Month 7:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5940:193 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 17 October 2016
Sukkot 2016 III
The Centrality of the Resurrection
Continued from Part 2
Chag sameach Sukkot kol beit Yisra'el and Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon and welcome to the third day of the Festival of Tabernacles which corresponds in the spiritual recapitulation to Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits) and the Ruach haShleshi or the third Ruach (Spirit).
Between Elation and Sadness
The last two days have been consistently the same in the sense that I began each day rejoicing, according to the spirit of Sukkot, but ended each one sad, depressed and heavy-hearted. Last night I was thus because an old friend of mine has not only abandoned Yahweh and Yah'shua (Jesus) but villified Yahweh, accusing me of being dishonest and deceived by corrupted Scriptures, and vainly hanging on to my delusions because to abandom them would be to lose my ministry.
The Resurrection is Everything
Yom haBikkurimn (Firstfruits) was the day that Yah'shua (Jesus) was resurrected, the first human being to be raised from the dead and permanently so. The physical resurrection of the carpenter from Nazareth is the central tenet of the Christian faith. Everything else subtends to it. Because He was resurrected, we too have the tiqveh (hope) of resurrection. Of it Paul said:
The Historial Messiah and the Resurrection
"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Messiah has been raised. And if Messiah has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your emunah (faith). More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about Elohim (God), for we have testified about Elohim (God) that He raised Messiah from the dead. But He did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Messiah has not been raised either. And if Messiah has not been raised, your emunah (faith) is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep (died) in Messiah are lost. If only for this life we have tiqveh (hope) in Messiah, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Cor.15:13-19, NIV).
Christianity/Messianism stands or fall on the resurrection. Without it, our emunah (faith) is utterly in vain - it is useless. If there is one thing you need to investigate carefully and be satisfied about, it is this central historical event. There are many good books on the subject, as by British judge Sir Norman Anderson - see Uniqueness of the Resurrection. Anyone who claims he or she believes in Yah'shua (Jesus) but does not believe in the physical resurrection does not believe in the historical Messiah but in a counterfeit. This event in time and space above all else distinguishes the emet (truth) from all false religion. This is the crowning event of the Besorah (Gospel) witness. Everything else is secondary.
Staking My All
I chose to personally believe in the resurrection a very long time ago when I met the resurrected Messiah, like hundreds of thousands before me, because He is very much alive. I have had that emunah (faith) vindicated again and again. I am staking my all in it especially at a time when unbelief is rife in the Body of Messiah and so many leaders do not believe in it any longer. It has been worth all my education which, "to the sensible person ... is like a golden ornament, like a bracelet on the right arm" (Sirach 21:21, NRSV), just to research this one topic and be satisfied in my mind that this event actually happened before thousands of witnesses.
Sukkot is a Resurrection Event
With no resurrection there is no fulfillment of Sukkot because this Bridal Feast is of the resurrected believers with our Master Yah'shua (Jesus), the Divine Bridegroom. Sukkot is the resurrection feast of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones)!
It all began with twelve witnesses of the resurrection - the twelve apostles (Ac.1:22). Hundreds of others would witness the resurrected Messiah before He was taken into heaven. Paul would later meet Him on the road to Damascus. The resurrection is Yahweh's solution to suffering and provides for a future life in which moral values persist and the inequalities of this present life are made good.
What the Resurrection Demonstrates and Witnessed Of
The Sukkot Bride celebrates her resurrection - how could she not? Job knew of it before the flood (Job 19:26) and many of the Tanakh (Old Testament) nevi'im (prophets) like David (Ps.17:15), Isaiah (Is.26:19) and Daniel (Dan.12:2) bore advance witness too. The resurrection demonstrates not only the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) but the value of the individual and the solution to the problem of suffering.
