Biblical Framework

Charles Clough

 

Lesson 149

 

Tonight weíll finish up, this is a good cut off point because in the fall weíll start working with the ascension of Christ and get into the Church age, Pentecost and that sort of thing.Iíd like to start by turning to page 103 to Dr. Laddís quotation about the resurrection. What weíve been trying to point out in this series is that all of these events Biblically have to be interpreted in the frame of reference.So you have an isolated event, in this case the resurrection, but that resurrection is itself interpreted in a framework of Scripture, itís not just cut out, held up as a marble, look at this thing and draw your own conclusions. Thatís not how the Scripture works.What he points out in this quote is what Paul does in 1 Cor. 15; He died and rose again ďaccording to the Scriptures.Ē

 

As Ladd points out, ďJesusí resurrection is not an isolated event that gives to men the warm confidence and hope of a future resurrection; it is the beginning of the eschatological resurrection itself.Ē Thatís very important.It is the beginning of the end when Christ rose from the dead.ďIf we may use crude terms to try to describe sublime realities, we might say that a piece of the eschatological resurrection has been split off and planted in the midst of history.The first act of the drama of the Last day has taken place before the Day of the Lord.Ē

 

The idea here is that we want to look very, very carefully at the resurrection as the unfolding of the end times.Thatís the point weíre trying to get across, and thatís why the diagram, on page 113, where you have this state, if you can diagram it in terms of righteousness, minus righteousness and zero righteousness, man starts out with zero in the creation and has the opportunity by obeying God to gain righteousness through obedience, and attain the goal for the human race.That was an open possibility for Adam and Eve. But Adam and Eve chose not to do that, they fell and so we go into sin and then man waddles around down here, being saved or rejecting salvation.And those who trust the Lord Jesus Christ, who have imputed righteousness, then are raised to be where Adam and Eve would have been had they obeyed.If they donít they just continue, but either way, immortality begins. So this is a new portion of history here. This is the history without repentance, and itís a very sobering kind of history to think about because in our time, in our history, now in our own ordinary lives we are able, given Godís grace, to switch sides, to join Christ, and this is not true here.Christ Himself taught that in the parables.

 

This is the sobering side of the resurrection, so when you hear that the resurrection gives hope, it gives hope only to certain people, and it gives horror to other people.The resurrection is actually a horrible thing to think about if we were to die without Christ, because what it does it locks us into an indestructible body thatís forever going to be separated from God. Thatís why Jesus said ďthe resurrection unto life and the resurrection unto damnation,Ē there are two resurrections here.

 

Weíve been trying to show that in this eternal state, where we have immortal history, this is immortal history in the sense itís frozen, categorically you have a barrier, in that future time God will be glorified, man will be glorified, and the creation, nature, will be glorified.Weíve been going through that and we said ďMan in Mortal Unglorified History,Ē then we said ďMan in Immortal Glorified History,Ē and then weíve gotten down to the last part where we have the glorification of nature, where nature fully reflects its design back to man.

 

The problem right now is, if you turn to Rom. 8, and this has always been a problem in one of the so-called proofs for the existence of God, the so-called teleological argument, which means you see design in nature so therefore thereís a designer, that sort of thing.The problem, however, is that an astute unbeliever, the non-Christian can always point to chaos in nature and bad things in nature.So if the Christian is trying to argue, look on the basis of this design, donít you see the Designer?An unbeliever can turn around and say and donít you see this iniquity, this chaos, this horror, this suffering?Thatís always been the weakness in the teleological argument.

 

But itís explained in Scripture.In Rom. 8:18 where Paul goes into this very point, showing that nature as we now see it in the fall, weíre living in this part of nature here, all during this period; weíre living in the day of the mixture of good and evil.So going back to the diagram of good and evil, weíre in that mixed period, good and evil coexist.That holds true of the physical universe around us, so you can see bad things in nature.You say well then, how does nature testify to the glory of God?It originally testified to the glory of God; after the fall parts of it donít, they testify to His cursings.Actually they still testify to the glory of God because His cursings are adminis≠tered by His sovereign plan too, but you can see what Iím getting at as far as the optimum design kind of thing.

 

Rom. 8:18, ďFor I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.ĒThat glory which is to be revealed is the final end state, itís not just Christ as Paul knew Him, heís talking about the glory which shall be revealed is in this immortal period, compared to the glory which shall be, future tense, revealed to us.[19] ďFor the anxious longingĒ he doesnít say of the people, notice the subject, ďthe anxious longing of the creation,Ē object of the preposition there, ďwaits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.ĒWhatís the ďrevealing of the sons of God?ĒRemember back in creation, here again is the unity of the Bible, you canít take a piece of the Bible and disconnect it from another piece, the Bible is a unified whole and in the creation story who is the lord of creation, little ďlĒ?Itís man, and nature is to be under man.Even here in verse 19 you still see that ranking, that nature has been cursed.Well why was nature cursed in the first place?The ground was cursed because of Adamís disobedience.So nature received its curse because of manís problem.

 

Weíve said again and again, hereís another thought that totally collides with our environment and that is: do you want to talk ecology?Letís talk ecology, very seriously.The greatest ecological disaster ever done was the fall of man.But when we start talking about that kind of ecology, all of a sudden we stop talking about ecology in environment; we donít want to talk about it in those terms, thatís making man too responsible.A few coke bottles by the roadside, we can talk about our environment, but when you start talking about the fact that man was the cause of the dam≠nation of the environment, then we back off of that sort of thing.Thatís the thing we want to, as we go into the framework again and again, keep in mind; we live in a hostile world system.


