The Value of Historical Life
Exchange, Landmark Memory and Kingdom Witness
The Value of Landmark Memory
A second helping value of historical life is the role of what we will call “landmark memory.” Landmark memory refers to the Lord’s recording and archiving of past historical life toward the purpose of facilitating our ever-present thrust into eternal life. Its significance is typified in His words to Israel: “Remove not the ancient landmark.”
God’s record of earthly life is kept not only in heaven and in scripture, but also in the archive of the human soul itself which we call memory. To appreciate the legitimate value of memory as a landmark toward the eternal, we must understand how God uses it despite its own intrinsic unprofitability. Let’s try to dice this out….
- Memory’s Inherent Worthlessness: The Exhortation to Forget
Once historical life passes through experience, all we have left of it is memory. Memory is the archived soul impression of past experience. As we proceed through life, experience perpetually converts to memory—all day, every day, around the clock. Not only so, but we also continually subconsciously process all present experience based on our internal archive of the past.
This is where all learning comes from. Everything we know to the moment and every momentary decision we make is formed on something we already experienced which can never be experienced again, but is re-imaged to our hearts and minds from our soul archive.
The immediate conversion of experience to memory shows us just how transitory this soul life really is! As Psalms puts it, “Remember how fleeting my life is. For what futility you have created all humanity!” Ps. 89:4 NIV
Now look around you. If we are not at any given moment “reliving” the past by watching some image of it on a TV or video screen or a photo, then we are otherwise probably reliving it just from within ourselves (—though we don’t actually relive the past; we only summon up a soul image of it inside a present experience. That’s what memory is and does.)
Just think of how much time we devote personally and culturally to recycling past soul images through our present moments trying to “relive” those pasts. Think nostalgia. Think home videos. Think Instagram and FaceBook. Think “selfies.” Think the news. Think “History Channel”—all designed to perpetuate historical life in itself—as if by such repetitive re-imaging, we can use memory to make this life live forever!
(By way of just one cultural example, how many multi-billion times has the 1963 Kennedy assassination been re-imaged through every medium in every nation across three-plus generations to “immortalize” that one historical event in the psyche of all humanity? Rev. 13:15 prophesied the end to be a time when “living image” would be able to “speak” so as to evoke worship from the whole world. And is that not the reality of these very times? Is not artificial “living” image of already past action made to speak everywhere, all day, everyday to all mankind who yields up their heart to it? But we have slightly digressed….)
To impress on us memory’s intrinsic unprofitability in its inability to actually produce life, and to discourage us from stealing present experience to try to “breathe life” back into our past reel, God through Isaiah and Paul says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past—Forget those things which are behind;” and also this, “Knowledge shall cease.”
- Knowledge Shall Cease
What meaneth “knowledge shall cease”? It means that someday everything we’ve learned based in our historical life archive is going to vanish. That may be hard to believe, and we just cannot comprehend it now. But in the coming era of manifest eternal life, historic memory and the knowledge based on its accumulation will not be the way we process experience or relate to our glorified environment.
Eternal life is of a different order altogether. Our concept of time and tense will be different, even though we will all pass through a one-time judgment based on our historical soul record, and eternal knowing will still somehow account for the overcomers’ deeds found in the “book” of earth’s story, central to which is “the Lamb who was slain.”
Nevertheless, such accounting will not occur through natural memory. That we won’t then live as we do now by continuous re-imaging of past experience is summed by Isaiah’s word, “the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind;” and by the Lord’s canon closing statement, “the former things have passed away…Behold, I am making all things new.”
God has told us now that memory can’t sustain and won’t resurrect this life, so that we may cease from employing it and the technological means of stoking it in the vain attempt to “breathe” our present life—historic or eternal—back into its images. It’s urgent that we comprehend the fundamental unprofitability of human memory:
“No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them….For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten….” Ec. 1:11; 2:16 NIV
- Memory’s Supportive Worth: The Imperative to Remember
All that said, God has yet ordained memory to support our present conversion and growth into eternal life. This is the true auxiliary value we seek to know. But how so?
All eternal learning has a beginning in natural learning through memory. (First comes the natural, then the spiritual, remember?) So it is that God strategically uses memory and its learning from spent historical life to precipitate and develop our eternal knowing of Him. He records for our memory what others have done, what He has done and what we ourselves have done in order to birth and instruct our eternal spirits. This is the meaning of landmark memory.
