Why Do We Suffer?

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On August 26th, 2018, William Finck spoke at the Fellowship of God's Covenant People in Northern Kentucky. The presentation was perhaps an hour longer than planned, and for that reason, the notes below do not contain the entire sermon, but only the original portion.

Psalm 44: 19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; 21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart. 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. 23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.

Being here [at FGCP] in March after the death of Pastor Mark Downey, and now passing through again after the burial of Clifton Emahiser, I thought I should seek to offer our community some encouragement.

Disaster and Death: Why Do We Suffer?

This is a broad topic. I won't ever be able to discuss every detail. But Yahweh willing, here we will hit on the important aspects. Perhaps anyone who hears this will stop blaming God for our woes.

In modern times when we have floods and drought, when we have pestilence and disease, very few people who are affected by these things ever even consider what manner of sin they have committed, or what manner of sin they have allowed to exist in their communities, that they should suffer such things. But as our ancient ancestors believed, when such calamities befall us, they are clearly punishments from Yahweh our God. The proof that such a concept was prevalent even in relatively recent times is found in the very origin of the word that is used to describe such calamities, which is crisis. In English, a crisis is a time of danger or trouble. But in Greek the word is decision or judgment, and in our Scriptures it describes the judgment of God. While modern secularized dictionaries attempt to obfuscate this connection, it is the true origin of the modern English use of the word.

In this modern world, we have been deceived into thinking that natural disasters originate from other and merely natural sources. And today we are even further deceived, by those who would even claim that such things are frequently caused by man and that they can be controlled by man. In truth, the actions of man have no significant efficacy on nature outside of the provenance of God. When man tries to create his own world, he fails and his actions will only help to contribute to the punishment he shall receive for mocking God. While it is not very clear in the English of the King James Version, in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 Paul mentions those who abuse the cosmos for their own advantage. Good stewardship is found in the man who functions within God's law, and not in spite of His law.

Once we have this understanding, there arises another question: should we even help our fellows who become victims of disaster, since disasters befall men when they dwell unrepentant in sin? But here we must be careful. For example, in Mark 14:7 Christ had told His disciples that “ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good”. So we cannot despise the poverty of the poor as a punishment from God upon them, even if at times it is a punishment. Rather, we must see poverty as a trial for the wider community, whereby God also tries the wealthy to see whether they would consider the poor. So the Gospel encourages men to remember the poor, or sometimes even to share their wealth with the poor.

This was a lesson we should have derived from Exodus chapter 16, that those who gathered much manna had no more to eat than those who gathered little. There we read: “17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.” This was not communism. All able bodies labored, although some are gifted by God to be better laborers than others. So in a time of tribulation where they only had manna to eat because they were being punished for their disobedience, this was an enforced brotherly love, to ensure that each member of the community, the weak and the strong, had an assurance of survival.

Likewise, we should be aware that disasters may also befall men as trials, but that sometimes the trials are not only for those who suffer, but also for those who witness their suffering. Christ had asked His opponents, as it is found in Luke chapter 14, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” Of course, the self-righteous Pharisees would have left the ox in the pit. But why would there be an ox in a pit in the first place? Because Yahweh wanted to punish the ox? Or because He would try the hearts of the men who encountered it? So of course we should have empathy and come to the aid of the ox. Likewise, not all of our poor brethren are sinners. Christ Himself had said, in Luke chapter 6, “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.”

As Christians we should indeed help our brethren who are fallen, no matter the reason for their fall. As Paul warns in Galatians chapter 6, we correct our brethren with humility lest we be tempted in the same manner which they were tempted, and we ourselves may certainly also fall. But while we help our brethren, we are also obligated to correct them if we see that they have sinned, or if not, to accept that sometimes bad things happen to people, and even to apparently decent people, for reasons that we cannot always understand.

We see another dimension which explains why this is so, and Christ Himself informs us in Luke chapter 13 that tyrannical government as well as unexpected calamity are judgments from God, where He said: “1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” This means that Pilate had purposely destroyed some of the Galilaeans, for one reason or another, on a feast day or sabbath as they made their sacrifices. But the Galilaeans who suffered such a tragedy were not necessarily sinners any more than any other Galilaeans. Likewise those who died when the tower in Siloam had fallen.

