Glorifying God through All We Think, Say and Do
Being Mindful of Our God the Whole Day Through
Pray that all would comprehend the cost
God So loves Us
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
God, in his perfect love for us, desires that none should perish but that all would turn to him and be forgiven. So to make this possible, Jesus Christ who was without sin, took our sins upon himself and suffered the penalty for our sins. He, in his love for us, suffered by the hands of sinful man through beatings and whipping's and then being nailed to a cross. Last of all, he died and spent three days and nights in the heart of the earth. But by the power of our God he was raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. For it's true that our God wants all to be saved, for his word says: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9). And this is also true in the Old Testament where we read in Ezekiel: For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (Ezekiel 18:32) Also, in chapter 33 God says: Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11) Again, this all falls back on what was stated above in John 3:16 which says that "God so loved the world."
Now, even though God gave his only begotten Son to die for us, we should never question His love for His Son. For Jesus himself said: Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17-18) Also, we see this to be true in the Gospel of John which reads: The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. (John 3:35) Paul the Apostle says concerning Jesus: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) So, we see both Jesus and the Father working together on the plan of salvation. On the one hand, the Father loved us so much that he was willing to give up his Son to die for our sins. And on the other hand, we have Jesus who loved us so much and was willing to give himself over for us, suffering all things for our forgiveness. And let us be forever grateful to God for what he did.
You will not leave my soul in Hell
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Acts 2:26-27)
From Peter's quote of Psalm 16:8-10 above, we can see that Jesus went to hell and was glad that his soul would not be left there. For Peter goes on to say: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 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 2:29-31) From the Gospel of Luke, we can see that hell is hot and thus a place of torment: 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. (Luke 16:22-24)
Also, we see that Jesus said he must spend three days and night in the heart of the earth: 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) So, for us to understand what Jesus meant when he said "as Jonah was" concerning the three days and nights in the whale's belly, we must read what Jonah had to say about it: Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. (Jonah 2:1-2) So, form Jonah's own words, we can see that the heart of the earth was a place of affliction and was describe as hell as well. And let's remember that Jesus said "in the volume of the book it is written of me" (Hebrews 10:7) which shows that these words of Jonah was speaking of Jesus Christ in hell . Also, we can see that Jesus went through the "pains of death," but God raised him up out of it: Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; "whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. (Acts 2:23-24)
I Say to You Today
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Luke 23:42)
According to most bibles, the verse which follows the one quoted above says, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” So, how can Jesus spend three days and nights in the heart of the earth (hell) and yet tell the repentant thief that "today you will be with me in paradise?" Well, to answer that question we would need to study other passages in the Bible and compare them to what Jesus actually said. First we need to look at the question from the repentant thief. For notice that he was requesting that Jesus would remember him when he (Jesus) enters into his Kingdom. Well, we know that Jesus did not enter his Kingdom for at least three days and night according to what we examined earlier. Also, we have Jesus statement to Marry in which he said, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17) So, from all this we can come to the conclusion that Jesus was not united with the repenting thief that day.
So what’s next? Well, let's deal with the word "paradise" which Jesus said to the thief and see where the Bible says that it is. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7) So, we can see that this paradise of God is where the tree of life is. And where is the tree of life? And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2) Also, we have Paul's own testimony which he said, "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) So according to God’s word, paradise is up in heaven and not in some abode inside the earth.
Now back to the words of our Savior Jesus Christ to the repenting thief. Almost all translation say: ”To day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." This can be complicated for use because we all know that Jesus did not go directly to paradise but instead spent three days and night in the heart of the earth (hell) as stated earlier. Now, I’m not some Greek scholar but I do know there were no punctuation marks in the Greek manuscripts. So that being said, the punctuation marks we inserted by the soul discretion of the Translators. So the passage could easily read “Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise." This I believe is the true interpretation of this passage. I say this because of the internal evidence as well as some other translations that read this way.
