Are The Dead Conscious?
by Pastor J. C. O'Hair
WILL WE KNOW OUR LOVED ONES IN THE HEREAFTER?
Will we meet again and recognize our loved ones in the hereafter? Who has not asked this question? How many have pondered and wondered over question, the “does death end all?” If we could really know the truth about rewards for the righteous and retribution for the unrighteous in the world to come, would we not change our program of living in this present world? Must we remain in the dark as to our knowledge of the present and future state of the dead? Can we find no answer to the question, “are the dead conscious?”
The atheist consigns man and beast to the same fate after death, stating that dead ends all. There are many so-called scientists all around us working over-time to prove that there are no dead. We have some people who call themselves Christian Scientists. They would persuade us to believe that sin, sickness and death are unreal only the erroneous conclusions of mortal mind. Of course, if sin is not sin, then death is not death. But the erroneous conclusions are those of a silly woman and her deluded followers.
There are other religious cults carrying on their nefarious traffic in human souls in the name of Jesus Christ, likewise teaching that sin, sickness and death are the unrealities of human conclusions.
Then we have the so-called Christian Theosophists teaching that death has to do only with the physical, and in reality is not death, but simply the shedding of the present body for a reincarnation, to be repeated in the gradual process toward perfection.
The Spiritists, some times called Spiritualists, disagree with the Theosophists, teaching that they also believe that physical death is the gate to a higher life, but they are sure that the individual remains here in this world in spirit form, requiring manifestations to be seen by kindred spirits here in human bodies. They have spirit mediums to produce these manifestations and contacts.
Then we have the religion of Pastor Russell and his successor, J. F. Rutherford. They have seen fit to change the name of their religious movement several times. They were known as International Bible Students, Millennial Dawn, and one or two other names; and now they send their false prophets hither and thither as Jehovah’s witnesses. They teach the damnable heresy of soul sleeping, which they borrowed from the Seventh Day Adventists. They teach that the spirit of man at death loses its individuality, that body and soul go to sheol, or the pit, to remain together both unconscious. They deny that there is either joy for the righteous or pain for the unrighteous in sheol. They teach that Christ came back in 1874; remained in hiding until 1914, since which time His kingdom was set up on earth and with him in secret reign are those faithful ones who attained unto the true wheat or bride; that within a few years the Lord will manifest Himself, though His saints shall never see Him in His body, which was destroyed when He ascended to heaven. When the Lord manifests Himself, then the remainder of the 144,000 true Israelites, or the Church or Bride of Christ, will be given their seat of honour. Then millions will be brought back from the dead and given the opportunity to adjust their lives to the King. Those who ultimately refuse will be annihilated. Think of the nonsense of bringing back one who has ceased to exist in order to annihilate him again. Such is the folly of the servants of Satan.
We might refer to many others, including the false teaching of purgatory, which has brought to the Roman Church great riches. There is not one line in the Roman or Protestant Bibles to support their purgatory which they invented centuries after apostles of Christ gave the truth to the Christian Church. Not one apostle believed in anything like purgatory. Not one of them agreed with any of the vagaries, superstitions, delusions and lies mentioned above. How much more satisfactory it is to turn to God’s Holy Book, and search there for the answers to the questions concerning the hereafter which we have been unable to dismiss from our minds and hearts.
So often do we hear the statement, “we must wait until we die to learn whether or not there is consciousness after death, because no one has come back from death to tell us.” To believe in the Christ of the Bible is to believe in a Christ who was fully competent to tell us all about death and the hereafter, even before He by the grace of God tasted death for every man and then abolished death, and destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 2:14—II Timothy 1:9 and 10. Christ died for our sins; He was buried; and on the third day He arose from the dead. I Corinthians 15:3 to 5. After His death He showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs; for forty days. Acts 1:3; Acts 10:41. He ascended on high and led captivity captive. Ephesians 4:7 to 10. Some years after His death and resurrection He appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos and said, “I am He that liveth, and was dead: and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hades and of death.” Revelation 1:18.
