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The Special Resurrection at Calvary

Query for the Month

of

February 2013

Next up-date: March 1st 2013 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in.  Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


In this article the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in these readings, right or wrong, are my own.   

Query: 

Matthew 27:50-53:

Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the [Holy] Ghost [and died at 3pm on Friday].  And, behold, the [second] veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection [on Sunday morning], and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 

What was this all about?  Who were these “saints” and why were they resurrected?

Answer:  

At first glance there appears to be little mention of this special occasion in other parts of the Bible, but a more searching investigation will reveal some amazing facts regarding them.

To the angels and the people of the unfallen worlds the cry, “It is finished” by Christ on the cross had a deep significance.  (John 19:30)  It was for them as well as for us that the great work of redemption had been accomplished, for they share with us the fruits of Christ's victory.  Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the people of the unfallen worlds, for the arch apostate had so clothed himself with deception that even holy beings had not understood his principles.  They had not clearly seen the nature of his rebellion, or the horror of the “wages” (result) of sin, but his attempt to kill the Son of God unmistakably revealed the depths of his character.    

When the controversy began, it became God's purpose to place things on an eternal basis of security, and in the councils of heaven it was decided that time must be given for Satan to develop the principles which he claimed were the foundation of his proposed system of government.  (See Zechariah 6:12-13.)  He had asserted that these were superior to God's rules, therefore time needed to be given for the workings of his philosophy, that the results of them might be seen by the peoples of the heavenly universe.  His “catch-cry” was “Freedom to all” or, “Do your own thing”, which sounds good, but without the guidance of God’s law is meaningless, for He knows that without direction that will only produce anarchy!  We only have to look at the record in the book of Judges for evidence of that!

Because of this necessity, Satan was allowed a free hand to lead men and women into sin and the plan of redemption was put in operation.  (God can intervene at any request, although even then He has to be careful and remain legal in the face of His accuser, for there are moral “rules of engagement”.)  But for four thousand years, Christ was working for man's uplifting, and Satan for his ruin and degradation. 

And the heavenly universe beheld it all.    

During all this Satan and his angels were not hindered although there were boundaries which they could not cross, even though at times the world (or sections of it) descended into chaos, the worst being at the Flood.  However, on each occasion the LORD was able to bring it back into some sort of order. 

“And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he [Job] has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand’.  So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD . . .

“And [later] the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life’.  So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown [top of his head]”.  Job 1:12; 2:6-7.

At first the angels did not understand all that was involved in the great controversy.  The principles at stake needed to be fully revealed many times, and the ultimate was at the cross.  But, even after that, for the sake of man, Satan's abilities must be continued till he destroys himself.  In the meantime, man as well as angels must see the contrast between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness.  Humanity must choose whom they will serve.   

After the life and death of Christ, after the three days of agony and suspense that occurred at Calvary, we are told, “Behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the LORD descended from heaven”.  Matthew 28:2.  Accompanied by a heavenly host, this angel had left the heavenly courts with the bright beams of God's glory going before him, and illuminating his pathway.  “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men [helpless but conscious]”.  Verses 3-4.

We might ask, “Now, priests and rulers, where is the power of your guard?”  Brave soldiers that had never been afraid of human power were now taken as captives without sword or spear, for the face they looked upon was not the face of a mortal warrior; it was the face of the mightiest of the LORD's host, the angel Gabriel.  This messenger was he who filled the position from which Satan fell.  It was he who had told the priest Zacharias of the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19);  it was he who approached Mary with the request that she bear the Saviour (Luke 1:26-27); and it was he, with others, on the hills of Bethlehem who proclaimed Christ's birth.  But now the earth trembled at his approach, the hosts of darkness fled, and as he rolled away the stone, heaven seemed to come down to the earth.  The soldiers saw him removing the stone as they would a pebble, and heard him cry, “Son of God, come forth; Your Father calls You”.  They saw Jesus come forth from the grave, and heard Him proclaim at the tomb entrance, “I am the resurrection, and the life”.

He had said; “As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep [of Israel].  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold [they are scattered throughout the world]: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd. Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.  No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment [permission] have I received of My Father”.  John 10:15-18.

As He came forth in majesty and glory, the angel host must have bowed low in adoration before the Redeemer, and welcomed Him with songs of praise at this final evidence of His divinity.    

An earthquake marked the hour when the Son of God laid down His human life, and another earthquake witnessed the moment when He took it up again in triumph.  He who had vanquished death and the grave came forth from the tomb with the tread of a conqueror, amid the reeling of the earth, the flashing of lightning, and the roaring of thunder.  One of the apostles tells us this: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God, (which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning His Son Jesus Christ our LORD, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh [at His birth]; and [then] declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER . . . by the resurrection from the dead . . .”  Romans 1:1-4.

