Prophecy and the End of the Age

Beginning with the Law

You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’  When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.  Deuteronomy 18:21,22.

Sounds a little bit simplistic doesn’t it? And yet you have to know the Law and the prophets. Here is why.

Jesus knew every Word of God, and it is the basis for understanding every word He spoke.

Satan knows every word of God, even trying to use that word in tempting Jesus. For every Word of God you know and keep is a weapon of warfare for your spirit, under the Remembrance of the Holy Spirit.

Every Word of God that you have failed to learn and keep in your heart becomes a weapon for the enemy to use against you. Think about that a minute and then ask me why I spend so much time in the Bible, in prayer and meditation, and not on face book, you tube and christian TV teaching.

Here’s something Jesus said about His return:

For just as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Matthew 24:27.

Based on Deuteronomy 18, my understanding of this verse is simple; you will see me when you see me. All speculation about when Jesus is going to return is harmful, and I have in fact spoken in detail about this in my essay:  Against Deceptions.

Here is what Jesus says about the day of His return:

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building;  on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.  So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.  Luke 17:26-30.

So to answer the question do I think Jesus returns at a time of imminent destruction of the earth, my answer is no, this is a Shia Muslim belief, and the reason Iran is so eager to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the U.S. and the world.

What this also tells me is that just before each of these  judgments, essentially one man stood between the everyday life of everyone and imminent judgment, thus I should continue to intercede and try to delay the coming of the Lord as if I am that man, ‘for His longsuffering is reckoned as salvation.’  2 Peter 3.

As to things happening in the world today that are relevant to prophecy, I have shared many details that the Lord has revealed to me through the Holy Spirit in the paper Superpowers of the Millennium. That is to say, there is definitely events taking place that are consistent with the prophets, but nothing that anyone has any business using to predict the future.

All eschatology dealing with interpreting prophecy to predict when something is going to happen is the work of error. Prophecy is rightly interpreted when we see fulfillment and know this is from God. No prophecy is given for experts to use to make predictions.

Let no one deceive you in any way, for that Day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the one destined to be destroyed.                      2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Okay, so the Day of the Lord will not come until after the man of lawlessness is revealed. We will know him when we see him, because he has been described vividly to us. Yet so called experts on the Bible continue to speculate on who they think he is, calling him the anti-Christ,  until we find out that he isn’t. There should be a Hall of Fame for world leaders who were identified as the anti-Christ, and a Hall of Shame for the false teachers who speculated on prophecy that is given so that we will know him when we see him.

Wait on the Lord. What I say to one I say to all: Watch and Pray.

Superpowers of the Millennium

In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the earth. For Adonai-Tzva’ot has blessed, saying: “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”                                                                      Isaiah 19:24&25.
The land of Assyria figured prominently throughout the Old Testament, and has emerged to play a pivotal role on the world stage. The Assyrian empire ranged from what is today eastern Turkey, across northern Syria and Iraq, into northwest Iran. This entire region, though separated geo-politically, is loosely united by the populations of ethnic Kurds that occupy the “land of Assyria”.
The Kurdish controlled areas in northern Iraq are of particular interest for the oil reserves found there. Ideally, this oil would be brought directly to the eastern Mediterranean by pipeline across the Syrian desert. Instability in this country and Lebanon currently prevent that from being accomplished. The warfare in this region will soon settle this issue, as the presence of Hezbollah in Lebanon is an intolerable situation for Israel, and will soon be resolved by force of arms.

Ephraim feeds on wind, and follows after the east wind: he daily increases lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. Hosea 12:1.

To the south, Egypt has had peaceful relations with Israel for a generation, and will benefit greatly from this relationship. They will prosper from Israel’s relationship with the west, as Israel will eventually control the seaport that will become the center of global trade.

Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth? The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.
Isaiah 23:8&9.

Consider the role that this city of Tyre has played in Biblical history. When Solomon built the first Temple, material support was provided from the ruler of Tyre. When Ezra built the second temple, he received material support from the ruler of Tyre also. Will they play a pivotal role at the end of the age?

And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.
Isaiah 23:17&18.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.                                                      Revelations 18:3.

