Bible Teaching aimed at helping you enjoy the Scriptures which are the Word of GOD!
Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God:for he hath prepared for them a city.
Maybe some of you are with me when I wonder what is happening to our country’s middle class.
Let me give you my conclusion up-front. It’s being exported overseas.
America’s middle class is now our chief export, and the growth of that class abroad has been fueled by the so-called “quantitative easing” that has had our government funding foreign bank commitments with at the very least $6 Trillion of our debt.
Many have this number closer to $30 Trillion.
How did this happen? Well, it had to do with commoditizing the American lifestyle. First and foremost that means you own your home. It’s the cornerstone of the marketed American dream.
I won’t bore you with the details of how US Housing was monetized into quasi-government-secured securities that were largely held by sovereign national funds, but I will tell you that when that market exploded and was exposed for the near-ponzi scheme that it was, our government ponied up to those other governments, and secured their interest at our expense. Not only did our government guarantee those funds risk capital, but it guaranteed a 30-year interest rate that perhaps is double – potentially triple or quintuple – the average rate paid by our government.
And these actions were, to an extent, an effort to secure the retirements of EU government workers in countries that might have GDP’s of $100,000 per capita.
(You see, it’s an expensive proposition these days to stay in the middle class that has been enjoyed for nearly two generations in America and Europe. Very expensive indeed when you consider that the businesses that created such a class – and the expectations that go with it – are heavily either closed down, or in trouble. General Motors. AT&T (not the name, the company!). Most railroads. IBM. Digital Equipment Corporation. Amoco (Standard Oil). The automotive industry, the aircraft industry. Steel. Rubber.)
Those huge funds are being paid according to their holdings despite a worldwide decline in interest rates, giving these bond holdings at high interest enormous returns.
Yes, friends, all that debt has to go somewhere, and once you’re thoroughly convinced you aren’t seeing it spent on “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, you’re ready to realize that it’s not going here, in our country.
Meanwhile, the story that’s NOT being told, is that while America’s middle-class promise is collapsing around my children, and my grandchildren, it is booming in the developing world, the only place in the world where you can readily consider a worthwhile project, and it adds up to a profit.
If you want to see where our middle class went, it’s overseas. What that does to the middle-class here at home is pins a new, disappointed dependent class upon them.
My advice to young fellows starting out today, is look overseas for the resources that went away, and bring them back. Figure it out how. It’s not that hard.
I’m glad I, like those who have gone before me, am looking for a heavenly country, and a heavenly city.
Author: John Malone
Date: 14th January, 2014 @ 10:45:14 AM
For better or worse, I am a trained economist That training was paid for, for the most part, by the taxpayers of Nebraska. Thank you very much.
Economics has been rightly called “the dismal science.” Indeed, while it is a dismal study, it’s not really science, intersecting as it does with world politics, where real science is accorded no respect, and often no attention. The one thing that the study of economics can achieve for the student is a certain analytical discipline of mind which holds stubbornly to principles and facts. This bent of mind, which thrives in skepticism, is free and eager to grapple with the affairs of nations and their systems, once armed with a few sturdy analytical tools.
The professors who influenced me a great deal in my youth, were engaged in the analysis of the behavior of nations, and taught me to so engage. Two men in particular come to mind in connection with my present topic, but I estimate there were a many as 10-12 men and one woman who had a salutary influence in the training of my mind, despite their foibles and warts. It was a thread of both study and conversation to discuss the pasts and futures of nations, with focus at least in part, on their political economies.
In the midst of these studies, personal and social crisis in my life colluded together against me, according to the beneficent and inexorable plan of God, Who personally directed the disorderly, hostile and overreaching events that were the true stuff of my life. God truly caused, in my own case, “all [sorts of] things [to] work together for good to them who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
God actually met me mystically in my studies. I am not claiming the miraculous, but I will tell you that God can be intensely personal, and enter into your deepest problems right along with you. He did this for me in a most preposterous circumstance.
I received Jesus Christ as Savior in the spring of 1975.
I had been dilatory, to say the least, in my approach to my university baccalaureate degree. Upon receiving Jesus Christ, I made some determinations among which was that I would finish my degree in a year. Incredibly, I needed to complete or take 51 credit hours in that year. I set to it.
