Category Archives: hope

Seven Teachings with Three Levels of Growth

I greet you now with encouraging words, words from the heart of Christ who grants us courage and strength and power. He is that positive One, the “Holy One of Israel,” who is all “Yes” and  all Love for us all. And His Spirit now lives in us.

And we are His body, despite the world that tries to corral us into a box of their own imagination as to who God is and what He want us to do and to be. We must continue to walk worthy of His great calling and election that rests upon us.

I know that many of you are seeking God fervently, longing to know His will for your lives. As I stated before in my latest book, The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect, God has a steadfast purpose, and that purpose is to reproduce Himself in us. “For consider what He has done—before the foundation of the world He chose us to become, in Christ, His holy and blameless children, living within His constant care” (Eph. 1: 4-5 Phillips).

He chose us before the foundation of the world! We are His elect, His chosen ones. (“Elect” and “chosen” are translated from the same Greek word). Brothers and sisters, the Almighty is for us! And “if God be for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8: 31). He has chosen us to be recipients of Christ’s most precious and endearing qualities.

He has a plan to accomplish our transformation. His will is that we surrender to His commands to be holy as He is holy. We become holy when we set ourselves apart for His purpose. And His purpose is to magnify and multiply Himself in a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (I Pet. 2: 9).

Enduring the Sojourn

I know that many of you have been bounced around from church to church, rejected and ostracized and betrayed by those you loved. Think not that God has turned His back on you. Oh, no. He allows these things for our good. He ordains hardships, reluctant goodbyes, and mindless  misunderstandings to temper and then hone the sword of the Spirit within us, that we can “endure hardships as a good soldier of Christ.”

And, yet, we wander on, like Paul, shipwrecked at sea. We still cling to a bit of driftwood called “hope.” And as we are tossed to and fro, longing for a spiritual home that’s true, we wait like those poor souls in Casablanca. We wait for a word that signals passage into the Captain’s good ship.

I write to you who are still hoping to find a clarification as to what God wants for you to do. Your vision will clear as you simply believe His vision for your life. His vision for you is His purpose for you.

Doing His Purpose

To fulfill His purpose, our feet must tread in the footprints of giants—the giants of the faith, the apostles and prophets. Step one is to acquire true knowledge of their teachings. Then we must study and continue in their doctrine, which are Christ’s teachings (Heb. 5: 12-14; 6: 1-2). Then we share them, and sharing His teachings is breaking the bread of life. This is the communion so dear to His heart.

Seven doctrines of Christ were paramount in the early church. The early church “continued steadfastly” in them (Acts 2: 42). There are three levels of spiritual growth in each of the seven.

We see this three-leveled motif at work in several passages. In the Parable of the Sower, the word of God produced three levels of fruit production—thirty, sixty, and one hundred (Matt. 13: 3-9, 18-23). John writes to “children, young men, and fathers” (I John 2: 12-14). Christ likens the kingdom of God to a man who sows seed. It grows, and he does not know how it all works. “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head” (Mark 4: 26-29).That’s how the kingdom grows. Then you have Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. And the three sections of the Tabernacle. There are many more examples of the three levels of spiritual growth. There importance is indisputable.

7 Teachings, 3 Growth Levels in Each

Each of the seven doctrines of Christ have a 30 fold growth, a 60 fold, and a 100 fold growth. Let’s just look at the 30 fold level of understanding.

  1. Right now, let us take the first teaching of Christ—repentance from dead works. The 30 fold fruit of that doctrine in one’s life is the crucifixion of the old self on the cross with Christ. It is the getting rid of the sin nature we are born with. Our old self is dead already in God’s eyes. We must reckon it so. This is true repentance from sin and sinning; it frees us. “For He that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom 6: 6-11). This speaks of a spiritual death of our old sinful nature. When we really believe this, way down deep in our hearts, then we will experience the chains of sin falling off of us. Before, we are slaves to Sin; now we are free. Why? Because our old sinful heart died with Christ, the sin sacrifice. This is the cross experience. Someone says, “I know that.” But the churches rarely get into the death of our old man  nature.
  2. Faith toward God” is the second apostles’ doctrine. In the 30 fold child-of-God context, we then believe that Christ was raised from the dead, and that we are raised with Him. He had faith that He would be raised. Now we have faith that we are raised up along with Christ—raised from the death that sin had held us in. [For much more on these first two doctrines, read online Chapters 26-32 of Yah Is Savior: The Road to Immortality found here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/book-yah-is-savior-the-road-to-immortality/ Or better yet, order your free hard copy with free shipping by sending your mailing address to wayneman5@hotmail.com Mention the book]
  3. Doctrine of Baptisms” is the third teaching that the apostles stayed in. There are several baptisms, but for a 30 fold child of God it is their immersion into Christ’s death. When He died, our sin nature died with Him. “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Rom. 6: 3-4)?

