Earth's Sorrows Gone (in the Eternal State)

“And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall not exist any more, nor grief, nor cry, nor distress shall exist any more, for the former things have passed away,” (Revelation 21:4)

It is only in the eternal state that the effects of sin, physical and moral, are completely removed. The millennial era is not, as we have seen, a perfect condition, and hence even under the beneficent sway of the Lord tears will be shed on earth. The words, “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes,” is verbally repeated in Revelation 7:17. There, however, it is a millennial scene; here it is in the everlasting state. The wiping away of tears is not an action ascribed to the Lamb either here or in the earlier scene. God does this. If He wipes away every tear, then He removes every cause and occasion of sorrow. The tear-drop will never again glisten in the eye. The eye is said to be “the fountain of sorrow,” but God shall wipe it dry.

Death shall cease. The physical dead of the madly rebellious gathered under Satan covered the old earth, at least in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and the eternal inhabitants of the new earth had witnessed the awful sight (Revelation 20:7-9). But it exists no more.

“Nor grief,” the same word as in Revelation 18:15, “wailing,” or mourning, the outward expression of the heart’s deep sorrow.

“Nor cry,” the voice of hopeless misery (Isaiah 65:19).

“Nor distress,” or pain within, no internal trouble or weariness, no pain from without or from within. These things which together make up the volume of human misery exist no more, neither does that which caused them — sin. All have passed away. “The former things,” of which those mentioned are part, “have passed away.”

Walter Scott
01 Sep 2019

 

THERE REMAINS THEREFORE A REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD

Hebrews 4:9

Context

The passage before us today comes from the Letter (Epistle) to the Hebrews (Hebrews 4:9), written clearly to Christian Jews who needed to deal with the old way of life, under the Law of Moses, and the new and living way of life under Christ (Heb 10:20). For a Christian today, looking back, it appears so obvious; however for the Jew on accepting Christ, some 2000 years of history needed to be dealt with – and this was not an easy task. One aspect the Jew needed to grapple with was the priesthood, and, in particular the role of the High Priest. The book of Hebrews sets forth the fact that Christ is superior in all ways to Aaron, as Great High Priest, and furthermore, Christ is not only a priest – the role he currently occupies – but is also a king[1]. And further, if the priesthood of Christ is superior to Aaron, what of the people of God, who were promised a rest in the land of promise (Hebrews 3) – but failed due to their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19). The conclusion – the wrath of God will be greater for those that fail in belief in the Son of God, who is greater than Moses (or Aaron). If the writer stopped here, misery would ensue; but the writer continues in Chapter 4 with God’s promise, which will be fully realized by the one, not in obeying the law, or in what Aaron could do, but through Christ through faith (a term used in 34 verses in Hebrews).

Rest

We first see rest in Genesis 2:2 with God resting from His work. God created the world and all that it is in it, and it was good – and thus He rested. Note here for future reference – His rest was from work that produced perfection – everything he did was good. Also note rest did not end on the seventh day, but it commenced on the seventh. Here we need to described rest – it is not idleness, although it includes enjoyment, for God could not be idol, nor is it rest due to fatigue – God’s work was not toil in the sense He had to work to survive as did all the decedents of the fallen Adam. Indeed man cannot understand what the rest of God entailed and accomplished, because of Adam’s fall – humans have never experienced such rest – but there is a time when believers will; the subject of the verse that headed this message (Hebrews 4:9).

In the fallen world rest is a rest from weariness – just as the arc that carried Noah and 7 other souls was tossed on the waves of the flood – it rested on Ararat (Gen 8:4). It is rest because we have nowhere safe to reside as the dove that Noah sent forth (Gen 8:8, 9). We cannot hide from our sin-nature and sin-ravaged bodies. Indeed the word the writer to the Hebrews uses is the equivalent to the words Moses uses to in narrating the experience of Noah.

Rest Unobtainable

I will not dwell on all the passages that describe the inadequacy of rest or the inability to achieve rest in the experience of men and woman as compared with that of our Father in Genesis 2. However, as has been pre-empted, that rest was mightily disrupted when Adam sinned, as was the life of Adam and Eve.

