is the death of his saints. (Psa 116:15)
One of the great mysteries: why is the death of His saints a precious thing? A few writers have thought about this and have proposed that it’s because our death figures as much in God’s plan as does our life. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours.
It is easier for us to think that precious in the sight of the Lord is the life and health of His saints. Doesn’t the Bible speak of whatever we do, do it in the name of the Lord and whatever we do, bring glory to God’s name? How can we bring glory to His name if our bodies lie breathless in a grave?
Our memory and our absence are two good reasons our death is not a waste. We assign plots and name them for burying the dead. Flowers are brought every year at Memorial Days of remembering our fallen soldiers and ordinary folks who lived and died. Not only is the death of His saints precious in the sight of the Lord, it should also be precious to us. After we have lived, our absence serves a continuing influence on those who want to know about it.
The man who built the house I was born in, is a point of interest with me. That was my mother’s grandpa. He hid inside hollow corn shocks when renegade soldiers came by and “borrowed” stuff from his barn. His absence stirs my interest in him.
The little woman who wore her one church dress and a flat, black straw hat with a flower is a strong memory. She carried a little white hankie which she waved mightily when she shouted and wept and walked up and down the aisle. Not a put-on. She was the real thing. Her memory and her absence serves me well, today.
Funerals are important. In fact, it is another mystery as to all that is achieved at a funeral. We make ties with people at work, school, and church. Church ties are stronger because more of the human spirit is opened up in church meetings and relationships. If the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in a church, a blending occurs like nowhere else. The gifts of the Spirit are given primarily for ministering to the Body of Christ. “One another,” or “one to another” occurs 547 times in the King James Bible.
In talking with a lot of people one-on-one, some have told me they can meet with God walking through the woods or at the ocean beach; “I commune well with God there.” It is true that we can pray in the woods and on the beach. It is not true that we will do just as well in those places. God did not appoint us to meet Him in the woods and on the beach. Being in the House of God is not only for communion with God, it is also true that we need to commune with “one another” at the House of God.
Funerals not only honor the recently departed, funerals are also a place where the resurrection of the saved dead is proclaimed and a warning is given to those who have not yet made peace with God through the death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection. Frequent trips to the cemetery to bury the dead reminds those who attend that “we too, shall pass this way.” It also reminds us that one day the dead will rise out of those graves with a new, resurrected bodies that will never die again.
Our picture for today is of the Eastern Wall of Jerusalem. Ezekiel wrote about the sealing up of these gates at a future time (Ez 44:1-3) I mention it here because the gate and the passage in Ez 44:1-3 display the truth that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” http://www.bible-history.com/gentile_court/TEMPLECOURTThe_Eastern_Gate_and_Prophecy.htm gives this summary on how the gate of the east wall was sealed up.
" The "Golden Gate" was located in the East wall of Jerusalem; it was one of eleven entrance gates into the city. Notice in the above picture that this gate is sealed shut. It was sealed up in the 16th century A.D. A little background on the East gate of Jerusalem: The East gate was walled up by its Muslim conquerors (the Ottoman Turks) in 1530 A.D.
Notice also the cemetery that has been planted in front of it. Many believe this was done to prevent the entrance of the Jewish Messiah through that gate as was foretold by known Old Testament prophecies. (It was indeed the human reason the gate was sealed. Comment added by DC)
However, Ezekiel prophesied the shutting of this gate itself around 600 B.C. -- that it would be shut "because the LORD (Jehovah or Yahweh), the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." Jesus entered Jerusalem through the East gate around 30 A.D. (long before it was blocked by the Ottomans) as he came down from the Mount of Olives and entered the temple according to our understanding of Luke 19:28-48. He would have entered through the original gate in the wall which was destroyed with the city by the Romans in 70 A.D.
“Ezekiel says concerning this closed gate that the "Prince" (which the Messiah is often called throughout the Old Testament and Jesus is called in the New Testament) shall enter it again. Jesus, having entered the city, said that he would not be seen again until Jerusalem acknowledges him (Matthew 23:37-39).
“The Eastern gate is presently considered by the Arabs to be their exclusive property. It is sealed up and blocked off. However, one day, the Messiah will land on the Mount of Olives, with all His saints, and walk down to and right through the Eastern Gate and into the Temple area.” (biblehistory.com)
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1Th 4:16-18) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 5, 2017 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Judges 15-17 P.M. Luke: 10:1-24
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Act 2:36)
Song for Today:
Christ is Enough for Me (3:21) – (Adult Choir) (C.M.C. Southern Pines, NC)
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