The rapture will happen quicker than, “the twinkling of an eye.”

Consider the following verse of scripture. It explains what will immediately happen after the rapture takes place, (Rapture: Latin, rapio. Greek, harpazo. English, catch up, snatch away).

1 Corinthians 15:52 The Voice (VOICE)

52 It will all happen so fast, in a blink, a mere flutter of the eye. The last trumpet will call, and the dead will be raised from their graves with a body that does not, cannot decay. All of us will be changed!

Those who are dead at the time of the rapture, and knew Christ as their Lord and Savior prior to their death, will have their bodies raised from their graves and will be given bodies that are immortal, and that will never die again, or suffer any kind of sickness, illness or disease. Those who are alive at the time of the rapture, will have their mortal bodies changed to immortal bodies, that will never decay or die. Both, dead and living, will have their “changed” bodies raised up to heaven where they will live forever in eternity with Christ.

Consider the future that the raptured saints of God will experience, as described in the following verse.

Revelation 21:3-5 World English Bible (WEB)

3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”

5 He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.”

For the people who have not been born again, and are “left behind” on earth when the rapture takes place, they will face a future that can be best described as “the worst nightmare” of their lives. Worldwide confusion, chaos, violence, death and destruction will soon become “the norm for each day; the “Amber Alert” system will be overwhelmed. With the added natural and cosmic disturbances, the news crews of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC will have “never ending days.” World governments will be, “less than Godly.” Consider the following movie, which adapts to the book, “Left Behind,” and was written by Dr. Tim LeHaye. The movie and book series are based on Bible prophecy, and should not be considered to be “science fiction.” My plea to anyone, who has not been born again, is for you to come to know Christ as your Lord and Savior. Otherwise, “you will be left behind!” It’s a choice; make the right one! Consider the following verse of scripture that describes the conditions that will take place after the rapture takes place.

Matthew 24:21 World English Bible (WEB)

21 for then there will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be.

Now, the movie. Watch it very attentively.

Left behind I


79 – Millions Of People Missing! Where Are They?

Consider the news reports from all around the world.
Airplanes crashing – flight crews missing! Cars and trucks colliding – drivers missing! Hospitals report, “No babies anywhere!”
School teachers frantically looking for young children! Clothing seen in restaurants and businesses where people had been seated!
Chaos everywhere! Network news anchors and theologians attribute the situation to global warming and alien abductions!
Congress convenes, and grasps for an explanation as to why, “a scattering of them” is missing.
Many pastors can’t be found – many others are being interviewed by CNN!


The answer is found in “The Rapture Of The Church.”

Rapture: Latin, Rapio. Greek, Harpazo. English, Catch up, Snatch away.


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord.

76 – This Will Happen! It’s As Serious As A Heart Attack! Don’t Be Left Behind To Endure It!

Matthew 24:5-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

70 – Revelation 2 – The Things Which Are – Data

How is Jesus preparing a place for us in heaven?

Your First Hour in Glory, What Will Heaven Be Like?

God’s love for Israel

Restoration of Judah and Israel’

Ezekiel 16:60 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Covenant Remembered

60 “Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

16:60 I will remember My covenant. God is gracious and He always finds a covenant basis on which He can exercise His grace. The Lord will remember the Abrahamic Covenant (cf. Gen. 12:1ff.) made with Israel in her youth. Restoration will be by grace, not merit. an everlasting covenant. This is the New Covenant, which is unconditional, saving, and everlasting (cf. 37:26; Is. 59:21; 61:8; Jer. 31:31–34; Heb. 8:6–13). The basis of God’s grace will not be the Mosaic Covenant, which the Jews could never fulfill, even with the best intentions (cf. Ex. 24:1ff.). When God establishes His eternal covenant, Israel will know that God is the Lord because of His grace. (Note: MacArthur Study Bible)

Introduction To Post

There are some people who may be confused about the meaning of the following verse, because of inclusion of the words, “to whom who overcomes.” Some may believe that their salvation is not secure in Christ. Some may believe that more than faith in Christ is necessary to keep them secure in Christ, which makes their understanding of salvation as being based on “something that they have to do.” So, they are constantly trying to determine what it is that they must do to keep them secure in Christ. The truth of scripture is that faith in Christ keeps us “secure in Christ,” at all times, and under all circumstances. We can never fall out of the eternal and saving grasp of Christ. The parachute of saving faith is nothing that we can make for ourselves; Christ makes it for us. It is nothing that will ever fail to open; Christ opens it for us. It is nothing that will ever wear out; Christ makes it new, and keeps it new. We would never know how to make the spiritual parachute of saving faith, or that we would need such an umbrella; only Christ makes it, offers it to us, and maintains it in eternal perfection.

It is very helpful to use scripture to explain scripture, as is shown in the “scripture that follows the scripture,” of concern.

Revelation 2:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

7 …”To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

The following scripture shows that whomever has been born again, is an overcomer, and will find their eternal place of residence in the Paradise of God, which is the Presence of God. See the MacArthur Study Bible note.

