The Resurrected Body

Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

The Bible makes it explicitly clear that the body of the christian will be like the body of Jesus’ resurrected body.  We have already noted in my earlier post the the body of Jesus was at times recognizable and at other times it was unrecognizable.  Scripture records that prior to the Crucifixion Jesus body is described as flesh and blood (Heb 2:14,  Phil 2:7)  but after the resurrection he is described  as flesh and bones. (Lu 24:39)  Our life will not depend upon the blood of Adam that carried the sin disease but upon the blood of Jesus that washes away sin.  Since the life is in the blood (Lev 17:11), our life will be in the blood of Jesus.

Another difference will be that our present body is temporal and our future body will be eternal.  The flesh and blood body that we presently have cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. (I Cor 15:50) and we all shall be changed. (v. 51)  This transformation is already underway in our sanctification.  We are His workmanship; we are His Temple; and God is preparing us as His eternal dwelling place.

Since our bodies will be like His then it follows that the description of Jesus’ body and our resurrected body will be alike.  Here are a few more things that is true about Jesus’ resurrected body.  He was touchable and even asked Thomas to handle Him and see.  He could become invisible, which he did on at least two or more occasions.  He could eat such as at the sea side but it wasn’t required for sustenance.  He could suddenly appear in a room with closed doors.  He ascended into heaven and we will also be caught up and meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  This corruptible must put onincorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.

First Visits

The women at the tomb

The first to visit the tomb on Easter Sunday morning was Mary Magdalene who came while it was still dark.  She found the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance and concluded that Jesus’ body had been moved so she ran to tell Peter and John.  She joined the other women when the sun was risen.  They came to anoint the body with spices but they were confronted with a shocking revelation from the angles that He had risen from the dead.  They went therefore to tell the disciples.

Peter and John

John was the first to arrive and look in to the tomb but waited outside for Peter to arrive.  When Peter arrived he immediately went in. (Note previous my blog on the grave clothes)  They were confronted with evidence that defied normal explanation.  John believed immediately and Peter left in wonderment.

Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus

Mary was so disturbed by not knowing where Jesus body was and her grief of her loss that she didn’t recognize Jesus and thought he was a gardener.  When Jesus spoke, she recognized Him and reached out to hold Him.  Jesus said don’t cling to me for I am not yet ascended to My Father.  He didn’t say don’t touch me but he used the word haptomai which means attach oneself to another or to cling.  She had lost Him once and she didn’t want to lose Him again.  Remember, Jesus told His disciples the it is expedient for you that I go away for if I go not away, the Holy Spirit would not come.  Jesus intended for us to know Him in another way by being indwelt with the Holy Spirit until we receive our resurrected bodies.   Having then been confronted with Christ Himself, she went again to tell the disciples with a new urgency in her report.

The Two On the Road to Emmaus

Emmaus was a town about 8 miles NE from Jerusalem and was located about 3,000 lower in elevation.  One of the two was Cleopas and the other is unnamed.  They were downtrodden and speculated about the events of the crucifixion as they walked.  Jesus, Himself joined them but was unrecognized.  He then engaged them in their conversation and they restated the events including the morning reports from the women.  Then Jesus chided them in being slow to believe and began at the prophets He interpreted the Scriptures concerning Himself. As they arrived at Emmaus they invited Jesus to stay with them since it was evening.  As they were eating Jesus broke the bread and gave it to them.  As they were confronted with the truth of who Jesus is, He vanished out of their site.

These are not the only sighting of Jesus but they are recorded for us so that we too can come to the truth of who Jesus is and that He is resurrected.  You have now been confronted with the truth.  What does it take to convince you HE IS ALIVE!!!

A Guarded Grave

One day as I was going somewhere with another person on some matter and as we passed a cemetery in the country and he spoke up and said, “You see that cemetery over there?”  I answered and said I did.  Then he made an announcement that caught me off guard and said, “They keep a Sheriff and two deputies over there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”  I thought about it for a minute and said “Well, why do they do that?” as I couldn’t think of anything that mandated such an action.  I wasn’t prepared for his answer when he said, “Cause they are dead.”  You see, I was thinking that they were alive.

Easter is all about the resurrection of Christ.  It is not about the easter bunny, or the latest fashion, or candy or a ‘must attend’ religious holiday.  It is about the greatest event in history, and brings hope to a lost and dying world.  There is hope beyond the grave.  Life does not end at death, but rather, in a real sense it is just the beginning of life.  Our eternity is determined by our belief in Christ.  How we respond to Him reveals how we believe.

