Camel caravans will cover your roads, young camels from Midian and Ephah. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing praises to the Lord. (Isaiah 60:6 NET)
The vast majority of us have heard the story of the three wise men and seen a crèche or nativity scene with them at the birth of Jesus. We do not know if there were only three wise men, but that has been inferred from the three gifts. Furthermore, it was not at the time of Jesus’ birth but rather sometime later, likely two years, based on Herod’s murder of the baby boys (8). Consequently, the wise men came to the house where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived (Matthew 2:11. Luke 2:6,7) and not the Tower of the Flock (1), where Jesus was born.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, "Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1,2,10,11 NET)
Unfortunately, the wise men had mentioned the reason for their coming to King Herod, which was to find the promised Messiah based on the appearance of His star in the night sky approximately two years earlier. Satan, hearing of the birth of the one that was promised in the Garden to break his rule over planet Earth (Genesis 3:15), manipulated King Herod to order the murder of all babies born in Bethlehem two years old and younger based on the timing of the wise men (Matthew 2:16). However, an angel warned Joseph and the young family escaped to Egypt. Later they returned, and Jesus was raised (1) as a human male child in Nazareth, with Satan apparently thinking he had killed the baby that was to destroy him.
Let us look together into these three gifts brought by the wise men and what others and I believe they represented (2). Furthermore, I am going to connect these gifts to the Eucharist, communion, or Lord’s Supper to help us remember, as often as we eat the BREAD that represents Jesus’ body that was bruised for our healing and drink of the CUP that represents the New Covenant sealed in Jesus’ BLOOD that was poured out for our remission and forgiveness of sin. That is, we must remember the reason for our Lord’s birth was His death, and what that subsequently provided, is providing, and will provide for us!
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me." For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NET)
I. Myrrh (used for perfume) – Remember what Jesus has done for us in the past as the Lamb of God.
Remember, Jesus was arrested (1), falsely accused in an improper trial during the night, whipped, and beaten until His body was NOT full of bruises and wounds but rather ONE massive bruise and wound from the crown of His head to the soles of His feet. Pilate then granted permission for Jesus to be crucified at 6:00 AM on the 14th of Nisan (John 19:14-16 – the sixth hour of Roman time is used since it is from the perspective of the Roman Governor Pilate, which would be the same as the twelfth hour of the fourth watch of the night in Hebrew time).
Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”(John 19:14 ESV)
He was subsequently crucified by being nailed to a wooden cross at 9:00 AM. (Mark 15:25 – the third hour of Hebrew time). These nails represented our sin – it was our sin that affixed Jesus to the cross! These nails would leave indelible scars that, in a manner of speaking, recorded our names on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16. John 20:25-27). Simultaneously, at 9:00 AM on the 14th day of Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew year (our March/April) (Numbers 28:16) in the temple, a lamb was led up the steps to the altar and tied there and slain.
The King – Jesus – nailed to a wooden cross, looked down upon those that had crucified Him. Realize, that when Jesus slumped down, the weight of His body would be placed on the nails in His hands (i.e., wrist area), causing excruciating pain to radiate throughout the nerves of his arms. When He would push up to exhale, it would temporarily relieve the pain in His arms but cause a similar fiery torment in His legs from the nail affixing His feet. Over time His arms would become exhausted, and their muscles would start to cramp, preventing Him from lifting Himself to exhale. However, carbon dioxide would build up in His bloodstream, causing the muscle cramps to partially subside. He could then lift Himself up to exhale until the muscle cramps returned, paralyzing His arms again. This cycle repeated itself for the six hours Jesus hung on the cross. Realize, that Jesus had had no sleep for about 24 hours before this time, no liquids or food, ruthlessly interrogated, and severely beaten with His flesh shredded from the crown of His head to the soles of His feet, revealing His bones before being crucified. (Psalms 22:17) Then, pushing up to exhale and talk, Jesus says the first of seven statements from the cross. In three simple words, Jesus released the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of God, forgiveness: Father, forgive them. (Luke 23:34). Next, Jesus tells the believing thief that “today,” they would both be in Paradise together (Luke 23:43).
