SoulBreaths

Lightning Flashes: Watchword [Listening]

By SoulBreaths Author [ 10 months ago ]

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A divine spark. A flash image. A scripture suspended before me. Impressed on me for this season, hour, moment that we’re in.

 

But this time it was a sound . . . my ears dialing into what was around me. Rousing me. Pricking my attention. Causing me to climb out of a sleepy, internal-driven existence—even for a few moments.

 

“I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what He will say to me.” —Habakkuk 2:1

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 3 MINUTES.

 

WATCHWORD GIVEN: DECEMBER 6, 2020

 

Listening. That was the point of the walk I took around my housing community. I didn’t know that when I headed out. It started out like any other walk. A break in my day. A short time to shake off things . . . but too often these days, to walk around in my thoughts.

 

And then at some point, a sound happened. It was . . .

 

Like when you’re on a walk alone, lost in thought,
then hear a tinkling something.
A hint of a noise that softly awakens.
A cool breeze that you hadn’t noticed before encircles you, sweeping by,
closer, then upward to a neighbor’s balcony
where it gently nudges an unobtrusive wind chime.
It rings, bashfully.
Airy, shiny, merry like silvery tinsel dangling on the limb of a holiday tree.
Then you stop and look and listen.
Aware for the first time—probably in a long time—of the sounds around you.
The swish of a bird’s feathers.
A car door subtly closing.
Hurried footsteps across the street.
Murmuring voices drifting from a backyard.
Your soul smiles, quiets, and releases.

 

THE STILLED—YET ENGAGED—SOUL

 

So just how much have I been missing, despite my seeking Him, keeping in His Word, and listening to biblical teaching? The LORD is recalibrating my hearing. Fine-tuning the frequency. Rousing me from a sleep-awake dimension. What about you?

 

There are levels of awareness. In the natural world and the spiritual. Too often we may think we’re aware when really we’re not fully aware (hearing, engaged) at all.

 

Think of how little aware you probably are when doing the rote things of life—making the bed, getting a shower, turning off the lights before heading out the door. How many times have you later wondered if you really did unplug that hair dryer before you left the house or closed the garage door?

 

Stopping . . . waiting . . . stilling our souls. That’s what’s needed. Even for a moment to realign, regroup, hear what might have otherwise been missed.

 

Just like that tinkling wind chime that alerted me to other sounds and woke me from my daily drudge thinking. The sound was in the natural—but with a spiritual lesson . . .

 

We can distance our souls from the outer chaos and demands and be quieted within while striving through the natural in Him.

 

Awake in Him.

Awake in His Word.

Awake in His Holy Spirit.

Awake in our Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua, His Hebrew name).

 

THE STORM MAY BE AROUND US, BUT HE IS IN US, WITH US.

 

The issue then is spiritual—especially in this hour that we’re in.
It’s critical that we stay aware and alert in the spirit.
Tune into God, take every thought captive. Keep awake in Him.
So our ears aren’t dulled even in the mundane moments of life.

 

Consider these scriptures . . .
 

Matthew 13:16, Jesus says . . .

But blessed are your eyes,

because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

 

Matthew 7:24, Jesus says . . .

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine

and puts them into practice

is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

 

James 1:19 says . . .

This you know, my beloved brethren.

But everyone must be quick to hear,

slow to speak and slow to anger.

 

Isaiah 28:23 says . . .

Give ear and hear my voice,

Listen and hear my words.

 

May the Lord anoint your soul’s ears, fine-tuning them to His frequency so that you’re not caught unaware or distracted or derailed in this hour.

 
 

CREDITS: Lighthouse with lightning photo by Michael Krahn on Unsplash.com

ABC Roadmap to Heaven: The Broken Bridge

By SoulBreaths Author [ 10 months ago ]

LIT COBBLESTONE - ITALY -ray-fragapane-QM5-lbqzREc-unsplash copy

 

The Heaven-Earth expanse. How can our fractured earth-driven souls be guaranteed an eternity with God in His holy place? God made the Way. But accepting that way is up to you.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

BE SURE TO READ PART 2 NEXT: ABC-ROADMAP TO HEAVEN: THE ABCs OF SALVATION

 

READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.

 

Worldview insists that there are many ways to reach God and enter heaven—and that God is whatever He means to you. Don’t fall for that. There’s no “harmonizing” of various religious ways or bundling it all under global religio-culturalism.

 

One World Religion and a whatever-you-do-is-cool spirituality are LIES from the master deceiver—satan.

 

God is clear in His instruction manual—the Bible—about who He is . . . and who we are. And what He requires for worship and salvation. Understanding that is the critical first step before you’re able to walk on His one-way road to heaven.

 

So let’s start our path toward those ABCs of Salvation by setting worldview aside and getting down to some straight facts about who God is—according to what He says about Himself in His Word, the Bible.

 

HIS NAME IS HIS CHARACTER.

 

The Great I AM. El Elyon, the Most High.

Faithful. Justice. Righteous. Truth.

Ha Kadosh, the Holy One.

Perfect. Steadfast. Mercy. Grace.

A Strong Tower. El Shaddai, the Almighty God.

El Gibbor, the Powerful Warrior, Hero, Mighty Champion.

Adonai, the LORD, Master.

Adonei ha’adonim, the LORD of lords.

The Living God, King of Kings, our Judge, the Rock.

He alone is God. There is none like Him.

Haggo’el, the Redeemer. Sar Shalom, Prince of Peace.

There is no salvation apart from Him.

He knows all things and declares the end from the beginning.

His decisions stand, His rule is forever.

 

SCRIPTURE EXAMPLES

(more at end of post)
 

I AM the LORD, and there is no one else.
I have not spoken in secret, in some dark land . . .
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
Declaring things that are right . . .
There is no other GOD besides Me,
A righteous GOD and a SAVIOR,
There is none except Me.
Turn to Me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth.
—Isaiah 45: 18b, 19, 21b, 22

 

But the LORD is the true GOD;
he is the living GOD and the everlasting King.
—Jeremiah 10:10a

 

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.—Isaiah 40:28

 
 
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HOW DO WE STACK UP?

 

Ever since the Garden of Eden, humanity has shown its propensity for rebellion against God—choosing our selfish desires over His ways and falling for satan’s trickery.

 

Here’s the deal. You’re a soul created and breathed by Him, connected upward. His holy breath is living within you. You were created to be in relationship, fellowship, with Him. But your soul is immersed in an earthly spiritual battle with dire eternal consequences.

 

It’s a battle stirred by the master of lies, satan, and other players who use deceitful spiritual war games to entice, distract, sway your soul away from God.

 

And your connected-upward soul? It can get tangled in delusions—spiritual and otherwise—and then nose-dive. A soul interrupted, derailed from its divinely appointed journey.

 

Here are just a few (of many) scriptures revealing our soul condition. These are from both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge.

 

For there isn’t one righteous person on earth who does [only] good and does not sin. —Ecclesiastes 7:20

 

The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of mankind to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, together they are corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.—Psalm 14:2-3

 

The imaginings of a person’s heart are evil from his youth.
—Genesis 8:21b.

 

True, I was born guilty, was a sinner from the moment my mother conceived me.—Psalm 51:7 (5)

 

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord.
—Romans 3:23

 

OUR SINS SEPARATE US FROM HIM

 

Adonai’s arm is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear, rather it’s your own crimes [sins] that separate you from God.
—Isaiah 59:1

 

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil from your perspective; so that you are right in accusing me and justified in passing sentence . . . Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my crimes.—Psalm 51:6,11 (4,9)

 

THE HUMAN HEART LIES TO OUR SOUL

 

The heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it? I, Adonai, search the heart. I test inner motivations in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve.—Jeremiah 17:9-10

 

If we claim not to have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and
the truth is not in us.—1 John 1:8

 

HUMAN GOOD FALLS SHORT

 

All of our righteousness are like menstrual rags [filthy], misdeeds blown in the wind.—Isaiah 64:5(6)

 

For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.—James 2:10

 

Yep, that’s us: we all break His Law every day . . . one way or another, at any given moment. In thoughts, words, actions.

 

HOPE UP AHEAD

 

With that reality check, how can any of us bridge the relationship gap with a holy God? We’re only human, right?

 

READ THE ANSWER in Part 2. ABC ROADMAP TO HEAVEN: THE ABCS OF SALVATION

 
 
 

* * * * *

 

MORE REVEALS ABOUT GOD’S CHARACTER

 

The Bible is filled from page one to its last page with truths about God’s character and our fractured state. The scriptures below are but a few revealing His majesty and power.

