Our Beliefs: 11. Resurrection
Posted on 06/18/2017 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.
EVEN THE MOUNTAINS
by Benjamin R. Faust
We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high
Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name
I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above
by Barney Elliott Warren
I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus' feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.
I have found the pleasure I once craved,
It is joy and peace within;
What a wondrous blessing, I am saved
From the awful gulf of sin.
I have found that hope so bright and clear,
Living in the realm of grace;
Oh, the Savior's presence is so near,
I can see His smiling face.
I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o'erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.
YOU ARE HOLY
by Benjamin R. Faust
You are holy
great and worthy
All creation is
full of Your glory
fall - and with one voice proclaim
Glory and Majesty to
Whom for all eternity reigns! (He reigns!)
(Him for all eternity)
To Him who sits on the throne
Glory and honor and praise
forever and ever
And to the Lamb who was slain
And set us free from the grave
and those who know Him are free
*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***
Today, I'd like for us to continue where we left off a few weeks ago on our series covering our statement of beliefs, and talk about the last item on the list.
And the reason we're covering these points is NOT for the purpose of claiming that these points of view are the indisputable truth or that you have to agree with them. You could have disagreements with one of them, or even all of them. And you might be right.
If what we discuss today is something you already believe, then you might find it enjoyable and encouraging. If you DISagree, then that could be even better, because this will be another point of view, and could encourage you to not hold on so tightly to your mind's insistence that it has the last word on spiritual truth.
And instead, we can enjoy watching the play of thoughts, ideas, perceptions, and understanding, as we rest in the only thing that really matters -- the Presence, the Spirit, the Life of God which fills the temple of flesh in which you and He intimately reside.
Okay. So let's read today's statement. By the way, you can find these at almcyberchurch.org by clicking the "what we believe" link, or here in Second Life by clicking one of the church information signs.
And today's statement is this:
Resurrection awaits all mankind, to one everlasting life, and to the other everlasting damnation. These are the words of Jesus, and the meaning also is His.
Most of us in the Church believe in the resurrection, and the Gospels record several times that Jesus mentioned it.
In John 5:24-25, He said this:
John 5:24-25 (NKJV)
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.
25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
Now, perhaps this does not necessarily refer to the coming resurrection. He said, "the hour is coming, and NOW IS." So this COULD be referring to those who are spiritually dead, and after hearing Jesus' voice either directly or through the mouths of others, are brought spiritually to life.
But then in verse 28, He says this:
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
So it sounds as though Jesus was talking about two types of resurrections: those who are spiritually dead who hear His voice and are brought to life, and a time in the future when those who are in the grave are brought to life to be judged: "those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."
In 1st Thessalonians chapter 4, we read a popular passage concerning the resurrection.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NKJV)
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.
The main point in this passage agrees with what Jesus taught -- there WILL be a resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:50-52 (NKJV)
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.
There have been countless sermons preached and books written on the subject of the resurrection, peering deeply into the finer details of every single word and phrase contained in every Biblical mention of the topic. And if you find yourself drawn into a deeper discussion, I encourage you to dig into the Biblical passages and read and listen to the countless commentaries concerning this issue.
And, you are likely to find that not everyone agrees. That is, of course, because we all see through a glass dimly. We see through our temporary earthly minds. And if we get caught up in how they see things and what they insist is of the utmost importance, it's easy to get dragged away with the currents of human thought.
But one thing IS certain: when it happens, it will happen exactly like it is going to happen. Case closed. And we will probably ALL discover we were partly right, and partly wrong.
What parts are literal? What parts are figurative? What are the exact times for everything? And isn't it our responsibility to make sure we figure it all out and thus posess the most perfect doctrine?
Or, is it perhaps more important to walk with Jesus NOW? To dwell in His Presence? To be so immersed in His Love that it flows to everyone and everything around us?
I'll let you be the judge.
Let's read our next-to-final passage for today, which is actually an entire chapter.
Revelation 20 (NKJV)
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Okay. Well that's a lot of information! So first, it appears as though there is more than one resurrection. In verse four, we see that those who were beheaded for Christ and who had not taken the mark of the beast, are living the reigning with Jesus for a thousand years.
Obviously, when your head is cut off, you die. So they appear to have been resurrected. And verse six says, "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection."
So that clears THAT up.
And then at the end of the thousand years, Satan is released and goes out to deceive the nations once again, and to gather them to battle against the saints.
Sometimes he doesn't seem to be very smart. And, in verse nine, fire came down from God and devoured them. And then satan was cast into the lake of fire for eternity.
Okay. So then we read about the Book of Life. And as verse 15 says, anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
So what IS this Book of Life?
Revelation 13:8 (NKJV) says this about it:
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship (the beast), whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
That interesting wording: "from the foundation of the world." What does that mean? In the New King James Version, it says, "whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
That's unclear. It could mean the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, of the names were not written from the foundation of the world.
The New International Version words it this way:
Revelation 13:8 (NIV)
8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast -- all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
So maybe that's what it means. Except the word "Lamb" is added a second time by the translators, presumably as an attempt to make the meaning more clear that THEY understood.
And then the New American Standard Bible words it like this:
Revelation 13:8 (NASB)
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
So maybe THAT is the meaning. Other translations word it other ways. But one thing is certain: SOMETHING that we perceive as happening in time is mentioned here as happening from the foundation of the earth. Meaning that, while we perceived it at a specific point in time, it actually is timeless.
I suspect this applies to both the Divine Sacrifice of Jesus AND the writing of YOUR name in His Book of Life.
And THIS is where I would be expected to ask you if your name is, indeed, in the Book of Life, and if not, you need to get that taken care of right now.
And a call to repentance, a call to surrender, a call to come to the Cross, is a very important thing. So come to Jesus. Let go of the things of this earth to which you've been clinging. And put all your trust in Him.
And if you find yourself getting hung up on the whole "before the foundation of the earth issue," and wonder if your name was NOT written so long ago, let's remember that this is a reference to something that is timeless. And while we may see that thing surface at a certain time in our history, it is, itself, outside of time and space.
So let's let go of that earthly time, and dwell with Him in Timeless Eternity.
Are you dwelling with God right now in His Temple? As long as you remain in that place, you are not pulled along by time; instead, you can observe as time passes by, seasons change, your body ages, kings rise and fall, and stories play out and come to an end.
And all the while, you are dwelling with Christ in that Heavenly Place, that place of Timeless, Eternal Glory. That place of deep, complete, unshakable Peace.
And as you dwell in Life, your name is written there. It becomes your home, the timeless place from which you see time passing by.
And when the things prophecied in the Scriptures come to pass, you will STILL be in that place of Intimacy with God.
And as Jesus said in John 11:25 (NKJV),
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."