At 12:00 PM, darkness covers the land until 3:00 PM (Matthew 27:45,46. Mark 15:33. Luke 23:44 – sixth to the ninth hour of Hebrew time). Satan unleashes the fullness of his evil, the fullness of sin, and its consequences upon Jesus. Jesus, who has never sinned, takes the full punishment for our sin (Isaiah 53:6). He who never had before experienced sin becomes one with our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and in a manner of speaking – the lamb becomes a serpent (1) so that all who will look to His bearing away our sin will be saved (John 1:29. Numbers 21:9. John 3:14,15. 1 Peter 2:24. Hebrews 9:26-28). No wonder Jesus asked God, His Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane three times if there was some other way than entering into the covenant of death and becoming sin (Matthew 26:39,42,44). No, this was not the action of an insane person – merely the act of someone who was consumed by love for the race of man that He had created (John 3:16. Romans 5:8).
A little before 3:00 PM, on the cross, Jesus cries out with a loud voice – My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46. Mark 15:34). Jesus is actually quoting Psalms 22:1-31, but Satan does not realize this at that time 1 Corinthians 2:8. At 3:00 PM (the ninth hour of Hebrew time), Jesus commits His Spirit to God, declares loudly, “It is finished” (6) (John 19:30. Psalms 22:31) and breathes out His last breath (Matthew 27:50. Mark 15:37. Luke 23:46) thus laying down His life (John 15:13) by dying of a broken heart (Psalms 22:14). Recall, since He had never sinned, He could not be killed; however, He could voluntarily lay down His life (John 10:17,18). Later the water mixed with blood from His side that was pierced would provide evidence that His heart had ruptured (John 19:34). Fitting that our Savior who loved the world would die of a broken heart for you and me! (Luke 19:41-44. John 3:16. Romans 5:8) Simultaneously, at 3:00 PM, in the temple, the high priest sacrificed the Passover Lamb and declared to the people, “It is finished.” Little did the high priest know how true those words were, even as Caiphas did not realize how true his words were concerning the death of Jesus (John 18:14;11:49,50).
The first Adam had rebelled (1) against a Holy God in the Garden of Eden, and now the full judgment for that sin has been paid by Jesus, the “second man” and “last Adam,” at Calvary (1 Corinthians 15:45,47. Romans 8:3). Jesus stays in the heart of the Earth (1) for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:39,40), then returns in His human body early Sunday morning and first appears to Mary Magdalene. He asks her not to detain Him, for He has not yet ascended to God, His Father in Heaven – I must pause as these are some of my favorite words in scripture, and thanks to Jesus’ efforts, they can now be true once more for all that believe – and God OUR Father!
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Because she thought he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means Teacher). Jesus replied, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her. (John 20:15–18 NET)
When we partake of the bread and the wine (or grape juice) (3), remember that Jesus in the PAST came to die for our sin to set us free from our slavery to Satan (Hebrews 2:14,15). He shed His blood (1) for the remission of all of our past sins and forgiveness (1) for all of our present and future sins. His body was bruised for our healing (1 Peter 2:24. Matthew 8:16,17. Isaiah 53:4). Although Jesus broke the bread to serve it to the apostles, His body was never broken (John 19:31-37. Psalms 34:20). Certainly, His body was bruised beyond recognition but not one bone of his body was broken even as the Passover lamb, which was a type of Jesus God’s Lamb (John 1:29,36), was not to have any broken bones (Exodus 12:45-51. 1 Corinthians 5:7). Furthermore, this was true of all Old Testament sacrifices of Levitically clean animals who were required to be killed by the shedding of blood and not like unclean animals that were killed by the breaking of their bones (Exodus 13:13). Furthermore, Jesus is our one loaf (1 Corinthians 10:16,17), the genuine Bread of Life (Gr, zōḗ)(4) that came down from Heaven to give life (zōḗ) to the world! (John 6:32,33,35;6:48,51)
II. Frankincense (used for incense and perfume) – Remember what Jesus is doing for us in the present as our Great High Priest and Mediator.