The landmark aspect is in that God Himself is making a recording over our recording. The soul record we make now is also a record that God keeps. Our memory intertwines with God’s “memory” of us. Landmark memory is the joint remembering of God and man over historic life. It is our contemplating of God in the context of remembering the past.
- Flashpoint for the Fear of the Lord
At this intersection between divine and human archive stands the imperative principle of creatorial accountability. Because we live in God’s image, our soul archive is a record of a stewardship for which we must answer—specifically, a failed stewardship. This means memory is more than a record for divine instruction. It is first a bill to be adjudicated which must be reconciled in order for eternal life to be joined. Christ died to birth us to eternal life in the face of that failed record. And by the grace of God’s forgiveness over that accountability we may exchange this reel of historical unprofitability for His very real Life! Amen!
This “fear of the Lord” over the accountable soul archive written in the wake of our present moments spells the very “beginning of applied wisdom” we may gain by “numbering our days.” Remembering our sin is the first memory God keeps of us—the incipient landmark memory. Retrieved from our own soul “library” by Holy Spirit conviction, this recollection lies as the very first point of “currency exchange” for trading up to God via confessional reconciliation—becoming the site of our first eternal moment. The cleansing confession elicitable from this memory gives memory its first and fundamental auxiliary value.
Under the power of conviction, we must remember what we don’t want to so our failed stewardship record may be expunged by the blood of Christ: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” Heb. 8:12 NIV. As Moses sprinkled the blood on the book of the law, so must Christ’s blood be sprinkled on the “book” of our lives now.
All sin is slated to be forgotten together with all historical memory. The eternal issue is whether we too will be forever forgotten along with the sin because we remained historically attached to it, unregenerated out from our story by the blood, or whether we were able to be birthed anew by daring to confront that first divine landmark.
So it is that the eternal forgetfulness of divine forgiveness first requires passage through the memory of our historical sin. Our “book” must be opened before God. (As we say it, “I must face my past,” and, “I am an open book.”) God forgets nothing of this reel life until it has been finally adjudged or else reconciled and perfected under the blood. (Neither may we do so in the name of “forgetting those things which are behind.”) As we remember our sins to then find divine forgetfulness, we enter and grow into knowing God.
- Landmarks for Continued Eternal Growth
Memory’s landmark value progresses to apply to all ongoing eternal instruction while still inside this story. It is found where memory converts to eternally unforgettable landmarks by our remembering of God. Recall of past significant events including direct encounters with His Spirit over specific personal historical issues become milestone points of thrust by which God boosts our eternal life further into orbit toward manifest rendezvous with Him. Remembering God’s interventions into our history that showed His covenantal faithfulness serves as a lattice on which eternal faith keeps building.
This is why the scriptures exist. They record past and future history for our eternal profit while we live out this otherwise unprofitable historical context. To this end all the renowns from Moses to Peter tell us “not to forget” God, “not to forget” what we have heard, what we have learned. Israel throughout its generations is exhorted to retell the great past acts of God, the Psalms tell us to “remember Thy great goodness,” and Jesus queries the disciples, “How is it that you do not remember?...Remember the word that I spoke to you…Do this in remembrance of Me…”
- Memory in Summary and the Valuation Imbalance
These are the ways then how fleeting memory, when joined to God’s “memory” of us, plays that limited critical role by which we may come into, remain secure and keep growing into real Life. We see how it is limitedly necessary to eternal life, though inherently unprofitable. On one hand is the useless replicating of historical life through techno-inflamed memory that tries to resurrect already spent soul life. But then we have the vital supportive remembering found in God’s annals across time through scripture, in the records of His interventions into society’s story and into our own life history—all essential to our eternal conversion and growth.
Against this wisdom appears the irony of the valuation imbalance we first discussed. Man overvalues this life’s vaporous memories which God deems valueless, while devaluing by forgetfulness the auxiliary joint landmark Record written over our memory that opens salvation’s door.
Spiritual war exists over this imbalance. The devil seduces us to overvalue soul memory as a self-sustaining end while blinding us to the valuable memory of sin and those experiences by which the Father precipitates His life in us. Amid this war, we must discern between our useless nostalgic reels and the landmark remembrances commanding our accountability, converting us to real Life through divine forgiveness and forever maturing us in accord with the soul death exchange.
To which end do your memories serve you?
Page created September 16, 2019