The Story of Noah-Part 4

The Biblical Account of The Story of Noah

story of noahWhat a remarkable testimony to the faith of Noah.

Genesis 6:22 (NKJV)

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

In the entire story of Noah, there is never a moment when Noah is recorded speaking back to God. Noah is a man who listens and obeys, who does not question or argue and he does not make excuses. Noah heard what is by far the most difficult assignment in all the Bible. Yet, he said not a word to question the instructions and he obeyed doing all that the Lord commanded him.  In fact, the Hebrew in verse 22 is repetitive to emphasize Noah’s upmost obedience. Noah is arguably the most obedient man in the Old Testament. There are other men in the Old Testament who received much easier instructions, such as Jonah or Gideon. However, those men questioned God or even rebelled entirely as in the case of Jonah. Continue reading

The Manner of Our Resurrection

Mystery Revealed – The Manner of Our Resurrection

Paul reveals in a powerful way a mystery hidden before this time in the New Testament age: the manner of our resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (NKJV)

Our Final Victory

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

ResurrectionOur sinful bodies are incapable of entering the heavenly realm. While we have been saved by God’s grace, we still live in a sinful nature in our current bodies. Salvation does not annul the fact we continue in sin once we are saved. Therefore, our bodies have to be replaced so we can be prepared to have an eternal life.  The corruption, our sinful nature in that we presently live in cannot be a part of the incorruptible, perfect kingdom of God. But Paul begins to explain how that replacement will take place by saying he is revealing a mystery to the church of Corinth.  Here the word ‘mystery’ means a truth of God’s plan which was hidden from our understanding until an appointed time it was to be revealed. Paul was given the opportunity to reveal 8 different mysteries to the church. This mystery here is one of those hidden truths: The manner of the resurrection.

To start, Paul tells us that we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. Sleep in Paul’s day was an euphemism for physical death. Because death of a body resembled someone sleeping. Just as today we politely say someone has passed away or have gone home. Paul goes on to say, ‘we will not all die.’ We, the believers in the church will not all experience physical death. Of course, we know up to this point so far everyone has died and are asleep as Paul says. And we can see that in God’s plan some will escape the physical death experience.

Whether alive or dead all of us must be changed. The Greek word for changed can also carry the meaning of being exchanged. We all must exchange our current bodies for eternal bodies. Those believers who bodies are dead physically in the first death will at some later point receive a new body. And for those who are still alive at that moment, these Christians new bodies will be exchanged for their old bodies without first experiencing a physical death. Paul says this exchange will happen incredibly fast, virtually instantaneously. And he tells us this will occur in the twinkling of an eye. Twinkling is the brief flash of light reflected by a person’s eye. At the moment we exchange our old body for our new body if will be instantaneous, as if no time has passed us by. Paul goes on to say all this will happen at the last trumpet. This is a reference to a last trumpet sounding, which any practicing Jew in Israel would instantly know its origin. It is referring to the Jewish feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Fall feasts on the Jewish calendar. This feast begins with a series of trumpet blasts and ends with one long and great blast called the Tekiah Gedolah. Paul’s reference to this trumpet indicates that the Feast of Trumpets is fulfilled by the resurrection of the Church. This is not a reference to the trumpet judgments during the first half of tribulation found in the Book of Revelation. And since this book was written by Paul before the Book of Revelation was written by John, we are able to conclude that this knowledge was not known by the Corinthian Church and most likely neither did Paul have any knowledge of the coming trumpet judgments of tribulation. And so Paul says ‘the trumpet’ as if he expected the church in Corinth to know about this particular trumpet. And in that day, Paul and the church would have know the only trumpet he was speaking of would have been the last trumpet blown at Rosh Hashanah. And when the last trumpet associated with Rosh Hashanah blows, the resurrection will begin.

Those Christians who are dead when this moment arrives are the first ones to receive their new eternal bodies. Until this happens those who have died are without a physical body since their body is dead. They are existing as spirits only. For them they are present in the heavenly realm with Christ waiting for this day of resurrection to receive their new eternal bodies. But for now they are existing in spirit only. Once raised , that is raptured, they will receive their imperishable bodies. And following them those who are still alive will experience the exchange of their old bodies for their new imperishable bodies. Paul explains this process in more detail in a later letter written to another church in Asia Minor.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NKJV)

The Comfort of Christ’s Coming

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians he reassures the church that those who have
already died in faith will not be left out of the resurrection. And he said they will actually be the first ones raised. And those who remain will join the others as they are caught up to meet Christ in the clouds in their new incorruptible bodies.

This process is such that it permits some believers to skip over the physical death. Why has God set this order this way? Let’s explore the possible reasoning of this. First think of it as being about numbers. Paul has said the church (Gentiles) is a temporary means to bring Israel into jealousy. We as the Gentile church get what Israel could of had and therefore we exist for a time to picture the kindness of the Lord to a stubborn and disobedient Israel.  However, Paul goes on to say once the Gentile church reaches it’s appointed number, the church has met it’s purpose and must end.

