The Power of
the advent of the Christian holiday which we normally call "Easter"
or "Resurrection Sunday" coming upon us, I thought it would be
fitting to express some specific thoughts we can contemplate as this important day
Actually, one of the reasons I am writing
about this subject is to point out that the origins of "Easter" (also,
"Christmas" that we traditionally celebrate on Dec. 25th) are rooted
in paganism going back to ancient Babylon
and other ancient societies. Essentially,
these elements we still allow to be mixed in with Resurrection Sunday are
"Resurrection/Easter Eggs", the "Easter Bunny", "Hot
Cross Buns", "Lent", the "Easter Ham", and the
like. For more information and your
perusal, go to Last Trumpet
Ministries where you will see a tract that has been written on the
origins of Easter.
- The Real Meaning of "Easter"
However, although it is
important to recognize that Easter as such is a pagan holiday and it is
advisable to not participate in those man-made customs, we do need to instead
focus on the Biblical principles of Christ and His death, burial, resurrection and
ascension with its implications for us as Christians. In fact, this is the pivotal part of our
faith as Christians: because if it wasn't for Jesus' death, burial,
resurrection and ascension, none of us would have any hope of eternal life. (Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7; 1Cor. 15:19)
that being said, let us break this down into finer points to get a really clear
understanding of the significance of Jesus' death, burial, resurrection and
ascension is to see what it does for us. This is why we should recognize this
as "Resurrection Sunday" and celebrate the fact that Jesus is risen and alive, instead of the pagan
"Easter" that has been traditionally practiced.
- Jesus' Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension
In order to have a real understanding of
Jesus' death, burial, resurrection and ascension, to begin with we really need
to know Who Jesus is.
who is Jesus anyway?
good man, who happened to be sinless? A
prophet? A founder of a religion? A created being? Or the Son of God who takes away the sins of
the world? If we are Christians, it
should be obvious what the truth is: Jesus is the Son of God who takes away the
sins of the world. (John 1:29) He is the perfect, sinless Lamb of God who
offered up Himself on our behalf. (Heb. 7:27) He is also our Creator (Eph. 3:9),
Mediator (1Tim. 2:5),
and the Second Person of the Godhead who came down from heaven (John 6:38-48)
to humble Himself to walk among men and who chose to be in subjection to the
Father while in His earthly ministry. (John 5:19) He was God in the flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:1-14),
who was in the likeness of sinful flesh, but who knew no sin. (Rom. 8:3)
did Jesus die and why? Many Christians
still believe and remember that He died on "Good Friday", which is not the case. Remember, Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights. (Matt. 12:40) Since He was raised from the dead on the
first day of the week (Sunday, on the Feast of "Firstfruits"), He was
therefore crucified in the middle of the week just before the start of Passover
at Sundown. (Mark
16:9) So, this is another erroneous
tradition handed down as truth when in fact, it is untrue as to the day. But again, the focus should be on the fact that He died by crucifixion FOR US
on our behalf more than that "Good Friday" is the wrong day. It would be a mistake for us not to remember
Jesus' death because it is traditionally held on the wrong day.
most important reason for remembering Jesus' death is as the Son of God who
takes away the sin of the world, He died in our place because of His love for
us and also we cannot take away our own sin.
Because we are frail sinners with a sin nature, we cannot possibly get
to heaven without first being cleansed before a Holy God. The prescribed way in God's Word is that
Jesus had to die and we must apply His death to our hearts and pledge to live a
new life in Christ that He gives to us. Does
that sound barbaric? Well, in God's
eyes, sin is VERY barbaric, and punishment for that sin (which we choose to commit)
must be meted out to those who do not truly repent. Because of God's absolute holiness, there is
no getting by with sin. No one will be let
into God's heaven by their own merits or without judgment on their sins. It is only when we have been cleansed by the
perfect Blood of Jesus by accepting Him as our personal Saviour is our soul
cleansed of sin and only then can we stand before a Holy God without fault do
we have the right to eternal life in heaven. However, even though this is the truth, we
must bear in mind that all sin which we commit while in our current human state
has consequences to one degree or another.
We must bear responsibility for our actions or inactions, repenting and
asking forgiveness, because God expects it of us. (1John 1:9) The
wonderful Grace of God is always willing to forgive us when we do wrong.
mission as the Son of God coming to earth from heaven in the form of a man was
to atone for our sins. In the process of
the crucifixion, He was able to destroy the power of the devil that separates
us from God. (Heb.
