Here at Last, at Stage #1…

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At Stage 1

Here at Last, at Stage #1

Well, we have finally arrived at Stage #1—the place where the Bible:  the Love Story of the Ages will soon begin to unfold before us.  As we depart from the Truth Train, let’s be sure to carry with us the Program Guides that we were given on the most recent leg of our journey.  We will find that, as we watch the many smaller stories of the Bible being acted out on the Earthly Stage before us, these Guides will help us make sense of the One Big Story which will be taking place simultaneously on the Heavenly Stage above us.  So, please find a good seat and make yourselves as comfortable as possible, because it is likely that we will remain at this stage for some time.  That’s because the portion of the Bible Story which will be covered here is one of the most important ones of the entire production—so we dare not hurry through it.

As we learned in the video, “The Bible:  the Story Behind the Story,” Act 1 is all about the Love Story that takes place between God and Israel; a Story with its beginnings in eternity past, when God, who is Love, purposed to have a family of His own to love.  It was for this purpose that He created the world and the people living in it—people who, as they continued to multiply, would eventually develop into the nations from which Israel, God’s intended wife, would come.  When Act 1 opens, however, Israel doesn’t even exist yet, so it stands to reason that everything which takes place in its opening scene will be for the purpose of bringing her onto the center stage of this very human yet cosmic drama.

Here, then, is a summary of what we will find taking place in Act 1, Scene 1where we will be introduced to God, in His role as the Celestial Suitor: 

In this opening scene, we will witness God’s creation of a world full of nations out of nothing.  It will be from these nations that He will eventually choose one, Israel, for His own—to be His “wife.”  The process by which this takes place is illustrated for us through the use of 9 Vignettes, or mini-stories, in which the most significant parts are acted out for us.  These vignettes will cover:

1 – The creation of the world;
2 – The creation of man and woman;
3 – Their sin and fall from grace;
      The consequences of their sin:
4 – Personally,
5 – In their family, and
6 – In society at large;
7 – The judgment on their sin during the Flood;
8 – The “New” World after the Flood; and,
9 – Mankind’s On-Going Rebellion and its Judgment. 

As Vignette #9 ends, and as we look forward to the beginning of Act 1, Scene 2 and the entrance of Abram/Abraham onto the stage of our Story, we will also be introduced to another character—a very elusive, oftentimes invisible one—who will play a very significant part throughout the remainder of the Story.  Her name is Mystery Babylon, and she is the corporate embodiment of the false religious system that will be established at Babel, and which will eventually become dispersed among the newly formed nations.  To be identified later on as “the great prostitute and the mother of all of earth’s abominations (Rev. 17:5),” Mystery Babylon’s role in the story will be that of the consort of Satan, God’s enemy; and, as his companion, she will be one of his most effective enticements for pulling people away from a relationship with the One True God. 

Open Bible

Be Sure to Keep Your Bible Handy

Of course, in order for us to get the most out of this Story, we will need to keep our Bibles handy at all times; that way, we can first read through the passages that will be covered in each upcoming Vignette; and then, we will be able to refer back to them if or when we get to any points in the Story that we may not understand.

One of the best ways that I have found to understand—or, to “navigate” through—Genesis 1-11—is just to “surf” it.  Now “Surfing Genesis” may seem like a rather crazy concept to apply to Bible study, but I think that you will find it is one that works, plus it is really easy to understand.  You see, in much the same way that we would “surf the web” for information—first going to a website and then clicking on one “link” after another, until we finally get to the information we are looking for—as we begin our study of Genesis, we will go to the first “site” of its action, that is, to Chapter 1, and look for the most important piece of information contained there.  This information, in verse form, will then become the “link” which will carry us to the action awaiting us in next chapter.

Surfing Geneses

Surfing Genesis is Like Surfing the Web

 

In other words: 

In Chapter 1————if we click on the creation of man, mentioned in verse 27, it will become the link that connects us to an expanded explanation of that event, taking place in Chapter 2.

