Settled In Heaven Blog

Home » SIH Lesson Scripture Texts » Hebrews » Hebrews 02:

Category Archives: Hebrews 02:

The Precious Human Life #2: The “glory” and “honor” of man

SIH TOTT ICON

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

 

This is part of a series that is looking at the preciousness of life and the need for a more serious examination of the Scriptural validity of taking a human life under any circumstance.  Folks, our world has devalued the taking of human life to the point the loss of human life is “no big deal” and “JUST a part of the world in which we live.”

By God’s grace, as we continue through this series, my prayer is that the Lord would open all of our spiritual eyes and come to a more complete realization of the great value of human life.  Also, we need to carefully consider the results of our actions, and the circumstances surrounding the taking of human life, making sure that in each situation, the taking of life is Biblically justifiable and absolutely necessary.

Our devotional series will contain six daily devotions, all of which will emphasize the wondrous nature of the human creation and the loss inflicted upon mankind when a human life is taken from their midst…

  1. Thou Shalt Not Kill (Exo 20:13)
  2. The Glory and Honor Of Man (Psa 8:4-6)
  3. God’s Image & Likeness (Gen 1:26-27)
  4. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Psa 139:14-16)
  5. The Minister and Witness Of These Things (Acts 26:16-17)
  6. Prepare To Meet Thy God (Amos 4:12)

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

“The Glory and Honor Of Man” (Psa 8:4-6, Heb 2:6-8)

 

Psalms 8:4-6 KJV –

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?   For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.   Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:”

Hebrews 2:6-8 KJV (Quoted from Psalm 8:4-6) –

“But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?  Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:  Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

 

In the above Psalm, and its quotation in Hebrews, we find the members of mankind being described as being “crowned…with glory and honor”.   This teaches us much about the very nature of man and the blessed position the Lord has granted to them.

 

  1. Man Crowned With “Glory”

The word “glory”, in the Psalms passage, is translated from a Hebrew word meaning “admiration”, “respect”, or “esteem”.  In the Hebrews passage, the Greek word for “glory” holds the same meaning and is often translated by the word “dignity”.

“Glory” speaks of the attitude towards man that is held by the other parts of God’s creation. 

 

“thou… didst set him over the works of thy hands:  Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

Man has been placed in a wonderfully blessed position among all of God’s creation.  Although he is placed in a position slightly lower than the angels (the angels are under the direct authority of God, answering to Him and receiving commands from Him), man is given authority to rule over the others parts of God’s creation.  A perfect form of this authority was given to man in the Garden (Gen 1:28-30, Gen 2:19-20).   Man possessed absolute dominion over the creation of God, receiving honor and respect from creation itself….

But this perfect dominion became tainted due to the entrance of sin in the world (Gen 3:17-19).   Man still possesses dominion over the world, but now must suffer from acts of rebellion and disobedience to his rule.  Now animals attack man, now weeds grow hindering the growth of man’s crops, and now nature sends forth floods, tornado, earthquakes etc. that are not under the control of man.

 

  1. Man Crowned With “Honor”

The word “honor” is translated from a Hebrew word that means “beauty”, “magnificence”, “comeliness” or “majesty”. In the Hebrews passage the word “honor” means basically the same and is commonly translated “value”, “price”.

“Honor” speaks of man’s value.

Man, has been given great worth by God.   The Lord sovereignly chose to give Himself to redeem mankind from their sin (Titus 2:11-14), instead of simply destroying man and recreating a new type of being.  He did not die for the angels, for animals, for trees, nor rocks.  He died for man, and man alone, setting man apart from all the other parts of His creation.

 

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Although mankind does not deserve the great value bestowed upon him, nonetheless the Lord chose to graciously place that value upon him (1 Peter 2:9).

 

  1. How Does The Loss Of Human Life Affect Mankind?

Please notice, in both the man’s glory and honor, man is said to be “crowned” by these.  A kingly crown is an outward representation of authority possessed by, and honor due to the wearer.  When the Lord granting to man their undeserved glory and honor, it was as if He was placing a crown upon man’s head, granting to him great authority and a position that deserved to be honored by all His creation.   Based upon God’s gracious bestowal of respect and value upon man, man deserves dignity and respect from, not only the inanimate and animal parts of His creation, but mankind itself.

Folks, we are to honor and respect all human life, no matter what color of skin, no matter what language is spoken, no matter what citizenship is claimed, no matter what position is held in society, no matter what amount of wealth is possessed, and finally, no matter what beliefs are held.  Human life is human life and is precious in the eyes of God.  For mankind to devalue human life is to mock the authority, value and deserved respect that God Himself has placed upon mankind.     

 

Also, keep in mind these same verses we have looked at are also a clear prophecy of Christ, His first coming, and His exaltation by His Father.

Mankind, in the authority they have been given, in their position below angels, yet above all other parts of creation, and in their exaltation by God, all are living representations of God/man Christ.  When Christ came to the earth the first time, He was made lower than the angels, He possessed dominion over nature, and was exalted by God following His ascension.  All of these are truths about Christ that can be seen in the glory and honor that God has graciously placed upon all of mankind.  For mankind to devalue human life is to devalue a wonderful picture of the gracious humility, authority and exaltation of Christ that took place at His first coming.

May we all come to recognize the wonderful gift of human life that world has been given, and the tremendous loss that is sustained when that same life is taken from our midst.

 

In our next devotional, we will be being looking at the preciousness of human life by examining man, who was created in God’s image and likeness.

