Life, In Christ!

Humanly speaking we are all born with an innate fear of death, no one really wants to die, yet the Scriptures tell us; “it is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Why is this? I am fairly well certain that everyone is familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis, and their disobedience to God by eating the forbidden fruit. Adam’s disobedience to God brought sin into the world and caused sins curse to fall on all men for all time. Romans 5:12; “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” So then, inherent within all of us is a sin nature, we are all predisposed to sin. Romans 3:23; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And because of that sin nature we are condemned to die. Romans 6:23; “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” So even though we are condemned by our sin, through the shed blood of our Savior Jesus Christ at Calvary, we have the opportunity to experience eternal life.

The Word of God teaches us in Hebrews 9:22; “without shedding of blood there is no remission,” and in 1 John 1:7 we are told that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. So Jesus paid our penalty, our sin debt; He died our death. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for every sinner who was ever born or will be born into this world. So then the only way to experience eternal life is by accepting the free gift offered to us by Jesus Christ. The gift cannot be bought, we can only come into possession of it by accepting it freely from the giver, and it is Christ’s gift of grace to us.

In Ephesians 1:7 the apostle Paul tells us; “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” And again in Colossians 1:14; “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” The very reason Jesus Christ was born into this world, was to become the perfect sacrifice before His Father so that we might be redeemed from the sin debt of death we owed and given the opportunity to accept His free gift, which is eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9; “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The Scriptures tell us;

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

There is only one way to be saved from eternal death, and given eternal life, and that is through Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus himself said; “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus also said in John 5:24; “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

This brings us back to the beginning of our teaching in this article, fear of death. In understanding the truth of Scripture, it is obvious why men fear death. Without a relationship in Jesus Christ, having accepted His free gift of salvation, man condemns himself to eternal death. But in Christ Jesus we are given the promise of eternal life, through His gift. We read in 1 John 5:12; “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” So, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we have life and therefore have no need to fear eternal death.

In fact even temporal death should hold no mystery or fear for those who are in Jesus Christ. Because as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Did you catch that? We should be “confident,” and in fact “well pleased” if we no longer inhabit this earthly body, because we get to be with Jesus.

Now then, because we have been given life by Christ, and have no reason to fear death, we ought to live our lives In Christ. Living our lives In Christ means that rather than fearing death we embrace it in that we are dead to the world. In other words the things of the world are not important to us and should have no influence in our lives.

What things are these?

Read to the words of Jesus to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22; ‘“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”’

Luke 9:57-62 records the words of Jesus to others in regard to what is required of us In Christ. ‘“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”’

Also in Luke 9:23-25 this is written; ‘“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”’

So in the words of Christ Himself we discover what is required of us In Christ. The list of things which we are to be willing to give up not only includes material possessions, reputation, and even family, ultimately it includes our very lives. Daily taking up your cross is literally daily putting self to death so that the life which you live, is life In Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In his letter to the Romans he also wrote; “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

If we are dead to self, and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, then we are given life by God through the Holy Spirit. Read Romans 8:1-11; “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

Life, In Christ, is evidenced by the willful subjugation of our will and our very lives, to the will of God and the call that He places on our lives. Obedience to Jesus Christ through the instruction of His written Word gives us the boldness to live life In Christ. It is only through living our lives boldly In Christ will we be able to Stand for Him in these Last Days (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Life, In Christ, is living without fear of death, temporal or eternal, because we have been given the gift of life through Christ. In fact, like the Apostle Paul we should be willing to say; “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Life, In Christ, may involve ridicule, derision, persecution and suffering (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:15-16; 1 Peter 5:10) but if we endure it we are promised the “Crown of Life.” Revelation 2:10; “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Do you know Jesus? 1 John 5:20; “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

Do you live; Life, In Christ? Settle the matter with Him today!

The Rapture is imminent, Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are near, and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Red Heifer

Recently, a friend asked, “What is a red heifer? What is the big deal? Does it have anything to do with Bible prophecy?”

For starters, that innocent looking young female animal: 1) could be the last thing that is needed for the Jews to rebuild the Temple, 2) it could trigger a major religious war between Israel and the Muslims, 3) it could be the first qualified red heifer since the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. and 4) it could be a unique sign that the Second Coming of Jesus is very close.

