Friday, February 21, 2014

When He Comes

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3, NIV

A car pulled up to the side of the street. The driver rolled down the window and asked how to get to Ivy Avenue. I told him to turn right at the light and it was three blocks down. He thanked me, and when he came to the light turned left. He must have been angry at me for giving him wrong directions, but I had been born in this town and my friend lived on Ivy.

No matter how plain the words--and John 14:3 is quite plain--we will interpret them according to our pre-existing beliefs. Jesus says that we will go to be with him when he returns. A giant chorus--millions of people--will say, "But that's just the body!"

Whatever we may believe, we are not with Jesus until he returns. Some find this impossible to accept. Most reject it.

When I was a kid, I saw a Tom and Jerry cartoon where the cat dies and nine "cat souls" rise from his body and go to the gates of heaven. That's a lot to show to a child, but all our lives in one way or another we are told variations of this theme. We are drenched, soaked, and marinated in the idea of immaterial souls going to heaven when the body dies.

Depending on whether we have been good or bad, St. Peter, and old man with a white beard and a quill pen, will let us in the gate of heaven or send our soul to hell.

Jesus tells us otherwise. So does Paul, in I Cor. chapter fifteen.

The devil, in Eden, was the first to deny death. People have avidly believed it ever since. They have accepted a "two part" man. Only the body dies. The other part goes to heaven or hell.

There is nothing like this in the Bible.

It all depends on whether you accept the plain words of scripture, or choose to believe the ancient myth represented in the cartoon.

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