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 4)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:

I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”

II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span

III.        The Death Of The Apostles

IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings

V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:


The Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings:

There is a principle that seems to be repeated throughout both the Old and New Testament Scriptures… it is the principle described as of “Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation”.   This principle says that in many, if not all cases, a Godly feat of creation relies upon miraculous divine intervention for its existence and the uses a series of natural acts for its continuation.

Here are a few examples of this principle….

 

God’s Creative Work Miraculous Beginning Natural Perpetuity/Maintenance
The Universe Spoken Into ExistenceHebrews 11:3, Psalm 33:6-9, Genesis 1:1-2:7 Gradually Decaying Waiting For DeliveranceRomans 8:19-24
The Tabernacle Divinely Inspired Plans Given To ManExodus 35:30-35Miraculous AccreditingMoses – Book of Exodus Joshua – Book of Joshua Levites To Care For TabernacleNumbers 4:16, Exodus 40:33-38
The Temple Divinely Inspired Plans1 Chronicles 28:11-21Miraculous AccreditingElijah -1 Kings 17:-18: Elisha-1 King 19:-2 King 13: Levites To Care For Temple1 Chronicles 9:26-34
The Bible Inspired Men Handed Down Scriptures2 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-19 Human Beings Translate and Copy ScripturesDeuteronomy 17:18-20
The Local Church God Comes To Earth/ Forms AssemblyRomans 9:5, Matthew 10:1-2Miraculous Empowering and AccreditingHebrews 2:3-4, Acts 2:1-13, Acts 19:1-7 Church To Send Out Other Men To Form Other Assemblies Throughout The World.Matthew 28:18-20
Eternity Divine Visitation and Recreation of World1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Peter 3:6-8 The Constant Continuation of EternityDaniel 12:1-3, Revelation 21:-22:

 

If you notice, based upon the above chart, the Local Assembly follows in this same pattern. The Lord miraculously came to the earth and, while He was present, He founded the local church (Matthew 10). Also, through miraculous means, following His ascension, He empowered His assembly to do His work in Acts 2:, and then He accredited His assembly through the miraculous works of the Apostles and other members of His churches throughout its beginning years.

However, also in alignment with His other acts of creation, His miraculous intervention stopped during New Testament times and from then forward the perpetuity of the local assembly is brought about through the fulfilling of the Great Commission by members of His assemblies.

Once, again, this falls into perfect alignment with the concept that the age of the accrediting miracles came to an end during the later years of the Apostles’ existence on the earth (approx. 100 AD).

We will finish this section of our study next time with a look at the prophecies given by God of the existence of false miracles workers in the last days.

 

Additional Information:

The Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings:

1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4) And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6) And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7) And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so.
8) And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9) And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.
10) And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good.
11) And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12) And the earth brought forth grass, [and] herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed [was] in itself, after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
13) And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also.
17) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that [it was] good.
19) And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20) And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21) And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
22) And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23) And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24) And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25) And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27) So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

1) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3) And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4) These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground.
6) But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7) And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
(Genesis 1:1-2:7)

 

30) And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
31) And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
32) And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
33) And in the cutting of stones, to set [them], and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
34) And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, [both] he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
35) Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, [even] of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
(Exodus 35:30-35)

 

33) And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
34) Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35) And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
36) And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:
37) But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
38) For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
(Exodus 40:33-38)

 

16) And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest [pertaineth] the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, [and] the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein [is], in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.
(Numbers 4:16)

 

18) And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of [that which is] before the priests the Levites:
19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20) That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, [to] the right hand, or [to] the left: to the end that he may prolong [his] days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
(Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

(refer to the Bible for 1Ki 17:1-18:1)

(refer to the Bible for 1Ki 19:1- 2 Ki 13:1)

 

 

26) For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in [their] set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.
27) And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge [was] upon them, and the opening thereof every morning [pertained] to them.
28) And [certain] of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale.
29) [Some] of them also [were] appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices.
30) And [some] of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.
31) And Mattithiah, [one] of the Levites, who [was] the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans.
32) And [other] of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, [were] over the shewbread, to prepare [it] every sabbath.
33) And these [are] the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, [who remaining] in the chambers [were] free: for they were employed in [that] work day and night.
34) These chief fathers of the Levites [were] chief throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem.
(1 Chronicles 9:26-34)

 

11) Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
12) And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
13) Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.
14) [He gave] of gold by weight for [things] of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; [silver also] for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:
15) Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, [both] for the candlestick, and [also] for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
16) And by weight [he gave] gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and [likewise] silver for the tables of silver:
17) Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons [he gave gold] by weight for every bason; and [likewise silver] by weight for every bason of silver:
18) And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out [their wings], and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
19) All [this, said David], the LORD made me understand in writing by [his] hand upon me, [even] all the works of this pattern.
20) And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
21) And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, [even they shall be with thee] for all the service of the house of God: and [there shall be] with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people [will be] wholly at thy commandment.
(1 Chronicles 28:11-21)

 

6) By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
7) He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
8) Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9) For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.
(Psalms 33:6-9)

 

1) And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.
3) And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
(Daniel 12:1-3)

 

(1) And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
(2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
(Matthew 10:1-2)

 

18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
(Matthew 28:18-20)

 

1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5) And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6) Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7) And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8) And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9) Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10) Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11) Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12) And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13) Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
(Acts 2:1-13)

 

1) And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2) He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3) And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4) Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5) When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6) And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7) And all the men were about twelve.
(Acts 19:1-7)

 

19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope,
21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23) And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.
24) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
(Romans 8:19-24)

 

(5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
(Romans 9:5)

 

13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17) Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

3) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];
4) God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
(Hebrews 2:3-4)

 

 

3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
(Hebrews 11:3)

 

19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
(2 Peter 1:19-21)

 

(refer to the Bible for Revelation 21:1-22:21)

 

Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 2)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Our texts for this lesson are:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, andthere is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Heb 2:4)

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?” Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1. Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jeremiah 32:17, Job 42:2, Hebrews 2:4)

2. Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and the place of worship He had established. This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” or “accrediting gifts” from God (Exodus 3:14, 4:1-8).

