(Matt. 26:56) The disciples had fled when Jesus was killed. (John 20:19) They had scattered then met at some secret place and were now hiding for fear of the Jews. As men will they were worried about themselves first. They had been associated with Someone who 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 TALKED ABOUT:
(Gen. 22:10) “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” (Luke 1:38) “Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy 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.” Faith had accomplished Jesus’ birth.
(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 had 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!” was their reality.
They talked about: (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 the soul’s abilities in painstaking detail that after the body dies the soul can still (V.23) see, suffer–> he felt pain (V.24) speak, taste, touch, smell, (V.28) remember, feel emotions–> he loved and felt concern for his 5 brothers, (V.27-30) hear, pray, understand, worry, reason–> he made an argument based on reason, and (V.31) feel disappointment!
(Matt. 17:1-4) Jesus had been transfigured before them, His face had shown like the sun, He was clothed in light and they had recognized Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. (John 5:29) Jesus had taught much about the resurrection but that was some dimly understood, scarcely believed activity in the far, far future.
(John 5:28) Jesus had even said the hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. (John 5:29) Jesus had bluntly said all people will live forever. BUT: They could not completely accept the reality of life after death, it was only words. “Jesus is dead!” was their only reality. They had no concept of the events in the spiritual world. They were afraid and even though they were together they felt alone. “Jesus is dead!”
Now we can read all that and more too because we have Paul’s writings; (2Cor 4:16) “but though our outward man (body) perish (ruin, destroy, rot), yet the inward man (soul, self, me, personality, psyche, ego, heart.) is renewed (renovated) day by day.” and (2Cor. 12:1-5) Paul mentions an out of body experience. In this modern time we regularly hear about “out of body experiences” but somehow a person can never feel the reality of the possibility it can happen to them. “Think without a brain? See, speak, hear, taste, touch and smell without a body? Surely you jest!”
This writer felt the same way until I experienced it. I can only say I had to come back to this life before I could realize even the words bad or evil are not allowed in the presence of Jesus. It was so wonderful and so good I could not say; “There’s no bad here.” because the words or the knowledge of the words bad or evil were not allowed there. You can read about it in the commentary; The Holy Spirit & You, the two menu articles; I Have Experienced Christian Physical Death. The results of that experience are used to scripturally explain what happened to the unnamed crucified man in this article.
Jesus knew He was dying because it had gotten darker and He knew His retinas were dying. He shouted as loud as he could; “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:” (1Cor. 15:55 key: sting of death) Every nerve, cell, organ, bone and muscle burned with excruciating pain. It seemed to take forever and His body writhed in 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 condemnation, and thus purified; Jesus, in His Spirit form (Ex. 26:30-34 & Heb. 9:3-24 esp. V.12, 15 & 22-24) (V.12) entered into the Holiest place of all (Rev. 8:3) and presented His blood (Heb. 8:13) that sealed the New (Heb. 9:22-28) blood Covenant (testament) on the golden altar before the golden throne of God.
Jesus returned to Calvary, still in His Spirit form, and 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 Jesus was going to take him to paradise with Him just like He had promised.
(Heb. 2:9-11 esp. V.11 keyword: brethren) “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.“ He drew the inward man, the soul, out of the man’s outward body and the body’s autonomic nervous system kicked in and the body was alive but the person (soul) was gone. When the brawny Roman soldier broke the 2 men’s legs with an iron bar they both looked alive to him but one 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, Satan, the devil, sunk his spiritual talons into his soul and carried him screaming (Luke 16:19-31 esp. V.22 keywords: carried by the angels & V.24) away to hell alone, but nobody heard him and nobody cared.
The malefactor who had accepted Jesus was astonished beyond any imagining, he had died but he was not dead, he had simply left. He did not 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. He 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 is over that way.” Before Jesus’ shining companion could shift the reins the horses of fire changed direction and the shining man knew then he would never, ever have another difficulty. They were there!
Abraham’s bosom was the most beautiful place the driver had ever seen. 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 worship services he had attended with his mother. They 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 had quit synagogue and pursued a life of crime that had gotten him crucified, he did not remember being crucified either. He was astonished that now they looked like ordinary men as they wandered through the beautiful park. (Heb. 6:18 thru 7:1-16) As he looked at Jesus a name from synagogue teaching popped into his thoughts; “Melchisedec!”
The driver did not realize he had entered forever when he found himself with Jesus and had worshipped Him. There was no time in forever, people did not age. In timeless it is simply now. Melchisedec- JESUS (spelled Melchizedec in Hebrew) and his driver sat under a tree on a knoll covered with short grass sprinkled with flowers. There was a delicate, fragrant, flowery scent in the air. Stink was not allowed in paradise. There were trees everywhere hanging with all manner of fruit.
