An acquaintance said recently, “no one has returned from the dead to tell us what it is like”. This person, a Church goer and has been all her life, and yet did not seem to know that Our Lord Himself did return from the dead after His Resurrection!
The established ‘Christian’ Churches celebrate Christmas, Easter etc., and Easter they divide into the death (Good Friday) and the Resurrection on (Easter Sunday) (as opposed to the actual day of the Jewish Sabbath of our Lord, see below).
Since Constantine, much “standardisation” of some parts of Scripture has taken place. One of those is the “Christianisation” of the Calendar; which in turn involved the dropping of Jewish dating and Customs. Christian Churches today teach and keep their own versions of Biblical events, without considering sufficiently their Jewish origins; and this in part is because of the teaching of “Replacement Theology” see; Replacement Theology (Spiritual Israel)? meaning the replacement of Israel with the “Church”; as initially taught by Rome and some of the early Church fathers (all Gentiles)!
One of the consequences of this is the clearly wrong teaching, that Jesus was crucified on “Good Friday”; and Resurrected on Easter Sunday! Jesus said that the “Sign of Jonah” was all that would be given to the Jewish Authorities, when they demanded a sign of His Messiahship (Matt. 12:38-40).
When remembering that the Jews have a weekly Sabbath (the Western Saturday), and Ceremonial Sabbaths (or High days); when reading all references to the crucifixion accounts in the Gospels; it is clear that Jesus was Crucified and entombed on the Wednesday (Preparation Day for the Passover); was in the Tomb Thursday (Passover and High Day or Ceremonial Sabbath); also on Friday; and Rose at the end of the ‘weekly Sabbath’ (as the Jewish Calendar day starts at sunset). Therefore, Jesus was in the “bowels of the Earth”, for 3 nights and 3 days; by Jewish, and therefore correct Biblical reckoning! (See: Jesus' Three Nights and Three Days in the Tomb).
However, the Ascension is not celebrated in all Christendom Groups, even though it is listed as one of their Principal Feasts. One has to ask why?
The Ascension of our Lord is recorded in 3 of the Gospels, Mark, Luke, John and in Acts.
All of the above give complementary accounts of our Lord’s time on the Earth after His Resurrection.
In John 20:17, Mary Magdalene was the first to meet the risen Lord, however she was told not to touch Him, as at that point He had not ascended to the Father. This was to show, as we are told in 1Cor. 15:20 & 23 that Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead, which fulfils Lev. 23:10 & 11. That example, is figurative (precursor) to Jesus “the firstfruits”, of the great harvest of His Body (1Cor. 15:20-23) and others. That event will not occur until He enters the Promised Land, Lev. 23:10! It needs to be noted that the same day that Jesus was presented to the Father as the firstfruits from the dead, the priest celebrated the feast of firstfruits of Lev. 23:10 & 11, in Jerusalem, by the system of the Jews, which did not expire until the end of Acts, due to their final rejection of Him, as their long awaited Messiah!
Simultaneously, the Risen Lord was presenting Himself as the “sheaf of the firstfruits” (Lev. 23:10-11), as King Priest (Heb. 9:11, 5:6, 5:10, 6:20, 7:3, 7:26, Rev. 17:14 & 19:16). As High Priest and King, He would have returned at the end of Acts had the Sanhedrin accepted Him; (Acts 28:25-28).
However, He now awaits the defeat of His Earthy enemies, when they become “His footstool”, (Psm. 110, Acts 2:35, Heb. 1:13 & 10:13).
His return, (2nd Advent), will be the beginning of the true entrance to “the Promised Land” (Lev. 23:10), and the “harvesting” of Rev. 14:15 will be in earnest with many “sheaves gathered for the harvest of Almighty God”.
Luke 24:13-32 records that our Lord appeared next after Mary, to two of His Disciples, as they were travelling to the village of Emmaus. However, initially they were kept from recognising Him. After a time when He broke bread with them they knew who He was. They went and told the others that they had seen the risen Christ, but were not believed.
In Mark 16:14 He appeared to the 11, and reproaches them for their lack of belief. We are then told in the next 6 verses, that they would be empowered to proclaim the Kingdom, and that protection would be given to them during that endeavour.
It is here that we see the result of the cry of the Saviour on the cross, asking “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, Luke 23:34. This is a profound cry as the Jews were then given until Acts 28:28 to accept what they had done, i.e. the rejection and killing of their Messiah. If they had acknowledged Him during that period of extended grace, then the change in Dispensation would have begun, which would have ushered in all the prophecies of Messiah’s Reign, and John the Baptist would have taken the role retrospectively as Elijah, and the Risen Jesus would have returned. As it is, the Jews are set aside until a future time. This we see in Acts 28:28, and the many explanations by the Apostle Paul.
In the Gospel of John 20:24-29 we read of Thomas, one of the Lord’s Disciples who was not present when Jesus appeared to them, and when he was told that the Lord had appeared he did not believe. He said “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"! He has been known since then as “doubting Thomas”. 8 days later Jesus appeared to them when Thomas was with them. The Lord then said to him “Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side and be not faithless, but believing”. Thomas answered and said “My Lord and My God”. In verse 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen Me, and have believed”. This refers to the last 2000 years, and continues in different form into the descriptions of Revelation. A notable exception are the unbelieving Jews referred to in Zech. 12:10; who when they realise their consistent error will “mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son”. Their pain will be very great, as the whole of Zech 12 shows.
