Christ And His Bride

Shiny diamond on black background.

“And you belong to Christ, and he belongs to God.” (1 Corinthians 3:23, NAS)

To be part of a Heavenly Class,
To be part of the Bride of Christ,
To see our Heavenly Father “face to face!”
Are you also running, in this High Calling race?

Living in this world isn’t easy;
You’re confronted with trials, tribulations and sufferings;
So don’t be surprised or disillusioned,
Just put your faith, hope and trust in God.

Shine like stars in the Universe;
Shine like candles in the darkest night.
Illuminate the place with Christ-like conduct;
Preserve and maintain peace with Godly speech.

Keep pursuing righteousness—
The fountain of eternal joy;
Seek honor, glory and immortality—
A faithful life, do employ.

Discipline and train the mind
To take captive every thought,
‘Til it is obedience to God’s will,
This IS what we wish to be taught.

Being trustworthy and humble in all—
Can this be the result after a fall?
The Heavenly Father permits what is best,
Hence reassured in Faith—the mind in Christ can be at rest. 

Above all, don’t ever stop praying—
Communion with our Heavenly Father must start when we’re on earth.
By asking for and seeking for Jehovah’s Spirit,
We’ll receive it through Christ Jesus’ Precious Name.

Christ’s ransom price, paid at Calvary nearly 2000 years ago,
Has set sinners free, and raising the world will no sooner be, 
Than after the Elect, the Bride of Christ,
Has been glorified at last!

What a prospect before us,
Fellow pilgrims of the Cross of Christ!
As we sojourn to the Promised Land above,
May we do what the Heavenly Father requires here,
And thus attain God’s gracious offer—belonging to Christ forever.

 

Suggested Further Reading

A Special Calling by Br. David Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July /August 2016.
URL: https://herald-magazine.com/2016/07/01/the-bride-class/

Old Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Homer Montague. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_2.htm

The Song of Solomon by Br. Frank Shallieu. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_3.htm

The Bride and the Bridegroom by Br. Carl Hagensick. A Verse-by-verse Study of Psalm 45. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_4.htm

New Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Michael Nekora. A Precious Treasure. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_5.htm

A Chaste VirginThe Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/chliv_38.htm

The Truth About Hell. A Dawn Bible Association Publication. URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/hell.htm

Hope Beyond the Grace. A Dawn Bible Association Publication. URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/grave.htm

 

URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/25/christ-and-his-bride/

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I See Jesus In You …

I see Jesus In You & b.jpg

“Just as water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.”  Proverbs 27:19

My children … there are precious jewels of GOD that surround us still,
Converse with them while as through their efforts they do the Father’s will.
Be close to those who now live in Christ,
As where the carcass of GODly righteous Truth lies,
Here you will be fed with the waters of eternal life.

The ministers of the Lord do proclaim
That Christ’s mediatorial kingdom reign, is on its way.
The mystery about the selection of the 144,000—Bride of Christ members
Is understood by the called ones of GOD who trumpet the message of the Divine Gospel.
They seek to encourage the feet members of Christ that remain—who are their glory and crown and gain.

Like Jesus’ disciples who wanted to understand the Divine Truths of Jehovah,
So the Lord’s “peculiar people”—“a Royal Priesthood”—who are still present, here on earth,
Seek out every moment that remains in this flesh,
To daily learn the lessons, and become Christ’s in thought, word and action.
They hope for and await the Heavenly Father’s “well done, good and faithful servant” reaction.

While remaining united in the spirit of Christ,
With the spiritual “eagles” that do tarry onward and upward on this side of the veil,
They find comfort from feasting on the carcass of GOD’s Truth.
Encouraged by prayers and supplications of their brethren in Christ and strengthened by the holy Spirit—a gift of GOD’s grace.
Thankful in all, they remain as palm trees “tall”—in steadfastness and patient endurance until death.

Why pray for them that belong to Christ?
Because prayers of the righteous avail much.
Prayers unite us with our fellow yoke bearers with whom we suffer in Christ;
Theirs is the highest joy attainable in this life from seeking the will of the Heavenly Father,
Conforming to the standards of GODly righteousness—seeking to sacrifice in all and do what is good, true, and right.

Oh! how blessed and comforted we remain,
When close to the fully consecrated in Christ we keep near.
Whether it be in prayer, sharing a word of cheer, studying the Bible together or singing a hymn,
Let us keep close in the spirit of Christ together.
Between some, this may mean silence now—but only for a while.

Dear brethren in Christ—you are our joy and crown because you seek to please our Almighty
EL SHADDAI most, as HIS name you boast.
Like wellsprings of water in a desert land,
Please keep feeding the remaining few, for this is the commission in Christ—yours to do.
Your offerings of joyful willing sacrifice, like the priests did present in Israel’s Tabernacle of old—
Have a sanctifying effect on the consecrated unto the Lord, and upon all who have an ear to hear the wonderful words of life.

Beloved in the Lord, may He be ever-so near you here on earth,
As with longing hearts we await our eternal home,
Striving to be loyal to our covenant of sacrifice and to Christ forever belong.
May your hearts continue reflecting the brightness of the sun,
For we see Jesus in you—your knowledge of the Truth shared and your kindness and hospitality towards all, done.

“Endure everything for the sake of the Elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
If we died with him, we will also live with him;
If we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;
If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”  (2 Timothy 2:10-13)

 

Further Reading Suggestions: (click on the direct links below):

What Does Being Consecrated to the Lord Mean?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/01/romans-121-what-does-being-consecrated-to-the-lord-mean/

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/father-son-holy-spirit/

Cheerfully Doing God’s Will
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/23/willingly-cheerfully-doing-gods-will-why-when-how/

What Can A Man Believe?
URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/believe.htm

 

URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/02/03/i-see-jesus-in-you/

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STUDY 6: The Levites

THE HIGH PRIEST, UNDER PRIEST & LEVITE - BEAUTIES OF THE TABERNACLE- STUDY 6 - THE LEVITES..jpg

In the third chapter of the book of Numbers, the Levites are introduced as a tribe that replaces the special place of the firstborn. The Israelites as a whole represent believers in Jesus during the Gospel Age, and the Levitesas with the firstborn on passover night represent the spirit begotten ones.

Subsequently, in Numbers 8:5-16, the Levites are required to wash their garments and are then presented to the priesthood as a helper class. When the Levites are thus distinguished from the Priests, this represents the end of the Gospel Age, when there is made a distinction between the Priests (the Bride class of overcomers), and the Great Company class, who wash their robes in the blood of the lamb, and are then made a helper class to the Church in glory (Revelation 7:9, Revelation 19:1). They will inherit a heavenly (spiritual) reward and bebefore the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:15).

The Levites

The Levites that served the Tabernacle (from thirty to fifty years of age, Numbers 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39) were from the clans of the Kohathites, Gershonites and Merarites. All were descendants of Levi, a tribe which had no inheritance in the land but lived off the tithes paid by their brethren (Leviticus 27:32–33; Numbers 18:21, 24), and the farming they did around the Levitical cities. A tenth of the tithe was also to be given to the priests (Numbers 18:26–28).

Here is a chart showing the descendants of Levi (who was one of Jacob’s 12 sons).

THE DESCENDANTS OF LEVI - STUDY 6- BEAUTIES OF THE TABERNACLE - BIBLE STUDENTS DAILY.jpg

  • Age Considerations

In Numbers 8:24–25 we are told that Levites who were 25 to 50 years of age could serve with work for the Tabernacle yet in Numbers 4:3, 23 & 30, the age range of 30 to 50 is stated.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary says this: “They entered on their work in their 25th year, as pupils and probationers, under the superintendence and direction of their senior brethren; and at 30 they were admitted to the full discharge of their official functions.” Perhaps so. Or, perhaps in chapter 4 it refers to the transporting of Tabernacle items, and in chapter 8 it refers to auxiliary duties helping others in the services.

Later during King David’s day, we note that the age for entering priestly service was from 20 years of age (see 1 Chronicles 23:27). Age 20 was the age of fighting men, and by the time of King David lifespans were decreased somewhat, so perhaps David made the adjustment for practical considerations. As to a spiritual meaning — this is only a conjecture—but 20 is a number (2, 20, 200, 2000) that refers to the holy Spirit (This is explained in Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle” on this website). As such the age of 20 may refer symbolically to those who have received the Spirit of God.

  • The Role of the Levites

The Levites fulfilled the following roles:

BEAUTIES OF THE TABERNACLE- POST 6- THE LEVITES. BIBLE STUDENTS DAILY.jpg

The Levites were explicitly permitted to go near the sacred furniture, and this special privilege distinguished them from ordinary Israelites (Numbers 8:19; 16:9–10; 18:22­–23). Yet the Levites were allowed to approach the sacred furniture only when it was covered (Numbers 18:3).