(Luke 16:22 keywords: “Abraham’s bosom”: defined: paradise, a garden) 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 Jesus and He was grinning the sweetest, kindest, most generous grin he had ever seen.
People started wandering into the huge, green grass, flower dotted meadow under the knoll. These were the faithful people who believed God would take care of them in His own good time, (John 14:6 keywords: I am the way) in His own way and they were waiting for THE WAY. There were a lot of them but there was plenty of room and the driver knew he would never be crowded again.
They were beautiful and shown with good health. They carried a horde of beautiful, sweet, fat, healthy babies with them, Jesus, dressed as a Shepherd, 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 Jesus over and over.
The babies cooed, laughed their toothless grins, kicked their fat little legs and shrieked with joy when Jesus touched their chubby little faces with His fingers and murmured baby talk to each of them. They seemed to know something the adults didn’t know, 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 Jesus always asked them a strange question; “For whom are you waiting?”
A man named Daniel said he was waiting for the Closer of the lions 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. (Ruth 1:15-16) A woman named Ruth said she was waiting for Naomi’s perfect God. 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 a 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 had been waiting for the Consolation of Israel. He had died shortly after his prophesy of a coming light and he was waiting for the Light. The three 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 was 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.
Then 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 Jesus laughing, hugging, patting, touching and kissing Jesus and He loosed a beautiful gale laughter that soared up, and up, and up, and was also a beautiful music of love and kindness.
Some of the children had beautiful blue butterflies trimmed in gold and 2 little boys whispered to Jesus; “We knew you would come again.” Only Jesus knew they were the 2 little boys Tubal-cain had drugged, battered, beaten and raped just before the flood chased him to his grisly, horrible death. Only Jesus knew they and all the children with the lovely butterflies were the children He, the God of Eden, had protected from pain and saved from the flood (Part 10).
Jesus 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; (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. Jesus raised His arms, beckoned and a great flight of angel driven chariots swooped the laughing, joyous crowd of “goldens” away to heaven. (They too were now shining like the sun.)
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 fruit and they chose death. That act gave the key of death to Lucifer who became Satan, 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 of Adam, 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 death.
The driver did not know, because of God’s covenant with Abraham, God instituted a law of forgiveness of 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 of 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.
The driver could not help but notice how the darkness 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. (1Cor. 2:8) Satan, the devil, gloats and brags in front of his devils how he has killed the Son of God, God in the flesh, and “won”.
A far off sound catches his admirers’ attention and as it draws closer at the speed of light they start to cringe away in fear; “It’s the Royal Chariot!” One whispers; “Look at the driver; it’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 take those two to the place called death; you found the man on the cross who railed on Jesus easy enough to put in hell? 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 is a different Jesus this time. (Isa. 62:1-4) He is no longer the Forsaken One (Psa. 10:16, Isa. 6:5, Jer. 10:7 & Rev. 14:14) because upon His head is the royal diadem of the greatest, the eternal *King, and (Ex. 28:4-31; Hosea 3:4; & Heb. 4:14-16) upon His breast is the ephod of the great *High Priest. A great, shrinking dread fills Satan as (Psa. 45:6 & Heb. 1:8) 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 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 and (John 10:18) power as He strides (Mark 1:23-25 & 5:1-18 esp. V.12) toward the shrinking, horrified devils. The light He radiates is very painful upon them but they are afraid to move.
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 face is set with VICTORY and He plainly speaks; “I took all the cruelty, pain, degradation and humiliation you had and you did not have enough. I did not sin, I did not surrender, I did not quit and you killed my sinless body unjustly and that unhooked sin and death! You have 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 will 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 (Isa. 9:6) 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 stench of goodness emanating from the light. Their cold spiritual hearts were assaulted by the hated music of children shrieking with laughter.
No explanation is offered and none is needed when His cold ringing voice speaks: (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 again. There is silence in the darkness, Satan, the devil, is writhing in shame. He will not meet the other, lesser devils’ eyes and his 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, will draw ALL men unto me.” (Rom. 10:8-17 esp. V.17) A person must “hear” and “believe” God’s word concerning Jesus Christ 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 by God and only then can they obtain eternal salvation.
What about the tribes and clans all over the world who lived and died in their tribes or clans before Jesus was ever born? 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 be blasphemous except it sets the stage to illustrate God’s immeasurable love, goodness and mercy.
