Afterlife :: Intercession

When viewing the special exhibition, “The Book of the Dead” at the British museum, I learned that one of the ancient Egyptian beliefs was that after a person was dead, that person’s living relatives could write letters to the dead. These relatives were known as the “cult of the dead”. One letter that was supposedly written/inscribed on a funerary stela/tablet around 2100 BC was the following:
“How are you? Is the west taking care of you, as you desire? Look, I am your beloved on earth, so fight for me, intercede for my name! Drive off the illness from my limbs! May you appear for me as a blessed one before me, that I may see you fighting for me in a dream. I shall lay down offerings for you when the sun’s light has risen and I shall establish an altar for you!” This letter was a plea for intercession by the living to the one who had died.

Those living today need an intercessor as well; one who will fight for them. The Bible informs us that there is one, in fact only one who is The Intercessor and His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind and He rose from the dead to stand in the presence of God as the High Priest who intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). All we need to do is trust and believe in Him for there is no condemnation to anyone who believes in the Name of Jesus Christ, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1). Do you?

Romans 8:34 (KJV)
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

The Representative and The Re-presenter

1 John 2:1-2 states “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Jesus Christ is our advocate, meaning He is our representative. A representative is one who represents, i.e., the one who stands in the place of another. Guilty, we stand before God the Judge, but when Jesus our representative, presents the case that our penalty has been paid by His death on the Cross for our sins, and when we walk in the newness of life, in the Spirit, there is nothing left to condemn us (Romans 8:1). Jesus represents us i.e., Jesus stands for us.

Jude 1:24 states that Jesus is “able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy“. This means that Jesus not only represents us but He is able to re-presents us, i.e., present us again. We are stained by sin and guilty of our selfish internal desires that rebel against a loving God, but He presents us not as we are, but re-presents (presents us again) as faultless, when we believe in Him. For everyone who is in Christ is a new Creation, the old has passed away, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The lyrics of the song, “Before the throne of God above” beautifully illustrates this fact.

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is written in his hands, my name is graven in his heart
And while I know in heaven He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of my guilt within;
Upward I look to see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.
Because a sinless Savior died, my guilty soul is counted free,

For God the Just is satisfied, to look on Him and pardon me.

Jesus is not only our representative, but He is our re-presenter as well.

1 John 2:1-2 (KJV)
1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Jude 1:24 (KJV)
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Return and Remember; Remember and Return

Psalm 94:15 states that judgment shall return unto righteousness. God’s judgment on mankind was borne by His Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One; the Righteousness of God; God incarnate who returned to the world He created in the person of His Son. He remembered each one of us, His inheritance, whom he could not forsake, despite our unfaithfulness (Psalm 94:14). He returned and remembered us, and it cost Him His ALL, for Jesus made Himself nothing (Philippians 2). And by the redeeming act of Jesus Christ, who paid the wages of our sin, which is death, in FULL, our transgressions are blotted out and God has assured us that He will NOT remember our sins anymore (Isaiah 43:25). Why? Not because of our sake, but for His own sake, lest He in His Holy and Just nature, consume us for our wickedness (Isaiah 43:25).

God returned and remembered us! So what are we to do? We are to remember and return!  Through the voice of His prophet, Isaiah, God asks us to put him in remembrance stating that in order for us to be justified before God, we need to remember and plead. But did you realize that we don’t need to plead on our own? The scripture says, let us plead together (Isaiah 43:26). Jesus Christ, the High Priest, intercedes on our behalf with God and when we confess our sinful thoughts, words and deeds, He pleads our case with the Holy and Just God, the Father.

But the scripture commands us not only to remember but to return as well. It is insufficient for us to merely remember, for we must also return (Isaiah 44:22). To return is to go back. We ran from God (in our ignorance and sometimes willful rebellion) and when we return, it means that we are going back to God. In other words, we ran from God toward the world (and its lures) and upon our return we run to God away from the world (and its lures). This is true repentance. The adulteress was asked by Jesus to “go and sin NO MORE”, meaning her life could no longer be the same, ever again. She had to turn from her worldly ways to be in love with Christ, her Redeemer, who did not accuse or condemn her, just as He does not accuse or condemn us though each of us deserve to be.

God returned to His own creation and remembered us, for His own sake, costing Him His ALL.
Let us remember Him and return to Him, forsaking our ALL for His sake.

Psalm 94:14-15 (KJV)
For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.

Isaiah 43: 25-26 (KJV)
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

Isaiah 44:22 (KJV)
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Jesus in the OT :: Zechariah

The book of Zechariah gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the Old Testament (O.T).

Zechariah  means “Yahweh Remembers” i.e., God remembers his covenant (He will be their God and they will be His people). There are many instances in this book that has a direct reference to the Savior and Messiah (the anointed/chosen One), Jesus Christ.

Zechariah 6:12-13 talks about the coronation of Joshua (a variant of Yeshua a.k.a. Jesus) as priest who will rebuild the temple, bear the glory and shall sit and rule upon his throne as King.  In Hebrews 8:1 we see Jesus Christ, THE High Priest who sits at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, who reigns.

Zechariah 9:9 talks about a King riding on a donkey. In Luke 19 we see Jesus riding on a donkey as He enters into Jerusalem.

Zechariah 9:10 talks about a King riding on a horse. In Revelation 19, we read about Jesus who will come riding on a white horse.

Zechariah 11:12 states that the price for the staff of the shepherd (LORD), called Beauty, that the people will agree to pay would be thirty (30) pieces of silver. In Matthew 26:15, we read that Judas covenanted to betray Jesus, the Beautiful staff of God (the Good Shepherd), for thirty (30) pieces of silver.

Zechariah 12:10 states that they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, …. In John 18:34-37, we see that Jesus was pierced on the Cross.

In Zechariah, Jesus is the High Priest and riding King. He rode once on a donkey, He will  ride as King on the horse. Jesus is the Beauty of the LORD, the Staff of the Good Shepherd. He was priced and pierced for us, because Yahweh remembered his covenant with man, to be their God so that they could be His people.