God warned Noah and his family to build the ark, a long time (up to a hundred years), before the flood began, because He knew that they'd need plenty of time to achieve such a monumental task.
I think that it's safe to assume that Noah wasn't an ark builder to begin with, and that he would have received inspirational wisdom from God, as they progressed with the work.
In much the same way, I believe that God is giving the Church of today plenty of time to adapt, and to obtain the wisdom necessary to survive the great tribulation, and there's a lot of work to be done.
First of all, the shepherds of God's flock need to fully understand and accept the responsibilty which falls upon them.
The leaders of the Christian Church are right on the front lines of the battle between God and Satan, in much the same way that Jesus and the apostles were, and if they're registered with the world system as a Christian church around the time of the great tribulation, it'll be impossible for those leaders to hide themselves, or to prevent the tribulation of those members of God's flock, entrusted to their care.
Many who leave it till the last minute to listen to the warnings I've been giving you, are going to find that it's just too late.
That's because, in our everyday lives most of us tend to leave a trail which could be used by our enemies to determine where we've been and to track us down.
A few of the things that they might be able to use against us, are as follows ...
1) Telephone records, which would also include text messages. (These are kept by telephone companies, and could easily lead them back to you from your local church, or somebody you know.)
We also have to remember that there are already super computers which monitor telephone conversations for key words, and if you happen to say any of those words, then it'll be red flagged and traceable to your phone.
2) The internet and any other electronic media used for conversations.
3) Church records stored on computer hard drives. (Even in the world of today, there's software capable of restoring information which has been deleted from a hard drive.)
If at all possible, I think that it would be more advisable for church groups to avoid keeping records of any kind, concerning their congregations.
But from everything I've learned, I believe that God is giving us plenty of time (most likely a couple of decades or more), to make the necessary adjustments to our way of life, so as to avoid being caught by those methods.
If all of this sounds like a bit too much, then just ask yourself this ... What would have happened if Noah had been too lazy to build the ark in accordance with the instructions he'd been given?
For instance, at some point, he might have had trouble obtaining all of that gopher wood, and decided instead to substitute something else in it's place.
If he'd done that, then what do you think would have happened?
So other than looking forward to martyrdom (or worse), if we're willing to take the threat seriously enough as the time of the great tribulation approaches, then it would surely be prudent to find a more undetectable way for congregations to meet, until the day arrives when we'll need to disappear.
For instance, church leaders might instead choose to get a job like the apostle Paul, and to remain unregistered as a religious group, while using the homes of different congregation members as meeting places from week to week.
Any Church leaders who are willing to take those kinds of precautions, might also manage to survive the great tribulation themselves, and to take part in the harvest. (It would still be advisable though, to thoroughly destroy any records concerning their flock, the moment the antichrist is revealed to the world.)
During the great tribulation, all of us who are still alive will need to disappear from sight, and the above mentioned kinds of precautions, should make it easier to do so.
There's a chance that some of us will even choose to go underground before the antichrist first appears, because 2Ti 3:1 says ... "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come."
And also ... "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2Ti 3:13)
Both of these verses seem to imply that our lives might be under threat, even before the great tribulation begins.
Unfortunately, a lot of people aren't going to take these warnings seriously, because Jesus specified that "many" would be betrayed.
Although it sounds like a lot for us to take into account, I believe that it's up to us to do our very best to comply with God's will, and to hope and pray for His help and guidance along the way. (see Jas 1:5)
It's perfectly in line with the will of God, that there will be those of us who are meant to survive to the end, and it means that we can also expect His help to achieve it, but anyone who resists the truth, can expect problems. (I intend to address the subject of going into hiding, in greater detail towards the end of this series.)
To be continued ...
Amo 5:20 says ... "Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
As if in reply to Amo 5:20, Isa 50:10 says ... "Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God."
No matter how dark it gets, we can always depend upon God for guidance and help, but we need to be attentive enough to receive that guidance when it is given. (Although it's quite possible that the warnings I've been giving you are all the guidance you will ever need, we're still expected to remain alert and to keep watch.)
In the case of Samson and Delilah, all Samson had to do was to keep his mouth shut concerning his secret, and it would have preserved his life, and there was enough guidance coming his way from God, that he should have been aware of the likely danger of divulging it.
The world thinks of us Christians as fools, but we're going to need to be much wiser than they are, if we want to survive the great tribulation, and to serve God in the greatest harvest of all time.
Jesus also said ... "Behold, I send you forth, as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Mat 10:16)
Since a wolf is primarily a symbol of a false teacher, then what He was really telling us, is that we need to be wise enough to discern the difference between those leaders of the Church who are walking in the Spirit, from those who are not!
As an example of what I mean, 1Ti 6:3-5 says ... "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." (also see 2Th 3:6)
Other than the really obvious parts of that statement, we should especially pay particular attention to the final words ... "supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself"
That warning came from the apostle Paul, and we should also become more familiar with any similar guidelines in the scriptures concerning the leaders of the church, and how they are supposed to behave themselves.
