No Christian Has Yet “Gone to be with the Lord”— Asleep After the First Death

Now Christ is now in heaven. None of the justified elect are now in heaven. None of the justified elect have ascended to a place from which they never descended.

Hebrews 11: 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Acts 2: 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35 UNTIL I make your enemies your footstool.”’

Colossians 3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where CHRIST is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, THEN you also will appear with him in glory.

John 3:13–“No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.”

Psalm 110:1–”The Lord says to my Lord; Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The justified elect do not share God’s throne and do not sit at God’s right hand. The heavenly glory Christ had enjoyed in the Father’s presence before His incarnation has now been “crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death. (Hebrews 2:9)

Sitting there at the right hand, Christ does not simply wait but intercedes for the justified elect. Christ was first resurrected (the first-fruits) and then He ascended to heaven.

An ascent directly into heaven from the cross without a resurrection would be Plato’s pagan idea of death as the release of an immortal soul. Going to heaven is not resurrection.

Gnostics teach going to heaven without resurrection. Gnostics teach that resurrection is going to heaven. Some of these gnostics are preterists, but most of them simply do not think straight about the need for the second coming of Christ. Some of them claim that the second coming and the resurrection are necessary to claim our bodies from the grave, but agree with the popes that “immortal souls” are already either in heaven, or “hell”, or “purgatory”.

Theses traditionalists not only deny a lasting punishment which ends in the second (and final death), but they also hold onto unbiblical (Platonic) ideas about what “soul” is. Since they do not know that the living soul is body plus breath (Genesis 2:7), they tend to think of the “immortal soul” and they cannot deal with reality of Christ the servant pouring out His soul unto death (Isaiah 53). Since they change Christ’s death into “spiritual death”, they also tend to change Christ’s bodily resurrection into “going to heaven.”

Heretics like Harold Camping go so far as to say that Christ’s “spiritual death” (which he locates before the ages of history) is the real and effective death. Then he says that the physical death is only a demonstration of the “eternal” real “spiritual” death. Other unthinking preachers do not go as far as Camping, but they seem to prefer talking about Christ’s “infinite soul suffering” instead of the death Christ died in history which was demanded by God’s law for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ.

Ephesians 1:20 describes God’s mighty power “which He exercised in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and enthroned Him at His right hand in the heavenlies.”

Acts 3:15–”You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead.”

I Timothy 3:16 “He was taken up into glory”.

I Peter 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

I Peter 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

I Corinthians 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, THEN AT HIS COMING those who belong to Christ.

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32 Comments on “No Christian Has Yet “Gone to be with the Lord”— Asleep After the First Death”


    “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).”

    Al Martin is curious about your secret mortifications: “Let us dare not entertain secret thoughts–manifestations of unmortified self-will–that God is unfair in taking them from us. Instead, when our loved one had become our loss, we must consciously and deliberately direct our thoughts to the joy that has become Jesus’ gain.”

    So the death of Christians is a gain for Christ, not Christ’s enemy? It’s not Christians who are precious, but their death which is precious?

    When Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, I guess this means that Lazarus left heaven, and God lost, and the sisters of Lazarus gained.

    Why on earth would Christ return to earth (dragging all those Christians up there with Him down), when all the Christians on earth could just die and go where he is?

  2. markmcculley Says:

    the elect are not justified as soon as they are elected, and the justified are not given immortality as soon as they are justified. After our justification, our future sins not charged to us. So when we “confess our sins”, we call them sins but we do not say that they are still charged to us. We confess that they are already forgiven.

    But, even though we are justified, we still die, we still are mortal, we have not yet been given immortality. So what gives with that time gap? Not all the blessings which follow from justification have now been given to the justified elect.

    Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    If sin is no longer imputed to us, how then the body be dead because of sin?

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Philippians 3: 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

    the body of our humiliation

    our humiliating body

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Christ’s ascension was not before His resurrection

    Psalm 24:3
    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?