One particular piece of that work was a course in Political Science involving the development of nations. I went to the professor, who was one of my favorites, but who played no favorites. This was Dr. Orville Menard, a man with whom I had many conversations, and enjoyed at the local pub as often as in the classroom.
He was still a serious student himself, occupying the true place of scholar in his field. I met him in the afternoon. We looked on the calendar and saw that I had no more than a week to complete the course without receiving a failing grade, and, worse, that the professor was leaving for studies overseas in two days, and so the final test must be taken “tomorrow morning.”
I had not prepared for that class in nearly two years. I had taken an incomplete with a “D” on my mid-term test. I asked the professor what will the final cover, and he handed me the textbook, and said, “This.” I went home with that book, determined to read it all afternoon and evening, get a little sleep, and then take the test.
But that’s not what happened.
I had a difficult time settling down to read that book. Call it whatever you want, I have my own excuses. But when I settled in to read it, it was later in the evening, perhaps 10 pm. I determined that I might not sleep. I was alert. I told God I need Him to pull me through this. I did not cry, although I certainly have. I had no anxiety.
As I read that 300-page book, I did not underline. I took no notes. I read with an understanding and insight as I now only have with the Scriptures. I had thought to stay up all night, but completed the book and got perhaps two hours of sleep before reporting to the test. I brought two “blue books” as required. The professor handed me a single question for this final test: “Using the model presented in the text, comment on the future development of India and China.”
Eagerly, I set about that dissertation. The entire model of development, in detail, was actively residing in my mind. I wrote feverishly for perhaps 2-3 hours. Everything flowed well. I submitted my completed papers, and they would be graded that very afternoon. I went away and rested a few hours. I returned to Dr. Menard’s office midway through the afternoon. He was intense. It was good that he was smiling. He handed me my test, scored as it was at the very top. “A+.”
The professor wanted to talk to me now that he saw I had done, apparently, extremely well on his test. “I wanted to give you an ‘A’ in this course. Clearly you have mastered the material. But I could not conceive of any score to combine with your ‘D’ that could come out ‘A.’ So I gave you a B+ in the course.” Frankly, the work achieving the “A+” needed an explanation.
I explained to that very nice, but atheistic professor, that God had helped me, and I actually enjoyed taking the test. I am certain it made an impression on him. I certainly hope it did. This was the last time that I met with this very nice man, to whom I am in certain debt beyond that paid to him by Nebraska taxpayers.
Today Orville Menard died at age 80. He wanted no fanfare, especially not a memorial service.
I want to use this opportunity to give glory to God first, who enabled me in that remarkable test preparation, and speak some good words about a kind man, Dr. Orville Menard who truly cared for me in my youth, and who was a good example of some of the best in manhood, including a 60-year marriage to the same woman.
Dr. Orville Menard led no vain life. I wish I knew I would meet him cheerfully in the coming age.
The word “hypocrite” is being thrown about way too often.
It’s a good Bible word. It is a pure word.
That means it is, in its Greek form, one of those “words of the earth,” that God has selected, and refined like silver seven times in a furnace, sanctifying (setting it apart) for His use in the Holy Scriptures.
The Lord used the word when He walked here. He reserved it for particular sorts of persons: the Pharisees, Scribes, and the like. These were persons with an agenda. Insincere. Conniving. Jealous. Hateful. Ceaselessly plotting against the Lord Himself. As they do against His servants. As the Lord said: Woe to them.
The word itself is the compound Greek word hypokrites meaning under judgment, or under discernment. This gives us important keys to he meaning of the word. It can be rendered “play actor” because in the ancient theatre, play actors held masks over their faces to portray their inward characteristics. The sophisticated cinema of today masks those masks, and requires the player to project those cunning characteristics of the hypocrite in various ways.
The wearing of a mask, or play-acting is the important characteristic of the hypocrite. In any society you can see such people, but it is rare indeed that someone would point them out publicly. They put on a show, oftentimes to make you think they are friendly, but equally often to disguise not only who they are, but their bad intentions. Like the Sadducees, they may give themselves off as knowledgeable Bible guys, when, as the Lord said, they are ignorant. In any case, as false prophets , they show themselves as pious, when inwardly they are ravening wolves.
