Died and Rose Again

1Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 

‘Died and rose again.’ The death of Jesus Christ is the assurance of salvation for all who will believe (Matt. 26:28; Rom. 5:6-11; 1Pet. 2:24). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the assurance of resurrection for all men (5:10; John 14:19; Rom. 5:10; 6:5-8; 1Cor. 15:4-23; 2Tim. 2:11).

‘Sleep in Jesus’ – Body-sleep, is not soul-sleep: Sleep means the death of the body (4:14-16; 5:10; Deut. 31:16; 2Sam. 7:12; 1Kin. 1:21; Job 7:21; Ps. 13:3; Dan. 12:2; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52; John 11:11-14; Acts 13:36; 1Cor. 11:30; 15:51; Jas. 2:26). These are all the passages where the word “sleep” is found in connection with the death. The word “slept” is used in Matthew 27:52 and 1Corinthians 15:20 of death, and the phrase “slept with his fathers” is used 36 times of death in the Old Testament. Not one time is it stated that the soul sleeps. The soul is immortal (1Pet. 3:4). The term “sleep in Jesus” simply refers to those who were in Christ at their death (4:14, 16).

‘Bring with him.’ Christians at death go immediately to paradise to await the resurrection of their sleeping bodies (2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 6:9-11). When Christ leaves heaven to come down in the air of the earth (4:17), the saints who are in paradise will come back with Him and be reunited with their bodies which will be resurrected in a moment (1Cor. 15:51-58).

Be Dead with Christ

Colossians 2:20-23 Wherefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. 

‘If you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world.’ If you are dead with Christ, having been freed from the elementary rules of the world and rudiments of Judaism, why then be subject to them any longer? All such things are to perish. They are mere traditions of men, not laws of God in the new covenant (2:20-23).

‘After the commandments and doctrines of men.’ To follow the commands and doctrines of men and not God, have always been the basis of most religions and also idolatry (Matt. 15:9; Mark 7:7; 1Tim. 4:1).

‘Will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body.’ This is any form of worship man chooses for himself apart from the true worship of God (Rom. 1:21-25). Some forms have a great show of refinement, humility, and asceticism, but they are powerless to deal with sin and the old man. They only feed self-righteousness and pride and do not change the heart.

Having Nourishment Ministered

Colossians 2:18-19 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he had not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increased with the increase of God. 

‘Let no man beguile you of your reward.’ Let no man take your prize. You have found Christ and been made free from sin by the gospel and the Holy Spirit. You started in the spirit so do not let any man induce you to finish in the flesh (Gal. 3:1-5).

‘Voluntary humility and worshipping angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.’ Five facts about false cults: [1] Self-imposed fastings and self-denials of many things to appear religious, that is not forbidden in Scripture – touch not, taste not and handle not (2:18, 20-23). [2] The Greek word threskeia means worshipping (2:18) and religion (Acts 26:5; Jas. 1:26-27). Here it is a cult or religion of angels and demons (2:18, 23; 1Tim. 4:1-8). [3] Religion that is based upon visions that are supposed to come from God and angels (2:18; Deut. 18:1-22; Jer. 23:1-40; Ezek. 13:1-23). [4] Religion that is based upon the superior knowledge, new discoveries, occult secrets, piety, and sensuous feelings (2:18, 8; Rom. 1:21-23; 1Tim. 6:20). [5] Religion that is not Christ-centered and true to the gospel (2:19; Eph. 4:14; 5:11-12; 2Cor. 11:14-15; Matt. 7:15)

‘Holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered.’ Not acknowledging the Head of the body (Christ) on whom every member depends for nourishment and life.

A Shadow of Things to Come

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 

‘Let no man therefore judge you …’ Five things not to judge others about: what to eat (2:16; 1Tim. 4:1-16; Rom. 14:1-23); what to drink (2:16; 1Cor. 10:31); what days to keep (2:16; Gal. 4:1-31); what new moon festivals to keep (2:16); what days to observe (2:16; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-10)

‘Meat’ – refers to clean animals (Lev. 11:1-47; Deut. 14:1-29). The new covenant has never permitted any kind of unclean meat to be used as food, the meat of unclean animals is poisonous and not for human consumption because their meat contains toxins that are not excreted from their bodies like the bodies of cows, sheep, certain bucks and chickens (some other fowls also) and fish with gulls do. Many Scriptures are quoted out of context to allow the eating of unclean toxic meats. God never intended for us to eat dogs, pigs, cats or horses, to name but a few. Some animals were made as scavengers and some for labour and transport. Before Noah’s days, clean and unclean animals were known to man (Gen. 4:4; 7:2-3).

