“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die Do you believe this?”
The death of Lazarus caused a goodly amount of grief and pain to his sisters, Mary and Martha and general confusion to the disciples. The sisters were not given to understand why Jesus had not come to their brother while he was alive and healed him as He had done to so many others in the area. The disciples did not understand His words, confusing His meaning, and, rendering their advice based upon this lack of understanding, they counseled Jesus unto a different course of action. They were afraid of the noise in the countryside whereas the Jewish rulers and the people had become exited and, having their passions aroused, they sought to kill Jesus according to the prescribed method of the Law. “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father for which of those works do you seek to stone Me? The Jews answered Him saying, For a good work we stone You not, but for blasphemy because You, being a man, make Yourself God” (John 10:32). For this Jesus resorted to the place beyond the Jordan River, into the place where John first baptized and there He abode.
The place where Jesus abode in ’the house of ford’ or ’passing over’ ( Beth-abara) was the place where God had established John to baptize as a sign of the coming of Messiah. The place where Lazarus lived, ’the house of misery’ (Bethany) was about twenty or so miles from Beth-abara and about a mile and a half from Jerusalem. The news of Lazarus’ health reached Jesus (not as if He did not know of that which He had ordained but the noise of the event was sounded out and He heard the report) and, rather than dashing to his side and healing him of this malady, He waited two days before announcing that the time had come to go to Lazarus. This delay was also not understood by the disciples yet it was an essential element of the revelation to be given. The Lord knew that this sickness was unto the death of the body and the fact that they were about a two day journey away meant that when they arrived at the site, Lazarus was dead and buried four days.
Jesus told the disciples that the sickness was not unto death “but for the glory of God that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” . He also told them that Lazarus slept, knowing that the function of the body had ceased but His reference was not physical. The disciples thought it well that the sick one should sleep, thinking this a good thing for someone who is ill but they were more concerned with the anger of the Jews and what might happen in Judea. And so, before addressing the sign of the glory of God, Jesus rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith in God. The prophet had seen the salvation of Yehovah, “a light to lighten the nations and the glory of Your people Israel” but those who walked with Him could not see His Light as He stood before them.
“If any man walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of the world but if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him”
The world is full of darkness and men love the darkness because their deeds are evil. Is this only applicable to the “unbelievers” and they who have not yet come to the knowledge of the truth? No! This is an all-inclusive proclamation concerning the status of the natural man who cannot receive the things of the Spirit. Jesus did not say that the one who stumbles does not see the light He said that he did not have the light in him. He also said that the one who does not stumble sees the obstacles and uneven terrain which causes the stumbling because the light illuminates the true nature of the world.
The natural man, being of the earth, sensual, limited and corrupt is incapable of seeing the maladies, frailties, bondage and worthlessness of this world. He is of the world and, being kin to the dust, he is a cunning man of the field who finds the labours he has been assigned agreeable and the provisions of the land sufficient. It is not inherent to Adam to seek out the light or to come to it should there be any evidence of its presence. No man is seeking after the city of God (Jer. 30:17) none seek after God (Rms. 3:11) and there is no divine spark in the nature of man to seek after righteousness. Rather man loves darkness because his deeds are dark and, being deceived by the pride of his heart and the lack of any comparative points of reference, he esteems himself more highly than he ought.
Those who have the Light in them, see the corruption of this world in themselves. They know the status of the natural body of death and understand the inabilities of man therefore they have no confidence in the flesh. As the Light shines forth in their hearts, they see the unprofitableness of the works of the flesh in its constant quest towards acceptance by God they see the futility of constantly striving to make the aprons of fig leaves and organize the works of righteousness which Adam performs. This daily revelation by the teacher of the inner man, causes the creature within to look for a “more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is not of this building” (Heb. 9:11) .
