Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Good Time To Watch

So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.   Genesis 5:23-24  NKJV

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, “to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  Jude 1:14-15  NKJV

By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  Hebrews 11:5  NKJV

Many believers are aware that Enoch was the first person to experience what is described as a “rapture” event because he never died, but rather was taken by God into His presence before he could “see death”.  Yet I believe many are unaware of exactly why God chose to do that for him, or what it was that made Enoch deserving of such a reward.  If you look closely at what is written about Enoch in the passage from Jude, I believe it becomes quite clear why God viewed Enoch as deserving of being raptured and how it was that Enoch “pleased God”.  Simply put, Enoch pleased God and was rewarded by being raptured because he prophesied about the Second Coming!

The subject of typology is something we have spoken of before, and something I personally am convinced is a wonderful tool in studying scripture.  Many scholars see the rapture of Enoch, which occurred just before the flood of Noah, as a type or pattern of the rapture of the Church, which will also happen just before the start of the final period of God’s judgment of an unbelieving world.  If this is the case, I would also like to suggest there might be more to the story of Enoch that we might find interesting, especially as it might relate to the rapture of the Church.

The passage from Jude tells us that Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, a fact that we could discern from the genealogy given in the book of Genesis.  Yet Jude makes a point to mention it when he talks about Enoch and that makes me wonder why?  We know that the number seven in scripture means perfection in regards to completeness, so is it significant the Enoch was the seventh from Adam?  If we view Enoch as a type or pattern in relation to the Church, is it also significant that the book of Revelation lists seven church types, and many now believe we are living in the last or seventh type?

Of course, if that were not enough, there is also something else we can consider about Enoch and his rapture.  There is a Jewish rabbinical tradition that Enoch was not only born on the sixth of Sivan, but was taken on his birthday as well.  Why might that be significant, especially in light of the Church?  Simply because the sixth of Sivan is also the date of the Feast of Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit was given to the Church, and also the day many consider to be the birthday of the Church.  Looking at Enoch as a type of the rapture, is it possible the Church could be raptured, and the Holy Spirit (restrainer) removed, on its birthday just as Enoch was?

Pentecost is the fourth of Israel’s seven feast days, and generally occurs in our month of May or June.  This year it will start at sunset on May 23, and many are wondering if this just might be a good time to be watching, especially considering all that we see going on in the world today.  By now I am sure you know I am not in the habit of selecting dates, or making predictions about when the rapture will occur, yet I certainly believe we are about as close as we can get to that blessed event without actually hearing the trumpet sound.  As we watch, I thought I would leave you with a study I posted last year which generated a lot of interest. 

A Summer Rapture?

Woe is me!  For I am like those who gather summer fruits, Like those who glean vintage grapes; There is no cluster to eat Of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires. The faithful man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net.           Micah 7:1-2  NKJV

I believe the Bible makes it clear that the rapture of the Church could happen at any time.  That does not mean, however, that there might not be a clue in the Word as to the season in which it might occur.  We asked the question a few weeks ago about just what this world would look like when the restrainer, the Holy Spirit, is removed from the earth at the rapture.  Most of us are familiar with the observation of the philosopher Edmund Burke when he said “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.  Well, what happens when, according to this passage, there are no faithful men?  Every man is against his own brother, and evil is rampant on the earth.  Talk about all that is necessary to create the “perfect storm” of evil, God simply removes His Church along with the Holy Spirit and there is nothing left to fight against Satan and his forces.

Since history has shown that Satan’s priority is the destruction of Israel, what do you think he tries to do first?  Does this passage from Micah refer to the rapture of the Church?  I think it entirely possible considering the description it gives as to what the world looks like with the absence of the faithful.  I also believe it is reasonable to consider the possibility of a summer rapture when the most likely day for an attack of this nature is on Israel’s national day of mourning.

A Day of Mourning; the Destruction of Damascus.

“Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?  Zechariah 7:5  NKJV

This scripture refers to the fast of the fifth month, which is observed on the ninth of Av on the Jewish calendar and it usually coincides with either late July or August on our western calendar.   Many believers are familiar with this day as it is the one day in the year where so many tragedies have occurred to the Jewish people throughout their history beginning with the report of the twelve spies in the book of Numbers and many, many others continuing to this day.  If you were to consider the question of when the nation of Israel would come under attack by weapons of mass destruction, it would be hard to ignore the possibility of something of that magnitude occurring on the very day in Israel’s history when so many other national tragedies have taken place. 

