So much in these passages!!! I feel like we’re drinking from a fire hydrant.
I’m taking little notes as I read each morning, and I’m filling up about half a page each day. No kidding! There is no way I can blog about all this. 🙂
So I’m looking over all the notes I took this morning, and I’m wondering what I should write about. But two topics are practically jumping off the page at me, since they are on our Hebrews 6:1-2 list: the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
I would like to admit right now that of all the topics on our list for this year, I’m most dreading these two. I have a personal policy that I don’t ever want to break fellowship with others over nuances of future things, because they are just that. They are future! I could be wrong in my view, because I might not have all the information. And other people might have pieces of the puzzle that I have never thought of.
But it must be admitted that our belief about things in the future affects how we live today, and for that reason, we really should try to carefully hold up every prophecy and discern which ones match the written Word of God, to the best of our ability. I also think that one of the values of being in weekly fellowship with like-minded believers is that we can all test things together.
So with fear and trepidation, let me share things I have seen today on these topics.
Resurrection of the Dead
Look at these three verses from Job 19. Notice the forms of Hebrew poetry we saw yesterday.
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)
In verses 25 and 27, Job repeats his thoughts using different words. In verse 26, he says the opposite in the second half.
So he has complete confidence that no matter how bad things look now, even if his skin is destroyed and he is laid in the grave, someday he will stand in his flesh, with his literal body, before God his Redeemer — and he will see His Redeemer with his own eyes.
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:9-10).
The “holy one” (Strong’s #2623) is one who has been shown mercy and good, who shows mercy and good to others.
I find it so interesting that in the middle of this discussion of death and burying our bodies in the ground where we see corruption — ew, awful — both Job and David focus their attention on seeing the face of their Redeemer and being in His presence. It’s as if they understand His great mercy and that He wants only good for them. He will bring that good to pass in their lives, even if it’s postponed until after the Resurrection!
And because they choose to live for the future promise, and because they actually believe they will get that future inheritance, they start feeling joyful and thankful.
“YHVH, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance…
“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:5-6, 11).
As I read through Zophar’s speech in Job 20, my reaction (and I even wrote this in my journal) was, “Wow, dude! That was harsh!”
I mean, yes, technically speaking, if a man was wicked, these horrible things would be “the heritage appointed to him by God” (Job 20:29).
We got to peak behind the curtain and see that Satan was the cause of all Job’s problems, not his wickedness, so yes, Zophar’s words were really scathing.
But it’s only fair that we talk about what judgment really looks like for the wicked, and why it comes on them. I think it’s really interesting that this topic showed up in all three passages we read today.
“His haughtiness mounts up to the heavens,
And his head reaches to the clouds…
Evil is sweet in his mouth,
And he hides it under his tongue…
For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor,
He has violently seized a house which he did not build” (Job 20:6, 12, 19).
“Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;
Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
Nor take up their names on my lips” (Psalm 16:4).
Yeshua taught that evil starts in our hearts, like a seed planted in the dark. Eventually, that seed of evil grows into a tree, and eventually the tree bears evil fruit.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:33-35).
And lest we think that evil hearts can stay hidden, Yeshua tells us that when the Redeemer stands in judgment, as the “witness in heaven, and my evidence on high” (Job 16:19), it will be our words that will be judged. The seed is the basis of judgment, not the fruit. The seed can’t be faked.
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
And the worst kind of word we can speak? One that denies the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in this world:
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).
What does this mean?
Our theme passage in Hebrews 6 has a little more to say about this topic:
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
“For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:4-8).
Do you see that it talks about things like trees and herbs and thorns and briers? Same topic Yeshua was on!
I put some topics for extra study down below, but I’m going to stop for today. I know these are hard topics, but allow yourself to wrestle with them. I could explain more by giving more Scripture, but I think this will spiral away into a book rather than a blog post. Since we’re going to read through the entire Bible this year, I think I’ll wait until we get to those passages.
For now, meditate on this fact and how you can prevent on its happening to you. I personally think it has something to do with making sure we put a good seed into the house of our heart, rather than allowing it to stay empty.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation” (Matthew 12:43-45).
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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To Study Further:
- Study a little more about the work of the Spirit, both now and in the future, by reading these verses: Ezekiel 36:27; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:1-39.
- Christine’s commentary on Matthew 12
- About keeping the Torah: Rules vs. Rest
- What is lawful to do on the Sabbath?