Jesus was not afraid of what the Jews might be planning for they devised “mischief upon his bed, setting himself in the way that is not good for he does not hate evil” imagining evil against Messiah and mischievous devices which they are not able to perform (Ps.36:4 & 21:11) . He knew what things had been assigned unto these people who sought Him but their anger and sin had not yet been full. His determinate counsel and foreknowledge would empower these people at the appointed hour yet His time was not yet come for He had not finished the testimony of the glory of God and His power. Therefore, walking in the light of the truth having complete sovereignty over every thought, word and deed, He rebuked the disciples for their fear of what the flesh could possibly do unto them. He reveals that faith is not a natural element of the composition of man to be drawn and wielded at the discretion of the individual and though the truth be shown unto him, yet will Adam never come to the knowledge of the truth or walk in the light of Yehovah.
“These things He said and after that He said unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps but I go that I may wake him out of sleep”
Once again the disciples did not understand the words which Jesus spoke. They supposed that this sleeping was so that his body could recuperate from the sickness thus their gave a word of caution to the Lord that His actions may indeed be detrimental to the well being of Lazarus. Jesus thus used plain speech and said that Lazarus was dead yet He had not misspoke Himself when He said that he slept nor had He misrepresented the fact that He was going to wake Lazarus out of his sleep by resurrecting him from the dead. He even said that He was glad for the sake of the disciples that He was not present during this sickness and indicated that this death was purposed, “to the intent that you may believe” (11:15)
What was it that they should believe? The works which Jesus did gave testimony that He was indeed sent from God. His knowledge of the scriptures and His doctrine was astonishing to the learned men of Israel. His rebuke of the elders, scribes and Pharisees was impressive for never a man ever spake as He did with authority and power. The disciples had witnessed His power over the wind and waves as He spoke and all became calm. They saw Him feed the thousands and wondered as they collected the left-overs and witnessed Him walk upon the waters. They were present when He cast out the devils, healed the sick, give sight to the blind and made the lame walk they had even witnessed the young man at Nain being raised from the dead yet they did not believe.
Every son of Adam, as exemplified in the type history nation of Israel, is devoid of faith which is of God, therefore they cannot believe. The heavens declare the glory of Yehovah but the eyes of man cannot see and the testimony which God has given as the ministration of condemnation and death, man has taken for his comfort and justification, saying, “All these have I kept from my youth up” (Luke 18:21) . The extent and magnitude of the signs and wonders will never convert the natural man for these are for signs and wonders in Israel (Is. 8:18) not in Babylon.
This is the deception that God has sent into the hearts of man that he should believe a lie. Adam thinks himself acceptable before God while being led astray through the pride of his heart. Only the teaching of the Spirit unto the child of grace can give the true understanding of the nature of man and his gross inabilities before God as the light reveals the uncleanness of his ways and the futility of his endeavours.
The disciples were not alone in this lack of spiritual understanding for, when Jesus arrives at the house, Martha rebukes Him for not being there before the death ; “Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died” . She had no comprehension of the power of the fullness of the Godhead even though it was unto her sister, Mary, that the Lord had revealed Himself. This sinner stood behind the Master, who sat at meat in the house of a Pharisee, Simon, washing His feet with her tears, wiping them dry with her hair and anointing then with ointment (Luke 7:38) . He manifested to her that her sins were forgiven not because of what she had done but because of what He had done for her. This finished work was about to be exhibited shortly in His death and resurrection ; “and He said to the woman, Your faith has delivered you, go in peace” (50) . Yet even Mary joined in the rebuke of the Lord as she fell down at His feet upon His arrival and the gathered assembly cast many aspersions against Him saying, “Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind have caused that even this man should not die?”
“Jesus said unto her, Your brother shall live again” (John 11:23)
Martha was confident that Yehovah God heard this servant and that whatsoever He would ask of the Father would be granted. She did not ask for her brother to be raised from the dead nor did she ask for the lesson that was about to be presented yet the Father, knowing and ordaining all things necessary according to the good pleasure of His will, had assembled a company of witnesses to observe the power of God unto deliverance. He had afore prepared each member of this ensemble with a certain level of expertise in life, education, social etiquette and cultural experiences so that the testimony which they should give of what they saw would be complete and sufficient, not to persuade man and make converts, but to the irrefutable praise of God for what he did.