{To be continued…I will share a 30 fold understanding of the other teachings a bit later. These first three are what the people need. We must understand them first and then share these keys to those trapped in sin. Be sure to order my latest book The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect. Absolutely free.}

A big agape-love hug to all of you.

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Write the Vision–Read the Letters

I have always considered articles published here my letters to the body of Christ. Like epistles, they are didactic in form and purpose, a teacher’s love distilled into lines of light. They are for your edification and instruction.

But they can serve an even higher purpose. They can be shared, literally read to the body of Christians near you. The scriptures encourage us to do this. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. I Thes. 5: 27. Also, Paul tells the church of the Colossians to not only read these teachings of the Holy Spirit to the church there, but to also share it abroad. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. Col. 4: 16.

If you believe that the articles found here on Immortality Road are true, then they’ve come from only one source–the Spirit of Truth. Once received, He will guide us into all truth and will abide with us forever. He will show us who the Savior really is (John 16: 13; 14: 16).

Reading a letter to the body of Christ when  you meet is scriptural. You don’t have to have a formalized preacher standing up front in a church building.  You do need the truth. And when you find it written down and dedicated to you and yours, share it with the body of Christ.

Remember this: The vision of God is to be written down and read by those who are running the race with patience, which is endurance. It is a race that entails much chastening of God, much hardship, and much suffering on the road to perfection/maturity. Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry (Hab. 2: 2-4; Hebrews 12).

The vision of God shows us His plan to carry out His purpose.*  It includes the manifestation of the sons of God. These offspring of God will be the fully matured Christians just like Christ who will arise at the time of the end. The vision explains how God will reproduce Himself in those He has chosen during these last days.

All this was not for Habakkuk’s day, but it is for ours. And this vision is the truth, and “it shall speak, and not lie.” Wait for it. But when it arrives, we better open our arms and hearts to receive the vision, for “it will surely come…When the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.” Here is a sign to show us who has the Spirit of truth: If they write and speak about the vision of God reproducing Himself, then we better “take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (II Peter 1: 19).

My brothers and sisters from all over the earth, I write these letters with great hope that they edify you and those you love. Read the vision written herein. Read it aloud to yourself and your group. Share them, and you will have fed His lambs and sheep.  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

*  [Pages 103-135 of my new book details the vision.  Send for a free  copy of The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect with free shipping. Send your mailing address to my email: wayneman5@hotmail.com ]

 

 

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Aging, Humility, and Immortality

The aging of our physical bodies humbles us and brings us low. The decades crumble us down, and the years of storms and winds weather us. We sense a melting back into the earth like the old adobe walls of a Santa Fe cabin, left open to the elements. It is only the joy and laughter and love that once abode inside those walls that make it all mean something.

It is a lot like God’s Spirit as He inhabits His people, bringing love and joy into our hearts during our brief sojourn here on earth.

We bear the burden of aging that we might walk more humbly before our Maker. Speaking of the Spirit, He said through His apostle Paul that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” Our finite, mortal bodies at present actually serve to draw us closer to the immortal God. For He “resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We gaze into the mirror and see the face of vulnerability, the face of one incredibly close to death, yet we now are not dismayed. For we are reminded by Him that it is no longer “I” that lives but the Spirit of Christ that lives in us. “We are dead and our lives are hid with Christ in God.” And He said that if we faithfully follow Him, He will give us a new spiritual body at the end of the age. Furthermore, if we are physically alive when He comes back, these old earthly bodies will be swallowed up by the new spiritual body He has prepared for us. It is all good (II Cor. 4th and 5th chapters).