The great Mediterranean seaports of Tyre and Sidon are included in the land of promise. The center of global trade in the time of the Phoenicians, an enabler for Solomon’s global ambitions, and soon to be the prize of a coming war in the Middle East. Sidon was the first born son of Canaan, the man cursed by  Noah. Tyre was named for the daughter of Sidon. The Bible is the only source for a true understanding of history, the present, and the future.
The main point to draw from this discourse is to avoid deception in the mind of believers. The coming war in the middle east will not be the end of the world or a sign for the return of the Son of man. This is a necessary step in man’s inglorious history to fulfill all righteousness. The time of the gentiles is the only age that is coming to a close. The three nations of God will be the center of our history going forward. Remain faithful.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelations 2:10.

Two Words, One Root

When we consider the words believe and faith, we sense intuitively that a relationship exists between them. For a belief to operate in the power of faith there must be trust, without doubt.
And whatever things you ask in prayer believing, you will receive.
Matthew 21:22.

The very thing that you put your trust in will in the end stand in judgement of you.

Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses in whom you trust.
John 5:45.

Where you place your trust defines your hope for the future and eternity. The Greek translated trust is also almost equally translated as hope.

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For
who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we
wait with endurance.
Romans 8:24 & 25.

To express this from a negative form, faith is belief without doubt.

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Mark 11:23.

In this is our blessing:
Jesus said to him, Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
John 20:29.

So then what is the common root for both faith and believing? The answer is the primary verb “to persuade”. This word appears 17 times in the book of Acts alone.

Here are two examples of Paul converting souls by the faith of Jesus Christ.

And he was debating every Shabbat in the synagogue, trying to persuade
both Jewish and Greek people.
Acts 18:4, (TLV).

He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly with
persuasive arguments about the kingdom of God.
Acts 19:8, (NAB).

This is why the Gospel must be presented in the pure, original form, that those who hear are persuaded by Grace from the God of Love, as expressed through His Son Jesus Christ.

Paul expressed his intentions clearly:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

There are many other ways to persuade someone, such as this first time the word appears in the Gospel.

The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas, but to destroy Jesus.
Matthew 27:20.

This persuasion was probably accomplished through intimidation, as the people would not want to oppose the leaders who accused the Lord before Pilate. Barabbas was a thief, a murderer, and an insurrectionist who was set free on the occasion of Christ’s trial before a Gentile. This is to say that a common way for people to be persuaded is through some claim to authority. The Apostolic teachings were constantly being opposed by false teachers who claimed to have authority from Jerusalem.

In Galatia and many other Greek locations, new believers were being told that they must be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses.

Here Paul opposes this doctrine in his letter to the Galatians.

Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Galatians 5:7-9.

After insisting that they not be persuaded by these instructions from those
who claim authority to add to the Message, he uses the analogy of leaven.
Even as Jesus warned His disciples to beware of “the leaven of the Pharisees”.              Paul instructs us using the same imagery.

Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore
purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are
unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore
let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and
wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

To walk by faith is to trust exclusively in the Grace of God, without the need
for the leaven of scientific proof.

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are
sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as from ourselves, but our
sufficiency from God.
2 Corinthians 3:5.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always
having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8.

The Trumpets of Memorial and Remembrance

In Numbers chapter 10, Moses receives instructions to manufacture two pure silver trumpets for general use of calling an assembly and for the movements of the camp. These two trumpets are for the exclusive use of the sons of Aaron, and are distinctive from the more familiar ram’s horn.

The calling of the assembly mentioned in verse two and discussed in verses three and four warrant a closer look. The calling of assemblies at the tent of meeting were appointments with the Lord for chosen men and the nature of that calling is prophetic to the church. Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the law and the prophets foreshadow God’s plan for the body of Christ. The original intention for the people of Israel is presented by God in Exodus.

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.                                                                 Exodus 19:4-6.

This covenant plan is transferred to the body of Christ:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.                                                                                                    1 Peter 2:9.

In fact, the Lord modified his intentions on occasion during the wilderness trek in response to the obedience of some and the disobedience of others. A kingdom of priests became a tribe of priests under Aaron and his direct line, and his tribe Levi.

We see this again in Numbers 11:16&17, when the Lord establishes a special class of men by removing a portion of the anointing on Moses and placing this upon seventy chosen men.

