Prosperity, Posterity, Pilgrimage (pt 4)

Where is your sting

Posterity

This morning, I woke up thinking about death and dying.

The Psalmist lamented

Psalm 89:47-49(ESV)
47 Remember how short my time is!
For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
48 What man can live and never see death?
Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
49 Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
which by your faithfulness you swore to David?”

Such is the lot of man since Adam fell. And it is appointed for man to die … (Heb 9:27).

But “ God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, …” (1 Thes 5:9).

So in His Purpose in Christ, He rolled out His Plan, with a program beginning with a person to become a special people, assigned and allotted a place in the midst and center of three continents. This chosen people shall have a lasting posterity, and prosper and succeed till the Redeemer comes. He would ensure their posterity so that His Purpose, Plan and program be accomplished.

I have to be fair. With much fake news, fake adverts, etc swirling around, I need to check myself that my comments be factual, full (in context of complete scenario) and not flawed. At least, I must try.

Everyday is SONday

Last Sunday, I only saw a few wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Forever Young”. But every Sunday, I’ve seen more T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Everyday a SONday”! I really like that. They are worn by the hundreds of volunteers serving in the children’s Sunday School. The T-shirts I mentioned previously were merely a handful. Must not be hard on others and so full of my opinions!

I only know in part!

1 Cor 13 says “11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

I must seek to clarify and convince with truth rather than to condemn.

My 82 years old sister now is dying from acute kidney failure with many other underlying medical issues. But many days ago, she had asked Jesus to forgive her sins, and welcomed Him into her life! Last night, I told her, “don’t be afraid, Jesus is with you.” And everyday, as I take the communion on her behalf, God reminds me that Jesus has seen her, and had compassion on her. I pray frequently that Jesus shall envelope and embrace her with His peace that is beyond understanding. And she will soon put on a new body. Its all about spiritual and eternal posterity.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3 has been used by many to claim the blessings of Abraham.
“6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”

Perhaps the passage allude to Gentiles having faith like Abraham are being blessed with justification, righteousness and sonship as preached in the Gospel. In this context, I have to guard myself against eisegesis and not go beyond what is written (1 Cor 4:6), and presume that I inherit all the blessings of Abraham with earthly prosperity and posterity .

We get a clearer progressive picture of posterity when Christ said ““All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

In the OT – it was to be fruitful and multiply – the human race and then especially the Hebraic race.

In the NT – we are to go and make disciples – of all nations. Paul purposefully chose to be single, thus depriving himself of any posterity because he wanted spiritual posterity in the faith rather than in the flesh. The NT records for us believers in Christ multiplying.

Gods Design cover

In “God’s Design: A Focus on OT Theology”, Elmer Martens has this to say :

The covenant with Abraham is described in greater detail in Genesis 15 and 17 and is related to the initial blessing of a multitude of descendants promised to Abraham (Gen 12 : 2 ). Along with the promise of descendants, God promised Abraham territory. “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates . . .”’ (Gen 15 : 18 ). The triple promise of descendants, territory, and blessing is embraced in a covenant given to Abraham in his ninety-ninth year (Gen 17 : 1 –8 ). Reiterated to Isaac (Gen 26 : 3 ) and to Jacob (Gen 28 : 19 ; 35 : 9 –12 ), the promise continued to have a threefold gift of descendants, territory, and blessing. YHWH’s intention for his people is that they enjoy the good life. The words of the text are: “I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession” (Exod 6 : 8 ). The land was already earlier the object of promise, where it was the concrete part of God’s blessing for his people. Elsewhere the land is described as the land flowing with milk and honey (Exod 3 : 17 ), which is to say that it is a land in which life is pleasant and in which living is marked by abundance. The land comes before long to symbolize the life with YHWH in ideal conditions, a quality of life which might be characterized as the abundant life.

The land as the object of promise, where it was the concrete part of God’s blessing for his chosen people – to have descendants (posterity) and abundance (prosperity) – a promise not just to Abraham, but to the patriarchs so that they can be a viable and resilient nation and people to restore God’s Kingdom and usher in the King.

The divine image, values and character of Godhead was supposed to be reproduced by Adam and Eve. (Gen 1:26-28). And in Ex 32:13 – “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”

YHWH’s intention for his people is that they enjoy the good life. The words of the text are: “I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession” (Exod 6 : 8 ). The land was already earlier the object of promise, where it was the concrete part of God’s blessing for his people. Elsewhere the land is described as the land flowing with milk and honey (Exod 3 : 17 ), which is to say that it is a land in which life is pleasant and in which living is marked by abundance. The land comes before long to symbolize the life with YHWH in ideal conditions, a quality of life which might be characterized as the abundant life.

The covenant with Abraham plays a central role in the biblical storyline.
God promised Abraham offspring, land, and universal blessing. The promise to Abraham finds its culmination in Jesus Christ as the true son of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). All those who belong to Jesus Christ by faith are children of Abraham. The promise of land was fulfilled when Israel possessed Canaan under the leadership of Joshua and Solomon, yet Israel lost the land and went into exile because of sin. The promise of land was realized proleptically in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for his resurrection represents the arrival of the new creation, and it will find its final fulfillment in the new creation—the new temple over which God and the Lamb will reign (Rev. 21:1–22:5). The promise of universal blessing is fully and finally fulfilled in Jesus Christ through whom people from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation are included in Abraham’s family.

