Saturday, December 10, 2016

"A Son is given..."

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6).

Yesterday I'd begun a multi-part series looking at this wonderful verse of scripture. I'd posted some comments from Barnes' Notes. I'd said that for me, the text is rich and full of truth; complex with spiritual meaning, yet can be read and understood by children; is a great a promise, one even spoken as had already happened, yet would not occur for hundreds of years hence; a faithful promise, and a comforting thought. We'd looked at the first part of the verse, 'For unto us a child is born'. Here's more. Barnes' Notes-

A son - This word does not differ materially from the word translated child. In the future scenes, as they passed before the mind of the prophet, he saw the child, the son that was to be born, and described him as he appeared to his view - as a child. Fixing the eye on him, he proceeds at once to designate his character by stating the appropriate names which he would bear.

Is given - The Messiah is often represented as having been given, or sent; or as the rich gift of God; the note at Acts 4:12; John 3:16; Ephesians 1:22; John 17:4. The Messiah was pre-eminently the gift of the God of love. Man had no claim on him, and God voluntarily gave his Son to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

And the government shall be upon his shoulder - The sense of this passage is, that he shall rule, or that the government shall be vested in him. Various interpretations have, however, been given of the phrase 'upon his shoulder.' Some have supposed, that it means simply he shall sustain the government, as the shoulder is that by which we uphold any thing. Pliny and Cicero thus use the phrase; see Rosenmuller. Others, that it means that he should wear the royal purple from a child. - Grotius. Lowth supposes that it refers to the ensign of government - the scepter, the sword, the keys, or the like, that were borne upon the shoulder, or suspended from it; see the note at Isaiah 22:22. It is evident, from this latter place, that some ensign of office was usually borne upon the shoulder. The sense is, that he should be a king, and under this character the Messiah is often predicted.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

"For unto us a child is born..."

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6).

How rich and full of truth this verse is! How complex with spiritual meaning, yet can be read and understood by children! How great a promise, one even spoken as had already happened, yet would not occur for hundreds of years hence! How faithful a promise, and how comforting a thought!

Barnes Notes comments on all the parts of the verse. Let's look at a few excerpts of the commentary today and tomorrow. "For unto us a child is born..."

For - This is given as a reason of the victories that were predicted in the previous verses. That it has reference to the Messiah has been almost universally conceded; and indeed it does not seem possible to doubt it. The eye of the prophet seems to have been fixed on this great and glorious event - as attracting all his attention. The scenes of coming times, like a panorama, or picture, passed before him. Most of the picture seems to have been that of battles, conflicts, sieges, dimness, and thick darkness. But in one portion of the passing scene there was light. It was the light that he saw rising in the distant and darkened Galilee. He saw the joy of the people; the armor of war laid aside; the image of peace succeeding; the light expanding and becoming more intense as the darkness retired, until he saw in this region the Prince of Peace - the Sun of Righteousness itself. The eye of the prophet gazed intently on that scene, and was fixed on that portion of the picture: he sees the Messiah in his office, and describes him as already come, and as born unto the nation.

Unto us - For our benefit. The prophet saw in vision the darkness and gloom of the nation, and saw also the son that would be born to remove that darkness, and to enlighten the world.

A child - This word usually denotes a lad, a boy, a youth. It is commonly applied to one in early life; but no particular stress is to be laid on the word. The vision of the prophet is, that the long-expected Messiah is born, and is seen growing up amidst the surrounding darkness of the north of Palestine, Isaiah 9:1.

Is born - Not that he was born when the prophet spake. But in prophetic vision, as the events of the future passed before his mind, he saw that promised son, and the eye was fixed intently on him; see the Introduction, section 7, and the note at Isaiah 1:1.

To be continued!

