Where you experience Christ determines how many victories you will experience in this life and the world. This clear narrative from the Bible is that Jesus not only escaped the grave but also walked and was seen by hundreds of people. And just as He lived; Jesus teaches us even after death that seeing is not the way of the Kingdom but by Faith are we counted justified before His Father and our God as stated; “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” - Jn. 20:29. Many including some of His key followers saw Jesus die on the cross; and for those days of His absence, they abandoned not only their Faith but all the examples, miracles and promises He made. They turned in onto themselves; thus stifling all Hope, Love, and Faith of the Messiah.
Apr. 8, 2019.
The Empty Tomb.
We all have been there! Yet; this is not what the Father’s and Jesus’ sacrifice demand. Yes; demand! Why is this important to the Christian? The crucifixion method of punishment and death was used by the Romans to instill fear and terror for all those opposed to their rule. In the last days; the rulers of this world will use these and other horrific methods of fear against anyone who will not take the mark of the beast. In many cases, we are already seeing this across the world and if it is not in your city; there are different forms of oppression that challenges the Christian to keep the Faith. Gruesome methods of death or threats have always been used to coerce people towards decisions against their morals and principles. Now; whether as a Christian you promote pre or post-tribulation rapture is not critical to the mindset required for Salvation and the all-important expectation of Jesus’ second visitation as stated “we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” - 1 Thes. 4:17. What will be important is the ability to ignore what we see, hear and even feel; all the while holding on to Faith as stated; “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” - Eph. 6:13. To stand in the face of fear and possible death. And to even stand in Faith and Jesus’ promises when pain and death are threatened against those who you love and are the most vulnerable. Your Faith is limited to others and as the saying goes; “the chain is only strong as its weakest link”.
Very few Apostles and Disciples stood in front of the cross while Jesus bore our curse and sin. Many did not show their face because of fear of being recognized, accused and apprehended as a follower of Christ. Peter’s denial of Jesus during this ordeal is not only a historical account but a sobering foreshadow of how many in the Body will deny Jesus under duress. The Christian’s right to Salvation is marked by the persecution of the Body and not just by certain individuals as stated; “And you (Christians) shall be hated of all men for My name's sake: but he that endures (is Faithful) to the end shall be saved” - Matt. 10:22. The moment when Jesus Christ became your Lord and Savior; a bulls eye mark was painted on your body, mind, and spirit. This is your cross and as stated; “For your sake (Jesus) we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” - Rm. 8:36. If as Christians; this isn’t settled in your spirit; then your road through this life will be as stated; “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” - Jm. 1:8. The enemy will try to find any vulnerability with the goal to force you into surrendering your Salvation. It can almost be said that if a Christian allows satan to create doubt in your Faith first with the body; then the mind and ultimately the spirit; then fear’s work would be done and just like Peter they would succumb and react with the flesh. Thereby to their shame; choose death over life.
This is happening all through the Body today as many, having not established a solid foundation of Christ choose to alter the Word for their personal biases. This gospel of man affects and infects the body, mind, and spirit; and those who tolerate it with their hearing as stated; “Faith (belief) comes by hearing” - Rm. 10:17; and “Take heed what you hear” - Mk. 4:24. With each deception more are added to frame and bring down all the pillars of God’s Kingdom including making and sustaining Jesus merely as a man and not the Risen Christ; who is now as stated; “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the Power of God” - Lk. 22:69. This is done so as to build personal kingdoms with the aim to enslave the ignorant, desperate, and blinded. It has always been man’s religion to control others which is opposite to the purpose and mission of Christ as stated; “to set at liberty them that are bruised (oppressed)” - Lk. 4:18. This resonates God’s direction to Adam to have dominion over all other creations with the exception of man. Is it not interested that many traditional and non-traditional churches often preach sermons on the cross but very rarely on the empty tomb?
