Archive | May 2015

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Hebrews 9:11-12

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.           NKJV

The Most Holy Place into which the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ entered upon His death on the cross is identified in Hebrew 8:1-5 as Heaven itself. It is the true Holy of Holies made without hands as opposed to the earthly holy of holies which was but a copy of Heaven. Our text seems to be in contradiction with passages like Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27, 31 which indicate that the soul of Jesus entered into Hades with His death on the cross. So where did the soul of Jesus go while His body lay preserved in the tomb—Heaven or Hades? The answer is both.

When He died at Calvary, Jesus soul first entered into the bowels of the earth (Eph. 4:9), the location of which corresponds with Hades as the point where the physical dimension in which the center of the earth exists overlaps with the spiritual dimension in which Hades exists. Hades is the place to which the souls of unbelievers go when they die (Lk. 16:23), where they remain until the last resurrection at the end of the Millennium at which time they will be brought out of Hades, judged by the Lord at the great white throne judgment in which their eternal sentence will be pronounced, and then they will be cast into lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-14). Hades is divided into two compartments separated by a great gulf or abyss. The compartment on one side of the abyss is a place of torment where the souls of the unsaved presently go when they die (Lk.16:24-26), and the compartment on the other side of the abyss was a place of comfort known as Abraham’s Bosom where the souls of the Old Testament saints went when they died (Lk. 16:22, 25). The fallen angels (demons) that did not keep their proper spiritual domain (Jude 1:6) in the days of Noah (I Pet. 3:19-20), but (either by taking on human form or by possessing human men) had sexual intercourse with human women (Gen. 6:1-4; compare with Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7) were imprisoned in the abyss that separates the two compartments of Hades, and will not be released until Satan is given the key to the abyss under the fifth trumpet judgment of the great tribulation (Rev. 9:1-11).

Because Jesus had not yet died and paid off the penalty for their sins, the Old Testament saints were unable to go into the Heaven, the true Holy of Holies made without hands, and into the presence of a perfect, holy God (Heb. 9:9, Jn. 3:13), so they went into the Abraham’s Bosom compartment of Hades, where they waited until Jesus died for their sins and accomplished their salvation (Heb. 10:11-14). When Jesus died, He descended into Hades, proclaimed His triumphant saving sacrifice unto the falling angels imprisoned in the abyss (I Pet. 3:19), and took the Old Testaments saints out of Abraham’s Bosom and into Heaven, the true Holy of Holies made without hands, and into the presence of God Himself (Lk. 23:43; compare with II Cor. 12:2-4). Since the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the souls of all true believers go immediately into Heaven, the true Holy of Holies made without hands, and into the glorious presence of God when they die (II Cor. 5:8).

When to you die, where will you go—into Hades to await the great white throne judgment, or into Heaven? Have you truly repented of your sins, and by faith received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 42:1-11

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me—A prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.           NKJV

Psalm 42 was a song written by the sons of Korah to Israel’s music director. It is a Psalm designed to test the spiritual temperature of God’s people—whether or not we are where we ought to be as Christians in our relationship to God. In this Psalm, there are three questions we can ask to determine our spiritual temperature.

Question number one—do we thirst go be in the presence of God? (vs. 1-2) The metaphor in verse one is that of a deer thirsting for water during a drought (Joel 1:20). Do you thirst for God? (Psa. 63:1-2, Psa. 16:11) The Psalmists desired to be in the presence of the Lord (v.2). Do you desire the same? Do you desire the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? (Tit. 2:13, I Cor. 1:7, Phil. 3:20) Given a choice, would you have Jesus come right this moment? (Rev. 22:20) Or would you prefer to have Him delay His coming for some reason? Do you long for His presence?

Question number two—do we face mockery for our reliance on God? (vs. 3, 9-11) If we have a good spiritual temperature—if we’re what we ought to be in our relationship with God—like the the sons of Korah, we too will face mockery (II Tim. 3:12, Jn. 15:18-20, I Jn. 3:13, I Cor. 4:13, II Chron. 36:16, Jer. 20:7, Prov. 29:27, Psa. 119:157, I Pet. 4:14). Israel had fallen into a spiritual drought. Worship service attendance was way down (v.4). The same thing has happened to the United States of America. Since 1955, regular church attendance in the USA has dropped from 75% to 20%. Christians, how is our church attendance? It’s one measure of our spiritual temperature.

Question number three—is our spirit lifted up because we focus on the Lord ((Heb. 12:1-2). In our text, we see three ways in which the Psalmists focused on the Lord.

First, the sons of Korah focused on the Lord by reading and mediating on the scriptures. All of the places and events in verses 6-7 are recorded in the scriptures. The scriptures remind us of who God is, what pleases and displeases Him, and what wondrous things He has done for us as His people (Psa. 139:17).

Second, the Psalmists focused on the Lord by singing His praises (v.8). Singing praises to God is a remedy for the depression and discouragement that sometimes afflicts us as God’s people (Acts 16:25), and it will lift our spirits (Isa. 61:3).

Third, the sons of Korah focused on the Lord by praying (v.8). As Christians, we need to have a regular, continuous, daily prayer life (I Thess. 5:17, Col. 4:2, Heb. 4:16, Jer. 33:3).

Christian, how is your spiritual temperature? Do you spend time daily with the Lord in prayer? Do you sing praises to Him? Do you thirst to be in His presence?