Saturday, January 26, 2013

Who is Jehovah of Armies?

For thus says Yahweh of Armies: 'For honor he has sent me to the nations which plundered you.

Zechariah 2:8

Read the context to see...

Who sent Jehovah of Armies?

Why is there a resurrection? Why not leave them in heaven since Christianity teaches that paradise is in heaven?

There are plenty of Christian denominations that understand/teach about the earthly resurrection and new earth, it is in Luther's Small catechism, for example, and when I asked a baptist about it she explained that they belief that people return to the earth after the rapture.

  • I am sure there are Christians that don't understand this.... There are churches that allow membership without any classes, and people generally have to ask if they want to know more than the basics... in addition, when people say heaven they generally just mean with the Lord, so even when the new heavens and the new earth are here we will still be in heaven... AND earth.

  • The following is quoted from a Baptist site:
    "The scriptures clearly show there is ONE BODY, ONE HOPE, and ONE FAITH for ALL true born-again Believers in Christ.Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body (not two bodies, one earthly and one heavenly) , and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope (not two hopes, one earthly and one heavenly) of your calling; In the Eternal State (Rev 21) there will be an earthly, spiritual kingdom where God will be all in all.

    Part (2) If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?
    Most born-again Christians would give the same answer---heaven.
    If saints are returning during the millennium to reign with Christ, how could that be correct?
    1Thess 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

    Part (3) Where will those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life spend eternity?
    First, they will be in heaven where Jesus is now.
    Matt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Second, they will return with Him at Armageddon.
    Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
    Third, they will dwell with Him forever in His new earth.
    Matt 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
    Rev 21:1-2 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

  • This is from a Lutheran site: "You ask what the new heavens and earth will be like. I am not sure how to answer aside from emphasizing that it will be the eternal home of believers and thus a parallel term with "heaven," where God and his people will enjoy eternity together. To try to speak in great detail is inevitably going to be somewhat speculative and unnecessary. As Martin Luther once said, for us to engage each other with detailed descriptions of our eternal home would be like twin fetuses telling each other about how it will be in the world after their birth. They haven't experienced it yet and are wise to limit their speculations.
    The late Professor Siegbert Becker wrote these fitting words: "The most detailed description of this new heaven and new earth we find in the last two chapters of the Bible, where we have also a detailed description of the place where God's people will live through all eternity. John first tells us that he had a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. . . . What more can we say to add anything to that picture of endless bliss and glory? We can only join in the prayer of St. Bernard, 'Jesus, in mercy bring us to that dear land of rest.' "

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or field for my sake will recieve a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."

Leaving is Loving. This chapter in Max Lucado's book No Wonder they call him the Savior caused me to get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes and also brought me comfort. I just had to share it with you.

The gospel is full of rhetorical challenges that test our faith and buck against human nature.

"It is more blessed to give that to recieve" (Acts 20:35)

"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it" (Luke 9:24)

"Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honour" (Matthew 13:57)

But no statement is as confusing or frightening as the one in Matthew 19:29. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or field for my sake will recieve a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."

The part about leaving land and fields I can understand. It is the other part that causes me to cringe. It's the part about leaving mom and dad, saying goodbye to brothers and sisters, placing a farewell kiss on a son or daughter. It is easy to parallel discipleship with poverty or public disgrace, but leaving my family? Why do I have to be willing to leave those I love? Can sacrifice get anymore sacrificial than that?

"Woman behold your son"

Mary beholds the crucifixion of her firstborn. One wonders what memories she conjures up as she witnesses his torture. The long ride to Bethlehem, perhaps. A baby's bed made from cow's hay. Fugitives in Egypt. At home in Nazareth. Panic in Jerusalem. "I thought he was with you!" Carpentry lessons. Dinner table laughter.

And then the morning Jesus came in from the shop early, his eyes firmer, his voice more direct. He had heard the news. "John is preaching in the desert." Her son took off his nail apron, dusted off his hands and with one last look said goodbye to his mother. They both knew it would never be the same again. In the last look they shared a secret, the full extent of which was too painful to say aloud.

Mary learnt that day the heartache comes from saying goodbye. From then on she was to lover her son from a distance; on the edge of a crowd, outside of a packed house, on the shore of the sea. Maybe she was even there when the enigmatic promise was made, "Anyone who has left... mother... for my sake."

Mary wasn't the first one to be called to say goodbye to loved ones for the sake of the kingdom. Joseph was called to be an orphan in Egypt. Jonah was called to be a foreigner in Nineveh. Daniel was sent from Jeruslem to Babylon. Abraham was sent to sacrifice his own son. Paul had to say goodbye to his heritage. The Bible is bound together with goodbye trails and stained with farewell tears.

In fact, it seems that goodbye is a word all too prevalent in the Christian's vocabulary. Missionaries know it well. Those who send them know it, too. The docotr who leaves the city to work in the jungle hospital has said it. So has the Bible translator who lives far from home. Those who feed the hungry, those who teach the lost, those who help the poor all know the word goodbye.

Airports. Luggage. Embraces. Taillights. "Wave to grandma." Tears. Bus terminals. Ship docks. "Goodbye Daddy." Tight throats. Ticket counters. Misty eyes. "Write me!"
What kind of God would put people through such agony? What kind of God would give you families and then ask you to leave them? What kind of God would give you friends and then ask you to say goodbye?A God who knows that the deepest love is built not on passion and romance, but on a common mission and sacrifice.

A God who knows that we are the only pilgrims and that eternity is so close that any "goodbye" is in reality a "see you tomorrow."

A God who did it himself.
"Woman behold your son."

Jesus looked at Mary. His ache was from a pain far greater than that of the nails and thorns. In their silent glance they again shared a secret.

And he said goodbye.

So I share this chapter as a way of saying, Mom, Dad, I love you. I love you so much that I had to say goodbye. I hope that by saying goodbye you will one day realize why I did and will join me in eternity.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jehovah's Witnesses misunderstand the meaning of death

I do not yet belong to a church, but I have gone to Jesus personally for life, and thus He teaches me. (1 John 2:27)

Jehovah's Witnesses misunderstand the meaning of death, believing that death is nothingness and there is no spirit that survives the body, no spirit to reunite to a body in the resurrection. It makes no sense to them then that Jesus could die and yet raise Himself from the dead.

What if spirits really do "survive" death of the body like Jesus indicated? "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28

Then it makes sense that when Jesus' body was dead, "the body without the spirit is dead" James 2:26. He was able to preach to the spirits in prison, 1 Peter 3:18-20 and able to resurrect His body as He said He would, and did. John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 21 But He spoke of the temple of His body.

Luke 24:39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me to have.”

But He was raised in spirit? Yes, are we not told to worship God in spirit? John 4:24 "they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jehovah's Witnesses: What is grace? Undeserved kindness?

I don't have a lot today, just a couple of scriptures to meditate upon, perhaps read in context and match up in parallel.

"So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy."-- Romans 9:16
"But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."-- Acts 15:11.

You can read in several translations and similar scriptures here: 
and here:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Acts 16:31

Believing in his name is trusting in Him. Those who call on the name of Jesus will be saved (1 Corinthians 1:2, Romans 10:9-13)... this means that they are trusting Him to save them. I don't trust the example He left to save me, anymore than I trust the scriptures to save me. (John 5:40) A dead Savior saves no one. I trust Him to personally save me, because He lives. I know He can save me because He is almighty (Matthew 28:18) and no one can take me away from him (John 10:28) .