Posted in old testament, theology

Dead bodies and live bodies

By Elizabeth Prata

I’m reading through 1 and 2 Kings this month. There are certainly many interesting and strange things happening in those books of history. Remember, the events in those Bible books really happened. Elijah really slew 400 prophets of Baal. God really threw down fire and consumed the sacrifices in the showdown with the prophets of Baal. Wars happened. In 1 Kings 20:29 we read that the Israelites killed 100,000 Aramean foot soldiers in one day. I looked up the slaughter at Gettysburg, well-known to be one of the bloodiest battles, and about 50,000 died. The same with Waterloo. Can you imagine, twice as many Arameans dying on one day?

Here are two other unusual happenings:

In 1 Kings 17:19-21, we read of the prophet Elijah raising the Zarephath’s widow’s son, who had died.

He said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her bosom and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own bed. 20He called to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, have You also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” 21Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray You, let this child’s life return to him.”

In 2 Kings 4:18-37 we read of the prophet Elisha’s raising of the Shunammite’s son, who had died. Here are verses 32-34,

When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33 So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 

The prophets laid outstretched on the dead person and the LORD graciously used their body as a vehicle for life-giving resurrection power.

It reminded me of the same but opposite historical punishment. Paul was probably thinking of this punishment when he wrote in Romans 7:24,

“Who will set me free from this body of death?”

As John MacArthur explains the punishment:

In the ancient times, one of the ways they punished murderers was to take the victim, the dead corpse, and strap them to the back of the murderer. And eventually the rotting body would cause the rotting of the murderer…a horrific way to suffer for your crime.

The corpse was used to bring death to a living body. The bodies of the prophets were used to bring life to the dead.

The wages of sin is death. Only God can resurrect life, both physical and spiritual.

As I read along, I just thought it was an interesting juxtaposition. It’s what I was thinking about.

new life 4

Posted in theology

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!

easter verse

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 24:2-3)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. (Acts 4:33 )

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

Though Jesus is enthroned, becrowned, reigning in love and wrath, seated next to the Father, today is a day we remember what He did. Today is the day we know death is dead, but the Lord lives.

Happy Easter everyone.

Love,
Elizabeth Prata

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 28, Resurrection of central importance

By Elizabeth Prata

Christmas advent. We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.

The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity.

We proceeded into looking at Jesus as the Son’s preeminence, His works, and His ministry. Under ministry & works, I chose verses showing His attributes and aspects of being servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and compassionate healer; and His attributes of omniscience, having all authority and power, and sinlessness.

Now it’s the last section. We’ll look at His resurrection, ascension, and prophesied return. There is one more day until Christmas, but I have more verses waiting. We are going to go over by a week, into the New Year, which I believe fits. When we finish, we will be looking at the New Year with all that entails, the feeling of freshness, hope, optimism for a new start. And when we finish the last verse, we will be looking through the lens of scripture at the hope and optimism of His return and that all will be made new.

On to today’s picture verse. Note Paul’s statement “of first importance”.

thirty days of jesus day 28

Further Reading:

CARM: Jesus’ resurrection was physical

Al Mohler: Of First Importance: The Cross and Resurrection at the Center

And what is of first importance? “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,” and “that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” The cross and the empty tomb stand at the center of the Christian faith. Without these, there is no good news — no salvation.
Paul gets right to the heart of the matter in setting out those truths that are “of first importance.” Following his example, we can do no less.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ Authority
Day 26: Jesus’ Sinlessness
Day 27: He rises!

Posted in encouragement, theology

Prata Potpourri: Men acting like men, women acting like women, wrath, resurrection, ascension

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s a hot one, mid-summer in Georgia, and many of my friends and colleagues are out in the world somewhere on their vacations. Though we are only a little past the Fourth of July, the idyllic time at home on summer break from school is rapidly coming to a close. In twenty more days and I will be sitting in a large auditorium with 500 other school system colleagues, listening to an address by our new superintendent, and then heaving myself to my school, changing into scrub clothes and moving furniture to set up the classroom. Though the summer days are surely precious and annually awaited, there is an undeniable eagerness in starting a new school year. It affords me a time to start fresh, work with new children, forge ahead in a new cycle with my teacher, and alternately be challenged and fulfilled each day.

