Message NotesUnderstanding Prophecy, Part I
Lesson Two Lecture
Building on the Foundation
Before we begin today, let?s review some things that we have learned. We have learned that the Scripture, when dealing with Eternity, deals with Ages of time, rather than the idea of one long unbroken period. In what we would call ?Eternity Past?, there is a beginning point with respect to the earth and the heavens around the earth, and ages dealing with the earth.
That beginning point is mentioned in the very first verse of the entire Bible, ?In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.?
So we see this beginning on our timeline.
Then we can know that there is at least one age or could be a number of ages between this beginning and what we would see as time (as we know it) begins ? 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Time would begin when the Holy Spirit hovered over the face of the deep and when God spoke, saying, ?Let there be light?? And then God began counting the evenings and the mornings of those 6 days, and on the 7th day, He rested, setting aside that day as holy. And these seven days become the foundation of all of Scripture. And that is with reason from Scripture?s standpoint.
Then we have also seen that there are Ages beyond Time. And that Scripture deals with this ongoing period as AGES of AGES, revealing that this is not one long unending period, but unending ages with beginnings and endings.
We have also learned that one age stands out above all the other ages? it is referred to in Scripture as the Age of the Ages. We can easily see that in Ephesians chapter three, when we read the verse in a literal translation:
21 to Him is the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.
We can see this same idea portrayed in the Book of Daniel. We will remember that the original language in the OT is Hebrew, except for a few chapters of the Bible. (A few chapters were written in the Aramaic language which is a related language to Hebrew, using the same alphabet). Here is a portion of one of those chapters in which were written in Aramaic and translated into English:
18 'But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.' (NASB)
?possess the kingdom unto the age, even unto the age of the ages. (YLT)
We have learned that the OT Hebrew language does not have a word which means ETERNAL. The Hebrew word is olam, the Aramaic word alam would be closely associated with olam and give the same meaning) which means a long period of time. Perhaps the most accurate way of understanding this verse according to the original language could be viewed is along these lines:
18 But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom during the long period of all the long periods.
?portraying the same idea as the age of the ages, which would be consistent with what Paul wrote in Ephesians.
And as we study prophecy, we will want to see this coming age in the light that God has laid it out in His word, as the age of the ages, with focus and emphasis therein!
And all of this future focus on the age of the ages would be based upon the foundation that God saw fit to give to us in the beginning of His Word. He could have given us information about many things prior to this ?beginning?, but rather He omnisciently chose to give us the exact information that He has given us. He begins with one statement about the beginning of the ages:
1 In the beginning, God created [bara] the heavens and the earth?
And He jumps to the time describing the earth in a formless and void state.
2 And the earth was formless [tohu] and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep?
While we do not know the length of time in which the earth existed in this chaotic state, we can know that God did not create in that condition. Through the writings of the Prophet Isaiah
18 ?He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create [bara] it a waste place [tohu], but formed it to be inhabited.
Comparing Scripture with Scripture, we can see that at some point after the beginning (through the writings of Ezekiel) the originally created ruler over this earth, Lucifer, led a rebellion against God. And in this rebellion, his sanctuaries became desecrated, which brought about the need for a restoration of these same sanctuaries.
And to see that Lucifer was the original ruler over this earth, one would only have to turn to the NT to see how a particular Greek word is used t6 describe Satan and his angels. It is the word arche
chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank):--beginning, magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule
In this next passage, this word is used with respect to Satan and his angels, and it gives a most graphic description of these beings. In the context of Paul telling the Church to stand firm against Satan, he says:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers [arche], against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Look at the phrases used here:
Again, our warfare is ?against the rulers [arche]?
This means beginning, the first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.
?against the powers
This word means authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength
?against the world forces ? of this darkness,
the ?world forces? is made up of two Greek words and literally means
means ?world-ruler? and the phrase of this darkness?(the KJV has the words: against the darkness of this world) the word translated ?world? here is the word aion, which literally means ?age?