Just today I was listening to Christian radio and they were telling about whatís happening in the Supreme Court today, they had Christian pro-life people outside the court, and they all got arrested.Before this Christian group was standing there they had checked with the Supreme Court police, is this okay, is this okay, is this okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, thatís okay, everything was cool, and then they get arrested anyway, because all of a sudden the police told them that now youíre under arrest because of regulation six.They called their lawyers, whatís regulation six; this wasnít discussed in the meeting before.Oh, thatís the one they made today, this morning.The Supreme Court actually can meet and make rules as you go along, so the law is so flexible you canít obey it because you donít know what it is, what is it this hour, maybe itíll be something again the next hour.So youíre starting to see this is the kind of thing; its motivation, they wouldnít pull that on a civil rights person.If there were a bunch of homosexuals outside the Supreme Court they wouldnít have dared do that.If itíd been a group of black people, they wouldnít have done it, but they can do it for life because ultimately itís a hatred for Jesus Christ thatís the motivation factor.

 

The pagan world system is frightened to death by the gospel, and instead of being intimidated by itÖ, you kind of have to back off, relax and sort of laugh at it, why are these people so desperate?All weíve got here is a book.Stop and think of it, this book is the most dangerous book in the world; they are so terrified of the ramifications of this book.Now we talk about open-minded≠ness, and freedom of speech, yeah, freedom of speech until we get here, now weíve got to cancel the freedom of speech here, we canít tolerate it over here.

 

When we get into these ideas like weíre talking about, good, evil, these are basic root ideas that we have to understand.Thatís why I always teach adversarially; I like to teach the Bible over against the environment because thatís where I live.I live in a hostile environment, and each day itís always jostling around, and you want to learn sort of a combat preparation for these ideas.These ideas are very dangerous, these are considered extremely subversive.So when we talk about the glorification of nature as in Romans 8, it is extremely subverting and upsetting to rebellious man who wants to feel like heís halfway in control of the environment.Verse 19, ďthe creation waitsĒ for the resurrection is basically what itís saying.

 

Iíve thought about one of the neat things about demonstrations and stuff isÖ, I remember years ago I led a counter demonstration against some Iranians in Texas who were demonstrating against the Shah. Remember when the Shah of Iran thing was going on, and the Shahís son happened to be in the city where I was getting training at the nearest air base. You had all these foreign students coming into this west Texas town, of course they forgot something, when they planned the demonstration they forgot this is west Texas, and in west Texas things are done slightly differently than the East coast, so they kind of screwed up there.They brought all these mass of people into this city to demonstrate.

 

We were trying to figure out how we could sabotage it somehow with humor, because if you can do it with humor, and they can look like fools, itís hard for them to get angry at it because the more angry they get at something thatís funny, the funnier it gets.Youíve just kind of got to know human psychology this way.And everybody starts enjoying it.So what we thought we could do, one of the local people in the church had a gardening group, a landscape company, and we thought of taking one of his trucks with manure out of the cattle feedlots and staging a mock accident because the court had decreed that they had to go through certain roads, so we knew exactly where they would go, and we thought we would set this thing up so it would dump all this stuff out all over the road and then weíd get the press to take pictures of them plodding through this cow manure.We thought would be a good welcome to west Texas.But to make a long story short, we couldnít do that.

 

We had to have a sign that was kind of ridiculing their cause, but they got very upset and one of the things I learned was that the leaders, this wasnít just a group of innocent students, if you looked at the posters that they were holding in the parade, they had 2 x 4ís in them, those werenít just sticks, and when they got by where I was, they wanted so bad to come after me, I was just sitting there with my sign right on the side of the road, but what I saw was an interesting thing, all of a sudden, apparently out of nowhere, four or five adults came. I was there, the parade was going by, and they stood in front of me against the students.I really realized after that how professional of them, because they knew that if the students broke ranks and the parade came across the curb the sheriffís deputies would get them, they didnít want to ruin the parade, so they had to keep these angry students contained, and it was their people that did it.I thought that was so niceÖ

 

As it went on, I just followed them in and we set up the signs again, because the court had said youíre going to do it this way.And it angered the local people anyway because the court was telling the local people where they could do this, we used to have places to do this, etc.but to make a long story short, every time I did it I got more and more press, until finally at the end of this thing they must have had two or three hundred students in this parade, I walked away, and one-third of the pictures were of me and one-third of the interviews were of me, so I figured hey, for an hour investment I took away 33% of their publicity.Thatís the kind of thing that you kind of have to go with the world system.We donít have to be passive to this kind of thing; itís just that if you can think of a way of ridiculing in a quasi humorous way, itís very powerful.It is far more powerful than some violent angry reaction.

 

The same thing goes when we deal with any kind of this doctrine, thatís why I show this so often, letís not just learn the Christian position, learn the pagan position, these people are the suckers.I mean, can you imagine, the poor people havenít even thought through this bottom line, thatís where the unbeliever is.If you donít want to buy into the Scriptures, look at the mess youíre in.How are you going to separate the good from the evil.If you donít have a resurrection, you canít show any evidence, youíre pathetic; you have no answer to this problem.You see, by doing that you turn the debate back onto them.After all, the non-Christian position is the one in rebellion.The non-Christian is the one that doesnít really fit reality.Itís not us, theyíre not fitting reality.So when you think of these things always think in terms of antithesis and how you cannot just defend the faith, but aggressively press against the non-Christian position.

 

Paul here says ďFor the anxious longing of the creation waits forĒ the resurrection.Can you imagine a classroom discussion or a neighbor discussion where theyíre talking about some ecological issue or something else, maybe a whale got washed up or something, and you say well, yeah, he was waiting for the resurrection of the Church.Itís just so incongruous to just drop something like that in the middle of a conversation that they either think youíre totally crazy and disregard you, or theyíll ask a question, well what do you mean by that.It gives you an opportunity to go back in and discuss the matter.

 

Verse 20, ďFor the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope. [21] That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. [23] And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons,Ē that is ďthe redemption ofĒ what? Our souls?Notice the language there, ďthe redemption our body.ĒThatís talking about resurrection.[24] ďFor in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?[25] But if we hope for what we do not see,Ē that is the resurrection in the future, ďwith perseverance we wait eagerly for it.Ē

 

And then it goes on to the various other things in the Christian life.But Paul is applying this great principle of the glory which shall be revealed is not just a private resurrection; itís a cosmic resurrection that changes the universe of not only just resurrected Christians.It changes the whole nature of the universe.So thatís what we mean when we talk about the glorification of nature.Itís the thing that is going to be changed, and Rev. 21-22 that we mentioned, thatís the key passage for the new heavens and the new earth.