Meanwhile, summer marches on. It’s a fun time of pool noodles, fireflies, sandy flip flops, BBQs, ball games, family, and rest. Here are a few essays I hope you enjoy.

~~~~~Men & Women~~~~~

Here are some good links looking at the current issues of the day through the lens of gender.

Men: Act like Men

Today, we continue to see the Church of Jesus Christ suffering from a lack of manliness. This has been the result of the radical feminist attack as well as the problem of perpetual adolescence that continues to prevent men from rising up and taking lead within the local church. These problems together create added friction over offices, giftedness, and the need for strong leadership. We would do well to remember Paul’s words to the church in Corinth—”act like men.”

Women: Act like Women

If I could only leave five “how-tos” to the next generation of Christian women coming up behind me, ‘how to be an apologist’ would be one of them. The benefit and joy that can come from this work is hard to measure.

~~~~~Wrath of God~~~~~

Here are a couple of links focusing on the wrath of God. I don’t enjoy the wrath but I feel it is a responsibility of every Christian not to cave in to the demands of liberal Christianity never to mention it. It’s real. It already abides on all who are not saved. (Romans 1:18; Matthew 3:7). It looms ahead for all who will not repent. (Luke 21:23; Revelation 6:16).

The Destruction of Sodom

God is forgiving, gracious, merciful, and loving, but we cannot ignore that He is also the wrathful Judge. God is holy and just and cannot ignore sin. God demands perfect justice and this requires all sin to be punished. The price of sin will be satisfied either in eternity in hell or through Christ’s blood.

THE quintessential sermon examining the wrath of God:
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, read by Tom Patton.

So that thus it is, that natural Men are held in the Hand of God over the Pit of Hell; they have deserved the fiery Pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his Anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the Executions of the fierceness of his Wrath in Hell,

~~~~~Resurrection~~~~~

I appreciate DebbieLynne Kespert’s writing. Here she begins a study through 1 Corinthians 15 and the resurrection of believers. As of today, she is up to #8 in the series. Enjoy.
According To Scripture: Study #1 On The Resurrection

Yet typical Gospel presentations in today’s evangelical culture virtually ignore the resurrection, instead emphasizing substitutionary atonement. As vital as it is to understand that Jesus died for our sins, however, it’s just as vital to embrace the fact that He has risen from the dead.

I’m always surprised at how many of my Reformed brethren interpret the pertinent passages of the resurrection events such as the coming kingdom symbolically, or replace Israel with the Church. If it please the reader, this is not so.

The First Resurrection in Revelation 20

As noted in a previous article, Revelation 20 has long been considered the clearest and most convincing argument for the eschatology of premillennialism. But in recent years, an increasing number of amillennial voices have insisted that Revelation 20 actually provides more compelling evidence for their own view.

~~~~~Ascension~~~~~

There is lots of focus on the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. But little on His ascension. Just start looking for credible essays on it. You’ll see.

The Ascension of Christ in Hebrews

Evangelicalism, properly conceived, has been from the beginning cross and gospel centered. But let us consider this question: does the doctrine of the ascension get minimized or neglected in our evangelical theologizing?

What is the meaning and importance of the ascension of Jesus Christ?

It is plain from Scripture that Jesus’ ascension was a literal, bodily return to heaven. He rose from the ground gradually and visibly, observed by many intent onlookers. As the disciples strained to catch a last glimpse of Jesus, a cloud hid Him from their view, and two angels appeared and promised Christ’s return “in just the same way that you have watched Him go” (Acts 1:11).

Let’s be kind to each other today.

quote reasons to be happy

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

“O that there were a mediator between us!”

For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together. There is no umpire [daysman] between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both. Let Him remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me.” (Job 9:32-34).

Job is thought to be one of the oldest written books of the Bible, and its events some of the oldest as well, its events occurring possibly pre-Exodus during the patriarchal age. Possibly 2000BC.

