Thursday, June 17, 2010

Waking The Fallen (2003) "Eternal Rest"

[reprinted as written by Avenged Sevenfold]
As performed by A7X

Black enchanting eyes,
cut through my heart
with no regret or sign of life
They tear apart my pride
and cold runs through my veins
I feel their stare from miles
haunting every step
and they won't stop hunting me down
I know the time will come,
when all around me's burned
and you'll still see me there
Asking where you went too
and what person brought you here
And why you left the burning children
cold out in the night
and calling for you all alone...

Dark in their hearts,
I can feel it burn inside of me
Tormented young with no souls, haunting me
Pain in their lives all they know is misery
Take these chains away that are holding me down

They'll find you alone
and your desperate and villainous ways
Turning their hearts into stone
they seek more then vengeance
Look in their eyes your pain is their satisfaction
Look in their eyes and see the darkness take hold
Burn for the rest of time

Hear the haunting words
lost children with no heart are crying
and your the lost mother their calling
I hear them crying at night
outside when the planets are falling
They want to feel and know you hear them

Go now / Run and hide
Eternal Rest / In time

The poet now moves from the life of Cain to the lives of those who have died and await the Apocolypse (when the planets are falling), the end of time when all the dead will be resurrected and will stand before the Lord to give an account of their lives on earth.

According to one A7X fan, the poet sings of children abandoned by God who burn with the desire to enter heaven. The poet's understanding of the Bible is that it speaks of children who are born to die, whose lives are meaningless.

Evidently some lyrics are sung in this piece which did not come with the published song cycle:

Look in their eyes your pain is their satisfaction.
Look in their eyes and see the darkness take hold.
Waiting for...)
(Lives consumed by faith, signs of their pure reign,
No sign of fair chance.)
Burn for the rest of time.

According to the cited interpretation, These burning ones have spent their lives worshipping God only to be rejected by Him. They are torn by the desire for revenge yet cry out for God's acceptance. They plead for God to loosen the chains which hold them in death so that, at the end of time, they can finally be rejoined with Him.

What, in the Bible, could have prompted such an interpretation? Who are these burning and tortured children, held captive in agony?

There are two possible passages that might be helpful; however, the Bible boldly proclaims that whoever loves and worships God is also affirmed and swept up into intimate communion with Him. There may be times when a person is estranged from the God he or she has been so joined with, but that connection can never, ever be severed. In fact one of the most tortured men in the Bible, wracked with a sense of his own personal guilt and horror of his crimes, shouted with victory

The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death

If God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms.

It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!

If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger?

The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

NOTHING — nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

If you want to know what the Bible has to say about it, then that's it. God never EVER rejects His own. You worship God, you're in, no matter who you are, what you've done, where you come from, or who else may hate you and want to take you down.

So where DID this idea come from that there may be those who love and worship God, but God kicks to the curb? Two possibilities.

1) The first one might be found in Matthew 7 when Jesus said that not everyone who called Him Lord would enter the kingdom of heaven. Seems like a raw deal, right? But Jesus uses a very important phrase in that passage, go look and see. He says "I never knew you."

Knowing Jesus means being in a relationship with Him that is so intimate He actually has taken up residence within you. This isn't about paying lip service, this is about genuine love.

Jesus spends a little more time on this concept in Matthew 25, giving three stories that show the difference between those who are in this relationship with Him and those who aren't. You and I can maybe fool each other, but we can't fool Him.

2) The second possibility might be found in a very famous passage in Romans 9. Be careful with this passage! At first pass God comes off sounding arbitray and capricious, but if you know God's character, then you know that can't be right. So what's really going on in this chapter?

If you have a Bible, open it up to Romans 9 because it is this section which probably gave the poet the idea that God turns His back on some people.

The fact is, this chapter is about love and mercy, not about judgment. It is God's desire, He says elsewhere in the Bible, that not anyone should pay the penalty of sin. He's taking His time bringing about the judgment of the world because He wants everyone to have as many chances as possible to hear the good news that rescue is available.

So God shows mercy on everyone He wants to show mercy on. Nobody is too low, too awful, too brutal, too horrifying in His eyes. He only sees the broken little girl or boy who needs love and cherishing.

Does God harden some people? This scripture here says yes. Does God have mercy on everyone? Ultimately the answer is no. Yet do people freely choose to reject God? Scripture answers yes without explaining how these truths fit together. God is the sovereign ruler of history, shaping it for His own purposes. There is no power that can resist God. He knows that people make choices for or against the gospel, and all who come to God are accepted by Him.

