Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 10 October 2013
Page 16

Questions and Answers

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To Whom Should We Pray?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis Rushmore“To Whom Should We Pray?” someone asks. When Jesus Christ gave His disciples the model prayer, He instructed them, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9 NKJV). Jesus Christ Himself prayed to the Father in heaven (Matthew 26:39, 42). Still later, the apostle Paul provided similar direction when he wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).The way that cannot be wrong is to direct our prayers to our Heavenly Father.

Surrounded by a
Great Cloud of Witnesses

Louis Rushmore, Editor

The inquiry evident in the title pertains to Hebrews 12:1, which reads, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (NKJV). Hebrews Chapter 11 is the Bible’s Hall of Fame for the Ancient Faithful; it is to these that Hebrews 12:1 refers in the phrase, “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.”

The illustration in this verse is of spectators for an athletic event featuring runners in a race. These “witnesses,” the note worthies of the previous chapter, in some sense are spectators of the Christian race. Students of the Bible disagree whether the expression is merely a figure of speech used for encouragement, or whether the phrase signals that the dead are aware of the contemporary affairs of the living. It appears to me that the reference is figurative and not literal in the absence of clear instruction elsewhere in Scripture that the dead can see or are otherwise aware of contemporary events on earth.

Resurrection of the Body

The resurrection of the body is a biblical fact (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), and 1 Corinthians 15 is the primary source of information available to us about the bodily resurrection. Essentially, mankind is curious about the nature of the resurrection, as 1 Corinthians 15:35 indicates and which reads, “But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’” (NKJV). The answer regarding the kind of resurrected body is: “…The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Selected verses in the chapter give additional information.

And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 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. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:49-54)

Beyond this information, any other curiosity will need to await the actual event at the end of time.

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