Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Keep Looking Up! 11/17/2013
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God Our Father and from His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

As the disciples of Jesus pointed out to Him of the grandeur of the temple in Jerusalem, the place of their worship of the Living God, they heard Jesus tell them that beautiful temple was going to be destroyed. Hearing this, they must have been surprised, confused as well as dumbfounded. So they did what all should do when not able to understand what is being said:: Ask questions. They asked two questions.

1. When is the temple going to be destroyed?

2. What signs will precede the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem?

Part of the answer that Jesus gave referred to the fall of Jerusalem, which took place a.d. 70. The directions given by our Lord were of the greatest service to the Christian church, the members of which in large numbers, fled to Pella, across the Jordan, and so escaped the horrors of the siege. But beyond this each great event, He is always “coming in a cloud” so far as the eyes of men are concerned; but with the growing glory of clearer revelation and increased spiritual power. And all these stages are leading up to His final unveiling at His second advent.

Life has never been without struggle for those in the Christian Church to follow her Lord. No easier path than His has the Christian Church been called to choose. Where there is no outward suffering there may be the inner cross and the death to all that the soul had once prized. Jesus has always stood beside His own wherever they have been called to witness for the truth; and the testimony given by His witnesses has reached the great ones of the earth and reverberated through courts and palaces. In suffering our souls become tried as by fire. Through these trials we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ as we experience His provision in our great time of trial.

KJV Luke 21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

Jesus has been challenged increasingly more and more as He nears Jerusalem, He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, He enters the temple to clean it out, He then teaches in the temple, in our text today He tells His disciples that even the temple is going to be destroyed, and then he speaks to them about the hard times that are coming for them as His followers after He is gone.

Today in the first of our two scripture readings we heard David speaking to our God in humility as he came to recognize that rather than himself building a house for God, God told David that He would build a house for David. It is important to always view our current text in the light of the entire revelation of Christ as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. I only place the specific verses here for brevity's sake, recognizing that to get the entire picture one should read the surrounding verses of each reference listed below.

2 Saumuel 7:27 For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.

In our second reading, we heard Jesus refer to Himself as the Temple which would replace the physical structure which had been the central focus of God ordained worship for the Jewish people since Solomon had built it 900+ years before Christ was born.

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

The physical structure that Jesus was referring to was being built by Herod, it had been being built for 46 years and would not be finished until 63 A D and it would be destroyed in the 70 AD by the Romans.

“The group of buildings belonging to the temple as it was rebuilt by Herod occupied a much larger area than that of Solomon, and the whole of the temple-mount was surrounded by a high, strong wall with towers on the northern side. On the other sides there were no towers, because the steepness of those sides of the hill on which the temple was built and the height of the wall made it impregnable on those sides. On the temple square there were beautiful colonnades, stairs and gates by which the various temple buildings … were combined to form a whole. The actual temple … was built on an elevation of white marble blocks with golden ornaments. So it dominated all the buildings on the temple site. The Jewish historian Josephus … gives the following description of the temple: The whole of the outer works of the temple was in the highest degree worthy of admiration; for it was completely covered with gold plates, which when the sun was shining on them, glittered so dazzlingly that they blinded the eyes of the beholders not less than when one gazed at the sun’s rays themselves. And on the other sides, where there was no gold, the blocks of marble were of such a pure white the to strangers who had never previously seen them (from a distance they looked like a mountain of snow’

During these times it was required that three times a year the adult males would journey to Jerusalem to observe three feasts and celebrations. During these journeys it is recorded that since the temple in Jerusalem was such a place of significance in their understanding and relationship to God that at the first sight of the beautiful towering temple on the Jerusalem hill, the worshippers feel face down towards Jerusalem.

People in Russia relate to this connection of outward majestic beauty and worship of God as was witnessed by ourselves having been in Russia. The Russian culture goes back many years and they have a rich traditiion of beautiful houses of worship to the point that it was difficult for many to see how God could be worshipped independent of a beautiful building. Our resident missionary shared with me on one occasion that when people are invited to gather with other believers for worship they accept the invitation. But when they come to the door of the rented modest room, open the door to peer in, some will say, "God cannot live here," shut the door and leave.