1 John 5:4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

MacArthur Study Bible note.

5:4 overcomes. John clearly defines who these overcomers are: they are all who believe that Jesus is God’s Son, and all that means. The overcomers are believers—all of them (cf. 2:13). The word for “overcomer” comes from a Gr. word meaning “to conquer,” “to have victory,” “to have superiority” or “conquering power.” The word reflects a genuine superiority that leads to overwhelming success. The victory is demonstrable; it involves overthrowing an enemy so that the victory is seen by all. Jesus also used this word to describe Himself (John 16:33). Because of believers’ union with Christ, they too partake in His victory (Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14). The word “overcomes” in the original language conveys the idea that the believer has continual victory over the world.

Revelation Chapter 2-3 – Data

Text – Revelation Chapter 2-3 – God’s Plan For The Ages 70

Revelation 2-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Chapter 2

Message to Ephesus

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:

2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. 6 Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

Message to Smyrna

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:

9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

Message to Pergamum

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:

13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

Message to Thyatira

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:

19 ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24 But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. 25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Commentary. Notes provided by MacArthur Study Bible.

2:1—3:22 Although these 7 churches were actual, historical churches in Asia Minor, they represent the types of churches that perennially exist throughout the church age. What Christ says to these churches is relevant in all times.
2:1 angel. The elder or pastor from the church (see note on 1:20). Ephesus. It was an inland city 3 mi. from the sea, but the broad mouth of the Cayster River allowed access and provided the greatest harbor in Asia Minor. Four great trade roads went through Ephesus; therefore, it became known as the gateway to Asia. It was the center of the worship of Artemis (Greek), or Diana (Roman), whose temple was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Paul ministered there for 3 years (Acts 20:31), and later met with the Ephesian elders on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 20). Timothy, Tychicus, and the Apostle John all served this church. John was in Ephesus when he was arrested by Domitian and exiled 50 mi. SW to Patmos. seven stars. See note on 1:16. seven golden lampstands. See note on 1:12.
2:2 who say they are apostles. The Ephesian church exercised spiritual discernment. It knew how to evaluate men who claimed spiritual leadership by their doctrine and behavior (cf. 1 Thess. 5:20, 21).
2:3 not become weary. For over 40 years, since its founding, this church had remained faithful to the Word and the Lord. Through difficulty and persecution, the members had endured, always driven by the right motive, i.e., for Christ’s name and reputation.
2:4 left your first love. To be a Christian is to love the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21, 23; 1 Cor. 16:22). But the Ephesians’ passion and fervor for Christ had become cold, mechanical orthodoxy. Their doctrinal and moral purity, their undiminished zeal for the truth, and their disciplined service were no substitute for the love for Christ they had forsaken.
2:5 remove your lampstand. God’s judgment would bring an end to the Ephesian church.
2:6 the deeds of the Nicolaitans. A problem in Pergamos also (vv. 12–15), this heresy was similar to the teaching of Balaam (vv. 14, 15). Nicolas means “one who conquers the people.” Irenaeus writes that Nicolas, who was made a deacon in Acts 6, was a false believer who later became apostate; but because of his credentials he was able to lead the church astray. And, like Balaam, he led the people into immorality and wickedness. The Nicolaitans, followers of Nicolas, were involved in immorality and assaulted the church with sensual temptations. Clement of Alexander says, “They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self-indulgence.” Their teaching perverted grace and replaced liberty with license.
2:7 him who overcomes. According to John’s own definition, to be an overcomer is to be a Christian (see note on 1 John 5:4; cf. vv. 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). tree of life. True believers enjoy the promise of heaven (see notes on 22:2; Gen. 2:9).
2:8 angel. See note on v. 1. Smyrna. Smyrna means “myrrh,” the substance used for perfume and often for anointing a dead body for aromatic purposes. Called the crown of Asia, this ancient city (modern Izmir, Turkey) was the most beautiful in Asia Minor and a center of science and medicine. Always on the winner’s side in the Roman wars, Smyrna’s intense loyalty to Rome resulted in a strong emperor-worship cult. Fifty years after John’s death, Polycarp, the pastor of the church in Smyrna, was burned alive at the age of 86 for refusing to worship Caesar. A large Jewish community in the city also proved hostile to the early church. the First and the Last. See note on 1:17.
2:9 who say they are Jews. Although they were Jews physically, they were not true Jews but spiritual pagans (cf. Rom. 2:28). They allied with other pagans in putting Christians to death as they attempted to stamp out the Christian faith. synagogue of Satan. With the rejection of its Messiah, Judaism becomes as much a tool of Satan as emperor worship.