We often hear it argued, that if there was a beneficent and just God, that such bad things would not happen to presumably good people. But in whose eyes are people “good”? Leviticus chapter 5 tells us “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” It is not enough for us as individuals to simply be “good”. Rather, it is a matter of God's law, that if we do not stand against the evil which we witness, then we become just as responsible for it as those who partake in it. Likewise, Paul tells us the reasons for the decadence and immorality in ancient Rome, in Romans chapter 1, where I will cite my own translation: “28 And just as they do not think it fit to have Yahweh in their knowledge, Yahweh handed them over to a reprobate mind, to do things not fitting; 29 being filled with all injustice, fornication, greediness, wickedness; full of envy, murder, strife, treachery, malignity, slanderers, 30 loud talkers, haters of Yahweh, insolent, arrogant, pretentious, contrivers of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 void of understanding, covenant breakers, heartless, merciless; 32 such as these who knowing the judgments of Yahweh, that they practicing such things are worthy of death, not only they who cause them, but also they approving of those committing them.”

So a just society cannot be maintained unless it also worships Yahweh our God. These traits that Paul lists here are a perfect description of our society today. The rampant sexual deviancy among our young people, the race-mixing, the rebellion against traditional morals, the rebellion against parents, are all a punishment from God because our people did not seek knowledge of Him and His will. How many White Christians are proactively resisting the current immorality, even the open promotion of sodomy which we witness this day?

We can blame the enemies of God for all of our woes, but they are not the cause of the problem. Rather, they are the result of the problem! Evil prevails, because we refuse to open the Word of our God and read His law in order to understand what is Good. The seeds of today's problems were sown a hundred years ago, when we as a people accepted the economic rule of the Jew and slaughtered our own brethren at his beck and call in the wars which he created. Other troubles took root among us even much earlier than that. We cannot justly expect our conditions to improve, so long as our people worship the enemies of our God. With the current state of what was once Christendom, it is a wonder that we do not yet suffer massive drought, famines and plagues.

When the judgment of God does come, it often takes the righteous as well as the wicked. There is an example of this in Ezekiel chapter 21, where we read of the impending judgment of Jerusalem before the city is destroyed by the Babylonians: “3 And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. 4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: 5 That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.”

Now today we hear a lot of talk of resistance against the present tyranny. But as Paul informs us in Romans chapter 13, government – and especially tyrannical government – is a punishment from God. Among those who seek to resist here in America, we hear a lot of talk about guns and rights. But tyrants really don't care about rights, and all of the guns we can hold will do us no good unless we first turn to our God, and seek His will, cleansing ourselves of all that He rejects. From the thirty-third Psalm: “12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. 13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. 14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. 15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.”

There is a warning in Amos, of a time where the society is so evil that the righteous have no recourse. This reflects both the state of ancient Israel, and the state into which our modern society is descending at the present time. So we read in Amos chapter 5, “10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. 12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.” It is a difficult time for the righteous, when they are hated for standing against sin and decadence. So the prophet warns in the very next verse: “13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.” Things can get so bad, that we risk our own lives for keeping the law of Leviticus which requires us to testify against evil, ostensibly because our government systematically supports the evil. This is what we had experienced in Charlottesville just over a year ago. This is the state we are in once again today, where sodomy is now called marriage and the government openly defends sin. Therefore when the judgment of God finally befalls us, we can expect many apparently righteous men to be cut off along with the wicked. For this Solomon had warned in the Proverbs (22:3) that “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

However in the end, God will not be mocked by even the mightiest of governments, and there will come a time when the righteous, whether they are simple or prudent, shall be vindicated. Continuing with that same thirty-third Psalm: “16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host [or army]: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. 17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. 22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” For us, there is no salvation without our God. But with Yahweh our God we can be freed from the mightiest tyrants.

So we see that under the judgment of Yahweh, both the good and the wicked can be destroyed for the sins of a community or a nation; that even apparently good men can die as a judgment against the wider community when the community as a whole accepts or even merely tolerates the sinful. But we also see that unjust governments, while they may have at one time operated as agents of the wrath of God, can themselves also be destroyed once their iniquity is fulfilled. This was the experience of Assyria, Babylon and Rome, and it will also be the experience of America.