Moreover, it is fascinating to see how God works out His plan. He has ordained the weakness of the human body as a tool to manufacture divine attributes, made to be displayed in the arena of human relationships. “All things [‘good’ or ‘bad’] work together for good for them that love God, who are the called according to His purpose.”

It is God’s will that we suffer with Him in these fragile earthen bodies, as we face the fact that man must go “to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets…Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc. 12: 5-7). Facing our own mortality has a way of humbling us. He favors those who know they are weak and need Him.

Nevertheless, through God’s grace, you and I have hope of an everlasting future in an everlasting body composed of spirit. That’s the word of His promise to us. He loves us and has given us His best—Himself. It’s just that before all this can take place, He has us walking “through the valley of the shadow of death.” That painful and sometimes lonely trail is the only road to immortality.     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

{I would love to read your comments and thoughts. Be sure to send for my latest book The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect. It is free with free shipping. Just send your mailing address to my email: wayneman5@hotmail.com   And I will get it right out to you}

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The Promise of the Holy Spirit

*****[BE SURE TO ORDER YOUR FREE COPY OF MY NEW BOOK THE ROYAL DESTINY OF GOD’S ELECT. JUST SEND YOUR MAILING ADDRESS TO MY EMAIL wayneman5@hotmail.com for your free promotional copy with free shipping in the USA. If outside the USA, email me and we will see that you get a copy. Put “New Book” on the subject line. It discusses God’s purpose of reproducing Himself in us! He is Love and He has a plan to be Love Incarnate in us. And all this has royal implications for us, the over comers! Don’t miss this book. It is my love gift to God and to you.]*****

God has not promised to fill us with His Spirit to make us feel good. He loves us, yes, but He created us for His pleasure. If He fills us with His Spirit, it will be for His own purpose. And that purpose is to fulfill His promise to Abraham and to his seed.

He promised Abraham that he would become the “heir of the world.” To inherit the world, one must have eternal life in order to be around for the inheritance. Abraham, the father of our faith, the believer of God’s promises, walked that faithful walk, never doubting God’s reasons for doing what He did. He knew of New Jerusalem and God’s plan to bring it to earth. He understood that it would be home to a “peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a chosen generation,” a people immortal, thanks to God’s granting them everlasting life.

Abraham realized this and searched for this great spiritual city, “whose builder and maker was God.” For he knew the King of this Kingdom and spoke with Him on several occasions. And so Abraham did not doubt the promises made to him by Yahweh-in-His-human-form.

We now, with the same faith of Abraham through Christ, must realize that nothing has changed. The promises are still valid, immutable. Though ancient, heroic edifices crumble under the sand-swept assault of time, and though very few humans are remembered forty years after their demise, God’s promise of filling His children with His Spirit remains a clean, shiny hope in the hearts of his people. For this hope is our silent prayer that we would be spared the indignity of a dark, black future where no one remembers our smile, our tears, our name.

Those who love Him will be spared, for He has promised them that He would shower them with Love and immerse them in His light. His promise to fill us is not to help us escape our lonely trials of these fleshly bodies, but rather to fulfill His purpose. This purpose is to reproduce Himself in us, thus multiplying Love, Joy, and Peace throughout eternity. He will grant the faithful like Abraham a new spiritual body and fill it with His Spirit of Love. That’s us, brethren. We are the children of Abraham.

And Yahweh will, with His residence within our new body, grant us everlasting life, a life that will endure forever, an immortal existence with Him in His kingdom. It is an eternal life, a life that is in His Son.

There we go, getting into the meat of the word again. Unfortunately, as a body of believers, we are not ready for all this just yet. God gives grace to the humble. He favors those with humility. We exercise a desire for humility when we without reservation humble ourselves by deliberately purging out the false teachings that we cling to. That is the humbling that we must endure for His sake. That’s part of the fellowship of His sufferings. We allow (or suffer) sometimes the wrenching pain of parting with doctrines that have been our “buddies” for a long time. It is a trial of our faith. It is in His plan. Only the pure of heart will see God’s way in this. Only those who are contenders and not pretenders will stay the course. It’s the parable of the sower in all three levels of growth.