2:10 devil. The Gr. name for God’s archenemy means “accuser.” For discussion of Satan, see notes on Eph. 6:10–17. tribulation ten days. Their imprisonment will be brief. crown of life. It is the crown which is life, or the reward which is life, not an actual crown to adorn the head. “Crown” here does not refer to the kind royalty wear, but to the wreath awarded winning athletes.
2:11 who overcomes. This identifies every Christian (see note on v. 7). the second death. The first death is only physical; the second is spiritual and eternal (cf. 20:14).
2:12 angel. See note on 1:20. Pergamos. Pergamos lit. means “citadel” and is the word from which we get parchment—a writing material developed from animal skin, which apparently was first developed in that area. Pergamos (modern Bergama) was built on a 1,000-foot hill in a broad, fertile plain about 20 mi. inland from the Aegean Sea. It had served as the capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor for over 250 years. It was an important religious center for the pagan cults of Athena, Asklepios, Dionysius (or Bacchus, the god of drunkenness), and Zeus. It was the first city in Asia to build a temple to Caesar (29 B.C.) and became the capital of the cult of Caesar worship. two-edged sword. See note on 1:16.
2:13 where Satan’s throne is. The headquarters of satanic opposition and a Gentile base for false religions. On the acropolis in Pergamos was a huge, throne-shaped altar to Zeus. In addition, Asklepios, the god of healing, was the god most associated with Pergamos. His snake-like form is still the medical symbol today. The famous medical school connected to his temple mingled medicine with superstition. One prescription called for the worshiper to sleep on the temple floor, allowing snakes to crawl over his body and infuse him with their healing power. Antipas. Probably the pastor of the church. faithful martyr. Tradition says Antipas was burned to death inside a brass bull. “Martyr,” a transliteration of the Gr. word, means witness. Because so many of the witnesses faithful to Christ were put to death, the word “martyr” developed its current definition.
2:14 doctrine of Balaam. Balaam tried unsuccessfully to prostitute his prophetic gift and curse Israel for money offered him by Balak, king of Moab. So he devised a plot to have Moabite women seduce Israelite men into intermarriage. The result was the blasphemous union of Israel with fornication and idolatrous feasts (for the story of Balaam, see Num. 22–25). things sacrificed to idols. See Acts 15:19–29.
2:15 Thus you also. The teaching of the Nicolaitans led to the same behavior as Balaam’s schemes. doctrine of the Nicolaitans. See note on v. 6.
2:16 sword of My mouth. See note on 1:16.
2:17 overcomes. See note on v. 7. hidden manna. Just as Israel received manna, God promises to give the true believer the spiritual bread the unbelieving world cannot see: Jesus Christ (cf. John 6:51). white stone. When an athlete won in the games, he was often given, as part of his prize, a white stone which was an admission pass to the winner’s celebration afterwards. This may picture the moment when the overcomer will receive his ticket to the eternal victory celebration in heaven. new name. A personal message from Christ to the ones He loves, which serves as their admission pass into eternal glory. It is so personal that only the person who receives it will know what it is.
2:18 angel. See note on 1:20. Thyatira. Located halfway between Pergamos and Sardis, this city had been under Roman rule for nearly 3 centuries (ca. 190 B.C.). Since the city was situated in a long valley that swept 40 mi. to Pergamos, it had no natural defenses and had a long history of being destroyed and rebuilt. Originally populated by soldiers of Alexander the Great, it was little more than a military outpost to guard Pergamos. Lydia came from this city on business and was converted under Paul’s ministry (Acts 16:14, 15). eyes like a flame of fire. See note on 1:14. feet like fine brass. Cf. 19:15; see note on 1:15.
2:20 Jezebel. Probably a pseudonym for a woman who influenced the church in the way Jezebel influenced the OT Jews into idolatry and immorality (cf. 1 Kin. 21:25, 26). sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. Cf. Acts 15:19–29; see note on v. 14.
2:22 sickbed. Lit. “bed.” Having given this woman time to repent, God was to judge her upon a bed. Since she used a luxurious bed to commit her immorality, and the reclining couch at the idol feast to eat things offered to false gods, He was to give her a bed in hell where she would lie forever.
2:23 her children. The church was about 40 years old as John wrote, and her teaching had produced a second generation, advocating the same debauchery. who searches the minds and hearts. God has perfect, intimate knowledge of every human heart; no evil can be hidden from Him (Ps. 7:9; Prov. 24:12; Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12). according to your works. Always the basis for future judgment (20:12, 13; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6). Works do not save (Eph. 2:8, 9), but they do evidence salvation (James 2:14–26).
2:24 the depths of Satan. This unbelievable libertinism and license was the fruit of pre-gnostic teaching that one was free to engage and explore the sphere of Satan and participate in evil with the body without harming the spirit (see Introduction to 1 John: Background and Setting).
2:26 overcomes. See note on v. 7.
2:27 rule them with a rod of iron. Lit. “shepherd them with an iron rod.” During the millennial kingdom, Christ will enforce His will and protect His sheep with His iron scepter from any who would seek to harm them (cf. Ps. 2:9).
2:28 the morning star. John later reveals Christ to be “the Bright and Morning Star.” Although the morning star has already dawned in our hearts (2 Pet. 1:19), someday we will have Him in His fullness.

