Tattoos

‘From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus (Galatians 6:17).’

Persecution and Testimony

Paul had just written, ‘But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).’ And yet, what an honour it was to be able to say without boasting that he had suffered because Christ had suffered, and the scars of his body showed the proof of what he said to be true. He suffered (2 Corinthians 11:22-33) for his witness and for preaching the good news of salvation in Jesus (Isaiah 52:7).

Now I know of one Christian who has suffered persecution for her faith, not because she has physical scars that disfigure her body, but because she has multiple tattoos over her body. The persecution has come from so-called Christians who besmirch her for the fact that she was tattooed before she came to be a Christian!

The proof of her validity as a Christian comes with her testimony and life-style. She is living fruit and a living testimony (Colossians 1:10). She lives the life of faith (Ephesians 2:8, 9) in her Redeemer. She has been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) and no longer lives to the world. She boasts in ‘the cross of (6:14)  of her Lord Jesus Christ, and recognises that her weakness in herself is her strength in the Lord (2 Corinthians 12:9), because His power is effective in her. She is an overcomer, (Revelation 2:7, 11, 26; 3:5) i.e., a believer.

Legalistic Downers

Where do these ‘legalistic downers’  find their rules upon which they base their misguided judgments on our sister in Christ? No doubt it is from Leviticus 19:28: ‘You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.’

This can be found in a list of general taboos to be kept by the Old Testament Israelites – all part of the Mosaic law required to be obeyed by them. You’ll note that in verse 30 it states, ‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.’ 

Well, for a staters, no New Testament Christian was obliged to keep the *Sabbath, which was the requirement of the fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). They didn’t have to ‘reverence’ God’s earthly sanctuary (Leviticus 26:2), for they didn’t subscribe to the practice of offering sacrifices, nor to any of the priestly offerings for the forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 8). Christ was their perfect once-for-all sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins (9:28).

New Testament Freedom

To emphasise differences between the practices of the Old Testament Israelites and the New Testament Christians, I ask, “Did any NT church leaders tell those under their care that they ‘should not shave around the sides of’ their ‘heads’, or not ‘disfigure the edges of’ their ‘beards’ (Leviticus 19:27)?’ Not a bit of it; in fact Paul said it was a dishonour for men to have long hair (1 Corinthians 11: 14). There certainly was no instruction forbidding NT believers from having tattoos.

Christians are made free in Christ (John 8:36) to have tattoos, but although ‘all things are permissible’, not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). Therefore, in view of this and Paul’s directive to offer one’s ‘body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) to God, and since it is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), a Christian should honour the sanctity given to it. A Christian should respect his body, because it belongs to God (v. 19).

However, new converts who are already tattooed, can, with a clear conscience, know that they are not required to have their tattoos removed – for God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), not at the outer appearance of a person. He has made believers whole, and perfect in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

Those misguided or ignorant Christians who have unwittingly persecuted our sister in Christ would do well to ‘thoroughly’ study God’s Scriptures for gaining a better understanding of them (Psalm 119:11). By so doing they would gain maturity in Christ (Colossians 1:28), and so represent Him more honourably. I light of their newly gained knowledge they may consider apologising to the one they have hurt, and to ask for her forgiveness (James 5:16).

Irrespective of their actions, our sister in Christ will be comforted in knowing that any suffering for her faith brings joy to her heart (James 1:2, 3), and by that suffering she truly knows she is a child of God (1 John 5:4).

‘May God make His face shine upon her (Numbers 6:25; Psalm 67:1) and bless her with the abundance in His love (John 10:10).’

*Christian Sabbath?

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/10/01/christian-sabbath/ 

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Why?

Who? When? Where? Why? In particular we always want to know “Why?”

The number one question is, “Why do we exist?”

Nothing makes sense unless we know the reason for our existence.

The Writer of Ecclesiastes Fails to Find the Answer to “Why?”

The writer of Ecclesiastes was perplexed about the issue of existence. He had explored everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:16; 4:1; 5:18; 9:1 etc.) and he didn’t get satisfaction. According to him all was vanity: “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2).”

To him nothing made sense. The world went endlessly round and round; men worked tirelessly without profit and they ended their days with no trace (v 11). All was like the wind (v 6); it came, it went and it knew not from where it came or where it was going.