Yet, it is interesting that the only person to come forth in victory over death is one whose tomb was guarded to keep His body in it.  It is also interesting that those who had repeatedly been told that it would happen were the hardest to convince that it did.  It is also interesting that those who refused to believe in Him, took all the precautions they could to prevent it from happening.

Take a look at Matt 27:62-66 where we find Pilate saying “Ye have a guard; go, make it as sure as ye can.”  So they went and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, the guard being with them.  Notice that they stationed soldier to guard the tomb.  That meant that no outsiders would be able to tamper with it and falsify his resurrection.  It also meant that the religious leaders  were keeping his followers from gathering at the tomb and creating an insurrection out of their grief.  In reality, the soldiers validated the resurrection in that they keep all hands off of the scene. (compliments of Rome).  Secondly, they sealed the tomb with the Roman seal.  To break it would have brought the Roman armies and their power against them.  It was a metal catch, like a lock that fastened the round stone to the rock behind and it was covered in a wax and impressed with the Roman seal.  Though it could have been opened easily it would leave the evidence in the wax that could not be copied again without the seal imprint.

The stone was rounded so that it could be rolled into place at the entrance to the tomb.  It rolled in a channel that was cut out of the rock and guided it into place.  The stone was large enough to cover the tomb entrance and was several inches thick which would have required two or three men to roll it into place.  Yet in Matt 28:2 a lone angel rolled back the stone and then sat upon it.  Some have speculated as to why the stone was rolled back.  It is easy to assume that it was so that Jesus could exit the tomb but later he walked through walls so I don’t think that is the answer.  I believe that it was for the purpose of us being able to look inside the tomb and sharing to the world that He is not here but He is risen from the dead!

Grave Clothes

Joh 20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in  6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Easter is, in my estimation, the most significant holiday on our calendar. It has been stated by bible scholars that the resurrection is the most significant event of all time.  Sadly though, it gets second billing in our society, to Christmas which is the second most significant event on our calendar.   For the next few days I will be sharing some nuggets that I have found in the Scriptures concerning Easter.

Today, we are looking at the event of Peter and John’s first look into the empty tomb.  The first thing that they saw was the absence of Jesus’ body.  This would have been a terrible shock, for they had witnessed His death and it was a certainty.  Immediately, speculation as to what had happened began as they tried to make sense of what they were seeing.

The first piece of physical evidence was that they noticed the grave clothes lying where they were.  What exactly, did that mean?  If you are not familiar with the burial ritual you may miss this but when a person was burred they first covered their face with a cloth or napkin that could allow a viewing without complete removal of the grave clothes.  Then they were wrapped in a sheet which also covered the napkin.  Then spices were scattered over the body to counter the stench of deteriorating flesh. Then they were rolled up in a sheet to prevent body movement due to normal deterioration.  This would prevent false hope to those later visiting the grave in thinking that they were somehow still alive because of the reactive movement..  Then the sheet covering the body was tied in place with strips of cloth the full length of the body to keep the sheet in place.  Finally, the body was laid in the tomb.  It would have appeared as our concept of a mummy.

What Peter and John saw upon entering was the grave clothes still tied in their position as though it still contained a body, but the body is now missing.  What a strange thing to take in as they observed where He had lain.  How could Jesus’ grave clothes remain in their position and the body exit without disturbing them.  That was a real puzzlement.

The second piece of evidence was the napkin that had been placed over His face.  It had been removed from the grave clothes as well and was found lying separate from the grave clothes and had been folded.  I have heard of the custom of the folded napkin meaning that the person was returning and it contains another truth about Jesus, that he is coming again, but I prefer to think that it has another meaning which is perhaps even more meaningful.  If you recall that at the moment of His death, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom, signifying that the access to God was opened to everyone.  I think that the folded napkin has a similar meaning that He wants us to now see him as alive rather than dead.  We aren’t looking for a corpse but one come back from the dead and has extended the invitation to as many as believe to come and share that life with Him.

It is now time for you to examine the evidence and to choose to believe or doubt that He is victor over death, hell and the grave.

Use Me!

