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

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

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.  
 
 
‭‭
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.
‭‭
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

Gift and Reward, What ?

This topic is well-known to Christians and expected to be well-understood. Yet, many sorely missed to see where the difference and similarity as they relate to salvation. 

To begin with, in a Biblical parlance, a gift is given by someone to another who does not deserve it, nor is it based on something good done by anyone, but given nevertheless. On the other hand, a reward is given by someone to another who did something good to deserve it. Notice that in both giving gift or reward, someone did something to or for another whether deserved or not. 

Paul, explained this principle in Rom. 5:10,

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” 

Because of sin, we were God’s enemies, “driven from the garden of Eden” , so to speak, and not deserving of a gift. Yet, the Father gifted us with his Son, as in John 3:16, 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.(NIV)

And not only giving his Son, out of the Father’s love, as an undeserved gift to us for reconciliation with the Father. But even more importantly as promised from the foundation of the world to resurrected Jesus, another undeserved gift to us, which is the Holy Spirit of power, for our salvation.  And these free gifts to all of us, undeserved who sinned, were planned even before anyone sinned, i.e., before the foundation of the world, before the creation of man. 

Reconciliation and justification came about because of what Jesus did, i.e., his death. But, this was reckoned not because Jesus followed thereby substituting his death for mankind; not by his “works” or obedience. Rather, as Paul explained in Rom 3:22-23:

 “by the righteousness of faith (even of Jesus), so no man (even Jesus) can boast. 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, “righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all them that believe“, meaning that while these gifts are for all, still one has to “believe“(had to do something), for these to be “activated” on any specific person. Much like a “link for temporary password” given freely to a person by a website app, it has to be activated or authenticated for I.D. security; it is specific and secure, but we need to do something. To believe on something material that is heard or seen by our physical senses is one thing. But, spiritual things are discerned only by “spiritual ears and eyes” empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit (I Cor 2:14). Meaning, to believe is something we ourselves do, but we could not have “heard or seenspiritual things without the spirit-power given to us; therefore, the power tool is also a gift

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, (even of Jesus’) 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.”

Similarly, the Holy Spirit was given not because of Jesus’ works but on Jesus’ trust and belief (based on faith) in the Father that what he promised for mankind (which is the Holy Spirit) He would give. And this receipt of the Holy Spirit occurred after Jesus had been resurrected to receive it for mankind. 


Summary:

In both gift and reward, we did something:

1. We sinned (did something), yet were given free gifts of his Son, out of the Father’s love (John 3:16) for reconciliation and the Holy Spirit of power towards our salvation. These gifts were due to belief leading to trust based on “faith of Jesus“(not his works) that the Father will fulfill his promises to “the seed”(Jesus). This belief and trust is faith-based, evidence-based and substantive.

2. We believed (did something) and were given this free gift of Holy Spirit. No “good works” yet from us, except belief. Nevertheless, even this ability and power tool to believe spiritual things also come as a gift of the Holy Spirit of power, given by the Father to resurrected Jesus to us-ward, as promised and founded on Jesus’ trust and belief which is faith-based(evidence-based/substantive), not works.

3. We obeyed (did something) the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, to ‘bear fruits” worthy of God’s reward, which is “glory, honor, immortality, eternal life“, being Sons and Daughters of the God-Kingdom, the family of God.

4. As man-Jesus’ reward of having a “glorious spirit-composed body” was based on following God’s will (his works), so is our reward to have “spiritual-composed” bodies based on following (our works) the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

5. Gift is given out of love, unmerited and initiated by belief leading to trust that is faith-based, not work-related, nor work-based. It comes from  faith of Jesus leading to belief/trust of Jesus and similarly our belief and trust that are faith-based(evidence-based, substantive(Heb.11:1). Whereas, reward is given based on following and therefore”works-based“. 

Original post: 4/10/2017

Revised post: 5/3/17
 

Human Limits and Boundaries, WHY?

Human Limits and Boundaries, WHY?
It has been an established precept that man has a choice between “good or evil”; the way that leads to life or death”. And, the instruction was to “choose life”, to do “good”, as in:
Deut. 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
Deut. 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;”

Blast from the Past:

Throughout the history of Israel, direct communication with her leaders or indirectly through prophets or angelic beings, the admonition against evil and to follow the Decalogue(Ten Commandments) are etched in their minds from generation to generation. Yet, was anyone consistent with following the Law? Not even Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, all the way through the prophets, until the human Jesus came to the scene . The Ten Commandments were given to be followed consistently, yet humanity has failed. As Romans 3:10-18King James Version (KJV) states:
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:Their feet are swift to shed blood:Destruction and misery are in their ways:And the way of peace have they not known:There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Rom. 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God“.
And, looking through the lens of history, humanity has done a lot of choosing, summarized as a coalescence of good and evil. Even before the murder of Abel by Cain, the Great Flood at Noah’s time as in: Gen. 6:5 

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually
.” and Nimrod’s Tower of Babel, wickedness, death and destruction were perennial, intermixed with good deeds, protracted and continuing through antiquities.