    Psalm 68:18
    You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.

    John 1:51
    And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

    john 3:13
    No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

    John 6:62
    What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

    Acts 2:34
    For David did not ascend into the heavens

    Romans 10: 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).

  5. markmcculley Says:


    Genesis 27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

    Psalm 42 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
    2 My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
    When shall I come and appear before God?

    v 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?

    Psalm 57:4 My soul is in the midst of lions;
    I lie down amid fiery beasts—
    the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords

    Psalm 63 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you

    Psalm 84 How lovely is your dwelling place,

    29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, andyou will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
    O Lord of hosts!
    2 My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the Lord;
    my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.

    Psalm 103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!

    Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    Matthew 16:25 For whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

    Luke 12: 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

    I Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    I Peter 1: 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart

    Hebrews 10 (Habakkuk) Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
    but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
    my soul has no pleasure in him.”

  6. markmcculley Says:

    On Being a Theologian of the Cross, p 5—“The most common story we tell about ourselves is what we call the glory story. The soul from glory bound for glory. Usually the subject of the story is the soul’. The basic scheme has been called the ‘myth of the exiled soul’.

    Tell me not in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream!—
    For the soul is dead that slumbers
    And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

    So said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet laureate of American sentimentality, in “A Psalm of Life”. The cross can be neatly assimilated into the story as that which makes the return of
    the soul possible so we also “can if we believe” enter paradise in our souls as soon as we die

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Isaiah 25: 6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
    7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.
    8 He will swallow up death forever;
    and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
    9 It will be said on that day,
    “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

    Isaiah 26: O Lord our God,
    other lords besides you have ruled over us,
    but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
    14 They are dead, they will not live;
    they are shades, they will not arise;
    to that end you have visited them with destruction
    and wiped out all remembrance of them.
    15 But you have increased the nation, O Lord,
    you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
    you have enlarged all the borders of the land.
    16 O Lord, in distress they sought you;
    they poured out a whispered prayer
    when your discipline was upon them.
    17 Like a pregnant woman
    who writhes and cries out in her pangs
    when she is near to giving birth,
    so were we because of you, O Lord;
    18 but we have given birth to wind.
    We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
    and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
    19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
    You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
    For your dew is a dew of light,
    and the earth will give birth to the dead

    Isaiah 53: Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief
    when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
    the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
    11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i and be satisfied;
    by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
    12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
    yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

  8. markmcculley Says:

    Psalm 139: 14 Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you,
    when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
    in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

    Psalm 17: 15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

    Psalm 49: 14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
    death shall be their shepherd,
    and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
    Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
    15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
    for he will receive me.
    16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
    when the glory of his house increases.
    17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
    his glory will not go down after him.
    18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
    —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
    19 his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
    who will never again see light.
    20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Psalm 42: 5 the salvation of my face and my God
    the help of my countenance and my God

    Romans 8: 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

    II Corinthians 5: we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

  10. markmcculley Says:

    1 Corinthians 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

    1 Corinthians 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

    2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

    James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    Revelation 14:4. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb,

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Calvin—the conclusion usually drawn is, that believing souls were shut up in an intermediate state or prison, because Christ says that, by his ascension into heaven, the place will be prepared. But the answer is easy. This place is said to be prepared for the day of the resurrection; for by nature mankind are banished from the kingdom of God…. we will not enjoy this great blessing, until he come from heaven the second time. The condition of the fathers after death, therefore, is not here distinguished from ours; because Christ has prepared both for them and for us a place, into which he will receive us all at the last day.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    How can the one who holds the power of death be said to be destroyed when people are still dying? (Hebrews 2)

    Christ–I lay down my life to take it again, I use Satan’s weapon against Satan. Satan did not cause me to die, but my death will cause Satan to die.

    Thus we are ready to wait for “that Day”, which is not the day of my death, but the Day of His appearing

    II Timothy 4: 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
    I Corinthians 13: 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

  13. markmcculley Says:

    John 6: 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to WHERE HE WAS BEFORE? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life

    (mark–which means there was a time when He was not there
    and now He is not here)

    II Corinthians 5: 6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord

    5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,

    II Cor 4: 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal (lasting) weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (lasting)

    John 12: 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
    John 17: 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me
    I John 2 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.17 And the world is PASSING AWAY along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

  14. markmcculley Says:

    three appearings— Hebrews 9: 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, NOW TO APPEAR in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, HE HAS APPEARED ONCE for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, WILL APPEAR A SECOND TIME not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
    verse 24, in between the first and second do earth, now in heaven verse 26 first appearing, on earth, back then and there verse 28 second appearing, on earth, in future without sins, without any more sacrifice for sins

  15. markmcculley Says:

    Mike Horton (from his review of Rob Bell): “A lot of us were raised in backgrounds where we expected to be saved from “the late, great planet earth” instead of with creation. Salvation was “going to heaven when you die”—that is, the real you—the soul, sloughing off its mortal coil. In spite of apparent disembodiment, heaven was like winning the national sweepstakes: your own mansion, streets of gold, jewels in your crown, and so forth…There are two “Gentile” ways of misreading the biblical plot with respect to the dawn of the kingdom of God.”
    “The first is to think of salvation as the liberation of the soul from the body. As we see especially in Plato, there is an “upper world” of eternal spirit or mind and a “lower world” of mere appearances, the prison-house of the body, chained to the ever-changing realm of historical flux. So the soul strives to ascend upward, away from the lower world.”
    “The second Gentile misreading of the kingdom is to imagine that it’s a perfection of human society from below, something that we can bring about gradually through our own activity. At least according to orthodox Jews, the kingdom of God is not an ethereal “other world,” but this world re-created. Yet it is also something that comes to earth from heaven, through God’s Messiah, not something that human beings can bring about.”

  16. markmcculley Says:

    A mere three years after he challenged Tetzel to a debate on indulgences with his 95 theses, Luther would be arguing that praying for the dead was as wrong as praying to the dead. To believe that the dead in heaven could pray for anyone on earth was dead wrong, as the pun would have it, or even worse. “The Scriptures forbid and condemn communication with the dead… For Luther, the communion of saints mentioned in the Creed was not to be understood as anything other than a eschatological hope.about the promised resurrection and the kingdom to come. Carlos Eirie, A Very Brief History of Eternity, p 108
    Luther, from in a sermon in 1522—-“The summons of death comes to us all, and none of us can die for another. Everyone must fight his own battle with death by himself, alone. We can shout into each other’s ears, but everyone must himself be prepared for the time of death. I will not be with you then, nor you with me. “

  17. markmcculley Says:

    “Mark rejected a probationary theology which said that our future life depends on one’s history in this life and which therefore turns the gospel into something “conditional” on what God does in us.” And this: “Mark became very suspicious of human “righteousness”. Perhaps he overreacted to hypocrisy. As he grew older and lazier, Mark settled more often for immediate gratification than for the constant deferrals and “endurance” required by projects and ambitions.”
    Mark McCulley finished dying this afternoon. He began dying when he was born in May 1955 in Winston Salem,North Carolina. Mark is survived by his wife Linda Titmus McCulley, who he met while both were teaching at Portsmouth Christian School in Virginia.
    Mark taught English at schools in Montana, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, and Lancaster. Mark is also survived by his daughter Marsha, who works in special education and by his son Kevin, a professional juggler Mark did not think he would go straight to heaven. He believed instead that we have to wait for Jesus to come to earth. Therefore he has assigned his children the task of reading at the grave. I Corinthians 15 and Romans 8. I Corinthians talks about the great discontinuity brought about by resurrection on the day of the second coming. Romans 8 talks about Christ’s death for those God loves.
    By Mark’s request, his funeral will not be officiated by a clergyman. Mark had engaged for a long time in reactionary gestures against what he regarded as an unbiblical division of people into “laity” and “non-laity”. Mark had rejected “ordination” for himself when he was a pastor for five years in the Church of the Brethren in Midland, Michigan.
    Though Mark did not object to hymns about “crossing the river to safety”, he preferred hymns that spoke of death as the dark enemy which will be defeated and of sleep while waiting for the resurrection . Mark rejected a probationary theology which said that our future life depends on one’s history in this life and which therefore turns the gospel into something “conditional” on what God does in us.
    Though Mark would have liked to have died by being killed in some great cause, or even for Jesus to come so he could “depart” in that happy fashion (Philippians 1), he had learned that these things were not in his control. Mark talked a great deal about death. Some of his favorite books were The Death of Ivan IIyich by Tolstoy, The Denial of Death by Becker, and Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky with its last story one about a funeral and pancakes and hope of resurrection. But Mark was not in love with death. He hated death.
    Mark became very suspicious of human “righteousness”. Perhaps he overreacted to hypocrisy. As he grew older and lazier, Mark settled more often for immediate gratification than for the constant deferrals and “endurance” required by projects and ambitions.
    There is a John Newton hymn Mark requested for the funeral
    One there is, above all others,
    Well deserves the name of Friend;
    His is love beyond a brother’s,
    Costly, free, and knows no end:
    They who once His kindness prove,
    Find it everlasting love!
    Which of all our friends to save us,
    Could or would have shed their blood?
    But our Jesus died to have us
    Reconciled, in Him to God:
    This was boundless love indeed!
    Jesus is a Friend in need.
    When he lived on earth abasèd,
    Friend of sinners was His name;
    Now, above all glory raisèd,
    :Still He calls them brethren, friends,
    And to all their wants attends.
    Could we bear from one another,
    What He daily bears from us?
    Yet this glorious Friend and Brother,
    Loves us though we treat Him thus:
    Though for good we render ill,
    He accounts us brethren still.
    O for grace our hearts to soften!
    Teach us, Lord, at length to love;
    We, alas! forget too often,
    What a Friend we have above:
    who one day will bring here what’s above
    And then we will love as we ought

  18. markmcculley Says:

    mortal means not permanent
    but for Christians
    being impermanent is impermanent
    but our present mortality
    is not unimportant
    the age, what is passing away
    we will not forget
    even after that day
    our previous mortality

  19. markmcculley Says:

    Seeking sainthood in the Catholic Church? If you’re from outside Western Europe, things are looking up. A Harvard University study suggests both an uptick in saint-making and a larger portion of new saints coming from outside Western Europe, thanks to increasing competition for worshipers around the world from Protestant religions. Sainthood is quite an exclusive club for American Catholics. Pope Francis’s plans to canonize a Spanish missionary next week will be only the 11th canonization of anyone with close ties to America. During his trip to the United States later this month, the pope will canonize Junipero Serra, who spread Catholicism in modern-day California. Declaring Serra a saint — meaning the Catholic Church recognizes that a person has made it to heaven and can intercede for those on earth.

    but protestants don’t understand heaven either

    John 3:12 If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.

    sudden death is not sudden glory—but not because of purgatory

  20. markmcculley Says:

    William Tyndale, 1530—-

    “Nay, Paul, thou art unlearned; go to Master More, and learn a new way. We be not most miserable, though we rise not again; for our souls go to heaven as soon as we be dead, and are there in as great joy as Christ that is risen again.” And I marvel that Paul had not comforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had known it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection, that their dead should rise again

    More, putting departed souls in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy he arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection…. And again, if the souls be in heaven, then what cause is there of the resurrection?—William Tyndale, An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue (Parker’s 1850 reprint), bk. 4, ch. 4, p. 180

    The true faith setteth forth the resurrection, which we be warned to look for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, did set forth that the souls did ever live. And the pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree. And because the fleshly-minded pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scripture to stablish it., p. 180.

    And when More proveth that the saints be in heaven in glory with Christ already, saying, “If God be their God, they be in heaven, for he is not the God of the dead;” there he stealeth away Christ’s argument, wherewith he proveth the resurrection: that Abraham and all saints should rise again, and not that their souls were in heaven; which doctrine was not yet in the world. And with that doctrine he taketh away the resurrection quite, and maketh Christ’s argument of none effect. p. 118.

  21. markmcculley Says:

    looking at 2 Cor. 5:8, in context, we note the following:
    1. The hope expressed in the context is that of resurrection (2 Cor. 4:14);
    2. The “earthly tent” is our present mortal body (5:1a);
    3. The “building from God” , the “eternal house in heaven” (5:1b) is our future resurrection body;
    4. The clothing metaphor (2-4) elsewhere is used of the resurrection (1Cor. 15:53-54);
    5. The “swallowing up” of the “mortal” by “life” (5) also occurs at the resurrection (1Cor. 15:54);
    6. It is in anticipation of this hope that we “groan” (2,4 c.f. Rom. 8:22f);
    7. Paul’s use of such terms as “naked” (c.f. 1Cor. 15:36-27 with 42 and following) and “unclothed” describe the intermediate state and it is clear from the passage under consideration that Paul does not desire to be in this state (3,4) despite how Paul’s Greek contemporaries may have felt.
    8. Note lastly that the context concerns our appearance before the judgment seat of Christ (10), which occurs only after Christ returns.
    Paul speaks only of future resurrection from beginning to end.
    So Paul’s controversial words are best understood as teaching Paul’s preference to be away from this mortal body, having put on his immortal resurrection body as a consequence of Christ having returned.
    In Phil. 1:23 the use of the term “depart” suggests a journey in which the beginning is death and the end is being with Christ. The “gain” which Paul has in mind throughout the context is that which comes of dying a martyr’s death.

  22. Calvin—“The body which decays, weighs down the soul, and confining it within an earthly habitation, greatly limits its perceptions. If the body is the prison of the soul, if the earthly habitation is a kind of fetters, what is the state of the soul when set free from this prison, when loosed from these fetters? Is it not restored to itself, and as it were made complete, so that we may truly say, that all for which it gains is so much lost to the body? . . . For then the soul, having shaken off all kinds of pollution, is truly spiritual, so that it consents to the will of God, and is no longer subjected to the tyranny of the flesh; thus dwelling in tranquility, with all its thoughts fixed on God. “Tracts Relating to The Reformation, p 443

  23. before the throne of God above
    I have a strong and perfect plea

    I know that while in heaven He SITS
    nobody will tell me to leave there
    because I am never going to be there
    except by identification with Him who SITS there

    Only the one who descended from there
    has ascended back over there above
    i am not going up
    He who rose and sits bove is coming down

    It was not the immortal soul of the Savour which went up there
    my Savour died here, made satisfaction here
    my Savour was priest here, finished His death here
    my Savour rose from the dead here
    all that done before ascending there above

    You can’t see Him, but He’s sitting there above
    and now because of what He did here
    He has a righteousness He earned here
    not only righteousness as the Person who always was
    but the finished righteousness of His death

    One with Him I can and have died
    One with Him I have died the death which satisfies God’s law
    and now my life is hid with Christ on High
    until Christ comes back here below

    God brings everything together in Him who sits
    both things in heaven and things on earth united and new
    and He who rose and who now sits above will come down
    to live with us
    when in this ruined age my flesh shall fail
    and mortal life cease
    I shall not go up above behind the veil
    but sleep until He who rose and now sits above come back to earth
    and after Jesus the risen one has come back ten thousand years
    we will still have no less days to sing God’s praise
    than the first day He comes back
    or than we have already right now

    Hebrews 2: 5 For He has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about…. For in subjecting everything to him, He left NOTHING that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. 9 But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time….crowned with glory and honor because of His death.

  24. John Macarthur–“Death is not our enemy because it takes us right to where we want to be”-

    I Thessalonians 4: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ WILL RISE first.

    Hebrews 11: 38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that THEY would not be made perfect without US

    I Corinthians 15: We will not all fall asleep,
    but we will all be changed,
    52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye,
    For the trumpet will sound,
    and the dead WILL BE raised incorruptible,
    and we will be changed.
    53 For this corruptible must be clothed
    with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal must be clothed
    with immortality.
    54 WHEN this corruptible is clothed
    with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal is clothed
    with immortality,

  25. markmcculley Says:

    mark: all the elect are glorified at one time together, not individually when they die.

    I Thessalonians 4: 15 We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up TOGETHER with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage ONE ANOTHER with these words.

    Hebrews 11: 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us

    Bodily resurrection isn’t about the lone individual. It’s rather a public and communal event at one point in time. In Matthew 25, all the nations are gathered before the Son of man, and in Revelation 20, all the dead stand together before the great white throne. Here Christian art follows the Bible and gets it right. Scenes of the resurrection typically depict large crowds.

  26. markmcculley Says:

    Dale Allison–Some modern theologians underline the point by insisting that to be dead means not to exist. God, they say, brings life out of things that are not. They’re like Milton and Thomas Hobbes, who thought that death followed by resurrection would be the best way to preserve God’s grace and omnipotence.

    Allison—I think of things a bit differently. It’s true that God is the subject of our sentences with “will raise” or “will resurrect” in them. Yet neither the New Testament nor the dominant Christian tradition teaches that to die is to cease to be. Resurrection isn’t the gift of existence as such but the end of being ghosts. It’s like Christ harrowing Hades. The dead who rise with the savior are already there when he shows up. They’re waiting, hoping to exchange the desolation of the underworld for the joys of heaven. Nonetheless, death would indeed seem to be the utter end of all human effort, of any illusion that we’re masters of our fate. You can’t resolve either to be extinguished or to live on after brain death. And if you do somehow live on, you can’t choose which part of you does so, or where it goes, or how it gets there. If there’s an agent in death, it can only be God. We’re reduced to hope. Our incapacity makes us like Jesus on the cross. All he could do was close his eyes and commit his spirit to Another

  27. markmcculley Says:

    when humans pass away (die), do they go back to nothing (or dust)?
    \when the old earth passes away, will the old earth be destroyed?
    was the world after the flood made out of the world before the flood?
    will the new earth be created out of nothing?
    I Peter 1: 7 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which PERISHES THOUGH REFINED BY FIRE—will result in praise, glory, and honor AT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.
    II Peter 3: 5 Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these waters the world of that time PERISHED when it was flooded. 7 But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and DESTRUCTION of ungodly men
    II Peter 3: 10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will PASS AWAY with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be DISCLOSED. 11 Since all THESE THINGS things are to be DESTROYED in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in HOLY CONDUCT and godliness
    Malachi 3: 2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye.
    Revelation 21: 4 the previous things have passed away 5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.

  28. markmcculley Says:

    Genesis 2: 7 Then the Lord God formed the man out of the DUST from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living soul.

    Genesis 4: 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper” 10 Then the Lord said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground!

    Hebrews 9: 26 now Christ has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, the judgment— 28 so also the Messiah, HAVING BEEN offered ONCE to bear the sins of many, will APPEAR A SECOND TIME, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

    Hebrews 11: Some were tortured, not accepting release… others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. 38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for US, so that THEY would not be made perfect without US.

    John 5: 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has the life of the age to come and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life…28 a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out

    John 6: 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I would lose none of those He has given Me but would raise them up on the last day.

    Revelation 3: 5 they will walk with Me in white and I will never erase their names from the book of life

    Revelation 6: Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.”

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