1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 – Give Thanks In All Circumstances

love.jpg

Thankfulness for the Heavenly Father’s limitless love and mercy aids in the growth in grace and develop “the fruits” of God’s character — “(22) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Some one has suggested that these fruits of the spirit of God might be defined as the following:

  1. Joy — is Love exultant;
  2. Peace — is Love in repose;
  3. Longsuffering — is Love enduring;
  4. Gentleness — is Love in society;
  5. Goodness — is Love in action;
  6. Faithfulness — is Love on the battlefield of life.
  7. Meekness — is Love in resignation.
  8. Temperance — is Love in training.

[See “Studies in the Scriptures” Volume 6, page 186.]

Praising God for Your Current Situation

“Since as Christians we have learned that it is our privilege to be always rejoicing — to rejoice evermore and in everything give thanks — we need not, like the world, wait for special manifestations of Divine favor to call forth our praise, our homage of heart and our grateful obedience to the Lord. Rather, learning that Divine providence is in all of our affairs, ready to shape them for our good, we may rejoice ‘whatever lot we see, since ’tis God’s hand that leadeth us.’ Someone has well said: ‘If we are not ready to praise God where we are, and with our conditions and circumstances as they are, we should not be likely to praise Him if we were differently circumstanced and our conditions just that which now seems to us most desirable. Daniel could sleep better in the den of lions than Darius in the royal palace; he who could not find rest in a lion’s den, when that was the place for him, could not gain rest by a mere removal to a palace’ ” (“From Philippi To Athens,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Aug. 1921).

It is our own self which must be changed, not our circumstances or our possessions, in order to for us to have a heart that overflows with joy and praise.

How do you change self? 

(1) ASK God for help —

James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Before reading any further, please take a moment now, to pray to the Heavenly Father through Christ, asking for God’s Divine help in your matter … concerning your current situation — asking for God’s help to be pleasing to Him, thankful for your current circumstances as ALL THINGS are WORKING OUT FOR YOUR GOOD according to Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(2) APPLY EFFORT

Attaining a crown of glory is dependent upon our progress in Christ. Effort is required, as indicated in the following Scriptures:

  • “(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).
  • “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
  • “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” (Colossians 1:11).

What Should We Be Thankful For?

For a start, we have an eternal gratefulness for being blessed with the richest favors of divine grace in that knowledge of Divine Truth which reveals to us the high privilege of becoming sons and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away, and which is reserved in heaven for the called and chosen and faithful according to God’s purpose.

God’s favour toward us revealed to us the hope of everlasting life, as justified, human sons of God and, we understand we have access to full restitution to the divine favor and likeness, as was at first possessed by our father Adam.

And how great was our joy when first, by faith, we claimed this precious promise for ourselves and realized that legally, through merit of the precious blood of Christ shed for our redemption, we had passed from death unto life, and that in God’s appointed time the everlasting treasure with all its attendant glory and blessing would actually be ours! But! Beyond even this, are the “exceeding great and precious promises” to those of this justified class who have been called, according to God’s purpose, to become the bride and joint-heir of his dear Son!

What a grand aspiration to attain to, that is still available to all who seek to know and please our Divine Father in every single aspect of their existence — who are seeking to fill up their void of loneliness and pain and despair with that peace of God which surpasses all understanding found from finding the best vocation in the world — offering their lives as living sacrifice unto God, and walking as Christ did, being trained to become empathetic priests of God to uplift mankind during the Millennium! To be the “spot lights” which magnify and illuminate God’s love, justice, wisdom and power is truly even now, the most joyful moments of this carnality!

What a perfect goal to aim for!

Then, in addition to all these blessings of hope and promise, we had the blessed realization during all the year, and with some of us for many years past, that though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as the Psalmist aptly represents the present life, our blessed Shepherd’s rod and staff have been our comfort and our safeguard.

How often has the friendly crook of the Shepherd’s staff protected us from wandering off into by paths and kept us in the narrow way; how his chastening rod has from time to time aroused us from dreamy lethargy and urged us on our way. And at such times we have recalled the comforting words:

“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5-8)

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5). Spiritually, we have feasted on the bounties of divine favor; while in things temporal, under whatsoever circumstances we have been placed, having the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God, we have realized that Godliness with contentment is great gain, having promise of the life that now is (so long as God wills us to remain here), and also of that which is to come.

Let us give Jehovah not only the praise of our lips, but also the incense of truly consecrated lives, throughout the year upon which we are just entering.

Dearly beloved!

