The world is fatally dangerous and undesirable for humanity and yet it is the most loved planet by the same entire humanity. The reason humans fear death is their attachment to the world’s corrupt conditions. Ordinary humans are aware of the impending death but are always surprised at its arrival. The reason for God to send His only begotten Son to die was not for the splendour of the scenery and its mineral resources. It was for the redemption of humanity.
But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:6-9 NIV).
The other purpose of Jesus coming to identify with sinful humanity was to reveal the mystery of humanity. The above Scripture is Key in revealing the significance of humanity. Initially fashioned to be a little lower than the angels, the same humanity was crowned with glory and honour above the physical creation. The only time that Jesus was similarly considered lower than the angels was during His sojourn on this planet.
Jesus’ thirty-three-and-a-half-year appearance on this planet is what the above author describes as a little season. Otherwise, there was never a time that Jesus ever became a little lower than the angels. The moulding of humanity a little lower than the angels is manifested in Adam. The death of Jesus and His subsequent crowning is what fulfilled the crowning of humanity. Earth is, itself, like a prison for humanity.
The unquenchable desire for humanity is to survive, but the same humanity is stuck on pursuing activities that lead towards death. The behaviour of physical humans is Earthly, as to attract death and rotting. Any organic material is subject to rotting to fertilize the soil. This includes the condition of physical humanity, likened to animal species, yet different.
Normally, humanity is above everything physical, including the earth, but certainly, below the angels. Laws of nature govern this world. A person can be blissfully happy when aware of the key towards happiness. He reduces himself to sorrow when unknowingly adopting the opposite of happiness.
One of the greatest laws of attaining happiness is doing unto others as one likes them to do to him. This datum is true. When smiling at another person, you naturally receive a smile in return. If you greet another person, he responds by showing appreciation. Humans display a natural capacity to reciprocate whatever love is extended towards them.
The proverbial law of reaping what one sows, is axiomatically accurate. All bad things are a result of not applying the altruistic philosophy. That condition induces the effects of the earthly condition. Death and rotting are driven by an appetite for regenerative cycles. Death benefits the earth, while a loss to those alive.
Every individual aims to survive longer. But the question of how long, can be tricky. In an endeavour to survive, humans inflict harm on other fellow humans. Conversely, the law governing this universe demands doing unto others as one would like them to do unto him.
The Book of Proverbs states that there is a way that seems right to a man but ends with death (Proverbs 14:12). A perfect example is a war situation, taking away precious lives. Those engaged in war, desire surviving, but causing many lives to perish. The more the appetite for survival, the more the trajectory towards demise, by those involved.
Zimbabwe experienced an interesting development, beginning year 2000. The appetite for violent land acquisition was endemic. This was considered justified, especially, by former fighters in the liberation struggle, which took away lives more than assumed the war was justified. Did the forceful land acquisition produce the required results? The answer is there for everyone to see.
Only the wise can learn from the Zimbabwean experience. Otherwise, the unintelligent continue to repeat the same mistake, over and over again, but expecting different results. Harming others, justified or not justified, brings the opposite of what is aimed. The laws of nature are highly effective in governing this universe. Whatever harmful treatment committed to others, will boomerang.
The problem starts with assuming that physical existence is ultimate survival. However, this physical life signifies a death condition. A person assumes being privileged when existing up to a century, without having done anything good to others. Was Jesus disadvantaged, having lived less than thirty-five years?
Life is not about longevity, but about what one does to others in his brief existence on earth. Our iconic hero, Nelson Mandela, identified three characters representing those privileged to live on this planet. The first, regardless of how long he lives, gets forgotten about, after death, as if he never existed.
The second represents those living but remembered for their evil deeds. The third character represents those living, even for a short period, but remembered for their good deeds in other people’s lives. Of the three characters, anyone is free to choose who to be identified with.
If Jesus’ brief appearance was not a privilege, where is His greatness coming from, after approximately two thousand years? What benefit is there for anyone having lived a century, but having done nothing deserving of any praise? This kind of confusion is a result of improperly defining death, for humanity, which the apostle Paul describes as gain (Philippians 1:21).