We know Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1, 1:8, Ezekiel 14:14). He abhorred sin. He mediated for his family in priestly functions, He devoted himself to the one True God. He knew Yahweh, and Job knew enough to be terrified.

Job is complaining that though he knows the depravity of his sin, God is so far above man and so terrifying that Job wished there was an arbiter, or an umpire, between them to advocate for him in God’s holy court. Yet who could that be? A mere man might be a good arbiter for Job but no mere man can stand before God. So, who? Who can lay his hand on both man and God?

We know that it was God’s providential plan to send Jesus, the God-Man. The cross is that bridge which re-unites man and God after the dreadful separation that occurred in the Garden. It is Jesus who lays His hand on both man, and God. Amen!

Jesus was fully man, but not an ordinary man. He had to live a sinless life so that His sacrifice at Calvary would be perfect, his blood shedding for man in obedience to God. He did so. He fulfilled it all and it was finished at the cross.

They laid His body in a borrowed tomb. It lay there scarred and wrapped and alone in the dark. Then on resurrection morning, He arose! It is finished, and there He comes, ascending back to glory, having fulfilled ALL.

daysman—“mediator,” or “umpire”; the imposition of whose hand expresses power to adjudicate between the persons. There might be one on a level with Job, the one party; but Job knew of none on a level with the Almighty, the other party (1 Sa 2:25). We Christians know of such a Mediator (not, however, in the sense of umpire on a level with both)—the God-man, Christ Jesus (1 Ti 2:5).

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 318). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

God. Let us not make ourselves equal with God, but always eye him as infinitely above us. [2.] That there was no arbitrator or umpire to adjust the differences between him and God and to determine the controversy (v. 33): Neither is there any days-man between us. This complaint that there was not is in effect a wish that there were, and so the Septuagint reads it: O that there were a mediator between us! Job would gladly refer the matter, but no creature was capable of being a referee, and therefore he must even refer it still to God himself and resolve to acquiesce in his judgment.

Our Lord Jesus is the blessed days-man, who has mediated between heaven and earth, has laid his hand upon us both; to him the Father has committed all judgment, and we must. But this matter was not then brought to so clear a light as it is now by the gospel, which leaves no room for such a complaint as this.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 675). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Praise God for His Gospel, His mediator, His plan! Praise God that He resurrected Jesus from the dead, forevermore to be our Savior. For He is no longer in the tomb, He is alive, He is not there, He has risen!

risen easter

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 28, Resurrection of central importance

Christmas advent. We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.

The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity.

We proceeded into looking at Jesus as the Son’s preeminence, His works, and His ministry. Under ministry & works, I chose verses showing His attributes and aspects of being servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and compassionate healer; and His attributes of omniscience, having all authority and power, and sinlessness.

Now it’s the last section. We’ll look at His resurrection, ascension, and prophesied return. There is one more day until Christmas, but I have more verses waiting. We are going to go over by a week, into the New Year, which I believe fits. When we finish, we will be looking at the New Year with all that entails, the feeling of freshness, hope, optimism for a new start. And when we finish the last verse, we will be looking through the lens of scripture at the hope and optimism of His return and that all will be made new.

On to today’s picture verse. Note Paul’s statement “of first importance”.

thirty days of jesus day 28

Further Reading:

CARM: Jesus’ resurrection was physical

Al Mohler: Of First Importance: The Cross and Resurrection at the Center

And what is of first importance? “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,” and “that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” The cross and the empty tomb stand at the center of the Christian faith. Without these, there is no good news — no salvation.
Paul gets right to the heart of the matter in setting out those truths that are “of first importance.” Following his example, we can do no less.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ Authority
Day 26: Jesus’ Sinlessness
Day 27: He rises!

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Our new body

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. (1 Corinthians 15:35-38).

An Israeli company named ReWalk has developed a ‘hard ‘exoskeleton’ that aids parapalegics in standing and walking upright. The company has also developed a soft exoskeleton that aids people who have not severed their spinal cord to walk, such as people who have suffered a stroke or other debilitating injury.