 

Weíve gone through the glorification of God, of man, and of nature, now weíre going to conclude by showing some applications of this doctrine of resurrection.Letís take up these applications; there are a lot more, these are just suggestions.Hereís the event, understood in a Scriptural framework, so this is embedded in an Old Testament and New Testament interpretation of the resurrection.Itís not just an isolated miracle.

 

Did any you have a chance to see that claymation picture of Christ on television?I thought that was one of the finest theologically correct pictures of the life of Christ Iíve ever seen.I donít know how they did it with clay, but they did it some way, and I thought it was very good.They made Christ with dignity, but they also made Him, I thought, like you would expect as just a human being.One of the dialogues that struck me was so intriguing and I wondered what the script writer had thought about when they put this script into the claymation, remember they had Jesus visiting Mary and Martha, I forgot what the dialogue was but Mary and Martha said something to Him and He says you mean your door still doesnít work, I fixed your door last time, is it still broken or something.And it was just reflection that He was a real carpenter and He really did those things.When we get into this so deep theology that itís almost inconceivable to think of the God-man, the Son of Man, talking about Mary and her door that doesnít work.I thought that brought out very neatly Jesus as a man, as a human being.

 

Pages 116-118, four things that Iíd like to cover.The first one is the role that we just did in Romans 8 of showing that the resurrection is the basis of Christian hope.I donít mean that in a trivial sense, oh isnít that a nice thought.But rather hope in this sense, that it is the first section of this breaking of good and evil apart forever and ever, the final separation.That is what I mean by the basis of Christian hope.We use the word eschatology because the word eschatology is the knowledge of the last things, eschatos, itís a Greek word that means the last, last things.So this is the doctrine of last things, and if you think about it, the only movement that has come close to Christianity in history as far as something that gathers people together and keeps them so they can endure hardship is communism.Communism had an eschatology.This is why the secular west never understood communism.

 

And I think if youíre interested in history one of the books you need to read is Chuck Colsonís The Body because thereís a narration of the role of the Church in the undoing of communism.This is not to minimize the pressure that Ronald Reagan put on the Soviet Union by Star Wars.That was a tremendous pressure, but that broke the back of some≠thing that was already rotting from inside.When you read Chuck Colsonís The Body you read about the thing that happened in Romania, you read about what happened at Gorbachevís last review in the Red Square where the troops are marching through and they had the rockets and you always used to see every year on May Day theyíd have this big celebration, the missiles all parading by and the guys in their black coats and somber Russian clothing sitting up there looking at all the red flags, big thing of Lenin in the background.And at that last one, so interesting that at the end of the parade suddenly some Christian Russians got in the back with a crucifix, held it way up, and yelled at Gorbachev as they went by ďChrist has risen.ĒUnheard of in conformist Russia for anybody to have the guts to do that.There never was another Red Square Review; that was the end.That was the last one under communism.

 

Chuck Colson in his book The Body goes on and on with these instances, and you realize wow, we never got that in the newspapers, we always thought of it in economic terms.But it was more than that; it was a spiritual vacuum in the east that finally had to be filled.And it was Christians, the present Pope who was a Cardinal in Poland, he was the one that led a lot of the resistance in Poland to communism. So it was a time when Christianity and communism collided and it was only Christianityís eschatology that won, because only Christianity eschatology is based on facts.Communism was based on a dream.Christianity was based on a living hope, and itís a hope thatís been verified in history by the resurrection of Christ.So thatís why you see hope, hope is ultimately on the resurrection.

 

How do we know the promises of God are true?Because of Jesus Christ.He was born the way the Bible said He was; He lets you know that when you read a prophecy you canít just allegorize it.Jesus wasnít born in Nazareth, He was born in Bethlehem. Where did the prophet Isaiah say the King was going to be born?In Bethlehem, so where was He born?Bethlehem.Bethlehem wasnít a symbol of some city somewhere; it was literal Bethlehem into which was born a literal Savior.It also said that He shall come out of Egypt. Did Jesus come out of Egypt? Yeah, because His parents took Him down to avoid genocide, and He came back out of Egypt.So did He literally go down to Egypt?Egypt is not a symbol; Egypt is not a stand-in symbol for the nations or something.Itís literal Egypt. So Christís life verifies the hermeneutic by which you interpret the text of Scripture.

 

So the resurrection tells us an awful lot about our Christian hope, that it involves matter, not just the soul.Itís not enough for the souls to be saved, the body has to be saved, and God is interested in saving the body, and not only our bodies but the universe, the physical universe.The moon is going to be saved, the sun is going to be saved, the stars are going to be saved, the whole universe is going to be saved.But that argues again that the fact it has to be saved tells you that in its present state itís abnormal. The sun is not normal, the moon that you see at night is not a normal moon, it too suffers part of the curse of the fall.The stars we see are not normal, the whole universe is abnormal and it will be restored in eschatology based on the resurrection.This is why the lone resurrection of Christ is an anchor to the universe.Nothing has ever been like it before.

 

One of the interesting things that, I was listening to a tape by D. James Kennedy in which he was defending the validity of the Shroud of Turin, I think we raised that in discussion here back a couple of weeks ago, and one of the things that he says is very interesting about the Shroud of Turin is that for all the study thatís been done on it, this negative picture of this person thatís on this fabric, thereís a picture on there and thereís no dye, thereís no paint.Not one chemical analysis has been able to find any paint on that fabric.Now what is it thatís causing the picture?Well, if you get under a microscope you see whatís causing this image to appear is the fibers have had the water dried out rapidly out of certain areas of this thing, thatís what caused this picture.The only thing that we can think of is some sort of flash heat that did this at one point.