Afterwards, what comes to mind are the successive empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greco-Macedonia and Rome, with their glory marked in cruelty and rapaciousness, now gone. Then, came the modern experience on dictatorship, monarchy, autocracy, socialism, communism, Greek democracies and Constitutional democracy establishing a Republic. The USA and Europe exemplify the latest political system, immersed and challenged since WW II, through the Cold War and currently Radical Jihad. 

Extent of Human Experience and Why
:

Along this “wrinkle of time”, were progress and retrogress, up and down and sideways, either subsequently or simultaneously in every corner of the world. Elation and jubilation soon replaced by depression and sorrow, then interspersed with a lull of peace. Even good health and recovery from disease do not guarantee against eventual sickness or death. Truly, everyone gets experience in success and failure, exposure to positive-negative, ying-and-yang, victory and defeat. 

And the pendulum continues to swing back and forth, ever so slowly, yet always within its boundary. The circle of life begins and ends where it started. Indeed, while each epoch is uniquely different in details, there is nothing new under the sun. As written in Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NLT):
 “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.”  

But why all this human experience of stretching its reach, pushing the envelop, doing our very best only to find out that we can only go so far? Somehow, no matter what we do or don’t do, it comes to no avail? We are still found wanting. It appears that what is palpably clear is to inculcate in us the reality of our limits and boundaries.
As celestial bodies cannot go beyond their orbits, terrestrials also have capabilities that are limited. Everything created by God and even by humans, have limits. Our brain has capacity and our brawn has finite ATP that needs regenerating. Car, airplanes and satellites can only go so far. Even “gizmos” need update in operating systems and type of phones e.g., iPhone 5 to iPhone 6, to 6s, otherwise functionality suffers. Consider the Apostle Paul, well-educated under teacher Gamaliel and supposed to be at the peak of his apostleship, exposed human inadequacy when he writes, in: Romans 7: 15
What is wrong with me? How come? The very good that I want to do, I do not do. That which I don’t want to do, is precisely what I do.” 
Not that Paul did not follow the Law, because he did, although not perfectly. He was referring to dilemma in decision-making between two equally compelling choices beyond and unrelated to the Law. This verse should not be used to justify violating the Law. Rather, he found himself inadequate in many respect, having a body of flesh, thereby emphasizing the need for a change to immortal body.  

With the limits and boundaries already set in all creation, it is obvious that we are not “empowered” to go farther than our physical limits. Somehow, we are made to realize by the vast human experience, that humans are lacking in capabilities. Undoubtedly, everything can only be done by someone or something within endowed abilities. Mechanical power is needed to drive engines for transport, as electrical power is needed to bring light to the world or energize machines. But, all “physical power” can only affect the physical milieu. 

Atheists, Agnostics and Job?

Arguably, some atheists and agnostics have not committed adultery, murder and the like, i.e., follow the Law to some extent although not perfectly as in…Rom. 2:14, 
Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.“(NLT)
Still, their acts were a confluence of “good and evil”, and were not up to the level of execution God has planned. How about Job, isn’t he perfect? Notice, Job 2:3
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and eschews evil?(KJV)
The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”
God defined the acts of Job as “perfect and blameless” and He ruined him “without cause”. Yet, Mark 10:18 states that no man is good, but God: 
Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone”(NIV).
How can one reconcile what appears to be a discrepancy in these verses? This can only mean that while the action of Job was “blameless”, his good work did not come from God but from Job himself, much like good action to some extent comes from “atheists” themselves. It was not good enough to a level that fulfills his requirement. Undoubtedly, progressive revelation then teaches us that, more than consistency of “good work”, is how it comes about as determined by the “decision-maker”, God. He wanted good actions of humans to be coming from Him as planned. Those actions have to originate from Him so that no human can “boast” as in Eph. 2:8-9, 
For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by (your own) works, so that no one can boast.
Humans are created “from the ground”, earthy and flesh-composed. A “new creation” is being made that comes ” from above”, heavenly. And the Father has started it through Jesus, as in, 
The kingdom of God is at hand“.(Mark 1:15).

