1521-2021 (Part 7): The History Written in Books and in the Book of Life
In our previous discussion, we presented various actual and possible views taken by real players and by historians in the 500-year period covered by this series. Also, we had taken liberty at providing justifiable moral, legal and ethical assessments of the words and actions of those involved in the narrative. Although not fully exhaustive, we offered a wider and more viable essential perspective of the real history of Kapuluan than we have been regaled with by academe or mainstream media. Finally, we deal with what many secular historians may have failed to thoroughly or even casually bring to our attention, an often-neglected dimension of prime importance and great significance: the view of God upon history.
How can we gain such a sublime view? Asking God in faith grants us the wisdom. (James 1:2-8)
What did the Apostles and the other ministers of God write? Essentially, these:
(1) History in the form of the life and words of Christ (The Gospels, 4 accounts of one and the same story);
(2) Chronicles of their deeds (The Acts or the life and words of those people); and
(3) Correspondence (The Letters of the Apostles and evangelists, or messages imparted to the multitudes of disciples in the 1st century).
History is written by humans, literally and figuratively. How? We know that Pigafetta wrote the chronicles of Magellan’s exploits, and other people wrote about Magellan, his crew members, his family, friends, enemies and rulers he dealt with during his earthly journey, giving an extensive narrative of his life. Anyone can write about him today, whether history, commentary or musicale — or make a mural painting of him, as Luna did. But on Judgment Day, what records will be used to determine his eternal destiny? Pigafetta’s? Other historians’? Or the whole set of archives kept in Portugal and Spain, and all the books ever written that pertain to his life and deeds? Not one of those but the one Magellan himself wrote.
One need not be a journalist or historian to write a book about one’s life. We need no pen, ink or even phone to make a short profile of our identity, address or occupation to post online. Each one of us, in general, has been conceived, born, named, raised and taught to become a conscious person who can produce a unique story worth including in the Book of Life. So, who does the writing? An angel? The Spirit of God? Yes, with each of us writing by simply living as He inspires and empowers us to us to follow His leading daily. (2 Cor. 3:2-3) The Word is the key, as we will elaborate.
When Christ told the disciples that they should rejoice not because they could cast out demons but because their names were “written in the Book of Life” (Luke 10:17-20), He implied that those who follow Him and do His will, in essence, do or act out their story in the Book of Life. He assured them that in obeying Him and applying certain powers or abilities to save people, they were made worthy to enter His heavenly Kingdom. Thus, while the Apostles wrote the Gospels or the deeds and words of Christ down, the Spirit helped them recall and understand the things they wrote. For the Apostles merely wrote the LIFE OF CHRIST on Earth, while Christ Himself wrought it through His life and words as He was empowered by the Spirit dwelling in Him. The same process allows us to write our own life into the eternal pages. Perhaps, Christ’s earthly life-story is Chapter One in the Book of Life and the rest are of those who follow His steps. After all, one of His mighty deeds was to create the Universe.
Imagine our own spirit as “tuned to the frequency” of the heavenly realm, in the same way that a phone can communicate with other phones remotely and electronically, and that every small event in our life, therefore, can be stored in some celestial drive where we each have a personal-life folder. And each file, when the time comes, can be accessed and opened (”books will be opened”) for all to read or view in FullD (not just 3D), reanimated or re-lived reality, allowing any viewer to practically experience, see and feel the life of the person who owns the file within a nanosecond. When the time comes, we will not only remember and relive any moment or experience we once had (perhaps, even the feelings of those we made happy or sad by our deeds) but also allow God and others to do so and, thus, either appreciate our faithfulness or decry our depravity. Whatever the process of recording is, we now have the responsibility to create our own personal history in the Book of Life or in the “other books”. (Rev. 10:20)
The Gospels themselves are mere records in ink or in bytes which we can read or hear today. The real events which the Apostles witnessed and later documented on parchment is what we call plain history. By the way, God the Father, the Holy Spirit and the angels (good or bad) all witnessed and believe that history. And we can also review that history through Scriptures and be led to believe it. We can easily deny it, as many do; but the evidences remain and the verdict as to its veracity depends on how we value the narrative and the evidences. However, God reserves the ultimate right, and has indeed set the time, to judge whether we pass the Course of Personal History 101 when He finally says, “Pencils up!”
