John Bradshaw - Transformation, Transfiguration and the Triumphal Return
John Bradshaw: Thank you for joining us. This is "Line Upon Line" brought to you by It Is Written, where we get to answer your Bible questions. And I'd like to begin by reminding you where you can submit your questions. Email us, [email protected] We will be answering questions about, angels, and holy days, and weightlifting among other things. Joining me from It Is Written is Eric Flickinger. Thanks for being here.
Eric Flickinger: Good to be here, John.
John Bradshaw: All right.
Eric Flickinger: We got some good ones today.
John Bradshaw: I'll pitch the opening question to you.
Eric Flickinger: All right.
John Bradshaw: It's from Ernst and Ernst writes, I understand that after we pass away, we wait to be raised again by Christ. That's right.
Eric Flickinger: Correct. Yep.
John Bradshaw: But, here we go. How could Moses have been with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration? In other words, why in the world was Moses not waiting in the grave, but there he was in the Mount of Transfiguration? Really good question because you, Ernst, it appears have uncovered an apparent inconsistency, a seeming inconsistency. When you find a seeming inconsistency in the Bible, you don't run from it, you run to it. Meet it at head on, knowing that there is a clear and logical and cogent explanation. And I think you might have it for us, Eric.
— All right. So, first of all, you are correct, Ernst, about, the dead resting in the grave. Let's take a look at it. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17. It says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord". So, well done. He's got that part down.
— That's right. All the way through the Bible, you'll find verses that refer to death as asleep. "Behold, we shall not all sleep," Paul wrote. It's not metaphorical, it's not symbolic, it's very clear and it's consistent all the way through the Bible.
— All right. But, we have this interesting statement. And this is the one that Ernst references. It's over in Matthew 17. In fact, you'll find this same story in Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9, so several different places. This is the story of the Mount of Transfiguration. But we'll take a look at Matthew 17:1. It says, "Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves, and he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him". So...
— Well, that's interesting. So it's not just Moses, but it's Elijah.
— It's Elijah as well. Now we know that Moses died. He didn't quite make it to the promised land, he got to see the promised land, he got to gaze upon it. You know, side note here.
— If I'm going to get to choose the way I die, I'd like to go the way that Moses went.
— Pretty good all things considered.
— Moses climbed a mountain, looked in the promised land and went to sleep.
John Bradshaw: Amen.
— That's not bad. No languishing in a hospital bed, no long drawn out illness, climbed a mountain, went to sleep. Not too bad.
— It's the way to go out after the mountain climbing.
— After mountain climbing.
— Not too bad. So, Moses died. Elijah, it says, was also here. Well, Elijah didn't die.
— That's right.
— Elijah we see back in, let's see, 2 Kings. 2 Kings 2, Elijah was caught up to heaven in a fiery chariot.
— So we've got Jesus, and Moses, and Elijah. What we're seeing here on the Mount of Transfiguration is a miniature picture of the second coming of Christ. We have, Moses, who represents those who died and will rise again at Christ second coming, and we have, Elijah, representing those who are translated. But a little bit more about Moses.
— Yeah, I'm gonna read to you from the Book of Jude, that little teeny tiny Book, right before, immediately before Revelation. It says this in Jude 9, "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, did not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, 'The Lord rebuke thee.'" There was a contention about the body of Moses. It is evident that Moses was resurrected. Now, Elisha, Abraham, Joshua, they were in the grave. They're still there today. Moses, however, was not. He was resurrected and taken to heaven. That's how he was able to come down from heaven and appear with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
— I imagine, I don't know exactly what they talked about there on the Mount of Transfiguration, but I'll bet Elijah and Moses spoke some encouraging words to Jesus.
— Yeah. As a matter of fact, it says, and I think it's in the Luke account, that they spoke there about His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. A lot of things surely. But that's the one thing we're told, is that they speak about His death. I just imagine Elijah saying, "You know, you die, there'll be people like me who come to heaven without seeing death". Moses will say, "There'd be so many people like me, who as a result of your death in Jerusalem would be raised from the dead".