(Its hard to understand why the NASB translators dropped the word age, in the phrase, as it is difficult to understand why the KJV translators translated the aion word into world rather than age in this phrase. And so we should read:
against the world ruler of the darkness of this age?
Then ?against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
This is translated in a way that it is easily understood in the English ?
Spiritual forces meaning not fleshly (entities that are not human beings in the context, we know to be angelic)
of wickedness self-explanatory
the heavenly places self explanatory (Angels of wickedness in the heavenlies)
Again, in the context of Paul telling the Church to stand firm against Satan, he describes Satan and his fallen angels as:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Our struggle is against:
the original rulers
those in authority, having jurisdiction, liberty, power, the right, and strength since they are the ?world-rulers? of the darkness of this age; Spiritual being rather than fleshly beings, who are wicked and reside in the heavenlies.
Whew! That is a lot to chew on, isn?t it?
So why do we have to know this, in order to understand prophecy? Because the testimony of Jesus (those things written about Jesus [which is the whole of Scriptures, since He is the Word made flesh]) is the spirit of prophecy.
And because His shed blood on the cross has reconciled both the
? visible thrones dominions, powers and authorities, on the earth (due to man?s fall), as well as
? the invisible thrones dominions, powers and authorities in the heavens (due to Satan?s fall).
And the working out of all (accomplished in the shedding of Christ?s blood on the tree of Calvary) is ultimately the fulfillment of prophecy.
And without knowing all of this, then prophecy succumbs to a list of foretold events that, at most, we could check off as things coming to pass, and think ?Wow! God said that was going to happen!? And while that may excite our flesh, it falls far short of the whole scope of the wonder and amazement of the total picture of prophecy.
If we do not understand the full scope of all of this, then we are given to look forward to a coming of Jesus, who we think is only coming to usher in eternity ? one long period of unending time ? wherein we will supposedly ?live happily ever after in heaven? doing who-knows-what? sitting around on clouds playing harps! That is NOT the picture given in Scripture.
This is why we are taking the time and energy to lay all of this out, because prophecy doesn?t exist in a vacuum? There are God-given reasons and implications for God having laid out His Word in a way that we might be able to put the picture together, along with the reason for it al!
And so we can know that:
? At the point where the ages began, God brought forth a perfect creation (Gen. 1:1);
? But at some point subsequent to the beginning, the creation fell into ruin (Gen. 1:2a) at the rebellion of Lucifer. And we can see that
? God restored the ruin over a six-day period (Gen. 1:2b-31);
? then God rested from His work of restoration on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1-3).
And based upon this previous perfect restoration, we can know that God will again take six days to restore a subsequent ruin (i.e., ruined man, along with the restored creation which had come under a curse through the fall of man), and He will follow this restoration with a seventh day of rest (Heb. 4:9). Only this time, as Peter so succinctly stated within a context of the ?Promise of His coming? each day will be 1,000 years in length (II Peter 3).
And so these first 34 verses in Scripture are extremely instructive to us as to the timing of the future day of rest. As we have seen and will continue to see in further study, the Sabbath Rest, which is yet for the people of God, is a 1,000-year period, which follows a 6,000-year period.
At the very least, it would be a curious thing to see that these days in Genesis can so easily be divided in the same way that Scripture divides the history of man:
And after 6 days of work:
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
And to see that the 7th day is holy and set apart beyond Gen. 2:3 is no problem. The seventh day, the Sabbath day is set apart as holy to God?s people, Israel. Look at a few of a multitude of verses that depict this:
12 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 13 "But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for [this] is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. 14 Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death?
A sign is something that points to something in the future. So we have a pattern laid out in the past, which is given as a sign to point to something in the future. And it is mentioned numerous times throughout the Law and the Prophets! I wish we had the time?
At the peril of death, God?s people were to keep holy, keep set apart ? as a sign ? the Sabbath day.
The sign of the Sabbath served as a very regular reminder of something they were to remember, which pointed to something future. A sign looked forward to that which it signaled, something that God wanted them to keep ever before them, and because just as he worked 6 days, He rested on the 7th, and set this day apart from all the other days, marking this day as HOLY, and SANCTIFIED. For a reason! Because He wants His people to know something about the 7th day, and doesn?t want us to forget the FUTURE 7th day (Sabbath day of rest).