Pilgrimage, for this world is not my home. I must constantly remind myself – do not get entangled with earthly pursuits, or to think so much of health (for posterity or longevity of my tribe, perceiving sickness and death as something to be avoided) and wealth.

P/S.  Just received and read this re “proof-texting” on popular WOF verses :  

       http://theaquilareport.com/5-passages-pastor-wishes-youd-stop-taking-context/

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End of Life instruction and 2 Pet 3:9

The Lord is …… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

My 82 year old widow sister, childless, was admitted to the hospital for the third time, after spending 12 days and then 16 days in the hospital and then transferred to a community hospital. The community hospital, after more than a week, called and informed that she has to be readmitted to the acute hospital for dialysis as they could not render proper treatment.

For the next two days, I noticed my sister was not on dialysis. I asked, and was told that there was a misunderstanding (by the community hospital?) whatever it meant.

Then a doctor called one afternoon. Mainly she asked what was my ‘end-of-life instruction” for my sister. I asked  – was this about the AMD? – silence. What was the prognosis? Was there something I need to know? No clarification. The silence was puzzling. So I said “let me think about it and pray about it”. She said she would call back for my decision in a few days.

I became unusually alarmed and alerted family members. That evening I visited my sister. She was alert and definitely it wasn’t terminal or life threatening.

The next morning, I was on the way for a meeting requested by a medical social worker (MSW). I prayed – “Lord, what is your leading – as I have to give a reply about the EOL instruction.” The impression was very strong and clear – ‘resist, until your sister believes in the Lord Jesus!’ I told the MSW and another doctor who sought me out and commented that the 1st doctor was not tactful as it alarmed me.

Unexpectedly again the 2nd doctor asked about the EOL instruction as I was only expected to respond in a few days. He explained about withholding resuscitation. So since he asked I replied – “No, I will not concede until my sister believes in Jesus”. Somehow, to the 1st and 2nd doctor, I became uninhibited about my faith. He said “So it is religious?” I asserted, and said a miracle could happen. But he countered that it would be a medical decision. I also countered – No, I know a little about medical conditions and would like to be contacted and consulted when the need arose. He then said something that it would be the ‘decision’ of senior doctors. I stood firm. He then went off.

Fifteen minutes later, he returned, and said that the 1st doctor had already spoken to my sister that morning and my sister gave her consent! “No, I discount that, as you know my sister has Alzheimer, and she could not have understood.” The 2nd doctor again reiterated that it would be a medical decision by senior doctors.

The good outcome was that I became vulnerable. Normally I will reach out to any who asked for help, but would myself refrain from asking for support. I had to humble myself. I turned to the church’s visitation team and my cell group – for prayer, for support and for my sister to trust in Jesus!

That evening, I became disturbed that they might not render proper due care for my sister! I began to write to the hospital, to the Ministry of Health, to my Member of Parliament who’s also the GPC chairman for Health, etc. Many thoughts and promptings flowed through my mind, which surprised me.

To both doctors, I had brought up the Advanced Medical Directive (see – https://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/legislation/legislation_and_guidelines/advance_medical_directiveact.html)

In the absence of an AMD, I believe proper medical care is appropriate and should not be withheld. There are many safeguards e.g.

 You are not being forced into making the AMD.
 You are of sound mind.
 You understand the nature and implications of making an AMD.

 Validity
It is NOT compulsory. The AMD is valid only when it is made voluntarily. No one can force another person to make an AMD.
No one can make an AMD on behalf of another person, whether child or adult (even if the person is mentally incapable of making an AMD on his own)
 Coercion
It is the doctor’s responsibility to fully explain and discuss the matter with the person and to ensure that he/she fully understands what he/she is signing.
Forcing or misleading another person into signing an AMD is an offence punishable under the law.
If convicted, such a person can be fined and imprisoned and disqualified as a beneficiary.

The hospital called me as I had written. I mentioned my concerns. Why was I asked repeatedly for the EOL instruction? It was akin to the AMD which has many safeguards for the sanctity of life. I said my interpretation and impression was it looks like a Trojan Horse to bypass the AMD already in place. (I just googled and that EOL instruction is a type of a medical directive.)

I realized it is so subtle and insidious – the EOL instruction is a Trojan horse, unknowingly and ignorantly promoted to withhold resuscitation before a person comes to faith in Jesus. A work of evil, in this world of evil, dispensing words of evil against our Lord’s words of life!

Jesus said in John 10 “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

HALLELUJAH !!!!!! “The Lord is …… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Church members visited, witnessed (in dialects) and prayed for my sister, members whom I have never met or spoken to! On a second visit, after we prayed, a church sister prompted that I should lead my sister to ask Jesus into her life. My sister did so! All these years she was deep into Buddhism, and had resisted. The next evening, I asked her whether she knew what she did, and whether she wanted to be baptized. She assented!

Coincidence or Confirmation?

Two days after my sister prayed, the church’s devotional reading was titled “The Lord saw her, He had compassion on her,….” Indeed! Thank you Jesus!

I began to share with others how my sister had prayed to receive Jesus!

Oh, how I love to hear His story of Salvation, I like to tell the story … (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lelJPwbuFPQ)

Later I received a posting on the Trojan Horse. (https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2017/07/trojan-horse/).

Yes, for those who have threatening conditions or terminal illnesses and have yet to believe in Jesus, we must pray for their health and salvation, for their health to be extended until they repent and believe in Jesus rather than consider a EOL instruction not to resuscitate.