So, a hypocrite is no ordinary sinner. The hypocrite is an intentional, inward, purveyor of ill-will and hatred, driven as he is by envy, greed, and other corrupt motives. He’s not failing when he sins, he’s succeeding.
No, an ordinary sinner, such as all of us, yields to his weakness. He is overcome by the fatal flaws of every man. He cannot do what he should do, and he cannot fail to do what he shouldn’t.
A sinner is no hypocrite when he fails to do what he thinks he should. He is no hypocrite when he does what he should not. He is a normal sinner.
Today, you will discover people calling normal sinners, “hypocrites.” They would disqualify the righteous man, who speaks God’s word, and portrays him accurately, because that righteous man sins just as they do.
The Lord never judges men in this way, and will not. He desires his children to reason with Him about sin and see it the way he does.
He socialized with sinners, sat and ate with them, made himself available to them. He still does. You will not find the Lord Jesus among the hypocrites. They hated Him. They stirred up other sinners to have Him killed. They succeeded at His death.
But a normal sinner is not a hypocrite when he says what is right and what is wrong, even when he doesn’t or does do the right or wrong.
Instead, he’s just a sinner, warts and all, and no hypocrite.
Author: John Malone
Date: 10th January, 2014 @ 11:52:49 AM
Ok, generally speaking, Christian women no longer cover their hair in Christian gatherings. That’s been something that’s developed over the course of my lifetime, or a significant part of it.
When I was a boy, attending Roman Catholic school, the Catholic women and girls around me all covered their hair “in church.” Sometimes it was embarrassing: they’d use bobbie pins to place tissue on their heads if they had no veil.
On Sundays, I’d wander down the street a ways to discover the large black Baptist congregations dressed in their Sunday best (black people seemed to dress much nicer than we did for church), and every single woman wore a hat of some sort, as did some of the men. The women left those hats on in church, the men removed theirs. As it turns out, we went to church because it was “a Sunday obligation,” while these folks seemed to enjoy it and spent much of the day together, “in church.” Later I discovered they even attended on Saturday nights, too! But that is another story, an interesting one.
Almost every time you watch a “period” movie, set some time in the past, you will see church scenes with woman nearly always wearing hats, bonnets, veils: always having their hair covered.
We have therefore seen a nearly universal practice, women covering their hair in churches, completely effaced over the course of, say, the past 50 years or so. In fact, the practice has gone so unpracticed, that when my own wife wore a covering over her hair in the church we attended almost 30 years ago, she was the ONLY woman in the church so doing.
What happened? Well, in my opinion, the truth behind the practice got lost. This is what happens when traditions are practiced without faith. And, as we know, faith comes only one way , and that is by hearing God’s word. The sequence seems to be this: truth is learned, truth held becomes faith, faith becomes practice, truth is generationally lost, practice continues, practice is questioned, faith behind the practice is gone, the practice is terminated.
So maybe the question of why did women USED to wear head coverings in church is a better question to address. And, parenthetically perhaps, why men DON’T cover their heads.
Because the practice stems from Scripture, it’s probably a good place to start. The practice is taught by the apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, the first part of Chapter 11:
1. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head:for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn:but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God:but the woman is the glory of the man. 8. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.– 9. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 13. Judge in yourselves:is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15. But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her:for her hair is given her for a covering. 16. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
The first and obvious observation is that the apostle is reflecting on something commendable by these Corinthians in that they did keep the “ordinances” he delivered to them. We discover just a little later in this letter that they did not necessarily keep these ordinances well, for one of the principal ones he gave them had to do with the Lord’s supper, and that while they were practicing it, they were doing a lousy job of it. So this is the beginning of a section on ordinances, and first up is this ordinance of a woman’s head covering.