However, with all of this, even in times of peace, even in times of relative obedience to God, where there is no harsh judgment passed upon our society or our community, we grow old, or we fall sick, and we die. It is inevitable that we lose friends, loved ones, family members, and that we ourselves shall succumb to that vanity to which our first father was subjected for his sin. We have many dear friends who are sick, and our prayers are with them constantly. We pray for their well-being and recovery, but of course we must understand that the will of Yahweh our God is not always what we ourselves may desire. So we honor Him whether our prayers prevail or not. We grieve upon the passing of a loved one, and we should. Of course we shall miss them. But we must know that nothing happens outside of the will of Yahweh.

In accordance with our Scriptures, we can only account for this by considering the original sin of our race, and the punishment for that sin which committed all of the sons of Adam to suffer death as a penalty. In Ecclesiastes chapter 1 Solomon described the vanity of man as “this sore travail [that] God [hath] given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.” So our very lives are an exercise in vanity, which is the temporary nature of this life. This exercise came about as a result of sin. But the same writer, in chapter 2 of the Wisdom of Solomon, said “23 For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity. 24 Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.” Through envy of the devil. This must be reconciled with the words of Paul of Tarsus, since neither writer can fail, where he said “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”

If sin is not imputed where there is no law, we must ask why the law was ever given to man, which in turn had compelled Christ to suffer for our sins. To answer this, I will follow a portion of my translation and commentary on Romans chapter 7, beginning with where Paul had written: 7 Now what may we say? Is the law a sin? Certainly not! But I had not perceived sin, unless by the law; then also I had not acknowledged covetousness, unless the law said, “thou shalt not covet;” 8 but the sin having taken a starting point by the commandment has accomplished in me all covetousness; for apart from the law sin is dead.”

The law was fulfilled in Christ, and in Christ, the children of Israel were released from the judgments of the law. But that does not mean that the law was a mistake, or that it was sin in itself. When Paul recalled the law, his sin came to mind, and he realized his error. So he continues: 9 Now I was alive apart from the law once; but the commandment having come, the sin was revived, and I died. 10 And it was found to me that the commandment, which is for life, it is for death: 11 for sin having taken a starting point by the commandment, had seduced and killed me through it.”

We do not realize the gravity of our sin until we read the law, and find that the punishment for our sin is death. Once we realize that obedience to the commandment keeps us on the path to life, and see the consequences of our sin, we should understand that our sin leads us to death. So Paul concludes: “12 So indeed the law is sacred, and the commandment sacred, and just, and good. 13 Then that which is good, to me has it become death? Certainly not! But sin, that it may bring sin to light, through the good in me accomplishes death; so that the sin becomes excessively wicked by the commandment.”

The good in Paul can read the law and recognize that his behavior which was contrary to the law was sinful, and also acknowledge the punishment which he merited for that behavior. The good in Paul can recognize that sinful behavior merited death, and therefore Paul is describing a learning process. The result is that the Adamic man may understand how important it is to keep the law of Yahweh in his heart, and to do his best to abide by it. It is important that the sin becomes evident by the commandment, so that the Adamic man can experience sin and by that experience he can learn not to do evil. By that experience, he shall witness the result of his having done evil. We are not saved because we do not sin, as Paul informed us that all men sin and fall short of the glory of God, and as David informed us that in the sight of God no flesh is justified. Rather, we are saved in spite of our sins.

So in Romans chapter 5 Paul informed us that “17 For if in the transgression of one [Adam], death has taken reign through that one [Adam], much more is the advantage of the favor, and the gift of justice they are receiving, in life they will reign through the one, Yahshua Christ. 18 So then, as that one transgression [of Adam] is for all men for a sentence of condemnation, in this manner then through one decision of judgment [the passion of the Christ] for all men is for a judgment of life. 19 Therefore even as through the disobedience of one man the many were set down as wrongdoers, in this manner then through the obedience of One the many [all Adamic men] will be established as righteous.For this same reason, the apostle John wrote in chapter 3 of his first epistle: “9 Each who has been born from of Yahweh does not create wrongdoing, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to do wrong, because from of Yahweh he has been born.” Our race has been forgiven its sins, because the real contention in this world is between Yahweh and His ancient adversaries, the collective satan described in Revelation chapter 12, and apparent in Genesis chapter 3.