 

Iím not prepared to say Iím 100% convinced itís genuine, Iím saying itís a very interesting artifact, and the study that has been done on it has been very interesting.If thatís correct, we have an evidence of the resurrection, because the other thing shroud is that it has a picture of the blood of a man whoís been crucified, who has a crown of thorns, etc. a lot of the little interesting details, but they say if He was wrapped with that, and then somebody stole the body, you know the unbe≠lieving idea, the only explanation is that somebody stole the body, so to do so you have to unwrap the body, but to unwrap it youíd smear this part of the blood, and itís not smeared.It was wrapped around, and if this is the real thing, you could think of the resurrection going through it, just like it goes through a wall, and when it happened, the instant of the resurrection happened, gosh, I wish theyíd had video cameras in those days, maybe they couldnít capture it on video, I donít know.

 

But whatever, something happened and all of a sudden Heís resurrected.Every molecule in His body was changed.Think about that. Every molecule in our body has carbon atoms in it, hydrogen atoms in it, do you suppose there are molecules in the new heavens and new earth?Thatís an interesting question.Are there? We donít know.Whatever they are though, you can touch it, because Thomas touched it. So whatever this mass is in the new universe to come it has mass just like metal, it has mass.The body takes up space, it weighs something, and apparently it can be subject to gravitational forces.Jesus didnít float, He walked.Yet on the other hand the resurrection structures seem to be able to go through this universe, pass through it, or just appear and disappear.†† So what is this strange thing? We donít know what the strange thing is, the point is, however, we know that it exists; however strange it is it exists because Jesus Christ made it clear that He did.And we knowÖ, He took time to show this because if you turn to Acts, Luke being the careful person he was, and acquainted with the science of his time, he was a medical doctor, thatís why Luke is a good author to read.Each one of these men who wrote the Gospels has got to be respected for what they were.

 

Luke was a very incisive thinker.As Iíve said before, you can see the personality of Luke in his writing; heís the only guy that interviewed the women.Who is it that carries on the discussions of what the women felt like when they were pregnant?Itís only found in the Gospel of Luke. Why is that?Because heís a doctor, that was on his mind.He interviewed Mary, he must have, he got this information somewhere.He was very careful about the body.What is a physician concerned with?The body.So guess who God drafted to write a Gospel and the book of Acts?A doctor.

 

Acts 1:1, ďThe first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, [2] until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. [3] To these also,Ē now look at this, ďHe also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.Ē So there it is, thereís the medical doctorís summation of his investigation and study, it took forty days.

So the basis of the Christian hope was shown by evidence over a forty day period, shown to up to five hundred people at a time, thatís 1 Corinthians, five hundred people simultaneously saw Him, and thereís enough evidence there to substantiate the Lord Jesus Christ.Are we pretty convinced whatís on the moonís surface?The astronauts werenít up there forty days.But weíve got a lot of data out of the few days they were up there.When I was at Marshall Space Flight Center you could look and thereís the evidence; hereís one of the lunar modules, a piece of it that came back, thereís the space station, thereís the cloth, thereís the vehicle, so come on, and it wasnít any forty days.So here we have a long time period for gathering of evidence, forty days of appearances.

 

Okay, thatís one thing, one application.The basis of our Christian hope and whatís so nice about this is itís not rooted on our emotions.We can get up any given day and feel exhausted, tired, sick, depressed, and the resurrection still happened.It doesnít make any difference how you feel, the resurrection is still there.Itís still staring us in the face, regardless of how tired, how depressed, how emotionally down we are, it doesnít make any difference. We have an objective basis here on which to rely.Thatís why Paul kept drawing us back.Remember in Colossians the power of the resurrection of the Christian life where he says ďif you be risen with Christ,Ē and the Greek means ďand you are,Ē thereís spiritual union with the resurrected Christ which we have to treat differently than we are here, but the point it is would be a totally meaningless sentence if Christ hadnít risen from the dead.So itís an incentive, a powerful objective stable incentive to Christian living.

 

The second thing, on page 117, is something pointed out a while back, many years ago now, by a guy that revolutionized Christian counseling.Back in the 60ís there was a lot of nonsense going around in evangelical Christianity in this area of counseling.What had happened was that people would go to college and theyíd study psychology, theyíd get their degree, they were Christians.Then they go out, Bible here, psychology books here, now weíre going to get Christian counsel≠ing.The problem is the two books werenít coming together very well.So you had Christians who were genuine Christians but using the system of the world.

 

And Jay Adams became as controversial in counseling as Morris and Whitcomb became controversial in geology and earth science, because what Jay Adams did is he wrote a book that was the bombshell of the time, called Competent to Counsel and his argument was that any Christian that knows the Bible is competent to counsel, you donít need a degree, a certification to do it.Well you can imagine how this went over, like a lead balloon.But his whole point was whatís the New Testament but counseling? Arenít the epistles of the New Testament counseling churches, which are not buildings, theyíre people, and theyíre counseling them on how to live life.What area of life is not covered in the epistles of the New Testament, thatís what Adams said.Well then why arenít we listening to them then?

 

In the middle of that, one of the things that Jay Adams did was bring in the resurrection, and the quote on page 117 is how he did it.I thought this was just an interesting insight into using the image of the resurrection, that drawing that I showed earlier, itís in the notes, where you start off, you go down, then the resurrection takes you above where you started.Adams took that to be a microcosm of how God works, itís almost like itís a cycle, and you can see this in the Christian life.If you diagram Christian growth and itís like a growth curve, something like this, letís imagine we can take a microscope and enlarge this graph so we actually see it. What Adams was pointing out to us, if you could enlarge that youíd see a series like this, that first we get into a problem, we may stumble and fall, not carry the ball very well, we go along, then all of a sudden the Lord shows us how to cope with it, and we make a big improvement; now weíre up here, thereís been some advance.Then we rock along and then boom, we go down again, but every time we recover from those things we recover to a higher point than we did before when we were entering them, the trial.So thatís what heís saying here.

