Death and the end times – Part IV
11 / 29 / 08
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
Please understand that these devotions are simply my thoughts put on a piece of paper as I study during the week. I then share my thoughts with my friends … all of you! There is more to the life of a believer than “seeking and saving the lost”. Although this may be ONE of the missions of a child of God, it most certainly is NOT the only one. Remember, loving our neighbor is the second greatest commandment, but the first and greatest is loving God. Part of loving someone is knowing them.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) In other words, we must know YHVH and His Salvation.
If it is in God’s Word, it is there for us to study. This devotion is the fourth part and the final devotion in the series on death. It is deep, and I (and others) have spent countless hours on it. It is an awesome study and is just that … a study. I was still studying it last week and did not feel it was ready yet, so there was no devotion last week. I believe that I am now ready to at least put some thoughts down in writing. Enjoy!
THERE SEEMS TO BE FOUR GROUPS OF PEOPLE (Maybe only three):
“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called LEAST in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called GREAT in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)
“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for NOBLE PURPOSES and some for COMMON USE? (Romans 9:20-21)
The above two passages reveal the first two groups:
1.) The first group is those who hear the message and believe. Out of faith, they turn their ear to the Law and practice it and teach it to others.
- These are the priests, or the elect. They have been set aside as YHVH’s possession. They will be great in the kingdom of heaven and used for noble purposes.
2.) The second group is those who are the least in the kingdom, as well as being called for common use. Unlike the priests, they seem to turn a deaf ear OR do not know the Law fully yet to teach it to others.
The next two passages reveal the third and fourth groups:
“Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24)
“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” (Romans 9:18)
3.) The third group is those who heard the message clearly and refused to believe and “sin no more”. They would not accept the Law out of faith. They clearly have heard the message in this life with unstopped eyes and ears … and refused it.
- “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.” (Proverbs 28:9) and “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.” (John 9:31)
- Matthew 10:14-15 is also clear about those who hear the message: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
4.) The fourth group is those who maybe heard the message but were blinded by God (not chosen to be priests of to be used for noble purposes). They never heard the message and therefore, could not choose to believe. As you will see, God is merciful and has a plan for those who have not heard or those He has blinded on purpose. Haven’t you ever thought about those born into a family of “Christ haters?” These children and their parents simply hate the God of Israel because of ignorance. Many Jews have been hardened by God in order for US to hear the message (Romans 11:25). So, group # 4 contain all of those and also the “guys on the island” who never heard.
AT THIS TIME, THOUGH, GOD IS SIMPLY GATHERING UP HIS ELECT / PRIESTS
(Those who believe and obey will be the greatest and most noblest in the Kingdom to come. That is all that God is gathering at this time.)
Recall last week’s devotion (part three) about the Priests. We have found that the earthly priests were to have NO earthly inheritance. They, alone, were set aside for God and were told that God was going to be their inheritance. What is greater than that?
“I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” (Ezekiel 44:28)
“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
LET US LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING POSSIBLE TIME-LINE OF WHAT IS TO COME:
1.) We have the great tribulation (To save space, since many know this part, we can read about it in Revelation 13-18). Here it speaks about the beast and the mark that the un-believers will receive who follow the beast; It speaks about the 144,000 from every tribe of Israel; It speaks about the plagues and the tribulation; It speaks about the distress so great that it had to be shortened for the sake of the elect. This is ALL before the 1,000 year reign.
2.) We find in Revelation 19:7-8 that the bride has made herself ready … “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)” The bride is described as the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2 and 9-10), yet we know that this stands for its inhabitants as Matthew 23:37 indicates. I believe that the inhabitants have made themselves ready – the priests or the elect – those chosen by God. Righteous acts are based upon following His righteous Laws (“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” … Romans 2:13). Those getting themselves ready are the priests. They follow the High Priest and He is their example. The High Priest loved and obeyed the Law perfectly … that is the goal of the priests. It is a Law for the wife (bride) to submit to her husband in everything (“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:24)).
- Just like any hardship, the great tribulation made the bride even more ready: “I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14) Being white means to be clean and without sin. It is through the blood of the Lamb that the Spirit of the Lamb comes and teaches the bride (thus taking away her sins … making her white). The priests are saved by faith, but by practicing the Laws, their sins are being removed.
- “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.” (Joel 2:15-16) Did you notice the three Fall Feasts were alluded to twice … in order? Trumpets (blowing the trumpets which gathers the people), Day of Atonement (a fast day to consecrate the assembly), Tabernacles (assembling and bringing together the people) … WOW! The happy couple is preparing for the wedding!