Christ foretold His death and resurrection many times while He was a man on earth. One of His statements concerning His death and resurrection is found in John 10:17 and 18: “I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” Concerning the death and resurrection of Christ, God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophet, David, about one thousand years before the Saviour was born, in this language: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither will thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.” Acts 2:27— Psalm 16:10.
In His triumph over death, Christ became the first fruits of them that slept. I Corinthians 15:20. While here in the flesh He truthfully said, “No man hath ascended up to heaven.” John 3:13. Nearly one thousand years after David, the man after God’s own heart, had died, the messenger of the Lord said, “David, he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” Acts 2:29. Concerning the resurrected Christ the Word of God is, “This man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God, waiting till His enemies be made His footstool.” Hebrews 10:12 and 13. There is but one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 2:5. In a resurrection, glorified body, Christ was the first man to ascend to heaven, the firstfruits of them that slept. The word, “firstfruits” suggests that there will be a harvest; that is, that many men will ascend to heaven; every man in his own order. I Corinthians 15:23. “At His coming”—Not before Christ comes for His own.
Now, the fact is, that Christ, because of His own personal dealings with death, the sepulchre and hades, knows all about death from experience, and He is trustworthy and competent authority. He has actually died and come back to earth after death. But He knew all about death, hades and heaven before He ever became man, and surely knew all about it while He was on earth speaking as never man spake. Now He has the keys of death and hades. He gave a picture sermon of death and hades, retribution and reward. It was concerning a rich man and a poor man. This is recorded in Luke 16:19 to 31. Some people seem to get satisfaction by saying that the picture is only a parable instead of a reality. But even if the truth is set forth in a parable, the truth of conscious joy and torment is taught by One who really knew what He was talking about. The Father said, “This is My beloved Son; hear ye Him.” Matthew 17:5.
The man in torment said concerning those who had not died, his kinsmen on earth, “Testify unto them lest they also come into this place—But if one went from the dead, they will repent.” Luke 16:30. The answer was, and is, “Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31.
The answers to your questions are in God’s Word. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” I Corinthians 2:9 and 10.
So concerning death and after death, our appeal is, “What saith the scriptures.”
What is death? Death is the last enemy. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” I Corinthians 15:26. What is death? “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. “Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.” James 1:15. Death is the finished work of sin. “Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12. Had there been no sin, certainly there would have been no death. We speak of death as the absence or cessation of life. But in the Bible, death has more than one meaning. When we define death as the absence of physical life, we are dealing with but one phase of death. Death is far more serious than the cessation of existence. Death considered in all of its aspects is the most terrible fact in the experience of man. Death extends far beyond time, into the eternal ages. Death is an enemy. Death is real. Death is more than a universal curse; death is a Divine judgment. There are millions who are living dead folks; dead here and now in sins.
Some particular cases of physical death are pronounced by physicians, mysteries; and either for the benefit of medical science or because of suspicion of foul play autopsies are held by scientific men to determine just what caused the death. Other people are said to die natural deaths. There are thousands of different diseases that produce death, and the toll is increasing each year. Death is no respecter of persons as to nationality, financial or social standing, age or any other thing. Within one hundred years from today more than one and one-half billion people who are now living will experience physical death unless that great event which is to bring destruction to this last enemy shall take place; and it may at any time. Whether your loved one’s death was pronounced natural or unnatural, death is a mystery. We feel that the person who does not want to live is unnatural or mentally unbalanced, unless physical pain is too intense for human endurance.
Death at times seems so cruel. Family circles are broken by death, a loving companion is taken out of the home leaving hearts filled with sorrow and wonder; leaving many in utter despair. In such cases who has not repeated that old question, “if a man die, shall he live again?” When one who has been near and dear to us has been taken by death, who has not imagined or hoped or believed that there would be a reunion, another meeting in a place where death could not enter to disturb the happy relationships? How many have said with David concerning some precious baby, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me?” II Samuel 12:23.
