PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART CII
Jesus, in “The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus,” predicts what will happen to the two men in the “Resurrection” and where they will end up. Jesus also tells his hearers and readers how to make the right choice and whom to follow. Jesus, Himself, in addition to being “the way, the truth, and the life,” reinstated the Law of Moses and the Prophets (John 14:6; Matthew 5:17-20). God cannot change His Words or His Laws (Matthew 5:18; 24:35).
There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at the gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to them, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead’ (Luke 16:19-31).
IN THE RESURRECTION, CHRIST’S FOLLOWERS BECOME ANGELS
Angels, like Abraham, do not die, but they live forever because they are the spirits God had planted in human beings, who have come home. They have bodies like their Risen Lord had, that enabled Him to be in heaven or on earth when necessary. That is how Jesus can keep His promise to be present with his followers at all times (Matthew 28:20). Angels are God’s army, work force, and messengers. They are His mouthpiece, His eyes, His hands, and His feet. Like Abraham, they comfort, council, warn, and even preach. God sent his angels to Abraham several times, to Hagar at least twice, to Moses frequently, to Joshua, to Gideon, to Samuel, to David, to the prophets, to Joseph more than once, to Zechariah father of John the Baptist, to the virgin Mary mother of Jesus, and to many others who were unaware of angelic presence (Hebrews 13:2). The Angel Gabriel was charged with guarding the birth and safety of Jesus (Luke 1-2; Matthew 1:26-2:23). The Angel Michael was entrusted with the safety of the Church of Christ and with keeping Satan out of heaven (Revelation 12). Michael gave Daniel a brief glimpse of the end time or the time the Son of God would make his appearance:
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the rightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase (Daniel 12:1-4).
IN THE RESURRECTION THE SHEEP SHALL BE SEPARATED FROM THE GOATS (Matthew 25:31-46).
The sheep are not all followers of Jesus, but they are people who did what Jesus would do (Matthew 8:11; Mark 9:38). Some of the sheep would die for Christ and they go straight to heaven and do not appear in the second Resurrection:
When he opened the fifth seal, I (John) saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been (Revelation 6:9-11).
All the other dead, saints and sinners, rest in no-man’s land. Jesus called it paradise and Peter called it a prison. At the end of time, Christ and those, who died like He did, will take over the world for a thousand years, while the other dead sleep:
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life again, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life again until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6).
This would be the time when the apostles of Jesus will judge the twelve tribes of Israel and the Gentiles’ faithful will judge the world, and at the end Christ too will hand everything over to the Father (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; I Corinthians 6:1-6; 15:20-28; Hebrew 2:5-18).
When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare to go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers (I Corinthians 6:1-6)?
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection. “For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection under him,” it is plain that he is expected to put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one (I Corinthians 15:20-28).
For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to man, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we not yet seen everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted (Hebrews 2:5-18).
JUDGED BY THEIR DEEDS
Then, after the reign of Christ, all the living will change and all the dead will rise, some will be rewarded and some punished.
But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe tha Jesus died and rose again, evenso, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call,and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
This is now the second letter that I (Peter) have written to you, beloved, and in both of them I have aroused your sincere mind by way of reminder; that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.” They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (II Peter 3:1-7).
Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from this presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).