Prior to the fall Adam worked – for this is the lot of all living organisms – but this was not toil which is a work that is fatiguing, troubling, never ending and cannot save us; it merely delays the inevitable - death. Don’t believe the movies that indicate that humans were made for pleasure – and portraying heaven as a time of idleness and pleasure, for I have my doubts that this could possibly be the case – but rather we will be in the state that Adam was in chapter 2 of Genesis. Adam’s work was ordered by God; as is ours – his charge was to rule the earth; not rape it for all its worth, destroying all that God has given, but rather tending it as a farmer tends his crops with loving care. Thus, Adam and Eve were placed into the Garden of Eden to dress and keep it (Genesis 2:15) – and the Garden provided the necessities of life. In essence Adam and Eve’s job was to exercise care over the garden; “to keep it”. They were not battling drought or disease or weeds, or seeking salvation from the wrath of God but rather, serving God in tending His creations. However after the fall, where Eve was deceived and Adam sinned (Rom 5:12), all changed and man and God (John 5:17) could not possibly rest. Jehovah tells all of humanity through Adam:

Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:17-19)

In this passage we can see:

  1. God cursed Satan (Genesis 3:13, 14). His destiny would be hell.
  2. Because Adam listened to the deceived Eve (2 Cor 11:3) and carried out her request the life of all humans was changed.
  3. Spiritual death entered the world (Genesis 2:17).
  4. God cursed the earth;
    1. He did it for the sake of Adam
    2. Adam would toil all the days of his life
    3. To eat, the ground needed to be worked all his life, meaning that without work, one could not have food
    4. The earth was to battle those that attempted to tame it; weeds would become a far-reaching problem limiting production unless attended to.
    5. Adam was to eat what was grown (herbs) in the fields he worked
    6. The work would be hard, causing sweat (a picture of fatigue and exhaustion)– and without work there would be no bread
    7. Adam would die – spiritually he was separated from God.
    8. The body of humans would return to the ground and turn into dust.
  5. God brought sorry into child bearing; thus although God commended Adam Eve to have children, it would be with the pain. And although children are a blessing to all (Psa 127:3), it would cost the mother.
  6. The role of women would change: men would rule over their wives; noting that in the Garden of Eden Eve was a ‘help meet’ for Adam – a co-partner in the enterprise of God’s garden. The ruling would bring its own pain through all generations.

Thus rest became something that Adam could aspire to but never reach – without work he would starve and his work would he hard and never ending. Women were no longer free, but under the rule of man and bearers of pain in childbirth. Sin befell man, and every aspect of his life – affecting all generations thence forth. Death, both physical and spiritual became a reality. Adam could not rest from being under the punishment of God; nor could he rest from producing food, because the Garden of Eden, which provided his food, was no more his domain (Gen 3:24)– he had to strive with the earth in order to survive.

Rest Obtainable

Don’t get caught up with just the physical aspects of the punishment of Adam – although we cannot miss the extraordinary effect of sin which went far beyond just the realm of Adam and Eve, affecting all of creation (Rom 8:22). Note clearly the spiritual consequences. Adam and Eve could no longer seek Jehovah’s company because there were no longer holy, but rather soiled by sin; and indeed physically covered up to hide their shame. They had no place to rest!

And the covering Jehovah (Yewah) provided, we see a glimpse of the grace and mercy of our God – the coverings came by the slaughter of animals, and thus there was a shedding of blood (Gen 3:21). Thus we see the miserable Adam and Eve driven out of the Garden of Eden and forced to work in order to say alive – there was no rest. They were covered with animal’s skins after the cursed earth was saturated with the animal’s blood (Deut 15:23) for the first time. But we also see a way for salvation where faith in God, who would deal once for all with Satan, would be the way a way of salvation (Gen 3:15) – not works.

Thus from the very earliest we have a picture, seen in the covering of Adam and Eve with skins of animals, of the way to salvation – through the shedding of blood, and in this a way forward to an everlasting rest (Heb 9:22). And this is the message of the Letter to the Hebrews – there is a way of salvation; accomplished by a perfect, and once-for-ever sacrifice, of the Son of God who bore our sin for our sakes(Heb 9:28; seen in the Lord’s supper Luke 22:20). In this, salvation acts upon us now – we are saved - but the rest is to come – we will be taken into his glory;

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  
(1 Peter 5:10)

A Heavenly Rest

Just one more thing; where is this rest going to take place? Unlike the Children of Israel, who looked forward to an earthly rest in the Land of Canaan, for the one who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, our rest is heavenly. As Paul points out to the Corinthian Church, we have been saved into the spiritual realm (1 Cor 15:42-49; Phil 3:21). On death we will bear a heavenly character – the image of the heavenly Man – which is Christ Jesus. Thus we come the full circle – Adam is created in the image of God, which is corrupted by sin – the risen believer will have the character of the image of God as did Adam – perfected.

Currently we are pilgrims – a word that Peter uses (1 Peter 1:1) – on this earth. The ravages of sin are still evident in our flesh (Romans 7) – we thus must toil all of our life; but we CAN rest from being troubled about our salvation (Matt 11:28 - 30) – because believers are saved, and cannot be lost (John 17:12; Romans 10:13; Eph 2:8; 1 Tim 2:4 and many more).

Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-30)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,  (Titus 2:11-13)

[1] Confusion in the modern church arises when they treat Christ as King – yes he is a King, but is seated on the right hand of the Father, rather than on the throne; thus he is not acting as King. A time will come where he will occupy the throne (Zec 9:9; Luke 1:32 etc), but right now he is our advocate before the Father (Heb 8:1; 1 John 2:1) – thus is in the role as priest as the surety over the new covenent.

David L Simon (17 August 2019)
\BeingChristian\The Rest which Christians Shall Enjoy

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Refrain:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!"

Stuart K Hine (1899 - 1989) [Using the words of a poem by Carl Boberg]
04 Aug 2019

 

Israel Has Not Been Replaced by the Church

Romans 11:25-27

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Main Idea

Much of the church appears to believe that Israel has been replaced by the church, that is superseded it. This erroneous doctrine, termed replacement theology or the doctrine of supersessionism by some (sounds more scientific, but isn’t), states the original promise to Abraham of land, seed and blessing cannot be fulfilled for the people of Israel. This is wrong. The illogical nature of this doctrine, if true, would make the gospel unstable and unreliable.

Paul in verses 25 & 26 states categorically that Israel has not been lost.

Background

Paul, in chapters 9-11 of Romans is answering a great soteriological question: if God is able to save us, as he says he is, what evidence is there that he indeed keeps his promises? Paul proves God is able to because God has not forgotten Israel. God will complete the work he set out to do (Philippians 1:6), and Paul answers emphatically, to the question – has God cast off Israel? “God forbid” (11:1) – the most pronounced negative exclamation a Jew can offer. Chapter 11 sets out the fact that Israel has not been cast off in five parts:

1.       Rejection of Israel is not total – it is partial

2.       Israel’s rejection is to bless the gentiles

3.       Israel’s covenants are guaranteed

4.       Israel is certain of restoration

5.       Doxology

Gentiles are like wild olive branches graphed into the true olive tree (11:16-21)

In Chapter 11 Paul gives the example of the Olive Tree because Israel is represented by the olive tree throughout Scripture. Gentiles certainly have been revealed the mystery of the church in that “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). However, he warns gentile believers not to be proud or boastful of the fact they have been grafted into the olive tree. This is because gentiles are aliens to the Kingdom of God, and are like wild olive, and contrary to nature have been grafted into the olive tree (11:17). That is, it is against the gentile nature to want to be partakers of Yeshua, the messiah; however, through the work of the Christ, this is accomplishable by faith in Jesus Christ. And it is this latter point Paul is getting across. The gentiles cannot boast, because it is not the wild grafted in branch that supports the root but the root of the tree that supports the wild grafted branch – Jesus Christ, who is a Jew. And if God is able to graft in branches contrary to nature, how much easier will it be for Him to graft in olive branches – that is Jews. Israel therefore is not lost or forgotten – they have been cut from the root (Jesus Christ), so provoke them to action (11:14-17).

 

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The fact that Israel’s promises are on hold is a mystery, now revealed (11:25)

Why the promises of Israel were withheld was hidden from Israel through their blindness. Jesus clearly stated they would be cast out, but the leaders of Israel did not listen:

“‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Note the underlined portion of the verse. The rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah doomed Israel to being left desolate as outline in Matthew 12:41 when the Jews blasphemed the Holy Spirit, a prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 70. Paul speaks of this as being a mystery – where the term mystery is explained in Romans 16:25,26 – as something that has been hidden, like a curtain that hides a precious stone, but is drawn back revealing it. Hence the mystery has been revealed as to why the promises made to Abraham have not been fulfilled.

Promises of God are Irrevocable

Before examining the reason why Israel has not received her promises, we need to state that God’s promises are irrevocable. Paul states: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (11:29). That is due to God’s unchanging love, grace and the sovereign will; his promises are sure, secure, firm and inviolable. If there were not, as 1 Corinthians 15 points out, we would be people “most miserable” because we could not have hope - for faith in something that is unsure is a false hope. God’s promises therefore are immutable and unalterable.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Romans 11:25 NKJV

Israel seeks not the Messiah because of blindness or hardening

Only a small remnant seeks Yeshua and have found him. These Messianic Jews are very small in number – most Jews reject Yeshua and God. Their hearts are hardened, they are blind to the fact Yeshua has died for their sin as well as those of the gentiles.

The blindness is only in part, that is temporary

There is a time limit on the partial blindness, because the next word indicates that the action continues until something else happens.