In Chapter 2————if we click on the prohibition pronounced in verses 16-17, and the “one flesh” mentioned in verses 23-24, these will become links to the action that is about to happen in Chapter 3.

In Chapter 3————if we click on the promise of a redeemer mentioned in verse 15, and the animal skins and sacrifice for sins mentioned in verse 21, these will link us to the significant events coming up in Chapter 4.

In Chapter 4————if we click on the birth of Seth mentioned in verse 25, and go back to Chapter 2, verse 17, where we find the promise of death, these will provide us with the links we need to take us to Chapter 5.

In Chapter 5————if we click on Noah’s birth mentioned in verses 28-29, this will link us to the events coming up in Chapter 6.

In Chapter 6————if we click on God’s grace to Noah mentioned in verse 8, and the corruption of the earth mentioned in verses 11-12, these will be our links to Chapter 7.

In Chapter 7————if we click on the remnant alive in the ark mentioned in verse 23, this will become our link to Chapter 8.

In Chapter 8————if we click on God’s covenant with creation mentioned in verses 20-22, this will take us to Chapter 9.

In Chapter 9————if we click on the sons of Noah mentioned in verses 18-19, these will link us to Chapter 10.

In Chapter 10———-if we click on the descendants of Noah mentioned in verse 32, this will provide the connecting link to Chapter 11.  And…

In Chapter 11———-if we click on Terah and Abram mentioned in verses 31-32, these will become our links to Chapter 12. 

Now that we know a little about what to expect, and how to follow the line of connection between each of the chapters covered in the upcoming Vignettes, let’s prepare ourselves by opening our Bibles and reading Genesis 1 – Genesis 2:3.  We need to ready ourselves because the lights are starting to go down, while the orchestra is starting to tune up—meaning that it is finally time for the curtain to rise on our Story!

 

Smiley Face with Earphones2This little video will provide us with a good review of what we have learned so far, as well as a good preview of what is coming up next—so please take a few minutes to view it.

 

 

New to His Truth, My Voice?

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Hi, and welcome to His Truth, My Voice!  My name is Judy Roberts and since January, 2014, I have been leading a study tour of the Bible which is unique in at least two ways. First, it is a Rocking and Rolling train trip through the Word of God–a trip which is taking us deep into the Land of Revelation Knowledge.  Second, upon our arrival in the Land of Revelation Knowledge, we began having the Bible presented to us as a Love Story in the format of a stage play.  All Aboard

Horatio, our travel agent, would like you to know that you can join the tour at any time; however, to get the most benefit from it, he suggests that you go back and catch up on as much of the preparatory work that we have done as possible.  Toward that end, he thinks that it would be a good idea–when you have the time–to start with the January 30, 2014 reflection, For Every Thing There is a Season…There’s Even One to Rock and Roll, and read forward.   To make things a little easier, here are the links to those posts, arranged in chronological order:

For Everything There is a Season…There’s Even One to Rock and Roll
Some Tips for Our Trip Through the Word
All Aboard…For Salvation!
Next Stop…New Birth!
Now…On to the Welcome Center of the Word
More About the Bible…From Booth #1
Time Out for a Baggage Check at Booth #2
Mapping Out the Land of Revelation Knowledge
Time Out for a Vision Check at Booth #4
Meeting Our Guide, and Getting Connected to His SPS
Let’s Recap, Rethink, Replace–and Then Resume
Making the Most of Our Travel Time
All the World’s a Stage, and Life its Cosmic Drama
Here at Last, at Stage #1…
…Where it is Showtime for God’s One Big Story!
Between the Vignettes
The Capstone of God’s Creation
Another Learning Interlude
The Perils of Personal Autonomy
Fundamentals of the Fall
The Fruit of the Fall
Sowing, Reaping, and the Nature of the Two Trees
Fruit Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree
Closing the Case on Cain and Abel
Vignette #5:  Our Lineup to the Flood
Searching for Truth in the First Book of Begats
But Noah…
Obedience Doesn’t Come Cheap
The Washing of the World
God Remembers…
Beginning Again…
A New World, An Old Nature 

Blessing, Cursing, and Big Time Rebellion
More Blessing, Cursing, and Big Time Rebellion
The Biblical Overture

 

It is so nice to have you with us and, oh yeah…Welcome aboard!