If you're thinking that you could probably throw a dart out the window, and hit someone less materialistic than the leaders of the church you currently attend, then you might just want to consider finding another place of worship!
It's very important that we shouldn't leave a traceable trail which will lead the enemies of Christ back to us, and next week I intend to continue the explanation as to how it might be achieved.
To be continued ...
Although the rapture is just a myth, it's really ironic that some of us will already know how to vanish from the face of the Earth when the time comes, by leaning upon the wisdom which comes from above.
But probably the greatest threat to our lives at that time, will come from a direction which many of us wouldn't normally consider to be likely.
Jesus said ... "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (Joh 10:11)
Unfortunately the same can't be said for every leader of the Church.
Just before He was taken captive by His enemies, Jesus said ... "All ye shall be offended because of me, this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." (Mat 26:31)
In keeping with the principle of smiting the shepherd, the first to come under attack from the antichrist, will be the leaders of the Church, and those who are unworthy of that office will betray their entire congregations, rather than to accept martyrdom.
If anyone thinks that I'm exaggerating, then just consider this.
During the Rwanda massacre of 1994, somewhere between 800,000 to a million people were murdered, and many of them (including children), appear to have been betrayed by their own pastors, ministers and priests.
And the craziest thing of all, is that those terrible betrayals were committed for no better reason, than to gain political advantage for themselves in their own respective churches.
Africa is a volatile place, and Rwanda was an extreme example, but the beginning of the great tribulation is described as, Mat 24:9 says ... "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake."
Even if you aren't directly betrayed by the leaders of your church, it's manifestly obvious that the antichrist's cronies will only have to commandeer the Church records in order to find their way back to you.
So what can we possibly hope to do about it, without forsaking fellowship?
To be continued ...
I said earlier that I'd reveal a subtle mystery, and here it comes ...
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up, at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." (Joh 6:53-55)
In this statement, the words which most likely offended his disciples were the references to drinking His blood, because even if they were capable of understanding the part about eating His flesh, there are strict taboos in the Hebrew religion against drinking the blood of any animal, and that's probably why they found it so hard to understand, because even in the story of the first passover in Egypt, the Israelites didn't drink the blood of the sacrificial lamb. (see Gen 9:4;Joh 7:37;1Co 10:4;1Co 12:13)
As it turned out though, His words served the purpose of separating most of the wheat from the chaff amongst His disciples, leaving only the twelve apostles. (Joh 6:67-70)
Jesus was completely fluent in both the literal and symbolic languages of the scriptures, so what this shows us, is that He was in the process of creating a new metaphor, whereby the drinking of his blood would be completely acceptable, since the Old Testament was about to be done away with.
So when is it okay to drink the blood of a man?
When that blood is just a metaphor!
The beginnings of the symbolic connection between blood and wine can be found in two Old Testament verses ...
Gen 49:11 says ... "Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes"
Then Isa 49:26 which says ... "And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine"
At the last supper, Jesus passed around wine and said ... "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luk 22:20)
Most of us are familiar with the Eucharist, which is a Christian sacrament commemorating the Last Supper by consecrating bread and wine, representing the body and blood of Christ.
Although there's nothing wrong with taking part in the Eucharist as an act of acceptance and faith, Jesus wasn't telling us to immitate the last supper at all, because the real key in those words was the connection between the wine in His cup, His own blood, and the New Testament itself.
At an earlier time He'd also said ... "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."(Joh 6:45)
This shows us how important it is to read the New Testament, and whenever you do, you're eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ.
In Gen 9:4, God said ... "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat."
From this we can see that God created a symbol, whereby the blood of any creature represented it's life, and that in turn reminds us of Joh 14:6, which says ... "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
So if we wish to take eternal life into ourselves, then it only stands to reason that we need to consume the blood (life) of the living word of God.
Although as far as I can recall, there aren't any other direct connections between the New Testament and the concept of drinking the blood of Christ, there are however, a couple of clever symbolic connections which support what I'm saying here.
The first great miracle our Lord performed, when He turned water into wine, was essentially saying the same thing.
The conversion of water(symbolic of the water of the word) into wine (symbolic of blood) immediately established a permanent connection between the two, so that drinking in the water of the word would afterwards be synonymous with also drinking the blood of Christ.
We normally think of Jesus transforming water into wine, but the deeper metaphorical meaning was that He transformed water into blood!
And there's yet another powerful verse which creates a close connection between water and blood.
Shortly after Jesus died on the cross, Joh 19:34 says ... "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water."
This meant that His word would flow out to the world as the result of His sacrifice, as represented by both blood and water, and is also therefore indirectly linked to something else He once said ... "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (Joh 12:24)
As many of you will already know, the symbol of the sacrificial lamb represented by Jesus, really originated with the story of Abraham.