With the start of this New Year, let us consecrate ourselves anew to the Lord in the sense of re-affirming and emphasizing that covenant. Tell our dear Lord that it is still our purpose to keep our ALL upon the Altar of Sacrifice during 2018 and until it is wholly consumed in His service. Then, let us proceed with studious care from day to day to pay these, our vows of Full Consecration, unto the Most High.

As we look back and with sorrow view the imperfections of even our best efforts, and then forward and see the lion-like difficulties that seem to obstruct our onward course, we will need greatly to reinforce our waning Courage with the special promises of Divine Grace to help in every time of need. We have the blessed assurance that the Lord will give strength unto his people(Psalm 29:11). “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).

As soldiers under our great Captain, we have enlisted in no uncertain struggle, except our own faint-heartedness or unfaithfulness should make it so. We are fully supplied with the whole armor of God, and will be amply protected against all the fiery darts of the adversary if we accept it and carefully buckle it on; we are forewarned of all the snares and dangers that beset our onward way, so that we may avoid and overcome them; we are fully informed as to the policy and course of the Captain under whose banner we have enlisted, and of the part we are to take under his leading.

We have our Beloved Jesus’ constant presence with us, even to the end of our course. His inspiring voice may always be heard above the clash and din of battle—

  • Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to GIVE YOU the kingdom!” (Luke 12:32)
  • Be of good cheer; I have overcome!” (John 16:33)
  • Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid!” (John 14:1)
  • Greater is he that is IN you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

If we are weak and incline to faint-heartedness we have only to remember the blessed promise, “The Lord will give strength unto his people;” and by our faithfulness in the service we shall glorify God and he will deliver us gloriously from all our foes, both seen and unseen.

How To Pay Our Vows?

When we consecrated ourselves fully to the Lord, we made a promise to God that we would hold nothing back for self.

Our consecration to God, includes:

ALL our possessions, our time, our physical energies and our mental attainments; the sacrifice of ALL our former earthly ambitions, hopes and aims, so that we should no longer pursue them to any extent. This, and nothing less, is what our vow of Full Consecration signifies.

It also signifies, further, that these possessions or personal qualifications, which the Lord terms talents, are not only to be released from the service of the worldly ambitions, etc., but that they are to be so released, not for aimless inactivity, but for the purpose of being utilized in an opposite direction—in the service of God, of his plan and of his children.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Lord illustrated very clearly how we are expected to pay our vows of consecration to the Most High. He says, “It is like a man who, intending to travel, called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his respective capacity; and straightway took his journey.”

Here are some Bible verses that teach us something important about thankfulness.

Psalm 100 (ESV)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever. A Psalm for giving thanks.

(1) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
(2) Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
(3) Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(4) Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
(5) For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)  — “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Ephesians 5:18-20 (ASV) —”Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.”

Psalm 136:26 (KJV) — “O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 106:1 (KJV) — “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 107:1 (KJV) — “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) — “(6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

John 6:11 (KJV) — “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.”

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) — “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”

Psalm 28:7 (KJV) — “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”

Psalm 116:17 (KJV) — “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (KJV) — “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV) — “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 (KJV) — “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Psalm 95:2 (KJV) — “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”

Psalm 92:1 (KJV) — “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:”

Revelation 11:17 (KJV) — “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”

Colossians 3:15 (KJV) — “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

1 Chronicles 29:13 (KJV) — “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV) — “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”

Psalm 105:1-2 (KJV)“(1) O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. (2) Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.”

Psalm 30:4 (KJV) — “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”

Psalm 69:30 (KJV) — “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”

Acknowledgment/References:

The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s PresenceReprint 3695
http://www.htdbv8.com/1906/r3695.htm

The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s PresenceReprint 3135-3138
http://www.htdbv8.com/1903/r3135.htm

“From Philippi To Athens,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Aug. 1921
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1921_8.htm#_Toc517709610

The Harvest Truth Data Base: http://www.htdb.one/

Suggested Further Reading

“1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 – Prayer – The ‘Oxygen’ for the New Creature in Christ.” BIBLE Students DAILY post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/04/1-thessalonians-516-18-prayer-the-oxygen-for-the-new-creature-in-christ/

“The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength.” BIBLE Students DAILY post. https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/20/nehemiah-810-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-your-strength/

“Thanksgiving in our Hearts” — Adapted, David Steindl-Rast, “Before Turning out the Lights.” The Beauties of the Truth Periodical, Nov. 2003. http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2003nov.pdf

“Thanksgiving For Spiritual Blessings” by Br. Jerry Moore in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2009/09nd_3.htm

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/01/03/1-thessalonians-518-thankfulness/

 

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The Agony In Gethsemane

Jesus in Gethsemane.jpg

As we consider the solemn scenes of this lesson, let it be with reverence and deep gratitude, remembering it was our load the Master bore, that it was the chastisement of our peace that was upon him, and that with his stripes we are healed.