And we can see that even for us, in the NT?even for us in the Church, God has not forgotten what He intends for the Sabbath to represent, with all this information concerning the Sabbath Day of Rest?the 7th day. Concerning this day look at what the author of the Book of Hebrews says to the Church:
1 Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us,
What good news? In context the good news concerning the rest!
2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
They chose not to believe what God said about the rest! This serves as a warning to us! We must believe what God is showing us about this rest. Keep all this in the context of what Scripture depicts about all of this.
And the author of Hebrews specifically relates this back to Genesis, the 7th day in v. 4.
Do you see how the author of Hebrews is relating ?the rest? that the first generation of the Children of God missed out on in the wilderness (their bodies were strewn, because God was not please with most of them (all but two) but that which the second generation went into as they received their inheritance in the land, with a level of rest from their enemies. And this rest that the second generation went into, was only to serve as a picture of that future day of rest.
As we continue reading in Hebrews chapter 4, we?ll notice that the author comes to a quote from one of David?s Psalms. Let?s keep reading:
6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it [the rest], and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS."?
Hopefully, you will remember in your homework we looked up the Psalm 95 wherein King David encourages His people
And so not only did David give this warning to God?s redeemed people about 400 years after Joshua had led the 2nd generation into the promised land, but also the writer of Hebrews, under inspiration by the Holy Spirit is once again issuing the same warning as what David had issued.
Let?s get back to our passage in Hebrews:
8 For if Joshua (who came BEFORE David) had given them (that second generation) rest, He [David] would not have spoken of another day after that.
And this is the verse we want to get to:
9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
And this ?rest?, this future rest is that which the Scriptures all point to. According to Scripture, it is the 7th day, the Sabbath day, in which the Scriptures are replete with verse after verse, and passage after passage wherein God is laying before His people His desired focus for them, that of the coming rest that is yet for the people of God. This is why we are to see this coming day, the Day of the Lord, this Sabbath Rest that is yet for the people of God is the Age of the Ages, for GOD DEEMED IT SO!
And to see that it will last for 1,000 years is no problem. It is not only implied throughout all of the Scriptures, it is specifically laid out 6 times in Revelation chapter 20.
Let?s flip through these 6 place in Rev. 20 very quickly, only for the purpose of noting the mention of the thousand years?
2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and threw him into the abyss? until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
4 ? and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
6 ? but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
There is much for that is learned from Scripture in all the books and chapters and passage previous to the Book of Revelation, but herein the specific 1,000-year period is mentioned no less than six times.
As we close, I would like to bring attention to something unique and peculiar to the Gospel of John.
John lays out a total of 8 divinely-chosen signs all of which would be given in order to get a point across. (Remember nothing is superfluous when it comes to Scripture. Each Word has been divinely chosen and has been tested in a furnace of fire!) But prior to going to these signs, let?s see something interesting that John says about all of this. Let?s go to the end of the Gospel:
30 Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Remember that a ?sign? is something that points ahead to something else. It is a signal of something.
And these specifically chosen signs (8 chosen to be written in the Gospel of John) would be written down for specific understanding. Let?s briefly see what they are and what details are given about each.
In our homework, we looked at the first sign given ? the wedding feast in Cana. We saw how it could be figured as falling on the 7th day, but also seen as the 3rd day. No discrepancy here, to be sure! We saw how John begins his Gospel in the same way that Moses began Genesis.
1 In the beginning was the Word?
Which takes us all the way back to the same point where Moses began. And both inspired authors leave out much information here, both, though, mentioning DARKNESS, and the light which came into the darkness. We know what Moses wrote; let?s look to see what John wrote:
5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John brings us up to the same point Moses brought us up to, doesn?t he? ?And God said, ?Let there be light?? So now we begin the calculating of TIME, as we know it?