3.) Recall that all the dead are still in the grave waiting to be called out (Some to everlasting life and some to everlasting contempt). We find in Revelation 19:20-21 the final destruction of the beast and the false prophet, as well as those who worshipped the beast and received the mark (vs 21) “The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse,”.
4.) Who is left? Why, the greatest deceiver of all … Satan. He is immediately taken and put into the Abyss for a 1,000 years (“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” … Revelation 20:1-2). The 1,000 years that Satan is bound is the seventh “day” of history since “a day is like a thousand years,” (2 Peter 3:8). To God, this is the Sabbath! The Law states that when someone gets married, the groom is not to be enlisted to go to war for one year. Plus, with Satan bound, there is no more work for the Son of God and His Bride for this “day” (1,000 years).
5.) NOTE: We are told that Satan will be released for a short time after the 1,000 years. If you have been following God’s appointments, the 1,000 year reign is the Feast of Tabernacles. After that Feast, we have the Eighth Day Assembly (The LAST appointment). And it is here that Satan is loosened to deceive once more. THIS time, just like the earthly example, God’s priests will be ready to rule (teaching in love). These who rise after the 1,000 years will hear both the messages (from Satan and the priests) “He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.” (Revelation 20:3)
6.) While Satan is out of the picture, the priests / elect are left. Those who were beheaded for Yeshua (Jesus) and His Word, those who were alive (the 144,000) and did not receive the mark, and finally those who obeyed the Laws of God out of faith, – all the above are the priests / elect. These (group # 1) take part in the FIRST resurrection (Note that they “came to life” from their sleep / death. They were not already with Him.): “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4) Those who rose in the FIRST resurrection will have no part in the second death. “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
7.) Okay … now what about the rest of the dead (groups # 2, 3, and 4)? “(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)” (Revelation 20:5)
Let us stop here for a moment to meditate. The Son of God (High Priest) is with His priests. He is teaching them unhindered in a world much like that of the Garden of Eden. This is a blessed time for the priests who have been hand-picked, or chosen by God to be used for noble purposes and are great in the kingdom: “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’” (Revelation 20:9) (Give the happy couple some time together, will ya?) … ahhhh. This 1,000 year reign is God’s literal rest. It now gives more meaning to the words for those who disobey. They are told that they will NEVER enter His rest: “And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?” (Hebrews 3:18) It is this 1,000 year rest that is being spoken of.
8.) Okay … the honeymoon is over. Time to start working together as a team (The Husband and His wife are now one). Time to loosen Satan “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison” (Revelation 20:7) and put the final chapter to rest. Satan is loosened to deceive the nations. “and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.” (Revelation 20:8) Who are the nations being spoken of since there is no-one left but Yeshua (Jesus) and His priests? The rest of the dead have now come to life after the 1,000 year reign when Satan was loosened again. I believe that this is speaking of only those who did not hear clearly before they died or were intentionally blinded by God for not being made to be a priest.
9.) We find Satan (who is a spirit) and possibly his fallen angels (who are spirits) being defeated.
- Satan and his angels are NOT flesh and blood, and therefore will be the only ones spoken of as being eternally in torment. “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They (the beast, false prophet and Satan) will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10). This is based upon Revelation 19:20 … “But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
10.) Okay, Satan and his army are eternally out of the way. It is time for judgment for groups # 2,3, and 4!
11.) Those who have risen after the 1,000 year reign have now heard both sides (the truth by the priests and the deception by Satan). (NOTE: death and Hades simply mean: grave or resting place. Sea could actually mean those who died in the sea and were never buried in the ground … OR … there are other places in God’s Word that use “sea” to mean the entire body of soil). The second resurrection was for group # 4 and now it is time to see who gets to experience the second death or receive eternal life. Recall that group # 4 is those who never heard the message and have now have heard it. They have a chance to accept or deny … such as the thief on the cross. It was simply faith at the last moment: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened (Note: The first set of books are the Torah, or Laws as given to Moses. The next book is the book of life.). Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire (Since we just had a group being judged for the first time, it mentions another group, “Then,” as if the rest of those in the graves were simply thrown into the lake of fire. Those are the ones who heard clearly and refused in the life they had) . The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12-15) This day of judgment for groups # 2,3, and 4 is also spoken of in:
- Daniel 12:2 … “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”
- John 5:28-29. … “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
This, of course, is simply an outline, but it does reveal a couple things:
- Who will be with the Yeshua (Jesus) for a 1,000 years.
