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More about death and resurrection

Nov 23, 2009

It seems that Saturday's weblog struck a chord with many people who have gone through difficult times in the past and present.

There is no doubt that we are in a difficult time of death and resurrection right now. I can only encourage all of you to look to the Author and Finisher of our Faith and to know that all things work together for good.

That which God has promised will always be fulfilled, whether we live or die. Any dream/vision/promise of God can never die, because it is from Him. Only the flesh can die, and it must die in order to release the vision from its bondage to flesh.

The body is not "the flesh" per se. "The flesh" is the carnal mind, a fleshly method or a limited perspective.

Yet the body is a type of the flesh. Jesus took upon Himself a body made of flesh in order to limit Himself for a season and thereby also show us by example how to be released into resurrection power. The veil was His flesh, we are told in Heb. 10:20, and when He died, the veil was torn from top to bottom in the temple.

If the glory of God had been resident in that old temple, it would have been revealed ("unveiled") to all. But the Ark had long since disappeared, when Jeremiah removed it and (I believe) took it with him on his journey West. The place where the Ark should have rested was instead marked by a simple stone. The lack of manifested glory in that temple shows us the futility of the attempt to create a carnal temple in Old Jerusalem that can manifest the glory of God.

Nonetheless, the veil was torn, in order to provide for us the pattern of the glory of God, which is manifested to the world only by the death of the flesh.

Because we have difficulty seeing the distinction between flesh and spirit, it is natural to bemoan the death of the flesh, as if this were the death of the promise and glory of God. But the promise of God can never die, at least not permanently. It can only be delayed to the appointed time. In this case, the death of a vision only transforms it with a new form of life, much like Jesus in His post-resurrection body. He was the same, yet different, and after His resurrection, no one ever recognized Him until He said something or did something.

I did a series a few months ago about Israel, showing how Israel "died" as a nation as well. It occurred with the fall of Samaria in 721 B.C. Individual people continued to exist, of course, but the nation itself died. Ezekiel saw them in a valley of dry bones (ch. 37). But he also saw new life breathed into them, and they were raised from the dead.

The resurrected body of Israel is comparable to the new body that Jesus received. "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:44). It takes a new form that can actually fulfill the promises of God. It is not a revival of the old flesh, for if it were, that flesh would again fail to fulfill the promises of God.

America is a good example of this. America's founding occurred precisely 2,520 years after the demise of the house of Israel. Israel was raised from the dead, but in this case it was a fleshly resurrection. That is, America was ruled by men who still had carnal minds, some better, some worse. And because of this, America has gone the way of ancient Israel once again.

But there is another level of fulfillment that is manifested in the overcomers. Jacob was the classic overcomer, born as "Jacob" the usurper, and later transformed into "Israel" the overcomer. He was 98 when He became an Israelite. He was not born an Israelite. This teaches us something on a truly higher level than mere genealogy.

We become "Jews" (i.e, members of the tribe of Judah) by following the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the rightful King holding the Scepter of Judah.

We become "Israelites" (overcomers) by following Christ in His second role as Joseph, the inheritor of the Birthright.

The Judah calling focuses upon death. The Joseph calling focuses upon resurrection. In each case, both death and resurrection were involved, but when we step back and see the bigger picture, it is plain that the theme of death applies to Judah and resurrection to Joseph.

This also speaks of Passover and Tabernacles, with Pentecost as the transitional feast between the other two.

There is an established path to follow, and we cannot stray from that path if we expect to be inheritors of the Birthright with "Joseph."

Keep in mind, too, that people have lived and died for many generations without seeing the fulfillment of the promises. Heb. 11:39 and 40 says,

(39) And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not received what was promised, (40) because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Abraham was promised a "country" but did not see it fulfilled in his life time. It was 400 years before Joshua brought his descendants into Canaan to inherit the promise on the first level of fulfillment. Even then, Canaan itself was only a "type" of something greater yet to come. The Kingdom was to cover the whole earth, not just a sliver of land in the Middle East. And the true real estate that God had promised was not farmland, but our bodies.

Many have had a Kingdom vision and have desired to live to see its establishment, along with the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Yet many have died. Did the promise fail? No, not at all. The promise was delayed because there were yet future generations that had to be born, in order to give them opportunity to participate in the same vision. They had to be allowed time to grow to spiritual maturity and to labor in God's vineyard.

And so, "apart from us they should not be made perfect." The promise has had to await "us" in later generations. They could not be perfected without us. Neither will we precede those who have fallen asleep (1 Thess. 4:15), because "the dead in Christ will rise first" (vs. 16). The feast of Trumpets occurs first on God's calendar. This is the day the resurrection will occur when it goes beyond all types and shadows and emerges as "the real deal."

Two weeks later, we who are alive in the time of the end will be transformed, for "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51). This, I believe, will occur on the first day of Tabernacles, two weeks after the feast of Trumpets. At that point, the entire body of overcomers will be joined as one perfected body, free of all hindering flesh.

All that this new body then will lack is the Head. John 7:14 shows us that Jesus comes to His temple in the middle of the feast of Tabernacles. I believe this is the pattern of His coming, and that at this point the Head will join with the Body as One New Man (Eph. 2:15). This New Creation Man will then be complete and fit to be presented to the Father on the eighth day of Tabernacles--the day of the presentation of the Sons of God.

So whether we live to see that day without dying, or must be raised from the dead to see that day, either way, all who have this promise will be alive to be presented to the Father at the appointed time. We have the promise of Caleb and Joshua, who were promised that they would be alive to inherit the Promised Land.

Death itself cannot prevent us from receiving the promises of God. Death could not stop Jesus, nor can it stop His body. So if God brings us through a time of crucifying the flesh while we yet live, keep in mind that its purpose is NOT to destroy the promise, but to fulfill it.

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Category: Commentary

Dr. Stephen Jones

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