It’s October, a gorgeous time of year in places where the leaves are colorfully displaying the artistry of our Creator, but a month rather bereft of celebratory days, other than Yom Kippur (if you’re Jewish) and Columbus Day (if you’re an American, or a distant relative of old Chris). I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: “The entire World Series should also be an official holiday,” so go ahead and take off from work then. If your boss has any questions, have him call me.
And, of course, there is also “Halloween.” This ridiculous “holiday” was started by Satan and later seized upon by the candy industry. It comes from the ancient pagan festival of Samhain that was practiced by the Celts and is celebrated by today’s neo-pagans. The Celts believed that from sundown on the last day of the year to sunrise on the first day of the Celtic new year the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead was at its thinnest, and thus the dead could enter the realm of the living. People wore masks and costumes to ward off the dead and to keep them from recognizing the living. It was like: “Uncle Sid was bad enough when he was alive, and I definitely don’t want to hang out with him now.”
The Roman Catholic Church adapted this holiday as “All Saints Day,” which honors “dead” people whose souls (or maybe it’s their spirits—whatever) are supposedly still “alive.” This age-old lie that originated in Genesis 3:4 (“You shall not surely die”) has opened the door for much of the devilish activity associated with this absurd celebration. And now people spend lots of good money for plastic skeletons, ectoplasmic tree trimmings, and fake gravestones with which to “decorate” their lawns. Many go out of their way to visit “Haunted Houses” and subject themselves to extra fright, as if there isn’t already enough to be afraid of in this crazy world.
It’s too bad those old Celts can’t see what Hollywood has done with the insane idea that dead people are somehow still alive. Omigosh! Movie after movie promotes the idea of zombies, vampires, witches, ghosts, and dead people (now angels like “Clarence”) still being involved in the lives of the living. If you have been through One Day With The Creator, you know why Satan so vigorously promotes the lie that there is really no such thing as death.
Why is the current glorification of death in our world so incongruous? Because of the gut level reaction of every sane human to words like those Jairus once heard (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41): “Your daughter is dead.” Even though most Christians believe the euphemistic lie that “God called home” their loved one to be with Him and Jesus, I’ve never seen one react with glee when getting the news of their death. Have you? No, because people inherently know that death is not good and that they should try to avoid it.
The topic of death struck very close to home when my wonderful dad died in late August. My sister and I were deluged with a flood of edifying cards, notes, and remembrances, for which we say THANK YOU! Amidst those heartfelt communiqués, some folks, including a few who have been taught the truth of the Word about this vital topic, used the term for death that has become rampant in recent years: “passing.” Speaking of which, there is more passing going on in October than perhaps any other month of the year. Why? Because it is football season at every level from the Pee Wees to the pros.
Given the degree to which JESUS CHRIST was concerned with the proper usage of words (“It is written”), I think you and I are in good company if we are sticklers about both defining and using words as God defines and uses them. Satan’s assault on God’s Word began in Genesis 3 and has continued, unabated, to this day, when we are embroiled in Word War Five (see The End Times video). Jesus showed us that if we are to win the spiritual battle, it is imperative for us to adhere to the words of God in His Word. In any language on earth, “death” means “the end of life.” Thus, one cannot be both dead and alive. Duh.
How do so many Bible teachers get away with passing off such nonsense as the truth, especially when the words “soul” and “spirit” are never used in Scripture to mean an incorporeal part of a human that lives on after his demise? And when they cannot begin to biblically explain in what form the dead/alive person now exists? I’d say it is because so few precious saints have been taught the keys to the Word’s interpretation, and that WORDS HAVE MEANINGS, and that the Word of God cannot contradict itself.
Without a subsequent preposition, “passing” is a rather vague term, though it seems to indicate a person going from one place to another. Let’s add some prepositions and see if that helps. “Passing by”—I got it, a little Doppler effect. “Passing through”—OK, just don’t take forever on the next green. “Passing on”—Fine, passing on third down and long yardage. “Passing away”—Aha, that’s more like it. My dear dad, like the apostle Paul, has passed away; that is, he no longer exists, and will never exist again unless Jesus Christ really died, really arose, really ascended, and is really coming back again to raise up all believers.
