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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Where Did the Lord Jesus say He was as He spoke John 14?

The answers which I discovered in the very text of scripture relative to the questions in previous posts made me realize that Albert McShane had realized a truth of scripture that many others had missed entirely, i.e. that the Lord Jesus was speaking about "going away" by dying for us within a few hours, NOT about ascending to heaven some 40 days later! But before I could entirely reject the common teaching which I had believed and taught for years, I had to be absolutely convinced in my own mind by seeking answers to a number of other crucial questions.....

4.Probably the most important question of all was this: "Where did the Lord Jesus say that He was at the moment when He was speaking the words of John 14:1-4,6,7,9 and 10?" The reason why this is a most important question is this: The Lord Jesus said...."I will come again and receive you unto myself that WHERE I AM (present tense as he was speaking) there ye may be also." He did not say, "...that where I will go (future tense) there ye may be also."

In John 14:10,11 the Lord Jesus told His disciples precisely where He was at the moment He was speaking to them. "Believest thou not that I AM IN THE FATHER and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me (the Lord Jesus was the Father's house!), He doeth the works. Believe me that I AM IN THE FATHER, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."

5. When the Lord Jesus said that He was "the way, the truth and the life", did He claim to be "the way to heaven" or "the way to the Father"?

" man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6
I don't know why, but I had always understood, in spite of what the verse said, that it really "meant" that Jesus was the way to heaven!!!

6. Does scripture teach that, after Jesus came back OUT OF DEATH in resurrection, believers in Him are actually IN THE FATHER?

Yes, it does! John 14:20 says, "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father and ye in me and I in you." Also 1 John 2:24 says, "Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father."

7.Does scripture teach that, when the Lord Jesus returns FROM HEAVEN, believers go TO HEAVEN?

No, It doesn't! As I searched out the answer to this question, I was absolutely astounded to learn that when the Lord Jesus descends from heaven there is not a single line of scripture that teaches that He takes a "U turn" in the clouds and returns to heaven!! Rather scripture clearly teaches that His return will be in like manner as the disciples saw Him go!

-When He went, He ascended from earth to heaven, so when He returns, He descends from heaven to earth! (Acts 1 with Zech.14)

-He ascended from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) and will descend to the very same spot!! (Zech.14:4,5)

-He was last seen in the clouds (Acts 1:9) and, as He returns, He will be first seen in the clouds (Matt.24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; I Thess.4:17 and Rev.1:2)

It is we who make the "U turn"! We ascend to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess.4:17) and then will be manifested with Him (II Thess.1:10) as He continues His descent to the Mount of Olives the very same day. (Zech 14:4,5)

When I first heard Mr McShane speak in Toronto in 1989, I had no idea that the idea he suggested from John 14 would have such radical effects upon my thinking and convictions relative to end-times prophecy!! But the questions that were thus raised and were being answered by the very words of scripture were challenging everything I'd ever been taught about the coming of the Lord! The next question for which I had to find a scriptural answer was this....

8. Does scripture promise believers rest from trouble seven years prior to the Lord Jesus’ REVELATION? I had always been taught, believed and had taught to others the idea of a "pre-tribulation rapture" of the saints 7 years prior to the Lord Jesus' revelation in power and glory. This question compelled me to search the scriptures to see whether or not these things were so. (Acts 17:11). I was astounded again to discover that scripture never once teaches such an idea but actually answers the above question with a resounding "NO!"

The very words of scripture declare (1) what God is going to recompense to those who trouble the saints, (2) what God is going to recompense to us who are troubled and (3) when those promises will be fulfilled. In II Thessalonians 1 the apostle Paul declared these truths in no uncertain terms "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (II Thess.1:6-8)

All my former teaching on this subject of the coming of the Lord was shaken at it's foundations when I saw that the very words of scripture showed me that the catching up of the saints, the gathering of the elect from earth and heaven and our redemption, the redemption of our bodies, occurs AFTER the tribulation! See Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25-28, and Romans 8:23 ( The “redemption” of our bodies Rom.8:32 and the "redemption" of Luke 21:28 is the very same word and the very same event!)
Thus, I believe scripture clearly teaches a post-tribulation rapture.
But another very commonly accepted teaching was also to be challenged in my mind by the very words of the text of scripture!....

9. I asked, "Does scripture ever teach that believers "go to heaven when they die or when the Lord comes?" (I could not have been more surprised when I saw that such a belief had no grounds whatsoever in the scriptures!)

No, it doesn't! The truth of scripture is that people go to heaven when they live NOT when they die! All in scripture who ever went to heaven, went there while their physical bodies were alive!
Gen.5:24 and Heb.11:5
-Elijah II Kings 2:11,
-the Lord Jesus Acts 1:9-11,
-the apostle Paul II Cor.12:2;
-the apostle John Rev.4:1,2;
-and every believer Ephesians 2:6) One of the many blessings with which we have already been blessed in heavenly places in Christ (Eph.1:3) is that we have already been ‘seated in heavenly places (literally "above the heavens"!) in Christ". Ephesians 2:6 This not simply "positional truth" as many claim! It is an actual fact! This is as much an actual and very practical fact as the following:
-the fact that we died with Christ Romans 6:2
-the fact that we rose with Christ Col.3:1 and Eph.2:5
-the fact that we are all baptized in one Spirit into one Body I Cor.12:13
-the fact that we are forgiven Romans 4:7; Ephesians 4:32; I John 2:12
-the fact that we are justified Romans 5:1
-the fact that we are in Christ and Christ is in us John 14:20
-the fact that we have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's son Colossians 1:13
-the fact that we are accepted in the Beloved Ephesian 1:6
-the fact that we have been indwelt by the Spirit of God John 14:17
-the fact that we have been sealed by the Spirit untio the day of redemption Eph.1:13,14
-the fact that we have been made nigh to God Eph.2:13
-the fact that we have been reconciled to God Eph.2:16
-the fact that we have access by one Spirit unto the Father Eph.2:18
-the fact that we are built together as a habitation of God Eph.2:22 etc, etc, etc!!!

Thus, when the Lord Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there ye may be also" ....He was NOT speaking of going away to prepare dwelling places for believers IN HEAVEN! He was speaking of going away to Calvary and into death so that when He came again out of death in resurrection power, we might be IN THE FATHER where He was! John 14 is all about relationship in the Father, NOT about "rapture into heaven"!

The latter view cannot be substantiated by any other actual statements of scripture! Although it is a very commonly accepted teaching and not even questioned by most, I have come to the conclusion that it is nevertheless an unscriptural teaching!

(I fully realize that such things are a radical departure from what many of you have been taught all your lives. I do not expect you to change your mind after reading a few of my posts on the subject! Search the scriptures for yourself and ask as many questions as you like and purpose to find answers to those questions in the very words of scripture. Feel free to ask such questions in the comments below and let us search the scriptures together for the anwers.)

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