Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

It’s that time of year again when beleivers celebrate the Lord’s resurrection and the events ocurring there about. One of the techings that seems connected with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is how “he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” However, many believers miss what Peter was actually referring to in that verse, and that my firends is the topic of this post. But first, let’s start this topic off with looking at a few verses concerning God’s prophets and the Spirit of Christ for some context and supportive references –

II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

“Holy men of God” were “the prophets” through which “God spoke” as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost,” and they were only speaking that which “the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.”

Such is why the Apostle Paul made his statement to the Galatians that, as a minister of the Gospel, he was crucified with Christ and thus Christ lives in and through him. But Paul doesn’t stop with applying this principle only to himself, for later he stresses how this principle applies to all who are Christ’s. For if we are truly “in Christ Jesus,” it is only because His Spirit lives in us; and if we are ever to truly be ministering life through the Gospel, it is because Christ is ministering it through us.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

For this reason, Paul testified to both the Thessalonians and the Corinthians that what he preached unto them was not merely the word of a man, but rather the very word of God. For Paul testifies what he had spoken was through the leading of the Spirit of Christ that dwelt within him.

I Thessalonians 2:13 – For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

II Corinthians 13:3 – Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Below another passage further establishes this truth that it was Jesus Christ himself, who by His Spirit, was ministering through the prophets of old. Unfortunately, this passage has also been greatly misunderstood by many throughout the centuries. Sadly, this confusion has given way for many erroneous teachings to creep into the church about Jesus, His death, and the completeness of the work of the cross.

I Peter 3:18 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which [Spirit] also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The “popular” understanding of this verse is that after Jesus died, He then went to hell and preached to the spirits/souls that were in prisoned there; and some believe and assert/teach that of those in hell that “believed” what Jesus preached unto them were then set free. Added to these interpretations are other assertions such as Jesus had to die spiritually, taste hell itself, and be born again in order to defeat the devil on his ground, all this so that Jesus could take back from the devil the keys of death and hell. All of which are false.

Many believers raised in traditional churches assume these beliefs to be credible because they lack an understanding of the scriptures and the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed they may have been compelled to memorize. For when it states that Jesus was “crucified, buried, descended into hell and rose again the third day,” they assume it means Jesus literally went to hell, the place prepared for the angels that had sinned. However, this reference to the death, burial, and resurrection which is a true tenet of the Christian faith actually refers to Jesus’ body being crucified, prepared for burial, and placed in the grave for three days after which He resurrected.

Psalms 16:10 – For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

This psalm is speaking about the physical body of Jesus not being left in the grave to decay, or “see corruption.” It is not speaking about Jesus going, either physically or spiritually, into the hell which was prepared for the devil and his fallen angels. The word here translated “hell” in English is the Hebrew word “sheol” which was used sixty-five times in the Old Testament; thirty-three times implying the “grave” and thus correctly translated.

Adding to the confusion is how many people falsely believe that Hell is the headquarters of Lucifer, when actually it is a prison God made for the fallen angels and those who would imitate their lawlessness. The fallen angels and demons are terrified of hell. For when Jesus cast out demons out of the possessed Gadarenes man, they were terrified of hell and fearfully inquired if He had come to torment them before their time by sending them there.

Matthew 8:29 – And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Except for those fallen angels which were long ago cast down for their particular sins and are already bound in chains of darkness in Tartarus, the remaining principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world are still loose and share the sentiments of demons having a fear for the torment of hell, for they know this prison was created for them.

II Peter 2:4 – …God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.

Since Jesus created all things it would be foolish to assume He needed to go to hell in order to get the keys of death and hell, for He has always possessed them.

Psalms 68:20 – He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

Revelation 1:18 – I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

One only needs to listen carefully to what Jesus is saying to correctly discern what He is not saying. For many have become so affixed by popular theology that they can only read the Holy Scriptures in the light of the theology they were taught: rather than proving their theology by the light of the scriptures.  For in Revelation 1:18, Jesus clearly says “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” That is because once again to “confirm the covenant” He tells us that it is He who has “the keys of hell [meaning the grave] and death.”  After His death, Jesus ripped the veil of the Temple in two and “the graves were opened.” However, it was not until after His resurrection that “many bodies of the saints… came out of the graves… and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

Matthew 27:50 – Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Ezekiel 37:12 – Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put My spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

While there are conflicting opinions on just who those saints were that “came out of the graves… and went into the holy city and appeared unto many,” I do not believe that these were the old patriarchal saints. The scripture plainly states that “many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” making it evident that not all of “the saints which slept arose.” Thus, I am persuaded these were probably saints who had recently died; for the patriarchal saints would not have been known by their appearance as there were no photos of them whereby the townspeople would have readily recognized them. Rather these were saints who like Lazarus were brought back to life in their mortal bodies. Incontestably, Jesus was the “firstfruits from the dead,” which means that all those who have died in faith are still awaiting the fulfillment of the covenant to be resurrected with their own glorified, immortal bodies at His return.

