This World, That World (10)

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Luke 20:34-38 (34) And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: (35) But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (36) Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (37) Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. (38) For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. We had previously noted how central and critical the doctrine of the resurrection is to the Christian faith and to the Christian's hope: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1CO 15:19). God “...hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1PE 1:3). Because Jesus died and rose again as the “...firstfruits of them that slept” (1CO 15:20), the promise of His return is also a promise of resurrection, so believers should “...sorrow not, even as others which have no hope...” (1TH 4:13-18). It is THIS hope that Paul preached everywhere and for which he was persecuted by his own countrymen: “...of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (ACT 23:6). After his conversion, Paul ceased preaching the false hope of works-righteousness and of Jewish exaltation which looked for a glorious political kingdom of this world. He then began preaching the true “...hope of Israel...” (ACT 28:20) which was the resurrection of the saints into the eternal kingdom of that world, the world to come (LUK 18:30). That world was the hope of Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. He “...looked for a city which hath foundations, whose maker and builder is God” (HEB 11:10) and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim on earth (HEB 11:13). He desired “...a better country, that is, an heavenly...” (HEB 11:16) and accordingly hoped in the power of God to resurrect the body, for He was willing to sacrifice Isaac, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead...” (HEB 11:17-19). Though his former comrades called his Bible-based theology heresy, Paul had “...hope toward God....that there shall be A resurrection of the dead, BOTH of the just and unjust” (ACT 24:14-15) in accord with Christ's promise in JOH 5:28-29. Paul stood for “...the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (ACT 26:6-8). Paul was not the only apostle to affirm that Israel's hope was/is the resurrection from the dead which accords with an inheritance IN HEAVEN, that world to come. Peter and John were apostles to the circumcision (GAL 2:8-9); they had a defined ministry to their own countrymen. It was Peter who had written to scattered Jewish Christians that God “...hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved IN HEAVEN for you” (1PE 1:3-4). He went on to tell them, “Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1PE 1:13). The Apostle John specifically tells us what that grace is that such believers will have brought unto them at Christ's appearing---it is nothing less than an incorruptible, sinless resurrection body like that of Jesus Christ's: 1 John 3:2-3 (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. So, the Jewish believer's hope is the same as the Gentile believer's hope, a conversation “...IN HEAVEN; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (PHIL 3:20-21). How sad that many today who profess Christ have been misled into looking for the same false hope that crucified Christ: a messianic kingdom of this world in which He was never interested. When some of His countrymen perceived that He was the Prophet of whom Moses spoke (DEU 18:15), they attempted to make Him an earthly king so He withdrew from them (JOH 6:14-15). His kingdom was “...not of this world...” (JOH 18:36); He had not come to set up any such kingdom of God. In fact, He came to take the kingdom of God away from Israel and give it to “...a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (MAT 21:43). When He said “ flesh shall rest in hope...,” that hope, like Abraham's hope, was bodily resurrection (ACT 2:24-31). A messianic, political kingdom of this world may be the hope of a false Israel (ROM 9:6-8), of antichrist Israel, of unbelieving Israel, but it is NOT the hope of the “...Israel of God” (GAL 6:16) whose hope is laid up in heaven (COL 1:5), not on earth. (For an excellent fuller treatment of this topic, the reader is recommended to Philip Mauro's “The Hope of Israel”)

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