It was ordained essential to the purpose and will of God that Lazarus be dead and buried four days. In type, the fourth child of Jacob was Judah, whose name means ’praise’ and ’empty hands’ . Lazarus had no power or will in the matter that was about to be displayed and his hands were not only empty but they were rotted after the natural course of decomposition. There is nothing recorded about this man that warranted this action by Messiah but there was the testimony that the Lord loved him. This was much more than the love of acquaintance or of the comradery of the world for this was the love of family. Lazarus was a child of the king, born of the Spirit, for whom the precious blood of the Lamb was shed before the founding of the world. He was also ordained of God to be the subject of an open demonstration of the power of the resurrection, which is according to the Spirit of Holiness but nothing in Adam gave him any right, portion or memorial before Yehovah God that He should show forth His grace in this manner. This indeed is praise unto our God.
Another reason why four days is essential is because of the sign of proof of Messiah as the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah. Certain of the scribes and Pharisees came unto Jesus desiring a sign and He rebuked them as an evil and adulterous generation, seeking after a sign. The testimony of these men was not unto their station in life, their academic achievements or their social class it was another declaration to the nature of man. God has filled the hearts of the sons of the dust with an insatiable desire to know the things of this world so that no man may find out the works which He has done from the beginning (Ecc. 3:11) . Therefore man lives and believes by that which he can see and try through his senses, as God has properly equipped him with, that he might not seek the truth nor follow after righteousness thus the natural course of man is to seek after a sign that he might believe.
Jesus announces that the only sign to be given is the sign of Jonas ; “for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39) . Had Lazarus been raised in three days then the delusion of the hearts of men would have venerated him and sought after him as Messiah. Had Lazarus been only two days in the tomb, though the effects of decomposition would have been well under way, yet would he have not given off the aroma of death ; “Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said unto Him, Lord, by this time he stinks, for he has been four days”
Thus in the midst of an host of witnesses to past events of both miracles and teachings and the plain language of the Lord Himself, no one understood, no one believed and NO MAN was converted, accepted Jesus or followed after Him.
“Martha said unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”
The teaching of the elders and traditions of Israel was that there was to be a resurrection of all men when time had finished its appointed course. The prophets wrote of the last days when Yehovah would bring down the enemies of Israel and deliver His people from their captures as He had “ordained peace for us for You also have wrought all our works in us” . The promise of those last days and in that time was that the dead of Israel shall live together with My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust, for your dew is as the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Is. 26:12-19) . From this and other such declarations of this promise, the conclusion was that there would be a general resurrection but Jesus answered Martha in quite a different manner.
He did not correct Martha by saying, ’no I mean your brother will be raised up in a few moments’ nor did He speak of any future events at all. Instead the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah, invoking the name of Yehovah, said, “I am the resurrection and the life” . Since He is eternal so must the resurrection be eternal and not encumbered by the restrictions of time and as He is ever present so must the resurrection be thus. And since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, so is the resurrection. All His people are resurrected in the standing Lamb that was slain and seated together in Him in the eternal abode. Since each seed has been assigned a time of habitation in the dust of the earth, they sleep in the earthen vessels afore prepared for them until such a time that it pleases the Father to awaken them and reveal His presence in them and when the eyes are opened to see the truth, these look for Him who shall return unto them a second time without sin. Upon this the children have hope for this is that first or primary resurrection and upon them the second death has no power.
Jesus told Martha that whosoever believes in Him, though he were dead, yet shall he live. He was not inferring that the dead corpse of Lazarus needed to exercise faith in order to be raised nor did He say that whosoever believed when he was alive would now be made alive. The man Lazarus could no more believe in the catatonic state that he was in any more than he could when he was breathing for all men do not have faith.
Some may insist that in response to the preaching of the gospel, men come to the knowledge of the truth and therein they believe, but the Apostle proclaimed that the Word had gone forth and was heard of man, “but the word preached did not profit them not being mixed with faith in them that heard” (Heb. 4:2) . Lazarus did not need a preacher standing over him spouting forth carnal exhortations in order to bring him to the point of repentance so that he might exercise his faith and thereby be raised from the dead. He was asleep, as the Lord had told His disciples, and he needed the power of God to awaken him unto life. Herein was the eternal love of God manifested upon a passive recipient who, for a brief period of time, was separated from the body for the purpose of yet another demonstration that those assembled might see the glory of God. Lazarus, being a child of grace and having the evidence of the indwelling Spirit (faith) , believed in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah and since faith, hope and love continue, he heard the voice of the Savior and came forth from the grave.