For information that relates to the preparation of this post, and to sources of information, please click onto the following link.


66 God’s Plan For The Ages – About Israel – Ezekiel 11 – Visions: Wicked Princes and Departing Glory

“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Angus Dei – Michael W Smith and The Prestonwood Choir

No More Night

I Then Shall Live – Prestonwood Choir

Consider God

“God is love” 1 John 4:8 – New American Standard 1977 http://biblehub.com

Consider God’s love for Israel

“I have loved you with an everlasting love” Jeremiah 31:3 – New American Standard 1977 http://biblehub.com

The Prophecy Of The Messiah

What does Daniel 9:27 tell us about when the Messiah would come?

Consider God and Ezekiel


Lesson Preview

Ezekiel Chapter 11

Date: 594 B.C. (Scofield Study Bible)

Place: Ezekiel in exile in Babylon; his visions of Jerusalem, in the Southern Kingdom Of Judah and during the Millennium.

Consider the following verses that illumine the relationship that existed between God and Ezekiel.

Ezekiel Chapter 11

vs 1, 2, 4, 13, 14, 24, 25 (Key phrases of each verse)

Ezekiel 11:1 New American Standard 1977 Bible Hub
“Moreover, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the LORD’s house which faced eastward”
Ezekiel 11:2 New American Standard 1977 Bible Hub
“And He said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and give evil advice in this city”
Ezekiel 11:4 New American Standard 1977 Bible Hub
“Therefore, prophesy against them, son of man, prophesy!”
Ezekiel 11:13 New American Standard 1977 Bible Hub
“Now it came about as I prophesied, that Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell on my face and cried out with a loud voice and said, “Alas, Lord GOD! Wilt Thou bring the remnant of Israel to a complete end?”
Ezekiel 11:14 New American Standard 1977 Bible Hub
“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,”
Ezekiel 11:24 New American Standard 1977 Bible Hub
“And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God to the exiles in Chaldea. So the vision that I had seen left me”
Ezekiel 11:25 New American Standard 1977 Bible Hub
“Then I told the exiles all the things that the LORD had shown me.”

Consider the honor that Ezekiel was given in visions by God, in that he was allowed to see the Glory of God departing the temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 11:23), and that he was allowed to see the Glory of God returning to the temple again, also in Jerusalem during the Millennium (1,000 year reign of Christ, Revelation 20:4). It will not be until the time that the Millennial temple is present, that the Glory of God will return to the temple (Ezekiel 43:1-5). Even though the temple will be rebuilt (515 B.C.), after the Jews return to Jerusalem, after having spent 70 in exile in Babylon, the Glory of God will not return to any man-made temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). The vision of Ezekiel 43 will not occur until after the tribulation and the second coming of Christ to earth have taken place (Zechariah 14:1-16, Revelation 19:11-21, Matthew 24:29-31). Present in the Millennial temple will be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 43:1-7; 44:4-5; Revelation 20:4-6).

Ezekiel’s vision of the Glory of God departing the temple in Jerusalem, and returning to the return to the temple

Ezekiel was taken captive to Babylon in 597 B.C., in the first of three deportations of Jews from Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s vision of the destruction of the temple took place in 594 B.C. The temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C (2 Kings 25:8-11/2 Chronicles 36:19). The story of the deportations of Jews by the forces of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, and of the destruction by his forces of the temple and city of Jerusalem, can be found in 2 Kings 24-25, and 2 Chronicles 36:5-21.

Ezekiel 11:23 New American Standard Bible (NASB) (Bible Gateway) 1995

23 The glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city.

Ezekiel 43:1-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB) Bible Gateway 1995

Vision of the Glory of God Filling the Temple

1 Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; 2 and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. 3 And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4 And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. 5 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.

Consider the diary of God that illumines your relationship with Him.

Lesson Text: Ezekiel Chapter 11

Ezekiel 11 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 1995 https://www.biblegateway.com

Evil Rulers to Be Judged

1 Moreover, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the Lord’s house which faced eastward. And behold, there were twenty-five men at the entrance of the gate, and among them I saw Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. 2 He said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and give evil advice in this city, 3 who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses. This city is the pot and we are the flesh.’ 4 Therefore, prophesy against them, son of man, prophesy!”

5 Then the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and He said to me, “Say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “So you think, house of Israel, for I know your thoughts. 6 You have multiplied your slain in this city, filling its streets with them.” 7 Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Your slain whom you have laid in the midst of the city are the flesh and this city is the pot; but I will bring you out of it. 8 You have feared a sword; so I will bring a sword upon you,” the Lord God declares. 9 “And I will bring you out of the midst of the city and deliver you into the hands of strangers and execute judgments against you. 10 You will fall by the sword. I will judge you to the border of Israel; so you shall know that I am the Lord. 11 This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be flesh in the midst of it, but I will judge you to the border of Israel. 12 Thus you will know that I am the Lord; for you have not walked in My statutes nor have you executed My ordinances, but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations around you.”’”