The Israelites who were not Levites had no right to go into the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle represents the condition of the spirit begotten, not merely believers.

Numbers 18:22–23, explains that “the stranger” (non-Levites) did not have the privilege of service regarding the Tabernacle that the Levites did.

22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.”

  • Favoured Above Other Tribes

The reason the Levites were favoured above other tribes to be specially allocated to the service of God, is that they stepped forward to the side of Moses and God when the Israelites sinned with the golden calf in the wilderness. They were “set apart to the Lord” because when Moses asked the people “whoever is for the Lord come to me” the Levites “were against their own sons and brothers” and rallied to him. (Exodus 32:26, 29, NIV). They did as Moses commanded, slaying 3000 of the offending Israelites.

Numbers 3:14-17 describes the selection of the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn male Israelites — a class specially marked out for the service of God.

Antitypes

When considering the antitypes in relation to the Levites and the Priests (see Study 7 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”) as well as for the Israelites (see Study 5 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”) it must be considered on a situational basis, thus it is scripturally context specific, or for better words, contextually sensitive. Each of the three groups of Israelites cannot be considered as one static picture and mean the same thing in every case. In fact, all these three groups do not appear together in any particular case. Sometimes there are Levites and Israelites written about (such as in Numbers chapters 1–4). Sometimes there are priests and Levites (such as in Numbers chapter 8). Each of these cases has its own meaning as to who and what are represented. They are all separate pictures.

  • In Exchange for the Firstborn

To understand the symbolic meaning of the Levites in this exchange of the firstborn, one has to recall the symbolic meaning of the firstborn. Recall that on Passover night, all the Israelites were to remain in their homes, with the blood of the Passover lamb brushed onto the doorposts and lintels. All of them were to eat of the lamb. Thus the Israelites there represent people of faith — believers in Christ Jesus during the Gospel Age.

However, on Passover night only the firstborn were in jeopardy of death. The firstborn represent the consecrated, spirit begotten of the present Gospel Age, who are under jeopardy of losing their spiritual life if they do not remain in the house sanctified by the blood of the lamb. Paul refers to the “Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven,” linking the symbol of firstborn to those begotten to a heavenly hope (Hebrews 12:23).

That is the foundation for the picture in Numbers 3:45, which reads, Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord.”

The standing of the firstborn as specially devoted to God is now transferred to the Levites. As the “Church of the firstborn” do not have an inheritance in earthly things (1 Peter 1:4, Ephesians 1:11) but in heavenly things, so the Levites had no inheritance in the land. (Deuteronomy 10:9). They represent the ones “called out” of the world during the Gospel Age and described by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:30, “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified,or honoured, with a “heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1).

  • The “Called Out” Ones

It is this “called out” class that James (who was later beheaded by King Herod Agrippa, the first grandson of Herod the Great) explains about, to a whole assembly of gathered believers in Acts 15:14-18, some of whom belonged to the party of the Pharisees and thought the Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses:

“14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Here the Apostle James appeals to the prophecy of Amos 9:11–12 to support what Apostle Peter (Simon) had said, namely that the Gentiles were receiving the Gospel of Christ. The Apostle James saw that “the residue of men” calling upon God was shown by the Gentile
converts coming into Christ. James said that the prophecy from Amos said this would occur after the “tabernacle of David” was raised up again.

The house or the “tabernacle of David,” the ruling house of Israel, had fallen when Zedekiah lost his throne six centuries earlier (587 bc, at Nebuchadnezzar’s third captivity of Israel). It had been raised up by virtue of Jesus of the tribe of Judah and descended for David, ascending to glory seated at the right hand of God, as our King and leader.

Jesus is our Melchizedek priest — a king and a priest.

  • Melchi is the Hebrew word for “king.”
  • Zedek is the Hebrew word for righteousness, and Jesus is “king-righteousness” — Melchi-zedek — “king of righteousness” (Hebrew 7:1–3).

Thus, the Apostle James explained that Jesus as king has been established as monarch in glory, the house of David had risen again, and it was timely for the “residue of men,” the Gentiles, to receive the grace of God through Jesus. Thus, as Apostle Peter and others testified was occurring here, the High Calling had started since Jesus’s ascension, allowing the “called out” ones of God (1 Peter 2:9), the opportunity to become Sons of God if faithful until death.

The following Scriptures are helpful concerning this calling: Jude 1:1, Galatians 1:6, Romans 11:29, Ephesians 4:1–4, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:14, Hebrews 3:1, 2, 1 Peter 5:10–11.

1 PETER 5, 10-11- BEAUTIES OF THE TABERNACLE- POST 6- THE LEVITES. BIBLE STUDENTS DAILY.jpg

  • In Numbers 8

In Numbers chapter eight, the Levites will be distinguished from the priests. In this distinction, the Levites represent the Great Company class, who will be distinguished from the elect Priest class, following the completion of the judgment period by the end of the Gospel Age.

In Numbers 8:7, the Levites “shave all their flesh,” and “wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean”. The shaving of their flesh pictures the beginning of the service of the Great Company beyond the vail resurrected as spirit beings of a high order, but subordinate to the Bride class. It also pictures the end of their consecrated walk on earth as those who had pressed “towards the mark for the prize of the high calling in God through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12) during the Gospel Age, much like those who took the Nazarite vow were to shave at the conclusion of their vow (Numbers 6:13, 18). This even pertained to Joseph, when raised out of prison, representing Jesus raised out of death. Joseph had to shave and change his garment, to appear before Pharaoh, picturing that Jesus had completed his consecrated walk here, and had a change of nature in order to appear before God.

The Levites washing their clothes reminds us of the Great Company class washing their robes in the blood of the lamb, to cleanse them for their service in glory (Revelation 7:14–15). This distinction between the priests (the Church in glory) and the Levites (the Great Company in glory), also appears in Ezekiel 44:10–14 (Levites), compared to verses 15-24 (priests).

The “Great Multitude” are mentioned in Revelation 7:9-10, and reflected in types such as Rebecca’s maidservants, and Elisha who walked with Elijah.

Some points to be aware of:-

  • In the types of the Book of Leviticus, as far as we can see, the focus is on the Bride class, rather than on the Great Company class. This is because there is no separate calling to the Great Company class, so pictures about the Gospel Age calling to service and sacrifice do not show this class as a distinguished class of spirit begotten ones here, during the Gospel Age. The Great Company class are simply part of the spirit begotten class, all called in the one hope. The distinction between the Bride and the Great Company appears at the end of the Age or otherwise at the time of each member’s judgment time (final sentence/verdict). The Great Company class are depicted in the fifth chapter of the Song of Solomon where there is the lazy lover who does not rise for her betrothed, and misses her opportunities. (Song of Solomon 5: 2, 3, 6).
  • Only those who are finally judged as “more than overcomers” at death — who qualify to be of the Bride, the Elect, Little Flock class — fully share in the sin offering experiences of the present time, and are represented in the Lord’s goat of the Day of Atonement. The special focus on the Bride class in this picture can be compared to the picture of Eliezer in Genesis chapter 24 (who represents the holy Spirit), sent out by Abraham (God) to find a bride (the Church) for His son (Jesus). The bride is Rebekah. This picture is focused on the bride class, but in fact all who are spirit-begotten are called by the same spirit (Eliezer). So with sacrifice. We are all called to sacrifice, and all the spirit begotten do sacrifice. But the picture is focused on the bride class.

Another Kingdom Picture

There is another kingdom picture represented in the Levites if we consider just the four groups of Levites on their own, which may picture the state of the completed work of God’s great plan of the ages after the world of mankind reaches perfection in the kingdom as also seems to be the order suggested in Psalm 45:13–17.

EAST:  The AMRAM Levites (signifying highly exalted, very high) represented the “Little Flock” (144,000), the Bride. These had full charge of all things religious—their brethren—even all the Levites—being their honoured assistants or servants. “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework.” (Psalm 45:13–14).

NORTH:  The MERARI Levites (signifying bitterness) represented the “Great Company” of spirit-begotten ones (before the throne), the Bride’s “allies” and Companions who fail to win the prize of the Royal Priesthood, and are “saved so as by fire,” coming up through great tribulation and bitter experiences to the position of honor and service which they will occupy.

The Merari Levites were given four wagons and eight oxen to transport the gold-covered boards and posts, sockets, cords and pins, etc. (Numbers 3:36–37; 4:31–32; 7:8).

“The virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.” (Psalm 45:14,15).