2:14) His finished work on the Cross
meant that He had accomplished our atonement for us and has defeated Satan by
giving us eternal life with Him. (John 19:30) Therefore, there is nothing we can do to
personally earn our own salvation other than accepting what Jesus did on our
behalf as the sinless Lamb of God and surrendering our lives to Him.
is stated in the Bible that Jesus was buried in a new tomb, which was borrowed.
(Matt. 27:57-60). After the crucifixion, they took down His body
right away (as Passover was approaching that evening at Sundown, when no bodies
were allowed to be left on crosses). He
lay in the tomb for three days and three nights. It is recorded that during this time, Peter
says He "preached to the spirits in prison". (1Pet. 3:18-19)
What does this mean? It would be better translated "preached
to the spirits who are now in
prison". In other words, when Jesus
was preaching during His earthly ministry, He was preaching His righteousness
to those who were lost and needed to hear what He had to say so they could be
saved. Apparently they didn't, because
by the time Peter records this passage, they had died and were now in the
"prison" of Hades, or the underworld.
This passage has been erroneously quoted to mean that after Christ died,
he went to "hell" to be with the departed spirits. Not so!
We find that He was in heaven, in the presence of God, because when He
and the thief were hanging on the cross, Jesus declared to him, "Verily I
say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-43).
also note that after Jesus died and they had laid Him in the tomb of Joseph of
Aramathea, the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate to seal the tomb and
set a watch because they didn't want to believe the words of Jesus that He
would rise from the dead. (Matt.
27:63-66) They did this because of
their own doubt and unbelief. But we
know that in truth, Jesus did rise on the third day, walked among the
disciples, and ascended to His Father 40 days later. Then He sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost 10
days later to indwell the new believers, which was the start of the Church
Age. It has been that way ever since,
for two thousand years. So, Jesus
overcame all the doubt and unbelief of man and His power is shown in the
on resurrection morning, the first day of the week when the women came to the
tomb, they found an angel there but no body.
They were in mourning and wanted to know what happened to it. The angel declared to them that He had risen
as was evidenced by the linen clothes He was wrapped in for burial that lay
there by themselves.
need to emphasize here that the act of Resurrection is decidedly a supernatural
event. In fact, Jesus as the
"founder" of Christianity is the only One who was resurrected and
lives forevermore. No one else on this
earth who has been a "founder" of anything has been able to do
that. But only the Son of God who said
that He would lay His life down and after three days take it back up again. (John 10:18)
Only Jesus has that power, no one else. This
is so significant, because as we know there are so many religions of the world
and they each have a "founder".
And each one of these founders has died and has stayed dead. Not one has been raised bodily from the grave
and ascended to God. This gives us cause to rejoice! As Jesus was raised, so now we can be raised
when we place our faith in Him. It is
essential to know that our faith and connection with God is eternal.
It is not temporary, or limited to just "this life" in
this corrupt world. What's the point of
that? (1Cor. 15:19-21)
is recorded in (Matt.
27:52-53) that after Jesus was risen; many bodies of the saints also rose
and went to Jerusalem
and appeared unto many. This is another
testament of the power of the resurrection, and this happened all because of
Jesus. Also, these risen saints who went
were witnesses for the Lord. This is
probably one reason why on Pentecost 50 days later, there were 3,000 converts
who had screamed for his crucifixion several weeks earlier.
His death, Jesus had told His disciples that He would not be with them
forever. In fact, He told them He was
leaving, and they were devastated as they were fearful and didn't understand
why He needed to leave. The discourse in John Chapters 14 and
15 basically was an exhortation to the disciples to inform them He was
going away, will send a "Comforter" (Holy Spirit) in His place, to
abide in Him, to love one another and keep His commandments. Up until that time, the disciples had Him
physically with them to walk along side of them; but once He ascended to heaven
ten days before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit subsequently descended on Pentecost to
indwell each new believer and minister to them throughout the whole Church Age. So in that sense, it was good and right that
Jesus ascended from earth to heaven physically and out of view. But if we are Christians, we know He is
present with us in our walk because His Spirit indwells us. He never fails us; it is us who fail in our
walk at times. In the meantime, Jesus is
preparing a place for us that where He is, we may be there also. (John 14:1-4) Isn't that exciting news?
