May 28, 2017 Leaving for Another Paradise

Leaving for Another Paradise

“All aboard!” So said the Southern Railway conductor when my grandmother and I departed Washington, DC, for Greenville, SC, when I was fifteen years old, and, again, upon our return. The Apostles Paul writes that we will hear similar words when Jesus leaves Father God’s side (Psalm 110.1; Acts 7.56) and makes a stop for us; see 1 Thessalonians 4.15-18. Some passengers will get to board before others, as Paul explains, but all will find a seat. Which group you are in depends upon when the Father (Matthew 24.36) says your “room” is ready; see John 14.2 (ESV). I can hear the echoes of “Hallelujah” and “Praise God” aboard that train now!

A. Second Group to Board: Earthlings

  1. Like Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4.17, the second group will be the Earthlings who are alive when the “Archangel” Conductor sounds the final call and the herald trumpet announces the King’s arrival on rails of air (Deuteronomy 33.26; Psalm 104.3).
  2. These have believed John 3.16 & 47-50 and have accepted the exclusivity of John 14.6. How joyful it will be, especially, for those who may be successfully fulfilling 2 Corinthians 5.20 when the call comes!
  3. [How sad it will be for those refusing reconciliation! Perhaps, you can imagine their similar pleas when contemplating the fate of those who drowned in the Flood, see Genesis 7.17, or those who refused to look to the snake on the pole, Numbers 21.9, and died from the toxin. Their criticisms became their last will and testament. How analogous are Jesus’ words in Matthew 7.21-23 mixing philosophy with justification?”]
  4. It won’t matter what these departing Earthlings are wearing when the call comes. For, Paul writes that they will be changed in a “moment, in the twinkling of an eye” [= 23 or 5.19 millisecond, depending upon whether one is a ‘sleepy’ or ‘non-sleepy’ bus driver; see at Google: ‘how fast is the twinkling of an eye’] (1Corinthians 15.51-53). Mortal ‘Earth-suits’ are instantly replaced by one “imperishable”; i.e., “immortal” or eternal!
  5. Jesus discusses such ‘twinkling’ in Luke 17.18-36. He seems to cover the night and day of 24 hours in verses 34-35; it won’t matter what time zone you are in.
  6. Writer’s clarification: I hope that I am among this group but write about these “Earthlings” with necessary uncertainty.

B. First Group to Board: Leaving One Paradise for Another

  1. According to Paul’s 1 Thessalonians 4.16, residents of the Paradise of Hades join Jesus first. How did Paul know? Verse 15 states that Jesus told him directly. [Later, Jesus would tell the Apostle John to write the Revelation to encourage readers; see Revelation 1.1-3. Perhaps, this was Jesus’ good news to those in the Paradise of Hades when He escorted the thief after His Crucifixion (Luke 23.43), that their time there would not be much longer (Ephesians 4.9-10; Revelation 6.9-11).]
  2. Obviously, they get their “imperishable” and “immortal” bodies first; see 1 Corinthians 15.51-57. This ‘release’ from Hades is the fulfillment of verses 54-55. The ‘”victory” over death is resurrection to join Jesus in the air, since the dead believers are in Hades, the place of the dead; that is, in Paradise and not in the Pit (Luke 16.19-31; Isaiah 14.12-15). Being first to join Jesus may be their reward, even though a millisecond of time. Consider 2 Corinthians 3.17, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
  3. But, what bodies do those in the Paradise of Hades have while there, since they left their Earth-suits behind (James 2.26) and have not yet received their “immortal” bodies? Perhaps something is between, as is exemplified by Moses. Deuteronomy 34.1-7 records the last events in his Earth-suit, which was left behind, as is stated in Jude 1.9. [Burying the Earth-suit is probably how the attendant because known as an ‘undertaker’, or one who takes the body and puts it under the topsoil.]
  4. We next see Moses with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration; see Matthew 17.1-8. Peter recognizes Moses and Elijah in their bodies; not Moses’ Earth-suit, which he left behind. And, Elijah’s Earth-suit must have been changed in the chariot, since his lungs could not have survived the thin-air ride to the Paradise of Hades (2 Kings 2.11). So, were their new suits capable of living both on Earth and in Paradise? Or, was the “veil” (2 Corinthians 3.18) removed from Peter’s eyes so he could look into the Intermediate or Present Heaven (like the prism refracting white light into it’s seven colors and energy or the names of Jehovah-rapha, etc. giving unique pictures of God)?
  5. Not to worry, for you will not have to ‘change clothes’; it will happen automatically. Traveling from Earth to the Paradise of Hades will only take a ‘twinkle’!

C. “All Aboard!”

Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. 170528

May 14, 2017 Two Heavens

Two Heavens

And you will enjoy both…. on Earth. As you can imagine, there is a lot to unpack with these statements. So, we will use an instruction you read in Psalms 3 & 4 and Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter three, “Selah”. Easton’s Bible Dictionary says that “Selah” is used 74 times in the Scriptures with, seemingly, different interpreted meanings from silence and pause to an end and division: even louder! I encourage you to pause to reflect upon the depth of the points I make and the Scripture references I include. Don’t worry, for we never leave Jesus’ and God’s presence in either.

