Promise of Eternity IV

Resurrection-of-the-Dead

“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4

The resurrection of the dead leads to a new life, our life after death that Jesus is able to provide by His death and resurrection.  This is also about what is to come, the Second Coming and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus, our Rescuer, and Redeemer; He took on our human nature, but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).

Let’s look at some keywords:

Wipe every tear….” This means we have victory in Christ and that God is true to his promises!  This is also a contrast of those who made oaths to the beast and/or are disloyal to God (Psalm 23:6; 49:14; Is. 25:8; 35:10; 51:11; 1 Cor. 15:54; 2 Cor. 1:20; Rev. 3:14; 7:17).

“No more death/swallow up death,meaning we receive the promised, eternal inheritance (John 11:25; 1 Thess. 4:13; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 9:13-17).

Everything new, means God is the Creator; He will complete His purpose-He will work it out.  God intervenes in history and in our lives.  He will judge, as He demonstrated with the Flood (Gen 6-8; Isa. 4:5; 43:18-19; 57:19; Rom. 8:18-23; Heb. 8:13; 2 Pet 3:7-13).

“Alpha and the Omega, means God is eternal and rules over all places and time. This refers to the majestic, Messianic journey and work of Christ. He is omnipotent, or “all-powerful.” “Alpha and Omega,” also refers to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and embodies His Sovereignty.  Christ is all in all; He is LORD of all that is past, present, and that which is to come!  His will and purpose will come true, and ours will not; so, to grow, we must surrender to Him (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; John 19:20; Rom. 8:18-25; Gal. 2:20-21; Col. 1:17; Rev. 1:8; 22:12-16).

“Give to drink… water of life,” gives us an image and a promise of comfort, and provides the remedy to the greatest fear of loss to a desert dweller (Psalm 36:9; Is. 35:1-2; 55:1; Ezek. 47:1-12; John 4:10-14; 7:37).

He who overcomes means our perseverance of faith in Christ and the promises of our Lord.

“Be my son,” refers to our inheritance, the blessings we have in Christ, and His love and pursuit of us, for He does seek us (Rom. 8:15-17)!

We are a part of His Covenant and thus, He will give us not only a hope, but also a future. Our Christian lives, even in persecution and trials, are of great worth and meaning. Those who are His are called to be faithful and loyal to Him, and Him alone.  We overcome the ways of the world when we look to Christ and not to our desires or situations (Zech. 8:12; Mark 13:13; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; Jubilees).

Jesus lived, died, and rose again for you and me!  All we are to do is trust and obey Him, and as we continue in this endeavor, He gives us even more empowerment for enduring life and performing ministry along with His special favor and peace!  Even if we do not see Jesus, He sees us, loves us, and helps us persevere.  This may seem unattainable or even unfathomable when we are under stress or the hostile occupation of life.  However, we can do this because we have access to His empowerment; we are literally kept by God through faith.  As we grow in our faith, we become even more precious to God and He will preserve us through trials and life.

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WILL THE TEMPLE BE REBUILT?

(A Jewish perspective) In Jewish Culture and History by Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, May 8, 2017

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The prospect of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem continues to captivate the hearts and minds of millions of Christians around the world. When will it be rebuilt? Will there still be animal sacrifices? What would happen next? How will it work with the sacrifice already offered on the Cross? Those are just some of the questions that sincere Christians are asking.

Whatever we think about the possibility of such a building project, we must remember that the New Testament, while confirming its great respect for God’s Temple in Jerusalem, posits that the Jewish Christ and those in Him are the ultimate Temple of God (1 Pet. 2:5). 

Jesus’ incarnation, described in terms of God “tabernacling among us”, is one of the clearest examples of this connection in John’s gospel (John 1:14). The clearest connection with the eschatological Temple described by Ezekiel, however, can be found in the words of Jesus uttered during the priestly watering-pouring ceremony during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus declared: “He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38) The Scripture to which Jesus is undoubtedly referring describes the river that makes the desert green and all dead things alive again. That river flows directly from the belly of the Temple that Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 47:1-9).