Then we can continue to look at the first chapter of John and see these verses that carry us through four days:
29 The next day? (second day, with light having been mentioned prior to this ?next day?)
35 Again the next day? (third day)
43 The next day? (fourth day)
1 And on the third day? (seventh day)
And a wedding feast takes place on this third day (or seventh day, depending how you want to look at it. Both ways are correct and point to different things. And God wants us to see this.
And then note what John specifically says about this miracle that took place on this day:
11 This beginning of [His] signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
Oh! The beginning of His signs! Specific information for us to pay attention to.
Then John records seven more signs, each giving divinely-chosen information connected to each one, and/or events leading into each one. And the reason for this is so that God can continue to reveal what He wants His people to know and understand as He lays out His word precept upon precept, line upon line, a little from here, a little from there.
Then before the second sign is given in John chapter 4, we see that Jesus goes into Samaria, a Gentile City, where He spent 2 DAYS and dealt with a Samaritan woman at the well, where He offered her living water. (4:3), where he stayed for TWO DAYS (4:40).
When He returned to Galilee, He healed a royal officials son that was at the point of death, with a special note that it took place at the 7th hour of the day (in the fullness of time), on this the 3rd day, having been away for 2 days.
And a note made in v. 54 that this was the second sign that Jesus had performed.
Then the Symbolism: Israel, God?s son, will be healed on the third day when Jesus comes back into Galilee, after spending two days with the Gentiles.
The third sign is found in John chapter five. A man who had been sick for 38 years, was healed on the Sabbath day.
Remember that the Sabbath was a sign given to Israel, pointing to that future day of REST. It is on this day that Israel will be healed
The fourth sign is found in John chapter six. At this sign, the Passover was at hand?And Jesus fed the 5,000 from 5 barley loaves, and 2 fishes, symbolizing that Jesus is the Bread of life whose body was broken on Passover. He is the Bread which comes down from heaven. Israel will receive the Bread of Life, the true manna of the Passover, in that coming day, when they will appropriate the blood of the Lamb that they slew 2,000 years ago.
While no reference to time given for the next sign (sign #5) given in John chapter 6, it is after the 4th sign that there were many of the 5,000 who wanted to take Him force (apart from necessary repentance) which it will not happen apart from repentance, so He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. And while separated from His disciples, they got into a boat and started to cross the sea. It became evening time and had become dark, which is significant in itself. And the sea began to be stirred up because of the strong wind that was blowing. They had rowed about 3 or 4 miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."
They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
Without going into a lot of details, this pictures for us the time when Jesus left the earth, went back up into heaven, a high mountain. But there is coming a time in the Tribulaiton, the Jews will be scattered amongst the Gentile nations again, (pictured for us by the disciples being in the boat on the waters.) at a time when the winds will blow and cause a great stirring of the waters, the many nations will be in an uproar. Others Scriptures will reveal that the stirring will not be like any in history. But at that point, they will be willing to accept Him, and in receiving Him, they will find themselves back in the Land promised to their forefathers? the Promised Land.
The 6th sign is found in John chapter 9. It has to do with a man born blind from birth. His healing takes place on the Sabbath, pointing to the same healing that will take place for Israel as a nation. For the first time in the whole time of their existence, they will, as a nation, be ready to receive him, and their blindness will be lifted, and it will be on that coming Sabbath day that these things will take place for Israel.
The 7th sign is found in John chapter 11. It is the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
Look what it says in the text:
6 When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
That Jesus remained in the place that he was for two days once He heard about Lazarus being sick, portrays the fact that Jesus will be away from Israel for two day, after Israel has been set aside, being describe by the Prophet Isaiah as being sick with sin from the soles of their feet to the tops of their heads. But after two days, He went to Judea in order to raise him from the dead.
Then look at what it says:
John 11:17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
What is the situation here? Two days, three days, four days? It is God?s Omniscience, laying out for us exactly what He wants us to know and understand. Precept upon precept, line upon line, a little from a little from there.