promise Jesus had made was that He would come back again to reign on the earth
for a thousand years. On the day of His
ascension, as He was taken up into heaven, his disciples were watching. A couple of angels told them that Jesus would
come back the same way they were seeing Him ascend. On that note, the disciples went away
rejoicing, because they knew the words of Jesus had been true. (Acts 1:11-14)
- What this does: our future with Him
Jesus was provided as our Perfect Sacrificial Lamb, and was raised from the
dead by the power of the resurrection, the door was now opened to all people who
would repent of their sins and surrender their lives to the Lord. People would now have the opportunity to have
a personal relationship with God, and their future would be a real Hope of
Heaven with Christ. What does this mean,
a real Hope of Heaven? Well, it means
several things: for the Christian who has been adopted into God's family, as
Christ was resurrected and ascended to heaven, the Christian will also be
resurrected and/or raptured to heaven at the appointed time. The Christian will shed his/her mortality and
put on immortality. (1Cor. 15:53-54)
That means no more sin, pain, death, heartache, aging, sickness, etc., that was
experienced on the earth. We will all be
truly united as one body around Christ, to worship and serve Him forever
because He is worthy. (Rev. 5:12-14) Also, in our immortal and perfect state, we
will be able to love perfectly and be loved perfectly.
of Heaven for the Christian
what it would be like to be able to call Heaven your future home! As Jesus said he was going to prepare a place
for us in heaven while He was absent, imagine all the wonderful things He has
been doing all this time to prepare for His Bride's arrival! He is currently in what is called the Third
Heaven (which is the place of God's abode). (2Cor. 12:2-4) In terms of miles from earth, it must be
trillions of miles but I don't know and distance doesn't matter to God. In any case, in order for us to get there, we
must be translated/transported supernaturally by God's power through what is
known as the Rapture of the Church in the twinkling of an eye or else when we
die, our spirit will be returned to God in an instant (1Cor. 15:52; Eccl. 12:7) Those of our loved ones who have gone before
us will be waiting for us there, and we will be reunited with them. What a joyous time that will be! And it's all because of the wonderful Grace
of God that has been provided through the power of the resurrection.
more sin, pain, death, heartache, aging, sickness, etc.
of the wonderful benefits of immortality for the Christian is that in heaven,
there will be no more experiences or remembrances of the difficult conditions
that existed while we were on earth.
These things do exist for us because the truth is, we live in a sin-stricken
world and we have sinful natures (even though our spirit has been cleansed by
the Blood of Jesus). We still struggle
with various sins while living with a sin nature, and we learn to overcome
weaknesses or failures as we mature in the Lord. But in heaven, all of that will be gone
because we will have shed our mortal and sinful nature. This is also due to the power of the
will worship the Lord forever because He is worthy
deserves all the glory and love we can possibly give Him because He has
provided so much for us on our behalf.
In heaven, we will be face to face with Him once again, instead of in
spirit like we are now. We will see Him
by sight instead of by faith. Every knee
will bow to Him and every tongue confess. (Is. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10-11) We will render Him due glory for all that He
has done, as it is only by His wonderful mercy
that He's extended to us through the shed Blood of Calvary and the
resurrection do we have any future with Him at all. So when I think about so many people who say
and do outrageous things that spit in His face!
It just makes me cringe! That is
the work of Satan, so we must run away from him as fast as we can, because he
is always waiting in the wings to infiltrate our minds and hearts with the
wrong stuff to steer us in the wrong direction.
When we get to heaven, however, we will not have to worry about any of
that adversarial stuff. We will just be
very happy doing the Lord's bidding for Him without interference. Alleluia!
will love perfectly, and will be loved perfectly
that time, nothing at all will stand in the way of perfect love. We will know just as we are known. (1Cor. 13:12) We currently live in a society that is
conducive to alienation, division, miscommunication, isolation, loneliness,
indifference, hypocrisy, etc. That same
spirit is felt in the church at times, too.