So, will the Temple be rebuilt? Perhaps, but we must always remember that the ultimate Temple is located in the person of Jewish Christ and in the lives of his Jewish and Gentile followers.

https://israelstudycenter.com/will-temple-rebuilt/

Promise of Eternity III

Promise of Eternity

 

 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3

John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4

 

 

A Jewish allegory is employed, “No longer any sea.” This is about how evil and oppressive things will be replaced with what is good.  The word sea is a Jewish metaphor for what is frightful and terrible, and what is inexplicable and/or hostile as the sea was greatly feared by them. The sea is where the monsters lived; people did not live anywhere near it, nor did they have a navy. This saved them from numerous deadly tsunamis over the centuries. Such imagery is used for invading armies and the occupation of the Romans. This does not necessarily mean the seas will evaporate or be removed, but the fear of it as “sea” meant evil.

Here, God is saying He will neuter evil’s power or remove it all together. This can also refer to how God will (has already done) neuter Rome, its power, and its influence (Job 7:12; 41:1; Psalms 74:13; 89:9-10; Is. 27:1; 65:17; Rev. 13:1-10).

God dwells with His people!  He is the God Who is now and Who is to come.

We are shown His perfection, holiness, and purity. God is the One who restores, converts, and brings salvation and hope. This also means righteousness, rightfulness, and renewal.  Christ is coming again and all will consummate His will and purpose.  Justice and His Kingdom will be fulfilled, and every knee will bow (Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5; Tobit; Jubilees; 4 Ezra)!

This is our great comfort, God seeks us; He wants to be with us, He is our refuge; He is the One to whom we look for leadership (Psalm 23; 80:1; 121:5-6; Isa. 4:5-6; 49:10; Micah 7:14; John 10:11-18; Heb. 3:1; 13:20; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 4:6-7).

Jesus is our only way, the gate, and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him.

Now, the epic three-word phrase that gives us what to look forward to: Prepare a place.  Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven.  He brings peace and a future to those in Him. God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings and we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil.  Jesus is not just preparing a place for us in Heaven; He is preparing us in our journey of faith in the here-and-now, too (Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8)!

Know that Christ is our Real and true hope! For our lives now and what is to come in eternity!

In application, a real Christian and an effective church leadership always point people to Christ as Lord and operate in the Fruit of the Spirit. Thus, our character will show calmness, personal care, tenderness, and the Love of Christ in meeting the needs of others–never out of arrogance or manipulation. That also means not to manipulate ends times teaching, that points to a personality and not The Person of Christ!  We are to be more than just a personality; as we are from the work of the Holy Spirit within us (Prov. 15:1; Isa. 40:11; 42:2-3; Phil. 4: 5; Matt. 5:5; 11:29; 12:15; Eph. 4:1-2; Col. 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:7).

When we operate in real faith and the parameters of the Fruit of His Spirit and Word, we will get End Times more properly, and our church will prosper.  Pastors and church leaders are being good ministers when we realize we are still human and fallen, and face our own sins and temptations that would cloud us from being true representatives of Christ.  When we are good ministers of the God, we point others to Him by our actions and deeds.

Promise of Eternity II

revelation-21

 “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Revelation 21:2

The goal in our Christian life is to be apart from sin-not to allow ourselves to be influenced to compromise our faith and life in Christ.

When we choose to mix or add in evil and try to rationalize evil away, we become the evil people Revelation talks about and the fools that the Proverbs talk about.  We must be above reproach and open to inspection when we claim Christ as Lord.  Our faith matters, because what we do and say does indeed echo into and throughout eternity.  Our spiritual growth affects our moral success and failures (2 Cor. 5:10).  We will give an account and Christ our Lord will wipe away our tears!

Take a careful read of Revelation 21 without any preconceived notions, take in God’s marvelous Word.

New Jerusalem means God comes to us.  Jerusalem refers to the city where God reigns and where He is among His people. It represents the holiness and eminence, as Jerusalem is a place of gathering, community, and worship in Jewish culture and faith.  It was also a place for Israel to be a blessing and evangelist to the world. Where the world came to Israel to see a magnificent Temple and then they would hear about a One True God who takes cares for His people. Their gods they worshiped were petty, conniving, hateful and had no care. So, all people groups of the earth would send their tradesmen, diplomats, war, spies, and travelers too, though the hub, where The Temple sat, of the world’s trade routes.