The shroud vs. the face cloth. Jn. 24:7 - “And the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself”. The tomb only had the body of the deceased; the linen cloth used to cover the body and a napkin that covered the face. Referred to as the Tahara ritual the body is prepared with prayers to God to receive the soul into Heaven and eternal rest. The Gospel records no such ritual for Jesus as He had to be buried hastily because of the pending Sabbath curfew. Now there remains much discussion as to the meaning of the placed face cloth with the preferred symbolism of a master at dinner returning to eat by indicating with his napkin folded neatly placed beside his dinner plate to the servant. Who would then wait for his master to return to finish eating and then clear the table. An indication that Jesus is incomplete in His work and will return as the groom for His bride.
The other aspect of Jesus’ resurrection is the tossed shroud which was used to cover the body and would have been saturated with the ointments and spices used including the decaying body odor. Of course, there was no time to anoint Jesus’ body until the Sabbath passed. This is why the notion that body snatchers stole the body does not hold. For they would not have tossed the shroud and placed the face cloth, but at least taken the body with the shroud and tossed the face cloth in their haste. Otherwise, they would have a naked body. Jesus was not required to be anointed with sweet spices before or after the burial because as stated; “she (the prostitute) is come aforehand to Anoint My body to the burying” - Mk. 14:8. Jesus the resurrected body and spirit tossed the grave shroud but places the face cloth painting the perfect metaphor of “O grave, where is your victory (authority)” - 1 Cor. 15:55; and “I (Jesus) will come again” - Jn. 14:3; respectfully. The empty tomb affirms the Risen Christ!
This is a foreshadow of Jesus’ birth and accomplishment through the family of Joseph with the virgin (Spiritual) birth. From the dark womb (tomb) into the light. The name Joseph means “YHWH will increase/add” and “Arimathaea” means a high place or heighten position and refers to the “city of Judea (Jews)”. Taken literally, we can say Joseph of Arimathaea means; YHWH adds/increases the city to a higher place. Now; before we say its talking mainly about the Jews would be wrong. Jesus is from the tribe of Judah and Judea means Judah. Judah is the one that takes Joseph out of the pit and sells him into slavery as well as pleads for Benjamin. Judah represents the Spirit of God and by interference; Jesus brings all men to God for increase and raises them up to a higher place by the (Joseph of Arimathaea) empty tomb. And by typical copy cat; satan with a disobedient and anti-god spirit uses Judas to put Jesus to death and ultimately in the tomb fulfilling as stated; “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” - 1 Cor. 2:8. Judas means Judah. Without the empty tomb; Salvation would not be completed to affirm Jesus’ resurrection and authority over death.
The Veil. Matt. 27:51 - " And behold, the veil of the temple was rent (torn) in twain (two) from the top to the bottom". The veil separated the outer to the inner sanctuary where only a priest could be present in front of the Ark of Covenant; God's mercy seat. In effect when the veil was torn by God's Spirit this removed any legal and spiritual requirement for God's people to come to Him because now it was substituted with the eternal sacrifice and Blood of Jesus as stated; "Sacrifice and burnt offerings for sin you (God) would not have pleasure in; which are offered by the law. Then by God (who) has taken away the first, that He may establish the second. By which we are Sanctified through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all (eternity)" - Heb 10:8. The Christian is not bound by legalism, and laws such as traditions, and cultures; but by the Blood of Jesus and all that is its Spiritual foundations. This act of God started the erosion and destruction of death's claim of authority as stated; "For as by (Adam) one man's disobedience many were made sinners (on to death), so by the obedience of (Jesus) one shall many be made Righteous (on to Life)" - Rm. 5:19. Without Jesus' servant heart to the cause of Salvation; our own redemption would not be possible.