 

For I am GOD, and there is no other;
I am GOD, and there is no one like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, “My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose.”
—Isaiah 46:9-10

 

There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
—2 Samuel 2:2

 

The LORD passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed,
“The LORD, the LORD, a GOD merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for thousands,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
but who will by no means clear the guilty,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children
and the children’s children,
to the third and the fourth generation.”
—Exodus 34:6-7

 

For I will proclaim the name of ADONAI.
Come, declare the greatness of our GOD!
The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A GOD of faithfulness who does no wrong,
he is justice and righteous.
—Deuteronomy 32:3-4

 

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
—Isaiah 55:8-9

 

CREDITS: Lit cobblestone photo by Ray Fragapane on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Person in red photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash.com

ABC Roadmap to Heaven: The ABCs of Salvation

By SoulBreaths Author [ 10 months ago ]

LIT COBBLESTONE - ITALY -ray-fragapane-QM5-lbqzREc-unsplash copy

 

The Heaven-Earth expanse. How can our fractured earth-driven souls be guaranteed an eternity with God in His holy place? One way—and only one way—exists. Here are three A-B-C steps to follow with a link to a post of recommendations for Biblical teaching and growing in the Lord.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

Suggest reading this first: ABC ROADMAP TO HEAVEN: THE BROKEN BRIDGE

 

READING TIME: 5 MINUTES.

 

The bottom line? Your sin debt (and everyone else’s) has to be paid. Because God is not only MERCY but also JUSTICE—and as a RIGHTEOUS JUDGE he can’t let sin (our crimes against His Law) go unpunished. He can’t go against His own character.

 

Yet God’s love is relentless. Even while humanity was neglecting Him, doing their thing, rebelling and widening that relationship gap with Him, God’s love stepped in. He maintained His righteousness and justice yet made a way to pay for our sin—through truth, mercy, and grace.

 

That’s what the three A-B-C steps for salvation are about. Accepting His plan—His substitutionary gift to pay for our sin—a perfect, holy atonement that wipes our slates clean and restores our relationship with our Creator, the lover of our soul.

 

But the decision to believe, accept, and walk in that gift is up to you.

 

Where you spend eternity—your soul is eternal and its bodily resurrection (yep, it’s real) to everlasting righteousness or everlasting contempt (punishment)—hinges on your decision.

 

Because you, me, and the next person will stand individually before the mighty judge—the one true God—for an accounting per His Law, His Book, judged in light of His holy righteousness.

 

Not your version, not my version, not the world’s loosey-goose interpretation and all of its gods—not any smorgasbord approach of picking the best bits that we like.

 

BUT HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS! You can have an ADVOCATE standing before the Father, proclaiming that your sin debt has been paid.

 

Enter the ABC steps of salvation . . .

 
 
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GOD’S ABCs of SALVATION: THE JESUS ROAD

 

A.

 

Admit to the Lord that you’re a sinner, falling short of His glory. Honest sorrow leads to true repentance and humility before our righteous God. And that sparks a change within your soul—a new way of thinking, God’s way, not the world’s. A soul restoration is underway.

 

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.—Romans 3:23-24
 

The wages of sin are death, but eternal life is the free gift from God in union with the Messiah, Jesus our Lord.—Romans 6:23

 

It’s the kindness of God that leads you to repentance.—Romans 2:4

 

B.

 

Believe that God sent His son, Jesus/Yeshua, to pay the price for your sin on the cross and raised Him from the dead to conquer the sting of eternal death.

 
 

But first, let’s get one thing straight.

 

We’re talking about the REAL Jesus—the promised Jewish Messiah
who came from the Father, is one with the Father,
who is the Great I Am,
who fulfilled over 200 messianic prophecies,
is the visible image of the invisible God,
and is the Word of God manifested in the flesh.
The Savior of the world who took on the sin of the world
as the holy, perfect Lamb sacrifice of God,
the only sacrifice required for eternal life.

 

Jesus is not what or who the cults or WOKE culture or New Age or one-world religion mentality say He is.

 

Jesus is not Michael the Archangel and didn’t resurrect “invisibly” as a spirit.

 

Jesus is not the spirit brother of satan and wasn’t “born via spiritual incest.”

 

Jesus is not a magician and wasn’t “just a man” or “just a prophet” or “just a rabbi” or “just a moral teacher” or some iChing element or astro projection or some guru.

 

Jesus is not one of nine world manifestations or reflective of some cosmic consciousness.

 

Jesus is who the Bible has shown him to be since Genesis 1:1.

 

John 1:1-4, 14 reveals it clearly,
mirroring that Genesis passage
to show that Jesus is the Word of God
manifested in the flesh:
 
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made.
In him was life, and the light of men . . .
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth
.”
 

Jesus said, “I AM the Truth, the Life, the Way, no man comes to the Father except through me.”—John 14:6

 

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.—1 Timothy 2:5-6

 

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.—Romans 5:8

 

And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved
through the life of his Son.—Romans 5:9-10

 

C.

 

Call upon the name of Jesus our Messiah to the glory of God, our Father, trusting God’s miraculous love plan: His son Jesus sent as Savior, your holy access to spending eternity in heaven.

 

Believe in the name above all names—Jesus—then tell others and walk in it.

 

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved . . . all who call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved.—Romans 10:9-10,13

 

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven [Jesus] that has been given among mankind by which
we must be saved.—Acts 4:10a, 11, 12

 

For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.—Philippians 2:9-11

 

But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.—John 1:12-13

 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?John 11:25-26

 

Once you receive God’s perfect gift, share the Good News with others and get ready to start your walk with the Lord. Check out the recommendations in part 3 to help support your biblical learning.

 

NEXT READ ABC ROADMAP TO HEAVEN: GROW IN THE LORD.

 
 

THANKS: To Pastor JD Farag for the concept of ABC Steps to Salvation—Admit, Believe, Confess—that he shares after every Prophecy Update teaching.

 

THANKS: To Christian Ministries International for their summary on The “Jesus” of the Cults.
 

CREDITS: Lit cobblestone photo by Ray Fragapane on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: White arrow photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash.com

Combat Zone Series: Part 3—Rules of Engagement

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

Soul Combat

 

Connected upward, yet pulled downward. 

That is the battle within your soul.

But it’s for a purpose. And it’s good.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

[Combat Zone is the foundational post for soul basics. The original article was created/posted in 2009, but for easier reading divided into three posts in 2020. Judaic scripture number references used with Christian numbering in parentheses, when it’s different.]

 

SUGGEST READING PARTS 1 & 2 FIRST: COMBAT ZONE: PART 1—YOUR SOUL and COMBAT ZONE: PART 2—SOUL NUANCES

 

READING TIME: 8 MINUTES.

 

Symbiotic. That’s what some rabbis say about the soul-body matrix. You are a God-breathed soul with three nuances—breath, spirit/wind that rises/descends, and “rested” life force—clothed in a body that’s from the earth and tethered to this world.

 

Your soul is called upward, the body downward. And so the battle ensues, along with a host of other factors that complicate your soul story.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

 

The good news: In those firefly-like moments when the true light of God flows unhindered through your soul-breath, the entire soul-body matrix works in tandem, emanates His ways, becomes a menorah, a witness of His light to the world.

 

Actually, you, me, and the next guy are all called to be more than a menorah of light—we’re called to love and worship Him in truth and in spirit, becoming His menorah of true light, reflecting that great light of His Word to the world around us. Connecting . . . resting . . . gently listening, humbly serving, loving/honoring Him and others.

 

Proverbs 20:27 Man’s soul [nishmat, variant of Soul Nuance #1, neshama] is a lamp of ADONAI, which searches out all of the innermost parts.

 

To be honest, being a menorah of His light may sometimes—who are we kidding?—okay, may oftentimes feel like a TALL order. Depending on what’s going on in my world, that can feel more like a massively how-can-I-possibly-do-that order.

 

But here’s the deal: Sin (rebellion against God’s way of living/doing things) can, in time, erode the connection between your soul-breath and God.

 

That can cause your soul to disengage from the things of God and that Soul Nuance #3, the self-driven nefesh, to negatively attach itself, saddling up to the “flesh”—your rogue, world-driven body.

 

A little compromise here. An ignoring of God there. Toying with this. Hanging around that. In time, the flesh becomes so strong in its earthbound desires that it pulls your soul away from God’s ways so even doctrines of demons—guised as light, acceptable social mores at odds with God’s standards—can seep into your soul.

 

Darkening it, hardening it, and blinding your spiritual sight. A hostile takeover, indeed.

 

That’s why it’s so critical to learn the rules of engagement for the soul battle down here.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #1: SECURE YOUR POSITION

 

God says throughout His Word that humanity is disconnected from Him. The words and concept behind His “there are none righteous” warnings occur in numerous scriptures, such as:

 

Genesis 8:21b, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 14: 2-3, Psalm 53: 3-4, Jeremiah 17:9-10, Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10, Romans 8:6, among others.

 

But God is love, merciful, and l-o-n-g-suffering. So He made a way to restore that relationship with Him. There were temporary measures at first—blood sacrifices that had to be repeated daily, annually.

 

But those were mere shadows of what was coming, the greatest gift . . . a one-time holy sacrifice. A doorway giving us access to the Father, to the King of Kings.

 

Fulfilling the soul’s journey begins with receiving the restoration gift from God: Jesus. From there, your soul grows and is transformed by letting your soul [neshama], its wind/spirit [ruach] rest [nafash/nefesh] within the fibers of His presence, His Word, His ways . . . being hidden in Him, where you’re surrendered. Total white-flag territory.

 

It’s where your soul-body matrix gets into sync,
working as a whole with God, bowing before Him.

 


God’s way of restoring relationship with Him:

“I am the Truth, the Life, the Way . . . no man comes to the Father except through me.”

