January 17, 2004
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
Spiritualism, Part III
by Jack Northart
I Thessalonians 4:15-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep [have died] in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep [dead]. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and 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.
Comfort one another with what words? The words that we just read that preceeded verse 18 which describe, in detail, what is going to happen when Christ comes back to gather us together. Why don’t more Christians comfort one another with these words? When someone passes away, these words are hardly ever mentioned, if at all! Many may talk about the “rapture” as relating to those who are still living, but never mention the dead in Christ rising. The Word of God is clear on this subject. The dead in Christ will 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. Do you see how deeply rooted this belief in spiritualism has become in modern society and Christianity? There is no point in Christ coming back to gather the dead in Christ if they are already alive, floating up in Heaven, walking on streets of gold and playing a harp!
When shall the dead be made alive? It will happen at either the gathering together when Christ comes for his Church, or after the events recorded in the book of Revelation come to pass and the first and second resurrections take place. I Corinthians 15 is the section of Scripture that spends considerable time giving an understanding of the resurrections and the return of Christ.
I Corinthians 15:3-8,12-19
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas [Peter], then [he was seen] of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep [have died] in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
The hope of mankind is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In order for the ascended Christ to return, he has to have risen. Without this crucial event, our believing is in vain and we are most miserable because we have no hope. Fortunately though, not only did he die and was buried for three days and three nights, but he was also resurrected from the dead.
When the Word of God talks about the dead in Christ rising at the time of the gathering together, it is distinctly separate from the resurrections of the just and the unjust that take place in the book of Revelation. The gathering together is the last element or the conclusion of the Administration of Grace, or the Church Age in which we now live. After the gathering together, the beginning of the Revelation or Appearing Administration takes place. (See Issues 14 & 15). Whereas the resurrections of the just and the unjust happen much later in time. These take place after Christ has returned with his saints to the earth, (those who were Christians and lived in the Age of Grace).
Technically speaking, there are three different “risings.” First, the gathering together when Christ comes for his Church. Second, the resurrection of the just and then thirdly, the resurrection of the unjust (Revelation 19,20).
I Corinthians 15:23-28
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
All of the events regarding the second coming of Christ and how the dead are raised are quite clear in God’s Word. It is only when we begin to try and defend error that we contradict God’s Word and it becomes confusing. The dead are dead until Christ returns. With this understanding, it is evident that anything to the contrary is earthly, sensual and devilish.
Any supernatural phenomenon that alleges to produce the dead prior to Christ’s return is simply a counterfeit from Satan. At séances where ectoplasmic forms are produced and may appear as a lost loved one, are merely impersonating spirits or familiar spirits that are endeavoring to fool the ignorant and spiritually blinded person. Although a true spiritualist will claim that these are not “bad” spirits but rather “good” spirits. A true spiritualist will laugh at the idea that they are dealing with devil spirits in both the good and bad category. They are convinced that this is all from God. Their big mistake is not recognizing which God it is coming from. Is it the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, or the god of this world who is Satan?
II Corinthians 4:4
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
We must rise up and believe what the Word of God teaches about the dead and the return of Christ. We must stop entertaining “possibilities” of speaking to lost loved ones, and proclaim the greatness of what will happen when Jesus Christ returns. Then we will stand approved before God as workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them. Our bodies will change. If we are alive, then we will change and have immortal bodies, and if dead, we will change to incorruptible bodies.
I Corinthians 15:51-58
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment [Gr. atom], in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
The change will occur very quickly for both those living and for those who have fallen asleep in Christ. To know that if the lord tarries until after we fall asleep in Christ, our next conscious moment will be his return; how exciting! This is our hope and this is our joy. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.
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