All those people had tried to live a religious life the best way they knew how. They had been a natural people living close to nature. They sensed a guiding hand, a Creator, an all-powerful Great Spirit and they worshiped what they thought that Spirit might be. Maybe He was in the wind, the lightening, the trees, fire, maybe He was everyplace, 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 and he is made to worship; even atheists worship their atheism, their non-god)
(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 worship Him they did, the best they could with what they had. They knew there had to be life after death because they had looked within themselves and they had tried to live the best they could to obtain their idea of paradise, happy hunting ground, Valhalla, or whatever their particular group called their false religion, their idolatry. They were devout to their perception of God.
(1Pet. 4:5-6 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 death did not know anything about NT teaching so Jesus preached to the dead people from the tribes and clans whose “lifetime” on earth was over and they were in a state of existence, in timeless, (NOW) in a place called dead.
“WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS?” It is more serious than a sharp stick poked into your eye because God wrote it and He means it! This is written in the Bible, it is God’s word! God had not presented these people the opportunity to be obedient or disobedient in their “lifetime”. They did the best they could with what they had. They did not deserve prison and they did not deserve paradise. God is fair so He made a holding place for the dead.
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 hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions. The driver realized these people were not being tormented, they were not being comforted, they just were. It was not too bad, it was not too good and they lived about like they always had except there was no war and no death, there could not be, they could not 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). Jesus’ voice, as he started preaching, was clear as a bell even to the far reaches of the gigantic clearing, those up close were not deafened and everyone could hear him plainly. (Acts 2:5-9) The driver did not know all the different tribes, clans and nations heard Jesus’ 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 Jesus’ preaching they be given exactly the same chance to accept Jesus as Saviour as anybody else in whatever time they lived, even on Dec. 28, 2014. As soon as Jesus 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 did not believe, many did not care, many wanted to put the decision off and wait until later and very many were content with their false god worship they had brought with them inside their souls.
Those few who believed rushed forward (2Cor. 5:17) because there had been a change inside them, they were crying, shouting and laughing as they ran. They excitedly gathered before Jesus and fell on their faces; “My Lord and my God” and they worshipped Him. His face shown like the sun and He was clothed in light, they too were shining like the sun, 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 go on to hell and others from this thing called lifetime before the church got to their place who did not have a chance to hear the gospel go to the place called death and Jesus will give them the opportunity to be saved. (Rev. 20:14 keywords: death and hell were cast into the lake of fire) At the great white throne judgment death and the people therein will be cast into the lake of fire. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” Read about the experiences of people who have had out of body experiences and about who and what they saw and how it changed them. Are they present day messengers?
(Jude 7-11) This scripture compares pre-flood Cain to post-flood Sodom and Gomorrah and on to Balaam (Num. 31:16) who counseled Balak the king of Moab to entice Israel to sin with Moabite women. (1Pet. 3:20) The scripture compares and includes these souls as being like those disobedient ones 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 and 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 keyword: 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.
(1Pet. 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 people were so hard, mean and disobedient one can only take the example of scripture and wonder if anyone was saved there in prison.
(Numbers 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 and (V.6) 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 on 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 (Numbers 21:5-9) to what you can picture in your imagination. SEE IT IN YOUR MIND: Camped in hide tents, three 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 twelve 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.
Twelve wild, nomadic, desert tribes being prepared by Jehovah so His own Son Jesus could be born of them. The Tabernacle was where every part and every piece of service screamed Jesus and salvation in prophetic splendor and they had sinned and they were bitten by poisonous serpents! Moses fashioned the brazen serpent, set it on the pole in haste and he lifted it high between the heavens and the earth JUST LIKE JESUS WOULD BE LIFTED ON THE CROSS IN THE FUTURE.
God’s mercy was working in this PHYSICAL SITUATION just like it does SPIRITUALLY through Jesus’ blood in the Church today. Healed people were walking around witnessing to the fact they had been saved from the serpents’ poison. But many people would not 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 look and 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 and yet many refused to look and they died! Why? HOW COULD THEY BE SO STUPID? HOW COULD THEY BE SO BLIND? WHY DID THEY NOT CARE?
The futility of it makes one want scream and tear out one’s own teeth; yet the circumstances then were exactly like they are today when Christians 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!
By this example of the serpent on the pole it is very possible none of these emotional souls with their senses, ability to reason and imagine that Jesus preached to in their prison were saved because wickedness got them there and wickedness 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.
(1Pet. 3:18-20 esp. V.19) Jesus preached to the people in their spiritual form in their prison. Jesus went there to offer them salvation. What could be more fair? If the Old Testament people in this prison did refuse the salvation offer Jesus brought they went straight to hell because that particular prison where they were being kept is not mentioned anymore in the Holy Bible so God must have taken it out of existence.
