Guideposts for Easter Week

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Share Biblical Insights for Holy Week. Point others to the Light of Christ

 

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Holy Week–Hosanna!

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/holy-week-hossanna-palm-sunday/

Holy Week, Beware Idle Conjecture

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/holy-week-beware-idle-conjecture/

Two Swords: Enough

On the Way to the Mt. Of Olives

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/two-swords-enough/

Yeshua Ha’Mashiach: Crucified

Isaiah 52:13ff

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/yeshua-hamashiach-crucified-2/

 

Good Friday–Dying for the Ungodly

Romans 5

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/good-friday-dying-for-the-ungodly-2/

 

John 3:16…Keeping the Easter Message

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/imghttpimg-2/

 

[Just to note, this is the 5th Anniversary of TextsInContext. I began it in 2012, my first post being the one at the top of this list. Thank you to all who have read or shared or followed.]

Christ’s Coming: 1 Thessalonians vs. ‘Left Behind’

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First Thessalonians 4: The Coming of the Lord

1But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (English Standard Version)

Thessalonians is one of the earliest books of the New Testament. (Some think the earliest. F.F. Bruce suggested the possibility that Galations preceded it. But overall, James was probably the first.) Understandably, these new Christians in this new church had questions and misunderstandings that needed answers.

As v. 15 shows, this section answers questions about the coming of the Lord, the Parousia.[With reference to those who remain alive at that time.]

It begins in v. 13 with Paul addressing their concern about fellow Christians who have already died. Were these who had died now at some disadvantage? What hope did those who still live have for them when Christ returns?

Verse 14 points to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the central theme of Christian hope concerning those who have died.

See 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul addresses the question of the resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was the first fruits, and the resurrection of Christians is the final harvest, v.23 “at His coming (parousia)” when “we shall all be changed—in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (verse 52).

Verse 15 gives the key point of this passage (addressing the concerns of the Thessalonians) that, when Christ returns,  the living Christians have no advantage over those who have died.

Verse 16 describes, in familiar terms (for us who have the NT), Christ’s return (parousia). This is no secret event.

This Coming is described in the same terms as other passages about the Lord’s coming:

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God….in the clouds…”

Acts 1 “…a cloud took him out of their sight….’This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'”

Dan 7 “…with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man”

Rev 1 “…Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him…”

Mark 13 “…then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven…”

Verse 17 pictures the “we” who are still alive as following those who have died “to meet the Lord in the air…”

To meet [apantasin] the Lord… “When a dignitary paid an official visit (parousia) to a city in Hellenistic times, the action of the leading citizens in going out to meet him and escort him back on the final stage of his journey [to that city] was called the apantesis.” (F.F. Bruce,I &2 Thessalonians, WBC)

See N.T. Wright speak of this, here.

Verse 18  (This is no gnostic revelation of some new doctrine of a secret ‘rapture’.) The whole point of this passage is to encourage each other in the hope given to us regarding death through Christ’s death and resurrection.

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The Easter Message and John 3:16

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[Photo taken in Verona, Italy]

John 3:16…Keeping the Easter Message

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ESV

Many [a vast understatement!] Christians have lost their grade school grammar and so [thus] have lost the focus of this verse.  A few weeks ago, I heard a pastor, using this text, emphasizing that God sooooooo loved the world.  The main focus of the verse was not even acknowledged. [‘love’ replaced Christ as the focus, for further reading, see my book on Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness]

‘So’ or ‘Thus’: ‘in a manner or way indicated,’ hence, “God thus loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”

Or “This is how God loved the world, he gave his son…”  He gave him up to the cross, for you, for me.  This is how God loved the world.  And the great confirmation of this act of love came on the third day with the greatest event in all history: The Resurrection.

“For God so [thus; by this act] loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

[John repeats the same thought in 1 John 4:9  “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” ESV]

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