In Gen 22:7,8 we see ... "And Isaac spoke unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together."
Of course, Abraham already knew that his son was going to be the lamb for the sacrifice, and it was just a shadow likeness of how God would later sacrifice His own son.
After Isaac was bound and laid upon the altar, Gen 22:10-12 then says ... "And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."
When Isaac rose up from the altar unharmed, it was a metaphor of the resurrection of Christ, because he'd survived what had appeared to be certain death, in much the same way that the prophet Daniel was lifted up alive from the lions den. (Dan 6:23)
Gen 22:13 continues with ... "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."
I've explained elsewhere that the ram mentioned here, represents the final destruction of the enemies of God.
The lamb represented by Isaac however, never actually died at all, and it all fell upon the ram, so the moral of the story is about spiritual life and death, rather than the mere life or death of our physical form.
The apostle Peter once said of this ... "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1Pe 3:18-20)
Jesus appeared to be dead to the world, in that he'd been layed to rest in his sepulcher, but his Spirit was alive and actively preaching the gospel to those who'd died during the great flood.
He never really died in the fullest sense of the word, because nobody can kill the Spirit of God.
So He was both dead and alive at the same time!
To be continued ...
Continuing now with the passover, Exo 12:11 says ... "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD's passover."
Although this conjures up an absurd image of people sitting around fully dressed with nowhere to go, it really represents an important part of walking by faith.
Namely, the willingness to stay still, and to trust in God.
Just waiting in their houses for the destroyer to pass over them, was very similar to when they later stood helplessly at the edge of the Red sea, with the Egyptians closing in from behind.
They wanted to run away, but there was nowhere to go.
And then just before parting the sea, Moses uttered those memorable words ... "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." (Exo 14:13,14)
All of this was just another way of saying that we're saved by grace alone, and not by our own works!
Exo 12:15 then says ... "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses:, for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day, until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel."
I believe that the seven days mentioned here represents the seven days of creation, since the final culmination of those days is the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the unleavened bread stands for the ongoing suffering of God's faithful followers from the beginning of time. (i.e. the bread of affliction [Deu 16:3])
As for the bitter herbs mentioned in Exo 12:8, bitterness is something which many Christians will have to deal with, and it will even cause some to abandon the faith.
To be continued ...
The last supper happened at the time of the passover feast of unleavened bread, and is thereby linked to the first passover in ancient Egypt. (Exo 12:1-23)
Concerning that first passover, Exo 12:1,2 says ... "And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."
Although it isn't immediately obvious, the passover was a symbolic representation of the Christian walk of faith, and the words "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months" stood for a new beginning (i.e. being born again).
In Exo 12:3-8, God then commanded ... "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep, it up until the fourteenth, day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it."
You'll notice here, that the lamb in question was meant to be consumed by the Israelites in their dwellings, and that's where Jesus originally obtained the purely figurative concept, that others needed to eat His flesh.
I'm sure that some of you might be thinking ... "But they didn't drink the blood, because it was sprinkled on the door posts of the house."
There really is an answer to that, but it's probably one of the most subtle mysteries in the Bible, and I intend to explain it later on.
Returning now to the subject at hand though, Joh 1:29 says ... "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
It's clear from this, that John the baptist was already fully aware of the symbolic connections, linking the passover lamb to Jesus.
Exo 12:9 also tells us that the lamb was not meant to be boiled, but had to be roasted with fire, and that then tells us that it was also meant to be a burnt offering to God.
The people who consumed the lamb were acting by faith, and were thereby made part of the sacrifice themselves, and that's just another way of saying "Christ in us".
Further evidence that the lamb was also a burnt offering, is shown by Exo 12:10, which says ... "And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire."
All of this is also symbolic of the fiery trial which will be experienced by every Christian, although for many of us, that fiery trial might only consist of having to endure to the end!. (1Pe 1:7 ; 1Pe 4:12)
To be continued ...
In the Gospel according to John, there's an account of the time when Jesus said ... "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up, at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." (Joh 6:53-55)
A little earlier in this story, Jesus also referred to Himself as the true bread which came down from heaven. (Joh 6:35)
Our Lord was no giggling guru, and everything He had to say, had a definite meaning behind it!
The affect it had, is shown in Joh 6:60 which says ... "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?"
And then Joh 6:66 says ... "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
But were the statements made by Jesus, really so difficult to understand?
As I've previously mentioned, every notable symbol in the Bible originates from somewhere else in the scriptures, and these verses are no exception.
Probably the first of these would be ... "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God." (Gen 14:18)
In "Shadows of Bible Prophecy" I explained how Melchizedek was really just a shadow likeness of Jesus, and by extension, the words ... "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine" can therefore be seen as a revelation that Jesus would be a bearer of sustenance for others.
But the mention of bread and wine also draws a connection to the last supper, when Jesus said ... "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luk 22:19,20)
To be continued ...