Beginning in Genesis 32, after Jacob wrestles all night with an angel of God, he is given the name Israel. In verse 32, his descendants are first referred to as the children of Israel.

Then in Exodus 12:3, a new term is introduced: the congregation of Israel. The Hebrew word is edah and is derived from the word ad which means witness and is itself derived from ud, meaning to testify. Thus congregation in this sense is better understood as witnesses.

Keep in mind that at the time this reference is introduced, the children of Israel have just witnessed God’s judgments upon Egypt and the Lord is implementing the first Passover in preparation for the exodus.

We also find in Exodus the common expression tabernacle of the congregation. However, a different word is employed here, yet it also is translated congregation in the King James. The Hebrew mo-ad means an appointed or set time, thus the better translation is tent of meeting used in most other translations.

Thus, the trumpets are used at appointed times that they may be established as a memorial; and a remembrance in time of war.

And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.                                                                                            Numbers 10:9.

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.    Numbers 10:10.

In Numbers 10:2 the trumpets are said to be used for the calling of the edah, or witnesses. Keep in mind that this originally referred to all of the people, even as the priesthood. However the people proved themselves to be unmanageable.

In Numbers 11, Moses brings his complaint before God and expresses his preference to by killed rather than continue with a burden that is too heavy for him. (Numbers 11: 11-15).

In verse 16, the Lord instructs Moses to gather unto Him seventy men at the tent of meeting, to have a portion of the spirit on Moses placed on them to bear the burden for the people.

The calling of the edah is not every one of the children of Israel, but those who were chosen from among the called, for many are called but few are chosen.

Therefore brethren be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never fall.                                           2 Peter 1:10.

When they shall blow with them all the witnesses shall assemble themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting.                                      Numbers 10:3.

When Moses speaks to the Lord concerning the people complaining about their diet, the Lord says He will provide flesh for them for a whole month until it comes out of their nostrils and it becomes loathsome unto you. Moses responds: “the people are 600,000 soldiers (plus women, children and the elders) and what can be gathered to suffice them?”                                Numbers 11:18-23.

By this estimation, over two million people would have to gather at the entrance to the tabernacle upon hearing trumpets.

Then in verse 4 the captains (nasee) of thousands are called upon the signal of one trumpet blown. The Hebrew word nasee is also translated prince, ruler and chief. It means one who has been elevated or promoted, but also to bear up, such as a burden.

In the kingdom of God, rulers are raised up to bear responsibility. When princes in Israel and Judah became like pagans and lived a life of privilege, the nation was undermined. Jesus spoke in regard to John the Baptist: “men in soft apparel dwell in king’s palaces.”

The two trumpet signal calling the witnesses would be in regard to matters of the Law, for they received the anointing to function as judges. The second assembly would pertain to administrative and military affairs and would require the captains of thousands to be in attendance. These are the calling of the assemblies for which the trumpets were to be used. The second function is for the journeying of the camps.

In Numbers 9:17-23 is a description of how the entire camp began and ended every leg of their journey. The movement of the camp was always at the command of the Lord as expressed by the cloud upon the tent of meeting. They kept the charge of the Lord at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses. The hand of Moses is established by trumpet signals described in chapter 10:5&6.

Within these instructions is found another important word for study. The word is translated alarm, blast, and signal, and is blown to initiate the movements of the camp.

The Hebrew teruwah is the great shout that brought down the walls of Jericho, that caused the earth to ring when the ark of the testimony was brought out in battle, and when David and his house brought forth the ark into the city of David, which is Mount Zion. Even more important than to shout is what is shouted, for a people to shout out in harmony is to magnify the Lord. This cannot be attained if everyone shouts out whatever seems right in his own mind.

Blessed are the people who know the teruwah (joyful sound)! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.                                                       Psalm 89:15.

Numbers 23:21 proclaims over the Lord’s people “the shout of the King is among them!” The Lord has given us a name to call upon Him as a remembrance for all generations (See The Name of Remembrance).

Blessed are the people who know the name of remembrance to shout with the sound (voice) of the trumpet (shofar).

When the jubilee trumpet sounds the voice of shofar, shout a great teruwah, and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend. Joshua 6:5.