For Now, this is reversed, as Christ in us, we go to the world. Then, we may have a further fulfillment at Christ’s return.

The contrast is, then, in the Old Jerusalem, where they journeyed to meet Him.  Now, the New Jerusalem is God who journeys to meet them. In ancient Judaism, this theme also meant “hope.” It is also a position and representation of the people of God, “His people,” as a bride of God. Here, it is pointing to Christ as Messiah and our hope. Christ and His Kingdom are the New Jerusalem.  Faithfulness is the key that opens to us the door to life in the New Jerusalem (Gen. 12:1-3; Neh. 11:1-18; Psalm 87:5-6; Is. 48:2; 52:1; 54:11-12; 62:12; 65:17-18; John 1:14; 13:34; 16:33; Gal. 4:26; Phil. 1; Heb. 11-10; 12:22; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5-13, 12, 21; 19:7; 21:1-22:5).

This is further set in by this key word, Bride.  This is an identification of His people and an image of our Redeemer’s intimacy and the community between God and His children (Eph. 5:31-32; Rev. 19:7).

The key word, Throne… dwelling of God, means, “God is among us!” It refers to the Tabernacle-how God resides among His people, and the theme of “Immanuel.”   Tabernacle and Sanctuary are images of the Old Testament Tabernacle tent that was God’s heavenly dwelling. As a throne, this refers to the inner sanctum of God’s most holy of holies where the Ark, with the two tablets of the Testimony Moses brought from Mount Sinai dwelt.  This represented God’s home on earth as a “copy” of God’s Throne Room, made for His presence in the inner chamber of Jewish Temples and the Tabernacle, a tent used before the Temple was built by Solomon.  Now, John sees the real heavenly version has been brought down to us. This is very significant in Christian redemption (Ex. 24:9-11; 25:8-9, 40; 29:45; 32:15; 37: 24-28; 43:7-10; Lev. 26:11-12; Deut 10:5; 1 Kings 6:12-13; 22:19; Is. 8:8-10; 51:16; Ezek. 37: 24-28; Zech. 2:11; Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 1:22-23; 13:38; John 8:42-45; 2 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 8:1-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 4:1; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).

Jesus tells us in John 14:1-4 that we have an Eternity waiting for us! 

Father’s house, means Heaven where God’s presence dwells with us, as opposed to Hell where God’s presence is absent. This is our ultimate future hope and residence, our future reward and our current motivation to pursue righteousness.  Classically, in Judaism, this meant the Temple, God’s dwelling on earth, where God dwelt amongst His people. Here, this refers to our heavenly dwelling place that God prepares for us that no mere human words could ever describe (Ezek. 43:7-9; 44:9-16; 48:11, 35; Luke 16:9; John 8:35; 14:28; Acts 1:10-11; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:16-19; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1).

 

Promise of Eternity PI

eternity b

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Revelation 21:1

John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4

What to expect? Total renovation!  God will be making all things new, and we have hope beyond wonder as a new heaven and a new earth will be formed.  We can take comfort that God will remove evil from humanity, separating out the good. The old earth and heaven will be restored prior to sin; even fear will be gone.  In Revelation, everyone is celebrating, shouting that the presence of God is now among us all, as God Himself now lives with us and within us for eternity.

Then, the greatest comfort is given; God wipes away all of our sorrows and fears so there is no more death, suffering, or pain as evil is wiped away for good.

God’s Word is true and trustworthy.  He reveals one of His names, the first and last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  He promises refreshment to quench the thirst of all who are victorious in Christ, who will inherit everlasting life.  Christ gives us springs of water without charging us what is owed, and thus, His grace continues.  But, God will also keep His promise of judgment; all those who are evil will be removed from those who are good, and all those evil people will be sent to hell for all eternity.

New, in context, means “rejuvenated.”  God is changing the “old order of things,” but that does not necessarily mean He is replacing it.  As Paul states, we are being reconditioned in Christ by our “new” covenant of grace, as the “old” is passed away (Gen 3:17; Is. 51:15-16; 65:17; 66:22; Rom. 8:18-23; 2 Cor. 5:17).

