In this segment are revealed 4 of the most astonishing Biblical events you will ever read. Since they are of such magnitude they will be told in a semi-story style with scriptures included for verification. Put yourself in Jesus' disciples' place. What would you do, think and feel if everything you had believed in, committed yourself to and counted on had been killed?
(Matt. 26:56) The disciples had fled when Jesus had been killed. (John 20:19) They had scattered then met at some secret place and now were hiding for fear of the Jews. As men will they were worried about themselves first. They had been associated with Someone who had said He was King of the Jews, that was rebellion and they were afraid they were hunted men. After much whispered discussion they got around to the subject that hung over them like a dark, crushing, smothering cloud; "Jesus is dead!" "We placed all our hopes and dreams on Him and Jesus is dead." They discussed what had happened; "No man could live with the wounds we saw." "I saw the light of life die in His eyes!" "I saw His already stiffening body taken down from the cross."
They remembered and talked about their synagogue lessons; (Gen. 22:10) "And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, Isaac." (Gen. 22:16) And God said; "By myself have I sworn, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:" "God swore He would make sure we got our Jewish covenant because Abraham had the faith to be obedient." (Luke 1:38) "Mary said; Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." "Mary had the faith to accept God's word." (Matt 1:24) "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him and took unto him his wife." "Joseph had the faith to be obedient." "Faith accomplished Jesus' birth and faith brought Him to us!"
(Matt. 26:25) "Judas, which betrayed him" and the leadership hierarchy of priests gathered (Matt. 26:4) "And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtility and kill him." "Unbelief because of greed and lust for power has killed Jesus. Jesus is dead!" As they huddled there in the darkened room every unusual sound caused them to start, look around apprehensively and hush their whispers. Rebellion carried an automatic death sentence! It never entered their thoughts there might be something afoot which would strain their ability to believe beyond what they knew; "Jesus is dead!" That was their reality.
One of them remembered and spoke about a thing Jesus had taught. (Matt. 7:15 & Luke 11:39 keyword: inward) Jesus had taught about the inward person, the soul, (Luke 16: 19-31) and had even described in painstaking detail how the rich man's soul had the ability to (V.23) see, suffer--> he felt pain, (V.24) he could speak, taste, touch, smell, (V.28) remember, feel emotions--> he loved and felt concern for his 5 brothers, (V.27-30) he could hear, pray, understand, worry, reason--> he made an argument based on reason (V.31) and he felt disappointment!
Another spoke about the time when Jesus had taken James, John and Simon Peter to a special event; (Matt. 17:1-4) "Jesus was transformed before us, His face shown like the sun, He was clothed in light and we recognized Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus." (John 5:29) "Jesus taught us a lot about the resurrection." But that was some dimly understood, scarcely believed activity in the far, far future. Another spoke; (John 5:29) "Jesus bluntly told us all people will live forever." (John 5:28) Jesus even said; "The hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice." It's hard to imagine the possibility of life when you see a stiffening corpse go into a cold, cold grave and they sat in gloomy silence, afraid, lonely and filled with doubt there in the dangerous darkness. What they had spoken were only words. "Jesus is dead" was their only reality.
Jesus knew the end was near because it had gotten harder to see and He knew His retinas were dying. He shouted as loud as He could through His painful, blood clotted, swollen mouth; "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit". He had felt death consuming Him, every nerve, cell, organ, bone and muscle burned with excruciating pain. It seemed to take forever and His body writhed with terrible agony. His body finally finished dying, (Heb. 2:9-11) He had "tasted" death and He was free. Free from the horrendous, sickening horror of the sin He had become, free from the awful pain, free from the condemnation but, invisible, He waited; "I've made a glorious promise and I always keep My promises, always!" (Luke 23:40-43) Even as he was thinking He was ministering to the malefactor who had accepted Him and was going to paradise with Him.
(Heb. 2:9-11) (V.11) "I have tasted death for every man who is My brethren. I will not let My sanctified ones, My brethren, suffer (taste) death as I have. And I always keep My promises, always. He asked Me to remember him, he is the first one I sanctified, he is My brother and I will not let him "taste" death." Jesus drew the inward man, the soul, out of the malefactor's body and the body's autonomic nervous system kicked in. The body was alive but the person, the soul, was gone. When the brawny Roman soldier broke the two men's legs with an iron bar they both looked alive to him but one soul had already left.
