Dear Joe and Sally,
Yes, all of us have times of mourning of loved ones who have passed on. The ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is, 1Th 4:13-, “But I would not have you ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, that you be not grieved, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so the God will also bring with Him all those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.
“For, we say this to you by the Word of the Lord that we, who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not go before those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of a God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” Yes, we may mourn.
As for me, the most heart-breaking of all is that what Paul wrote, in his day, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,” is not the same word that is preached today. There are even those who do not believe the saying, “We, who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
We are, of course, not surprised for it is written, 2Ti 4:1-, “Therefore I solemnly witness before the God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is going to judge the living and the dead according to His appearance and His kingdom, preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For, a time will be when they will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear. And they will turn away their ears from the truth and will be turned to myths.”
Not only are there more than a thousand denominations to choose from, here in South Africa, but also many Bible translations; a variety indeed of teachers each with their own interpretation of what ‘all those who have fallen asleep through Jesus’ means.
A day, however, will come when, in heaven, this will be said concerning those who have not endured ‘sound doctrine’, Rev 19:1-, After this I seemed to hear the far-echoing voices of a great multitude in Heaven, who said, “Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the power belong to the God of us. True and just are His judgments, because He has judged the great Harlot [Rev 17 and 18] who was corrupting the whole earth with her fornication/no one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other; one cannot serve God and mammon, and He has taken vengeance for the blood of His bondservants which her hands have shed.”
And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! For her smoke ascends until the Ages of the Ages.” And the twenty-four Elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped the God who sits upon the throne. “Even so,” they said; “Hallelujah!” And from the throne there came a voice which said, “Praise the God of us, all you His bondservants—you who fear Him, both the small and the great.
“And to her it was granted that she should be dressed in fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of the God,’” Rev 19:7-.
We must take courage for a day will come when those of us, who have had to suffer for what we believe, will see the God’s reaction, 2Th 1:5-, “Your suffering proves that His judgment is right and that you are considered worthy of his kingdom. Certainly, it is right for our God to give suffering to those who cause you to suffer. It is also right for our God to give all of us relief from our suffering. He will do this when the Lord Jesus is revealed, coming from heaven with his mighty angels in a blazing fire.
“He will take revenge on those who refuse to acknowledge our God and on those who refuse to respond to the Good News about our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty by being destroyed forever, by being separated from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious power. This will happen on that day when He comes to be honoured among all his holy people and admired by all who have believed in Him. This includes you because you believed the testimony we gave you.
“With this in mind, we always pray that our God will make you worthy of his call. We also pray that through his power He will help you accomplish every good desire and help you do everything your faith produces. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honoured because of you, and you will be honoured because of Him. This can happen only by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Good News about our Lord Jesus is, He volunteered to be the ‘Good Shepherd’ who would bring back ‘the sheep that went astray’ from the Overseer of their souls, Isa 49:5-, “And now, says Jehovah who formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him. Though Israel is not gathered, yet I shall be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah, and My God shall be My strength.
“And He said, ‘It is but a little thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to bring back the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You for a light to the nations, to be My salvation to the end of the earth…”
Ponder, 1Pet 2:-23- [according to the original], “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; Suffering, he threatened not; but committed to Him that judgeth righteously.’ Who the sins of us Himself carried up in the body of Him unto the tree that, to the sins dying, to the righteousness we might live that we, being dead to sins, should live unto the righteousness; of Whom, by the wound you were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
The ‘being dead to sins’ does not mean that one is ‘dead’, rather, Gal 2:20-, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of the God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me,” and, Gal 3:26-, “Because you are all ‘siblings’ of a God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Paul, according to original, is referring to that spirit of Christ, Gal 3:2, “This only I would learn from you: Did you receive the spirit by works of the law, or by hearing of faith?” and Col 3:3-, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in the God. When Christ, our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”
With the above in mind Rom 8:1-, according to the original, becomes clear, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of the life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of the sin and of the death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, the God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
The law required Lev 9:2, “And Moses saith unto Aaron, `Take to thyself a calf, a son of the herd, for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, perfect ones, and bring near before Jehovah.” However, according to Heb 9:-13- it is clear that the blood of ‘a son of the herd’ was too ‘weak’ to purge one’s conscience, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ (who through an eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to the God) purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hence Jesus calling Himself, Mat 9:6, “But so that you may know that the Son of the Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, then He said to the paralytic, ‘Arise, take up your bed and go to your house.’”
Most translators, guarding the false ‘Trinity’ doctrine, either omit the indefinite article or, insert the definite article. Paul writes, Gal 2:20-, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of the God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of the God; for if righteousness is by law, then Christ has died in vain.”