The narrative, so familiar to every Christian, is one full of precious lessons, especially to those who, by his grace, are endeavoring to follow in the Lord’s footsteps.

We observe:

(1) that when the Master realized that his hour of betrayal and fierce temptation was close at hand, having first comforted, counselled, and prayed for and with his disciples, his next strong impulse was to seek a solitary place for prayer and communion with God, that he might find grace to help in time of need.

(2) We note also his love for his disciples, and his desire for their love and sympathy in return. “Having loved his own, he loved them to the end.” And because he loved them, and knew that they loved him, he permitted them to accompany him to the place of prayer, that they might watch and pray with him.

Leaving all but Peter and James and John at the entrance of the garden, as a sort of outer guard against the sudden intrusion of his betrayer upon his last hour of prayer, he advanced with the three—the three in whose ardent natures he seemed to find the most active and consoling sympathy—and, with an earnest appeal to them to watch and pray, he left them and went about a stone’s throw beyond.

Three times did he rise from prayer and return to them in anguish of soul to feel the touch of human sympathy, saying, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” It was a sorrow, an agony, which, of itself, would have worn him out shortly—an intense mental and nervous strain which caused him to sweat great drops of blood.

It was no sign of weakness in the Master that he thus craved human sympathy. His was no coarse, stoical nature, insensible to pain and shame and loss; nor was it a proud, self-centered nature which stood aloof from human fellowship, although those with whom he associated were so far beneath his glorious perfection. Gracefully he condescended to men of low estate, and esteemed them brethren beloved, of whom he was not ashamed.  His was a refined nature, keenly appreciative of all that is lovely and pure and good, and correspondingly sensitive to pain from everything to the contrary of these.

Human degradation and human woe must continually have borne heavily upon him during all his earthly life. 

But in this awful hour all the griefs and burdens of the whole world were rolled upon his shoulders, and he was to suffer as though he himself were the sinner—to suffer death, extinction of being, trusting alone in the Father’s grace for a resurrection. 

Into this one hour were crowded, not only the mental realization of death and the physical agony and shame, the cruelty and torture of a horrible death, but also the sense of desolation to be experienced when even his beloved disciples, overcome by fear and dismay, should forsake him; and the sorrowful reflections upon the irretrievable loss of Judas, and upon the course of the Jewish nation—”his own” people, who despised him and were about to call down upon their own heads the vengeance of his blood, saying, “His blood be upon us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). He foresaw the terrible calamities that in consequence must soon overwhelm them. Then the degradation of a whole guilty world, which must continue to groan and travail in pain until by his sacrifice he should gain deliverance for them from sin and death, caused him to feel the burden of responsibility to an extent which we can only approximate, but cannot fully comprehend.

And in addition to all this was his knowledge of the fact that every jot and tittle of the law with reference to the sacrifice must be perfectly fulfilled according to the pattern in the typical sacrifice of the day of atonement.

If he should fail in any part of the work, all would be lost, both for himself and for men.

And yet, though a perfect man, he realized that the flesh, however perfect, was unequal to the task.

How much depended upon our Lord’s fortitude in that awful hour, alone and defenceless in the darkness of overwhelming night, awaiting the certain arrival of his betrayer and the will of his persecutors maddened with hate and full of the energy of Satan!

Oh, how the destinies of the world and of himself seemed to tremble in the balances!

Even the perfect human nature was not equal to such an emergency without divine aid, therefore it was that he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him who was able to save him from death, by a resurrection.

The necessary comfort was provided through the Prophet Isaiah (42:1,6), by whom Jehovah said,

“Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: …I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee [from falling or failure], and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles… He shall not fail nor be discouraged.

When the fearful ordeal in Gethsemane strained the powers of endurance almost to their utmost tension his prayer was only, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” Then, though the cup might not pass from him, an angel came and ministered to him.  Just how, we know not, but probably by refreshing his mind with the precious promises and prophetic pictures of the coming glory, which none of his disciples had sufficiently comprehended to thus comfort him in this hour when the gloom of thick darkness settled down upon his soul, crowding out hope and bringing a sorrow exceeding great, “even unto death.”  Ah, it was Jehovah’s hand upholding him, blessed by his holy name! according to his promise, that he might not fail nor be discouraged.