13 Now it came about as I prophesied, that Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell on my face and cried out with a loud voice and said, “Alas, Lord God! Will You bring the remnant of Israel to a complete end?”

Promise of Restoration

14 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 15 “Son of man, your brothers, your relatives, your fellow exiles and the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the Lord; this land has been given us as a possession.’ 16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Though I had removed them far away among the nations and though I had scattered them among the countries, yet I was a sanctuary for them a little while in the countries where they had gone.”’ 17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ 18 When they come there, they will remove all its detestable things and all its abominations from it. 19 And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I will bring their conduct down on their heads,” declares the Lord God.

22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. 23 The glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city. 24 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God to the exiles in Chaldea. So the vision that I had seen left me. 25 Then I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.

Notes – Ezekiel Chapter 11 – MacArthur Study Bible (Everybody should own a MacArthur Study Bible) Bible Gateway

11:1 twenty-five men. Ezekiel, though at the temple only in the vision (cf. 8:3, and see note there), saw because God, who was everywhere present and all-knowing, impressed specific details on him in the vision. The wicked leaders (cf. v. 2) were part of God’s reason for the judgment (vv. 8, 10). Ezekiel was taken in spirit to the very place which the glory of God had left in 10:19 and was given a vision of “twenty-five men,” who represented, not priests, but influential leaders among the people, who gave fatal advice to the people (v. 2). Jaazaniah the son of Azzur. See note on 8:11.
11:3 caldron…meat. Though this is obscure, it may be that the bad advice these leaders were giving was that the people should not be engaged in business as usual, “building houses” or taking care of their comfort and futures, when they were about to be cooked like meat in a pot over a blazing fire. The idea must have been that the people should get ready for battle, and be prepared to fight, not focusing on comfort, but survival. Jeremiah had told the people to surrender to the Babylonians and save their lives, rather than fight and be killed (cf. Jer. 27:9–17). These false leaders, like the prophets and priests whom Jeremiah confronted for telling the people not to submit, scorned Jeremiah’s words from God and would pay for it (v. 4). Cf. 24:1–14.
11:6 multiplied your slain. Leaders who misled Israel by inciting false expectations of a victorious defense, rather than peaceful surrender, were responsible for the deadly results. Many people died in resisting Babylon.
11:7 I shall bring you out. The false leaders thought that unless they fought, they would all be in a caldron, i.e., the city. But here the Lord promised that some would be delivered from the city, only to die on Israel’s border in the wilderness (vv. 8–11). This was literally fulfilled at Riblah (cf. 2 Kin. 25:18–21; Jer. 52:24–27).
11:13 Pelatiah…died. The death of one leader from v. 1 was a sign that God would indeed carry out His word. Apparently this leader did die suddenly at the time Ezekiel was shown the vision, so that the prophet feared that this death meant death for all Israelites (9:8).
11:14, 15 Ezekiel was told he had a new family, not the priests at Jerusalem to whom he was tied by blood, but his fellow exiles in Babylon, identified as those who were treated as outcasts. The priesthood was about to be ended and he was to have a new family.
11:15 Get far away. The contemptuous words of those still left in Jerusalem at the carrying away of Jeconiah and the exiles indicated that they felt smugly secure and believed the land was their possession.
11:16 little sanctuary. This is better rendered “for a little while,” i.e., however long the captivity lasted. God was to be the protection and provision for those who had been scattered through all the 70 years until they were restored. The exiles may have cast off the Jews, but God had not (Is. 8:14). This holds true for the future restoration of the Jews (vv. 17, 18).
11:19, 20 a new spirit. God pledged not only to restore Ezekiel’s people to their ancient land, but to bring the New Covenant with its blessings. Cf. 36:25–28, and see note on Jer. 31:31–34.
11:23 the mountain…east. The glory of God moved to the Mt. of Olives to which the glorious Son of God will return at the Second Advent (cf. 43:1–5; Zech. 14:4).
11:24 brought me in a vision. Again, Ezekiel has remained bodily in his Babylonian house, seen by his visitors (v. 25; 8:1). God, who supernaturally showed him a vision in Jerusalem, caused his sense of awareness to return to Chaldea, thus ending the vision state. Once the vision was completed, Ezekiel was able to tell his exiled countrymen what God had shown him (v. 25).

Comments related to this post.

The book of Ezekiel show’s God’s prophetic purposes being fulfilled in the lives and nation of Israel. Jimmy DeYoung has called the book of Ezekiel, “the timeline of the Jews,” and the Book of Daniel, “the timeline of the Gentiles.”

Purpose of Writing: https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Ezekiel.html

Ezekiel ministered to his generation who were both exceedingly sinful and thoroughly hopeless. By means of his prophetic ministry he attempted to bring them to immediate repentance and to confidence in the distant future. He taught that: (1) God works through human messengers; (2) Even in defeat and despair God’s people need to affirm God’s sovereignty; (3) God’s Word never fails; (4) God is present and can be worshiped anywhere; (5) People must obey God if they expect to receive blessings; and (6) God’s Kingdom will come.