What pagan religion or what modern religion, what human philosophy, what ancient or modern science can answer this heart cry: “But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” Job 14:10. The answer to man’s speculations is found in the last verse of Job 13: “They grope in the dark without light.”
Here is the most satisfactory answer to this universal query: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” John 11:25. And Jesus added a question: “Believest thou this?” The poor bereaved sister didn’t fully understand what her Saviour and Lord was talking about, but she believed Him, nevertheless, and said, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” John 11:27.
“Though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Remember these words. Herein is a gracious promise, a comforting and blessed hope; the dead shall live, if—Yes, there is a condition. This Saviour is more than the way-shower; He is the Way. He is more than the giver of life; He is the Life. He is more than the teacher of resurrection; He, Himself is the Resurrection. So it behooves us to hear Him, and to believe all that God’s Divine record has to say concerning Him.
After the disciples of Christ had been under His teaching for many months, they questioned “one with another, what the rising from the dead should mean.” Mark 9:10. Peter and John, some months later, knew not the Scripture that Christ must rise again from the dead. John 20:9. This should convince us that our appeal should be to the New Testament Scriptures for the clear teaching concerning death, resurrection, rewards and retribution. To be sure it is written in the law and the prophets that there shall be a resurrection, both of the just and unjust. Acts 24:15. And certainly the Old Testament Scriptures are as much inspired as are the New, and most assuredly there is no conflict or contradiction, but as we find the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ so much more clearly set forth after He came to earth from heaven, so do we find the truth concerning the present and future state of the dead more clearly presented after the incarnation, sacrifice and resurrection of the Son of God.
So that you may receive the rich blessing in your own soul and the truth from God Himself, we are going to present for your prayerful and careful study the following Scriptures:
OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES
I Kings 17:21 and 22. “O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.” “And the soul of the child came into him again and he revived.”
Genesis 37:33 to 35. “And Jacob said concerning his son Joseph, in Genesis 37:33, “an evil beast hath devoured him. Genesis 37:35 “I will go down into sheol, unto my son, mourning.” I Samuel 28:14 to 19. We quote part of I Samuel 28:19, “And tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.” Samuel had died and was now talking to Saul.
Saul died and the men of Jabesh burnt the bodies of Saul and his sons. I Samuel 31:12. In what sense were they with Samuel?
This conversation with Samuel was a miracle—a Communication with the dead is impossible and those who attempt it through a medium will be deceived by Satan and disobey the clear teaching of God’s Word.
Deuteronomy 32:48 to 50. Concerning Moses’ death the Lord said: “And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people.” In what sense was Moses gathered unto his people? Was his body gathered with them? Read Deuteronomy 34:5 and 6. “No man knoweth of his sepulchre.” The devil contended for his body. Jude 9. See Moses transfigured on the mount. Matthew 17:3.
Genesis 35:29. “Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people.”
Years after Isaac had died, the Lord appeared to Moses as the God of Abraham and Isaac; and referring to this Christ said, “For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living.” Luke 20:38. II Samuel 12:24. Concerning his little baby that had died, David said, “Can I bring him back?” There was the lifeless body of the baby. So David was not speaking concerning the body. Here is a great truth, recorded in James 2:26:
“THE BODY WITHOUT THE SPIRIT IS DEAD”
Ecclesiastes 12:7. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” This would be a contradiction of Ecclesiastes 3:19 and 20, if these verses did not refer to man’s body instead of his spirit: “so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast; for all is vanity.” “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”
This is the complaint of the man under the sun, as is also Ecclesiastes 9:5 “The dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward.” This is a plain contradiction of the many promises of God that the rewards of the faithful shall follow their death, unless we rightly divide the word of truth. This is true also concerning the tenth verse: “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.”
It is the body without the spirit that is dead. At death the spirit goes to God who gave it. The dead body can neither feel, nor work, nor know. But this has no reference to the spirit in the body, that leaves the body when that body goes to dust and corruption.
Ecclesiastes is not the book for the clear teaching of the present state of the dead, but even that book by no means supports the awful heresy of soul sleeping. The spirit at death goes to the God of the living.
NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES
Luke 23:46. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus: He gave up the ghost.”
Luke 8:49 to 56. This twelve year old girl was dead. Christ came into the death chamber and said, “Maid, arise.” “And her spirit came again.” Luke 8:54. Compare this with I Kings 17:22.
Luke 23:42 and 43. “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Luke 15:10. “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
Ephesians 3:15. “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Acts 7:55 and 59. “Saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God-Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
II Corinthians 5:8. “Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
Philippians 1:23. “Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.”
I am sure that after reading these Scriptures, all who are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ will be convinced that those of like precious faith who have fallen asleep have departed to be with Him, and although they are waiting to be clothed upon with their house which is from heaven they are in a state of conscious bliss. Whether or not they rejoice when sinners turn to the Lord we cannot be too dogmatic, but this seems to be the teaching of God’s Word. They have departed to be with the Lord. They are at home with the Lord. This is the meaning of II Corinthians 5:8. We know our blessed Lord tasted death. We know that He has abolished death and brought life and incorruptibility to light in the gospel. II Timothy 1:9 and 10. What a glorious truth this is! Life now: incorruptibility at Christ’s coming. No cessation of life after we receive life, on believing the gospel.
And well may we join the Apostle John in his praise: “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him: for we shall see Him as He is. “I John 3:1 and 2.
Our blessed Lord is in a glorified body in heaven. Otherwise, He could not represent us as priest. By man came death and by man came the resurrection of the dead. Some day our blessed Lord shall descend from heaven and we shall be caught up to meet Him, at which time these bodies of humiliation shall be fashioned like unto His glorious body. Philippians 3:20 and 21. And we shall see Him as He is. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” I Thessalonians 4:18.
Many Christians say that because the apostles of Christ recognized Moses and Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration, and because Paul said, “but then shall I know even as also I am known,” we have positive Scriptural proof that we shall surely recognize our loved ones in glory. Whether or not these particular Scriptures give us this assurance, we are sure that such recognition is only a reasonable expectation to make our eternal happiness in our heavenly home complete. Yes, the Scriptures declare that “when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven.” Mark 12:25. But this has nothing to do with the recognition of our loved ones and friends.
Of course, the question always arises as to our unsaved loved ones. “Will we be conscious of their absence from heaven and their punishment and suffering?” This thought has come to all who have studied the Word of God and wondered about the hereafter. Surely God will permit no thought to disturb the blessedness of His redeemed ones.
But we should be disturbed, startled and driven to anxious concern for our unsaved loved ones while we are here with them in the land of the living in this day of grace. Let us remember the solemn words of God, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” There are many false prophets today telling that the dead will have another chance at salvation; but they are the representatives of Satan and not of the Lord. They corrupt the Scriptures to give this false hope to their deluded victims. God’s Word is judgment after death. The awful sorrows of that judgment are described in the closing verses of the twentieth chapter of Revelation. Sinner, read them carefully and believe God’s truth.
There are only two destinies, even as there are only two ways. There is no purgatory or third place. For every individual, it is either eternal glory with Christ and the redeemed, or eternal darkness and despair with those listed in Revelation 21:8—“the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars.”
Here is God’s order—“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: 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.” I Thessalonians 4:16 and 17. This scene may be enacted at any moment of any day right now. Then the Great Tribulation. Out of that Great Tribulation some will be saved to have part in the first resurrection “These are they which came out of Great Tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14—“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6. The period of Great Tribulation will close with the coming of the Lord with His saints to execute judgment, to dethrone Satan, and to establish His earthly Kingdom. Revelation 1:7—II Thessalonians 1:4 to 9—Revelation 19:12 to Revelation 20:5—Matthew 24:30 and many others.
Thus we have the answers to the two questions of job: “Man giveth up the ghost and where is he,” and “if a man die shall he live again.”
ARE WE NEARING THE END?
