It was early in 2022 that I came to learn of Lee Brainard. He maintains a YouTube website called Soothkeep, where you can find many of his teachings and learn something.
Mr. Brainard comes across as very intelligent and worthy of trust, but here it is in November of 2022, and I listened to him try to explain who the two witnesses would be. He opened the talk by saying it could be Elijah and Enoch, and he explained how many people feel strongly about that choice. But Mr. Brainard noted that he did not think it would be them and that he chose Moses and Elijah. He proceeded to explain why it would not be Enoch and why using the logical approach that Enoch and Elijah did not die and how death was NOT necessary to fulfill this prophetic word.
Within a few minutes, he had us looking at Hebrews 9:27, which says, “it is appointed unto men to once die.” Although not to my satisfaction, Lee attempted to explain that this was not a literal death and, therefore, allows us to bypass Enoch.
Allow me a moment to express myself here.
These two witnesses are not given identities for a reason, which means it is NOT for us to know, or it does NOT apply to the church. It is, however, relevant to those still left in Israel when that time comes, although NO ONE alive today has any idea what these two look like, so you would never be able to pick them out of a police lineup. These two are meant to be highly significant evangelists to the Jewish community, and what is vitally important is what they say and what they do.
Most of my Bible studies ideas come from conversations where someone, like a Bible teacher, has made an assertion, attempted to defend their statement, and would not back down even when shown from the Word of God how improper their teaching is. I doubt this rebuttal to Lee Brainard’s teaching would ever make it to him, so I do it here for you to see.
This, by the way, is not meant to promote the bashing of one particular brother in Christ but to be sensible, like the Bereans that Paul spoke of, who, after hearing what Paul said, went and studied and validated his words against the only scrolls available – the Torah. This is what I have done with Mr. Brainard’s comments. But, remember, no one is above the law, even me. So I adjure you to search the scriptures to see if what I say is true.
Another noticeable thing is happening here; while the passage that conveys that every one of us must be subject to death is found in Hebrews 9:27, I have initiated this “study” with Hebrews 9:11 as I wanted you to get a feel for the context. Mr. Brainard apparently sees the context differently.
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;” (Hebrews 9:11 NASB)
My Thursday morning men’s group has watched several weeks of Dr. Derwin Gray on Right Now Videos. He is the Lead Pastor at Transformation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. What is unique about his teaching style is that as he reads a passage that speaks to the topic, he frequently says, “now let’s pause here a moment.” I want to do that now.
When Christ appeared after his death, where did he appear?
As I think about what I just asked, it is a trick question, although that was not my intent, as few of you will acknowledge that He went into the heavenly tabernacle, and fewer even realize that this act of forgiveness actually happened. Still, if you read your Bible, you will know that Jesus appeared to over 400 between his resurrection and ascension into heaven. However, the most important thing He did after subjecting Himself to the cross and death was that He appeared in the heavenlies, a more perfect tabernacle. This is the heavenly tabernacle and the pattern for the one on earth.
“and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:12-14 NASB)
Once again, let’s pause here.
Jesus entered the heavenly tabernacle and obtained eternal redemption for us, with and through His own blood. Christ, we are told, offered Himself and subjected Himself to death.
“For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.” (Hebrews 9:15-17 NASB)
Because He died, subjected Himself to the cross, and poured His blood out, just as they did with the animal sacrifices, for His benefit and ours. This makes Him the mediator of a new covenant. Under no circumstance is the covenant valid until the death of the mediator. Jesus’ death fulfilled the first and the last covenant, and yet, He was raised from the dead and now lives as our mediator, making Him a greater mediator.
“Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:18-22 NASB)
Again a pause.
Every covenant is inaugurated with blood. The first covenant was fulfilled with blood, and so was the second. We are told that without blood, there is no forgiveness; thank God, blood was shed for our forgiveness.
“Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;” (Hebrews 9:23-24 NASB)
Why did Jesus have to cleanse the heavenly things?
Because Satan tore the place up and brought abomination to the heavenly tabernacle. Jesus did this for us.
“nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
(Hebrews 9:25-26 NASB)
Will the pauses ever end?
He is NEVER to offer Himself again. Why?
Because His sacrifice as the unblemished lamb was enough. He did not use any other blood: He used His own. He sacrificed Himself, and you don’t do this without dying and rising again.
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
(Hebrews 9:27-28 NASB)
Let’s focus on verse 27 for a moment.
Appointed – apokeimai – to be reserved; figuratively to await: – be appointed, (be) laid up.
Men are the Greek word anthrōpos = human beings.
Once the Greek word is hapax and means one (or a single) time, once.
Die is the Greek word apothnēskō and carries meanings of to die off (literally or figuratively): – be dead, death, die, lie a-dying, be slain (X with).
Judgment, this is the Greek word krisis and means (Subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (specifically divine law): – accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
I have led you into Hebrews 9:27, where it says it is appointed for human beings to die once. The manner in which you die varies from old age, disease, or some form of violence. Hebrews 9:11-27 speaks to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yes, Christ died.
We, on the other hand, do not have to die merely because sin demanded it, as Jesus became the sacrifice for us. But there is still a problem as we are born into the world physically damaged in a way that propels us to sin, and God will not tolerate that impairment in the Holy City or heaven, if you rather, and that is why we will 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 imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:52-54 NASB)
So what do I see here?
The dead in Christ will be raised, but the perishable will now be imperishable because they have already physically died, and God has been able to purge that drive for lust that was a part of their bodies.
But the passage goes on to say, “and we will be changed.”
One our location, as we will lift off from this earth and meet Jesus in the air. The other thing that changes seems to be this body. The body carries the drive to sin, and it appears as though our bodies must die. This transition may be part of the Bema seat, and as I think about it, I see freedom.
“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
(1 Corinthians 15:52 NASB)
Changed is the Greek word allássō, and though the Bible translators simply used the word changed, it implies that you are changed into another form, or the nature of the thing is changed.
Since I am, as you are, a spirit that cannot die, then death is merely a painless transition. The oddity is that we all have an unwarranted fear of death.
The next question is why?
As a child, in our house, we were made to say a prayer before bed. Where this prayer came from, I don’t know, but the theme was one that continued in the church. The prayer goes like this Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. There was no confidence, no understanding, and fear was laced throughout the prayer.’ that, along with the things I was told continually in the church, filled my life with fear about God and death. Church merely backed up these prayers by implying that every little sin (like the paper clip I took) would send a person to hell if they did not repent of those sins. I reckon they forgot that Jesus covered all sins and made atonement for them through the cross, pouring His own blood upon the altar in heaven.
I now realize that all this imposed guilt was meant to control the body of Christ because we are all representative of that sheep that has a tendency to stray and must be stopped. But, since breaking our legs would be illegal, and it does little to stop the thoughts that come into your head, all that is left for church leadership is manipulation. No, it does not show up in every leader or every church, but it is there, and Satan saw to it that we were all taught deathly thoughts and fear. Think about Adam and Eve; in the garden, God spelled out that their sin of eating that fruit initiated the two of them and all their offspring, of which I am one, into warfare. Satan is a master at Psychological operations.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I am an unswerving believer in Hebrews 9:27, which says it is appointed unto humanity, once to die and after this comes the judgment. For us (believers), this judgment is the Bema seat of Christ, where you will be rewarded according to the acts that made you look like Jesus to someone, and most of those acts you were probably unaware of. So the judgment for us is nothing to fear. I joke around as I say if you idolize your Gucci underwear, then perhaps you should switch to Fruit of the Loom or Hanes, as it appears that all human idolatry and adultery burns up at the Bema seat right before you get that sparkling white robe.
This is not a life-changing argument, but a notable speaker that effectively said that God did NOT mean what He said. If that is true, then God is a liar, and you should know that is NOT true, as God cannot lie. Scriptural proof can be found in:
“He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (1 Samuel 15:29 NIV)
Nope, sorry, I believe God and His Word, and I will not change my thinking on this one.