There will be two days that Jesus is away from Israel; on the third day, He will raise Israel up (just like in Hosea); AND just like the man born blind from birth in the previous sign written down in this gospel, in reality, Israel has never lived as a nation, the way God has intended for them. So in that sense, they have been dead for four years, from the time of their birth. But at the end of these four days (or at the end of the two days, while Jesus is away from them), on this day God will raise Israel to live before HIM!
1 "Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn [us,] but He will heal us; He has wounded [us,] but He will bandage us. 2 He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day That we may live before Him.
And all of this is given to us through the use of sign and the God-inspired details that John laid it all out.
It symbolizes for us that Israel will be raised from the dead on the third day, after He had been away two days in the place where He was when hearing about Lazarus?s death.
Then the eighth and final sign given to us in the Gospel of John is the Resurrection of Jesus. He is raised on the First day of the week. Or the eighth day if you add one to seven. It is the eighth sign. Eight is the number of new beginnings.
His resurrection is the beginning of a new beginning. It is in fact the seventh day, the Sabbath day of Rest, yet, in the signs in John?s Gospel we can also see it is depicted as a new beginning.
Next week will look more closely at the ?Salvation that is to be revealed in the last times.? It is a very important lesson. Please study well.
Understanding Prophecy, Part I
Lesson Three Lecture
A Salvation Ready to be Revealed
Today we are going to deal with the topic A SALVATION READY TO BE REVEALED and what that phrase means. Now, I want to encourage you to your homework every week, so that when you come to class, you will be ready to discuss, then to hear more about what you have already seen. That is very helpful in the learning process And to look at these things, there are some things that need to be understood in order to put all of this in proper place.
Let?s first consider the question: Why is Jesus coming back? We know why He came the first time; He came to die, in order to redeem us. But what is the purpose of His coming back to the earth. Have you ever wondered about that?
Let?s look at what the author of the Book of Hebrews says:
28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
Would this be separate and distinct from the salvation with respect to sin?
So we have two comings of Christ, each for differing reasons and intentions when He comes. The first time, we know that He came to die on the cross as our Passover Lamb, in order to redeem us from eternal death and afford us eternal life.
But He is coming again, without reference to sin. It says here that He is coming again to those who eagerly await Him. Interesting!
A salvation without reference to sin? Is there such a salvation? So then is there a salvation with reference to sin, and a salvation without reference to sin? Let?s read it again:
28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
In order to understand these things, we have to do what we are supposed to do, and go back the beginning to see what God says about His creating man in the first place. Because it would make sense, that if God created man for a specific purpose, and sin interrupted that purpose, and in His eternal plan, He planned to redeem man, then it makes sense that He would redeem man for the same purpose that He created man!
By now we know full well, God?s stated purpose for creating. The passage wherein this is explicitly stated is right in the first chapter of the Bible, and frankly, it could not be stated more clearly!
In verse 26 God says what He is going to do:
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
In verse 27 He does what He said He was going to do:
27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
And in verse 28, He tells that He did what He said He was going to do and repeated His reason for doing it:
28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
But man is not ruling yet, is he? We can see that clearly stated in the Book of Hebrews:
5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking?
8 YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But
But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
May I ask you something personal? (This is just to get you thinking!)
What do you personally think about that? About the fact that man was created to rule, and in that, you and I have that same purpose! Do you like it?
May I ask another question: What are you supposed to think about it?
Some people really don?t like the idea of this rulership stuff?and frankly, God gives them the prerogative to make that choice, doesn?t He?
But is it wise do to do something like that? To decide that you really don?t like what you read here in these verses and therefore you will ignore.
Because God does give you and me the option to ignore it, doesn?t He. He is not forcing anything upon you. He just offers it in His Word, and it really is up to you and me what we are going to do with it. Believe it or not; live by it or not.
It is our choice, isn?t it?
But what is wise, and what is right? What is the correct way to view this? According to God?s Word, or according to the way we feel about? AND are there ramifications in your choice?
Again, these are just questions to get you thinking. So what do you believe about this?
Well, we can see here in these verses that God created a being in His own image and likeness. So what is the image and likeness of God? Can we know?