The voice of shofar is first introduced in Exodus 19:16, and describes the herald of the Lord’s presence on Mount Sinai. This blast of sound is said to draw near the ones whose heart seeks the Lord. Most of the people withdrew at the presence of the Lord, but the opposite is what was expected. Moses was instructed to set boundaries around the mount, for whosoever touched the border of the mount must be put to death.

Now the just shall live by faith, but if any draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.                                           Hebrews 10:38 & 39.

And again:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure what was commanded “and if a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of justified men made perfect.                                  Hebrews 12:18-23.

The voice of shofar is not restricted to being produced by a trumpet or ram’s horn. In Isaiah 58:1 the Lord declares: Cry aloud, spare not, and lift up your voice like a trumpet (lift up the voice of shofar), and show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. They claim to delight in “drawing near” to God by fasting and afflicting their souls.

The voice of shofar is the Spirit of the Messiah or Christ. Jesus said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour shall come, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. John 5:25.

And again:

Marvel not at this, for an hour shall come when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and those that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but those that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.                                                                                                John 5:27 & 28.

Psalm 47 says God ascends upon the teruwah and the voice of shofar. Shout unto God with the voice of triumph! The voice of triumph is the shout of the King. The jubilee of reconciliation and drawing near to God, the proclamation of liberty!

 

Memorial of Mary of Bethany

Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Mark 14:9; Matthew 26:13.

Ironically, in these two accounts, the words are spoken on behalf of an unnamed woman who came in during a dinner with Jesus at the table. “There came a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment and poured it on His head.”  The gospel of John fills in the missing pieces. Chapter 12 of his gospel identifies the woman as Mary, the sister of Martha, and Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead. Martha is serving the dinner.

This set the stage for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, for word of Lazarus having been raised from the dead had ignited the large crowds on hand for the Passover. The chief priests consulted to also see Lazarus put to death, because by reason of him many of the Jews believed in Jesus.

We are also informed by John 11:2 it was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. This account is found in           Luke 7:37-50. The Lord uses this opportunity to make a very important point: “to whom little is forgiven, loves little.

This is not to say that some people are less of a sinner and need less forgiveness, but some fail to acknowledge their condition and need for reconciliation with God. The Pharisee saw himself as having a relationship with God, while looking down on Mary as a sinner. Thus she is told; “your sins are forgiven”, and “your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

In Luke 10:38-42, we find another narrative involving Mary and Martha, with Jesus a guest in their home. Martha was busy with much serving while her sister sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. Martha exclaimed, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her to come help me.” To which Jesus replied unto her, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things but one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

We cannot imagine wrong in someone with a heart to serve, but can see where there is a time for everyone to be still and know the Lord. However, Jesus is not just speaking to a willingness to serve.

We can see a greater concern for someone who is careful and troubled and should fully consider what the Lord is addressing.

The word translated careful here is used by Jesus repeatedly in His sermons, but the more typical translation in the KJV is “take no thought”, and means to be anxious.

Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than clothing? Take therefore no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.                                                                               Matthew 6:25,34.

Jesus also uses the same word to tell us not to worry about what we should say if our faith is put on trial, saying if we are delivered up, “take no thought how or what you shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same moment what you should speak.”                                                                   Matthew 10:19.

In His parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus describes the seed among thorns as someone who hears His word, but are choked with “cares” of riches and pleasures in life, and brings no fruit to maturity.                   Luke 8:14.

Paul tells us: “be careful” for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.                                             Philippians 4:6 & 7.

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.                                            1 Peter 5:7.

 

A Memorial for Lazarus

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus.                         John 11:5.

For a moment in time, the town of Bethany was at the center of God’s story, and these three people were at center stage in the narrative concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We know more about these three people than we do most of the apostles. This chapter in the gospel of John gives the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The story told exemplifies the work of Jesus in reconciliation, restoration, and resurrection.

After Lazarus has died and been laid to rest, Jesus returns to Bethany after informing His disciples that the glory of God is about to be revealed unto them, and the Son of God will be glorified. Martha is the first to approach Jesus and says “Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died.” Jesus tells her “your brother will rise again”, to which she replies, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”.