Why should we be blamed, or any person be blamed, for unbelief if in fact God makes the final decision in our destinies anyway? God’s got the whole story pre-written, why do we even need to show up? Why should we be held accountable if we don’t have any say-so in our destinies anyway?

We actually do have a say-so in our destinies. Yes, God elects, but we are also responsible to respond in faith. You might ask: "Well, look, if I can't believe until God chooses to work in me, then why does He condemn me for not believing?"

Paul answers as follows (look down the passage till you see the number "20")

Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?"

Paul goes behind that question to show its true character; he shows that it is really an attempt to put all the blame on God, and, thus, to make the creature more righteous than the creator, so that you and I, the human beings end up more just than God. Paul is saying that, in effect, this question elevates human values and human standards and human insights above God and saying: God, You used Your sovereignty in an unwise, unrighteous way.

God is a sovereign being. Sovereignty means "the right to do what you will without giving an answer or reason to anybody." Without sovereignty God isn’t God! This question is really saying, or even demanding, that God submit Himself to humankind's will, which would make humankind God. This is the original great lie that the serpent introduced in the Garden of Eden -- that human beings could be God.

Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?

There’s no need to take this analogy any farther than Paul intended it. All it is saying is that there is a profound difference between the thinking creator and the clay from which the creator brings forth his creations. What’s the difference between you and a lump of clay? We laugh! Clay has no brains, no heart, let alone eyes, ears, hands, a mouth... That’s how vast the difference is between us and God. We have no more ability to comprehend the totality of God’s mind and God’s purposes than a lump of clay would have to comprehend you or me.

You and I are always wanting to be God ourselves, or at least God of our own lives and destinies. We don’t like that someone else should have that position – Adam and Eve’s original sin. God has given you and me the ability to at least in part understand, accept and believe what He reveals about His purpose in our lives, and we need to be content with that. Only God sees the whole, and from His perspective what may seem “unjust” to you or me will finally be revealed as God’s perfect, beautiful, awesome grace overall.

If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn't that all right? Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people.

The phrase above, "designed to show His angry displeasure" is actually more correctly rendered “prepared for destruction.” However, it is actually written in a tense in Greek that can’t be easily translated into English. What it means is “in the process of preparing itself for destruction.”

Who are these people who are preparing themselves for destruction? To begin with, this describes everyone. All of us are born with a sinful nature, with a bent towards sin. All of us start out in life seeking after what we most want, which is self-rule. We all of us were preparing our selves for God’s wrath. Yet Scripture says that God is long-suffering and compassionate, slow to anger.

God’s long-suffering patience reveals the tension between what pleases Him and what He sovereignly wills to do. God takes no delight in death, yet God wills, or decrees, the death of the wicked. God has said He is patient because He does not wish that any one should perish. Yet many will perish, in eternity.

God gives chance after to chance to everyone. Many people hear the gospel and reject it. God’s patience is long-suffering. But it still has an endpoint.

God's purpose was to reveal His power in destroying sin, in being even more powerful than the ultimate oppressor of humankind, Satan himself, enemy of God and people. God's purpose was to show He is able to free His people, you and me, from slavery to that cruel oppressor, and his dominion of sin and death. God’s glory is brilliant and pure, breathtaking in its magnificence, nothing can overcome God and nothing can prevent God from lavishing His mercy and His compassion.

The Old Testament prophets really got it -- here's what a couple of them said:

Hosea put it well:

I'll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
I'll call the unloved and make them beloved.
In the place where they yelled out, "You're nobody!"
they're calling you "God's living children."

Isaiah maintained this same emphasis:
If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered
and the sum labeled "chosen of God,"
They'd be numbers still, not names;
salvation comes by personal selection.
God doesn't count us; he calls us by name.
Arithmetic is not his focus.

Isaiah had looked ahead and spoken the truth:
If our powerful God
had not provided us a legacy of living children,
We would have ended up like ghost towns,
like Sodom and Gomorrah.
How can we sum this up? All those people who didn't seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives.

I wish I could tell the poet today that there is no one, and never was anyone, who loved and worshiped God who ever, EVER, got the back of His hand. Thanks to the Rescuer, God Himself, Jesus Christ, everyone -- and I mean EVERYONE -- has a chance.

If this post got you to thinking, please leave a comment and join the conversation

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