For information that relates to the preparation of this post, and to sources of information, please click onto the following link.


65 – The Thief In Heaven

The Anchor Holds – First Baptist Church Jacksonville, FL

Marriage of the Lamb – First Baptist Church Jacksonville, FL

Luke 23:42-43J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus answered, “I tell you truly, this day you will be with me in paradise.”

The above short conversation took place when Christ and a thief were hanging “side by side” on a cross in Jerusalem. Both knew that death was imminent. Our Lord, God the Son, knew that after His death he would be in the Presence of God the Father. The thief, based on His exhibited faith in Christ, knew that he could be saved from the eternal absence from God, and be placed in God’s immediate Presence. So, the thief “called on the Name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13). Based on this introduction, let’s continue with our discussion of whether the thief ended up that day in Heaven, or in Paradise. Let’s consider a key verse of this whole discussion.

Key verse: John 3:3

New American Standard Bible

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

When we consider Heaven, the thought is often related to the “eternal state,” which occurs after the Great White Throne Judgment (for unrighteous people) has taken place (Revelation 20:11-15). In the eternal state we find the New Heaven and New Earth and New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-2). The eternal state is the place where all born again, righteous, saints of God will spend their eternity, in the Presence of God. That is the place where the thief on the cross will be found, but not yet. All righteous, born again saints of God/believers in Christ, will find their place with the thief on the cross, “in the eternal state,” where all of the saints of God, of all of the ages, will be present and will see the face of God (Rev 22:4). (Repetition was used here to ensure that all designations of: righteous, born again, saints of God, believers in Christ relate to the same group of people who will spend their eternity in the eternal state with God.)

The normal usage of “heaven,” as is spoken today, relates to the place of “righteous spirits,” whether they are of righteous people who may be alive, dead, resurrected or caught up and in the Presence of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). So, let’s consider the word, “spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23 New American Standard Bible

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Spirit, soul and body. The body is our “fingers, toes and nose, etc.” Soul relates to our “mind,” our emotions, our intellect, in essence, it is “who we are,” the three words of a lady who is now in the Presence of God. I like to say that my spirit is in the center of my chest, immediately above my heart. I often make a fist and pound it on the heart area of my chest, and say, “God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), I know that you’re there; thank you!” Our spirit is that part of us that prompts our mind to thoughts of righteousness or unrighteousness, depending on whether we have been born again, which is actually, “whether our spirit has been born again.” We have no control over our spirit. If our spirit has been born again, God will prompt our mind to righteous thoughts. If we have not been born again, Satan prompts our mind to unrighteous thoughts. Those who have not been born again, have no Godly wisdom residing within them. A born-again believer in Christ is the recipient of God’s wisdom, and receives His wisdom each and every day of life (John 16:7-11). So, let’s consider the reason that our mind is so easily swayed. We must go back to the Garden Of Eden.

After the creation of the world by God (Elohim), we read the following:

Genesis 1:21 New American Standard Bible

“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

Yes! Everything in the garden, in creation everywhere, was “very good.” All remained “very good” until the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:6), and the curse that quickly followed (Gen 3:8-22), which was a curse on all of God’s creation. Up until the time of the sin of Adam and Eve, there was total perfection in the Garden. There was no sickness or death. Alligators didn’t eat little dogs, etc. There were no imperfections of nature..no storms, earthquakes, etc. But, after the sin of Adam and Eve, sin and death entered the world, with catastrophic results.

Romans 5:12 GOD’S WORD® Translation

“Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.”

We can also see that, today, the state of nature is no longer present in the world, as it was in the garden..it is no longer perfect. The perfect state of mankind (body, soul and spirit), also became cursed. The mind and body entered a death spiral upon conception. Our spirit does not die; it is eternal. It’s eternal place depends on its state, whether it is righteous or unrighteous. Upon the moment that we were conceived, our mind and body began developing (sorry pro-choice people; check out Dr. Louis Pasteur’s “Law of Biogenesis;” life comes from existing life.”)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biogenesis …Each of us is flawed at birth, due to the curse, even in our embryonic state. Within each embryo is a mature spirit, that has been flawed. A body and soul are developing. Life comes from life, due to the “life” that is present in each sperm and egg. That life will come into our world, and will find its way to death (body and soul). The spirit will have a flawed and unrighteous presence, which will exist into eternity, unless it is made righteous. A righteous and non-flawed spirit comes from our spirit being born again (John 3:3), which is a result of the action of God’s Holy Spirit (John 3:8).

Consider the following verses that show a transition from flawed sinner to perfected saint of God.

John 1:29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The sin of the world that needs to be taken away, which will allow unsaved people to have eternal life with Christ, “is the sin of unbelief.”

John 3:16-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

belief in Christ (vs 16) or unbelief (vs 18). Belief results in eternal life with Christ. Unbelief results in condemnation, such as is shown in the tribulation (Revelation 6-18 Judgments of God), and in the lake of fire (final and eternal judgment)

John 3:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

God’s Holy Spirit causes the new birth to happen.