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Linus dropped the blanket, Hallelujah the Lord is come

A meme going around on Facebook caught my attention. It involved the Peanuts Christmas cartoon show that is 51 years old this year, A Charlie Brown Christmas. The half hour program regularly plays in December prior to the Christmas holiday, and shows Charlie Brown searching for the true meaning of Christmas. As Charlie Brown becomes more and more frustrated by the materialism clouding the true meaning of the holiday, he finally yells out,

Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus says that he knows, and walks to the center of the stage where the play practice is being held. He recites verbatim to tthe scripture from Luke 2:8-13 KJV,

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

From the same link above, we read,
Schulz's main goal for a Peanuts-based Christmas special was to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. He desired to juxtapose this theme with interspersed shots of snow and ice-skating, perhaps inspired by his own childhood growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota. He also created the idea for the school play, and mixing jazz with traditional Christmas carols. Schulz was adamant about Linus' reading of the Bible, despite Mendelson and Melendez's concerns that religion was a controversial topic, especially on television. Melendez recalled Schulz turned to him and remarked "If we don't do it, who will?". Schulz's estimation proved accurate, and in the 1960s, less than 9 percent of television Christmas episodes contained a substantive reference to religion, according to university researcher Stephen Lind. It could also be worth noting that the Linus's recitation of Scripture was incorporated in such a way that it forms the climax of the film, thus making it impossible to successfully edit out.
Here's the scene,

But wait, there's more. As many times as you have seen the show, and as much as you know for a fact that Linus never goes anywhere without his blanket in his hand, when you watch the scene carefully, you notice that at the point in the scripture when Linus says 'Fear not!' HE DROPS HIS BLANKET.

In December 2015 Jason Soroski at The Gospel Coalition wrote about the moment, here:
Just Drop the Blanket.
The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to him instead.

This time of year is so precious. We pray and praise the Lord for His incarnation. The babe in the manger, born in a stable among the animals, and yet myriad angels announced his arrival to the shepherds. It's a scene that brings tears. Hallelujah.

The Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah always seemed to me to be firmly in the realm of sad, yet seemed like it should be joyful. Like it's on the verge of joy but always in the dark. The group Cloverton has changed the lyrics to praise and honor Jesus. Now Hallelujah is sweetly joyful. As my friend Tara said,
I've always loved the song, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. But his was a broken hallelujah. In this one, the hallelujah isn't broken and it's the most beautiful version I've ever heard.

Hallelujah, the Lord is come.

A Hallelujah Christmas - Cloverton Music Video... by musicaroundyou

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Link-a-palooza: Melton, Shack, amillennialism, discernment, reading challenge

Here are some links that will hopefully edify you, or at least get you thinking. I read a comment from Michelle Dacus Lesley the other day and it stuck with me. She wrote on her Twitter stream
It's getting hard to tell people to examine false teachers against Scripture for themselves. They're biblically illiterate & don't know how.
This is a wise and perceptive statement. Women have been led in Bible study groups for a generation now in study of false teachers like Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer. They've been told that social justice is where it's at and to just go out and 'do something'. They've observed that they way to 'study' the Bible is to have an emotional discussion about what the verse means 'to me' and worse, 'how I feel about it'. They have experiences they're told substitute for theology. They have been given coloring books, stickers, and craft activities and told these activities help in sanctification. Many women don't know HOW to discern any more.

Rule #1: Read the Bible. Just reading it on a regular basis will be the 80% start to a proper perspective, which is a biblical worldview. To start, you do not need a fancy theology class, a glossy set of text books with fill-in-the blank workbook, or any other materials or skills. Just start reading God's word.

Rule #2 for gaining discernment is prayer. Asking the Holy Spirit to deliver illumination and wisdom is important for our discerning growth. He will do it. He said so in the verse He inspired.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

And none of us possesses all the wisdom we need, do we? God is the source and fount of all wisdom. He will deliver understanding to his children. But this is where the partnering with God comes in. As RC Sproul taught in the Justification by Faith online class at Ligonier,
Regeneration is the sovereign, monergistic work of God the Holy Spirit. Monergism means "one working." God is the only one who is active in regeneration.
The rest of the process of salvation is a synergistic, cooperative work. We are not passive in our sanctification. Our sanctification is to be a diligent labor that we undertake knowing that we have the grace of God working in us.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)

I won't go into a lengthy discernment lesson here today. Sometime soon, perhaps a discernment series. Meanwhile, here is an excellent essay on how to detect false teachers by William Swan Plumer (1802-1880) who was an American Presbyterian minister. His commentaries on Psalms and Romans are still widely appreciated.


