Pat's Paragraphs

January 2018

Greetings, Dear Friends of LLT.

Have you ever been at a funeral and heard the preacher say, “He’s gone to be with Jesus”? Or have you heard a well-meaning friend offer this hope, “he/she is in a better place now”?

Those words might be of comfort some folks. But I have to say, it would have been no comfort to me to imagine my husband and sons looking down from heaven on our grief. I would not have wanted them to helplessly watch our agony, our tears, our longing for their presence. Honestly, how could Heaven be a place of peace and joy if its inhabitants had to watch the struggles and griefs of their loved ones on earth?!

Yet many people believe that is exactly what happens. And why do they believe that? Because they have believed a lie. They even believe that the lie is Bible truth!

One pastor wrote “…the Bible is sufficient reason enough to believe that after our earthly existence, our souls will be immediately present with Christ and will await a future resurrection of our bodies... This I know because the Bible tells me so.”  Paul Lamey , pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Huntsville, AL

The Bible, of course, says nothing of the sort.

Last week Dennis Prager released a YouTube video entitled "Is there Life after this Life?" Prager is a popular radio personality who presents himself as a logical, well-informed defender of truth. In his five-minute lecture Prager confidently claims that if God exists, immortal souls must also exist. He offers no basis for his astonishing assumption, logical, biblical or otherwise. So far this video has been viewed over 1.1 million times.
Friends, error and deception are all around, filling the space where truth should be!
That’s why we have to produce our video series on the State of the Dead. We MUST counter the false with the genuine. We must be clear and direct, touching on the Soul, Death, Resurrection, and Immortality – and related issues like the 2 nd Coming of Christ, Judgment, Eternal Torment and more.
And we must garner over a million views!

That’s our work for 2018. Please join us in countering the deception, won’t you, by your generous support? And please commit to pray for us regularly. We need it!

Thank you, and may God bless you and make your life a shining example of truth!

In Christ, 

Pat Arrabito

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Absent from the body = Present with the Lord?

There are several favorite proof texts for sincere Christians who believe the doctrine of the immortal soul. One of the most popular, 2 Corinthians 5:8, is regularly misquoted as “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

Over and over again, visitors to our “Beyond Life” Facebook page offer these words in the comments they leave for others to read, supposing that Paul was talking about his soul going to heaven when he dies. We ask them to take another look at the verse, where Paul says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (KJV).

A question of context

At first glance the absent/present equivalence may seem obvious, and for those who cling to the idea of body/soul dualism, the convenient terminology is irresistible. The misunderstanding arises because they isolate the verse from its context.
In chapter four of 2 Corinthians Paul tells his readers about the personal cost of his ministry. He has been troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down, always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4: 8-11). He wants to be rid of his worn out, battered body – a tabernacle [tent], he calls it (2 Corinthians 5:1). He wants a new body – a house not built with hands, created by God – an incorruptible, immortal body (2 Corinthians 5:1, 2).
So far, Paul has only the deposit (the Holy Spirit), but that’s enough for now. He is still “at home in the body” and “absent from the Lord.” He is not yet in the physical presence of the Lord; but the Spirit of God, the deposit, is with him in the here and now.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Faith in God’s promises makes Paul confident of his own future, but for now he must live with present reality. It is certain that the things of this world do not attract him. He is no slave to materialism. He has no hopes or ambitions to hold him here. He burned those bridges long ago. He is willing to leave all earthly things behind and be in the very presence of the Lord.

Christian death cult?

Paul is not promoting a Christian version of a death cult. He is not giving some looney-tunes heretics grounds for teaching that believers should all kill themselves so they can go to heaven and be with God. Paul is not thinking of his soul escaping his body and flying free to be with the Lord. He hopes to skip death completely and get a new immortal body to replace his corruptible, earthly flesh. Amen to that!

Jim Wood | 1-800-558-4478 (US only) |1-707-965-2786