Preparation day. Mk. 15:42 - “because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath”. The significance of the preparation day is not only for the Jews but for the Christian because the moment Jesus died as the eternal sacrificial lamb, God’s intent to reunite all men back into His image regardless of tradition and culture was reestablished as stated; “But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who has made both one (so) He might reconcile both to God in one Body by the Cross” - Eph. 2:11. Paul talks about preparation and running the race knowing the assurance of the finish line by having the mind of Christ. The Passover required planning, organizing and taking responsibility because on the Sabbath nothing could be done including addressing any last minute detail overlooked. This is the Parable of the ten virgins; five of which as stated; "“Later the others also came, saying Lord, Lord, open the door for us! But he replied, truly I tell you, I don’t know you. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour" - Matt. 25:11.
Joseph of Arimathea. Matt. 27:60 - And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher”. It is not coincidental that this occurred. Jesus who knew His death was ordained at this time did not have a tomb regardless of having the means to fund it. Only rich Jews were able to have a tomb carved out of the rock. Others less fortunate would be buried in graves. Joseph of Arimathea is appointed by God to prepare the tomb and bury Jesus signifying once again the merging of the past and present to a future of Glory. Joseph or the Hebrew Yosef is a common name but the office associated with it has Spiritual significance. In the Old Testament; Joseph (a foreshadow of Jesus), the true son of Jacob (representative of God) is taken from the pit (tomb) into a position over the Egyptian world to save God’s people. But what is often overlooked is Joseph not only saves the Jewish nation but also the Gentile nation represented by the Egyptians. That under Joseph’s Anointing mankind is given Salvation.
I’d like to say, it is because of fear and man’s faith. To keep the Body at the cross rather than the empty tomb is like keeping the church in the flesh rather than leading them into the Spirit of the empty tomb. The cross panders to the hopes, fears, and limits of the flesh but the empty tomb casts the vision of unearthly things as stated; “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” - 1 Cor. 2:9. Yes; there are churches that employ the gifts of the Spirit but very few lead, encourage and motivate their congregation to walk in that Spirit in the world where it was meant to be most effective and purposeful. Which is the cause of Salvation.
A typical Sunday or for that matter Saturday service is nothing short of self-serving. Do we not know that we are preaching to the same saved in our churches? Yet; Salvation is for the unsaved which is outside our churches. But we have been told as stated; “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” - Heb. 10:25. This one verse has been used around the world to justify every service and other forms of gatherings for what I refer to as “the circuit church”. Where we fund Christian speakers moving from church to church often reiterating Biblical sermons that the pastor spoke on just weeks ago. Now; every once in a while there is a speaker that reveal God’s true and Righteous Glory and Spirit, but most use this circuit to fund their personal ministries. Have we not learned God is like a farmer at heart whose prime goal from Genesis is to produce a harvest of saved souls and for the Body to exercise the Blood for the Righteous dominion over every unrighteous form of disobedience to His will.
Jesus and Paul with the Spirit moved from city to city to reveal God; His Grace and the promise of Salvation. Many behind the pulpit often pontificate on different books of the Bible but very rarely on the Book of Acts. The very Book that ignited the Christ followers Faith into action and gifts of the Spirit. Think about this. As Christians; it should be obvious that this age is coming rapidly to its end as prophecies are being fulfilled and time is quickly slipping away with hundreds if not thousands of Christian persecutions around the world daily. There is a sense of urgency! Yet; most churches are in a slumber preaching only on Grace, Love, and Hope which contradicts as stated; “For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation/Spirit) waits for the manifestation of the sons of God” - Rm. 8:19. The sons of God and for that matter daughters can only be those that fully embrace the Father’s desire as stated’ “(God) Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the Truth” - 1 Tim. 2:3. Jesus did not select a few but all for the Great Commission just before He ascended as stated; “Go you, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” - Matt. 28:18. This is the analogy and purpose of the Empty Tomb!
By Faith we accept God is omnipotent in the past, present, and future; being in control to orchestrate every significant event that pushes His agenda towards establishing the New Jerusalem here on Earth. So Jesus' crucifixion is timed with other components that lead to His death, burial and ultimately resurrection. Consider these components.
