Monthly Archives: May 2015

The firstfruits of them that slept

1 Corinthians 15:20 KJVS
[20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

There is a common misconception shared by a large portion of Christianity regarding death and the disposition of souls after death. First of all dead means just that, you are dead and lack any conscious awareness, Eccl 9:5&6. There is a specific order assigned to those who are to be resurrected from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:22-26 KJVS
[22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. [24] Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. [25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The order of resurrections, which involves large groups of people, are the first resurrection of the just and unjust, Mt 25:34, 41, and the second general resurrection of the white throne judgment, Re 20:11-14. The dead know nothing and their souls are in a sleep state, Eccl 9:5&6, Job 17-13-16, until resurrected into a body. In Revelation it mentions souls under the altar in heaven.

Revelation 6:11 KJVS
[11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be Revelation 6:9-11 KJVS
[9] And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: [10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be fulfilled.

A good deal of the Christian peoples of the world think that when they die, they do not pass go, and they either go directly to heaven or hell. If you do a word study on the word “resurrection” in the bible you will see the word is only used in the New Testament. That is because the resurrection is completely dependent upon the messiah, Jesus Christ, 1 Co 15:22-25, who is Abraham’s seed, Gal 2:29. You can ascertain some of what Jewish people believed in, while Jesus walked the earth, from the different accounts given in the gospels. Of course what Jesus states presents sound doctrine. The Sadducees presented Jesus a question trying to trip him up if you will, Lk 20:27-35. It is a rather a involved question regarding seven brothers marrying the same woman in succession following each one’s death and not producing a child during their various union. This invented situation was geared to ask just one question. In the resurrection whose wife would the woman be. Jesus answer is as follows.

Luke 20:34-35 KJVS
[34] And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: [35] But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

Let us take a look at verse 35 using a literal translation of the bible. Bear with me as this is relevant to the next point I am about to make.

Lk 20:35 Yet those deemed worthy to happen upon that eon and the resurrection from among the dead are neither marrying nor taking out in marriage. CLV

This scripture agrees in part with Col 1:12, and it is referring to the first resurrection of those, who will partake of the inheritance of Abraham. Those who are resurrected, will take part of the Kingdom of God, and rule and reign with Jesus Christ as priest and kings for a thousand years, Re 20:6. Just before Jesus was going to resurrect Lazarus, his sister Martha affirms her belief that her brother would be resurrected at the last day, Jn 11:24&25. The last day is a day of thousand years and Lazarus would be resurrected during or at the start of that day. I don’t want to get too bogged down in this, but in Lk 20:35, and in other verses in the New Testament, most bible translations will use a number of different words when translating the Greek noun G165.

Strong’s Number
G165
Original Word
αἰών
Transliterated Word
aiōn
Phonetic Spelling
ahee-ohn’
Parts of Speech
Noun Masculine
Definition
for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
the worlds, universe
period of time, age
Usage by Word
ever (50), world (32), never (7), began (3), evermore (3), ages (2), eternal (2), worlds (2), course (1), end (1), standeth (1)