The problem of recalcitrant women is not new. In fact, as Solomon wrote, there is nothing new under the sun. Even the Gentiles knew about this woman problem, and the Book (Megillat) of Esther demonstrates this problem was well understood when Vashti refused to come at the command of Astyages. Those Medes and Persians knew that if the King’s wife was not submissive to him, every woman in the kingdom would break out against her husband. It was Memucan who pointed this out, and advised the king to act. The result was Cyrus, an Artaxerxes of Peria, and a Jew, because son of a Jewess.
So there is this long-standing problem of submission by women to the authority of their husbands, and there’s not much sense asking the women how they feel about it, especially in our society today, where they have been completely deceived about their own well-being, as their arch-enemy Satan has ever done.
Into this problem, Paul explains the symbology of the woman’s head covering, and why it is to be practiced in every church, even though is hardly today practiced in any of them. I suppose that means the praiseworthiness of the this very troubled church is largely unmatched today by the best of churches. Sad story.
It’s interesting to me that this ordinance covers both men and women, that women ought to be covered, but men uncovered. I have not seen much trouble with men covering their heads in church, but I’ve seen a few problems. I’ve seen a preacher who insisted on wearing a cowboy hat when he spoke. We had an older fellow in our church who was asked to remove his cap in a church meeting and refused. He turned out to be a heretic (schismatic person) in the most clear definition of that term.
A man can get arrested for wearing a hat in our country’s court rooms if he insists. But there is no doubt that women’s practice of this ordinance is the one most contested.
The central issues about this ordinance are “headship” and “glory.” One old man taught me years ago that “authority is the central issue in the universe.” I can see that more clearly now that I’m an old man.
Verse 3 (above) begins the meat of the Apostle’s reasoning in this matter. It’s about “headship” and authority. The head of every man is Christ. He is the Chief Cornerstone, the Lord from heaven, the first among unequals. The rest of us are “all brethren,” even the sisters. And the head of the woman is the man. This is the divine order.
In verse 11, the apostle points out an invisible reality. Angels attend the gatherings of true churches, just as Peter intimates from his observation about the ancient Ark of the Covenant, where two angels were depicted looking into the coffin-shaped ark: a representation of the Lord Jesus Himself.
And who is it that gets glory and honor? That’s the big question. The apostle states that if a man prays or prophesies with his head covered, he dishonors his head: Christ. If a woman prays or prophesies uncovered, she shames her head. That is, she shames her husband.
We now learn, in verse 7, that the man is the image and glory of God. The woman is the glory of the man. This goes back to the creation account. God is father. God is male. The exact representation of His being is Jesus Christ . A man. This should go without saying, but it doesn’t. Today, it needs to be said.
In the creation account, we learn that the woman was taken out of the man, made for the man, and placed under his authority. This is God’s intention, his perfect plan, and the order of the universe. When I counsel with men and women who seek marriage, I point out to this woman that she is placing herself under this fellow’s authority, warts and all. I have not found one yet who wants to call it off because of this principle, just as I rarely find one already married who doesn’t rankle under that authority.
Now, to say whose glory is represented by man and woman is not to say that one stands better or even without the other. Every man has a mother. In the Lord they are different, but equals. Not equals in authority, but in standing. God took away the Court of Women, just as he demolished the Court of the Gentiles, when He allowed for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Christian women have a dignified place not found anywhere else in history. Still.
It is not about favoritism by God that puts man in Authority over the woman but it is about design. This is how the creation is to run for a time. I am convinced that in the coming age, this order will change. There will be no marriage arrangement in the coming age, when we enjoy glorified bodies. In that aspect, we will be like the holy angels, with no sexual identity to fulfill. But for now, God’s glory is at stake when it comes to the submissive expression of women, and the expression of headship by men.
The practice has far greater impact than the visibility here below. For this reason, verse 10 stands out strikingly. A woman should have a symbol of authority on her head because of the angels looking on. Christian gatherings are elevated into the heavens as a spectacle for angels. For 4,000 years, angels beheld the rebellion of man. Then they saw the defeat of Satan at the cross of Christ. After that they witnessed the salvation of God going out to the Gentiles, the temporary and partial blindness of the nation of Israel, the destruction of the Temple, and God taking up a new people that are a new creation, neither Jew nor Gentile. God wants to put this new creation on display in heaven and earth. It brings him glory. Part of what brings him glory is the order therein displayed, where men and women show their rightful place in the new creation.