Hebrews 11:39 – And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

So let’s look afresh once more at that greatly misunderstood passage in I Peter and see if we cannot properly discern the apostle’s meaning.

I Peter 3:18 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

First it is clear how Jesus suffered and “was put to death in the flesh,” but was then “quicken by the Spirit.” That phrase means His body was not resurrected by the power of that earthen vessel of humanity, rather by the Spirit of Christ that dwelt within. Paul had stated virtually the same thing in his Epistle to the Romans, which again can also be viewed as “confirming the covenant.”

Romans 8:11 – But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Next, take notice in I Peter 3:18 how Peter states “by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”  What Peter is saying is that it was by the Spirit that Jesus once went and preached to the spirits in prison and not in His bodily form. This reveals that it was not Jesus the “Son of man” which went somewhere and preached, but rather the Spirit of Christ.”

Also, unless we pay careful attention to just whose “spirits” these are that are “in prison,” then like so many others have we too will run the risk of jumping to all sorts of erroneous conclusions; which is completely unnecessary since Peter clearly states who they are. These are the spirits of those “which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

Therefore, these spirits are not all the lost souls of humanity which died from the time of Adam to Christ; rather these are only the spirits of those who were alive during those the days “while the ark was a preparing.” This is an excellent example of how we must be careful not to apply content beyond what is written to the scriptures. So why then does it say it was Christ who preached to those souls which were alive in those last days of Noah while the ark was being built? Perhaps it will help to review what Peter said earlier in the context of this very epistle.

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Not only was Noah a preacher of righteousness, he doubtlessly was one of these prophets Peter was referring to who preached by “the Spirit of Christ which was in” him. Thus it was Noah who preached unto them “which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” but the people rejected what the Spirit of Christ had preached to them through the Prophet Noah and therefore they perished; their bodies decayed and returned into the earth but their “spirits” are now “in prison.”

No, Peter wasn’t saying after Jesus died that He went to hell to preach, for anyone entering into hell and offering any hope to those spirits would immediately find everyone grasping at any possibility of escape. Rather, Peter was affirming the omnipotence of Christ, that though He was a man who suffered and died in the flesh, He was much more, He was a quickening Spirit in Noah through which He warned the world that then was to flee the wrath to come, of which only the few righteous were spared while the disobedient perished.

Thus, we have a sound scriptural account of Jesus preaching before Israel was a nation or there was a Holy City of Jerusalem and Temple, even before the time of His own incarnation. Why then would we fail to believe that the Spirit of Christ will again be there in like power and authority via the Two Witnesses at the next coming end of the world which is now cresting our own horizon?

II Peter 3:5 – For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

These Two Witnesses will know exactly who they are; and by “the Spirit of Christ which is in them” they will testify in the last days how they are going be martyred and how they too, just like Jesus, will be raised from the dead. Though their ministry and testimony of Jesus the Christ will absolutely infuriate the world and most of the Jewish people, a remnant of the Jews will nonetheless believe and having been pierced in their hearts and convicted by the Sword of Truth will be watching there slain bodies and witness their resurrection from the dead. This remnant are those who will give glory unto God after their resurrection once again confirms the covenant of God, perhaps for the very last time before the whole world.

Revelation 11:7 – And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The only way these Jews, or any one, can give glory unto God is to honor the Son, even as they would honor the Father. Thus, this remnant gives glory unto the Son as their Redeemer, Christ the Lord. The fulfillment of this will be the prophesied in-grafting of the Jews back into the vine, resulting in the completion of the angel Gabriel’s prophecy to Daniel by ushering in the fulfillment of the covenant, the resurrection of the dead.

Romans 11:15 – For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

It’s time to be looking up, for our redemption draws near…

 

(Sadly, many are completely ignorant of the extent of the various rebellions and sins of the fallen angels, including their taking daughters of men for wives and their offspring, the nephilim; a subject far too vast to cover here. I would simply recommend two books on the subject which are available online in PDF format for those interested. The first would be “The Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology” by Rev. John Fleming, A.B., published in 1879. The second would be “Earth’s Earliest Ages” by G.H. Pember, published 1889.)

