From The Christian Church in the Last Days
Why did the world reject Jesus during His first advent as Messiah? One basic answer is that the religious leadership in Jerusalem and a large portion of the populace had their vision focused horizontally. Some portion of the populace followed Jesus because they wanted a free meal (Jn. 6:26) and to witness the novelty of miracles (Lk. 23:8).
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes thought that the removal of Jesus of Nazareth, who showed no signs of leading a successful Jewish military revolt against the Roman occupation of their country according to their expectations, was best achieved through the ignominious death by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. They had no concept of the mission of the messiah as outlined in Isaiah 61:1-2 and no desire for a new covenant gospel message of hope and peace that would offer genuine freedom to the entire world. This was above their temporal and worldly comprehension.
The disciples, on the other hand, are on the opposite end of the horizontally flat vision- spectrum. Their individual hopes and plans are crushed by the trial, death, and burial of the one they believed to be the long-promised Messiah for Israel. They wondered if they had somehow made a mistake in following Jesus. It is probably not fair to say that the disciples should have known better. God arranged events with such precision that the hopes and dreams of the disciples were dependent upon the miracle of a resurrection of Jesus that was not even within their contemplation.
The eternal salvation for mankind and the disappointing heartbreak of the disciples were both contained within the exact same cross and resurrection events. God had to raise their vision above the horizontal, and it took the most sublimely brilliant, imaginative action composed and orchestrated by God that also contained a painful separation of the disciples from their own mindset, their self-will, and way they expected things to turn out.
In short, the divine love that is contained within the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ extends into our daily lives through a God-composed journey of faith far above the horizontally conventional. This is a truth of such monumental importance and application that it must not be surrendered, misplaced, set aside, lost, or become partially out of focus for the Christian in the last days.
Someone may ask at this point, how do the narrative stories and examples in the Bible relate to me, and to the modern-day Christian church? I get up in the morning, go to work, and come home to my wife and children each day, so how do the inspirational stories of the biblical superstars of the faith relate to me in my desire to obtain vertical vision as a Christian? How can God integrate His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9) into the ordinary conventional routine of my daily life?
The answer is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, learning to listen in the Spirit, studying the Bible daily, and a willingness to follow the leadership of Jesus within the events and circumstances of our uniquely individual lives. Like the example of playing catch with a baseball, we get better with practice. But unless we are throwing the ball straight up and catching it by ourselves when it comes back down, we need a minimum of two people for a game of catch.
To enter into a biblical style journey of faith having vertical vision, this requires the unmistakably supernatural participation of the living God. This is the reality for new covenant, Spirit-born Christians that is promised through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13).
The solutions to the challenges facing Christians and the Christian church in the last days are found in raising our vision upward toward Jesus Christ in faith and trust. The answers to the upcoming challenges of the end-times are found in the fully committed approach taken by the three young Hebrews confronted with the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:18), Daniel in the lion’s den (Dan. 6:22), and Esther in attempting to be the instrument of God to save her people (Est. 4:16).
These are not ancient myths. This is not man-invented folklore. The opportunity to likewise exercise our faith, to walk in the Spirit, and to be “in Christ” in this broken world in the middle of the unprecedented world-shaking events of the last days, is a privilege, a calling, and an honor beyond reckoning. The theme of this book is to illuminate and clarify this vision of seeing above the horizontal through faith in Christ. An understanding of the role of a collective adventure of faith through the cross for the entire Christian church as a group, composed and orchestrated by God in a way that is above and beyond human invention, is another key truth leading to our success as overcomers in the upcoming end-times events.