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.
Add to this the fact that it was a spiritual kingdom.
- And that it was an in heart situation.
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.
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.
He also believed that Christ was over all and reigning, but at that time everything was still yet to be subdued.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.)
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?
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.
GOD AND CHRIST MADE ALL THINGS NEW - PAST TENSE - 2000 YEARS AGO.
Our being in the Lord and in his Kingdom is by faith.
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.
However, he said some more very pertinent things about the end and Christ's return. Did he lie? I think not.
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.
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 -
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