All the World’s a Stage–and Life its Cosmic Drama

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William Shakespeare

The Bard, William Shakespeare

Having just gone over the presentation of the Bible as a story, the program guide for that story, and the process by which that story will be presented to us—and, since we are rapidly approaching the first of the fourteen stages upon which our story will be presented—let’s use the few minutes we have before we arrive there to try and solidify in our minds the overall concept behind the production that we are about to witness.  The best way I know to do that is to draw upon what may seem like a rather unusual resource for instruction in Bible study, and that is the works of William Shakespeare.

It may come as something of a surprise to learn that there are two things that we can appropriate from Shakespeare’s works that will greatly aid us in our understanding of the Bible.  The first of these is Shakespeare’s view of or observation on life; something he makes known to us through the words spoken by Jaques, one of his characters in the comedy, “As You Like It.”  Jaques is the somewhat melancholy and philosophical traveler who pops up here and there in the forest of Arden, where much of the action of the story takes place.  On one such occasion, we find Jaques in the company of his lord, Duke Senior, a nobleman who is living in exile in the forest, and someone who—after meeting a hungry young man named Orlando—comments to his forlorn companion:

Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy.  This wide and universal theater presents more woeful pageants than the scene wherein we play.

It is in response to this statement that Jaques waxes his most philosophical, and mouths the now famous, and probably the most often quoted, of Shakespeare’s lines:

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts…

All the World's a Stage

Shakespeare’s Oft-Quoted Lines from “As You Like It”

Jaques then goes on to elaborate on these “many parts” by describing, in the monologue which follows, the roles in life that men (generically speaking) play as they go from birth to old age.

When these words were spoken, I am not sure if Jaques—that is, Shakespeare—knew of the real implication or importance of his remarks.  Certainly, being the student of human nature that he was, he was well aware that each of us, upon birth, makes an entrance into life on a small, very limited stage, where we play a variety of roles—those of son, daughter, sister, brother, grandchild, niece, nephew, or friend—only to have these roles reversed with the passage of time, until we find ourselves acting out the roles of father, mother, grandparent, aunt, or uncle to the next generation of players who are rising to take their places on their very own stages in life.  But, was it to these smaller stages and roles in life that Shakespeare was referring; or was he really aware of, and speaking about, the larger cosmic or heavenly stage upon which we all, at various times, play a contributing part?  While we may never know for sure the answer to that question, what we can be certain of is this:  that when we learn to view the world of the Bible as an earthly stage, upon which the people within its pages become very real human actors, the Bible will suddenly begin to make sense to us in ways that we never thought possible.

As for the other thing that we can borrow from Shakespeare’s works, it is his often-used theatrical device of a “play-within-a-play,” or a “story-within-a-story.”  Although this device isn’t something that originated with Shakespeare, it was a tool that he used to great effect in many of his plays, including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” and “Hamlet.”  Sometimes, he used the scheme of inner plays and stories for the sole purpose of entertaining his audiences; and, at other times, he used it to provide his characters with examples or object lessons about life.  In still other instances, the play-within-a-play motif was used to convict consciences, or as a commentary on the many inconsistencies in life.  What we will find, as we apply this device to our study of the Bible, is that the very human story that is being acted out upon the earthly stage of the Bible is the tool that will be used by God to reveal the greater cosmic drama—that is, the very real, beautiful, but often unseen story of love and redemption—which is simultaneously being acted out on the heavenly stage above and behind the earthly one that we are viewing.