— John 14:6. The Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name)


 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #2: HONOR YOUR KING, YOUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF

 

It’s our human default to lean on our own understanding and to even get caught up in the emotions and mindset of the world at large.

 

But a good soldier needs to stand under his commander.

 

This slight paraphrase of Isaiah 8: 12-14 helps draw some clear-thinking guidelines. I’ve fleshed out the meanings of “fear” and “awed” from the Hebrew for a better visual.

 

Don’t fear (be shaken, swept into conspiracies) what people fear (call conspiracies) nor give strength to it
or be awed (shaken terribly, oppressed) by what awes them.
Let G-d be the object of your awe (trembling holy fear) . . .
consecrate Him.
He alone is to be your sanctuary.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #3: FOLLOW YOUR COMMANDER’S LEAD

 

For this battle, your nefesh—that Soul Nuance known as the life force that can cling, negatively or positively—needs to obey orders. Clinging to God means He’s in front and you’re behind Him. That’s how you stay in position. This psalm leads the way, showing in the Hebrew what the nefesh is clinging to . . .

 

Psalm 63:2, 9 (1, 8) . O God, You are my God, I seek You. My soul [Soul Nuance nefesh] thirsts for You, in an arid and thirsty land, without water. My soul [nefesh] clings to your hind parts; Your righteous right hand upholds me.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #4: KEEP YOUR EYES RIGHTLY FOCUSED

 

You are battling on two main fronts—the spiritual world (your soul against the principalities and powers of the enemy) and the physical world. Like in any war, things shift, take on different patterns.

 

Do you know what you’re really seeing—or is it a delusion, a camouflage? There’s only one way to hold your position while waiting for intel about what’s really going on in a realm you can’t physically see or physically touch. Stay mindful, focused, in God’s presence.

 

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

 

What is unseen . . . is God. Yet you are called to fix your soul’s eyes on Him, the Eternal One, to see more clearly in the battles down here. To not lose heart.

 

Although the body (“outer man”) is decaying and warring, your inner essence, your soul’s nuances (breath from God/neshama, spirit/ruach, inner living substance/nefesh) is being renewed day by day in Him.

 

The next two scriptures reveal what your stance should be in battle . . . do what you He has ordered to the best of your ability, then STAND. Confidently, boldly in Him. Even (and especially) when the next order is to simply wait.

 

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9.

 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
 

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore . . .”—Ephesians 6:10-14a.

 

God’s not asking you or me to stand on ceremony, get caught up in religious acts or rituals (He gave the Law, but we’re not supposed to love the Law over Him—that’s idolatry), or drown our souls in legalism. He created our souls to breathe out and breathe in a genuine love for Him.

 

What God wants is a restored relationship with Him, walking in His truth, His Word, and His love.

 

Photo by Piotr Wilk on Unsplash

Be prepared. In season and out of season.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #5: KNOW YOUR WEAPON

 

Go through basic training and refresher trainings with your weapon (the Word of God), just like a soldier needs to qualify for live-fire drills—and the real thing. And this battle you and I are in daily is always the real deal.

 

SO STAY IN HIS WORD. It is life, it is renewing, it is Truth that will show you where to walk and help you not be derailed in your soul journey down here.

 

Check out this insightful passage from the New Testament (the Soul Nuances are inserted to help connect the dots for you) . . .

 

Hebrews 4:12. See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit [dividing where the Soul Nuances of neshama, ruach/spirit, and nefesh intersect] and where joints meet marrow [dividing where your vessel/body’s inner parts intersect], and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart.

 

PRAYER! Full-on, distractions blocked. Prayer is warfare in the spiritual realm. It’s where the war is won, really. With that, I’d strongly add worship since worship is battle—and it is prayer. The two work together, interlocked for intense spiritual fighting, using both simultaneously.

 

James 5:16 nails it simply: The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

 

So crank up powerful worship music, grab your Bible, humble yourself before the Lord, and get to it! Sing-pray through the attacks, valleys, and even on those mountaintops to keep a lookout and get prepared in season and out of season.

 

[Recommendation: My go-to music is Rick Pino’s worship songs—from his warfare albums to his stirring songs before the Lord. Hands down, he is an anointed worship leader and his team is amazing. I had the privilege of meeting him briefly after one of his musical events in Santa Rosa, CA when I lived in the Bay. God had used Rick’s music to get me through a deeply difficult time.]

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #6: KEEP COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN

 

This is soul-to-soul communication, yours and God’s. Report what’s going on, what you see, what you’ve done, what you need—and wait for God to respond and lead. Sometimes you aren’t to speak—just still your soul and listen.

 

Psalm 42:7, a downtrodden soul [Soul Nuance nefesh per the line prior] calls out to God: Deep [tehom, תְּהוֹם, subterranean waters of the soul] is calling to deep at the thunder of Your waterfalls; all Your surging rapids and waves are sweeping over me.

 

Photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash

Deep calls to deep at the thunder of His waterfalls

 

There, in the deep part of your soul, humbled and hungry to reach His soul’s deep, is where holy communication is sparked, where you discover yet another layer of who He is, what He is, where He’s moving, how He’s guiding you, what He’s saying to you for this season of your life. It’s where you’ll swim in the glorious waterfall that flows from His throne and releases . . .

 

revelations
prophecies
words of knowledge
wisdom
discernment & understanding
provisions
love
mercy & grace
long-suffering
His consuming fire

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #7: STAY ALERT, THE ENEMY IS ON THE PROWL

 

Actually, he’s always on the prowl with his wicked trickery, looking for more spiritually slumbering victims. So don’t get caught in so-called spirituality—as the term is used in the world today—that brashly proclaims there are “many ways to God.”

 

You won’t find God’s truth in rote mantras, transcendental meditation, crystals, astrology, tarot cards, or trance-like states, and the rest of the “New” Age and one-world religious system. etc. Same goes for fashioning your version of God . . . that’s called idolatry.

 

Securing your position in Him is all about connecting with Him on His terms and His Word, not the world’s, not yours, not mine. God has made His terms clear from Genesis onward, revealing His holy character, His holy desires, His holy ways.

 

READ THIS FINAL COMBAT ZONE POST WITH A FILM NOIR BENT. COMBAT ZONE: PART 4—SOUL VIA A FILM NOIR LENS

 

SCRIPTURES: BE ENCOURAGED

 

Exodus 34:6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.

 

Lamentations 3:22-23 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

 

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

Deuteronomy 6:5 & Matthew 22:37. You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 

Matthew 11:29. [And Jesus/Yeshua said] Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

John 4:23-24. But the hour is coming—indeed, it’s here now—when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

 

CREDIT: Sniper Girl photo by Piotr Will on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Waterfall photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash.com

Resurrection, Real or Not: Part 1—What God Revealed

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

Empty tomb, garden near Golgatha

It’s real . . . with sneak peeks throughout the Bible to prove it.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 5 MINUTES.

 

Death. Is it a body decomposing into nothingness, trapped in a waiting-for-Godot moment—as Emily Dickinson portrays, rather derisively, in her “Alabaster Chambers” poem below? Or is it a future transition of the soul-body matrix into something far greater?

 

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—

Untouched by Morning

And untouched by Noon—

Lie the meek members of the Resurrection—

Rafter of Satin—and Roof of Stone!
—Emily Dickinson, original first stanza;
later published in her third version, posthumously, in 1890

 

You probably have your take on the resurrection matter. But opinions and poets aside . . . the real question is, what does God say? In His words, the Bible. After all, it’s His creation, His rules, His story. The gist of His resurrection event unfolds like this . . .

 

Death isn’t the end. It’s another beginning. The soul is eternal.

 

God said to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. —Exodus 3:6, approximately 1446 BCE.

 

What was God saying?
I am the God of your father—not I was.
Your father’s soul is with Me. His soul is not dead.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have long past from this world,
and yet, their souls are alive.

I am their God.

 

But God doesn’t leave things suspended there, with the eternal soul separated from its earthly vessel (the body) . . . the design from the beginning was for us to enjoy an everlasting soul-body existence made holy unto Him.

 

That’s why an integral part of the what’s-ahead story is the soul-body reunion, coming at the end of (future of) days—called acharit ha-yamim in Hebrew, אחרית הימים—orchestrated by the hand of God.

 

He’s been telling humanity about that for thousands of years—and He’s given ten sneak-peek accounts of it to make this seemingly preposterous resurrection notion understandable to us, recognizing it as a valid upcoming event.

 
 
BIBLE-TWINKLE LIGHTS - timothy-eberly-y88JWjn-s1E-unsplash copy
 
 

THE 4-1-1 SCRIPTURE BRIEF

 

Here they are . . . some resurrection cues and actual resurrection accounts given to us over time.

 

1406 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Song of Moses about God’s might; Moses was the leader-deliverer of Israel from Egypt, God’s mouthpiece and humble prophet who spoke with God face to face.

See now that it is I!
I am the One, and there is no god like Me!
I cause death and make alive
[restore life back from the dead, per the Hebrew].
I strike, but I heal, and no one can rescue from My Hand!
—Deuteronomy 32:39

 

1100 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Hannah. Mother of the prophet Samuel and a faithful servant of the Lord; she prophetically said this after a mighty move of God that made her longtime barren womb fertile:

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

The Lord brings death and makes alive
[restores the dead to life, per the Hebrew];
he brings down to the grave and raises up.

