Focus of Christian message: the great commission 

Focus of Christian message, What should it be?

Attending Christian church services through the years , one cannot but be ingrained into our consciousness, the reality of God, his attributes of omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. Along with these are his grace and love for his awesome creation…humans. So great is this love (John 3:16) that God the Father gave up his future only begotten “Son” Jesus. This Son is the YHVH ELOHIM in the Old Testament (the Logos/Word Creator in John 1:1), who took off his divine spirit-composition and powers to incarnate into a human being, as man-Jesus. Although human, he was still categorized and confirmed, like us, as “god” in Ps. 82:6 and Jn.10:34. Being flesh-composed at incarnation, he was subjected to death for humanity to be reconciled to the Father(Romans 5:10). Jesus’ death was substitutionary for humanity’s eternal or second and irreversible death which is a penalty for Adam’s sin (representing the whole mankind) from the garden of Eden. Being human and flesh-bodied as Jesus was, we can die the first death, being matter-composed, a reversible death. Without resurrection from this, this death would have been eternal. But, while Jesus died the first death, he did not experience eternal death because this man-Jesus was resurrected into a spirit-body (and so shall we) as promised by the Father and to prove the future resurrection towards eternal life for humans (I Cor. 15:1-58). Without resurrection, Jesus could still be dead, as we would, and the promise of the Father was for nought. 

But, this is not all. After resurrection, Jesus had to go to the Father. Otherwise, a most important gift (the Holy Spirit) to empower us would not be received by him, to then be given subsequently to us (John 16:7, a “spirit-baptism”).The Father can only give this as promised to YHVH/Logos who became his Son, before being given to us. We need this Holy Spirit of power to be “baptized into us” by Jesus (John 1:33), because “the flesh is weak. Even if the spirit of man is willing”(Matt. 26:41), we need to be empowered by the “immersion/baptism of the Holy Spirit” in us to overcome evil and be “one” with the Son and the Father, as members of the God-Kingdom. This Spirit will then “bear fruits” in us and will be reflected in “good works” (Gal. 5:22).

This work of the Holy Spirit is crucial for us to develop into “children of God”, the attainment of which will manifest at resurrection as a change in a “twinkling of an eye” from mortal flesh to immortal spirit-bodies. (I Cor. 15:52-56.). This same Holy Spirit dwelling in Jesus at river Jordan (Matt. 3:16), developed him to be “Son (begotten child) of God”(Rom.1:4), “firstborn of many brethren”(Rom. 8:29), firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18), the first of the firstfruits (Ezek. 44:30 ESV), the wavesheaf offering ( Lev 23:10-14). Similarly, this Holy Spirit will have to bear fruits in us, as it did to man-Jesus, to develop us into “children of God”, one with Jesus and with the Father, as members of the God-kingdom.
Therefore, Christians should focus, post-resurrection, on this gift of the Holy Spirit given by the Father because this is a basic ingredient needed in the creation of and for us to be in the Kingdom of God. This “kingdom” is more than a “government”. It is about a “family of God”, a “new creation”(2Cor. 5:17), that was never done before until Christ. Prior to this, all that was created were angels, inanimate objects (planets and universe) as well as living creation like plants, animals and humans, all matter and not spirit, except angels. But, when Adam was created in the garden of Eden, he was only a type of “human” that would come in the future. The anti-type , the “2nd Adam”, was this man-Jesus, to start this “new creation”, the “children of God”. Jesus was the human template with the “spirit of man”, which is the temple for the Holy Spirit to be baptized and dwell into; see I Cor. 3:16-17: 6:19-20; 2Cor 6:16-17; Acts 7:48-51, Acts 17:24-25. Like other humans, the man-Jesus has the “spirit of man”(the breath of life”) which came directly from the Creator. Growth and development occurred in Jesus’ life from birth, childhood and through adulthood. But at the river Jordan, his “spirit” was then “Spirit-baptized” or infused by the Father. It was at that time that he was empowered and thence miracles happened, not before. Even as a child, he did not have the power of the Holy Spirit until adulthood. This power was given to him only after coming out of water baptism at river Jordan (Lu.3:22). The same Holy Spirit empowered him to overcome evil, especially the temptations of Satan (Matthew 4:1-11) in the wilderness. Similarly, this was the power that Jesus used to decide whether to follow “his will” or not (Lu.22:42). The apostles received this “spirit-baptism” on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-31)In the same manner, we receive this Holy Spirit to take the path of Jesus and follow, not the pull of our flesh, but follow His example. And when we do, we will be on our way towards becoming “children of God”. 