 The result of that blessed ministry was a reinforced courage which commands the deepest admiration.  It was not a courage born of stoical indifference to pain and shame and loss, but a courage born of that faith which is anchored fast within the vail of the divine promises and power. With his eye of faith upon the glorious victory of truth and righteousness, when he should see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied—satisfied with:

  • the eternal joy and blessedness of a redeemed world,
  • with the welcome and wealth of the Father’s blessing, and
  • the love and gratitude of every loyal creature in heaven and in earth—yes, comforted and encouraged thus with a realizing sense of the rewards of faith and faithful endurance to the end, he could now calmly and even courageously, go forth to meet the foe.

Yes, this was the victory by which he overcame, even his faith, and so we also are to overcome.

Now commenced the realization of the dreadful forebodings of Gethsemane.

Mark his calm, dignified fortitude, as he addresses Judas and the Roman soldiers, and its effect upon them. They were so overpowered with the grandeur and nobility of this wonderful man that they could not have taken him had he not voluntarily placed himself in their hand. Notice, too, his kind consideration for the bewildered and weary disciples, and his loving excuse for them, “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak,” and his request to the Roman soldiers at the time of his arrest that they might be permitted to go their way (John 18:8), that so they might escape sharing in his persecutions.

Through all the trial and mocking, and finally the crucifixion, his courage and solicitude for the welfare of others never failed.

 As we thus view our Lord under a trial so crucial, and mark how the hand of Jehovah upheld him, let it strengthen the faith of all who are endeavoring to walk in his footsteps, to whom he says,

Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world: and this is the victory that overcometh, even your faith (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4).

Has not the Lord, Jehovah, commissioned his angels also to bear up the “feet” of the body of Christ, lest at any time they be dashed against a stone (lest some overwhelming trial should prove too much for them)? (Psalm 91:11,12). Yes, as surely as his hand upheld the Head, our Lord Jesus, so surely will he bear up the feet. “Fear not, little flock: it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom,” though through much tribulation ye shall enter it.

The angels are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.  Though their ministry is unseen by us, it is not therefore unreal, but potent for good. Our fellow-members, too, in the body of Christ, are all the Lord’s active messengers to each other, thus in turn sharing the privilege of bearing up the feet.

But to have this help in time of need we must invoke it. 

Every day and every hour is indeed a time of need; hence our necessity of living in an atmosphere of prayer—to pray without ceasing. 

And if the Lord needed often to seek retirement from the busy scenes of his active life to be alone with God, to keep the close bond of loving sympathy established, surely we need to do so; and in so doing we shall always find grace to help in time of need.

In seasons of heavy trial the darkness may indeed so deepen upon the soul, as in our dear Lord’s case, as almost to shut out the stars of hope; yet if, like the Lord, we hold on to the omnipotent arm of Jehovah and meekly say,

“Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done,”

His grace will always be sufficient; and with the Psalmist we can say, Though my flesh and my heart fail, yet God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26); and, with the Lord, our hearts will respond—“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

Acknowledgment and References:

Br. Charles Taze Russell – “The Agony of Gethsemane” —from Reprints (R.1801) of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

JUST AS I AM

 

[Note: the same melody of the above song “Just As I Am” (sung by Alan Jackson) is Hymns No. 64 in the Hymns of Dawn hymnal and titled “I Come To Thee.”

I Come To Thee

I come to thee, I come to thee,
Thou precious Lamb who died for me;
I rest confiding in thy Word,
And cast my burden on the Lord.

I come to thee with all my grief,
To find in thee a sweet relief;
Thy blessed name my only plea,
With this, O Lord, I come to thee.

I come to thee, whose sovereign pow’r
Can cheer me in the darkest hour;
I come to thee thru storm and shade,
Since thou hast said, “Be not afraid.”

I come to thee with all my tears,
My pain and sorrow, griefs and fears:
Thou precious Lamb who died for me,
I come to thee, I come to thee.

To thee my trembling spirit flies,
When faith seems weak and comfort dies;
I bow adoring at thy feet,
And hold with thee communion sweet.

O wondrous love! what joy is mine,
To feel that I am truly thine.
Thou precious Lamb who died for me,
I come to thee, I come to thee.

 

Suggested Further Reading:

Gethsemane
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/09/gethsemane/

 

The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/09/the-agony-in-gethsemane/

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ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART C: The Order of the Resurrection Process

john-5-28-29-two-salvations-two-resurrections

According to Christian beliefs, you can only get to heaven and God through Jesus. How did people get to heaven before Jesus came on the scene?

Answer: They didn’t.

Jesus opened up the “New and Living Way”—that is, he opened up the heavenly calling.