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting. It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history. Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Miracle Workers Moses, Joshua Elijah, Elisha Christ, Apostles
Message Accredited Law Prophets New Testament
Worship Place Accredited Tabernacle Temple Church
Time Span*Dates Are Based Upon Martin Anstey’s Chronology 1530 BC – 1460 BC 835 BC – 765 BC 30 AD – 100 AD

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed. Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time. In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years. In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed. Why? Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene. Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament. It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have seen the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Corinthians 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end. At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed. This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”. However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the completed Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed. The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end. (Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

This fits perfectly with the other times of accreditation that the Lord used. It was 70 years long followed by a period of silence. Since the completion of the Word and the accreditation of the local church (30 AD-100 AD), we find that there existed another time of “miracle silence” that continues on today.

Accepting the fact that the New Testament and the local assembly are established by God is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today. In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Matthew 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing is common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11? Absolutely not. He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained. There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men. We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

In our next study, we will be examining the times of the Apostles’ deaths and how that affects the ending of the accrediting gifts of the Spirit.

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Exo 3:14

(14) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Exo 4:1-8

(1) And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

(2) And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

(3) And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

(4) And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

(5) That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

(6) And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

(7) And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

(8) And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

Job 42:2

(2) I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Jer 32:17

(17) Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Mat 12:38-39

(38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

(39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

1Co 12:8-11

(8) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

(9) To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

(10) To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

(11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

2Co 11:13-15

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

(15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2Th 2:7-10

(7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Heb 2:4

(4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own

 

 

 

 

Cremation Or Burial: What Does The Bible Say? (2)

SIH STSTA ICONThe necessity of the death of our body, and its use to honor and glorify the Lord, is an issue for which we all should be prepared.  This would include the testimony that we display during our actual passing, as well as the funeral service and disposal of our body   After all, our physical bodies are a wonderful gift from the Lord of which we are to use for His glory in every way possible…

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

I have said this to simply explain the importance of the issue we will be studying today.  It is the issue of the burial of our body versus the cremation of our body.  Do either of these dishonor our Lord or harm our testimony before Him?

 

THE STUDY:

In my way of thinking, one reason why there is so many questions about cremation versus burial of the body is because there is no “thus saith the Lord”.  To my knowledge the Bible does not clearly address the issue.  It is an issue that will have to be decided based upon a variety of Biblical principles instead of a clear Biblical declaration.

Keeping that in mind, I would like us to look at some Biblical principles that we can prayerfully consider…
1. The Stewardship Principle (see lesson #1)
2. The Example Of Honored Bible Characters
3.  The Symbolism Of Fire And Burial

The Example Of Honored Bible Characters

The most common way the deceased body was cared for throughout the Scriptures is through the act of a burial.  Normally, this “burial” was not underground in today’s time but in tombs, or sepulchers, made from caves covered by a huge rock:  Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah (Gen 49:29-31); Lazarus (Mark 15:45-46); Christ Himself (Mark 15:45-47) to name a few.

However, there is, at least, one cremation of an honored character that took place, and it was for the Lords glory…

And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;  All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.  And they took their bones, and buried [them] under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”   (1 Samuel 31:11-13)

In this case, the bodies of Saul and his sons were burned to make certain the Philistines would not be able to reclaim the bodies and, once again, put them on public display, bringing shame to the land of Israel.  This was not done to dishonor Saul and his sons, who were revered by Israel, it was done to retain the honor of Israel and her God, Jehovah.  In this case, the burning of the bodies was done to preserve respect for the Lord, not take away from it.

Another example of a Godly use of cremation is found in Amos…

Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.  The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.  And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.  And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that [is] by the sides of the house, [Is there] yet [any] with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.  For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.”   (Amos 6:7-11)

In this case, we have cremations taking place to stop a communicable plague from spreading throughout the land.

Also, we have to think about all the other honorable servants of the Lord whose body did not receive a proper burial.  In Hebrews 11: we find listed, in general terms, the types of death, and lack of burial many experienced…

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.  (Hebrews 11:32-40)

Throughout the ages, the bodies of the people of God have suffered greatly at the hands of their enemies.  Some of the types of death relevant to our study include…. burning at the stake, being sawn asunder, eaten by wild animals, cast into the sea, torn apart on the rack etc etc etc.   All of these examples help us to understand that, in some instances, the lack of a burial actually glorifies God in great ways depending on the situation in which they occur.  Paul understood this principle when he actually offered for his body to be abused for the resultant glory of the Lord….

And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Of course, Paul is not referring to a cremation here, but a death by fire (aka being burned to death) which has a secondary result of destruction of the body.

Based upon the examples of the honored Bible characters, it seems as if the norm was definitely a proper burial of a prepared body, but it certain instances, cremation or the lack of a proper burial was used by the Lord for His honor and glory.    This must be determined based upon the motive behind the action and the circumstances surrounding it.