At the door of the open sepulchre of Joseph (as He had for Lazarus, John 11:25), Christ proclaimed in triumph, “I am the resurrection, and the life”.  These words could be spoken only by the Deity.  All created beings live by the will and power of God.  They are dependent recipients of life from Him.  From the highest seraph to the humblest animate being, all are replenished and upheld from the Source of life.  Only He who is one with God could say, “I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again”.  (John 10:17-18.)  In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death which were held by Satan, and this He had just proved in His own life, and now He was going to prove it in others’ lives, for that call must have been heard all around the world. 

Not long before this He had said, “Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear [and respond] shall live”.  John 5:25.

It is also written, “Forasmuch then as the children [of God] are [still] partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same [flesh and blood, human nature]; that through [His] death He might destroy [the influence of] HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH, THAT IS, THE DEVIL; and deliver them who through fear of death [brainwashing] were all their lifetime subject to bondage [controlled by it]”.  Hebrews 2:14-15.

But why just those (relatively) few?  Why not all the dead in Christ who had lived in the previous 4,000 years?  Why not the rebels?

Christ arose from the dead as the firstfruits [first in position] of those that slept. 

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order [of harvest]: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming”.  1 Corinthians 15:22-23.  He was the antitype of the wave sheaf, and His resurrection took place on the very day when it was to be presented before the LORD in the rituals of the time.  

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a [single] sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the [high] priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD [so that all may see it], to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the [ceremonial] sabbath [rest day] the priest shall wave it’.” Leviticus 23:9-11. [That year the rest day was also a weekly Sabbath, a “high day”.  John 19:31.]

For more than a thousand years this symbolic ceremony had been performed in Jerusalem.  From the harvest fields all over Israel the first heads of ripened grain were to be gathered and presented, after the people had gone up to Jerusalem to the official Passover, where the sheaf of first fruits from the local harvest was waved as a thank offering before the LORD.  Not until this was presented could the sickle be put to the rest of the grain, and it be gathered into sheaves to bring in the crop. 

Like the Passover lamb which was considered to be one for the whole nation, the one wave sheaf dedicated to God represented the whole harvest. 

So Christ the first fruits represented the great spiritual harvest to be gathered for the kingdom of God.  His resurrection is the type and pledge of the resurrection of all the righteous dead.  “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will [the Son of] God bring with Him”. 1 Thessalonians 4:14. 

This verse has often been explained to mean that the Son of God has the characters of all the saints in His mind and will re-connect them with new bodies at the Second Advent.  While this is true, here is another meaning to it as well!

As Christ arose, He called from their graves a multitude of the captives of death.  The earthquake at His death had torn open their graves, and when He arose, they came forth with Him.  They were those who had been co-labourers with Him, and who at the cost of their lives had borne testimony to the truth – they had entered the dominion of Satan as willingly as He had.  Of later ones it is written; “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the LAMB, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death”.  Revelation 12:11.

Now they were to be witnesses for Him who had raised them from the dead. 

They too, had become “first fruits”!

During His ministry, Jesus had called other people to life.  He had spoken to the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-16), and the ruler's daughter (Luke 8:51-56) and His friend Lazarus (John 11:43-44).  But these were not clothed with immortality.  After they were brought back to life, they were still subject to physical death, and they accepted that.  But those who came forth from the grave at Christ's resurrection were raised to everlasting life, for they had been expecting it when they had died as martyrs.  As a special “gift” to men, they ascended with Him as trophies of His victory over death and the grave.  (Ephesians 4:8.)  “These”, Christ would have said, “are no longer the captives of Satan; I have redeemed them.  I have brought them from the grave as the first fruits of My power, to be with Me where I am, nevermore to see death or experience sorrow”.

Jesus had told the leaders of the church, “Wherefore, behold, I send [and have sent] to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth [you will be as guilty as those of old], from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar [just recently]. Verily I say to you, All these things shall come upon this generation”.  Matthew 23:34-36.

Some of these resurrected ones went into the city of Jerusalem as our query text tells us and appeared to many, declaring, “Christ has risen from the dead, and we be risen with Him”.  (Consider Colossians 2:12.)  Thus was immortalized the sacred truth of the certainty of the resurrection.  The risen saints bore witness to the truth of the words, “Your dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise”.  Their resurrection was an illustration of the fulfilment of the prophecy, “Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead”.  Isaiah 26:19. 