But the attention span of many in the body of Christ is short. Most are lukewarm when it comes to their studies in His word. When you dig deep, you get blisters on  your hands and aches and pains in your shoulders. For this age of Laodicea, the seventh church age, this lukewarmness will not be welcomed by our King. He said that He would spue them out of His mouth.

And these are lukewarm for they are full of themselves, either because of physical riches or spiritual riches. God has blessed them materially. And, the many spiritual experiences that they have had over the years assure them that God is on their side and that they “have need of nothing.” And they do not know that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked.” And so Christ counsels these Christians to buy from Him “gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich,” and white raiment that you be not naked, and eye salve to cure the spiritual blindness. Then in verse 19 tells them, “Repent” (Rev. 3: 14-19). We can’t escape the first apostles’ doctrine: Repentance.

Question: Who reading this will get the concordances out and Strong’s and dig these things out? Those who do will show the King that they are for real and not just pretenders…

Nevertheless, some will continue on their weary way, the grains of time slipping through their fingers. And with death’s smirk lurking just around the corner of their fears, the treachery of the mirror betrays their trust in these fragile, fleshly bodies.

God has promised us His Spirit, which will fulfill His purpose of having righteous inhabitants in His Heavenly City. We are those citizens with everlasting life, His life, and we will once again walk those halls of New Jerusalem. But there I go getting into the meat of the word again.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Called, Chosen, and Predestined–Who Can Be Against Us?

It’s funny how we can read a verse of scripture for decades, thinking we understand it, and then one day, when it is pointed out, we “get the revelation.” We stared at it with open eyes, and we did not get it until it was time.

So it is with what Paul the apostle called “the manifestation of the sons of God.” “Manifestation” means “unveiling or revealing.” This unveiling, this making known of God’s sons for these last days is what this book is about. Certain people, in all likelihood living right now on the earth, have been chosen by their Creator to “overcome all things.”

These are the “elect” of the title of this volume. These have been elected or chosen by their Maker to sit with Him on His throne at the end of this age. They have a royal destiny to become kings sitting alongside Christ when He returns and sets up His kingdom.

They are described at length in Romans 8. They are “free from the law of sin and death” (v. 2). The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them because they walk in accordance with the Spirit of God (v. 1, 4). They are spiritually minded and have the Spirit of God dwelling in them (vs. 5-9). They have received the Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of the Father; the Spirit has promised them that He will make alive their mortal bodies. They are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” if they endure the sufferings that will come because of this commitment. If they suffer with Christ, then they “will be glorified together” (vs. 10-17).

Paul continues to say that “the sufferings” that we endure “are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us” (v. 18). The Spirit of God in Paul is telling these future chosen ones that God will reveal His glory in them! Furthermore, the whole creation is eagerly waiting for them to be revealed during these latter days. “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (v. 19 NKJV).

Every living thing in the creation is dying or will die. We all have bodies made of earth that will give up the ghost and melt back to clay. We are all slaves and are in bondage to this mortal fate. Why is the whole creation waiting for the revealing of the immortal sons of God? “Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of decay into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (vs. 20-21).

In a harvest, there are always first fruits. A few human beings will be glorified first, thus showing the way for the rest of the creation. Paul likens it to the whole creation groaning in birth pains, how we are all groaning and travailing, waiting, waiting for somebody to transcend death and decay. We do not want to die, and we certainly do not desire our loved ones to wax cold as the ground that receives them. Impending death is so horrid, that we refuse to think on it. If only we had a  champion to show us the way to immortality. Even we who have the down payment of the Spirit are groaning right along with the whole creation, “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (v. 22-23). We are waiting for the antidote.

We now live and walk around in these aging, decaying bodies, but some of us can take comfort in that we have a measure of His Spirit within. But we “are saved by hope”—hope that though we do not yet see the immortal bodies that God has promised us, “we with patience wait for it.” It is a tough and sometimes lonely road, but the Spirit helps us to pray, and Christ our High Priest makes intercession for us (v. 24-27).