On thing we can know is that He is a TRIUNE being! He exists in three parts, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So that is one way that we are created in His image, is that we are also a triune being. Three parts: Spirit, soul, body. And we can see that clearly stated in something that Paul wrote, and I am adding the context leading into it, for a reason:
I Thessalonians 5
19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Spirit, soul, and body? three different and distinct Greek words used here in the original language; and that is actually true in both testaments, in both languages.
And in this text, Paul is dealing with judgment. These are judgment seat issues, aren?t they? And that with respect to the separateness of these three parts! Interesting!
And here again, you and I have the option to believe what we want to believe about this, don?t we? I am AMAZED at the Christians who, even in the face of God clearly stating this, they choose not to believe that we were created in three parts, but only two, and choose not to believe that man was created to rule; because, again frankly, we all have that option to believe what they want to believe. Though God is three parts and we have been created in His image and likeness. But what is wise? And what are the ramifications of this?
And to see that it is the Word of God that divides the soul from the spirit is not a problem:
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And here again, in this verse, you have the division of the soul and the spirit, in the setting of the judgment! Interesting!
So please allow me to put a question or two before you: What are you going to believe about these things?
Was man created in three parts or not? Was he created to rule, or not?
We know that:
19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Did God say what He meant, and not mean it? Do we have to believe what He said? Will He have said it and not meant it? Did He lie?
We know that God cannot lie, and He cannot change his mind! What He says, He will do; what He speaks, He will make happen.
Why am I bringing such emphasis on this? Because the way you believe on these things, determines what you believe about prophecy, to a large extent, and determines what you believe about the whole scope of salvation, as well. And YES! There are ramifications to this. Think of the Children of Israel.
I hope that the remainder of this message will bear these things out, and present clearly God?s Word concerning these things.
So?Let?s talk about SALVATION for a moment. Most of us sitting here in this building right now, and I am assuming that most of the people who will be taking this Bible study and/or listening to this message will agree that Salvation is from God, and through faith in Christ?s shed blood, one is eternally saved! Right? It is through faith, and faith alone in His work and His work alone. Right?
And that is the Truth. When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what must he do to be saved? Paul answered most carefully: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!
We know that we have been saved through faith and not by works. We know that it is a gift of God, not of works that no man should boast! We know that! But distinctions must be clearly made here, concerning the three parts of man, which is why it is important to see the foundational things in God?s Word as He presents them.
According to the whole of Scripture, we can see past, present and future aspects of this thing called salvation. Here is the past:
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)?
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God?not of works.
It is the free gift, based upon faith, and faith alone in the finished work of Another. This has to do with our spiritual birth! It has to do with our spirit. Jesus said:
6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
This is referring to salvation in the past sense. You and I have already been saved, meaning we already possess spiritual life. We are no longer spiritually dead, which is the eternal state of an unsaved person (they have been judged already). Not us! We passed out of death, passed into life, through the means of believing in Jesus, and this affords to us eternal life (in the true sense of eternal?.never ending life, rather than never-ending death. (Death means separation; not ceasing to exist!
But that is our spiritual birth. The PAST aspect of salvation, if you will. ?You have been saved!
Now let?s look at the present aspect of salvation!
Paul says very clearly:
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
There is an aspect of salvation that must affect our soul (presently) which will have a future effect on our bodies and the glorification thereof, which is actually born out in the Scriptures. And believe it or not, all of this has to do with prophecy, for prophecy does not exist within a vacuum apart from all of this. For us to understand prophecy, and the whole scope of it, we have got to understand something about the salvation to be revealed in the last days. As Peter calls it.
This is the salvation which we are to (presently) work out in fear and trembling, as Paul says to the Philippians. So when Paul says we must work out our salvation in fear and trembling, he adds:
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
God is working in us not only to do His good please, but also to WANT to do His good pleasure. According to this, can you see that it is HIS WORK in us, to WANT TO and to DO what He wants us TO DO? IF we allow Him, because He won?t force us.
He gives us the option. It is our choice. But what is WISE in this?to ignore it, thinking that WORK is a bad thing, or to accept it, not resting our faith on the wisdom of man, but on the power of God?