Of course; the Sabbath celebrates the Exodus and represents for the Jew but also for the Christian that Passover event from bondage towards the Promise land. That all the plagues or rather the distresses in the world (as in Egypt) must occur before the freedom (Salvation) is fully completed. The final battle to as stated; “to set the captives free” - Lk. 4:18; is the Sabbath; which is the observance of rest not only from worldly work but God’s seventh day of rest for honor or rather as stated; “And God Blessed (granted favor) the seventh day, and Sanctified (set apart) it” - Gen. 2:3. God is the epitome of the Blessed and the Sanctified. So when Jesus entered the tomb dead on the eve of the Sabbath; God granted favor and set Him apart with a Spiritual Passover into the Promise land of not only Spiritual Grace but also Spiritual acumen. For now; He is our completed high priest that intercedes but also will judge with this acumen. By living the ultimate result of the Sabbath daily; the Christian not only honors God's work but more importantly demonstrates the Faith that God is pleased with as stated; "the just walks by Faith" - Heb. 10:38.
When we remain at the cross of shame, fear, and death; we essentially are still in the tomb of containment; thinking we are unworthy; just a sinner saved by Grace and helpless because our Savior lies dead on the cross. We remain in transit like at a way station waiting for the right bus to board to take us to our desired destination. Yet, this is not God’s way; who by His Spirit leads us based on our Faith walk meandering to His desire for us as stated; “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” - Jer. 29:11. He did this with Abram, Moses, Paul, and others. We won’t know His eternal thoughts towards us until we embrace the resurrected Jesus with the vision of our own resurrected body, mind and spirit; and by the Spirit, Passover to rest as stated; “For we which have believed do enter into rest” - Heb. 4:3. By this, we take what has been given which is our authority over the grave and death just as the Risen Christ has done leaving behind and overcoming the Empty Tomb.
Flush it Out! - Raised up with Jesus Christ into Heavenly seats.
Many Christians do this after every Sunday service (the Sabbath); failing to be at rest to face the new week of the world. When Mary came to the tomb it was abandoned and the stone rolled away as stated; "So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch" - Matt. 27:66. The seal was put in place by the Romans to indicate their authority over the tomb. Yet; Jesus' resurrected body would not require exiting through the tomb's doorway because it was neither flesh nor Spirit but both having the ability to translate where He needed to be as stated; "and He (Jesus) vanished out of their sight" and "as they spoke, Jesus stood in the midst of them" - Lk. 24:31-36. Jesus was able to appear and disappear at will breaking all known physical laws of this world. The significance of the broken seal and the rolled away stone is that this world (death/satan) has no authority over the Spirit and those who operate by it as is seen when Peter was released from his chains and jail - Acts 12:5-8.
The Sabbath. Lk. 23:54 - “and the Sabbath drew on”. A death by the crucifixion method could last several days; yet God's timing is perfect as stated; "And Pilate marvelled if He were already dead" - Mk. 15:44. Jesus' mission was not yet complete with the death on the cross but continued and really started when He entered the grave (tomb) as stated; "(Jesus) being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" - 1 Pet. 3:18. Without Jesus' passage through the darkness of death into the Light of Life; our own Hope of a resurrected body could not be fulfilled and justified to the legalistic law as stated; "Buried with Him in Baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the Faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead" - Col. 2:12. It is God’s will for all men to know the Truth of His omnipotence and using the law to reveal this is precisely what He does as stated; “Think not that I (Jesus) am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” - Matt. 5:17; and “For the Son of man is Lord (Jesus) even of the Sabbath day” - Matt. 12:8.
The tomb. Jn. 20:1 - “The first day of the week (found) the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him”. This speaks directly to where many Christians are in their Faith. That despite the confession of Jesus as their Lord and Savior by Faith. They fail in that Faith when faced with fear with the eyes and senses. The followers of Christ did not bring to mind the words of Jesus as the Angel stated; “And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the Earth, they said to them. Why seek you the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen; remember how He told you when He was yet in Galilee; saying; The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” - Lk. 24:5.
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