A. Picture This

  1. After Jesus’ resurrection, He reveals Himself to Mary, who grabs hold of Him exclaiming, “Teacher!” He resists her hold, saying, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father….” (John 20.17).
  2. Psalm 110.1 is the ‘homecoming’ scene in Heaven.
  3. Now, Ephesians 4.9-10 is Apostle Paul’s understanding from the Holy Spirit of what happened between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. He descended into Hades (Greek; Sheol – Hebrew; the abode of those who pass from this life and await eternity; Hosea 13.14) before He ascended (John 3.13).
  4. Jesus descended to carry out God’s judgment of Lucifer, spoken in Isaiah 14.12-15. Jesus states this intention in John 12.31. satan’s system of evil remains and is administered by his demon followers and, sometimes/mostly, through humans (Jeremiah 13.10).
  5. Jesus, also, delivered the their into Paradise, as He promised in Luke 23.43. Departed believers await there the events Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17. You and I will be in one of these two groups who rise to join Jesus “in the air”! [Until then, we are to act according to Ephesians 6.10-18 and declare the name, ‘Jesus’, as the ‘scepter’ of Psalm 110.2, remembering Philippians 2.9-11 and Revelation 1.16 & 15!]
  6. Paradise is another dimension of reality on Earth, as is discussed below. It is invisible to humans, who are visible; probably, vice versa.

B. Present Heaven

7. Because man (male and female; Genesis 1.27 & 2), is a spirit being (1 Thessalonians 5.23; Hebrews 4.12) and will live forever (James 2.26), God has given man a choice of eternal life or death, to be chosen while on Earth (Deuteronomy 30.15-20; John 3.16-18; Romans 1.18-32).

8. Be assured that God does not want anyone to perish; i.e., be separated from Him (1 Timothy 2.4 {Ezekiel 18.23}; 2 Peter 3.8-10 {2 Corinthians 5.19}).

9. But, some people will choose separation from God (Ezekiel 18.20a; sin connoted as rejecting God in Hebrews 11.6 {1 Chronicles 28.9; Jeremiah 29.12-14; John 4.24} and eternal torment.

1. At His Second Coming, Jesus will separate people into those who will “inherit the kingdom prepared for you” and those condemned to “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25.31-46). John 14.6 is the differentiator, as Paul discusses in Acts 17.30-31.

2. Jesus’ story about the Rich Man and beggar Lazarus in Luke 16.19-31 describes these condemned who will—in the end—be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20.15 {2 Thessalonians 1.8-9} & 8 {Jude 7}). Jesus discusses this in John 15.6 regarding the pruned branches that will be gathered to be burned; similarly in Matthew 3.12 & 13.40.

3. The condemned are not, immediately, thrown into the Lake of Fire by Jesus but are held in ‘prison’ until the sentence is carried out at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20.11-15; remember that Jesus’ followers have already been Raptured from the Paradise of Hades; see 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15.51-53). In the meantime, these condemned are held in a separate part of Hades, away from we who are “inherit the kingdom prepared for” us. The Rich Man describes this place as fiery torment; see Luke 16.19-31. This might be the magma center of the Earth separated from the surface by miles and miles of dirt and rock, as Abraham connotes by statement.

10. Jesus contrasted the “Pit”, where He deposited satan (Isaiah 14.12-14; John 12.31), from the “Paradise” of Hades, which He assured the thief is where he would join Him at death that day (Luke 23.42-43). The thief would be there in spirit, but Jesus would be there in a glorified body (1 Corinthians 15.51-53 and John 20.19-20).

1. Randy Alcorn calls “present Heaven” what I call the “Paradise part of Hades”. I use “Paradise” because Jesus did with the thief. Alcorn contrasts “present Heaven” from “future Heaven”. He writes:

The present Heaven is a temporary lodging, a waiting place until the return of Christ and our bodily resurrection. The eternal Heaven, the New Earth, is our true home, the place where we will live forever with out Lord and each other. (Alcorn, 2004, p. 44)

2.Paradise or Present Heaven being on Earth can be understood as another or alternative universe and revealed by God to Gehazi the servant at Elisha’s request. 2 Kings 15-17 presents “horses and chariots of fire” in the alternative reality. Obviously, this was not the first time Elisha saw them. When and how did he learn about this alternative universe?

3.Similarly, Stephen was privileged to view this realm; see Acts 7.55-56. Verse 55 implies that the Holy Spirit opened Stephen’s eyes to this. Is this available to us, too? We have the Holy Spirit. Paul Taylor heard his recently—passed son say, “Dad, I’m okay.”

4. Paul writes about similar views, autobiographically I believe, in 2 Corinthians 12.2-4, remembering the event of Acts 14.19-20. Paul told Timothy (2.3-11) about this event, as is inferred.