(Luke 23:39) The malefactor who had railed on Jesus was on his own, he would suffer alone and he would feel each nerve and every cell in every organ, muscle and bone in his body die, alone. He had made a choice, a tragically wrong choice to be sure, but it was his choice, alone. After he had tasted the final, bitter, excruciatingly painful dregs of his physical death, (Luke 16:20) Satan, the devil, sunk his spiritual talons into the man's soul and carried him screaming away to prison, alone, nobody could hear him screaming and nobody cared. (Luke 16:20) Sure, the angels carried Lazarus' soul to Abraham's bosom, (Rev. 1:18) but at that time Satan had the key to hell, so what angel do you think carried the rich man's soul to hell?
Writer's Note: The disciples had only what Jesus told them. We have all that plus what Paul wrote in (2Cor. 4:16) about the outward man (body) and the inward man (soul, self, me, personality, psyche, ego, heart). (2Cor. 12:1-5) Paul mentions an out of body experience. If you are like the disciples and can't "see" beyond just the words please don't feel bad about it, I felt the same way, until I experienced it. If you wish to read about it please click on the commentary The Holy Spirit and You, scroll down the menu to the segment Why is the Holy Spirit, click on that and read the 3rd miracle, at the end of that are other places you can go to read more. What about the modern day people who have had out of body experiences. You can research that on the internet concerning what they saw. I wonder if they are messengers?
The malefactor who had accepted Jesus was astonished beyond any imagining, he had died but he wasn't dead, he had simply left his physical body! He didn't hurt anyplace and he looked at his hands and feet in astonishment. Suddenly he was loved more than he could comprehend and he had never felt anything like it in his life. He shyly looked up and the source was Jesus. (Matt. 17:2) This time Jesus' face shown like the sun and He was dressed in light. The man fell on his face there, cried out; "My Lord and my God!" and worshipped Jesus. Jesus silently accepted the homage then quietly spoke; (Luke 16:22) "Come, I have need of thee to serve me. We're going to Abraham's bosom just like I promised."
(1John 3:1-2) When the man arose he was astonished to find he looked like himself but he was beautiful and shining like Jesus. (2Ki. 2:11) Just behind Jesus was a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire. Jesus casually climbed into the back, looked at the shining man with Him and spoke with kindness; "You drive." The man climbed in, took up the reins and the horses of fire sped away. Jesus leaned up (Luke 16:19-31) and reminded the man he had been in the crowd when he had told the people about Abraham's bosom. "There is a paradise where the souls of obedient, righteous people who lived from the beginning until now have been waiting for Me. (James 2:23) I named it Abraham's bosom after My Friend. It's over that way." Before Jesus' shining companion could shift the reins the horses of fire changed direction and the shining man knew he would never, ever have another difficulty. They were there.
Abraham's bosom was the most beautiful place he had ever seen. He felt so good he wanted to sing! It truly was a paradise (an Eden, a park) and the driver was reminded of the ancient writings that had been mentioned by the priests in the temple (synagogue) worship services he had attended with his Mother. The rabbis and priests had spoken many times of Eden and he knew the Hebrew definition (to be soft and pleasant, to live voluptuously in delight and pleasure). The shining man did not remember how badly he had broken his Mother's heart when he'd quit synagogue and pursued a life of crime that had gotten him crucified, he didn't remember being crucified either. He was astonished that now they looked like ordinary men as they wondered through the beautiful park. (Gen. 14:18 they didn't have the NT then but it is explained in Heb. 5:5 thru 7:3) As he looked at Jesus a name from synagogue teaching popped into his thoughts; "Melchizedec!"