This was an earthly testimony to the veracity and power of the vision of the Prophet as he saw bone joined unto bone by the power of the Word of God. He saw that which was dead and very dry, come together as the proper interpretation of hidden things was made manifest. He then saw the breath of God bring these people, the whole house of the Israel of our God, to life “so I prophesied as he commanded me and the breath came into them and they lived and stood up upon their feet an exceeding great army” (Ezek. 37:10) . It was the fulfillment in time of the great prince, who is like God, standing for His people “and at that time Your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some unto eternal life and some to eternal shameful contempt” (Dan. 12:1) .
The resurrection which Jesus spoke of to Martha was a preview of the power of His resurrection, wherein His children are declared to be the sons of God, and a testimony to the Word of God, “the time is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25) . Jesus then continues the revelation of this power by saying that whosoever lives and believes in Him shall never die. Since the action of believing is not of the flesh so then the life received is not of the flesh it is not an extension of the time of habitation that the Lord grants unto His people because they believe, He has come to give them eternal life in Him. Were they deficient of this eternal life before the earthly crucifixion, burial and resurrection? Not in the least, yet in the fullness of time, in the end of the world and in the last days God sent forth His Son to make an open show of His sovereign power and absolute command over everything of things in the earth, in the heavens and beneath the earth, of things visible and invisible, to shew forth that the Lord God Omnipotent reigns supreme.
Each seed has been assigned a time when being planted in the corruption of the flesh wherein it is asleep as Lazarus and for which the testimony of nature applies ; “that which you sow is not quickened except it die” (I Cor. 15:36) . During this time the Spirit is alive as He causes the child to walk in the Light of the Lord being drawn by the hand of God, “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by the arms, but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love, and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws and I laid meat unto them” (Hos. 11:3) . Herein the children ’kick against the pricks’ knowing the truth and being reserved unto the time, when it pleases the Father to open their eyes to see the reality of this habitation. These then are brought forth out of the dust of the earth, as the Bride shakes herself from the dust, and the beautiful garments are revealed. This revelation causes the abhorrence of the flesh as the inner man sees the uncleanness of their ways in Adam and his sin is made evident.
Thus the children groan within as the outward man is being destroyed by the ministering spirits of fire (Heb. 1:7) , revealing the works of the arm of the flesh (I Cor. 3:13) , earnestly awaiting the manifestation of the victory in the Anointing over the last enemy, which is death (I Cor. 15:26) . As the children grow in the grace and knowledge of His will, they see, clearer and clearer, the contradiction of sin which opposes the Holiness of God, being enmity against God. Thus they whom God foreknew being predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, are made perfect in that which they suffer (Heb. 2:10) , and, though they be heir of all yet they learn obedience, being made subject to the vanity, wherein they have hope.
Messiah is the resurrected Lamb, He is the power of the resurrection and He is the resurrection and the life. His people are living stones delivered from the power of death, the inability of man and the wrath to come and when the time of habitation is over, every man in his order, shall be delivered from the body of this death. Then shall faith be sight as they see Him as He is for they shall all be like Him.
“Behold I have graven you upon the palms of hands, your walls, continually before Me” (Is. 49:16).
The walls of Jerusalem which is from above are living stones hewn from that great Rock. They have eternal life in Him from the beginning being His eternal seed, raised up in Him before time began. They are planted in the dust of the earth, afore prepared, and are made manifest in the fullness of time to bring forth fruit. Herein they are declared to be the sons of God being awakened from their sleep in the dust of the earth as the Spirit bears witness with their Spirit that they are the sons of God. When these have completed producing the fruit that has been ordered of God through them, they are manifested as the sons of God, as the body of this death is dissolved. The Anointed Salvation of Yehovah of His people has always been and ever shall be before the throne of grace being seated together in Him in the heavens.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
April 23, 2017