Need of What and What it takes to get it?:

What is it then that is needed? Why is man incapable of fulfilling His requirement regarding following the Law? Rom. 7:14 may help us understand why. It states, 
King James Bible:”For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal,(Greek sarkikos or flesh),..

Holman Christian Standard Bible:”For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made out of flesh, ..

The preceding verse is critical to our understanding of our deficiency. It maintains that since the Law is spiritual, it can only be discerned and followed spiritually. And, man(of flesh) cannot use physical or “flesh” power to follow what is spiritual. Being material, not spirit-composed, man can only use physical sense to appreciate material things. 

Even the only spirit-component of man, the “spirit of man”, can only “will” but cannot actually perform all what it wants. This teaching among religions that, with our own material and “earthy” power, we can fulfill the expectation about following the Law, maybe misguided. Paul continues:
Rom. 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not”.
Eph. 8:8 states, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”(ESV)
Notice that Paul acknowledged the “weakness ” or deficiency of his “flesh-body” and “to will” (to do good) is present in him. For Paul to say, like Job, that he can follow the Law by himself or by his own power, will not be congruent with what is required as planned by the Father. More than Paul, it was Jesus who originally emphasized this, as in,
Matt.26:41 “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.(NIV)
After Christ realized this, he made a final decision to accept the will of the Father to go through the most horrible death by crucifixion, so we can have this “power” to do God’s will. 
Matt. 36:42 “A second time He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”…
Jesus knew about the “weakness of the flesh” and the need for “spirit-power” that can only be given “from above”. That was why Jesus decided to “take the cup” in the garden of Gethsemane, be crucified and was resurrected to obtain from the Father the gift of the Holy Spirit to be given subsequently to humans. No wonder then that Paul in Romans 7:25 writes: 
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.“(NIV).

Why Thank God the Father for Jesus Christ?

It is because there is no other “name given” (Jesus) as in Acts 4:12:

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved“(NIV).
Were it not for Jesus’ death as a Passover to reconcile us to the Father and after 3 days and 3 nights his resurrection, the Holy Spirit would not have been given to Jesus to be sent to us. If he was not resurrected and did not go back to the Father, he would not have been given the Holy Spirit for us, as in:
John 6:7 “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.”
This promised spirit-power from the Father was first sent by him at Pentecost, 50 days from Jesus’ resurrection(Acts2:1-4). The disciples have to wait to receive this power as in Luke 24:49 

“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven”(NLT)


What is the Holy Spirit for?

At the outset, we have seen that human experience teaches man of his own limits and boundaries. Whatever “good” he does that comes from himself, is not good enough for God. As Isa. 64:6 states,
“…and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags...”
The “good” that man does, has to come from God, not from the man himself. Indeed, a “tall order” for humans. Goodness has to be the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” which is given by the Father as a gift. The Law being spiritual has to be followed “in spirit and in truth”. The flesh-composition is “weak” and from the beginning was created deficient to follow what is spiritual. The spirit of man can only “will” but “how to perform what is good”, as expected of God, humans cannot. As it is written I Rom. 3:10-17(NIV)

“There is no one righteous, not even one;there is no one who understand, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless, there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.The poison of vipers is on their lips.Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways,and the way of peace they do not know.

Humans are in need of the Holy Spirit from the Father. And even the human-Jesus (Acts 17:31; I Tim. 2:5; Rom. 5:15) needed it and was given for the first time to him (being the first of the firstfruits) after water-baptism at the river Jordan(Matt. 3:16). It became available to others, as “firstfruits”, on that particular Pentecost(Acts2:1-4).

What then is the Holy Spirit for? 

The following Bible quotes give us the function of the Holy Spirit:
In John 14:26, it states “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.”

Romans 8:6-9English Standard Version (ESV)“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

2Cor1:22 New Living Translation:”..and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.”

Gal. 5:21-22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.       
I Cor. 7:7, “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that“.(NIV)
I Cor 12:7-11,”But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
Rom. 8:15-17 “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.”

Summary:

Humans were created from the beginning with limits and boundaries. We are composed of flesh from the “dust of the ground” and made alive only by the “breath of life” given by the Creator (see Genesis Chapters 1 and 2). As such, we have the “spirit of man + flesh” to become a “living soul”. As flesh, we can not fathom nor discern unadulterated spiritual things unless revealed to us from Him. Other spirit-beings like the Devil and his demons can plant spiritual things that are false or partly true to deceive us. Even Peter, on his own, did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah without this truth revealed to him by the Father(Matt.16:13-17). On our own, we can do good things and appreciate what is spiritual to a certain extent, but God wants to have all of these to be pure, truthful and to come from him as a gift, so that “no one can boast”. We are blind and deaf to what is spiritual as in,
Romans 11:8 – (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day



