- Parent Category: Bible Reference
- Category: What the Bible Teaches - R.A. TORREY
- Published on Monday, 21 May 2007 19:41
18. THE FUTURE DESTINY OF BELIEVERS
I. 1 JOHN 2:17 "And the world passeth away and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."
Proposition: He that does the will of God abides forever. The world and all it contains passes, he continues.
II. JOHN 11:25-26 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" John 8:51 RV — "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my word, he shall never see death."
Proposition: He that believes on Jesus Christ shall never die.
He that keeps the word of Jesus Christ shall never see death.
Believers in Christ fall asleep, but they never die. (Compare to Acts 7:60.)
III. 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-15 "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 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 them which are asleep."
Proposition: Until the coming of Christ, believers in Christ who have departed from this life sleep.
QUESTION: What is meant by sleep? Does it refer to a state of unconsciousness? Is this state called sleep to distinguish it from being awake, or to distinguish it from death?
ANSWER: Sleep is not necessarily a state of unconsciousness, but often of highest consciousness and mental activity. Sleep is, however, usually a condition in which one is largely shut out of intercourse with the outside world and shut up to himself and to God and His angels, or the devil and his angels.
IV. PHILIPPIANS 1:23-24 RV "For I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake." 2 Corinthians 5:6,8 RV — "Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord .... We are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord."
Proposition: When the believer gets out of the flesh (the body), he departs to be with Christ; when he is absent from the body, he is at home with the Lord. (Compare to 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.)
QUESTION: What is the precise and definite character of our existence when "absent from the body" and "at home with the Lord," up to the time of the coming of the Lord and our being "clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven" ( 2 Corinthians 5:8,2,4 RV)?
ANSWER: The Bible seems to give but little explicit and detailed information on this point. It does say, however, that this state "is very far better" than our present state ( Philippians 1:23). This leaves no room for purgatorial tortures, nor for a state of unconsciousness. It is evidently a state of conscious bliss. It is not the highest state the believer will attain. "For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life .... We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" ( 2 Corinthians 5:1-4,8).
V. 1 THESSALONIANS 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." 1 Corinthians 15:12-13, 20-23, 35-38 — "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: . . . But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming .... But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, anti to every seed his own body."
Proposition: At the coming of Jesus Christ the bodies of those who sleep in Christ shall be raised from the dead.
Not, however, precisely the same bodies, even as the grain that grows is not precisely the same as the grain that was sown. The grain that was sown disintegrates and many of its constituent elements go, no one can fully say whence. So it is in the resurrection.
VI. <470501> 2 CORINTHIANS 5:1-2, 4 RV "For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven;... For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life."
Proposition: At the resurrection we shall be given in place of"the earthly house of our tabernacle" (i.e., our present physical frame), "a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (i.e., the resurrection body).
Mortality shall be swallowed up of life.
VII. PHILIPPIANS 3:20-21 RV "For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself."
Proposition: At His coming our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, "shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory." THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE RESURRECTION BODY. 1 Corinthians 15:35-38 — "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body."
It will not be the same body that is laid in the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:50-51 — "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."
It will not be flesh and blood. Luke 24:39 — "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Compare to Philippians 3:21.)
It will not be pure spirit, but have flesh and bones. 1 Corinthians 15:42 — "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption."
It will be' incorruptible, imperishable, not subject to decay. 1 Corinthians 15:43 — "It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory."
It will be powerful. The days of weariness and weakness will be forever at an end. The body will be able to accomplish all the Spirit purposes. 1 Corinthians 15:47-49 — "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
It will be heavenly. Matthew 13:43 — "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Daniel 12:3 — "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever." Matthew 17:2 — "And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." Luke 9:29 — "And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering."
It will be luminous, shining, dazzling, bright like the sun.
It has been conjectured that the bodies of Adam and Eve were glorious and dazzling (as described above) before they sinned, and that this glory served as a covering which departed when they sinned. Then "they knew that they were naked" ( Genesis 3:7). Matthew 22:30 — "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Luke 20:35-36 — "For they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection."
They will be "like the angels." They do not marry. They cannot die any more. 1 Corinthians 15:41-42 — "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also in the resurrection of the dead."