Death is indeed a gain to those having received the blessing of Christianity. But death is certainly viewed as a disadvantage to those of this world. To those having received grace, it is unnecessary to remain in the physical body with all its inconveniences. To those aware of being aware, this life is, actually, a condition of prison. Death for humanity was accurately defined in Genesis:
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:16-17 NIV).
Genesis 5:5 shows that altogether Adam lived 930 years, before his burial. But the above Scripture reveals that Adam died immediately after eating the wrong fruit. Adam’s longevity aspect is immaterial. He died on the day that he ate the wrong fruit. That death condition subjected him to the uncomfortable state of humanity, as currently experienced.
To Adam, he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17:19 NIV).
The above pronouncement of death is also a description of life to the uninformed humanity. Whatever is observed, of humanity, is according to the pattern delineated in the above Scripture. Anyone can be ecstatic in assuming to be superior but remain under the death condition. Cain was the first to hallucinate pleasure after murdering his brother (Genesis 4:3-14).
“So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labour under the sun. For a person may labour with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labour under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:20-23 NIV).
It may be impossible to convince some people that there can exist anything better than this world. The Rich man, who provided Lazarus with hand-outs, at his gate, couldn’t imagine anything better than his life conditions. He was blind to the reality of death. Physical life has never been guaranteed for eternity. As the above Scripture shows, the physical life’s temporary nature cannot be worthwhile.
The Prodigal Son, who prematurely squandered his inheritance, could narrate how unwise behaving in that manner was. His enjoyment was temporary, before submerging in a miserable condition. He was lucky to survive before finding his way back to his father, albeit in a shameful condition.
He could have died without meeting his father. The parable provides another illustration of how useless life can be, without carefully analyzing its significance. There is more to life than assuming being physical. The key lies in appreciating the significance of having been created in God’s image.
Jesus is the model of the purpose of existing in this life. There was no condition in being created in God’s image. But the only condition that exists, as coming from a sinful condition is repentance, which cannot be viewed as easy. Repentance is as difficult as a matter of life and death. Repentance signifies surrendering everything to do with this life.
Jesus asserted that one can’t be His disciple when unwilling to surrender everything. The new life in Jesus guarantees what can never be imagined by the person concerned. When the Prodigal Son decided to return to his father, he did not anticipate being accepted as a Son. He would have been more comfortable being taken in as one of the servants. But his father surprised him by treating him as an important guest.
When accorded the privilege of being God’s child, one can no longer entertain being stuck on the temporary promises of this world. We have to explore the reason why the Jews could not entertain the idea of anyone in this world to call himself God’s child. Jesus was killed for calling Himself God’s child.
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? (John 20:31-36 NIV).
The above reveals the cause for the Jews desiring to stone Jesus, which may probably be still with us, today. Calling oneself God’s child could be another way of condemning oneself to be labelled a cult, in some circles. This is notwithstanding the Scriptures that attest to that reality. The majority of Christians believe that Jesus is the only Son of God, who cannot be matched with anyone in this world.
Those Christians are emasculated into believing the doctrine of the Trinity. The authoritarian condition in the Christian world enforces this falsehood. This makes it impossible for ordinary people to ever call themselves God’s children without being labeled heretic. In other words, by calling oneself God’s Son, one is considered blasphemous, viewed as equating himself with Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless, the incredible human potential includes the possibility of humanity becoming like God. This cannot be a new revelation, as the Book of Genesis highlights the creation of humaans in God’s image. It would be a question of not duplicating what God’s image means, by those concerned. This is primarily the purpose for which Jesus came into this world, to be the way the truth and the life.
Salvaging humanity from the death condition was the business of Jesus. It is still the business of Jesus, through His true servants, to bring as many people as possible into His Kingdom. It may be impossible to salvage those remaining stuck in the common deception. But it is hoped that through this work, a few might appreciate and heed God’s calling. God’s truth is in abundance to those who are sincere Christians.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
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