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Honour and Happiness of God’s Saints

Image result for images of the martyrs near the throne of god

As I near the end of God’s Word again in Revelation, as usual, I am learning new things from Him and being reminded of things I may have forgotten.

Today Revelation 7:13-17 spoke very powerfully to me about those who will be left behind in the Rapture of God’s church, but will be brought to Salvation during the Great Tribulation. God is revealing things that will happen in the end of times to John for our knowledge and encouragement.

Here we see a description of the honour and happiness of those who have faithfully served the Lord Jesus Christ, and suffered for His Great Cause-Martyrs.

Though it is just a few short verses, there is much to glean from it. I have shared some of Matthew Henry’s commentary as it touched my soul and he puts it into words I never could. I find it encouraging as it helps me through the times when my selfish flesh wants to say, “Why bother?” after so long a time of witnessing to and praying for lost souls, and in my finite, human mind, not seeing the results I think I should see, when I think I should see them. Weeping only lasts until the morning! One day, we will stand before our Lord and be glad for anything we may have done to further His precious Gospel! Unlike these martyrs, I have not been called on to lay down my life for it. I must hope that I will trust in the Grace of God to get me through, should I ever be faced with that.

Revelation 7:13-17

13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (A question asked by one of the elders, not for his own information, but for John’s instruction. Now the question has two parts:– 1. What are these that are arrayed in white robes? 2. Whence came they? It seems to be spoken by way of admiration, as in Song of Solomon 3:6 – Who is this that cometh out of the winderness!)

14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.” (The answer returned by the apostle, in which he tacitly acknowledges his own ignorance, and sues to this elder for information: Thou knowest, Those who would gain knowledge must not be ashamed to own their ignorance, nor to desire instruction from any that are able to give it.)

“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (The account given to the apostle concerning that noble army of martyrs who stand before the throne of God in white robes, with palms of victory in their hands: and notice is taken here of:

(1. The low and desolate state they had formerly been in, they had been in great tribulation, persecuted by men, tempted by satan, sometimes troubled in their own spirits. They had suffered the spoiling of their goods, the imprisonment of their persons, yea, the loss of life itself. The way to Heaven lies through many tribulations, but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation, when gone through well, will make Heaven more welcome and more glorious.)

(2. The means by which they had been prepared for the great honour and happiness they now enjoyed: they had washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, Revelation 7:14. It is not the blood of the martyrs themselves nor anything the martyrs did, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God. This is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean.)

15 “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (The blessedness to which they are now advanced, being thus prepared for it. They are happy in their station, for they are before the throne of God night and day and He dwells among them. They are in that presence where there is fullness of joy! They are happy in their employment, for they serve God continually, and that without weakness, drowsiness, or weariness. Heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering. It is a state of rest, but not of sloth. It is a praising, delightful rest.)

16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” (They are happy in their freedom from all the inconveniences of this present life: from all want and sense of want: They hunger and thirst no more, all their wants are supplied, and all the uneasiness caused thereby is removed; from all sickness and pain. They shall never be scorched by the heat of the sun any more.)

17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (They are happy in the love and guidance of the Lord Jesus: He shall feed them, he shall lead them to living fountains of waters, He shall put them into the possession of every thing that is pleasant and refreshing to their souls, and therefore, they shall hunger and thirst no more. They are happy in being delivered from all sorrow or occasion of it: God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. They have formerly had their sorrows, and shed many tears, both upon the account of sin and affliction. But God Himself, with his own gentle and gracious hand, will wipe those tears away, and they shall return no more for ever, and they would not have been without those tears, when God comes to wipe them away.)

(In this He deals with them as a tender Father who finds His beloved child in tears. He comforts him, He wipes his eyes, and turns his sorrow into rejoicing. This should moderate the Christian’s sorrow in his present state, and support him under all the troubles of it for those that sow in tears shall reap in joy and those that now go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.) THESE THOUGHTS ARE VERY COMFORTING TO THOSE OF US WHO SOW THE SEED AND CONTINUALLY PRAY AND WEEP FOR GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK AND HIS WILL THROUGH OUR EFFORTS!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2018 in God's Love

 

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The Doctrine of Heaven – Part 10

John’s Witness of the Third Heaven – Part 6

Revelation 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” This is the 2nd New Song in the Third Heaven.