In short, we can write our own life-chapter in the Book of Life according to how we live our lives and what we say or believe. God called disciples to write down His earthly life that we might know the Good News and, thus, not be led astray by fake news. Not being famous or important, many of us do not have chroniclers assigned to write our own exploits. Yet, Pigafetta was a mere chronicler; Magellan was composing his own history and, along with it, that of Kapuluan. The interactions between humans and nations make up the complex web of history we have addressed in this series. From a wider perspective, Magellan acted upon the dictates of higher powers that sent him on a global errand that would change the face of the planet historically, economically, politically, socially and spiritually. We have chronicled and evaluated the whole scheme and saw that the 3 caravels that reached Kapuluan and the 1 caravel that eventually left to complete the task carried with them the recorded history of what had transpired at the start to make the history of Kapuluan what it was and what it would turn out to be 500 years after.
Lapu-lapu, likewise, wrote his own history (and, perhaps, his chapter in the chronicles of heroes — God alone knows). So did Humabon, Elcano, Barbosa and Enrique. What we have viewed as history forms part of the foundation of the lives of millions today who live in Kapuluan and the rest of the world.
But exactly how do we write our part in the Book of Life, for those who believe in the Gospel? Or, for those who do not believe, how does one fail to include his or her name in the Book of Life? Why should anyone be left out of the Book of Life if God is a merciful and loving God? Is God unjust and favors one person and not another? And the more crucial issue: What is the process involved recording and preserving until the time when it will be read and judged in the presence of God and all humanity?
To answer those questions, we need to look at the life of our Savior for reference and precedence.
Many historians, including the Gospel-writers, serve as primary witnesses who experienced firsthand great moments in history which they confirmed and relayed to other people to consider and, perhaps, believe. By the same basic process, we believe the stories of Noah, Moses, Joseph, David, Peter, Socrates, Julius Caesar, Luther, Rizal, Gandhi, Einstein, Elvis and Michael Jordan. We have come a long way from the time when conveying information was organic, simple and arduous. We now have artificial, complex and rapid technology to allow us to observe history unfolding before our eyes. And even acquiring information is as easy as clicking a button.
And where is God in all of this? Can He tolerate our ways of doing things today without changing His mind as He did during Noah’s time when He “was sorry that He had made man on the earth” and decided to send a global Flood? And there must be a reason why He has reserved Creation for fire, as Peter wrote. (2 Pet. 3:5-7) Although that is future history, it can allow us to see the past and the present and aid us in assessing where we are and how we can make things right before He does His final acts of which He reveals both wonderful and tragic visions.
Many see Scriptures as hopelessly incompatible with the artificial (or unorganic) ways we think and act in the modern world. Our blind adherence to science and humanism created this situation – many of us often guilty. Do we really know the original ways of God, as He revealed them then and, to some extent, reveals them today? Do we still value the natural means of leading people to believe His message; that is, through the simple preaching of the word without being mesmerized by technology, and as some are doing, applying sorcery, magic, occultism and deception? And the more vital issue: Do people still accept and depend on the supernatural (or superorganic) ways that God made Himself known in the past, that is, through miracles, signs and powerful deeds that made or unmade nations and kingdoms then? Beware: Even Satan can perform signs; in fact, today he has perfected the technology to deceive more people through a lethal mix of humanism, occultism, magic and sorcery – all of which are related, if not, one and the same, but all bundled as one objective, intellect-based, world-view called science. Medicine, along with the pharma industry, is the prime area now overrun by his minions and blindly embraced by world leaders; for it has been Satan’s dominion since ancient times. (Read what Enoch wrote on this matter by clicking this link.)
We think we know organic today because many of us eat and live it? We do not. What makes us think we know superorganic? We think we have cracked the secrets of Nature and its processes? We do not. What makes us think we understand the supernatural? Solomon, of all humans in history, spent time and riches trying to understand everything he could lay his hands on. He died knowing only one thing: The matchless value of obeying God. Everything else is vanity. (Eccl. 12:8, 13-14)
What have 500 years bequeathed to us as individuals and as a nation that is worth laying down at the feet of God to show Him it was all worth the time and suffering of so many Kapuluan generations? Why had God allowed them to go through so much pain; and, as their rightful inheritors, why does He allow us to suffer the dire consequences of their exploitation by the colonizers? In hope and faith, we must strive to make things right by God. And so, our solemn task today is to write our history as individuals and as a nation called for His purposes.