— They were there representing the saved, who'll be saved without seeing death and those who'll be saved after having seen death.
— Yeah, I bet they shared some encouraging words. I mean, that...
John Bradshaw: Absolutely.
— That death hadn't happened yet. You know, they didn't want Jesus to let 'em down, 'cause what would that mean for them?
— Oh, yeah. Can you imagine?
— So, some encouraging words from them to Jesus to be sure.
— All right, we've got another question here. This one from, Daniel. And Daniel asks," Is weightlifting a sin in order to build the body muscles? For example, your biceps and your triceps". Is weightlifting a sin?
— Hmm. Hmm. Daniel, let me give you a deeply theological answer. The answer is, I'll flesh out my answer now, it depends, it depends. There's nothing wrong with the activity of weightlifting anymore than there's something wrong with going running. It's good to look after yourself, it's good to be in shape, it's good to preserve your body, and if you wanna work out, lift some weights, knock yourself... Well, I don't mean, actually knock yourself out, but go at it. I think about it like this. If you were alive in Ohio in 1847, you were being raised on a farm and you were lifting weights all day long, you would've been ripped. Because you'd be out there in the fields, working hard, working manual labor, you'd be getting plenty of exercise and your biceps and triceps would've been admirable and enviable. So it's okay to do that. But now let's get to the, it depends side.
— Yeah, yeah.
— Take that for me.
— So, what's your purpose? What's your goal? If your goal in weightlifting is about, not being sedentary, being healthy, great, good stuff. If however, your goal is to win some contest, and to look better than everyone else, and to attract attention to yourself, that smacks a little bit of vanity.
— Yeah. If you're the guy who works out his biceps and then, rolls up his shirt like this, and stands by the girls like that, and is hoping to attract admiring glances, yeah, you know already you've lost the plot. You don't wanna do that. Nothing wrong with working out, it's good. Good to be in shape, look after your health, I'm glad you are interested in doing that. But remember Solomon, "Vanity, vanity". He spoke about things being vanity or futile as a matter of fact, so.
— That's right.
— It comes down to your motivation. What you're doing about it? What's driving you back here? Good stuff though, Daniel. I hope things are going well with you there. Question for you from Jay. Jay asks, "Since the people of Israel were God's chosen people until they rejected Jesus, does that mean that God loved non-Jews less than Jews until that time?
— All right. Good question. What about God's chosen people, the Jews, back in Old Testament times, why did he choose them? Was it because they were better than other people? I don't know. In fact, if anything, God chose them because they were less blessed, I guess is a good way of saying it, than other people. God didn't love one group more than another. The reason that they were chosen was to introduce God to the world, to prepare the way for Jesus to come, to paint a picture in the lives of people who didn't know God of what knowing God was like. So, they had a job, a purpose in being chosen. Not chosen just because they're special, but chosen because they were to tell the world, show the world, what a life united with God was supposed to be like. Now, when we look back on the Old Testament, we read the stories of what God's chosen people did and some of the decisions that they made, they weren't always the best decisions. And they didn't walk with God all the time. What about, did I'd love other groups of people less than them?
— No, absolutely not. God so loved the world that he gave as only begotten son. Jesus died for absolutely everybody. There's no preference. In fact, the Bible says, "God is not a respector of persons". So He had a chosen group of, in fact, you read in Deuteronomy 7, "The Lord did not set His love upon you, not choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people, but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you". Nowhere there do you read, God loved you more, God loved somebody else less. Let's not charge God with being a discriminatory God. He loves and has always loved all people equally.
— All right, here we have a question from Solomon. Do you think you're up to answering a question from Solomon? This could be a challenge.
— Be a wise question.
— Yes. So here's what Solomon asks. Solomon says, "Matthew 18:19 says, 'Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they may ask or that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.' Does this mean that we can keep any day holy"? As long as a couple of people agree, if you and I agree that Thursday is now God's holy day, as long as we're in agreement, God's gonna go along with what we agree or not.