Resurrection bodies differ from one another. Romans 8:23 — "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
The resurrection body will be the consummation of the adoption, our placing as sons. In the resurrection body it will be outwardly manifest that we are sons of God. Before His incarnation, Christ was "in the form of God" ( Philippians 2:6), i.e., in the visible appearance of God. So shall we be in the resurrection. (Compare to Colossians 3:4 RV and John 3:2 RV.)
VIII. 1 THESSALONIANS 4:17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air."
Proposition: At the coming of Christ and the resurrection of those who sleep in Jesus, believers who have remained alive until that time and those who are raised shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air.
IX. JOHN 14:3 "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." 1 Thessalonians 4:17 — "And so shall we ever be with the Lord." John 12:26 — "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my father honour."
Proposition: After the coming of Christ and our being caught up to meet Him, we shall ever be with the Lord; there shall be no more separation from Him.
WHERE BELIEVERS SHALL BE.
John 14:2 — "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
We shall be in a prepared place, a place where Jesus has gone for the express purpose of preparing it for us. We shall be a prepared people in a prepared place. Jesus spoke of this place as "abodes" or "abiding places" (translated "mansions"). Hebrews 11:10,16 — "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God .... But now they desire a better country, that is a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
We shall be in a city that has foundations built and made by God, a better country than this, a heavenly country; a city prepared by God for us.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THAT CITY.
Hebrews 13:14 — "For here we have no continuing city.., we seek one to come."
It will be an abiding city. Revelation 21:22 RV — "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple thereof."
The Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple there. We will not go to some building to worship, but right to God Himself. Revelation 21:23 RV — "And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb."
That city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine upon it: for the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb himself is its lamp. Paul got a hint of the dazzling brilliance of that light on the Damascus road. Our resurrection eyes will be able to endure and enjoy the glory that blinded him. There will be no dark days. Revelation 21:25 — "And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there."
The gates will never be shut and there will be no night — perfect security and no darkness. Revelation 21:27 RV — "And there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie: but only they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."
There will be nothing unclean, nothing abominable, nothing false, nothing untrue, nothing unreal, no saloons, no filth, no shams. Revelation 22:1-2 RV — "And he shewed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
There will be a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the midst of the street, and on both sides of the river will be the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree will be for the healing of the nations.
X. 2 THESSALONIANS 1:7 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels." Hebrews 4:9 — "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."
Proposition: When the Lord is revealed from heaven we will be given rest.
Now we have conflict and tribulation. Then we shall have rest and glory.
XI. JOHN 17:24 "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
Proposition: We will behold the glory of our Lord, the glory which the Father has given Him.
The word translated "behold," is a strong word. It means to gaze at with interest and intentness. We will put our whole being into rapturous and adoring contemplation of the revealed glory of Him who suffered shame for us on earth.
XII. 1 JOHN 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is."
Proposition: We shall be like Him.
QUESTION: Does the "Him" here refer to Christ or to the Father?
ANSWER: It matters not; for if we are like the one, we shall also be like the other: Hebrews 1:3 — "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." John 14:9 — "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip: he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" Philippians 2:6 — "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."
XIII. COLOSSIANS 3:4 RV "When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory.
Proposition: We shall with Him be manifested in glory.
We will not only behold His glory, but reflect it in ourselves. Our life is now a hidden one, hid with Christ in God ( Colossians 3:3); but when He is manifested in glory, we shall be too. Romans 8:18 — "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us. 2 Corinthians 4:17 RV — "For our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory."
This eternal weight of glory is being worked out for us more and more exceedingly by our present momentary light affliction. John 17:22 — "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." 2 Thessalonians 2:14 "Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The glory that God has given to Jesus will be ours. 1 Thessalonians 2:12 RV — "That ye would walk worthy of God, who calleth you into his own kingdom and glory.
We will be sharers in God's own glory and kingdom. In a word, we will be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, glorified together with Him ( Romans 8:17).
XIV. MATTHEW 25:20-23 "And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents; behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
First Proposition: At the coming of Christ and His reckoning with His servants, faithful servants will be commended by Him and enter into the joy of their Lord.