Putting aside then the corrupt history of the past, how do we proceed and follow the steps the Lord took from His ministry, to His crucifixion, to His resurrection, and to His ascension? For His is the Story of Life, not a Story of Death that were the events covered in this series. To write then our part in the Book of Life the way He did, we need to consider a vital passage that summarizes the sublime process for us graphically and spiritually. In John 19:31-37, Apostle John recalls the final moment of Christ on the cross, a personal eyewitness report that we may have read so many times and still fail to fully grasp until we come to appreciate his deeply introspective and supernaturally-powerful explanation in 1 John 5:6-8.
How did Christ come by water? As a symbol for purity, abundance and power, water perfectly reflects Christ’s divine character. At the start of His ministry when John baptized Him, God acknowledged Him as His only begotten Son and gave Him the fullness of the Spirit. He was fully Son of God and God on Earth (Immanuel). So, when He told the Samaritan woman Who He was, He offered her “living water” as proof of Who He was and what He had. (John 4:10-14) Again, John confirms that picture in his vision of New Jerusalem where the “pure river of water of life . . . flowed from the throne of God and of the Lamb” and “on either side of the river was the tree of life”. This organic truth of God openly declares there is life in water, naturally and supernaturally. In the words of Peter: They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, (2 Pet. 3:5). Not only did Christ create the Earth using water, He also sustains our life today with water, and will also sustain our eternal life with the living waters from the River of Life in Heavenly Jerusalem.
John says that there are three that bear witness on Earth: “the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one”. He did bear witness – as eyewitness — to Christ’s work and to His death, but John never claimed he was another witness along with those 3. For at the final scene of the crucifixion, John saw how a Roman soldier pierced His heart with a spear, a coup de grace to make sure the execution was complete. Christ had given up His Spirit to the Father and expired; but for the Romans, until the blood was given up as well and flowed out and spilled on the ground, the job was not done. And dying was not enough for Christ to accomplish what He also came to do. He had to do something supremely important to let the world know He was the Mighty Son of God and the Sole Savior of the world.
But back to Eden for a while.
When God cursed the ground for Adam’s sake because of his sin, He prepared the ground to receive Adam back for that is where he had come from. Everything he was physically came from physical or organic Creation, the handiwork of God. His body was living soil, Adamah, Hebrew for ground or earth. But his spirit came from God, the likeness or image of God giving Adam life, knowledge, understanding and abilities that accompanied the union of body and spirit. So it was for Eve; and as an extension, their union in marriage multiplied their beings and abilities so many times that they could not only reproduce their own kind but that they could also be like gods ruling the Earth with both organic or natural abilities and superorganic or supernatural abilities. As pure children of God, their potential, individually and together was unlimited. God expected it of them. Hence, God’s disappointment when they sinned. Their bodies became dying soil ready to return to the corrupted ground. Perhaps, we can say their aging, dying bodies could not be properly recycled as it is (decaying matter) by an uncursed, pure ground; hence, the curse, which we now see as a merciful act of God prior to the time of refreshing which Isaiah would prophesy about. (Isaiah 28:5-13)
But within Adam and Eve’s bodies dwelt not just the life-force or spirit given by God – the spiritual or superorganic aspect of humans. In their veins flowed the life of the body: blood. As long as the spirit is in the body, the heart pumps the blood. Once it leaves, the heart and the blood stop. The once-living soil becomes dead as soil (Adam having been dead soil as well before God breather life into him) — decomposing, organic or biological matter. God alone has the right to inflict death. Cain killed Abel, thinking no one saw him do it. God accused Cain of shedding innocent blood which cried out of the ground. Later on, when humans learned to murder and multiplied their murderous ways in Noah’s time, God wiped them off (the murderers) from the face of the Earth. He used water to cleanse the Earth of evil, although the blood that flowed out of human veins remained on the ground. Not only had the ground been cursed, humans even added the fruits of their evil deeds by killing their brothers and sisters, all children of Adam and Eve. Not only was the ground wet with innocent blood, it was covered and burdened by corpses, either murdered or devoured by animals and wicked cannibals. Who would look at the world with pride and joy at such things? God did not.