In the last few verses of Romans 8, we get to the meaning of the title of this book, The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect. We see that those that love God are the ones He has “called according to His purpose.” He has a definite purpose (v. 28). He foreknew these; He knew them from the beginning, and He gave them a destiny beforehand; He “also predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son” so that Christ would be the firstborn among many sons and daughters (v. 29). The remainder of the chapter insures us of God’s love for us in seeing us through to the end. After all, it is His plan and purpose.

The premise of this book is that the future sons and daughters of God must go through a rigorous unlearning and learning. The false teachings fed to us by the world must be purged, and the thoughts of God, the mind of Christ, must be learned in their stead. For the wide highways of the world are paved with poisoned stones, smooth for the tread of the bygone masses. The way of the elect is a narrow path that winds its way up the mountain of God. It is rocky and rough, and few are able to finish the race. Those that do will overcome all the sufferings and sacrifices and will be the forerunners for the whole creation. They already are chosen and predestined to win. Their confidence is in their Father who created them for the fulfilling of His purpose. They will have a hunger for God’s purpose; they will long to get the truth about why we are here, and why we are dodging death during our earthly sojourn. They will learn of His plan and purpose, His thoughts, His ways. And the old teachings about God they will gladly shed, and they will marvel at how small and suffocating churchianity’s dogmas were.

For these overcomers, soon to be glorified and revealed to the world, will return and “build the old waste places.” They shall be “the trees of righteousness” and the “planting of the LORD.” They shall bring great glory to God through their humble service to Him.

This book speaks of the beginnings of the mind of Christ, the thoughts of God, which are some of the first lessons about God that these future sons and daughters must have “to make their calling and election sure.” They will ask, What is this purpose of God that Paul speaks of? What is His plan to implement His purpose? What are His thoughts that are not our thoughts? Why are we really here? What’s really happening?

[This article will serve as part of the Preface of the above mentioned book that I am finishing at present. Hopefully, it will be published next summer. Kenneth Wayne Hancock]

 

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The Manifestation of the Sons of God–The Hope for Immortality, Christ’s Return, and the “Strong Delusion”

Turn on the news and what do you see? Suicide bombings, children slaughtered, ethnic cleansing, civil wars, domestic violence–the results of hatred at every turn. The “perilous times” that the apostle Paul wrote about are upon us. The Savior said as much. “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And He promised that we could overcome also.

But what constitutes this overcoming the world? How did He overcome the world? We will find the answer in the power of His resurrection. This power spearheads the ultimate victory that He promised His followers. “You shall overcome also.”

You shall become like Me, He is promising. You shall walk with Me and be like Me in My immortal state. You shall receive an immortal spiritual body just like mine. John confirms this. “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man who has this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3: 2-3). Our hope is to be like Him–immortal.

Let’s savor these words a moment. “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him.” Christ is immortal, and so will we be when He shall appear. So when will that be?

When will Christ appear?

Christ Himself said that He will appear upon His return to earth “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24: 29). Which tribulation? It will be “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be” (24: 21). It will be so destructive that God will have to intervene and stop it before all mankind is wiped out. “But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (v. 22). God’s precious elect, His sons and daughters, will evidently be in danger, for He cuts the tribulation short to spare them from collateral destruction.

Furthermore, during this great tribulation period, deception and delusion will permeate the earth through the teachings of the false Christs and false prophets. They will be so convincing that it will almost deceive God’s elect, who are obviously still here on earth. For they could not be deceived by Satan if they were already with God in heaven. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matt. 24: 24.

This is the environment of Christ’s return to earth. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send his angels…and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds…

It is a time of “great tribulation” in the earth. Christ returns at the end of this tribulation. In fact, His presence brings peace and tranquility to the earth.

And when He shall appear at this time, then “we shall be like Him.” His Spirit will be living in us fully. And this is our hope. We shall receive immortality and become just like Him–right here on earth. Not in the sky by and by. No. Right here. How can I be sure of that? Because He has promised in His word that He is coming back to earth, the same way He left earth!

Our hope is to receive immortality, thus escaping a certain physical death that stalks humans on this earth.

Our hope of everlasting life

Paul admonished the church of the Thessalonians to have this very hope of receiving a new immortal body. He mentions that if you are sorrowful because of brethren who have died, you are acting like you have no hope (I Thess. 4: 13). Hope of what? He speaks of Christ dying and rising from the dead. The same power that raised Him from the dead will give the dead in Christ a new body when He comes back to earth. Those who die or “sleep” in Jesus (Yahshua), “God will bring with Him” (v. 14).