The Symbolism Involved

The final area that we need to look at is the area of symbolism… what does burial symbolize, if anything; and what does cremation of the deceased body symbolize, if anything?  To help us understand this we need to see what these two acts are related to in the Bible….

First let’s look at the symbolism of application of fire ….
Many times, the application of fire is symbolic of the falling of God’s judgment.

How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?   (Psalms 89:46)

And [when] the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard [it]; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed [them that were] in the uttermost parts of the camp.  And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.  And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.   (Numbers 11:1-3)

 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime:  But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, [and] with the sound of the trumpet:  And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.  (Amos 2:1-3)

In all the above three texts, which is only a sample of the many times fire is used by God to judge those who were rebellious, we can see that the application of fire was related to God’s anger and wrath being poured out upon the sinful.

However in our last text, Amos 2:1-3, it is interesting for us to notice WHY Moab was being punished by God.  It is described as “because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime”.  Was the Lord calling the act of cremation a sin?  If so, this would make our study much simpler.  There are those who say that is exactly what is being said, and therefore, we can know with certainty that the cremation of a body is an act of sinfulness.

However, from my perspective, I do believe this verse is better understood to be describing the horrible cruelty of Moab that was shown by his burning up the bodies of his enemies until the bones turned to small pieces with which he then plastered his palace.  He was a nice guy huh? (Because this information is based on human historians who were not inspired by God, this information cannot be relied upon with absolute certainty.  Therefore I am just sharing this alternate view with you.)

The reason why I do not think it is speaking of all types of cremation is because, we just saw in a previous examples where the act of cremation was not sinful but done as an act to glorify and honor the Lord.  I do not believe the act of cremation is not sinful in and of itself, but the purpose behind the cremation, and the circumstances surrounding it, must be taken into account as well.

From this standpoint, a usage of fire to cremate a body would be a symbolic picture of the body being used to dishonor the Lord, and as a result the body receiving judgment at the hand of the Lord.

Not only is the application of fire is symbolic of the falling of God’s judgment, but at other times, the application of fire was used by the Lord to accept an offering made to Him…

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.  And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: [which] when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.   (Leviticus 9:23-24)

And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought [it] out unto him under the oak, and presented [it].  And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay [them] upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.  Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that [was] in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he [was] an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.  And the LORD said unto him, Peace [be] unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.  Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it [is] yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.”   (Judges 6:19-24)

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word.  Then said Elijah unto the people, I, [even] I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets [are] four hundred and fifty men.

Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay [it] on wood, and put no fire [under]: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay [it] on wood, and put no fire [under]:  And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.  And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress [it] first; for ye [are] many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire [under].  And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed [it], and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But [there was] no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.  And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he [is] a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, [or] peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.  And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.  And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the [time] of the offering of the [evening] sacrifice, that [there was] neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.  And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD [that was] broken down.  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:  And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.  And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid [him] on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour [it] on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.  And he said, Do [it] the second time. And they did [it] the second time. And he said, Do [it] the third time. And they did [it] the third time.  And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.  And it came to pass at [the time of] the offering of the [evening] sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou [art] God in Israel, and [that] I [am] thy servant, and [that] I have done all these things at thy word.  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou [art] the LORD God, and [that] thou hast turned their heart back again.  Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that [was] in the trench.  And when all the people saw [it], they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he [is] the God; the LORD, he [is] the God.  And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.   (1 Kings 18:21-40)

In the above texts, and in several others, we can see that many times the Lord declared His acceptance of an offering through the use of fire coming down upon the offerings and consuming them.

Under this basic usage, the cremation of a body could be seen as a body being offered for the Lord’s use (during its lifetime on earth) and that offering being found pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

Now, let’s begin looking at the symbolism involved with the act of burial of a body…

The act of burial pictures the state of the saints dead body as it awaits the final resurrection.

But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?  [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.  All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds.  [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another.  [There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory.  So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.  Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.  The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.  As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

In the above text, we can see that the body of those who are passed away is pictured by a seed that is sown.  The resurrection of that body is pictured by the seed then sprouting and growing with a new type of life.  Therefore it only makes sense that this seed that is “buried” and the sprout that arises with new life is the perfect illustration of dead body that is buried in the ground and the coming resurrection to a new type of life when the body comes forth from the grave.

The act of burial pictures Christ’s burial

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  (Hebrews 2:14)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.   For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  (Philippians 3:20-21)

Christ went before His people setting the perfect example for us to follow in all aspects of His life. The example He has set for us even extends to the burial and resurrection of His body.  Christ’s body was buried in a tomb and then three days later at His resurrection, He exited that tomb proving to all that He was the true God and Redeemer of His people.   The burial of the believer’s body is one way, among many, that we can follow His great example that was set for us.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

To summarize our completed study…

In the first study…
1.  We have come to recognize the importance of using our physical bodies for the glory and honor of God as stewards of these wonderful dwelling places for the Holy Ghost.  This principle even applies to our bodies following our death.
2.  We saw that the burial of the body was following the example set for us by our Lord, and in and of itself, was an act that brought glory and honor of Him.
3.  In our previous study, we also saw that the Bible gives us a clear recognition that the burial of a body is a very acceptable way to dispose of the body following death. It is through the use of burials that a body is protected for the destructive forces found in nature and shows great respect for the deceased.
4.  In our first study we also saw that the use of cremation to dispose of the dead body, may be considered using a force of nature to destroy it.  If that is the case, then this would be an act of dishonor for the deceased and abuse of the dead body.
5.  Also, in several cases, cremation was used to destroy those who are enemies of the Lord and foreigners from the nation of Israel.  Again, this would seem to teach us the need to refrain from the use of fire to dispose of the dead body.