After the Flood, humans went back to their evil ways. God finally sent His Son to undo the works of Satan. To do so, Christ had to give up His own life and spill His blood on the ground like Abel did and many other innocent souls. All the blood ever spilt was as cursed as the ground, by virtue of Adam’s curse. Only Christ’s blood was pure and not corrupted. Even His body did not decay. Another Flood was not needed. And before fire would finally come, saving blood had to flow upon the ground.
Hence, John witnessed the moment when Christ gave up the Spirit and when He spilt His blood on the ground. And along with the blood, water also flowed. Medically, it means a person is already dead when the water separates from the blood. All three, the Spirit, the water and the blood are witnesses on Earth, while the Father, the Word and the Spirit are witness in Heaven. We, therefore, have 5 power-laden witnesses to affirm what we write on the Book of Life (for the Spirit has been given to humans). For most people think of the first 2 as mere physical evidences, no better than John’s witness itself, that Christ died – which He did and which we believe. But John was serving witness to a deeper truth and process we must all understand in order for us to write our own life-story properly.
For just as water flowed up from the depths and from the skies to cause the Great Flood, the water from Christ’s veins had to flow out and down to cleanse the Earth from the curse, both physically and spiritually, both naturally and supernaturally. The curse upon the land was both physical and spiritual. Adam would die and return to dust and his spirit would return to God. The absence of the spirit is obviously physical, because a person loses his being, which is hard to accept for unbelieving, sight-based scientists and people. Likewise, it is spiritual because it is a result of sin. Again, sin is physically manifested in many ways; but morally-blind people cannot see it. The Flood was not Living Water but Cleansing Water to remove corrupt, sinful beings on the Earth – making it Killing Water, but Saving Water for Noah and his family. The curse remained until Living Water from Christ would remove the curse and renew the Earth by divine power, organically and superorganically. Also, to wash the sins of those faithful who had died and gone back to the ground, the Pure Blood from His body had to flow upon the ground, for God had required blood to flow to remove sin, through pure, organic animal sacrifices and, finally, the perfect, superorganic sacrifice of the Son of God. (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22) How this happened exactly, we cannot know; He just did it as John witnessed. Remember that after He had died, many “saints” rose from their graves around Jerusalem. (Matt. 27:51-53) Prime and fresh proof of Adam’s curse being undone and of washing of sins: Resurrection of the faithful dead. If that is not supernatural power in the Living Water and Living Blood that flows from Christ, then we do not know what is.
To all these the Spirit, the Spiritual Blood flowing (and Whom we drink figuratively of as we live in Him) in the Spiritual Body (redeemed believers) of Christ on Earth, serves as Divine Living Witness on Earth working out the glorious of salvation that the Father, the Son and the Spirit had agreed to accomplish for humans before the creation of the Universe. What He did in the life of Christ, he continuous to accomplish in our individual lives today until the end of time. As He empowered Christ in His life during His ministry, He will empower us in our life on Earth and for eternity. And in the end, the Father, the Son and the Spirit will reign over the Kingdom redeemed and delivered by Christ into Heaven. This is history in all its encompassing glory.
Those whom Christ resurrected then at His death served as the initial signal of greater deeds and spiritual realities that were still to come as Christ completed His ministry on Earth and empowered the disciples to deliver the Good News. How then should we offer own body, soul and spirit to become instruments for the continuing work of God to perfect His Kingdom on Earth? For that is what Christ came to establish and did so through the Apostles. As citizens of Heaven and of the Kingdom on Earth, believers have the duty to promote His truth and not some false religion or corrupt faith-system.
A final word about John’s crucial witness.
What made John a faithful eyewitness and credible historian? Not only that he was there at the center of events as they happened but that he also knew and understood their meanings and the reasons why they happened. Although he also struggled through the process of learning and fully grasping his role and his responsibility as historian, as teacher and as evangelist, he possessed the right tools to make him the best person for the job. His closeness to the Lord gave him primary advantage, reinforced by the fact that he spent 3 years almost from the start of the Lord’s ministry to the very end, and beyond. The other vital tool he possessed came in the form of supernatural powers and abilities given by the Spirit to equip him to bring the message forth: gifts of healing, tongues, revealed knowledge, visions, prophecy and discernment. He may have had all of those or even more; but those were some of the abilities granted to the Apostles as first ambassadors of Christ. (I Cor. 12) Moreover, some claim that John’s facility in Greek improved over time as he wrote the Gospel, his letters and the Book of Revelation. He may have written them in reverse order, as some scholars glean from his Greek grammar.