For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received– that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NET)
Jesus was raised from death (1) by God the Father and the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:4;8:11;10:9. 2 Corinthians 13:4. Galatians 1:1. Colossians 2:12. Hebrews 13:20) to become our great, merciful, faithful, holy, innocent, undefiled High Priest of the good things to come and Mediator of the New Covenant. (Hebrews 2:17,18;4:14,15;7:26; 9:11,15;12:24)
Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NET)
So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NET)
Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. (Romans 8:34 NET)
(My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, (1 John 2:1 NET)
At that time you will ask in my name, and I do not say that I will ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. (John 16:26-27 NET)
At that time you will ask me nothing. I tell you the solemn truth, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive it, so that your joy may be complete. (John 16:23-24 NET)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. (John 15:16 NET)
Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. (Hebrews 8:1-2 NET)
Consequently, we are to ask (1) our Heavenly Father for things that we need, want, or desire, in Jesus’ name (John 15:16;16:23;16:26). However, realize ending our prayer with the traditional “In Jesus’ name” is more than a formula, password, or closing. It is to be a realization that our right to obtain anything from our Father is based on the completed work of the cross of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an acknowledgment that we are not asking based on our own name or works but rather in our Lord Jesus’. Remember, we are His bride (1) in the betrothal period before the wedding (1), which in ancient Hebrew custom means we already have His name. Just like when a woman marries today, they traditionally change their last name. For example, if your spouse went to the bank to withdraw money from your account in their maiden name, they would get nothing. However, if they used their married name, they could get everything. It is the same way with our Heavenly Father, for we have been given the name of Jesus! Again, the name given to us when we were born physically will get us nothing from God. However, the name was given to us after our spiritual birth – Jesus – will get us everything! (Acts 4:12. Ephesians 3:14,15. Revelation 3:12) Again, we are to ask God based on Jesus’ finished work as if He were asking the Father through us. This means we are to come boldly and not sheepishly, as a son and not a slave, as one who has been forgiven and not full of self-condemnation, and as a joint heir and not a beggar (Hebrews 4:16. John 1:12. 1 Corinthians 1:30. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Romans 8:17). Suppose you are at your Earthly father’s supper table; how would you ask something to be passed? Would it be given to you? Then how much more will our Heavenly Father give good things to those who ask! (Matthew 7:11. Psalms 91:14,15. Jeremiah 33:3. 1 Peter 3:12) Know our prayers do not take God by surprise; He knew of the need before it happened and supplied the solution by His unique Son’s death on the Cross of Calvary (Matthew 6:8). In other words, He has prepared the table in the presence of the enemy (Psalms 23:5), but it will not do us any good unless we ask Him to pass the food!
In parallel, Jesus as our great High Priest is seated at the right hand of God, His Father, and our Father, and interceding for us to ensure His victory over Satan is realized in and through us, His bride and soon-to-be His wife, the church that was purchased by His blood (Ephesians 1:20. Colossians 3:1. Romans 16:20. Revelation 5:9).
"If you love me, you will obey my commandments. Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17 NET)
In addition, God the Holy Spirit is also interceding through us to God the Father!
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. (Romans 8:26 NET)
That is, God the Holy Spirit is helping us ask God the Father in God the Son our Lord Jesus’ Name, who is interceding for us, for what we need, want, and desire! Now that is something to REMEMBER!
When we partake of the bread, and the wine (or grape juice) (3), remember that Jesus is our eternally PRESENT High Priest and mediator that ever lives to intercede for us (1 Timothy 2:5,6). He has not simply saved us and then abandoned us to suffer through the rotten here and now until His return. If He was only the CEO of the universe, we might expect that type of treatment; however, He is God our Abba (i.e., Daddy) Father (Romans 8:15. Galatians 4:6. Romans 8:31-39. Matthew 10:29-31).
III. Gold – Remember what Jesus will do for us in the future as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Jesus, King of Kings, will return to and for us! The King is Coming!!!
The First Return of Jesus the Messiah
The first time will be to rapture or “take away” (1) the Church, thus rescuing it from the pouring out of God’s wrath immediately before the “Day of the Lord.” (13) During this return, Jesus will come with all the Christians that have died, from Adam to the time of His coming, and will not set foot on Earth but instead descend only into the lower atmosphere (3). Realize, to those who are lost (i.e., have not accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord), this return will be as a thief in the night.
Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape.(1 Thessalonians 5:1–3 NET)
Jesus’ first return will be like a thief in the night to those who are not saved. However, to those saved, Jesus’ first return will NOT be as a thief in the night.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:4–6 NET)
Christians can and should recognize the signs that His return is drawing near; however, the exact timing of this first return of Jesus is only known by God the Father.
“But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven—except the Father alone. For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man.Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left.There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:36–44 NET)
“But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father. Watch out! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey. He left his house and put his slaves in charge, assigning to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to stay alert. Stay alert, then, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return—whether during evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or at dawn—or else he might find you asleep when he returns suddenly. What I say to you I say to everyone: Stay alert!” (Mark 13:32-37 NET)
During this first return, He will:
1. Resurrect and transform the decayed bodies of those who have already died into perfect, glorified bodies. Then, reunite these glorified bodies with the spirits of the saints that have come with Him from Heaven. Saints are those who have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son, including:
- all that died in the Lord from the time of the first Adam and went to Paradise in Hades (1) (after the resurrection, Jesus moved Paradise (1) and its occupants to Heaven), and
- all that have died in the Lord after the resurrection of Jesus and went to Paradise in Heaven.