Some experts attribute the writing of Ecclesiastes to King Solomon, a man who was given wisdom by God. In a dream God said to him, “…… , I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you (1 Kings 3:12).”’  So it is perplexing why Solomon could not fully answer the “Why do we exist?” question. He came to the conclusion that God would judge people at the end of their lives (Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:14); they would return to the earth as dust (12:7), and they were to ‘fear God and keep His commandments ( v 13).’  But the “Why?” aspect alluded him.

Old Testament Characters who asked “Why?” Questions

The Old Testament is full of characters who were perplexed as to what was going on in their time. Moses was one such person. He was puzzled why God treated him and His people in the way He did. God had commissioned him to bring His people out of Egypt into the promised land (Exodus 3:14, 15). God didn’t want them to have any misunderstanding regarding His intentions, so He spelled them out for Moses and the children of Israel: 

Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD (Exodus 6:6-8).’”’

This was the purpose of their existence. God had chosen them to be His people, and He wanted them to ‘know that He was the LORD their God.’ He was going to plant them in the Land (Exodus 15:17; 2 Samuel 7:10).

Whilst on their way to the promised land, Moses and the people ran into all sorts of problems and difficulties and they were perplexed as to why? Why didn’t God make it easy for them? Moses became very disgruntled and He complained to the LORD: “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favour in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me?”’ …….. “If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now – if I have found favour in your sight – and do not let me see my wretchedness (Numbers 11:11, 15)!”’

The people also moaned: “Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”’ Even Joshua complained: “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all – to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us?  Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan (Joshua 7:7)!” They doubted God and questioned His motives, despite the fact He had made it clear what His purpose was (Exodus 6:6-8); thus giving them a raison d’être.

If God was for them (Romans 8:28), why were there so many difficulties? 

Job was another complainant who was forever asking God why He treated him as He did: “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; then I would have been at rest (Job 3:11).”’ And:‘“Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust, and You will seek me diligently, but I will no longer be (7:21).”’

What Job didn’t know was that God would bless him and provide him with more than he had before Satan’s persecution (1:6-2:9) of him: ‘Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning (42:12).’

Even Jeremiah questioned God and doubted He would protect him: ‘“Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail (Jeremiah 15:18)?”’ 

New Testament “Why?” Questions

The story is different in the New Testament. None of the new testament saints doubted the motivations of Christ. Their “Why?” questions were all about improving their knowledge of why things were as they were: things like: ‘And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables (Matthew 13:10)?”’ And: “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first (17:10)?”’

Note that they never asked the LORD; it was always Jesus. He left them in no doubt that their existence was for Him, because He loved them and called them (John 15:16, 19) to be a people for Himself who would dwell in His land (14:2, 3; Acts 26:18), i.e., the New Earth (Revelation 21:1). He would be their King (Ephesians 5:5) and they would be His inheritance (Ephesians 1:18). They would live eternally with Him and the Father (John 3:16; Revelation 21:3).

‘Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God (Revelation 21:2, 3).’

Conclusion

This is why!

Praise the Lord and bless His name.

 Amen.

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Animals in the New Heaven?

‘Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. ……… And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses (Revelation 19:11, 14).’ 

I subscribe to Twitter, and within the Christian circle there are differing views as to whether animals will exist in the new earth that God will create (Revelation 21:1). For animal lovers this would seem to be a big deal. Animals are a big part of their lives. They love their dogs, cats and all manner of pets; they love the animals God has created to live on this planet (Genesis 1:24, 25). They see the beauty of animals; their wonderful characteristics: their form, structure, fitness for purpose, and their relationship with other animals, and especially their relationship with us humans. You’ve heard the saying, ‘A dog is a man’s best friend.’

In view of the above they ask the question, “How can there be a heaven without animals?” Then they ask another reasonable question, “After all, didn’t God create animals for us to care for them and to manage them (Genesis 1:26, 28)?” And, “If animals are such a big part of our life now, why shouldn’t they be an equally big part of our new life?”

Biblical Evidence

I have a feeling a lot of people will be disappointed to learn that there is no firm biblical evidence for the inclusion of animals in God’s new heaven. They are not present in the heaven where Jesus presently sits at the right hand of the Father (Matthew 22:44) – angels, yes (Revelation 12:7), but animals no. And it is my contention that animals will not be present in His New Heaven (Revelation 21:1).