First the internal evidence. The wording “today” combined with an pronouncement is not uncommon in God’s word. For we have in Deuteronomy 30:18 a passage strait from the King James bible that reads, “I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.” Or even more clearer is the NKJV which says: “I announce to you today.” So, as you can read from both versions, the word “today” is not signifying that the Israelites were going to die that day. It was Moses way to get their attention of a possible future event if they sin against God. Also, we have in Acts 20:26 a passage that reads, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.” Again, in the NKJV we read, “Therefore I testify to you this day.” So, in all these passages the word “this day” or “today” is signifying a “take note of what I’m saying” type of a day. So, I do believe that this is what Jesus was saying to the thief as well, giving him hope of a future reunion.
Now, let’s look at some other translations that use this word “today” as in the form “Truly I say to you today.” First we have the Concordant Literal New Testament which reads: “Verily, to you am I saying today,” with Me shall you be in paradise. Then we have the Rotherham's Emphasized Bible translation which read: Verily, I say unto thee this day: With me, shalt thou be in Paradise. And finally we have the Companion Bible by E. W. Bullinger which uses the KJV but has in it’s footnotes the changes that it should read “I say to you today” as well. So, you may be asking me, "were then did the forgiven thief go?" Well he is with Abraham and the rest of the Saints in Christ. But where is that, I'm not exactly sure, but one thing I do know concerning our God is that "He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living."(Mark 12:27) And let's also remember what was stated earlier above concerning the rich man and Lazarus. For we have the rich man who was dead and buried, but yet experiencing the torments of hell, who is also having a conversation with Abraham who's not in hell, who was also comforting Lazarus who died. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1) It sounds like to me that we are surrounded by them.
It is Finished
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)
Now we come to our Lords statement “it is finished.” So we must ask ourselves, what was it that he finished. Was it at that very moment that our forgiveness for sins as well as our redemption was totally completed? For we must remember that Jesus said "It is finished" before he died and rose from the dead. For God’s word say, “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:16-17) So, these two elements (his death and resurrection) are crucial for us believers because without them, there is no eternal life for us. Now, lets examine another passage which may help us to understand what Jesus meant when He said "It is finished." “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do."And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” (John 17:3-6) So again, we see Jesus proclaiming on the cross that He finished the work which He was sent to do.
Into Your hands I commend My Spirit
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46)
From what we can see from the passage above, Jesus totally trusted his heavenly Father with his own life, giving Himself into His hands knowing that He would not leave his soul in hell. We can see this to be true when He said: I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:8-10) So that being said, he endured all that he must go through for our redemption, looking forward to the outcome that lies ahead. For God’s word says: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2) He saw the joy that was set before him, the redemption of our souls from hell. What an Awesome God we have who so loves us His creation
The Passover Lamb
And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. (Exodus 12:7-9)
According to the above scripture, we now come to the Passover Lamb which had to be slain and its blood be applied to the house in order for its occupants to be saved? Not only that, but the Passover Lamb had to go through the fire before those in the house could partake of it and come out alive. This Passover is an act that depicts our Savior who gave his life for us all, having his body broken and his blood shed and who suffering the fire of hell as well. "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. (Matthew 26:26) Jesus is that Lamb of God, for John the Baptist said: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) And let’s remember what Abraham said to his son Isaac: And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8) So, this prophecy speaks of Jesus who gave himself for a sacrifice for our sins. Amen
Now having said all this, we must realize that not every body is at the same level of faith when it comes to God's word. For there are some who have just a limited knowledge of the word yet they are still saved. On the other hand there are those who have a much deeper knowledge of the word and are saved just as well. And let's remember what Paul the apostle said to the Corinthian believers: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:1-2) This shows me that when he was with the Corinthian, he did not elaborate on anything more than the cross of Christ. So if a person who is turning to Christ only knows that Jesus died for their sins, then that person has all he needs to spend all eternity with our Savior. However, the Bible is there for us to dive in deeper if we choose, and by doing so we can further know the depth of God's love for us. So let us not argue over this but come to the unity of faith, knowing that we who are in Christ will be spending all eternity with our Lord. And that I hope we can all agree on. Amen.
Now, let us look a a few more scriptures below:
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