This is the great commission: to preach this good news of coming creation of the God-kingdom, through spirit-baptism in the name of the Father and the Son.

Death and Taxes:

Death and Taxes: A Time for Reflection

Lent season is upon us and so is filing income tax. Ash Wednesday for Roman Catholics and the death/resurrection of Christ for all Christians will be memorialized with much reverence, while some are already preparing their tax return. As Benjamin Franklin says: “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” This reality of death comes close and personal to us with the demise of dearly-beloved ones, family members, relatives and friends. To them who helped and nurtured us through the years, goes our deepest debt of gratitude.

 

This season is a time of reflection about the inevitable…death and taxes. But, how about resurrection? Is that a surety as well? Some are “freeloaders” and don’t pay tax, about 49% of USA population. But for those who do pay, some get a tax refund quickly or later, while others receive none. As an analogy, is there a correlation between death and taxes. Do some die and others don’t? Are there parallels between these 2 realities and resurrection? Metaphorically, those who gave up their life (by analogy, pay up in taxes), do some get their life back (resurrected) sooner than later (get a tax refund) while others don’t?

Consider the following facts. Even in the first century during the time of apostle Paul, there were people in the church, intelligent though they are in the secular world, who denied Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. More so now, there are some who claim that the man who died at the cross was not Jesus but a substitute; he was not the one who died because “God does not die”, so they proffer.

It is an eye-opener to read through the logic behind Paul’s arguments in I Corinthians 15:12-34:
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”

Yes, their is resurrection for humans from the dead. Jesus (God-incarnate) is living-proof by his death as a man, and based on that evidence that we will also be resurrected. But when will our resurrection occur? Notice what Paul said, “everyone in his own order”, first Christ as “first of the firstfruits” ( I Cor. 15:20; Leviticus. 23:9-10), then others. Rightly so, as Jesus is the “pioneer”of our salvation; the author, originator (Hebrews 2:10-11), he has to be first, then us (I Corinthians. 15:23).

There is a first and second resurrection for humans who died (Revelation 20:4-6; Acts 24:15). The first resurrection is described in I Thessalonians 4:16 that will occur at the second coming of Christ, at the last trump, the “dead in Christ shall rise first”. They will then rule “a thousand years”(Millenium) on earth. Those “in Christ” who were baptized by the Holy Spirit, bearing the spiritual fruits and who are alive at the time of Christ’s return on earth will “be changed”, i.e., not die, from mortal to immortal, from flesh to spirit-bodies ( I Cor. 15:52; Phil. 3:20-21).

With the preceding having been considered, indeed an analogy can be made between death/resurrection and taxes:, viz.,
1. Some will die before Christ’s return as some, not all, will pay taxes.
2. Some may not die, still alive, at the time of Christ’s return to change from mortal flesh to immortal spirit-bodies as some may not pay taxes. Almost 49% don’t pay taxes, although nobody knows how many will live through that time.
3. Some will receive tax refund sooner as some will participate in the 1st resurrection at Christ’s return; others will receive their tax refund later as others will participate in the 2nd resurrection. As the Paul said, “everyone in his own order”.

Eventually, innumerable people will have eternal life than those who will die eternally. As Jesus said, John 17:12, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” Also, Genesis 15:5, ” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”.

These verses are an indication that many will be saved versus few that will experience eternal death. These will come to fruition because of God’s grace and love for us. And, while our “own” faith is required, all of these came about becausey of the “faith of Jesus” (Romans 3:22, Galatians 2:16, 3:22, Philippians 3:9) in the Father that what was promised will come to pass.

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