Our forefathers (Finnish) came over from the Old Country with the clothes on their back and began to build their lives in this country. Since they were members of the body of Christ, they built houses of worship which were very modest and simple since money was very scarce. Over the years there has been a tendency for us in our tradition to not appreciate fully the beauty and majesty of the outward building of worship, perhaps because that is all we have ever known. But regardless of whether we have great beauty and magnificence or whether we have simplicity and modesty in our houses of worship, there has always been a direct link between outward things and the inward things.

In our text today we see the prediction of the temple's (the outward) destruction by Jesus. He had been teaching in the temple for quite some time now, had gone in to drive out those who had made it a den of thieves and now it was time to point to Himself as the True Temple, the One who had been prophesied throughout the Old Testament. The old must be taken away so that the New Temple may be seen.

This was no small statement for the apostles to hear, for what would they be left with when the temple was gone? That is the same question the the Roman church asked Martin Luther when he told them that they do not need all the outward practices that had been elevated to a place of being required. In response to the question of "What will we give the people if we take all those things away?" Martin Luther said" Give them Christ."

It is the same question that some had when we razed our old church as they were upset that we had destroyed God by taking the building down. Just as Jesus pointed to the taking away of the external, so likewise we all must come to the place where we realize that it is Christ alone who is the True Temple that will be revealed on the Cross of His crucifixion, of His death. All must be taken away so that we may receive that which God has always intended us to receive: The forgiveness of our sins through the Promise that was made in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15) and which He has progressively brought forth through the years until the fullness of time arrived:

Galatians 4: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

In our text today, Jesus is not so much interested in answering their questions, but is more interested in teaching them how to navigate through the tough times that are coming as they will be in harm's way because of the inability of the Jewish leaders to see and understand Who Jesus was and of the nature of His kingdom. They, the Jewish leaders, would in the end be the ones who delivered Him up to be tortured, crucified unto death. And the great irony of all that is that in doing so, they would be providing means for the forgiveness of their sins through faith in His Name.

He warns them to not be deceived by those who claim to be Christ or to represent Christ, to not be afraid of the disorder in the world, and that there will be earthquakes, famines, pestilences; fearful sights and great signs from heaven before the end comes, but above all to "Keep looking Up."

He tells them that they are going to be given opportunity to give their testimony of faith before the leaders, that they should be confident that they will be given words to speak by Him, they will be betrayed by family and friends, and even some of them will become a martyr for His cause. They will be hated by all men, but if they persevere to the end, they will in losing their life gain it. In other words, "Keep Looking Up."

He then recounts the fall of Jerusalem that He sees in the future, detailing those horrible events and the terrible suffering that was in the future due to the judgment of God as verse 22 implies. One only need to read the historian Josephus to get a sense of the horrific suffering that came upon the city at that time.

Whether it is for a first century Christian or for us today, there have been and are those who are saying that I am Christ by their teaching and preaching as being representative of the truths of the Scripture. There are plenty of wars and fightings among the nations and among all people, and there are plenty of hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, typhoons, etc. There are plenty of people who have predicted, are predicting and will in the future predict the end times events based on their knowledge of Scripture. Through these so called prophets many have been, are being and will be deceived into false beliefs. We must "Keep Looking Up" to the Christ of the Scriptures.

Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Christ came first to buy us back, to restore us to God our Father, our rightful Father, the One who decided for us in Christ Jesus. As we have looked up to the cross to rightly understand and know both our guilt and of His forgiveness of our sins because of love, we often look up during our lives here on this decaying earth. We look up in thankfulness and in supplication as we recognize that life is lived through Him, in Him and for Him. We look up at the empty cross, which reminds us that He arose, but we do not skip the necessity and the meaning of the cross.

Yes, we look up daily for all our needs as a child looks to their father, but much more so, we look up awaiting the final coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our entire being is lived because of His saving work of grace for us and toward us. He richly forgives us each day because of His love and kindness towards us, and because of this experienced reality, we live in peace and joy.

He knowing that we often have need of assurance has left us with means by which we can experience anew His grace toward us through physical signs, which we call sacraments: A visible means of invisible grace. Today we partake of Holy Communion with Him, as He draws near to us to assure us of the forgiveness of our sins in His Name and in His Blood. He comes to us with these gifts of grace and desires that we would rejoice in Him and celebrate with Him and with one another of this indescribable gift of salvation through Him.
It is in the renewing of this gift in our mind, heart and soul that we are quickened to look up, knowing that our redemption draws near, a day of which the Father alone knows the day and the hour.