New heaven and a new earth. This theme comes from Isaiah 65, teaching that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe.  As Christians, we will be “transfigured” so we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil.  An “extreme makeover” where the entire creation is restored to its original parameters-before sin corrupted everything-and we receive our new bodies (Gen. 1:1; Is. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57).

This IS God the Creator, Redeemer, and Consummator communing with us and making a total transformation and renovation of His creation!

He will bring all things to fruition. He will bring peace and a future to those in Christ!  As magnificent as this is, it is only the backdrop of what will be going on; the far more spectacular “center stage” is that God IS among us.  He is our Lord, Protector, and Sustainer.  He will remove the evil; so those who are in Him will never hear, “depart from me.” Rather, we will hear “come to me and I will give you rest.” He has saved us, but here is how He continues to save us as His grace is continually at work, involved, and shepherding us now and for eternity. He promises us all things new, and for those who reject Him, all things of judgment.  In the meantime, we have Christ in us now, empowering us-a preview, and a real, effectual presence and hope for us now. This is to inspire us for faith, reliability, and steadfastness in our Christian life (Ex. 33:14; Matt. 7:23; 11:28-30; 25:41; John 5:22).

Our lives here on earth, whether joyful or in suffering, is not the end of the story!  God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings!

Christ will “wipe away every tear.” This must resound in us not just for our personal hope and comfort, but also to enable us to trust in Christ for all things and situations.  Those in Christ are His and His for all time; there is no fear or dread when we are with our Lord King.  He IS the Alpha and Omega.  He will bring all things new to those who know and love Him, and judgment to those who fight Him. We can be encouraged, as we have hope, reason, and purpose, to be faithful because of our confidence in Him, producing active faith that glorifies Christ and builds His kingdom (Eph 1:14; Heb. 12: 18-29)!

 

 

 

 

Are you a sheep or a goat? PII

The Coming Of The Son Of ManMatthew 25: 31- 46 

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25: 41

When the Son of Man comes!

Many people go to church and claim to be Christians. But, when it comes down to it, many are not living in the Spirit. Their faith is based on their identity-that they go to church-not that Christ has a hold on their lives (Rom. 8:9).

These are the goats who hang with the sheep, but they are pretenders and fakers who trust in themselves and not in the Lord. They are the ones who cause the most trouble for the good leaders with gossip and divisions, they will exhibit little to no fruit.

How do you know you are a goat? If all you see in life is yourself, your works, or your heritage, you may have a big, eternal problem leering at you! We must be aware that the goats will be taken; make sure you are not a goat, but rather a sheep, one who loves the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and whose identity is in Christ (Mark 12:29-31; John 10:14; 27-30).

At His second coming, Jesus will be looking for those who are prepared and faithful.

When the Son of Man comes. This refers to Christ’s reign on earth, predicted by Daniel (Dan. 7:13-14). This is a depiction of our Lord’s absolute authority over the apocalypse, judging all who have ever lived, and of both His omnipresence and omniscience.

Right hand, left. In ancient customs, the right side was the place of authority and power, whereas the left was for guests or those in trouble. Inherit the Kingdom refers to those who have been predestined (Romans 8).

We are being prepared for His Kingdom and glory!

Say to those on the left. This is about judgment. Jewish literature teaches that those nations who wronged Israel will be judged. Jesus takes the focus to how we were obedient with His call to the poor and oppressed (Matt. 12:50; 28:10). As we go out to proclaim the Word, how we are treated will bring judgment on those who have done ill to His servants (Matt. 5:19; 11:11; 18:4; 20:26; 23:11).

Here is something you do not want to hear…. Depart from me. The sentence is eternal! Before the Judgment can take place, the news of the Kingdom needs to be told (Matt. 24:14; 28:18-20).  Destruction and judgment, not God’s original plan for His people (Exodus 33:19; 34:6; Psalm 67:1; 1 Tim. 2:4; James 5:11;1 Pet. 2:3; 1 John 4:8-10). But, when sin entered in, the utopia ended and now evil must be put off (2 Peter 2:4-12).

Hell is a real place, not an idea to keep people in line!

