John 20:19-23 – Who’s That At the Door?

 

Summary:

The apostles didn’t meet to decide what to do now that the Lord had risen, for they didn’t believe the reports (Mark 16:14)! They met to discuss if the reports were true, a type of Jews in the Tribulation. After the Bible proves the Bible was right about the Rapture, they will meet to discuss if it might be right that Christ rose as well, and was their Messiah. Unsaved Jews won’t approve of such meetings so they’ll have to be done in secret, as pictured here.

First the apostles feared the Jews, then they feared the Lord (Lu.24:33-37), another type of Tribulation Jews. Once they decide Jesus was their Messiah, they’ll fear His wrath. That was Peter’s message at Pentecost, he blamed them for the crucifixion and threatened them with the resurrection!

You’d think that after they all forsook Him and Peter denied Him that the Lord would say “Shame on you,” but instead He said “Peace be to you” (v.19). If you’re beating yourself up about failing the Lord in the past, you’re the only one beating yourself up about it!

Remember we quoted Psalm 85:4-7 to prove that Mary was a type of Israel turning to the Lord in the Tribulation? Verse 8 says that after they turn to the Lord He’ll speak “peace” to them, as Mary pictures. He couldn’t offer peace till He left them (John 14:25-27), but once He died for them and left, “righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Ps.85:10). Until the cross, righteoussness and peace were at war with each other! Of course, the Lord didn’t explain how He could offer them peace; that wasn’t revealed until Paul. But the cross is still the thing that allowed Him to offer it, and offer peace in the kingdom (Isa.32:17).

Don’t forget, the apostles were heading into the Tribulation that would have come had the dispensation of grace not interrupted prophecy. Antichrist will be saying “peace” (IThes.5:3) in order to get the kingdom (Dan.11:21). Talk about the kind of peace the world offers (John 14:27)!

The Lord showed them His wounds after He had “so said”

that business about “peace” to show us how He could offer them peace. He didn’t explain this to them, but looking back now we can see what He was doing. He also insisted they “handle” Him (Lu.24:36-39) because after Antichrist realizes he can’t offer peace without righteousness he’ll die and rise (Rev.13:1-3) and claim he died for their sins. To do that he’ll have to claim Jesus was a myth who couldn’t have died for their sins, so the Lord made sure His witnesses saw and handled Him (I John 1:1), and could testify He was a real risen man with real wounds.

His resurrection body will retain His wounds to show to Israel (Zech.12:10), not to shame them, but to lead them to be saved (13:1). He will also retain His wounds because of all the things God has done, the Cross brings Him the most glory, and that glory will never be forgotten. Will we bear our wounds in eternity? The Lord could lose His when He wanted, or the two on Emmaus road would have recognized Him. We’ll be able to also (Phil.3:21). Some commentaries say the Lord will have to point to His wounds to intercede for us (Rom.8:34), but the Father’s memory is not so short that He’ll need reminding. If anything, His wounds will make it so we never forget what He did for us.

Did they receive the Spirit then (John 20:22) or at Pentecost (Acts 2:4)? They couldn’t receive Him till He was given, and till the Lord was glorified (John 7:39), and He couldn’t be glorified like John 17:5 until He sat at the Father’s right hand in heaven. When men received the Spirit, they showed the same evidence that the 12 did at Pentecost (Acts 10:46,47).

More proof is seen when the Lord breathed on them. He breathed life into the creatures of His old creation (Gen.2:7; Ps.33:6), and didn’t begin to breathe life into the creatures of His new creation until Pentecost.

Did the Lord give them the power to remit sins? This is John’s version of the Great Commission (“so send I you,” John 20:21), so we interpret this that they had the power to remit sins when they preached remission of sins (Lu.24:47-49; Acts 2:38).

A Really Short Prophecy – 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9

 

Summary:

Paul sums up the seven-year career of the Antichrist in just two very short prophetic verses (v.8,9). This is the way God likes to reveal the future. Whenever He reveals something frightening, such as the Antichrist here, He jumps ahead to tell you that it will all end well. You or I would reveal the future step by step, “this will happen, then that,” but God never wants us to be apprehensive about the future, so chooses this method. Of course, if you are trying to figure out a timeline of prophetic events this can be confusing, but this is why we compare Scripture with Scripture!

In making this really short prophecy, Paul may have been thinking of Isaiah 11:4, where the prophet predicted that all “the wicked” would be slain. Paul, of course, is singling out the Wicked One, the Antichrist. This is a form of the doctrine of identification, Antichrist identifying with wicked people. Kind of like how Israel was the “vine” (Ps. 80:8), but Christ was “the true vine” (John 15:1), and Isaiah 49:1-5 speaks of an “Israel” that sounds like Christ. Similarly, wicked people identify themselves with Anticrist, and both will die at Armageddon (Rev.19:19-21).