The driver did not realize he had entered forever when he found himself with Jesus and had worshipped Him. There is no time in forever, people didn't age. In timeless it is simply now. Melchizedec and His driver sat under a tree on a knoll covered with short grass sprinkled with flowers. There was a delicate, flowery scent in the air. Stink was not allowed in paradise. Nobody even knew what stink meant. There were trees everywhere hanging with all manner of fruit. (Luke 16:22 keywords: Abraham's bosom) It was paradise, a spiritual holding place for the souls of those who had lived righteous. He reached up and picked a piece of fruit, he took a bite and a thrilling rill of pure, golden, sweet, fruity goodness raced through him. He looked at Melchizedec and He was grinning the sweetest, kindest, most generous grin he had ever seen. The thought of meat never entered the driver's brain, it never would either. Meat means death and death was not allowed in paradise.
People started wandering into the huge, green grass, flowed dotted meadow under the knoll. The driver noticed neither the grass nor the flowers were crushed by their steps, they simply sprang back up, soft and beautiful, like nothing had happened. These were the faithful OT people who believed God would take care of them in His own good time, (John 14:6 keyword: way) in His own way and they were waiting for THE WAY. There was a great crowd of them but there was plenty of room. Nobody would ever be crowded again. They were beautiful people and shown with good health. they carried a horde of beautiful, sweet, fat, healthy babies with them, Melchizedec arose, started casually walking among the people, talking to each one of them and the driver could hear laughter and pretty voices, all the voices were pretty. The people reached out and shyly, tenderly touched Melchizedec over and over. There was just something special about Him.
The babies cooed, laughed their toothless grins, kicked their fat little legs and shrieked with beautiful joy when Melchizedec touched their chubby little faces and murmured baby talk to each of them. They seemed to know something the adults did not yet understand, oh how they knew. Babies always respond to love, goodness, kindness and generosity. They were in timeless, there was no sense of waiting, they were in NOW and nobody would ever rush again. Somewhere in their quiet, personal conversations Melchizedec always asked each of them a strange question; "For whom are you waiting?"
A man named Daniel said he was waiting for the Closer of the lion's jaws. A man named Samson said he was waiting for the Honey in the body of the slain lion. A man named Noah said he was waiting for the perfect Ark. A woman named Ruth said she was waiting for the perfect Husband. A man named Able said he was waiting for the perfect Sacrifice. Esther was waiting for the perfect King. Abraham was waiting for the Substitute sacrifice. Job was waiting for his Redeemer. Rebekah was waiting for the perfect Son. David was waiting for the perfect Stone and Moses was waiting for the perfect Ark of the Covenant.
Elisha was waiting for the perfect Cloak. Anna who had been a prophetess, was waiting for the one named Redemption. (Luke 2:32) Simeon was waiting for the Consolation of Israel. He had died shortly after his prophesy of a coming light and he was also waiting for that Light. The 3 Hebrew children said they were waiting for the Fire Walker; and on, and on, and on. They were so happy here they could not imagine something even better waiting for them. None of them could go on to the greatest paradise where God lives because when they died Jesus had not yet paid their sin debt with His blood.
Suddenly a veritable swarm of children came running through the grass and flowers. They laughed and shrieked with beautiful, beautiful joy and the driver knew it was the music of paradise. Their little lives had not been hardened back on earth and they possessed a purity and understanding the adults did not have and they swarmed over Melchizedec laughing, hugging, patting, touching and kissing Melchizedec and He loosed a beautiful gale of laughter that soared up, and up, and up, and was also a beautiful music of love, kindness and giving.
Some of the children had beautiful blue butterflies trimmed in gold and 2 little boys whispered to Melchizedec; "We knew You would come again." Only Melchizedec knew they were the 2 little boys Tubal-cain had drugged, battered, beaten and raped just before the flood had chased him to his grisly, horrible death. Only Melchizedec knew they and all the children with the beautiful butterflies were the children He, the God of Eden, had protected from pain and saved from the flood (Part 10 of Who is Satan the Devil).
Melchizedec gracefully climbed back up the knoll, He turned to face the crowd, He started changing until His face shown like the sun, He was dressed in light and He preached the shortest message ever preached. His voice ringing with love, kindness, joy and victory He shouted in a voice that was a rising, soaring music; (Ex. 3:14) "I AM (John 14:6) THE WAY, (Luke 2:25) THE ONE FOR WHOM YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING!" And the crowd went wild, fell on their faces shouting; "My Lord and my God." and they worshipped Him. They changed, their faces shown like the sun and they were dressed in light. Jesus raised His arms, beckoned and a great flight of angel driven chariots swooped the "goldens" away to heaven.