Well, one might say, “Hey, today women in general are not at all in authority to their husbands.” Exactly. And they do not cover their heads. One might say the practice today is fitting, but still wrong. The covering of a woman’s head in Christian gatherings is one of four symbols in the Scriptures for Christians to practice today, together with water baptism, the loaf, and the cup. Just four. Not crosses, fishes, bracelets, or collection plates. None of those are Bible-based symbols. So of course they are practiced! And the four symbols? They are either not on display, as is the case with the head covering, and often the case with immersion in water of the believer, or are distorted beyond recognition, as is often the case of the single loaf and single cup of the Lord’s supper.
The teaching of the practice of the woman’s head covering is further brought to a close by the Apostle with the discussion of propriety and glory. The Scripture points out it is a shame for a man to wear long hair. Despite so much practice to the contrary, especially about 40 years ago in the USA, it remains a shame. Yet, long hair on a woman brings her attention: glory.
Indeed, a woman’s hair IS her glory. They don’t look good when they go “butch.” The shaving of a woman’s head historically marked her as a prostitute. If you’d like further evidence that a woman’s hair is her glory, just go price some haircuts between men and women. The statement is so obvious, Paul can reference that “nature” teaches us this. For those who deny what is evident in nature, God has little to say. He calls such people fools.
So the order becomes this: a woman covers her glory (her hair). She, being the glory of the man, by so covering does not put her head to shame (her husband), and therefore the man is now unashamedly capable of showing forth the glory of Christ by NOT covering his head. Because his head is Christ Himself. So, the glory of Christ goes uncovered, being seen in the congregation of the believers. By men and angels.
I must say that it’s pretty instructive to see women refuse to attend our gatherings because we teach and practice this ordinance in our church. I do not remember this ever being a conversation in my youth, but maybe the girls and women always hated wearing hats, veils and scarves and I was out of the loop. I don’t actually think that was going on, but Paul’s final words on the subject anticipate that it will.
The apostle warns at the end of the section that if anyone wants to be contentious about the subject in any church anywhere, at any time, we have either no practice of such contentiousness, or no other practice besides the head covering. In our own church, we do not take any measures to enforce the practice – we teach it and do not allow contention about it – but we don’t enforce water immersion or the Lord’s supper either.
We merely practice them. As should all the churches of God.
The question quoted in 1st Corinthians 15:35 is from a hypothetical foolish questioner. It is implied the questioner is a skeptic, nevertheless, the apostle Paul, answers him according to his folly.
Our foolish skeptic asks, concerning the resurrection of the dead – apparently mocking – “How are the dead raised, and with what body do they come?”
The answer is deep, extensive, and mysterious.
We can assume that the skeptic comes from the school of the Sadducees, who believed in neither angels or the resurrection of the dead . There is also no doubt that this school of thought extended to Gentile thinking, as Israel, evil or good, has ever functioned as God’s first born in the world for better or worse. At the forefront of every movement toward or away from God, there will be Jews at the forefront.
1. Paul begins his answer by pointing out what we know of death from the natural world, in the illustration of seeds. He points out the germ of life planted into the ground first dies, and then is embodied by God into a more useful and “glorious” body that he gives it.
A seed does not look like the fruitful plant that follows, and yet it happens persistently, and dependably. Who could argue that one should not plant a seed, because it’s “resurrection” makes no sense? Indeed, the simplest agrarian understands this, and the skeptic depends upon its truth to live. There’s some resurrection right there. Not only does the seed die when it’s planted , (“seed” truth as taught by the Lord) but a body is given to it that is fitting for its fruit-bearing, as it pleases God.
2. But Paul goes a on further. to teach things concerning earthly and heavenly bodies. First, he tell us there are four kinds of flesh: man, beats, fish, and birds. Surely this categorization can help us better understand the natural world, but that is not the main point. The main point is that God has invented diverse flesh to embody diverse creatures. This, therefore, allows for yet another sort of flesh for the resurrection body.