But the Holy Spirit was promised to be given to us as in, Isaiah 43:8 – Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears

This Holy Spirit will guide our “spirit of man” to “hear and see” at our appointed time, as in:John 9:39 – And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Notice those who received the Holy Spirit ,Matthew 13:16 – But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
We need the Holy Spirit of the Father to empower us with this capacity to understand spiritual things. If we think we can by ourselves, without His Holy Spirit, we are misled. This Holy Spirit can interact with the “spirit of man” for guidance and learning the wisdom of God and to be “one” with Him. 
The ability for goodness that God requires for man to do has to come from Him as a gift. That is why, “by grace we are saved”. Jesus had to die as a consequence of humanity’s sin, to reconcile us to the Father, be resurrected by the Father, go back to heaven to receive this gift of the Holy Spirit and subsequently be given to us. As the Law was originally written in “tables of stone”, i.e., our stony heart, but with the Holy Spirit in us, the Law will be written in our heart and mind to fulfill the prophecy in:
Ezekiel 36:26,”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.(NIV)
This “spirit-infusion” fulfills the prophecy in:Jeremiah 31:33 “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Heb. 8:10 “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
The Holy Spirit in us is the key that opens the door to our capacity to follow the Law. The presence of this Holy Spirit in us will secure our adoption as children and heirs of the. Father to “bear fruits”. This is the strategic plan of God, with impeccable execution to create a “new creation” as in 2 Cor. 5:17,”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

Once we are changed at resurrection from “flesh” to immortal body, Paul’s wish in Romans 7: 15 will be a reality


Understanding our limits and boundaries leads us to the gospel and destiny of humanity, to be members of the God-Kingdom, all spirit-composed beings, one with Jesus and one with the Father. 

Calvinism, 5 points/TULIP

On the 5 points of Calvinism, please consider my personal position on each one of them.
1. Total Depravity – The consequence of sin is eternal death. And this extends to all humanity since the sin of Adam, with eternal death as punishment, was imputed to all human beings (Rom 5:12-13). Even a newborn that did not sin yet has death as a consequence of sin. Not anyone’s particular sin but all sin “devolved” from that specific sin of Adam in the book of Genesis. Whether or not there were people before Adam’s creation (according to anthropologist), is immaterial as imputation still goes back to Adam’s sin. Also, this imputation commenced when the Law was given to Moses, even when “sin occurred before the Law”(Rom. 5:13); not unveiled until then so that sin will be amplified and defined (Rom. 5:20). This imputation to one man was done so that the death also of one man, i.e., man-Jesus, will also be imputed to all mankind. There is no other person’s death but Jesus’ that this consequence of sin can be paid for(Rom. 5:6-21). Indeed, a total depravity. See also, Rom. 3:10, Gen. 6:5, Jer. 17:9.

2. Unconditional Election – Election and predestination are unconditional and planned for all by God from the beginning. His love covers all. He planned this even before anyone of us did anything right or wrong. While that is so, the end-point or outcome of these is still dependent on man’s free will and response. Free will defines the right choice of man-Jesus to follow to become the “Son of God” and for Lucifer to become an adversary, Satan.

Romans 8:29-30 , 9:11, Eph.1:4-6,11-12, speak of a group of “predestinated, called and justified”, from where God provides the “chance” to be “glorified” or saved. There is that “chance” being given that will result in and bear out “firstfruits” at the “first resurrection” to start the Millenium. And, there is a “chance” to be given after the Millenium that will result in “latter fruits”. This is not about “second-chances” but a matter of “election”. There is a “timetable”, for everyone, as in Eccl. 9:11 “for time and chance overtake them all”. And these “chances” are referring to the time of offering the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. With the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, the person given that chance still have to choose, whether to follow the will of the Father or not. Even Jesus has shown free-will in the garden of Gethsemane to follow the Holy Spirit, (in-dwelling in him from river Jordan,Matt. 3:16), as in “not my will but yours”( Lu.22:42;Matt. 26:39); so, should we all who are called, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. From these groups that had “election, predestination, calling” and justification” given “unconditionally” through Christ, will come out the “firstfruits” and “latterfruits” depending on their “oneness” with God.

3. Limited Atonement – The Creator YHVH who incarnated to “man-Jesus” (anthropos) died for the remission of all mankind’s sin and atoned for all. Atonement is for everyone and is not limited by God himself. However, it is limited by each person, depending upon whether he/she believes in this atoning sacrifice of Jesus. It is also limited to those who are “called” at a particular timetable; those partakers in the first resurrection, then those in the second resurrection. This is the context of Matthew 1:21,John 10:11,17:9, Acts 20:28,

4.Irresistible Grace – this is a gift that is so supreme and sublime that will not be “forced down our throats”. It can be resisted. The Father wants “free will” and Jesus as an example in the “garden of Gethsemane” knew this all along and concurred willingly with “his will”.

