fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Do You Believe? The Resurrection and the Last Day

Do You Believe? The Resurrection and the Last Day by Julie McAllen


grave stones14 “If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my struggle I will wait
Until my change comes.
15 “You will call, and I will answer You;
You will long for the work of Your hands.
(Job 14:14-15)

Many a person has pondered the question of “coming back to life” and there’s no shortage of answers from a variety of religions as to where the dead go.

Christians are familiar with the story of Lazarus and how the power to resurrect was in Jesus. After learning of his death, Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” (John 11:11)

We may take that for granted now, but at the time the Jews to whom this was spoken believed the dead would remain asleep until the Messiah came. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, had no doubt there would be a Messiah and a future resurrection but her expression, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” is a bit surprising. Did she believe that the very presence of Jesus would prevent her brother’s death? Remember, when Jesus first received news of his sickness, he intentionally waited so that he would not be present and Lazarus did die. And the reason Jesus gave for this delay?

“This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” (John 11:4)

Jesus was not present four days earlier when Lazarus was about to die, but now, in the presence of Martha he says, “Your brother will rise again.” (John 11:23) indicating it “would not end in death.”

Martha understood that the dead slept in Hades. No one had risen from the dead before but she was aware of the promises, and so from this premise Martha answered, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (John 11:24)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” (John 11:25-27)

Did Martha believe Jesus was the Christ? Yes. Did Martha believe in the promise of the resurrection? Yes. Then why did Jesus later have to ask, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

Oh how we can relate to Martha! She had expressed such faith in the presence of her Lord saying, “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” (John 11:22)

“Even now” those are her own words. “Even now.”

And here is Jesus “even now” declaring to Martha “I am the  resurrection,”  but her gaze is still far off into a future time her people had known as “the last days.”

She knew God had spoken to the prophets of her people and even trusted His Son had come, but how surprising it must’ve been for Martha to accept that the last day was closer than she had imagined!

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Heb 1:1-2)

Martha knew that God had called Israel His chosen people. However, even they slept in death. But we learn from this same letter to the Hebrews, written about 62-64 AD, that Abraham, the father of Israel, believed God was preparing a heavenly city for him and other faithful ones even though they died in faith without receiving it.

13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. (Heb 11:13-16)

Jesus Christ spoke of this heavenly city when he told his followers, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:2-6)

That “coming again to receive” them was oh so near, for he had even promised, “some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matt 16:28)

If she knew the account of Job and his question of “if a man dies, will he live again?” Martha may have pondered the meaning of his words,

“So man lies down and does not rise.
Until the heavens are no longer,
He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.” (Job 14:12)

The resurrection would not occur until the passing of the heavens. But “even now” in Martha’s generation she was about to witness the glory of God to confirm this long-awaited promise of new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65-66).

Jesus had come to declare the blessings of his kingdom. One of which was this resurrection hope. Those present would not have to go to Hades at all but rather pass from death to life. And concerning the resurrection of those long asleep in the grave? The time was at hand for their release!

24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who  hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come  into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
25 Truly, truly, I say  to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice  of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has  life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and  He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do  not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs  will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a  resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of  judgment. (John 5:24-29)

The resurrection of Lazarus was the  demonstration of that transitional time period which Jesus spoke of as “coming and now is.” The generation living in “the last days.”

Martha was correct in her understanding that the resurrection would occur “on the last day,” but I believe she was surprised to learn that she herself was living in the generation that would see all things fulfilled.

And “even now” Jesus is asking, “Do you believe?”

Some Christians believe that their dearly departed loved ones are not yet risen but like Martha thought 2,000 years ago, the dead are in a type of “soul sleep” awaiting a future resurrection. This view is valid for those who believe the “last day” has not yet come. I used to hold to this view myself. It’s also a valid view if you believe we are still under the old law covenant. But it is incompatible with scripture to maintain a belief that Abraham or our own departed loved ones are enjoying their heavenly reward now and yet say we are “in the last days” still awaiting the arrival of the new heavens and earth.  Jesus validated Martha’s belief that the resurrection of the dead would happen “on the last day.” Usually when someone claims we are the generation of the last days, they point to a newspaper, but I find more evidence about the last days in my Bible. And the Bible clearly states that the resurrection of the dead would occur then. Based upon the consistency of God’s word, I believe the resurrection of the dead took place during the time that Jesus said it would, when all things were fulfilled after the passing of the old heavens — a term representative of the old law covenant.