Rom 12:3 says ... "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
All of this shows us that it's probably wiser to patiently wait upon the Lord, so that He can provide you with the faith you need, rather than to lightly assume that your faith is already strong enough to claim whatever you want.
Another reason why someone could wait for years without receiving a healing, is because it might be a trial from God, since suffering isn't exactly unusual in the Christian faith. (Act 14:22 ; 1Pe 1:7 ; 1Pe 4:12)
This possibility is further supported by certain instances in the scriptures, whereby people were first expected to fulfill some kind of task, or to travel to another place before a healing would occur.
That sort of thing happened in the life of Jesus a number of times, but as an example, I prefer to use the story of Naaman the Syrian.
2Ki 5:1 tells us that Naaman was "captain of the host of the king of Syria", but was also a leper.
After it came to Naaman's attention that there was a prophet of Israel living in Samaria who could heal him, 2Ki 5:9 says ... "So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha." (Elisha was the name of the prophet)
The story then continues ... "And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." (2Ki 5:10)
2Ki 5:11,12 then says ... "But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage."
His comment, ... "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?", tells us that Naaman was viewing the situation from a purely materialistic perspective, whereas the trip to the Jordan river represented the spiritual path he really needed to travel.
We can see here that Naaman had expected the prophet to jump to attention, and to put on a show for him, and his pride was threatening to get in the way of his healing.
But then 2Ki 5:13,14 says ... "And his servants came near, and spoke unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."
By taking the advice of his lowly servants, it's clear that Naaman wasn't above humbly acknowledging the truth after he'd heard it, and his eventual acceptance of the conditions given by the prophet, tells us that he'd also repented.
The words "and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child" is a symbolic connection to the culmination of the Christian walk of faith, which is to become like a little child. (Mar 10:15)
The act of Naaman travelling to the Jordan river, symbolically stands for the Christian walk of faith, and that in turn, tells us that some of us within the faith will have to learn to humble ourselves and to wait upon God, before receiving what we asked for."
Someone recently told a member of my family that they knew people who had "claimed" a healing from God, but after years of waiting, still hadn't received it, and I can think of a few possible reasons for this.
First of all, it's not much good claiming something from God if you don't really believe it. (Jas 1:6,7)
Also, according to the scriptures, healing is a gift which usually happens immediately, so behaving as if you've been healed before it actually happens, comes awfully close to lying to the Holy Ghost. (See Act 5:1-10 for an extreme example.)
In this story from acts, Ananias, and Sapphira his wife actually conspired to lie to God, so they really didn't have any excuse for their actions, but most of us make these kinds of mistakes purely out of ignorance, and God is very forgiving in such instances.
Luk 12:48 says of this ... "But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes."
To claim something up front, before you've even received it, really smacks of high mindedness, which Paul referred to in 1Co 4:8 as ... "Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God, ye did reign, that we also might reign with you."
But despite what I've said so far, the great mercy and forgiveness of God's grace towards believers, is further shown in the life of Abraham.
If we look at the promise to Abraham's wife, we see ... "And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. (Gen 18:10-15)
Although Abraham and Sarah are held up by the New Testament as examples of faithfulness, she laughed derisively when she overheard the promise.
But despite her initial reaction to what she'd heard, her fear at being discovered implies that she really did believe in God in her heart.
Yet again though, it appears to be a transgression of Jas 1:6,7, and Abraham and Sarah might have had some difficulty believing in the promise, except for one thing.
Right after the promise had been given, the two angels then went on to pass judgement upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham was allowed to know about it. (Gen 18:16-21)
After seeing fire raining down from the heavens upon those cities, both Abraham and his wife would have been even more convinced that God's promise to them would be fulfilled.
So God didn't just give them the promise, but also gave them enough evidence to reinforce their faith, in much the same way that Jesus did for doubting Thomas!
To be continued ...
In some ways, faith and hope are really just two sides of the same coin.
In reference to Abraham, Rom 4:18-22 says, ... "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
And being not weak, in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
The term, ... "Who against hope believed in hope", tells us that Abraham had the same kind of doubts in his mind as the rest of us might have, but chose to think with his heart, and to trust in God anyhow.
The statement that he was "strong in faith" therefore goes hand in hand with the comment that he "believed in hope".
On one occasion, a desperate man approached Jesus on behalf of his son, who was possessed by a devil, and the Lord said to him, ... "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth". (Mar 9:23)
Mar 9:24 then says, ... "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief".
Although he obviously doubted the conviction of how strong his faith really was, he approached Jesus with a heart full of hope, and was even honest enough to ask the Lord to help him to believe.
Jas 1:5-7 says, ... "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord".
According to this excerpt from James, the man shouldn't have received what he'd asked for, but his plea had touched the Lord's heart, and Jesus gave it to him anyhow.
So it was really the hope which the man had in Jesus Himself, which counted the most!
