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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

John 14: Ascension, return & rapture OR cross, resurrection & relationship with Father?

A few weeks ago, I listened to the CD of that entire John 14 Bible reading which was recorded at an Easter Toronto Conference in 1989. Harold Paisley, the brother who had opened the Bible reading, stated quite emphatically, “The first three verses tell us of the rapture.”, “This is the foundation teaching on the rapture.” And “I go, speaks of His ascension.” Five other preachers seemed to agree with brother Paisley.

However, when Albert McShane had a chance to make a few comments, I was astounded for I’d never heard such ideas before! Brother McShane said, “He’s going away by dying for us!” And later on he commented, “The Lord is showing them that He is going to the Father and to bring them to Himself.”

I did not immediately study this question for myself but these thoughts were stored for future reference. But when I began to study John 14 for myself a few years later they came to the fore and I had to investigate the question: “Did the Lord Jesus, in John 14, speak about going to heaven to prepare a place for us in heaven OR did He speak of going to the cross to prepare a place for us in the Father?

I knew that answering this question would have far reaching effects on what I believed about many things!
For example:
(1)Was the Lord Jesus in John 14 talking about a far off “coming again” , i.e. the rapture (our being caught up to meet the Lord in the air), which is yet future for us today OR was He talking about a very near “coming again” which would transpire within a few days, i.e. His resurrection, which is now an historical fact for us as New Covenant believers?

(2) Did the Lord Jesus yet have unfinished business to attend to after His ascension, namely the preparation of a place for us in heaven , OR did He really mean what He said on the cross, namely, “It is finished!”

(3) Is it true that “believers go to heaven when they die” OR has everyone without exception who has ever gone to heaven gone there while they were alive in their physical body???

(4) Did the Lord Jesus or do any of the scriptures teach that, when He returns from heaven, He will make a “U turn” and take us back to heaven with Him, OR do the scriptures teach that when He returns from heaven we are caught up to meet Him in the air and that we take a “U turn” and return with Him to the earth?

The answers to all of these and many other crucial questions are inescapably based on this crucial teaching of the Lord Jesus, Himself, in John 14! Therefore it is vitally important that we understand what the Lord was teaching His disciples and us in this pivotal chapter!

When Albert McShane spoke his own simple observations at that 1989 Easter Conference in Toronto, I’m sure he had no idea what radical changes his words would effect in the mind and heart of a young man who was listening in that huge auditorium! (To be continued….)

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