Recently I have heard more than one person make this remark, “the next two years will tell the tale.” They, of course, were referring to the present economic and financial state of affairs. They were not so much concerned with the political or moral outlook, either because of indifference or perhaps they felt that good times financially would make everything all right. Many are expressing the opinion that there will be either a return to prosperity within the next year or two or a world-wide revolution.
Of course, conservative folk do not take much stock in the predictions of such radicals, preferring to believe that we are just on a little detour and everything will be adjusted in due time. But even some of these optimistic conservatives admit that the political situation all over the world is anything but satisfactory and the immediate future does not look any too bright. Statesmen at home and abroad are warning the public of the present chaos and the approaching crisis, asking men and women to take an inventory of world conditions and to admit that universal, political, economical and social unrest and uncertainty prevail, and that anything more serious and disastrous is liable to happen on short notice.
We have heard the rumblings of revolution in South and Central America. We have read much of the undercurrent of distrust, disorder and rebellion in India. Surely we are not ignorant of the serious state of affairs in the Far East. Thinking people would be shocked but not surprised if Russia, China and Japan should be thrown suddenly into a three-cornered bloody conflict. Europe is experimenting with five or six forms of government. Among the nations of Europe there exists not only an undercurrent of suspicion and distrust, but the acknowledgment on the part of some of them that war is inevitable, and so they are rushing on to further financial ruin in their preparation for the inevitable. No European ruler or politician is sincere if and when he declares that there are prospects for world peace. The consensus of opinion is that the outlook is not bright; that for the present the Fascists, Communists, Socialists, Monarchs and Democrats must struggle for supremacy, and each nation must be in position to press its campaign and conquest with bloodshed, if necessary.
Some writers are bold enough to assert that the British Empire is on the verge of collapse; that it can only be a matter of time. They predict that that glorious nation must soon release her hold upon her possessions.
And when we consider our own United States, there are daily reports of utter financial ruin and distressful times ahead. The world cry is for able leaders.
In all of the discussions of depression and political unrest, and rumors of wars, comparatively few seem worried about the ungodliness and immorality of the present generation; and a still smaller minority are deeply concerned about what is truly the most serious sign of the times; namely, the departure on the part of thousands of so-called Christians, with their preachers and leaders, from the great fundamentals of the Christian faith. This falling-away, or apostasy, is prophesied in the Bible as one of the signs of the end time. So also is the European political struggle. The world-wide political and social upheavals are very significant. So also is the present activity on the part of the Jews in Palestine. So also is the present world-wide disregard for law. So also are the rationalism and materialism and atheism of this present time, especially propagated in the name of Christianity. Yes all of these signs combined are indicative of the approaching end. What do we mean by the approaching end: the end of what? Now, remember, if you are thinking about the end of the world, that is not what we have in mind.
There have been so many wild speculations and so many fanatical religious end-of-the– world movements, so many false prophets who have tried to set dates as to when the end of the world would be, that it is next to impossible to get very many people to seriously consider the more sure word of Prophecy from the Mind of the infallible God. Unto Him are known all His works from the beginning of the world. Surely the God who designed this universe, who governs and sustains it, the God, to whom it belongs, knows His present and future purposes for the earth and its inhabitants. This omnipotent and omniscient God knows how and when and why this present age will end, the climax of this present political and social order. If this God is sovereign and does purpose all things after the counsel of His own will, as He Himself declares, who can hinder or delay His movements when the appointed time for His action is at hand? And if He has been so considerate and gracious as to indicate unto His children, by certain signs, the nearness of the appointed time, certainly His children should, with eagerness and thanksgiving, study world conditions in the light of His inspired and inerrant Word.
In Matthew 13:39, 40 and 49, we find three times the expression, “the end of the world.” The proper translation is, “the consummation, of the age.” “So shall it be in the consummation of the age.” We find the same thought again expressed in Matthew 28:20, wherein the Lord said to His apostles: “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, or unto the consummation of the age.” He did not mean as long as they lived, but as long as the age endured. Man’s history, in God’s plans, is divided into ages. The age in which we now live is designated as “this present evil age,” Galatians 1:4. This is the Day of Grace, the age of the Body of Christ, the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 3:1 to 8. There have been other ages. They have come to an end. Certainly the ante-diluvian age came to an end with the flood. There will be other ages after this present evil age, mentioned as the ages to come. Ephesians 2:7.
