Everyone loves secrets. Whisper a secret to a child, and immediately his eyes light up. However, children don’t have a corner on the secrets market. Adults love to hear secrets almost as much as children love to tell them.
God has secrets—boy, does He have secrets! As if we didn’t know this already, the Bible tells us so.“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
The funny thing about God’s secrets is that he isn’t averse to telling us some of them. He told Abraham before he even had a son that his heirs would be held captive in a foreign land for many years. Genesis 15:13, “Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.”
God told Moses He would send His Prophet at some point in the future, and Moses shared this secret with the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:15, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.”
When God came in the flesh in the person of Jesus, He revealed His secrets in a form mankind had never seen before. John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
Jesus revealed many secrets to his disciples. He even revealed explicit details about his upcoming death. Matthew 20:18-19, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
While we may be quick to criticize the disciples for ignoring all the secrets Jesus revealed about his death, the Lord has also revealed some secrets to believers living on this side of the cross. First and foremost, Jesus told us His future plans. Matthew 16:27, “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”
In the same way Jesus revealed His death to His disciples, He’s made known His second coming to all believers. He said, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31)
God even gave us a promise about His secrets: “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)
Every secret God wants us to know, He’s already revealed through his prophets. And, in His grace, He made sure those of us living in 2015 would have access to those secrets because He had His prophets write them down.
Wanna know a secret? Just read His Word. There you’ll find the best-kept secrets!
The “bell” is a hand-sized figurine of an angel gazing at a bird in her hands–not exactly the sort of thing an eleven-year old boy usually wants. However, there’s a small clapper in the hollow of the figurine, and when he grasps the head of the angel and shakes it, the high-pitched sound is loud enough to be heard throughout the house.
I’ve had the bell for a number of years—it was given to me by a Bible study group—and a few years ago, I decided to put it to good use. Now, whenever anyone in my household gets sick, I put the bell within easy reach of their bedside. That way, if they need something, I can be summoned to their side.
My mother, who was in a wheelchair during the last years of her life, had to use the bell a lot more than most family members. Whenever she did, she would apologize for having to ring the bell. “It’s nice to have an angel when I need help,” she’d say, “but I hate to be a bother.”
My grandson, though, voiced no such sentiment when he rang the bell.
He rang it just to see if I could hear him ringing it. He rang it to ask for a drink, a cracker, a bowl of ice cream. He rang it to call attention to something on the television screen. He rang it to ask for a bowl of ice cream. He rang it because he said he was bored. He rang it to tell me he was happy to be at my house and not in school.
God also has a bell. He calls it prayer. Whenever I ring His angel bell, He’s at my side immediately. Sometimes, I think I’m using it too often, and I need to apologize. “I’m so sorry I have to ask for this again. I’m so sorry I can’t remember what you told me. I’m so sorry I have to ask forgiveness for this sin.”
However, at other times, I act just like my grandson. I ring it often and long, and I’m continually asking for something that I don’t even need. But, like a grandma who’s just happy her grandson wants to have her at his side, God doesn’t mind when He hears the angel bell ringing. He’s delighted His children want to spend time with Him, even if it’s just to ask Him for something. He’s happy His children believe He’s the answer to everything that matters.
He’s always overjoyed to hear that bell ringing! Ring away!
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
In the Old Testament, he gave the Israelites seven festivals of celebration each year. That’s a lot of celebrating! However, each festival was also a means of remembering the awesomeness of God and an occasion for teaching about the holiness of God.
In the New Testament, Jesus told his followers to celebrate the meaning of the cross and to do so by using unleavened bread and wine to remember his broken body and his shed blood. Unlike the seven celebrations of the Old Testament festivals, Jesus gave no restrictions on the number of times we could celebrate this event–“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26.
I recently celebrated the day I was born. Although I didn’t feel any differently on March 31st, than I did on March 30th, I marked it as special and didn’t treat it as an ordinary day.
Christians and Jews alike mark this week as special, but for Christians, the most important day this week will be celebrated on Sunday. If this spectacular event—which took place on Sunday some 2,000 years ago—had not happened, then this week would mean nothing. There would be absolutely nothing about this week to mark it as special. Why celebrate the death of a man who claimed to be God? Disillusioned people die every single day.
But this man, this Jesus, who said he was God, who claimed that He and Jehovah were one and the same, backed up those claims by coming back to life. After being pronounced dead, wrapped in a shroud, and placed in a borrowed tomb, He showed himself alive to over 500 people.
While certainly spectacular, resurrections from the dead had occurred before Jesus’ death and even occurred afterward–by His hand and power. But, whereas others resurrected from the dead later died, never to be alive on this earth again, Jesus ever lives!
“Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
More importantly—at least for me personally—is the reason behind his intercession for me. The death he died on the cross was the punishment I deserved, both for my sinful nature and for my own willful sins. By accepting Jesus as The One who died in my place, as The One willing to intercede for me before God, I too will be granted eternal life. “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Now, that’s a reason to celebrate!