Everlasting fire/ punishment refer to Hell, as in eternal punishment. The punishment of Hell is endless; so it is with the eternal blessed life of the Christian who is saved by grace. This is why evangelism and witnessing are so important (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

We need to proclaim Christ as Savior to help save people from this eternal damnation (Matt. 18:8; John 5:24)!

Reflection:

Even in the mist of fear and woe, make no mistake. Christ’s return will be glorious, and present us, the faithful, with commendation, victory, and security. We will receive our rewards and our proper place! We will see that all we went through in life had a purpose and a reason, and we will see the people who benefited, the souls that were saved, and the work that gave Him glory.

We will see clearly what our life was about and what it meant to Christ and to others.

We will say, yes, it was worth it! I am glad I remained faithful! Faithfulness, even when it is hard, is well worth it, as nothing else we do is greater that what we do for our Lord. Our works do not earn our salvation. His grace paid for that; but, why be one who is foolish when we can be the victorious, faithful sheep!

Are you a sheep or a goat? PI

sheep or goatMatthew 25: 31- 46 

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Matthew 25: 31- 33

Are you a sheep or a goat? The foolish will be judged and removed from the wise; the wasteful and fearful will be separated from those who love and trust in Christ (Matt. 25:14-30).

This parable is about the coming, final, inescapable Judgment! There was a judgment that was escapable, when the Jews could flee from their homes and business as the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. But, this time there will be no escape; all will be judged! It is about evaluation and separation; the good are set apart from the bad! The faithful are rewarded; the unfaithful are damned. The wise are praised and the foolish are judged Matt. 25:1-46).

Those who are in Christ will receive their blessings, and those who willfully reject Him will be cursed! This is a harsh teaching; nonetheless, it is true, and it will happen (Rom. 3:23; 6:23)!

When the Son of Man comes. This refers to Christ’s reign on earth, predicted by Daniel (Dan. 7:13-14). This is a depiction of our Lord’s absolute authority over the apocalypse, judging all who have ever lived, and of both His omnipresence and omniscience.

Angels. Jesus is perhaps quoting Zechariah 14:5. Angels are important and powerful in Jewish mysticism; however, Jesus is the Judge who will evaluate us as to whether we are saved or not, and reward us for how we served and represented Him (Psalm 62:12; Prov. 24:12; Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Ezek. 18:30; Daniel 7:13-14.).

All nations will be gathered. This is the Judgment to come; no one will be immune or have a “get-out-of-jail-free card,” unless he or she is in Christ (Isa. 2:4 Mic. 4:3).

Sheep and goats. Both the sheep and the goats grazed together and were herded together; they were both for food; the sheep gave clothing and the goats gave milk and cheese. At night, they were separated. The sheep needed the outdoors, for their fur kept them warm; the goats needed to be inside or they might freeze to death. Sheep were much more valuable to the Jews because of the necessity of clothing they provided and the income from the selling of the wool. Sheep are also the representation of God’s chosen people (Ezek. 34; Matt. 10:16; 18:12). In pagan literature, goats were associated with the devil and being bad, whereas sheep were representative of good.

Do you realize who you are in Christ? As His child, do you realize how much He loves you, how valuable you are?

Separate. The segregation referred to individuals, not nations as a whole. Nations referred to all people groups. Right hand.  Left, in ancient customs, the right side was the place of authority and power, whereas the left was for guests or those in trouble.

Reflection:

When Jesus comes back, it will be magnificent, but it will also be a time of extreme anguish, as people will be separated and condemned for their blatant foolishness in not accepting Christ as Lord. It will also be a time of condemnation, woe, and guilt, as there will be judgment for those who wasted the gifts and opportunities He gave. We all will be surprised to see who made it and who did not! What Christian leaders will be there, and which ones will not? Which ministry will be praised and which ones will not? Those we think are the real Christians may turn out to be pretenders, and those we toss aside, thinking they are not worthy, may be the heroes, as we look at pride and accomplishments; God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

Those who are in Christ will receive blessings, and those who willfully reject Him will be cursed. Is this fair? Yes or no? Why?

At His second coming, Jesus will be looking for those who are prepared and faithful. What have you learned to help you be prepared?

Christ’s return will be glorious and present us, the faithful, with commendation, victory, and security. How can this fact give you confidence and help build your faith?