These concepts will be much easier for us to understand if we will try to remember that, at each of the fourteen stages which we will be visiting on this Rocking and Rolling trip through the Land of Revelation Knowledge—the stages where the Two Acts, Twelve Scenes, One Intermission, and One Epilogue will be presented to us—this is what we will actually be viewing:

At Stage #1 – The Celestial Suitor

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At Stage #1

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Genesis 1-11;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing God, as the Celestial Suitor, getting the stage ready for the entrance of Israel, His Beloved and future Bride;

At Stage #2 – Israel, the Beloved of God

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At Stage #2

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Genesis 12-50;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing God’s negotiation and covenant with Israel’s father, Abraham, for his future offspring’s hand in marriage;

At Stage #3 – Long Engagement, Short Honeymoon

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At Stage #3

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Exodus – Deuteronomy;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing Israel as she is whisked away to her wedding, only to see her violate her wedding vows immediately afterward;

At Stage #4 – The Wayward Wife

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At Stage #4

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Joshua – 2 Chronicles;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing the sad spectacle of Israel’s long and unfaithful relationship with her Husband;

At Stage #5 – Words of Warning and Woo

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At Stage #5

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Isaiah – Zephaniah;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing God’s repeated efforts at trying to warn and win back His unfaithful wife;

At Stage #6 – Separation and Reconciliation

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At Stage #6

On  the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Haggai – Malachi;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing the inevitable separation taking place between God and Israel, brought about by her many adulteries; later witnessing their eventual reconciliation;

At Stage #7 – The Intermission

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At Stage #7

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major cultural, political, and religious events taking place from Malachi to Matthew;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing the stage as it is being redressed in preparation for the imminent entrance of God’s Son;

At Stage #8 – The Righteous Redeemer

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At Stage #8

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Matthew – John;
on the heavenly stage, we will be seeing Jesus, the Righteous Redeemer, as He comes to earth, finds a Bride for Himself, enters into a marriage covenant with her, and then pays the “dowry” or Bride price for her.  Sadly, in the process, we also see Him rejected by His “mother,” Israel—a rejection which results in another, even longer, period of estrangement between her and God;

At Stage #9 – The Bride in the World

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At Stage #9

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Acts;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing Jesus, the Bridegroom, going back to His Father’s house to begin preparing a home for His Bride—leaving her, the Church, on earth to begin the long process of preparing for their wedding;

At Stage #10 – Long Engagement, Rapturous Wedding

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At Stage #10

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Romans – Revelation 4;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing the Church, the Bride of Christ, getting ready and waiting for the appearance of Her Bridegroom—Who, at the time appointed by His Father, returns and whisks His Bride away to their Marriage Supper in Heaven;

At Stage #11 – Israel and the Impostor

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At Stage #11

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Revelation 5-18;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing Israel duped by her Husband’s long-time enemy into believing that he is her long-lost “Son.” We will also witness his eventual betrayal of her, and the horrific consequences of that betrayal;

At Stage #12 – Reconciliation and Righteousness Restored

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At Stage #12

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Revelation 19-20;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing Israel’s true Son, Jesus, return to the earth with His Bride, the Church, where  He defeats His Father’s enemies, rescues His “mother,” and restores her relationship with Him and His Father.  He also establishes a kingdom of righteousness on the earth, over which He rules for 1000 years—the time, after which, when those who have been His enemies will finally be judged and punished.

At Stage #13 – Happily Ever After

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At Stage #13

On the earthly stage, as we are witnessing the major events taking place in Revelation 21-22;
On the heavenly stage, we will be seeing God and His family taking up residence in their new home, a paradise where they will live together in righteousness and peace—happily ever after!

At Stage #14 – The Epilogue

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At Stage #14

On the earthly stage, as we are reviewing the parts we each are currently playing in this Cosmic Drama;
On the heavenly stage, it is my hope that we will be seeing all those who have yet to make Jesus their Bridegroom, come to Him in faith, and be united with Him in love, forever.  I can think of no better way for us to end this play!

 

Smiley Face with Earphones2

Secret Garden and “Did I Not Love You?”