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The Great Hope (Condensed)

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    Resurrection to Eternal Life

    When about to leave His disciples, Jesus did not tell them that they would soon come to Him: “I go to prepare a place for you,” He said. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” John 14:2, 3. Paul tells us further, that “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” And he adds: “Comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. At the coming of the Lord, the fetters of the tomb shall be broken and the “dead in Christ” shall be raised to eternal life.GrH_c 18.6

    All are to be judged according to the things written in the books and rewarded as their works have been. This judgment does not take place at death. “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.” “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all.” Acts 17:31; Jude 14, 15.GrH_c 18.7

    But if the dead already enjoy heaven or writhe in the flames of hell, what need of a future judgment? God's Word may be understood by common minds. But what candid mind can see either wisdom or justice in the current theory? Will the righteous receive the commendation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” when they have been dwelling in His presence for long ages? Are the wicked summoned from torment to receive sentence from the Judge, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire”? Matthew 25:21, 41.GrH_c 18.8

    The theory of the immortality of the soul was one of those false doctrines that Rome borrowed from paganism. Martin Luther classed it with the “monstrous fables that form part of the Roman dunghill of decretals.”1E. Petavel, The Problem of Immortality, p. 255. The Bible teaches that the dead sleep until the resurrection.GrH_c 19.1

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