SOUTH:  The KOHATHITE Levites (signifying ally or comrade) represented the Princes, the “Ancient Worthies”—whose faith and obedience and loyalty to God and willingness to suffer for righteousness was so fully attested, and with whom we feel so close a kinship. They were, indeed, the Lord’s allies and ours.

“Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth(Psalm 45:16).

The Kohathite Levites were given no wagons. These had charge of the most sacred articles—the Altars, the Candlestick (lampstand), the Table and the Ark. (Numbers 3:31; 4:34–36; 7:9).

WEST:  The GERSHOM Levites (signifying refugees, or rescued) represented the saved “World of Mankind,” all of whom will be refugees succoured and delivered, rescued from the blindness and slavery of Satan.

“I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever” (Psalm 45:17).

The Gershom Levites had charge of the least important services — the porterage, etc., of the cords, outer curtains, hangings, gate, etc. which they first transported on two wagons and four oxen (Numbers 3:25–26; 4:22­­­­–26; 7:7).

References & Acknowledgment

Pastor Charles Russell: “Tabernacle Shadows,” “The Tabernacle and Its Teachings” —  Supplement to Feb. “Zion’s Watch Tower,” Pittsburgh, PA, 1882, Volume 6 — “Studies in the Scriptures,” Reprints of the Watch Tower.

Br. Anton Frey: “Notes on the Tabernacle,” pages 362-364; “Wilderness Wanderings.”

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary.

Br. David Rice — some written content for this post.

Suggested Further Reading

STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/02/study-1-an-introduction-to-the-tabernacle-and-its-purpose/

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy  https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

The URL for this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

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ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART B. Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?

1 SAMUEL 2, 6-8.jpg

Why is a Resurrection Necessary?

The Apostle Paul explains why a resurrection is necessary through stating a precious promise in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, (21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.”

The resurrection is necessitated by the fall, if God is to recover the fallen human race.

The Greek word in the Bible used for “resurrection” is “anastasis”—(noun).
The “ana” means again, the “stasis” means a standing.
It has the connotation to be lifted up back to full and perfect manhood…. Back to perfection.

The Old Testament does not state this word “resurrection”; it is only found in the New Testament.

So can we find this term expressed anywhere in the Old Testament? Let’s take a look at some Old Testament scriptures.

“You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals” (Psalm 90:3, NIV).

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10)

“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11, NIV).

God doesn’t just want a blinded obedient creation
but one that will actually REJOICE after returning from death!

Men Sleeping in the Dust

Mankind isn’t just poor, but impoverished!

We read in Daniel 12:2, “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.”

Job confirmed this expectation of a resurrection in Job 14:13-15, “(13) O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! (14) If a man die, shall he live again?… (15) Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.”

Job expected to be remembered and restored. Job believed he would be awoke so much, that he asked God to put him in the grave until all his trouble would pass!

So in the Old Testament there was the understanding of the concept of being re-awakened from the sleep of death.

Release from the Prison of Death

In Psalm 146:7 we read, “The Lord looseth the prisoners …”

When you are in prison you cannot get out. The whole purpose of the prison is to keep you in. Until the door of death is unlocked, there is no coming out.

“Looseth”—freed from death as until then, there is no coming out of this condition.

In Job 3:18 we read, “There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.”

Death is oblivion—there is no consciousness there… resting not in the same place of course but meaning in the same condition.

In Isaiah 49:8-9 we read, “ (8) I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; (9) That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves.”

We see a glimpse of how this will be accomplished—Christ and his ‘body’ (the Elect)—through them the New Covenant will begin once they are complete.

GOD will unlock the prison house of the grave then!

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes” (Hosea 13:14).

“(54) …Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15: 54-57).

Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?

Yes. The mind you die with the mind you will come up with. If they were constantly thinking of evil or immoral… they will have to correct that!

Here are some verses to prove this:

“… if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be” (Ecclesiastes 11:3).

If they are earnestly seeking God they will have no problems in changing their characters.

As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, … even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all” (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

In all the trials of life in the kingdom in perfect conditions wherein righteousness rules, mankind will have to make righteous choices to live forever.

JOB 4, 8.jpg
The principle in scripture is, described as the sowing and reaping one; that what we sow we will reap

It seems today in the world that the wicked prosper, right?
But there is no fooling God!

As the way they go down, so they will come up… it will catch up with them as they will have to unlearn the unrighteousness and to sanctify themselves.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

You can fool the government …
You can fool the courts …
You can fool the majority of people …
But! You cannot fool God!

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, observing both the evil and the good”  (Proverbs 15:3).

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

So, the character you go down with, will be the character that follows in the resurrection.

Wickedness and deceit will be their own punishment in the kingdom, so they will have much further to have to go, to change their characters.

But can God Restore a Mind? Yes!

“(29) Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, (30) to bring back his soul from the pit [“sheoul” = hell, pit, grave,] to be enlightened with the light of the living” (Job 33:29-30).

The light of the living concerns the mind, the intellect. Resurrected humanity on earth will “be enlightened” again with the light of life. Their resurrection from the dead will be clear and convincing evidence to them of God’s wonderful blessing on their behalf. This itself will provide an opportunity for them to begin anew on a better footing than before, with faith in God and appreciation for His kindness.

This favorable new beginning for mankind, each one individually, being raised again on earth during the Millennium, will come through the reign of Christ with his “Bride” (comprising 144,000 members, Revelation 7 and 14). Then evil will be restrained, rather than allowed to proceed, as at present. The Spirit of understanding from God will be poured out upon the hearts of humanity, starting with the nation of Israel (Zechariah 12:10).

The spirit of understanding will bring joy to mankind in doing what is pleasing to the Heavenly Father. They will seek after righteousness when they recognize the blessings that shall be gained in doing so. As Proverbs 21:21 says, “whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”

In Jeremiah 31 we read about the Spirit of understanding coming to Israel when they finally recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

“(31) Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah … (33) This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

After Israel has been inducted into this “new covenant,” at the beginning of Christ’s Millennial Reign, they will be used by God to extend the same blessings outward to the remainder of the world. Then all will be able to receive the spirit of understanding from God. “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest” (Hebrews 8:11).

At the outset of the Millennial Age, the ransom will be applied for the world in order to remove the curse. The removal of the curse is the first necessary step in order to proceed with the resurrection. However, that does not mean the resurrected individuals are justified. They will be sinful people still (because they will return back with the same thoughts, as mentioned earlier in this post). Many of those raised will be without faith, and far short of good works. Teaching people about God and the standards of righteousness will take time. Individually, the blessed influences of the Kingdom will bring people to repentance, faith, and obedience. Ultimately they will be righteous and holy. As this process continues, they will be blessed also by physical blessings of health and vitality, returning to the perfection of being that Adam enjoyed in the garden before his sin.

The Basis of Our Hope

The basis of our hope IS the resurrection of the dead, and that ALL who die, shall come back alive.

“(20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (24) Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:20-24).

All will be made alive. There is a hope to the resurrection.

SOME EVEN TODAY SAY— THERE IS NO RESURRECTION!

But the Bible clearly teaches us that our HOPE is based on the resurrection—the key to our faith!

Here is a beautiful explanation that there IS a resurrection:

(12) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (13) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: (14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. (16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: (17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. (19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15: 12-19).

The Apostle Paul is saying if your assumption is there is NO RESURRECTION, then you have NO HOPE!

The Apostle Paul is teaching us that the ONLY HOPE IS the resurrection!

The Church class (those running in the race of the High Calling) understand this and they understand that since Jesus did resurrect—this is our seal of approval that there IS a resurrection. The resurrection is really key to our faith.

Is the resurrection illustrated in the Scriptures?

Yes. Some temporary re-standings from the dead are illustrated in the Bible and as listed below, which demonstrated the capability of there being a permanent resurrection of all those in the grave:-

Resurrection Illustrated in the Bible.jpg

Remembering Those in the Grave

The hope of man is that they will be remembered by others. Yet are they?

In Psalm 6:5 we read, “in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”

As generations pass, people are largely forgotten as explained in Psalm 102:11-12, “11My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. 12 But thou, O Lord, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.

Although mankind cannot remember people even 100 years ago, God can remember all generations and that too, means, that God CAN restore!

Can God Put a New Mind in an Old Body?

Of course God can!

In Acts 26:8 (NIV), the Apostle Paul explains to King Agrippa that it is because of this hope in the resurrection from the dead that the Jews are accusing him and states, “why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?”

If God has the ability to allow for the creation of 100 billion galaxies, then there is no doubt that God can restore all mankind in the soon to begin Kingdom!

Psalm 147, 4-5 - STARS AND GALAXIES.jpg

In Isaiah 40:28 (KJV) we read, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.”

Why Restore the Old Mind?

In Mark 12:27 we are told that our Heavenly Father “is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living…

The Bible explains that God has appointed a day, in which “He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

This necessitates the remembrance of the consequences of sin.