Jesus and His driver sped away in the chariot of fire and Abraham's bosom, empty now, disappeared. The driver looked back at Jesus and His beautiful face was grim and set with deadly purpose. (Eph. 6:12) He pointed toward an opaque darkness; "Go there."
The driver did not know (Rom. 5:12-21) "death reigned" because God had given Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, a simple choice that was actually a key. Eat of the tree of life and live or eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and die. Simply put, do you choose life or do you choose death? Adam did not realize he was making a choice that would affect all people who would come after him!
Adam and Eve disobeyed God's command and they chose to follow Lucifer's way; they ate the forbidden fruit and they chose death. That act gave the key of death to Lucifer who became Satan (adversary), the devil, (2Cor. 4:3-4) the god of this world, (Heb. 2:13-15 keywords: him that had the power of death, that is, the devil) and he became the god of death. (Rom. 3:23) "All have sinned" because through Adam's sin and consequent fall all people born after him inherited a carnal nature so sin and death were handed down from generation to generation. Thus sin and death are always "hooked" together. And, because of that sin, Satan was given the key of hell along with the key of death.
The driver didn't really understand that, because of God's covenant with Abraham, God had instituted a law of sacrifice for sin to Moses and the Jews. (Heb. 10:1-5) "But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins." The law was only a foreshadowing of Jesus because (Gal. 3:21) the law could not give life. (Heb. 2:13-15 esp. V.14 keywords: that through death he (Jesus) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil). (Heb. 4:15) Jesus was human just like us but he did not sin. That's why they were going into the darkness.
The driver couldn't help but notice how the darkness, like some living thing, shrank away from Jesus' light when they entered the dark zone, they were a ball of light hurtling through the darkness. Satan is lolling indolently in rebellious pride on his evil, gruesome, stinking throne of death basking in the admiration of his devils. Satan, the devil, gloats and brags in front of his devils how he has killed the Son of God, (1Tim. 3:16) God manifested in the flesh, and "won".
A far off sound catches his admirers' attention and as it draws closer at the furious speed of light they start to cringe away in fear; "It's the Royal Chariot." Another whispers; "Look at the driver, he's the second man on the cross. We killed him when we killed Jesus!" Satan shuts his proud mouth when he notices their attention is no longer upon him. Their bulging eyes plainly say what their mouth is afraid to; "Satan, why didn't you lock all three of them up in the place called death? You found the man on the cross who railed on Jesus easy enough to put away. Why not the other two?"
The light of the Son suddenly envelopes them. Satan curses loudly; "%@#$&% that's not allowed here, I like the darkness!" and he violently turns to crush the light. The chariot furiously thunders to a sliding stop and Jesus steps out. But it's a different Jesus this time. (Isa. 62:1-4) He is no longer the Forsaken One (Rev. 14:14) because upon His head is the royal diadem of the greatest, the eternal *King, (Ex. 28:4-31; Hosea #:4; and Heb. 4:14-16) and upon His breast is the ephod of the great *High Priest. A great, shrinking dread fills Satan (Psa. 45:6 & Heb. 1:8) as Jesus casually leaves His scepter of mercy leaning against the flaming chariot.
(Rev. 20:10) No quarter and no mercy would be shown these fallen ones who have become the epitome of all that is evil. (Rev. 5:6-9) True enough, it is the Lamb as it had been slain but this time Jesus' face is shining like the sun, He is dressed in light and He radiates (Rev. 20:10) danger (John 10:18) and power as He strides (Mark 1:23-25 & 5:1-18 esp. V.12) toward the shrinking, horrified devils. The light He radiates burns upon them but they are afraid to move.