As some of you know, I am trying to sing with the men’s choir and there is a song that we are planning on doing on the 8th of April called Use Me.  It is about a person being used by God.  This morning I woke up with it on my mind and an additional insight that I chose to share with you this morning.  Our usability is directly proportionate to our surrender to and  our love for Him.  The Lord wants to use us but we are the ones that limit the extent of our use.  When we are stubborn about obeying or unwilling to obey, we limit how much we can be used.  When we want to be used in order to be seen, we stand in the way of others seeing God.   When we discount the little things and only look for the big things, we miss great opportunities.

Usability is determined on how we align ourselves with the Lord and His plan for us. It is presumptuous for us to think that we could possibly be ahead of God or see what He might have overlooked.  He desires to use us far more than we long to be used.The question arises of why we want to be used.  Is it to further the kingdom of God or some lesser goal that will inflate our ego.  Are we asking God to join Himself to our plan or are we asking to join His plan?

Another question is who’s will is being served?  Is it my desire for a certain result or is it the stated will of God?  Sometimes we disguise our will as the will of God.  For example, we pray for a person to be healed so that we don’t suffer the loss of that person.  The bible is clear that it is appointed to a man to once die, and after that the judgment.  I am not saying it is wrong to pray for health but I am talking about our motives.  It would be futile to pray for a man to be healed if he was facing his appointment to die.  Because we cannot see as God sees and do not know what God knows that we pray for things after we remove self interest and seek His will alone.

The final question that I have is who is being served.  Jesus said that He did not come to be served, but to serve.  Self serving does not honor God but is an affront to God.  It frustrates the grace of God.  Serving others is a gift that we can offer to God  for He said in as oft as you do it unto others, you have done it to me.

Follow Through

De 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

There are a number of ways to say it such as, keeping your promises, your word is your bond, paying your vows, or just following through with what you said.  However you say it is unimportant but doing it is of more importance than you know.  When I was in construction, I had an electrical subcontractor that was great and I gave him all of my work.  Then he brought his son into the business and put him in charge of getting the work done.  Suddenly, they were missing deadlines and causing other subcontractors to miss their deadlines.  I talked with the man about it and he told me that his son was young in the business and hadn’t yet learned the importance of meeting these deadlines.

One day I called the company about yet another delay and his son answered the phone.so I decided to try to help him understand.  I didn’t blow my top but took a different approach and asked him if he played golf.  He hesitated to see where this was going and said that he had never played golf.  I paused for just a moment and then asked him if he played tennis.  Again, he said not he never played tennis.  He then asked me why I had asked him those questions.  I said that it was too bad that he didn’t.  He then asked me, why?  I told him that it was because I had noted that he needed to learn the importance of follow through.  He was making promises but he wasn’t keeping them.  I then concluded my call

Immediately, the phone rang and it was this man’s dad, the owner of the business.  He was laughing so hard that he almost couldn’t talk.  He had been listening on the phone and said that he had never heard it done better.  Our friendship was in tack and he then promised that it would be addressed immediately.  It was.

There is another place that we need to keep our word and that is with God.  We make promises that we intend but sometimes we don’t follow through.  Accuracy comes with a good follow through.  That is true in golf, tennis, throwing any ball and I even heard that even shooters time their shot between breaths and even between heart beats.  When it comes to God we should be careful to not promise unless we are willing to keep that promise or vow at all cost.  Believe me, that cost will be tested and because you don’t know what that cost will be you need to make sure that you will follow through.  One of the character stories that I heard about Abraham Lincoln was that he walked a great distance, after dark to pay a penny.

Just because you forgot, or don’t see it’s importance doesn’t mean that it is okay to skip it.  People respect it and God demands it.  It is reflective of how you are made.  Society may excuse it but you should not.  God may forgive it but your faith in God will take a hit.  You will have to learn it’s importance or you will suffer because of it until you do.  You cannot walk straight without a good follow through.

 

Evolution?

I saw an article today that claimed it had proof for evolution.  The “proof” was the bones of a young girl that died in an underground cave 12 to 13 thousand years ago and had different characteristics than that of her descendants, such as different facial structure and appearance.  I marvel at the incessant attempts to manufacture evidence for a theory that cannot be substantiated.  I say this because of a number of reasons.  First, change within a species is not proof of evolution.  Evolution holds that life is evolving in complexity and that it crosses the universal law of God that each species reproduces after its own kind.  Their position claims that it is a slow process and takes tremendous amounts of time, but archaeological evidence shows just the opposite.  One of the evidences that they give is the example of the Eohippus.  50 million years ago it was about the size of a dog and had multiple toes.  Today it is much larger and now has hoofs. This is an example of change within a species, which no one denies.  But the Eohippus never became another species, like say a monkey.  It has always remained within the same species.  Furthermore, there is not one single evidence of any species ever becoming another species.  This is true for all species whether small or large; simple or complex.