Those familiar with Biblical numbers might seize on the fact of four as fitting the natural world as we experience it. The same familiarity would lead to the addition of one other, making five, as evidence of His grace.
There is another kind of flesh not referenced in this passage, but in Jude that is there translated “strange flesh,” more accurately meaning “flesh of different kind (heteros).” In this passage, the Sodomites who came after the angels visiting Lot, are said to be “departing” after “strange flesh.” They didn’t want Lot. They didn’t want his sons-in-law. They want to “know” the angels. Some would object to this notion, rightly pointing out the truth, that angels are spirits.
However, the fact that they are spirits does not negate that, when they visit man to minister, as is their function, they are provided with man (not woman) looking bodies that are provided for them. These bodies are called oikoterion. This word is used in Jude 6, translated “habitation,” as it is in 2 Corinthians 5:2 by Paul to describe his resurrection body, which is (poorly) translated “house,” even though it is at the root of the word.
This wonderful truth is thereby obscured to us, but it is plain enough to see if we scrutinize it. In short, the “angels that sinned” not only wandered out of their principality in the heavenlies, but set aside the heavenly bodies allocated to them (their oiketerion) for visiting the terrestrial scene. Instead they sought to (and did!) corrupt the genetic code of mankind by mysteriously “knowing” the daughters of Adam 120 years before Adam’s death, and 846 years before the great deluge. Noah, being justified (by faith) AND having been preserved in his genetic code, was therefore qualified to “re-father” the human race, and did so after the deluge.
Therefore, as we read in verse 40, there are both terrestrial (earthly) and celestial (heavenly) bodies. Since the Scriptures were written, stars and planets have been called “heavenly bodies” in the English language. Interestingly, this figure of speech probably arose from a wrong reading of this passage, or, more sinisterly, a twisting of it to obscure the blatant truth that Paul declares unequivocally: there are material, spiritual, heavenly human bodies. And the first human one is Christ Jesus.
The physicality of the resurrection body is one of the first things the Lord addressed with his disciples. I used to walk about in public parks and other thoroughfares when I was in my late 20′s and early 30′s, to attempt to talk to strangers about the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, sometimes I think people prefer talking about some things to total strangers, people they think they will never see again. I would get around to asking them if they believed Jesus Christ was alive today, having been raised from the dead.
Religious people, especially Roman Catholics, would almost always agree He is alive, having been raised. Then I would ask, “In a body, that you could touch and feel?” Almost invariably, they would say no, that He was raised spiritually, whatever that meant, but they would deny his physical presence. (No wonder, with the ridiculous hokem they and others, such as Lutherans, are taught about a wafer becoming human.)
At that point I will take them to Luke 24:39 where the Lord tells them clearly that he is material, able to be handled, and not a mere spirit. In Greek thinking, “spiritual” is opposite of “material.” In the Scriptures, “spiritual” is either the opposite of “natural” or “carnal” – sin impacted. Therefore, there is no conflict when talking about material spiritual bodies, which do exist, and which will exist more by an order of magnitude sometime in the relatively near future, after the resurrection of the dead.
Lastly to this point, Paul gives an analogy. The glory of the heaven is greater than the glory of the earth. Furthermore, just as the light emitting from the sun, moon and stars vary in intensity (glory) – indeed even stars differ from one another in that very way – there will be varying glories of resurrection bodies in resurrection.
3. Finally, the apostle writes his coup de grace concerning this grand subject , the resurrection of the body. As the seed is planted in it’s form, and a body pleasing to God given to it, so is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption: a seed is buried in the ground and corrupts, as does the body once dead. And just as that seed is embodied by a plant in newness of life, so shall resurrection be. Sown in dishonor. The frailty and decomposition of our elemental bodies if sad and fast. Yet, raised in glory!
Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. You see, there are two kinds. Natural, corresponding to the earthly, in contrast to a spiritual body, corresponding to the heavenly. There IS a spiritual body.
