The question asked in the title to this series was spoken by Jesus of Nazareth, is found in Matthew 24:46. The follow-up question a true saint will ask is: “SO DOING–WHAT?” The answer is found in verse 35: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but MY WORDS WILL NOT PASS AWAY.” By Christ’s statements we know that “My Words” and “so doing” are eternally connected. His spiritual brethren (saints) will be obeying His Words upon His return. In Matthew 12:46-50 He confirmed this Truth by defining His spiritual brethren as “… they who do the will of My Father in heaven.” The Holy Bible is God’s will in print. Jesus also said to His disciples that He would die for His friends. He then told them that they were His friends for whom He would give His life, “… if you do whatsoever I command you” (Jn. 15:13,14). Obviously, Christ values His Words greatly. And obviously He did not die for those who do not do whatsoever He commands them in the Holy Scriptures. Jesus did not die for sinners saved by grace.
The context of the question found in the title of this series concerns the return of Jesus Christ to gather His Elect unto Himself where He will be waiting in the clouds (1 Thes. 4:13-17). From there they will descend to the Mount of Olives, walk into Jerusalem where He will establish the Kingdom of God. Read The Three Resurrections and The Kingdom of God. Key words–Three and Kingdom respectively.
Relative to the passage in 1 Thessalonians, the question now becomes, who are those who “sleep” (are dead) in Christ Jesus?” and who are those who will be “alive at His coming?” Again, the answer is found in Matthew 24:35. The only thing God created that will not eventually pass away is the WORD/Law. Everything in the heavens, along with the earth’s surface, will burn up and be replaced prior to the arrival of God the Father and New Jerusalem from Heaven. The only thing that will not be replaced is the WORD/Law/Gospel/Truth/light of God. As Jesus, His prophets and apostles made abundantly clear time and time again, the Holy Scriptures are of utmost importance. Equally obvious is the fact that those who will be “asleep in Christ” and those who will be alive upon His arrival will have OBEYED THAT WHICH IS SO IMPORTANT TO THE GODHEAD THAT IT WILL NEVER PASS AWAY–THE HOLY BIBLE.
When was the last time you heard the words written in the previous paragraph? I am guessing NEVER. That is because THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH HAS NEVER HEARD THE TRUTH, IS NOT TAUGHT THE TRUTH AND IS TOLD TO DISMISS THE TRUTH IF IT HAPPENS TO BE HEARD OR READ. I had to leave that “unclean thing” (church–2 Cor. 6:14-7:1) in order to hear God’s Truth clearly from the divine source with the help of His modern day Elijah, a gentleman named Herbert W. Armstrong. I recall the first time I heard and saw him preach on television. God spoke to my 15-year-old heart and said: “Listen to him; he is important.” I was introduced to the Truth of the Scriptures by that man. I look forward to meeting him. He died years ago and is asleep, waiting to be resurrected upon Christ’s return.
Near the end of His life and ministry, Jesus took His 12 disciples aside and taught them a lesson concerning His Word. This lesson is found in chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew’s Gospel. His words to them were meant for those who would embrace the apostles’ message from the founding of the church to the last days of this world leading up to His return to earth. In 24:37 He noted that those days will be as “the days of Noah”–filled with sin. In verses 45-51 He addresses the ministers in the end-time church of today. Then in chapter 25:1-13 He addresses church laity in the last days. Both messages refer to the Kingdom of Heaven–the church established in 31 A.D. which will still be in existence upon His return.
But notice that within that church there are both good and bad ministers as well as good and bad believers. Their spiritual status upon Christ’s return will be determined solely by how they approached His Holy Words as spoken and written by His prophets and apostles. The dead in Christ will be the first to rise to meet Christ in the clouds upon His return. They will be followed immediately by those who are alive at that time (1 Thes. 4:13-17). The Apostle John tells us that, upon their ascent, they will 1) be changed in the twinkling of an eye and 2) they will look (in bodily appearance) like Christ, for they will see Him as He is–1 Cor. 15:52/ 1 Jn. 3:2. Having been born again at the instant of their ascension, they will consist totally of spirit as He is now totally spirit.
Which begs the question: What will make the good servant and the five wise virgins of Matthew 24 and 25 acceptable to the Lord upon His return? The answer is the same in both cases: OBEDIENCE TO THEIR MASTER’S WORDS. We cannot obey what we do not know. We will not obey what we do not believe. We cannot know, believe and obey God’s Word unless we study it diligently.
We are told in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we must study God’s word in order to show ourselves acceptable to Him. Note that Paul was writing to an established evangelist, telling him that in order to be accepted by God he had to study His Words diligently. We are told in 2 Timothy 3:14-16 that all Scripture is given to us by inspiration (through the Holy Spirit) and is good for establishing doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness. In Isaiah 28:9-13 God tells us how we must study His Word in order to glean its true meaning and learn how to separate His Truth from religion’s wishful thinking. Part of this process involves “testing the spirits” of religious leaders to determine if they are of God (1 Jn. 4:1). We must “prove all things of God” by comparing what they say to what God says (1 Thes. 5:21).
In the next posting we will plumb the depths of God’s Holy Word where we will learn things about Him that few people know and few of those who do know will admit to knowing. As the reader will learn, God is not what we have been told He is. There are aspects of God that few people will accept, though they are plainly stated in His Book of Truth. In the next posting we will separate Bible fact from church fantasy. As I am sure you have guessed, this will involve some “fineprint” information. Remember, God is in the details. L.J.