 

ďThe counseleeĒ the person receiving the counseling, ďmust be given a vision of overcoming evil with good, of turning tragedy into triumph.He must see that it is Godís purpose to use crosses to lead to resurrections. When sin aboundsóand we must be entirely realistic about the abounding nature of sinónevertheless, the counselor must point out, grace even more abounds.There is a solution to every problem!But that is not all.It is a solution that is designed to lead one beyond the place where he was before the problem emerged.Though man was created lower than the angels, and by sin descended into a still lower position, Christís redemption did not merely put man back again into his original condition; He has raised him far above the angelsÖ. Job learned it at length: Ďthe Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning,í we read (Job 42:12).Joseph experienced it, and Jesus accomplished it!Ē

 

I think thatís a neat observation and just an encouragement when the going gets rough and it just seems weíre down in the trial itís nice to know that when you come out of the trial youíre more advanced than when you went into the trial, even though you may be hurting, you may have scars, you may be damaged, but from Godís point of view youíve been raised. I think thatís an encourage≠≠ment, and itíd be good to reflect on how the Lord has worked in your life in the past, see if you can watch that pattern and see if you donít think that works out.Iíve looked at my past and I can see how it works out.Just see that pattern, and then be encouraged.That seems to be the way the Lord works.He works this way in the universe; this is how He works on a large scale, and He seems to work like that on a small scale.

 

The third application I think weíve already mentioned; that is the one about evangelism in Acts 17, another example of the application of the do of the resurrection; at the point of the gospel, how did the apostles connect the gospel to the resurrection?Verse 30, ďTherefore having overlooked the times of ignorance,Ē that is when God did not promulgate the gospel, the times of ignorance doesnít meanÖ hereís some things it doesnít mean.It doesnít mean that men didnít know God existed.Why? Because of Romans 1, all men know the truth, so it canít mean they were totally ignorant of God.What ďthe times of ignoranceĒ means is that men were left with just the Noahic Bible that they had pretty well crushed out of existence, distorted and perverted, so the amount of revelation available was pretty minimal.The Jews were not commissioned to go out and preach the gospel to every creature, thatís Israel. The Church has a new commission.So looking at history before the Church and the great commission, it says, this is ďthe times of ignorance.

 

He says, ďTherefore having overlooked the times of ignorance God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent.Ē Thatís the mandate, thatís the gospel mandate and thatís the one that is what Iíve heard unbelievers say that theyíre upset with; the thing about Christianity isÖ they use the term cultural imperialism.I heard an unbeliever say you Christians, you follow a policy of cultural imperialism.I thought about that, and I said you know thatís right, thatís good; heís not ignorant, he saw a truth to the gospel.We are cultural imperialists in the sense that we have an order here that says the gospel is true outside of Judaism, itís true outside of Israel, itís true all over, on every continent to all men, everywhere.By the way, this shows you that ďmen,Ē the masculine ďmenĒ is being used for both male and female, because itís obviously not depriving women of the gospel.ďTherefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent.Ē

 

What is the basis of this cultural imperialism?The basis is verse 31, because all nations and all men everywhere are going to be faced with the resurrection, thatís why.Everyone is going to be judged by ďa Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.ĒSo the third application to the resurrection is to the gospel, and the gospel is preparing people for that time, that fork in the road, when good will be separated from evil.And itís not just going to happen to Jews, and itís not just going to happen to a few Gentiles who read their New Testament.Thatís going to happen to every person, everywhere, that speaks every language, and walks around in every kind of physiological body that we term different races.Everybody!

 

So the resurrection sort of levels people and at the same time, in verse 30-31, it gives an envelope of time, it promotes an urgency in the sense that this moment is coming.We donít know when this moment is going to happen, but itís a coming moment and we donít have an infinity of time before that cut off point.Itís coming, the clock is ticking. Every day that goes by is one day closer to that event of the resurrection and the judgment.So thatís the application of the gospel to evangelism.Then I read last time that neat quote by C. S. Lewis.No one but Lewis could have that literary finesse to describe people as potential gods and goddesses; itís a remarkable literary picture of it.

 

Finally we come to the fourth one, the fourth application of the resurrection, and this has to do, oddly enough, with education and I mean it in a big sense, not just taking a course, I mean education in the sense of our lives, what we learn.Itís here where we have to part company very seriously and very basically with the world.You talk to the average person involved in the educational bureaucracy of the government and their purpose of including courses in a curriculum, they have to decide on curriculum, you could teach anything from A to Z and you canít, you only have so many hours, you get rid of the snow days and then you have holidays, so the teachers only have so many days a year where they can teach.Somebodyís got to decide the priority of the curriculum.And thatís a perennial fight because the priorities that you use to select the curriculum themselves, those priorities come out of a worldview.And usually the worldview is that education seeks truth. Sometimes, and more and more, itís no longer truth but it seeksÖ

 

[blank spot]Öbut the idea, thereís always the political correctness, social comfort, truth, whatever that means, or something. Thatís the goal of education.Itís something thatís out there that doesnít mention God in any way.Heís not permitted, Heís been excised from this definition. Thatís why on the internet one of the things thatís been passed around, youíve probably seen it, that e-mail, when they paraphrase a person coming to God and asking Him where He was at Columbine, why are You allowing this violence in the schools, and Godís response is I thought you wanted Me to leave the schools.I thought that was very clever, you didnít want Me around so what are you fussing about, you got what you asked for.