‘Drink’ – The law was very liberal about drinks (Deut. 14:24), and yet under it, God condemned strong drink (Pro. 20:1; 31:4-7; Isa. 5:11-23). Like every other subject, we must go to the new covenant – given under the New Testament – to find out God’s will for Christians. It demands that whatever we eat or drink we are to do it to the glory of God (1Cor. 10:31). It condemns all drunkenness and commands constantly our soberness (1Cor. 15:34; 1Thess. 5:6-8; 1Tim. 3:2, 11; 2Tim. 2:26; 4:5; 1Pet. 1:13; 4:7; 5:8).

‘Holyday’ – Jews had many holy days, new moons, festivals, and sabbaths that were binding upon all men under the old covenant (Lev. 23:1-44; 1Chron. 23:1-32). None of them is commanded in the new covenant and men must heed not to fall back on family traditions and festivals that lead to idolatry (2:14-17; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-10).

‘Sabbath days’ This refers to all the sabbaths of the law of Moses, including the regular weekly sabbath. All of them are now abolished with the law, thus fulfilling prophecy (Isa. 1:13-15; Hos. 2:11). Christians are now free to keep any day they want to as a sabbath (2:14-17; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 3:9-10). All sabbaths were a shadow of the rest we now have in Jesus Christ (2:17; Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:3, 10-11; 10:1).

Complete in Him

Colossians 2:10-11 And you are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ

‘Complete in him’ –  we need nothing more when we are in Him [in unity] (John 15:1-7). The so-called doctrine of interpenetration, that is, persons entering physical into each other, is false. The Bible does speak of the Corinthians and Philippians being in Paul’s heart (2Cor. 7:3; Php. 1:7); God being in Christ (2Cor. 5:19); Christ being in God (John 14:20); God and Christ being in each other (John 14:10-11); men being in both the Father and the Son (1Jn. 2:24); men being in Christ (2Cor. 5:17); men and the Spirit being in each other (Rom. 8:9); Christ being in men (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10); man and Christ being in each other (John 14:20); all creation being in God (Acts 17:28); and satan entering into men (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). However, these passages refer to being in union with, being consecrated to the same end – one in mind, purpose, and life. They do not teach the physical entrance of one being into another. It may be best understood by a man and woman becoming one in life together, being in each other’s plans, life, etc.

‘In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.’ Literally, in Him, you have been circumcised, not by cutting the flesh, but by the circumcision of Christ in putting off the body of sins of the flesh. Christ became circumcised and fulfilled all the Law to become a true mediator between God and man. Now through Him, we are freed from all Mosaic law observance and have been redeemed through the work of Christ on the cross (2:11-17; 1:14, 20-25; 1Pet. 2:24).

Be Found in Him

Philippians 3:9 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

‘In him’ The so-called doctrine of interpenetration, that is, persons entering physical into each other, is false. The Bible does speak of the Corinthians and Philippians being in Paul’s heart (1:7; 2Cor. 7:3;); God being in Christ (2Cor. 5:19); Christ being in God (John 14:20); God and Christ being in each other (John 14:10-11); men being in both the Father and the Son (1Jn_2:24); men being in Christ (2Co_5:17); men and the Spirit being in each other (Rom. 8:9); Christ being in men (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10); man and Christ being in each other (John 14:20); all creation being in God (Acts17:28) and satan entering into men (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). However, these passages refer to being in union with, being consecrated to the same end – one in mind, purpose, and life. They do not teach the physical entrance of one being into another. It may be best understood by a man and woman becoming one in life together, being in each other’s plans, life, etc. Therefore, because we do not know any man after the flesh, not even Christ, it is vain for any man to profess a relationship with Christ according to the flesh, while he is unchanged in heart and life and dead in trespasses and sins.

‘Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law.’ Man’s righteousness is not enough (Isa. 64:6; Luke 18:9-14; Rom. 10:1-13).

‘That which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.’ God’s righteousness comes through Christ (1Cor. 1:30) and by faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 3:22-26; 4:1-25; 9:30-31; 10:1-13).

The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus

Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ

‘Count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.’ I not only count all things a total loss to win Christ, but I depend upon Him to save my soul.

Twelve great practices of Paul as an example to other Christians: To worship God in Spirit (3:3; John 4:24). To rejoice in Christ alone (3:1, 3; 4:4). To have no confidence in the flesh (3:3-8). To count all things loss (3:7-8). To count all things but dung (3:8). To have no self-righteousness (3:9). I follow after knowledge (3:8, 12). I forget the past (3:13). I reach out for future things. I press toward the prize (3:14). I strive to be an example (3:15-19). I look for the Saviour (3:20).

‘That I may win Christ’ – Twelve great desires of Paul that should be shared by all Christians: That he may win Christ (3:8). That he may be found in Him (3:9). That he may have His righteousness. That he may know Him (3:10). That he may know His power. That he may fellowship of His sufferings. That he may be conformed to His death. That he may be in the first resurrection (3:11-12). That he may be perfect (3:12-13). That he may win the prize (3:14). That he may be one with all other believers (3:15-19). That he may be changed in the body (3:21).