- There are at least TWO resurrections. The first is pretty clear that it is the priests (those who taught and practiced the Law out of faith). What is confusing is the order of the second resurrection.
• It seems to be clear that group # 3 do not get a “second” chance.
• It is clear that group # 4, who never had a chance in life to accept the truth or deny it, have their FIRST opportunity to hear clearly. They are given that chance by God “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4).
• It is NOT clear about group # 2. It depends totally on their hearts when they heard the message of faith and repentance. Did they really understand that the Law determines what sin is, and that it is this Law (That Yeshua (Jesus) gave to Moses and the Prophets) that is to be obeyed out of faith? Did they hear clearly? If they did and they rejected, then the lake of fire is their destination. If they were blinded by God, then they will hear for the first time at the second resurrection.
This was simply a study to know my Father and His plan. I pray that you enjoyed it.
There are just so many other passages that speak of these times; it is amazing!
- Zechariah 14:16-17 is speaking about the time AFTER the 1,000 years. We see that there are people still refusing to obey God, so this is before all wickedness is totally eliminated, yet after the attack on Jerusalem. Therefore, it is before the final judgment. “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, YHVH Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH Almighty, they will have no rain.” By sending no rain to those who do not obey, God is still trying to reach out and let them know who is King.
- Isaiah 30:18-21 is also speaking about AFTER the 1,000 years (and maybe after evil is eliminated). The priests, like they were commanded, teach all righteousness: “Yet YHVH longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For YHVH is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
- We know (but do not understand fully) that the 144,000 come to accept the truth since they are sealed (Revelation 6:12). This is after the seven seals were broken, but notice that the 6th seal (Revelation 7:2-3) is speaking of the same events of Matthew 24:29-30 … “Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”). So, the 144,000 are part of the first resurrection. Are these 144,000 to ensure that there is always a remnant of the natural children? Just a thought, since we know that the priests are taken from ALL nations (Revelation 5:9-10) in the end.
- Revelation 21:8 … “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” We have come to know that such people are NOT children of God. In other words, we know that “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
- Let us not forget the role of priests. They administer the Law / truth. Therefore, “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations–’He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’ — just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:26-29) I believe that this is after the 1,000 year reign and when Satan is released for a short time.
- The sad note: There will be many who heard the message to repent of their sins, yet continued in their sins. They do not practice obedience to the Laws of God out of faith in this life. Many do not realize that 99% of the time (if not all) when “wicked” or “evildoer” is mentioned in His Word, it is speaking about “transgressors of the Law”. Read Malachi 4:1-4. It is speaking about the day all evildoers are thrown into the lake of fire (Note what YHVH actually tells us to remember! This is a time yet to come!): “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says YHVH Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says YHVH Almighty. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.” The evildoer becoming stubble from the flames is in line with Matthew 7:23 … “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Those who perish will become totally consumed! Ashes is what they are called under the soles of the feet of those who love God.
• The word for evildoers is anomía; gen. anomías, from ánomos, lawless. Lawlessness. In most cases in the NT it means not the absence of the Law, but the violation of Law, i.e., transgression or lawlessness. In the NT, it places stress, not in a subjective law that we ourselves create for our convenience, but chiefly in a divinely instituted Law.
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.” IF you want to be a priest and be part of the first resurrection … start studying!
This is part of a series titled, Death and the End Times:
Death and the end times – Part III
11 / 15 / 08
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
I am pondering how to continue this series on death and the end times. Should I just jump into what “seems” to be truth and who rises when (the first resurrection, the second resurrection, etc…)? Or is there another study which should be done that will lead up to the conclusion for better understanding? I have decided that I am going to “add” a study because the more proof from God’s Word that we have, the easier it is to challenge long-held beliefs. God’s Word will continue to “rock our world” until our flesh submits to truth.
GOD CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS … WHEN HE WANTS … TO WHOM HE WANTS.
The end times and WHO will rise up for the 1,000 year reign, I believe, have everything to do with the kingdom of priests. It appears that God is has been building up the kingdom of priests all this time. The rest? They will rise up AFTER the 1,000 year reign. Two key passages that I have often grappled with before this study, are:
- Matthew 5:19 … “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” After studying about the job of the priests, I know that the latter group mentioned in this verse is speaking about them. The priests were ALWAYS the greatest in the earthly example of God’s kingdom. We will find out that some are rising up for the 1,000 year reign and some “believers” are rising up after the 1,000 year reign. It seems as though God is looking for “a few good men” for this 1,000 year reign.
- John 12:40 … “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them.” I always thought: That’s not fair! Who can blame them for not understanding the truth since they were intentionally blinded by God? In “death part 4” we will see that God IS fair and just … not wanting anyone to perish!!