Before God creates His New Heaven, Jesus will come with His angels for the elect (Matthew 16:27). He will not be coming for any animals, none of which have souls. They have the spirit of ‘life’ (Genesis 1:20), but not the Holy Spirit. Demons can inhabit or enter animals, as was the case with the demons that were cast into the swine by Jesus (Mark 5:11, 12), but never the Holy Spirit. Being made in the image of God, humans are very special (Genesis 1:26).

The White Horse

‘Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war (Revelation 19:11).’

Some ask the question, “Since Jesus is coming on a ‘white horse’ (Revelation 19:11) to overthrow His enemies at Armageddon (16:15, 16), why are there no animals in His New Heaven?” They fail to understand that the ‘white horse’ spoken of is a figurative or symbolic image that portrays Jesus’ righteousness, holiness and purity. He comes as a warrior to overthrow His enemies. He comes to bring justice (Psalm 82:3; Isaiah 9:7) and to prepare the way for the final judgment at the great white throne (Revelation 20:11). Note that He comes with a sharp two-edged sword that emerges from His mouth (19:15). This indicates He will slay the nations and judge them according to the word that proceeds from His mouth (John 12:48). They will be judged according to His holy word, i.e., His Scriptures.

Revelation 19:11-20 is not a detailed description of an historic event yet to come. It portrays in terms of images and symbols the overthrow of ‘the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army (v 19).’ There will be an historic event – Jesus will come again, and no doubt ‘birds will eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great (v 18).’

The New Heaven

The new heaven (Revelation 21:1) will not be a repeat of the original Paradise of the Garden of Eden which God ‘planted’ on the earth (Genesis 2:8-15); nor will it be a repeat of the Paradise that the *soul of the robber on the cross went to (Luke 23:43). It will be more like an experiential world [land (Acts 7:5; Hebrews 12:26)] where there are unimaginable riches found in the Son and the Father who will be the Temple (Revelation 21:22) in the New Jerusalem (vv 2, 10) which itself will be the eternal elect. [These are the redeemed, i.e., the Lamb’s bride (vv 9, 10). Figuratively they are the New Jerusalem (vv 9 -21) – ‘the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (v 12).’

The New Heaven will be integral with the New Earth where there will be no more sea (v 1), but there will be ‘a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1).’  This is the water of ‘everlasting life (John 4:14),  Either side of this river is ‘the tree of life ( Revelation 22:2). [Note: There is no mention of fish being in the river, and since there is no sea, there can be no animal life in it.]

More Animals?

Some might still say there are birds in heaven because of the parable of the mustard seed: ‘“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of the seeds: but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that birds of the air come and nest in its branches (Matthew 13:31, 32).”’ This is an illustration indicating the growth and expansion of the kingdom of the new heaven which will be composed of not only believing Jews, but believers from all nations (Revelation 7:9; 21:24), i.e., ‘the birds of the air.’

Others might say, “How about Isaiah 11:6, which tells of the wolf dwelling with the lamb and the leopard lying down with the goat?” The whole of Chapter 11 can be taken as a representation of the peace and unity Jesus will bring to His people. The words should not be taken in a literal sense; they are Spirit inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), poetic prose that speak of the eternal rule of the Branch [Jesus] in the new heavenly kingdom. [Dispensationalists equate this peace with the reign of Christ during the millennium. A-Millennialists claim they have this peace now under Christ’s rule, and they rest in it (Hebrews 4:10. 11).] Chapter 12 of Isaiah tells of the rejoicing of His people (v 3) for their salvation (v 2).

Conclusion

For as long as we are on this earth we [Christians] will endeavour to care for animals and to treat them humanely (Genesis 1:28); that’s not to say we will not eat meat, drink milk and savour the taste of honey. Jesus Himself ate fish, as did His disciples (John 21:9-13), four of whom were fishermen (Luke 5:1-11). Paul taught that it was permissible to eat meat of all kinds (1 Corinthians 10:25).

It looks as though the inhabitants of the New Heaven will not be meat eaters; for there will be no animals there to kill and eat.

*Mind, Body and Soul

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/23/mind-body-and-soul/ 

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Burial, Cremation or Otherwise?

‘Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world (John 11:23-27).”’

Many Christians say that by being buried they will ‘identify’ themselves with Christ, since He was placed in a tomb (John 19:41, 42) from which He was resurrected (20:14-18). Likewise, they will be raised from their graves at the resurrection (cf. Romans 8:11).