Today, you will see by the list of links I'll post below that discernment is much needed by all in these days, and especially for women, because we are so vulnerable to false doctrine. (1 Timothy 2:13–14, 2 Corinthians 11:3). There are many realms necessary for a heightened attention to discernment, from books, movies, false teachers, false doctrine, and celebrity pastors.

I wrote against Glennon Doyle Melton in 2014. Melton is a hugely popular writer and blogger, who purports to be a Christian. Even back in 2014, I saw very troubling holes in her doctrine. Even before 2014, others could see Melton's stance was troublesome. When I'd written two years ago I'd flatly and clearly said that she is not a Christian. I wrote an update against Melton last month. Since 2014, Melton has become softer in her doctrine,  divorced, become a lesbian, and now she calls God a 'she.' With these evidences, no one by any stretch of any imagination can one still say Melton is a Christian. In this post by Amy Spreeman at Berean Examiner, we read more on the latest.

Glennon Doyle Melton calls God a 'she'.
She’s not the first to call our heavenly Father, Son and Holy Spirit a female.  But Melton may well be one of the few “Christians” to do so. (The Washington Post and People Magazine have both referred to her as a Christian writer, though you won’t see her proclaiming the Gospel or talking about Jesus Christ much.) And thanks to the upcoming The Shack movie, calling the God-head a woman will soon be pretty ho-hum and why not. 
Speaking of The Shack, the blockbuster book from 2007 is now being released as a movie.

The Shack is an upcoming American drama film directed by Stuart Hazeldine and co-written by John Fusco, based on the 2007 novel of same name by William P. Young so begins the obligatory Wikipedia entry.

I'd written against The Shack in 2008 and twice in 2009.

The Shack is a devilish deception
The Shack is a doctrine of demons
Why Christians Should Not Read The Shack

This week, Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary and Boyce College, wrote an important piece titled,

The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment
In the shack, "Mack" meets the divine Trinity as "Papa," an African-American woman; Jesus, a Jewish carpenter; and "Sarayu," an Asian woman who is revealed to be the Holy Spirit. The book is mainly a series of dialogues between Mack, Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu. Those conversations reveal God to be very different than the God of the Bible. "Papa" is absolutely non-judgmental, and seems most determined to affirm that all humanity is already redeemed.
Photo from The Shack Movie site.
Depicted from left are "Jesus", the main character Mack (in jacket)
"God", and "Holy Spirit". This is offensive in the extreme.
I've received the comment quite often that The Shack "is only fiction" and by tacit extension, therefore harmless. Not so. However Dr. Mohler said,
it is also a sustained theological argument, and this simply cannot be denied. Any number of notable novels and works of literature have contained aberrant theology, and even heresy. The crucial question is whether the aberrant doctrines are features of the story or the message of the work. When it comes to The Shack, the really troubling fact is that so many readers are drawn to the theological message of the book, and fail to see how it conflicts with the Bible at so many crucial points.
I recommend his essay highly.

Speaking of 'Christian' books, Steven at the Author of My Faith who is a "a Doctrines of Grace, Credobaptist, Complementarian, Cessationist, Amillennial, Christian who loves Jesus Christ' writer, comments on the lack of integrity in the 'Christian' book industry
After witnessing first-hand the lack of integrity that is involved in Christian publishing, the video below helps to make sense of it all. It’s all about the money. It doesn’t matter if the story is true or even orthodox, the bottom line is; can it sell?
The video IS helpful, it explains the connections between the process of raising up a celebrity pastor and his books, and why those books are important to the publishing industry.

