Saturday, May 12, 2018

Why Did Jesus Repeat He Would Raise Us on the Last Day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54)?

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day (John 6:39)
Jesus repeated this promise three more times in this chapter. He made it clear that he is the one who will raise us up and that it will be on the last day. Why didn’t he say he would raise us up when he returned for the church? Look at these promises. Each tells us that our resurrection will be on the last day.

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40).

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:44).

Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:54).

What did his followers understand by this? Marth understood, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:24). Jesus had also taught that there will be one time for a resurrection.

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:28-29).

This is consistent with what Daniel was told.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan 12:2).

Paul tells us that there is going to be a rapture of the church and all those who are dead in Christ (1 Thess 4:16-17). This is consistent with Revelation 20:4-5 which tells that the dead will actually be raised 1,000 years later.

So what’s going on here? The pre-tribulation rapture theory forces us to say that Jesus must be talking about two different last days when he says he will raise us up on the last day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54). The last day when he comes for the church and the last day at the end of the tribulation when the tribulation saints who died are raised. In the same way the “hour” or “time” when unrighteous people are raise must be different from the “hour, time, or day” the saints are resurrected. That’s some kind of hermeneutical gymnastics and goes against the clear meaning of what Jesus said and what Martha believed.

Here is another theory. The post-tribulation rapture fits what Jesus said about raising all believers at one time without having to mess around with explaining two different raptures or resurrections.

But there is another theory as well and that is amillennialism. If the 1,000 years is symbolic of the current church age then the last day is the last day for all. Then all people are raised at the same time as Jesus said in (John 5:28-29) as well as raising all saints at the same time. However, this runs into problems with the Old Testament promise to Israel – a topic for a different discussion.

The good thing is that what we believe about these topics doesn’t affect our salvation. Reread John 6:39, 40, 44, 54 and that is clear. The Father gives us to Jesus and we must believe in Jesus. We will be raised up, whenever that day is. We don’t need to believe in pre-post-tribulation raptures, millennialism or amillennialism, just Jesus.

Monday, May 7, 2018

May 7: John 5:18; Listen to Jesus’ Enemies

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18).

            Many people claim that Jesus never said he was God. That is only our interpretation of what the Bible said. What do you do when you want to find out what someone has really said? One thing you can do is interview witnesses. A very important category of witnesses is not only the person’s friends but their enemies. If they are saying the same thing, then it is a sure bet that they both heard the person correctly.
            It is obvious from John 5:18 that Jesus’ enemies knew what Jesus was saying about himself. Being equal with God has to be a claim to be God. They heard it and wanted to kill him because of it. This isn’t the only time they understood clearly that Jesus claimed to be God. In John 10:30, Jesus said he and the Father are one. Again, his enemies wanted to kill him for saying this. Just to make sure, Jesus asked them why they wanted to stone him. Their answer was clear, “The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God’” (John 10:33).
            Did Jesus’ friends and his disciples believe he was claiming to be God? You could ask Peter because Jesus asked him. “And he [Jesus] asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ’” (Mark 8:29). Then a friend, Martha, also made this proclamation to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (John 11:27).
            When put under oath at his trial, Jesus answered only one question.

And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matt 26:63-64).

            It is important to note that Jesus told these people who wanted him dead, that because he is the Christ, and therefore equal with God being part of the Trinity, then they will see him coming back again with power at the right hand of God. When they see this, it will be too late for them to repent and look to Jesus for salvation because Jesus will be coming back to judge them and everyone else who has rejected him.
            Therefore, listen to Jesus’ enemies and understand that he is God. But don’t be like them because Jesus warned them that rejecting him is the same as rejecting the Father. But believing Jesus is the same as believing the Father and that is what brings eternal life (John 5:22-24).

Friday, April 27, 2018

April 27: Judges 7:2; Psalm 98:1; Luke 23:42-43; Jesus Saves – Not Us

The Lord said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.’”
(Judges 7:2)

The Lord said it in the Old Testament and demonstrated in a graphic way when he had Gideon defeat Midian’s vast army with only 300 men. The principle he taught is that the Lord saves and he is the only one who does. When we start thinking we are able to save ourselves in any way, then we would be able to boast to God about it. We don’t even have the ability to choose God unless he first causes us to be alive instead of dead in our transgressions (Eph 2:5).

Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
(Psalm 98:1)

God repeats the fact that he alone saves when he tells us to praise him in song because of what he has done. We don’t praise the Lord for what we have done when we are saved. He reminds us that it is his holy arm that works salvation for us. “Jesus paid it all, all to him we owe”[1] are the words to the song we sing about our salvation.

And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23:42-43

If there is any doubt about being able to do anything to merit our salvation, the thief on the cross should dispel that evil conviction. He was guilty as he himself admitted. Does asking Jesus to save us constitute doing anything worthy of salvation? No, because he could not have even done that unless God enabled him. We must remember there was another man crucified with him and Jesus. The other thief didn’t ask for forgiveness or salvation but his circumstances were the same. The difference is that God saves. The repentant thief could only do so because God gave him faith. He didn’t even have time to be baptized, yet Jesus assured him of his salvation. Nope, there is nothing we can boast about when we are saved, not even our decision to follow Jesus.

[1] Elvina M. Hall, “Jesus Paid It All, 1865.