Second, the archaeological evidence shows just the opposite change from what evolution claims.  Instead of life generating into greater and greater levels of life, we see a degenerating  of life from complexity to simplicity.  For example, the hoofs of the horse have changed from the complexity of toes to a single hoof without joints.  In the example of man, the evolutionist hold that man is getting better and better.  They support their position with the extended knowledge of man, his longer life over the last hundred to two hundred years and his increased height.  If man were evolving upward, we would see man becoming a higher life form.  He would be doing an increasingly  better job in relating with others, and in caring for one another.  Instead, what we see even with the increased knowledge, is a world with the means and intent to destroy others.  We see greater degrees of degradation, bodily mutilation, opression and destruction. We see more wars and less peace.  We see mass killings by governments, sometimes in the millions and people reduced to the level of animals. Treachery knows no bounds, just as the Bible says, “times will wax worse and worse.”

Third, it goes against tried and true practice.  There is no record of someone planting a  seed of any kind and growing a different crop.  Every seed reproduces a crop after its own kind.  If you plant wheat, you always get wheat, add infinite-um.  How confusing life would be if you could not depend on God’s law of like kind.  I am fully aware of grafting and it procedures.  Yes you can plant an apple tree and after it grows, you can graft a peach limb onto the apple tree and get both peaches and apples from the same trunk, but the apple limbs always grow apples and the peach limb always grows peaches.  You do not later find peaches and apples interspersed on the limbs.  They retain their genetic structure and just share a common root to supply the nourishment.  Furthermore, you will never find this condition without man’s intervention.  It never happens naturally.

The evidence does not show evolution but rather degeneration.  Our bodies wear out and everyone dies from something.  Sin affect all life and has a degenerating effect on all life.  It injures, mutilates, destroys and ultimately kills.  The only remedy for sin is the blood of Jesus.  In Him alone is life.

Act Your Age

Today, as I was leaving church, I jokingly said to an elderly couple as we walked down the hallway, “You kids have a great week”.  The Lady responded with, “act your Age”.  To which I responded with an air of seriousness, “I understand that every cell in our bodies is replaced every 7 years.  Does that mean that I am supposed to act 7 years old?”  Her comment was not out of line as she was just getting back at me for my comment but it does bring up an interesting question.  How old are you?

I’ve heard it said that you are as old as you feel.  If that was true then some days I would be a much younger person and other days I would be quite old.  As we age the body changes and we cannot do what we used to do.  Furthermore, there are a number of other factors that determine how we feel.

Another measure of age is maturity.  Maturity is that undefined age that causes you to act within a set of guidelines that no one agrees on.  It can be wisdom, or agility or trips around the sun, or appropriate behavior or any number of other criterion that we may choose.  Loosely defined, old enough to know better.

One day I was sitting in my study when one of my daughters came in and boldly proclaimed, “Dad, you are older than dirt.”  At first I thought that was an insolent statement, but then I got to thinking about it and the Bible states that God knew us before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4, II Thes 2:13)  If God knew me before He made the dirt, then I am older than dirt.  Furthermore, you are too.

Not only did God know us before creation, but all of creation was made for Jesus (Col 1:16) whose plan was to bring many sons unto glory (He 2:10).  In other words, this world is a place to bring His children into existence, much like the womb is to us in physical birth.  Therefore we (christians) are to act like king’s kids, not spoiled and rotten but raised in the discipline and nurture of the Lord.  This world is not our home and our eternal existence lies beyond this world.

Who Are You?

Who are we really? I’ve heard it said that you are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.  Its a play on words to get you to think about who you really are.  It may be one of the most popular unspoken questions about ourselves that we could ask.  So I ask you, Just who do you think you are?

If you have a low self esteem, you may think little of yourself or your ideas, and not put yourself forward.  Fear may have a great influence over you and your choices.  Your social skills may not be developed very much.  Your goals may not be very high.  Disappointment, embarrassment, and hopelessness may be your closest friends.