The rest of mankind from Adam until now who have not come in through Christ will get a resurrection on the earth. You are familiar with the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on the earth as it is in heaven…”

The faithful Christian is part of the “first resurrection.” If there is a first then there is at least one more. They are the resurrection of the “just” or justified, and the rest of the world is the “unjust” or unjustified by Christ. Their resurrection is not to condemnation as some translation say, but to judgement—that is the Millennium is a period of trial for all of mankind. Not a sentencing, but trial. They come back and will “know the Lord from the least unto the greatest”—they get an opportunity not afforded them in this life.

Two Salvations and Two Resurrections

Here are some texts that explain that there is one Ransom but two salvations and two resurrections.

  • “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
  • “…There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just [the spiritual classes: Bride of Christ & Church, and the earthly class: the Ancient Worthies] and the unjust (the world of mankind)” (Acts 24:15).
  • “(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 (Heavenly Salvation), those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment (Earthly)” (John 5:28-29, NAS).

The Overcomers in the 1st Resurrection

In John 16:33 Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We read in 1 John 5:4 that “everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

These “overcomers” or “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) have been redeemed from Adamic condemnation (Romans 8:1), and committed their earthly life to be a “living sacrifice” in the present time (Romans 12:1). They have become begotten to a new life, a spiritual life, and thus are on trial for their spiritual life presently. These are the Church members. The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, RVIC: “(51) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall all fall asleep [Acts 7:60- also says “fell asleep”], but we shall not all be changed (52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

[NOTE: RVIC – THE REVISED VERSION (AMERICAN EDITION) IMPROVED & CORRECTED BIBLE – is the most accurate up to date English version of the Holy Scriptures available, compiled from manuscripts discovered and published to AD 1999.]

The ones who died long ago were “raised” to life at the Lord’s return in 1874, at the sound of the last, or seventh, trumpet. Those who die within the present harvest period of the Gospel Age are “changed” at the moment of death.

Overcomers in the 1st resurrection.jpg

The ORDER of the Resurrection Process

1st ­– Christ, “the firstfruits” (1 Corinthians 15:23)—Christ has inherited DIVINE NATURE = IMMORTAL LIFE.

2nd – The Sleeping Saints—these are the OVERCOMERS and they that are Christ’s at his coming i.e. the Bride of Christ—the Elect, 144,000 members of Christ’s “body”.

3rd – The Harvest Saints—these are also the OVERCOMERS—the Bride of Christ, the 144,000 raised “in the twinkling of an eye” in new, spiritual bodies and inherit IMMORTAL LIFE since 1874 until the completion of the Bride of Christ.

“God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). This talks about the necessity of the Church to be a part of blessing all the families of the world.

What is meant by “a better resurrection” in Hebrews 11:35?

This refers to the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies, the “Heros of Faith.” Some of the Ancient Worthies are described in Hebrews chapter 11. In Hebrews 11:39 and 35 we read, “… these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise… (35) Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.

It is understood that Apostle Paul meant that the ancient worthies receive a better resurrection (i.e. eternal life) than those received who were revived temporarily in the Old Testament (which is the subject of Hebrews 11:35).

The Ancient Worthies will be the first humans resurrected onto the earth in the Kingdom. They will be raised perfect, as they already were justified by their faith. They will lead mankind on earth. Psalms 45:16 refers to them as “princes in all the earth.”

4th – The Great Multitude & Ancient Worthies

The Great Multitude:

The Great Multitude will be resurrected after the GREAT TRIBULATION (Armageddon, Battle of Gog and Magog) starts, as indicated in the following passages of Scripture in the Bible:-

  • Genesis 19:23 – “The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.”

Zoar was the city, not “the mountain.” The mountain, to which Lot fled subsequently, represents the heavenly realm where Lot later went to dwell (Genesis 19:30). Lot is often seen as a picture of the Great Company, who lingers through the severe troubles that close the present Harvest period.

  • Matthew 25:1-13 – the five wise and the five foolish virgins.
  • Micah 7:1-7 – here the Great Multitude realize that the Bride of Christ is taken and there is a time of God’s wrath when deplorable and fearsome conditions on earth remain and all faithful men have perished and there is no one upright on earth – yet in verse 7, God delivers them as they “watch in hope”.
  • Revelation 7:14 – “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Members of the Great Company class have received purging experiences whenever they may have lived during the Gospel Age (since AD 33). However, Revelation 7:14 speaks in particular of members of the Great Company who are living during the Harvest and pass through the “four winds” that close the harvest. In the Revelation 7:3-4, the 144,000 class are “sealed” before the four winds blow which may signify that they are taken to glory—but the Great Company class linger and pass through the experience.