The blindness is until

This word is missed by too many. The blindness is temporary – until something else happens.

When the predetermined number of gentiles have been saved, their blindness will be lifted.

The phrase “until fullness of the Gentiles has come in” means that until the last remaining gentile who will be saved is saved, the condition on Israel remains. Only after this, will, Israel will be saved.

If Israel is to be saved (11:26,27), then Israel cannot have been replaced by something else

Paul writes: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

These are quotes from Isaiah 59:20 indicating the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16) will be fulfilled – Yeshua, is the deliverer and will occupy Mount Zion; Isaiah 59:21 indicating the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17 etc., Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26) will be fulfilled (Land, Seed and Blessing) and Jeremiah 31:31-34 indicate a new covenant will be established; “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”.

Conclusion

Israel has been knocked down so they look up

It looks as Israel is no longer in view of God, but this is the plan of God! He is using the gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (11:11), meaning salvation has come to the gentiles, forcing Israel to look to God for salvation.

The Church is NOT Israel: National Israel will be restored, and the promises made good after all the time of the gentiles has be fulfilled.

References

Arnold Fruchtenbaum (2010) Replacement Theology and the Epistle of I Peter Ariel Ministries http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Fruchtenbaum-ReplacementTheologya.pdf

David L Simon
02 Jun 2019

 

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
[ originally, For such a worm as I?]

Refrain

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature's sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
'Tis all that I can do.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
(Ralph E. Hudson refrain 1885)
28 Apr 2019

 

Pride must be dealt with!

Samuel Rutherford writes..

Dear Sir, I always saw nature mighty, lofty, heady and strong in you; and that it was more for you to be mortified and dead to the world than for another common man. You will take a low ebb, and a deep cut, and a long lance, to go to the bottom of your wounds in saving humiliation, to make you a won prey for Christ.  Be humbled; walk softly. Down, down, for God’s sake, my dear and worthy brother, with your topsail.  Stoop, stoop! it is a low entry to go in at heaven’s gate.

Samuel Rutherford
06 Jan 2019

 

Don't make the Bible say what it does not!

Reading the Bible

  • Cleave to the literal sense of Bible words, and beware of departing from it, except in cases of absolute necessity.
  • Beware of the system of allegorizing and spiritualizing, and accommodating, which the school of Origen first brought in, and which has found such an unfortunate degree of favour in the Church.
  • In reading the authorized version of the English Bible, do not put too much confidence in the “headings” of pages and “tables of contents” at beginnings of chapters, which I take leave to consider a most unhappy accompaniment of that admirable translation. Remember that those headings and tables were drawn up by uninspired hands.
  • In reading the Prophets, they are sometimes not helps but real hindrances, and less likely to assist a reader, than to lead him astray. Settle it in your mind, in reading the Psalms and Prophets that Israel means Israel*, and Zion Zion, and Jerusalem Jerusalem.
  • And, finally, whatever edification you derive from applying to your own soul the words which God addresses to His ancient people, never lose sight of the primary sense of the text.[1]

Further words on reading prophecy

It is high time for Christians to interpret unfulfilled prophecy by the light of prophecies already fulfilled.  The curses of the Jews were brought to pass literally; so also will be the blessings.  The scattering was literal; so also will be the gathering.  The pulling down of Zion was literal; so also will be the building up.  The rejection of Israel was literal; so also will be the restoration. [2]

What I protest against is, the habit of allegorizing plain sayings of the Word of God concerning the future history of the nation of Israel, and explaining away the fullness of the contents in order to accommodate them to the Gentile Church. I believe the habit to be unwarranted by anything in Scripture, and to draw after it a long train of evil consequences.[3]

Cultivate the habit of reading prophecy with a single eye to the literal meaning of its proper names.  Cast aside the old traditional idea that Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Jerusalem, and Zion must always mean the Gentile Church, and that predictions about the second Advent are to be taken spiritually, and first Advent predictions literally. Be just, and honest, and fair.  If you expect the Jews to take the 53rd of Isaiah literally, be sure you take the 54th and 60th and 62nd literally also.  The Protestant Reformers were not perfect.  On no point, I venture to say, were they so much in the wrong as in the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy. [4]

 

* My emphases

[1] J.C. Ryle, Prophecy 149

[2] J.C. Ryle, Are You Ready For The End Of Time? p. 49

[3] ibid., p. 107-108.

[4]  . 157-159.

J C Ryle (1816 - 1900) [Various sources]
27 Nov 2018

 

Be Careful; Flee from Evil

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry [evil].

1 Corinthians 10:12-14
15 Dec 2017

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God. His weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this website must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is measruing it against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

11 Feb 2017