However, thousands of Christians, if not millions, will never be buried, because of the circumstances of their death. Perhaps some will drown at sea and their bodies will never be recovered. Maybe some will die in fires that are so fierce their bodies will be reduced to ashes. There could be a situation when people are vaporised as result of a nuclear explosion, and there may be other scenarios that prevent the dead from being buried. 

When Jesus returns to the earth – God will not fail to resurrect believers who have died (1 Corinthians 15:52), irrespective of the state of their bodies. They may be in an advanced state of decay – nothing more than bones and dust; or they may have recently died and be an unwholesome, smelly, putrified mess. Whatever their condition God will give them new spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:44) and unite them with their eternal *souls.

Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37). Indeed, He has predestined the creation of a new earth (Revelation 21:1) and the destruction of the current one (2 Peter 3:10). In the new world, glorified believers (1 Corinthians 15:49) will live in perfect harmony with God and His Son (Revelation 21:22, 24), and with one another (Revelation 21:3; cf. 2 Peter 3:13).

Do you want to be Buried of Cremated?

Some Christians may be undecided as to whether it is better – to be buried or cremated – even though they know the outcome of their resurrection will be the same (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). However, they may come to the conclusion that it is better to be buried, because in that way they can personally ‘identify’ with Christ who was buried in a tomb (John 19:38-42) and raised to life from it (20:11-29).

To further satisfy themselves that burial would be more appropriate than cremation, they may search the Scriptures for confirmation (Acts 17:10; 11).

They would surely find John 19:40: ‘They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices (Mark 16:1), as the custom of the Jews is to bury.’  Also, ‘Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby (John 19:41, 42).’

Interestingly, not long after Christ was raised from the dead, certain of the ‘saints’ were raised from their graves. They ‘went into the holy city and appeared to many (Matthew 27:52, 53).’ This was a one-off, unique resurrection from the dead. We are not told what happened to them, but we can assume they lived until they died again. This would have been the case with the son of the widow from Nain, who Jesus raised from the dead (Luke 7:11-15).  He also raised Lazarus (John 11:41-44) who lived to die a second time (John 12:9-11).

None of these people were cremated, as it was not the practice of the Jews or the Gentiles to cremate their dead.

Maybe the above quotes from the New Testament and my résumé will help an undecided Christian make up his mind about what is best for him – burial or cremation?

Cryonic Preservation

Today it is possible to preserve dead bodies by freezing them. They can be kept indefinitely. The procedure is called ‘cryonics’. Basically a corpse, shortly after clinical death has been confirmed, is frozen to a very low temperature to prevent it from decomposing.

Those who have it done presumably hold on to the hope that future technological advances will enable researchers devise a procedure for restoring them to functional life. I think that is most unlikely. Restorers would have to repair damage done during the process of cryopreservation, and vitrification of the brain would cause irreparable damage. Therefore the chances of success are zilch – a complete waste time and money.

Conclusion

At the end of time when Jesus comes again (Revelation 22:20) there will be no escape from judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31). All will be judged by God’s Son (v 30). Some will receive eternal life (John 3:16) and live with the Father and His Son (Revelation 21:22), but others will be cast ‘into the lake of fire and brimstone’, along with satan, the false prophet and the beast (Revelation 20:10).

My preference is for cremation, because it is cheaper than burial, and my surviving relatives will not be encumbered with the burden of maintaining my grave. I’ve talked to them about it, and they prefer cremation. Cemeteries take up a lot of room, and often they are forlorn places because their graves are uncared for. I like the fact that my ashes will be scattered at a place of my choosing, and there will be no visible trace of my remains. Relatives will not be constantly reminded of my bones under the ground, and they will not have to suffer the annual ritual of placing flowers on my grave, nor will they grieve every time they visit my grave.

Like Adam, my origin is from the dust (Genesis 2:7) and I am tainted with his sin; but unlike him, by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8, 9), I have been raised with Christ (Colossians 3:1). He lives in me (Galatians 2:20), and as Christ was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:50- 54) so shall I be raised to live with Him and His Father eternally.

‘“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? (v 55).”’

*Mind, Body and Soul

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/23/mind-body-and-soul/ 

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At the Right Hand of God

‘If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1, 2).’