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51–52 NET)
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16 NET)
2. Transform the bodies (i.e., pass them through death to glorification, thus complying with Hebrews 9:27) of the Christians alive on Earth at His appearing.
And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrews 9:27–28 NET)
For those who are alive and have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17–18 NET)
But our citizenship is in heaven—and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20–21 NET)
The Earthly bodies that believers now have cannot enter into Heaven. Those that are in Heaven now only have spiritual bodies:
Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50 NET)
So changes are necessary. These changes will occur at the Rapture when “corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality.” (2)
3. Draw both groups that now have glorified bodies to Himself and transport them (us) to Heaven.
Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure). (1 John 3:2–3 NET)
4. We Christians will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where our works will be judged.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NET)
If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw,each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12–15 NET)
This is a judgment for what we have done (i.e., our works, including our motive for doing them) for the determination of any reward and NOT a judgment of whether we can be with the Lord forever (the latter has already been decided based on our belief or faith in Jesus’ completed work on the cross (1)).
because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9–13 NET)
Three main scriptural passages deal with questions the early Church had about the Rapture:
THE FIRST MAIN PASSAGE
Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians.For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13–15 NET)
The first passage asks: “Do believers who die miss out on the benefits of the Rapture?” Paul had taught them some truths about the Rapture. However, he did not have time to teach God’s whole counsel because of the persecution in Thessalonica. Paul had to leave the city and the church to take care of himself, leaving many of their questions unanswered. (2)
One of the questions that remained unanswered concerned believers who had passed away. They already knew that when the Lord returned, they would be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. What they did not know was about those believers who had already died. In these verses, Paul comforts the bereaved members with the truth: dead believers will not miss out on the benefits of the Rapture. In fact, they are going to receive these benefits first. (2)
Paul spells out the process of the Rapture in seven specific steps:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet [shofar] of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 NET)
- For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven… At some point in the future, the Lord will come out of the Heaven of heavens and descend into the atmospheric heavens. That is, He will come out of the third heaven, pass through the second heaven, and come into the first heaven—into the air, into the atmosphere. (2)
- …with a shout of command,… The Greek word translated shout is a word used about a military leader’s command. The shout is a command for the resurrection of dead believers and the translation of living believers to occur. Paul put the whole sequence of events very much in specific military terms. The Messiah will shout the shout of a military commander ordering the Rapture to begin. (2)
- …with the voice of the archangel… Angels (1) are often used to put God’s plan into motion. In this case, it will not be just any angel, but Michael the Archangel. The word archangel means “chief angel,” and there is only one archangel: Michael. He is the one in authority over the other angels. Michael the Archangel will be used in conjunction with the Rapture. Again, it states: with the voice of the archangel. If one follows the military pattern that Paul used, after the chief commander gives the shout of command, that command is repeated by the sub-commander. So after Jesus, the Chief Commander, issues the shout, Michael, the sub-commander, will repeat the order. Jesus will give the shout or command for the program of the Rapture to begin, and it will be Michael’s task to set it in motion so he will repeat the command of the Messiah. (2)
- …and with the trump of God… A trumpet of some kind is going to be involved in the program of the Rapture. As pointed out earlier, the sound of a trumpet was used as a summons to battle, worship, or come together. With Michael’s repetition of the Lord’s command, the trumpet sounds. Again, this follows the regular military procedure: first, the chief commander gives a shout; next, the sub-commander repeats the command of the chief commander; and then the trumpeter sounds the specific note so that the soldiers will know exactly what the command is. Hence, the trumpet sound will trigger the Rapture itself. This trumpet will serve as a summons for the Rapture to move into action. (2)
- …the dead in Christ will rise first. This is the Resurrection of dead believers, which is why they will not miss out on the benefits of the Rapture; they will actually begin to enjoy the benefits of the Rapture first. (2)
- Then we who are alive, are left, then will be suddenly caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. This step in the Rapture program concerns the living believers: The resurrection of the dead saints is followed by the translation of the living saints. Every believer, without exception, will be removed from the earth and reunited with the Lord in the heavens. The living believers will be caught up or “raptured” with the dead ones to meet the Lord in the air. (2)
- And so we shall always be with the Lord. The final step is to guarantee that once we have been united with the Lord in the air, we will permanently remain with the Messiah and return to Heaven. (2)
Paul admonishes his readers:
Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18 NET)
THE SECOND MAIN PASSAGE
The second passage deals with the details of the Rapture and also mentions the role that the shofar will play. It declares the necessity of a change in the nature of the body of the raptured living and dead believers. (2)
Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50 NET)
The background to this statement is found in this verse:
but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17 NET)
And these verses:
But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground thanks to you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17–19 NET)
Because of sin, man has become subject to corruption and mortality. Our bodies are mortal bodies, subject to death. Our bodies are subject to corruption, sickness, and illness. Upon death, these bodies are destined to become dust because this kind of body cannot enter Heaven itself. (2)
All men are guilty by the accusation of participating in Adam’s sin according to these verses:
So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed. (Romans 5:12–14 NET)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23 NET)
According to this passage, mankind is living under the sentence of death in that his physical body is subject to corruption and mortality. The sin nature is in it, and the results of sin are evident in the death of the body. This kind of body, subject to sin, mortality, corruption, and death, cannot enter Heaven. Therefore, a change will be necessary, either by means of resurrection or by means of translation, before the bodies can enter Heaven.
