Opinions on faith and life

Death, Life, Water, Fire

2010-01-24

I sometimes read articles at Grace Thru Faith, mostly about prophecy. I consider Jack Kelley one of the better prophecy teachers, though I strongly disagree with him on some other matters. But today’s post made a most intriguing observation:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

(MY NOTE: The TNIV translates this badly. The Greek does NOT say “lives by believing” but “living and believing”.)

This is an amazing statement. The Lord had already said that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have eternal life. (John 3:16) Here he provided more detail, saying that even though a believer experiences physical death, he will still have life. He was referring to the resurrection of those who die in faith. And then He said there would be some would never die, but would pass from this life directly into the next one. If we didn’t already know about the rapture, we wouldn’t see this, but since we do we can understand that He was talking about that one generation who will be alive when He comes for the Church, and will be changed from mortal to immortal without dying first. And once again the Lord confirmed that the single qualification for eternal life is to believe that His death paid the entire price for our sins.

I had never picked up on that detail in this passage before, so I checked my Greek interlinear to be sure that there wasn’t anything to stand against this interpretation. But I don’t agree that we would only see this if we first knew about the Rapture. This undermines his whole argument and gives those against the Rapture a reason to dismiss a valid interpretation of the passage. The words speak for themselves: Jesus speaks of two groups of people and does not appear to be merely using the poetic device of repeating a phrase. So rather than being dependent upon a prior belief in the Rapture, it serves as yet another supporting passage for discovering it.

And I disagree that “the single qualification for eternal life is to believe that His death paid the entire price for our sins.” We cannot fail to include the pivotal issue of the resurrection. As it says in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 and 2 Tim. 2:8,

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel

We can also cite 2 Cor. 11:4 which warns against “a different Jesus”. We must know who the real Jesus is, and is not. The real one said “I and the Father are one”, and “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me”. There are many paths to false gods, but only one path to the one true God.

As I read the article’s mention of “the water of life” another observation came to mind. In Mt.3:11 we see John the Baptist say,

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

God flooded the world with water, but at the end he will consume it with fire. The connection between water baptism and the Flood is made in 1 Peter 3:20--21, and both this and the connection between the fire of the Holy Spirit and the destruction of the earth is made in 2 Peter 3:5-7, 10. We could say that water may symbolize law, whereas fire may symbolize spirit. If this is so, then we could also say that those still clinging to the law are “waterlogged”! ;-) And we should remember that water (the law) puts out fire (the spirit).

Know your Savior, live free in his “light burden”, and hope for his sudden and glorious return. That’s what it’s all about.

2 Comments

Lin

"If we didn’t already know about the rapture, we wouldn’t see this, but since we do we can understand that He was talking about that one generation who will be alive when He comes for the Church, and will be changed from mortal to immortal without dying first"

Mr. Kelley needs to explain where the dead believers are now?

Paula Fether

EDITED (to make actual sense... I’m not feeling well)

My opinion is that their souls are in heaven, but the resurrection of the bodies of the righteous dead is what the Rapture refers to, followed by the transformation of the bodies of the righteous living. We know from the accounts of the rich man and Lazarus, and the transfiguration, that the dead are not "asleep" in a literal, spiritual sense, but will receive immortal bodies.