Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Where Did Christ Go Between His Death & Resurrection?

“in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”
I Peter 3:19-20 

 Because  this  comes up every year,  I’m reposting  because this book provides  such a  comprehensive  explanation to the question   "Where did Christ go and what was he doing between His death and resurrection?"    

   “The Darkness and The Glory: His Cup and The Glory From Gethsemane To The Ascension was written by  Dr. Greg Harris,   Professor of Bible Exposition at The Master’s Seminary and author of   The Cup and the Glory and The Stone and the Glory.     This book comes with a hearty endorsement by Dr. John MacArthur and it is an important  work for more reasons than just solving  the frequently misunderstood  passage in I Peter.    The broader scope  of  the Darkness and the Glory  encompasses the entire glorious work of Christ through His death burial, resurrection and  ascension.
   Dr. Harris   presents  a convincing explanation for the case that Christ went to the Abyss after His crucifixion and before His resurrection in order  to make a proclamation to the demonic  spirits imprisoned there.    He  provides  detailed Scriptural documentation which spans the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation proving not only this point but also  meticulously  explaining  the reasons why.  
     Dr.  Harris explains  how a  subset of demons were cast into the Abyss when God destroyed the earth through the Flood.     The world was  destroyed not  only because it was evil,  but also because demons had cohabited with women as part of a master minded collusion by Satan from the beginning after God  had declared:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Gen. 3:15 
     It was the intention of Satan from the outset to destroy the Seed of the woman in order to prevent it from rising up and destroying him.    His first attempt at trying to accomplish this came about through the slaying of Abel and the disqualification of Cain, yet God raised up and preserved the godly line of Seth.    This was documented through all of those lengthy genealogy records (which we often find boring), for the very purpose of protecting and preserving the Promised Seed that would one day  be brought forth in that manger in Bethlehem. 
   At the conclusion of his   dissertation Dr. Harris provides us with a  “logical paraphrase of some of the content of Jesus proclamation” that can be deduced.   Here is a portion of Harris’ speculative edict that Christ could have made to the “spirits in prison”:

“You in your wickedness colluded with the Evil One to prevent the birth of the Promised Seed of Woman who would crush the serpent’s head from every becoming a reality (Gen. 3:15). I declare to you today that the seed lineage the Father first pronounced in the Garden continued long after the Flood was a distant memory to mankind. The seed genealogy persists even to this very day, in spite of every effort of darkness to the contrary. The Seed first promised by Yahweh lives on – while you remain confined in pits of darkness. The primary reason that the Seed lives on is that God Almighty does not give help to angels, but He does give help to the seed of Abraham (Heb.2:16), a progeny of the seed lineage you never met. Thus the lineage from which the One Seed would come remains; nourished, protected, fully capable of bringing for the One who will give rest to the cursed earth and regain what Adam originally lost. 
   ...Similar in many ways to you once abandoning your own domain to cohabit with Adam’s race, I Myself now enter your abode-not from heaven but from earth. You entered the world of flesh; the Promise of God did as well, but in a way sanctioned and predetermined by the Trinity (Acts 2:23; I Pet 1:18-20)”
   In summary, this book inspires a deep sense of awe for the Savior we worship and  a  richer understanding of  the incomprehensible work He accomplished at the Cross.  

*(1)  "The Darkness and the Glory: His Cup and the Glory from Gethsemane to the Ascension"  by Greg Harris; Kress Christian Publications 2008

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Jesus, Meek and Lowly

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”   Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 21:1-11
“Matthew is always reminding us of the Old Testament;  as well, indeed, he may, for our Lord is always fulfilling it.  Every point of detail is according to prophetic model:  All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.   The Old and New Testaments dovetail into each other.   Men have written ‘Harmonies of the Gospels”;   but God has given us a Harmony of the Old and New Testament.   The passage referred to is in Zechariah 9:9.   It represents Zion’s King as meek and lowly even in the hour of his triumphant entrance into his metropolis, riding, not upon a war-horse, but upon a young ass, whereon no man had sat. 
   He had before said of himself,  ‘I am meek and lowly in heart,’ and now he gives one more proof of the truth of his own words;  and, at the same time, of the fulfillment of prophecy.   He did not, like Solomon, fetch horses out of Egypt to minister to his pride;  but he who was greater than Solomon was content with a colt the foal of an ass,  and even that humble creature was borrowed, for he had none of his own.   
   The tenderness of Jesus comes out in the fact of his having the ass brought with her foal that they might not be parted.   He was, as a King, all   gentleness and mercy;  his grandeur involved no pain even for the meanest thing.  How blessed is it to be ruled by such a King!”

Commentary on Matthew:  The Gospel of the Kingdom by C.H. Spurgeon;  The Banner of Truth Trust edition: 2010; pg 301-302(first published 1893)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Information Overload; Meditation's Nemesis

    I believe meditation is even more important for spiritual fruitfulness and prosperity in our day than it was in ancient Israel.  Even if the total input of God’s Word were the same for us as for those in the psalmist’s day, combined with our intake of Scripture we also experience a flash flood of information that the writer of Psalm 119 could never have imagined.    Join this with some of our additional responsibilities and the result is a mental distraction and dissipation that overwhelms our capacity to absorb Scripture.   
   Due to today’s deluge of data, more new information becomes available to us every few minutes than Jonathan Edwards would have encountered in his entire eighteenth-century lifetime.    Granted, he had many time-consuming responsibilities (such as care for his horse) no longer required of most people now.  On the other hand, he never once had to answer a telephone in his entire life!  Despite his inconveniences, his mind, like the psalmist’s, was not as distracted as ours by instant, ubiquitous information and entertainment.   Because of these things, it’s more difficult for us today to concentrate our thoughts, especially on God and Scripture,  than it ever has been.
   So what do we do?  We can’t return to the days of Edwards, unless we move to the jungles of Papua New Guinea.   And even then we have already lived too long in the information age to escape its influence.  We can, however restore an order to our thinking and recapture some of the ability to concentrate—especially on spiritual truth—through biblical meditation.  But it will require discipline.”   1

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Good in Good Friday

Oh, to see my name written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross. 1
"When Jesus had received the sour wine,
he said, “It is finished,”
and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
John 19:30   
 " “It is finished."  What was finished?  The work of atonement.
The sins of the believer - all of them - were transferred to the Saviour.  As saith the scripture, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).  If then God laid my iniquities on Christ, they are no longer on me.   Sin there is in me, for the old Adamic nature remains in the believer till death or till Christ’s return,  should he come before I die,   but there is no sin on me.  In like manner, everyone out of Christ has the sentence of God’s condemnation resting upon him.   
But when a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus, receives him as his Lord and Master, he is no longer "under condemnation" - sin is no longer on him, that is, the guilt, the condemnation, the penalty of sin, is no longer upon him.   And why?  Because Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).   The guilt, condemnation and penalty of our sins, was transferred to our substitute. Hence, because my sins were transferred to Christ, they are no more upon me.  
"It is finished."  Reader, do you believe it? or, are you trying to add something of your own to the finished work of Christ to secure the favour of God? … Rest not on your feelings and experiences but on the written word.   There is only one way of finding peace, and that is through faith in the shed blood of God’s Lamb. 
"It is finished." Do you really believe it?"  ~ A.W. Pink  

Why it is essential to believe in justification by faith alone
 apart from good works  in order to be saved.
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scripture.”  I Corinthians 15:1-3


1. The Power of the Cross - lyrics by Keith Getty and Stewart Townend: 2005 Listen HERE
2. The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross; by Arthur Pink;  1947

Before It's Too Late

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved."
Jeremiah 8:20

 Not saved!   Dear reader, is this your mournful plight?   Warned of the judgment to come, bidden to escape for your life,  and yet at this moment not saved!   You know the way of salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it from the pulpit, it is explained to you by friends, and yet you neglect it, and therefore you are not saved.
…Affliction and prosperity have alike failed to impress you;  tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on your barren heart…   
Reader, suppose you should die unsaved,  your doom no words can picture. Write out your dread estate in tears and blood, talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth: you will be punished with everlasting destruction from the glory of the Lord, and from the glory of his power…
O be wise, be wise in time, and ere another year begins,  believe in Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost.  Consecrate these last hours to lonely thought, and if deep repentance be bred in you, it will be well;   and if it lead to a humble faith in Jesus, it will be best of all.   O see to it that this year pass not away, and you an unforgiven spirit.    Let not the new year's midnight peals sound upon a joyless spirit!

Now, NOW, NOW believe, and live.

“Escape for your life.   Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills,  lest you be swept away.” Genesis 19:17
Charles H. Spurgeon
Morning and Evening – December 31