“Death part 3” is on just this topic: God is calling His priests first (those who practice and teach His Law out of faith) and God can choose whomever He wants to be a priest. As far as “not being fair” to those blinded or those never able to hear the truth unhindered? They DO get a chance to hear and decide whether to accept or not … during the “Eighth Day Assembly” (After the 1,000 year reign). But this is for “death part 4”!
THE EXAMPLES GIVEN FOR PRIESTS ARE THOSE WHO SERVE GOD AND TEACH HIS PEOPLE.
God’s example on earth: “‘Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’”(Exodus 19:5-6) A priest cannot teach what he, himself, does not do.
The complete fulfillment in the kingdom to come: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6). We are ONLY freed from bondage to a sin when we no longer desire to transgress that Law. Therefore, when we are freed from our bondage to a sin, we are able to obey the law that called what we were doing a sin. Being a priest in the kingdom to come is NOT a “for Jews only” position. I am not spiritualizing or minimizing our Jewish brothers. We know that Aaron (the high priest) was a typology of the Son of God. It was only Aaron’s offspring who could follow in his footsteps as a priest. The same is true with Yeshua (Jesus) being the high priests and HIS offspring! The priests are those who practice and teach obedience out of faith. They are the “kingdom of Priests” that God is gathering at this time. “And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
The above passages in Revelation were speaking about those who will serve with Yeshua (Jesus). Think about it. The Priests were NEVER given any inheritance. Instead, God said, “I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” (Ezekiel 44:28) and “Know that YHVH has set apart the godly for himself; YHVH will hear when I call to him.” (Psalm 4:3). Why? The priests are the greatest and were set apart to serve God. The priests are the elect and who better to be the bride of the Son of God than His priests? For it was and is the priest’s job to deliver the truth about the Law and how to live it out … that is righteousness! His bride will be those who made themselves ready (shed their sins … this was NOT done in her own strength, but she allowed the Spirit to dress her. Therefore, “fine linen” was given to her! But she had to accept the fine linen, or righteous living.). “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)” (Revelation 19:7)
It seems, again, that many who think that “faith without obeying the Law” is salvation … have missed the mark. It is clear that God is preparing His bride, the priests, to be part of the first resurrection (the 1,000 year reign, or Sabbath): “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be PRIESTS of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
Here is a thought: The Law of God commands that when a couple gets married, the Husband is to be given the year off from the military service to spend with His bride. Can you see the same situation here between the marriage of the Lamb and His bride? The groom has been in battle for all this time and now, at the marriage of the Lamb to His bride, it is the Sabbath (With the Lord a day is like a thousand years … and it is the seventh day … a Sabbath). He no longer has to fight against Satan, for he is bound up at this time and it is pure rest with the one the Groom loves, his bride. Ahhhh.
BUT IS THIS FAIR?
At first glance, it appears NOT to be fair to those who were never given the message or who were blinded simply by God’s choice. In “death part 4” we will see that God IS just and fair and that they will be given a chance to hear the truth and either deny it or accept it … in the end.
I will tell you who I am afraid for, though. It is those who clearly have understood the truth about salvation and the life of obedience to God’s Laws out of faith in His Son. They have denied the power of the Spirit of God. They heard the truth. Yeshua (Jesus) speaks of such people: “Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24) Did you notice that Yeshua (Jesus) is telling those who actually heard the message and rejected the truth that there were cities destroyed for their wickedness who had never heard what THEY heard and saw. Repent and turn from your sins and believe in God. Woe to those who have heard the message and rejected obedience to God through faith. It will be better for the Muslim in the end who had never heard the truth than for those who have heard and denied the sanctifying power of the Spirit.
Who are we to question the Creator as to who will be who in His Kingdom? HE decides who will be priests, as well as who will be blinded to the truth, as well as who will be made for common use:
- “One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’ But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:18-24)
- “Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:10) IF these people’s heart were not made calloused and their ears dull and their eyes closed … they would have turned and been healed.
In conclusion, it appears that God is building up His house of priests for eternity. Who are we to question who will be a priest or who will be used for common purposes? For it is only God who calls and it is only the priest who will answer this call at this time: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44). Once called and proven, you will be chosen. It is all about overcoming this world and its lies (from its father of liars … the devil). “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings–and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14)
“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25) This does not seem to be fair to those who have been hardened! But don’t worry, out of ALL the tribes, languages, peoples, and nations … not one of His priests were forgotten or lost! Even out of those who were blinded … God received unto Himself those who were priests. “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. “ (John 6:39)
At this time: it is just something to think about (I, too, am still searching)
This is part of a series titled, Death and the End Times:
It is often said that,
“The only law we have to obey today is Christ’s law.”
