When Death Loses

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54 KJV).

Friends, it (unfortunately) appears that death wins, does it not? Loved ones leave us; we leave them. Yet, God’s Word speaks of the day when, “Death is swallowed up in victory….”

Isaiah 25:8 prophesies of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” The Lord GOD—Father God—will wipe away all tears from their faces via bodily resurrection. Shortly after Christ’s Second Coming, He will physically resurrect the saints of the ages in Israel’s program (Revelation 20:1-6).

When describing our resurrection at the Rapture, the catching away of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul quoted Isaiah. While Isaiah 25:8 is not fulfilled at the Rapture, our resurrection is similar to the believers’ resurrection that will transpire after the Second Coming to establish God’s earthly kingdom.

Today’s Scripture in context: “[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 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. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Refuge! #7

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

To spare Israel absolute annihilation, God graciously provided a loophole in the Mosaic Law. If one ignorantly killed another, the slayer could flee to a city of refuge and escape the avenging relative’s hand. The deceased person’s relative could not harm him in that special city.

Similarly, prophetically, the Antichrist is the avenger of blood, coming to punish national Israel for rejecting her Messiah (Jesus Christ) (Isaiah 10:5,6; John 5:43). Thankfully, individual Jews can flee to a (figurative) “city of refuge.” The Little Flock will survive God’s judgment: membership therein (via water baptism) is protection from “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:1-12; 1 Peter 3:20,21).

Throughout early Acts, God the Holy Spirit constantly indicted Israel for killing her Messiah. They were worthy of His wrath! However, He downgraded the charge from murder to manslaughter. Israel was spiritually ignorant when she crucified Jesus, thus allowing her opportunity to flee to refuge—Israel’s believing remnant. In Acts chapters 2-5, Israel was offered a renewed opportunity of repentance.

“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:18-20). Believing Jews in Israel’s kingdom program have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Having trusted Jesus as Messiah, they will enter His earthly kingdom when He returns to redeem them nationally at His Second Coming (cf. Hebrews 12:25-29).

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God (Zechariah 13:9).

The Hottest Places in Eternity #4

Thursday, September 27, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

According to the Bible, at least two factors determine the degree of eternal judgment each damned soul experiences. Firstly, every lost soul will be accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ as to how much divine revelation he or she had. This naturally includes how much revelation was rejected and actively contradicted.

All will have the testimony of creation to condemn them. Romans 1:18-21: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (“I did not know there was a God” will not be a valid excuse!)

Furthermore, all will have the witness of conscience to doom them. Romans 2:13-15: “(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; )….” (“I did not know right from wrong” will not be an effective defense either!)

As today’s Scripture says, all damned souls will also have the testimony of Scripture to punish them. The more they heard God’s Word, the worse their eternity….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #3

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Luke 16:19-31 describes a most horrible place. Nevertheless, damned souls face an even worse fate. Hell is a temporary jailhouse, a spiritual place where unsaved souls suffer until the Great White Throne Judgment. They are already guilty sinners, condemned to bear forever the wrath of an offended, righteous God. Now, they await their sentencing—the Lake of Fire, the universe’s maximum-security prison!

After our Dispensation of Grace terminates with the Rapture, Israel’s seven-year Tribulation runs its course, Jesus Christ returns to Earth at His Second Coming, and He reigns for 1,000 years. Revelation 20:11-15 picks up the Bible timeline thereafter.

“[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Notice verse 13. “Death” is all lost people who have not yet physically died. “Hell” is all the unsaved of the ages who have physically died (they will be bodily resurrected—see verses 5-6). These two classes will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ to give an account for their deeds, after which He throws them into the Lake of Fire….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Thou shalt not kill?’ or ‘Thou shalt not murder?’

Translated Judgment #6

Friday, September 21, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Here are two simple Bible verses that will revolutionize the way you view God’s Word. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Signs are Israel’s national heritage (see Psalm 74:9). When we come to today’s Scripture, we thus see that one of these “signs” is the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not….” The unbelievers during the Acts period were the nation Israel (Acts 9:23,24; Acts 13:45-48; Acts 17:5,13; Acts 18:6,12; et cetera).

In Isaiah’s day, Israel hearing foreign languages meant that her LORD God’s judgment had fallen on her for her unbelief and disobedience. Similarly, Israel hearing the gift of tongues working amongst Paul’s Gentile converts signified to Israel that her God was now operating in the world without her. It was a drastic change in program. God had taken the spiritual gifts—what had belonged to Israel—and given them over to the Gentiles. The gift of tongues operated amongst Paul’s Gentile converts so as to provoke to salvation in Christ the unsaved Jews scattered around the world.

The gift of tongues was not meant to be entertainment (as the Corinthians were using it—see 1 Corinthians chapter 14), but rather a clear testimony to Israel. It was important that the Corinthians correct their abuses of this most special spiritual gift. Today’s Body of Christ would do well to take heed to these verses, and address and fix their misunderstandings and misuses of spiritual gifts….

Bible Q&A #535: “Who are the ‘Grecians’ in the Bible?

Translated Judgment #5

Thursday, September 20, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

The spiritual gift of tongues, as the God of the Bible operated it, was the speaking of human dialects never formally learned. Rather than studying the language at school for years, those carried by the Spirit of God were automatically fluent in the foreign tongue. It was God reversing the language confusion He caused the idolatrous nations at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

Zechariah 8:20-23 promises that God, one day, will enable the Jews to speak all the world’s languages so Israel can be His kingdom of priests. In the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, Israel will share God’s Word with the nations: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

Acts chapter 2, the Day of Pentecost, was a reversal of the language confusion at Babel. Israel here saw the spiritual gift of tongues operating in her midst. Then, most strangely, in mid-Acts, it left Israel and began working among Paul’s Gentile converts…..

A New View of Eternal Life

Saturday, September 1, 2018

“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour (Titus 1:1-3 KJV).

How does Paul’s special revelation add to our understanding of eternal life?

Eternal life is not simply living forever, as non-Christians will be perpetually conscious in Hell and the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Revelation 14:9-11. The Lord Jesus Christ defined eternal life in John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

As the Bible describes it, eternal life is intimate fellowship with Father God and His Son Jesus Christ. Our communion with Father God depends on Christ as Mediator: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Timothy 2:5-7).

With the Apostle Paul’s ministry, God revealed a special type of eternal life. It involved a new species of mankind—the Church the Body of Christ (see Ephesians 2:1-22). They would indeed enjoy God’s life, but not in an earthly kingdom (as with ministries previous to Paul). Instead, they would be the expression of God’s life in the heavenly places. When we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we immediately obtain eternal life. However, sin prevents us from fully experiencing God’s life (for now).

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13,14).

Bible Q&A #530: “What about snake-handling?” (~13 pages)