It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the Lord will judge from heaven;
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.
—1 Samuel 2:2,6,10

 

1044 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. David. King of Israel, prophet, psalmist, a man after God’s own heart. His Davidic throne will seat the Messiah.

You will not abandon my soul to the grave;
You shall not allow your pious one to see the pit.
—Psalm 16:10

 

1000 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Also ascribed to King David.

You have shown me great
and severe troubles again;
you shall revive me
[restore to life from the dead, per the Hebrew]
and from the depths of the earth
You will raise me up again.
—Psalm 71:20

 

863 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elijah (Eliyahu, in Hebrew). Renowned, zealous prophet of Israel; under God’s power, Elijah resurrected a widow’s child. 1 Kings 17:10-14.

 

849 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elisha. Elijah’s disciple who carried on the mantle of Elijah’s prophetic work; Elisha resurrected a Shunammite’s child. 2 Kings 4:20-37.

 

812 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elisha’s tomb. Well after Elisha died and his body placed in a burial cave, some men buried a dead man’s body in that cave—but when the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man was resurrected. 2 Kings 13:20-21.

 

753 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue.  Hosea. A major prophet ministering in the Northern Kingdom of Israel; his life, a symbol in God’s hands demonstrating God’s unfathomable love for His unfaithful people.

He will revive us [restore the dead to life, per the Hebrew]
after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live in His sight.
—Hosea 6:2

 

725 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue.  Isaiah. A mighty prophet and a surrendered vessel in God’s hands for Israel, Messianic prophecies, and end-times events.

Your dead will live;
Their corpses will rise.
You who lie in the dust [are dead], awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn,
And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.
—Isaiah 26:19

 

539 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Daniel. A courageously faithful prophet and dream interpreter of the Lord during the Babylonian captivity; a vehicle for God’s voice regarding many end-times prophecies.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth [the dead]
shall awake to everlasting life
and others to everlasting reproach and abhorrence.
—Daniel 12:2

 

28 CE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name). Renowned rabbi, prophet, and for those with ears to hear, Messiah.

For an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come forth;
those who have done good will come to a resurrection of life,
those who have done evil will come to a resurrection of judgment.
—John 5:28-29

 

28-33 CE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek accounts: six of them. Witnessed by many. John 11:1-44; Mark 5: 21-43; Luke 7:11-16; Matthew 27:50-53; Acts 9:36-41; Acts 29:7-12.

 

33 CE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Jesus’s (Yeshua’s) resurrection.The most powerful resurrection event—even some Jewish scholars don’t deny it. Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-13.

 
 
tingey-injury-law-firm-nSpj-Z12lX0-unsplash
 
 

THAT BEGS THE QUESTION

 

Since resurrection is a futuristic event, what is our life down here about?

 

There’s much to that answer—some discussed in this series and elsewhere on this blog. But for now, as one rabbinic source puts it . . .

 

This world is like a lobby before the World to Come;
prepare yourself in the lobby
so that you may enter the banquet hall.
—Rabbi Yaakov, Pirkei Avot 4:21

(Ethics of our Fathers, ethical/moral Torah teachings
from the Mishnaic 2nd century CE period)

 

Keep this in mind: There are no do-overs. No reincarnation to try it again. God’s Word is pretty straightforward about that. That’s why what you do down here in the “lobby” is critical.

 

It all comes down to this: God is sovereign. He sits on the throne as judge—both justice and mercy. But for the mercy part, you need to be living according to His divine plan for your soul, His roadmap—not doing your own thing or believing your version of what He said.

 
 
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RESURRECTION: SNEAK PEEKS

 

Explore each account via the links below. These resurrected people went on to live again . . . but eventually had to die again and now await the resurrection occurring at the end of days.

 

That is, all except one.
The Life Giver . . . and Life Changer.
The Restorer, Repairer, Healer.
The Redeemer. The Messiah.

 

There’s more coming up about that singularly unique resurrection story in this series. But now . . . those real-life resurrection accounts.

 

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

His Righteousness Can Be Yours

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 
 

CREDITS: Bible photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Gavel photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Roll the Drums photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash.com

 

RELATED RESOURCES

 

McFarland, Philip (2004), Hawthorne in Concord, New York: Grove Press, p. 149, ISBN 0-8021-1776-7.

Royot, Daniel (2002), “Poe’s humor”, in Hayes, Kevin J, The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–2, ISBN 0-521-79727-6.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13614-shulamite

http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/shunammite-midrash-and-aggadah

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Great-Woman-Shunem

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/107781/jewish/Ani-Maamin-I-Believe.htm

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/jewish-resurrection-of-the-dead/

 

Resurrection, Real or Not: Part 2a—Real-Life Accounts

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

Empty tomb, garden near Golgatha

Three resurrection accounts set the spiritual ball in motion.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POST IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed

 
 

The first three resurrection accounts are in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)—and are followed by seven more accounts in the New Testament (B’rit Chadashah).

 

They’re all bridge-crossing events of epic proportions, regardless of what part of the bridge you’re on . . . Judaic, Messianic Judaic, or Christian.

 

Each time, God peels back a piece of the spiritual dimension so we can evidence His power and catch a glimpse of the resurrection promise to come. Yep, resurrection is real, and it’s the main event up ahead.

 

#1. GENTILE WIDOW OF TZARFAT’S SON

[1 Kings 17:10-24]

 

Meager, drought-riddled times. The place was Tzarfat [Zarephath]—a Phoenician city between Sidon and Tyre in Lebanon.

 

The great prophet Elijah [Eliyahu] stood at the city gate where he saw a gentile widow gathering sticks. Perhaps hesitantly, he asked for a little cup of water, then later, for some bread. But she only had enough flour and oil to make a last meal for her son and herself before they starved to death.

 

Elijah instructed her not to fear but to bake him the bread—and then bake more for her and her son. The widow’s obedience was honored. The flour and oil never ran out during the drought. Then time passed and the widow’s son became ill. Increasingly ill. The boy stopped breathing and died. The favor of the Lord seemed to have vanished from the widow’s house.

 

Elijah took the dead boy from the mother’s lap, carried him upstairs to the prophet’s upper room, and laid the boy on the bed. Crying out to the Lord, questioning why this misery was put upon the widow, the prophet Elijah made a faith move. He stretched himself out on the child three times and pleaded for Adonai to allow the child’s soul to be returned to the body.

 

God’s compassion prevailed. Elijah carried the now-resurrected child back to his mother and said, “See? Your son is alive.”

 * * * 

 

#2. JEWISH SHUNAMMITE’S SON

[2 Kings 4:20-37]

 

Opening scene: The village of Shunem, north of Jezreel in the Tribe of Issachar’s land.

 

Elisha was a disciple and prophet-successor of the great prophet Elijah [Eliyahu]—as well as a frequent guest of a Jewish Shunammite, a woman of means and rank who prepared an upper room for his visits.

 

Rabbinic teachings speak highly of her hospitality, saying we all should bring a Torah scholar under our roofs, giving them nourishment and allowing them to partake of all that we possess. [Perek Zedakot 1]

 

To honor the Shunammite woman’s kindness, the Lord told Elisha that the childless woman would bear a son, even though her husband was old. A year later, she indeed gave birth to a son. But when the child was a bit older, he died. A woman of resolute, bold faith, she laid her dead child on the prophet’s bed in the upper room, shut the door, and went out. She asked her husband to send her a servant and a donkey so she could leave immediately to see the prophet Elisha.

 

Elisha wasted no time. He gave his staff to his servant Geichazi, ordering him to dress for action and go ahead to the woman’s house—but warned him not to stop or answer anyone and to lay his staff on the child’s face. The servant obeyed, but the child didn’t stir. No sound, no sign of life. Later on, Elisha arrived and went to the room, shut the door, and prayed to Adonai. Then he stretched himself out on the child, putting his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, his hands on the child’s hands.

 

As Elisha performed that prophetic action, the child’s flesh began to grow warm. The prophet went back downstairs, walked around the house for a bit, then went back up and once again stretched himself out on the child. The child sneezed seven times—then opened his eyes.

 

The prophet called for the Shunammite woman. When she arrived, Elisha said, “Pick up your son.” She fell at his feet, prostrated herself on the floor, then picked up her son and went out.

 

The soul connection to those seven sneezes? In Genesis 2:7, God blew into Adam’s nostrils the soul of life. Some used to posit that sneezing meant the soul was exiting from that same place it entered. Who knows, maybe the seven sneezes were “death” exiting so the new, resurrected breath of G-d could enter and revive the child.

 

* * *

 

#3. ELISHA’S TOMB—JEWISH MAN RESURRECTED

[2 Kings 13:20-21]

 

The prophet Elisha fell sick and died, his body placed in a burial cave. Time passed. Then one day, some men came to bury another man. But when they spotted their enemy—a Moab raiding party—coming near, they were so frightened, they just hurled the dead man’s body into Elisha’s burial cave. The moment the dead man’s body touched the bones of Elisha, the man’s body came to life . . . and the newly resurrected man stood on his feet.

