Rev 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Let me ask you one more time the same basic question posed to you in our last discourse; Where are you looking for Christ to come from, to appear? Are you standing gazing up into the heavens as those of Acts 1:11, expecting to see Christ return in the clouds and usher in the kingdom of God? Or are you looking into the deep, into the tombs and graves, for the dead to be resurrected at the sound of the last trump and rise to meet the Lord in the air?
Now let me ask you this! Are not both these scenarios something you would expect to see and observe? In other words, in both these cases is not Christ someone you expect to see and meet and greet as you would a loved one who had gone away and is now returning?
Consider the following from Luke chapter 17:
Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees (religious folk), when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation (ocular evidence, per Strong’s Concordance):
What’s He saying? Plain and simply that you are not going to see it… the way you know seeing!
Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you (inside, in the midst of you).
Anyone telling you to look elsewhere is pointing you in the wrong direction.
Luke 17:22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
This is the desire of Christians, disciples of Jesus, even the whole thrust of most churches. They desire to see the coming of the Lord, even as described above… and they shall not see it though they look here and there for signs and wonders. Again, preachers and teachers and evangelists devise all kinds of charts and timelines and scenarios with supporting scriptures of when and how this is going to take place. As I have told you numerous times, I had many of them myself and showed forth great signs and wonders. I gave many lectures on signs and wonders, signs in the heavens, and signs and wonders on the earth, including both natural and manmade events, both past and present.
You desire to see the coming of the Lord and the “end of the world”? Dear one, don’t you know you are the earth, even the world. What does the book of wisdom say in Ecc 3:11? “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart…”. And so it is that the end of the world, the old world, the old earth, for you is when the veil is rent. Yea, it is at that time, at the crucifixion that “it is finished”. And then… LIFE begins.
Luke 17:23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
So how does the kingdom of God come?
Luke 17:24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
Where is the lightning going to shine in all its radiance? From one end of “heaven” to the other! Ok, test time? Will you look up in the sky and see lightning flash across it? Of course not! Can you remember four verses back? The kingdom of God comes not with observation? Hey, the kingdom of God, that would be heaven, is where? Within you, inside you. And the lightning that strikes you, and the inner quaking you feel, hits you as revelation indeed!
Remember Peter, James, and John on the mountain of transfiguration? Did they not see the brilliant, radiant, Light? Yes, and some this very day have seen a great light… but still have not heard His voice! There is a difference. For when the HEARING of the thunder comes following the lightning, it invokes fear, doesn’t it? It causes one to cower! You’ve all witnessed and experienced the metaphors in the world outside, I speak of the lightning, followed by the loud voice… the thunder!
So too did the disciples on the mount of transfiguration see the great light, but they were not afraid until when? Until they HEARD His voice!
Mat 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Mat 17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
Here is the account in Luke:
Luk 9:34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
Luk 9:35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, …
Let’s see. Saul, whose nature was changed to Paul, saw the great light too… but he was not afraid until he HEARD His voice! Here’s that account of what happened after he saw the light:
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
He trembled at the voice and was astonished by the light! And by the way, after he saw the great light, “what did Saul see when he opened his eyes”… or better said, “what didn’t Saul see when he opened his eyes?”
Act 9:8 And Saul arose (everyone rises after this experience) from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man:
Hey, the children of Israel likewise trembled when they heard His voice from the mount… on the third day none the less, even in the morning on the third day! Imagine that!
Exo 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
They didn’t want to hear His voice. They wanted Moses to speak to them. Well, I suppose there’s nothing new under the cloud, which by the way… have you noticed His Voice keeps coming in clouds… metaphorically speaking that is?
Anyway, we are going to go back up to the mount of transfiguration at a later time, but first, let’s look at something that happened to a couple of disciples right after the crucifixion and resurrection. Last chapter of Luke:
Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them (disciples of Jesus) went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
Luke 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
They were discussing all the events surrounding the crucifixion.
Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
Guess whose there with you and you don’t even know it… or Him?
Luke 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
The word “know” means to “know accurately, to know well, to know thoroughly”, something you cannot do with your eyes. I mean, just because you see someone, doesn’t mean you know that person, does it?
Luke 24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
How about you? How do you view the crucifixion… as a sad event? Hey, don’t you know that the flesh has to die before the veil can be rent?
Luke 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
At first, following the crucifixion, it is common that Jesus is not recognized. Here they ask Him if He is a stranger in Jerusalem. Indeed, at first He does appear a stranger in Jerusalem… if you know where Jerusalem is! Remember Mary didn’t recognize Him either when she went to the sepulcher… where she weeped because she was sad. She thought she was talking to the gardener… until she HEARD His voice… then she TURNED about!
Back to the disciples walking away from Jerusalem to Emmaus, sixty furlongs away.
Luke 24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
Luke 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.
These disciples were also looking for Christ to redeem Israel, to usher in the kingdom of God on the earth… the earth before their eyes! Hey, it was the third day again! Surprise, surprise!
Luke 24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;
Luke 24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
And WOW! Those women, also of our company (i.e. disciples too), who were “early at the sepulcher”, totally blew our minds when they told us “his body was gone”! Not only that, they said they saw a “vision of angels (angels carry messages)” who said… He is alive! Are you getting the message?
You’ve got to love Thayer’s definition of “astonished”.
1) to throw out of position, displace
1a) to amaze, to astonish, throw into wonderment
1b) to be amazed, astounded
1c) to be out of one’s mind, besides one’s self, insane
To use the phrase “blew our minds” is a pretty much right on!
Luke 24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
And not only that, they said, then others who were with us went to check it out… and they confirmed that what the women said was TRUE!
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
And I ask you again? How can you enter into the kingdom lest the crucifixion takes place so the veil can be rent? The crucifixion absolutely must take place. If not… well, then the Spirit of Truth cannot be sent, can it?
Now check out what Jesus expounds to them concerning Himself. This is amazing!
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Oh wow again! He shows them how Moses (the law) and Elijah (the prophets) both speak concerning Him… and the crucifixion. Is this not exactly what the disciples on the mount of transfiguration heard them talking about? Is this not incredible! And you know what else? After the disciples heard the voice from the cloud and were shaken up, when they lifted their faces from the earth and opened their eyes… Moses and Elijah were GONE! Yep… all fulfilled in Christ! Finished at the crucifixion.
Luke 24:28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
Luke 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
Luke 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.
Wow! I believe He did this at what is called “The Last Supper”, that would be the last one you get the night before the crucifixion!
Luke 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
They saw no man! They no longer see the form of a man! Are you getting this?
Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?
You get that deep down feeling something big is about to happen?
Luke 24:33 And they rose up (always happens) the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
Luke 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
Oh, that would be the Good News that the Kingdom of God is at hand, wouldn’t it?
Dear brothers and sisters. I tell you this from personal experience, from knowing it is true within every fiber of my being. Whether it is 3 ½ days, 3 ½ years, a time, times, and half a time, there is a period of time (unrelated to man’s calendars) following the period of mourning and sadness, the day of darkness and gloominess, following the astonishment, that you will hear His voice! And when you do… you will turn immediately. Mary turned (John 20:16), John turned (Rev. 1:12), and you will turn and rise up and go forth as one who bares record of these things… declaring the Good News that He is Risen and the Kingdom of God is near at hand!
… to be continued.