Man these things are important!
It is such a shame that for so many Christians that word ?WORK? is such a bad word. I once did a computer search on the word WORK throughout Scripture, and was amazed at how it is seen throughout the whole of Scripture, especially when you add the sense of OBEDIENCE. You know, like ?obeying the commands of Jesus? et al.
It?s like the Children of Israel. They were redeemed out of bondage through faith in what God said about the blood of the Passover lamb. And thereafter they were to obey and keep the covenant, if they were to be a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:4-6).
So we see a present-tense aspect to salvation. This is what Paul means when he says to the Church at Corinth:
I Corinthians 1
18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
?The word of the cross? ? What is this word? It is not the word about Faith in the death of Jesus on the cross that Paul is dealing with as he is writing to saved people. Look how he addressed this letter:
I Corinthians 1:2 ?to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours?
We can see that Paul already knows that they are saved due to their faith in Jesus. But ?the word of the cross? is dealing with that which Jesus told His disciples at the end of Mt. 16, that if they wanted to be disciples His disciples, they would have to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. Discipleship is different than simply being born again.
A saved person can decide whether they want to take up their cross (an instrument of death)?putting to death the deeds of flesh, which is in fact a work! It is a conscious decision on every individual Christian?s part?
I either choose to believe this, and take up my cross, or I choose not to believe it, and simply be concerned with the free gift and the free gift alone.
This word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing?in the process of perishing. But to those who are being saved?in the process of being saved. And ongoing process.
Paul says it again to the same group of believers:
II Corinthians 2
15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
With respect to the spirit?A saved person is eternally alive; an unsaved person is eternally dead in trespasses and sin, with his only way out of death is through faith and faith alone. A dead person cannot work!
And while our spiritual birth is a once for all thing?believe on the Lord Jesus Christ ? at one point in time you believe, and that faith has ongoing, even eternal ramification. i.e., life for the ages of the ages! This cannot be changed or altered in any way, (that is past).
But here we see verses that present a ?working out of salvation?. An ongoing ?being saved,? which Scripture has called the salvation of the soul, and the verses that deal with it have works involved with it.
This is present tense! And with respect to the salvation of our soul, it is stated so, clearly in Scripture.
And to see that this salvation has specifically to do with our SOUL is easy! Look at these passages, which very specifically deal with the salvation of our soul! It is very obvious:
21 Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls (specific word here?not spirit). 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
James altogether connects the salvation of the soul with the way a person lives. With the way he considers trials, and the way he is persevering, the work he is doing that God called him to do, leterally, the way he lives out his faith.
So in understanding this and seeing it like this, when you come to chapter 2, it is easy to see what he meant when he said under inspiration:
14 What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that [lit. the] faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
James has already told us that he is dealing with the salvation of the soul in 1:21. And this salvation (with respect to the soul) requires work.
Then James even ends his epistle rather abruptly with these words:
19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his [the one who strayed from the truth] soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.
And all of this has ramifications in the coming age, which is THE AGE OF THE AGES, separate and distinct from the ages of the ages. It is the Day of the Lord, which is still calculated in time as we know it.
The author of Hebrews deals with the way a person endures through trials
36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
What was promised? (Remember nothing exists in a vacuum in Scripture! This has to do with the promises made to Abraham and to his descendants:
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.
This is speaking of obedience (OT and NT alike) obedience that emanates out of faith?not of some law that can emanate out of legalism!) The promise has to do with INHERITANCE.
So the write of Hebrews can say:
36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
Then he speaks of the second coming:
37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. 38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
The very next statement in the Book of Hebrews is this:
1 Now faith [within context, ?faith to the saving of the soul] is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith not having to do with the finished work of Jesus, but this verse says ?faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.? Things beyond the free gift, faith to the saving of the soul (within context here in Hebrews chapters 10 and 11 would demand actions to come along side of faith?faith concerning things hoped for but not yet seen.
Then of course chapter 11 is replete with a divinely inspired list of OT faithful saints, who are a cloud of those we can witness as individuals who persevered through and ACTED upon their faith?acted upon what they had believed but did not see.