17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matt 5:17-18)

I believe my Lord and Savior accomplished all that he came to do.

Do you believe?

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

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February 26, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Complete in Christ

Complete in Christ by Julie McAllen

“And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun.” (Happy Xmas: War is over by Lennon/Ono)

Have you set any goals for the new year? Did you fulfill the things you resolved to last year? The goal I set for 2012 was to write one article a month for this on line journal. With this offering in December, I’ve completed my goal. How fitting then that my final article to close out the year is about completion.

Some goals take a whole year to be fulfilled don’t they? In June of 2012 it could be said that I was faithfully fulfilling my goal with the 6th installment of my fruitage articles, but that did not complete it. I had 12 months in mind and only the 12th article would make it complete.

completenessHave you noticed the installments of revelation throughout Scripture? Apparently God sets new year resolutions also and each are fulfilled in time to satisfy His goal of completion.

As I detailed in November’s article,  Can You Keep a Secret? The mystery our Creator set in order is no longer hidden to those who submit to the one who unveils it. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col 2:9-10)

Deity came to earth and offered Himself to us. In Him we have been made… partial? No, but complete.

Completion is a process. I fully had in mind this 12th installment for the completion of my writing goal, but until this moment, articles from January to November 2012 were made in the image of that goal but had not yet reached the honor of being named as part of the completed goal. Without this December’s article, all else remain partial to in the image of completion.

What do we know of God’s relation to man? We hear that Adam was made in God’s image. The conception for his completeness was there, but was Adam partial or compete? I don’t approach the Genesis account with the view that Adam was already perfect or complete. Man was intended to go through a process of growth to eventually attain the image of God who is complete, whole and perfect. To view the first man as perfect and immortal is to agree with the first lie ever told, “you surely will not die” (Gen 3:4 )

Breath of life came into Adam and he became a living soul, but a living soul is not immortal for the soul is capable of sin and death (Ez 18:4). Jesus himself confirmed that both body and soul can perish (Matt 10:28).

No one has ever been born immortal, perfect or complete. No one, not even Jesus who is referred to as the ‘last Adam’  (1 Cor 15:45). Jesus was not born to Mary and Joseph as an immortal being for if he had been, the temptations he suffered would mean little and no one would have witnessed the death of his body and soul. As a man of flesh, Jesus did not consider himself immortal or the perfect equal of God the Father. He did not adhere to the lie that he “surely would not die,” He agonized in prayer asking that the cup of death He was about to drink would be taken from Him. He knew he’d been made in the “likeness of men” yet became obedient to the point of death (Phil 2:7-8). And through the things he suffered, he was made perfect (Heb 5:8-10; 7:28).

Adam’s desire was for his Maker. He wanted to be “like God.” But God is Spirit and to know God, one must partake of His Spirit. Had Adam done that? Was he ever born of Spirit? From what I read, he was formed from the dust of the earth and remained so until his death (Gen 2:7; 3:19). We also are merely dust having been born of flesh. And we’re all instinctively aware of our own mortality. We don’t need a religion or holy book to inform us that people die, it’s a simple fact of history. But also a fact of history is mankind’s search for God and the quest to be made in the image of immortal Deity. Though there may be thousands of religions with this aim, there really are only two approaches: one through a list of rules and rituals attempting to appease the Divine through works of flesh, and another through the inward journey of spirit searching for the kingdom within.

Both trees in the middle of the garden of Eden offered promises to our original parents. Adam was free to partake from the tree of life, but because of his choice to become like God in part through knowing good and evil, the way to eternal life through another route was blocked.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:22-24)

According to this, Adam and Eve had become like God in knowing good and evil. In a sense, they got their Theological degree fully educated in matters of right and wrong, but is anything ever perfected by Law?

for the Law made nothing perfect, and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (Heb 7:19)

In the garden, as well as in the history of the Jews, the truth was revealed that knowing God through Law does not bring eternal life. It does, however, reveal our nature of always missing the mark of perfection which belongs only to our creator.