The whole point of language is to communicate thoughts and ideas in as precise and clear fashion. Now granted, there is going to be a new heavens and earth, 2Pe 3:12&13, at the beginning of the Kingdom of God. So I suppose for the sake of argument, “world” could be used in Lk 20:35. But in all cases where G165 is used should be translated into the words age or eon, as it more accurately presents the different ages of God’s unfolding purpose in the earth. For a more expansive coverage of this see this article. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=269. I read a article over a decade ago on the Internet, that gave me insight in regards to a reason behind the wind of doctrine of man in this case, Eph 4:14. Most of the early religions and the mythologies of early civilizations were designed towards controlling people within those societies. The belief and fear of eternal torment does have a significant restraining influence on people’s who live in societies, past and present. Laws are effective because there are penalties involved if one breaks the law. Fines, imprisonment and in extreme cases the death penalty. I once stated to a man at a certain church that I believed God was going to save all men, and that hell or torment was finite not eternal. He said if that were true, then why should he go to church. And I said because your called by God and are a slave to righteousness. It was clear that the man’s mindset was on not spending eternity in fire. Fear of a eternal torment, and the preaching of it, is also a big money maker. Which is why you see so many different denominations and sects of Christianity in the world today. Almost all of which preach and uphold the doctrine of eternal hell. God’s main characteristic is love, 1 Jn 4:16. It is also written that no one can resist God’s will, Ro 9:19, and that He justifies the ungodly, Ro 4:5. So why would God save some on the one hand and consign a good deal of humanity to a eternal torment on the other hand? But that is not the scope of this post. The important thing that a person needs to understands, is what is taking place in regards to doctrine. In order to teach and maintain the concept of eternal damnation, the New Testament scriptures needed to be translated in a certain way to hide the truth of the matter in regards to death. So the major religious institutions over the centuries, printed translations which obfuscated certain words to hide the truth of the gospel. Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God. That kingdom is a thousand year kingdom. If you are found worthy of that great calling, and God is able to make you worthy, you will take part of the first resurrection of the just, Re 20,4-6. If not, you sleep in the grave until the white throne judgment. Those who are resurrected in the first resurrection of the unjust will suffer torment for apparently a thousand years.

Re 14:11 And the fumes of their torment are ascending for the eons of the eons. And they are having no rest day and night, those worshiping the wild beast and its image, and if anyone is getting the emblem of its name CLV

Eons of the eons is a superlative. Just as Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lord. So to his thousand year reign will be the greatest eon of all eons. But in most all other translations of the bible Re 14:11 will read similar to this.

Revelation 14:11 KJVS
[11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

So, in order to use religion and fear as a control mechanism, early Christianity was infused with the Greek and Roman mythologies of the immortality of the soul and eternal torment by fire. The Old English word hell actually means under the ground. You would put your potatoes in hell for the winter. And if you look in The Strong’s Concordance, at the usage of the Hebrew word sometimes translated into the English word “hell”, you will see this:

Usage by Word
hell (31), grave (28), pit (3), grave’s (1)

The trouble with the mistranslation of words in the bible, is a mistranslation does not hold true in all the verses where the Hebrew and Greek words are used. So you have to expand the definition of the word to support the doctrines of man and their religious institutions. With study, the truth of the scripture becomes clear and the indoctrination we were subjected to as we grew up, looses the grip it has on us. Religious institutions and even the media reinforce the indoctrination of the immortality of the soul and of either going to hell or heaven or some place in between after you die. Many of the major denominations have forgotten they are not of this world, and they do not presently reign, as the kingdom of God is slated for the age to come, Ro 12:2, 1 Co 4:8, Re 20:6. So they have no business in assisting governments in controlling and governing the people in the world. Their primary function is clearly outlined Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:12 KJVS
[12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

I would suppose there is no sense in going on and on about it. As stated before, religious indoctrination is hard to break free from. The 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted to the subject of death, and our hope in Christ, of the resurrection from the dead, and should be carefully read. The whole point of the law was it imparted the knowledge of what sin was, and the penalty of sin is death, Eze 18:20. Our hope is in Christ and the resurrection from the dead.

At the last trump

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 KJVS
[16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:52 KJVS
[52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I got to tell you, after 31 years with pain and weakness associated with a spinal cord injury, I am ready to hear that last trump, and be caught up in the air with Christ. But first the righteousness of God needs to be instilled in me.

Philippians 3:9-11 KJVS
[9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; [11] If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

I am looking to be found in him, with the righteousness of God by faith. The tag line of this web site, if you notice, comes from the latter part of 2Co 5:21

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVS
[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That we might be made the righteousness of God in him. This web site is largely concerned with how God accomplishes that fact in man, according to the scriptures. Alright, so when does the gathering of the saints in the clouds with Christ take place? At the last trumpet, or the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation. You know, where the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord’s and his Christ.

Revelation 11:15 KJVS
[15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Now there are differencing opinions concerning when the body of Christ rises in the air to be with Jesus. Different doctrines of man. I believe it takes place just before the final 3 1/2 years mentioned several times in the book of Revelation. If you follow the narrative in the book of Revelation and use other verses in the NT you will come to the same conclusion as I have.

Revelation 10:7 KJVS
[7] But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

I like this translation of the verse better.

Revelation 10:7 | ESV
7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

One can read the above verse and sail right by it without giving it much thought. I know I have on a few occasions. The word mystery is only used 22 times in the New Testament and not used at all in the Old Testament. But what exactly is the mystery of God? Most of the time it is simply referred to as the mystery but it is always a good idea to read scriptures in context. Paul to a large extent writes about the mystery of God because it was disclosed to him by God. He was given the dispensation by God to fulfill the word of God. By this, it means the gospel message preached before the disclosure of the mystery of God was not complete.

Colossians 1:25-27 KJVS
[25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

So why did God hide the mystery of Christ in you the hope of glory. Paul again answers that question in a earlier epistle.

1 Corinthians 2:5-8 KJVS
[5] That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. [6] Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom , which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it , they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The not so obvious point, is that if the Jewish and Roman authorities knew that by his death, Jesus would become the seed that would bring many sons unto glory, He 2:10&11, they would not have crucified the Lord. I like the way scriptures are interconnected and fill in the gaps and answers questions a person might have, if they study to show themselves approved, 2 Ti 2:15, that is. I guess since the mystery was hidden in past ages, it is not readily apparent to casual examination even today. There is a good reason for that.

Colossians 1:27 KJVS
[27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

I have read and cited this verse many times missing the obvious. God has to make it known to a person, see also Col 2:2.

Another verse in the NT that fittingly uses the word mystery is this one.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 KJVS
[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

So here we have Paul prophesying about when the body of Christ will be gathered unto the Lord using two words, mystery and trumpet, that is in agreement to what Apostle John prophesied in Re 10:7. This fact is not readily apparent in the KJV but if you look at the Strong’s and Thayer definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “sound” in Re 10:7, you will see that it means to sound a trumpet. There are some that claim there are other trumpet sounding events in the end times connected to Jewish feast days. I don’t think that is the case in the book of Revelation as a quick word study on trumpet shows otherwise. The shofar or goat horn blasts have no bearing on those in Christ being gathered into the clouds unto the Lord. A Rams horn is not a trumpet. The last trump Paul mentions in 1 Co 15:52, is the same seventh trumpet mentioned in Re 10:7 and Re 11:15. I don’t see a whole lot of wiggle room in regards to doctrine when you compare the information given in these scripture verses. Paul supplies additional information in regards to the timeframe of this event in 2 Thessalonians.

2Thessalonians 2:3 KJVS
[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

The son of perdition is commonly understood to be the Angel over the bottomless pit called Apollyon, also known as the beast mention in Revelation and central to end times events. At the sound of the fifth trumpet a angel of God descends out of heaven and uses a key to release him from the bottomless pit.

Revelation 9:1-2 KJVS
[1] And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. [2] And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
Revelation 9:11 KJVS
[11] And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

There are seven trumpets in Revelation and Paul is giving the church the time line, of end time events. At the last trump, the body of Christ will be changed and given spiritual bodies, 1 Co 15:44. The members of the Thessalonnian church were concerned that that resurrection had already happened because of two men, whose word must have held some importance, said it was already past.

2 Timothy 2:17-18 KJVS
[17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

The Apostles and the church in that era thought that the Lord would return in their lifetimes because the 70 weeks of Daniel were rapidly coming to a close and were waiting for the establishment of the thousand year Kingdom of God, until Peter prophesied this.