All mankind who resurrect on earth will have the chance to gain eternal life so that there is PERFECT JOY FOREVERMORE as it is disobedience to God’s commands that led to PAIN, SORROW, TEARS, SUFFERING and UNHAPPINESS… while OBEDIENCE to RIGHTEOUSNESS is what pleases the Creator of our Universe and adhering to this, will lead to ETERNAL JOY!

The Bible assures us that God will “swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces… for the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8).

Acknowledgement

Br. Bob Goodman — for source material from his power-point presentation (a “BibleTruth411” – YouTube Video) “The Hope and Resurrection of the Dead”.

Br. David Rice — assistance with content and editing.

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 C. The Order of the Resurrection Process.https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

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

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

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

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Jesus’ Commission: Make Disciples. Baptize. Teach.

Mat. 28, 20 -2

Let’s begin with the words of Matthew 28:19‑20 (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

WHAT IS OUR WORK? 

We are definitely not travelling alone in this narrow way since GOD called out a faithful band of servants who, with every talent consecrated to His work, are steadily pursuing their course in the narrow way. We know some of them by name and by character and by their steady and progressive activity in the blessed work. And though not all of these have a copious amount of talents, they, nevertheless, quietly and unobtrusively go about from day to day preaching the wonderful words of life, and GOD is with them and is leading them on. Their hearts are full of joy and hope and they are kept securely amidst all the perils of this evil day. No amount of discouragement from the adversary, stops these that still remain amongst our midst, from continuing on with FULL ZEAL in the LORD’s work.

The ones who have the greatest appreciation of Truth,
are those who are FULLY enlisted in the LORD’s service.

If we bury our one or our many talents under a weight of worldly cares and encumbrances which might be avoided or set aside; if we bury them under worldly ambitions for either self or family — whether this be by wasting consecrated time upon science, philosophy, music or art; or upon business, politics or pleasures; or in pampering pride and appetite – then as unfaithful servants we will sooner or later go into outer darkness, by being caught in some of the snares of this “evil day.” and will be led farther and farther into error and away from truth. (R.1282)

In no single case have we seen one drift away from the Truth in these last years of the Gospel Age among those who were very active and FULLY enlisted in the LORD’s work, whose one aim and endeavor was to herald the truth and to bless others with it. (R.1282)

“To such the LORD says, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’ – Ye shall never fail, for so an abundant entrance shall be ministered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ .” (R.3696).

Each royal priest is the peer of each other one in authority and dignity of priesthood; though in talents, intelligence, etc., and therefore in fitness, they are not all equals. (R.1137:4)

Some stewards do not quickly enough note talents which might be utilized in the Lord’s service. (R.1047:5)

Jesus’ words of Matthew 28:19‑20 to the apostles, apply to all fully consecrated disciples of Christ – who are authorized to preach the Gospel in any and every way, publicly or privately, by word, pen, or printed page.

THE THREE PARTS OF JESUS’ COMMISSION

PART 1 – MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations

The word “disciple” signifies pupil, in the school of Christ, in the primary department. We are to first inform those who have ears to hear that they are sinners through the fall, but that GOD has made a provision for their rescue.

“We have a commission to proclaim the Gospel according to our opportunities and abilities.”(R5588:1)

The work of the Evangelist comes first, to make disciples. So let us continue to preach as the twelve disciples preached, by the wayside” (Matthew 13:4) or wherever you find a hearing ear (Mark 4:9).

Pastor Charles Russell encourages and suggests, the following:

“If you lack talent for preparing a discourse,
READ FORCIBLY AND CLEARLY
something touching the subject
you consider most needful to your hearers.” (R. 1047:5)

“This Gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” (Matthew 24:14)

Since Christ died on Calvary as our Passover Lamb, the message of redemption has gone out to all who are willing to be disciples of Christ – no longer restricted to the Jewish people. The early disciples became witnesses to the Truth, and we should follow that example.

“Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

PART 2 – BAPTIZE them

Immersion is the correct translation and the original method of baptism, as acknowledged by many authorities. Water immersion is the outward symbol by which believers confess their faith in Jesus as their Redeemer. When a Christian devotes his or her life to GOD, one is “immersed” into the will of GOD, and thus into the service of Christ whom GOD appointed as our Lord and Master.

In Romans 6:3-11, Apostle Paul adds another dimension to our immersion into Christ – namely, immersion INTO the sacrificial DEATH OF CHRIST:

“Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

WHO CAN PERFORM THE IMMERSION SERVICE?

“All authorized to teach are equally authorized to baptize. That includes every follower of Christ, not excluding females, only that modesty indicates that they should avoid such public services except in rare necessary cases” (R1541:4).

“All baptized would be commissioned to perform this symbol for others; and, if no consecrated could be found, an unconsecrated believer, or even a worldly person or unbeliever, might do it.” (Volume 6, “Studies in the Scriptures,” page 454).

The following words are recommended by Pastor Charles Russell for any immersion service:

“Brother … in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, by this authority, I baptize thee into Christ” (Volume 6, “Studies in the Scriptures,” page 455).

There is the thought amongst some Bible Students that the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 may have been altered during the third century to support the development of the false doctrine of the trinity. This is well explained in a study titled “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” by Lenard Griehs (“Beauties of the Truth”, January, 1991). The evidence for this seems good.

However, if one favors the text as it appears in the common version, following are some comments that are helpful.

“Into the name of” – signifies into accord with, into fellowship with (R5587).

By the words “The Father” ‑ the meaning is that “all of Christ’s disciples are to recognize the Father’s name as standing for righteousness; and they are to become dead to every other principle than that which His name represents, and to be thoroughly immersed into that name of righteousness, justice, truth.” (R.5587 )

“These words do not imply three baptisms in one. The use of the three names is as if you were using a firm name, such as Smith, Jones and Brown; all three names would be used to show that it has the authorization of the whole firm. The Divine Three ‑ Father, Son and holy Spirit ‑ are related to our faith in the Creator, Redeemer and Regenerator; and this suggests the three steps in bringing men into the divine image.” (R.197:3)

The words “Of the Son ‑ shows that we ignore all sectarian names, Protestant or Catholic, but rather, recognize the name of Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah, and desiring to be his members, his Bride and his Body, “the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23, NIV).

The term “holy Spirit refers to GOD’s spirit, influence and character in our lives. The word in the Greek is “pneuma”, which means spirit (not “ghost” as in the King James version). The use of these words in Matthew 28:19 has been understood to signify that the immersed candidate’s own spirit or will becomes dead, and GOD’s holy will and mind are to become their will and purpose.

PART 3 ‑ TEACH them

The word “teach” in verse 19, is from a Greek word “matheteuo” and signifies proselyting or making disciples of.

It is not a command to convert the world but to gather out of all nations those willing to be disciples of Christ.

In verse 20, the words “teaching them” means instructing them regarding GOD’s divine character and plan, the graces of the spirit and the rooting out of the spirit of worldliness and selfishness. Not astronomy, geology, nor any of the vain philosophies about which the world speculates, but “the things which I have commanded you.” (R5045:4, 3200:2).

In Jesus’ words “observe all that I command you” we are reminded that all men are sinners, that Christ came to give himself a ransom, that he is the only way to life, that whosoever would come must take up his cross, that all believers are one with him, that every branch in him must bear fruit or be taken away, that those who trust in him are to hope for and expect his second coming, that we have a hope to be of those of the first resurrection, and that love is the fulfilling of the Law.

Jesus reassures, encourages, and strengthens us through his words to the Apostles, “I am with you always,” and we see this by the gift from GOD of the holy Spirit of GOD to guide and lead us through the age. By this, means Jesus is present with us in spirit. As our high priest, he sees to our spiritual interests. Jesus has been with his representatives in all their labors of love and self‑denial throughout the entire age so we are NEVER alone! We have the companionship of him who promised, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

In our Lord’s words, “even unto the end of the age,” the word “end” is from the Greek word suntelia, which means the ending period of the age. Now, in the present “Harvest,” or ending period of the Gospel Age, beginning with 1874 as pointed to in Daniel 12:12, Jesus is actively engaged on behalf of his saints to complete the Church, and inaugurate a period of transition into his Millennial Kingdom.

Jesus’ work for his people includes raising his sleeping saints in the first resurrection! Once the last member of the 144,000 shall have gone through the 2nd vail into the Divine Realm, then Jesus with His Bride, the Elect, shall establish his Kingdom, bless the nation of Israel with the New Covenant, and thus bless all mankind.

We are now not only in the Harvest, the ending period of the age, but even in the closing years of the harvest period itself. We have some years to go. Some brethren point to Acts chapter 27, and Paul’s voyage to Rome, as indicating the travel of the Church through the Harvest to the Kingdom, the center of world authority.