The Ancient Worthies:

  • The Ancient Worthies—it is possible that these faithful ones of old will be resurrected towards the end of Armageddon to bring peace during the 7th (last) plague described in Revelation chapter 16. That seventh plague includes a battle, an earthquake, and a plague of hail.
  • The Ancient Worthies, or at least some of them, evidently will be raised in the midst of the crisis of Israel invaded by the coalition of Gog and his allies. This is suggested by Micah 5:5, and 2 Kings 3:10,11, and context.

“And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men” (Micah 5:5).

Assyriarepresents Gog with his invading hosts, thus Russia, together with their allies.

——-[NOTE: The battle at Israel when God fights for them is described also in Ezekiel chapters 38 to 39. Here we again see that the coalition that comes against Israel includes:

  • Gog (Russia) which is part of Old Christendom
  • Persia (Iran)
  • Cush (perhaps Muslim black Africa),
  • Libya (Libya, perhaps North central Africa, not including Egypt)
  • Gomer (perhaps Western Europe),
  • Togarmah (Turkey).

Except perhaps for Gomer, the identification made here are customary, not unusual, they are however interpretive, so let us “watch and pray”.

On the other side, in the author’s understanding (and this is interpretive), is (according to what we read in Ezekiel 38:13):

  • Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia, always against Iran),
  • the Merchants of Tarshish (England), and
  • the young lions thereof (American, Canada, Australia). They are part of newer Christendom, and not part of the alliance of the sixth plague whose representative governments fall at Israel. The victory at Israel is orchestrated by God, using the forces of the Israelis assisted by God’s overruling power.]——-

Seven shepherds—represents the Church completed beyond the vail. The word “shepherd” was a way of referring to kings in the language of the day. (For as a shepherd has control of his flock, so a king has control of his people.)

Eight principal men—Eight “princes” of men, as contrasted to the seven kings (shepherds). Thus those who will be “princes in all the earth” (who are the Ancient Worthies.) The number seven is about the Church because of the seven stages of the Church—the period following the Gospel Age is then period “eight,” and that is when the Ancient Worthies come back. Thus the number “eight” is associated with them.

In Micah 5:6 we read, “And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

Here it is explained that Israel, under the hand of the completed heavenly Church above and the advice of the Ancient Worthies among them, will have a dramatic
military victory.

The land of Nimrod is the land of Assyria, perhaps because Asshur who came from the land of Nimrod (Shinar) built the initial area of Asshur (Genesis 10:10-12).

Our second lot of verses quoted above is from 2 Kings 3:10-11:

“10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab! 11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.”

Elisha represents the Ancient Worthies, raised at a point of crisis in Israel. Some of the Great Company class may linger to see the intervention of God on behalf of Israel. This may be what precipitates their expressions as prophesied in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

[NOTE: Elisha does represent the Great Company class when they are separated from Elijah (the Church) by the whirlwind. When Elisha then crosses the Jordan from east to west, after the taking of Elijah, Elisha thereafter is a picture of the Ancient Worthies in their experiences during the Millennium. Refer to 2 Kings chapter 2.]

5th – The Remainder of Mankind

All will have an adequate opportunity to be on trial for life in the Kingdom before judgement is received. (Isaiah 65:20)

The “Highway of Holiness” operating during the Millennium will lead people from ungodliness, to holiness as we read in Isaiah 35:8,

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

John 5:28-29 refers to the resurrection of judgment, which will be the point of decision between self will and God’s will:

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (judgment).”

All mankind will be raised by Christ and the Church. They will be raised as human beings, and during the Millennium they will be developed and prepared to receive everlasting life in the judgment following the Millennium. The world will be natural being, fleshly beings, as at present. “There is a natural body (human) and there is a spiritual body” (spirit beings) (1 Corinthians 15:44). The world will be natural, fleshly, human beings.

When is the Resurrection Complete?

The resurrection will be complete when all who have died are raised again. The curse will be lifted at the beginning of the age, by the application of the Ransom for the world of mankind, in order to allow the resurrection of the dead.

The resurrection is the only hope for the dead. Let us conclude with John 11:23-26—

“23Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

The resurrection is our ONLY HOPE and an integral part of God’s Divine Plan!

How thankful we are to our Heavenly Father for such a Perfect Plan that will result in eternal life for all.

Romans 11, 36 - from him and through him... to GOD be the glory.jpg

References

Some source material was used from the power point presentation (a BibleTruth411 Video) titled “The Hope and Resurrection of the Dead.

