In the early morning of May 5th, I dreamed that I was there at the crucifixion of Jesus, and after He was laid in the tomb, I and one other person seemed to be both voluntarily and mandatorily shut into the tomb with Him (mandatorily because in my dream, I knew someone had to go in, voluntarily because no one was forced). While I was there, I kept thinking of two things: the fact that Lazarus was dead for four days, and the fact that his body had a bad odor. I kept thinking about how to get essential oils to spray into the air for the odor that I was anticipating. Then, in the next part of my dream, I seem to have forgotten the worries of the first part. I remember seeing the emaciated foot of my Lord sticking out from the grave clothes. I was deeply stricken and knew that my sin had caused His great suffering and death. I began to weep deeply and pray in the Spirit. I was aware it was the third day since His death. In the midst of my weeping and praying, I was anticipating that Jesus was going to rise, and also free me from that tomb. But in that dream, it seemed as if the third day just never seemed to end. It was like Groundhog Day, a story in which a man woke up to the same day over and over and over again until he had learned to live life the way he was supposed to. I woke up briefly and groaned in my spirit and prayed, “Oh Lord, please don’t let the dream end there. I long to see your Resurrection!” But after I went back to sleep, the dream did not continue.
A few days have passed since I had the dream, yet I have still found myself thinking back on it, particularly the part concerning my great grief over my sin that had caused the death of my Lord Jesus. I had initially written down the dream after I awoke that morning, not knowing if there was a specific interpretation for it, but now, I am sensing the leading of the Holy Spirit to write an interpretation.
In my dream, I was there at the crucifixion of Jesus. (I represent each person God will save.) This is because, in essence, I was there–that is, all my sin and guilt were there, being laid on my Lord, even though I was not yet even born. Yet He was taking upon Himself all the sin and guilt of all His chosen people from the time of Adam to the time of the end of the world. In my dream, I was both voluntarily and mandatorily shut into the tomb with Jesus. (The other person with me was the Holy Spirit who oversees and effects the process of our death to sin, our death to self-righteousness, and our increasing love for Christ.) This is because, at the time that God calls each of His people to Himself through repentance and faith in the finished work of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, we voluntarily choose to bury our old nature with Christ in His death (Romans 6). This is both a one-time event at the time of our justification by faith and a process, as God sanctifies us through the fires of trial and the purification of the Word and the Spirit. At the same time that we voluntarily choose to follow Christ, we mandatorily take on His yoke. We cannot expect to have the privileges of redemption without the requirements of sonship. If we died with Christ, we shall also live with Him (Romans 6:8). That begins immediately after salvation, when we begin to put to death the old nature, turning our backs on sin and repenting daily of the offense that killed the Son of God. Burying our sin in Christ’s death also means burying our selves–our ambitions, our sense of self-worth and strength, our wisdom, etc. Jesus said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24).
So why was I thinking of Lazarus in my dream? First, because Lazarus represents each of us who die in Christ and await the redemption of our bodies. He was dead four days; it came to mind that a full week, composed of seven days, is the addition of four and three (the four days Lazarus was dead plus the three days Jesus was dead). At the end of a full (figurative) week, death will be conquered, and Christ will return on clouds of glory, calling forth the dead. Jesus already conquered death for the first half of the week (three days) when He rose as the firstfruits from the grave. Now we languish in the anticipation of the resurrection of the saints, wondering when our own third day will end (or fourth day, if we consider ourselves as Lazarus). The Father knows the exactly perfect time that all things have been brought to fruition for that Day. Meanwhile, we wait, knowing we are in the final hours, yet not knowing exactly what that means in our own time frame, and thus, the dream ended, because the resurrection is yet to come at a time we do not expect.
Why was I thinking of the stench of Lazarus in my dream? Because death has a stench; we grieve over death. It is unnatural. We see the ugliness of it, the ever-present reminder of sin’s stench before God. The idea of my trying to somehow cover the stench with my own perfumes is both fruitless and abominable. It does not remove death or the stench of sin before God that causes death. Human effort to sugar-coat sin and make it seem less abominable than it is, does not change the reality of sin’s great consequence before a perfectly holy God. The wages of sin is death! (Rom 6:23) Once we accept sin for what it is and embrace the reality of its great offense before God, then by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we begin to feel the personal affect it had on Jesus. We notice His emaciated body and embrace the grief, whereas before, we were too busy to notice Him or care as we were trying to cover up the stench of our own sin by our own futile efforts. If we don’t weep over our sin, perhaps we haven’t really felt its personal affect on our own personal Savior and Bridegroom.
1 Corinthians 15:20-26: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’ After saying these things, he said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.’ Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.‘ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.‘ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.‘ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?’
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.'”
As always, take this message to our Lord in prayer, asking Him to make it personal for you.
-Rachel, daughter of the King