In this, our final study…
6.  We saw that most of the honored servants of God had their bodies placed in a tomb for their burial.
7.  There were only two types of exceptions to the burial of God’s people…  The martyred servants of the Lord, who then had their dead bodies treated abusively by the enemies of the Lord; and, a few other cases, where cremation was used motivated out of desires to honor the Lord and protect His people from harm and shame.
8.  In this lesson, we also saw that cremation could be looked at as symbolic of the Lord’s rejection and punishment of the body of the deceased.  However, we also saw that this same cremation could picture the Lord’s acceptance of the service that was once performed in the body.  To my way of thinking the symbolism of fire is a wash, since it could be looked at either way.
9.  Based upon the spiritual lesson learned from a burial, we saw that a burial was symbolized by a sown seed waiting to receive new life and sprout.  This being a picture of a saint’s body sleeping awaiting a future resurrection.
10.  We also saw that a burial was also a public declaration of what our Lord has done for us by dying on the cross and experiencing a resurrection with a glorified body.

I believe the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures is for the burial of the body of the saint who has passed before us.  It is clearly and acceptable way to dispose of the dead body picturing what Christ has done for us (as well as following His example and the example of saints who have gone before us). It is a proper way of protecting the body from abuse by nature, as well as a picture of the saint’s sleeping body.

When it comes to cremation, this is a much more questionable method of disposal of the body.  It could be abusing a body using a force of nature, and is associated with the death of those who are enemies of the Lord and it also is missing an opportunity to picture the Lord’s burial, following the example He has set for us.  Finally, it lacks in it declaring that the saint’s body is “asleep” and awaiting a future resurrection.  When we look at all these issues we can see that the weight of evidence makes cremation a questionable practice.  However, we should never forget that the Bible does give examples of cremation being used in God glorifying ways. Therefore we cannot say that in every case cremation is a sinful act or displeasing to God.

My thoughts are that … Biblically, confidence can be found in the burial of the saint’s body.  It is clearly an acceptable, God honoring way to dispose of the believer’s body.   However, cremation is a much more questionable method of disposal of the body. Therefore, it must be selected with great care, prayer and consideration of the motives behind that decision.

The greatest consideration for us all is not the condition of our bodies following our death, but the condition of our souls now.  Keep in mind, one of the supreme goals of a Christian’s service to the Lord is to see the salvation of those who are lost.  For the Christian, are we certain our hearts are right with the Lord?  Likewise, are we living a life that glorifies and honors Christ?   Furthermore, are we using the opportunities the Lord has given to us to witness to and pray for the lost around us?  All of these things are of utmost importance.

For those who are lost, have you ever experienced the Lord’s saving grace in your life?  Have you ever seen that you have sinned against the Lord and, apart from His gracious intervention in your life, you can do nothing to gain forgiveness from Him?  Have you come before Him humbly, turning form those sins and trusting in Him to save you from those sins?  Have you ever experienced a change within you that results in recognizing Christ as your Lord and seeking to live your life for Him?

These are the marks of genuine salvation and the most important consideration that lies before us…

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.   (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

 

Please visit…

Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org
Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com
Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Church Universal, Local, Or Both? #5

SIH STSTA ICONNow unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

(Please note: I apologize for the length and detail of this series, and to be honest, I realize it will not be easily consumed by some of its readers.  I normally do not post articles of this length or depth, but I feel obligated to write this posting based upon feedback I have received from the Importance Of The Local Assembly series that was recently published.  So for the many who have shown interest and/or curiosity on this subject, here is the information you have requested.  My apology to those who lack interest or the time to read this study.  It is understandable.)

Facts about the word “church” as used in the King James Version of the Bible….
1.  The word “church” is not used in the Old Testament.
2.  The word “church”  is used in 111 verses in the New Testament.
3.  Every occurrence of the word “church” is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia”  in the NT.

In this study, I would like to study the definition and contextual usage of this Greek word “ekklesia”, with the intent of answering the following questions…

“When the Bible speaks of a “church” is it referring to an invisible, universal assembly made up of all believers in Christ;…. or, is it referring to visible, local assembly whose membership is limited to baptized believers;…. or, does the Bible speak of both types of “churches” that are differentiated by the context in which they are used?”

Let us all ask the Lord for grace, a spirit open to truth, clarity of thought, and accuracy as we work our way through the Holy Scriptures…

THE SCRIPTURES:

A.   (Matthew 16:16-20);
B.   (Act 2:42-47); (Act 7:37-41); (Act 12:1-4); (Act 15:1-4); (Act 19:29-34); (Act 19:35-41); (Act 20:17-28)
C.   (Romans 16:21-24)
D.   (1 Corinth 6:1-5); (1 Corinth 10:24-33); (1 Corinth 11:19-24); (1 Corinth 12:27-31); (1 Corinth 15:1-11)
E.   (Galatians 1:11-13)
F.   (Ephesians 1:16-23); (Ephesians 3:8-12); (Ephesians 3:14-21); (Ephesians 5:22-33)
G.   (Philippians 3:4-6)
H.   (Colossians 1:14-29)
I.   (1 Timothy 3:14-16); (1 Timothy 5:9-16)
J.   (Hebrews 2:10-13)
K.   (James 5:12-18)
L.   (3 John 1:5-10)

 

THE STUDY:

A basic principle used in this study:

You must take the normal, usual usage and meaning of a word unless the context CLEARLY DICTATES ANOTHER MEANING is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

This is the core principle upon which this study is based.  Both the details, and conclusion, of this study rest heavily upon this principle. We will be finding the common, basic usage and definition of “ekklesia” as found in the Scriptures, and then attempt to consistently apply that meaning to each text.