Then later in Romans, in chapter 8, Paul of Tarsus explained further, speaking of the Adamic creation, that “18 Therefore I consider that the happenstances of the present time are not of value, looking to the future honor to be revealed to us. 19 Indeed in earnest anticipation the creation awaits the revelation of the sons of Yahweh. 20 To vanity the creation was subjected not willingly, but on account of He who subjected it in expectation 21 that also the creation itself shall be liberated from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the honor of the children of Yahweh.” Here Paul explained the subjection to vanity of the Adamic man which had been described much earlier by Solomon in Ecclesiastes.

So even our vanity is vanity, our subjection to vanity is temporary, and it is not what we were actually created for. With this the Wisdom of Solomon agrees, where it says in chapter 2: “23 For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.” It may be established that Solomon already knew that when he wrote Ecclesiastes, where he had said that vanity is a “God [had] given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.” And if this life is only an exercise, there must be a greater existence for which man is being exercised, and that too is a promise of the Gospel of Christ. So as understanding Christians we also have a sure hope that the loss of our loved ones is no loss at all, but it is rather only a temporary separation.

Now let us read from our own translation of 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “12 Now if Christ is proclaimed, that from of the dead He has been raised, how do some among you say that there is not a restoration of the dead? 13 Then if there is not a restoration of the dead, neither has Christ been raised; 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is empty, and empty is your faith. 15 Then we are also found to be false witnesses of Yahweh, because we have testified concerning Yahweh, that He raises the Anointed, which He does not raise if indeed then the dead are not raised. 16 Indeed if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, 17 but if Christ has not been raised, empty is your faith; you are still in your sins. 18 And then those that have been dying in Christ have been destroyed. 19 If only in this life have we had hope in Christ, we are the most pitiable of all mankind. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruit of those who are sleeping. 21 Indeed since death is through a man, restoration of the dead is also through a man. 22 Just as in Adam all die, then in that manner in Christ all [meaning all the race of Adam] shall be produced alive.”

Notice where Paul had said “19 If only in this life have we had hope in Christ, we are the most pitiable of all mankind.” In ancient times, even the pagans had always believed that the spirit of a man survived the death of the physical body. But they could offer no hope for those spirits, suggesting only that they were confined to Hades, or in the Netherworld, for eternity. When I first began to study Christianity, after being introduced to Christian Identity, I thought long and hard for many months, comparing in my mind the materialist worldview of life and death to the transcendental worldview which is expressed in Scripture. As I progressed through reading the Bible cover-to-cover for the first time, I encountered the book of Ecclesiastes and I realized that the failure of the materialist worldview was addressed 3,000 years ago by Solomon. That book was written with a purposely skeptical attitude because the author in his wisdom wanted to relate to us that there is no hope without our God, and, in turn, if there is a God then we indeed have hope. I then came to realize that all certainly is vanity, unless there be a God, and since both the wonders of Creation and the marvels of prophecy have the signature of our God all over them, then all is not vain, and the promises of Christianity must be true. Now I have no doubt at all, that the confidence expressed by Paul of Tarsus is true, and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. With this message of hope, we hope to encourage our brethren. This is the promise of the Gospel, and it has been obfuscated by the priestcraft for nearly two thousand years.

Surely, Christ in the Gospel mentions a hell, which the King James Version sometimes translates from the Greek word Hades, which is the underworld abode of the dead, and sometimes from the Greek form of a Hebrew word, Gehenna, which refers to the land of Hinnom. In ancient times, the Valley of Hinnom was apparently a place where children were offered up for sacrifice in the fires of Moloch. In the time of Christ, it is said to the place where the refuse from the city was burned. The apostle Peter, in his first epistle, speaks of the fiery trials of this world, and even the fiery trials of the Christian faith. So we see Gehenna, or hell in that sense, as a reference to the trials which we must undergo in this world.

In the parables of Christ, we see Him warn that “8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” That last phrase is literally fire of Gehenna. We must think about those words. When do we “enter into life” if we perceive that we already live? This life we live now is temporal, but our true life is eternal. As Christians, we “enter into life” when we pass from this world.

