The Bible addresses many basic issues of life and death. God created a majestic universe composed of enumerable galaxies and crowned it by forming the first man and woman in sinless perfection. 

Adam and Eve were no match for Satan and succumbed to his temptation. The consequences of sin are obvious, but people every where still choose to rebel against God. Yet God did not abandon humanity as it plunged into a course toward destruction. 

God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to bear the awesome consequences of sin. God poured on Jesus all the terror of eternal condemnation in those terrible hours of suffering, agony and death on the cross of Calvary.

One of my favorite chapters in the New Testament is First Corinthians 15. Here I quote verses 1-4 and end with 23b:

"Moreover, brethren I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you 

received and in which you stand,

By which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless

you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures . . .

. . . Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. (NKJV).

Gospel means "good news,". What was the gospel? It was good news about three things: FIRST: it was the story of Blood Redemption - (vs 3). SECOND: it was the story of a Bodily Resurrection - (vs 4). THIRD: it was the story of a Blessed Return - (vs 23b).

BLOOD REDEMPTION 

Paul wrote: "I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." This is redemption's story from Genesis to Revelation.

In the Garden, after Adam and Eve sinned, God did not clothe them in scarlet, rather He slew an animal to typify Christ, not for food, but for clothing to cover their shame, making them fit for God's presence. It prefigured the death of Christ, when God offered His Son that we might be clothed in His righteousness.

The lamb that Abel offered (Heb. 11:4) and by which he was accepted, through faith, prefigured Christ, "by which He made us accepted in the beloved." (see Ephesians 1:3-6). Abraham offering Isaac on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-19) is a picture of God offering His only Son on Calvary's Cross. (Hebrews 11:17-19).

By faith Moses forsook Egypt and kept the offering the Passover Lamb and sprinkling blood (Exodus 12:5-7,13) on the door posts for the Israelite's to be protected from the Angel of Death in taking the first born. (Hebrews 11:24-28). As Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, (Numbers 21:9) so must Christ be lifted up on the cross. (John 3:14).

Rahab hanging the scarlet thread out her window (Joshua 2:1-24; 6:15-25) as a pledge for her rescue, when Jericho's walls fell, symbolizes Christ's blood shed for us on the cross. (Hebrews 11:30). Isaiah in writing, "with His stripes we are healed", (Isaiah 53:5) was predicting the scourging of Christ. I Peter 2:24-25.

Every time Christians observe the Communion (Lord's Supper) it symbolizes our redemption by Jesus' blood. Matthew 26:26-28 and I Peter 2:24-25. Paul never tired of writing, "In Him we have redemption through His blood . . ." Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV).

Even in Revelation we read of a great host that "You are worthy to take the scroll, . . . And You have redeemed us to God by Thy blood . . ." Revelation 5:9 (NKJV).

Hence we see the STORY OF REDEMPTION BY BLOOD from Genesis through Revelation Christ shed His blood for our sins! 

BODILY RESURRECTION

Now there is more to the good news preached by Paul. The Gospel does not stop with Christ on the Cross. It tells of His personal, literal resurrection that took place on the third day, "according to the scriptures."

Abraham was wiling to slay Isaac "concluding that God was able to raise Him up, even from the dead, . . " Heb. 11:19 (NKJV).

Even Job, in the midst of his afflictions shouted his faith in a bodily resurrection when he said, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at the last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God." Job 19:25, 26 (NKJV).

Isaiah predicted, "Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise, Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust . . . " Isaiah 26:19 (NKJV).

Daniel wrote, "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt." Daniel 12:2 (NKJV).

These are just a few of the Old Testament predictions of a bodily resurrection. Then, when we turn to the New Testament, unfaltering testimony to Christ's resurrection abounds on every page: Matthew 28:2-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-7; John 20:12-15. All four declare Jesus as risen from the dead!

The apostle Paul writes that Jesus arose from the dead on the third day: "And that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over 500 brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me . . ." First Corinthians 15:5-8 (NKJV).

Triumphant and glorious and just as essential as blood redemption is the fact that Christ rose from the dead on the third day according to the scriptures! But there is still more.

JESUS' BLESSED RETURN 

But there is still more to the Gospel than blood redemption and bodily return of Jesus. There is also the fact of His blessed return! The second coming of Jesus is when ALL who were ever born and died will be raised from the dead!! When we study scripture we must be� in our study be careful "RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH." II Timothy 2:15b. Many false and non-biblical teachings have arisen by using ONLY ONE VERSE of the Bible, rather than all it says about a particular subject. The final resurrection of the dead is one of the most common to be so abused.

In Matthew 24:30 we read, "The Son of Man will appear in heaven . . . all tribes of earth . . . will see Him . . ". Then we go on to next verse, 31 - ". . . His angels with sound of a trumpet . . . will gather together His elect from the four winds . . ."

Now we read next chapter, Matthew 25:31-34, "When the Son of man comes in His glory . . . All the nations will be gather . . . . He will separate them . . . sheep on His right hand,� but goats on the left . . .Then the King will say to those on the right, Come . . inherit the kingdom . . ." In verse 41 He will say, "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire . . ".

The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15, the resurrection-second coming chapter, Paul states in verse 23, "But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming" then vs 24, "Then comes the end . . "

The new Christians in Thessalonica, being new in the Faith, were concerned if Christ returned during their life time, what would happen to those who were dead? Would they be left behind? So in I Thessalonians 4:13-17, their concern is not about ALL THE DEAD, only about THE CHRISTIANS who had already passed away. Therefore when Paul comforts them he is NOT SPEAKING OF ALL THE DEAD rather only Christians. Paul carefully explains, vs 13: ". . I do not want you to be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep . . ." vs 14: ". . . we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus." Vs 15:". . . .we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord WILL BY NO MEANS precede those who are asleep." Vs 16: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout . . . . . . . And the DEAD IN CHRIST WILL RISE FIRST " Vs 17: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS TO MEET THE LORD . . ."

Nothing could be plainer, when rightly dividing the Word, as Paul advised Timothy. Peter wrote: "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ . . ." II Peter 1:16. Also, Jude vs 14 wrote: ". . . Behold, the Lord domes with 10 thousands of His saints."

Finally, John wrote in Revelation 1:7 - "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and EVERY EYE will see Him, EVEN THEY WHO PIERCED HIM . . ."

Ministers, yes and all of us, are urged to preach the word, because Christ shall ". . . judge the living and the dead. I Peter 4:5 (NKJV) The last promise in the Bible: ". . . Surely I am coming quickly. Amen, Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!" Revelation 22:20 (NKJV). So, let us preach it, every word of the old time gospel that saves and sustains!

Just a thought across the garden gate by Parson Don.                                  


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                                                                                                    Updated Oct 30, 2018

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Each devotional was written by Parson Don Brown, and inspired under God's Direction
                                                                   
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