Home is Where We are Together

I Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, 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.

My son got married this summer. He and his new wife are moving into a new apartment this weekend.  We had some questions about where they would live. Would they live near her parents’ place? Would they live near where Kevin’s professional juggling partner lives? Where would their home be?  But “home” for them is where Kevin and Laura are together, wherever that is.

The majority of professing Christians (and true Christians also!) think that they are going home to heaven when they die.  I like to ask them my questions. If you thought death would actually cause you to “lose consciousness”, would you fear death (more than you do already)? Why should we eagerly hope and wait for the second coming of Christ (the next time without sins, Hebrews 9:28) or for the resurrection, when instead we could simply eagerly wait for death to take us home without ever “losing consciousness”?

This majority says that Christians are people who go to heaven as soon as we get dead, no resurrection required. On the other hand, I think the dwelling place of God will be with humans on earth.  I think that Christ ascended to heaven in order that He could come by His Spirit and prepare His people as His dwelling place.   .

I Corinthians 15: 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death

I Corinthians 15: 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord[ from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

The last Adam was a living being like the first man Adam, but Christ has NOW BECOME the life-giving Spirit.  We who are now already “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3:20) will one day (when Jesus our Priest and King comes to earth the second time) be changed and glorified and given immortality.

I know where my home is. Right now it’s a little “starter” townhouse my wife and I moved into 20 years ago. Home is where my wife and I are together. I hope to move somewhere else besides this house, perhaps to some place even smaller. But wherever my wife and I are together, there is home.  If indeed the dwelling place of those humans who are redeemed is up in heaven, that will be home. On the other hand, if the dwelling place of God is with humans on this earth, when Christ returns, that will be home.  “We will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

How is it that Christ will “bring with him the dead in Christ”?  The Thessalonians text tells us. We will not precede them. The dead will rise first. This is NOT about “never-dying souls” of dead Christians getting into heaven before the rest of us do. Leave your dead body behind. Do not pass go. Get a new body in heaven now, as soon as you die, and before they even bury your old body. No, none of that is our hope. Nor is our hope some experience of disembodied consciousness (like The Matrix) where we can engage in uninterrupted worship. That is a stoic hope. That is a hope for “positive thinkers” who know enough not to deny that they keep sinning, but who do deny that they have in them any fear of the first death.

I think this stoic hope suits those who put on a “Sunday show”, not only for church and for others but for themselves, because they fear human emotions so much that they like to think mainly in terms of power and control. They entertain a gnostic hope for a triumphal worship before and without

1 Christ’s second coming
2 the resurrection
3 the judgement
4 the old body raised and given immortality

Look! I agreed that those with this view are in the majority. I even stipulated that, even if they are correct, the most important thing is that we will be home with God, and not like we are now in this present evil age (Galatians 1).  I did not promise to not argue for my position!  My position is that, even though the end of the ages has come, the age to come has not yet come for us, and will not until Christ comes and we are raised from death and glorified even from the presence of sins.

I Thessalonians 4: We will not precede them because they will be raised first. Not because they go to heaven first, but because they will be raised first.

Human persons, elect and non-elect, justified and condemned, will not be left in the graves. But now they wait in the graves, and then the elect will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and clothed with immortality. Then “the dead in Christ will rise first. Only then, at His coming will those saints who are alive and remain be caught up together with dead saints [all at once, at the same time)] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air as He comes to earth. This meeting is not to go back to heaven, but the coming of heaven to earth. Thus “we shall always be with the Lord.”

The non-elect will also be raised on that day but only to come into condemnation, and then to perish in the second death. But the justified elect will be raised and “shall not come into judgment” (that already happened for them at imputation and justification) but will from then on, in the age to come, be with the risen Christ with bodies like his glorious body.

I Corinthians 10:11 These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages has come.

Galatians 1:4 Our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself up for us in order to deliver us from this present evil age.