God will be bringing with Him His saints who have died before His return to earth. Where will He be bringing them from? And to where? The answer is found in verse 16: He “shall descend from heaven with a shout.” He is coming from heaven to this earth, and the dead in Christ will be coming with Him.

Those of us who do not die before His return will not precede the Christians that have died. “We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep” (v. 15). Precede them in what? Those of the elect who are still alive at His return will not go before the dead in Christ in getting their immortal, spiritual body (See I Cor. 15: 23). They will get theirs first, then we will receive our immortal bodies, and we will join them, “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (v. 17).

Rapture doctrine erroneously based on one verse

The rapture doctrine has been built upon one major verse: I Thessalonians 4: 17. Of course, “rapture” is not in the scriptures. A closer study of this passage reveals events quite differently than what those waiting for the “rapture” envision. They imagine that they will be conveniently whisked away from the “time of trouble,” the great tribulation period, that shall ravage the earth at the time of His return. They base this primarily on one verse.

But let us dig deep into it and see what it really says. First, He is coming back to this earth. When He gets into the atmosphere of this planet, the dead in Christ will receive a new immortal, spiritual body, rising up to meet Him.  Those of us who are still living will join them “in the clouds…in the air.”

So there is a “catching away,” a rising up into our atmosphere. “Clouds” and “air” are components of the very atmosphere that we mortals breathe as we stand here on earth. The dead in Christ will join Him upon His return, and then those alive in Him will be changed and “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ in the air.” Our change, when “this mortal shall put on immortality,” shall take place in the very atmosphere that we now breathe.

There will be air and clouds there. The Greek manuscripts are clear on this. Now take note of the next line in v. 17: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This   part of the passage is never quoted. We will join up with Him in our atmosphere rising in our new spiritual bodies from the earth, and then we will come right back down onto terra firma! We will come back down to earth after that short ride because He is immediately coming back to earth. And we are coming back down to earth with Him, for we shall “ever be with Him.”

This is our hope–to be eternally with Christ

We will forever be with Him at this time–all of His people down through the ages and those of His who are alive when He returns. That is our hope! The first step that He will take will be right here on earth.

Paul continues to explain to the Thessalonians about how Christ’s return will be “as a thief in the night” to those who walk in darkness. “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” Those in spiritual darkness will not know when He is coming back, but the elect will know and not be overtaken. “You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness’ (I Thess. 5: 2-9).

God’s children will be changed into immortals and will not be taken in the “sudden destruction” coming upon all those in darkness. Paul says that at the time of end, the world system will be trying to induce an artificial man-made peace throughout the globe. They will say that everything is fine now. “Peace and safety” will be the talk of the land, but real peace will not reside in the hearts of the earth’s inhabitants. In reality, a godless darkness will cover the land.

Yet, this earth in all of its end time spiritual darkness will be the stage for man’s greatest disaster and greatest triumph. The New World Order and its enforced peace will crumble under the onslaught of God’s missiles, His heavenly bodies that will literally crash down onto this earth, wiping out whole civilizations. It will be a “time of trouble” never seen before on earth.

Rising out of the ashes

But, rising out of the wasteland will come striding God’s chosen ones, His elect, His sons and daughters, His ambassadors–the princes and princesses of God’s kingdom. They will have God fully formed in them. Nothing will harm them, for they are from another dimension–a heavenly one that has transcended earthly matter. They will no longer be of this earth. They will have been “changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.”

This at once terrible and glorious day will come on the world as “a thief in the night.” Darkness will envelop the land, literally and spiritually. But, as Paul exhorts, you are “the children of light…we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (I Th 5: 4-5). The very fact that we have the Spirit within us, will make us where we can see the “thief” who operates out in the night of the world system. God’s elect will know. We will know by the signs of the times, for we will be “sober, armed with the armor of God, “the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” This “hope of salvation” is the hope of our deliverance  from the dusty tombs of our mortal earthy existence. This “hope of salvation” is the looking forward to us receiving our new spiritual body at His coming–whether we be dead or alive upon His return.