 

So I’m thinking, if those guys were freaked out about the Moabites closing in, they probably totally lost it when that dead man was resurrected. Seriously.

 

READ THE NEXT POSTS IN THE SERIES

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

His Righteousness Can Be Yours

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE POSTS IN THE SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

Resurrection, Real or Not: Part 2b—Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

Empty tomb, garden near Golgatha

Seven more resurrection accounts nudge the spiritual ball further—much, much further.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 6 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts

 

Besides God’s three sneak-peek resurrection accounts in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)—He gave us seven more (in the New Testament) that take on even greater momentum.

 
 
 

And since even rabbis study the New Testament, let’s check out those accounts. Six are in this post . . . the seventh account deserves its own post.

 

Drum roll, please . . .

 

#1. JEWISH LAZARUS—FOUR DAYS ENTOMBED

[John 11: 1-44]

 

Lazarus of Bethany and his two sisters—Miriam and Martha—were Jewish followers of Jesus [Yeshua] and close friends of the famed rabbi. One day, Lazarus fell sick. His sisters sent a message to Jesus to please come, knowing of his healing miracles. But Jesus opted to stay two more days where he was and prophetically said, “This sickness will not end in death . . . it is for God’s glory.”

 

The days passed and Jesus told his disciples that Lazarus was “asleep”—meaning he died. “I’m glad I wasn’t there so that you will come to have faith. Let’s go to him.”

 

By the time they arrived, Lazarus had been dead four days. That’s right—four days in the tomb. But Jesus nudged the sisters’ faith.

 

Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.”
In true Jewish fashion, she answered, “I know that he’ll rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.”

 

But Jesus wasn’t referring to the end-of-days resurrection. He meant now. This is the part when it gets really, really good—and why this is one of the most dramatic resurrection accounts in the Bible. Adonai was about to reveal the resurrection-and-life power in Jesus as Messiah.

 

Jesus, the two Jewish sisters, the many Jewish mourners, and the Jewish disciples walk to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the tomb’s entrance.

 

“Take the stone away!” Jesus says.

But Martha warns him,
“By now his body must smell—it’s been four day since he died!”

Jesus answers,
“Didn’t I tell you that if you keep trusting,
you will see the glory of God?” 

 

So they remove the stone. Jesus looks upward and says, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know you always hear me, but I say this because of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe you have sent me.

 

Then Jesus called out. “Lazarus, come out!”
The man who had been dead came out.
His hands and fee wrapped in strips of linen
and his face covered with a cloth.
Jesus said, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

 

Unlike the prophets Elijah and Elisha who had to continue to pray over a body and stretch out over it, etc. before the body was resurrected, Jesus merely commanded life with the words and power of God—and it was done.

 

Not surprisingly, many of the Judeans who had come to visit the sisters and seen what Jesus had done believed in him as Messiah. But not all. Nope, some ran to the Pharisees and told them about the resurrection. Well, you can imagine how that went.

 

The head cohanim (priests) and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. They weren’t pleased and began plotting to not only kill Jesus but to do away with Lazarus as well, since it was because of his resurrection that large numbers of Judeans were leaving their leaders and putting their faith in Jesus as Messiah. (John 12: 9-10)

* * *

 

#2. JEWISH SYNAGOGUE LEADER’S DAUGHTER

[Mark 5:21-24, 35-43]

 

Jesus [Yeshua] had been ministering to a crowd of people near the Sea of Galilee—casting out demons, healing the sick, etc. A Jewish synagogue official named Ya’ir fell at the feet of Jesus, pleading desperately. “My little daughter is at the point of death. Please! Come and lay your hands on her so she will get well and live!”

 

Jesus agreed to go, the crowd of people pressing in on him on all sides. A woman touched the hem of his garment and was healed of her twelve-year bout of hemorrhaging. Then people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died. Why bother the rabbi any longer?”

 

Ignoring what they said, Jesus tells the synagogue official, “Don’t be afraid, just keep trusting.”

 

Jesus let his disciples Peter, James, and John follow him to the man’s home. At the house, there was great commotion—understandably. Weeping and wailing. “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead, she’s just asleep!” Jesus said. The people jeered at him, so he put them all outside, then took the child’s parents and his three disciples with him to the child.

 

Jesus took the twelve-year-old child by the hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” At once, the girl got up and began walking around.

 

Everyone was amazed. Jesus told them to give her something to eat—and gave strict orders for them to say nothing about the event to anyone.

 

Yeah, I’m not so sure they obeyed that last request . . . especially since we’re still reading about it and telling the miraculous event 2,000 years later.

 

* * *

#3. JEWISH WIDOW OF NA’IM’S SON

[Luke 7:11-16]

 

Jesus, his twelve disciples, and a large crowd went to a lower-Galilee town called Na’im, just south of Mount Tabor within the boundaries of the Tribe of Issachar. As he approached the town gate, a dead Jewish man was being carried out for burial. Surrounded by a sizable crowd, the man’s mother—a widow with no other children—wept and walked with the others. A bleak future lay before her.

 

When Jesus saw her, he felt compassion for her and said, “Don’t cry.” Then he came close and touched the coffin—the pallbearers stopped.

 

Jesus said,” Young man, I say to you, Get up!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him to his mother.

 

They were filled with awe and gave glory to God. The report about Jesus spread throughout all Judah and the surrounding countryside.

 

* * *

 

#4. MANY JEWS RAISED SIMULTANEOUSLY

[Matthew 27:50-53]

 

Right after Jesus breathed his last on the crucifixion stake, the earth shook, rocks split, and tombs were opened. After Jesus was resurrected, many bodies of the righteous were raised and appeared in the Holy City to many. When the centurion and his fellow soldiers who had been guarding the tomb of Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”

 

* * *

 

#5. TABITHA, A MESSIANIC JEW & WIDOW

[Acts 9:36-41]

 

This resurrected record happened well after Jesus had been crucified, buried, resurrected, and forty days later, ascended into heaven.

 

The Messianic community was being built up in Judah, the Galilee, and Samaria. Their numbers, multiplying. A beloved woman named Tabitha—Dorcas in Greek—lived in the Mediterranean port city Joppa, about 30 miles south of Caesarea. A believer in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah, she was esteemed for her tireless charitable work making clothes for the poor, widows, and others.

 

In time, Tabitha grew ill and died. After washing her, they laid her in a room upstairs.

 

The Messianic believers heard that Peter—a well-known disciple of Jesus—was in nearby Lydda and sent for him to come without delay. When he arrived, all the widows were standing around Tabitha’s body, sobbing and showing Peter all the dresses and coats she had made for people.

 

Peter put them outside, knelt down, and prayed.
As a Jewish believer in Jesus as Messiah, he was indwelt with the power of the Holy Spirit and had learned how to step into that heaven-earth soul connection to hear God’s voice and know what He was doing, what He was saying, how He was leading.

 

In obedience to God’s voice, Peter turned to the body, he said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.

 

He offered his hand and helped her to her feet, then called the believers and widows, presenting Tabitha to them alive. Many people put their trust in Jesus as Messiah because of what God had done for Tabitha.

 

* * *

 

#6. EUTYCHUS, GENTILE

[Acts 20:7-12]

 

Pharisee Saul Paulus had a Damascene encounter with the ascended Jesus—and thereafter became a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. He traveled extensively to spread the truth of the Messiah—often amid great persecution.

 

At one point in his travels, Saul Paulus spent five days in Troas, an ancient Greek city on the Aegean Sea, near Turkey’s northern tip. He taught and ministered to followers of the Messiah. On the first day of the week, he gathered with believers to break bread. Since he was going to leave the following day, he prolonged his message until midnight.

 

There were many oil lamps burning in the upstairs room where they were meeting. A young man named Eutychus was sitting on the window sill. As Saul Paulus continued teaching, the young man eventually grew sound asleep and fell from the third-story window.

 

When they picked him up from the ground, he was dead. But Saul went down, threw himself onto him, put his arms around him. His faith went into action. Saul said, “Don’t be upset, he’s alive!”

 

Then Paul went back upstairs, broke the bread and shared it with everyone. He continued teaching until daylight—with everyone greatly relieved the boy was brought back to life.

 

* * *

 

READ THE NEXT POST IN THE SERIES

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

His Righteousness Can Be Yours

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE POSTS IN THE SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

Resurrection, Real or Not: Part 3—The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

Rolled stone from tomb

The resurrection event that shifted the world and eternity in one mighty move—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge: Jesus of Nazereth.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 8 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

 

This resurrection event—factual, real, historic—was heaven thunderbolting our earthly dimension. Victorious over death’s grip . . . physically and spiritually.  For your soul and everyone who ever lived.

 

Unlike the other resurrected people mentioned in the Bible, Jesus didn’t have to die a second time. He conquered death.

 

JESUS (YESHUA): JEWISH MESSIAH
THE LEAD-UP 

 

It was prophesied. He was to suffer. You may even know the Isaiah 53 Messianic prophecy—given 700 years before it was fulfilled. The same prophecy rabbinic sages knew . . .

 

The arm of the Lord (his salvation power, Messiah) would be wounded (pierced) for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities . . . upon him was the punishment that brought us peace . . . by his wounds, his scourging, we are healed.