In Luke 24’s account of the Resurrection of our Lord, and His return to Earth to speak to His Disciples, they thought He was a spirit. In Vs 39 the Lord said to them, “Behold My hands and feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have”. Our Lord did not deny the existence of the spirit world but showed the difference and importance of His Body, and therefore by extension, the importance of the human body, which had been sullied in Eden. In its perfect state (Gen. 1:26-27), man would live for ever, and Jesus in His Resurrected human body was showing the steps He was taking to the undoing of the work of Satan with Eve and Adam, and moving to His Glorified State as witnessed by Peter, John and James, (Matt. 17:2 and Mk. 9:2). Paul lucidly describes this eventual state in Phil. 3:21, which will be the complete negation of Gen. 3:24! It is important to note, that although very little information is given in the Bible about the spirit world, in Luke 24, Jesus in His resurrected state showed His control of both (Matt. 8:29), by being in His human resurrected state, showing His crucifixion scars, but also able to appear and disappear at will, (Luke 24:31 and 36). As Paul has told us that we as Christ-ones (Christians true) shall be the same as He is, there are many clues as to our activity in the resurrected Millennial period and beyond. The Millennial period in particular is crucial in the undoing of the work of Satan for many millennia! For Christians to be part of that work as “His Body”, is a privilege beyond measure, if it applies. See: Millennial Purpose.
In Luke 24:44, He explains to them that the things that had happened to Him were the fulfilment of what was written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. In Vs 45 He opens their minds and they understood. Then they were told they were to wait in Jerusalem and His Father would send them power to fulfil the purpose He had called them for; which was to witness of Him as Messiah, and the Kingdom He would initiate.
In the beginning of Acts, Luke continues to write his account of our Lord’s Ascension. In Acts 1:3 we read the only reference to the Lord being with His Disciples for 40 days, teaching them about the Kingdom. This Kingdom is the Millennial, which He came to proclaim to Israel. 40 days is a very significant number because it represents Divine order applied to Earthly things, see Com. Bible App 10.
In Acts 1:16 Peter explains that in Psms. 41:9 & 69 David spoke concerning all that was to happen to the Lord, and what was yet to be fulfilled. He explains that this was what had taken place.
In Acts 2 we see the fulfilment of Joel 2, where the Holy Spirit was given to empower the Disciples for their function to proclaim the Truth of the Kingdom to the Jews, which included speaking in foreign languages, so that foreign Jews would understand them! That power ended at the end of Acts, because the Jewish Authorities refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah, and as Pharisees, referred to their Sages, see: Jewish Scriptures: and The Events of Pentecost; What is the Truth? (Discussion Document).
In Acts 2:34 it was made clear that David and therefore all the OT Jewish people, were not raised but asleep, awaiting the Resurrection of the Jews, referred to in Dan. 12:1-3.
In Mark 16, is recorded the Disciples being given powers to show whose name they were to witness in. They would be able to speak in the languages of whoever they met, and they would be able to handle serpents etc, and not be hurt. Also they would be able to heal the sick. By these signs the Jews would know that they were working in the Power of the Holy Spirit, towards the “Kingdom Age”, and the powers given were for that purpose only; not the false “Charismatic” mode of today!
When today Christians feel they should have these gifts; they are led into all sorts of difficulties as they are listening to the Enemy’s lying spirits. The resulting confusion shows that Almighty God is not the Author of these movements 1Cor. 14:31-33, but are the counterfeits of the great enemy, Satan!
It is clear from the numerous Scriptural references to our Lord’s time on the Earth with His Disciples after His Resurrection, that these facts should be proclaimed in the Christian Churches; but are not!
The following Scriptures give clear evidence as to what the future holds for the Lord’s people (the Body of Christ) out of the N.T.:
1John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is". We can only see Him as He is, when we too have our glorified spiritual bodies.
1Thess. 4:14 "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him; (1Cor. 15:18-23).
This clearly shows that Christians are asleep in Jesus, but not in an “Eternal soul”; see ( Eternal Soul Myth )(one translation calls it “reposed”), until He calls them to be with Him.
Phil. 3:21 "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His Glorious Body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself".
It is clear that He will change our fallen body to be like His Glorified Body, which He showed when he came to Earth to teach His Disciples after His Resurrection, and before His Ascension.
All Christians should have this assurance concerning our future inheritance, that when He comes we will be changed to be like Him. What a glorious thought.
The last statement, “when He comes”, raises very interesting questions as to why the Roman, English and other Churches do not teach or lay emphasis on our Lord’s return to Earth in the future? After all, the Bible is clear Acts 1:11, Deut. 30:3, Psm 2 and elaborations in Acts, the Epistles and Revelation; and many other references, all refer to that glorious time! Surely there should be great emphasis on this subject all over the world?
The answer must lie in the hidebound and erroneous teachings of the Roman Church through centuries of error and deliberate miss-construence for self-interest, and making money from all the erroneous teaching the R.C. had developed, which partially knocked on into the English Church under Henry VIII.
At the Reformation, this wonderful truth started again to emerge in mainline teaching, but many groups still resist it today.
This is probably because of the implications of His return, because it is undoubtedly not a good time for Gentile peoples and Nations who have rejected the Salvation of Christ Jesus Messiah, and who have persecuted the Jews, and the Jewish Nation!
On a recent T.V. programme a C. of E. Bishop stated that all the events in Revelation are recorded in history (but study shows they are not), and that people should “not be worried”! That truly is one fulfilment of the comment of Dr. E.W. Bullinger; "do not look for Satan in Soho, but in the Pulpit"!
Roman and many other mainline Churches do not teach what Scripture (The Word of God) states re. our Lord’s return, and its consequences for the world and the Jewish Nation:
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