Meditation for 09/10/2019
“People always face the temporality of life and its ultimate limits. Life as it is always ends in death. Facing death without the confidence of God’s presence and love is life’s most dreadful experience.” (Psalm 89:47-48)
In Isaiah 14:9, we find one of the best descriptions for understanding the state of the dead. As previously noted, the “grave” is defined as Sheol, where the spirits of the departed (Hebrew – repha’im) live. Taken literally, it describes conscious beings aware of and classed according to their state in the previous life. They can talk but see themselves as weak or exhausted, living among the worms. Sheol is a place below the earth. It is synonymous with the state of death apart from hope and meaningfulness. Both good and bad to to Sheol. People approaching death fear that God does not remember or put His caring hand on Sheol’s inhabitants. The living claim to have entered in Sheol in desperate situations.
Hope remains for the repha’im; thus some interpreters imply Sheol as the home of dead bodies and heaven as he resting place of spirits, especially in light of the New Testament teaching. The concept that life requires the body eventually helped people understand God’s revelation that some kind of bodily resurrection is an essential part of ongoing existence. The idea of life beyond death in a resurrection body, however, is clearly taught in the further revelations of the New Testament.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You know what we can only surmise from reading and studying Your Word. There are those who do not understand nor want to believe in a resurrection of our bodies after death, yet this is exactly what you implied in the Old Testament and we gather out of New Testament teachings. Jesus told us that by accepting You through Him, that at death, we too would be resurrected and enjoy eternity in the kingdom of Heaven. This we believe and this we will obtain on that day that You have decided is our time to “come home.” This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“We are all slaves to something or someone, but Who Your Master is, is up to you!”
“From within the grave the mighty leaders will say of Egypt and her allies, ‘They have come down and they lie with the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.’ Do they not lie with the other uncircumcised warriors who have fallen, who wend down to the grave with their weapons of war, whose swords were placed under their heads? The punishment for their sins rested on their bones, though the terror of these warriors had stalked through the land of the living.” (Ezekiel 32:21, 27)
Once again we go back to Isaiah. This inspired prophet told us many things, especially about how the Messiah would come and also what he would do on this earth. If you know nothing about the prophet, know that the Messiah he prophesied, was to have such an impact on this world, more than we could ever imagine. When He returns to this earth, He will not come in the same humble manner, but will come in all His glory. In fact, it will be spectacular. The point being, that we must accept God through Christ now, in order to have our name in the Lamb’s Book. We He comes back, it will be too late. More importantly, we have time now to know Him and He already knows us. We still have time to build a relationship with Him, sharing our daily lives without any fears. Because of what Jesus did on the cross for us, He atoned for our sins and we will have an advocate with the Father beyond this world.
Last Things, Intermediate State: (Luke 16:19-26)
Jesus contrasted the destinies of two persons. One died and entered a condition of blessedness. The other died and entered one of misery. Both were presented by Jesus as entering their future condition immediately following death. The suggestion in Jesus story is that the spirits of the righteous enter a conscious state of blessedness. Similarly, the spirits of the unrighteous go into a state of conscious torment. Many do not think the account of the rich man and Lazarus was intended as a detailed eschatological (end times) picture of the afterlife at the end time. Rather, it is a strong statement that the final judgment will rectify life’s seeming injustices. Some thing this is a description of the intermediate state, rather than the end time.
Either way, Jesus taught that the righteous will be rewarded; unrighteous will be punished. It is implicit in the account that one’s attitude toward God, revealed the actions of this life, determining one’s condition in the life to come. Future judgment hinges on the decisions made during this lifetime. Understand?
Second Thought of the Day:
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for eve and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18)
Hades is the New Testament counterpart to Sheol in the Old Testament. Some believe Hades refers to the general realm of the dead. They believe the statement is that Christ holds the keys to death itself and to the realm of the dead. All people will appear before the great white throne, the only judgment, at which both believes and unbelievers will be judge. Death does not hold the last word about human existence. When it has closed its doors upon a life, Christ still holds the keys to death and opens the way for believes into paradise.
For believers, it is comforting to know Christ has the final word. Some say Hades here refers to the intermediate state for unbelievers, corresponding to this view in paradise for believers. Hades will yield to the authority of Christ and deliver up the dead therein to the judgment of the great white throne. Beloved, Jesus Christ is Lord both of life and death. We have no reason to fear death or the afterlife if we trust and follow Him!