The blogger Steve I linked to above said on his About page that he is an amillennialist. A friend of mine recently asked why so many Reformed believing pastors and leaders seem to dismiss the biblical truth that Jesus is planning to gather the saints before the tribulation begins, return when it's concluded and reign from his earthly kingdom for 1000 years (Millennial Kingdom). Disbelieving the earthly reign of Jesus, or treating the verses referring to is as symbolical only, is amillennialism. I really didn't have an answer, but I agreed with her that it seems that though many Reformed pastors preach expositorily and well on many verses and doctrines, when it came to eschatology, especially the post-Tribulation events such as the 1000 year reign, they whiff it.

Here is a book recommended by Grace Community Church's Mike Riccardi. It's called Amillennialism and the Age to Come by Matt Waymeyer. This book is a solid and charitable defense of premillennialsim (the stance that Jesus is going to gather His saints before the Millennial Kingdom is physically established on earth when the Tribulation is concluded). Here is an excerpt from the preface of Waymeyer's book.
One of the most encouraging developments in evangelicalism over the past several decades has been the remarkable resurgence of reformed theology. This rediscovery of the doctrines of grace has not only captured the Bible’s emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation but also strengthened the unity of the church around the centrality of the gospel. 
In the area of eschatology, however, I have noticed two concerning trends among those who have joined this reformation. The first involves what I call eschatological agnosticism. To be sure, eschatology is one of the most difficult theological issues to understand, especially when it comes to the finer details. But some Christians, although diligent students of Scripture in every other area, avoid the topic altogether and appear content to place themselves in the category of undecided. Some even seem proud of their agnosticism, as if ignorance about the meaning of biblical prophecy is evidence of a commitment to more significant matters. But affirming the centrality of the gospel should not mean dismissing the importance of how God will accomplish the restoration of all things to Himself. Scripture reveals too much about the subject of eschatology for Christians to be content in the dark, especially those who preach the Word and shepherd the flock.
A second trend is the way that some Christians are quick to embrace amillennialism simply because they see it as the reformed position on the end times. This appears to be most common among former Arminians. After an initial exposure to reformed theology, they spend the next several years diligently studying the Bible’s teaching on predestination before finally identifying themselves as Calvinists. But their subsequent conversion to amillennialism takes place overnight—and oftentimes with very little first-hand study of the biblical text—simply because they see it as an indispensable part of the reformed system.
If you want to get ready for a reading challenge of some GOOD books, not the false doctrine kind of shallow and misleading books like The Shack, Tim Challies is gearing up for the 2017 reading Challenge. He's got a pace from everything from slow to light-speed.

  • The Light Reader. This plan has 13 books which sets a pace of 1 book every 4 weeks.
  • The Avid Reader. The Avid plan adds another 13 books which increases the pace to 1 book every 2 weeks.
  • The Committed Reader. This plan adds a further 26 books, bringing the total to 52, or 1 book every week.
  • The Obsessed Reader. The Obsessed plan doubles the total to 104 books which sets a demanding pace of 2 books every week

Check it out! I would like to read the books of various genres Challies recommends at the Avid level, or 1 book every 2 weeks. But I've tried and utterly failed at reading challenges, Bible reading plans, and anything smacking of structure. It's not in me. I might give it a try anyway, but if I'm like I always have been, I not only fail, but fail immediately, like by the third day. Oy. Maybe you will do better than me! Give it a go, it's an interesting list of books!

Further Reading

Review: Burning Down The Shack

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We all look forward to our wages but...

I work in a school system. We're paid monthly, on the last day. It takes discipline to budget a household in a single income where the wages come 28-31 days apart. In December we go on Christmas vacation a few days before the holiday and return in the first week of January. It's about a two week break, something everyone looks forward to since we began school in early August. We all need one by then!

As a kindness, the payroll system works in feverish activity and closes payroll early so we can get paid before Christmas instead of the week after, as the usual rotation would have been. That's the plus. The minus is that it's 50 days in between paychecks. Our wages don't come for about 6 weeks and it's a veeeeeeery long stretch between mid December and the last day of January. It takes a lot of patience to wait calmly and in disciplined manner for that paycheck in January.