— Well, a lot of people live by that creed I think. What if we decide that a certain form of immorality is now morality? Does that make it okay, Solomon? What if we agree now that stealing is okay, not really a bad thing, is that okay? What if we decide that, killing is wrong, unless of course, you're killing people that you don't like? No, truth doesn't come down to majority vote. God's will in the Word isn't subject to a plebiscite of any kind. We read what the Bible says and follow God out of love. And God makes clear to us what His will is. This verse given to us, Matthew wasn't that 18:19? Mm, that was not given so that God said, you can put the truth up to a vote. You can decide what my will is, what my desire is, based on consensus. He is simply saying it that, as you pray, if two or three of you pray, and you come in agreement before God, then you can be certain that God will hear and answer that prayer. I don't wanna open another can of worms here because not everything you want, you get. But let's leave that aside. The next verse really clarifies it. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them". And that's the point. You pray and pray in faith, knowing that God hears you, that God will answer your prayer, but two, or three, or four, or five, or a thousand, or a million, or a nation, or a continent, full of people deciding to change the law of God back to the holy day, no. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all of thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. We understand the seventh day is the day that comes after the sixth, and before the first. Seventh day is Saturday, that's the Sabbath day. According to the Bible, we don't get to change that because we decide that we have a different preference.
— Now, if God wrote that in stone, He said, "Remember it," so the best thing we can do is to remember it.
— Remember it, that's right, and not forget it, which seems to be rather fashionable. Great stuff. Eric, somebody wants to get a question to us, how do they do it?
— It's really easy. You just send it to us. You can send it to us at [email protected], [email protected]
— Fantastic. We're looking forward to hearing from you. If we don't know the answer, we will tell you, but first we'll try our very best to find you a Bible answer for your Bible question. He is Eric Flickinger, I am John Bradshaw. This is, "Line Upon Line" from It Is Written. Back with more in a moment.
— Welcome back to "Line Upon Line" brought to you by It Is Written. We're excited to receive your Bible questions so that we can help you find Bible answers. John, we've got another question here.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, we do. David asks, this question, " When we die, we remain dead until Jesus returns to earth, at which time all the dead will arise to the sound of angels playing trumpets". Okay. Never thought about it like that, exactly, but sure. All right, it sounds good. My question is, if everyone is dead, where do the angels come from?
— All right, great question, David. Where do the angels come from if everybody is dead? Here's a common misconception, even within Christianity, which boggles the mind. People when they die, do not become angels. People don't become angels. Now, if you...
— Not anybody?
— Not... Like if you're super special or there's an order of angels...
— Only if you are a cartoon character.
— If you are a cartoon character, then you become an angel. After the anvil falls on your head, after the piano crushes you, then you become an angel, and you get a harp, and you get to wear a diaper. But if you're not a cartoon character, then when you die, as you said, you rest in the grave until Jesus comes back. So, what about the angels? Angels are a separate order of created beings. In fact, in Hebrews 2:9, it says that, "We were made a little lower than the angels". That is we, human beings, were made a little lower than the angels. But I also wanna draw your attention to, Psalm 148. Psalm 148, I'm gonna share with you versus 1 through 5, and the last part is especially interesting. It says, "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights. Praise Him, all His angels, praise Him, all His hosts. Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you stars of light. Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created". So, angels are created beings, humans are created beings, we are a little lower than the angels. So when Jesus comes back with all the angels, the righteous dead are resurrected to the sound. How was it? The question? To the sound of angels playing trumpets.
— I like that.
— Yeah, sure.
— I might just have to borrow that sometimes.
— That's a terrific line. All right, Timothy has an interesting question, Eric. Timothy asks, "2 Peter 3:10 through 13 says, 'That we should live holy lives.' What does it mean to live holy lives? Does it mean to be without sin? How is it possible to be holy in this world"? Now, let's talk about sin. Does God want us to live in sin? Practicing known sin? Would that be a yes or would that be a no?