At the end of this present age, the earth, totally immersed in the evil world system, will be a crucible of wrath, bathed in fire and blood. Yet this earth’s most painful travail will with supreme irony give birth to the sons and daughters of the great Father Yahweh. They will be the first immortals to take up residence on this earth since Christ Himself did for 40 days after His resurrection. They will have His Spirit fully residing within, and they “will build the old waste places” (Isa. 61: 1-4). Paul and the Thessalonians looked forward to this day, our day. In fact, their spirit still looks forward to the day of Christ’s return, which will fulfill our hope–our hope for immortality.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes–A Eulogy

This solemn occasion, in which we gather to bury this loved one, brings the age old question to mind: How do we deal with death?  To be human is to have pondered this inevitable enigma.  The death of someone close to us hurls us into thoughts about our own mortality.  Death is that lonely part of the human journey, the ticket to that solitary ride into the mysterious cosmos and the life beyond.

Death, and how to deal with it, is one of the great themes of literature.  It is the constant concern that motivates thinkers, writers, and philosophers to dive into the depths of the human condition.

We want to know what follows this fragile earthly existence.  What really happens?  Not what this man says nor what that group claims, but what really transpires.  What is the truth concerning that first step beyond this dimension?

Being Christians, we will look to the bestseller of all time, the Holy Bible.  We will look to the ancient Hebrew patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and the Savior Himself for our answers.

What did they say about death?  Not what someone said they said, but what words did they actually write down to explain to us about this experience called death?  Moses reports to us that the LORD (Yahweh in the Hebrew) said to the fallen Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground, for out of it were you taken.  For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3: 19).  Later in Genesis, Abraham said, Look at me.  Here I am about to speak to Yahweh my Creator, and I am only “dust and ashes” (18: 27).  King David says to God, “You have brought me into the dust of death.”

And some say that that is all there is.  We are born; we walk around the earth for a moment in time; we laugh; we cry, and then we cease to be.  But according to the Hebrew authors of the Bible, that is only half of the story.

Yes, our bodies are composed of dust and ashes.  But another very special ingredient must be added.  Take the dust, mix it with water, and add the special spark of the spirit through the miracle of the Master’s touch, and you have the human being–what the apostle Paul called, “the glory of God.”

“There is a spirit in man…”

The prophet Job confirms this when he writes, “There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives man understanding” (32: 18).  Inside this miraculously fashioned body of dust lies a spirit given to us by our Creator through which He enlightens us.  Job goes on and says that God speaks to us “in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then God opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that God may withdraw man” from his own purpose, and hide pride from man.”

God reaches out to us as we walk “through this valley of the shadow of death.”  Job later explains how our “soul draws near to the grave.”  Then God says to his messengers, “Deliver them from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.”

God promises to restore us to our youth if we say to our Maker, “I have sinned, and perverted that which is right…then He will deliver us from going to the pit, and his life shall see the light” (Job 33: 15-28).

Hope in the Resurrection

Who will deliver us from the grave?  2,000 years before the Savior walked the streets of Jerusalem, Job wrote, “For I know that my Redeemer lives,  and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth,” and though my body be destroyed, “yet in my flesh shall I see God” (18: 25-26).

The prophet Daniel confirmed this hope of life after our earthly body passes away.  Michael the archangel told him that the resurrection will take place after the great “time of trouble” that will befall the earth in the latter days.  At that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (12: 1-2).

So, there it is.  In these few passages, we see a resurrection that will lift us up out of the dust of our graves.   The resurrection is our only hope, and that hope hinges on our Redeemer and Savior.  Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
It is now left up to us the living to seek out and find our own way with our Maker.  It is a personal thing.  We all must find the path that leads out of the dust and ashes of death and be reconciled with God.  We can help each other, of course, but we cannot “walk that lonesome valley” for someone else.

And so, now, we commend Scott Kenneth Hancock’s spirit back to the Heavenly Father from whence it came, and in fulfillment of scripture, we place his dust and ashes back into the earth from whence it came.

May God’s grace and mercy help us all on our journey back to the heart of God.  Amen.

[Remembering my Dad with these words spoken over his grave ten years ago.]        Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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