... knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of its own interpretation - 2 Pet 1:20
Throughout the ages past God has revealed Himself to be the God who raises the dead! We are living in an amazing time of history. An end-time generation is rising and coming forth. An army is rising. An army of sons raised up to deliver creation from its "bondage to corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" Romans 8:21. These are "sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" Luke 20:36b. They know God who raises the dead!
We are in the darkest of times and the most glorious of times. Fierce evil is in the earth. But the Scriptures are clear that when "darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; Yahweh will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you" Isaiah 60:2. It was the "glory of the Father" that raised Christ from the dead (Rom.6:4). This glory will be seen on us. We need the power of the resurrection! We need to know the God who raises the dead!
Psalm 22 is an amazing prophetic Psalm concerning the suffering and death of the Messiah. Many details are prophesied that were literally fulfilled and accounted for in the gospels. This includes some of Jesus' final words on the Cross (v.1), His being mocked by the Pharisees (v.7-8), His pierced hands and feet (v.16) and His clothes being divided by lot (v.18). The Psalm reveals the way the wicked encircled Him like bulls, like a lion and like dogs (v.12-13,16). Even in our day the "congregation of the wicked" is encircling the followers of Jesus. We are to learn from Jesus!
And then a wonderful phrase appears in the Psalm after the Messiah prays for deliverance; "You have answered Me" (Ps.22:21b). From this point the Psalm completely changes its tone and becomes jubilant. The Messiah declares He will be found in the midst of the assembly, among His very own brethren, declaring the name of God (v.22 & quoted in Heb.2:12). He will be worshiped by all the families of the earth (v.27). The kingdom will be known as Yahweh's and His rulership over the nations will be seen (v.28). Jesus the Messiah trusted in the God who raises the dead. God answered Him and raised Him up. Jesus knew this Psalm very well. He trusted in what was written concerning Himself (Lk.24:27). He knew God would raise Him from the dead (Lk.24:25-26) and so was able to endure the fierce evil of the death of the Cross! (Heb.12:1-2)
The apostle Paul knew what it was like to have a sentence of death placed upon his life. He writes, "We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves..." 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9a. We do not know exactly what situation Paul is referring to but many of us may have been in a situation similar where we saw no way out; a situation where, in regard to our own natural resources, we could not cope, and we were in despair as it was beyond our strength to deal with. In many nations around the globe there is a concerted effort by forces of darkness to place the sentence of death on the followers of Jesus Christ. How do we respond?
The apostle Paul then says that this sentence of death happened so "that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead" 2 Corinthians 1:9b. In fact, he later writes that this is God's plan to reveal the glory and life of Jesus in the earth, "For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" 2 Corinthians 4:11. We are to trust that even in the sentence of death, we worship the God who raises the dead.
Jesus has "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" 2 Timothy 1:10. This word abolished means unemployed, rendered inoperative, inactivated & entirely idle, annulled, terminated, rendered useless - Gk. Strong's Concordance #2673 with Thayer's Dictionary. The same word is translated destroy in Hebrews 2:14b-15 when speaking of Jesus that "through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those, who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage" Hebrews 2:14b-15. Do you believe death has been abolished, destroyed, annulled and terminated!? It is challenging for us to truly live in this reality. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, Jesus has rendered death, and the devil, inoperative, inactive, idle and of no power over our lives! Hallelujah!
Abraham believed in "God - who gives life to the dead and calls those things that do not exist as though they did" Romans 4:17. We may see ourselves in situations that have no natural hope but when we believe in the God who raises the dead we can be like Abraham who, "contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations" Romans 4:18. You may have got to the end of yourself! That is good. Now you can trust God! You may have come to a place where there is nothing left in your knowledge that you can do. That is good! Now you can trust God, who gives life to the dead and calls things that do not exist, as though they did!
In Australia currently, we face many challenges in the political, social and moral fabric of the nation. We remain on the edge, being able to go further into darkness or possibly to turn around and start coming out of the abyss. We have realised that the battle is not political, it is spiritual, as "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" Ephesians 6:12. Realise what the fight is and who the enemy is in every nation. The battle is won in the Spirit.
In our nation there have been signs of the sentence of death against us but this is so we can trust in the God who raises the dead. It is a battle in the invisible, heavenly, spiritual realm. We are called to stand and "to withstand in the evil day" Ephesians 6:13, trusting that we will be delivered as we do so. Have you stepped in to the battle for your nation or nations? It is a time to stand in the gap with the Mediator and see the nations come to Jesus as His inheritance (1 Tim.2:1-7, Ps.2:8).
Just as Jesus was delivered from death and raised again on the third day, so we too will be delivered from so great a death. The apostle Paul knew that the God who raises the dead "delivered us from so great a death and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us" 2 Corinthians 1:10-11a. God will raise us up as we seek Him, trust Him and pray.