10 / 20 / 07
• Some questions we must ponder:
- Are we to obey the Son over the Father?
- If the Father gave us a command and then someone who said that he is His son, gave us a contradicting command … wouldn’t that son be acting in rebellion to His Father?
- Our Savior NEVER put Himself above or over the Father. Why then do so many today put the Son over the Father, as if the Son overrules the Father?
• When we say that we no longer have to obey God the Father’s Laws (as given through His servant Moses) because His Son gave us a new law, isn’t that what we are doing … putting the Son over the Father? This is a false doctrine. So let us examine what “Christ’s law” truly is.
• Our faith in the atoning sacrifice of the blood of the Son is what saves us. The Father sent His Son out of love for us. The Son willingly accepted the task at hand out of the same love. Let us NOT use the blood of the Son of God as an excuse to sin and disobey the Father. The Son obeyed His Father and IF we are truly disciples of the Son, we MUST do the same: “Whoever claims to live in Him MUST walk as Jesus did.” … 1 John 2:6!
• How can we truly say that Jesus taught a new command that is a contrary to the teaching of His Father’s Laws? “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) Let us also not forget that it is the Father, not the Son, who is going to reward us for our obedience. “… Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4) So the fact remains:
- The blood of the Son saves us.
- The Spirit of the Son sanctifies us (2 Thesalonians 2:13)… or in other words, helps us to obey the Father. It is the Spirit who is teaching us the Laws of the Father … THAT is sanctification. THAT is how HE (for it is HIS power within us) is taking our sins away (as He writes the Father’s Laws on our heart and we begin to obey).
• So what is the “Law of Christ”?
- Well, we can see that it is separate from His Father’s Laws (the Laws of Moses), for Paul plainly says that he is “… NOT free from God’s Law but am under Christ’s Law.” (1 Corinthians 9:21) So why are so many saying that they are free from the Law of Moses, when Paul says that he, himself, is not?
- We can also see that replacing His Father’s law is NOT what our Master taught, as well: “Do NOT think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have NOT come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will BY ANY MEANS disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18) He says “do NOT” think that the Law is done away with … so why are many thinking that way? Is everything accomplished? His death and resurrection are, but how about His return? Is there still a heaven and earth? So, we see that eliminating the Law of Moses and the Prophets is NOT what Christ taught.
• So what is this “Christ’s Law” that we are under?
• Christ’s Law is NOT (and never will be) in opposition to His Father’s Laws!! If it were, then we would have no moral code to live by. This is the relativism that our worldly society teaches us. This is NOT Biblical. IF anything, Christ enhances the Laws and brings clarification to them (Showing us the ultimate example of HOW to live them out which is the definition of fulfilling them) God’s Word makes this clear: “Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.” (1 John 2:7) The message we have heard? Friends, He was talking to those who had heard Moses and the Prophets! “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:8-9) A new command to love your brother? Is this really a new command? No, wait, I mean yes, I mean … is it really new? Yes, to the people He was speaking to … it was. For the Gentiles coming in to the family of Israel through faith in HIM were NOW considered equal brothers with the Jews. To the Jews (the audience to whom He was speaking), THIS was new … but was it, I mean, it was … we find in the past, the Gentiles saved by faith were considered saved, but simply “aliens among them”.
• So, when we are told to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) we can see this being applied. Friends, God has always commanded us to carry each other’s burdens, but they, the Jews, were not doing so to those of “different nationalities”. We, the Gentiles are now their brothers … equals inside of Israel. By whose command? The Son’s!! For HE broke down those man-made walls of hostility (“For HE himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.” – Ephesians 2:14-16). This is NOT talking about God’s Laws given through Moses being hostile! It was speaking of the dogma laws of man that kept the Gentiles and Jews separated; These man-made laws were “hostile” and NOT of God!
NOTE: Since the Jewish and the Gentile believers were now equal, They were being told to carry each other’s burdens and to love each other as brothers. To do so … they would be fulfilling Christ’s Law! If we say that by Christ “fulfilling” the Law of Moses, we no longer have to obey them … then if I carry someone’s burden (thus fulfilling the law of Christ), I don’t have to do that again, either. So we can plainly see that fulfilling something does NOT mean to eliminate it. We simply lived out that Law to the fullest meaning it was intended!! We must do it again, though, because of our faith!! Christ’s Law? That the Jewish and Gentile believers were now one man … a new man out of two separate people . We are to love each other and to carry each other’s burdens. Is this new? Not really, but even to us today … it is new, for we have been using it to disobey His Father. But is has always been there waiting for the right time to be revealed to those being saved.