The common definition of the word “ekklesia”:

The basic meaning of “ekklesia” is “called out from”, or “to separate by summons”.

Therefore, based upon the definition of “ekklesia”, we find no indication of which type of assembly we are speaking of whenever we find the word being used.

However, this is only half of our “equation”.  Next we have to look at the USAGE of the word “ekklesia” in the Holy Bible.

The common usage of the word “ekklesia”:

I am forced to conclude that the common usage of the term in the NT is “local visible assembly”.  This definition clearly applies in at least 80 verses (that’s over 70 percent of the time) the word is used.  There was only, at the most, 32 verses that it could mean a invisible, universal assembly (that’s less than 30%).

Therefore, for this study, we will be using THE COMMON DEFINITION OF “EKKLESIA” WILL BE “A LOCAL VISIBLE ASSEMBLY”.

Based upon our earlier discussion under the heading “A basic principle used in this study”   This will be our process…

1.  We will look at the context of each of the 32 Scriptures where “ekklesia” could mean an “invisible universal assembly”.

2.  We will see if each one could allow us to use our common definition a “local visible assembly” .

3.  If the context allows “ekklesia” to hold to its common definition, that will be the definition we assign to that text.

4.  If the context forbids that the common definition of ekklesia can be used, we will then attempt to determine the definition of “ekklesia” for that text.

For more detailed information on the above sections, please see part one of our study…

A verse by verse study of the “questionable” texts that use the word “ekklesia”:

These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”  (1 Timothy 3:14-16)

The exposition:

Paul is instructing Timothy, the young pastor of a local church. He is explaining to Timothy the importance of teaching the truth to the members of the assembly.  The local assembly is the storehouse of the truths of God in New Testament times.  Here, the local assembly is described as: the “house of God”, it is where God’s people meet for intimate worship, communion and nourishment from His Word; and the “pillar and ground of the truth”, the assembly that has been authorized to “hold up the truth for all to see” and “defend the truth so it cannot be moved, nor go out of existence”.

The usage of “ekklesia”

The local church easily fits the context here. No need to look further.

 

Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,  Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.  But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;  Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.  And withal they learn [to be] idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.  I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.  For some are already turned aside after Satan.  If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.”  (1 Timothy 5:9-16)

The exposition:

Paul is instructing Timothy on the proper administration of permanent church aid to widows within the local assembly. They were to only aid those who were 60 years old and faithful to Christ.  He warns that, at times, younger widows can turn from the service of Christ and live carnal lives characterized by fleshly pursuits.  Paul says, instead of receiving younger widows into the group receiving permanent church support, they should remarry, be supported by their new husband, and raise children that honor God. Also, those widows with Christian families still living are to look to them for financial aid, apart from aid from the local assembly.

The usage of “ekklesia”

The local assembly is clearly in view here, based upon the nature of the instructions given to Timothy.  Timothy has absolutely no authority over a universal, invisible assembly of believers and also it is impossible for a universal assembly, as a body, to support anyone.  The local assembly easily fits in this context.

For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,  Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.  And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”   (Hebrews 2:10-13)

The exposition:

Christ’s exultation following His perfect obedience on the cross is being described.  His death on the cross resulted in our sanctification and adoption into His family.  The local church membership is made up of individuals who have adopted into the family of God, His brethren.

A prophecy found in Psalm 22:22 promises that Christ would sing praises to His Father in the midst of the assembly.  These praises were another act of Christ’s submission and obedience.  He chose to glorify and honor His Father in heaven, instead of praising Himself through song.  This prophecy was fulfilled when Christ sang during the local church meeting that was called to observe the Lord’s supper…

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.  And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

(Matthew 26:26-30)

The usage of “ekklesia”

Clearly, the singing of Christ was performed during a local church assembly.  No need to look further.

But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.  (James 5:12-18)

The exposition:

We have described instructions for Christians touching upon many different life situations:  Do not swear nor take oaths, simply speak honestly and cultivate and honest testimony among all; when afflicted, seek the Lord’s grace and intervention through prayer; when merry, show your joy to others through songs that honor the Lord; when sick, call the elders of the local assembly and receive their prayers and application of oil (commonly used for symbolic anointing and medication); when committed sin has become public, publically confess the sin and ask for prayer of other members of the local assembly.  Why do all this? Because prayer is a powerful thing, especially when the prayer is performed in the context of a local church meeting….

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”   (Matthew 18:19-20)

 

The usage of “ekklesia”

The word “church” used in the generalized sense.  In other words… “whatever local church of which you are a member”.

The above actions can only be performed in the context of a local assembly of believers.  Who would the elders of a universal church be? How can the elders of a universal church all meet in one place? How can we confess our public sins to the universal church? Etc etc…  Obviously, this is a local assembly being talked about.

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;  Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:  Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.  I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.  Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth [them] out of the church.”  (3 John 1:5-10)

The exposition:

Here John is addressing Gaius, who faithfully ministered to others.  John reviews the faithful acts of Gaius. Firstly,  he reminded Gaius of his faithful ministering to his family and spiritual brothers and also to strangers.  Those he had helped had then gone before the local assembly and told of his charitable deeds.