Romans 11:25 (NKJV)

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

It is when the fullness (or complete number) of Gentiles has been reached, the church will be removed from the scene. And the sudden rapture of the church is set to bring that moment into reality at an appointed number being reach in the Gentile church. God is not waiting for the last Christian to die naturally. It is all according to His timing that He will simply bring the end. With this, it instills a sense of urgency and brings unpredictability to the when this event will come to being. Think, if God waited until all Christians had died, then there would be no reason to be watching for the Lord’s return and much less for us to be prepared for that moment. Simply put, we would be just waiting for our deaths and that would drive far less urgency than it should. Jesus warned us that His return for the Church is an always present possibility. One which we must be ready for at any time.

Matthew 24:42-44 (NKJV)

42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

We need to be mindful that our being taken up will be a surprise and we have a good reason to be attentive to the Lord’s commands while we wait. We need not to take anything for granted and set our mind every day to please Him.

Paul gives praise to the Lord for His plan to put an end to our mortality.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (NKJV)

54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has 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 your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

You can see that God’s plan of redemption in Christ promises that His death and resurrection has won the victory over our enemy Death. However, that victory won’t be evident to us personally until our own death has been conquered. And the rapture is the moment when death is swallowed up forever. Imagine, if you can, that death will be forever removed from your thinking and imagine a day when you will never be troubled again because your mortality and the mortality of all the believers around you is completely removed from your mind. Paul tells us the sting of death is sin. The instrument (stinger) of death’s attack is our sin. And if our sin is the ‘stinger’ it is what sent death into our flesh. And the power of that stinger comes because of God’s Law. The power of the Law is in it’s ability to condemn men for their sin. But Christ granted us victory by meeting the requirement of the Law and also paying the penalty it required for sin…he won our victory over death. Thanks be to God for winning this victory for us!

“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”

Jesus Christ – Insight Into Our Resurrection

Jesus Christ – Insight Into Our Resurrection

Jesus ChristPaul has corrected those in Corinth who have suggested the resurrection isn’t a possibility. Paul has pointed out it’s importance as part of the gospel message. He’s explains how central that Jesus’ mission of reversing Adams sin and reminded them of Christ’s own resurrection and how it was experienced by a multitude of eyewitnesses. And he’s revealed to them by their continued practice of their desired Christian rituals that they are actually confirming the reality of resurrection.

The Church’s Pending Resurrection

Paul begins to explain to the church the manner of their coming resurrection.
The church in it’s doubting did not have the full understanding for how the Lord can accomplish something so incredible. To comprehend the possibility that a dead body that has been in a grave for hundreds of years, decomposing, will be able to return to life. It was their thinking, that this was such an impossible thing to happen that contributed mainly to the reason the church was believing the false teaching that came in their midst. Paul begins to address the wrong thinking circulating throughout the church.

1 Corinthians 15:35-38 (NKJV)

A Glorious Body

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.

In verse 35 Paul refers to a person asking how the dead will be raised and what kind
of body they will have? And we need to understand the tone in which it was asked. This is the question being asked in Corinth by those who did not believe in the resurrection. It was, to a degree being asked in a way to mock any idea of the resurrection. Another way to ask the question would be asking, How could it even be possible for God to raise a dead body? Imagine the condition such a dead body would be seen. The point of the question was to recognize the decaying sequence of dead bodies and to the destructive nature of death where a body would completely decompose and would discredit the idea of resurrection. So it remained, how can a decomposed body be brought to life?  Or if a body is totally burned up, what then? Or if it was crushed by a rock or eaten by an animal? Imagine the condition of such a resurrected body. And for the people in Corinth the idea of resurrection was far-fetched.

Paul after repeating the question begins with strong wording. To those who hold onto such thinking as “foolish ones.”  This may appear harsh and inappropriate for this statement. Since elsewhere in scripture, Jesus said that the one who calls another a fool has sinned.

Matthew 5:22 (NKJV)

22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

But if we examine his usage in the context of this case, it is clear Paul was not sinning in his use of this strong rebuke. In scripture the word fool refers to a person who discounts or dismisses the power of God. Psalm 53 says:

  Psalm 53:1 (NKJV)

 53 The fool has said in his heart,

“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity;
There is none who does good.

Jesus is giving an example in Matthew 5:22 of someone who uses the term ‘fool’ in a hateful manner to slander and cause indignation to another. But in Paul’s usage here, he is using the term in it’s technical sense, as a description of this person’s sinful mindset. In fact, the church in Corinth was not giving credibility to and were ignoring the power of God when they made their claim the resurrection was impossible. They were making the argument a believer would not receive a new body and in doing so in the process the were dismissing God’s ability to do things beyond what we can imagine. Therefore, Paul wasn’t making a hateful insult as Jesus Christ described. He was accurately labeling the unbelieving thinking of those in the Corinthian Church.