Suggested Further Reading

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What is Jesus All About?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART B. Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/02/acts-319-21-the-restitution-of-all-things/

Epoch Periods In God’s Plan
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

The Resurrection of the Dead. Faithbuilders Fellowship, Nov. – Dec. 2008 (Journal Section). http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2008/06_nd_08.pdf

In the First Resurrection. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, March/April 1987 Magazine
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1987_2.htm#_Toc36954777

Life After Death. Dawn Bible Students Association.
http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/life.htm

 

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https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

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The Relationship between Peace & Unity

Internal Peace, External Unity.jpg

Dear friends in Christ Jesus,

The intention of today’s blog is to cheer our readers onward in striving to maintain peace within one’s heart even in the face of the most unfavourable circumstances.

But why?

Because the comfort and peace of the Church are dependent largely upon unity of the Spirit of the Lord in the various members.

Let us begin by sharing some glorious scriptures to refresh our minds about the sublime PEACE we are talking about:

  • “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
  • Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
  • “The kingdom of GOD is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
  • “Follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
  • Live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
  • “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace(1 Corinthians 14:33).
  • “God has called us to peace(1 Corinthians 7:15).
  • “Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).
  • “The wisdom that is from above is first pure then peaceable(James 3:17).
  • “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
  • “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
  • “Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
  • Have peace one with another” (Mark 9:50).
  •  “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:18).
  • Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). 
  • Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body” (Colossians 3:15).
  • “Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace(Ephesians 4:3).
  • “Preach the gospel of peace(Romans 10:15).
  • “To be spiritually minded is life and peace(Romans 8:6).
  • Love the truth and peace (Zechariah 8:19).
  • Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).
  • “The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in abundance of peace(Psalm 37:11).
  • “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13, 14).

What have we done today to let this peace of God dwell within our hearts?

A possible answer might be — that we have just read the words from the Holy Bible.

YES dear friends!

Even if our flesh is overwhelmed by the storms of imperfection that surround us, we can enter into the shelter of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) when we quieten our minds from the turmoil and read, listen to, or recite, passages of holy Scripture.

We can renew our minds by submitting every thought and motive to be in conformity to the will of God, and fixing our eyes on Christ Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and recalling how Jesus pleased the Heavenly Father through his loyal and faithful obedient even unto death.

By keeping a firm hold on the precious promises of the holy Scriptures, we keep our hope in Christ burning within our hearts.

“If there be any consolation [comfort] in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same LOVE, being of one accord, of one mind.

—–Philippians 2:1-2—–

What exhortations to unity, peace, and brotherly kindness! They suggest patience, forbearance, gentleness, helpfulness, and comfort one to another in the Church. By this means, the Spirit of Christ may abound in all, for the greatest possible progress for all in the right way.

If only we can be worthy of the name Barnabas, “Comforter” of the brethren. If the holy Spirit abounds in us more and more (by our unceasing efforts as athletes in a race), then what pleasure we shall bring our Heavenly Father. With the holy Spirit dwelling in us richly, may we all be sons and daughters of comfort in Zion.

Togetherness in Christ

Many Scriptures speak of togetherness.

“There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith” (Ephesians 4:4,5).

“That your hearts might be comforted, knit together in love (Colossians 2:2).

We are all part of God’s flock. Sheep like to be together. Unlike other animals who will scatter, sheep will stay together. They are gregarious. This helps them because they lack many of the natural defences other animals have, such as speed or personal protection (like a porcupine). Safety comes from staying close together.

To flock means to be in company together, to be a group. It means togetherness as comrades, brethren, and associates where we learn to pass our tests of character development into Christ. Some differences of opinion in Biblical details may exist which each Son and Daughter of the Most High has the liberty in Christ to possess. This develops humility, patience, and respect for other dear co-labourers in the “vineyard” of our Heavenly Father.

In such fellowship circles, we develop reliance on God to fight the battles surrounding us that might arise when sharing scriptural understandings of Divine revelation concerning prophetic unfoldings of Truth.

How we praise the God of mercy—the Almighty Heavenly Father, Who reads the heart of each one whom He has called by His good pleasure, for their eternal JOY and His HONOR (Nehemiah 8:10).

“BORN OF GOD” – What does this mean?

Peace may be found in holy words of encouragement and Divine reassurance. Here is one example.

For everyone who has been BORN OF GOD overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The word born” in this scripture is the Greek word “Gennao” (Strong’s #G1080) which often means begotten.

When and how are we begotten?

The beginning of one’s spiritual existence dates from the time a person believes in Christ as the ransom for their sin and makes a full surrender, or consecration, of themselves to Jehovah God, and this is accepted by Him.

The New Creature mind developing in such an individual continues until their final existence as actual spiritual beings, when they shall be “like Him” Jesus. As in natural generation, begetting precedes  birth. Really there are three steps of development — begetting, quickening, and birth. So also with becoming “new creatures in Christ”—there are three corresponding steps.

(1) We are begotten through the Truth—the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 John 5:18).