John encourages Gaius to continue to help other Christians whom may come his way during their travels.  By helping those Christians, he shares in the ministry they are performing.

John had written to the local church to encourage them to help the traveling Christians, but Diotrephes, due to his desire for attention, did not receive the travelers.  But instead, he forbad the other members of the local assembly to help these traveling ones.  If a member chose to help the travelers, he would cast them out of the local assembly.  John says that when he arrives at this church he would deal with the situation.

The usage of “ekklesia”

Easily, we can see a local church must be being talked about.  A letter cannot be sent to an invisible world-wide assembly.  Christians cannot come before a universal assembly and speak of blessings they had received, they cannot be cast out of a universal assembly, nor can one person forbid all living Christians to do anything.  Obviously this speaks of the local assembly in Gaius’ area.

Please take notice:

Any text that you do not see listed (unless I misread it) clearly indicate the word church is a local assembly.  For example the phrase “church at Jerusalem” clearly is referring to the local church at Jerusalem.   Also there may be a few instances where the context clearly indicated a local assembly was in view like “the church that is in thy house” which clearly disallows the universal church usage.  I saw no reason to include these types of texts in the discussion we are having.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

As you can see, based upon my understanding of these Scriptures, there is not one text found in the Bible that dictates we must view the Biblical concept of a church as “an invisible universal assembly”.

Certainly we know that all who are saved make up “the family of God”, “the kingdom of God”, and “the saints”, however, the more I look into this subject, I am hesitant to refer to all who are saved as “the church of God”.

Why is this an important issue?  I believe there is much to be learned about a local assembly that previously have been missed by attributing various texts to all who are saved, when they correctly apply to local assemblies.

The role and importance of the local assembly is enhanced through this understanding of the meaning of the word “church” as found in the New Testament Scriptures.  As a matter of fact, the local assembly when viewed from this perspective, becomes the supreme instrument of the Lord in the proclamation, retention and defense of the truth of the Word.

There is no other organization on the face of the planet earth that comes close to holding the authority, purpose and value to the cause of Christ than His local churches on earth.  How can we begin to take the local assembly so lightly?

Let me remind you that I have tried to find every section of Scripture where the word “church” could be referring to an invisible assembly.  If, during your studies, you find any other text that could refer to a universal church.  Please let me know.  For my own use, and the benefit of those who read this study, I would like this study to be as complete as possible.  

Also, if you see things in the context of the above passages that you believe absolutely disallow the local assembly definition of “church” please let me know by comment or email. Again, I certainly am a fallen, sinful, human who is capable of misunderstanding a context or entirely missing it, therefore it is very possible I have missed something in this study.  Please point it out to me so I can study and,  hopefully, come to an understanding of the issue and then address it in a future comment.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 

Please visit…

Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Easter Week Devotion: The Sufferings of Christ

SIH STSTA ICONChrist, and His sufferings on the cross, is a core theme of the Bible (John 1:45, John 5:39, Rev 19:10) .

Throughout the Old Testament the sufferings and death of Christ are presented through the sacrifices of the ceremonial law (Heb 10:10-18), as well as many Messianic prophecies looking ahead to His death (Isa 53:1-9, Luke 24:44 Acts 26:22-23).

In the New Testament, all four books of the gospels (Matthew – John) present the teachings of Christ concerning His upcoming sufferings (John 2:18-21, Matt 16:21, Matt 20:17-19 etc). These same books, then, present the historical account of His arrest, sufferings and death (Matt 26:-27:, Mark 14:-15:, Luke 22:-23:, John 18:-19:). In other New Testament writings, Christ’s sufferings are further explained, emphasized and recounted as the basis of salvation from mankind’s sin (1 Cor 15:1-11, Rom 4:24-25, 1 Pet 3:18 etc).


Let’s see, in detail, what the sufferings of Christ entailed…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Heb 2:9-10 (KJV)

9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

10) For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

THE STUDY:

The sufferings of Christ can be categorized as three basic types: Psychological, Physical and Spiritual:

The Psychological Sufferings of Christ (the mocking and humiliation that He experienced)

1 The robe placed upon Him the reed in His hand, bowing to Him… all of this was mocking His Kingship (Matt        27:28-29)

2 Spiting upon Him … mocking His choosing to not defend Himself (Matt 27:30)

3 Putting Him on public display and allowing the public to decide His fate, thus exercising authority              over Him… mocking Him as Creator and Authority Holder over all mankind (John 19:5-16)

4 He was forced to carry His own cross… humiliating Him in the eyes of all the citizens watching (John         19:17)

5 He was crucified with two thieves, one on either side… the sinless Son of God publically being                      displayed as a heinous criminal. (Mark 15:27-28)

6 The plaque placed above Him on the cross… mocking His Kingship (John 19:19-22)

7 While on the cross …the mocking of His claim to be God (Matt 27:39-44, Luke 23:35- 37)

8 The casting of lots for His garments… humiliating Him by taking His possessions and then publically, selfishly profiting from them. The attitude of the soldiers (selfishness at the expense of others) was in direct contradiction to Christ’s attitude of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. (Mark 15:24)

The Physical Sufferings of Christ (the abuse upon His physical body)