Leighton says, "Here a few drops of joy enter into us, there we enter into joy as vessels put into a sea of happiness." Luke 19:12-13, 15-19 — "He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come .... And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities."
Second Proposition: Rewards will vary in proportion to fidelity in service.
XV. REVELATION 7:9-10, 13-17 RV "After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation, and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands; and they cry with a great voice, saying, Salvation unto our God which sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb .... And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, These which are arrayed in the white robes, who are they, and whence came they? And I say unto him, My lord, thou knowest, and he said to me, These are they which come out of the great tribulation, and they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God; and they serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall spread his tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun strike upon them, nor any heat: for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them unto fountains of waters of life: and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Proposition: Those who come out of the great tribulation shall stand before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, with palms in their hands.
The white robes and palms symbolize purity, victory, and festal joy. These believers will serve God day and night in His temple. He that sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no more, nor thirst: neither will the sun strike upon them, nor any heat, for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to fountains of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
XVI. JAMES 1:12 RV "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him."
Proposition: Those who endure temptation will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love Him.
The word translated "endure" means not merely to suffer, but to continue or persevere under, to stand fast. This is the proof of true love to Christ, that we stand true to him under trial, and this wins the crown of life.
XVII. 2 TIMOTHY 4:8 RV "I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved his appearing."
Proposition: "At that day," the Lord, the righteous judge, swill give the crown of righteousness to all those who have loved His appearing.
XVIII. <600501> 1 PETER 5:1-4 RV "The elders therefore among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according unto God nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away."
Proposition: When the chief Shepherd is manifested, He will give the crown of unfading glory to the undershepherds who tended His flock willingly; not for money, but eagerly; not lording it over the flock, but being examples.
Note the three crowns — "The Crown of Life," "the Crown of Righteousness," and "the Crown of Glory" — and who is to receive each.
XIX. JAMES 2:5 "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" Luke 22:28-29 — "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." Luke 12:32 — "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Proposition: God has promised, Christ has appointed, and it is the Father's good pleasure to give a kingdom to those who love God and continue with Christ in His temptations.
NOTES ABOUT THE KINGDOM.
Revelation 20:6 — "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
In this kingdom we will reign with Christ as priests of God and of Christ. Matthew 25:34 "Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
This kingdom was prepared for us from the foundation of the world. Hebrews 12:28 RV — "Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well pleasing to God with reverence and awe."
This kingdom cannot be shaken.
XX. PROMISES TO THE OVERCOMER. Revelation 2:7 RV — "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God."
To the overcomer, Christ will give fruit from the tree of life in God's paradise. Revelation 2:11 — "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."
He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. Revelation 2:17 RV — "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it."
To him who overcomes Christ will give the hidden manna, a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knows except the recipient. Revelation 2:26-27 RV — "And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have received of my Father."
Christ will give to him who overcomes authority over the nations; and he will rule them with a rod of iron; and Christ will give him the morning star (verse 28). Revelation 3:4-5 RV — "But thou hast a few names in Sardis which did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
The overcomer will be arrayed in white garments; and Christ will confess his name before His Father and the angels, and he will walk with Christ in white. Revelation 3:12 RV — "He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out hence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name."
Christ will make the overcomer a pillar in the temple of his God, and he shall never have to leave. Christ will write upon him the name of His God, and the name of the city of His God, and His own new name. Revelation 3:21 RV — "He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne.
XXI. REVELATION 21:4 RV "And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away."
Proposition: God shall wipe away every tear from the eyes of His people.
Death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more. (See also verse 3.)
XXII. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:12 RV "For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I have been known."
Proposition: We will know God and all things in that perfect way that He already knows us.
XXIII. 1 CORINTHIANS 1:8 RV "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye be unreproveable in the clay of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Proposition: In the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will be so perfect that there will be nothing in us that even He can find fault with or be displeased with. (Compare to Jude 24.)
XXIV. EPHESIANS 5:27 RV "That he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Proposition: Christ will present to Himself a glorious church, holy and without blemish.
XXV. 1 PETER 1:4-5 RV "Unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation to be revealed in the last time."
Proposition: We who are guarded by God's power, through faith, will receive an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that never fades away, reserved in heaven.