The Scriptures are found in Numbers 19:1-22. They refer to an ordinance of the law that was commanded by the Lord (vs. 2). They involve the cleansing of defiled people; especially those who had anything to do with the tabernacle (setting it up, taking it down, carrying it in the wilderness, carrying the furniture or vessels, serving there, etc.); and those who had anything to do with a deceased person (caring for them, being with them at the time of their death, preparing their body for burial, burying it, etc.; Num. 19:4, 11, & 14).

God told the Jews to slay a red heifer without spot and blemish and upon which never came a yoke (vs. 2), outside the camp (vs. 3), to sprinkle its blood before the tabernacle seven times (vs. 4), to totally burn its body (vs. 5), to burn cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet with it (vs. 7), to gather the ashes and place them in a clean place outside the camp (vs. 9), to save the ashes for making a water of separation (vs. 9), to take a portion of the ashes and mix it with running water (vs. 17), to sprinkle the mixture of ashes and water upon unclean people and the tabernacle, all who served there and everything in it (vs. 18), on the third day and on the seventh day and they will be clean (vs. 19).

Why God chose a heifer (young female cow) for this sacrifice is a mystery. The Bible doesn’t say, but according to some Jewish sages the heifer is a reminder that the Hebrews in the wilderness defiled themselves by making a golden calf (Ex. 32:4, 7). Moses took their golden calf, ground it into powder, put the powder in their water and made some of them drink it (Ex. 32:20).

The heifer had to be red (the color of sin): “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). Jesus was made sin for us and our sins were laid on Jesus (II Cor. 5:21a; Isa. 53:6).

The absence of blemishes and spots means the red heifer was required to be perfect (Num. 19:2). Just two hairs that were not red disqualified it. Jesus qualified as a sin sacrifice because He was without blemish and spot (I Pet. 1:19). He knew no sin, did no sin, and had no sin in Him (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:22; I Jn. 3:5). He was perfect.

A yoke was put on work animals in Old Testament times to pull a plow, cart, etc. A red heifer that has never been yoked is an animal that has never worked (Num. 19:2). God was saying works have nothing to do with cleansing or salvation. We are saved by grace not by works (Eph. 2:8-9).

Slaying the red heifer outside the camp (Num. 19:3) pointed to Jesus who died outside the gate (Heb. 13:12).

The blood of the red heifer had to be sprinkled seven times in front of the Tabernacle to cleanse it (Num. 19:4). Sprinkling the blood seven times signifies complete cleansing. Blood symbolizes the blood of Jesus (I Jn. 1:7-9). We are cleansed by the blood (I Jn. 1:7); have access to God by the blood (Heb. 10:19-20); overcome Satan by the blood (Rev. 12:11); have been purchased with the blood (Acts 20:28); are justified through faith in the blood (Rom. 3:25); are redeemed through the blood (Eph. 1:7) and more. Since God required the sprinkling of the blood of a red heifer in front of the Tabernacle in the past, it is believed that He requires the sprinkling of the blood of a red heifer in front of any Temple is built in the future.

Completely burning the red heifer so that nothing remained but a pile of ashes signifies that the sacrifice was finished. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (Jn. 19:30).

Three things (Cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet) were burned with the red heifer. Cedar was considered an incorruptible wood. It was used by royalty in their palaces (II Sam. 5:11, 7:2) and in the Temple (I Kings 6:18; Ezra 3:7). Jesus was incorruptible royalty (Psa. 16:10; Luke 1:31-33; Matt. 27:38; Rev. 19:16) and He will be our Temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22). Hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood on the lintel and side posts of the houses in Egypt before the death angel passed over (Ex. 12:22). It was used to lift the vinegar-filled sponge to the mouth of Jesus when He died on the cross (Jn. 19:29). And following his sin David said, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (Psa. 51:7). For those who apply the blood, Jesus is our Passover and His death on the cross will make us clean (I Cor. 5:7). Scarlet symbolizes sin (Isa. 1:18) and Jesus was made sin for us (II Cor. 5:21).

The ashes were placed in a clean place outside the camp (Num. 19:9). There is a little debate about where Jesus was buried, but most say it was in a new tomb that had never been used outside the city (Luke 23:53).

According to some Jews (not the Bible), the ashes were ground up (like the golden calf in the wilderness), pulverized, beaten with rods and sifted. Jesus was severely beaten and His visage was marred more than any man (Mk. 15:15; Isa. 52:14). After the red heifer was burned and sifted some say the ashes were. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isa. 1:18a).