Some hate God so much they will want to identify themselves with him and so will gather themselves to Armageddon (Joel 3:9-16). Others will have to be tricked into identifying with him by his miracles (Rev.16:13-16). Others won’t be fooled by his miracles, but because they are not saved they’ll be forced to identify with him in a reverse rapture (Lu.17:36,37), plucked up and taken to Armageddon.

There are lots of ways to “consume” things in the Bible (Deut.5:25; 28:42; Job 24:19), but one of these ways involves Antichrist (Dan. 7:10-26). The word “consumed” there refers to his defeat at Armageddon, but the word “destroyed” there speaks of his “everlasting destruction” in the lake of fire (IIThes.1:9). The fire of the Second Coming will expose Hell and ignite the lake of fire (Deut.32:22) where Antichrist is consumed (Rev.19:20). If you are not saved by that time, you’ll be consumed as well (Job 4:9).

Antichrist’s destruction is accomplished by “the brightness of His coming” (IIThes.2:8). The Lord’s brightness is His glory (Isa.60:19; Ezek.10:4; Rev.21:23). His glory is brighter than the noon day sun (Acts 22:6), and like a laser, it will ignite the lake of fire (IISam.22:9-13). By the way, you should know that when you sin, you identify with Antichrist, for Paul called a fornicated “that wicked” (ICor.5:13).

When Paul says that Antichrist’s coming will be “after” the working of Satan, he means according to, The parallelism in Psalm 28:4 will show the meaning of “after” in this way. His coming will be “after the working of Satan” in that he’ll do “power, and signs, and lying wonders.”

“Signs” are meant to signify something, and Antichrist’s signs are meant to signify that he’s Israel’s Christ. So he will no doubt do miracles that he knows people will look for in their Messiah, like being born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14). He can’t pull that off, but he may be born of a fallen angel (Dan.2:43) or Satan, and so a “giant” (Gen.6:1-4) of sorts. Remember, Saul was a giant (ISam.9:2) and was a type of Antichrist, who may use his height to claim to be virgin born. That might explain why he’s called “the beast.” If only two fallen angels father children in that day, and the other fathers the other beast, the false prophet (Rev.13:11), both would stand out among men, but False Prophet would identify the Beast as “Christ.” People also know Messiah will heal (Isa.35:4,5) and be associated with “peace” (Isa.55:12,13), as will Antichrist (Dan.11:21,24). Antichrist will also know that people expect their Christ to rise from the dead (Mt.12:39), so he will too (Rev.13:1-3).

When Paul says Antichrist will do “lying wonders,” that doesn’t mean the miracles he’ll work will be like the fake miracles like modern preachers perform, they will be legitimate miracles designed to get men to believe the lie that he is the Christ, and that Jesus Christ was a phony.

The Circumcision Made Without Hands

“We were wondering if you could shed a little more light on what Paul meant by the phrase, ‘the circumcision made without hands.’”

“And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:10,11).

According to the Abrahamic Covenant, the Israelites were to circumcise their male children on the eighth day. Normally the father performed this procedure, which made the little one a child of the covenant. Although circumcision did not save the child, it did give him a favorable position to enjoy the blessings of God, which included salvation. With one turn of the wheel, God often accomplishes a two-fold purpose. In addition to the religious rite of circumcision, the eighth day was significant in that the vitamin K content in the blood (clotting agent) is at its highest level during a lifetime.

The circumcision “made without hands” is an operation of God. This pertains to our spiritual circumcision in Christ. In short, the Father surgically removed our sins when Christ was cut off at the Cross. An understanding of this truth will enable us to live a deeper life in Christ knowing that our sins are forgiven.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

John 20:14-18 – Gabbing With The Gardener

 

Summary:

Mary thought the Lord was a gardener (v.14) because the Lord’s tomb was in a garden (Jo.19:41,42) and who else would be at the tomb at dawn (v.1)? But why wouldn’t she recognize the One who cast seven devils out of her? It was because the Lord had the power to change into “another form” (Mark 16:9-12), and if we’ll be able to also (Phil.3:20,21), perhaps this is how we’ll be recognizable to loved ones who only knew us at a young age, etc.