We all look forward to our wages, whether they come on the day we worked, or the week's end or the month's end. When we receive that envelope, or open our bank account to view the Direct Deposit, we feel gratitude, pride in our work, and relief.

For the unsaved world, including the false Christians who think they are saved but aren't, the spiritual wages they will receive on their last day will come as a shock. The wages for the sinner have a very long delay, but on their last day they will receive a fat envelope containing a list of all their misdeeds and sins. Their wages will be toted up at the bottom and it will say $DEATH$.

Why is this Romans 6:23 verse an encouragement to me? Deep in sin, Jesus lifted me from the muck, cleansed me with His blood, and gave me eternal life. I accumulated an eternal debt of wages upon wages for all the evil work I had performed before I was saved. I deserve death. He gave me life. Hallelujah!

Praise Him to the Highest. The babe has come, the boy will grow in wisdom and stature, the Man will die, the King will reign!

EPrata photo
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52).

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)

Monday, December 5, 2016

A thorny crown

In Genesis 3, Eve and Adam sinned. They fell from grace, and destroyed the intimate relationship they'd been enjoying with Holy God. God told Adam that because of his sinful action,

cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
(Genesis 3:17b-18a)

Before the Fall, no thorns existed on earth. After the Fall, because of sin, thorns and thistles grew.

EPrata photo
As Jesus was being led to the crucifixion, they mocked Him.

and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29)

The only reason thorns grew is because of sin. The man sinned and as a result, the ground was cursed, and thorns came. The thorns on Jesus' head are a visual reminder of our sin and the curse of it He came to release us from.

He is a good, good God.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I was here

Did you ever see the doodle/tag Kilroy was here? It was popular when I was a kid. It was a tag that came out of WWII and was a precursor to graffiti. It continued being popular for a while after WWII, such as my coming up days in the 1960s.

Kilroy tag at Washington DC WWII Memorial
It is generally thought that the origin of the tag was from James J. Kilroy who worked at a Massachusetts shipyard in WWII. When riveters finished their shift would make a chalk mark at the end of his shift to show where he had stopped and the next riveter had started. JJ Kilroy allegedly began tagging uniquely to stop the practice. Dishonest riveters would erase the previous worker's mark and chalk a new mark farther back on the same seam, giving themselves credit for part of the previous riveter's work, as Wikipedia says. The tag grew from there.

Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s spray paint graffiti came about, more tagging. John Naar was the first graffiti photographer. His pictures were published the 1973 seminal book on graffiti, by Norman Mailer and Mervyn Kurlansky's "The Faith of Graffiti". The Amazon description says,
In 1973 author Norman Mailer teamed with photographer Jon Naar to produce The Faith of Graffiti, a fearless exploration of the birth of the street art movement in New York City.
EPrata photo of local train tags
Did you ever see names or initials scrawled in wet cement? I saw this article at the magazine Gothamist,
A gang of tween vandals were "tagging" their names in wet cement outside their school in Middlesex, New Jersey recently when the local constabulary happened upon them. Taking swift action, police collared the young hoodlums, took them downtown for questioning, and finally handed them over to their parents, who signed an agreement to punish the children and paid a $250 fine each—except the father of 11-year-old Kelly Zierdt, who is refusing to pay his daughter's debt to society. And now his little princess is being called before a judge to face justice.
Graffiti and tagging isn't new. The Atlantic published an article about the graffiti on the ancient standing walls and sidewalks at Pompeii, Italy.
From Roman walls to Twitter, humans have a long-standing obsession with leaving their mark. ...The oldest known graffiti at Pompeii also happens to be among the simplest: Gaius was here. Or, more precisely, "Gaius Pumidius Diphilus was here," along with a time stamp, which historians have dated to October 3, 78 B.C. ... So-and-so was here has been one of the messages humans have scrawled, etched, and eventually Sharpied and spray painted onto public spaces for millennia.
From across time and across oceans, the same impulse resides in humans to tag, make a stamp, declare identity, do something that remains. Why? Roger Gastman tried explaining the urge in the same Atlantic article-
"Overall, people want to write on things to be known," Roger Gastman, the author of The History of American Graffiti, told me in an email. "To be everywhere at once yet nowhere at all."
To be known. Man wants to be known, he wants to know that after he departs he won't be lost to the mists of time as his body becomes dust. But he will be forgotten. He will be dust and he will be gone from this earth. Instinctively, he knows this.