Isaiah 17 also makes it clear that although justified in their response, the rest of the world takes a dim view of what Israel does.  This of course leads them to think about, and plan a response which many if not most believe is the attempted invasion of Gog.  I believe it only takes the relatively short time of three to four months to come up with their “evil plan.”

A Hannukah Gift; God Defeats Gog

‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid—consider it:     Haggai 2:18  NKJV

And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: ‘I will shake heaven and earth. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots And those who ride in them; The horses and their riders shall come down, Every one by the sword of his brother.                Haggai 2:20-22  NKJV

In his book Armageddon, Appointment With Destiny, author Grant Jeffrey does a masterful job of examining and explaining all of the feasts and fasts of the nation of Israel.  In his book he devotes an entire chapter called “Russia’s Day of Destruction in Israel” to the Gog Magog conflict where he not only answers virtually every question someone might have about the identity of the invading force, he also speculates as to the timing of the conflict.  By comparing the language describing what occurs, and especially God’s response to the invading force, he comes to the conclusion that this passage from the prophet Haggai most likely is referring to the Ezekiel 38,39 prophecy. 

It is also his conclusion that by referring specifically to the twenty fourth day of the ninth month, God is telling us exactly when these events will occur.  This day, the twenty fourth of Chisleu on the Jewish calendar, is the day before Hanukkah, which normally occurs in late November or December on our calendar.  I think it is entirely possible that the space of time between the Ninth of Av and the day before Hanukkah is more than sufficient for the planning and assembling of the forces of Magog by Gog.  How special would this Hanukkah be for all of Israel to awaken to find the entire invading force has been slain, not by their own might, but by the power of God the Father?

Peace on Rosh HaShanah?

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;  Daniel 9:27a

How long has the world waited for peace between Israel and its enemies?  At times many would believe that peace is an impossibility given the lack of success in coming to any type of an agreement.  It is with this in mind that it doesn’t bother me a bit to think that it takes nine months before the antichrist confirms a covenant.  I also believe it is telling to notice the word God chooses to use in this prophecy.  The word translated confirm, in the Hebrew is gabar; which means “to enforce or prevail”.  Now I ask you; does that sound like a mutually agreed peace?  It would seem to me that Israel’s enemies are somehow forced to abide by this agreement by the antichrist without really wanting to.  I chose Rosh HaShanah as the day this peace begins for two reasons. 

The first reason is that many if not most scholars believe the last three feasts of Israel in the fall are prophetic as to the second coming of Christ.  Since the seventieth week of Daniel is exactly seven years in length, it logically begins and ends about the same time.  I also am intrigued by the use of the trumpet on Rosh HaShanah.  The last sounding of the trumpet on this feast day is called the Tekia shofar.  Throughout Israel’s history, it has been described as a long blast signaling victory or good news.  What better news would Israel want to celebrate than knowing peace with their enemies has finally been accomplished? 

Abomination in the Spring?

But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”        Daniel 9:2

Obviously it follows that if we place the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week in the fall, the middle of the week which is three and one half years later will occur in the spring.  In fact, not only will it occur in the spring, it will arrive during the spring feasts of Israel.  If you recall, it was during this time that Jesus entered Jerusalem and told the religious leaders of the day that He was the Son of God.  When it comes to prophecy in the Bible, I make it a point to never believe in coincidence.  It seems to make perfect sense that the antichrist will choose the exact same time to stand in the temple and proclaim himself to be God.

History will repeat itself as his claim will be rejected by many resulting in the antichrist reacting in anger towards those who reject him. It is now that the final three and one half years of Daniel’s seventieth week begin, and by declaring war on the nation of Israel the antichrist plunges the world into the period of time which Jesus called the Great Tribulation, and God called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.  The antichrist’s attempt to destroy the nation of Israel will only lead him to destruction, but in the process involve the entire world in a war that is not only unwinnable, but leads directly to where God has arranged the final outcome to occur.

Armageddon and the Second Coming in the Fall?

Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say: “Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry, ‘Gather together,’ And say, ‘Assemble yourselves, And let us go into the fortified cities.’ Set up the standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction.”                                   Jeremiah 4:5-6  NKJV

Here we are, seven years after the covenant of peace between Israel and its enemies, right back where we started and notice again the reference to blowing a trumpet.  Is Jeremiah telling us that Armageddon and Jesus return to Jerusalem occurs on Rosh HaShanah?  I believe that he is, but only time will tell if this is the correct interpretation.  Yet considering the fact that God has told us specifically that the seventieth week of Daniel would be two thousand five hundred and twenty days in length, broken up into two halves with each being twelve hundred and sixty days, and that there are just coincidently twelve hundred and sixty days between Passover and Rosh HaShanah, I think it’s a safe assumption God wanted us to know this was when these things would occur.  Of course, as I said, I could be wrong, however we should also consider that there are two more appointed feasts that closely follow during this month, and the prophetic implications they provide give support to our conjectured timeline. 

