Dear Mr. Alden, In the February issue of 2012 you inserted the poem, “Waiting at the Station” which suggests that instead of the dead who believed in Christ are simply in the grave waiting for His return rather than being with Him in Heaven. This sure is different from what I was taught and what my church teaches. Can you expand on it?
I have replied to similar questions in the past and have quoted passages from the books of Job, Daniel and elsewhere. In particular, I have quoted from John 11, a resurrection chapter, where Jesus told His disciples (verse 11) “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” There is certainly no better authority. The gifted late Bible scholar, Howard Rand, wrote on this in great depth in the July, 1952 issue of Destiny magazine and you might enjoy the following excerpts from his article, “Your World: The Span of Life.” He wrote: “Men of science continually add to their findings concerning the age of the earth, bringing forth more and more evidence of its existence for countless ages since its creation. But each person who speaks of the centuries gone by only expresses what he has learned from the historical records left by those who lived before him. No individual has any experimental knowledge of the past. For each one the world actually begins with his birth and will end with his death. The mere fact that millions of other human beings have been born and have died since the beginning of the human race does not add one iota of length to the duration of the world for any man; nor will it cause the present world to exist as far as he is concerned beyond his allotted span of life, the number of days God has assigned him in the land of the living.
Each individual is the center of a world of his own. From his personal point of view the entire world revolves around him as events touch him and affect his life from birth to death. Death is the end of the world for him and were it not for the fact of his association with others whose life cycles overlap his, and the written records that he may read, the darkness of the unknown would precede the time of his birth just as it follows the time of death.”
Mr. Rand then refers to the Dreamless Sleep. He wrote, “The state of undisturbed and dreamless sleep which is the normal experience of humankind is an earnest of how time can be bridged unconsciously, for where there is no conscious knowledge or understanding, time is eliminated. There is, however, a further example that demonstrates how both time and space may be transcended. This is well illustrated when one boards an airplane at night and sleeps soundly during his journey. While he sleeps he bridges both time and space, awakening in the morning at his destination without conscious knowledge of the passage of either.
It is Bridging Time and Space. It is self evident that there can be no personal knowledge of the passing of time prior to birth and, when death comes, the human soul will bridge both time and space in a state of suspended animation, so that, although centuries may intervene between death – even the death of the oldest inhabitant of the earth — and the coming day of resurrection, there will be no sense of the passing of time. Thus, as far as each person is concerned, the day of resurrection will follow immediately for him the moment he loses consciousness in death. For those whose faith and trust has been in the Lord of their salvation down through the ages, the walk through the valley of the shadow of death is an instantaneous passing through the vale into the presence of Him, the glory of whose coming they will then behold.”
So, when Christ returns, “he will wake the dead out of their sleep”, as He said to His disciples. Paul also made this clear in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
Dear Brooks: I’m interested in your thoughts about Matthew 13:12 about abundance being taken away.
For the readers’ benefit, I will begin by quoting the entire verse, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” The abundance of course is “knowledge” because the preceding verse makes it clear, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” God has chosen to lift the blindness of certain of His Elect and because of the Israel Truth being known to them, there is an understanding of the Kingdom of God. And with the key to the true identity of Israel, Bible passages make sense and study becomes a true joy. And so, the knowledge increases rapidly. I’m sure there are others that have not had the blindness lifted who are enjoying abundance, perhaps to a lesser degree. However, to those others to whom Jesus refers, their knowledge is like the seeding in verse 22, ‘He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
The abundance is clearly reflected in verse 23, note that “sowed in good ground, he who hears the word, and understands it, brings forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Knowing the Israel Truth makes abundance so much more fruitful.
Verse 13 is paramount. Jesus said, “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing, see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Sadly, most churches today fall in the category of “them.” They can read the parables and understand the personal meaning but have no idea that the parable also contains a national message. It is this message that focuses on True Israel and the Kingdom of God. The same holds true for many of the stories and events in the Bible, in the past, for example, our articles have shown how the Apostle John made great use of symbolgy and stories to veil a hidden meaning. One day, the Lord God Almighty is going to lift the blindness of all Israel and the joy of sight will be magnificent.