Future Choices
Future Choices

The Message in Joseph’s Dream

Matthew 1:20-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which[1] is begotten[2] in her is of the Holy Spirit21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for he himself will save his people from their sins.”

Joseph found himself in a very difficult situation. He had just discovered that his young fiancée was pregnant and that it was not his, as they had not had sexual relations. If it were discovered that Mary had committed adultery on Joseph, she would have been stoned, because being engaged in New Testament times, was the equivalent of being married. Even though Joseph likely felt betrayed, he did not want to see young Mary stoned to death, so he planned quietly and secretly to end their engagement because he just could not accept Mary’s explanation of how she had become pregnant. It was then, as he was considering these things, that Gabriel, one of God’s angels came to him and said the above.

Even though Joseph likely did not fully understand, just how a carpenter’s son would, “save his people from their sins,” it must have been a great relief, knowing that Mary had been telling the truth. Thus, Joseph accepted the will and purpose of God and did just as he had been commanded. He took his wife home, which was equal to a wedding, but he did not have any sexual relations with her until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. – Matthew 1:24-25.

After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph began to have normal marital relations, having half-brothers and at least one half-sister of Jesus. Mary and Joseph are a good example of what it means to follow God when you may not fully understand what his will and purposes are, and yet you carry out his commands. Both Mary and Joseph were obviously persons of good character, or God would have never chosen them. The name Jesus is a Greek equivalent to the Hebrew Joshua, meaning, “Jehovah is salvation.”

Jesus was a very common name for many centuries leading up to his birth, and beyond, like “John” is in the United States today. This is more evidence of the hope of the Jewish people, as they awaited the promised Messiah. They had been an oppressed people under the Babylonians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks and now the Romans. Jesus was not only the son of a lowly carpenter, but he was given a common name that hundreds of other little boys had, meaning that Jesus had truly become “a high priest who is [not able to] sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15) It was Jesus’ love for humankind that moved him to become one of us, drawing us to him, as he was so approachable that young children came up to him. Jesus was the bridge between the Father and us.

Jesus not only came to rescue humankind from past sins, but to make way for us to be forgiven of our human weaknesses now, and look to the hope of an eternal future. Jesus saved us from being a slave to sin, which would have meant eternal death for us, and brought us into a loving relationship with him and the Father. In the future, Jesus will set things straight, by abyssing Satan, and fully removing the stain of sin, that is inherited imperfection. You likely recall an account in Jesus’ ministry, when he raised Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter from the dead, but first said: “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” As all stood around weeping and mourning for her, Jesus said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” Yes, to Jesus, death is as simple as sleeping, from which he can awaken. These ones laughed at Jesus’ words, knowing that she was dead. However, taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit[3] returned, and she got up at once.― Luke 8:41, 42, 49, 50-55.

John 5:28-29 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

28 Do not marvel at this, because an hour is coming when all who are in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good things to a resurrection of life, and those who have practiced wicked things to the resurrection of judgment.

Kenneth O. Gangel writes, “Jesus switched suddenly to physical resurrection and identified a major doctrine of the New Testament—the concept of two resurrections, one for the righteous and one for the wicked. The second resurrection is a resurrection to damnation (Rev. 20:13).”[4]

explaining-the-doctrine-of-the-last-thingsThose known as the unevangelized are ones, who have never heard the good news of the kingdom, which means that they never had an opportunity to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice of Christ. (Rom. 5:12; Matt. 20:28; 24:14; 28:19-20) Judgment day is not a 24-hour day. Rather, it is the thousand-year reign of Christ, where on humanity is judged not based on what they did before they died but what they do during the thousand-year reign of Christ. Jesus will bring those asleep in death back to life again on earth. “The resurrection of life” that John speaks of are those who were unevangelized and chose to accept Christ and at the end of the thousand years, they receive eternal life. “The resurrection of Judgment” are those who were unevangelized but, who reject the ransom sacrifice of Christ at some point during the thousand years, for which they are judged unworthy of life, receiving eternal destruction. — Read John 5:28, 29; Isaiah 26:10; 65:20.

The Bible teaches that “he who has died is freed[5] from sin.” (Romans 6:7) Therefore, like the ones who live through the end times of the last days and Armageddon, those resurrected to life on earth will be judged “according to their deeds” during the thousand-year Judgment Day. (Rev. 20:12-13) Again, the judgment will be based on their actions during the thousand years, meaning they either receive a resurrection that results in eternal life or a resurrection that ends in destruction.

[1] I.e., the Child

[2] Or conceived

[3] Or, “her breath (life-force).” Gr., to pneumaautes

[4] Kenneth O. Gangel, John, vol. 4, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 103.

[5] Or has been justified, acquitted