In this case, it is feasible that the 14 days of storm which precede the “Armageddon” crash of the ship of state, could suggest 14 years of distress closing the harvest.

In this case, those who consider that the blessed Millennium might commence another 27 years hence, find a milestone along the way, by which to check their expectations.

Meanwhile, let us not neglect our opportunities
to represent the Truth to all who may have a hearing ear.

We seek the last grains of wheat for the heavenly barn – so that thereafter the blessings of life can flow to the world. Then, through the elect, raised to heavenly glory, the inhabitants of the world shall all come to a saving knowledge of Christ, and secure wonderful, everlasting, earthly blessings.

“Let us remember, too, while using all the WISDOM we can in this service, that the Lord’s object in giving us a share in his work is not so much what we can accomplish as in the blessing that the labor will bring upon us. This will be an encouraging thought to the dear ones who are engaged in the “Volunteer” work; and if they find many discouragements and but small results the reflection that the Master knoweth them that are His, and that He appreciates every sincere effort made to serve His cause and to lay down our lives on behalf of the brethren, will give courage and strength to those who otherwise might faint by the way” (R. 2811).

“Let us see to it, not only that we do with our might what our hands find to do, but also that our every sacrifice and gift to the Lord and His cause is so full of love and devotion that the Lord will surely approve it; as done from love for Him and His, and not from vainglory” (R3166).

 

Acknowledgments:

Charles T.  Russell – “R” represents the “Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.” The numbers next to the “R” represent the page numbers of the reprinted articles.

Leonard Griehs’ – for his study from “Beauties of the Truth” – as referenced in the above post.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTJAN91.PDF

 

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/08/15/jesus-commission-make-disciples-baptize-teach/

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Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

father son and holy spirit - NO ADDRESS.jpg

ALL are born with an inherent tendency to worship a higher power—a Supreme Being. Some have tried to dismiss the idea of GOD, and to get along without religion, but sooner or later come back to the worship of some kind of a higher power. Others, in their anxiety not to overlook any advantage that might accrue to them from allegiance to deity, have had a multiplicity of gods. The Athenians of old even went so far as to erect an idol to the “unknown God” (Acts 17:23).

The true Deity of the Bible has been an “unknown God” to most people in all ages, and is even today.

The Bible tells is that there is one GOD, whose name is Jehovah, Yahweh who is addressed by Christians as their Heavenly Father.

The Bible also tells us of the “Son of GOD,” who is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Savior of the world. The first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John states that Jesus, in his prehuman existence was known as the Logos,” that is, the “Word,” or mouthpiece of Jehovah, the Creator. In his relationship to mankind, as Savior and Redeemer, Jesus is prophetically spoken of as the “Prince of Peace”; the “Mighty God”; “Emmanuel”; “Michael”; “King of kings”; “Mediator”; etc. These various titles do not describe different gods, but various characteristics of this one Son of GOD, whom the Father has commanded shall be honored even as he himself is honored (Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 1:23, Daniel 12:1, Revelation 19:16, 1 Timothy 2:5).

The Bible also speaks of the “Holy Spirit.” Through a misunderstanding the Holy Spirit has been construed to be a personality, a third mighty being, equal in power and glory to the Father and Son, yet in some mysterious way, one in substance with them. But this view is not scriptural, as we shall see. Rather, the Holy Spirit mentioned so prominently in the Scriptures is the holy power or influence of GOD—a power which operates for the accomplishment of the Divine purposes wherever and whatever they may be. This fact will become readily apparent as we examine the Bible scriptures.

1. JEHOVAH –  a GOD of Love

In a more or less widespread misconception of Jehovah, he is thought of as being austere and unsympathetic, demanding cruel punishment for all who deviate from the doing of his will. In this view, Jesus is looked upon as the loving GOD of the Bible, the One who stepped between the stern Creator and man as a Redeemer and Savior of the human race.

In our search of the Scriptures to find what they say about the “GOD of love and mercy,” it is important, first of all, to note that Jehovah himself, as well as Jesus, is clearly shown to possess the quality of love. In Titus 3:4, in fact, He is spoken of as our “Savior,” and is there said to be kind and loving. This, the scriptural view of Jehovah, reveals Him as being the Author of the plan of salvation, and Jesus as heartily co-operating.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,10; Hebrews 10:5-7).

The name Jehovah means the Self-existent, or Eternal One. (Dr. James Strong) In the Bible it is applied exclusively to the Creator, the great First Cause of everything.

“From everlasting to everlasting,” is one of the scriptural expressions used by the Holy Spirit to emphasize that Jehovah is not a created being, but the Creator of all things (Psalm 90:2).

The name Jehovah is never applied to Jesus.

The name Jehovah is, of course, an Old Testament word. It is not used by the New Testament writers, evidently for the reason that they considered it too sacred a name to translate into another language, or, perhaps because there was no suitable Greek word to use in translating it. But this does not mean that Jehovah is merely a tribal god of the Jews, as some would try to make us believe. He is the one true GOD, the Creator of the universe, and the one in whom all animate creation lives and moves and has its being (Acts 17:24-28).

Other Gods in the Old Testament

There are other Hebrew words in the Old Testament translated Lord and God. These, while sometimes applied to Jehovah, are also sometimes prophetically applied to Jesus; sometimes to one or more of the angels; and sometimes even to heathen rulers, and heathen gods. There are three of these Hebrew words—adon, Adonai, and elohim.

  • The most frequent application of adon is to great and mighty ones of the earth.
  • Adonai is always applied to deity, but not always to Jehovah. E.g. Psalm 110:5, the Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” Here the name Lord is a translation of the Hebrew word Adonai, and refers to Christ, while the pronoun “thy” refers to Jehovah.
  • The Hebrew word elohim in the Old Testament is a plural form most frequently translated “God” and “Gods,” and is sometimes used with reference to Jehovah, sometimes prophetically of Christ, occasionally, by way of deference, to magistrates, sometimes to angels, and sometimes to false gods. We mention the use of these various Hebrew words translated Lord and God in order to emphasize the fact that Jehovah is the one and only Almighty GOD, who is “from everlasting to everlasting.” There are other lords and other gods referred to in the Scriptures, but Jehovah, even when mentioned as Adonai, or Elohim, is The Adonai, and The Elohim.

Attributes of Jehovah’s Character

Jehovah has been belittled in the minds of many by a traditional misconception of his personality that has been handed down to us from the Dark Ages, in which he was depicted as an old man with a beard. The Bible does not attempt to give us a description of the bodily appearance of the great Eternal One, because our finite minds could not conceive of his glory even though it were described to us.

The Bible does, however, reveal a great deal concerning the outstanding attributes of the Divine character. It tells us of his infinite wisdom, justice, love, and power. These attributes of Jehovah’s character are in perfect balance; and by their manifestation through his dealings with the human race, his glory is revealed. However, it is largely to the degree that we understand the Divine plan for the human race, that we can appreciate the beauty of the Divine character.

While the Bible, of course, does say that GOD is love, that he is just, and wise and powerful, yet it is only as we see the outworking of these glorious attributes in the Creator’s designs toward the children of men that they become truly meaningful to us. While we can, it is true, behold the power of Jehovah in the works of creation with which we are surrounded, yet God’s plan for a resurrection of the dead; and especially his resurrection of Jesus, is a display of his power surpassing even that of his creative work (Ephesians 1:19,20).

Without a knowledge of God’s plan as a whole, one might wonder why he does not use his power to put an immediate stop to human suffering, especially in view of the fact that he is reputed to be loving as well as powerful. But we must remember that GOD is just and wise, as well as powerful and loving. Everything he does must be fully in harmony with all these attributes of his character (Psalm 89:14).

If GOD was only loving and merciful he would not have condemned our first parents to death, although he had told them if they sinned they would die. One of the fundamentals of GOD’s law is that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). His justice, therefore, demanded that our first parents pay the penalty of their sin.

Some may argue that GOD’s plan to raise the dead is, in effect, a setting aside of GOD’s justice in demanding the death sentence for the violation of his law. But that is where GOD’s wisdom and love can be seen. If only justice alone had been considered, no provision would have been made to set aside that original sentence of death; but divine wisdom and love found a way whereby God could be just, yet use his power to restore the dead to life. This way is through Christ, the Redeemer. Jesus was the world’s “ransom,” which means a corresponding price. It was Divine love that allowed for this, for the Scriptures say that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, Hebrews 2:9).

Jehovah has changed his mind concerning the “wages of sin.” GOD’s Divine wisdom saw that it would be highly desirable that man obtain a thorough knowledge of sin and its disasterous consequences so that all men can learn obedience to GOD’s standard principle = RIGHTEOUSNESS, which shall be the ultimate result in due time.