This age will have a consummation. Other ages will follow. In Ephesians 3:21 we find the expression, “world without end,” properly translated, “ages of the ages.” In connection with the coming of Christ, mentioned in I Corinthians 15:23, we read in the very next verse: “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God.” If language expresses any thought, certainly this language tells us that Christ is coming and the end is coming. Suppose we do not believe that Christ is coming and the end is coming, does that affect the truth or alter the fact?
This present complex civilization, with all of its unsolvable entanglements and problems, is rushing on toward the consummation of this present evil age. The end will come with the coming of the Son of God. Is not this simple language: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven?” Acts 1:11. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation?” Hebrews 9:28. “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: 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. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” Then let us carefully read the words of admonition and warning that follow in the next few verses, I Thessalonians 5:2 to 5.
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
Do we have in these words the predictions of an ignorant or deluded religious fanatic, or do we have the more sure word of prophecy given to us through a divinely guided, Spirit-filled messenger of the very Lord who is coming? The world will soon know its awful doom, which is set forth in this language:
II Thessalonians 1:7 to 9
“The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”
Revelation 6:15 to 17
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come: and who shall be able to stand?”
“Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.”
Jude 1:14 and 15
“Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed.”
Matthew 24:38 and 39
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Matthew 24:21 and 30
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
Daniel 2 :44
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
We might quote from the Word of God several hundred other prophecies concerning the end time, to show that the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is imminent; that His second advent will mean one thing for those who have been redeemed by God’s grace, those who love the Lord Jesus Christ; quite a different thing for the Nation Israel, whom we call the Jews; and still a different thing for the great mass of unsaved Gentiles.
But the verses we have quoted above will enable you to appreciate the question that the Lord Jesus asked when He had been rejected by His own nation: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Surely such a question suggests that the Son of man, who was then on earth, knew that He was some day coming back to earth, and the Greek verb used by Him in this question indicated that He would not find the faith on the earth when He should return as the Son of man to Israel.
If the Lord Jesus should come today, He would find more than sixteen million Jews in unbelief. He would find one hundred times as many Gentiles in unbelief. He would find Christendom headed toward the great apostasy, in two general divisions Catholicism and Protestantism, both claiming to follow the teachings of Christ. He would find the teachings and practices of Catholicism so contrary to the pure Christianity He left for the apostles to give to His Church that He would never recognize that religious-political organization as His Church. He would find some in that organization saved in spite of the corruption of the Word of God and departure from the Gospel of Grace in the religious program of their system. He would find some loyal, faithful consecrated saints in many different evangelical church organizations. But He would find a far larger number of unsaved people identified with some kind of a religious organization bearing the name of Christ. In the face of the plain and simple statement of the Holy Scriptures, found in Ephesians 4:3 and 4. that there is one Church, one hope and one faith, even as there is but one Christ and one Holy Spirit and one Father, there is such a variety of different Christs and different faiths offered to humanity today that we have reached the state of religious Babylon. Modernism is rapidly advancing, taking over seminaries and churches which were once strongholds of the faith, sweeping the deluded religious victims into the great apostasy, for Modernism in the Christian churches is nothing more than Christianized agnosticism, a complete departure from the faith once for all delivered to saints, infidelity propagated in the name of Christ. Surely a Christian infidel is a paradox, and therefore the Christian Modernist is an impossible paradox. Then the modern cults most active in the propagation of their delusions and heresies are Unity, Russellism or Rutherfordism, Seventh Day Adventism, Mormonism and Christian Science. If any one of these cults present the true Christ and represent His Church, then the others are preaching a false Christ and misrepresenting the Church of Christ, for Russellism and Christian Science have nothing in common: neither have Adventism and Unity. Yet all of these religious movements claim to be the true custodians and dispensers of the truth of Christ for this age, each with a key to the Scriptures, teaching inviting seekers of the truth to enter the House of God by a different door. A house divided against itself cannot stand. All of these religious movements are headed for an awful judgment in the day of God’s wrath which is not far away.