 

The proper goal of such activity is not seeking truth; the final thing is appreciation of Godís character.You know, thatís not just a pious slogan.Think about that.I donít know whether this is true of you, but Iíll bet you at least half the people in this room have had this experience. When you became a Christian and you started getting into the Word of God, and your eyes were opened to the wonders of what God can do in history and is doing in history, did that change your attitude about learning more about history or not?Does that make you interested in reading?You bet.Did you get that because somebody banged you over the head and said youíve got to study this to pass a test? Thatís not the motive.That experience of having your eyes and your heart opened and all of a sudden these subjects become interesting because itís my Fatherís world, what is He doing there? What did He do over there?I wonder how that fits in with His plan.†† Thatís the motivation for learning and when youíve got that you donít have to worry about whether the person is in the classroom, out of the classroom, whether they have a big library, whether they have a little library, youíve put a tiger in their tank because the call of the image of God is to have fellowship with my Father.And I want to know Him, and I want to know Him better, and itís not just a religious knowing, itís a knowing in every area the neat things that happen.

 

Itís interesting, one of my sons is in medical school and before he went to medical school he had this wonderful professor at college that got him interested in whatís going on down inside DNA, the structure and biochemistry; fascinating.I remember him coming home, all the structure and saying wow, look at this, how did God do that, isnít this amazing.So thereís a wonder and a worship.You can study the most deep intellectual subject going and worship God with all our heart because all youíre doing is youíre scratching the surface of what Heís done, and that is an act of profound appreciation for God. Thatís the whole thing thatís missing here.You wouldnít have to worry about motivation to learn if it was put into those terms. And if a person isnít interested in learning about God, you canít make them learn anything. Thereís no such thing, until a person gets straight with the Lord, any inclination to learn something is usually to make more money, to do something else, this or that, itís some short term goal, and you canít interest them.

 

So it boils down to is the person, is the child or is the adult, are they sincerely interested in knowing the God of the Scriptures?That applies to algebra, it applies to calculus, it applies to physics, it applies to chemistry, geology, psychology, the arts, music, whatever it is, because who was there first.Take music, who were the people that developed music first?The angels, they sang at creation. What key did they sing in?Did you ever think about that?Did they use eighth notes, sixteenth notes, was there a forte, what is it that they used?

 

Artóever seen in the deep waters of the ocean, in the clear areas like Okinawa or down in the Caribbean, you see these fish, with all these colors.Nobodyís going to even see the colors, theyíre all down there, nobody sees down there unless you take special equipment to go down there and look at them. Why are they all pretty colors down there? Because God enjoyed making pretty fish, thatís all.He has a sense of art; so thereís the art in God.You get into the structure of math and you say holy mackerel, how come this all works out so neatly. Why are these ratios always the same?Why is p p?And why is it always p?Why do they say the same?How does He do that?Why is it that we have the power to think about imaginary numbers that donít exist in the real world but yet we need them to solve equations with, but they donít exist.How come they canít exist but we need them to make our equations work?I donít know, they just do that.So that shows you Heís got structures beyond the structures that we can even dream about.

Prov. 1:7 is to me the focal point of education.ďThe fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.ĒAnd it doesnít mean fear in a run-away sense; it means respect, ďThe respect for the Lord, thatís the beginning of wisdom.ĒIf youíve got that, you get the wisdom; if you donít have that you wonít get the wisdom.Folly begins with no fear of the Lord.So is a personís relationship with God important to education?Youíd better believe it is.Without the relationship thereís no motive to learn.Thatís the point of the fourth thing about education.

 

I want to conclude this section by taking you back to the Westminster catechism on page 119, one of the most famous portions of that doctrinal creed.We donít agree with everything in the Westminster Confession of Faith, but we have to agree that it was one of the most carefully structured and researched theological statements the Church has done.It was done in 1648, and with all due respect to whoever it was on ABC news or NBC when Princess Diana had her funeral at Westminster Abbey, with all the cortŤge and the British with their neat red bearskin guards in the parade as only the English can do it, into this great cathedral of Westminster, and the anchor man says this is one of the greatest things thatís ever happened at Westminster Abbey.Are you kidding?The greatest thing that ever happened at Westminster Abbey was this, in 1648 when this creed was formed. Thatís the greatest thing that ever happened there.

 

What was the question?Look at the question.ďWhat is the chief and highest end of man?ĒBy the way, notice how they learned.You can argue with the teaching methodology, but Iíll tell you what, these people learned their theology, and they learned it with a question and answer catechism, question and answer.Itís not necessarily bad. We kind of pooh-pooh that kind of learning today, but it forced people to think.They could memorize it rote and just spit it back and it didnít mean anything. Thatís correct, that can happen. But it wasnít intended to be that.It was intended to show that the Word of God answers deep questions.It was intended to help people formulate questions.So the question is, ďWhat is the chief and highest end of man?ĒThatís just not an abstraction, you can put your own name, replace m-a-n with your name, and read it that way if it seems to abstract to you.

 

ďWhat is the chief and highest end of me?ĒPut it that way.ďManís chief and highest end is to glorify God and to fully enjoy Him forever.ĒJust remember that last one, ďfully enjoy Him forever.ĒGod is enjoyable, and in a profound way, like C. S. Lewis said, a joy that is far more powerful than anything this world can have.ďTo enjoy Him forever,Ē and this, by the way, is the theology that is identified with Puritanism.Whatís the average thing you get in school about the Puritans?They walked around somber.But thatís a caricature of the Puritan; the Puritan was out to enjoy God forever, and they had hymns, they enjoyed each other, the problem is the joy that weíre talking about here is a joy thatís God-centered.And itís the unbelief and its hatred because the carnal mind is enmity with God, it canít be subject to God, well itís going to flee this.Itís like Adam and Eve back in the garden, Iím going to hide in the bushes because Godís walking here.Well anybody whoís a representative of God, like the Puritans who were enjoying Him forever, walks by weíre going to hide in the bushes, these people are bad people, we keep them out of here.

 

So thatís the end of our section, weíre going to close for the season here.Weíll have some Q&A for a few minutes, but thatís it, weíll see you in the fall when we get into the ascension of Christ.

