by Mike Ratliff
“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:6-8 ESV)
I have been in “conversation” with a person over the last several days who is apparently an apostate with a degree in theology. When I try to get this person to read a passage of scripture so I can make a point, the resistance to do so is incredible. This person’s attacks on what we hold dear are centered on two things, our faith and the Bible as the Word of God.
It was through this little skirmish and others I have had over the last several weeks that I have seen how incredible this faith is that God has given His people. Only those with the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:1-10) hold the promises from the Bible as truth from God Himself. Those without it see those things as foolishness.
I have read the Bible through 10-15 times. I have taught from nearly every book in it. I have learned to do word and grammar studies in both Koine Greek and Hebrew. I listen to the preaching and teaching of several godly men whose names you would recognize. I have studied the writings of God’s men who died several centuries ago. I have done all of these things, but it is as I prayerfully search scripture at the Lord’s bidding that I “see” and “hear” the Truth in my heart. What the apostate and the pagan and the atheist see as “arrogance” and “foolishness” on our part is our adherence and trust in God’s truth from His Word.
We know the truth and it lives in us because we are New Creations whom God has regenerated. He has put His truth in us. We have faith. What we know and live within in our walk by faith is incomprehensible to the unregenerate. I actually never thought I would encounter this sort of resistance or attack or whatever like that our Lord and the Apostles encountered in their ministries. Before I started writing books and studies as God worked in me, I had a few, very brief encounters with the forces of darkness. However, the more public Possessing the Treasure has become, the more frequent and “dark” these “encounters” have become.
It is also indicative to this heart that the “heat” is being turned up as we study the Resurrection. I heard my Bible Study teacher at church say Sunday that it is foolishness on our part to expect Satan (our adversary) who is the devil (the slanderer) to not come after us with evil intent when we move in obedience to God. The more we obey Him, the more “heat” we will experience. As a Bible teacher, I obey God primarily by expounding His Word to His people for His glory and their edification. Therefore, when the part of the Gospel that gives us hope in eternity as the Bible teaches is being taught, resistance from our adversary and his seed should not be a surprise.
Now, let us look at the last lesson in this series on the Resurrection. I pray that this study has brought you blessings as God opened your heart to the truth of our future in Eternity with Him.
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1Corinthians 15:50-58 ESV)
Even though we are “in Christ” and are New Creations in our regeneration, we are still in our bodies as long as we live on planet Earth. The Kingdom of God exists in the hearts of God’s people, but they still cannot live in His eternal glory until they are changed. How are they changed? They will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. When? This will happen at the last trumpet. What does that mean? I believe the last trumpet signals the end of this age and the beginning of the age to come. At that moment, the dead will be raised imperishable, and those who are alive will be changed. This “change” is from a perishable body to an imperishable one. The mortal body will be changed from that to an immortal one.
Genuine Christians have this awaiting them in God’s timing. It will be glorious. It will be joyous. Death is defeated. Why? Sin is the sting of death and it will have no part in those whom God resurrects. They are pure and holy in His eyes now, but in their new bodies they will never have to deal with sin again. What does it mean that, “the power of sin is the law?” Sin first brought death and gave it power over us and the strength of sin is the Law because it reveals the judgment of God against us. Sin is the chief cause of our destruction. However, all in Christ have been freed from its power. That will be fulfilled at the Resurrection.
Now in light of this awaiting us in eternity, what’s a little “heat” from our enemy and his seed? Therefore, let us seek to be Spirit-filled by God’s grace, obedient to Him in all things as He works in us to bring us to completion. It is as I contemplate this that I deeply desire to be with my Lord. I will be with Him in His timing. Until then, I pray that we will draw nearer unto Him in mind and heart and spirit. I pray that my Lord’s character will become evident in all reading this as they are sanctified. Remember our final victory over death and our glorious future with our Lord is promised by God who cannot lie.