Are both our “faith and works” needed for Salvation?

Are both our “faith and works” needed for Salvation?

It is a long-standing Christian tenet that a person has to have faith and do good works, i.e. follow the Ten Commandments, Aseret ha-Dibrot, Torah ( Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21). As to whether our obedience to the Law is an ultimate requirement to be saved, not just faith, is where teachings differ even among those in traditional Christianity. But not to traditional Judaism and Islam that hold “our works” to be essential. On our own, can we really do good works acceptable to the Father? What is the truth? What exactly is the proper role of “our faith and works” to salvation? Do ourfaith or works” really lead to salvation, or what some believe that having “works” is proof that one is “saved“? That, having “good works” is a natural progression of “being saved“?  Are our good works the result  of salvation”?  Are we “saved now”? If not , when actually are we really “saved”?




Reward for our obedience or “works”/deeds: Eternal Life

Some of us may have heard a teaching that excludes our role in Salvation. Somehow, the phrase “saved by faith” stops there and negates our personal responsibility and obligation to do “good works”.What is the truth? 

Jesus said in John 5:29 “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation

Also, notice Rom. 2:6-9:

Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;”

The preceding verses clearly support the principle that the reward for those who”have done good”  and in “patient continuance” in “our works” (overcomers of evil) is “immortality, eternal life“; whereas, the consequence of sin is eternal death. Why no mention of reward for our faith? Is this really the contextual truth? Eternal life being the reward of having “works“, the righteousness of obedience or “works“(Rom. 6:16), what happened then to “the righteousness of faith“? What is the end-result of having faith? What then, is in it for “our faith“? 



Follow God’s commandments or else?

The Law is the Ten Commandments given to Moses in 2 tablets of stone. This defined sin as a violation of that Law as in 

I John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
From Genesis, disobedience (sin) to the Law even before it was given in Mt. Sinai, nevertheless was met with punishment of eternal death. This is the final death (2nd death) from which there is no resurrection; hopeless, were it not for the set plan of Passover Lamb “slain from the foundation”, as a substitute for us, as in:

Rev. 13:8 “…..the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (NIV)

Contrariwise, a natural death (1st death) is a consequence of being mortal. And as such can die, even when personally, he/she did not commit sin like Job and Jesus. If Adam/Eve did not sin, they would still die the natural 1st death as they were mortals. Having been created, as such, humans already have been destined to die and afterwards the judgment as in:
Heb. 9:2 7 “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”



On the other hand, eternal death, the 2nd death is the consequence of Adam’s sin. It even includes any human being, peri-Adamic, i.e., any human before, during or after Adam’s life on earth, including the man-Jesus. This principle is based on all sin imputed to one man (Adam), after the Law was given at Mt Sinai, so that death of one man, i.e. man-Jesus’ can also be imputed to and counted as our death, (and that of humanity) as in: 

Rom. 5:12-15 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”

Romans 5:17“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:21 “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.”

The Old Testament (Tanach) clearly confirms that eternal death (2nd death) is a consequence of sin:
Gen. 2:17 “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Referring to the 2nd and eternal death. Note that Adam and Eve did not actually die after they sinned but was driven out of the garden of Eden, lived and had offspring and died a natural death).

Gen. 3:3 “but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.”

Ps. 34:21 “Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.”

Ezek. 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him”

The New Testament also confirms that eternal death (2nd) is the punishment for sin:

Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


James 1:15 “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

Romans 6:16″Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Notice: Righteousness of obedience to the Law or “works”)

Romans 7:5  “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”
Notice the fruit of disobedience is (second) death.

Romans 7:11″for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me”

The take-home message from the preceding verses clearly exacts eternal death for those who do not follow the Ten Commandments, and continue living in sin, following the “flesh“. 



Role of Faith and “works” in defining righteousness ?

Following the Law is commanded for all, otherwise the punishment is eternal (2nd) death. Righteousness that comes from following the Law (with the gift of the Holy Spirit) has its reward, but not our justification or reconciliation with the Father for Adam’s sin, which comes as a gift from faith as in:

Gal. 2:16 “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”

It is putting “our faith in Christ Jesus” that justified and reconciled us to the Father. It is the “righteousness of faith, not the righteousness of works”. Our own righteousness that comes with following the Law does not compute, as in:

Isa 64:6“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”.

Rom 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”.

Whatever “goodness” we have is not good enough for reconciliation with the Father. Even Job learned that his own “righteousnes of works” following the law on his own, is not what the Father is calling for, in reconciliation or justification. Read the whole Book of Job which shows that God decides what is required for justification even when others consider Job “righteous and an upright man“; God punishes even the righteous as a type for what would happen to man-Jesus. The narrative in Genesis about being “like God” is not going to come to fruition by the action or “works” of Adam/Eve themselves eating the “fruit“, and for that matter, by any man, except by the man-Jesus himself. Nothing can any man do for justification, except to have faith. Rather, death as a consequence of sin, has to be paid for. And, it was paid in faith, trusting the Father will fulfill his promise. It took the death of man-Jesus, as a Passover Lamb, as proof of belief, to be recognized by the Father as substitution and imputed for the death of humanity. Jesus’ death, which was his “works” (including following the Law) did not gain “righteousness” for reconciliation of mankind. Rather, it was Jesus’ “righteousness of faith” in the Father, not his works, trusting that his death will account for justification and reconciling us back to the Father and against the eternal death of humanity . Trust which was faith-based(evidence-based/substantive) was counted by the Father, in love, as righteousness worthy of reconciliation/justification.
As Paul said, in Rom. 5:6-10


“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being
now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the (belief in the) death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Righteousness as accepted by Father God for reconciliation is the “righteousness of faith“, so no one can boast, not the “righteousness of works”, even that of man-Jesus’. It is the belief that  “death of his Son”, not death itself , would be counted for righteousness.This acceptance in the factual and substantive evidence of the Father that what was promised to come to fruition was acknowledged as “righteousness of faith“.Remember, as a type of what is to come, Abraham believed and credited or counted for “righteousness” (compare Gen. 15:6 and Rom. 4;3). Having been justified, (only after justification/reconciliation) we then shall (future) be saved. We need to be justified first, and be reconciled with the Father, before salvation comes in the future.

Notice that it was not just anybody’s faith; rather it is the faith of Jesus, not Abraham’s faith which is merely a type, to initiate this process, as in 

Rom 3:22-23″Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Notice, “…unto all and upon all…that believe”

Eph. 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Because of the Father’s love and by his grace, that he counted faith for righteousness; the “righteousness of faith” that was for reconciliation; the belief that results in trust that is substantive,evidence-based or faith-based.



How did we actually and finally get saved?



As Rom. 5:10 states, Jesus’ death, as proof or aftermath of his faith-based trust in the Father that what was promised will come into effect, reconciled us to the Father and ends there. But this “reconciliation/justification” that was an aftermath of his death, was not based on the “good works of Jesus” prior to his death. It was not because of the “righteousness of his works” so “no one can boast”. Rather, it was the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith” that believed and trusted the Father to count his death as full payment for the eternal death of mankind, that reconciled us. That said, while Jesus’ faith was the basis for “reconciliation/justification“, that in itself did not actually or proximately save us. We are not yet saved” with reconciliation or justification. Instead, we still are going to be (future) “shall be saved by his life“. Meaning, Jesus’ faith (evidence for which he believed and trusted) that the Father would take his death as imputed to all’s death, still requires for the Father to resurrect him back to life for us to be saved.; again “faith-based“, not “works-based”.

What then in his resurrection or his life that empowered us to be saved? Consider what Jesus said before he died in John 16:7, that he has to go the Father in heaven to receive the Holy Spirit for us:
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

Jesus had to be resurrected to receive this promised “power” and “gift” of the Holy Spirit, based again on Jesus’ faith and trust in the Father. Jesus acknowledged this receipt of the HS to be crucial, for without which, salvation will not happen even in his life. And with that gift and promise of the Father that with the Holy Spirit in us, what dynamics then will change? John states that this is the power that will help us becomes “sons of God“, 
John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Note that the HS is “power“, not a third person of Trinity.  Without this gift , which is the Holy Spirit in us, we will not have the power to become “sons of God”. Power dynamics changed to empower those with the Holy Spirit to do good works recognized by the Father. And having such works or “fruits of the spirit“, rewards us with “immortal/spirit bodies” at resurrection, which is the essence of “salvation” from eternal death. This HS is a gift based on the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith”, and not his “works“. And, this was an unwritten covenant between the Father and YHVH/Jesus before any action of Jesus materialized, before the foundation of the world. Hence, trust in the Father that he will fulfill all he promised to YHVH/Jesus and righteousness that comes from “faith instead of works”. Faith or substance/evidence because YHVH/Jesus was with God the Father (Compare Jn. 1:1 and Heb. 11:1 ). He knew the power of the Father by being with him from the very beginning. 


Holy Spirit prophesied to come in Old and New Testaments

Ezek. 32:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow”. Notice that this Holy Spirit of power will be given to us while still in our flesh-composed bodies, our current life.



Ezekiel. 39:29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” 

Joel 2:28-29″And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Compare with Ac.2:14-21)

Isa. 32:15-17 “till the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”

Isa.44:3-5 “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel”

Zech. 12:10 “And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem”

Matt. 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

John. 1:33 “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”  Notice that  Jesus had to receive the Holy Spirit from the Father after his resurrection, before Jesus can baptize the Holy Spirit into us.