2 Peter 3:8-9 KJVS
[8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Which was and is good news for us in the latter days. Paul then changed his focus and started to prepare and establish leadership in the fledgling churches by means of letters or epistles which he wrote to Timothy and Titus, outlining what he wanted them to do in establishing the church. Salvation had been prophesied to go to the Gentiles in various books of the Old Testament and I am sure the learned members of the ruling class and even the common man on the street in Israel were aware of this and became desperate for the prophecies of the Kingdom of God to be fulfilled for the nation of Israel at that time. So much so, that they took matters into their own hands and revolted against Rome. Again, playing the role in history ordained by God for them, which lead to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70A.D., Mt 24:1&2, Mk 12:7-11, Ro 11:28-33, 1Pe 2:8. So the day of the Lord was consigned to a future date. As stated before, a angel will be given the key to the bottomless pit and release Apollyon in the ninth chapter of Revelation. There is a lot going on in the book of Revelation. There are the seven seals and then the seven trumpets and the seven plagues which appear to unfold in a linear fashion in regards to time. When the seventh trumpet sounds, Re 11:15, and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of the Lord and His Christ, it is at that point the body of Christ meets the Lord in the air. We know this because in the 12th chapter of Revelation, this takes place.

Revelation 12:4-6,17 KJVS
[4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. [5] And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. [6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. [17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

That they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days, is a interesting verse, along with “the remnant of her seed” in verse 17. Who is the “they” that are going to feed the woman? Is that going to be the function of Jesus and his body until the day of the Lord three and a half years later when Jesus set foot on the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4 Many claim the man child is the body of Christ, and I would agree because of the rod of iron mentioned in Re 12:5, is also mentioned earlier in Revelation in regards to the church of Thyatria, which was a Gentile church.

Revelation 2:26-27 KJVS
[26] And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: [27] And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

So you can see the woman who is said to be the mother of us all in Gal 4:26, not only gives birth to the manchild, body of Christ, but also has a remnant of her seed who the dragon makes war against in verse Re 12:17. I would be a fool if I said I understood completely the book of Revelation, but the symbols and objects mentioned throughout the book would, in my mind, be consistent with one another. Clearly in regards to the timeframe in regards to Re 12:4-6, it is shortly after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Re 11:15. I say that because three woes in the book of Revelation are tied to the last three Trumpets, Re 8:13. The first woe is when the bottomless pit is opened and locust emerge and torment men who have not the seal of God in their forehead, Rev 9:12. The second woe is the great earth quake that takes place after the two witnesses are caught up to heaven, Rev 11:12-14. Notice verse 14 states the third woe comes quickly. The very next verse is when the seventh trumpet is sounded.

Revelation 11:15 KJVS
[15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

The last or third woe takes place when Satan is cast down to earth, after the birth of the man child Re 12:12. A careful reading of chapters 8-12 will show that the rapture takes place when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear

Colossians 3:3-4 KJVS
[3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

In a large potion of denominational Christianity, it is taught that when you die you either go to heaven or hell. That doctrine presumes the immortality of the soul. The above scripture and others shows that to be untrue.

1 Corinthians 15:22-23 KJVS
[22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Only in Christ is there life.

John 1:4 KJVS
[4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 14:6 KJVS
[6] Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Numerous times our Lord mentions that he will raise up those in him at the last day, day of the Lord or seventh day.

John 6:54,56 KJVS
[54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Just to make clear that when our Lord talks of raising up individuals he is talking about the resurrection. Note the conversation our Lord has with Martha, who was Lazarus’s sister. Which also demonstrates that it was common knowledge in that day, that a person was in the grave until the resurrection.

John 11:23-25 KJVS
[23] Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. [24] Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. [25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

A few more verse that record what our Lord said regarding the resurrection and when it takes place.

John 6:44 KJVS
[44] No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:38-40 KJVS
[38] For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. [39] And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. [40] And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Prophecy in the epistles, especially Apostle Paul’s, gets more specific regarding the resurrection and when it takes place and make clear when Jesus Christ returns for his body the church and resurrects those that are dead in him and changes those that are alive.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44,50-53 KJVS
[42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: [43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: [44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. [50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Immortality is not a inherent quality of the soul.

Ezekiel 18:20 KJVS
[20] The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Apostle Paul also makes this clear in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians. One would do well to read and study the verses in that chapter? It is only through the power given to our Lord Jesus Christ by God, that a man is given life and he makes that clear in the gospel of John.

John 17:1-2 KJVS
[1] These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: [2] As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Let us look at Jn 17:2 using the Young’s Literal version.

John 17:2 according as Thou didst give to him authority over all flesh, that — all that Thou hast given to him — he may give to them life age-during; Young’s Literal

What often appears as eternal life in the scriptures is a intentional mistranslation and refers to the reign of Jesus Christ and his body on earth in the age to come, that lasts for a thousand years, Rev 20:6. Three and a half years before that age starts, the resurrected Saints meet the Lord in the air at the last, seventh, trumpet.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 KJVS
[16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Dead in Christ means just that, people that are dead and in their graves.

John 5:28-29 KJVS
[28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, [29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

But often in the New Testament scriptures the word asleep is used to describe those who are dead. See Acts 7:60, 1 Co 15:6&18, 1 Th 4:13&15, 2 Pe 3:4. If you the reader are with me so far, you certainly have noticed the excessive use of scripture I use when writing about doctrine. The reason I do this is because cultural and religious indoctrination is hard to overcome. It can be overcome if God has given you the love of the truth. Moving on, we know that the body of Christ is caught up together with those that were dead in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air at the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation, because Apostle John makes that clear, Rev 10:7, Rev 11:15. The mystery of God is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27. And that mystery is finished at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The very same mystery and event that Apostle Paul mentions in 1 Co 15:51.

Revelation 10:7 ESV
[7] but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

It may seem as if I strayed off topic a bit, but I wanted to make it clear when the first resurrection takes place for the body of Christ. Apostle Paul also makes clear the order of the resurrection in regards to our Lord and his body, the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23 KJVS
[20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Verse 20 defines the meaning of the term firstfruits as it applies to the resurrection. The term derives its meaning from the Jewish feast of First Fruits, where the first fruit of the grain harvest was offered to God. So clearly in terms of the resurrection, Jesus Christ was the first man to be resurrected. Then, as the scripture states, afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Th 4:16-17 agrees with this. Apostle John is in agreement with Paul in Rev 10:7,11:15, in regards to when the body of Christ is resurrected. Again, our Lord in many verses in the gospel of John makes it clear that life is in him, see those verses from the gospel of John at the beginning of the article. Then at the end of the thousand year Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven is the white throne judgment, where the rest of humanity is resurrected and judged, Rev 20:11&12. I grew up a Roman Catholic and many of my family members believe that our Lord’s mother, Mary, is in heaven along with other Saints. There is no scriptures to support this belief. The above scriptures clearly prove that Mary is in her grave, as are the Saints, awaiting the resurrection. Our Lord said this concerning his mother and brothers

Matthew 12:46-50 KJVS
[46] While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. [47] Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. [48] But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? [49] And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! [50] For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

It makes sense to me that our Lord often made statements that can be used to clarify matters of doctrine for the time he lived and for future believers. I think the Lord wanted to make it clear that his mother, as a human, holds no more importance in God’s kingdom to come, than any other member of the body of Christ. She was blessed among all woman due to the fact she was given the grace to give birth to our Lord, and be a part of his life for over 30 years. Which was a great honor, of which she was well suited, as she possessed great humility accompanied with a kind and gentle nature.

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened

Ephesians 1:17-18 KJVS
[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

This verse like many others in the New Testament electrified me in the past and beckoned me to further investigate the meaning thereof. The obvious approach is to investigate the word inheritance and heir. When you do, you find that the body of Christ is Abraham’s seed, and heir to the promise God made to Abraham, that he would inherit the earth, Ga 3:29 , Ro 4:13. In Eph 1:18, Paul prays that God the Father of glory Himself, gives you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. In short, the knowledge of Jesus Christ goes hand and hand with the mystery of God, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:25-27 KJVS
[25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

This verse is a companion verse to Eph 1:18, and many times when the word glory as used in the New Testament scriptures it is referring to God’s glory on the earth, the thousand year Kingdom of God. It is curious for me to hear other Christians mentioning dying and then going to heaven, as if that is the end point of it all. There are few scripture verses in the New Testament that shed light on this belief. It is written in Re 6:9-11, that the souls of those who were slain for the word of God are kept under the altar in heaven. If you read the verses in context, it could suggest the souls were animated for a short period of time, white robes given them, and then told to rest a little while longer.

Revelation 6:9-11 KJVS
[9] And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: [10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be fulfilled.

Souls under the altar in heaven sounds like the altar is a repository of sorts for deceased souls of those who were slain for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Which is suggestive that there is no conscience awareness while a soul is in heaven awaiting the first resurrection. But it is hard to separate what is figurative and what is literal in the book of Revelation and the same holds true for the parable of the rich and poor man that appears in Lk 16:19-31. Most times when I cite Revelation 20:6, that clearly states that the body of Christ is going to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, it seems like it has no impact on the Christian I am conversing with. That is because God the Father himself has to enlighten a persons eyes to see His calling. As a side note it also appears that the man child is resurrected first and woman that gave birth to him is given wings and flies off into the wilderness for 3 1/2 years, Re 12:14. Is the man child the body of Christ? Many believe so. Jerusalem is the mother of us all, Gal 4:26, and yet it states in Re 12:17 that the dragon made war with the rest of her seed. There are some interesting distinctions raised in the word of God that a wise man not seek to formulate into doctrine and would be smart to take a wait and see approach. Is this distinction regarding the seed of the woman because many are called but few are chosen, Mt 22:14? Over the years I have known many Christians who were very aggressive in their attempts to bring people to Christ. It is as if they feel, by their own powers of persuasion and willpower, a person can be drawn by them into the kingdom of God. But as you see that is not the case, John 6:44. God does the drawing. The revelation of Christ in you the hope of glory and all the implications thereof, does not happen all at once. We know only in part, at first, seeing these matters as through a darkened glass, 1Co 13:12. But as time goes on we grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and then see more clearly and embrace the hope of the calling, Php 3:14, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Which is to rule and reign over the nations of the world, in righteousness, with Jesus Christ for a thousand years from the nation Israel, Re 20:6. A person does not come by this knowledge easily so one must heed the advice Paul gave to Timothy and study to make himself approved, 2Ti 2:15. Approved for what? The high calling of God in Christ, the first resurrection. In your study of the Word you would do well to stay clear of wind of doctrine of men and learn from the scriptures.

Ephesians 4:14 KJVS
[14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The Strong’s definition for the Greek word translated sleight in the above verse has interesting connotations.

Definition
dice playing
metaph. the deception of men, because dice players sometimes cheated and defrauded their fellow players

To cheat by deception in a dice game is motivated by the desire for monetary gain. I would imagine the motive behind the deceptive wind of doctrines of man are for the same reason. Coupled with the desire to rule in this age, 1Co 4:8. The concept of the casting of dice brings to mind another verse and word associated with the casting of dice that has direct bearing on the topic of this post.

Ephesians 1:11 KJVS
[11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The Strong’s Concordance definition of the Greek word translated as ”
Inheritance” in the above verse.

Strong’s Number
G2820
Original Word
κληρόω
Transliterated Word
klēroō

Definition
to cast lots, determine by lot
to choose by lot
to allot, assign by lot
on to another as a possession
in NT: to make a lot, i.e. a heritage, private possession

This Greek word is only used once in the New Testament and has a large impact on the doctrine of predestination. Those who are to rule and reign with Jesus Christ were chosen by God with the casting of lots or by random chance before the foundation of the world, Ro 9:16, Eph 1:4. It is radom chance because God is not a respecter of persons, Acts 10:34. I have given this much thought over the years and the only conclusion I come away with is that history as we know it, and the role the vessels of mercy play in history, are all predetermined by God to fulfill His purpose in this earth. The realization of the thousand year Kingdom of God is part of the purpose that God intends with the body of Christ. A common thread running through most of my articles is that we are being made mature or are being made perfect by God for this inheritance Col 1:12. But the overall end goal is to present all men perfect in Christ, Col 1:28, so that God can be all in all, 1Co 15:28. Of which the body of Christ plays a important role as priest and kings with Jesus Christ in the age to come.