Bible Teachings / Pastors’ Preachings
Do we go to Heaven before Jesus’ Second Coming?
It is interesting to hear Pastors teach their flock God’s word with reference to the Bible, but what they preach does not always line up with the words of the Bible. I hear so many say on the demise of some one, he or she has gone to be with the Lord, or I know my mom, or whoever, is now in Heaven with Jesus. We know that Lazarus spent four days in the tomb before Jesus called him forth out of it. He did not go straight to Heaven. Jesus, himself did not go straight to Heaven when He died on the cross. He milled about the earth for forty days and was seen by about five-hundred people during that time, some of whom were still alive at the time of Paul’s telling of it. It is true that Jesus told one of the thieves on the cross next to Him, today you will be with me in Paradise. However, at a time when punctuation marks were not used in writing the Bible, and translations do not always convey the exact meaning inherent in a word, we are not sure whether the scribes placed the comma in the correct place or where the emphasis was made. Jesus was telling the thief that He can assure him then, at the time He was speaking to him that he would be in Paradise, at the time of His second coming when all believers in Him will be with Him in Heaven.
We can see further that after the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks rent, in Matt. 27:52,53 that on Jesus’ resurrection that “ the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. They came out of the graves at His resurretion, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” One would expect that if anyone was going straight to Heaven after his death, it would be the saints. Jesus, Himself, said in John 5:28, 29 “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Peter, at Pentecost, when some of those visiting the synagogoue, thought the disciples were drunk, because each one was hearing the message in his own language, said in Acts 2:29 “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” And in Acts 2:34 he continued “For David is not ascsended into the heavens; but he saith himself. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
Were the Ten Commandments nailed to the Cross?
Let us see now what was done away with at the Cross. Many people say and write that the Ten Commandments were done away with at the Cross. There is no evidence in the Bible to support this. Psalm 19:7 states, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;” and Romans 2:13 “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” And 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” It is the knowledge of the law that brings to our awareness that we have sinned. Romans 7:7 “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” And 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea we establish the law.” 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law , but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Many have interpreted 6:14 to mean that now they are under grace, the law is to be ignored. When Paul used the word ‘law’ the Jews knew what he meant. They knew whether he was talking of the Mosaic law or the moral law (the Ten Commandments).
What was done away with at the Cross were the sacrifices and the feast days, the new moons that the Jews celebrated. Paul, in Colossians 13-17 states “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinance that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Here, Paul is referring to the Mosaic Law that God Himself told Moses to write and put at the side of the Ark of the Covenant, instead of the front of the Ark, which is where the Ten Commandments were kept. Deuternomy 31:26, Moses told the Levites, “Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” It was added because of the transgressions of the people. I am not sure how some pastors can equate the moral law, the Ten Commandments, with the Mosaic law. In Deuteronomy 5:22 Moses told the congregation “These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.” The Lord later said to Moses “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!. 30. Go and say to them, “Return to your tents. 31. But as for you, stand here by Me and I will speak to you all the commandments, the statutes and the judgements which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I am giving them to possess. The two commandments were given on separate occasions. The moral law was given in Exodus 20:1-17. The Mosaic law was given three books later, Deuernonmy 31:24-29. Jesus, Himself said in Matthew 5:17-19, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfulled. Whosoever, therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” So, why would anyone want to teach men contrary to Jesus’ warnings? The disciples never disputed or contradicted Jesus’ teachings. When those in authority forbade Peter and John from speaking in the name of Jesus they boldly answered in Acts 4:19 & 20, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than onto God, judge ye, for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” When the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom, it signified that Jesus, the ultimate Sacrifice, put an end to the need for bulls and lambs to be sacrificed. 7:12 “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” 1 John 2:7 “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” Some of the pastors take verses out of context and apply them to satisfy their own positions.
Who remembers the Sabbath to keep it holy?
