DEATH SHALL BE NO MORE!

This is not only a wonderful truth, it is also a wonderful hope. However, is death a problem for some Christians?

I have several questions that I want to ask my Christian friends. I am writing this pretty much off the cuff. I just recently spent a few hours in conversation with some of my long time Christian friends. As has become my habit I mentioned to them that things are getting better and have been doing so for almost 2000 years. I also tried to convince them that it is unprofitable to deny Christ's 2nd coming. I told them that he returned on schedule almost 2000 years ago and has been ruling and reigning ever since.

They were just like most all of my other friends and found my arguments unconvincing. I did get them to thinking and I hope I cracked open a new area of thought for them.

Death shall be no more?

Does this statement mean that sometime in the future every human born into this world will no longer end up in a grave? Or will there also be a cessation of births? We know that in the kingdom we will be somewhat like angels. But can we be in that kingdom and still be living in the now? I think so.

(I am not going to insert a great number of scriptures in this short article to prove my points, but I will try to share with you my understanding.)

Christ over came death hell and the grave in the first century and his doing so made it possible for all who believe on him and receive his Spirit to be quickened and to also over come death hell and the grave.

There is a difference though for he alone was promised that his body would not see corruption.

Unfortunately, Christians as a whole believe that everyone will eventually live forever. They mistakenly think the promises of eternal life and the absence of both death and wickedness with the ensuing peace will be a universal world wide situation.

I do not believe this.

I believe the world that was spoken of as passing away was primarily speaking of the nation of Israel.

This passing away of the heavens and the earth and the creation of a New Heavens and the New Earth referred to the establishment of Christ's kingdom after the demise of the mosaic system.

This happened and the kingdom of God or of Christ was no longer limited to the land of Israel. It became a spiritual kingdom and now encompasses this world and has done so for nearly 2000 years.

Paul speaks of the preaching of the gospel around that world as having happened in his day. There were churches established in Ireland, India and Africa, that we know about. We also need to understand that in the first century the Roman Empire was commonly referred to as being the world.

We need to understand that Christ taught that the kingdom of God was present as he taught.

Luke 11:20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. (NIV)

Add to this the fact that it was a spiritual kingdom.

1 Cor 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (KJV)

- And that it was an in heart situation.

Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (KJV)

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Acts 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

People were then, on the Day of Pentecost, being ushered into the Kingdom of God and this was the last of the last days. We are now in the kingdom age and have been for almost 2000 years. These two ages overlapped a few years, for the outpouring was not only the sign of the last days, but it was also a sign of the kingdom age. All who call upon the name of the Lord are still being saved. Hebrews 6 speaks of the great miraculous age to come and that some had already tasted of it then and had then still wandered away from God.

Those who were still alive at Christ's 2nd coming were changed.

1 Cor 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptiblethe dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (KJV)

Paul said in verse 51, that some of them in that first century would still be alive. (not his words.) They became immortal in the inner man. They had already been redeemed, but when Paul wrote the earthly visible Church was still to be redeemed later in 70 AD from complete extermination. Those days were shortened. The dead went up then into the very presence of God. At that point death ceased to exist for the Israel of God. This had not all happened when Paul was writing, but it was to happen very soon and did happen at the destruction of the old mosaic system which was visibly portrayed during the destruction of - Jerusalem, and it's temple, and at the complete end of the nation of Israel, in the 2nd century.

Note; Paul spoke of still yet future deliverances while admitting he had already been saved.

2 Cor 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

He also believed that Christ was over all and reigning, but at that time everything was still yet to be subdued.

Heb 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

This inability to see the literal subjection of the world to Christ becomes a stumbling block to most Christians. Paul could not see everything in subjection to Christ, still he knew that, in a sense, it had already happened.

We make a mistake when we think that just because that subjection was not then, or is not now, visible it somehow had not or still has not happened.

We have been improperly taught as to both the extent and manner of that destruction and His reign.

Judgment was to come on Israel and their system and we mistakenly stretch the meaning of the word "world" to mean the whole physical earth. This happens because we fail to observe how that term was used in other verses.

There are innumerable pieces of historical evidences the point to Christ having ascended to his throne and that he has been ruling and reigning for almost 2000 years. That is if we look in the right place. Once the Messiah came he was to set up his government and of it their would be no end forever.

Do you believe he came? If he did come then he never ceased to reign from that point on.

Did he come to that generation?

Matt 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

When was this to happen? Are we so foolish to think this is still to happen even after there was not even a nation of Israel for 1900 years? The creation of present day Israel is the result of Christian nonsense. It would not even be there but for the political pressure produced by mistaken Christians since the mid to late 1800s. The Jews themselves have said numbers of time that Christians want them to have a home land in Israel more then they do. A far greater number of religious Jews live in the USA then do in Israel. Plus - since the State hood of Israel, terrorism has came into being around the world. This is the direct result of our changing the positive message of the book of Revelation into one of Doom and Gloom.

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

There will be no lasting world peace until the Christian community quits violating the instructions as they stand in these two verses. The plagues that are mentioned are symbolic of both spiritual and physical warfare. This is where we are today.