 

It is the glorious and unimaginable plan of God. His Messiah, holy and blameless, yet oppressed and afflicted.

 

And us, Jew and Gentile—both fractured like those shattered tablets of Moses, yet made whole in our Messiah, the one sent by God.

 

That fractured state—our sin—was the reason the crucifixion was needed.

 

Because no one does what is right . . . our best works are viewed as “filthy menstrual rags” before our Holy God: Genesis 8:21b, I Kings 8:46, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 59:1-2, Psalm 14:23, Psalm 53: 2-4 (3-5), and many others.

 

So ultimately, it was God’s love that put the Messiah on the cross.

 

Not the Jewish authorities.

Not Roman rule.

Not the angry mob.

 

Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name) makes it clear in John 10:17-18:

 

For this reason the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life
that I may take it up again.
No one takes it from me,
but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have authority to lay it down,
and I have authority to take it up again.
This charge I have received from my Father.

 

Jesus/Yeshua became the way for us—the only way—to bridge a restoration, an eternal relationship with the eternal God.

 

He was a Tzadik, a righteous person. Fulfiller of the Law and Messianic prophecies. Teacher. Healer. Miracle worker.

 

God’s Truth manifested on Earth . . . the Light of heaven piercing humanity’s darkness.

 

Born a Jew, Jesus/Yeshua lived as a Jew—and was crucified as King of the Jews.

 

But he resurrected as King of Kings, Lord of all.

 

In sync with what Isaiah 35:5-6 said about the Messiah, Jesus made the blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak . . . and he cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, delivered people from demonic possession—and raised the dead.

 

John, an early disciple of Jesus/Yeshua says in the last line of his gospel account: Jesus also did many other things. If all of them were to be written one by one, I suppose that the whole world couldn’t contain the books that would be written. —John 21:25

 

Many Pharisees, even some members of the Sanhedrin, and multitudes of Jewish lay people and others witnessed these fulfillments, recognizing and believing that Jesus was (and is) the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God.

 

But other Jewish authorities didn’t . . .

 

 

COUNTERPOINT

 

The proverbial pot brewed to a feisty, rolling boil. The top three reasons why the Jewish authorities were nearing the brink . . .

 

Reason #1: Truth Spoken. Many of the Jewish authorities of the day flowed in pride and religiosity and burdened the people with added laws and demands. Jesus, the voice of God, called them out on it—many times.

 

At one point he referenced Isaiah, saying he’d prophesied right about them:

 

And the Lord said:
“Because this people has come near;
with their mouth and with their lips they honor Me,
but their heart they draw far away from Me,
and their fear [reverence] of Me
has become precepts of people
[doctrines of human origin].”
—Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8-9

 

Jesus also called them “blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14) and
said they appeared righteous on the outside but were full of hypocrisy and wickedness on the inside. Like whitewashed tombs—appearing clean but dead within.

 

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses;
therefore all that they tell you, do and observe,
but do not do according to their deeds;
for they say things and do not do them.

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders,
but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them.

But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men;
for they broaden their tefillin (phylacteries)
and lengthen their tzitziyot (garment tassels)
.

They love the place of honor at banquets
and the chief seats in the synagogues,
they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces
and to be called rabbi by others
.”
Matthew 23:2-7

 

Reason #2: Rome. The throngs of people in the street following Jesus . . . the hot debates erupting among the crowds about whether or not Jesus was the Messiah . . . the Pharisees butting up against Jesus and his followers . . . were all catching the unwanted attention of Rome who demanded obedience from their conquered population—not commotion or unrest.

 

The last thing the Sanhedrin wanted was their distinguished perch rocked.

 

Reason #3: Miracles. The movement of God couldn’t be stopped. Everywhere Jesus walked, he said what the Lord told him to say, did what he saw the Father doing, and prayed what the Father prayed.

 

Healings and miracles resulted. But the tipping point happened when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead—because Lazarus had been in the tomb four days.

 

In fact, the chief priests wanted to kill Lazarus just as much as they wanted to kill Jesus since even more Jews were now believing Jesus was the Messiah.

 

So they forged a plan. One that dovetailed into Messianic prophecy.

 

Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened a council and were saying,
“What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs.
If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him,
and the Romans will come and take away both our place
and our nation
.”

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year,
said to them, “You know nothing at all,
nor do you take into account that
it is expedient for you that one man die for the people,
and that the whole nation not perish.”

Now he did not say this on his own initiative,
but being high priest that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not for the nation only,
but in order that He might also gather together into one
the children of God who are scattered abroad.

 

So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.
—John 11:47-53

 
tom-barrett-7FNOH-qSxMI-unsplash
 

THE CRUCIFIXION

 

It was a holy journey of love . . . paved with treachery. Jesus was taken in the night to stand before the High Priest Caiphus and the Sanhedrin.

 

He was struck by a soldier, later blindfolded and mocked, spat on. By morning, he was marched to Pontius Pilate, handed over to Herod, and afterward brought back to Pilate, where he was flogged.

 

The Roman flagrum:
a short whip with several heavy leather thongs—
with two small balls of lead attached near each end.

 

The “heavy whip is brought down with full force” repeatedly
across the shoulders, back, and legs.

The whip cuts through the skin,
then deep into subcutaneous tissues,
eventually spurting arterial bleeding.

The skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons . . .
an unrecognizable mass of bleeding tissue.

[Roman whipping information from the Dr. C. Truman Davis article
“A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ”]

 

Per John 19:2-3 and Matthew 27:28-32: The governor’s soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes, put a purple robe on him, twisted thorn branches into a crown and placed it on his head—causing tremendous bleeding—and put a stick in his right hand, kneeling before him mockingly saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

 

They spit on him and used the stick to beat him about his head. Then they removed the robe—an excruciating moment as it tore against his deep wounds—and redressed him in his clothes before leading him through Jerusalem in his extremely fragile state.

 

Their destination: a place called Gulgotha [the Skull], outside the city.

 

Roman soldiers drove iron nails through Jesus’ wrists and feet. Pilate ordered a sign be posted on the cross in three languages, Hebrew, Latin, Greek: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

 

I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded Me;
the assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
—Psalm 22:14-17,
prophetically written by King David about the Messiah’s death

 

It was Friday, a day of preparation for the Shabbat [Sabbath]—a special one because it was Passover week. The Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies remaining on the crucifixion stake passed sundown—Jesus’ body and those of the two criminals crucified on other side of him.

 

So they asked Pilate to hasten the deaths of the three men by breaking their legs. The soldiers first broke the legs of the men on either side of Jesus, but when they went to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead.

 

One soldier took his sword and pierced Jesus’ side. Immediately, blood and water poured out. He died without one of his bones broken, fulfilling Psalm 34.

 

Joseph of Arimathea—a Jew, a man of means, a respected member of the council, and a follower of Jesus—asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted him permission.

 

Joseph and another Jew, Nicodemus—a Pharisee, member of the Sanhedrin, and follower of Jesus (John 3)—took the Messiah’s body, wrapped it in linen sheets with the myrrh-and-aloes spices, in accordance with Judean burial practice, and placed the body in a new tomb (previously purchased by Joseph of Arimathea for himself), located in a nearby garden.

 

Afterward, a huge stone locked the entrance—and Pilate placed soldiers to guard the tomb, worried about the stories of Jesus’ promised resurrection.

 

jon-tyson-XmMsdtiGSfo-unsplash

 

GLORIOUS RESURRECTION

 

Early on the first day of the week—Sunday—when it was still dark, Miriam from Magdala along with Miriam (the mother of James), and Salome went to the tomb in hopes of finding someone to roll the stone away, so they could anoint the body with spices. [Mark 16]

 

But the stone was already rolled away.

 

Miriam Magdala ran to tell the disciples Peter and John, who immediately went to the tomb and saw that it was empty. Not understanding, they returned home, perplexed. Miriam stood outside the tomb crying, then bent down and peered into the tomb.

 

Two angels sat where the body of Jesus had been—one at the head and one at the feet.

 

Familiar, right? Like the two angels facing one another on top of the Arc of the Covenant.

 

“Why are you crying?” the angels asked Miriam.

“They took my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him,” she cried.

Just then, she turned and saw Jesus standing there.

 

In the evening of the same day—the first day of the week—the disciples were gathered behind a locked door, fearful of the Judeans.

 

Jesus appeared, stood in the middle, and said, “Peace be upon you!”
He showed them his hands and his pierced side.

 

Throughout the next forty days, he appeared to many people, per convincing proofs, and spoke of things regarding the Kingdom of God.

 

He appeared to  . . .

 

(1) several women immediately afterward (Miriam Magdala, Miriam, Salome, Joanna)

(2) Simon Peter

(3) his disciples at various times (e.g. in an upper room and at the Sea of Galilee and on a mountain in the Galil)

(4) two disciples on the Emmaus Road

(5) James, his half brother

(6) over 500 people at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:6)

 

While he was blessing the disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven, returning back to the Father. His followers evidenced him being taken up into a cloud (Acts 1).

 

His ascension was witnessed by his disciples: Simon (Kefa/Peter), Andrew, John, Ya’akov ben Zavdi (James, son of Zebedee), Philip, Bartholomew (Nathanael, Bar-Talmai), T’oma (Thomas), Mattityahu (Matthew), Ya’akov bar-Halfai (James, son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot, and Taddai (Thaddeus, also known as Judas—not Iscariot, but the son of James).