John. 7:37-39 “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Notice this will happen also to those “latter fruits“.

John 14:16-17, 26 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bein you.But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John. 15:26-27  “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

John 16:13 (AMP).“But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the Truth. For He will not speak His own message ; but He will tell whatever He hears , and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come ”   

Mark. 1:7-8 “And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Luke 3:16 “John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

 Luke 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Again, notice that the HS is a power, not a person of the Trinity.

 

Acts 1:5 “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Instead of the Ten Commandments written in our “stone heart”, the Holy Spirit was prophesied to come into us (while flesh-composed) and write them in the “fleshly tables” of our heart, of humanity and empower us to follow the Law.



Fulfillment of the Promise:
Acts 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Acts2:32-33″God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

 Acts 2:38-39 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Rom. 8:11-13 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Rom. 8:14-17 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”



Eph.3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”

Clearly, the preceding verses confirmed that Jesus received this HS from the Father and now has been poured to the apostles starting the day of Pentecost and to many during that time and still being given into us. This will bring life and strength to our mortal bodies for so long as we allowed ourselves, voluntarily and by our choice, to be led by and to walk with the HS. With it, we are adopted to “Sonship“, to beborn” as “sons of Godat resurrection.


Does the presence of the Holy Spirit of power in us, take away our freedom of choice?

Devoid of the Holy Spirit, Adam & Eve had the freedom of choice and they chose wrongly; a bane to whole humanity. Without the Holy Spirit on the other hand, Abraham, also with the freedom to choose, followed God, on faith that his promises to him will be fulfilled. Clearly, even without the Holy Spirit of power, one can choose rightly or wrongly. Nonetheless, no matter how good we are, still we are as “filthy rags”(Isa. 64:6).

However, some teachers have it that the Holy Spirit in us is so powerful that we have nofreedom of choice” and in a way has to follow it. Many instances of “forcible compliance” have been mentioned, for those prior to the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of power was given. As a classic example, notable among them of God’s prevailing power no matter what, was the story of Jonah. The narrative goes that God commanded him to go and warn Nineveh of impending destruction in the hands of God. But, he was so stubborn that instead, he went the opposite way from Nineveh. He was then swallowed by a “big fish“. He was praying before he died in the belly of the fish. After 3 days and 3 nights, he was vomited in the shore of Nineveh, where he was resurrected to life. Fear, being the beginning of wisdom(Proverbs 9:10), he then voluntarily and by his own choosing, followed God’s command and warned the inhabitants of Nineveh of their impending doom. It can be argued that Jonah was being forced, and he was. Yet, even with that horrible experience, he could still say “No” to God. And there are and will be people in that category, (even with the Holy Spirit in them, that they eventually rejected) that will end up in the “lake of fire“. However, Jonah wised up and followed God this time around, as he should. 

The preceding example is ample enough to support the principle that even when forced and without the Holy Spirit of power in us, freedom of choice is maintained. Still, it begs the question: what if we have this Holy Spirit of power? Does it negate our freedom to choose? The narrative about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane proved otherwise. Fully imbued with the Holy Spirit, still he did not follow his own will. Instead, he “walked in the Spirit” voluntarily for the “joy set before him, endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2and let the Father’s will “be done“, as in:
Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”




This is what the Father wants and hopes (Romans 8:20-25; Titus 1:2) that we will do, to be “one” with him as his way is “the way, the truth and the life“(John 14:6) Our battle is spiritual (Eph. 6:10-18) to overcome the flesh using the power of the Holy Spirit in us. God desires a “mature and willing soldier“, not a robot. 



Summary:

With man-Jesus’ death, (the aftermath/proof of the faith of Jesus) came reconciliation or justification for mankind’s sin as imputed on the sin of Adam in the garden of Eden, nothing more. This is the faith-mechanism of how all humans can get justified and reconciled to the Father. But, this is applicable only to “believers” at a particular point in time, whether “pre-during-post-millenium”, and “overcomers“as written in the “book of life”(compare Rev.3:5; 20:12; 22:19). As crucial a step that is, it is just the beginning of the process of salvation. Having been reconciled, subsequently we then “shall be saved by his life”. We are not yet saved now. Jesus had to be resurrected to receive the gift of the the Holy Spirit for us , as promised by the Father; it takes a live person not a dead one to receive. The “righteousness of faith”, initiated by Jesus and becomes actionable by us, was the acceptable payment for Adam’s eternal death ( and the whole mankind’s) due to sin that the Father recognized, not the “righteousness of works”, so no man (including man-Jesus) can boast. Going through with decision and action to be crucified, i.e., “works“, followed “faith” leading to trust in the Father’s promise.While his natural death was proof of his faith in the Father, the proximate basis for justification and reconciliation was Jesus’ faith, not his death. Conversely, “righteousness of works” is the principle that will render “reward” i.e., future salvation, eternal life/immortality at resurrection, for those who continue to walk “in the Spirit“, those who “bear fruits of the Holy Spirit“, those who are “overcomers“(Rev. 21:7-8). While actionable by us, these are works/fruitsof the Spirit in us and in conjunction(not forced but”willingly“) with our “spirit of man”, although strictly speaking not ours, per se. 

Salvation is attainment of immortality, eternal life (Rom. 2:6-9), not before , while still mortal flesh-composed and deemed to die as such. Jesus proved this with his own resurrection to immortality; he was changed from man-Jesus, flea have-composed, in a twinkling of an eye after 3 days and 3 nights being dead in the tomb, into an immortal and glorious body. As man-Jesus received the Holy Spirit coming out of the water of the River Jordan and with this power that he followed perfectly, he became “one” with the Father. His works or obedience were the “fruits of the Holy Spirit“, and again, strictly speaking not his own works per se, but given from above. After receiving the Holy Spirit for us from the Father at his resurrection, he then at Pentecost gave his church this gift. The “elect” then used this power for sanctification by following the Law, now written, “not in tables of stone but in the fleshly tables of their heart“, to walk in the Spirit.

Our faith and works are needed indeed. But, how did we have faith and works? Paul stated in:
Rom. 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”

As humans, we were created with ears to hear material things. But, it is God who opens our ears (Matt 16:17) for faith/evidence/substance to come and for us to understand “spiritual truth”, a gift, for us to do “good works”. While these are proximately  our works, they actually are “fruits of the Holy Spirit“, given as a gift based on the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith” and therefore by ” the grace of God”.

 

Yes, having good “works“, as defined by the Father, is proof of the presence within us of the Holy Spirit. But not that one is already “saved” which is yet future, at resurrection; nor good works the “result of salvation“. Rather, “good works” that come with voluntarily following the Holy Spirit and accepted by the Father are an indication or as a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, the power that our “spirit of man” follows, to bring forth “fruits of the Holy Spirit”

Faith is evidence-based, i.e., “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen” (Heb. 11:1). CreatorYHVH/Jesus was with the Father (John 1) from the very beginning and knew of his power and will deliver what he promised. He then believed and trusted the Father with all that was promised him; same systematic process that we should all adhere to.  
Righteousness of man-Jesus’ faith led to imputation of his death for the death of humanity. This “righteousness of faith” is for reconciliation/justification of mankind, which then initiates the future of our salvation. On the other hand, “righteousness of man-Jesus’ works” resulted in his reward of “immortality/eternal life”; same process for all of mankind. With his life, he could then receive the promised gift of Holy Spirit from the Father, to then be given to us; as in, we are “saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10). Similarly and on the same mechanism, righteousness of our faith imputed our eternal death to the death of man-Jesus for “reconciliation and justification”; righteousness of our “works” results in our reward of “immortality/eternal life”. 




In essence, righteousness of faith brings about reconciliation or justification; whereas, righteousness of works/obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit leads to salvation, i.e., immortality/eternal life. Ultimately, all boil down to God’s love that brings about grace for our reconciliation and salvation. He established the plan for both goals. The accounting of faith and Holy Spirit of power are both gifts from the Father. To paraphrase John 3:16, God so loved the world that he graced and gifted us with his only begotten Son to die as a Passover Lamb, in faith substituted for our death, counted from faith of Jesus, so that we will be reconciled to him. And having done so, we still needed to be saved as promised to his Son. His belief in his death, as seminal it was, was the proximate cause of our justification and subsequent/eventual salvation. It reconciled or justified us to the Father. Jesus’ life post resurrection gave us the Holy Spirit of power to be “saved as sons and daughters of God”, as in:

John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power(Holy Spirit) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.



May God open our eyes and ears to the truth; “before I hear you, now I see you” (Job 42:5).




Original post: 3/30/2017

Revised/re-posted 12/7/17

The Worst “natural disaster” and What was done about it?

The worst “natural disaster” and what was done about it?

Recent hurricane Harvey(1), then Irma(2), and concomitantly, earthquake in Mexico City with 8.1 Richter scale(3), followed by Jose and Maria(4) should convince any open-minded person that humans are left with no sustainable preventive recourse against such calamities. We just have to prepare and accept the painful and destructive consequences of these natural disasters. On top of these mayhem is global terrorism plus evil acts of one against another, not only in inner cities but also in suburban towns, places of worship(5) and music concert(6). All of the”preceding events we gripe about, but accept as facts of life, taken as normative and we move on. 