May we not be deceived, may we not be fearful, may we be patient, may we perservere, and may we grow in our longing and desire to be with Him forever and forever.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and until that day when faith becomes sight.....

May we keep looking up!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 17 Nov 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Because He Lives 11/10/2013
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God Our Father and from His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Text: Luke 20:27-38

What questions do we have in our lives?
Are we asking them?
From whom are we asking them?
With what attitude and motive are we asking them?

These are some things we want to think about as we follow Jesus as He enters into Jerusalem of his life.

In the Gospel of Luke, beginning with chapter 9 and verse 51, we read the following: "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."

Today in our journey with Jesus we find Jesus having reached Jerusalem, having entered the city on what we refer to as Palm Sunday and into a city which is full of people who are gathered for the Passover celebration He had gone into the temple and casted out "those that sold therein and bought; saying to them, it is written, My house is a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." Luke 19

As He did so, the leaders of the Jewish church began to feel the threat that Jesus was to their place of authority and influence in the nation. We will begin our meditation in the last two verses of Luke 19 and follow along from there. We read that "He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him. And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him."

"On one of these days, as he taught the people in the temple, and as he preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders." We note that he continued with that which he told James and John back in chapter 9 of this same gospel, for he "preached the gospel" unto the people in the temple. He preached to the people in the temple of the Good News in that He has come to rescue them, but we see the leaders did not recognize Him as their rescuer, not realizing that they even needed to be rescued. So they decided to put some questions to Jesus which were designed to expose this Jesus as an imposter....They asked three questions of Jesus.....

They challenged Jesus by saying to Him: "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things? or who is he that gave you this authority?" He had just ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey, which was understood as a sign of kingship, and he had also gone into their temple and cleared out the money changers. They were asking, "What and who give you the right to do what you did?"

20:3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Jesus did not give a direct answer to their demanding question, but countered with a question. They did not answer according to what they knew to be true, but they answered according to what would would be best for their position and their honor. So Jesus, able to know the reason why they answered falsely, refused to bother with giving a direct answer to their demanding question for it was not a question according to a real desire to know truth. He then proceeded to answer their question in an indirect manner......

9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.

As Jesus ended this parable, the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him, in order to at the very least remove Jesus from the temple, but they had another problem: They feared what the people might do because the people were listening to Jesus. The leaders knew that if they acted too quickly against Jesus they would be in trouble with the people and consequently with the Roman authorities. So they acted a little more discreetly.....

20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
21 And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.
25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.
26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.

They now sent spies to Jesus with another question, after they had approached him with flattery and falseness. They asked their question "in craftiness," or with trickery, deceit. Jesus could see through their deceit, asking they as to why they are being deceitful.

He then asked for a Roman coin on which was the imprint of Caesar, asked them to look at it and then asked whose imprint was on it. As they replied Caesar, he then told them: " Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."

They readily must have understood what he meant concerning what was due to Caesar, but it is doubtful that they understood the implication of what it meant to render unto God the things that are God's Did they understand that just as when they held the coin they saw the image of Caesar that the image of God was standing right in front of them? Did they understand what the writer to the Hebrews would write later concerning the "express image?" They did not acknowledge that truth, for they refused to believe that He was God.

KJV Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

ESV Luke 20:26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Then comes the third question, this time from the Sadducees, who had their doctrinal positions. They only accepted the first five books of the Bible, maintaining that there was no teaching of the resurrection in those five books. Their worldview did not allow them to have a doctrine of the resurrection and they were going to put Jesus to the test...So let us see how it went for them with Jesus.

Luke 20:27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
32 Last of all the woman died also.
33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.

They have solid ground to present their question, for they use the following scripture to state their case.

Deuteronomy 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

In their mind, Jesus had no way out of this one..But.....Jesus points out the contrast between what we know and experience here with that which is prepared and awaiting for us there. Because we are so programmed and conditioned to living life here it is very difficult to imagine life there. But yet, Jesus does point out some very distinct differences between here and there.