• Just something to think about the next time we feel like saying, “We no longer have to obey God the Father’s Laws … for we now have Christ, His Son.” Is that what the Son would say?
11 / 25 / 05
(comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
• What is the truth about the Laws of God?
• It is apparent that when our Savior came, that the Jews obeyed them to be saved.
• The church interprets God’s Word as if to say all, but a choice few, of the Laws no longer valid.
• I have even heard that the Law is mandatory for everyone, regardless of whether or not they are a child of God.
• So, is there still a Law? If so, who is it for?
• After careful reading and study, it seems to me that God’s Laws are only for the family of God (Oh, they are AVAILABLE for all men, just like salvation. But, just like salvation, only those who believe become part of His family, and therefore, receive the gift of His Laws!).
• Think about it … those who say that they are children of God show what this means by the way they live out their lives. Through our words and deeds we show the world who OUR God is! How did His Son reveal Him? Through obedience (love of God) and laying down His life (love of neighbor)!
WAS THE LAW GIVEN TO THE WORLD, OR JUST TO GOD’S CHILDREN? READ FOR YOURSELVES:
• “Do not eat anything you find already dead.” (Yes, this is a Law for God’s children. Obviously, not a hard one to obey, I might add. The verse continues, as if we are asking God, “But Lord, then what are we to do with this dead carcass?” To me, God’s answer is hilarious. Now we, God’s children, cannot eat it, but He says that …) “You may give it to an alien living in any of your towns, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. But YOU are a people holy to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 14:21a)
• “He has revealed His word to Jacob, His laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for NO OTHER nation; they (The other nations) do not know His laws. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 147:19-20)
• (Even when it comes to lending to a brother in need, or loaning to a foreigner, it is the foreigner that we are not to hold to the same Law as a fellow citizen of God!) “You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your brother owes you.” (Deuteronomy 15:3)
• (Okay, our forefathers are about to enter a foreign land by dispossessing of it. God is revealing to His children that this foreign nation does things that He does not permit them to do. Why? Because God is holy, we, His children are to be holy and we are a separated people unto HIM!) “The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for YOU, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.” (Deuteronomy 18:14) (I ask you, can we, now that the Messiah has come, break any of these laws, now? Of course not! But WE are to uphold them!!! (Romans 3:30 … “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the Law.”) We cannot pick and chose which laws to obey just because of the traditions passed down through generations, even centuries, to us. Do not fear persecution of man, but of God who gave us this precious gift … His laws!)
• (Many Christians no longer believe the Laws given through Moses are for them, so the world is no longer envious of us! Let me ask you, how does your child show you that he understands what you told him to do? By DOING it correctly. THAT is showing that he understands!) “Observe them (the laws) carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations (those not part of the family), who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” … “And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:6 and
• (These laws of God, given to us, are actually a way to have a closer relationship with God, through His Son. They are even a possession that we can pass on, or give to our children. (They are better than any pearls or keep-sakes!)) “Moses charged us with a law, a POSSESSION for the assembly of Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 33:4) (Yes, we are that assembly. Along with all those who believed and lived by faith before us!!)
• (The law is not for the un-believers to obey! It is ours and is the very Law that the Spirit is writing on our hearts today (Hebrews 8:8-11). The Spirit does NOT write these precious laws on the hearts of someone who is NOT a child of God!) “He teaches your precepts to Jacob and your law to Israel.” (Deuteronomy 33:10a) (Again, we find God revealing later in Romans 9:6-8 WHO Israel really is … those who believe and live by faith.)
• (Finally, remember when Paul was sent to the Gentiles? The Gentiles did NOT have the Law, since it was never given to them! Paul makes it clear, as he witness to the un-believers, that he was NOT free from God’s law, but by witnessing to them, he was actually adhering to the law of Christ!) “To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am NOT free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law (Let us NOT forget, that it was the Gentiles obedience to the Law, in fact, that proved that the Spirit of God was in them too! “For it is not those who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the Law who will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13). We are NOT justified by obeying the Law!! But the obedience to the Law shows that we have been justified (it is revealing the sanctifying work of the Spirit within us).
