To live on. To not have to die. It is the common thread tying almost all cultures, religions and philosophies together. Is it not what every nation has clamored for?
The furtive longings of a billion souls from a thousand civilizations have whispered their desire for it. The baked clay tablets of Mesopotamia speak of it. Fragments of Egypt’s fragile papyrus pages still share the dream. The Gilgamesh Epic of Babylonia around 2,200 B.C. chronicles the hero’s quest for immortality. The ancient Greeks thought that immortality was attained through courageous effort on the battlefield. Shakespeare imagined immortality coming through the longevity of the lines he wrote. The Philosopher’s Stone, with its lead-into-gold alchemic dream, symbolized transcending our leaden mortal existence into a golden immortal elixir of life and rejuvenation. Time would fail us to include the Egyptians’ mummies, the Indians’ nirvana, and on down to our present day where actors and directors try to immortalize themselves in celluloid.
Each of these attempts have flickered and failed. But the thirst for immortality will not be quenched. Is it not the most important possession one could ever attain in this life? To live on and silence the tears shed at your passing. To trump and triumph over Death. To laugh at Death’s rude intrusion into all you hold dear. To negate Death’s mayhem. To expose him to be a liar when he says that your expiration date is a welcomed conclusion to the human condition, and his boast that he is a friend to the infirm and decrepit.
And Then a Man Came on the Scene
Though a universal longing, all these attempts have collapsed in the dusty halls of darkness. And then a man came on the scene some 2,000 years ago–a man said to have “brought life and immortality to light.” He brought good news, announcing the way to conquer death. He would know, for He defeated Death. For He was raised from the dead Himself after “three days and three nights” in the grave, seen by hundreds of witnesses.
“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1: 3, NIV). He taught them during that time how to become citizens of His immortal kingdom. In a word, He taught them how to become immortal. He, of course is the Savior of mankind, known to the English speaking world as Jesus Christ and known to those very early disciples as Yahshua, which means in the Hebrew, Yah is the Savior.
He shared His Hebrew name with the Hebrew patriarch Joshua, the Anglicized rendition of Yahshua. Many biblical scholars admit that their names are interchangeable [http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2424&t=KJV].
In fact, the angel of Yahweh told Joseph to name Him ”Yah is Savior” because “He shall save His people from their sins.”
The Words He Spoke…
Now many have a problem with Him, but all that know of Him will at least say that He is a wise man, a great teacher, and a prophet. If He was such a great prophet and spiritual teacher, then why don’t those same people believe His words?
And it is the words He spoke about life and immortality that tests us in our search.
What did He teach? He taught us that the Father Creator is an invisible Spirit, that He is Love, that the Father has a kingdom and a government, that there is a way to enter that kingdom of God and become the children of the Father God, and that He and only He is the way to eternal life, which is immortality.
He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14: 6). Anybody who comes up another way is a “thief and a robber.”
He also taught a duality–that there was an enemy Satan, who has a kingdom here on earth, and that he and his evil spirits are warring against God and His children’s kingdom.
Christ taught that sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments (I John 3: 4-6). And we humans break the law early on in our lives because of the old nature we are born with. And He taught that it is this sin nature in us that causes our death. We are mortal because of the sin within our hearts. Sin brings on death. Plain and simple. “But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin” (v. 5).
“He shall save His people from their sins,” said the angel. He “takes away our sins,” says the apostle John. So if Christ takes our sins away, then we are free from sin, which opens up the way to immortality because it is sin that brings on our death.
Summing up, Christ “has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light” (II Tim. 1: 10). He has “abolished death.” He has abolished death by abolishing sin in our lives, and thus, He brings immortality to us.
He came to “save His people from their sins” by destroying sin in their lives. But how does He do this? It is through His death, burial and resurrection. He took on our sins upon His sacrificial body, and He died. He died, we died; our old sinful self died. He was buried; we were buried. He raised from the dead; we are raised from the dead–by faith in His resurrection [for much more on how He takes away our old sinful heart, see Romans 6: 1-12 and http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/life-out-of-death-the-ultimate-paradox/ ].
So the Savior destroyed the sin in our life, and thereby destroyed death, thus bringing “life and immortality to light.” He destroyed sin and death, “for the wages of sin is death.” Destroy sin and you destroy its after effects–death.
But He also said that most would not comprehend and do His teachings. He said that broad is the way that leads to destruction and many will enter that wide gate. But narrow is the way to eternal life, and few will find it.
And that last clause–”and few will find it”–should give us great pause. He said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Oh, to be one of His chosen, chosen to sit with Him on His throne, helping Him rule the nations during the greatest reign of peace this earth has ever seen–ruling alongside of Him for 1, 000 years, ruling as one of the immortal princes and princesses in His kingdom. Kenneth Wayne Hancock