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 to greet you, you did not notice her in Abraham’s Bosom.” and Jesus becomes invisible.
At the grave the angels had already rolled the stone away 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. 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 that!
JESUS’ RESURRECTION AND THE LAST 40 DAYS
(Matt. 28:6-16) The women go to the Lord’s grave but Jesus has risen from the dead, early in the morning, from that stinking, hateful hole in the earth and He has left to go to Galilee (Matt. 28:16) where he has a prearranged meeting with the eleven disciples at a predetermined place.
(Matt. 28:6) An angel tells the women the Lord has risen. (Matt. 28:9-10) With vast excitement the women are on the way back to tell the disciples the Lord has risen but Jesus meets them. They are astonished! With weakness and trembling they are almost afraid to look at Him. They can feel the love radiating from Jesus and they know!
They whisper to each other; “It is Jesus! It is Jesus! He’s alive” With that final assurance to each other they fall prostrate and worship Him; Jesus accepts their worship and with the sweetest of all smiles and in a tender voice He tells the women to remind the disciples of their meeting (Mark 16:11) but when they are told Jesus came back from the dead the disciples do not believe the women. How could they?
(Isa. 52:14) The devastation wrought upon the Lord’s body had been too complete; no man could live with the wounds they had seen; (Matt. 6:22) they had seen the light of life die in Jesus’ eyes; and they knew His stiffening corpse had gone into the grave.
Later on that same day the 11 disciples are eating supper, (Mark 16:14) Jesus visits the disciples the FIRST time and upbraids them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. (Luke 24:39-49) Jesus tells them to look at His hands and feet where He had been crucified and to handle Him and see for themselves that He is flesh and bone.
(1John 1:1-4 keywords: and our hands have handled) And they do, oh how they do! They touch His skin and hair; and in awe they examine His hands and feet and tenderly touch His side. (John 11:25) With glad shouts, laughter and tears they hug and pat the Lord of Glory and kiss His cheeks and hands. “JESUS IS ALIVE! (Luke 12:1-4) It is their Friend! It IS Jesus!
Simon Peter, even though he had denied Jesus three times, was still the bold one and he shyly, hesitantly touches his fingers to the throat of the Son of God; Simon feels the surge of life in the great vessel there and he bursts into great sobbing tears of wonderful joy while he searchingly looks into the smiling friendly eyes of Jesus.
At one time or another during the joyous interlude they each think in one fashion or another: (John 20:24) “Thomas has truly missed it all!” (Luke 24:41-43) Jesus eats supper with them and in that strange way of emotional uproar the food is tasteless as the disciples mechanically chew. “JESUS IS ALIVE!” They hang on to every word the Lord of Glory speaks.
(John 20:24-25 esp. V.25) Thomas, when he returns, does not believe what the disciples tell him. That staunch, stubborn disciple juts out his chin; “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side I will not believe.” Can you imagine the uproar and commotion of persuasion when Thomas stoutly refuses to believe what they are so excited about, (1John 1:1-4) about Who they have seen and touched? “JESUS IS ALIVE!” Thomas knew what he had seen and he would not be persuaded! “Show me!”
(John 20:26-28) It is eight days later when Jesus visits the disciples the SECOND time, Thomas’ eyes almost pop out of his head! “Come here Thomas.” What would you do? Of course the Doubter is hesitant, almost bashful. But when he looks into Jesus’ eyes, when he sees the tender humor there, the love, the kindness, when he feels the overwhelming love that can only be felt when Jesus is close; Thomas’ stubborn heart melts within him, with his arms outstretched he rushes faster and faster across the room toward Jesus.
Jesus shows Thomas the places where He had been so terribly and fatally wounded and tells Thomas to touch them. Thomas is weeping and somehow frozen by his swirling emotions. Jesus gently takes him by the hand and places his fingers into the prints of the nails, He draws Thomas closer, pulls His robe aside and plants Thomas’ hand in the awful spear mark.
Thomas, his heart pounding, is open mouthed with wonder. He is too shocked to speak but his thoughts are roaring; (Matt. 17:23) “JESUS IS ALIVE! Jesus has conquered death just like He said he would!” Thomas’ heart threatens to explode, his silent tears pour, his breath is caught in his chest and his skin is on fire.
Thomas’ silent lips still won’t move and his throat is too tight to form words. “JESUS IS ALIVE!” Only Jesus could ever make Thomas feel like this! (John 20:28) Then in gladdened humility and streaming tears Thomas worships Jesus and finally his mouth works as his voice, hoarse with emotion, rings out; “My Lord AND my God.”