 

Right afterward, two men clad in white robes said to his followers:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?
This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,
will so come back just as you saw Him go into heaven.”

 

And there’s so much more to that story . . . coming in a future series.

 

But for now, let’s talk about you.

 
franck-v-0La7MwJhSyo-unsplash
 

BACK TO YOU

 

The Messianic prophecies in the Bible (108 minimal, some classify 300 or more) point in just one direction—Jesus (Yeshua).

 

The chance of fulfilling just 16 [of the minimal 108 Messianic prophecies] is 1 in 1045. Accidentally fulfilling the prophecies is “beyond the realm of possibility,” per Lamb and Lion Ministries’ website.

 

Multitudes of people in the first century CE, from Jewish leaders and lay people to Gentiles, recognized Jesus as the Jewish Messiah sent from God.

 

But others considered the miracles and said he must be John the Baptist (who had been beheaded much earlier per Herod’s orders) or one of the ancient prophets, Elijah or Jeremiah.

 

And now there’s you . . .

 

Jesus asks you the same
soul-transforming question
that he asked his disciples

(Matthew 16:13-17):
But who do you say I am?

 

* * *

 

READ THE NEXT POST IN THE SERIES

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

His Righteousness Can Be Yours

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

RELATED RESOURCE

Here’s more in English/Hebrew about Isaiah 53 at One for Israel Ministry

 

CREDIT: Blue/Red Chairs photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Storm-light clouds photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Good News photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Arrow photo by Franck V. on Unsplash.com

 

Resurrection, Real or Not: Part 4—Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

Rolled stone from tomb

The resurrection event that changed everything—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge. What an orthodox rabbi and Jewish scholars have to say about the resurrection of Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name).

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 7 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

 

The world’s history has long encompassed extremes—light and darkness, goodness and evil, sagacity and folly, hope and discouragement . . . and the ultimate dichotomy, death and resurrection.

 

It’s the stuff authors love to write about, carefully mirroring our up-down, soul-body matrix existence in their art, which sometimes is reflected back into life. Remember the seesaw duality of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities?

 


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . .
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness


 

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us in our fractured state. We will rise from the abyss of death.

 

But in sync with life’s duality, even the resurrection event is good news/bad news. There will be a resurrection to everlasting life for the righteous . . . and a resurrection to judgment for the others. (Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29.)

 

This is serious business. So God gave us ten resurrection accounts—seriously, count them—to encourage us, to help us see our lives down here via a more heavenly lens. (See prior posts in this series.)

 

And yet, all those resurrection accounts beg the question.

Since resurrection is an obvious biblical teaching,
then why do some people give
an acknowledging nod
to many of those accounts . . .

but discount 
one resurrection in particular?
Namely, the historical resurrection of 
Jesus.

 

Well, one modern-day orthodox rabbi didn’t.
Nor did some other Jewish biblical scholars and rabbis.

 

note: stock photo, not Rabbi Lapide

 

MEET RABBI PINCHAS LAPIDE
author, Jewish scholar, theologian specializing in the New Testament

 

An Orthodox rabbi, Lapide had a real bridge-crossing view. He even wrote a book in 1979 about it: “The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective.” It made quite a stir back then, even garnering attention in Time magazine’s religion section.

 

Lapide (1922-1997) and his scholarly process were all about rediscovering the Jewish aspects of early Christianity. After all, Jesus (Yeshua) and his followers were Jews.

 

Lapide’s convincing Judaic arguments in favor of Jesus’s resurrection as a historic event are worth examining.

 

I mean, rabbis, some of the Sanhedrin, and Pharisees—not to mention multitudes of Jews—recognized in the first century CE that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah. So when a modern-day rabbi studies the totality of the scriptures and supports Jesus’s resurrection, it’s a red-letter moment.

 

Per Lapide, the “Hebrew Bible knows of the translation of Enoch (Genesis 5:24), a transfiguration (Saul: I Samuel 10:6), an ascension (Elijah: 2 Kings 2:11) and three resurrections [which God] carried out through the hands of His prophets.”

 

Namely: I Kings 7: 17-24; 2 Kings 4:18-21, 32-37; 2 Kings 13:20-21.

 

Not a single case was met with unbelief in Israel, per Lapide.
Nope, not one.

 

The hope and belief in resurrection were so ingrained in Judaic thinking, it became part of the daily prayer from renowned 12th-century rabbinic scholar, Moses ben Maimonides and his Thirteen Articles of Faith:

 

Lapide also commented that postbiblical literature gives reports of several miraculous healings, multiplication of bread, diversion of a flood, victory over demons, rainfall after prayer, etc.

 

So the historic resurrection of Jesus
wasn’t a bizarre, non-Jewish event.
And it wasn’t so-called magic or a scheme.
It was real.
From the hand of Adonai, God Himself.
In fact, over the 40-day period following his resurrection,
Jesus appeared to his disciples, others, and over 500 people at once.

 

In addition to Lapide’s scientific analysis of Jesus’s resurrection—which includes support for the genuineness of Saul Paulus’ Damascene experience—he mentioned two other points as further support:

 

(1) God permitted the women to be the first to witness and give testimony of that resurrection—when they held no value in the culture.

 

(2) Many  Jewish believers were willing to die defending their belief in Jesus’s resurrection.

 

Per Rabbi Pinchas Lapide:
Without the Sinai experience—no Judaism.
Without the Easter [Passover/Crucifixion/Resurrection] experience—no Christianity.
Both were Jewish faith experiences whose radiating power . . .
were meant for the world of nations.
For inscrutable reasons, the resurrection faith of Golgotha was necessary to carry the message of Sinai into the world.

 
marija-zaric-ZcXEmpelsoU-unsplash
 

THREE FINE POINTS

 

Point #1. Messiahship. Now I don’t agree with Lapide’s initial inference that Jesus (Yeshua) is only the messiah for the Gentiles (Goyim)—but Lapid did say that in Jesus’s parousia (second coming) he would manifest himself as Israel’s Messiah.

 

To clarify that . . . the prophet Zechariah says that what actually happens at the second coming is this: Israel’s spiritual eyes are open, the veil is removed, so they can see Jesus (Yeshua) for who he is and always has been, the Jewish Messiah of the world.

 

I will pour out on the house of David
and on those living in Jerusalem
a spirit of grace and prayer;
and they will look to me, whom they pierced.
They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son;
they will be in bitterness on his behalf
like the bitterness for a firstborn son.
—Zechariah 12:10

 

There is one Messiah—per scriptures—sent by God
for the Jew first and then for the Gentile.
And Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies, over 100.
Including the Messiah’s initial coming for spiritual redemption,
which will be followed by the final physical redemption,
ushering in the Messianic Age.

 

Point #2. Probability factor. The scientific probability of Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilling the many messianic prophecies is mind-boggling. As Lion and Lamb Ministry aptly states on their site, referencing the noted work of now-deceased mathematics/astronomy university chair Peter Stoner:

 

“The chances of fulfilling 16 [of the 108 prophecies]  is 1 in 1045.
When you get to a total of 48 [prophecies fulfilled],
the odds increase to 1 in 10157.

Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is
simply beyond the realm of possibility.”

 

Point #3. Lapide and the hotly debated three-days-in-the-tomb issue. Even Christians battle out the calculations. [An easy method to me—without gagging on a calculations gnat—is using our Judaic/biblical view that a day is measured sundown to sundown: (1st “day”) Friday daylight buried before Shabbat began; (2nd day) Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, still in the tomb; (3rd “day”) Saturday sundown to Sunday morning, arose on that third day.]

 

But Lapide gives a compelling Judaic response: It’s not a literal expression in the Hebrew Bible.

 

Stick with me for a moment and hear him out . . .

 

Lapide says, for those with ears biblically educated, that three-days-in-the-tomb expression used in various scriptures refers to the clear evidence of God’s mercy and grace that is revealed after two days of affliction and death by way of redemption.

 

  • Genesis 22:4. On the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes . . . [before the Akedah, the binding of Isaac]
  • Exodus 19: 16. On the morning of the third day, there was thunder . . . [before God’s Sinai appearance]
  • Genesis 42:18. On the third day, Joseph said to them . . . [before releasing his brothers—except one—to return to Canaan]
  • Jonah 1:17. Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days . . . [before he was saved]
  • Esther 5:1. On the third day, Esther put on her royal robes . . . [Israel saved after bitter affliction]
  • Hosea 6:2. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up . . . [before He comes like the spring rain to water their souls ]

 
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JESUS  & JEWISH BIBLICAL SCHOLARS 

 

Per Lapide, the Pentecost testimony of the apostles—claiming the crucified Jesus had risen—proved a big pain you know where for the Sadducees. But for the Pharisees or the majority of Jews, it was a “problem seriously to be investigated.” They knew a resurrection was “entirely in the realm of the possible (Sanhedrin 90b).”

 

And also per Lapide’s book (pages 137-138, 142), the spiritual heirs of those Pharisees—today’s Jewish rabbis and biblical scholars—have commented on the matter from different angles.