Trips to the Tomb

I know it;s an old post, but since it is Easter this coming Sunday I figured it would be a good repost it once more for those who may have missed it. I hope it blesses you.

For centuries there has been much confusion when people try to reason the different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection as recorded by the apostles. The fact that they all seem to have a different story to tell does not help. Perhaps, a good way to consider their seemingly different reports is to view them like transparent overlays, similar to the one’s we have seen in books showing the skeleton, then the nerves and blood vessels, organs, muscular and finally the skin and hair.

The Gospels, similarly, are each reporting different events which had taken place around a major singular occurrence, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact is that these different events are recorded in God’s word and are therefore true. Perhaps the answer to the confusion is to consider that there were multiple trips made to the tomb.

The best way to determine the possible order of these trips to the tomb is to consider the different details that have been given about the time of day and light of the sun. Was the sun going down or coming up? These questions are actually quite easy to answer. However, we must remember that the Sabbath, like all the other biblical days, began and ended with sundown, see Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 and Lev. 23:32.

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 As far as I am aware, the KJV is the only translation which has “Easter” mentioned in Acts 12:4. The Greek word “Pascha” which was translated “Easter” is used a total of 27 times in the New Testament, 26 times being properly translated “Passover.” Why in Acts it wasn’t so translated by the KJV translators in Acts one can only speculate, but reasonable logic would attribute it to residual influence of Catholicism. The following is a simple article I re-posted touching briefly on the history of Passover versus Easter from Bereans Online.

A Return to Orthodoxy

A History of Passover vs. Easter

“He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God,  that you may keep your tradition.’” Mark 7:9

In the modern evangelical church, there are three days of special significance– Christmas, Easter, and the weekly Sunday “worship day”. Many Christians do not know how these days came to be of special significance – they simply assume that they have always been – and that celebrating Christmas, Easter, and Sunday “worship” are orthodox1.  Most Christians do not know that these days were not celebrated by the early church and there is no biblical basis for them – but instead they were established later in church history by the Catholic Church. Even the Roman Catholic Church does not claim these days as biblical – but rather that the Church had the authority to establish them2.

There is nothing wrong with keeping traditions in and of themselves. The danger comes when we declare our traditions as “God-given” – or even replace God-given commands with man-made traditions. So as not to be found following the “traditions of men” which oppose God’s Word, we need to reexamine what is indeed orthodox and biblical regarding what is commonly called “Easter”.

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Trips to the Tomb

I have posted this before, but since it is Easter this coming Sunday I figured it would be a good repost for those who may have missed it. I hope it blesses you.

For centuries there has been much confusion when people try to reason the different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection as recorded by the apostles. The fact that they all seem to have a different story to tell does not help. Perhaps, a good way to consider their seemingly different reports is to view them like transparent overlays, similar to the one’s we have seen in books showing the skeleton, then the nerves and blood vessels, organs, muscular and finally the skin and hair.

The Gospels, similarly, are each reporting different events which had taken place around a major singular occurrence, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact is that these different events are recorded in God’s word and are therefore true. Perhaps the answer to the confusion is to consider that there were multiple trips made to the tomb.

The best way to determine the possible order of these trips to the tomb is to consider the different details that have been given about the time of day and light of the sun. Was the sun going down or coming up? These questions are actually quite easy to answer. However, we must remember that the Sabbath, like all the other biblical days, began and ended with sundown, see Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 and Lev. 23:32.

(more…)

Trips to the Tomb

I have posted this before, but since it is Easter this coming Sunday I figured it would be a good repost for those who may have missed it. I hope it blesses you.

For centuries there has been much confusion when people try to reason the different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection as recorded by the apostles. The fact that they all seem to have a different story to tell does not help. Perhaps, a good way to consider their seemingly different reports is to view them like transparent overlays, similar to the one’s we have seen in books showing the skeleton, then the nerves and blood vessels, organs, muscular and finally the skin and hair.

The Gospels, similarly, are each reporting different events which had taken place around a major singular occurrence, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact is that these different events are recorded in God’s word and are therefore true. Perhaps the answer to the confusion is to consider that there were multiple trips made to the tomb.

The best way to determine the possible order of these trips to the tomb is to consider the different details that have been given about the time of day and light of the sun. Was the sun going down or coming up? These questions are actually quite easy to answer. However, we must remember that the Sabbath, like all the other biblical days, began and ended with sundown, see Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 and Lev. 23:32.

(more…)