The change itself is described in these verses:
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [shofar]. For the trumpet [shofar] will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53 HCSB)
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a moment, in the blinking [see NET Note 31 below] of an eye, at the last trumpet [shofar]. For the trumpet [shofar] will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53 NET)
NET Note 31 tn The Greek word ῥιπή (rhipē) refers to a very rapid movement (BDAG 906 s.v.). This has traditionally been translated as “twinkling,” which implies an exceedingly fast—almost instantaneous—movement of the eyes, but this could be confusing to the modern reader since twinkling in modern English often suggests a faint, flashing light. In conjunction with the genitive ὀφθαλμοῦ (ophthalmou, “of an eye”), “blinking” is the best English equivalent (see, e.g., L&N 16.5), although it does not convey the exact speed implicit in the Greek term. (8)
The emphasis is on the quickness and rapidity of that change. It will be done …in a moment… The Greek term translated moment is the word from which the English word “atom” comes. It is going to be in the “atom” of time. Furthermore, it will also be as fast as …the twinkling of an eye… (2)
This is not the blinking of an eye but a reference to a sudden flash of recognition. It is like seeing a person one knows but does not immediately recognize. Then, suddenly, that sudden flash of recognition is what the twinkling of an eye means. This, too, emphasizes the quickness of that change. (2)
1 Corinthians 15:52 also points out that this event will happen …at the last trumpet; at the time of the blowing of the trumpet: the trumpet shall sound. The trump here is the same as the trumpet of the 1 Thessalonians passage. That trumpet begins the process of the Rapture itself; it begins the process of both the resurrection of believers who have died and the translation of living believers. (2)
THE THIRD MAIN PASSAGE
While this new body for believers is not the subject of many revelations, a few things are revealed. The largest single passage about the resurrection precedes the discussion on the Rapture and the role of the trumpet in the Rapture:
But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” Fool! What you sow will not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed—perhaps of wheat or something else. But God gives it a body just as he planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same: People have one flesh, animals have another, birds and fish another.And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory. It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:35–49 NET)
Paul quoted Isaiah and Hosea when he wrote these words of assurance:
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” [Isaiah 25:8] “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” [Hosea 13:14] The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:53–58 NET)
From this one passage, six things can be learned about the nature of the resurrection body:
- It is going to be a body that is incorruptible in verse 42: It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It will no longer be subject to corruption.
- It is going to be a glorified body in verse 43a: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. This same point is made by: who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:21 NET)
- It is going to be a body of resurrection power in verse 43b: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is going to have power that our bodies do not have at the present time.
- It is not going to be a blood-sustained body, but a spirit-sustained body, it is going to be a spiritual body in verses 44–46: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also, it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. (cf. Luke 24:39, where Jesus’ resurrected body was flesh and bone with no mention of blood)
- It is going to be a heavenly body in verses 47–49: The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven, and
- It is going to be an immortal body in verse 53: For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. The resurrection body will no longer be subject to mortality or corruption. That is why this type of body can enter Heaven itself.