So Christ had said to the wrongdoer that was crucified alongside Him, the one who had accepted Him, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” I know there are some in Christian Identity who doubt the King James translation of that passage, but it is correct. That is exactly what Christ told the wrongdoer, that he would be in paradise with Him that very day. That we “enter into life” when we pass from this world is evident elsewhere in the Gospels. In Matthew chapter 22, He told His adversaries “31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” If this statement is true, then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cannot be dead; they must be living. So Christ also meant what he had said concerning Abraham, as it is recorded in John chapter 8: “56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”

In Romans chapters 5 through 8, among other things Paul spoke of the purpose of God to preserve the entire Adamic race. Then he discussed the relationship of Israel with the law, and the meaning of the redemption from the law which is in Christ. Then he discussed the two natures of Adamic man, the fleshly and the spiritual, and the struggle each of us have to reject the sins of the fleshly and follow after the spiritual. In his final conclusion to that discussion, he said in Romans chapter 8: “33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Yahweh has justified His elect. Thus we read in Isaiah chapter 45: “25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”

As Paul describes in Romans chapter 5, the decision by Yahweh to preserve our entire Adamic race was made long ago and for a reason which transcends this world. For this the apostle John wrote in his first epistle that “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Sin came into the world and our race was subject to death for envy of the devil, which is Solomon's summary of the events described in a parable in Genesis chapter 3. Then immediately after that John wrote: “9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Ostensibly, if one's “seed remaineth in him”, then one is of the Creation of Yahweh and of unadulterated race. This concept is mentioned in the account of the Genesis creation of plants and trees “whose seed was in itself, after his kind”. This is the strongest meat of the Gospel. In the end, because of the fact that the world was already corrupt when each of us came into it, the Adamic man born after his kind shall not be held liable for his sins. That is the message of Paul, John, and the prophets. But as Paul had asked in Romans chapter 6, “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Loving our God, upon hearing His gospel we should cease from all sin, as Christ Himself had said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Alienated from God in sin, the apostle Peter describes even those Adamic souls who lived in the days of the flood of Noah as spirits locked up in a spiritual prison, in chapters three and four of his first epistle. Evidently, they were released when Christ Himself preached the Gospel to them. Of this Peter wrote “4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” So we see that the spirit of man can exist and have thoughts of its own after the death of the body. Otherwise, as he also mentioned in that same place, how and why should the dead be judged?

In his second epistle, the apostle Peter wrote of his physical body as a tabernacle where he said “13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” Paul of Tarsus refers to the physical body as a tabernacle in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 where he wrote: “1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” That building must be the spiritual body which he made reference to in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, where he said, according to my own translation, “42 In this way also is the restoration of the dead. It is sown in decay, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in honor. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual.” The King James Version corrupts the meaning of Paul's words where it omits the word for if in verse 44. Peter writing “so long as I am in this tabernacle” informs us that his real body is a spiritual body, and that it can continue to exist and be conscious after the physical body is dead. Paul means to describe that same phenomenon.

In Hebrews chapter 10 Paul explained that by the blood of Christ, men may once again enter to the presence of God. So he wrote of his own dilemma, which is the fear of his own death, right after he had described the physical body as a tabernacle in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, and he said: “6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Saying this, Paul also informs us that our judgment before Christ follows our passing from this world, since once we depart from this physical existence, we are present with our Lord.

The Roman Catholics want us to pray for the dead, but why should we pray for them, if they are already in the presence of God? It is we who are living in this world who remain in tribulation. If we were good to those who have passed, we know that they are praying for us. In Numbers chapter 23, from the words which Yahweh himself had put into the mouth of the wayward prophet Balaam, we read: “10 Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” There is no shame in the death for the righteous. Our departed loved ones are not among the dead, but the living.

Why do we have death? Why do we have disaster? Why do we suffer? Because we are subjected to vanity in order to learn from our sin, to learn from the consequences of our sin, and each one of us, in a way that Yahweh God chooses, assists our kinsmen in that same endeavor, perhaps in ways we could never imagine. Sufferings in this world are inevitable, but we should endure them with joy because in the end there is a far greater reward. The apostles themselves were beaten, narrowly escaped a judgment of death, and they responded by rejoicing. This we see in Acts chapter 4, where after the Pharisees and Sadducees had relented to the wise counsel of Gamaliel, “40... to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” As Paul also said in 1 Corinthians chapter 2, “9... as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” And as he said in Romans chapter 8: “18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” So whether we suffer disease or disaster or even death, we must always glorify our God, because we know there is a greater purpose to it all.

One of the last promises we find in Scripture is in Revelation chapter 21: “4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

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