But in heaven, these problems will be non-existent. There will be no
more sins of commission or omission against each other. Wrong and hurtful attitudes will be a thing
of the past. There will be no more loss
of persons or property that has caused us much pain and difficulty. Crime and poverty will not exist, neither
victims of crime or poverty. Judging
each other based on partial knowledge or misinformation will be no more. All injustice will be made right; everything
that was lost because of Satan, circumstances, or people will be redeemed. Everyone will be equally loved and surrounded
by God's love. There will be no more remembrance of sin that is a harsh reality
of life on the earth. (Matt. 24:12) This
can only happen because of the power of the resurrection.
food for thought, here is a quote from Watchman Nee regarding our words being
"seasoned with salt" but not "salty": "Because of unrestrained speech, the usefulness of
many Christian workers is seriously curtailed. Instead of being powerful instruments in the
Lord's service, their ministry makes little impact on account of the constant
leakage of power through careless talk."
If you're in need of wiser, more gracious, salt-seasoned speech, here's
a prayer for you: "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over
the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3). That's good advice for me as much as it is
In the meantime, we need to make it our duty to forgive trespasses of others so we
don't carry around bitterness and burdens in our hearts. (Matt. 6:14, 15)
That's not healthy for us, neither is it God's Will, plus the fact is that we
have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)
- Do you know Jesus personally?
All of this sounds wonderful…but if you don't know Jesus
personally, it's not going to do you an ounce of good, is it? So, this is a dilemma and you need to find
out how you can solve this problem once and for all because Jesus surely
doesn't want anyone to perish. It is
vital that you get right with God while there is still a little time left,
because the day is fast approaching when God's patience with man's grievous
sins will run out. None of us has any
guarantee of tomorrow, so now is the time to deal with you and God to ensure
you know where you will be in Eternity. Here
are the steps you need to take in order to fully know Who God is.
We must all recognize that Jesus is a Person of the Godhead
(2nd Person of the Trinity) and not some abstract concept or force that is
indifferent or unaware of what we are doing.
He is the Creator of the world (He made it very good from the beginning,
and it was man who chose to sin and bring it down) (Gen. Chapter 3),
and He created us for His glory. (Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:2) As our Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient
Creator who created us, we need to be very aware of how deeply He really cares
for and loves His creation. But we need
to also recognize that He is an absolutely pure and holy God who is all-wise
and above any reproach or guilt who judges sin.
He is also powerful and has absolute authority and control over what
happens in this universe and on this planet.
He is the Captain of our lives and knows what is best for us, even if we
don't want to admit it. It is also His
nature to love and to be gracious. But
because of the difference between the nature of God and man; namely, the
absolute purity of God and the depraved nature of man because of his sin, there
is a great gulf between the two that was established from Adam and Eve on until
now. There is only one prescribed way to
solve this problem and bridge this gulf.
Jesus the Christ, the everlasting Son of God. (John 14:6). By faith in His shed blood on Calvary for us, we can be totally forgiven of all sins --
past, present and future. Then our relationship
with Him forever changes from being children of Wrath to children of God. That is, our position in Christ is what
changes because we are now adopted into God's family and He sees us as He sees
Jesus. If we sin, we can then appeal to
His forgiveness and be cleansed so we can return to fellowship with Him.
Please pray this prayer with me: Father, I humbly come
before you now, recognizing that You are pure and I am a sinner in need of
redemption. I am hopeless without You
and cannot possibly make up for all the sins I've committed in my life and will
continue to commit. The only way I can
be cleansed is by the shed blood of Calvary
which you poured out on my behalf. I ask
you now to forgive me of all my sins so I can be redeemed and come into a right
relationship with You. I rejoice that
provision has been made for my forgiveness through Your Precious Son and my
Saviour. Thank You for your wonderful
Gift of Grace I can have through faith.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer earnestly, you are now a new
Christian who has been adopted into God's family and the Holy Spirit now
indwells you. You have been justified by
His Grace through faith. Alleluia!
After justification comes sanctification. That is, we need to start growing in Christ
so we can learn to be good for His service.
But just as a new baby who comes into the world, maturity takes time and
it is a process. So at first, we feed on
the "milk" of the Word because we cannot handle strong meat. (1Pet. 2:2 ; Heb. 5:12-14) As we go through our daily Walk in Christ, we
learn more about Him and what He expects of us.
As we grow and learn, we utilize the spiritual gifts He gives us more
deeply. The Holy Spirit illuminates the
Word of God and the character of Christ to us so it makes sense. We progress in sanctification when we learn
to abide in Him (John
15:4) and remain steadfast to the end. (1John 5:5) God supplies everything we need so we can
live the Christian life. One thing is
certain: we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength or by our flesh,
it won't happen as our human resources are bankrupt. We have to be completely dependent on God's
resources to live out the Christian life.
