIT your wife’s LIFE TO GOD for her,
you cannot BORROW strength or joy or success from tomorrow.
It doesn’t work like that.

But if we are like Martha, busy and concerned about many things, how can we not worry? It can help to remember the Bread Crust.

(If you’re limited in time, fast forward to 5:31)  “The sugars in the dough caramelize in the crust. They give us that beautiful brown crust. Only the crust can caramelize. It’s the only place that gets hot enough.”

So in essence, all bread by nature is going to have a CRUST. It is protecting the rest of the bread, it’s taking the heat and covering the dough. It is sacrificing itself, in a sense, in order to keep the inner bread soft and fluffy.

HOW TO FIGHT WORRY

Remember the crust to fight worry over tomorrow. The boundaries around your day protect you from the good, the bad, and the ugly of tomorrow. You have today. You are alive. Today. You have with you today things that make you happy.

Frame of Darkness

Yesterday, maybe you had someone or something you wish were still with you today. Tomorrow you maybe hope for someone or something to be with you. But today you have today. You have life, for sure. Today is framed by the darkness of yesterday’s night and the darkness of tomorrow’s morning. Darkness surrounds today. But you have today.

This framework is from God. The Bible starts by setting out limits. Light and darkness are limited, day and night, fish and birds. And time.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,  and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. Genesis 1

Stay within the Crust

That is, our days are limited. Our days have a crust about them. Delving into tomorrow promises nothing but dissatisfaction with today. It does no good. You don’t know what it holds, but God’s got it all under control. Stay within the crust.

Dwelling on yesterday’s failures promises nothing but discouragement with today’s efforts. It does no good. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Stay within the crust.

Enjoy today to the limits, doing all you can “while it’s called today.”

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13

Time Limits and God

God defines himself as Who Was, and Is, and Is to Come.” He encompasses all time dimensions, remains the same through each mode of time.

Human beings, however, are limited by today. We shed a million cells a day, so we are always changing. (Not to mention losing 60-100 hairs per day, though God knows how many we have.) We are continually changing, growing, “metamorphasizing.” Tomorrow we are not the same person we were today. Our changeability is one reason Jesus told us to focus on today. We can’t change our height or add a single hour to our life.

Lego-Bricks of Today

Next time you feel overwhelmed by the implications of today’s actions on tomorrow, remember that if you do today RIGHT, you don’t need to worry about tomorrow. Let me double the metaphor. Tomorrow is made up of the little Lego-bricks of TODAYs.

lego-674354_1920

And if you have lived each one right, it makes a whole picture of right. And if you have lived each one

  • reading your Bible
  • praying
  • sharing your faith
  • repenting from sin
  • praising God
  • in acts of mercy and kindness,

then you’ve made a life of all the things you are meant to be doing, as Jonathan Edwards said in 1723,

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time.
Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

(He might have actually become that person he makes the supposition about.)

So let tomorrow remain in its darkness. And if tomorrow rises up against you like a Shrieking Eel, tell it to get back on the other side of the crust. All the promises of God are yours TODAY.

Work on the Brick that is today. Make TODAY the way you want your life to be. And do this one the best you can. To the edge of the crust. Then reap your reward, your daily REST. You will awake to another TODAY.

————-

see also

Scientific American Article on Enzymes and Bread Making

Science of Bread

Baking Science

dailycrust

1290 Days

ancient-1246447_1920What would you do if you knew you only had 7 years left to live?
What would you do if you knew the world had only 7 years left?

I am not Chicken Little. I shy away from any kind of “end times” prophecy like I would the Tar Baby.

A few months ago, and again the other day I was reading in Daniel, and was floored by something.

Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

Daniel 12:10-12

A note in my New Geneva Study Bible says, “the significance of these time frames is obscure,” since it is not connected to the earlier “three and a half years” prophecies. This got me thinking.

I have been to the Temple Mount, and have seen the Muslim shrine standing where Solomon’s temple used to be. IMHO, that is an abomination. I did a very little history research about this and found out something that rocked my world.

RESEARCH RESULTS

Date of Destruction of Temple of Solomon (where Ezekiel says the Spirit left.) 597* /587 BC

1290 years–>

Date of Building of the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, between AD 688 and 691

1335 years from Dome of the Rock–>

AD 2023-2026

597 BC–>1290 years –> 688-691 AD–> 1335 years –> AD 2023-2026

WHAT THIS MEANS

All of this says to me one thing–NOT that the world is ending in seven to eleven years. It asks me,

What would you do differently if you knew the world would end in seven years?

  • Would you more earnestly do and check-off things on your “Bucket List”?
  • Would you cross of unimportant things on that Bucket list?
  • Would you reconsider your life, and even your lifestyle, and make significant changes?
  • Would you stop playing that video game?
  • Would you spend more time with your family?
  • Would you spend more free time visiting with non-Christian friends and family?
  • Would you be busier storing up heavenly treasures?
  • Would your priorities and decisions be different?
  • Would you be more patient?
  • Would you be more faithful?
  • Would you be more generous with your wealth and outward estate?
  • Would you number your days?
  • Are you doing what you would want to do in your last seven years of life?
  • Are you doing what you would want to do during the last seven years of life on earth?

For one of these days, there WILL only be seven years left on earth.

END OF LIFE/ END OF THE WORLD RESOLUTIONS

Jonathan Edwards made a couple resolutions related to this:

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

and

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

and

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world.

Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour:

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24:32-44

WHAT*S WITH THE NUMBERS?

So the book of Daniel gives us numbers, and we should use them. After all, why would they be in the Bible if they were useless? Even Daniel himself saw that Jeremiah promised that Cyrus would send them back to Jerusalem 70 years after the exile.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession…  

Daniel 9:2-4

appletree

DOGMATISM vs SELF-EXAMINATION

But we cannot be dogmatic about dates and times because of Christ’s warnings (see above). Ultimately, the purpose of the dates is to stir us up. Like Daniel, it should draw us to prayer and confession and self-examination.  Scripture expects us to be wise and consider these two questions:

Action Point:
  1. Are you living life in such a way that you would not regret how you spent TODAY if the Lord returns in 2023?
  2. How do you feel about the return of Christ? When “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.'” Do you answer “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”? (Rev 22:20)
  3. We would love to read your answers in the comments below…



Notes

*1-The typical date given for the destruction of the temple is 587 BC, Babylonian documents themselves appear to date Nebuchadnezzar’s seige to 597 BC. Jeremiah states three exiles 597 “the seventh year,” 586 “the eighteenth year” and a smaller third exile after that. (See Missing Years). No one knows exactly the date for the actual destruction when the “regular burnt offering is taken away.” There was no year 0. There have been various calendar systems since ancient times. Lunar, solar, Julian, Gregorian. It is possible these changes relate to the ten missing years as well. Because of these things, the dates actually still are cloaked in mystery. Additionally, my claim that the Dome of the Rock is an abomination of desolation is just a claim. Is it “the Abomination of Desolation”? Is it one of many that will come? *2-http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-resolutions-of-jonathan-edwards