Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Heaven: A Believer's Final Resting Place?

One of the greatest myths ever foisted upon the church... not quite as much as the Church being separate from Israel, is that believers go to heaven when they die.  Did you realize that nowhere in the Bible does it teach that believers go to heaven when they die?  Now there are some believers who were beheaded, seen under the altar in Revelation, waiting for God's justice to be poured out on His enemies.  But that's a weird place to spend eternity.  That passage is primarily teaching about Yhwh's dealings with fallen man and their fallen leader.

In doing a word study on heaven, I went through, and looking at the uses of the word heaven in scripture, and in most cases, it is referring to the atmosphere over our heads.  There are cases where it states that Yhwh lives in the heavens... and there are cases where believers, when they die, are with the Lord, but nowhere in scripture does it say that that is in heaven, above the earth.

Deuteronomy 4:19  (19) "And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

Exodus 31:17   (17) "It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed."

Deuteronomy 9:1   "Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven,

Deuteronomy 11:11  (11) "But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven,

Judges 5:20   (20) "The stars fought from heaven, From their courses they fought against Sisera.

And there are many more such verses, but for sake of brevity, I will not include them here.  It would make a excellent bible/word study though to go to your favorite online bible, and simply study on the word "heaven," and I think you will be greatly encouraged and amazed at what you find.

The Bible does teach however that believers in fact go to Abraham's bosom, located in Hebraic thought, under the earth. 

Luke 16:22  22 "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.

Another passage we see a glimpse is where king Saul went to inquire of the prophet Samuel by a witch, at En-dor.  1 Samuel 28:15  15 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"

When the Messiah Y'shua, after his crucifixion, where did he go?  This is probably the most agreed upon by students of the Bible, his spirit descended down into hades, the place of prison of disobedient spirits. 

1 Peter 3:18-20  18 For Messiah also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to Elohim, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;  19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,  20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of Elohim kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

In extra-biblical Hebraic literature, there is a picture of many things that dwell under the earth.  It is taught that under the earth there are indeed two places, both Abraham's bosom, the place of paradise and comfort for all followers of the Messiah, and of Hades or Sheol, a gloomy place of punishment for those spirits who rejected Yhwh's Covenant of forgiveness and life in Messiah Yeshua.  We see a glimpse of this in the already quoted parable of Lazarus and the rich man:

Luke 16:25-26   25 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'

So we can see here the Y'shua believed and taught about believer's being carried to Abraham's bosom.  And this was believed by the disciples, and by the entire early church.  Through the ages there has been a slow departure from these beliefs and teachings of our older, wiser fathers, as man entered into eras of "enlightenment," realizing he could know things apart from the word of Elohim.  But we didn't consider the words of Proverbs: "The fear of Yhwh is the beginning of knowledge." (Pr. 1:7).

There is also a passage I love speaking of the redeemed Israelites in the last days, as they are bought into the kingdom of Elohim, the land of Israel (cf. Ezek. 36), and they report to the Yhwh:
Jeremiah 16:19  19 O YHWH, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress, To You the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, "Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit."

In these last days, the Father is exposing corruption everywhere, and has shown us that most of what we have been taught, is wrong, and/or a lie.  I know that this post is far from conclusive concerning the matter of believers, and their final resting place, but I hope that this will spur you on to read, and search, and you too will conclude that a believers final resting place is in the land of Israel, with Messiah, keeping Torah.

Luke 16:16-17  16 "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.  17 "But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Your Sons Like Poplars...

The Yhwh gave this to me a couple of weeks ago, and I just haven't had time to write about it yet, but this was such an encouragement and confirmation about what Yhwh is doing in these last days, and in our lives.

I was reading in Isaiah 45, and had gone back the enxt day, to read and study and chew on the text, but I wanted to start a chapter previous, to get more of the context and appreciate what the text was saying.  When I started reading in chapter 44, it said this:

 NAU Isaiah 44:1 "But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen:  2 Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, 'Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.  3 'For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;  4 And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.'  5 "This one will say, 'I am the LORD'S'; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the LORD,' And will name Israel's name with honor. 

The latter half of Isaiah is written all about the restoration of Israel in the last days.  Yhwh always tells Jacob/Israel now to be afraid, and that He is for them.  

3 'For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;

In verse three, He says that He will "pour out water on thirsty land, and streams on dry ground."  The Word in Scripture is likened to Water, and dry, thirsty ground to people or lands where there is no hearing of the Word of the Yhwh.  As I was reading through this verse, it brought to mind imagery, both of Yhwh literally fulfilling this in the land of Israel, where there are already streams of living water flowing in previously dry stream beds.  But then we also have the spiritual component, because the phrase is complemented in the second stanza by saying He would pour pout His Spirit on your descendants.  The apostle Peter stated that this is what was happening on Pentecost, after the ascension of the resurrected Messiah, Yeshua ben Josef. 

4 And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.' 

Then I received another insight as I continued to read.  The imagery of trees planted by streams of water from Psalm 1.  "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the Torah  of Yhwh, and on His Torah He will meditate, day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf never withers, in whatever he does, he prospers" (Ps. 1:1-3).

And so I picture all this dry, cracked waste land which we picture of ancient Egypt, and I think of John hte Baptist at the Jordan, with the scribes and the Pharisees looking on.  And he says to them, "God can raise up children from these stones!"  And I wonder if he is not drawing from this prophecy in Isaiah 44.

 4 And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.'  5 "This one will say, 'I am the LORD'S'; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the LORD,' And will name Israel's name with honor. 

And so you have a picture of this vast waste land, dry and cracked, with sparse shoots of grass here and there, and all of a sudden, these Poplar trees begin to shoot up, not all together, but spaced apart, in random places... and they begin to grow large in height and strong, like trees planted by streams of water.  And the water is the Word, the Torah (which let's not forgot, was the only Word of God during the time of Yeshua and the apostles).  

So this passage is telling us that in the last days, in land stricken by a famine of the Word of the Yhwh, that He would pour out His Spirit on sons and daughters, and cause them to grow up like Poplars planted by streams of water, that is, full of strength and knowledge and understanding of the Word, the Torah... and that they would begin again to identify with Israel, and proclaiming to belong to the God of Israel.

And that has been me and my wife's experience with our beliefs and convictions, as we have studied about the return of the Messiah in the last days, and of his coming for His people.  And Abba has revealed these truths to us.  As He says in Ps. 25:14, "The secret (or counsel) of the Yhwh is for those who fear Him, and to them He will make known His covenant."

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sanhedrin Recomends High Priest