As devastating those cataclysms are,  what can be the worst, more natural, and definitive than death itself? Indeed, we are very  and ephemeral! Yet, death is taken with nonchalance in news coverage compared to hurricanes, terrorism and the like? You would not find it in the front pages nor editorial section of newspaper but it is hidden in pages of obituaries. Being so natural, it does not even “move the dial” nor reach a “Richter scale” of our collective attention. It has become so mundane that it suffers “diminishing value” as to favor the call for “live the day” and forget its inevitability. It has been dismissed to the farthest corner of our consciousness as a relic. We limit and consume ourselves with “investing for this life rather than also for the afterlife”. 

Yet, our all-knowing and loving Creator takes death to be so defining and existential as to plan and prepare for our “afterlife“, way out from the “foundation of the world”. The least that we can do is to make time to heighten our awareness, be serious about the subject of death and to understand why we die and what God did to end death(7). For indeed, even at our best, we are at a loss and incapable as to what to do to overcome it. But, why can we not forestall it? Will progress in science and technology reverse this destiny? Much as we, together with Mr. Spoch in the starship Enterprise in Star Trek(8), like to “live long and prosper“, our Maker has willed and created our physical bodies to be temporary, as in Hebrews 9:27

And as it is appointed unto men once, to die but after this the judgment:”(KJV)

From the preceding verse, it is clear that the Creator made our current physical life with expiration date as we are all “once appointed” to die. However, this refers to the “first death“; read also https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-1what/.   But, what does the phrase “after this is judgment” mean? It appears that as all will die, similarly, all will be judged as in 2 Cor. 5:10

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (NIV)


Who are the people judged by God and when

Notice that in 2 Cor. 5:10, as “we must all appear”, it necessitates judgement to be for those who are alive “to appear” and of “things done while in the body“. In other words, the timing for judgement is when the person is alive and in this material body; not in any other body composition and that the dead are not judged. Moreover, while a person that is judged must have a mental capacity to be responsible for his actions, not immature like children, is that the critical element that a person should have before he/she is judged? What does judgment really mean? And, when does a living person gets judged? Are all judged in this lifetime? And who are judged first? Answers to these questions may come from the experience provided in the history of humanity. Let us now analyze these historical events, and find common denominators that led to their judgement.


Judgment in history as an example for the future 

1. Adam’s judgment: In Genesis, we read that Adam & Eve were told by YHVH-God not to eat the “fruit of knowledge of good and evil” , otherwise they die(Gen.2:16-17). Their own action violated this admonition and eternal death came upon them and imputed to all mankind (Compare Gen. 3:1-22; Rom. 5:12-21; I Cor. 15:22-49). Read also https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-1what/

2. Noah’s flood: In Genesis 6-8, one reads that the earth was filled with acts of violence and judgment was made for mankind to die in the flood except Noah and his family. 

3. In Genesis 18 and 19 as well as Ezekiel 16:49–50, Sodom & Gomorrah were punished because of sinful acts. 

4. In the book of Jonah, Nineveh was punished because of sinful acts, too. The punishment was delayed when they repented but exacted on them when they went back to sin. The 7th century books of Nahum and Zephaniah proclaim the fall of Ninevah.  

5. Because of sinful acts, Israel was punished for her sins with captivity and slavery. Northern Israel went captive to the Assyrians and Southern Israel by the Chaldean or Babylonian empire. (9,10,11).
Notice that all these judgments were punishments for sins committed by living persons in the flesh. However, in 2 Peter 2:6 we learn that God condemned and destroyed the cities as “an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter.”



The predominant voice in the Bible is the deuteronomistic theology that God rewards the righteous and punishes the un-righteous. While a few have followed God, the weighing scale tipped heavier on the overall gravity of their sins as a group or as a nation, resulting in punishment. Nonetheless, their were blessings given to them based on God’s promise and love but not on their weighted merits. All these, nevertheless, are merely an “example” for our learning according to 2 Peter 2:6 and “to those who would live ungodly thereafter” suggesting an afterlife other than this life, i.e., a resurrection;  a life “thereafter“. All who died will be resurrected alive to face “judgment“. Notice that the punishment in history, as grievous as it was, is merely an example of “judgment”, and there is still a future judgment that is final. And, the judgment logically referred to in  2 Cor. 5:10 is about “eternal death”, consistent with what the type of death referred to in Genesis 2:17 regarding the sin of Adam & Eve.


We are made “weak”, so why judge?

It is a well-established teaching that, as presently flesh-composed, we are “weak“(Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38).  Meaning, we do not have the power to perfectly overcome evil as God wanted us to do to be “one ” with him. On our own, we can decide what we ourselves think is right or wrong; and that is reality. But this decision-making ability is limited by the fact that: 

1. Isaiah 55:8-9  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV)
This is the reason why man was created in the first place, not as spirit-being beings like the angels. As spirit-beings, a third of angels were not “one” with God (Rev. 12:3-9, 9:1; Heb. 12:22; Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18). Humans have physical mortal bodies and unlike/lower than angels but planned to be higher than angels and “one” with God at the time appointed in the future when the Holy Spirit of power is given. Compare Psalms 8:4-8 and Hebrews 2:6-18 (12).

2. Our physical composition limits us and affects our decision in favor, rightly so, of self-interest and self-preservation. There are many instances that our decision will be different were it not for the fact that we have physical composition that may put us in jeopardy. We may suffer or die that comes with the decision. 
Being composed “weak“, was planned for good reason as in Romans 8:20-21(NIV)

For the creation/creature was subjected to mataiotes (Greek for inutility, vanity, transientness, depravity, frustration) not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation/creature itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God”




Notice that our composition was made to be “weak” temporarily “in hope” of being liberated from the bondage of “eternal death“through Jesus’ crucifixion from death/decay to glory and immortality in the future. But, with the limits that we now have structurally, it does not appear fair to undergo “final judgment” in the future on our choice of good and evil. We need to be empowered with a “tool” that will be added (or in-dwell) to our present composition. And God has indeed planned for that to come in the future.


Power to have before future judgment

The narrative in Gethsemane where Jesus was faced with a dilemma can direct us to bring this to rest. Read Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-52, Luke 22:39-53, and John 18 for the full story. The epistle of Mark gives context that even Jesus’ will was for the “cup to pass”, i.e. for him not to die by crucifixion for mankind. But when did he decide, with the power of the Holy Spirit in him, to follow the Father’s will and not his own? Mark 14:41-42 has the answer:

And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”



Clearly, it was when, for the third time he saw Peter, James and John asleep (physical bodies have limits), that he said “It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
With his own free will and guided by the Holy Spirit that in-dwelt in him at River Jordan(Luke 4:1-44), on the third time he got finally convinced of human “weakness” and limit that need to be empowered by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, much like post-incarnated man-Jesus. This Holy Spirit would not have been given as promised by the Father, had not Jesus die and be resurrected to receive this power, to then be subsequently given to humans at Pentecost. Read John 16:7(AMP):

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].”


The Pentecost event that year of Jesus’ death and resurrection, proved this in-dwelling in general sense, starting with the apostles (Acts 2:1-13). Those given the Spirit of God then received the power to overcome evil and to have wisdom to freely choose right from wrong.


Who are now being judged?

While currently there are consequences and punishment for sins, these judgments are not about “eternal death”. One can go to prison or be sentenced to death, but he/she will be resurrected in the future. Judgment about “eternal death” begins in the house of God as in:(1 Peter 4:17)
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 

Correlating what we now understand for fairness, judgment will indeed start with believers who are flesh-composed but have received the power-tool that comes with the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. This started at Pentecost that year. Those without the Holy Spirit will be judged after their resurrection to physical bodies(Ezekiel 37), at which time they will hopefully and voluntarily believe and thereafter receive the Holy Spirit. One has to “believe“before receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).


Resurrection for all to be judged


Judgment for all suggests a resurrection for all. But in a separate order: the 1st resurrection into immortal bodies on the return of Jesus on earth, or 2nd resurrection into mortal bodies (Ezekiel 37:1-14) after the 1,000 year-period as in:
Revelation 20:6 – “Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power (being immortal), but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” 

Revelation 20:5 – “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”

The dead who are blessed to be in the first resurrection will not die the “second death” in the “Gehenna fire”. Instead, at the time of second-coming of Jesus, those partakers of the Holy Spirit and overcomers (Rev. 2:17,26), whether alive or dead, will be “changed from mortal to immortal bodies”(I Cor. 15:51-57), in a “twinkling of an eye” to rule with Jesus on earth. After a thousand years when the Devil is released “from his chains” (Rev. 20:2) there will be resurrection of the “rest of the dead” to mortal bodies, at which time they will be taught about Jesus, believe in Him to receive the Holy Spirit of power to overcome the Devil. As a gift, the overcomers will then transform into spirit-composed bodies while those who rejected the Holy Spirit will be doomed to Gehenna fire for an eternal death.


Summary



 
Truly, there is nothing worse than death itself. As such, we need to be serious and pay particular attention to what God has planned for us through eternity. A third of angels went with Satan and not “one” with God. Purposely, God did not create spirit-composed beings again to show man that body-composition is secondary to the mind that needs teaching and guidance before being spirit-composed. While we are temporarily created “weak”, mere mortal with physical limits, this was done “in hope” anchored on the choices to be made by a mortal man-Jesus in his life on earth. As a man, he lived his life perfectly, with the Holy Spirit in him, to be an “unblemished Passover Lamb” , with “works” worthy of the reward to be a substitute for humanity’s death.(Compare John. 8: 29,46, 55;I Pet. 2: 22).

