|Volume 23 Number 4 April 2021
During a recent election season, candidates promoted themselves as the solution to the healthcare crisis in America. They promised change. They promised solutions. Some of them even promised free healthcare as a fundamental human right. (You should expect to get what you pay for when the cost is free.)
Yet, there is a country that has already promised universal healthcare as a basic right to all of its citizens. Better yet, it is even free for the taking. Further still, it is not even funded with taxes. In addition, healthcare is not only free, but the food in the nation is also unlimited and free.
No, it is neither Canada nor the European Union. The country is eternal. The King is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The citizens of that kingdom are part of the bride of Christ, the church.
As John described his heavenly vision of the church descending from the presence of God, he wrote of the eternal healthcare system of God. “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).
Remember the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could freely eat from it. That tree gave life, but they lost access to its power when they sinned. They were banished from the Garden, and a watch was set. The real Tree of Life (a spiritual one) is in the middle of the street in the New Jerusalem. It provides healing and food to the nation. Jesus promised eternal sustenance to those who would follow Him (John 4:14; 6:35), and this was prefigured in Israel in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Jesus is also the Good Shepherd who cares for and heals the sheep.
For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. …I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. …There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. …I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick.“ (Ezekiel 34:11-16)
Do you want unlimited healthcare? Do you want free healthcare for all? Do you want unlimited food as a basic right of citizens? Do you want what God offers? You won’t find it on Earth. Here, you’ll get what you pay for, but in the heavenly country, God provides abundant blessings. Here’s how you receive them. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
For Those Questioning
the Necessity of Immersion
It is common to hear the question – “What about the thief on the cross?” – in a discussion about the necessity of baptism or immersion. Baptism is a transliteration of a Greek word that means immersion, which is also evident from New Testament verses, too (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4).
Some people assume the penitent thief was never baptized. We do not know whether he was baptized or not. He could have been baptized in John’s baptism when it was still in force. He could have been a disciple of Christ and then turned to sin. Regardless, we do not know if he was baptized or not.
When you consider the discussion that Jesus had with the penitent thief, you learn several things (Luke 23:38-43). Among other things, you learn this man knew some things about Jesus and had changed his view of Jesus. You also learn that he believed in God and in a moral standard (right from wrong). This man confessed his sins and admitted his punishment was just. He said Jesus was innocent of the charges made against Him, which would have included Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God (Mark 14:61-62). This was an expression of faith and an acknowledgment of the truth that Jesus was Who He claimed to be.
The thief was evidently penitent. Everything he said and did seems to indicate that. He, like the apostles, may have neither fully understood the kingdom nor the Lord’s intent and purpose. However, he believed Jesus would yet come in His kingdom and could “remember” him at that time.
A couple of other facts need to be considered in regard to Jesus and the thief. One, Jesus had the authority to forgive sin upon whatever terms He chose (Mark 2:1-12). In this passage, Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic based on the faith of his friends and proved His authority to do so by healing the man. Secondly and most pertinent to the matter, Jesus and the thief lived and died under the Mosaic Law. The new and better covenant of Jesus came into force after the death of Christ (Hebrews 8:6-7; 9:15-17; Colossians 2:14). The Mosaic Law was for the Jews, given by God to His chosen people at Mt. Sinai. After the death of Christ, when He took the Jewish Law “out of the way, nailing it to his cross,” all men – both Jew and Gentile – were then subject to the law of Christ and it alone.
Here’s a final thought regarding the necessity of baptism. Since Jesus said, “He that believeth and is a baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:15-16), then that settles it, regardless of what the thief did or did not do! As to whether the thief was saved with or without baptism, Jesus said he was to be with him in Paradise that day. Paradise is used in the New Testament to refer to the place of the righteous dead (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7).