Also, although it's true that most of us don't have the faith whereby we can instantly expect to receive what we asked for, we do however have enough faith, to wait in hope for God's help.
Heb 11:6 says, ... "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him".
Patiently hoping for God's deliverance, certainly fits the description of diligently seeking Him, and we can eventually expect His help, because we know in our heart that God really loves us.
That's what Rom 5:5 means by ... "And hope maketh not ashamed".
What I'm saying here concerning hope, is further supported by an experience of the Lord's disciples when they found that they couldn't cast out a particular devil.
Mat 17:19-21 says, ... "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out, but by prayer and fasting."
Prayer and fasting is just a way by which you can obtain something from God, by approaching Him with a hopeful and seriously sober mind.
Luk 18:1-8 says ... "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while:, but afterward, he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily".
The first statement here, ... "that men ought always to pray, and not to faint", was just the Lord's way of telling us to hopefully wait upon God, and to never give up.
The unjust judge in this parable responded because he realized that the woman's continual efforts to gain his help, would eventually wear him down, so his reasons were really just selfish.
But we can expect God to respond, because we are His children, and he cares about us! (Mat 7:7-11)
To be continued ...
In ancient times, sailors used the stars of the heavens to find their way home, and the 144,000 as new angels (stars are symbolic of angels), will provide the same service to the Church.
But if you think I'm giving a bit too much credit to the 144,000, then just let me put things back into a proper perspective.
Gen 1:16 says, ... "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also".
The greater light mentioned here stands for the sun (Jesus), while the lesser light to rule the night stands for the moon. (The Christian Church in general)
You should also notice that the mention of stars here (symbolic of the 144,000) is little more than an afterthought, which tells us that the Church itself is still greater than any particular group of Christians in the body of Christ.
At any given time, there are many individuals within the Church, who seek to serve the Lord in whatever way they can.
Nonetheless, the 144,000 will fulfill their purpose of helping others to draw nearer to God.
To be continued ...
The sheer weight of experiential knowledge with which Jesus blessed the apostles, was a one time deal which has never quite been repeated again.
There have only ever been twelve accepted apostles, and there will never be any more of them!
But what about Rev 4:4, which says, ... "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold."
Those twenty four elders represent the twelve original forefathers of old Israel, as well as the twelve apostles of Christ, as the chief representatives of God's two witnesses. (I've already explained who the two witnesses are, elsewhere.)
At no time in the Old Testament scriptures is the number 24 used to represent the foundation of God's kingdom, but there's more than ample evidence connected to the number 12. (see Exo 28:21; Jos 4:3; 1Ki 18:31)
The same thing can be said for the New Testament. (Mat 10:1,2; Mat 19:28; Rev 21:14) (Especially notice that there are only twelve foundation stones to new Jerusalem, representing only twelve apostles.)
At the end of one of His parables, the Lord once asked a very strange question ... "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luk 18:8)
I suspect that He already knew the answer to that, but posed the question for our sakes, so that we would one day consider what He'd meant.
When we consider that Jesus had all of the time He needed to observe the faithless behaviour of the human race, then what He was indirectly saying was, ... "Since I'm not going to be present in the end of days, and the apostles will be long dead, then how will the Church gain enough experience in the things of God, in order to survive to the end?"
The Church needs deeper experiences from God, in order to get closer to God, which is further explained in Rom 5:1-5, which says, ... "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein, we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Waiting on God puts us on the path to more spiritual experiences, which in turn, leads to a more lively hope in God.
So what's the problem?
The simple fact that we're still living in the spiritually bankrupt night time, which Jesus spoke of in Joh 9:4 as, "the night cometh, when no man can work."
It's clear from all of this that the Church of our time is in dire need of a helpful and present guiding light, but since the end of that statement from Joh 9:4 says ... "when no man can work", then what possible answer can there be?
It's found in Rev 7:4, in the description given of the twelve times twelve thousand individuals, who will make up the 144,000.
As I explained in "Shadows of Bible Prophecy", one of the primary purposes of the 144,000 is to teach, and since they aren't really men at all, but newly created angels of God, then the comment "when no man can work" doesn't really apply to them.
I intend to explain more on this subject next week though.
To be continued ...
The apostles had great faith because of the experiences they had while following the Lord around, and also because they were witnesses to His resurrection.
Although they lived in relative poverty compared to the world we now live in, they were specially blessed by the presence of the Lord, and later went on to inspire others.
They were truly richer in Spirit. (Mat 5:3)
The more time they spent with Jesus, the stronger their faith became.
But relatively speaking, we now live in barren times!
Luk 6:24 says ... "But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation."
What this means in practical terms, is that a rich person will naturally first go to the bank whenever a need arises, but anyone who is poor has little choice but to turn to God.
The more often they turn to God, the more experiences they will have of His presence in their lives, and the stronger their faith will become!
The relationship between the experiences of the apostles, and the level of their faith, is undeniable when we consider the case of doubting Thomas.
At face value, it might appear that the reason he doubted, was because he was the only apostle who wasn't present when Jesus appeared to them after He had risen. (Joh 20:24)
However, the real reason was because he was just one of those people who refuses to believe something, unless they can see it with their own eyes.
He then said ... "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, the Lord reappeared before them again, and said to Thomas ... "Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." (Joh 20:27)
If Jesus hadn't allowed Thomas that experience, then he never would have gone on to become an effective apostle.
Joh 20:30 then goes on to say ... "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book"
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To be continued ...
A while ago, I saw a program about the apostle John, which claimed that he was a frail old man fleeing from the Romans, and living in caves when he wrote the book of Revelation. (Revelation is believed to have been written about sixty years after the crucifixion)
The program claimed that he was obviously delirious at the time when he wrote the book, but anyone who has read my work about Revelation should realize how false those claims are.
It's seems to me that a lot of ignorant documentaries are solely created to fill an hour of television time, for the purpose of making a quick buck.
They're created from an earthly perspective, and therefore can't take into account that when the flesh gets weaker, the Spirit gets stronger within us.
It seems much more likely to me, that by the time he wrote the book of Revelation, John would have been a spiritual dynamo!
This is further supported by historical claims that he actually lived to a ripe old age of something approaching one hundred and twenty years, which is symbolically supported by the words of Christ concerning John, when He said ... "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (Joh 21:22).
Clearly, Jesus was saying that He could keep John alive until the second coming, if He wished.
But why John?
I suspect that he must have had a terrible time until Jesus came into his life, and the extent of his gratitude towards the Lord for giving his life meaning was shown at the last supper ... "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved." (Joh 13:23)
Although it isn't directly stated anywhere that John was the one who leaned on Jesus, the fact that he didn't mention who it was, combined with the tone of the statement, indirectly implies that John was referring to himself.
It's also conspicuously absent from the other three versions of the gospel. (Probably because John was the only one who considered it to be important enough to mention.)
Here was a young man who kept his heart on his sleeve, and must have been very close to the Lord.
As a metaphor, I'd have to say that the life of John stood for a symbol of long life, and that all we really need to do is to open our heart to God, to find a place of special protection.
You might remember that I once said that it's easier to destroy, than it is to create.
A good example of this was the sin committed by Adam and Eve, resulting in a domino effect which extended out to every other natural human being who would ever live, and binding the world under the power of sin.
Maybe we should call it the Humpty Dumpty effect.
Satan, Philosophers, humanists, false religions and all of the kings of the world, and all of their horses, haven't been able to remove the destructive effects of sin, which ultimately results in the collapse of any kingdom.
But then, Rom 5:15-17 says ... "For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the, judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
So God didn't need to use all of the powers of this world, and the angels of Heaven to undo the damage, but instead chose to accomplish it with just one man.
Just another case of God mocking the world through imitation, and by doing the impossible!
Comparing the exploits of Samson to Jesus reveals something very interesting.
When Samson stretched out his arms between the pillars of the Philistine temple, he brought down the power of the enemies of his own time, but when Jesus stretched out his arms on the cross, He completely destroyed the power of the kingdoms of Satan.
The same can be seen in the comparison between Solomon and Jesus.
Whereas Solomon only managed to fullfill half of the requirements of his mother's prophecy, our Lord managed to resist alcohol as well as the temptations of women.
The only fair conclusion we can draw from this, is that Jesus was stronger than Samson, and wiser than Solomon.
But surely, even though the continual abuse of alcohol can damage our judgement, is it really all that serious if the effect can be so subtle?
Considering that God's Spirit speaks to us in very subtle ways, I'd have to say that we need all of the good judgement we can get!
Of wisdom, Pro 8:1 says ... "Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?"
And also ... "Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets" (Pro 1:20)
An example of wisdom crying out, can be found in the life of Samson.
I'm sure most of us have heard the saying ... "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."
Well someone should have explained that to Samson!
After being pressed by his own wife to reveal a secret, he relented and told her the answer, which ended up costing him dearly.
Pro 20:30 says ... "The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil"
Clearly we're meant to learn from our mistakes, and if Samson had been paying attention, he wouldn't have made the same mistake when Delilah pressed him for the secret to his great strength.
Pro 17:24 also says ... "Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth."
This tells us that all of the information he needed to protect himself, was right there in front of him all the time, and he just didn't notice.
But if the betrayal by his wife wasn't enough guidance from God to make him wary, then he certainly wasn't going to notice this next bit.
In old times, a persons name often had a deeper meaning, and although I suspect that Samson knew what Delilah's name really meant, he still just chose to ignore it.
Believe it or not, Delilah actually means "languishing", which in turn means "to become feeble".
Considering that the secret of his strength was the only thing that kept him from becoming feeble, perhaps he should have thought twice before revealing it to her.
Samson had powerful enemies, and under the circumstances he really should have smelled a rat.
In recent times it's been established that there's a correlation between alcoholism and disorders like Parkinsons disease, because drinking to excess destroys hundreds of millions of brain cells.
Although many seem to believe that the only price to be payed for a night on the town, will be the hangover they'll have to endure the next morning, I can't help but wonder if they're really losing much more than they bargained for in the long run.
In a warning given to Solomon by his mother, we see ... "What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." (Pro 31:1-7)
I believe that this warning goes beyond any momentary perversion of judgement which might result from the excessive consumption of alcohol, and that she was really referring to an overall general loss of judgement!
Whenever anyone drinks to excess, they're really destroying an important part of their ability to perceive the world around them, but the effect can be so subtle as to normally go unnoticed.
It seems to me, that his mother's prophetic warning must have been a contributing factor to the attainment of Solomon's great wisdom, and would imply that he really did abstain from alcohol throughout his life.
It's just a shame that he didn't have the strength to resist the other part of that warning concerning women, and that's where he failed.
But this then raises the question ... If he hadn't abstained from alcohol, would he still have gone on to become the wisest natural man in history?
Somehow, I seriously doubt it!
To be continued ...
Through the various connections to the life of Samson, We can be pretty sure that Jesus was a Nazarite from birth, but although His rejection of the vinegar offered to him on the cross would seem to imply that He'd rejected it for that reason, the truth is really much stranger than that.
You see, it all comes down to what He'd said at the last supper ... "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come".
At the moment He tasted the vinegar, He then knew that the kingdom of God had finally arrived.
He also received all knowledge from God the Father, and even though He'd never tasted vinegar before, He instantly knew that it was the fruit of the vine He was tasting, and consequently, there was no need for Him to continue drinking the vinegar at all!
Instead, His reaction to that awareness is found in the Gospel according to John, which says ... "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (Joh 19:30)
Jesus didn't know that His ordeal had come to an end, until he'd tasted that vinegar! (i.e. the fruit of the vine)
No man can see God and live (Exo 33:20), and in effect, that's exactly what happened to the man Jesus Christ, because He barely had enough time to say "It is finished", before dying of shock.
In the Bible, the "eye" is symbolic of understanding, and since God is an invisible spirit, the only way for anyone to see Him, is if they can fully understand Him.
During His life, the Lord had to walk by faith as a man in order to be the author of our salvation, and was therefore denied much knowledge from God the Father, but the sudden infusion of infinite knowledge into His human mind at the moment when He tasted the vinegar, was enough to mercifully shorten His life, and thereby end His suffering on the cross.
Considering that the Lord was already close to death, and in a severely weakened state, it's understandable that it would have been enough to finish Him.
The possibility that the Lord was a Nazarite from birth is further supported by the shadow likeness in the life of Samson.
1) First of all, the births of both Samson and Jesus were heralded by an angel, and they were both saviours of Israel. Jdg 13:3-5; Mat 1:18-21
2) We also have to consider that both women should have been unable to bare a child, because the mother of Samson was barren, and the mother of Jesus was a virgin.
3) The name Samson actually means "sunlight", and a comparison to a couple of verses about Jesus, further establishes a strong symbolic connection between them. (see Mal 4:2 "the Sun of righteousness", and Rev 1:16 "and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.")
4) In Gen 22:17, God promised Abraham ... "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies."
The Holy seed He was talking about was Jesus, and by extension, the Church. (Psa 22:30;1Jn 3:9;1Pe 1:23;Gal 3:29) The promise that the seed of Abraham would possess the gate of his enemies is another symbolic connection to the life of Samson. (Judges 16:1-3)
There's also a symbolic connection in these verses from Judges between Samson and Jesus, which further implies that Jesus will return around midnight of the seventh day of God. (Jdg 16:3)
5) Both Samson and Jesus were delivered to death through acts of betrayal,and Judas Iscariot and Delilah were both rewarded for their betrayal with a payment of silver. (Mat 26:14,15;Jdg 16:5)
7) Samson and Jesus were both blinded by their enemies. (Jdg 16:21;Mat 27:46)
In Samson's case, he was literally blinded, but the Lord was only spiritually blinded for a moment.
Jesus already knew how He was going to suffer, even before it happened, and the words "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" represent the darkest part of His ordeal when He was momentarily blinded to the truth.
It was just a temporary lapse, and at no time did God the Father ever really desert Jesus!
8) Samson sacrificed his life and destroyed the Lords of the philistines, and Jesus sacrificed His life and destroyed the power of Satan. (Jdg 16:30;Col 2:15)
To be continued ...
One of the things which has been disputed over the years, is whether or not Jesus had long hair.
After all, 1Co 11:14 says ... "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?"
But this really becomes a moot point when we consider that Jesus was possibly a Nazarite from birth.
In the description of a Nazarite given in Num 6:1-4, we see ... "And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine, and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing, that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels, even to the husk."
Throughout the history of the world, there's never been anyone more "separated to God" than Jesus.