Ephesians 1: 20-21 the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…has seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come

Ephesians 2:22 you  are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
John 3:13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man

Hebrews 9: 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the ages; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 10: 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
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17 Comments on “Home is Where We are Together”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Resurrection is for the elect alone.

    When I say that only the elect alone are raised to life, I am not denying that the non-elect are raised after the first death in order to be destroyed in the second death. Since God is holy and just, that future judgment of the non-elect is necessary and important.

    But the resurrection to life is only for the elect, and that is why I Corinthians 15 pays no attention to the non-elect. “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (v17-19)

    Even though non-elect do not suffer until the second coming, Christ has never known them and they have no safety from His coming wrath.

    Hebrews 9: 27-28, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 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.”

    When a person dies, life has left the body; breath has left. Genesis 2:7 teaches us that dust plus breath from God is the “soul”–the living being. So death is the “separation” of life from a person. I have no problem with the word “separation” if you also continue to tell us what is being separated.

    But the idea of separation surely does not prove the Roman Catholic dogma of a separate and immortal “soul”. God alone is immortal and will give immortality to His justified elect.

    If the death of death is no more death, does that mean the world keeps all the death it already has? That death has won all its victories, and that they cannot be undone, but now there will be no more deaths added to the ones that already happened? One thing I know: death is not our friend but our enemy. Resurrection is our hope.

    “Poured out his soul” goes to the definition of the word “soul”. The soul is the blood; the soul is that which can physically die. That is what a reading of Isaiah 53 gives unless you impose some non-biblical definition of soul onto the text.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Psalm 49 For he sees wise men die;
    Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
    And leave their wealth to others.
    11 Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,
    Their dwelling places to all generations;
    They call their lands after their own names.
    12 Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain;
    He is like the beasts that perish.
    13 This is the way of those who are foolish,And of their posterity who approve their sayings.
    14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave;
    Death shall feed on them;
    The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning;
    And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Hebrews 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the AGES; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had BY HIMSELF purged our sins, SAT DOWN at the right hand of the Majesty on high

    Hebrews 13: 20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever

    Matthew 24:3 should be end of the age, not end of the world

    Revelation 10:6 should be no more delay, not no more time

  4. markmcculley Says:

    The God of the Living” (Matt. 22:32. Mark 12:27. Luke 20:38). In these scriptures it is stated that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” But Traditionalists, believing that the “dead” are “the living,” making God the “God of the dead,” which He distinctly says He is not. Interpreting the words in this way, they utterly ignore the whole context, which shows that the words refer to the RESURRECTION, and not to the dead at all. Notice how this is emphasized in each Gospel:

    (i) “Then come unto Him the Sadducees, which say there is no RESURRECTION” (Matt. 22:23. Mark 12:18. Luke 20:27).

    (ii) The one issue raised by the Sadducees was the question, “Whose wife shall she be in the RESURRECTION?” (Matt. 22:28. Mark 12:23. Luke 20:33).

    (iii) The answer of our Lord deals solely with this one issue, which was RESURRECTION. Hence He says:
    Matt. 22, “as touching the RESURRECTION of the dead” (v. 31).
    Mark 12, “as touching the dead that they RISE” (v. 26).
    Luke 20, “now that the dead are RAISED, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, for he is not a God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto him” (v. 38).

    These words were spoken by the Lord Jesus in order to prove “that the dead are RAISED.” Traditionalists use them to prove that the dead are “living” without being RAISED!
    The Sadducees may have denied many other things, but the one and the only thing in question here is RESURRECTION. Christ’s argument was:

    1. God’s words at the bush prove a life for the dead patriarchs.
    2. But there is no life for the dead without a resurrection.
    3. Therefore they must be RAISED FROM THE DEAD; or “live again” by Him. This argument held good, for it silenced the Sadducees. For if they are “living” now, and not dead, how does that prove a resurrection? And, moreover, what is the difference between them and those who are in “the land of the living”? For this is the expression constantly used of the present condition of life in contrast with the state of death. Psalms 27:13
    “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
    Psalms 56:13
    “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?”

    Psalms 116:9
    “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

    Psalms 142:5
    “I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.”

    Jeremiah 11:19
    “But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.”

    Ezekiel 26:20
    “When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living;”

    In this last passage the contrast is very pointed; where God speaks of bringing down to death and the grave and setting His glory “in the land of the living.”
    The argument as to resurrection was so conclusive to the Scribes who heard Him, that they said, “Master, thou has well said. And after that they durst not ask him any question at all”(Luke 20:39, 40).


  5. markmcculley Says:

    II Corinthians 1: 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
    8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (and thought that we would die and be better off) Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death (which would have been gain for us if it had happened). But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead, (and who even before resurrection changes death into our advantage) . 10 God delivered us from such a deadly peril, ( which was not good for us but for others, because we are now in this body still sinning) and God will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the BLESSING granted us through the prayers of many.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    II Timothy 4: 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure (return to earth, dissolution and corruption) has come.

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Isaiah 51: the heavens vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment,
    and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;
    but my salvation will be forever

    Adam before sin had neither the problem or this hope

    Romans 8: 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.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. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it
    with patience.

    Revelation 21—And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

  8. markmcculley Says:

  9. markmcculley Says:

    i John 3: 2 “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.” Does this mean that “when we die and enter the immediate presence of Jesus”, we shall still not see Him, and still not be changed?
    Did the rich guy in hell have a soul with a thirsty tongue?

  10. 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.

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Colossians 3:1 So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is ABOVE WHERE the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your LIFE is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 WHEN the Messiah, who is YOUR LIFE, is revealed, THEN you also will be revealed with Him in glory
    John 3: 3 Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…. 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.

    John Bunyan—I saw Jesus at the Father’s right hand. ‘There,’ I said, ‘is my righteousness!’ So that wherever I was or whatever I was doing, God could not say to me, ‘Where is your righteousness?’ For it is always right before him. I saw that it is not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was brought in by Christ. Now my chains fell off indeed. and I lived sweetly at peace with God. Now I could look from myself to him I saw that my precious hope was indeed in a very safe trunk, not in me but in Christ my Lord. Now Christ was all: my righteousness, sanctification, redemption. (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners)

  12. markmcculley Says:

    II Cor 5: 2 Indeed, we groan in this body, desiring to put on our dwelling FROM heaven, 3 since, WHEN we are clothed, we WILL not be found naked. 4 Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, IN ORDER that mortality be swallowed up by life. 5 And the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.

    Hebrews 9: 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.

  13. markmcculley Says:

    n his divinity, Christ was never absent from heaven, never descended from heaven

    in his divinity, Christ is not now absent from earth, never having ascended from earth

    Tianqi Wu–If we devalue the body, then we will not only devalue the future resurrection, but also devalue Christ’s death. Christ bore the curse of the covenant breaker, cut off from the land of the living
    Those redeemed by him and to him will have to wait until He returns to enjoy the full benefit of the kingdom (bodily resurrection and immortality, face-to-face with the Lord and reunion with all believers, living on the new earth) that comes with the never ending age to come.
    . Christ didn’t wait until the end of this age to be raised. He was raised after three days. During these three days, his body was preserved by God from decay. He was no longer under wrath of God after he died, because he was no longer imputed with sin, having died to sin, because he had paid the sins imputed to him in full because of the loss of his life.
    The elect who have now already been redeemed to become sons (washed and sanctified by blood, reconciled to God, died to sin), have note yet obtained the redemption belonging to sons (glorification, inheritance of earth). They have died to sin, to the law, and to the world, and are guarded by God until their resurrection on the last day.
    As Christ is already raised from the dead and even reigns now, so the justified elect have been declared righteous and because Christ is now (absent in His humanity from earth) seated in heaven, the justified elect are now legally “seated with Him”. There will be a future visible manifestation of this legal reality by resurrection to glory and heavenly Jerusalem coming to earth.

    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) 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.


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