English: Angel of the Revelation

English: Angel of the Revelation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another angel flies from the middle of Heaven with the everlasting gospel to preach to them on the earth –  Revelation 14:6-7 “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” God still cares for the earth’s inhabitants. The saints are in Heaven – those saved out of the Tribulation are now in Heaven – the 144,000 are now in Heaven. Yet God still cares for the souls on earth. A new method to reach them is sent – an angel! How could any on earth resist that!? Yet, sadly some do. But, everyone has the opportunity to hear the gospel!

The angel’s message is “fear God and worship God.” There is no confusion any more as to God’s identity – Revelation 10:7 – no more mystery. The whole world knows His name is Jesus. He is the Creator – Colossians 1:16 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

  • Another angel follows this angel with a message of condemnation for Babylon because of their evil world system that has caused people to turn from God – Rev. 14:8 “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Babylon represents the world’s system of religious, commercial, and political oneness that rejects God and exalts man. Love for the world is spiritual fornication – James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” So we must even now be aware that we not become friends with this world, or God will consider us at enmity with Him.
  • A third angel leaves the Third Heaven with a message of damnation to all who receive the mark of the beast – Rev. 14:9-11 “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” They will be tormented in fire and brimstone forever. They have been warned!https://i2.wp.com/admin.fridayfunfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/FireBrimstone1.jpg
  • A voice is heard in the Third Heaven saying that, from this point on, those on earth who die in the Lord are blessed – Rev. 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Death will deliver them from the Great Tribulation. This is a good thing, seeing that this time will be the most horrific time in history – Matthew 24:21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” This verse also indicates that Heaven will be a place of reward and rest.
  • A white cloud is seen in Heaven. Jesus sits on it with a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand – Rev. 14:14 “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.”
  • An angel comes out of the Temple and, with a loud voice, encourages Jesus to thrust in His sharp sickle and reap the harvest from the earth. This is the gathering of the just to Christ in Heaven – Rev. 14:15-16 “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”
  • An angel with a sharp sickle comes out of the temple in Heaven – Rev. 14:17 “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.”
  • A third angel comes from the altar and cries to the angel with the sickle. He asks the second angel to gather the unjust to the winepresses of the wrath of God. Jesus only gathers the righteous. An angel gathers the ungodly – Rev. 14:18-20 “And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” The Lord will us 6 angels to do His work as shown in this chapter 14 of Revelation.

Revelation 14:6-20:
6   And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7   Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
8   And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
9   And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10   The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11   And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
12   Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
13   And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
14   And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15   And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16   And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17   And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18   And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19   And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
20   And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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The Doctrine of Heaven – Part 7

John’s Witness of the Third Heaven – Part 3

  • In the future, saints saved out of the Tribulation period will join those already there in worship – Rev. 7:9-15 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”
  • This is very similar to what was described in Chapter 5 of Revelation. This is a great crowd which no man can number. They also cry out with a loud voice. The phrase “loud voice” is found 12 times in the book of Revelation. Eight of these refer to events in Heaven. Heaven is a loud place, loud with worshipful praises to our God and Saviour!. These Tribulation converts are also clothed in white robes. They have palms in their hands. A palm is a token of victory and peace.
  • There is no hunger or thirst, no oppressive heat or sunlight in the Third Heaven –  Rev. 7:16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.”
  • Jesus will feed us, give us water, and banish our sorrows – Rev. 7:17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