 

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Question asked, something about the passage in Matthew when Jesus died on the cross and many were raised, can you explain that, was that like Lazarusí resurrection, where they continued to live and had to die againÖ: Clough replies:I hate to disappoint you but because I havenít studied that text carefully, it was years and years ago and the impression I got was that it was a genuine resurrection, for the reason that itís created a lot of questions in history, where do these people fit in.It seemed to be almost like there some sort of an authentication maneuver by God, but I am not 100% sure of myself when I call it resurrection.Obviously they came out of the graves, but whether they were resuscitated or resurrected, I wouldnít be prepared tonight to say right now.But the impression I got at the time as I recall was that most people have studied that believe it to be a genuine resurrection, and then they donít know what to do with it.Itís like what happens, and weíre not told, itís just reported that it happened.

 

Question asked, something about Adam and Eveís body: Clough replies:Itís hard to say because we donít have evidence in the text except that we deduce from the fact that we are now cursed to die, that there were tremendous biophysical things that happen to our bodies so that our present bodies probably are remarkably different from Adam and Eve, not that they were bigger or they looked, so to speak, different, but physiologically our bodies are dying and weíre all under a death sentence; thereís deterioration biochemically that they never experienced, so what they looked like we donít know.There are extra-Biblical traditions; in the Jewish tradition that they were clothed with light, just like angels, and that when the curse happened, they sinned, their lights went out and thatís how they knew that they were naked, that they didnít have a sense of nakedness before.But again thatís extra-Biblical traditions; itís not in the text so we donít know what the story was.

 

Their bodies were mortal in the sense that they could die; they were not like the resurrection, but their bodies apparently would live forever as long as they took care of it, didnít have an accident, fall out of a tree or something.Obviously they could be injured, we would think, but their body was intended, apparently, to be a vehicle of life so that they would have opportunities to trust the Lord and obey Him, and experience God on this planet.We just have to say it was a body sufficient to live for however long God wanted it to live, to pass the trials, whatever trials there were that were ordained for them to have.But other than that the Scriptures do not tell us a thing about it, other than we make these deductions, we say the DNA of all of us is obviously connected biochemically to their DNA.And whatís most intriguing about Adam and Eveís body is that Adam and Eve are one creation.That itís not a case where you had masculine genes and feminine genes and these two then merged in their child, but unlike any other couple in history, they were the same body, they were split apart of the original creation.

 

And the way Eve was constructed is fascinating in the Scripture because the Hebrew text gives you this picture that Adam was made, itís a picture of creation and making and formulating out of dirt and dust, and then those verbs arenít used when it comes to Eve. When woman is made itís the word benah, I think is the Hebrew verb there, and itís used for to build a building.And we always used to kid each other in Hebrew class when we were learning that youíd say this woman is well-built.You could say that right from the text of Genesis, because God built her, and itís a very distinct difference between how man was made and the woman was built, and she was derived from Him.So that way in which Adam and Eve were created we now know to have theological significance, because thatís Christ and the Church.And thatís a warning why we read the text of the Scriptures.Youíve got to be very careful to take it literally, because the commentators for years of the allegorical school treated Gen. 2 like it was just a story, you know, just kind of a picture story for ignorant naÔve rural people or something, thatís how God created, that was a nice little story but that really didnít happen that way.Yes, it really did happen that way, and that narrative text makes it absolutely impossible to accommodate Genesis to evolution.Because no matter what you do, you canít fit Genesis 2 into any schema of evolution; it wonít fit.The only way you can make it fit is to allegorize it.So it becomes just a little story that doesnít have any historical significance.

 

Thereís a lot in that text. That Genesis 1 and 2 is the most amazing section of Scripture I think because thereís so much in there written so simply and so brief, and yet my goodness, weíre talking about the speed of light, the formation of the universe, planets, stars, the relation of man to the environment and this strange thing that all animals were created in pairs and man wasnít.Male and female He made the animals, male and female He did this, male and female He did this, and then man He just made him, oh, and then afterwards He split them.So the first creation of man was basically the two sexes were combined.Weird, you wonder what does that look like, but it was, because the Scripture says it was, until they were differentiated, all in the same day of course, because Gen. 2, remember, we harmonized it with Gen. 1.

 

But to get back to the body, we have nothing beyond the text.Itís one of those neat questions, it stimulates your imaginations and we try in our minds eye to visualize, artists have tried and tried to reproduce what Adam and Eve looked like, and as I said, and I forgot to do it again tonight, I forgot to bring the picture of this lady that was morphed from all the races.If you look at her itís just intriguing because you just do a double take, because you kind of look at her and thereís part of her thatís very familiar, and then thereís the other part that in her face itís just different, you donít know what it is, and itís a computerized version of what happens if you pack all the races of back together again in the package from which they came. Thatís always intrigued me to see that.

 

Question asked: Clough replies:Was that a happy thing for Lazarus?The issue was that if Lazarus died and was 3 or 4 days in Abrahamís Bosom, then didnít he feel like it was bad news to get pulled from Paradise back into life.Thatís really an intriguing thought.Iíll have to ask him someday, Hey Lazarus, what was that like.

 

Question asked: Clough replies:The question is the status of people after they die, both in the Old Testament and New Testament tends to be obscure, more in the Old Testament.We were told about Abrahamís Bosom, weíre told about Sheol and the compartments and stuff.Evidently from Jesusí parables after death in the Old Testament period there were two distinct places that the dead went to, because you have that in the parable, so thatís clear from the text.Whatís not clear from the text is what they are doing, whatís going on; thatís left in the shadows.In the New Testament thereís enough evidence in the text to say that whatever the status was of Abrahamís Bosom, that has been transformed so that now theyíre not just with Abraham but Abraham and the occupants of Old Testament Sheol and the people that have died in the New Testament era are with Christ.Thatís changed.What that means, other than what Paul says, ďto be absent from the body is to be face to face with the Lord,Ē and he doesnít talk about anything more.Then the saints will come back, by the way, thatís at the resurrection, and heís talking in their incorporeal spirit-souls coming back and being rejoined at the resurrection. So they exist in a body-less, without the resurrection body, put it that way.