GOD could have created enough human beings to fill the whole earth, and thus have the planet populated without the process of procreation. This would have meant that each one would have been individually on trial for life. In this case, if those who transgressed were to be redeemed from death, it would have required a separate Redeemer for each one of them. Hence, we can see the wisdom in the divine arrangement whereby Adam was held the responsible head of the entire human race. Thus his sin not only brought condemnation upon all, in that from the very start they were born imperfect, but it also made possible the redemption of all through the death of but one Redeemer (Romans 5:12).

SO all the human race has been receiving an experimental knowledge of sin and its results, and then they have been passes away temporarily in the sleep of death, to be restored during the coming kingdom period when their present experience will be a most valuable asset to them in weighing the advantages of obedience to the divine law then in force.

By this infinitely wise arrangement every child of Adam will be given an experimental knowledge of both good and evil, and thus will be equipped to choose intelligently between the two. Those who choose the good, and accept of GOD’s grace through Christ, the Redeemer, will then live forever.

GOD’s Diversified Wisdom

In Ephesians 3:10, Paul speaks of the “manifold” wisdom of GOD. The Emphatic Diaglott translation of this text uses the word “diversified.” The apostle also shows that this “diversified” wisdom of GOD is being manifested even to the angelic beings in the universe, being revealed to them specially through GOD’s dealings with the church (the 144,000 Elect and the Great Company – as explained in the Book of Revelation) of this age.

In the selection and preparation of the Church to co-operate with Jesus in the future kingdom work of rehabilitating the lost race, there is a still further manifestation of Divine wisdom. How wise that representatives of the fallen race should be chosen, tested, and then equipped to deal with and bless their fellows in the mediatorial arrangements of the new age soon to begin.

And the qualification test placed upon these is that they love GOD’s will supremely and their fellow men so unselfishly that they gladly lay down their lives in service now—imperfect though that service may be—in order that they may be exalted to a glorious future service which will actually give life to all mankind. It is this that Apostle Paul refers to as a baptism for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29).

Yes, those who will follow in Jesus’ footsteps now, will reign with him in his thousand-year kingdom.

The purpose of that kingdom is the restoration of the entire human race to the lost earthly paradise. During those thousand years Christ and the church will serve as a mediatorial board to instruct and bless the world; and finally, to restore the people to atonement with the Creator (Revelation 20:4, Acts 3:20,21, Acts 15:16,17).

2. JESUS

Jehovah of the Old Testament Scriptures is the Heavenly Father of the New Testament.

Thus, Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven.”

Jesus is the Son of GOD, this being the relationship he has always enjoyed with Jehovah, the Creator. The Scriptures make it plain that Jesus had been actively associated with his Father since the earliest dawn of creation. They tell us, in fact, that he was the “beginning of the creation of GOD” (Revelation 3:14), and also, “the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15).

These passages indicate that Jesus was the direct creation of the Father, and therefore properly spoken of as his only begotten Son.” The apostle also tells us that Jesus was the active agent of Jehovah in all the creative work. He says: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible, and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him” (Colossians 1:16, Hebrew 1:2, John 1:3, Ephesians 3:9).

In John 1:14, Jesus in his prehuman existence is referred to as the “Word” of GOD. Verse 14 says that the “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The term “Word” here used is a translation of the Greek word Logos. Ancient kings when addressing their people, customarily sat behind a lattice in front of which stood a representative who proclaimed the king’s message to the people. The representative was styled the logos—the king’s word, or mouthpiece.

God’s Son, as the Logos, has always been the active agent of Jehovah, and the Bible assures us that he always will be. Not only in the work of creation, but in the call and preparation of the church in this age, and also in the gigantic task of restitution scheduled for the approaching 1000 years of Mediatorial Reign, this beloved Son of GOD acts for the Father, expressing his will, and doing his work. In the millennial age Christ with his church, will speak peace to all the nations, and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks (Micah 4:3, Psalm 46:9).

The Apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 15:25-28, “He must REIGN, till he hath put ALL enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He [Jehovah] hath put all things under his [Jesus’] feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him [Jesus], it is manifest that he [Jehovah] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Jesus]. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [Jehovah] that put all things under him, that God [Jehovah] may be all in all.

Considerable confusion has resulted from an inaccurate translation of John 1:1,2, where the King James Version makes it appear that the “Word,” or Logos, is the same personality as GOD. The “Word was God,” is the way this faulty translation puts it. But in the original Greek text the matter is made clear. There a distinction is made between the Logos, who was “a” God, and the Father, who is referred to as “The” GOD. The translation should read, “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was a God. The same was in the beginning with The God.”

The Greek word Theos is the one in this text that is translated God. Theos simply means a mighty one, and it must be determined from the text in which it is used, whether the reference is to Jehovah, the Great and Almighty One, or to His Son, Christ Jesus, formerly the Logos, who is “a” mighty One. As a matter of fact, this same word Theos is used in 2 Corinthians 4:4, where the reference is to Satan, the “god [theos] of this world.” However, in the Greek text, the definite article “The,” makes it clear who is meant.

Thus we see that it was the Logos, as “a” God, the one who was the active agent of Jehovah in the creative work, who was “made flesh.” It is interesting to note, in this connection, the form of expression used in the Genesis account of creation, where we read, “Let US make man in OUR image,” etc. Here Jehovah is speaking to the Logos, outlining and directing the work in hand (Genesis 1:26).

And, in keeping with this spirit of oneness and co-operation, when the time came for fallen man to be redeemed, the Logos “humbled himself,” becoming a servant in lowly form, for the suffering of death upon the cross. (Philippians 2:7,8) During the whole period of his earthly ministry Jesus remained humble, always reminding those to whom he ministered that the words which he spoke, and the works which he did, were not his own, but those of the Heavenly Father. This was in full keeping with his plain assertion, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

Jesus’ Oneness with the Father

Jesus declared to his disciples, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) This statement has been misused in an effort to prove that Jesus and his Father were one and the same Person. But all will concede, we believe, that there are forms of oneness other than that of a similarity of being. In John chapter 17, Jesus is quoted as praying for the oneness of his church. In this prayer he asks his Father to bring about the same kind of oneness between his church and himself as existed between himself and his Father. This, obviously, is a oneness of will and purpose.

During Jesus’s ministry, he emphasized over and over that he came not to do his own will, but the will of the Heavenly Father who sent him. When Jesus was facing mockery, ignominy, and death, he asked the Father to let this cup pass from him if it were possible. “Nevertheless,” he said, “not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42; Matt. 26:39; John 5:30; 6:38) The Heavenly Father’s will was ever paramount in the Master’s life, hence he could truly say, “I and my Father are one.”

This is also the reason Jesus could truthfully say, “He who hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9) This statement of Jesus does not mean that in seeing him one actually saw Jehovah, as throughout the Bible we have statements to the effect that no one can look upon GOD and live. (Exod. 33:20; I Tim. 6:16; 1:17; John 1:18) If those who looked upon Jesus in the flesh thereby actually saw GOD, it would mean that GOD, the creator of the universe, is a human being. What Jesus meant was that his life and ministry served to reveal the Father to those who had “eyes to see.”

And besides, it should be remembered that Jesus in the flesh was an exact counterpart of father Adam, of whom it is said, that he was created in the “image of God.” This, of course, refers to a moral image, not a physical likeness. It means that Adam was capable of discerning between right and wrong, as those principles were enunciated in the law of his Creator. This is the reason he was held responsible for his sin.

Jesus, like Adam before the fall, was also in the image of God—a perfect, sinless human being. It was necessary that Jesus be thus, else he could not have redeemed Adam and his race from death. He came to earth as a representative of the Heavenly Father, and everything he did and said was just what the Father would have done and said had he personally visited the earth. Thus it was true that, in a very wonderful way, those who saw him saw the Father. It was the only way that a fallen human being could I see GOD and live.

We should honor the Son even as we honor the Father. (John 5:23) God so highly regarded and honored the Son that he even commanded the angels to worship him, (Heb. 1:6,7) If we take the view that Jesus was GOD himself, then we have the inconsistency of the Master praying to himself, as well as other incongruities in connection with his earthly life and ministry.