Ten days after RoshHaShanah comes Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  This day is considered to be the holiest day on the Jewish calendar for it is on this day that they were commanded to mourn for their sins.  It was also on this day, the only day of the year, when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood of sacrifice before the Mercy Seat of God.  It certainly seems appropriate that now that the Great Tribulation is over Israel will stand before their God and mourn for their sin.

Millenial Reign Begins on Tabernacles

And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be— “The LORD is one,” And His name one.  Zechariah 14:9  NKJV

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.                  Zechariah 14:16  NKJV

The next, and last Feast day on the Jewish calendar arrives just five days later when Israel celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles.  This was the day in Israel’s history when Solomon’s Temple was dedicated and the Ark of the Covenant finally had a permanent resting place.  Many also believe that this day was in fact the day of Jesus’ birth, and there are several good reasons to believe that.  One is that in the book of John we are told that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.  Just coincidently, the Greek word for “dwelt” is “tabernacle”.  It certainly seems fitting that Jesus assumes His throne in the New Jerusalem on the same day He first arrived.

My purpose in sharing all of these things with you is to hopefully stimulate you to watch with the intensity I believe God wants from all of us when He commanded us to watch for all of these things.  It has always troubled me that if you were to ask one hundred believers if they felt it was important to follow all of God’s commandments one hundred would say yes of course.  Yet ask those same one hundred if they are watching for Christ’s return and I suggest the number who would reply yes would appall you.  As I said before, I am not trying to predict the future here, but all that we have talked about in the past few weeks has already been told to us by the Father through His prophets in His Holy Word.  It is, and has always been, up to us to diligently search the scriptures to “find out whether these things were so”.

If you have never taken the step of asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart and save you from eternity without Him, I encourage you to do that right now.  Simply tell Him you are sorry for your sin, ask Him to forgive you, and accept the sacrifice He made to die for your sin, and He has promised not only to forgive you but to make you one of His own and come into your life and provide all the help you need to begin to live for Him.  I am convinced His return is much closer than we may think.

As always, there is more to the story of Pentecost for us to discover, so next week we will look at Pentecost as a day of harvest and a good day for a wedding.

Keep watching.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Outnumbered and Overwhelmed

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.          Revelation 3:7-8  NKJV

Have you ever experienced true sadness?  I’m talking about the type that makes you physically ill as a result of your emotional distress.  Unfortunately, you probably have because it is an emotion all too common in the world in which we live.  I am equally sure that the reasons for each of us to have experienced this type of sadness are probably extremely diverse and often unique to each of us depending on the circumstances.  We are not, however, alone in our capacity for sadness because the Bible has made it very clear that Jesus experienced and exhibited a wide range of emotions during His life on this earth, sadness being one of them.

This brings us to this passage from the book of Revelation written by John at the direction of Jesus Christ, and specifically the first three chapters which contain seven letters addressed to the Church.   Most all scholars agree that this list of seven churches, while portraying a complete picture of the Church itself, also give a chronological picture of the evolution of the Church throughout history, with the last church, the church of Laodicea, being typical of the Church as it exists when Jesus returns at the time of the rapture.  Considering that this church is described as lukewarm, with Jesus actually being outside knocking to get in, is it any wonder we are told it will be spit out of His mouth?

I cannot help but wonder though, just how difficult it was and is for Jesus to know and watch as His Church descended over time into its current form.  Most commentaries I have read on these letters state the opinion that the most influential and successful church form is described in the letter to the church at Philadelphia, which receives no words of correction but rather is praised for staying true to His Word, not denying His name, and keeping His command to persevere.  

Yet something happened to this Church and it is what I believe has produced in our Lord a sadness which is almost indescribable, and is what I believe will occasion His return for us any day.  Exactly what happened?  You need look no further than two words in verse eight of chapter three where we read that the Philadelphia church has what is described as “little strength”.