If you believe in Christ, you have been born again. If you have been born again, you believe in Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

A simple faith in Christ as Lord and Savior makes all of the above happen (John 1:29 to Ephesians 2:8-9).

The following things happen after a person has been born again.

Our spirit dwells with the spirit of Father/Son/Holy Spirit

John 14:20 New American Standard Bible – This verse relates to the knowledge that the Apostles will have after the resurrection of Christ. This intermingling of Spirits includes the spirits of all born again believers of all times.

“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

Romans 8:1 New American Standard Bible – After we have been born again, no condemnation of God, awaits any believer in Christ.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 5:8 New American Standard Bible – Upon the deaths of believers, their souls and spirits are in the Presence of God
“we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Relate vs 8 to vs 10. In vs 8 Paul is discussing where believers will be, if they are not in the body, whether by death, resurrection or rapture. From vs 10, the next step is the marriage of the Lamb, Rev 19:7, where the raptured and resurrected saints of God, step out from Heaven (Paradise/3rd Heaven/Presence of God), with Christ and begin their descent to earth for the Battle of Armageddon (Rev 19 11-21). More of the discussion of things related to the return of Christ to earth will be discussed later on in this post.

10 For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.

2 Corinthians 5:17 New American Standard Bible – Upon new birth, the saint has a new spirit which will prompt the believer to righteous living. The original, sinful spirit, has passed away; it will no more prompt the believer to unrighteousness.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 New American Standard Bible – Upon our new birth, Christ has taken our sin on Him, making Him to be “sin” (not a sinner) so that He can take sin’s judgment. Our spirit of sin has been replaced by a spirit that is as perfect as the Spirit of Christ.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Colossians 1:27 New American Standard Bible – After we have been born again, the Spirit of Christ dwells within our born again spirits.

“to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

1 John 5:19 New American Standard Bible – This verse explains that which makes it all possible for us to be “in God.” Until we were born again, we were “darkness.” Upon our new birth, we became “light.” Without the new birth, we would have continued to be “darkness,” and would not have been permitted to be “in God.” (John 1:9)

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

Now, let’s consider Lazarus and the rich man.

Luke 16:22-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.

In the following discussion, “Kingdom of God,” and “Millennial reign of Christ,” both relate to the same thousand year period which immediately follows the tribulation and second coming of Christ to earth. A saint is any righteous person. A righteous person is anyone whose spirit has been born again. Tribulation is the time of the judgment of God on unrighteous people, which is also known as “the 70th week of Daniel, which follows the rapture of the church, and ends when Christ returns to earth with His raptured saints.

Lazarus was the righteous poor man. He died and was taken to the bosom of Abraham, which is the Old Testament name for the Presence of God. The rich unrighteous man died, and was placed in Hades (see note below), which is the place of death for unrighteous people, where their souls and spirits remain until the bodily resurrection of unrighteous people takes place at the end of the Kingdom of God (Revelation 20:5). The translation of “hell” is incorrectly used in Luke 16 in some translations. In Luke 16, both of the bodies (Lazarus and rich man) are in the grave. Notice that both men are conscious of their surroundings, with the rich man being in torment, experiencing “God’s condemnation.” His next stop is the resurrection of the unrighteous (Rev 20:5), with the Great White Throne Judgment and the lake of fire soon to follow (Revelation 20:11-15). Lazarus was also conscious of His surroundings, and was having “the time of His life,” in the Presence of God. His next stop is the resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Rev 20:4). (The Old Testament lasts until the crucifixion of Christ; “it is finished,” John 19:30.) At the resurrection of the saints, which is at the end of the tribulation, and at the beginning of the Kingdom of God, the bodies of the Old Testament saints, and tribulation saints, will be resurrected, and reunited with their souls and spirits. All righteous saints (Old Testament, New Testament and Tribulation), will go through the Kingdom, and then enter the eternal state, Rev 21:1-7. These saints are over-comers through their faith in Christ (1 John 5:4).

MacArthur Study Bible note, Dr. John MacArthur.
Luke 16:23. “Hades” was the Gr. term for the abode of the dead. In the LXX, it was used to translate the Heb. Sheol, which referred to the realm of the dead in general, without necessarily distinguishing between righteous or unrighteous souls. However, in NT usage, “Hades” always refers to the place of the wicked prior to final judgment in hell. The imagery Jesus used paralleled the common rabbinical idea that Sheol had two parts, one for the souls of the righteous and the other for the souls of the wicked—separated by an impassable gulf.

Before we arrive at the cross, where the conversation took place between Christ and the thief (also on the cross), we must consider two occurrences that took place, that use the words, “Paradise and third Heaven.”

To set the stage, we must consider a passage where the Apostle Paul is taken up to the third heaven, also called Paradise, while he is still alive. Paul is talking about himself. He mentions Paradise and the third heaven as being the location of God.