When here on earth the Son of God said: “Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? An enemy hath done it. The enemy that sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age.” Matthew 13:27, 28 and 39.
So we see that this unholy mixture of the work of Christ and the work of the devil is foretold in God’s Book. And in very plain language is the great falling away foretold: “As that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first.” II Thessalonians 2:3.
Before Christ returns as King to set up His kingdom, there is to be an awful apostasy heading up in Antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders. II Thessalonians 2:5 to 9. The man in whom all these religious systems is to head up will be Satan’s man. Those who will not receive the simple and glorious truth of the Grace of Christ, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from heaven, died on the cross of Calvary to redeem lost sinners by His shed blood, then conquered death, and went back to heaven as a man, as the Man who now sits at God’s right hand, must suffer the consequences herein stated: “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2:11 and 12.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons.” I Timothy 4:1.
Surely the Lord knew in advance that multitudes would be swept into Spiritism and other “demon” stratagems.
Surely the Lord knew in advance that the money was going to be accumulated by the very rich and the poor would have to suffer starvation in the midst of plenty:
“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth . . . ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.” James 5:1 to 8.
“And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath.” Zephaniah 1:17 and 18.
In today’s paper is printed part of the message of the President of the University of Wisconsin in which he informs us that our warehouses are packed to capacity with food while millions are on the verge of starvation. In yesterday’s paper (May 19, 1932), we have the Roman Pope’s picture of world conditions: “Never before has the world, both spiritually and materially, been so restless as it is now. The whole of humanity is being crippled by a financial and economic crisis which is leaving no nation, no society, and no family unaffected, either directly or indirectly. Even those few who seem to hold in their hands with untold riches the world’s fate, and who through their own speculations were the cause of so much ill, became the first damaging victims, pulling down with them numberless fortunes. Greed is the root of every ill. From greed proceeds the unjust, unequal distribution of the wealth of nations, accumulated in a few hands with untold sufferings to the masses. Those who do not want anarchy must act energetically to prevent the enemies of religion from achieving their aims.
“Supplying a pretext for subversive parties to launch propaganda for a drive threatening public order everywhere and increasing the danger of terrorism and anarchy” . . . “the unlimited greed for earthly goods which is the real cause for the present difficulties.”
The prediction of God’s Word is that this accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few is to be a sign of the end time; that this universal unrest and lawlessness is to run concurrently with the great religious apostasy. And here is God’s message to His child:
“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”— James 5:8.
Look where you will today for any source of relief and unless you look to the coming of the Lord, you will look in vain. So we may know that until He comes evil seducers will wax worse and worse.
There is to be a reign of peace and righteousness on this earth. When? When He comes whose right it is. He will rule this earth with a rod of iron. Those who are redeemed by His blood will rule and reign with Him. I Corinthians 6:2 . . . Revelation 5:9 and 10 . . . Revelation 20:3 to 7. When Christ who is our life shall appear than shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
The Lord is coming first to call His saved ones home to glory. Then there will be a great time of sorrow in several years of scourging and judgment. Then the Lord will come with His saints to dethrone the great Adversary, that old dragon, Satan, the devil who has deceived the whole world. Then the time of earth’s blessing with the personal reign of the true King. The hope of this world is not a great democracy, but a Great Theocracy. In the meantime whosoever will may be translated into the Kingdom of the Son of God’s love by faith in the finished work of this wonderful Christ, who is now the living God-man in glory.
Would you like to be on Christ’s side? Would you like to be saved from the coming time of great sorrow and after-death judgment? Salvation is available for you. It is a very simple, plain, way—Christ died for you—His judgment was for you—He was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification—Salvation is by simple faith in this crucified, resurrected, glorified and coming Christ. Act now.
Believe and be eternally saved.