 

  • Maimonides—renowned rabbinic authority. “All these matters which refer to Jesus of Nazareth . . . only served to make the way free for the King Messiah and to prepare the whole world for the worship of God with a united heart, as it is written: Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord (Zeph. 3:9). In this way, the messianic hope, the Torah, and the commandments have become a widespread heritage of faith—among the inhabitants of the far islands and among many nations, uncircumcised in heart and flesh.”
  • Rabbi Samuel Hirsch—pioneer of the Jewish Reform movement. “In order that Jesus’s power of hope and greatness of soul should not end with his death, God has raised in the group of his disciples the idea that he rose from death and continues living. Indeed, He continues living in all those who want to be true Jews.”
  • Rabbi Leo Baeck—author of The Essence of Judaism. “They [disciples of Jesus] were seeking the Messiah, the son of David, the promised one, and they found and beheld him in Jesus. His disciples in Israel believed in him even beyond his death so that it became to them an existential certainty that he—as the prophet foretold—had risen from the dead on the third day.”
  • Rabbi Samuel Sandmel—prolific author, theologian, an authority on Jewish-Christian relations. “Only a Jew whose unique combination of qualities was extraordinary could have been thought by other Jews to have been accorded a special resurrection.”
  • J. Carmel—Israeli teacher/author, who says he regrets the Gospels aren’t at home in the framework of Jewish literature. “If the prophet Elijah has ridden a fiery chariot into heaven, why should not Jesus rise and go to heaven?”

 

READ THE NEXT POSTS IN THE SERIES

Why A Bodily Resurrection

His Righteousness Can Be Yours

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

CREDIT: Western Wall photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Bridging the Distance photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Lion photo by Jeff Rodgers on Unsplash.com

Resurrection, Real or Not: Part 5—Why A Bodily Resurrection?

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

picture from pinkpigart.co.uk

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale shadows our soul-body journey. But what’s that got to do with needing a resurrection? A few things, as it turns out.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 5 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven
Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

 

Shakespeare’s plays often navigate spiritual waters. The Winter’s Tale is no exception. The tragicomedy travels the barrenness, brokenness, and blackened leaves of our wintry lives and moves to a spring-like moment.

 
 

It’s a light nod to God’s promised latter rain in the Bible. This rainy season—as the Talmud and Judaic scholars call it—is the glory rain, the promised resurrection.

 

So what’s with the withered leaves and wintry tales? In the Psalms, God likens us to trees. Some good, some not so good. The condition of a tree varies from season to season, choice by choice.

 

A good, solid tree is vibrant, flourishes, bears fruit, stretches its roots and branches. Other trees may appear lively for a season but are slowing decaying from the inside out.

 

Blessed is the man . . .

whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on His law day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

—Psalm 1:2-3

 

The righteous flourish like the palm tree

and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Planted in the house of the Lord,

in the courts of our God they will flourish.

—Psalm 92:13-14 (12-13)

 

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

I trust in the steadfast love of God

forever and ever.

—Psalm 52:10 (8)

 

In winter, all the trees are dormant, still, laid bare. Not that much different than the time of our individual wintry tale when we are laid still . . . waiting for that latter rain resurrection.

 

But we don’t all have the same resurrection ending.

 
The body and the soul are reunited in resurrection, then face litigation in God’s court, are judged, and subsequently step into one of two places: everlasting life (for the righteous) or everlasting contempt (for the unrighteous), per Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29, among other scriptures.

 

Certain things impact that judgment . . . but simply said, it centers on what the soul-body did down here in light of God’s ways—and more to the point, what it did regarding one act of God in particular.

 

Before we get to that, let’s look at some plausible reasons why there’s even a need for the resurrection.

 

 

CUES FROM THE BARD

 

In Act 1, Scene 2 of The Winter’s Tale, Polixenes—King of Bohemia—describes his childhood relationship with Sicily’s King Leontes as being like twins, buddy buddies, innocents.

 

That is, until life happens and they’re cast out of their Garden-of-Eden-esque existence and into the Sicilian King’s irrational rampage, where he goes all Othello on his alleged “slippery wife” (Hermiones) and her alleged lover, Polixenes, the king’s friend.

 

The king is wrong. Like really wrong. For the sake of the plot—not unlike our own soul stories—the king and some others choose anything but the humble, righteous path.

 

The tale bulges with jealousies, accusations, misjudgments, malicious lies, for-the-better-good lies, over-the-top emotional reactions, bitterness, relationship splits, disloyalty, paranoia, tyranny, expulsions, broken hearts, death, and more.

 

Along the way, Shakespeare exposes familiar elements of the soul’s journey—its rise, decline, fall, redemptive resurrection (Queen Hermiones is brought back to life after being dead sixteen years).

 

He even turns the physical tables of the atmosphere to mirror the inner soul rumblings of his characters—Sicily’s Mediterranean warmth and light are shrouded in a wintry gloom.

 

Veiled, fractured souls.
Adrift.
Out of sync with God’s ways.
Self-focused. Earthly tethered.
Becoming a wintry heart of darkness.

 

Enter two reasons for an end-of-days resurrection . . .

 

(1) accountability—of what the soul-body matrix has done, said, thought along its earthly journey.

 

(2) divine reconstruction of the soul-body—so it no longer is earthbound/self-focused but raised, recalibrated, made new so those deemed righteous can move with the give-receive love flow of heaven.

 

Let me explain . . .

 
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EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR

journeying between weight and responsibility

 

Okay, so you’re not exactly like Shakespeare’s Antigonus, the king’s advisor who teeters between loyalty to the crown and loyalty to truth, makes concessions to protect, and then is chased off stage by a bear and killed.

 

But believe it or not, bears and their presumed Shakespearean connotation have their place in your soul experience and its aftermath, your future resurrection.

 

The word bear appears about twelve times in the play—where a person bears the onus for their actions and their related guilt. And, yeah, the fierce “bearish” beast appears in the midst of it all.

 

How bear/bearing translates to the soul’s journey and end-of-days accountability goes like this—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge:

 

Bearing your soul—transparent before your Creator, God.
Bearing the weight of your actions—good and not so good.
Bearing the scrutiny of others and our internal self.
Bearing the hardships and testings along life’s journey.
Bearing the responsibility for what you’ve said, done, thought, written, shared, taught, imposed, desired, touched, took, gave, blessed, cursed, healed, harmed, lifted up, brought down.
Bearing the yoke of Heaven (surrendered to God, His word, His covenant—your identity is in Him).
Bearing the final outcome of it all—with your soul’s work salted by His holy fire, tested by His holiness, so the work is either reduced to ash and stubble or glorified in Him.

 

For God shall bring every deed (every action, work)
into litigation (for His judgment),
everything that is concealed,
whether it be good or whether it be evil.
—Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) 12:14

 

And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it.
The earth and sky fled from his presence,
but they found no place to hide.
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne.
And the books were opened, including the Book of Life.
And the dead were judged according to what they had done . . .
And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life
was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20: 11, 12, 15

 

Both the soul and the body face their shared judgment: Both are accountable for the life journey. So they are reunited in a new way at the end of days—for a resurrection to righteousness or to punishment.

 

Their embattled soul-body relationship and fractured state lead to the second reason why we need a bodily resurrection . . .

 
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SHORT VERSION: SOUL-BODY DILEMMA

the need for a re-alliance

 

Your soul is knitted (so to speak) to your body while in the womb.

 

“The spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Job 33:4

 

And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life,
and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7

 

Yes, God’s breath is in you. He breathed into you from deep within Himself. How profound and amazing is that? He’s that close to you, day by day, hour by hour, soul-breath by soul-breath.

 

Per the Hebrew in scripture, there are three words used interchangeably for soul that shed light on its nuances: breath of life (neshama), spirit/wind (ruach), and life force/self (nefesh).

 

That last one is enmeshed with the body, making a way for the soul to join the body in a human experience while in this worldly dimension.

 

But the purpose of the God-breathed soul is upward: Elevating the soul-body relationship, surrendering to the will of God, accepting the yoke of heaven. Meanwhile the body is drawn downward, tethered to the things of this world because it came from the earth, drawn to earthly things. Think dust to dust.

 

So the push-pull is on. And if the soul/spirit follows the body’s earth-minded drives vs. the call upward, the soul-body matrix can become . . .

 

Flooded with spiritual darkness, doctrines of demons.

Strictly a receptor—receiving for self, with no capacity for authentic giving.

Compelled by the things of this world.

Defiant, resisting the yoke of heaven.

Dissonant, clashing with God Himself.

 

In other words, a ravaged, war-scarred vessel whose soul-body partnership is in disrepair.

 

For a resurrection to righteousness,
it will need a reconstruction worthy of God’s presence.

Raised. Recalibrated. Renewed.

 

Here’s how: read the next and last post in this series: HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS CAN BE YOURS.

 
 

HAVE YOU READ THESE POSTS IN THE SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’s Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

His Righteousness Can Be Yours

 

Resurrection series first created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

CREDIT: Tree Archway in Snow, Edinburgh (Source: pinkpigart.co.uk)

CREDIT: Shakespeare by Jessica Pamp on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Bear Running by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: It’s Your Breath by Nienke Broeksema on Unsplash.com

Journey on