Again; what does this generation mean?

Matt 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Mark 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

Luke 7:31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?

11:31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

In case you missed it - This generation means those who were living as he spoke. No amount of mental gymnastics can change that fact.

Now what about all of our deceased Godly Christian relatives? Are they somehow, but 2nd rate Christians? We say that our greatest hope is in the soon coming of Christ, yet according to most he has not come, so they missed it? Just where are they? In some sort of limbo?

Matt 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

1 Cor 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Question: do we believe that everyone who was of Adam are all dead and do we believe that everyone who was and is of Christ have been made alive?

I do not believe that everyone prior to Christ's ministry died never to be resurrected, nor do I believe that now everyone automatically receives life ever lasting because of Christ's ministry. This is only for those who belong to Christ.

1 Cor 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

There may be some Christians who, to this day, do not realize that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.

Is it not true that God was and still is all in all?

There were some OT believers resurrected during Christ's resurrection and if we can accept it they were all caught up into the heavenly during the out pouring of judgment on God's enemies in the first century. Plus the Church was also caught up and given the preeminence at that same time.

1 Cor 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Question: are there Two Kingdoms of God?

Question: are we Christians already in the position or place that Paul speaks of in these following verses?

Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Are we in this kingdom? Are we presently residing in the city of the living God? Do we die? Does death still hold us in bondage? Are all of our Godly deceased loved ones missing out?

We know there is no longer an abode of the dead called Abraham's bosom. So, - Just what is it that we are focusing on? Christians should know they have a better habitation waiting them at there death. Still their inner man is already living in the heavenlies. (By Faith and yet presently.)

2 Cor 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

The OT foretold these days, but if Christ did not return during the first century - there has been no resurrection and there is really little difference between the state of the dead in OT times and NT times, for they are all, from Adam's day to now, waiting the resurrection. So where is this hope?

Paul said his hope was in the resurrection, yet we say he, (Paul), is still in the grave?

Ezek 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

Ezek 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

We believers admit that we have been changed, but then we turn and deny the 2nd coming of Christ and do so in the face of his open declaration that it would happen in that first century generation.

The fact that none of them knew the day nor the hour nor the season does not keep us from, supposedly, embracing a false religion; for it is false if he did not return within the time period that he clearly stated.

Muslims, Jews, liberal Christians, and the secular establishment know that if Christ did not return in the first century, (and they all believe that he did not), that Christianity at best is a philosophy based on mythology. Their position is biblically based.

Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

GOD AND CHRIST MADE ALL THINGS NEW - PAST TENSE - 2000 YEARS AGO.

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Our being in the Lord and in his Kingdom is by faith.

2 Cor 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Phil 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Peter knew he would not live to see Christ's return. He also says that for him to die would be better. He would then be with Christ - so according to Peter our deceased Godly loved ones are already in God's presence.

2 Pet 1:14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

However, he said some more very pertinent things about the end and Christ's return. Did he lie? I think not.

2 Pet 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (KJV)

The flood destroyed the world?

What world? Is this not presently the same earth that Noah lived on.

There is also biblical evidence the flood only effected a local area around Palestine. There is a natural basin and a mountain range there that fits the biblical description. That is another story.

In any case, the whole earth was not destroyed, and so Peter evidently was not speaking of the destruction of this physical earth. I want to make a serious request of you. Please do not miss this point, for if you do you may well go further into confusion.

2 Pet 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (KJV)

What heavens was he speaking of? What are the elements that he is pointing to. Ans: These are symbolical statements and are in keeping with other prophetical biblical messages.

The elements here in this passage have to do with basic human governmental and religious systems, not the very elements of this planet. Do a word search and check this with Vines comments. The heavens have to do with the religious realm. This was all replaced through Christ's ministry and by the establishment of his Church. The old world and last days of the NT are long gone.

There are no substantial biblical references that are capable of proving that the whole universe and this world will ever be destroyed. Don't get environmental crowds hopes up by believing otherwise.

ARE YOU AWARE THAT GLOBAL WARMING WOULD PRODUCE A GREAT INCREASE IN VEGETATION AND THERE ARE  RESEARCHERS WHO BELIEVE THIS WORLD CAN PROVIDE PLENTIFULLY FOR OVER 40 BILLION PEOPLE? We now have 6 billion, and this number may be on the decline.

AND DO YOU KNOW THAT EARTHQUAKES HAVE REMAINED RELATIVELY THE SAME IN FREQUENCY And INTENSITY OVER THE LAST 2000 YEARS AND MAY HAVE ACTUALLY DECREASED OVER THE LAST seventy five years?

There are now over one hundred forty thousand people being converted to Christ every day.

Isn't all of this good news terrible? J

There are innumerable blessings that we overlook every day. We need to repent.

Back to Peter's insights -

1 Pet 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Again, did Peter know what he was talking about?

I believe he did and I also believe that his world, land, nation, and the religious system he was standing against, then, was burned up.

Things are far better, in every way, today then they were 2000 years ago thanks to Jesus Christ. They would be even better (an understatement), if the Church would just believe what he said in the New Testament.

Vern Manson Sunday, July 11, 1999

 

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