The person who gathered the ashes saved them to use in the water of separation (Num. 19:9). This solution was prepared by mixing a small portion of the ashes with running water (a pinch of ashes with lots of clean water from a natural source such as a spring; Num. 19:17). Then, the water of separation was sprinkled upon the Tabernacle, everything in it (the vessels, music instruments, etc.), everyone there (the priests, musicians, etc.) and anyone who had anything to do with the dead (Num. 19:18).

The Jews say the heifer must be three years old before it is sacrificed. As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t say this, but I found three possible reasons in my studies: 1) Some suggest that God was revealing that Jesus would die after three years of ministry, 2) Others suggest that a three-year old animal is in the prime of his life and Jesus died in the prime of His life, and 3) Still others suggest that the Jews require it to be three years old because Abraham wanted a sign that God would give him the Promised Land and God told him to prepare a sacrifice with a heifer, she-goat and a ram that were three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon (Gen. 15:7-10). Sacrificing a three-year old heifer was part of God’s sign to Abraham.

Some say the ashes of the tenth red heifer must be mixed with the ashes of the previous nine sacrificed red heifers. That is tradition not what the Bible says. For whatever it is worth, I have read that some Jewish rabbis say the old ashes that have been hid for 2,000 years have probably been contaminated and are most likely unfit for use.

Some Jews say the tenth red heifer will be sacrificed by the Messiah. That comes from the Mishna not the Bible.

Some Jews say the tenth red heifer will be in use when the Messiah returns. They will probably use some ashes from the next red heifer in the first half of the Tribulation Period before the Second Coming of Jesus.

Anyway, the Temple will be rebuilt before the middle of the Tribulation Period (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-21; II Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1). And the Temple, plus everyone who builds it, everyone who serves in it and everything that is used in it must be cleansed with the water of separation made with the ashes of a red heifer without spot and blemish (Num. 19:17-19).

A red heifer was born in January 2014 that may qualify if it remains perfect until January 2017. Not everyone agrees, but I am convinced that the Rapture is before the Tribulation Period. The existence of a red heifer without blemish and spot is significant, but it only points to Jesus. He is a better sacrifice (Heb. 9:13-14).

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing

For reasons I must admit I do not completely understand, there continues to be much misunderstanding concerning the differences between the Rapture of the Church, and the Glorious Appearing or Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The only conclusion I can come to for this misunderstanding is that quite simply people are not following Paul’s admonishment to Timothy. In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul wrote; “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” “Be diligent,” the King James Version says “study,” but unfortunately too many who call themselves Christians today never bother to open the Word of God, let alone study it. Today we will begin to do so.

First of all the Rapture is imminent, it can and may happen at any moment, there is no prophecy that yet has to be fulfilled before the Rapture of the Church takes place. Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 “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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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. 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. 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.”

Paul’s teaching here is for the Church, the Bride of Christ. Paul makes it very clear that he believed in the imminent return of Christ. In verse 15 of this chapter he says, “We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord.” Paul believed that the Lord Jesus Christ could come in his lifetime. He did not say or believe that He would come in his lifetime, but he said that He could come. Christians should have an expectant attitude toward the Rapture. Because it is imminent and could happen at any time believers should be continually looking forward to and waiting for that event.

There are three things that we can be sure of because we do not know the exact day or time of the Rapture of the Church.

• Because we don’t know what amount of time might transpire before the Rapture, we need to continually be prepared.
• We cannot say the Rapture will be soon, though it may happen soon it does not have to be soon in order to be imminent.
• Because it is imminent we cannot set a date for Christ to Rapture His Church.

Secondly we need to know that the Glorious Appearing or Second Coming of Christ happens after the Tribulation. This is described in Matthew 24:29&30 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

The description of Christ’s return is given in Revelation 19:11-16 “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Here in this passage, spelled out in language that is easy to understand, is a description of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with His Church in judgment on the world.

In the Rapture, Christ comes for His Church and at His Glorious Appearing or Second Coming, He comes with His Church. Notice verse 14: “and the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen white and clean, followed him on white horses.” By rightly dividing the Word we can know that these armies are those described in Revelation 19:7&8 as the Bride of Christ, His Church.

We will continue discerning the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming as we continue this study. Until then, remember to be listening for the shout for Jesus to Rapture His Church because it is imminent, and the Tribulation will follow, because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome