When I first started to hear about the Adventist Church, there were some parts of the belief system that I struggled with and today I am going to introduce one to you. If you are a Christian, you’ve probably heard the same things that I had heard for most of my life, and yet there is a huge misunderstanding in the teachings. Now, what I am going to introduce is not my interpretation, it is scripture based, and yet most of the major churches seem to have missed it.
When a loved one passes away, to help comfort the grieving family and friends, you will often hear the words, “Well he (she) is looking down on you now from Heaven.” While this may be a beautiful thought that our loved ones are in Heaven with God, it unfortunately is not supported by scripture.
So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep. (Job 14:12 NKJV)
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise…(2 Peter 3:10 NKJV)
So a man dies (lies down or sleeps) and does not rise until the day of the Lord. Pretty simple right? End of discussion? Unfortunately not, because of course someone will say that is only a small part of the Bible, and possibly taken out of context it could have been misinterpreted, and that’s absolutely correct, so we must look a little deeper.
Why don’t we look at the story of Lazarus in my favourite book, The Gospel According to John. So if this was in modern times, Jesus would have gotten a text or a call on His cell phone telling Him that Lazarus was sick and needed His help. Now most of the time when a person is sick, and you can help, you rush to help, but Jesus didn’t. He continued with what He was doing for two more days before making the trip to see Lazarus. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been “dead” for four days. But not to Jesus! He said that Lazarus was only sleeping, and went to his grave. He then commanded Lazarus to “come forth” and Lazarus rose from the dead (sleep) and lived again. If Lazarus had died and immediately gone to Heaven, He could not have risen again when Jesus called him.
Oh, but you say, he was only sleeping, in fact Jesus said he was only sleeping. And you are correct, except until you delve a little deeper into the meaning of sleeping in the Bible.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:14 NKJV)
Hmmm, those who sleeping in Jesus (believers) will rise with Him (Jesus) when He comes again. So if they sleep (or die) believing in Christ then they will go to Heaven.
So if we die and don’t go to Heaven right away, where are we? Simple, waiting in our graves for Christ to return and take us to Heaven with Him.
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:28,29)
So there we are parked in our graves waiting for Jesus to come and take us “home” and all the time we are hanging out as ghosts and haunting the places we used to frequent right? Sorry, thats not happening either. Ghosts are a myth and have no substance (both figeratively and literally) in fact.
For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun. (Ecclesiates 9:5,6 NKJV)
So there is one final thought that I’ll add. Many people quote Luke 23:43 on this subject:
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (NKJV)
Jesus is speaking to the thief on the cross next to Him and told him that he would join Jesus in Paradise. Now there are two major issues with this being interpreted as Jesus saying the thief would join Him in Heaven today. Firstly, when Christ died on the cross, He didn’t ascend to Heaven. His assent to Heaven didn’t occur until 50 days following His ressurrection (on Pentacost). So if Christ didn’t ascent to Heaven today then the thief couldn’t join Him today!
Secondly, while the Bible is written through divine inspiration, the punctuation was not! Punctuation was added many years later by man and therefore there were errors made. The comma in the above verse should have been placed following the word today and that completely changes the meaning of the verse:
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Now Jesus is speaking in the moment and assuring the thief that he will be in Heaven with His saviour, at the appointed time.
Now, please remember, that it is not my purpose to steer you in any manner, my purpose is to educate you and to entice you to explore the scriptures for the proofs you need for yourself. And as always, I welcome any and all comments. God Bless until next time.
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Amazing Prophecies: Daniel & Revelation Made Easy
From Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, four great beasts and a little horn, the ram and the goat, the Messiah appears. From Revelation: Letters to the seven churches, seven seals opened, seven trumpets, the great red dragon, seven-headed leopard beast, the three angels’ messages, the seven last plagues, the great whore Babylon, victory over Satan, Satan bound for 1,000 years, the New Earth.