There two bodies correspond to their progenitors: the natural, to Adam, who was composed from the earth and made alive, and the spiritual to the LAST (not second, as some say) Adam, Who gives life. One the object of life, the other the Giver. The natural man came first, then the spiritual. The order is important, and prophetic. The natural comes first, then the spiritual. This macro fact of Adam and Jesus Christ is presented to us to understand that so shall it be in the life of every believer. It is the natural that is sown or planted, and the spiritual that is reaped. This is the applicable microcosm for every believer, and Paul teaches it with more detail, from a different perspective, elsewhere.
And what is exactly is reaped? Resurrection bodies that differ in glory, just as the sun, moon, and stars differ in glory. As we have once, now, borne the earthly (Adamic) image, we shall, in resurrection, bear the image of the heavenly, the image of our Lord Jesus. As John the apostle writes, we shall be like Him.
4. Paul closes disclosing a mystery . Mysteries are replete in the New Testament, and whenever one is referenced we do well to pay special heed. A “mystery” is not at all as some would teach: an inscrutable truth that one cannot comprehend. It is very different as a matter of fact: it is a secret that is revealed. There is a natural tendency by all of us to want to know a secret, and yet, strangely, when they are revealed in Scripture, somehow we pay little or no attention.
This particular mystery is that is revealed herein is the great mystery of what is now commonly referred to as the “Resurrection and Rapture” of the blessed dead. It is also sometimes known as the “First Resurrection.” The revealed secret here is that death is not necessarily required for the translation into a spiritual body, because not only must corruption put on incorruption, but mortal must put on immortality.
Therefore, the resurrection of the dead will also be accompanied by the translation of the living. In a moment, the twinkling of an eye, the smallest noticeable particle of time. Death’s sting will be conquered by those remaining alive and being translated into directly into glorified resurrection bodies, and death’s victory will be conquered by those who have died, and are resurrected in the same glorious, spiritual, heavenly bodies.
This same truth is declared more particularly in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18
Author: John Malone
Date: 27th December, 2013 @ 07:49:50 AM
When waiting for someone to arrive, you may begin to wonder when they will. You may ask, “What did he say before he left?” or, “Did he say He’d be here by now?” or, “Is he late?”
I’m applying this to the Second Coming, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ from heaven. What the church of the Thessalonians was waiting for. What everyone should be waiting for.
What DID He say before He left? A great many things, too many to cover here. The first thing He said about the subject was to not let your heart be troubled . As I write this, my heart is very troubled about very many things. I am troubled about my job, my family, my church, my friends, my city, my country: MYSELF.
But the Lord says not to be, at least with respect to His departure and return. He said He’s going to prepare a place for me, and that there is plenty of room, and if there wasn’t He’d say so, AND He said that He will come again, to receive me to Himself. That means we will both be moving. He from heaven, me from earth. As Paul told the Thessalonians, we’ll be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and ever be with Him.
Comfort one another with THESE words .
Did He say He’d be here by now? Well, no He didn’t. Be careful you do not overlook what He said, and conclude differently. You will be in danger of saying, in your heart , “my Lord delays His coming.” The next thing you know, you will be beating the Lord’s servants. You can do that a number of ways, but mainly that’s done these days with wagging tongues. Especially female tongues by the way. Men go about it differently. More coldly.
But never mind those. They can no longer be reached anyway, their cold hearts hardened against their brethren especially, unable anymore to find comfort in the Scriptures, and so clutching the fleeting lies the world offers them. Am I saying the love of many is growing cold? Not yet cold enough; not yet many enough.
But didn’t the early church think He was coming right back? Perhaps many of them did, but they got wrong about a lot of stuff, just as the Bible says. The apostle Peter wrote fairly late in his ministry that the brethren needed to be mindful of ONE THING : a day with the Lord is as 1,000 years, and 1,000 years is as one day. That’s time-tested truth right there. Something to ponder, to consider, to meditate. And to discover.
As I said, He said a great many things. But one thing He said was that as it was in the ‘days of Lot,’ so shall it be in the day of His apocalypse.
We’re beginning for the first time in modern history to see the “Days of Lot.” Beginning to mind you. In the days of Lot, in Sodom, homosexuality was not merely widespread, but was the entirely dominant culture. Lot had learned to tolerate it. Righteous Lot – justified Lot – as he is named in Scripture.
Abraham was on the outside. He was living in a tent, he and his extremely large household.
