by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XV

MAY, 1936

Number 10.

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.



"And thus shall we always be together with the Lord"

(I Thess. 4:17).

The little word "thus" is often used in scripture, but it is almost always ignored.  It means "in this manner."  In this manner we shall always be together with the Lord.  In what manner? In death?  Let us see. 

"For this we are saying to you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living, who are surviving unto the presence on the Lord, shall by no means outstrip those who are put to repose, seeing that the Lord Himself will be descending from heaven with the shout of command, with the voice of the chief messenger, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be rising first.  Thereupon, we the living who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them in clouds, for meeting the Lord in the air.  And thus shall we always be together with the Lord."

I began reading with verse 15, and concluded with the text.  The passage closes with these words: "So that, be consoling one another with these words."  No one has any right to be consoling anyone with words that state the opposite. 

"Thus," in this passage, means in life - not in death.  We will not be with the Lord in death, for He is the Life; He is not the death.  Many ministers try to console the bereaved by saying their deceased loved ones are with the Lord while the funeral services are being held.  They have no warrant for saying such a thing.  This kind of preaching has led people to have expectation of being with the Lord in death.  Not so; we shall be together with Him THUS - in life. 

One reason why you hear so little about resurrection is because orthodoxy has made resurrection unnecessary and foolish, by representing people as going right on to the Lord when death occurs, and as entering into all the joys that are in store for them.  If this were true, it would be unnecessary to have a resurrection.  How often do you hear the resurrection mentioned on funeral occasions?  Not often.  But you do hear often that the one who is being funeralized has already entered into unutterable bliss. 

Such a statement is directly at variance with what Paul said about it.  He said that without resurrection, those who are put to repose in Christ are lost, (1 Cor. 15:18).  Orthodoxy says, "Not  so; they are saved, and in happiness, resurrection or no resurrection." 

This lady who lies in this casket has not gone to heaven.  Neither has she gone to hell.  She has not gone anywhere.  She is right here before us.  The soul has returned to the unseen, the spirit has returned to God, and the body will return to soil.  But be not deceived into thinking that the spirit which has returned to God is in a conscious, happy condition.  We have no scriptural warrant for saying that there is any consciousness, except when body and spirit are united, forming soul, which is sensation, or consciousness.  She is as unconscious as is the casket in which she lies.  She is not with the Lord, for the condition described in the passage is not present.  That which is described is resurrection.  THUS - in resurrection, not in death - she shall be with the Lord. 

The Lord will be descending from heaven with the shout of command, with the voice of the chief messenger, and with the trumpet of God.  No doubt the trumpet shall awake her; then the shout of command, uttered in the voice of the chief messenger, but uttered by the Lord Himself, will bid her come to Him.  And she, together with multitude of other resurrected ones, shall obey that command.  Some saints will be living, they shall undergo a change in an instant, (1 Cor. 15:22), and together with the resurrected ones, shall mount into the air, and be snatched away for a meeting with the Lord in the air.  This bliss is in store for your loved one who lies here helpless in death, today.  These are the words of comfort Paul bids me bring to you.  

We believe she was one of Christ's.  We have reason to feel sure of it.  But suppose we had no such assurance - nay, suppose we felt that she was not one of His.  Would I be forced to bring you a gloomy message of despair because of this?  Praise God - no!  The scriptures contain a joyful message concerning every person.  

"For, even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, all shall be vivified" (1 Cor. 15:22).  Here we have the word "thus," again.  All are dying in Adam, not because of what they have done, but because of what Adam did.  THUS - in this manner - all shall be vivified in Christ.  "In this manner," means that all shall be vivified in Christ, not because of anything they have done, but because of what Christ did.  

This establishes Adam and Christ as God's two responsible men.  Adam was responsible for himself and the whole race, and failed.  Christ is responsible for the entire race, including Adam, and succeeds.  

Some, pandering to sectarianism, read it this way: "In Christ all shall be restored to life."  Such ones ignore the meaning of vivification.  It is represented by a Greek word that is never used when a restoration of life is under consideration.  It is not found in connection with the resurrection of Lazarus, of the son of the widow of Nain.  Neither is it used in connection with the resurrection to judgment at the white throne.  The word means being made alive in a righteous state.  See Gal. 3:21, where vivification and righteousness are connected.  

But Paul makes it plain that not all will be vivified at the same time.  He divides them into three classes: 1. Christ.  2. Those who are Christ's in His presence.  3. The rest of mankind at the consummation when death is abolished.  Between the times of vivifying classes two and three, those who shall constitute the third shall be resurrected for judgment, (Un.20).  This is not vivification, for they shall go into the second death.  It is the second death which is the last enemy, and which is to be abolished at the consummation.  Then God will be All in all, (1 Cor.15:23-28).  

If the one who lies before us is not one of Christ's she will not be vivified in His presence.  She will have to stand in the judgment at the white throne, and be judged in accord with her acts, and condemned in accord with her acts, then die the second death.  But at the consummation she will be vivified.  

The resurrection for judgment is ignored in 1 Cor. 15.  This is because in that chapter Paul is telling what the evangel is. The Evangel does not tell of judgment; it tells of salvation.  However, judgment will be a fact, and it is taught in the scriptures, even if it is not part of the evangel.  Paul mentions it in Rom. 2:16, and says it is in accord with the evangel.  In other words, judgment shall not be so severe as to abrogate the precious promise in the evangel, that all shall be vivified in Christ.  Judgment will not, at all hinder the fulfillment of the promise of 1 Cor. 15:22.  

While all shall have salvation, believers shall especially have it.  God is the Savior of all mankind, especially of those who believe.  Believers shall be vivified before unbelievers.  They will have eonian salvation.  But there is salvation for all, ( 1Tim.2:10), at the consummation of the eons.  

It is not a question whether or not any person will be saved.  The only question is - when.  If the person is Christ's, salvation comes to him in Christ's presence.  If he is not, salvation comes to him at the consummation.  

But we have reason to believe the one who lies before us shall be vivified in His presence.  Therefore, while she is not in heaven, she shall be with the Lord very soon after her next conscious moment.  She will measure no time in the grave.  When she is awakened by the trumpet of God, it will seem to her that it is the next moment after death occurred.  And she shall immediately hear His shout of command, uttered in the voice of the chief messenger, and she will be immediately snatched away to meet Her savior in the air.  

Dear congregation, this is to me, far more satisfying than the belief that part of me shall go into His presence, and perhaps wait years for the other part to awaken from death.  No maimed person finds satisfaction in thinking of a severed limb buried in some cemetery.  Neither could part of a person be happy in heaven, thinking of the other part rotting in a grave.  Perish such a thought.  

God has fixed it right.  This sister is dead.  No part of her is alive.  When she comes into the presence of the Lord, she will be alive; no part of her will be dead. 




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