The face of the beautiful Son of the Almighty God of all glory, the Lord of all lords, the King of all kings, the God of all gods is set with SHINING VICTORY and He plainly speaks; "I took all the cruelty, pain, degradation and humiliation you had and you didn't have enough! You are beaten! I didn't sin, you didn't have the right to kill Me, you killed My sinless body unjustly and that unhooked sin and death! You've lost the keys to hell and death! I will resurrect My body, I will have My Church, I will have Me a people in My Kingdom of peace and safety (Rev. 21:4) where there shall never be any more tears, where there shall never be any more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain!"
The driver never knew what an awful, rotted, stench of death permeated every part of Satan's kingdom of darkness because in the presence of the light of the Prince of Heaven one can only smell the fragrance of the flowers of heaven thus the driver could not understand why the devils gagged, smothered and heaved in what they considered the awful stench coming from the light that surrounded them. The driver basked in the music of heaven, children shrieking beautiful trilling gales of joyous laughter there in the light. But the devils' cold, cold spiritual hearts' were assaulted by that hateful sound drumming painfully upon their spiritual eardrums and they writhed in agony!
No explanation is offered and none is needed when His cold voice rings out with a triumphant, whiplash clarity; (Rev. 1:18) "Give Me the keys of hell and death, now!" With lowered head and averted eyes; with cringing, shrinking, craven, drooling servitude Satan hands over the keys. The Royal Chariot thunders away and it is dark and putrid again. There is silence in the darkness. Satan, the devil, is writhing in the shame of frustrated defeat. He won't meet the other, lesser devil's eyes. Finally his trembling hand waves them away from him.
(Acts 4:10-12) JESUS is the only name under heaven by which salvation can be obtained. (John 6:44) "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW him." (John 12:32-33) Jesus said; "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (crucified) will draw ALL men unto me." ALL MEN?
What about the individuals in tribes, clans and nations all over the world who lived and died in their place before Jesus was born? How is God going to draw them and how are they going to know about Jesus? Is God so sloppy and uncaring He would simply let these one of a kind, made in His image people "Fall through the cracks" and go on to hell because they were born in the wrong time or in the wrong place? That sentence is disgusting and would blasphemous except it sets the stage to illustrate God's immeasurable love, goodness and mercy.
As you can see in the 2nd paragraph above the only way a person can get saved is through Jesus and God's drawing is the "hinge" to the whole thing. As you can tell in the 4 gospels Jesus had to be there, wherever there was, for anything to happen. Jesus' presence is His DRAWING. There are certain qualifications which must be met to achieve salvation. (Rom. 10:8-17 esp. V.17) A person must "hear" and "believe" God's word concerning Jesus before they can be saved. (Eph. 2:1-22 esp. V.8) The "faith" to be saved is a gift from God. SO: To obtain salvation any person must be drawn by God, hear and believe God's word about Jesus, be given the faith to be saved and only then can they obtain eternal salvation.
The individuals in the tribes, clans and nations who had died before Jesus was ever born had tried to live a religious life the best way they knew how. They sensed a guiding hand, a Creator, an all-powerful Great Spirit and they worshipped what they thought that spirit might be. Maybe He was in the wind, the lightening, the trees, fire, moon, maybe he was everyplace, maybe he was an imaginary being, maybe there were many spirits. (Col. 1:16 keywords: all things were created by him and for him. key thought: God put a God place within man that causes man to need to worship; even atheists worship their atheism-- think about it!) (1Pet 4:6) These people who lived in a place and time called dead (death) had no way of knowing how to worship God but they worshipped something or someone the best they could with what they had. They knew there was life after death because they had looked within themselves and they tried their best to obtain their idea of paradise, happy hunting ground, Valhalla, or whatever.
(1 Pet. 4:1 keyword: Christ and V. 5-6 esp. V.6 keywords: for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead) All these people with their 5 senses, their emotions (soul) and their ability to reason and talk in the place called dead in a state called death didn't know anything about NT teaching so Jesus preached to the dead people from the tribes, clans and nations whose "lifetime" on earth was over and they were in a state of existence in timeless (NOW) in a place called dead. God had not presented these people with the opportunity to be obedient or disobedient in their lifetime. They didn't deserve prison and they didn't deserve paradise. GOD IS FAIR so he made a holding place for the dead until He gave them a chance to obtain salvation.