Do note that Jesus had faith in Father God Heb 12:1-, “Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us, fixing our attention on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith, who, in view of the joy set before Him, endured a cross, disregarding shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the God.”
Jesus had first to ‘endure a cross’; be made sin 2Co 5:20-, “Now then, we serve as ambassadors for Christ, as though a God were appealing through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to the God. For, He made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of the God in Him.”
Do bear in mind that the Passover Feast is the 15th of Nissan it being full moon according to the Jewish calendar. It is for this reason that Passover has not a fixed date; it has to be full moon and therefor always on a Thursday. Moreover, the day after the next Sabbath, 17th, is the Wave Offering Feast, Sunday 18th when the first sheaf of the grain offering must be waved Lev 23:11, “And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”
Jesus was crucified Wednesday 14th Nissan [always on a Wednesday], Joh 19:31, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away,” fulfilling the words of Jesus, Mat 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of the man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night and resurrected after sunset Saturday 18th Nisan.
Between the time Jesus was resurrected and telling Mary Magdalene Joh 20:17, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God,” He had led those, who believed in Him during his ministry ‘in the lower parts of the earth’, with Him to a place of safety ‘on high’ as is written Eph 4:8-, “Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men…’”
Mary was not allowed to cling Him for He was the ‘first sheave’ 1Co 15:20, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have died,” and had to ‘be waved’ and ‘accepted’, Heb 9:11-, “But Christ came as a High Priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered once for all into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption.”
Mankind’s spirits are contaminated because we were all in Adam when he ate of the forbidden fruit. Jesus came and became the ransom; He died the death that Adam should have died and his righteous deed resulted in Rom 5:18-, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For through the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the One many shall be constituted righteous.”
One is either still ‘in Adam’ resulting to condemnation or, ‘in Jesus’ and constituted righteous. Baptism, by immersion, portrays a death, burial and a resurrection. A resurrection implies the receiving of a ‘holy’, not contaminated spirit and, that is what Jesus did the evening of his resurrection as is written Joh 20:22, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive a holy spirit.” They had been baptised and were now a member of Jesus’ ‘body’, 1Co 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit,” clothed with Christ; a new creation—born again.
Unfortunately, most of the translators did not keep to the original text, which, led to much confusion concerning the rebirth event. John 7:37- should have read,On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! The one who believes unto Me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of His belly shall flow rivers of living waters.”’ He said this about the spirit, whom those who were believing unto Him were to receive. For, there was not yet a holy spirit because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
A playback of Jesus’ ‘glorification’, Rev 5:1-, “…”It is fitting that the Lamb which has been offered in sacrifice should receive all power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing,” and, Col 2:15, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He mocked them in public, triumphing over them in it,” the nailing of the Ransom on a cross.
God the Father brought Jesus back from the death as is written, Rom 8:11-, “But if the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit indwelling in you.” It is the same spirit, the spirit of God the Father, which raised Jesus to the life, which, by faith, one receives coming up from the ‘waters of baptism’, Tit 3:5 [original], “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He delivered us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of a Spirit Holy.”
1Pe 1:23, “You are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,” sounds real good. Jesus would have added, “Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of the Father of them. He, who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The ‘glorification of Jesus’, as witnessed by John [a playback of what happened after Jesus’ saying to Mary Magdalene, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God”], whilst he was on the Isle of Patmos:
John said that he saw a book on the right of Him [God the Father] sitting on the throne, written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. He also saw a mighty angel [it reminds me of Goliath of old only this time it was Satan himself] proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to loosen its seals?’ And no one in Heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book or to look at it.
“And I wept very much,” said John because no one was found worthy to open and to read the book, nor to look at it. And one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.
Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals of it.”
John turned, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, amidst the elders, he saw a Lamb, as if it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him sitting on the throne.
It reminds one of what Paul wrote concerning how God the Father put Satan to shame Col 2:13-, “And you, being dead to your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He [God the Father], has made alive together with Him [Jesus], having forgiven you all trespasses, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it].
And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having harps and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain. With your blood you purchased people for the God of us from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
John looked and he heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and the living creatures and the elders. And the number of them was myriads and myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a great voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing.”
And he heard every creature which is in the Heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and those that are in the sea, and all who are in them, saying, “Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. And the four living creatures said, “Amen.” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the One living forever and ever,
Do read, with understanding’ the opening of the seven seals and ponder Rev 10:7, “But in the days of the sound of the seventh angel, when he will begin to sound, the mystery of the God should be finished, as He has declared to His servants the prophets,” in the light of, 1Co 15:51-, “Behold, I speak a mystery to you; we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet. For a trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality,”
Roll on Rev 8:1-,