Do not confuse ‘the right hand of God’ with being ‘at the right hand of God.’ The former is a symbolic representation of God’s power. He is said to wield His power through His right hand [Click * below for more.]. Christ is said to be ‘sitting at the right hand of God (v 1) where He waits ‘till His enemies are made His footstool (Hebrews 10:13).’

This understanding of Jesus, the Man (Acts 2:22; Romans 5:15) who is the Christ, the One who waits at the right hand of His Father, comes from the much quoted first verse of Psalm 110, which goes as follows: 

‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ 

Jesus used this verse to silence the Pharisees. They had tried to catch Him out after the Sadducees had failed (Matthew 22:23-33). The former questioned Him on the Law – asking what is the greatest commandment? He told them to love the LORD their God with all their heart, soul and mind (V 37).

Then He challenged them by asking, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He (v 42)?” They replied, “The Son of David.” So Jesus said, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord’, saying:The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” “If David calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son (v 45)?”’ They were gobsmacked! None dared question Him further (V 46).

What is Meant by ‘at’ the Right Hand of God?

To start with, God the Father doesn’t have a literal right side; for He is Spirit (John 4:24); so the writers of the Bible use figurative and symbolic language to convey imagery of an anthropomorphic God, i.e., One who resembles a human. They refer to Him as ‘He’. They give Him a gender; whereas He is neither male nor female. He is the Almighty, **All-powerful God who has always existed, along with the Son and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2). He is the One ‘who is and who was and who is to come (Revelation 1:4),’ the Great I AM (Exodus 3:14).

How did Jesus come to sit ‘at’ the right hand of God?

God the Father sent Him (John 3:34) on a mission which He accomplished impeccably to the letter. He obeyed the Mosaic law and fulfilled the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He established the New Covenant in His blood (26:28) and He paid the price for the forgiveness of sins for all His elect. He died on their behalf to save them from everlasting damnation. He lived a perfect life and died a death for them in complete obedience to His Father at unimaginable cost beyond our understanding, and He was ***raised from the dead by His Father.

Jesus said, “Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God (Luke 22:69).”’ 

Jesus knew exactly what would happen (Matthew 26:2). He would have to suffer as a Man – He came to the earth to give Himself as a like-for-like sacrifice acceptable to His Father. An animal’s life could not atone for any human’s life (Hebrews 10:4), but the Father could accept the sacrifice of His Son, because He was a perfect, unblemished Human, without fault and without sin (Hebrews 4:15). His once for all time sacrifice (10:12,13) acquired eternal atonement for the forgiven. The pain and suffering endured by Him was more than sufficient to cover their sins, imperfections and their rebellion into eternity, and the shedding of His blood secured their pardon (Romans 5:9).

God was well pleased with His Son (Matthew 17:5).

Luke wrote the words of Peter, ‘“This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God …….. let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:32, 33, 36) .”’  

Figuratively and symbolically, Jesus is seated in the place of power at, ‘the right hand of God.’ He is the One who will come to the earth for His elect (Matthew 16:27), and the One who will judge (Acts 17:31) the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5) at the ***resurrection. Psalm 110 declares: ‘The Lord [Adoni – not Jehovah] is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath (v 5).’

Conclusion

‘But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool (Hebrews 10:12, 13).’

‘Therefore ……… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1, 2).’

*Does God Really Have a Right Hand?

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/01/28/does-god-really-have-a-right-hand/ 

**The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/

***The Resurrection

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/06/06/the-resurrection/ 

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The Resurrection

‘And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17)!’

What is Christianity about if it isn’t about being raised from death to life by the power of God? Everything centres on Jesus. If He was not raised from the dead, what hope is there for anyone? This is the central belief of Christianity, which is made effective by faith (Ephesians 2:8, 9) in the Son of God.

The Bible tells of more than one resurrection, but let’s start by looking at the resurrection of Jesus. The Man (Acts 2:22; Romans 5:15) Jesus, truly died. He gave up His spirit [with a small ’s’] – in other words His life (John 19:30). There’s no doubt whatsoever that He died on the cross (vv 33, 34). He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43), and on the third day He was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:4) by His Father (Acts 3:15; 4:10; 13:30; Romans 4:24; 8:11; 10:9; Galatians 1:1; 1 Peter 1:21). Thereafter He was seen over a period of forty days (Acts 1:3) by many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-7); then He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus was the firstborn, the pre-eminent One who would rise from the dead and others would be conformed to His image, i.e., those foreknown and predestined by God (Romans 8:29). These will rise from the dead at the second coming of Jesus: ‘Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).’ 