• I humbly introduce to those who want a closer relationship with their Lord, Jesus Christ, to allow His Spirit to have access to their hearts to write His law. Do not fear man’s rebuke (most comes from inside the church), but fear God. He gave us the right food to eat, the right Sabbath to obey, the correct festivals to celebrate (they ALL of which point to the work of His Son!!). His Laws even show us how to treat our neighbors as ourselves; How to give until we have nothing more to give, but need to receive back; How to lay down our life for another human being; How to pray for our enemies (not curse them) … By obeying God’s eternal Law, we teach our children who God is … unchanging and trustworthy!! Yes, OUR God is the same today as He was yesterday!!
• So how do you show God that you understand Him and love Him? (“THIS is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are NOT burdensome…” (1 John 5:3)
• So let us enjoy the gift God gives freely to His children, and sing as King David did in Psalm119:33 and 97 … “Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” and “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Remember, it is Christ who is the Word lived out … perfectly! In turn, by rejecting the Law … are they not rejecting who Christ is?)
08 / 19 / 05
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
“He has revealed His word to Jacob, His laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for NO OTHER nation; they (The other nations) do not know His laws. Praise the Lord.”
• Because of a conversation I had last week (mostly one-sided …mostly the other person telling me how wrong I was, in living according to God’s Torah by obeying the Sabbath, celebrating God’s Holidays, eating according to God’s dietary laws, etc… (Basically how wrong my family is by living according to God’s “Old rules”).
• “Why Lord?” Why are so many people determined not to live according to the way your Son did? (1 John 2:6)
• My wife and I have been doing an ongoing study about God’s Law. This devotion, sparked by that conversation I had, is in line with our study. So allow me to share with you at this time, some of our search.
• REMINDER: This is NOT a conclusion, but merely what we have been studying. We are open (WIDE open) to hear comments (out of love) and discuss with anyone about our love … God and His Words.
• Keep your mind open and your heart moldable. Flee from “phrases” and “interpretations” that seem to contradict God’s entire Word.
QUESTION: Is God’s Law for ALL people, or just given to His children?
• I had a discussion about this topic with one of the men that I hold in high esteem as a “man of God”, “one who has godly wisdom”, and who holds me accountable. Because of that conversation, I am going to approach this topic a little differently.
• Keep in mind the question and concerns:
o Is God’s Law for ALL people, or just His children?
o Why are so many determined not to obey God’s Law? Is it really a burden and done away with?
• A phrase that I feel is used way too flippantly is … “God’s gift of salvation is for ALL men.” Although there is some truth to this, in actuality, NOT all men are saved. So God’s gift, which is free, is AVAILABLE to ALL men … they simply have to have faith in the Messiah as Lord. Now God desires all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), but not all men are saved. (Read carefully what that says). Salvation is basically ONLY for the children of God, but available for ALL men who call on the Lord.
• Okay … now let’s take that SAME idea and apply it to God’s Law. (REMEMBER … “Torah” actually means instruction, even though our English bibles translate it “Law”). I am going to give you some verses that prompted this thought, but first, we must remember:
o God’s picture of salvation, as He used physical Israel as His example, shows that they received the Law (God’s instruction for righteous living) AFTER they were redeemed from Egypt. The Israelites (and the aliens conjoining themselves to God) who lived by faith, were God’s children BEFORE they received this Law … keep that in mind.
o ANYTHING that God SAYS is Truth and is to be obeyed. Adam sinned and that was before the Law was given … or was it? I mean, God gave him a command and he disobeyed it … therefore, he sinned.
VERSES THAT PROMPTED OUR STUDY:
• 2 Timothy 3:16-17 … “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for … so that the MAN OF GOD may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (An un-believer is NOT a man of God. So, Scripture is NOT useful for the un-believer in the ways it is for the believer … although it COULD be and it IS available for him. Yet an un-believer chooses to live according to HIS ways, not God’s)
• Romans 5:13a … “for BEFORE the law was given, sin was in the world.” (Again, sin is disobeying God’s commands. There is more to the “Law” than a bunch of rules … it is the very voice of God and who HE is. It is God’s heart revealed. It is God’s justice and mercy woven together and given to His children as a gift!! To obey God is to UNDERSTAND who HE is!! To obey God is to love Him (John 14:15, 14:23-24, and 1 John 5:3))
• (This one is awesome and was the clincher to our thought. And to think that the mainstream church is teaching their parishioners NOT to obey God’s Law as found in the “Torah” … what are we really showing the world around us? By observing God’s Laws we are showing the world around us that we understand and have wisdom!!) Deuteronomy 4:6-8 … “Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him? And what other nation is so great as to have such RIGHTEOUS decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (WOW … that is awesome! By obeying God’s entire Word the way our Savior did … in complete obedience … we show the unsaved how awesome our God is!! Now … these very Laws are available for THEM, as well. They simply must believe and become a child of God!! Then God’s Spirit will start writing them on THEIR hearts, as well!)