— That would be a, definitive no.
John Bradshaw: Right.
— God does not want us living in sin, practicing sin.
— Does God have the ability to keep you from falling into a certain sin? Yes or no?
— He would have to. He would have to. Here's my way of thinking about it. If He didn't, if the devil wanted to lead us into sin, but God couldn't keep us from sin...
— That means the devil is stronger than God is.
— I'm uncomfortable with that.
— Me too. The Bible says, "Greater is He that's in you, than he that's in the world". The Bible says in Jude 24, " Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling". 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that, "Whenever there's a temptation, God has the ability to make a wave of escape from that temptation".
Eric Flickinger: Right?
— Okay. So, God's against sin, the wages of sin is death. So we understand that. I don't think there's any question. At least there shouldn't be. Where people come unglued is when they realize, I'm far from perfect.
— Mm-hmm. I lost my temper yesterday. I kicked the dog the day before. Earlier today I was cranky with my spouse, or my parents, or my kids, or something like that. And so they say, "Well, I'm not the perfect being yet". Okay, two things. Number one, one is that, as somebody once said, "Sanctification is the work of lifetime".
Eric Flickinger: Mm-hmm.
— You are to grow in the grace of God. The parable that spoke about the seed going into the ground and the plants springing up, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. You grow. Keep your eyes on Jesus and grow, that's point number one. Number two, when you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior, you receive His righteousness. I want to read to you from one of the most profound passages in the entire Bible, and I don't say that lightly. It's Philippians 3, listen to this. I'm gonna start off in verse 8. I could start in verse 1, but for times sake will leap to verse 8. "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I've suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith". So, you come to Jesus, you receive His righteousness, you have salvation. You may be incomplete, you may be perfect, but you're looking away from yourself, you're looking to Jesus and you are growing. No matter how you relate to this world, no matter how you ever relate to sin, I'll put it that way to keep it safe, you will never be saved because of your righteousness or your good deeds, or because of the things that you've done, your faith is in Jesus. I wanna appeal to you, it's right to do right. But salvation comes from being connected to Jesus and allowing Him to work in you, back to Philippians, both to willing to do for His good pleasure. This is holy living. You're growing more and more in the grace of God. I didn't give you a free pass to go sin, do your silly thing. No, no, no, you're looking to Jesus and you're growing. You don't wanna do that 'cause you love God. So, understand this holiness thing. It says in the Bible, "Be holy for, I am holy". No question. But any holiness, any goodness, any righteousness that you receive or you possess is that of Christ. Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. So look to Jesus. This has gotta give you hope. You can be the weakest sinner, receive Jesus' own righteousness now. You can have the worst track record, receive Jesus and He gives you His righteousness and His holiness. Ah, but I feel still drawn to this and into that. Yeah, but when you were born and you were born, we're gonna say perfect, you know, everything where it would've been, and you couldn't walk, and you couldn't feed yourself, and you couldn't talk, you grew. So keep on growing, that's what God is asking you to do.
— Yep. Paul says that very nicely. Philippians 1:6, you already spoke of Philippians. " Being kind of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ".
— Yeah. That question, how is it possible to be holy in this world? By receiving Jesus Christ into your life. That's how.
— Yeah. All right, here we go with our next question. This one from Gilbert. "Was Jesus homeless? Matthew 8:20 says,'He had no place to lay His head,' but John 1:38 and 39 says,'He took his disciples to where he was staying.'"
— Yeah, interesting thought, isn't it? Bottom line, during his ministry, Jesus was basically homeless. He was an itinerant preacher. He went where he went, and he was put up by the people who put him up, and looked after him. Now, did He have a any kind of home base? Capernaum was His hometown. He had a mother. So He might have stayed with His mother from time to time. Back here, Jesus turned and saw them following, what are you looking for? They said, "Rabbi, where do you live"? He said, this is John 1:39. "Come and see. 'They came and saw He dwelt and abode with Him.'" So He was staying somewhere at that time. He had a home base, but it appears that as He wandered, wandered, traveled for three and a half years during His ministry, He was reliant on the kindness of others.