We are in a time where God is stressing upon us the importance of prayer. Through prayer we enter a dimension of the Presence and Power of God manifesting in our lives. We are in a season of serious, committed prayer for the nation of Australia as well as a time where God has been encouraging us to personally and corporately "seek Him diligently" knowing there is a great reward of His Presence and Power when we do so (Heb.11:6). God answers prayer! "You have answered Me"! God answers with resurrection; that is, life from the dead! God answers with revival!
The apostle Paul prays for us that we would know "what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places" Ephesians 1:19-20. We are to pray this for ourselves and each other. We are to know this resurrection power, and experience it, and walk in it. We are to learn how to operate in this power. This power not only raised Him from the dead but also seated Him in the position of all authority! This power is "toward us who believe". This gospel is good news of resurrection life causing us to "reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" Romans 5:17.
Abraham believed in the God who gives life to the dead, calling those things which are not as though they are (Rom.4:17). When we see death around us, God wants to open our eyes to see resurrection! "The hand of Yahweh came upon me [Ezekiel] and brought me out in the Spirit of Yahweh, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones" Ezekiel 37:1. God brought Ezekiel out to see the spiritual death of God's people around him. He then asked the question, "Son of man, can these bones live?" v.3. What a question!
Many these days are seeing what is happening in the world around them and fear is gripping them. "They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'" Ezekiel 37:11. God said to Ezekiel, "Prophesy to these bones...Prophesy to the breath..." v.4a, 9a. It is time to prophesy. It is time to call that which does not exist as though it did! It is time to speak the Word of God into the dead places, the situations of the hopeless, and especially to the Body of Christ that has lost the true hope of the gospel! "Therefore prophesy... 'Thus says the Lord Yahweh: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel...I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live" Ezek 37:12,14a. It is time to "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light" Ephesians 5:14. Prophesy to the bones. Prophesy life from the dead!
There are real and serious threats facing the Body of Christ all over the world. There are strong anti-Christ forces in the Western nations trying to silence the Word of God by calling it "hate speech" and "discrimination". Our schooling systems are trying to force sexually perverted teaching on our young children. In other nations, governments are cracking down on Christian activity, legislating anti-conversion laws and banishing Christian missionaries.
It is in this context that we must know the God who raises the dead! Due to the victory of Jesus the Messiah over death, there is always hope; there is always assurance; there is always peace, life, joy, light and a future for us! We are to prophesy! "Because He lives, we will live also" John 14:20. The "gates of Hades [the realm of the grave] shall not prevail" against the church that Jesus is building (Matt.16:18).
There is hope for our nations. There is hope for the Body of Christ. There is hope for your family. We have been "born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" 1 Peter 1:3. Death has been destroyed and abolished. We have been "ransomed from the power of the grave...redeemed from death" Hosea 13:14a. God has no pity for death but has plagued and destroyed Death and the Grave (Hos.13:14b). We need to understand this victory and stand in this victory to face the evil of our day!
Throughout history, God's people have been in situations like ours. In the days of Esther and Mordecai, God's people faced the sentence of death. Complete annihilation was decreed from the government of the day, "letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate the Jews, both young and old, little children and women" Esther 3:13. Suddenly, Esther found herself carrying the responsibility of her generation, as she was the only one who could access the King and stand in the gap. She called a three-day total fast, "fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night and day...I will go to the King, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!" Esther 4:16.
She came to the place where she "did not love her life, even to the death" Revelation 12:11. And so it is written, "Now it happened on the third day that Esther...stood in the inner court of the King's palace" and "she found favour in his sight...then Esther went near and touched the top of the sceptre" Esther 5:1-2. Esther was willing to die for God's people. For three days she carried that death in her heart. But on the third day God brought life from the dead. The answer came and in a short time, God's people were delivered from so great a death and Mordecai raised to a place of prominence in the kingdom! He is the God of the third day. Hang in there! After three days there will be resurrection!!
God had spoken to Abraham that "in Isaac your seed shall be called" Genesis 21:12. Then God told Abraham to "offer him as a burnt offering" Genesis 22:2. For three days Abraham then travelled with Isaac and some servants to the mountains of Moriah to sacrifice his only son, the heir of the promises. Abraham received the sentence of death on the promise that God had given him. But "Then on the third day... Abraham said to his young men, 'Stay here...the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you" Genesis 22:4-5.
When Abraham went to sacrifice his son, the Angel of Yahweh stopped him and Abraham figuratively received Isaac back from the dead (Heb.11:17-19). Sometimes we are called to lay even God-given promises and dreams on the altar of sacrifice. The Seed needs to die if it is to bear fruit (Jn.12:24). Hang in there! On the third day God is able to raise it up in His own way so that the glory will go to God!