And so over and over again we read the words, By faith?
By faith, Abel?did something
By faith Enoch?did something?
By faith Noah?did something?
By faith, Abraham?did something?
Each one recorded having done something different from the other, and each one having gained approval through that which they did by faith! Again:
1 Now faith [to the saving of the soul] is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
Then after a long list of OT saints, we come to this:
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Ok. So now let?s deal with the fact that Jesus is presently sitting at the right hand of God. We looked at a good number of verses in our homework this past week concerning the fact that it is clearly stated that He is sitting there only for a time. He is sitting there UNTIL God makes His enemies a footstool for His feet. Let?s put together some passages which will make this picture come together for us.
Psalm 110 (A prophecy of David)
1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet." 2 The LORD will stretch forth Thy strong scepter from Zion, saying, "Rule in the midst of Thine enemies."
? 4 The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind?
I Corinthians 15
25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
1 Thus says the LORD, "Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool?
This is millennial in scope, taking place on the 7th day, the day of rest, the Sabbath rest. And all of this (this rulership) has to do with a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last days.
In our opening minutes this morning we were to consider the two comings of Christ, each for differing reasons and intentions.
Again, the first time He came, we know that He came to die on the cross as our Passover Lamb, in order to redeem us from eternal death and afford us eternal life.
But He is coming again, without reference to sin. It says here that He is coming again ?for a salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.? What about THIS salvation?
We have already read this, but let?s look at it again:
I Peter 1
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Notice the phrase ?living hope?. We have been born again to that! Hold onto that and we will get back to it.
So Peter is dealing with Christians?people who have been born again?in order to
I Peter 1
4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
These two words ?last time? The English word ?last? has been translated from the Greek word:
?last?: eschatos: the farthest, final, ends of, last, latter end
?time?: kairos, kahee-ros' an occasion, i.e. set or proper time, due season
The end time! Just as we are shown in Scripture. But so often miss!
I Peter 1
6 In this [in what?]you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, ?
(Man I hate to leave out portions of a passage?it?s the clock you know!
9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
This clearly states what the outcome of this kind of faith is. That word outcome could also be translated goal
I Peter 1
10 As to this salvation?
So what do we have here? We have a salvation connected to an inheritance, which is reserved IN heaven for us, which won?t be revealed until the last days, which has to do with the salvation of our souls.
This salvation is based upon the works that we do:
We know that our spiritual birth is by faith apart from works. We have seen that in
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
But the very next verse speaks to the works which should follow
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
And what about these works? How do they fit into the overall scope of our inheritance, which, according to Peter has to do with the salvation that is to be revealed in the last time? What do you think? Is it OK with God NOT to believe this? Are there ramifications? (There were for the first generation of the Children of Israel in their choice not to believe it!)
23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
And that Paul preached this message in his life-long work is easy to see. After he spent three years in Asia Minor, and when traveling back through the area he called the elders at Ephesus together at Miletus and spoke to them. He warned them a savage wolves rising up from their own midst. And he told that how:
20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. ?
?24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
25 And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more.
26 Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
The whole purpose of God?s Word:
? faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and
? preaching the kingdom
But as to this salvation having to do with our souls and the coming kingdom, mockers will come with their mocking, won?t they? We have already seen that in our study. Paul has revealed:
II Timothy 4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
The time has come, hasn?t it?
And we have already seen Peter warn of these false teachers as well.
II Peter 2
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them?
2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned?
So what do we do with all of this? We know that all of this:
The day of rest
The Day of the Lord
All has to do with that COMING AGE OF THE AGES. The one that all the prophets and all the apostles spoke of. The one that Jesus endured the same of the cross as He looked to the joy that was set before Him.
We, too, are to look out ahead to the coming day, and rejoice!
We?ll close today by seeing this passage in Titus. Paul deals with what was accomplished in the past, at Christ?s first coming, and how that is to affect us in the present:
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
Presently we are to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, for THIS reason, as we:
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Paul tells Titus to:
15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.