34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

We live in an existence in which God has ordained marriage of male and female and has allowed for the preproduction, protection and nurturing of children through being part of that family. There will be no need for this in the heavenly realm, for in that place, there will be no subtraction through dying and there will be no multiplcation as there is here on earth. There would be many others aspects that we could point to our glorified state, but we will only take those that are clearly taught in our text. Having said that, I cannot resist placing a couple verses which bless me each time I read them, for they reveal our inability to see what is prepared for us as we yet peer through foggy glasses into heaven. When we see Him, we will see Him "as he is" and we will also for the first time be able to "know even as also I am known."

KJV 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

There was a resurrection of Jesus Christ, there will be a resurrection of our bodies unto eternal life and it was taught by Moses in the first five books of the Bible, contrary to what the Sadducees believed..

To point this out, Jesus takes the Sadducees back to the 2nd book of the Bible, the book of Exodus, and yes, you guessed it, to Moses..

37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
39 Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.
40 And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.

Jesus reminds them of the burning bush incident, when Moses called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

KJV Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

At first glance, one might ask: What does this reference prove? Why does Jesus point to it?

Let us think back to what Jesus told the Sadducees in response to their case of a woman having seven husbands and how that would fit into a belief in the resurrection. It might have worked for a man to have had seven wives and then to have seven in heaven, but there was no way that a woman would have seven husbands in that culture. It was a man's world. Also there was the understanding just as there is today that our parents live on through us in that their preeminient traits are passed on from generation to generation. But that is far far different from the reality of the resurrection unto eternal life.

Jesus explained that there will be no families in heaven as we know them here, for all will be children of God and relationships as we know them here will not exist as far as families go. We will all be in God's family for all eternity. We are in His family now, but we still think in earthly terms. For example, my mother died in June and according to our way of looking at these things, I would say, "she was my mother" as opposed to heavenly language which would say, "she is mother." Yet I should not say, "she is my mother," since that distinction is no longer applicable. She brought me into life, she cared for me and nurtured me, but now we await the time when we will be reunited in the family of God in which we will be like the angels.

Moses understood that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still alive. Jesus pointed to that when said, "Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

We do not cease to exist, and go into nothingness, for we are alive unto God. He is our God, not was our God. Because He lives, we live also......

What questions do we have in our lives?
Are we asking them?
From whom are we asking them?
With what attitude and motive are we asking them?

In 1971 Gloria and William Gaither wrote the hymn “Because He Lives”. The hymn expresses faith in the resurrection of… Jesus, that He still lives, and that this provides us with great comfort and assurance even in turbulent times.

When Bill and I started our family in the sixties, racial tensions were tearing the country apart. Civil rights activists had suffered and some had been killed. The Vietnam conflict was claiming thousands of lives, and tensions boiled over on university campuses. Many young people were growing disillusioned and dropping out.

In this climate, Bill and I sought to write songs with lasting answers to the turmoil of the human spirit. But in the fall of 1969, several things happened to test the reality of our own convictions. We realized we were exp
ecting another baby. Though we had always intended to have another child, we weren’t planning on a baby so soon. My body hadn’t quite recovered from the last pregnancy. Making matters worse, Bill contracted mononucleosis, which left him exhausted and depressed.

This combination of national turmoil and personal trouble discouraged us, and we occasionally asked each other; “If the world is like this now, what will it be in fifteen or sixteen years for our baby? What will this child face?”

While pondering and praying about these things, we came to realize anew that our courage doesn’t come from a stable world, for the world has never been stable. Jesus Himself was born in the cruelest of times. No, we have babies, raise families, and risk living because the Resurrection is true!
Our baby arrived safe and sound, and we named him Benjamin, which means “most beloved son.” A few weeks later “Because He Lives” was born in our hearts and poured from our souls:

How sweet to hold our newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still, the calm assurance-
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Over the years this song has reassured us that our Lord’s Resurrection is the central truth of life. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Many times since, as our children grew, our business-life changed, our fortunes shifted, or our direction clouded, our family has found assurance in this very personal song.

Bill and Gloria Gaither

May the Lord strengthen your faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in so doing bring you comfort today as you await the time to be rejoined into Him and into the huge multitude of the heavenly host.....

Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

What a day that will be when my/our Jesus we will see...........

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 Nov 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Keep Looking Up! 11/17/2013
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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob