The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
From Adam, Seth and Methuselah, and such saints that passed on afterwards like Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Samuel and David . . . all the way up to the days of the Messiah, the righteous, who expressed saving faith in GOD's Word in anticipation of the LAMB of God, were, after they died, all gathered together in what's been called "the paradise section of Sheol" or as the Bible puts it: "Abraham's Bosom" (LUKE 16:22).
Up until the time of the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, not one human soul ever visted heaven's hallowed halls! Ofcourse after the Resurrection, the LORD led these saints from Abraham's bosom to the glories of heaven, for at that time, the LAMB paid the full price for their salvation (EPH 4:8-10; 1 PET 3:18-20).
There is One Who became man, and came to this world to testify of the truth; One Whose witness of the things of heaven cannot be questioned as He is the very LORD of heaven (GEN 24:7) - none other than the LORD Jesus Christ.
As Sovereign King of that domain - as well as the realms of Earth and every regency inbetween, He is the authority to which all saints may resort for knowledge, wisdom and insight.
This is why we may rest assured that if Jesus says, we must be born again in order to see, and enter into the kingdom of God (JOHN 3:3,5), then that is what we must be: spiritually resurrected from the deathly fatality of sin via the Eternal Spirit of God Who alone is the Author of Life. Those who have Jesus have Life Eternal!
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Ecumenism would have us believe that any religion is just as good as any other, provided that you are sincere, and that you acknowledge no exclusive claims for your own religious beliefs, dogmas, doctrines and church affiliation.
However, we who are born of God's Spirit understand the futility of all religion - that such can hardly change a lost soul under the curse of sin and death into a Life-imbued saint made holy, any more than dressing a pig up as a dog will turn them into a canine.
Regardless of the pressure of Ecumenism to drive any one belief into a homogenized whole and disclaim exclusivity for its adherents, the Bible is exclusive in it's claims just as is its Author (JOHN 10:7-9; 14:6; ACTS 4:10-12)
Simply put, just as JOHN 3:36 states, if you have Jesus, you have everlasting life. If not, you do not possess everlasting life but rather a sin-stained soul that, unless repentance and reception of Jesus Christ and His atoning blood, expressing faith in His Gospel is evident, the wrath of God abides on that soul. Period. The Author of Life and the Sovereign King of Heaven said so!
During the Wilderness wanderings of the people of Israel, having been delivered miraculously by the very power of God from Egypt, the people were constantly doubting, complaining, questioning and challenging the LORD's representative: Moses - and by virtue of that, the LORD God Himself. It got so bad that eventually the LORD brought chastening to the people and not just once or twice!
At one point, after murmering endlessly, the LORD had had enough and decided to send "fiery serpents" - that is, poisonous snakes. The people were plagued by them and bitten, and were all near death.
The people came to Moses, and acknowledged their sin. The chastening of the LORD may seem severe, but it is not overly so: our LORD knows how to administer the proper proportion of chastening, enough to do the job, and no more. And so it was here in this case.
But the LORD spoke to Moses and instructed him to fashion a rod made of bronze, and a serpent twined about it, also made of bronze. Further, He told Moses that whoever would look upon the serpent would be healed of their affliction (NUM 21:4-9).
What a strange method of healing; how could looking upon any object at all, let alone a brass serpent on a pole, bring healing from the poison of snakes? Yet this was the Word of the LORD to Moses; Moses by faith obeyed. The people hearkened to the instruction of Moses, and those who simply looked upon the brazen serpent were, by faith in doing so, made whole.
Such an idea would prove foolish to others who have no faith; but the children of Israel had seen miracles of dynamic proportions before! They knew what God was capable of: the impossible!
The LORD Jesus Christ correlates the brazen serpent with "the Son of man" - that is, Himself. That just as Moses raised up the brazen serpent, so too would He be lifted up. These fiery serpents that plagued Israel were symbolic of sin, which is far more poisonous than any venom, even from the deadliest of snakes! It took a work of God to remedy the situation in Moses day; it took no one less than God to remedy the situation of sin, plaguing the entire human race.
The preaching of the Cross is foolishness to sinful man (1 COR 1:18) but for those of faith, it is the power of God. Looking to the brazen serpent in faith of the Word of the LORD worked the miraculous. That serpent on the pole was made of brass, and the figure on that pole was indeed a serpent, fashioned like the serpents that stung the children of Israel. Both brass and the figure on that pole were representative of judgment and sin respectively.
The LORD Jesus being raised up - on the Cross, became sin for us, He Who in Himself knew no sin whatsoever (2 COR 5:20-21). Being made sin for us, He was condemned by God the Father who poured His Judgment against sin upon His own Son (ROM 8:3).
How could a Jew, who lived two thousand years ago, and was nailed to a cross in Judea by Roman authority and the severe demand of the Jewish religious establishment, work for humanity the cure for sin??
Jesus isn't called the Redeemer for nothing! By His blood, atoning for the sins of all mankind, He is an able Savior, who can and WILL save those who come to Him by faith. This might seem foolish to those who do not understand (or are unwilling to do so), but this is the very power of the Gospel to us who believe!
In a world of empty sinful mirages, amidst the barren bleak deserts of parched souls, there is an O.A.S.I.S.: Only the Almighty Savior Immanuel Satisfies!
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
The next time, we shall look at JOHN 3:15-16, in the devotional called, "TRUE LOVE". Until then, let us keep ourselves in the love of God (JUDE 1:21).