Immediately after that statement Paul answers this foolish objection by reminding them of God’s power to do the very thing they were denying. And Paul uses a comparison to another kind of resurrection involving seeds and plants. Through this example Paul is notating the ability and miraculous power of God to turn one physical form into another. A view of something that is evident in the every day cycle of life on earth. One of ways God designed for the reproduction of plants is to plant seeds into the earth. A manner that nothing new comes to life until it is first buried in the ground (resurrection). Paul goes on to say that the thing that is buried bears no resemblance in physical form to the plant that will appear later. And just by looking at a seed you are not able to predict the appearance of the plant. Because it is God Who has chosen the assignment (body) or the physical appearance to each plant as He desires. And the body of the plant originates from an earlier body, the seed which is completely different from itself. And as we do not necessarily pay attention, this transformation is happening around us everyday. In addition, once the new plant arrives, the seed that produced it, is gone. The old seed did not remain in the ground. If fact, the seed literally transformed into the new body of the plant. And notice that the new plant is not only different from the original seed in appearance, it is also much larger. Which points that the material for the plant comes elsewhere beyond the materials that were present in the original seed. Therefore, in Paul’s example all these elements shows God can use one thing to create something completely new and different without being needful on the structure, appearance or the condition of the original material.

The Vastness of God’s Creative Powers

                      1 Corinthians 15:39-41 (NKJV)

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

Here Paul is reminding them that God’s ability for creating physical bodies is vastly limitless. Think about it, look at the universe of ‘bodies’ that we are able to see that exist. And we can easily see the bodies of men are different than that of animals, birds, fish, and so on. And in the universe the celestial ‘bodies’ vary enormously in their physical construction from the sun to the moon and the rest of the stars in the sky. We can see they vary in size, brightness, etc.

If God can make a universe so diverse in appearance, why would we have reason to doubt His ability to construct a new body for us? So, when the time comes for the Lord to assign each of us our resurrected body, He won’t be constricted by the condition or appearance of our first body. In essence He isn’t required to make our new body from the same molecules in our original body. God will construct our new body suitable for eternal life in a heavenly realm, which requires He use all new material. So just as our first body was well suited for the physical birth and living a physical life on earth, also know that our eternal bodies will and must be designed to share living an eternal life with Jesus Christ. The earth has been cursed because of sin brought into this world through Adam, and our new bodies cannot share any material in common with the present world. Hence, we must be created with new material, in the likeness of Christ, so we can live eternally. And at the time when we enter our new bodies it will be by the power of God and not by a physical birth. And just as our first body was made from the materials of our earthly parent’s bodies, so will our new resurrected body must be made in the likeness of Christ’s body. As was when our new spirit was born again in the likeness of Christ’s Spirit. And the material for our new body will have a new and eternal source that is different from this present cursed creation.

New Body, New Construction

1 Corinthians 15:42-49 (NKJV)

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”[ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

In our new existence, Paul says we will be incorruptible (some Bibles use the word imperishable). Adam’s sin brought corruption and therefore placed all of humanity in a state of corruption. Which these corrupt materials were present in our bodies at birth. But, by the power of God our new bodies at resurrection will have it’s source in Christ and we will have a new perfect body constructed. And it will be an imperishable (incorruptible) body.  We will also have a new life of sinlessness through the power of Christ.

Notice how Paul uses the example of the seed to subtly emphasize the contrast between the old and new bodies. First the body is sown (buried) in dishonor. This dishonor of our current body is our weakness in sin. And by our bodies being corrupt in this sin death (physical) is evidence of our corruption. However, once we have died and been buried (planted in the ground) that is when we rise to our state of glory. Now we can see the death process as a means of bringing new life, a life of glory. A seed is weak and the plant is strong when it emerges in comparison. Therefore, our new bodies will be strong when facing the temptation of sin and more than just that, we will never again experience the weakness of sin in our lives. Because we will have the power of Christ in us to obey in perfection.

In our original bodies, which is currently our natural state is to live according to the desires of the flesh. However, in our new bodies, which will be spiritual, we only desire to serve and please the living God. The thoughts and desires we will experience, will be according to Jesus’ nature, rather than our previous nature which was sinful. And thus, we can be assured just as we have experiences in an earthly, sinful existence, we know we will also experience the heavenly, eternal life that is to come. So, just as the buried seed experiences an existence of one kind, that seed will become a new existence as plant living a new life in the future.

Paul’s example using the seed is perfectly representative with the resurrection. It might even make you think did God prepared the seed in creation just to support Paul’s illustration to the Corinthian Church. Or did the Lord give us seeds leading to plants so that we possibly have a clearer grasp of His power to resurrect our dead bodies? In a sense, it may seem so. May it be a reminder how much God has given to ensuring His children are well prepared for the coming resurrection. Right now, today we are bearing the image of the earth, Adam. We are sinful as Adam and our bodies are cursed to die, as is the entire earth. But by our faith in Jesus Christ, we have reason to look forward to a new resurrected and heavenly life. We will be made of an eternal material and we will be perfect as Christ is perfect. We will have escaped the curse of death as Christ Himself conquered death.

 

 

 

“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”