— Yeah. And He found a lot of kindness. Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
— Good friends of His. You can expect that He stayed there from time to time. You know, if I was gonna have a house guest, if I was gonna have an Airbnb, I wouldn't mind having Jesus stay at my place. He was probably a good house guest, I'll bet he cleaned up before He left. Not a bad thing. So, essentially, yeah, you might say homeless, but, well, I bet He had some invitations.
— Yeah, it wasn't rough living, He wasn't dumpster diving and sleeping under bridges. You know, we wanna make sure we balance that up. But strictly speaking, it's not like Jesus went back to His weatherboard house with the white picket fence every day after healing people and dealing with Pharisees. Question for you, and this is from Edwin. "Will there be marriage in the new earth"?
— Well, Edwin, let's go take a look at what the Bible has to say. Matthew 22:30. In Matthew 22:30 it says, "For in the resurrection," speaking of individuals, "in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven". So apparently, there is not going to be marriage in heaven, marriage in the new earth. Now, here's where, especially a lot of young people get a little bit upset.
— They say, "If there's not gonna be marriage in heaven, not gonna be marriage in the new earth, then I sure hope Jesus doesn't come back soon because I wanna get married. I wanna experience what marriage is like". You're missing the point. You're missing the point. Think about what marriage is like today. For many people in the Western world, we'll take the United States for example. The divorce rate today is about 50%.
— It's sky high.
— Give or take 50%. But what about Christians? Yeah, still about 50%.
— Not much better than the rest of the world, if any better at all. So, marriage today isn't what God originally designed for it to be. So what about the angels in heaven? I haven't read any passages of the Bible where it says that the angels in heaven are getting divorces and so forth.
— They have an excellent relationship one with another. So if we go to heaven, some people say, "Well, if we were married here on earth, will we still be married in heaven"? Again I think you're missing the point here. You are upgrading your relationships to something even better than what marriage is, whether you've been married or not. You're getting a better deal.
— The fact that we can't understand exactly what it's gonna be like in heaven, shouldn't bother us.
Eric Flickinger: Mm.
— Because what we do know is, it's going to be better.
Eric Flickinger: Yeah.
— It's going to be better. Now, you say there's gonna be no marriage in heaven and there are some people who are just beside themselves that, "Oh, wow, I dunno if I want to go there, I dunno if I wanna be there". And then there are other people who are saying, "Hallelujah, that's a good deal". But let's be very careful. And so you spend five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 60, 70 years married to somebody. Do you think you'll get to heaven and pass them on the streets of gold and say, "Wow, man, you look familiar".
Eric Flickinger: It's like you've seen 'em somewhere before.
— Yeah. Who was that? You get introduced to somebody. Oh, hello, Rosemary, lovely to meet you. Edgar, do you not remember? You were married to me on the earth. Oh, my! No. I guess I... What was it like? Was I a decent husband? It appears to me that when you get to heaven, the relationships that you established on this earth will be special there. I cannot tell you from inside information here, but it seems commonsensical to assume, that a bond that is formed on this earth will still be special in heaven. Exactly what form that takes, I don't know. Do you think you'd get to heaven and forget your kids? You think you'd see them in heaven and you shrug your shoulders and they're no more important to you than anybody else? No. Those bonds will persist, those relationships will go on. We cannot know exactly how, won't be just like here. But they'll continue. And the people special to you here, will be special to you there. Let's say as now.
— Looking forward to it.
— All right. Whatever God has for us in heaven, better than on earth. I know my wife can't believe it. She's better than marriage to you, John? No. So by faith she accepts that. Hope you can accept it too. It has been good to having you here with us. Eric, if someone has a question just quick, where do they send it?
— [email protected], [email protected], that'll get to us and we'll get back to you.
— He is Eric Flickinger and I am John Bradshaw. We'll see you again next time for more of, "Line Upon Line" from It Is Written.