Those believers mentioned above shall inherit eternal life with the Father and with His Son (John 3:16), but there are those who will be resurrected for condemnation:“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28, 29).”’

Timing of the Resurrections

Depending on how you interpret the Scriptures, the two resurrections may take place simultaneously or separately:

If you are an a-millenarian you believe you are living in the millennium which is also the church age, and Christ rules His church now. You believe He could come at anytime to raise both those for eternal life and those for everlasting hell (Mark 9:43). He will judge both separately (Matthew 25:31-46).

If you are a post-millenarian you will believe the millennium is yet to come, after which there will be a simultaneous resurrection of those who have done good and those who have done evil (John 5:29).

If you are a pre-tribulation pre millenarian you expect Jesus will come for believers before the tribulation, and for there to be a final resurrection of unbelievers, i,e, the White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) after the millennium.

If you are a classical pre millenarian you believe you are living in the church age which is also the age of the tribulation. You expect Christ to come for the resurrection of believers (Matthew 16:27) and for the drawing of living believers to Him in the sky.  From that time onwards [in their glorified bodies] they will rule with Christ during the millennium (Revelation 20:6), after which there will be the resurrection of unbelievers and their judgment at the White Throne (vv 11-15).

Whatever your views, Christ will judge all people (Acts 10:42) after they have been resurrected from the dead. You know not when He will come, so be prepared; for He will come when you will not expect Him: ‘“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:43, 44).”’      

Believers, take heart: ‘“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:40).”

Unbelievers, repent and believe (Mark 1:15) for your salvation and resurrection to life everlasting (John 11:25, 26).

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The Sign of the Rainbow

“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth (Genesis 9:13).”

How many rainbows have you seen? In my case a minimum of 160, and probably many more. That’s based on seeing at least two a year.

When I was at school my physics teacher explained how they came to be formed and the colours that you would normally see in one, i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Sunlight passes through millions of rain droplets and it is split by refraction into its component colours. These are reflected and refracted back from the droplets to form the rainbow we see. If you are like me you are enthralled by the vision.

To check out the theory of refraction, my physics teacher involved me and my classmates in doing a practical experiment with prisms. We had to devise a way to direct a beam of sunlight through a prism. I can’t remember how we did it, but miraculously the light split into its component colours in the right order, as in a rainbow. These colours were refracted through the prism onto a piece of paper and to another that acted as screen. To me it was pure magic and tremendously exciting.

God’s Covenant Sign

Even today when I see a rainbow I rehearse what I was taught at school, but much more than that, I remember what God told Noah. He said, “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth (Genesis 9: 13),” and, “I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth (vv 15, 16). This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth (v 17).”

Every person apart from Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives (Genesis 7:13) had been killed by God for their rebellion and disobedience to Him (Genesis 6:5-7). They all perished in the worldwide flood (Genesis 7), along with creatures that had not been taken aboard the ark (Genesis 7: 21). God was giving mankind another start, but they still inherited sin from Adam (Genesis 8:21). Amazingly from one of the ancestors of these people, the Saviour Jesus would be born, i.e., Mary the wife of Joseph (Luke 2:1-7). She was not without sin (Romans 3:23), but what mercy for the elect.

God’s Miracles of Mercy

The Bible speaks of miracles upon miracles: the miracle of the salvation of Noah and his offspring (Genesis 8), along with ‘kinds’ (Genesis 6:20) of all creatures that they may flourish and multiply (Genesis 9:1); the miracles of the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 7:14-12:30) and the salvation of God’s people from Egypt to the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 33:29); the miracle of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:20, 21); the miracles of Jesus (Acts 2:22); the miracle of His resurrection (Mark 16:9; 1 Corinthians 15:6); the miracle of His ascension (Acts 1:9); the miracles of new birth through the Spirit (John 3:3-8), and of many more amazing miracles yet to come.

The Rainbow – The Sign of God’s Faithfulness and Mercy

God has been faithful in all of these things, and He will continue in His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:9). Whenever we see a rainbow we can be reminded of what He has done for us. We can be grateful for His great mercy (v 9) in sending His Son (John 3:17) to save us unto Himself (Matthew 1:21). The sign (Genesis 9:13) of the rainbow gives us hope for a bright future. We can trust Him and live by faith in His Son (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

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