What the others around the world did, we are not told.

But let’s see if there is more we can find out about them. 

 The Special Resurrection of AD31

(as described in The Revelation)

After seeing Jesus (in a vision) walking in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary amongst the lamps of the candlestick, and receiving the messages from Him regarding the seven ages of the church, John was called to go up into heaven and watch The Book of Future History being unsealed.  It was while doing this that he wrote what we call today the Bible book of “The Revelation” which is a description of what he saw as the scroll was unrolled.

This was nearly seventy years after the crucifixion, nearly thirty years after Jerusalem had been conquered by the Romans and John had been exiled to Patmos. The new branch of Christianity had been well established by then, but its people needed some assurance and comfort for the times that lay ahead in the ages of persecution, and as their worlds fell apart around them, and this the book provided.

In John’s vision Jesus now moved into the area in the sanctuary containing the Table of Showbread which represented the Book of God, the Bible.  Jeremiah wrote: “Your words were found, and I did eat them; and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts [I have been given Your character]”.  Jeremiah 15:16.

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Revelation 4:

1 After this I [John] looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [the voice of Jesus] was as it were of a trumpet [a strong sound] talking with me; which said, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter”.  2 And immediately I was [lifted up] in the Spirit; and, behold, a throne was set [placed] in heaven, and One sat on the throne [in the first apartment].

3 And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone [John saw only red-like colours, not a Person]: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like to an emerald [very green].

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Although God the Father is often spoken of as being seen in the Bible, those who have the privilege of seeing Him in a vision usually mean the colours they have observed, and not His actual body.  He does have one, but to see Him in His glory would kill any human so He keeps it shrouded when He is around them, even in a vision.  (See Psalm 18:6-15 for some poetic imagery on this.)

It was the same with the Son of God when He appeared in majesty in the Old Testament, but at times He was able to allow people to see His body partially or fully, depending on the circumstances. For example; “And above the firmament that was over their heads [the space above the angel bearers’ heads] was the likeness of a throne [which they were carrying], as the appearance of a sapphire [blue] stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a Man above upon it [clothed in light].  And I saw as the colour of amber [suntan brown], as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of His loins even upward, and from the appearance of His loins even downward [or where they would have been], I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.  As the appearance of the [rain] bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about [above His head].  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.  And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of One that spoke”.   Ezekiel 1:26-28.

The “throne” of God is obviously moveable, and therefore it was no surprise to John to see it in the first apartment in his vision.

Also, using human terms; “And [the LORD] God said [to Noah], This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations [so you need not be frightened again when it rains] I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the [rain] bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.  And the [rain] bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.  And God said to Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth”.  Genesis 9:12-17.

Ezekiel described the throne bearers, which he called “cherubs”, in another place. “Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne . . .

“This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.  Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings [seraphim have six wings]; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.  And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward [without turning]”.   Ezekiel 10:1; 20-21.

This is what he had seen:

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Ezekiel 1:

4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind [containing the LORD] came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself [but not consuming], and a brightness was about it [the rainbow above], and out of [in] the midst thereof [was the body of the LORD] as the colour of amber [the sun-tanned colour], out of [in] the midst of the fire.

5 Also out of [in] the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures [as figures in a fog of light].

And this was their appearance; they had the likeness [body] of a man.   

6 And every one had four faces [on their heads], and every one had four wings.   

7 And their feet were straight feet [like a giraffe’s]; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass [a constantly moving mass].

8 And they had the [arms and] hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings [they were all alike]. 9 Their wings were joined one to another [they didn’t flap them for locomotion]; they turned not when they went [to go in any direction]; they went every one straight forward [for they were carrying the throne].  

10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of A MAN [facing me], and the face of A LION, on the right side [from where I was standing]: and they four had the face of AN OX on the left side [opposite the lion]; they four also had the face of AN EAGLE [behind them]

[He saw the back features of the ones facing away from him.]

11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And they went every one straight forward: where the spirit [their desire] was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went [they could move in any direction, like a helicopter]

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire [bright and shiny], and like the appearance of lamps: it [the fire] went up and down among the living creatures [like neon lights]; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning [flashes of light].

14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning [they were very fast].

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What a description!  To a mere mortal these angel symbols in their glory must have been astounding!

But let’s get back to John’s vision:

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Revelation 4:

4 And round about the [main] throne were twenty-four seats [other thrones]: and upon the seats I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white raiment [the righteousness of saints]; and they had on their heads crowns of gold [they were sealed].