Jesus tells her “I am the resurrection and life”, and then asks her if she believes in Him. She then makes the true confession of faith, showing how far she had come in receiving the Gospel. She said unto Him:

Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who would come into the world.                                                                                     John 11:27.

When Mary comes on the scene she is only able to say “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”, as she continued weeping, along with those who came to comfort her; and Jesus wept with them.        John 11:35.

The witnesses exclaimed, “Behold how He loved him!” Jesus then commands them to take away the stone covering the entrance to the cave where Lazarus was laid. Martha advises Him that he has been dead four days, and expects a foul odor. Jesus then says to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe, that you would see the glory of God?” He then calls Lazarus forth from the grave.

The name Lazarus makes for a very interesting study. The name is Greek to English, for the Hebrew name Eleazar, a very prominent character throughout the Old Testament. El ‘Azar means God is helper, and is first identified as the third son of Aaron. The two older sons of Aaron are devoured by the fire of God’s presence when they make an unauthorized offering of incense before the Ark.

By the time of Aaron’s decease, Moses is instructed to strip the garments of the High Priest from Aaron and put them on his son Eleazar. During the conquest of the land of Canaan under Joshua, Eleazar stood before the Ark of the Covenant and oversaw the division of land by lot for each tribe’s inheritance.

During the time of Samuel, another man named Eleazar, son of Abinadab kept the Ark of the Lord at Kirjathjearim twenty years. Later one of David’s mighty men named Eleazar, the son of Dodo the Ahohite is listed as one of the three mighty men with David, who stood against the Philistines when the army of Israel fled, and fought until his sword stuck to his hand and the Lord gave a great victory. The people only returned after to divide the spoil.

During the time of Ezra and the restoration following the Babylonian exile, one of the priests named Eleazar oversaw the return of the silver and gold vessels to the House of God, and a Levite named Eleazar was on hand during the time of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. It would seem during the greatest exploits of God’s people, a priest named Eleazar, God has helped, was always present.

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter one, in the genealogy we find Eleazar begat Mattan, and Mattan begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.                           Matthew 1:15&16.

And finally, in the Gospel of Luke chapter 16, we read an illustrative narrative given by Jesus concerning a poor beggar named Lazarus, who sat at the gate of a certain rich man, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.

How far had man fallen from the place where God was his help? Was Jesus resurrecting more than just an individual when he raised Lazarus from the grave?

Continuing his narrative in Luke, Jesus goes on describe the death of the beggar and the afterlife from the biblical perspective. Lazarus was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom, a place of comfort. Meanwhile the rich man has also died and sees Lazarus with Abraham and cries out for mercy, for he was in a place of torment in Hades.

Unfortunately, he is admonished by Abraham, and reminded that in his lifetime he received good things while Lazarus suffered evil things, but is now comforted, and you are tormented. “Besides, there is a great gulf fixed between us that cannot be passed.”                                                           Luke 16:19-31.

This description of the afterlife is most startling. I have often wondered what the notion of people dying and going to heaven is based upon. Of course, I don’t doubt the existence of such a place, just preaching that people who are saved by confessing Jesus as their Lord and Savior can expect to go there, if they died tomorrow.

Just saying that the Gospel is never presented in that way by the apostles, and the house of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.                   Ephesians 2:20.

Paul says: if anyone or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any preach any other gospel unto you that that you have received, let him be accursed.                                          Galatians 1:8 & 9.

Far be it that anyone would bring a curse in preaching “another gospel”, thus we should take the greatest care to be consistent in the message.

Acts 4:1&2 says: and as they spoke unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

The focus of Jesus’s teaching always centered on the resurrection.

Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.                                                              John 5:28, 29.

At the time Jesus was saying this, he was claiming that all authority to execute judgment has been given unto him by his Father. To avoid preaching the resurrection is to avoid preaching the judgment.

From Genesis to Revelation, judgment is spoken of nearly 300 times. Paul testified before kings and queens:  “he reasoned with them of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come.”                                                            Acts 24:24, 25.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about the righteous judgment of God. The empowerment of the Holy Spirit is all about being able to live a life that will allow us to stand at the judgment.

The Message is of life everlasting; and a victorious life in the here and now. In so doing we await a new heaven and a new earth wherein abides righteousness.                                                                                                  2 Peter 3:13.