Notice Mary “turned herself back” (v.14) from the angels she was talking to. Would you turn away from an angel? You would if you sought the Lord like Mary did—and you should (Ps.73:25)! But the Jews had to seek Him to be saved (Ps.69:32; Am.5:4,6) and they will again in the Trib-ulation (Deut.4:29-31). Mary is a type of these Jews. Their faith will be rewarded (Jer.29:13; Mt.7:7; Heb.11:6), as was Mary’s, when she turned to the Lord and found Him

When Mary turned from angels to the Lord, she typified Hebrews 1:4, where the writer is basically saying the Lord was better than “the word spoken by angels” (Heb.2:2), the Law (Gal.3:19). Who doesn’t know that? The Jews in the Lord’s day, who were clinging to the Law (John 9:28) as God was trying to introduce the new words of Christ (Heb.1:1,2), just like men today are clinging to the words Christ spoke on earth to the Jews when God is trying to introduce the words of Christ through Paul to us Gentiles. Mary illustrates what Israel should have done, and what men today should do, turn to God’s newest revelation.

Notice Mary turned again to the Lord (John 20:16), as Israel will have to in the Tribulation (Ps.80:3,7,19; 85:4). God will chasten Israel to get her to turn to Him (Jer.31:18,19), prompting the Jews to pray the prayer of Lamentations 5:21,22. That’s what the apostles prayed for in Acts 1:6, the restoration of David’s kingdom.

The Lord told Mary not to touch her (John 20:17) “for” He hadn’t yet ascended into heaven. He knew she planned to do more than touch Him, she planned to hold Him as if she’d never let Him go, and He had to ascend to the Father! She’s a type of what Israel should have done, held Him after the resurrection and not let go! We see this illustrated in Song of Solomon 3:1-4, where the bride ignored the watchman (cf. “watchers,” Dan.4:17) as Mary ignored the angels, and found her husband and wouldn’t let go till she married him, a type of what Israel, Christ’s bride, should have done, held Christ till the marriage of the Lamb.

But the Lord tells Mary to tell the disciples He must ascend to the Father first. Why not tell her to tell them He’d risen? Because if they came looking for Him, He may have ascended and they’d think she was lying or deluded! But why worry about that if He didn’t plan to ascend for forty days (Acts 1:1-9)? He was talking about another ascension. Old Testament saints went to Paradise when they died (Lu.23:43) down in the heart of the earth (Mt.12: 40), but Paul was caught “up” to Paradise (IICor.12:4), so we know the Lord took those saints to heaven after He rose. That explains why He later let men touch Him (Mt.28:9).

The “brethren” He told her to go tell weren’t Mary’s kids (John 7:5), they were His spiritual brethren (Mt.12:50). This is the first time He calls them brethren. Now that He has died for them, He is “not ashamed” to call them brethren (Heb.2:10,11). That’s why the Lord could talk to them about His Father and theirs, for if you are brethren you have the same father.

But notice the Lord also talked about His God and theirs. That’s because His death inaugurated the New Covenant (Heb.8:10), and that’s why God was “not ashamed” to be called their God (Heb.11:16). And since we are involved in the New Covenant, He is not ashamed to be called our God

Notice the Lord didn’t tell Mary to tell His brethren, “Re-member how you forsook Me and fled when the going got tough? Well, I’m back, and it is time for your punishment.” He’d already forgiven them and was ready to get on with His work. Anything you can learn from that if you’ve forsaken the Lord when the going got tough? He’s already forgiven you, and just wants you to get on with His work!

A Precious Commodity

It has been said that “when Raphael died at thirty-seven years of age, they carried his marvelous painting, ‘The Transfiguration,’ only half finished, in the funeral procession as a symbol of the incompleteness of life and the brevity of time.”

Time is a precious commodity! When the Apostle Paul instructed the Ephesians to redeem the time, he wanted them to make wise use of it. They were not to squander it on worldly pursuits that would draw them away from the things of the Lord. But redeeming the time also implies taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves in life. When Paul, for example, was unjustly incarcerated at Rome, he did not view his circumstances as a setback in his ministry, but as an opportunity for the furtherance of the gospel. It gave him access to Caesar’s household that he would not have otherwise had. And as a result, many were saved.

Rather than dwell on his mitigating circumstances that would have only frustrated the grace of God, Paul instead chose to produce what is perhaps his greatest body of work—his Prison Epistles that continue to minister to the Body of Christ to this very day. This is why it is important to follow Paul’s example, that we too might be more productive in the Lord’s service. His unfaltering love and devotion to the Savior, Who saved him on the road to Damascus, was the motivating influence in his life, as it should be in ours.