Jesus Now Highly Exalted

The Bible shows that in carrying out the Divine plan of redemption for the human race, the only begotten Son of GOD has experienced two changes of nature. Before his human existence, he was a glorious spirit being, next in honor and authority to the Heavenly Father himself. Jesus referred to his prehuman glory, when he prayed, “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5) That glory was laid aside when the Logos was “made flesh.” Jesus was made flesh, the apostle explains, “for the suffering of death.” (Heb. 2:9,14) As a spirit being he could not give himself as a corresponding price for father Adam and his race, so he humbled himself that he might die as a ransom to save the human race from eternal destruction.—Phil. 2:7, 8; I Tim. 2:5,6

In raising the Master from the dead the Father did more than restore his Son to his former position of glory in the heavenly realm. He highly exalted him to a place next to himself on the throne of the universe. GOD exalted him to the Divine nature, also, so that now he is truly the Divine Christ—the “express image of the Father’s person.” (Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:34,36; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:3,13) Hallelujah, what a Savior!

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT

Through mistranslation and otherwise, many have been led erroneously to believe that the Holy spirit is a person, the third person of a trinity God; but the Scriptures, when properly understood, do not warrant this thought. One of the mistranslations contributing to this misunderstanding is where the Greek word pneuma is rendered by the English word “ghost.” This makes the holy Spirit to be a holy “Ghost.”

But this is a gross mistranslation, and so recognized by the American Revision Committee who translated the Revised Version. In a number of instances, both the British and American Revisers corrected “Ghost” to “Spirit.” The American Revisers use the word “Spirit” where the King James Version reads “Ghost.”

The King James Version was translated at a time when superstition was rife, hence the word “Ghost” would command a great deal more respect and reverence than it does today. Back in the days when the KJV Bible was written, ghosts were very real in the minds of most people, yet very mysterious. They were always associated with the thought of personality, and the translators, believing in a personal holy Spirit, conceived the idea of calling it a holy “Ghost.”

In the Old Testament the word “spirit” is a translation of the Hebrew word ruach. The primary significance of this word is wind. We do not mean to imply by this, however, that the holy Spirit is a holy wind. This is merely the root meaning of the word. Wind is both invisible and powerful, hence the ancients applied this word to various invisible and powerful influences. Since Divine power is exercised through channels and by agencies beyond human sight and understanding, this word ruach came to be applied more and more to all of GOD’s dealings.

The word ruach, in addition to being translated “Spirit,” is also translated in the Old Testament by the English words “blast,” “breath,” “tempest,” “mind,” “smell,” “wind,” and “windy.” It will be seen that in each of these translations the thought behind the word is that of invisible power, or influence. There is power in the mind, for example, but it is a power that is invisible, and its operation but little understood.

As already noted, in the New Testament the Greek word translated “Spirit,” or “Ghost,” in the expressions holy Spirit or holy “Ghost,” is pneuma. The primary meaning of this word is also wind, or air. It is the word from which our English word pneumatic is derived. In addition to being translated Spirit and Ghost, it is also translated in the New ‘testament by the words “life,” “spiritual,” and sometimes “wind.” In Revelation 13:15 it is translated life, and here the reference is to life that is given to the image of the beast.”

The holy Spirit then is the invisible power of GOD, a power that is manifested in a great variety of ways. Speaking of GOD’s creative power we read that his “Spirit moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) That was a life-giving Power.

The influence of the holy Spirit in our lives as Christians is primarily that of GOD’s mind—the power of his expressed will for us.

Various manifestations of the holy Spirit are referred to as “The Spirit of Christ,” the “Spirit of holiness,” the “Spirit of truth,” the “Holy Spirit of promise,” the “Spirit of meekness,” the “Spirit of grace,” the “Spirit of prophecy.”

The various manifestations of the spirit of Satan are described as the “spirit of fear,” the “spirit of bondage,” the “spirit of the world,” the “spirit of error,” the “spirit of divination,” the “spirit of antichrist,” and the “spirit of slumber.” No one would conclude that because the word spirit is thus used to describe the various manifestations of Satan’s influence in the world, that there is a personal unholy spirit, that is one in substance with the Devil.

Born of the Spirit

There are a number of expressions used in the Scriptures to describe the work of the holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of Christians. One of these is “born.” This is a word which suggests the coming into existence of a new life, and this is one of the things accomplished by the Power of the holy Spirit. This new life, when it conics fully to birth, will be so different from the human life that concerning it Jesus said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canal not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

The Greek word in the Bible translated “born” is also correctly translated “begotten”. When one comes to GOD in repentance and, through faith in Christ as his Redeemer, surrenders himself in full consecration to do GOD’s will, what occurs is properly described as a “begetting” of the Spirit of GOD. In other words, a new life is then begun.

But this new life, to continue the symbolism, is merely an embryo. It needs to be nourished by the Word of GOD, and thus to develop, growing strong in the Lord and in the power of his night. It is not until the resurrection that this new life comes to the birth. Not until then is one truly born of the Spirit. Not until then are the words of Jesus true that one thus born is able to go and come invisibly as the wind.

Baptism of the Spirit

The Scriptures also speak of the “baptism” of the Spirit. The word baptize means to bury, and to be baptized by the Spirit of GOD simply means to be so fully surrendered to the doing of GOD’s will that one comes fully under its control, having no will of one’s own.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized,” and he explains that for the individual this baptism occurs when one comes into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). It is a burial of our wills into the will of God as expressed through Christ, the Head of the “body.”

When we understand what to expect as a result of placing ourselves under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will not be wondering why we cannot speak with tongues as did the disciples at Pentecost and for a short time thereafter. Speaking with tongues as practiced by the early Church was a necessity at that time. At Pentecost, for example, Jews were gathered at Jerusalem from all parts of the known world. They spoke various languages, yet it was the Lord’s will that they should receive a witness of the truth as proclaimed by the apostles. In order for this to be accomplished, the disciples were miraculously empowered to speak in these various languages. As the church grew, and conversions were made among these various language groups, the need for speaking with tongues no longer existed, for there were disciples among all the various groups capable of witnessing to the Gospel in their native tongues.

Filled with the Spirit

The Scriptures declare, “Be ye filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) How void of meaning would this expression be if the Holy Spirit were a person! But when we recognize that it is simply the power, or influence, of GOD, exercised in the Christian life largely through his written Word, then we can understand how it is possible to have either more or less of the Spirit influencing our lives.

To be filled with the Spirit calls for an emptying of self and self-will, and a diligent application of ourselves to the study of GOD’s Word and to putting into practice all of its righteous precepts.

In the Scriptures, Christians are also said to be “sealed” by the “holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:13) GOD’s Spirit directed the minds of the prophets in writing the Old Testament in which are recorded many promises vouchsafing GOD’s blessing upon His faithful people. The New Testament was also written under the direct inspiration of the Spirit, or power of GOD, and it contains additional promises by which GOD guarantees victory through Christ for every faithful follower of the Master. Thus He “seals” us by His promises; that is, He assures us that if we are faithful to Him He will give us Grace to help in every time of need, and in the resurrection will give us a crown of life.

All Flesh to be Blessed

GOD’s Spirit will be poured out in various ways for the blessing of mankind during the 1000 Year Messianic Reign of CHRIST and His Bride, the 144,000 Elect.. He will cause the knowledge of his glory to fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:9) His power will also operate to restore the dead to life, for the promise is that there “shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15).

In a promise of a New Covenant which the Lord will make, first with the house of Israel, and then with the whole world, the statement is made that the Lord will write His law in the hearts of the people. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) This, too, will result from the operation of His Holy Spirit in the lives of those who obey the laws of Christ’s kingdom.

During this 1000 year Mediatorial Reign,  Satan and all his army of evil angels will be bound, thus his spirit will not be influencing people to do wrong. Instead, every condition of the new social order will be favorable to the doing of GOD’s righteous will. Love will take the place of selfishness as a motivating power in all human activity. The people will learn that the greatest and only enduring joy comes from DOING RIGHTEOUSLY to others rather than from selfishly seeking always to take care of one’s own interests first.

Thus the whole outlook of the human race gradually will be changed as a result of the outpouring of GOD’s Spirit upon all flesh.

How glad we should be that the power of GOD is thus to be manifested for solving the problems of a distressed and dying race! When the blessings accruing from this outpouring of the holy Spirit will be recognized as coming from the great and true GOD of the universe, the Creator of heaven an d earth, the people will be glad to give glory to him, for they will then know that he is truly a GOD of PERFECT AGAPE LOVE -what more could one ask for then this level of PURE LOVE?

Acknowledgment

The Dawn Bible Students Association for content from the Booklet, “Father, Son, Holy Spirit.”

Suggested Further Reading

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

What Is The Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet
http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

The Truth About Hell
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/18/what-does-the-word-hell-really-mean/

What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/09/what-does-it-mean-to-be-baptized-into-christ/

Is Mere Faith In God Enough?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/08/06/2-peter-15-11-is-mere-faith-in-god-enough/

 

The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/23/father-son-and-holy-spirit/

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What does the Bible mean by “a new heavens and new earth”?