5. Perseverance of the Saints – They have to, but not all will “persevere”. In fact, even those written in the “book of life” and have been “predestined”, “elected”, “called”, “justified” can still be removed from that “book” as in Rev. 2:19. We need to endure, to be saved, as in, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”(Matt. 10:22).

Salvation Series 6, Where?

Salvation Series 6:Where?


In the preceding Salvation Series 5 When? and Salvation Series 4 How?, we learned that we are actually saved when we become “a new creation“, all “sons of God” and “one” with Jesus as Son of God and by extension “one” with the Father, as “one” divine family. This is the gospel of the kingdom of God, not kingdom of plants, animals, humans, and not even that of the angelic species, but a “kingdom of God”.

The last question in this Salvation Series of 6, is where is our destination, our abode at the time of salvation?

Milllenium and First Resurrection:



Consider the following verses showing that those with “spirit-glorified-bodies in the 1st resurrection will “meet the Lord in the air and so shall always be with the Lord”, to reign for a thousand years”(Millenium) after the battle of Armageddon(Revelation 16) and the beast and priest were killed in Gehenna fire.

I Thes. 4:15-17 “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.…”

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years …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 20:4, 6).

But, still it begs the question, where? This first resurrection will be simultaneous with Jesus’ return on earth as the “firstfruits” will meet him in the clouds as he was coming down. And, they will descend on earth in Israel. 

 Luke 21:26-27 “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”  



Additionally, the following quotes clinch the place to be on earth after the Nebuchadnezzar/Babylonian kingdom and subsequent kingdoms that came out of her were destroyed at the battle of Armageddon, with Jerusalem as the center of government at the Millenium:

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest † till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: : and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”(Daniel 2:31-45). 

Notice that all these are “kingdomson earth and will be consumed and replaced by God’s kingdom on earth.

Battle of Armageddon: Revelation 16:12-21 …”And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”

Here, it is clear that this battle will be on earth.

Then, after the Millenium
on earth, the following will come:
1. Second resurrection: Rev. 20:5 “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed”.

2. Satan will be released after having been chained for a thousand years during the Millenium (Rev. 20:2).
Revelation 20:7-10, “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Read also the prophecy against Gog and Magog are in Ezek. 38-39.

Notice, that those in the 2nd resurrection are flesh-composed, but not “glorious bodies”. This was prophesied in Ezek. 37:1-14, “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

Notice that the “breath of life/psyche” will enter those resurrected/reconstructed flesh-bones before coming to life; then the Spirit of God will be put in them who believed (faith) for “sanctification” and when they “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit then thy will be changed to “glorious-immortal spirit-composed bodies to live forever. 
Read also, Job 19:26-27″Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me! ” Notice that Job did not partake of the “first resurrectionand by extension other patriarchs of old, as they will still be “flesh-composed” at the “2nd resurrection”.

These are people, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc, who had faith which was counted (as an example) for righteousness but did not receive the promise at that time. They will be given the promised Holy Spirit to in-dwell in them, “bear fruitsand be changed from mortal to immortal for life eternal. Some will dwell in the promised land of Israel while some will be in other lands. As prophesied, “It shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isa. 2:1-5). Note: they will not participate in upcoming war of Gog and Magog

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:1-10).

But, there will be those in the second resurrection who will continue their disobedience and fight God in the last Battle of Gog/Magog. Gehenna fire is a consistent final judgment for the evil ones. It will eternally end the life of the unrepentant disbelievers, whether in the Battle of Armageddon or in this battle against Gog and Magog. The body and breath of life/psyche/spirit of man, will suffer “eternal death” from which there is no resurrection. Notice Matt.10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell(Gehenna not hades). Also Lu.12:4-5, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no † more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell(Gehenna, not hades); yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” On the other hand Satan and those unrepentant angels, being spirit, will live “tormented” for eternity.

New heaven and earth :

After all these things that will come to pass, a new heaven and earth will be created and the Father comes down to live with us.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:1-8)

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13)
Summary

Jesus will come down from heaven and rule on earth with his “firstfruits“. The “latterfruits” will join them to rule thereafter, but still on earth. A “new heaven and earth” will be created as the old passed away. Indeed, the Father will come down from his previous abode and will dwell with us on the “new heaven and earth“.
Original post: October 4, 2015

Revised and posted:February 20, 2017