Adam, an imperfect living soul like the rest of us, was capable of sin. But until the command came, he was unware of his base nature which was ruled by the king of death. Sin was in the world and death reigned through sin.

13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:13-14)

Adam discovered his imperfect nature by partaking of the knowledge of good and evil. By knowing the righteous decrees of the one who created him, he became aware of his Maker’s holiness and his separatness from Him. For the first time, Adam knew he was naked. Adam discovered that mere flesh is incomplete and surely dies. And we all know this for history has proved it. Put away your holy book and even an atheist will have to agree “dust we are and to dust we return.”

Pointing out the impossibility of living up to the perfection presented in Scripture, many atheists are closer to the truth than those filling up the seats in church on Sunday mornings. If we approach the Bible as a list of God’s do’s and don’ts as the entrance exam for heaven, we’ve really missed the point. In fact, we’re just munching on leftover fruit from the cursed tree of Adam.

So what is the purpose of religion then?

7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me (Romans 7:7-10)

The above admission of internal battle was penned by the apostle Paul who had been a Law-abiding man of religion and like Adam, discovered his nakedness through the knowledge of good and evil. Paul describes himself as having the perfect family heritage and ability to keep the righteous standards of the Law, and yet after meeting the true image of God in Christ, he understood he was in fact “the worst sinner.” (Phil 3:6; 1 Tim 1:15)

The Light blinded Paul and the scales fell from his eyes so that he too would know how naked he was!

Sin brought death but the Law never brought life. In fact, the Law magnified the cursed condition of us all that surely we all do die.

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” (Gal 3:10)

Adam lived under the curse of death as did every man who could not perform the Law which came through Moses. But the book of Revelation describes a time in which “there will no longer be any curse.” Does that sound like good news to you? And the interesting thing is that the removal of the curse is directly connected to the tree of life. Does that sound familiar?

There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him (Rev 22:3)

The remnant taken out of the Jews held in bondage under Law to whom Jesus first brought the good news of redemption, understood the fullness of time to lift the curse had come.

3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal 4:3-7)

The promised Messiah to the Jews had come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. The curse for their transgression under Law was removed and the way to the promised Life was opened.

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13-14)

Christ having fulfilled the Law came to be their tree of life. The good news is the way is no longer blocked for any of us now and many have been partaking of Him since the first century. Pardon the juice dripping from my chin.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)

Adam had no dominion over his body, sin and death did. Why would any of us today believe the same lie he did that immortal life was automatically ours? How could our dead bodies rise out of the grave due to our own will or effort if even the aging process teaches us it’s hard to get out of bed? Instead, something is hidden in us separate from body and soul.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Ro 8:11)

God is Spirit and that Spirit is the only authority over death. Your soul has no authority and neither does your body. But you have something hidden in you that offers the hope of glory.

The church has become the steward and messanger of this good news “to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)

Abraham’s children have gone beyond those born of Jewish descent. The way of Life opened to the nations and the fulfillment of the curse’s removal prophesied in Revelation has taken place.

No one is complete or has dominion over death lest they be in Christ. And so, in the quest to be like God, the tree to choose is not what men of flesh can offer but what is offered through the life-giving spirit, Jesus Christ.

So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Cor 15:45)

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. (John 6:53)

This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:58)

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63)

As I complete my writing goal for this year, I’m also coming out of the closet with my conviction that all things have been fulfilled. The new creation is here and I do not look to the return of Christ to earth but rather my return to Him in heaven upon the shedding of this tent known as my corruptible flesh, the vessel which houses His eternal, incorruptible Spirit.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Cor 5:17)

I am complete in Christ because I am a new creation. What better way to begin the new year than to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph 4:24)

And it is my prayer that others who search to discern the hidden mysteries of God come to know the hidden manna who is the bread of Life now for our taking. For God has made all things new and is with mankind through the outpouring of His Spirit to both Jew and Gentile that we may KNOW God, for this means our everlasting life (John 17:3). Hallelujah, this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ (Rev 2:17)

And I write these things to make my joy complete. Happy new year!

May you walk in fulfillment and keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

December 22, 2012 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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