https://i1.wp.com/sdrministries.org/prophecy/images/trump7.jpg

  • As noisy and loud as Heaven is, there will be one space of eerie silence lasting 30 minutes – Rev. 8:1 “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” Millions of angels and millions of people will keep silent for a half an hour as God’s wrath towards those that are on earth rises and 7 angels are given 7 trumpets to blow, announcing the fury of God – Rev. 8:2 “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.”
  •  There is an altar in the Third Heaven. As the Holy Golden Altar of Incense in the tabernacle of the Old Testament was the closest piece of furniture to the Holy of Holies, so this altar is right in front of God. True prayer is about as close as we can get to God! Compare Exodus 30:6 “And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.” If we wish to spend time with God, we must spend much time in prayer. God says He will meet us there.
  • There is a golden censer in the Third Heaven Rev. 8:3-4 “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” With the censer, an angel offers up much incense with the prayers of the saints. It ascends up before God. (See Psalms 141:2; Leviticus 16:12, 13.)
  • The angel will fill the censer with fire from the altar and cast it out into the earth – Rev. 8:5 “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”
  • An angel will fly through the midst of Heaven pronouncing the woes on earth – Rev. 8:13 “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!”
  • A star will fall from Heaven to the earth. This star is an angel – Compare to Rev. 1:20 “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” This angel will have the key to the bottomless pit (Chapter 9).
  • Another mighty angel will come down to earth from the Third Heaven having a little book. John is given the book and he must eat it. It is sweet in his mouth and bitter in his stomach, preparing him to prophesy again (Chapter 10). Bitter words are to come against the earth.

Revelation 7:

1   And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
2   And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3   Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4   And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
5   Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6   Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7   Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8   Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
9   After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10   And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11   And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12   Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13   And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14   And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15   Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16   They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17   For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Revelation 8:

1   And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2   And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
3   And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4   And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
5   And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
6   And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7   The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8   And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
9   And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
10   And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11   And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
12   And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
13   And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

Revelation 9:

1   And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
2   And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
3   And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
4   And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
5   And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
6   And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
7   And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
8   And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
9   And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
10   And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
11   And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
12   One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13   And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14   Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15   And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
16   And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
17   And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
18   By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
19   For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
20   And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
21   Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Revelation 10:

1   And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
2   And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
3   And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
4   And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
5   And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
6   And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
7   But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
8   And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
9   And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10   And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
11   And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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Doctrine of Death – Part 6

Gutenberg Bible - detail from the Old Testament

Gutenberg Bible – detail from the Old Testament (Photo credit: National Library of Scotland)

IX. What happened when Old Testament Saints died? There is an interesting statement found on 11 occasions in the Old Testament. It speaks of one dead as being “gathered to his people.” This phrase is never used in the New Testament. Here are a few examples: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 25:8) “And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.” (Genesis 25:17) “And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:” (Deuteronomy 32:50)

That statement has perplexed Bible students for years. Some believe it just means that the dead body becomes the possession of the living relatives to bury where they want. Others believe the statement refers to an afterlife reunion with loved ones.

Some of the newer “per-versions” of the Bible do not tackle the subject at all – they just delete these words without any explanation. Matthew Henry in his commentary explains it this way, “His body was gathered to the congregation of the dead, and his soul to the congregation of the blessed.” Where was this gathering of Old Testament saints? It was to the place referred to by Christ in Luke 16:19-31. As you read it, notice the 6 references to Abraham:

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Christian views on Hell

Christian views on Hell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This word hell comes from “Hades” which means “the place of departed souls.” It appears to be in 2 compartments within eyesight of each other. One for the damned, a place of torment. The other for the blessed, a place of comfort. The Old Testament saints were considered “captives” of that place within the heart of the earth until Jesus came and led them out at His Resurrection. Jesus’ soul went into hell (Hades) when He died: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Acts 2:27) “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts 2:31) “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

This intriguing story of Samuel shows us how he was brought up from the lower parts of the earth by the request of King Saul with the help of the witch of Endor. “Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.” (1 Samuel 28:11-15) Samuel said he was “disquieted” when he was brought up. He appeared to have been in quiet comfort, resting. This would reconcile Christ’s teaching about Hades with Abraham, who was comforted.

X. What happened when Old Testament sinners died? People in the Old Testament days were either converted or unconverted – Psalm 51:13 “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” The truths that we saw under the last point also apply here. These departed souls also go into Hades (hell), but into the place of torment where the Rich Man was – see Luke 16:19-31 again. The Old Testament saints were resurrected when Jesus rose from the grave. They ascended into Heaven. Those that were sinners remained in the same place. There is no reference to them ever coming out.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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