The word we find translated as strength can also be translated as power, which is the Greek word “dynamis”.  It is the same word we find elsewhere in the New Testament, especially as it refers to the power of God in the person of the Holy Spirit, which resides in all who choose to believe.  Look at what Jesus had to say to the disciples just before He ascended forty days after His resurrection.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8  NKJV

This occurred just ten days later when the disciples were gathered together on the Feast of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit was sent as that promised power which would indwell all who believe and serve to change the world in which we live by the mechanism called the Church.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  Romans 1:16  NKJV

The gospel of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Church as God intended it to be, have all served to change the world yet something has happened over time which is revealed in one other word which we find in the message to Philadelphia and that is the word “little”.  It is the Greek word “micros”, which I suspect you find familiar.  Yes, it is where we get the word “micro” which as we all know is used to describe extremely small units of measurement.  I have often used a micrometer to measure something too small to be measured by a traditional ruler or tape measure, and this is the word Jesus uses to describe the power of His Church as the end approaches.  Now answer me this; just how sad do you believe this makes Jesus feel knowing and watching what has happened to the Church He created?

Better yet, how does knowing Jesus says, right now, the power of His Church can only be measured by a micrometer make you feel?  Are you sad as well?  What happened to bring about the situation we find the Church in today?  Obviously that can be found in the description of the church at Laodicea, which many believe is typical of what we see today in the emerging church movement, as well as other liberal denominations which deny the divinity of Jesus or teach that faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection is not enough to save.  I believe because of the popularity of these churches,what Jesus sees right now is His true Church being overwhelmed and outnumbered by the Laodicean church.  These "lukewarm" denominations are growing to such an extent that He chooses to describe the power of the Philadelphian church as “mikros”. 

This is in no way descriptive of the power that God has given to His Church in the person of the Holy Spirit, but rather a reflection of the size and influence it now holds compared to the Laodicean church.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  1 Corinthians 1:18  NKJV

So what are we to do as a church as we find ourselves being overwhelmed and outnumbered?  I believe now more than ever we need to be bold and speak out in the spirit of love sharing a message which is not only unpopular, but also one that most do not want to hear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7  NKJV

Yet there is good news here for those who choose to be part of the church at Philadelphia, and I believe we are about to witness its fulfillment in the very near future.

“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.        Revelation 3:9-11  NKJV

Although I am sure there are those who would argue, this verse is one of my favorite to explain why I hold to the pretribulational rapture of the Church.  Because we persevere, we will be kept from that period of time in which the world will be punished for their unbelief.  Although the power of the Philadelphia church is “little” compared to the Laodicean church, the power of the Holy Spirit inside of those who choose to believe is not.  My question for you is this; are you using that power to the best of your ability?  Keep His command to persevere, and very soon we will see Jesus fulfill His other promise; “Behold, I am coming quickly!”  How quickly?  That’s the subject for next week. (If we are still here.)

Keep watching.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Got Nike's?

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.                           Ephesians 6:12  NKJV

I am away this week so I chose to repost a study I shared with you a few years ago.  I hope you enjoy it.

I remember back when running track in college that there were always some spirited joking about which brand of shoes were the best to run in; Adidas or Nike. Of course, those two brands were just about the only thing we had to choose from back then, so it made for some fun times between us. But I bet many have no idea what the name "Nike" means, because as I recall, not too many then knew it either except for the few who may have had a passing knowledge of Greek. You see, Nike is the Greek word for victory, and it it also the root word for "Nikao" which means "overcomer". It makes sense that these two words are related, because I'm sure most would agree that in order to achieve victory, one must overcome, but when looking at this idea in a biblical light exactly what does it mean to overcome?

In the New Testament, the word overcome is used almost exclusively by only two people; Jesus and Paul. In fact, both use this word solely in the context of letters to the churches. Paul, when writing to the churches, is concerned with addressing the problems they are experiencing and giving practical advice for "overcoming". Jesus, when writing His letters to the churches in Revelation, is giving a warning concerning their performance and revealing the rewards that will be received only by those who "overcome". Obviously this concept is a very important one, so I want to explore it a little in this study to see what insights we might find concerning God's expectations from us.

First of all, the idea of overcoming something gives us a clue that it might be a struggle, or something not easily achieved. Paul tells us that as Christians, we do have a struggle to endure. In the passage above from his letter to the Ephesians he tells us plainly where our struggles originate. If you look at the context of this letter, we find Paul is comparing the difference between an immature and mature believer. Here he tells us that mature Christians understand that the true nature of our struggles in this life are not from people, but the powers of darkness authored by Satan himself. 

How often in this life do we look at the troubles we face and personalize them? It's all because so and so did this to me, or said this about me, etc? The problem is the people I have to deal with!  Paul says that is an immature view of life and we need to understand that these people and situations are authored by the forces of darkness that surround us. The mature Christian who has learned to overcome knows where the struggle is; in our minds! Our attitude towards our struggles determines our success or failure.