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The identity of these twenty-four elders was made plain to us when Peter asked Jesus a question one day.  “Then answered Peter and said to Him, ‘Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed You; what shall we have therefore?’

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Verily I say to you, That you which have followed Me, in the regeneration [the new world] when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging [leading] the twelve tribes of [spiritual] Israel’.”  Matthew 19:27-28.  That promise, of course, applies to all the redeemed for God has no favourites. 

“To him that overcomes [himself] will I grant to sit with Me in My throne [which represents My position of ability, and their position of equality], even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.  He that has a [spiritual] ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”.  Revelation 3:21-22.

So, the apostles, with the twelve patriarchs from the Old Testament will eventually receive a position of responsibility in the new world.  In the meantime, the people that John saw are the twenty-four persons who are filling in for them right now.  Like John the Baptist they will bow out when the time comes.  He said, “He [Christ] must increase, but I must decrease”, and so will they when the rightful occupiers turn up.  John 3:30.

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Revelation 4:

5 And out of the [God’s] throne proceeded lightnings [flashes of light] and thunderings and voices [the business of the universe was going on]: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne [the candlestick], which are [which represent] the seven Spirits of God [the completeness of the Holy Spirit]

6 And before the throne there was a Sea of Glass like to crystal [a special space where God’s energy is displayed]: and in the midst of [this special place before] the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts [living creatures] full of eyes before and behind.

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Because John was going to have a vision of the future, many things would have to be shown to him by symbols so that later generations would be able to understand them too as their fulfilments shifted.  (Symbols often are pictures of principle and are not necessarily permanently identified with any one person or nation.) 

We understand that God can see all ways at once, “before and behind” (the past and the future), and in the vision this characteristic had been extended to the four “living creature” symbols, for they too were now learning of the future. 

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Revelation 4:

7 And the first beast was like A LION, and the second beast like A CALF [or yearling ox], and the third beast had a face as A MAN, and the fourth beast was like A FLYING [soaring] EAGLE.  

8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him [showing their status of seraphim rank, Isaiah 6:2]; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come’ [who lives forever].

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Standing before them in his position in the vision all John could see was lots of eyes focussed on the Book, and lots of praise coming from them as they beheld God.

Who were these “living creatures”?

The prophet Ezekiel had seen and written of others like them as we have already read, so John was not totally surprised at the scene.  He knew that these were cartoon-like figures which tell a story of heavenly beings by picture rather than fact.  In addition, he had the Old Testament witness of the camp of Israel with Moses.

To keep order in the camp during the exodus from Egypt, the people had been given “ensigns” (crested flags) by which their positions could be identified. Numbers 2:1-2.  Placed one on each side of the sanctuary in which was the representation of the throne of God, but some distance from it, each flag covered a unit of three tribes, making up the twelve.  (Levi, the separated thirteenth tribe of workers in the sanctuary, had their tents also on three sides of the building according to their three families, with Aaron’s family (the priests) in the front on the east, but they were closer in towards the sanctuary. 

The groups were as shown in Numbers chapter two:

Judah (with the picture of a lion) was co-joined with Issachar and Zebulun on the “east side”, which was the front of the sanctuary (Numbers 2:3,5,7; on the south side were camped Reuben, Simeon and Gad (Numbers 2:10, 12,14) and their ensign was that of a man; on the west (the back of the sanctuary) were Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin (Numbers 2:18, 20, 22 with the figure of a ox, the burden-bearer); while on the north were Dan, Asher and Naphtali (Numbers 2:25, 27, 29) who had the eagle for their identifier.  

These four animals illustrate the character of the Son of God (which is why we have four gospels for the Son of man), and these are also used to describe His followers.  The “lion” signalled His kingship; the “man” His humanity; the “ox” witnessed to His strength as a human; and the “eagle” showed His divinity, and Christ-ians are like Him.

Just as Israel had the kingdom in miniature in the desert wanderings, so John saw an abbreviated version of it in heaven soon after the crucifixion of the Son of man, which was made up of the saints who had been resurrected with Jesus, and who were depicted by the same family crests.  (In heaven the spiritual “tribe” of Levi will still exist as a separate group within the “tribes”, although all the resurrected Christians are priests and workers, within their twelve “tribes”.) 

We are told, “You also, as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ

. . . But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar [separate] people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy”.  1 Peter 2:5-10. 

We can start doing that now.  “By [through] Him [our High Priest] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name [character].  But to do good and to communicate [share] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased”.  Hebrews 13:15-16.

Those “living creatures” whom Ezekiel saw were representing the angels who carried the LORD’s throne, while the ones John was shown were illustrations of the redeemed, as they themselves testify, as we shall see.

