Many today want God’s mercy but they are ignorant of how to experience it. Often the cry for mercy is without truth. Their cry lacks understanding. It seems to me like many try to apply mercy in a vacuum.
What do I mean by that? I’d like to illustrate the answer by showing you a pattern I see in God’s word. Let’s start with quote from Mary the mother of Jesus. She said in Luke 1:50,
“And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.”
Did you know that mercy and the fear of the Lord are linked together throughout scripture. The Greek word for fear in this scripture means to be afraid or to be reverent. Actually you’ll find a total of nine scriptures in the New King James Version that illustrate this pattern. Eight are in the Old Testament and Luke 1:50 is the one in the new. Every one of these scriptures follows the same pattern.
The mercy of God is related to the fear of God. An in depth look at the Hebrew word translated fear in these scriptures reveals it means to be “morally reverent." It communicates a respect for God and His word. Psalm 103:17 says it this way.
“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children,”
God’s mercy is marvelous and He has a much greater capacity for it than man. Consider Jesus’ interaction with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus says let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Guess what? Jesus was without sin. He could have actually stoned her. But, instead He said
As we draw close to Easter and Passover the Church will celebrate and remember Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection. The resurrection is the central theme of our faith. There is no other religion in existence whose founder is alive. Mohammad, Buddah, etc. are all dead. Jesus is the only one who lives and overcame death, hell and the grave. Without the resurrection, the Apostle Paul says 1 Corinthians 15:14-20 (excerpts):
"And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. .... And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! .... If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
The Good News of the Gospel
This gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached and which He has entrusted to His Church is presented in word and confirmed in power. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. He was the first one to rise from the dead. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:8-10 that it is the Church's responsibility to present the gospel as Christ has abolished death and brought immortality to light.
The good news is Jesus got the victory over death, hell and the grave. He is the way the truth & the life. He is the resurrection (John 11:25-26). Why he even commanded his disciples to...
Jesus said in Revelation 1:18 "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."
We have much to be thankful for as our Lord and Savior has won the victory over death, hell and the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 says; So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:" Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Did you know that in the New Testament Jesus taught more about hell than any other writer? In fact it is an eleven to one ratio. There are a variety of terms used in the Old and New Testament to describe what happens when a man dies. However, sometimes its confusing because Bible translators were not always consistent. In other words they would sometimes use the same English word for different Greek and Hebrew words.
For example, Sheol is found in the Old Testament sixty five times. Thirty one times it is translated "the grave" and thirty one other times it is translated "hell." The other three times it was translated pit. In the New Testament Hades is translated "Hell" in the King James version eleven times and "grave" once. In the New King James "Hades" is used instead of Hell. Two other Greek words have been translated "Hell" as well which adds to the confusion.
I am sharing this because soon we will celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead. I thought it good to understand what He delivered us from. What follows is an overview of Death, the Grave, Sheol, Hades, Hell and the Lake of Fire.
I will never forget an experience I had with another minister whom I greatly respected during the presidential election in 2008. They shared with me a dream God gave them about Obama winning that election. Therefore, they voted for him. I challenged them because they made a decision based upon a subjective dream. Their decision supported one whose very values and policy positions were contrary to God's word in certain areas. They did not understand how prophesy and prophetic dreams work in relationship to God's word.
God, His word, and His principles are consistent. Just because the Lord revealed to them in a dream what was to come did not mean that was His will. At the time Mr. Obama promoted values and supported causes that violated God's word. While I can't say I was happy with the Republican ticket I will say that never had their been such a stark contrast between life and the value of the family. The McCain's adopted a child from Bangladesh and the Palin's didn't give into pressures to abort when they found out their son would be born with Down syndrome. Obama on the other hand supported groups that undermined the Biblical traditional family and supported abortion. Never had there been such a clear distinction between life and death and family as defined in God's word. Yet, a significant portion of Evangelical's chose the ticket whose policies were contrary to God's word. They were captured by emotion rather than responding based upon principled values.
The minister I spoke of defended their position passionately because they had a dream. They did not understand God's word nor how the prophetic works. I will use 1 Samuel 23 to illustrate.