(Lev. 12:3 & Luke 2:21) Eight days! REMEMBER? The eighth day; the day of naming; and Thomas has said; “MY LORD AND MY GOD”! (John 20:29) Then Jesus speaks the words that are for you and me. “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN, AND YET HAVE BELIEVED.”
(Acts 1:2-4) Jesus visits and teaches many disciples during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension. (1Cor. 15:2-8) He visits a lot of people during this time and on one occasion he visits more than five hundred believers at once. Of course, without it being said, Jesus is teaching the precepts about how the coming Church will function.
(John 21:1-12) On the 39th day some of the eleven disciples get bored and impatient and go fishing #1 which is prophetic that, just like the Jews under Law of Moses and every Christless heathen religion of the Gentiles, each person needed more than just a list of rituals and a list of behaviors to be what God intended them to be. Even though they did not yet know it they needed some type of individual, personal connection with God to guide them! They fish all night and catch nothing. ON THE MORNING OF THE 40TH AND FINAL DAY Jesus visits them the THIRD time, three, the Biblical number of completion.
(John 21:5-6) From the shore, separated from them, yet with them, Jesus tells them where to fish which is #2 prophetic (Rom. 8:14) that Jesus will spiritually guide them (Matt. 4:19 key phrase: “fishers of men”) in the catching of men (John 14:16-26 esp. V.18, 20 & 23 then 15:1-6 esp. V.5) when He indwells them as the Holy Spirit. Jesus prepares their breakfast over a bed of coals which is #3 prophetic (John 16:13-14) that Jesus will spiritually feed them through His Holy Spirit.
They catch one hundred and fifty-three fishes which is historically, at that time, one of every type of fish in the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 24:14) and that is #4 prophetic the end will not come until His Kingdom is preached to every nation.
(John 21:13-17) Jesus gives them their breakfast and after they finish eating (Luke 24:44-49 esp. V.45) He explains how the law, the prophets, and the psalms all spoke of Him. Then He opens their understanding so they can understand the scriptures.
He tells them His suffering and death, His resurrection and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem; (Luke 24:49 & Acts 2:1-41) and they are to wait in Jerusalem until they are endued (to put on speedily) with power from on high which is #5 prophetic (Rom. 8:1-9 esp. V. 1 & 5) He will spiritually walk with them after His ascension on this the fortieth day. Five! Five, the Biblical number of grace.
Remember? Forty days! The fortieth day; the day of showing and presentation. Jesus blesses them (Luke 24:51; Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-4; & Heb. 1:1-13) and ascends into Heaven on this fortieth day for HIS SHOWING AND PRESENTATION in Heaven where He will take His throne at the right hand of God, (1John 2:1-2) where He will be every Christian’s advocate (intercessor, consoler, comforter) (1Thess. 4:13-18) until it is time to return and remove His people, the Church, from the earth.
(please read Heb. 8:13 thru 9:28 now) (Eph. 2:8-9 & Heb. 10:10-22 esp. V.16 then Acts 2:38) The new spiritual grace covenant is almost complete.
Filled with new certainty, new determination and new purpose the eleven turn away into their tomorrows. The fortieth Day: (Luke 24:49) They walk silently toward Jerusalem, each with his own thoughts; “until ye be endued with power from high?” Their sandals kick up small clouds of dust. They know some momentous thing is going to happen. Jesus said it will, so it will. (Rom. 10:1-13) They did not know it yet (Eph. 3:1-6 esp. V.4 keyword: mystery) but the mystery (the veiled part) of God’s covenant with Abraham, the dispensation of the grace of God, was about to be revealed on the tenth tomorrow.
THEY WILL NEVER DOUBT JESUS AGAIN, too much had happened for them to ever doubt, even if they must die because of their preaching and teaching, they will not doubt! Ten tomorrows until the fiftieth day: They do not know it yet but it will be a day like no other day before or since; this coming fiftieth day; (Acts 1:1 thru 2:41) the Day of Pentecost; (fiftieth) (eight paragraphs above) there in the upper room (John 14:23 keywords: we will come unto him and make our abode with him) where they will receive their intimate, individual, personal connection to God/Jesus.
An (John 14:20-23, 15:4-5 & 17:21) intimate, individual, personal connection (Eph. 1:12-14 then Rom. 8:9) all Christians, you and I, must have (Rom. 8:14-17 & Eph. 3:11-22) before we can be a member of God’s personal, forever family (1Cor. 2:9) yonder in glory.