Monday, September 3, 2012

The Second Exodus Part 9.

The exodus out of the Old Covenant age would be a time of Israel’s resurrections. While the word resurrection is not found in the Old Testament the concept certainly is. Daniel 12:1-4 "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."

The book of Daniel is a key source for material on understanding the critical time elements of the resurrections at the end of the Mosaic, age. The term “ your people” in the above verses applies to Daniel’s people the children of Israel. Daniel says that this resurrection will come after a time of great trouble for the Jewish nation (Daniel 12:1-2). This time is referred to as "Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:5-8). And the time of trouble that is depicted by Jesus own words as unique in all history. (Matthew 24 :21-22)

Let's look at the phrase in verse 1. “And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.” What book? The Book of Life. In Judaism, the Book of Life (Hebrew: ספר החיים,) is the book in which God records the names of every person who is destined for Heaven. Paul was fully aware of the existence of the Book of Life also. Philippians 4:3-4 And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

When I consider the whole context of Daniel 12:1-4 we see the plain message of Israel's desire: a resurrection into a heavenly land made by God. Paul identified this hope as he testified before king Agrippa, Acts 26:6-8 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

Jesus teaching on this resurrection said to Martha, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25,26)

Lazarus, Mary and Martha were from the village of Bethany. It was a refreshing spot where Jesus and his hungry disciples enjoyed Martha’s delicious homemade meals. One day, Lazarus became very sick and lay in bed. When they saw their brother Lazarus suffering and having difficulty breathing, the sisters were greatly distressed. The two sisters sent to Jesus for help with a message, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” No doubt, they expected Jesus to come immediately to heal Lazarus with his miraculous power.

How did Jesus respond to the news? Look at verse 4. “When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus did not see Lazarus’ sickness as a misfortune: It was an opportunity to display God’s glory. Jesus had a clear purpose in mind for this event.

Jesus received the message yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.” Though Jesus loved this family, he waited two more days and allowed Lazarus to die. How can we call this love? Jesus had a bigger plan in this event. Jesus wanted to plant resurrection faith in the hearts of the disciples, along with Mary and Martha. Jesus’ plans were much greater than the immediate healing expected by the sisters. God’s love is different than human love.

After two days had elapsed, then Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” His disciples did not understand why he had stayed there two more days after receiving the news. They also did not understand why he urged them to go back to Judea when it was already too late to do anything for Lazarus. So they protested in verse 8, “But Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” His disciples knew that Jesus’ going to Judea would be very dangerous. In fact, he would be crucified there. So they tried to prevent him from going

They were fearful because they did not understand Jesus, is the resurrection and the life yet. Verse 11 Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples were puzzled by his words and said, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better” (12). The disciples thought sleeping was the best medicine for a sick person. They assumed that it was natural sleep. But Jesus meant that Lazarus had died.

How did Jesus, help his disciples in this situation? In verse 15 Jesus said, “And for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” It was vital for the disciples to understand that resurrection is not something Jesus does. Resurrection is who Jesus is. “I am the resurrection and the life.” Only Jesus is our real resurrection.

The situation Jesus found in Bethany was very grotesque: Lazarus had already been wrapped in grave clothes and put in the tomb four days before. The bad odor was pervading. Many Jews had come from Jerusalem to comfort Mary and Martha in the loss of their brother. The atmosphere was filled with sorrow.

Many people cried over the death of Lazarus but in reality they cried over their own death in the future. When Jesus arrived at Bethany, Martha went out to meet him and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (21). Mary said the same thing in verse 32. In this, she said the most regretful words to Jesus, thinking that he came too late to help Lazarus.

What did Jesus say to her? Jesus gave her the words of life: “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again’” (23). The message should have been assuring. But Martha did not understand his promise. Look at verse 24. Martha answered, “I know he will rise in the resurrection at the last day.”

She had no thought of Jesus as the resurrection but she did believe in the final resurrection at the last days of the old Covenant. She did not apply resurrection to Jesus’ or her brothers current situation but applied the resurrection only to the last day. Jesus knew that she had superficial Bible knowledge. (Daniel 12:1-4)

There Jesus explained to her the most glorious promise of God. verses 25-26. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus did not say, “I will give resurrection and the life.” Jesus did not say, “I am the resurrections (plural) and the life.” One spiritual and one bodily.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (Singular ) Jesus was standing in front of Martha as the giver and author of life. Jesus is speaking to her as the Creator God. Jesus declares, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Read verses 25-26 again. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?

Here Jesus is addressing two groups of believes. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies are Old Covenant saints such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Job and David. David expressed this hope in Psalms 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah And whoever lives and believes in me will never die are the New Covenant saints who believed in Christ and received eternal life such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, and John.

Jesus is speaking in the present tense. In Luke 21 Jesus tell his disciples how some of them will be put to death that he makes the most amazing statement. “But not a hair of your head shall be lost verse 18. Physical death is not the end.

Jesus promises, “whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Wow! It does not matter whether we die physically. We live forever. There is no death when we believe in Jesus..

The unbelieving atmosphere was overwhelming. What did Jesus do? Jesus’ heart was troubled. Look at verse 33b. “...he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Why was he troubled in spirit? Obviously, Jesus participated in their sorrow and anguish at the death of Lazarus. But Jesus had a deeper reason for being troubled in spirit. Jesus was troubled in spirit because all of them were weeping, as if physical death was the end.

The people at Mary’s house wept louder and louder at the sound of the drum beating of Satan like physical death was the end of Lazarus existence. Jesus was sorry that they were under the delusion that physical death was it. In this situation, some of the Jews stirred up people not to believe in Jesus by saying, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Verse 35 says, “Jesus wept.” Jesus weeps when they harden their hearts and remain in unbelieving. .

Look at verse 39. When Jesus came to the entrance of the cave tomb, he said, “Take away the stone.” The scene was highly dramatic. The crowds watched and listened. Mary was weeping and Martha was objecting by saying, “Lazarus has been dead and in the tomb for four days.” She could not believe that her brother who had died four days ago could rise again. She depended on her human reason. At the moment, Jesus rebuked Martha’s unbelief, saying, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” verse 40 Jesus reminded Martha of his earlier promise. If she believed his word that he is the resurrection and the life and trusted him, God would be glorified.

At his rebuke, they regained their strength and took away the stone at the mouth of the cave grave. Then Jesus began to pray. Look at verse 42. “I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” The purpose of Jesus’ raising Lazarus was not only to give dead Lazarus life: It was to plant faith in God in the hearts of his people.

When the stone was taken away, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (43) Jesus shouted only three words: Lazarus, come out.” Augustine once remarked that if Jesus had not said Lazarus’ name, all would come out from the graves of Bethany. What happened? Look at verse 44. The dead man staggered out of the tomb in his grave clothes. In this way, Jesus planted faith in the people that he is the resurrection and the life.

This event is a marvelous picture of God’s Son bringing life to people. If Lazarus had not died, the disciples would not experience this unique opportunity to grow in their faith. Lazarus’ death was so that they may believe that God raises the dead. Jesus helped them to believe in him as the Son of God and the giver of life. We are not told if Lazarus physically died again before the last days of the Mosaic, covenant. However he now resides permanently in that heavenly city that Abraham looked for (Hebrews 11:10)