He chose, though unwillingly yet voluntarily, to die by crucifixion as propitiation for mankind’s sin and resurrected by the Father to receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit to be subsequently given to humanity for guidance to be “one” with the Father. This he received as promised, on his belief and trust in the Father and not because of his “works“. On the same mechanics of belief and trust, we received this gift from Jesus, the Son of God. 

The critical element that a person should have before he/she is judged about “eternal death” is the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Without it, final judgment will not be made. And for that, the person has to believe in what Jesus did for mankind before being “baptized with the Holy Spirit”(John 1:32-33).With the Holy Spirit in the person, he/she is empowered to become an “overcomer” of evil and the Devil. At Jesus’ return on earth to establish his kingdom, the “overcomers” who are still alive will become spirit-composed beings in a “twinkling of an eye” to be with Christ. Whereas, those who died before his return, who were partakers of the Holy Spirit and persevered, will be resurrected at Christ’s return as spirit-composed beings to rule with Him at the Millenium. Those who fought against Jesus at his return will be thrown in “Gehenna fire” towards eternal death. The rest of the dead (Ezekiel 37:1-14) will resurrect into “flesh-composed bodies” after the Millenium to be educated on Jesus, to believe and receive the Holy Spirit. Those who are “overcomers” will be transformed to spirit-composed bodies; those who reject His guidance will go to “Gehenna fire” for eternal death. 

 

It may surprise many, but death is just the beginning and not an end. Truly, as we invest in this current life, we should also seriously invest in learning about the “afterlife“. 


References:

1. Hurricane Harvey. Retrieved August 8, 2017 at

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/us/hurricane-harvey.html
2. Hurricane Irma. Retrieved September 6, 2017 at https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-irma-approaches-the-caribbean-1504608280
3. Earthquake in Mexico. Retrieved September 9, 2017 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/massive-earthquake-strikes-off-the-coast-of-mexico-setting-off-tsunami-warnings/2017/09/08/c8114f3a-945b-11e7-aace-04b862b2b3f3_story.html?wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-world%252Bnation&wpmk=1&pwa=true&outputType=default-article&deferJs=true

4. Retrieved September 10, 2017 at https://finance.yahoo.com/news/hurricane-jose-traveling-east-coast-185800042.html

5.Church shooting. Retrieved October 1, 2017 at http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/religion/2017/09/25/nashville-church-shooting-what-happens-when-violence-invades-sacred-spaces/700326001/

6. Mandalay music concert Retrieved October 3, 2017 at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/shooting-in-las-vegas-news-victims-gunman-stephen-paddock-latest-update/

7. Death, what is? Retrieved October 1, 2017 from https://fact-s.net/2017/05/09/death-what-is/

8. Leonard Nimoy. Retrieved October 1, 2017 at https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/arts/television/leonard-nimoy-spock-of-star-trek-dies-at-83.html 

9. Northern tribe of Israel held captive by the Assyrians. Retrieved 10/22/17 at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_captivity

10. Retrieved 10/22/17 at https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/5805/Assyrian-Captivity.htm

11. Not Lost. Retrieved 10/22/17 at http://www.learnthebible.org/the-ten-lost-tribes.html

12. What is man…? Retrieved 10/27/17 from http://www.christianlibrary.org/authors/Tom_&_George_Butterfield/manmindful.

Original post:October 30, 2017

DEDICATED to a friend whose funeral we attended September 29, 2017 at Palm Coast Florida; post hurricane Harvey. Coincidentally a “Day of Atonement” in Jewish religion.



 

Terrorism: How, Where, When it starts and ends; Relevance of the Gospel of the God-Kingdom

The recent terrorist attack at Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain brings back memories of horrifying deaths in Madrid, Paris, London and other ISIS/Al Qaeda-inspired violence and mayhem worldwide reflective of religious intolerance and hatred (1, 2). On witnessing the actual events on television, we heard experts on the subject of terrorism were often asked “What made them do these murderous acts?”. Where and how were they motivated?

Nature and nurture

Unanimously, experts trace the origin of this violence on the mind and how/what they were taught while growing up. The brain learns through our physical senses, viz., touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision. Human Anatomy & Physiology teach us that nothing goes to the brain except through these routes, our human sensory system. What is learned is stored in memory, in the mind, and what comes out of the “conscious brain” manifests through our human motor system as a result of a decision made ultimately through an intricate mental processes we call “judgment“. Wisdom develops and nurtures through a variety of life-experiences, human interactions and does come with time. As the saying goes, “time and chance happen to all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). A person is defined by a composite of this life-long journey. Diversity results from differences in all of these human experiences, irrespective of genetic influences. This reminds us also of the song in the play South Pacific “You’ve got to be carefully taught” tracing racial discrimination from an early age (3). As the origin of terrorism starts from the mind, the logical remedy is to change this mind-concept, the ideology that leads to violent acts. Precisely, this is what the gospel of God’s kingdom planned to accomplish not only for terrorists but for all mankind to get rid of any evil, whatever they are and wherever they come from.


Who and What are We?

As the key is to change the “mind“, understanding what our components are, how and where we came to be, is crucial to this plan. Without this knowledge, we will  not be able to fathom what God is doing according to his plan. 
When God created humans, the material or physical component was a “handiwork” made “by hands of God” from “dust, mud,earth“. There was no life in that physical creation until “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”. Read Genesis 2:7

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

The material component came directly from “earth” (therefore matter-composed) but the “breath of life”, the one that brings life to the “non-living body at creation”, aka, the mind or spirit-of-man, came directly from a Spirit-Being/God, and therefore spirit-composed, . This “spirit-of-man” is the repository of all that comes through the physical senses of the material body, etched in memory. That the spirit-of-man and the breath of life are the same thing come from these verses:

Job 27:3,4,8 (NKJV) …’As long as my breath is in me, And the breath of God in my nostrils, My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?’ (Notice, life is in that “breath”)

Job 27:3,4,8 (KJV) …’All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?’ (Note: that life-giving power is a spirit of God because it came from him).

Proof that there are indeed 2 components of humans is the eventual “separation” of the “spirit-of-man” from the “material-body” that defines death of the person.

Read the following:

Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 “Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

(Note: the dust which is what the material-body is made of, returns to earth or grave, while the spirit-of-man returns to Spirit-God where it came from).

James 2:26 …’For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’



Genesis 25:8 “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people … And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.’

Genesis 35:29 …‘And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.’

Luke 23:46 …’And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.’

Matthew 27:50 …‘Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost’

 

From the preceding verses, giving up the ghost simply means “giving up the last breath“. The Hebrew word used is H1478 – gava, which means “to expire, to breath the last breath, to die“. Clearly, when the spirit leaves the body, death occurs for the body.


God’s Plan from the Beginning

Knowing that the mind has to change, how is this going to come to fruition? Consider the narrative from the very beginning; Genesis Chapters 1 & 2. Man was planned to be in “his image“, not image of plant or animals. After creating the plant-kingdom and the animal-kingdom, God created humans, not to be a “human kingdom” but to be in the God kingdom. This is why human history teaches us that a series of “human kingdoms” built by humans fail, typified by the successive kingdoms in the “statue-dream of Nebuchadnezzar”(Daniel 2). 

Additionally, God planned to have humans to have “dominion over all”. Of themselves, even with historic progress, humans have not eliminated disease, aging and death. 

God knew that for the God-kingdom to be built, he has to start in the mind to be “one” with him. But first, this mind/spirit-of-man had to have a temporary abode in a material body to learn from physical senses and shun the “lust of the flesh” (I John 2:16; Galatians 5:19-21) until the time comes when it has to be guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit promised to come to us later and to “bear fruits” (Galatians 5:22-23). The “temporary abode“, the physical-material body has been created and life was infused into it by God via the spirit-of-man “breathed into his nostrils”. The flesh-body is temporary because it rots and dies in the grave/hades. Human history catalogues human failures and success, although not conclusive and fleeting as they are. Through life, on our own, we learned good from evil; some follow good; others, evil, or a hodgepodge of both. But even with our very best efforts, God concluded that they are all dung and as filthy rags :

Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (NIV)

Philippians 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but dung, that I may win Christ”

 

Humans are “Weak

As our very best is still “dung, filthy rags” to God, we are considered “weak” on our own to be “one ” with Him.  From the beginning, we were planned, with fulfillment in the future, to have the power of the Holy Spirit for us to be “strong” and “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.” This gift of the Holy Spirit from the Father became available to mankind only after Jesus was resurrected. Notice, that this gift is so important that Jesus had to die first, then be resurrected to receive this power from the Father, to then be given to mankind on Day of Pentecost of that year(Acts 2:1-13). Without his resurrection to life, Jesus would not have received this gift for our welfare.

John 16:7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you”

John 16:5-7 CEV “But now I am going back to the Father who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help You until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.”

Acts 1:8 NLT “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Summary

Truly, the mind has to change to get rid of evil thus becoming “one” with the Father. This started with the “second-Adam, the man-Jesus Christ, the beginner, forerunner and the Head of the body/church.” As a carpenter/builder, Jesus is building a God-kingdom from humans through the power of the Holy Spirit given to mankind as a gift, all destined subsequently to become spirit-beings. Mankind is being created in the “image and likeness of God to have dominion overall”. This is the end-product of the gospel of the God-kingdom and has its core foundation on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. One has to believe in him to receive this gift from the Father and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And with it, we have to “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit” as those who do not bear fruits will be cut-off from the body. Even Jesus in the narrative at Gethsemane shows he has to choose the Father’s will instead of his own. His personal will was not to go through for him to die as Passover for mankind, but he freely chose to follow the Father. He had to see that “truly, man is weak” three times before saying “let your will (Father) be done”. 



Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.“(NIV)
Only those who persevere to the end, the “overcomers“, will be given a new and incorruptible immortal body “in a twinkling of an eye”.

Revelation 3:21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

One cannot over-emphasize the crucial element of in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit for us to be “one” with the Father.
For further studies on related subjects, please access these links:

https://fact-s.net/2017/05/09/death-what-is/

https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-destiny-of-man/

https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

https://fact-s.net/2017/03/12/born-again/


References

1. List of terrorist incidents. Retrieved Aug 19, 2017 at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents,_July–December_2015
2. Terrorism, Rand. Retrieved Aug 20, 2017 at http://www.rand.org/nsrd/projects/terrorism-incidents.htm

3. South Pacific, You’ve got to be carefully taught. Retrieved Aug 20, 2017 at https://youtu.be/OAZ8yOFFbAc)

Original Post: 8/24/17

Gay marriage/Same sex marriage, what does the Bible say?

Gay marriage/Same sex marriage, what does the Bible say?

This is a very sensitive issue that divides people, even family, relatives and long-time friends. It has become a dilemma for people in business, i.e., not baking cake or provide service, and for relatives dissing attending marriage ceremonies. In light of an overwhelming “yes vote” for gay marriage in an Australian survey (1) that will become law and the heightened activity globally, this issue takes on even more urgency to discuss. And, respectfully, failure to address this subject is a dereliction of duty to the love and care we all should have for one another, notwithstanding sex preference.

To start with, “marriage” is traditionally taught in religious circle to have started in the garden of Eden. This was presented to be based on “love“, being taken from the “rib” (close to the heart) as in Gen. 2:21-23, and for the couple to “go and multiply“(Gen. 1:28; 9:7). It takes male and female to “procreate“.

Regarding homosexuality, by definition, it is a sex preference of persons for the same sex; whereas heterosexuality refers to male to female predilection. No one knows the genesis of “sexual preferences” but it starts in the “mind“. Of and by itself, this sexual preference is not sin and the person should not be discriminated against. It is when the “preference” is acted out mentally or overtly” against the moral laws, i.e., committing homosexual act, that it becomes sinful. For all, whether heterosexuals, homosexuals or bisexuals, they should avoid sexual immorality, including adultery. We should welcome all, irrespective of race, gender, sexual preference, religion, status, etc. as we are all created by one God. As the saying goes, “love the sinner, not the sin”. Love for all is the mantra while not condoning actual sin or ignoring that it exists and we should guard against it. 

Temptation devolves into Sin

Temptation per se is not synonymous to sin, although it starts with it. Notice the stages of sin from temptation and how “lust” develops into sin:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”(James 1:14-15 KJV)

These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death”.(James 1:15 NLT)

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire”.(James 1:14 ESV)

With our “desire or lust”, we are tempted, lured or enticed towards sin. Then, when we “dwell, concentrate, imagine, or got carried away“, this progresses to mental or actual physical acts, both of which constitute sin/eternal death.(Matt. 5:28; Mk. 7:20-23).


Abomination 

The word “abomination” that characterizes ” homosexual acts” is exemplified in:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.”(Leviticus 18:22).

The word “abomination” comes from Hebrew word “toevah” (plural, toevot) and occurs 103x in the Old Testament. It almost always has the connotation of a non-Israelite or Gentile cult practice. In the Torah, the primary “toevah” is “avodah zara”, foreign forms of worship, and most other toevot flow from it. The Israelites are instructed not to commit “toevah” because other nations do so, as in, Deut. 18:9-12. This word is akin to our present understanding of the word “taboo“, referring to cultural indictment, shame or stigma.

Having stated the preceding, homosexual acts (not preference itself), though different, are as sinful and worthy of “eternal death” as adultery, fornication, incest and other sexual perversions. To overcome such practices, one should follow the following principles:

Flee fornication… fornication sinneth against his own body. …your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?…ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s“. (I Cor. 6:18-20KJV)

Flee from sexual immorality.”(1 Cor.6:18 ESV)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: …that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;”(1Thes.4:3-5 ESV)

He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:”(I Cor. 7:32)

Now concerning virgins (either gender)…I say, that it is good for a man so to be.”)I Cor. 7:25-26)

But this I say, brethren, the time is short: … both they that have wives be as though they had none;“(I Cor. 7:29)


Summary

In summary, for anyone with any sexual preference,  have the Holy Spirit of power to empower yourself to have “control of your body” and flee from the temptation of sexual immorality or “pull of the flesh”, whether adultery, fornication, incest, rape homosexual acts, gender fluid acts, etc. Marriage for homosexuals brings the couple closer to the temptation of committing homosexual acts in the “privacy of their homes” and should be avoided, not condoned. Flee temptation. But if you must, just remember that gay marriage does not confer legitimacy or morality for the “act” and can not be used to “cover” immorality.  Celibacy for heterosexuals or LGBTQ maybe an option for those with proclivities toward sexual immorality. The apostle Paul adopted this “alternate behavior” as Catholic priests also took this as their “vow” although  a few failed. Some gays also hold firm to stay celibate. The Holy Spirit will sanctify us and strengthen the “weak flesh” for the glory of God. Believe in God and this gift of the Holy Spirit of power will be given to us to overcome temptation before it degenerates to sin.  All of us are sinners and subjected to this temporary “flesh-composed bodies” on “hope” which is anchored on the role of Jesus in paving the path to our salvation for those who “believe” and are “overcomers“. 
For further explanation of this plan, please access Salvation Series 1-6:

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-1what/

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-2-why/

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-3-who/

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-4-how/

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-5-when/

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-6-where/

God Bless.


Reference:

1. Same-sex marriage. Retrieved 11/17/17 from http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/asia/australia-same-sex-marriage-yes/index.html

Posted: 8/6/2017

Revised 11/17/2017

What is a “type”… an “image”?

What is a “type”… an “image“?

Biblically, are the words “type” and “image” the same or not? If so, does it make a difference? Surprisingly, it does. Understanding the meaning of these words may help determine what God has planned for us from the beginning of time. It provides a glimpse of humanity’s destiny. 


Type or Image?

To begin with, the word “type or pattern” is translated from the Greek word “typos” and Hebrew “tabniyth”. On the other hand, the word “image” is translated from the Greek word “iekon” and from the Hebrew word “tselem”. Even etymologically, the words are different from each other. Nonetheless, translation per se, as it is understood presently, may not necessarily reflect the true meaning of the word, see http://www.crivoice.org/terms/wordhebrew.html

Consequently, it is helpful to see the understanding of those living within that span of time. The definition of “type” is explained by Paul in Rom. 5:14 speaking of Genesis Adam:
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”. 




And “pattern” in Exodus 25:9 “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”

      
From the preceding, it is clear that the word “type/pattern” is understood to mean a precursor of “what is to come”, a prefigure of the future person or thing. In contrast, an “image” is a replica or a reflection of someone, at present, in the context of: humans are created in “the image of God” (Gen. 1:27); not futuristic like “type” but currently. See also http://biblehub.net/search.php?q=the+image+of+God

Note: Not only are humans an image now but also was man-Jesus at incarnation and even after resurrection, as in Col. 1:15, “an image of the invisible God”(Father). The Genesis Adam is a “type” of man-Jesus. Both are humans, with flesh-composed bodies at their beginning, and are “images” of an invisible God. Yet, there are differences between the two “images”, at creation. 


Two Images at Creation and what became of them?



Notice, that when the Genesis-Adam was created, he “became a living being”, as in: 
Gen. 2:7 “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”



He was created as flesh-composed and fully developed as an adult coming from the “dust of the ground”(earthy, not heavenly). He was without life at creation, dead. Then, he “became a living being” but only after the “breath of life” was breathed into his nostrils. Without that “breath of life”, that “living power” he would still be dead. In contrast, Jesus was YHVH/Creator before the “foundation of the world” (John 1:1) and “came from above”, heavenly and not earthy. Both appeared or began on earth as flesh. Both came about without contribution of sperm/egg from parents, see https://fact-s.net/2016/09/24/is-mary-perfect/.

Coming from above(not from “dust of the ground” like Genesis-Adam), YHVH/Creator incarnated alive as man-Jesus in the womb of Mary and did not need the “breath of life” be “breathed into his nostrils” at creation. He already had life in him when “conceived”, as He had life already as YHVH. Moreover, in the womb of a woman(Mary), Jesus still had to develop, like any human being, into full-term before he could be delivered as a newborn. He then became mature, learning the written words and reading the Tanach on the Sabbath.
Also, the Genesis Adam was later called “the first”, and Jesus Christ was called the “last Adam”, as in: 
 

1 Cor. 15:45:“The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit”.



Notice that the context of I Cor. 15 was the main difference between the first and last Adam, which is their composition and what happened after their creation. At creation, the “first Adam” had flesh-composed body that became alive after receiving the “breath of life”. There was a transformation from death to a “living being/soul”. While the human-Jesus was flesh-composed, the “last Adam” was a “quickening/life-giving spirit”, spirit-composed at this particular transformation. Remember that YHVH/Creator, at incarnation, had flesh-composed body as man-Jesus. Whereas, I Cor . 15:45 is clear that the “last Adam”, is “a life-giving spirit”. Paul must not be referring to man-Jesus after incarnation from YHVH as he was flesh-composed, not spirit-composed body.