On the other hand, you may have a high self esteem and may see yourself being a success in many of the things you do.  You may have a lot of confidence and are not bothered much by what others think of you.  The world is yours for the taking.  You may be popular and have a measure of success.  Still you may have internal questions that leave you feeling hollow or something is missing.

Neither of these positions answer the questions of who you really are.  I found the answer in the Bible.  Ro 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  It is not the name you hang on your door that defines who you are but the values you hold and what controls you.

So if you have become a servant of righteousness as a Christian, then let me ask you again, Who are you really?  For the answer to that question we must again go to the Bible for the answer.  1.  You are the salt of the earth. Matt 5:13  Do you remember the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?”  Well, I can make him drink.  All I need to do is put salt in his feed.  Then when he is led to the water he will drink of his own choice.  Just create a thirst.  2.  You are the light of the world.  Matt 5:14  The world is in darkness and cannot see the glory of God.  There is a sin barrier between them a God.  You can see the glory of God because the sin issue has been dissolved between you and God, and you can also see those in the world.  You can act as a mirror to reflect His glory to those in darkness.  They can see God in you.  3.  You are the temple of God 1 Cor 3:16  In all of creation the only place that God choose to dwell was in the Christian.  It is an eternal habitation and therefore must be fitted for Him.  He is Holy so we must be Holy.  He is eternal so He offers us eternal life.   1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: and again in 2 Cor 6:16 “. . .as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  4.  Ye are children of God.  Gal 3: 26  Every person is not a child of God because they were born physically.  That is the first requirement that they be human but there is a second requirement to become a child of God and that is to be born spiritually (from above, of the spirit, born again).  That is what Jesus was talking about to Nicodemus in Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  He explained it further when he said that which is flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.  He even  told the Pharisees that their father was the Devil.  5.  Ye are sons (Gal 4:6) . . .heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ . . .(Ro 8:17) A  joint-heir with Christ makes Jesus our brother and we inherit with Christ.  What God has in store for us is so beyond all that we can ever ask or think.  We should so walk that it is clear to all that we are born from above.  6.  . . .ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. . .  We began in this world but we are not of this world.  We have become a part of God’s eternal plan when we chose Christ as our Lord.  Now it is all over but the happening.  Satan can’t stop it and neither can all the demonic forces of the world together.  We are the apple of God’s eye.  We know who we are when we know who’s we are.

 

 

The quick and the dead

This phrase was used as the title of a movie.  There it meant be fast with a gun or be dead.  This is a total misrepresentation of its meaning in the Bible.  It is used in Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments with the same meaning.  It had nothing to do with being fast, but always meant “alive”.  It is an old English word that has lost its meaning in today’s world but when it was used in the translation of the Bible into English it was in common usage and was easily understood.

The word is found in three forms of the word: quick, quicken, quickened, quickening and quickeneth.  The phrase “the quick and the dead” appears three times in the new testament in Ac 10:42, 3 Tim 4:1 and I Pe 4:5 and simply means the alive and the dead.  The word “quick” is used in six other places with the meaning being alive. The word “quicken” is used 12 times and is used to express the idea “to make alive or come to life”.  (11 times in Psalms and once in Ro 8:11)  The phrase “quickened” is found seven times with the meaning of “made alive”.  Two verses, Eph 2:5 and Col 2:13, has the unique meaning of “made alive together, or blended” with Christ.  The word “quickening” only once in I Cor 15:45, and has the same meaning of made alive together.  The phrase “quickeneth” is found 5 times in the New Testament with the  meaning of the process of being made alive.  Note the “eth” ending.  That means that it  continues on indefinitely and is not a one time action. The coming alive in the spirit is a process that continues over the time from the new birth until physical death or the rapture, whichever comes first.

The life that Christ brings is the eternal life referenced in John 3:16.  We were dead in trespasses and sins Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.  That was our condition, dead.  As far as the eternal state we were dead.  We did not have life which come only from God.  Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.  That is what happens when we are saved or born again.  We come alive in Christ and the process of separation from this world begins.  From that point on we are alive in the spiritual sense as well as being  alive in the physically world.  You don’t feel it but it is as real as light.  You don’t see it just like you don’t see the air, but you can see its effect.  You are either the quick (alive) or the dead and that is why Jesus said “You MUST be born again.”