If you have not read our 100-page book, Is There Death After Life?, please do so. In it we show how God artfully employs the “sleep metaphor” throughout Scripture to clearly explain, and take the edge off, the horrible reality of death. Paul, my dad, and your deceased Christian loved ones are, figuratively speaking, “asleep.” That means they are not conscious of time passing. Just as you did this morning, each will awaken to find that he is still himself, with a continuity of thought. If the last thing Paul remembers was a Roman sword coming down on him, his consciousness will resume with him seeing the smiling face of the Lord Jesus giving him the high five.
Jesus Christ made many statements worthy of decoupaging, but one of the greatest is found in John 8:31-32: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”
If knowing the truth makes one free, then believing error about God’s Word puts one in bondage, whether or not he knows it. Remember that Satan distorts God’s Word (a) to make God and Christ look bad, and (b) to ruin people’s lives by putting them in bondage to whatever degree he can. Every lie he foments has some practical disadvantage for anyone who believes it. In regard to death, the main point is that if one does not grasp the horror of death, neither will he appreciate the indescribable glory of resurrection. And that minimizes the heroism of Jesus on our behalf. What was the point of him enduring what he did if all “dead” people are actually “alive”?
DEATH SUCKS. So says our popular bumper sticker that you can purchase in our Online Store. It simply echoes God’s statements that death is “the last ENEMY that will be destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26) and that the death of a believer is “costly” to Him (Ps. 116:15). Right above that on my car is another bumper sticker that a dear friend gave me, which I love. It says EXIST, as opposed to the curious COEXIST sticker that some people have affixed to their cars. Too often it seems they want to coexist with me in the passing lane while they are going ten miles an hour under the speed limit. In a rather bizarre incident, Elizabeth actually had one of those COEXIST folks flip her off. Of course, God’s Word shows us that He will not coexist with evil, but rather will destroy it.
In August, our TLTF Trustees and Elders got together on a Webex fellowship, and one of our main topics of discussion was how we can leave a legacy of biblical truth to the generations that will follow us, if the Lord tarries. By the grace and mercy of God, we in TLTF have the historically rare privilege of understanding the Word of God like only a small percentage of Christians ever have, and we want to share it with others. I can’t say that we arrived at all the answers as to how to do this, but we are committed to putting as much rightly divided Word as we can in video, audio, and written format. Admittedly, there is only a handful of us at present who are able to devote much time to doing so, but we are doing our best with the resources we have. We greatly appreciate your prayers, your financial support, and any suggestions you have as to how we can better serve God’s people, i.e., you.
In closing, because of how often it has come up of late in my dealings with folks having “ex-Way vision,” I must briefly address the issue of “fellowship (koinonia) with Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3), which is thoroughly elaborated upon in many of our video and audio presentations. If you are not talking to/asking/thanking/praising/praying to/communicating with the Lord Jesus Christ and building an intimate relationship with him, you are missing out on the essence of CHRISTianity.
Remember that it was God’s idea to exalt Jesus as Lord and Head of the Body, and that He loves it when we connect with His Son, the perfect image of the invisible God, and thus the one who makes God real to us. In fact, Jesus said that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father, and that he who honors not the Son honors not the Father who hath sent him (John 5:23).
Since we first began to teach “this Jesus stuff” in 1987 (i.e., Gen. 3:15—Rev. 22:21), many brethren have asked me what the Word says about when and how to talk to God as opposed to talking to Jesus. Does God clock in at midnight and out at noon when Jesus takes over? Does God heal the right side of the body and Jesus the left? The answer is that the Word does not delineate any of that, but makes it very clear that you have a Father and a Big Brother, with whom you can discuss anything in any way at any time. Here’s how I put it: If you ask God something, He’ll tell you what Jesus would have told you had you asked him, and vice versa.
What often turns people toward the truth is our being flesh-and-blood “living epistles” who touch their hearts in a profound way. Put simply, our goal as Christians is to know, love, and serve our God and our Lord Jesus so as to make them look as good as they are. We are to manifest Jesus Christ’s life to those in our world. Let us put our devotion in motion, and be doers of the Word rather than hearers only.