The Baptismal Covenant
Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits - Yah'shua/Jesus being the firstfruits of the resurrection) is also represented by baptism, our immersion into the atoning death of Messiah and our arising into eternal life. Done before witnesses, we make our first covenant to follow and obey the resurrected Yah'shua (Jesus) all the days of our life. The reward of that is made manifest on the third day of Sukkot when we harvest the spiritual fruit of that covenant.
Attaining to the First Resurrection
Resurrection is everything. From the vantage point of mortality we can understand Paul's words when he said:
One Resurrection or Three?
"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Messiah. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) my Master, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Messiah and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Torah (Law), but that which is through emunah (faith) in Messiah - the righteousness that comes from Elohim (God) and is by emunah (faith). I want to know Messiah and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Phil.3:7-11, NIV).
The Bride is therefore characterised in wanting to know Yah'shua (Jesus), the power of His resurrection, the fellowship that comes of sharing in His sufferings, and becoming like Him in His death. This is how we attain to the first resurrection. Why does Paul use the word "attain"? If there is only one resurrection, which both the righteous and wicked obtain unconditionally because of the atonement of Messiah (Ac.24:15), why would Paul have any concerns about finally 'attaining' it? Because he speaks of the resurrection of the Sukkot Bride - the first resurrection of the faithful, overcoming believers (after the greater glory of the sun), not the second resurrection of the disobedient believers (after the lesser glory of the moon) or the dim glory of the last resurrection of the unbelievers (after the glory of the stars) (1 Cor.14:41-42):
"Blessed and qadosh (holy, set-apart) are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be cohenim (priests) of Elohim (God) and of Messiah and will reign with Him for a thousand years" (Rev.20:6, NIV).
Conditions for the First Resurrection
And though the resurrection is received by all, the resurrection of the Bride - the first resurrection - must be attained by the saved by being faithful, obedient and purified:
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
"Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness (set-apartness) out of reverence for Elohim (God)" (2 Cor.7:1, NIV).
I believe in the physical resurrection of the dead and in the first resurrection of the purified qadoshim (saints. set-apart ones), the Sukkot Bride; and like Paul, it is that resurrection I seek to attain or "experience" (NLT). Why would I want anything inferior? The question to you and I, therefore, is this: am I willing to pay the price so that I may have the fullness of simcha (joy) promised to those who are called up to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (rev.19:7,9)? That price is clearly stated: it's everything you have.
The Nature of Our Commitment
In therefore affirming our belief in the resurrection of all mankind (saved and unsaved) and in afirming our desire to attain to the first resurrection of the faithful saved, we are making a major commitment - a huge commitment. For most this is not usually something made all at once or at first after conversion, though some do and with fortitude adhere to their covenant at Yom haBikkurim. Most of us progressively surrender more and more of our lives to Yah'shua (Jesus) as we become satisfied that His every promise can be trusted and that the rewards of the faithful are absolutely worth it.
For myself in recent times I have been accutely aware of a deficit of simcha (joy) in my life and I am absolutely not satisfied with that state of affairs. Moreover, this simcha (joy) is not a function of success in the outer world but of being in right and intimate relationship with Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) alone. That is what I now want, above all else. And the resurrection, and my emunah (faith) in that, is fully tied up with this.
Dealing With Troubles
I choose to believe in the resurrection both because the evidence is overwhelming and because I met the resurrected Messiah
on the day I was born-again and have known Him since. I desire to know Him more, as a Bride should of her Bridegroom. A surface acquaintance is unsatisfying and a waste of time. We need to plunge in, be fully immersed in Him, as is respresented by the ordinance of baptism which we are commanded to partake of. When troubles come, our success as overcomers is always in proportion to the depth of that relationship with the Resurrected One.
So that is where I stand today. I believe in the physical resurrection and all that means for the present and for the glorious future. I pray you will make that choice to believe too - to simply say, 'Yes, I believe' and to act accordingly. And may the Ruach haShleshi, who is the Spirit of the Resurrection, bless you with a deep knowing, shalom (peace) and simcha (joy) today is my prayer in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name. Amen.