1st Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
What about this verse? Scripture clearly reveals that none are in heaven. This is a lesson in itself, so I am going to take the time to go into it because Paul said that if Yahushua is not raised then our faith is in vain and we are yet in sin. To all those who are following in the chronological study of Paul’s letters, we will come back to this when we get to the letters too Corinth, but I need to nail this down before I can move on. I stumbled upon this verse in 1st Thessalonians and I needed to clarify this in my mind.
Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
1st Corinthians 15:13-14 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
1st Corinthians 15:20-23 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order:
Now I am going to throw out here that it is ’ possible’ that Paul may have taught this passage at some point in his life during the Feast of First Fruits even though it is found in the letter to the ecclesia gathered in Corinth. Just a personal thought.
It is clear to me that Paul is teaching that Yahushua the Messiah became the first of the great harvest of first fruits, ergo my understanding of why one is called the first resurrection, of the folks who will be raised when Messiah returns, as opposed to the second resurrection of those who are not raised up in the first resurrection. Not to mention, Paul states that Yahushua became the firstfruits, plural. It is clear that there is much more fruit to come.
There are two other scriptures that I know of that align up with Paul’s teaching that I will bring into this collection.
James (Jacob) 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Revelation 1:5 -6 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
John the Beloved says here, that Yahushua is not only the first fruit that Yahwey has begotten from the dead but goes on to clarify that He is also the first prince of the kings. I think the Holy Spirit wanted to clarify this because it is mentioned elsewhere that King David was still among those who had not yet risen.
Acts 2:34-35 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. (This clearly has not occurred yet)
Verse 36 following this; (look for yourself) Luke lets us know that Messiah had already been crucified when he wrote this. This helps clear up the scenario that most folks ‘think or believe’ that when Messiah arose, the saints from the Old Testament arose with Yahushua when He was carried up in the clouds, but this cannot be so. I do not believe that any went with Yahushua at His ascension; otherwise, Paul would be a liar. Paul makes it clear later on in this study through scripture; that Yahushua was the first fruits of them that will follow when Messiah returns.
Luke 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
Luke does not make any such claim that Yahushua was seen with anyone when He ascended, just that Messiah was carried up, which means, lifted or offered up. Matthew nor Mark make any such claims in their testimonies either. John does not even testify anything regarding the ascension of Yahushua at all.
It sure does make one curious why the Ascension of Our Lord is not of more importance in the Gospels yet Peter testifies on the day of Pentecost that all are witnesses that Yahushua was raised up by Elohim. My best answer is probably found with-in the word gospel itself. These men were called to preach the gospel of repentance and remission (forgiveness) of sin and they were commanded by Yahushua to start at Jerusalem. Paul was called to teach the Gentiles.
In Peter’s great speech, he also says, He (Yahushua) was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Some folks believe that the cloud mentioned in Peter’s discourse meant a cloud of people but the word cloud in Greek there is nephele, pronounced nef-el’-ay from the primary word of nephos, pronounced nef’-os which simply means a cloud in the sky.
In the Tanakh, a cloud often expresses Elohim’s glory. Daniel prophesied that he saw in a night vision (a dream) the second coming of Messiah, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. This all sounds so glorious to me. I can see the angels coming to greet Yahushua when He present’s His chosen (Firstfruits) to Hashem.
Peter says that the angels that were there that day testified that when Yahushua returns, the same way He left, He will return.
Yahushua Himself said that all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
To help us better understand Paul’s mention of Yahushua being the first fruit, we have to understand why Paul said this.
The day following the Feast of Unleavened Bread is called Reshit Katzir which means, ‘the beginning of the harvest‘, often referred to as The Feast of First Fruits. Firstfruits is an annual feast that is celebrated on the day after the weekly Sabbath which occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Because Paul was a man of Elohim, he would have always followed the Feast of the Lord and would have known and understood their meanings. This is why Paul refers to Messiah as the first fruits mentioned in verse 23.
1st Corinthians 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
So what Paul is saying is that Yahushua was the first fruit of the harvest and the rest will follow afterward when Messiah returns at His coming, they that are His.
Deuteronomy 26:9-10 ‘He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; ‘and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O LORD, have given me.’ Then you shall set it before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God.
Once Yahushua has gathered us up, He will then present us to our Father, Abba.
So, now that I have all that cleared up, what about 1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
Because Paul has made this declaration, we have to find the truth that lines up with Paul’s teaching that no other fruit other than the First Fruit, Yahushua has been joined with Elohim. The dead in Messiah are those who have died to sin, are hidden in Him, and will continue in faith that they are graft into Messiah, until they have spent their last breath.
Yahway will call our bodies out of our graves, and join all the souls to Him and we will be together with Him forever more. Through Paul’s teaching we understand that this will happen when Messiah returns. We who are still living when the Messiah returns will not rise to meet Him ahead of those who are in their graves. First all the called and the chosen who have died will rise from their graves. Then together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will meet with Adonai in the air and will always be with our Father. This is our comfort.
Yahwey raised up Yahushua. Paul is teaching in this letter to the folks at Thessalonica that even as Elohim raised up Yahushua, He will also bring those who are with Him, those who have gone to sleep (died) with Him in their hearts. Yahwey will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Yahushua. The body and soul will be re-united after resurrection.
When Yahushua returns and the dead in Messiah rise up and meet Him, those who follow, (who yet remain alive) we will all be gathered when Yahwey will bring us all up together, those who are with Yahushua. Therefore Yahushua is keeping His promise, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. In addition, in another place it is written, “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
I actually like this written through The Message:
Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.
Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.
The body is put back in the same ground it came from.
The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.
This verse does not say that when the body dies that this is immediately what happens, but we can look at the death of Yahushua and gain insight. Just before Yahushua died He said, “Into your hands I entrust My Spirit”.
Therefore, His Spirit left Him. He was buried, and Yahwey raised Him up and gave Him that new body that was even able to eat fish with His disciples. He maintained that new body and when He ascended, His new body met up again with His Spirit. For what came out of the grave was His soul. From what I understand, Yahushua was not yet a complete process when He told Mary Magdalene, not to touch Him. He had not yet gone up to Heaven to complete the process of combining His spirit, soul and body together. He had not yet been presented as the firstfruit until the 7th day of the Feast of Unleaven. Remember, the Spirit goes to Yahwey. The Spirit, will return to Yahwey in Heaven and the soul remains asleep until resurrected to its final judgment.
Without the Spirit of Elohim breathing through our bodies, we are just a body with a soul. Genesis 2:7 says, And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Once the body is dead, the soul that once had the breath of life with-in the body no longer lives with out the breath of Yahwey. The body which houses the soul is laid to rest in the ground from which it first comes from. There with-in the grave, the body that has once had the breath of life will await to be joined again to Yahushua at His second coming, He who is ‘in’ the Father. We are in Yahushua and He is in us. We will all be joined together with the Father.
Because Yahushua lives after He has been resurrected, one day soon we will also live.
2nd Corinthians 5:1-6 ¶ For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.
I have heard people quote this last part of the verse claiming that Paul said, that when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord. So un-ture. Paul said knowing that while we are ‘at home’ in the body we are absent from the Lord. Pretty obvious here that we know that when we are not with Him we are still in our bodies, absent from Yahushua. Paul says in verse 8: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Paul says that we are ‘willing rather’ to be with Him than where we are’. Of course we would rather be with Him. That is a no brainer.
Basically what is going to happen is that our bodies that are like a temporary tent, just like the Tabernacle in the wilderness was a temporary dwelling for the Lord, these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away. We will have resurrection bodies in the Kingdom—God-made, not man made. Yahwey will replace them and we will never have to relocate our “tents” again.
The description that Peter gives of the account of the angel’s that were seen at the ascension, give us a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies!
Before Yahushua even ascended, we know that in that body, He walked on the road to the village Emmaus. He ate fish. He was touched by doubting Thomas and the disciples visually saw Him.
The Holy Spirit has revealed to us through the scriptures, giving us a taste of what is ahead of us and what our bodies will be like. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we will never settle for less.
This body, this piece of dust and dirt of the earth, is not our home. When the time comes, we will be very ready to exchange these temporary dwellings that are in exile away from Elohim, for our new heavenly bodies will remain with Him forever.
However, while we are here in this body, we are absent from the Lord. As Paul once said, we would rather be with the Lord. Nevertheless, like Paul, even though we would rather be with the Lord, we all have work to do until we take our last breath.
These bodies make us groan as Paul points out. They become old and decrepit, we loose our sight, our hair turns gray and we loose our hearing. Nevertheless, praise Elohim, one day all that pain will become refreshed once again into a new living and breathing resurrected body that will live on in eternity. We will still have personalities and recognizable characteristics. Our bodies will be without sickness and diseases or pain. The Holy Spirit with-in us is our guarantee that our Father will give us an everlasting body at the resurrection.
2nd Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
We have eternity with in us now and the same Holy Spirit that raised up Yahushua will also raise us up to the everlasting glory of Elohim.
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
We who live and die in Him have this blessed Hope…
I have really been perplexed when it comes to John’s vision in chapter four of Revelation, but now I understand that is a vision yet to be manifested. I personally believe that the twenty-four elders are more than likely representatives of the 24 divisions of Cohanim mentioned in First Chronicles 24, whole chapter.
Now that I know for sure, that King David has not yet entered into the Kingdom of Elohim it has been easier for me to make these conclusions regarding the twenty-four elders.
Our Father would not forget the man that was after His own heart if He had risen up those folks from their graves when they were opened up at the time of the death of our Savior.