Spirit-composed, when?



So, when did man-Jesus become a “quickening/life-giving spirit”? When was this transformation, from incarnation as flesh-composed body, to “quickening spirit”? And when can Jesus be “life-giving “? The time of his spirit-composed creation must refer to his resurrection when his dead body was “quickened” to become “spirit-composed”. This process is similar to the transformation of humans at resurrection when at a “twinkling of an eye” (I Cor. 15:51-53) they are “quickened” (I Cor. 15:36; Eph.2:5 ) to become spirit-bodies. This is the only time that man-Jesus could be a “quickening spirit”. And, became “life-giving”, as after resurrection, he received (Jn. 16:7) from the Father the “promised Holy Spirit of power” to be given to us, starting at Pentecost of that year (Acts 2). With this in mind, we can now fully appreciate what this verse mean.


Take-Home Message of I Cor. 15:45



The Genesis Adam is a “type” of the “anti-type” (the fulfillment), the incarnated YHVH, the man-Jesus, both flesh-composed. Genesis-Adam started without life and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and he became a “living being”. He would have remained “dead”(without life) were it not for YHVH/God breathing life into him. As flesh-composed, the Genesis Adam, aka first-Adam, could only give what comes out of his power as a human being. He could only “give” or perform what can come out of his “physical, flesh-composed, material and earthy body”. While man-Jesus at conception had life inherent in him as YHVH, the man-Jesus in the tomb was dead, as he gave up his spirit at the cross (John 19:30). Like the Genesis Adam when he was formed from “dust”, man-Jesus was also without life, an aftermath of crucifixion. God gave life to Genesis-Adam. Similarly, God(Father) resurrected Jesus to life to become the “last-Adam”, a “quickening spirit”. In a “twinkling of an eye”, his “broken body” (I Cor. 11:24) did not rot or decay (Acts 2:27. 13:37) as prophesied, but was resurrected with a spirit-composed body, reserved and made for him in heaven. With such composition, he received from the Father the promised “Holy Spirit” of power (Jn. 16:7). As a “life-giving spirit”, he then gave to humans this Holy Spirit of power to “overcome the flesh”(he who overcomes has eternal life, Rev .21:7). Those humans who are overcomers because of using this Holy Spirit of power will then manifest as “firstfruits”. Like Jesus, they will be given (at their resurrection) a “spirit-composed body” reserved in heaven for them. The “latter-fruits” will manifest themselves after the Millenium. 

In essence, the Genesis-Adam, the first-Adam, is a “type” of the man-Jesus, the last-Adam. At their beginning they were both flesh-composed, and at finality of creating and development, they will be similar as spirit-composed, as Jesus did, being the first of the “firstfruits”. Even as such, they are still only “images” of God(the Father). Each person is unique, even with the same spirit-composition. 

 

To become spirit-composed is the destiny of Adam and humanity, as an aggregate, as planned by God from “before the foundation of the world”. This is the message behind the “gospel of the kingdom of God”. The “spirit of man” that becomes the composite of that particular person through years of development, has to be resided by the Spirit of God at conversion for guidance towards “oneness” with God(the Father). With the Holy Spirit, not before, we then developed to “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit of power” expressed through our individual “works” of obedience. After death, being “overcomers”, not before, we will then receive, at resurrection, the promised immortal, spirit-composed body. All of those who will make up the eventual spirit-composed God-Kingdom, go through this process starting with Jesus, the “beginner/author/pioneer/initiator/designer”(Heb. 12:2).

This is an amazing gift that comes out of love and planned for from the beginning anchored on hope of the Father on the “man-Jesus(Ps. 8:1-9; Heb. 2:6; Job 7:17-21, 14:1-22).

Original post:7/31/2017

Resurrection ?

Resurrection?

Death is a somber and incapacitating event especially if it happens to someone you dearly beloved. The grief and sorrow that come with it is heartbreaking and considered to pose the worst stressor for anyone to experience. How we wished and longed for our loved ones to grace our presence again!

Is there hope for the dead? Some say once a person is dead, that will be the end. Others say the dead is not actually dead but continues to live in a certain place called “heaven” to enjoy or “hell ” to be tormented forever. And, other religions teach the dead continues to live on earth but in a different mortal body, some even in animal bodies. What is the truth? One can surmise with some certainty that the only hope for a dead body comes with restoration to life. But, how could this be? And, in what form? Is there really resurrection of the dead?


Resurrection, you can bank on it:

That there is “life-after-death”, is a teaching that all traditional Christians are unanimous to share as a core belief. And, this is on faith which is evidenced-based (Heb. 11:1) anchored on very credible witnesses; not assumption or baseless hopes or expectation. As we believe in secular people witnessing events during their time in history as recorded in books, electronic media, etc., so should we be open to others, consider and mull over recorded events written by religious icons in the Bible. 

Resurrection from death to a physical, flesh-composed, mortal bodies are well-documented by biblical historical records:

1 Kings 17:17-24 Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow. Notice V-21, let this child’s soul(nephesh) come into him again and V-22 and the soul(nephesh) of the child came into him again, and he revived. By usage, nephesh in this context means “life”or life-giving element of man, the “spirit of man”.

2 Kings 4 Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman

2 Kings 13:21 Dead man came back to life when he touched Elisha’s bones.
Luke 7:13-15 Jesus resurrects the widow’s son at Nain 

Matthew 9:25 Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead. See also Mark 5:42, and Luke 8:55

John 11:43-44 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. 

Matthew 27:52-53 Saints resurrected and seen by many after Jesus’ resurrection

Acts 9:36-42 Peter raises a female disciple named Tabitha from the dead

Acts 20:9-12 Paul raises Eutychus from the dead. 

The preceding resurrected individuals, were restored to life in a flesh-composed body. They did not go to heaven or hell after death, nor did they inhabit the bodies of animals. And, they all died again to undergo future resurrection.


Better Resurrection:

There is another type of resurrection that the Bible calls the “ better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35) evidenced by and confirmed by apostles and other witnesses. In contrast to resurrection to a flesh-composed body, this is to an eternal life with immortal spirit-composed bodies. The pioneer of this type of resurrection was man-Jesus. See Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-11, and John 20:1-10.

Replacement of Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples that betrayed Jesus, was done so that “one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection”(Acts 1:22). In Acts 4:33, “with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”. 

The apostle Paul personally saw and talked with the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8; Acts 22:6-10), confirming the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. Even supposed learned person like King Agrippa was skeptical because he did not witness it. Paul asked King Herod Agrippa II, “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8). He told him, “To this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great . . . that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead” (Acts 26:22-23), implying that no one rose to spirit-composed body from the dead but him and that others will follow.  While we generally believe others who wrote history books, electronic media stories without personal confirmation, somehow we are dismissive of biblical witnesses and relegate them to purveyors of “fake news”. Go figure !

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]” (1 Corinthians 15:20). The apostle Paul explained that Jesus is “the firstborn over all creation,” “the firstborn from the dead” and “the firstborn among many brethren” (Colossians 1:15, 18; Romans 8:29), indicating others will follow. Moreover, Paul explained how the resurrection of God’s firstfruits will occur: 

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly [physical, material] body that it may be conformed to His glorious body”(Philippians 3:20-21; compare 2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

It is sown(buried) a natural [physical] body, it is raised a spiritual body . . . as we have borne the image of the man of dust [Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Jesus Christ]. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ” (1 Corinthians 15:44, 49-50). Notice that our current flesh-composed body cannot enter the Kingdom of God; we need to change structurally, i.e., into spirit-composed body. 

For those who will still be alive at Christ’s return, notice 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: 

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16

 

The preceding confirms from recorded witnesses of the surety of a future “better resurrection” into a glorious, spirit-composed, immortal bodies. But, who will bring this to pass and what is the timing of these different resurrections. 



Millennial and Post-millennial resurrection:

Only the Father and the Son Jesus have the power to bring life to the dead. Christ plainly stated: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:21). 

When Christ returns to start the Millenium, the “firstfruits“, the “overcomers“, will manifest in this manner: those who are alive at that time will change in a “twinkling of an eye” into immortal spirit-composed bodies; those who were in the graves will resurrect with immortal spirit-composed bodies. They will then meet Christ “in the clouds”(I Thes. 4:17) and come down on earth, in Jerusalem to start the Millenium. The earth has to be ruled and displace the “god of this world“, Satan (2Cor.4:4).

Revelation 20:4“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them . . . And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” .“This is the first resurrection.”

Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

Revelation 5:9-10 “You [Christ] were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (New International Version)

The preceding verses refer to the first resurrection, which is coming back to life with immortal, glorious body. And, this augurs the start of the Millenium. 


The second resurrection :

Coming back to life has its own time. After the first resurrection with immortal, spirit-composed, glorious body then what follows after a Millenium, the second resurrection. Notice:

Revelation 20:5 “But the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were finished”

John 5:25, 29-30 “I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live . . . for the hour is coming in which all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come forth” .

John 5:28-29 “Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out — those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment”.

Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Acts 24:15 “..and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” 

Revelation 20:11-12 “Then I [the apostle John] saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it . . . And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened . And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”



All the preceding verses refer to the second resurrection, post-Millenium. 


Summary:

Before the start of the Millenium, there will be plagues, earthquake, and celestial signs (Revelation 6:1-17, 8:1-9,21; 11:15-19;16:1-21) leading to the “battle of Armageddon” in the valley of Megiddo in Israel (Rev.16:16; 20:1-3). At the “last trump“, the spirit-composed “church of Christ” will meet him in “the air/clouds” and descend on Jerusalem, the center from where to rule the world. In the Millenium, they will teach the remaining mortals about the “gospel of the kingdom of God” and fulfill the “great commission” (Matt. 28:16-20) through the “end of the world”. 

While there will be devastation on earth, there will still be people from others areas of the world who will survive. Those who are alive, but still flesh-composed during the Millenium, will be taught, given the chance to receive the truth of the gospel and the gift of the Holy Spirit to grow and develop spiritually. Being mortal, during their time of judgment in the Millenium, they will still die. Subsequently, when their “time” comes, they will be resurrected to life or changed in “a twinkling of an eye” with immortal bodies. The rest of the dead who did not participate in the first resurrection to life, will be resurrected with mortal-bodies after the Millenium. They will be given a chance to hear and see the truth, experience the power of the Holy Spirit to develop, guide them spiritually. Thereafter, those who are righteous will be given a glorious-immortal-spirit-composed bodies to live eternally. Those who rejected the gift of the Holy Spirit, an “unpardonable sin” (Matt.12:31) will be thrown to Gehenna fire to perish and die forever. 

There will be “chance and time” for death and resurrection to happen for all. As Eccl. 9:11 says “…but time and chance happen to them all.” At an appointed time, we will all be resurrected, most to life like innumerable stars (Gen. 15:5), some to judgment and chance to change. Eventually, reward to eternal life and punishment to eternal death. Then comes the “new heavens and earth” in Rev. 21:1.

See also: https://fact-s.net/2017/05/09/death-what-is/

Original post: 5/18/2017

Dedicated to a good friend, an outstanding clinical pathologist, who “slept” and went to God on December 4, 2017.

Death, What is ?

Death, what is?

What is death and what happens at death? Do we know the exact mechanism that occurs at death? 
When can someone declare a person dead? The usual answer, in management school is, “it depends”. No pun intended, but it is true.



Different Concepts


Concepts of death are different in secular, religious groups and even among themselves in the same groups. In secular parlance, one considers death when the person is unconscious, not breathing on his own and there is no pulse. However, with today’s technology, a person maybe in coma, artificially breathing on respirator, heart beating because of pacemaker, blood pressure maintained on medications, bodily functions intact, and still can be pronounced dead legally when EEG is “flatline”; not having brain waves. Yet, among religious groups, what is commonly defined as a dead person in the tomb at any length of time, that state may still be defined as “sleep”.


Unanimity in Christian Tenet


Death considered as “sleep”, is a well-entrenched tenet for Christians. It is taken as a temporary state, much like sleep, as we wake up even after a long sleep. A waking-up period is a given because of the “hope of resurrection”. When a person dies, according to this teaching, at resurrection the person will not know events in-between, as in being “asleep” sans dreams. While they believe in eventual “eternal death” for non-believers, there is hope of resurrection for those who believed in Jesus. Hence, death is only “sleep”. Similarly, among live Christians, being “dead to sin”, is a state to be in as an admonition against sinning and to reckon themselves as in:
Rom. 6:11, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus“.(NIV) A Christian is expected to follow the Ten Commandments and not commit sin. 


Resurrection, you can bank on it
 
 
 Why “hope of resurrection”? Is there really a resurrection of the dead? That there is “life-after-death“, is a teaching that all traditional Christians are unanimous to share as a core belief. And, this is on faith which is evidenced-based (Heb. 11:1) anchored on very credible witnesses. Resurrection from death to a physical, flesh-composed, mortal bodies are well-documented by biblical historical records.

1 Kings 17:17-24  Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow. Notice V-21, let this child’s soul(nephesh) come into him again and V-22 and the soul(nephesh) of the child came into him again, and he revived. By usage, nephesh in this context means “life”or life-giving element of man.

2 Kings 4Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman

2 Kings 13:21 Dead man came back to life when he touched Elisha’s bones.

Luke 7:13-15 Jesus resurrects the widow’s son at Nain

Matthew 9:25 Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead. See also Mark 5:42, and Luke 8:55

John 11:43-44 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

Matthew 27:52-53 Saints resurrected and seen by many after Jesus’ resurrection

Acts 9:36-42 Peter raises a female disciple named Tabitha from the dead

Acts 20:9-12 Paul raises Eutychus from the dead.

The preceding resurrected individuals, were restored to life in a flesh-composed body. And, they all died again to undergo future resurrection.


Better Resurrection


There is another type of resurrection that the Bible calls the “ better resurrection”Hebrews 11:35) confirmed by apostles and other witnesses. In contrast to resurrection to a flesh-composed body, this is to an eternal life with immortal spirit-composed bodies. The pioneer of this type of resurrection is Jesus. See Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-11, and John 20:1-10.
Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples that betrayed Jesus, was replaced so that “one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection”(Acts 1:22).
In Acts 4:33, “with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”

The apostle Paul personally saw and talked with the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8; Acts 22:6-10), confirming the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.  Paul asked King Herod Agrippa II,“Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8). He told him, “To this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great . . . that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:22-23), implying that others would follow
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]” (1 Corinthians 15:20). The apostle Paul explained that Jesus is “the firstborn over all creation,” “the firstborn from the dead” and “the firstborn among many brethren” (Colossians 1:15, 18; Romans 8:29), indicating others will follow. Moreover, Paul explained how the resurrection of God’s firstfruits will occur:

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly [physical, material] body that it may be conformed to His glorious body”(Philippians 3:20-21; compare 2 Corinthians 5:1-5).
It is sown a natural [physical] body, it is raised a spiritual body . . . as we have borne the image of the man of dust [Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Jesus Christ]. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ” (1 Corinthians 15:44, 49-50). Notice that our current flesh-composed body cannot enter the Kingdom of God; we need to change structurally. For those who will still be alive at Christ’s return, notice 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
 
Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
We will receive this “better resurrection” or immortality when Jesus comes again, as in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55).


“For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible…So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ “O Death, where  is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?

 

What happens at death?
While death’s definition depends upon how each person perceives it, the ultimate mechanism that brings about death, in a religious sense, is shared by many. To grasp the mechanics of this truth, one has to understand how a person comes to be and becomes alive before knowing how one dies.
Going back to the narrative in Genesis, human evolution is “fake news“. We were informed that there is a Creator by the name of YHVH (Lord God), who is an “intelligent designer” of man, as in:
Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul(being)”.

Notice that man has 2 components, viz, dust + breath of life. That dust, which is the body, came from the ground and therefore matter-composed. Whereas, the breath of life, which is the “spirit of man”, the mind/psyche, comes from a Spirit-Being/God (from above) and therefore spirit-composed. The body, of and by itself, was not alive until the “breath of life” was “breathed into his nostrils.” Therefore, a living soul (nephesh) is composed of body + spirit of man (mind or psyche). In other words, man is composed of body which is matter as it comes from earth/mud/dust and a mind or psyche which is spiritual as it comes from a spirit-composed God breathing into man’s nostrils.
Now see how death is described and what happens to the 2 components of man at death in Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV)
The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”  
 
Also, in Gen. 3:19 ” for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead,…”
Essentially then, the mechanism of death is that the spirit component of man separates from the matter component flesh-body; the former goes back to God where it came and was “breathed” from; the latter goes to hades(buried in the tomb to rot) where it was formed from. Scientifically, although an assumption, the sudden electrical burst in EEG at time of death may find basis for this “separation”( 1,2,3).



Where Differences Lie


Let us then examine this concept of death in light of where the differences lie among biblical teachings of different sects in Christianity. In so doing, we may re-evaluate, optimize our current understanding of this subject and hopefully limit animosity.After taking up what teachings Christians (Catholics, Protestants, etc) align with, we can now enumerate where they differ from, viz.,
1. Is anyone who died, currently living in heaven?
It is a common belief that when we die, we immediately go to heaven or hell. This teaching was based on what Jesus at crucifixion said to the criminal and robber in the cross with him, as in:
Luke 23:43: “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”


In the original Greek text, there is  no “comma’ before the word “today”. This “comma” was an English grammar construction and interjected interpretation. Thus, with this comma before the today, Jesus went to heaven with the criminal on that “day” or immediately at death. With this teaching, one has to explain how could this happen when Jesus was still in the tomb for “3 days and 3 nights”. Moreover, a teaching that a criminal goes directly to heaven had to assume that Jesus forgave him at the cross, without proof that he actually said so and does not need to do any “good works of the Holy Spirit”.
Alternatively, it may well be argued that the “comma” should follow the word “today” which then changes the connotation, as in:
Luke 23:43: “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”


With the preceding rendering that the “comma” was placed after the word ” today”, the meaning changes to another interpretation. That is, Jesus said those words on that day, but the criminal would have that “rendezvous in paradise” in the future; yet, another conjecture. Or, wherever the comma is placed before or after the word “today”, it may just mean that both of them will die the same day and both their spirits(spirit of man) would go back to the Father in heaven, following the same mechanism that defines death. 
Going back to the 1st question whether any man (the whole body and spirit) after death is currently living in heaven, one only has to listen to Jesus words, viz.,
John 3:13 “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.”