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Revelation 4:

9 And when those beasts [the living creatures] give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 ‘You are worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created’.”

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John writes in the present tense, for these beings live in eternity.

Then the action commenced:

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Revelation 5:

1 And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside [covered all over with much writing, but], sealed with seven seals [it had seven major sealed sections, or chapters, representing seven special “eras” in New Testament Christianity].

2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to [or capable of] open[ing] the book [of the future], and to loose the seals thereof?” 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth [not even an angel], was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much [in frustration], because no man [or creature] was found worthy [capable] to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

[Speaking of why we should not choose false gods, the living God says, “Produce your cause, says the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, says the King of Jacob.  Let them [the gods] bring them [their reasons] forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. Behold, you are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination [destined to die the second death] is he that chooses you”.  Isaiah 41:21-24.]

5 And one of the elders said to me [there is often interaction in a vision], “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed [earned the right] to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof [for He has been proven to be the Son of God, and of being able to dispense the gift of everlasting life]”.

***************(End Quote)

The controversy has always been over the position and authority of the Son of God since Lucifer had queried it, but now it was settled forever in heaven, and when He told (showed) them the future from the Book they believed Him absolutely!

***************(Begin Quote)

Revelation 5:

6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a LAMB [the LION!] as it had [just] been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes [the completeness of power and understanding], which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne.

***************(EndQuote)

It is a prerogative of God that He can live in the future as well as the past and present, and as the Son of God Jesus also has that ability.  Right then, He was demonstrating that He wanted to show His followers what was to come so that we could be prepared for it.

In this He was fulfilling a promise He had made to His disciples: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.  He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it to you”.  John 16:12-15. 

And He, of course, works out of the Bible!

***************(BeginQuote)

Revelation 5:

8 And when He [Jesus] had taken the book, the four beasts and the twenty-four elders fell down before the LAMB, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours [incense censers], which are [or represent] the prayers of saints [for they are acting as common priests for us, as Jesus is the High Priest].

9 And they sung a new song [regarding a newly understood truth], saying, “You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for You were slain [a short while ago], and have redeemed [resurrected] us to God by Your blood [death] out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation [from all over the world, not just Jerusalem]; 10 and have made us to our God kings and priests [right now]: and we shall reign [in the future] on the earth”. 

***************(EndQuote)

By that song they confirmed that they were the recipients of the special resurrection! 

There were “a multitude” of them (margin) at the ascension as we read, “. . . When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” Ephesians 4:8; and Enoch (as quoted by Jude) when he was describing the second coming, told us that there were 10,000 of them!  “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, ‘Behold, the LORD comes with ten thousands of His saints [sanctified ones] . . .” Jude 1:14.

That, plus the twenty-four elders and Enoch, Elijah and Moses made quite a crowd of humans in heaven!

 It was a time for universal rejoicing!

***************(BeginQuote)

Revelation 5:

11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands [an incomprehensible number to John]; 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the LAMB that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing”.

[“Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them.  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!  For the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time [relatively speaking]”.  Revelation 12:12.]

13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth [right throughout space], and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be to Him that sits upon the throne, and to the LAMB for ever and ever”.

14 And the four beasts [the redeemed] said, “Amen [to that]”.  And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Him that lives for ever and ever.

***************(EndQuote)

At that moment all the people of the universe joined in the chorus and praised God that their part in the “war” was settled.  Now it rests with us.

oooOooo

 

Conclusion:

The special resurrection of those who had been martyred for the word of God was a kind of “first fruits” so that all the universe could see what the Son of God intends to do at the Second Coming.  Those who had died for Him “heard” His voice in victory over His death and resurrection, and responded through His power (there is life in His word), and came forth to greet and have fellowship with Him. 

The other “Christians” who had died in the past could not have shared the same empathy, for they did not respond to the call as they will at the Advent.  (Even the time of our resurrection is our choice, for God has no favourites!)  

“Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts”.  2 Chronicles 9:7.

“But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God [nor any compulsion]”.  Romans 2:10-11.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Next query. To be discussed from March 1st 2013,

Next query:

1 John 1:6-10:

If we say that we have fellowship with Him [claim we are Christians], and [yet continue to] walk in darkness [of error], we lie, and do not the truth:

but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood [death] of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from [removes from us] all sin. 

If we say that we have no sin [the singular word denotes a condition IN us], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 

If we confess [apologise for] our sins [our outward actions], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us [for we do ignorantly much that is wrong]

Just what is entailed in confessing our sins, and why do we have to do it if forgiveness is automatic?

 

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