The Resurrection Body of Jesus
As far as direct statements of Scripture, this is all that God has chosen to reveal about the nature of the resurrection body. Another possible source of information can be used to discover the nature of the resurrection body: the resurrected body of the Messiah. However, this must be done with caution. One cannot always be sure that everything true about the resurrected body of Yeshua (Jesus) will necessarily be true of the believer’s body. Nor is it not always easy to determine if something true of the body of the Messiah was true because of His Resurrection or because of His deity. Yeshua was not only resurrected, but He is also God, and perhaps some things are true because He is God and not because He had a resurrected body. Certain things that were true of His resurrected body will not be true of ours. For example, after His Resurrection, Jesus still had wounds on His hands and side. Yet the believer’s resurrected bodies will have no evidence of this kind of corruption, such as wounds or scars. Yet, for some reason, the resurrected body of Jesus did have wounds and scars, though it is not known if He still has them today. Perhaps when He was glorified upon His entry into Heaven at the Ascension, the scars of the Crucifixion were removed. One known thing is that when He first arose, He did have the scars of the Crucifixion. When believers are raised from the dead, they will not have any scars whatsoever. So it must not be assumed that everything true of the body of Jesus at His Resurrection will necessarily be true of us. Again, it is not always easy to determine if what He did was because of His resurrected body or because He is God. (2)
Six observations can be made concerning Jesus’ resurrected body:
- It is known that Messiah’s voice was recognized as the same one He had before His death and Resurrection (John 20:16). When He said Mary, Mary Magdalene recognized that the One speaking to her was none other than Yeshua. Whatever accent He had—and He probably had a Galilean accent; whatever tone of voice He had—since everyone has a unique tone of voice, Mary recognized His voice. Possibly, our voice will be recognizable because it will be much the same.
- His physical features were always recognized, but not always immediately (John 20:26–29; 21:7). There were enough changes in His resurrected body that recognition was not always immediate. But some things remained the same so that the people who knew Him eventually recognized Him. (2)
- It was a real body, not a phantom one, as His body was embraceable (John 20:17, 27). (2)
- He was able to appear and disappear (Lk. 24:31). But the question is: “Was the Messiah able to appear and disappear because He had a resurrected body or because He is God?” There is no guarantee that believers will be able to do the same thing. (2)
- He was able to go through walls (John 20:19). Here again, believers cannot be sure that their resurrected bodies will be able to do the same (2) and
- He was able to eat food (Luke 24:41–43). Believers will certainly be able to do this much in their resurrected bodies because they will participate in the Marriage Feast, and there is no sense in coming to a feast if one cannot eat and feast. The resurrected body will be immortal, not subject to death. So they will not have to eat to survive; it will be purely for pleasure. The nature of the resurrected body will be such that believers can eat all they want and never gain an ounce of weight. (2)
The Second Return of Jesus the Messiah
I was watching in the night visions, “And with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man was approaching. He went up to the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13–14 NET)
“Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet [shofar] blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29–31 NET)
But Jesus was silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:63–64 NET)
Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!” Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world—to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:36–37 NET)
Jesus is the prophesied “Son of Man,” the God-Man, the Cloud-Man, the Messiah, King of Kings, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah coming on the clouds to judge the nations and establish His physical Kingdom on the earth.
The second time, Jesus will come to the Earth to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial (26) or thousand-year kingdom on Earth.
Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, “Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and fault-finders who go wherever their desires lead them, and they give bombastic speeches, enchanting folks for their own gain. (Jude 14–16 NET)
Then I saw heaven opened and here came a white horse! The one riding it was called “Faithful” and “True,” and with justice he judges and goes to war. His eyes are like a fiery flame and there are many diadem crowns on his head. He has a name written that no one knows except himself. He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood, and he is called the Word of God. The armies that are in heaven, dressed in white, clean, fine linen, were following him on white horses. From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God, the All-Powerful. He has a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11–16 NET)
This return is referred to as the Day of the Lord in scripture.
Recall that the Scroll of Authority (1) leased to man the rule over Earth for a finite time. The man then made a covenant with Satan by sinning, thus giving Satan the right to rule over his world system for the same finite time. This finite time is known by both God and Satan.
When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way. They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:28–29 NET)
Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you! He is filled with terrible anger, for he knows that he only has a little time!” (Revelation 12:12 NET)
The Lord told His disciples that unless the days of the Great Tribulation were shortened, none of His disciples would survive. The Antichrist would literally annihilate every single breathing Christian. Jesus states that it is only for the “elect’s sake” that the days will be shortened. The “elect” refers to those who have placed their faith in Christ, either Jew or Gentile. (26)
For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:21–22 NET)
Satan is later imprisoned in the Abyss during the thousand years of Jesus’ reign on Earth.