Also, consider what apostle Peter said on the Day of Pentecost:
Acts 2:29, 34 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day…For David did not ascend into the heavens…”

Notice that the context refers to the whole person, body + spirit. When the text says, no one who died is in heaven, it therefore refers specifically only to the body.  David, and for that matter anybody, is still buried, i.e. his body. The claim that no one who died ascended into heaven, refers to the body-component. However, while the whole person did not go to heaven and the matter-composed body is still in the tomb,  we learned (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Gen. 3:19; James 2:26) that the active spirit-component went to God where it came from. The spirit-component of man although active is “naked“, unclothed, as in 2 Cor. 5:3, i.e., not having a body and therefore “nobody”. Only Jesus, who came from heaven, ascended into heaven with a “glorious body“, i.e., his mortal body did not rot in the tomb. Instead, after “three days and three nights”, it was changed “in a twinkling of an eye” into a glorious/spirit-composed body that is immortal. And with his spirit-composed body + psyche/spirit, the whole person ascended into heaven, (compare John 20:17, Matt. 28:9, Mark 16 and Luke 24). This new body of Jesus can be visible or invisible to human eyes.
2. Can the dead speak?
The following verses are self-explanatory:
Psalm 115:17 (ESV),  “The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence”.
 
 
Psalms 6:5  “For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave?
 
Psalms 30:9 “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?
Isaiah 38:18 “For Sheol (grave) cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.”
How about in Rev. 19:1? Did not Apostle John hear “a loud voice from heaven” as in:

After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power to the Lord our God!’
Did John hear the voice of dead saints? Compared with Revelation 5:11-12, this voice clearly came from a multitude of angels, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
 
How about the “voices of the slain” in Revelation 6: 9-11
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne;  they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”  Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”


Knowing what we know now that only the psyche/spirit of man goes to God at death, not the body nor the whole person, one maybe able to explain this event. By itself and without a matter-composed nor spirit-composed tongue, the psyche/spirit is incapable of talking and vice-versa. For one to speak, both psyche/spirit and body have to be together. Like “faith without works is dead being alone“(James 2:26), the body is dead being alone. 
Nothing was said about the psyche/spirit that goes to God whether alive or dead.  In this narrative, only the psyche/spirit is with God as the body of the slain is still in the earthly tomb. Since the psyche/spirit has stored memories, what is in there can be accessed and can be expressed, not by the psyche/spirit itself as it has no body to be used to vocalize with. This is akin to “dream” where through the mind we appeared to be talking or walking, but actually still asleep; not vocalizing using our tongue nor walking using our legs. This verse that says “the slain cried out with a loud voice“, must be taken as an allegory with memories of the slain longing and hoping for the resurrection with new immortal body. Not that the “slain” actually spoke and voice heard.
3. Do dead people know anything?



Here again, the following are self-explanatory:
King David said, “for the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing… their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, NKJV, see also Psalm 146:4; 115:17
Eccl. 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (grave)where you are going”
The preceding has to refer to the body, not the “spirit of man that separated from the body at death and went (with all its memories) to the Father.


4. Jonah praying in the belly of whale

Here is the narrative:
Jonah 1:17 “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
Jonah 2:1-10 “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 voiceFor thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.   Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look againtoward thy holy temple  The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God  When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowedSalvation is of the LORD     And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”


The common teaching was that while in the belly of the big fish, Jonah was alive and praying to God. Was he really alive in the belly of the fish and praying? Remember that he was there in the “belly” for “three days and three nights” after having been swallowed. The answer lies in the actual testimony of Jesus and what happened to him.
Matt.  12:39-40 A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of the prophet JonahFor as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
 
Jesus used the story of Jonah as an example of his death and how long he would be in the tomb as the only sign to “a wicked and adulterous generation”. No one disputes the fact that Jesus was dead and was buried. And so, shouldn’t we extrapolate that while in the belly of the big fish, Jonah was dead and was not alive praying? This was confirmed by the description that Jonah was “brought up my life from corruption“, i.e. from death. It is therefore conceivable that while he was still alive, drowning and about to become unconscious, he was praying. He was then resurrected after 3 days and 3 nights like Jesus was.
5. Lazarus/Rich man-story?
When does this narrative find application? The common teaching is that after death, they were still “alive” but Lazarus was in “comfort” at Abraham’s bosom while the rich man was tormented in flames. A number of areas are conflicted here. We now know that when a person dies, he is actually dead, not alive.  Also, which hell is referred to?  When was this resurrection? Which of the 2 final resurrection was referred to?  Let us then go through the whole account for analysis:
Luke 16: 19-31: “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.  And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores,  who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;  and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’  But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’  And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house,  for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’  But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’  And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.”

This narrative speaks about their death and subsequent resurrection. Lazarus went to “Abraham’s bosom”, while the rich man was resurrected and found himself “in torment”, and “in anguish in this flame”. To begin with, there are 3 types of “hell”, viz., Hades where dead people are buried(entombed),  Tartaros where rebellious angels are and Gehenna fire, the final death. Only Gehenna has unquenchable fire. Hades does not have “flame” of fire nor does Tartaros. What was referred to, could only be “Gehenna fire”, which has flames of fire that living people can be tormented till death. The following are other English translations of this story:
Luke 16:23 “While being tormented in the place of the dead, he looked up and saw Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at his side.”(CEB). Notice, that the place of the dead was not specified as to any of the 3 types.  
 
 
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Luke‬ ‭16:22-23‬ ‭(CPDV) “Then it happened that the beggar died, and he was carried by the Angels into the bosom of Abraham. Now the wealthy man also died, and he was entombed in Hell. Then lifting up his eyes, while he was in torments, he saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.http://bible.com/42/luk.16.22-23.cpdv
Notice from these alternate English translation, that the place where he was buried was in “hell” or Hades-Sheo. But where he was resurrected or “lifted up his eyes” and was in torment, because of the flame, was not specified.
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Luke‬ ‭16:21-23‬ ‭(DRC1752)”And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell. And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:” http://bible.com/55/luk.16.21-23.drc1752. Again, notice here that the place where he was buried was in “hell” or Hades-Sheol but where he was resurrected or “lifted up his eyes” and was in torment because of the flame was not specified.
Considering all the preceding, the timing of this resurrection had to be the “second resurrection”(Rev. 20:12-13), post-Millenium; in contrast to the first resurrection to immortal spirit-composed bodies at the beginning of the Millenium(Rev. 20:4-6; I Cor. 15:20; I Thes. 4:16; Rev. 20:4) This is a resurrection of the dead to flesh-composed bodies where people are judged whether to accept the “good news” of salvation and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Those who did, went to Abraham’s bosom for spiritual growth and development to attain salvation/immortality. Those who rejected this final offer, gift and grace of God, were thrown in the Gehenna fire to be tormented till consumed to die. This could only be the reason why Abraham said “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead”; some finality to this punishment.
 
6. Do we have immortal soul?
Only God is immortal (see 1 Timothy 6:15, 16). Paul says that the righteous “seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Romans 2:7). If we had immortal souls, why would the righteous seek after something they already have?



Summary:
When man was created, YHVH ELOHIM (Almighty God) made the body, all parts of it, which is matter-composed from the ground/earth. This “body” of man was not alive until “the breath of life” was breathed into his nostrils by God. This life-giving component came from a spirit being and therefore spirit-composed. These are the 2 components of man, viz., matter-composed body + spirit-composed mind/psyche (aka. spirit of man).
At death, these 2 components separate; the body which is matter-composed goes to the grave (hades), entombed and rot, while the psyche/mind which is spirit-composed goes back to the Creator. The body is dead without the spirit while the mind/psyche without the body cannot speak, praise, vocalize, pray, etc because it is “nobody“. Yet, it is still active, although  non-functional, and has embedded memories, desires, longings that allegorically can be expressed.
To be functional, this spirit/psyche/mind combines with either a “glorious, spirit-composed body”, immortal (made by God) at first resurrection that commences at the Millenium and reigns with Jesus on earth. Or, with a “flesh-composed, mortal body” at the second resurrection after the Millenium to have a chance to believe the gospel, receive the Holy Spirit of power, be guided by that Spirit for spiritual growth and development and eventually to become “son of God” with immortal body. Those who rejected this last chance will be thrown in Gehenna fire to be consumed and die forever, not tormented forever.
The new heavens and earth will therefore be ruled, not by angels, but by the “sons of God” with Jesus as the head of this “kingdom of God”, all spirit-composed. This is the gospel of the “kingdom of God”, the destiny planned by God from the foundation of the world.
May God bless us with this knowledge to enhance our faith in Him.


References:
1. Stokes, Mark, Brain Metrics: Retrieved 5/4/17 from:
2. Horizon Research Foundation: Spikes in EEG at time of Death. Retrieved 5/4/17 from:
3. Tsakiris, Alex, EEG Expert Can’t Explain Near Death Experience Data… and, Dr. Penny Sartori Finds More Than Hallucinations in NDE Accounts. Retrieved 5/4/17 from:
Original post:4/25/17
Revised 5/10/17, 10/15/2017


DEDICATED to a friend whose funeral we attended December 2012 in Inverness, Illinois