Hezekiah received the sentence of death when after falling ill Isaiah the prophet told him, "Thus says Yahweh, 'Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live'" 2 Kings 20:1. Hezekiah's response was to pray, "Remember now, O Yahweh, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and done what was good in Your sight.' And Hezekiah wept bitterly" v.2. God heard Hezekiah's prayer and his tears and changed His mind, saying, "surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of Yahweh. And I will add to your days fifteen years" v.5-6.
When faced with death, Hezekiah cried out to God and on the third day God brought life from the dead. He brought healing, hope and future. Hang in there! You may have received a death sentence, but on the third day you will meet the God who raises the dead!
In the days of Hosea, God's people were rebellious. God said He would tear them to pieces like a lion (Hos.5:14). He did this so that "they would seek Him earnestly" and "acknowledge their offense" v.15. The prophetic call to the nation then became "Come and let us return to Yahweh; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight" Hosea 6:1-2.
Maybe we can see that our nations have been rebellious, but there is hope. Revival will come, even after two days. The purpose of revival though is to bring us to the third day, where He will raise us up to "live in His sight", in a completely transformed life, living now in the power of the resurrection, "to walk in newness of life" Romans 6:4b. Let us seek Him earnestly, acknowledge our sins and faults and "pursue the knowledge of Yahweh" so that He will come to us "like the rain" Hosea 6:3. Hang in there for the third day!
Jonah was a prophet given a command from Yahweh to speak to the Assyrian city of Nineveh. He was rebellious to the command and the result was that "Yahweh had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights" Jonah 1:17. There is hope even for the rebellious! Even while being judged by God, in the belly of the fish, "then Jonah prayed to Yahweh his God from the fish's belly" Jonah 2:1. So from a place of disobedience and receiving the sentence of death Jonah was able to cry "Yet you have brought up my life from the pit...Salvation is of Yahweh. So Yahweh spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land" Jonah 2:7b,9b,10.
Maybe you have found yourself in a bad place due to your disobedience to God. There is still hope! After the third day there is resurrection and you can be brought right back into the plans and purposes God has for you. Jonah was placed right back in the will of God and became obedient. God is the God of the third day, and He brings life from the dead!
Saul was a persecutor of Christians, threatening murder towards the disciples of the Lord (Acts 9:1). He was looking to imprison and bind those following Jesus (v.2). Then "suddenly a light shone around him from heaven" and he came into contact with Jesus, meeting Him as the Lord, as God (v.4-5). That encounter blinded him physically and "he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank" v.9. Three days for Jesus' death to work in Saul. Three days of repentance for a life lived in dead works. Three days to humble himself with fasting and wait for God to raise him up.
Then on the third day a disciple Ananias came and "laying his hands on him...immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized" v.17-18. There is hope for the arrogant, religious and wicked. Maybe you know ones like this. They can encounter the One who rose from the dead and be raised up also. God is the God who raises the dead.
At the Passover feast in Jerusalem, Jesus drove out money changers and those selling sacrificial animals, saying, "Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise" John 2:16. The Jews were shocked and asked for a sign showing that He had such authority. Jesus answered clearly, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" John 2:19. The apostle John then says, "But He was speaking of the temple of His body" v.21. After three days a whole new temple was raised! A new creation Man brought forth (Eph.2:15)! The Body of Christ, which is Jesus and all those who are in Him (1 Cor.12:12-13), was raised up as the new and living Temple of the Holy Spirit, the very house of the Father in the earth (2Cor.6:16, Jn.14:2,23).
Jesus died and for three days all looked lost, hopeless and defeated. But it was the will and purpose of God that on the third day He would rise in victory, conquering death, sin, the devil and bringing forth a new temple, "a holy temple in the Lord...a dwelling place for God in the Spirit" Ephesians 2:21-22. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" 1 Cor.15:3-4. Jesus justified us through His resurrection (Rom.4:25).What looks like defeat to the world was the victory in God. God rose Jesus from the dead on the third day and now a mighty Body is being raised in the earth to release this resurrection life and power throughout the world, causing many sons to walk in the glory! (Heb.2:10)
A mighty army is coming forth in the nations, the likes of which has never been seen before. Righteous, Holy, Fierce, Loving, Burning and zealous like Phinehas to make right what has been holding God's people back from walking in the blessing (Num.25:11-13).
It is time to march through the land, prophesying and calling what does not exist as though it did, calling forth life from the dead. It is an army of sons, prophesying resurrection life into every corner of the earth. It is an end-time generation framing this age by the word of the Lord in their mouths (Heb.11:3). We are to speak of the God who raises the dead!