(2) In due time come a quickening into activity, zeal, and labor. This gives evidence to others that we have been begotten of the truth to newness of life, new hopes and aims. The spirit of Christ in us will “quicken [make active in God’s service] our mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).

(3) When we are properly developed, we shall come forth in the resurrection, “born” into full spirit-power and become “like him,” who is the “express image of the Father’s person” (Hebrews 1:3).

Our King Jesus gives us so much encouragement. “My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have done”(Revelation 22:12).

The reward of immortality is the reward of the class who will help Christ bring the world of mankind up the Highway of Holiness!

Finally the Body of Christ shall be united with their Bridegroom— their Lord and Master Christ Jesus—for whom they have give up all earthly interests, ambitions, and desires. For whom they have suffered and on occasion been humiliated for, sometimes enduring abuses by the world who considers such as “peculiar.” Perhaps some of such are called by the world as “brainwashed,” “a sect,” “crazy,” “unbalanced in thinking,” “going overboard” with spiritual talk, “obsessed about God” etc.

May the JOY of finally overcoming the scorn of the cross of Christ that we do carry until death, create exuberant rejoicing within our entire being.

Each time we bow our heads and bend our knees in prayer, may the peace of God rule in us as we hide under the shelter of the Heavenly Father’s “wings” of Divine supervision, protection and comfort.

“Let your GENTLENESS be known TO ALL MEN. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GOD. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, WILL guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7).

“Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another. Love as brethren” (1 Peter 3:8).

Does “being of one mind” mean we must all think alike on every detail of Scriptural understanding? 

No. How grand a blessing here in that it is our differences that help is develop the greatest lesson of all, AGAPE LOVE.

“Be of one mind. Live in peace. And the GOD of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

“Be of the same mind” (Philippians 4:2). Being of one mind does not mean we have to see exactly the same on every smallest detail of the Bible. This would be like saying we must wear the same shoes or agree to like the same flavours or the same colours.

Paul urges us to have no divisions amongst the brethren through a lack of tolerance, a lack of compassion… a lack of allowances given as we do have in the liberty in Christ one for another and we are not to show favouritism toward this one or that one based on human fleshly preferences, nor are we to idolize any man, other than CHrist Jesus.

We appreciate ALL OUR BRETHREN who profess their consecration daily before the throne of God in their private prayers, as we, pray for them (1 Corinthians 11:18,19).

Would the apostle approve of the butting of heads, divisions and unkind harsh arguments between the believers? No, he would not. So why does God allow this, one might ask?

The answer from the Divine Word of God is this: “so that they which are approved may be made manifest” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Amidst the butting, some will show they still have the Lord’s spirit. They will be approved by showing a gentle submission of non-rebellious spirit of always considering others higher and better than themselves— by striving to not force their opinions of Biblical interpretation on others in a demeaning way; learning the lessons of humility, forgiveness, compassion and long-suffering; learning to LOVE MORE THROUGH SUFFERING MORE.

Aggressiveness among us is permitted by the Lord to see who will properly react to the test, who will have the right heart attitude, who will grow and manifest the fruits of the spirit. We really know only in part and this is humbling also (1 Corinthians 13:9).

Through the knowledge we acquire by our striving to diligently study the scriptures, and through our prayers for wisdom and understanding which our Divine Father does give to those who seek it in HIS Perfect time, in the Perfect amounts as HE would best see we should possess, let the main goal of all this work be to develop the HIGHEST LEVEL of LOVE possible — AGAPE love. A definition of agape love is in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. To put agape love into practice is why we are NOW being tested in the most severest and most adverse conditions of all.

Let us ask ourselves: does seeking and maintaining righteous peace help me love my brother and sister in Christ more?

Or should we “turn over the tables” of righteous anger like Jesus could and did do if we think we see or hear injustice? Let us restrain from this. We cannot judge the heart like our Master Jesus could and did.

“Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of GOD” (Matthew 5:9).

None will be accounted worthy who shall not have developed peace-loving dispositions. Anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife and a generally quarrelsome disposition must be recognized as belonging to the works of the flesh and the devil. These must be resisted in the heart fully, and in outward conduct as fully as possible.

Peaceableness must supplant quarrelsomeness in all those who would hope to share the Kingdom and be recognized as children of GOD. ‘So far as lieth in you live peaceably with all men.’ This of course does not mean peace at any price, otherwise our Lord, the apostles and the faithful body of Christ throughout this age might not have suffered, or at least might have endured very much less suffering for righteousness’ sake. Hence, the significance of our Lord’s statement, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace’ (John 16:33).” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower, R2251.)

 

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