But what makes it most relevant, is the connection to Mat 27:34 which says ... "They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink."
Offering vinegar to someone dying of thirst on a cross, is no kindness, and is meant to increase their suffering, because that kind of terrible thirst would normally compel anyone in that state to drink just about anything you offered them.
But Jesus still refused to drink!
Then looking at Lev 10:9, it says of the Levitical priesthood ... "Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generation"
But Jesus was also God's high priest, and according to Heb 9:11, He was also the new tabernacle as well ... "But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building"
I suspect that the Lord would have abstained from consuming any of the fruit of the vine for those reasons, and His answer to John the Baptist in Mat 3:15 would seem to support that idea ... "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness."
If however, we take a look at the last supper according to Matthew, it says ... "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth, of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Mat 26:26-29)
The use of the word "henceforth" would seem to imply that Jesus might have drunk alcohol before that time, but then intended to abstain from it until after He had risen from the dead.
But Matthew wasn't the only one to remember the events of the last supper!
The description of the last supper according to Luke, appears to contain even more details than remembered by Matthew, which tells me that Luke's recollection was probably more accurate ... "And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until, it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luk 22:15-20)
Firstly, you'll notice that He didn't use the word "henceforth" when referring to His cup, but simply said "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."
And secondly, since the cup He passed around at the end of the meal represented His own blood, it's highly improbable that He would have drunk from it Himself.
If all of this isn't enough though, then there's still Luk 5:30, which says ... "But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?"
The Pharisees really had it in for Jesus, and if there was any way that they could have accused Him of drinking alcohol, then they certainly would have.
Clearly, according to Luk 5:30, Jesus wasn't taking part in the drinking, which is why they had to settle for accusing His disciples!
In fact, as far as I can tell, the only place in the scriptures which plainly refers to a time when the Lord may have consumed alcohol is Acts 10:40,41, which says ... "Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead."
But that's really just in accordance with what He'd previously said at the last supper.
To be continued ...
In an action movie set in the ancient world, the heroine cried ... "Do you want to live forever", just before jumping from a great height.
Along the same lines, some time ago I came across a website where the subject of discussion was eternity. One of the people involved in that discussion notably said something like ... "But surely you'd eventually become bored".
For an earthly human being, I suspect that this is a very true statement, because earthly minded individuals are driven by selfish lust and greed, and are a bit like a runaway fire which can never be satisfied, until it's burned up everything in its path.
1Ti 6:5-10 says of this ... "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through, with many sorrows."
The apostle Paul said of himself ... "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Php 4:11-13)
We all need to develop this same attitude, in order to become a better person who is adaptable enough to live forever.
Also, those who have a worthwhile purpose in life will always have a reason to live, and the selfless nature of our Christian faith thereby also prepares us for eternity as well. (1Co 10:24)
Isa 9:7 tells us that there will never be an end to the increase of God's kingdom, which means that there will always be new children of God being created, and that those children will need help from those who have already graduated to the status of angels.
That's part of the reason why the Godhead is likened to the institution of marriage, because after parents have lived through their own youth, they then get to live vicariously through the experiences of their children.
Jesus supported this when He said ... "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth" (Luk 15:7)
On top of all that, we also have promises from God's word which implies that we'll never get bored. (e.g. Job 36:11;Psa 16:11;Psa 36:8)
2Co 8:15 says ... "As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack."
We'll all continue to receive whatever good things we need to continue cheerfully living our lives.
Of all the stories from the Bible, one of my favourites is found in Mat 14:14-21, which says ... "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need, not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and broke, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children."
The moral of this story, is that God has infinite resources to draw upon, and can even do those things which completely contradict our own interpretation of reality.
For my own part though, I think it'd just be nice to know that everyone around me in heaven would have an honest concern for my wellbeing.
Back in high school, I did a brief stint in the army cadets, and learned a lesson in life during a camp outing. One cold evening, a lantern was strung up on a tree, and after being spread out amongst the surrounding bushland, we were all expected to return to the lantern.
Sounds simple enough, except there were others who were appointed to catch us.
At first, it all seemed too easy, moving from one outcrop to another in the dark, but about half way back to the light something unexpected happened.
Somebody launched a flare high into the sky!
The people who were looking for us, all started drifting towards the area where the flare would come down for a better look.
Unfortunately for me though, I was a bit too exposed, and one of the searchers came uncomfortably close to where I was lying in some grass.
In an attempt to obtain better cover, I moved myself slightly to one side towards a small nearby bush, but the rustling of the grass caught the attention of the searcher, and I was discovered.
He then said, ... "If you hadn't moved, I never would have seen you".
So I never did make it to the lantern, but the experience did teach me something.
Sometimes the difference between life and death, can be something as simple as knowing exactly the right thing to do, at exactly the right time!
During the great tribulation, only those who'll know to stay still, will survive long enough to reap the harvest.