As you read these lines, there will be numerous opportunities throughout the coming year to make a difference in someone’s life. But it is essential to take advantage of them as Paul did. Perhaps it’s a neighbor down the street who needs a helping hand. Reach out to them, as the Lord reached out to us; and when you do, take the gospel with you. Become a mentor to someone who is new to the faith, someone who has more questions than answers about the Word of God. Make a difference in someone’s life. Only eternity will bear out the fruits of your labor for Christ. You will be amazed when you get to Glory and someone walks up to you and says, “Thank you for the word of encouragement that day, it was a turning point in my Christian life.”

May God help us to live every day in light of the Judgment Seat of Christ, where we will all stand astounded at what could have been.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

John 20:9-13 – Seeing Is Believing

 

Summary:

What Scripture didn’t they know yet (20:9)? Psalm 16:10 speaks of Christ’s resurrection (cf.Acts 2:25-31) as does Is-aiah 26:19, which indicates God planned to become a man and die and rise. If an expectant dad dies before his baby is born, he can’t see his seed, but Isaiah 53:10 predicts God would prolong Christ’s days so He could see His spiritual seed, believers! To the victor go the “spoil,” but only if the victor is alive, and God divided the spoil with Christ (v.10).

The Lord often told them He’d rise from the dead (Mt.16: 21). Of course, every time He told them, they didn’t under-stand (Mark 9:10,31), but His enemies understood (Mt.27: 62-64). They didn’t understand He’d rise because they didn’t understand He had to die (Lu.9:44,45). Mostly be-cause they’d seen him raise the dead, etc., but also because they’d heard it taught that Christ wouldn’t die (John 12:34). Don’t believe everything the preacher says!

The empty graveclothes proved to John that the Lord rose, but the Scriptures are what he should have considered “more sure” than what he saw (IIPe.1:16-18).

If you believed the Lord rose, wouldn’t you go looking for Him? Peter and John went home (John 20:10). Of course, since the Lord’s mother now lived in John’s home (Jo.19:27), maybe he figured the Lord might go see His mother. Maybe Peter went home to search the Scriptures to see if John was right, that the Lord had risen.

But how come they both had homes to go to if the Lord said they had to sell houses to gave eternal life (Mt.19:29) and Peter claimed they’d “forsaken all” (v.27). Well, Naboth knew the Law wouldn’t let him sell his inheritance (IKings 21:1-3 cf. Num.36:7). So selling “houses” didn’t mean selling their primary homes, just investment property.

Mary arrived “early” at the tomb (John 20:1), and God said that “those that seek Me early shall find Me” (Pr.8:17), and Mary was about to prove that true! Of course, Proverbs 8:17 on the surface just means you should seek the Lord early in life (Eccl.12:1). But seeking the Lord early will help the Tribulation Jews (Lu.13:23-25). The Lord plans to help Jews seek the Lord early by giving them the Tribulation (Ps.78:34). Tribulations make people seek God (Hos.5:15). Does that make you feel differently about your tribulations?

When you see an angel on either end of the Lord’s funeral bier (John 20:12) it should make you think of the mercy seat (Ex.25:18-20). The angels looking at the mercy seat were symbolically desiring to look into the salvation of men (I Peter 1:10-12), wondering how the blood of animals could pay for the sins of men. Now I don’t mean to say that the angels on the Lord’s funeral bier now understood that Christ’s blood paid for our sins; that wasn’t made clear until Paul. But the fact that they were sitting symbolizes how we can rest in Christ’ death and resurrection. They just didn’t know what they were symbolizing!

Angels were used to guard access to God from sinners like Adam (Gen.3:24) but now they welcome a sinner like Mary Magdalene because God’s holiness had now been satisfied by Christ’s death and resurrection. They didn’t yet know why they could welcome sinners, but did as they were told.

If “why weepest thou?” sounds like a rebuke (20:13), it should. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh (Eccl.3:4), and the time to weep was when the Lord died, but now He’d risen! Did you notice she didn’t seem dis-tracted by the fact that she was talking to angels! She was seeking the Lord, and wasn’t satisfied with angels! That’s good advice today, when the Christian world seems fascin-ated by angels. Be like Mary, and seek the Lord instead! And be like her in that when they took her Lord, it upset her. Preachers today try to take your Lord and replace Him with “another Jesus” (IICor.11:4), one that will heal you, but you’ll have to go back for more healing next month. One that will make you rich, if you give the church more than you can afford. One that will leave you feeling guilty and defeated when you fall into sin, instead of thanking God for His grace and moving on, as God would have you do. Be like Mary and don’t let anyone take your Lord!