2nd. Peter 3.10.13.jpg

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

What was the promise to which Peter refers?

Immediately, our minds might leap to the closing of Revelation:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:1

The restless masses, pictured by the sea (Isaiah 57:20), will no longer find any place by the close of the little season.

These words from Revelation beautifully harmonize and amplify on the new heavens and the new earth. However, the book of Revelation could not have been what Peter had in mind, because Revelation was not yet given to the Apostle John while Peter was alive.

ISAIAH 65, THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH

We find this promise not once, but twice in the closing chapters of Isaiah:

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)

“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.” (Isaiah 66:22)

To understand the context we need to start with Isaiah 65:8:

“Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.”

“Wine” is a picture of joyful doctrine. In this case, the cluster has not even been cut from the vine, let alone subjected to the careful process that will transform it into wine. Take firm hold of that picture—the Lord sees the blessing in the cluster still on the vine. All of the hopes for a new heaven and new earth begin with the promise to Abraham long before the promise can become a reality.

“In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” (Genesis 22:17)

Isaiah’s allusion to a new heavens and a new earth corresponds to “the stars of heaven” and “the sands of the seashore.”

In Isaiah 65:8 there is a command not to destroy the grape cluster, picturing the joyful hopes of Israel. This threat of destruction may correspond to the troubles that befell Israel during the “Times of the Gentiles.”

At that time the typical monarchy through the line of David ceased, and the typical Jubilee system could no longer be observed. These ominous experiences could have marked the end of Israel’s hopes. And yet the experience with Gentile dominion did not extinguish Jewish religious hopes, represented in the grape clusters. “For my servants’ [Israel’s] sakes that I may not destroy them all [i.e. the clusters].” Israel’s hopes remained alive throughout the bitter experiences of the Diaspora.

Isaiah 65:9, “And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.”

There were 70 weeks determined upon the people that would bring them to Messiah, the seed of promise. The specific reference to an “inheritor” is important.

This word “inheritor” is H3423 yaw-rash. It suggests someone who has driven out the previous occupants and now possesses something. This a picture of our Lord taking possession of this world.

“Out of Judah” must surely be a reference to the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), who is our Lord. Additionally, there is a “mine elect class, the church, as contrasted with “servants,” natural Israel. So now we are in the transition period between the Jewish age and the Gospel Age with the first advent of Jesus. Because of the reference to “servants” in verse 8, this promise must include natural Israel and the Ancient Worthies who shall dwell in these mountains—note the plural. These are the servants who will dwell in the earthly kingdom, the mountains of this world. The elect, who came into the covenant with Messiah, share in the inheritance. This is reminiscent of our Lord’s words when he said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).

WARNING OF JUDGMENT

The Lord promises a blessing. Isaiah 65:10, “Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.”

However, in Isaiah 65:11-15, there comes a warning of judgment. This is a reference to the condition of the Jewish people after their time of favor has ended. The servants are those who have been transferred from the house of servants to the house of sons. They are the Jews of the first Advent who came into Christ. This concludes with the promise that the Lord would call his servants by another name. And so it was that they left the house of Moses and entered the house of Christ. During the mishneh, the 1845 years of disfavor for the Jewish polity, have the Lord’s servants been called by the names of “Israel” and “Judah?” No, they have not. As promised they have been called by other names;
“Christians” (Acts 11:26), “the little flock,” “the church of the firstborn,” “the bride of Christ.”

SOMETHING SWORN

“Curse” (H7631), or “something sworn,” seems such an inappropriate word and yet the text is rendered “curse” in both the Soncino and the Jewish Publication Society translations: “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto Mine elect: ‘So may the Lord GOD slay thee;’ but He shall call His servants by another name.”

We have been called unto Peace, we have not been called to utter oaths, particularly strong oaths such as; “So may the Lord GOD slay thee.”

However, the reference here is not to those who are yet waiting for Messiah hampered by “blindness in part,” but to those in verse 11 “who have prepared a table for the troop.”

This phrase is difficult to understand because it refers to those who forsook the Lord and trusted to the fortune of the stars in their cultic worship of the Babylonian deity of good fortune called “Gad.” In verse 11 of our text the name “Gad” is translated “troop” and the
reference to Babylonian worship was not clear to the King James translators.

So for this unhappy class, their faith rested in other gods who would give them good fortune and serve as their defense. “Troop” does indeed deserve this severe judgment. It is the LORD who delivers the sentence.

THE GOD OF AMEN

Now the favor returns.

“So that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.” (Isaiah 65:16)

ALL mankind will come into these promises made to father Abraham and be blessed indeed. It would appear that this verse especially applies to Gentiles, for they are not using the name “Jehovah” which has special promise for natural Israel.

In the entire Bible, this phrase, “the God of Truth” is only used here. Some commentaries suggest that leaving it untranslated might give us a better sense, “the God of Amen.” Strong’s defines “amen” as “sure; abstractly faithfulness; adverbially truly.” These definitions convey the sense that He is a God whose promises will surely come to pass, a God who is faithful.

We finally reach the text that the Apostle Peter quotes. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (Isaiah 65:17-18)

This is a special promise of restoration for natural Israel, the seed of Abraham after the flesh.

“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” (Isaiah 65:19-20)

We are assured that in the New Heavens and the New Earth, we will not see children perishing in infancy, nor even a sinner perishing who has not had an extended and fair trial to reform and set his feet on the “Highway to Holiness” spoken of in Isaiah 35, “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

HIGHWAY NOT A NARROW WAY

Because God cares, He did not abandon the world of mankind in a hopeless condition. He did not allow death to be the final condition of suffering man. He provided a “ransom,” the basis of the only true hope for a world in despair. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” (Hosea 13:14)

But there is an apparent contradiction respecting the Highway of Holiness in Isaiah 35, for how can someone “return” who was never originally “in” Zion?

Isaiah 35:10 cannot be referring to the church of the firstborn, for they are not on this Highway of Holiness although they are intimately associated with it. This is a Highway, it is not a Narrow way. This Highway is for the “weak” (Isaiah 35:3), it is for the “feeble” (Isaiah 35:5), and it is even for the “foolish” (Isaiah 35:8). In spite of all these failings the travelers will not remain “unclean.” Isaiah 35 must refer to a consecration to righteousness for mankind in the kingdom.

We would like to think that the pouring out of the holy Spirit on all flesh would eliminate these problems of weakness, enfeeblement, and foolishness, but in reality that is not the case. How can we say this? It is because the New Creation has the first-fruits of the spirit even now and they have to work with all these problems.

The use of the word “return” becomes clearer when we recognize that sin and alienation from God are an unnatural state. Harmony and At-one-ment with God is the natural state. It is the state that our first parents enjoyed in Eden. This return from the lost and perishing condition is to Zion, the holy city where our Heavenly Father eagerly awaits. The travelers come with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. It is this portion that God has elected to give to the human race, and what a glorious portion!

CREATION TO BE DELIVERED

Our Lord’s shed blood, spilled upon the earth, bought all the lower creation as well as the church and the World of Mankind. In the following passage from Romans, we will consistently use “creation” for the Greek ktisis (G2937).

“The earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 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.” (Romans 8:19-23)

We call to mind that the earth was “made to be inhabited.” The Edenic paradise shall be restored—surely this is part of the “return” mentioned by Isaiah. The Strong’s definition includes the thought of “returning to the starting point.” So, mankind will return to where our race first began — human perfection in a paradise home. “The desert shall blossom as the rose;” and both the plant and animal creation will be restored to their proper balance; nature with all its pleasing variety will call to man from every direction to seek and know the glory and power and love of God; and mind and heart will rejoice in Him.

Though Isaiah 35 promises the New Earth a Highway, walking on this road will still take effort. There will be cheer and encouragement along the route from the New Heavens, for the church has shared mankind’s sorrow. As the goal, Zion, is reached, there will singing and shouts of praise. The Hebrew word for “songs” (H7440) actually suggests that the voices will be a little shrill with a joy that naturally spills over into song. They will have “everlasting joy upon their heads.”

Not only does this suggest joy in the heart but this is a different sort of joy.

This joy is built upon a foundation of UNDERSTANDING. It is a joy that blends with song and with GRATITUDE to God for all His leadings.

PROMISES TO THE NEW EARTH

In this “new earth” Isaiah 65:21-25 promises that resurrected mankind will not only enjoy the soul-satisfying labor of their hands, but a restored fellowship with God.

“It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.”

It will take an eternity to know our Heavenly Father, but the unassailable principle which the Bible enunciates with clear and definite voice is that life goes on; life is endless.

Acknowledgement:

Source content used from Feb. 2016 issue of “The Beauties of the Truth,” http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org

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