Understanding our fight is against this world and the temptations we find in it is the key to achieving victory in our walk with God. So how do we overcome these temptations? Well, Paul also says this;

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.    Ephesians 6:10  NKJV

What does it mean to be "strong in the Lord"? It simply means that the mature Christian knows he cannot rely on his own power but must walk in the spirit of God through fellowship with Him. You see, many Christians today may appear to be mature because they go through the motions of going to church and getting involved in some aspect of service, but this is "spirituality", not maturity. You see, you can do these things without ever walking in fellowship with God and growing in your relationship with Him. In several of the letters to the churches in Revelation Jesus says He knows what they are doing, but what they are doing is not enough. He specifically says in every letter that the rewards only go to those who "overcome".

So how do we become mature and overcome? Look closely at what we are told by John;

I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.    1 John 2:13-17  NKJV

Simply put, the mature Christian who overcomes knows to turn his back to the things of this world. He knows that victory comes from making his focus growing in his relationship with God, rather than spending his time pursuing the "lusts" of this world.  To my way of thinking, I am personally being told to put on my Nike's and run away from the world, and rather run towards God.  In a sermon about this struggle, Ray Stedman, late pastor of Peninsula Bible Church had this to say;

The key to growth is fellowship with the Son of God, spiritual health. You want to be a mature Christian, able to take whatever comes, able to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you? Then, give yourself to the conditions that make for health: Eat Christ, eat his Word, grow in the knowledge of him, think, talk, communicate with him. And sleep, i.e., rest in Christ. Learn how to rely on his strength, not yours, and live in constant expectation that he is working in you to do his good pleasure. And exercise! Serve him, obey him, move out, take on things to do, open your eyes and step out to meet the needs that call out all around you, the cries of suffering and anguished hearts, the lonely and discouraged. When you do, you will discover that you have overcome the evil one, he cannot get at you. And bit by bit you become like Christ, the most attractive, the most fascinating, the most compelling personality that ever lived.

Do you really want the victory you can have in Christ? Do you want to be an overcomer? Make your relationship with God the thing you work at the most, and you will achieve the victory. Got Nike(s)?

Keep watching.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

His Choice

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.       Matthew 27:50  NKJV

This week as I read once again the story of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, my thoughts were drawn to the word “yielded”.  When I looked it up in the Greek, I was surprised to find the definition of its meaning and usage was a little longer than most.  As I read the many different ways it has been used in scripture, I was struck with the thought that in all of the cases, implied but not stated was the fact that it was a “choice” which could have, or not have been made.  As I thought about that, I could not help but think about the fact that even on the cross, Jesus knew me and all of my faults and sins and still made the choice to die for me.

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you." So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Matthew 28:1-9 NKJV

Rejoice indeed. The Greek word for rejoice also means “be glad”.  I wonder if, at that moment in time, the disciples understood exactly all that they had to be glad about?  Of course they were glad that Jesus was alive, but did they understand that exactly what it meant to them as well as the rest of us?  Because of the resurrection, we all have the opportunity to share in His power over death. It is the gift of grace, freely given to anyone who chooses to believe. Have you ever considered the fact that as a believer in Christ, you are immortal? Death has no hold over us for we have the promise of eternal life, and to prove it, Jesus rose from the dead to show us He alone has the power.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
John 11:25-26 NKJV

Do you believe?  This is the most important question that anyone will ever be asked.  If you can answer yes, your place in eternity in the presence of our Lord and Savior is guaranteed.   We can know this because God has promised us that all who believe will have eternal life.  It’s been said that grace is getting what we do not deserve, and mercy is not getting what we do deserve.  That truly defines what Jesus did for us on the cross by dying in our place (what we deserve) and rising from the grave so we might live (what we don’t deserve).  Nothing we do in this life could be enough to earn that salvation but God offers it to us free of charge because He loved us enough to choose to send His Son to die in our place.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV

And it shall come to pass [That] whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.' Acts 2:21 NKJV

And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31 NKJV

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 NKJV

God made the choice to save us, but it is up to us to make the choice to accept it. My prayer for you today is that if you have never made the decision to believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again for you, you would choose to do it right now. Invite Jesus to come into your life and forgive your sins, and begin to experience the joy that comes from having a relationship with a living God, and the knowledge that He has promised us eternal life with Him in Heaven if we only believe.
  Pray this prayer and accept the gift of eternal life God has offered you by the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.

He lives!