All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. (Ecclesiastes 3:20).

Will I be remembered? Will my mere few decades on earth carry any weight at all as the press of eternity weighs down the memory of me and as the overlay of other memories of other people rise up, compressing mine to a sliver, and then poof, my wispy remaining presence even as fleeting memory is obliterated completely? Noooo, I WAS HERE!
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. ~Walt Whitman, 'Song of Myself'
My first thoughts about eternity came to my mind when I was in my 20s. When I was teaching school in my twenties, a woman I’d taught with for a few years named Ann retired. A few months after she retired, a phase of life she had eagerly been looking forward to, she died quickly of cancer. It started me thinking of life and death. Is this all there is? To work to live, then die right after you retire, nothing to be gained? What was the point of life? Was there an afterlife? If so, what was the thing that allowed someone in? Do we all get in? When someone close to you dies, these are the thoughts one naturally begins to think. I WAS HERE!

When we turn to Ecclesiastes again, we see that the verse says,

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Therefore, we know there is an eternity. We know that we do not stop when our heart stops. We know there is a God. We know that he is so much higher than us we can't understand all his works from start to finish. We know this, instinctively. It is the urge that pushes us to tag, write, declare, "I WAS HERE."

My friend recently discovered that a High School friend had died. She wrote about the issue of eternity at her blog. What Happens When You Die? Here is an excerpt, please read it in its entirety. It's good.
I do know what happens when we die, and I will share that with you now since I’ve been asking you if you know.  In Hebrews 9:27 it says that it is appointed for men to die once, and then after that is judgement.  For those of us who have believed in God’s Son Jesus, and are placing our trust in His perfectly sinless life, death on a cross as punishment for our sins, and resurrection to life (the indication that Jesus sacrifice was acceptable to the Father, and His power over death) our judgement was taken care of by Jesus on the cross.  So for we who believe and are born again “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8; please click on the link and read the entire chapter).  But for those people who do not believe in Jesus and are not trusting Him to pay the penalty for their sins, they will face eternal judgement and condemnation “and these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 please read this entire passage)
Our barbaric yawps, graffiti spray, Kilroy tags, claims staked in cement only to be smoothed over by a crushing roller, will dissipate into the ether. All of it. Yet we want to be heard. Mr Gastman was getting close to the truth, 'we want to be known.'

We will be known. We will go on. This is at once either a terrifying thought for the unsaved, or a comforting thought for the saved. Those who are not in Christ, who have not repented of sins and asked Him for forgiveness, will face Him in judgment. He knows you, unsaved person. You are known. The problem is, you do not know Him. Our fists shaken at the sky, our tremulous childish voices yawping into the cosmos are heard and seen by the One who created us.

What happens when we die? Eternity comes in an instant, and we go on as changed beings in hell or in heaven. Will we descend to join the moans and cries of others who declared their own eternity, only to discover that their piteous cries on earth melted into the air almost as instantly as their destination eternity had come? Or will they ascend to glory to know and be known?

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV).

You see, we are known. We are here. Yet here is as temporary as the tag that declares presence. Presence goes away. Eternity remains. Do you want to be known as friend to the One who will save you? Or do you want to be known as enemy to the One who condemns you? Our life is not about I AM HERE, but I am there. Unbeknownst to the unsaved, they have already been tagged.

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15).
Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4:3).

This is the ultimate tag. This is where it matters most of all where your name is. Not on a subway train. Not on a ship hull. Not in wet cement. Your tag in the Lamb's Book of Life is where it matters ultimately.

What is The Gospel?