So it is important to learn to develop a good prayer life and keep good
communications going with the Lord. He
wants to hear from us and give us direction in our relationship with Him. Another part of the Sanctification process is
to obey God by sharing Jesus with others.
This is the Great Commission that was given to Jesus' disciples (and
thus to all of us), and we are all supposed to do our part in witnessing to the
lost so they will not end up in hell. (Mark 16:15)
After our time is up on this planet, either because the
Rapture of the Church has taken place or because we've died and come into the
presence of God, we will come to the place of Glory. If we've been raptured (caught up), our
bodies will be glorified so we will no longer be dealing with human limitations
and sorrows. If we have died prior to
the Rapture, we will experience the Resurrection at the Rapture. Our spirits will unite with our bodies and
we'll be given a glorified body. (1Cor. 15:50-57)
We will still be the same people, but glorified. We will live forever in our new bodies with
no more corruption. Until that time, if we've died, we will be in the presence
of God and enjoying eternal bliss but without our body.
we need to get ready for Eternity NOW, because every one of us will face
Eternity after we leave this planet…whether we want to face that or not. We are not guaranteed a thing in this life,
and we have absolutely no security without Jesus. Without Him, we will face eternal doom. (Luke 16:19-31) Anything can happen at any time: an
unfortunate accident, an illness, or some other circumstance can cause us to
die unexpectedly. If we are not
prepared, then what? We will be condemned forever, simply
because we did not deal with our sins while we had the chance! I tell you the truth, Jesus loves us
deeply and does not want that to happen!
Hell is a horrible place and a very real place, which is why Jesus
talked about it so often as a warning.
It is the place reserved for the Devil and his angels, so that includes
all those who have rejected Him and His wonderful offer of Grace. (Matt. 25:41-46) None of us have any excuse to reject Him. (Rom. 1:20) Once we go there, we are there forever and
there will be no escape. (Heb. 9:27) Those who have chosen to reject the great
offer of Salvation and eternal life, will find themselves facing the Lord on
Judgment Day and being rejected by Him. (Matt. 7:22-23;
Rev. 20:11-15) That will be a horrible experience
enough. But imagine, if you will, the
Lord ordering to have you tossed forever into a Lake of Fire? The Lake of Fire
is not some imaginary place…it is a real place.
Remember, we are all created by God to live eternally: it will be in one
of two places. No one is annihilated as
that is an unbiblical doctrine devised by man with no foundation. God creates man in His own image: with an
eternal spirit that never dies. So everyone who has ever been created will
eventually be resurrected. There will be
a resurrection of the just and the unjust. (Dan. 12:2; Matt. 25:33-46)
That means those who end up in the Lake
of Fire will have to
endure unimaginable agony for ever and ever!
Why? So God's justice will be
done and He will be vindicated of all unrighteousness by those who have
insulted Him through pride, arrogance, hate, lying, greed, immorality, detestable
acts of the flesh, deception, indifference, etc. Sin, in God's eyes, is that dark and that
offensive. Those who persist in it are
the Children of Satan who have the character of Satan and they will be dealt
with. Satan and his cohorts are not in
charge and they are already defeated, but those who continue to do evil just
don't know it yet! However, there will
come a day when sudden destruction will happen to those who are unprepared. (1Thess. 5:3)
When that day comes, it will be too late for them. And I have not even touched on the horrors of
the seven years of Tribulation under the Antichrist, which those who are Christians
and belong to Christ will not have to endure! (1Thess. 1:10)
You can check out my article on the Judgments
of the Tribulation to see the details of what life will be like for the
unbeliever. You won't want to go through
this, so it's best to take heed now to avoid that misery, because it will
happen sooner than you may expect!
tell you this so you can be really clear on what your choice should be. This is the most important decision you can
ever make in your life. When it's all
said and done, where will secular humanism, atheism, political correctness, or
any present day heresies or philosophies be?
What will happen to the relationship, the friends, the job, the
promotion, the car, the house, the bank account, the vacations, the personal
entertainment, the parties, the night clubs, the alcohol, or other symbols of
the flesh we put so much stock in during this life? It is like the chaff which the wind driveth
away. The Lord and His firm foundation based
on His Word is the only thing that will last forever and that we can count on
to bring us eternal joy. Let us choose
to live for God, therefore, and make wise decisions that will glorify Him
rather than serving self, which is eternal death.