Then we have the matter of Sunday worship. The seventh-day Sabbath is a day of rest instituted by God when He gave His Ten Commandments. These commandments were written by His own finger and placed as the fourth commandment, which He sanctified, calling it holy, and which was removed to the third by one of the early churches. As a Methodist, I have always attended worship on Sunday, and still do, even though I recognize that Saturday is the day God designated for us to observe as His holy day. However, I do observe the Saturday as a day of rest and no work to make sure I observe God’s Word. I pored through the Bible many times, searching for the change that people proclaimed to have been made with regard to Sunday being the Sabbath and I can find none. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter says of Paul, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
History has shown us how Sunday worship originated. The Bible itself, a historical book, was inspired by God who chose His prophets to record for posterity His Word. Nowhere in the Bible, even in the New Testament, did Jesus or His disciples change the Sabbath Day to Sunday. Below is a historical explanation of how Sunday worship came into existence:
“There was no change made from the Sabbath to Sunday in the time of the apostles. However, after the death of the apostles, Sunday was substituted for the Sabbath day came through the commandment of men, but not by any commandment of God. Sunday
There was no change made from the Sabbath to Sunday in the time of the apostles but concerning secular or church legislation history records the following:
"Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the sabbatical observance of Sunday is known to have been ordained is the sabbatical edict of Constantine, A.D. 32I." Chambers" Encyclopaedia, Article "Sunday."
Here is the first Sunday Law in history, a legal enactment by Constantine 1 (reigned 306-331):
"On the Venerable Day of the Sun ["venerabili die Solis"--the sacred day of the Sun] let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost--Given the 7th day of March, [A.D. 321], Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time." The First Sunday Law of Constantine 1, in "Codex Justinianus," lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Phillip Schaff "History of the Christian Church," Vol. 3, p. 380.
Constantine's empire was predominantly for Sun worship, so this was not a law to favor Christianity, but rather the "venerable day of the sun", which was the day of the dominating sun worship religion of that time.
#5.12 Church Legislation for changing the Sabbath to Sunday
The Church of that day, then followed suit, and legislated on Sunday worship at the Council of Laodicea.
"The Council of Laodicea ... forbids Christians from judaizing and resting on the Sabbath day, preferring the Lord's day, and so far as possible resting as Christians." Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1899 Edition, Vol. XXIII, page 654.
Here is the first Sunday Law decree of a Christian council. It was given about 16 years after Constantine's first Sunday Law of A.D. 321:
"Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [in the original: "sabbato" shall not be idle on the Sabbath], but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honour, and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out ["anathema,"--excommunicated] from Christ." Council of Laodicea, c. A.D. 337, Canon 29, quoted in C.J. Hefele, "A History of the Councils of the Church," Vol. 2, p. 316.
By the term "Judaize" they mean keeping the Sabbath day. By the term "the Lord's day" they mean Sunday, which seems to have become a term for that day, although there is no scriptural basis for calling it so.
Note 1: Paul and Peter both predicted false teachers would come after their death:
(Acts 20:29-30) "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (1 Timothy 4:1) "Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons;" (2 Peter 2:1-2) "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
Doctrines of Demons and False teachers: They teach that Jesus rose on Sunday, and that Sunday is the day of worship and rest. Privately shall bring in damnable heresies: In the privacy of the council of Laodicea, they substituted Sunday for the Sabbath. Denying the Lord: It was Jesus who said, "keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17), "but in works they deny him," (Titus 1:16), by not keeping them. Many shall follow their pernicious ways: Almost all of Christianity keeps Sunday as a day of worship, instead of the Sabbath. The way of truth shall be evil spoken of: Almost all of Christianity speaks against keeping the Sabbath commandment, which is the truth (Psalm 119:151). The scripture has this to say on the matter:
(Romans 6:16) "Do you not know, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey;" So who are we obeying when we keep Sunday as a day of worship instead of Saturday?
(1) We are obeying men, because men changed the Sabbath commandment for Sunday, and we are told not to do this:
(Acts 5:29) "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." (1 Corinthians 7:23) "You are bought with a price; do not you be the servants of men."
God commanded the Sabbath, and men commanded Sunday.
(2) We are obeying the spirit of Antichrist, because it is the Antichrist, who will "think to change times and laws:" (Daniel 7:25). This spirit was already in the world in the time of the apostles, for John wrote, "this is that spirit of antichrist, of which you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." (1 John 4:3). The spirit of antichrist is really the spirit of the Devil, because he is the one who gives the antichrist his authority:
(Revelation 13:2) "the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority."
However, after the death of the apostles, Sunday was substituted for the Sabbath day through the commandment of men.
Excerpts taken from Logos Apologetica
Micah 3:11 (ESV)
11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe;
its priests teach for a price;
its prophets practice divination for money;
yet they lean on the Lord and say,
“Is not the Lord in the midst of us?
No disaster shall come upon us.”