He stood and watched as the old man moved quietly and deliberately through his assigned task. Incense was spread evenly over the altar and smoke was beginning to rise through it. He sensed the nervousness of the man as he paused for prayer.
In that tiny moment, Gabriel thought about the history of this planet and what was happening here. Long before people had been placed here, the Eternal of the heavens was at work in preparation.
When the Eternal named a mighty prince to rule over this planet which humans called "earth", He -- not surprisingly -- chose Lucifer. Often called Morningstar, Lucifer was not only powerful; he was beautiful. To describe his beauty would of necessity require mental images of precious stones. It was as if he was covered by rubies, topaz, diamonds, beryl, onyx, jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and emeralds. Plus, it was like each of these jewels was set in pure gold. No, none of the angels was surprised when Lucifer was named.
As prince, Lucifer went regularly into the councils of the Eternal Himself. His occupation; his trade, as it were, was to bring instructions from the Eternal's throne and pass them on to the heavenly host which was already at work on the planet. Then, the way a teacher might collect the examinations from a room of students, Lucifer was to gather up all the praise and worship meant for the Eternal. He was to present those in heaven's throne room.
But there was a problem. Lucifer fell in love with his own beauty and power. Therefore, he began usurping the will of the Eternal. First, he did it in small ways, neglecting to give an instruction from the Eternal to a particular angel. Then Lucifer began substituting some of his own instructions in their place.
Very quickly that mighty prince found himself lusting after the praises which were meant only for the Eternal. He started holding back some of those praises and heaping them upon himself. It wasn't long until Lucifer decided that he would raise up his own throne above all -- even the Eternal!
This set the scene for a great war in the heavenlies...
Notes: Some of you will wonder where in the world I came up with some of today's narrative. If that's they case, you might want to see Ezekiel 28:11-18; Isaiah 14:12-17; Job 1:6-7.
To my readers: the events surrounding the birth of Christ are given extensive coverage in Scripture. The parts we don't always know about are the human elements, especially from the viewpoint of Jesus' participants. My attempt this Christmas is to stay true to the Biblical text, while shading in what it may have been like "between the lines." Please distinguish my ruminations from God's Word by reading the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke. My hope is that reading my words impacts you even a tiny percentage as much as writing them has impacted me.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Christmas At InnerMost: Gabriel