The topic is similar to words of David in Psalm 62:11 where he wrote “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard…” My understanding, which I want to sell to you in this post, is that God spoke one thing but multiple things got cleared in the mind of David. According to the verses, from the one thing God spoke, David got to learn that God is strong and that He is loving. The journey of David with God is very interesting and it is a subject for another day.
I want to take this thought for the words of Jesus Christ. I am part of Jesus Christ’s audience and as He speaks, each of us who care to listen will pick some phrases that He speaks once and from that you hear a number of things. Going through the four Gospels, I picked one phrase that cleared more than one thing in my mind in each of them.
The truth is that one verse in the Bible can be expounded a countless number of times. Indeed if Jesus Christ is not what He claims to be, we are in serious trouble yet the good thing is that we know for sure that He truly is who He claims to be. Thus what He says He is as it is and should be taken serious.
Let us go straight to the phrases:
- See I told you ahead of time. This phrase is taken from Matthew 24:25. Instead of the word ‘see’, other versions use the words behold, listen, remember, take note and lo’. Similarly, for the phrase ‘ahead of time’ some versions use the words beforehand, in advance and foretold. Jesus Christ was specifically talking about the signs of the end times. Clearly the message applies to us the living today.
From this phrase I pick the following:
- These words confirm that what the disciples just heard is exclusive information and prophetic.
- It is an expression of love as Jesus wouldn’t want His beloved disciples to be in the dark concerning the things He just shared. It is a precaution to people who are beloved to Him.
- There is no excuse for ignoring this precaution. Should anyone of His disciples behave in an uninformed point of view, they have themselves to blame for whatever consequence that may result.
- He is God of the living (Luke 20:38). When Jesus said these words He was address the subject of resurrection and marriage. I will ignore the marriage part and focus on the resurrection. I notice that the Sadducees in their question did not care or even knew that there is a period between death and the resurrection. They asked Jesus in verse 33, “Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” You know the story. You are welcome to ready it in the same chapter if you feel you have to refresh your memory.
In Jesus’ response according to verse 35, He talks about the period between physical death and the resurrection, referring it to ‘the age to come’ and then moves to talk about the resurrection. He further reveals that God is the God of the people who are alive in the ‘age to come’ period. Jesus quotes Moses’ account of the burning bush. He reports that Moses mentioned names of people who had long died who are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then in verse 38 Jesus says these words, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Contrary to this teaching on ‘the age to come’ period, some people believe that at this time the dead are asleep. It is true that Jesus referred to the dead as asleep a number of times in the Gospels. I believe that the implication is that the physically dead can and shall rise again in the future. It is worth noting that Jesus Himself once lived in ‘the age to come’ period before His resurrection. We learn about this in 1 Peter 3:18-20 where the Bible reports that Jesus himself went preaching to the lost after giving up His soul on the cross. This was before His resurrection on the third day.
Just at the cross, Jesus made a promise to meet the criminal in Paradise later on that very day. This is according to Luke 23:42 – 43. In reference to 2 Corinthians 5:8, I don’t believe that it would be exiting for Apostle Paul to mention that to be away in the body is to be alive with Christ if it meant an extensive unconscious period of sleep.
- If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him (Matthew 7:11). I want to tackle this verse in two parts, first the part that says, ‘If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children’ and then ‘how much more will your heavenly Father’.
Jesus acknowledges that people are smart enough to know the good things to do. They are intelligent to know that when a child requests for bread they do not mean a stone, likewise a fish is not a snake. By extension, people know that when you assemble some specific parts you end up with a car, a phone, a television, etc. Furthermore, the operators of such products know that to get these things working for them as expected, they should use the right keys, codes, passwords, etc.
I then get more insight when Jesus says, ‘…how much more will your heavenly Father…’ This gives me the thought that God has a higher level of understanding that mere humans. He knows what and how things ought to be at a much higher level that people do. He is not vague but specific beyond humans. For example, at human level, if you miss one digit when making a call you will not reach the person you intend connecting to. Similarly, God has set rules that lead to specific destinations if followed properly. There is no room for error. If you are a homosexual, you will not make it to heaven unless you repent and abandon your sin. That is just the way it is. It is specific.
It is unfortunate that some Christians take God’s standards for granted, that is, knowing clearly that the Bible specifically forbids something but they go on and do it hoping that God understands why they do those things. By extension, God’s judgement is specific and therefore very strict for the mere human. If you have read the story of Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit and received their strict and specific judgement right away, you will appreciate this truth. You are welcome to read this story in the book of Acts 5:1-11.
Before I move on to the last quote, may I warn people not to joke with God because God is not out to make jokes with anyone.
- If it was not so I would have told you (John 14:2). All that Jesus has said is true because He told us. He told us because it matters that we should know it. That which we shouldn’t know or care about He didn’t tell us. This is in line with Deuteronomy 29:29 where the writer records, ‘The hidden things belong to Yahweh our God, but the revealed things belong to us to know and to our children forever, in order to do all the words of this law’.
Allow me to mentions a few things that Jesus told us and therefore worth noting:
- There is a Paradise that people who die while in good relationship with Christ go to yet there is a Hell which is a final destination for those who allow their body parts to lead them to sin.
- There is no other way that leads to God the Father other than through Jesus Christ the son.
- All those who come to Jesus will not be driven away by Him (John 6:37).
- No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Him and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life (Mark 10:29 – 31). Please note that ‘the age to come’ phrase is quoted again.
- Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. My Father will love the one who loves me, and I too will love them and show myself to them (John 14:21).
- In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:2).
- I (Jesus) will come again and will take you (us His followers) to myself, that where I (Jesus) am you (His followers) may be also (John 14:3).
I can go on and on with the promises yet the best way to learn about them is to read the Bible yourself. It is good that these promises are made by Jesus and not the Apostles and Prophets. It wouldn’t be easy to believe some of them, particularly those about hell, if they were declared by somebody else.
I believe you have been inspired. It is sad but true that if you ignore God’s word and land yourself in hell, it is purely your fault. Truly, how will we escape if we neglect such great salvation. I believe God will help me address the subject of death and life after death in the future.