5. Perhaps, Paul explains Jesus’ “transfiguration” (Matthew 17.1-18) in 2 Corinthians 3.18 as the “veil” being removed from the eyes of Peter, James, and John, so that they saw Jesus’ glory with Moses and Elijah in the Present Heaven.

6. What became of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2.4-3.24) after Adam and Eve were expelled for eating the forbidden fruit? Could it be just beyond the “veil” as the Present Heaven? Verse 3.24 tells us that a cherubim (Psalm 104.4) guards the Tree of Life in the Garden. Does Hebrews 13.2 mean that angels visit us from the Present Heaven?

7. King David gave Solomon the plans for building the first Temple and gathered the necessary materials, as recorded in 1 Chronicles 18.1-19, especially verses 11-19, attributing this to “the Lord”. He, also, gave Moses the plans for the Tabernacle; see Exodus 25.9 & 30. Note the similarities. We will see the original in the Present and/or Eternal Heaven.

8. Does this help to explain James 2.26?

9. Alcorn writes:

For those who have trouble accepting the reality of an unseen realm, consider the perspective of cutting—edge researchers who embrace string theory. Scientists at Yale, Princeton, and Stanford, among others, postulate that there are ten unobservable dimensions and likely an infinite number of imperceptible universes. If this is what leading scientists believe, why should anyone feel self-conscious about believing in one unobservable dimension, a realm containing angels and Heaven and Hell? (ibid, p. 48)

B. Selah.

Alcorn, R. 2004, Heaven. Carol Stream, IL. Eternal Perspective Ministries.

Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017.
Two Heavens 170514

May 7, 2017 Short-term versus Long-term Thinking

Short-term versus Long-term Thinking

Ron Wayne should be the number two on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world, between Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. But, short-term thinking got the best of him. For, you see, he was an original founder of what became Apple computers, along with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. His investment in this garage startup was $800 for a 10% share. However, he cashed in for his $800 when things got tough, and another $1,500 for signing a full release of future claims. Had he not folded, his ten percent would be valued at about $76 Billion today!

So, what is your “share” of Heaven worth today? Because the Owner is Omniscient about the past and future, the commercial tag comes to mind: “priceless”. Why, then, do not more people accept John 14.6? This conundrum is explained by 2 Corinthians 4.3-4. One thread of the “veil” is revealed in 2 Timothy 1.7a. Among the many “fears” in satan’s arsenal of weapons is that of physical death. However, the greater “fear” for persons thus deceived should be the spiritual death described in Revelation 21.8 and 20.15 (also 20.14, 10 and 19.20 in order; fulfilling the contrasts in John 3.16-21). (This brings to mind Peter Drucker’s definition that long-range planing deals with the future of present decisions.)

A. Contrasting Views of Physical Death.

  1. Jesus’ story about the rich man and beggar in Luke 16.19-31 reveals that life continues after physical death.
  2. The rich man, who had had no mercy on the poor, even sick, beggar closed his eyes on Earth and opened them to the sight, smell and sensation of flaming torment. His pleas to Father Abraham (an illustrative picture of God) for some relief could not be honored because his past decisions dictated his present circumstances.
  3. By contrast, the beggar Lazarus rests comfortably upon Abraham’s chest. Lazarus had not given in to advice similar to Job’s wife (Job 2.9). He held to his integrity (defined as whole and undivided in moral principles; today’s contrasts in Matthew 13.20-22).
  4. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2.15-16: Christians remind those veiled unto perishing about their pending physical and spiritual death, while we remind those who have pierced the veil with John 14.6 about their pending spiritual life after a brief transition.

B. Follow the Leader

5. Paul, also, writes in Hebrews 2.14-15 that Jesus took on flesh (John 1.14) for two reasons:

  1. Jesus executed this plan for the repentant thief, and gave us another illustration, in Luke 23.43. This thief understood John 14.6 by observing and listening to Jesus on that Cross at Calvary.
  2. Jesus “released” the thief from satan’s fear of death just as He will you and me! (Google ‘Wintley Phipps’ and worship as he sings “No Need To Fear”.)
  3. James (2.26) describe physical death as removing a garment. Our spirits will be released to dwell with Jesus in Paradise! Our new bodies will follow later, as Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 15.51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17.
  4. Thus, like Jesus, we will repeat Paul’s Old Testament affirmation and questions in 1 Corinthians 15.54-55 leading to his exclamation in verse 57!
  • ‘”O Death, where is your sting?
  • O Hades, where is your victory?
  • Death is swallowed up in victory?
  • Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

C. “Do unto others….”

10. You probably can complete this verse, Matthew 7.12, from memory.

11. So, help those fearful of death with the Good News that they can have no fear of physical death by accepting John 14.6. No need to fear!

12. Wouldn’t you want them to do this for you?

D. Remember, long-term planning begins with decisions made today. Hebrews 3.13!