I have several thoughts this morning as I sit here. I pulled a new booklet out of my booklet box this morning. I don't rummage through the box. I just pull out the next one. It is booklet based on a message preached in 1971 called, 'Last Looks, Last Thoughts, Last Words'. It was a very powerful message. At the moment it can be found on the internet (I'll post a link in the comments). It made me think of all the tapes, booklets, materials and letters that have been made over the last two thousand years. They were almost like 'message in bottle' communications handed from person to person. The Bible is a compilation of God's message in a bottle communications.
"Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, 'That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.' " - Romans 3:1-4 ESV
God used a nation to keep His words and not all of the individuals were faithful but The Bible is a faithful complete collection because God is faithful.
"At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.
Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, 'How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?' And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.
I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, 'O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?' He said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.' " - Daniel 12:1-10 ESV
The Book of Daniel is a message in bottle book. It is tape that was handed from one person to another. It is a promise from Heaven held in a faithful communication.
These are days when people move quickly and knowledge increases at an alarming rate but only some people understand what is happening and what is coming towards humanity. People look to the stars as a possible future but others look up looking at what is not visible to the naked eye and hope in a Messiah that will one day split the eastern sky.
"For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." - Matthew 24:24-31 ESV
This message in Matthew is not for our generation. Those who live or have died in Christ will have already met Him in the air.
"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 ESV
After that happens there will be strong delusion on the Earth but also there will be people searching for God. They won't find Him in the information or rumors. The sealed book will be their provision. The Bible will become a road map to tell them there is hope.
Bibles are common right now in many places. It won't always be that way. They will become precious. I think that happens to people now also. A person in prison finds a Bible and it becomes a life line for him or her. God speaks to them through the words of a book. Like Daniel they don't understand many things but God unfolds His truth to them on His timetable and gives them a freedom that no person can take from them.
I have seen and heard of some crazy unhinged people quote the scriptures but I have also seen incredibly loving and stable people who live and move in what the Bible teaches and hold it up as the one book they trust. I understand why people might distrust someone quoting scripture. The Bible is a wonderful but dangerous book. In the wrong hands it is a weapon but in other hands it is a key that unlocks freedom, cleansing and communion. This key is rare and can only be found in one place.
I love my Bible. God comes to me in this book. It is my lifeline. I have shined light into it's darker corners and found gold and silver there. When I was hungry it has fed me. Grace has taught my how to handle it's sharp edges so that it can be used as a tool and not a weapon.
I consider it a personal gift from God.
Thank You God. You did not leave me lost, wandering and searching. You found me and gave me a wonderful book. I cling to it. I will treasure it until I see You face to face. Thank You God.