At the Name of Jesus

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also had highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

‘Had highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.’ Seven steps in His exaltation: God highly exalted Him (2:9; Eph. 1:21). God gave Him a name above all. At the mere mention of His name, every knee must bow (2:10). Everything in heaven must bow. Everything on earth must bow. Everything under the earth must bow. Every tongue shall confess His Lordship to the glory of God the Father (2:11).

‘That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow …’ This is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in Philippians (2:10-11) that is unfulfilled.

‘Of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.’ There are three worlds that are inhabited: Heaven (2:10; Job 1:6; 2:1; Dan. 4:35; Col. 1:15-18; Rev. 12:12; 13:6). Earth (2:10; Col. 1:16; Rev. 12:12). Underworld. [Greek: katachthonios] under the earth; subterranean; infernal world (2:10; cp. Ps. 16:10 with Mat. 12:40 and Eph. 4:8-10). This includes the angelic inhabitants in Tartarus (2Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6-7; 1Pet. 3:19); the pre-Adamites and demon inhabitants of the abyss (Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1-21; 20:3, 20:7); the giant races that have no resurrection (Gen. 2:4; Isa. 26:14); the human inhabitants of Sheol/Hades (Ps. 9:17; 16:10; 71:20; Pro. 9:18; 15:24; Isa. 14:9; Ezek. 31:14-18; 32:18-27; Luke 16:1-31; Rev. 20:11-15); and all other inhabitants of the infernal world (2:10; Rev. 5:13). This proves that hell is not the grave.

He that Loves His Wife

Ephesians 5:28-33 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourished and cherished it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. 

‘As their own bodies’ – The woman is part of the man and one flesh with him (5:28-32; Gen. 2:21-25). When one party acts selfishly, spiteful and sinful, it affects both allowing curses in the marriage, financially, physically (health) and spiritually. The same goes for acting in accordance with God’s Word and thus bringing His blessings forth.

‘For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.’ You and all in Christ-like you make the true saints or the body of Christ (2:19-22; 4:1-6, 25; 1Cor. 6:15; 12:13, 26; Col. 1:18, 24). As representatives of the kingdom of Heaven, we are to follow in His footsteps as stipulated in the gospels (1Pet. 2:21-23).

‘Joined unto’ [Greek: proskollao] glue on to; cemented to.

‘Reverence’ [Greek: phobeo] to strike with fear; to frighten. It is translated “reverence” only here; “be afraid” 29 times; and “fear” 62 times (Rev. 1:17; 2:10; etc.). She is to reverence him as her head (5:23-24; 1Cor. 11:3). This is not to be subservient so that the man can rule, abuse or misuse his wife; but to take lead in all decisions, provisions and stressful matters as well as love, nourish and protect his wife (5:29).

He that Descended… Also Ascended

Ephesians 4:8-10 …and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 

‘Gave gifts unto men’ – Psalm 68:18 reads, “Thou have received gifts for men.” The Hebrew here suggests that the gifts which He gave were received in man; that is, by virtue of His incarnation, He received these gifts to give to human beings. They are really gifts of God to people. Eight gifts of God: [1] Christ (John 3:16; 4:10); called the heavenly and unspeakable gift (2Cor. 9:15; Heb. 6:4). [2] The Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33, 38-39; 5:32; 8:20; 11:17). [3] Salvation (Rom. 5:15-18; Eph. 2:8-9). [4] Eternal life (Rom. 6:23). [5] Grace (3:7; 4:7). [6] Spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6; 1Cor. 1:7; 12:4-11, 28-31; 1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 2:4; 1Pet. 4:10). [7] Ministers (4:11). [8] All good things (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; Php. 4:17; Jas. 1:17).

‘He also descended first.’ Before He ascended to heaven, He descended to hell (Ps. 16:10; Matt. 12:40). He descended, not only from deity to humanity and from humanity to infamy and death (Php. 2:5-11), but also into the lower parts of the earth – into hell itself to conquer hell and liberate captive souls from satan (4:8-10; Ps. 16:10; 68:18; Matt. 12:40; Heb. 2:14-15).

‘Lower parts of the earth’ – Proof that hell is located in the lower parts of the earth, not on the surface of the earth as the grave (Matt. 12:40; Ps. 16:10; 63:9; Job 11:8; Deut. 32:22; Isa. 14:9; 66:22-24; Pro. 9:18; 15:24; Ezek. 31:14-18; 32:18-24). Hell, here is contrasted with the highest heaven as being the lowest and deepest part of the earth. It could not possibly refer to the grave on the surface of the earth.

‘That he might fill all things’ – That He might be the fountain of all spiritual, physical, and material gifts to human beings, dispensing them to all people liberally according to their needs and wants (Jas. 1:5-8, 17; Matt. 7:11; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; Ps. 34:9-10; 84:11).