Historians strive to derive the same goals that John had in their effort to relay the past and to highlight the principles that have value in the present. Obviously, no other person can claim such abilities, tools and proficiency in finally releasing the final copy as John had in his accounts, whether we talk of secular or non-secular history. Hence, the weight of his words and the depth of wisdom they contain must not be taken lightly or seen as pure myth. For the greatest advantage John had over the other Apostles and, perhaps, over us all, was the fact that he was the disciple “whom Jesus loved”, to the point that even if He had decided to keep John till His return, no one could have doubted or questioned Him — certainly not Peter. (John 21:20-23)
No, John was not special; he was simply favored, like Noah was. And there was a just reason for the favor: The Lord was preparing John to receive deep insight and mysteries not given to most of the Apostles (he may have been the man Paul boasted of who had reached the 3rd Heaven). His closeness to Christ allowed him to lean upon the bosom of Christ at the Passover meal, to find out who the betrayer was. And later, even when he trembled and melted at the sight of the Christ as Majestic King surrounded by mighty angels in Heaven and speaking with a fiery sword from His mouth, he was favored with revelation shrouded in mystery for centuries and only slowly being unraveled in God’s time as the end approaches. Christ did favor John for the sake of all humans. As an ordinary fisherman who became a writer-evangelist, God had merely prepared and equipped him, along with the rest, under the tutelage of the Only Real Master for a divine task, which was to also prepare and equip others to do the same job till Christ returns.
For John wrote about the whole history of the world from its beginning to its final end. Yes, even future history! He could not have done the latter without receiving it from Christ right there in Heaven. Any historian who can match that without using Google, a physical library or even John’s writings could sit beside him. Although the Bible was written by about 40 writers, John’s writings stand higher in terms of wisdom and significance to us in the present and the future. Today, we could be seeing the unfolding of the final few chapters of world history. How amazing is it for us to have the privilege to witness these events as they all fall into place according to John’s revelation. Many, of course, have given their interpretations of John’s words in their own unique personal ways. So much so that unconvinced or disheartened scoffers continue to laugh and wonder whether the promised return of Christ will ever come. As in the days before the World under Flood, so it is before the World on Fire.
Maybe God has angels writing the entire Book of the Universe and the things ever done in it through time. But Google is enough for any person to do personal search today to gain enough wisdom. We cannot be like John given the privilege of visiting Heaven to find out the world’s destiny. But it is every person’s duty to God and to self to discover how we can write an acceptable life story. We have provided certain truths of how God designated certain things as organic and super-organic depositories of Christ’s work. We need not fear that all the good we do for God and others will be forgotten or not appreciated. Along with those who made our lives miserable or who led us astray from God, we will stand in front of God on Judgment Day and stand trial. All the world’s books will be closed as Earth’s history finally closes. Writers will stop writing. Scholars will cease studying. The wealthy will no longer stand proud. Rulers will stop calling the shots. For all knees shall be bowed before Christ and His perfect and full majesty. Then history itself, big and small, will be judged. Then, only then will the heavenly books be opened. And who will be the witnesses? We ourselves by the things we wrote with our body, blood and spirit. Our reward may vary according to what we did with our gifts. For 1 talent gained, a talent’s worth of reward. For 5 talents gained, their worth in reward and even more. But for those whose names are not in the Book of Life, eternal punishment. (Matt. 25:14–30)
Each of us is given a chance in life. God’s grace is unbounded. Only our faith or unbelief can limit it. But with Satan’s interference, our efforts may fail as they often do. One of the life-hack tools available for us involves knowing God’s enemies, as John and the rest also wrote. We have enumerated some of those enemies throughout Kapuluan’s 500-year sojourn. And though we may all be life-writers tutored or supernaturally written by the Spirit just like the disciples then (2 Cor. 3:2-3), there are history writers among us who do make books for reading while we live on Earth. It takes diligence to write, but so does reading. If we do not read now and beautify our life, who would read the beauty of our own life story with joy and pride in the end? God waits for that pleasure from each and every soul.
(Illustration above: Mosaic of images courtesy of www.slideshare.com and www.worldpaperflare.com.)