And yet this existence after death has some corporeal qualities to it because Samuel shows up.And the interesting thing, talk about art and imagination, think about Samuel appearing from the dead, he had clothes on. What kind of clothes do the dead wear?And the clothes that he wore, by the way, was a prophetís mantle, because when the witch of Endor brought him up, she freaked out because she wasnít used to bringing the real thing, she was used to this little demonic stuff that she used to play with, and all of a sudden the real guy shows up and she knows who he is because heís got the prophetic mantle on, which they must have recognized.So there heís wearing some garment that shows who he was, identifies himself.Weíre not told that, the only guess that we have why weíre not told more about it is because God wants us to focus on this life here.And He really doesnít tell us all that our imaginations would want to know about that.

 

The book of Revelation gives you some insights; you have pictures in Revelation where believers are gathered around the throne and praying for vengeance on the earth.Thatís an interesting one.And theyíre not praying out of personal vengeance, they are like the imprecatory Psalms of the Old Testament that are being prayed in the New Testament in the book of Revela≠tion, and the nature of the imprecatory prayer, thatís those damn you prayers, isnít damn you because I hate you as much as itís God when are you ever going to bring this good/evil thing to a conclusion.Itís a cry for resolution of the good and evil, and the people who are crying out are the people who are the victims of it, particularly in the book of Revelation, the martyrs.So thereís prayer, thereís conversation, thereís some sort of clothing, and beyond that we have no earthly idea.

 

What you have to be careful of is in the last 20 years thereís been these books, people have partially died, then come back, and we canít tell necessarily whether some of that is just demonic deception, because some of it they say oh, thereís this wonderful light thatís just warmth, and the people that are talking about it are unbelievers. You just say wait a minute, I think I prefer the text of the gospels to this.But on the other hand, thereís enough evidence from those incidents where people do appear to have an existence outside their body and can turn around and look at their body.Someone was talking about talking to the Russian Christians who had talked to a Russian pastor who was being tortured back in Soviet times, they were breaking his knuckles and doing all kinds of things to get him to deny his faith, and they said how do you endure that, I mean, the pain, the awful excruciating pain, what happens, I mean what did God do to help you get through that. And the pastor told them, he said well you know, itís strange because I had prayed, I knew they were going to torture me so I prayed that I wouldnít deny my Lord and that He would give me the strength, and He said when it started happening it was like the Lord took me out of my body, and he says I had the impression that I was looking at them torturing me, but I didnít feel it.

 

So those are the kind of things that have happened, so thereís some strange thing that goes on about this thing called the soul, that our senses leave us when we know that hereís our optical nerve, all the other nerves of our touching, this is our sight, this is our thinking, and yet on the other hand this faculty seems to be able to leave the body.How does that happen?Itís just like all these questions, you just sit here and say gee, I donít know.Weíve got a lot to learn.Maybe lesson 85 in eternity future or something.But youíre right, the Bible keeps the after death experience, almost deliberately, obscure, and focuses on the resurrection, and even the resurrection isnít given a great deal of emphasis in the sense that itís used as a motive for us, but explaining the fine details, like does food taste the same in the resurrection body and those kind of things? No, it doesnít tell us at all.The Bible raises more questions than it answers but they are good questions.

Question asked: Clough replies:The question was just raised, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Elijah and Moses appear, and the apostles appear to recognize who they are.Now itís always intriguing about that, they didnít have any photographs, how did they know what Elijah and Moses looked like, unless they inferred it from the conversation.They heard the Lord talking to Elijah and talking to Moses and said oh, okay. It must have been that, because I canít believe that they had a photo album.But that was a strange experience, talk about after death experience, whatís this business of Moses and Elijah showing up, in clothing, sitting there talking to the Lord?How did that happen?Beats me.

 

Question asked: Clough replies:Something happened.Yes, on the Mount of Transfiguration Christ instantly changed, within seconds this happened, this transform and it happened in front of their faces, so what you come away withÖ, I think in conclusion what we come away with is what C. S. Lewis keeps telling about, this world in which we live is a shadow land and that when we see the other side weíll realize, you know this is a pretty dull mundane and very blind existence that we live in.And thereís lots of exciting stuff that goes on, maybe right around us that we donít know. Weíve heard time and time again about the presence of angels. Christians down through the ages have given wonderful testimony to the fact that at times, these angels appear.

 

Iím recalling one in which the Montagnards, who were a darker race in Vietnam, missionaries had gone into the Montagnards in the highways of Vietnam and the war came, and of course the communists came right down that thing and they were attacking the Montagnards, because the Montagnards were not loyal Vietnamese.Theyíre a different race, totally different subgroup, but they had been heavily evangelized and there were a lot of Montagnards believers.And the one incident I remember being told by one of the military guys was that some special forces teams had gone into that area and they were talking to the Montagnards because they had earlier detected Vietnamese activity there, and they noticed that the Viet Cong had come up, looking like they were going to attacked this village and then backed off and left it.So they were talking to the Montagnards about it, the Montagnards said we donít know what happened, we knew that the Viet Cong were out there so we had a prayer meeting here in town, and we all got in this building, this thing with a straw thing over it and we started praying that God would help us and deliver us, and then we donít know because a couple rounds came in and that was it.

 

Later that same team captured one of the Viet Cong guys, and intel was going down through the check list of this and that, and where you last week, what unit youíre in, and by the way, what was the deal with your group and the Montagnards.And this guy said that was the strangest thing in my life, we had that place surrounded, we were going to put mortar rounds in there and then come in and just gun them down, and he said we got everything set up, everything was ready to go, and all of a sudden we saw people, shining white figures sitting on the roofs of that place.It turned out that place is the place where they were having the prayer meeting.And it just spooked them.I mean, these guys are kind of half-communists half-Catholics, and so when they saw that they just got spooked and took off; they said this is weird, weíre not going to mess with those guys.Who were these guys that were standing up there? They were not visible to the Montagnards that were in the village, they were only visible to the adversaries.So how did that happen?We donít know.So, thereís all these little tricks that God has built into the system.