2 Corinthians 12:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Paul’s Vision

1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

Paul’s conversation with God follows.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Consider the three heavens.

1 Corinthians 15:40 King James Bible – The first heaven is terrestrial, and is where birds fly. The second heaven is celestial, and is where space ships fly. The third heaven is where God resides, and is also known as Paradise. The third heaven is where Paul was taken, and is generally known as Heaven.

“There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial”

Heaven, the third heaven, the location of God, is also the place where the born again, new testament, believers in Christ will be taken when the rapture of the church takes place. (Rapture: English for “caught up, snatch away.” Latin, rapio. Greek, harpazo). Remember that these are the bodies of New Testament saints, and are not of Old Testament saints. Those caught up, will have their bodies, whether in the grave or alive, to be caught up to the third heaven, where their bodies, souls and spirits will be taken to the judgment seat of Christ for rewards and the marriage of the lamb.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB) (also, 1 Cor 15:50-54 and John 14:1-3)

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) – Works are judged. This is not a place for determining the salvation of believers; that took place at the time of the new birth. These believers are the church, the bride of Christ. They are treated with the respect of a cherished bride, the bride of all brides, by Christ, the bridegroom of all bridegrooms. Eph 5:25, “Husbands love your wives.” Christ is not going to humiliate His bride prior to the marriage of the Lamb, which will take place in Heaven at the end of the tribulation, when Christ and His bride begin their ascent to earth at His second coming to earth. Neither will Christ cause His bride to go through the judgments of the tribulation. (The bride of Christ can not be in Heaven, and on earth, at the same time.)

10 For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.

Revelation 19:7-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Marriage of the Lamb

7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The marriage of the Lamb, Christ and his saints (the Church), has taken place. They now ascend to earth, where Christ will be successful in a spiritual battle and victory over the followers of Satan, and where Christ will stand on the mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-4).

The Coming of Christ

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

Doom of the Beast and False Prophet

20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

At the second coming of Christ, after the Tribulation (Matthew 24:29), he will judge the nations/gentiles for how they treated the Jews during the tribulation (Matthew 25:31-32…33-46).

Since we have “thoroughly” discussed Paradise and Heaven, let’s consider the thief on the cross. Did the thief go to heaven, or did he go to Paradise?

Luke 23:39-44 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,

Question. Did the thief go to Heaven? Because he was not a bird, he did not go to the first heaven. Because the thief was not a space ship, he did not go to the second heaven. But, just as Paul found himself (spirit and soul), in the third heaven, which is Paradise, in the Presence of God, that is where the thief on the cross had his reunion (spirit and soul) with Christ. It appears that the death of the thief took place prior to the death of Christ, which would have him dying before the age of the New Covenant began. With that understanding, the thief died as an old testament saint. Therefore, he will not be bodily caught up in the rapture of the new testament saints, as is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The thief will not experience a bodily resurrection, where his body, soul and spirit will be reunited, until after the end of the tribulation (Rev 20:4). But, until that time, the thief, along with all other Old Testament saints, will be in the Presence of God in Paradise.

As a parting thought, at the time of the rapture of the church, which includes the resurrection of the deceased new testament saints, all bodies, souls, and spirits will be united and reunited in perfection. Bodies will never age and die. Minds/souls will never think a sinful thought. Spirits will continue their dwelling within the Spirit of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The term “dead in Christ, and we who are alive,” shows that it will be born again new testament believers in Christ who are caught up in the rapture (1 Thes 4:16-17).

When the saints are caught up in the rapture, they will be given perfect, glorified, imperishable bodies. The tribulation saints (those who miss the rapture, but come to know Christ during the tribulation, those who will be martyred during the tribulation), will also be given perfect, glorified, imperishable bodies when they have their bodily resurrection, at the end of the tribulation, with their bodies, souls and spirits reunited (Rev 20:4). Such will be the case for the old testament saints who are also bodily resurrected at the end of the tribulation (Rev 20:4).

1 Corinthians 15:50-54 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Mystery of Resurrection

50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.

Throughout this discussion, it has been shown that there is one thing that has made the salvation of saints possible, which is the born again spirit. Whenever a person has been born again, that person can not be unborn. Our Lord made that fact clear in John 10:27-30

John 10:27-30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

The born again spirit is the anchor that holds each believer secure in Christ. It was the spirit of Lazarus, and of the thief on the cross, that kept their total beings of body, soul and spirit, anchored to Christ. The words of the opening song say, “the anchor holds.” Lazarus, the thief on the cross, and anyone else who has been born again, will receive a raptured or resurrected glorified “being,” (body, soul, spirit). We, too, will have the same perfection of “being,” as that which Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden before they sinned…if we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, and have been born again. Only perfect beings of “spirit, soul, and body,” will be present in the eternal state, as will be the perfect things of nature (there is no Mother Nature), as was its presence during the time of the Garden of Eden. (Revelation 22:1-5)

For information that relates to the preparation of this post, and to sources of information, please click onto the following link.