Then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain. He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan—and tied him up for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1–2 NET)
Nevertheless, God, being just, will release Satan for the balance of the time of the lease (i.e., a brief period of time), as specified in the Scroll of Authority, after the thousand-year reign of Jesus.
The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things, he must be released for a brief period of time.) (Revelation 20:3 NET)
Then Satan and all his evil will be removed forever! Hallelujah!
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10 NET)
When we partake of the bread, and the wine (or grape juice), remember that Jesus is the FUTURE returning King of Kings and Lord of Lords! (Revelation 17:14; 19:16) Remember, we have a glorious future that God has prepared for those who have repented and accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 2:9) Maranatha! (1 Corinthians 16:22)
During this time of year when we celebrate the fulfillment of the prophecies (1) of Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary, let us not lose sight of the fact that in the past, He was born to die, be raised from the dead and in doing so paid the price so that all that call upon the Lord Jesus (1) might be saved! He is in the present our High Priest and Mediator, whoever lives to intercede with God our Father for us while we live out our brief lives on Fallen Earth. Lastly, He is the future returning Lord of Lords and King of Kings who will vanquish all of His enemies and establish a New Heaven and Earth!
For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:27,28 NET)
If we remember the past, present, and future works of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will examine (5) ourselves and repent of wrong thinking, acting, or believing so that we will not be judged to require discipline from God our Father. (1 John 1:9. Hebrews 12:5-11) That is, it is expected that the believer only partakes of the bread and wine (or grape juice) (3) at the Lord’s table when they can approve their lives after having examined themselves. If they find nothing between them and their Saviour, the Lord Jesus, then they are in an approved state, eligible to observe the Lord’s Supper.
Realize we were placed or baptized (1) into Christ by God the Holy Spirit (1) so that we might share in Jesus’ death and thus be separated from the evil nature within us. However, note that Paul, in the book of Romans Chapter Six, is saying that the sinful nature within us is dead but not annihilated when we are saved. The Bible teaches that the sinful nature remains in the believer until he dies; however, we are not “in it” in the sense we are in its grip. (1 John 1:8) God, in salvation, breaks the power of the sinful nature over the believer and separates us from it. There has been a definite cleavage, a disengagement of the person from the evil nature. That is, the evil nature is a dethroned monarch. Before salvation, the evil nature was the master of the individual, but after salvation, the believer is its master! (Genesis 4:7) However, God leaves it to us as a disciplinary measure. When believers refuse to obey our sinful nature’s incessant demands, they glorify God, defeat Satan in their lives, and grow more spiritually mature. (1) However, we often stumble and must repent (change our mind about the sin being desirable) and confess it to the Lord to be forgiven. This could be a sin ranging from the obvious breaking of the Ten Commandments (1) to an attempt to earn our salvation by our works. That is, we could be like the Pharisees, believing we are worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper based on our works (e.g., tithing, giving to the poor, reading the Bible, praying beautiful prayers, memorizing scripture, singing to the enjoyment of others, fasting, etc.) which are all good things (1) but become dead works (1) if the motive is wrong. (Luke 18:10-14)
The only way to worthily partake of the Lord’s Supper is to realize that we are not worthy in our own ability but only through the battered body and shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Hallelujah! Paradoxically, we can only partake of the bread (representing His Body) and the wine (representing His Blood) if we understand that it is only through His body and His blood that we are worthy to partake of them. That is, we are not found with the righteousness of our own but rather His righteousness (1) imputed to us! (Philippians 3:9. 2 Corinthians 5:21)
For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself. That is why many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few are dead. But if we examined ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world. So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that when you assemble it does not lead to judgment. I will give directions about other matters when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:28-34 NET)
REMEMBER, I will NOT remember your sins!
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(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.
(2) We, three kings of Orient, are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.
Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign. [Refrain]
Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
worshiping God on high. [Refrain]
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb. [Refrain]
Glorious now behold him arise;
King and God and sacrifice:
sounds through the earth and skies. [Refrain]
United Methodist Hymnal, 1989
(3) In the late 19th century and a Methodist dentist named Thomas Bramwell Welch apparently, had scruples about the use of wine and had heard of Louis Pasteur’s process of pasteurization of milk. Welch was successful in applying the process to grape juice, and he began to use it in his church, where he was a Communion steward. His son, Dr. Charles Welch, was an enterprising Methodist layman (a dentist, like his father) from southern New Jersey. He marketed the pasteurized grape juice to temperance-minded evangelical Protestants as authentic “biblical wine.” As word spread and as the temperance movement grew among evangelical Protestant churches, Welch left dentistry and produced Welch’s Grape Juice commercially.https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/changing-wine-into-grape-juice-thomas-and-charles-welch-and-the-transition-
(4) If we want to know what the New Testament means by “life,” we need to look at the word as it appears in the original Greek language. In the Greek language, three different words—bios, psuche, and zoe—are translated as “life” in English, and each has a different meaning. Here are some examples of where each is used:
a. Bios, in Luke 8:14: “…anxieties and riches and pleasure of this life.” This Greek word refers to the life of the physical body and is where we get the word biology. (Strong’s #979)
b. Psuche, in Matt. 16:25: “For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it.” The Greek word here refers to the psychological life of the human soul, that is, the mind, emotion, and will. It is where we get the word psychology. (Strong’s # 5590)
c. Zoe, in John 1:4: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Here the Greek word refers to the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God. (Strong’s #2222)
(5) Greek dokimazo (dŏk-im-ad’-zō) – testing someone or something for the purpose of approving it. The word further implies that the trial itself was made in the expectation and hope of victory! This word is used for testing by God (1), but never of testing by Satan.
(6) “It is finished or completed” is the translation of the Greek word tetelestai, which only appears twice in the Bible (John 19:28,30). Jesus says tetelestai here in the perfect tense, which is very rare in the New Testament and has no English equivalent. The perfect tense is a combination of two Greek tenses: the Present tense and the Aorist tense. The Aorist tense is punctiliar: meaning something that happens at a specific point in time; a moment. The Present tense is linear: meaning something that continues on into the future and has ongoing results/implications. The combination of these two tenses in the perfect tense as used in John 19:30 is of overwhelming significance to the Christian. When Jesus says “It is finished” (or completed) what He is actually saying is “It is finished and will continue to be finished”. The first element of the perfect tense: the Aorist, punctiliar, point in time statement “It is finished” is powerful. Mathew Henry describes all that is finished at that exact moment in time: “It is finished; that is, the counsels of the Father concerning his sufferings were now fulfilled. It is finished; all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished. It is finished; the ceremonial law is abolished; the substance has now come, and all the shadows are done away. It is finished; an end is made of transgression by bringing in everlasting righteousness. His sufferings were now finished, both those of his soul, and those of his body. It is finished; the work of man’s redemption and salvation is now completed.” The Aorist tense is only half of the perfect tense! The second element of Jesus’ statement is equally important: the Present, ongoing, linear “and will continue to be finished” component of the perfect tense. This indicates the ongoing nature of our salvation. This is so important because it indicates a condition, a state of being, a resting place. In conclusion, in Jesus’ statement “It is finished” we have a declaration of salvation that is both momentary and eternal, Aorist and Present, linear and punctiliar. We are saved at a specific point in time, “it is finished”, our debt is paid, we are ransomed from the kingdom of darkness, and then we confidently rest in the reality that “it will continue to be finished” because we are in a position of grace and stand justified for all time before God. One Greek word, tetelestai, spoken in the perfect tense, by Jesus on the cross, and it was finished at that moment, and for all time. (http://www.ciu.edu/content/it-finished-look-greek) G
(8) Furthermore, if the wise men had visited during the birth of Jesus and given their gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh to Joseph and Mary they would have been able to afford a lamb for the burnt offering portion of Mary’s purification ceremony which took place 40 days after the birth of Jesus (Leviticus 12:1-5). Consequently, they would have violated the Law of Purification when presenting sacrifices of a pair of doves or two young pigeons which was allowed for the poor but not for those that could afford a lamb (Luke 2:22-24. Leviticus 12:6-8).
Now when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male will be set apart to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is specified in the law of the Lord, a pair of doves or two young pigeons. (Luke 2:22–24 NET)
“ ‘When the days of her purification are completed for a son or for a daughter, she must bring a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering to the entrance of the Meeting Tent, to the priest. The priest is to present it before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean from her flow of blood. This is the law of the one who bears a child, for the male or the female child. If she cannot afford a sheep, then she must take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering, and the priest is to make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean.’ ” (Leviticus 12:6–8 NET)