• Can you see how it seems that God’s children (who are to look differently from the world around them!), have rules to live by? Those rules are God’s Torah (the first five books of Moses and AFFIRMED by our Savior as He lived them out perfectly, giving us an example! (1 Corinthians 11:1 1 and Peter 2:21-22)).
• Example: My children have rules to live by (we will call them “Dad’s law”). If they want to please me and have Dad’s favor upon them, they had better live according to “Dad’s law”. Now I know that the younger ones cannot obey them as well as the older ones. I do not hold the younger children to the same standards as the older ones (although the older ones may grumble at this and say this is not fair … it is) I am ALWAYS showing my children mercy when they mess up (I know when they obey out of love for me, and when they try to get away with things, as well), but they remain my children. When we go out, I want them to show the world around them that they belong to a Dad that loves them so much, that I protect them with rules. I teach them how to truly live by giving them guidelines, and so forth. Now, someone else’s child does NOT have to obey “Dad’s law”!!! Why? They are not my children!!! Although, I DESIRE that ALL families would adhere to training their children according to “Dad’s law”. MY rules are only for MY children. But if a child comes to me and wants to be part of my family (this is an example, okay) because that child saw how much I love my children. How I talk with them and listen to them, not wavering in my rules, caring enough for my children as to set boundaries by not letting them go off freely, and this “alien” child wants to be part of my family … “Come, I say … enjoy life. Enjoy the same love.” Upon attaching himself to my family, that new child of mine does not know my rules. Obeying them is NOT why he is welcomed in. He desires to live as my child, because he believes in my plan. Eventually, over time and in love, I will guide him or her (as a loving father does) … (This is a picture of our loving Father and how any of us can become part of Israel … His family)
• Let us stop the aversion to God’s Law. They are NOT like the world’s traditions and frail imitations (but do you really expect them to be?). You will no longer look like the world around you (but, again, did you expect a child of God to?).
• Here is a thought … Romans 7:9-10 … “Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was INTENDED to bring life actually brought death.” (Which side of the law are you on? The side that brings death (by obeying or NOT obeying it to gain salvation)? Or the side that brings you closer to God? When one obeys the law, or eliminates the Law, in order to try and gain salvation, it brings death. When they find life in the Messiah, this same law is now righteousness for this child of God. Remember … sin is “Law-LESS-ness” … or … sin is “without law”. So what have many churches done because they could not obey the Law? They say there is no law to obey. But YOU know that the Messiah came to take away our sins … by putting the law on our hearts and minds, so that we CAN obey them (When one knows and obeys the law, he obviously is not sinning against that law! God took the sin away!). Obedience is a delight for those who allow God’s Spirit to do His job … (Hebrews 8:8-11)
SHOULD WE BE AFRAID OF OUR FATHER’S GIFT … HIS LAW?
• If you are trying to obey it (OR ignore it) to save yourself, yes. Look at the Law as a double edged sword (Hmmmm … isn’t that our Messiah?). The Law can either condemn you (before you are saved) or is your righteousness (after you are saved).
• BECAUSE we are His children, the Law is for US. Listen to God’s Word as it is penned by the Apostle Paul, and the way that he describes it (we obey BECAUSE we believe … “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? NOT AT ALL! Rather, we uphold the law.” Romans 3:31)
• The world does not understand this foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18a … “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”). God’s power is the one transforming us from the inside out … that is ONLY through what Christ accomplished on the cross. The world does not want a law to live by. But of course, we are told that in Romans 8:6-7 … “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is HOSTILE to God. It does NOT submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” By saying we are free from God’s perfect Law and that HE must understand our disobedience … we seem to be telling a loving Father, “We don’t like the rules of the house”. Even though our words SAY we love His Son, by our very action, we are denying Him, for HE is the very Word of His Law made flesh!! He is the movie of the book … or the example for us how to live out God’s Word!!
• Let us embrace God’s entire Word and instruction Book. Will it make those around us feel good? Of course not!! Our obedience will be revealing their sin. They are under the Law (controlled by the Law that SAYS that what they are doing is a sin). Not us!! WE are under the control of His Spirit. His Spirit supervises us … no longer the written words on stone, but on our hearts!! We now have the power to overcome our sinful nature and obey God’s Holy and perfect Law (As each Law is revealed to us and the truth of the knowledge is known).
• My children desire to please me … they want to obey me … why? They love me and that is how they show their love for me.