The chariot landed in a secret place there in that holding place called death. Again Melchizedec and his driver casually walked through a forest to a small knoll in a gigantic clearing. Something compelled them and people started drifting into the clearing 1 or 2 at a time, then in scores, then in hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions. The driver realized these people weren't being tormented, they weren't being comforted, they just were. It wasn't too bad, it wasn't too good and they lived about like they always had except there was no war and no death, there couldn't be, they couldn't die anymore, they were in eternity.
There was no hurry, no jostling for position, no sense of waiting and the driver knew they were in now (forever). Melchizedec's voice, as He started preaching, was clear as a bell even to the far reaches of the gigantic clearing, those up close weren't deafened and everyone could hear Him plainly. (Acts 2:5-9) The driver didn't know all the different tribes, clans and nations heard Melchizedec's words in their own language because the driver heard him speak in Hebrew, his native tongue. (Matt. 20:16 keywords: for many be called, but few chosen). The fairness of God dictated that through Melchizedec's preaching they be given exactly the same chance to accept Jesus as Saviour as anybody else in whatever time they lived, even on Jan. 3, 2015. As soon as Melchizedec started preaching some of the people started leaving.
Those leaving grew into a flood. It was about like it is today, according to their values; a very few believed, a whole lot didn't believe, many didn't care, many wanted to put off the decision and wait a while, and very many were content with their false god worship they had brought with them. Think it didn't happen? Look around at the world, look around at the people in your place, your friends and your family; it was the same way then as it is now! Those few who believed rushed forward because there had been the change of acceptance inside them, they were crying, shouting and laughing as they ran. They excitedly gathered before Melchizedec, fell on their faces and shouted; "My Lord and my God!" and they worshipped Him. His face shown like the sun and He was clothed in light, they too were suddenly shining like the sun and were dressed in light. Jesus raised His arms and a flood of angel driven chariots swept the "goldens" away toward heaven.
God is fair. The place called death did not disappear. Those who had chosen to stay in death will have company as others from this thing called lifetime who did not have a chance to hear the gospel but were met by Jesus after their death and chose death over life according to their values will join them. There will be no second chance for any of them. DON'T THINK YOU CAN USE THIS AS AN EXCUSE. People from the time of Jesus onward who had or will have an opportunity to go to Church to hear about salvation and would not go will go to hell for their refusal. (Rev. 20:14) At the great white throne judgment death and the people therein will be cast into the lake of fire. "ARE YOUY SERIOUS?" Read about the experiences of people who have had out of body experiences and about who or what they saw and how it affected them. Are they present day messengers?
(Jude 7-11) This scripture compares pre-flood Cain to post-flood Sodom and Gomorrah and on to (Num. 31:16) Balaam who counseled Balak the king of Moab to entice Israel to sin with Moabite women. (1Pet. 3:20) The scripture compares and includes these people as being like those disobedient people before the flood. (2Pet. 2:5) We know Noah was a preacher of righteousness (Gen. 6:3) and he preached for 120 years before the flood (1Pet. 3:20) and of those people only 8 were saved and the rest went to hell. Those who died before those 120 years of preaching went to either the place called death or a place called prison.
This means the disobedient people before or after the flood who were in prison for disobedience were given the opportunity to accept salvation; up to a point: (Deut. 32:5-22 esp. V.22 keywords: lowest hell) (V. 16-17) Jacob's descendants who had the law that had been given to Moses but rebelled, went after strange gods and sacrificed unto devils are in hell. Only God knows who is in prison because of disobedience and who is in hell because of devil worship.
(1 Pet. 3:18-20) "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits (non-physical, the rational soul, mind) in prison (a guarded cage in time)."
When Jesus and His chariot driver arrived in the prison of souls those souls were so filled with unbelief hard, mean, and disobedient we can only take the example of scripture and wonder if any of them accepted the salvation Jesus offered.
(Num. 21:5-9) Hard-heartedness, ignorance, unbelief and stubbornness are illustrated in the following Biblical story about the Israelite people. They had sinned and were being punished by serpents biting them, injecting a poison like fire (V.6) and many people died. Sin is poison in any age, in any person, at any time. God instructed Moses to make a brass serpent and put it on a pole in the center of camp and anybody who looked upon it would be healed. Salvation was right there in front of them! All they had to do was look at the brass serpent on the pole right there in the center of camp and they would be saved from death.