1 Sweating great drops of blood, extreme physical agony (Luke 22:44)

2 Placing upon Him the crown of thorns (Mark 15:17)

3 Striking Him with the reed (Matt 27:30)

4 Scourging Him (a whip with bones and metal bits tied to its ends. These would tear out chunks of flesh        with each strike. Many times, scourging would result in physical death.) (John 19:1)

5 His beard was plucked according to Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 50:6)

6 He was struck by soldier’s hands (John 19:3)

7 The crucifixion (Mark 15:25) –

Nailed to cross through the wrists and feet to cross (causing burning pain and paralysis of hands and bleeding in both wrists and feet) During the course of hanging on the cross the shoulders, elbows and wrists become dislocated. The breathing becomes difficult and as time progresses almost impossible.  His CO2 blood levels increase and the heart beats faster to rid the CO2 from the blood. Due to increased difficulty in breathing the heart races faster and faster resulting in heart failure and filling of the lungs with liquid. Eventually a gradual suffocation takes the life of the victim.

(For a much more detailed information on the physical effects of crucifixion please see this article written by Dr Mark Eastman http://www.khouse.org/articles/1998/113/)

The Spiritual Sufferings of Christ (His separation from God the Father)

My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me” (Matt 27:46)

As Christ bore the sin of His people upon Himself, He was placed in a state of separation from His Father who can not look upon, nor stand in the presence of, sin (Isa 59:1-2, Prov 15:29, Ezek 39:24, 1 John 1:5-7).

This is the reason for the preceding period of darkness (symbolizing mankind’s wickedness and separation from God)… and Christ’s declaration that God had “forsaken” Him. (Isa 53:5-6,10-11, Gal 3:13, 1 Pet 2:21-25)

I believe this was the greatest suffering that Christ experienced on the cross.

The sufferings of Christ can never be fully described nor understood; they are beyond human mental conception. His sufferings go beyond anything ever experienced by man.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have been given God’s gracious salvation from sin …

1Sam 12:24 – “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great [things] he hath done for you.”

By remembering His great sacrifice on our behalf it should also remind us of the great privilege we have to “love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” Deut 11:13.

For those who have yet to be given His saving grace…

What Christ has done for His people is a sacrifice that cannot be duplicated by man. Christ, the very Creator of the world, came to the earth, humbled Himself and became obedient unto the death of the cross. (Phil 2:5-11) Why did He do this? So that He could save His people from the penalty, power and presence of sin. (Matt 1:21)

He willingly took the punishment of His people’s sins upon Himself, so that they would be delivered from the dominion of sin in their lives. (2 Cor 5:16-21, Gal 3:13) By willfully forsaking your sin and turning to Christ (“repentance”) and trusting Him as your Savior and your Lord, you too, can experience His forgiveness, His abiding presence and His eternal security for your life. (Acts 20:21, Mark 1:15, John 3:15-18)

If you have any further questions about the salvation that our Lord so graciously gives, please feel free to read my blog page… “How to have a relationship with God”. Also, you are welcome to contact me via a blog comment or email for any further questions you may have.

May the Lord bless you.

—————————————————

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

—————————————————


Do You Believe In Magic ? How About Miracles?

SIH STSTA ICONIn 1965 the Lovin Spoonful band asked the question “Do you believe in magic?” , this became a top 10 song for their group. (Listen to this song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBVOYkhNb1o&feature=related)

Although the “magic” the song spoke of was the magical effect of music on it’s listener… it is still a great question to ask in many different contexts.

One of the areas of today’s entertainment that I enjoy is magicians practicing their craft.  David Copperfield, Doug Henning, David Blaine, Penn and Teller, Kevin James the list goes on and on.   It never ceases to amaze me how their “magic” looks so real, it almost makes me a believer.  And yet, in actuality, it is only an illusion they have created for the benefit of their audience.  In other words, today’s magic is complex deception meant to entertain and amuse.

What about the sign miracles performed in the Bible?  Were they real, or just deception, that was intended to entertain?  Could they be believed in?

Let’s see what God’s Word says….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.  And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?  (Heb 2:4)

THE STUDY:

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?”  Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1.  Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Cor 12:8-11).  If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jer 32:17, Job 42:2, Heb 2:4)

2.  Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and to prove He was the only true God.  This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” from God (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)   A listing of the sign gifts can be found at 1 Cor 12:8-11.

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting.  It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history.  Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Group 1                 Group 2                               Group 3

Miracle Workers:      Moses, Joshua        Elijah, Elisha, Prophets     Christ, Apostles

Worship Accredited:  Tabernacle             Temple                               Church

Message Accredited:  Law                         Prophets                            New Testament

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed.  Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time.

In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years.  In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no  sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed.  Why?  Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene.  Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament.  It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Cor 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Co 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end.  At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed.  This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”.  However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the perfect Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed.  The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end.

(Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem  as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

How do we know the church is where we are to worship?  We can read all about the wonderful miracles the Lord performed as the New Testament church was being established that proves to us it is His place of worship.

How do we know the Bible is truly His Word?  We can look in the Bible and see where all the segments of the Bible have been accredited previously… the Old Testament which is made up of the law and the prophets, and the New Testament.  They have all been clearly proven to be the Words of the True God through the sign miracles that were performed.

It is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today.  In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thess 2:7-10, 2 Cor 11:13-15, Matt 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing, to name a few, are common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Cor 12:8-11? Absolutely not.  He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained.  There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men.  We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

As Christians, our responsibility is to be on guard, always watching for the workings of Satan and the deceptions that only he can perform…

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Mat 24:23-25)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”