The hard robotics, credit Reuters.
The ‘soft’ robotics. Credit TechCrunch

The body is amazing. It’s intricate, delicate, and fragile, yet strong, tough, and resilient. As I age, I am more amazed at the changes the body goes through. Some of it is preventable, (weight gain) some of it is not (menopause). Some of it is inevitable (general decline) some of it is not (I can always dye my white hair!).

I lived through the health-conscious aerobic 1980s. I had some friends who were fiends for exercise, and ALL they talked about was looks. They were older than me and they were excessively worried about breast droop, loss of youthful appearance, which clothing made them look younger, and all the things that aging women with nothing else to say grouse about.

I’ve never been especially worried about looks but I am dismayed by my declining energy, tired eyes, loss of skin elasticity, and legs that can’t kick as high as they used to.

How blessed I am to be able to look forward to my new body in heaven! Thanks to the Lord’s grace and gift, I will be outfitted with a permanent body able to dwell in God’s glory. I’ll be strong, perfectly able to do what is necessary to live out God’s plan for my life. My long, long life.

Our associate pastor is a paraplegic and he is looking forward to a new body also. Many friends in church and at work who suffer from ailments from life threatening (such as cancer) to the more minor but painful (migraines) are also looking forward to new bodies. What a joy it will be to have flesh that won’t be susceptible to disease, breakage, or decline!

I wonder what my new body will look like. The Bible says we will know as we are known, so my friends who will be there with me will know me. I don’t suppose I’ll look very different, though I know I won’t have to wear glasses any more. And the crowns and fillings in my teeth will be gone.

Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:49).

Here is John MacArthur with a short essay on Our New Bodies. It is only one of a million-billion reasons why we look forward to the return of Jesus as our blessed Hope!

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

The apostasy and hatred of the Pharisees made them plot to kill Lazarus

The Plot to Kill Lazarus

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. (John 12:9-11)

This man [Nicodemus] came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2)

Imagine a religion so apostate that the leaders and adherents of it plot to kill the person upon whom had been given the greatest supernatural blessing and sign directly from God- resurrection. And it’s not that the Pharisees didn’t know that Jesus was from God, Nicodemus tells us they did.

The evil of the religion as it had become when Jesus arrived is something we often forget to look upon in horror and disgust. Jesus certainly did. Wolves bring leaven.

Yet to tolerate spiritual leaven is to invite apostasy. Christians seem more interested in following the super gentle, easy-to-follow, blonde haired, blue eyed, Caucasian surfer Jesus instead of the one that beckons us to pick up our crosses, follow him, and seek the lost (Matt. 10:38) (CARM)

The Pharisees had piled hundreds of laws onto the Jews over time, a total of 614 had been invented by them by the time Jesus came. The People were staggering under the weight of Law and worse, the Pharisees displayed no grace to help alleviate their burden. Only hypocrisy. Therefore, Jesus was incensed at what was done in His name.

After Lazarus’ resurrection, the people continued to bear witness of Jesus’ sign.

The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” (John 12:17-19)

The leaven the false ones bring always includes self-satisfaction. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were in it for themselves, not the glory of God. It’s the same today.

To tolerate this spiritual leaven means to invite apostasy.  Like leaven, error gradually creeps into the church and spreads to all parts, causing the whole to elevate itself with pride and do what is right in one’s own eyes instead of that which is right in God’s.  2 Thess. 2:3 speaks about the great apostasy that is coming.  However, it cannot occur without a host of lesser apostasies within the Church that will ultimately deceive Christians and prepare the ground for the arrival of Antichrist. (CARM)

Apostasy is evil and its deepening never stops. It only progresses. It winds up to a point where the leaders of it want to kill the very man, Lazarus, who could bear witness to the power and grace of a holy God just by the fact that he could draw breath. The apostate wants no such Good News however. He seeks to stop it and silence it in any way possible. Death, that’s what apostasy brings. Praise God that He sent His Son to witness to the grace and mercy of His Holy Name. Rather than seeking to kill, we seek to love, build up, and we remain in His hand until the day He returns or brings us home.