Compare what you have read in (Num. 21:5-9) to what you can picture in your imagination. See it in your mind: Camped in animal hide tents, 3 tribes on a side, Judah, the most numerous tribe, formed the long leg on the 4th side that pointed east every time they set up camp. It was a perfect cross of 12 tribes, the apple of God's eye, the chosen people of God, Israel. The tabernacle was erected in the center, in the camp of the Levites, which formed the "heart" of the cross, the tabernacle was where the presence of God lived and it contained the Ark of the Covenant, the mercy seat and altar of sacrifice.
God had delivered them from Egypt, fed them, provided water for them, their clothes had not worn out, He had fought for them and He traveled with them! Twelve wild, nomadic, desert tribes being prepared by Jehovah so His own Son, Jesus, would be born of them. The tabernacle was where every part and every piece of service screamed Jesus and salvation in prophetic splendor; all those miracles and they had sinned and they were bitten! Moses fashioned the brazen serpent, set it on a pole in haste and lifted it high between the heavens and earth JUST LIKE JESUS WOULD BE LIFTED IN THE FUTURE.
God's mercy was working in this PHYSICAL SITUATION just like it does SPIRITUALLY through Jesus' blood through the Church today. Healed people were walking around witnessing to the fact they had been saved from the serpents' poison. but many people wouldn't look at the brazen serpent on the pole and they were swollen, rotting from the inside and dying in awful pain from the poison. Mothers and children were begging fathers to be saved from death. Fathers and children were begging and crying for Mothers to look and be saved.
Parents were screaming, praying and lamenting for their children to look and be saved. Grannies, papaws, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances; all trying to get those they loved with all their heart to look and be saved from death yet many refused to look and they died! Why? HOW COULD THEY BE SO STUPID? HOW COULD THEY BE SO BLIND? WHY DIDN'T THEY CARE? It wouldn't have worked if they had grabbed them by the head and forced them to look. It had to be each individual's free will choice and they wouldn't look at the brazen serpent on the pole. The futility of it makes one want to scream and tear out one's own teeth; yet the circumstances then were exactly like they are today when Christians witness and try to get people to come to Church, look at Jesus on His cross and get saved from being lost in the poison of their sins. But people choose every hour of every day to refuse God's offered salvation and they die in their sins!
By this example of the serpent on the pole it is very possible none of these souls with their emotions, physical senses, ability to reason and imagine Jesus preached to in their prison were saved because unbelief got them there and unbelief might very well have caused them to refuse salvation and mock Jesus. (Jer. 17:9) Wickedness (wrong, to violate, evil, to vex) comes from the soul because the soul is "desperately wicked".
Salvation clears the soul of sin just like looking at the serpent on the pole cleared the poison. (1Pet 3:18-20 esp. V.19) Jesus preached to the people in their spiritual form (souls) in their prison. Jesus went there to offer them salvation. What could be more fair? The OT people in this prison who refused the salvation Jesus offered went straight on to hell because this particular prison where they were being kept isn't mentioned anymore in the Holy Bible so God must have taken it out of existence. There is no purgatory!
Jesus told the driver to stop (John 20:12) there far above the earth where 2 angels waited. Jesus, in all His glory, exited the chariot and turned to the driver. He shines like the sun, He is dressed in light and His tender eyes are a molten gold of love and kindness; "Just over yonder is heaven, take the chariot home, I have someone special waiting and she will greet you, you didn't see her in Abraham's Bosom and Jesus becomes invisible.
At the grave the angels have already rolled away the stone and invisible Jesus stares at the shattered flesh of His own body, the dead carpenter from Galilee, then He entered it. The body opened its eyes, Jesus sat up, He looked far away and what he saw made Him smile and He whispered; "It was all worth it!" Because yonder in the glory of heaven a son who had been a malefactor and also a Royal Chariot driver was hugging, laughing and dancing with his Mother who had never stopped praying in the synagogue for her dear son who had gone wrong. But they don't remember those bad, painful things!