All generations reading the Bible since the Lord’s ascension into heaven have been able to learn that His return would be marked by the “days of Lot,” and the “days of Noah.” The “days of Lot” is a phrase targeted to believers, as Lot was most certainly one of us. Lot first pitched his tent toward, then lived in, and became a city councilman in Sodom. he had to be dragged out by angels, kicking and screaming. His wife was dragged out too, but her heart was there. Remember her?
Lot’s sons-in-law (perhaps the only heterosexuals left in Sodom) and married daughters, were consumed in the fire from heaven (uranium fire) that wasted Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain.
But what was Sodom? It was a community of depraved persons who were so sexually driven after another kind (strange) of flesh – the heavenly bodies used by angels when they appeared first to Abraham, and now to Lot and his neighbors – that they besieged Lot’s house like a pack of jackals, seeking to gratify themselves sexually with the angels who visited.
When Lot addressed them , and said “brethren, do not act so wickedly,” they turned on him, as your dog in a pack would actually do.
Even San Francisco, Paris, or Lincoln, Nebraska is not yet this.
These days are coming. Who would have thought it would come as quickly! I am surprised at the rapidity of the societal decline, and I saw it starting up in this specific way in 1972. The rapidity at which society, including Christians, are accepting rampant homosexuality is stunning.
The days of Lot are not upon us today, December 2013. But they look to be upon us very soon. Remember those days mark Jesus actual apocalypse, His appearing (“unveiling”) to the whole world.
It is BEFORE that time the Lord begins his descent from heaven, assembling the “synagogue on high” of His own in the air, to commence the awesome and fateful judgment seat whereby all our works will be tested, as by fire, to discover a rewardable remainder. And then to enjoy the city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
The city Abraham looked for …
Abraham wasn’t in Sodom. He had fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and interceded on behalf of Lot , who “vexed” himself every day with the behavior of the wicked persons who surrounded him.
Abraham was separate, sanctifiable, useful to God. It’s possible. It’s not too late.
It’s not too late because Jesus is not late. He’s patient, long-suffering, waiting for men to come to knowledge of the truth.
But He’s coming swiftly. And soon.
Author: John Malone
Date: 1st November, 2013 @ 04:08:49 AM
In the middle of 2009, I noticed something interesting about this verse. It has to do with the italicized phrase above (KJV) “the assembling of ourselves together.” This is the translators’ rendering of the Greek compound word ”episunagoge” – higher synagogue – a word found only one other place in Scripture:
There’s more than just some language parallels between these verses. There is a contextual parallel in that each verse follows the presentation of this word with a reference to the Second coming of the Lord Jesus as, first, “the day approaching,” and, second, “the day of Christ is at hand.”
Therefore, the association of the “synagogue on high” with the “approaching day of Christ” is firmly established.
So what exactly is this “synagogue on high?”
In order to understand this well, we need to know that God’s view of synagogue and church has ever been about the assembling of His people and not about any physical structure. What became the synagogue to the Jews in their captivity was reminiscent of their assembling together in Jerusalem as a single congregation when they were free to do so, and had a temple. Therefore “synagogue” like “church” has a base meaning of “assembly,” just as the the translators above did catch, as “assembling … together” and “gathering together” intimate.
So what is in view here is not, as so many say, “go to church” (even though that is Biblically something to do), but is an admonition to not disregard an important doctrine that impacts our hope “as the manner of some is.”
You see, even the first century believers tended to lose the truth, contested but not lost on the Thessalonian church, and that truth was that we would be assembled in the heavens at the coming of the Lord Jesus, to be assessed at the judgment seat of Christ .
Historically, as it turns out, Christians DID abandon the truth of our assembling on high prior to the Lord’s return, and, although this truth was recovered in the early 19th century revival of it in Europe, the focus of it has remained something grasped by very few believers. Despite the fact that every believer dead or living will experience this assembly, unhappily so many will be surprised at what takes place, and perhaps even more ashamed during this time.
It is the case that Christians should have a faith that is future facing, as we learn in the following chapter , but that future-oriented view needs a focus, and that focus is the great assembly, and ensuing assize that attends it.