Vol.III No.VII Pg.3
August 1966

The Funeral "Way" To Glory

Robert F. Turner

"There are two ways to heaven," a local wag quipped. "Trust in the Lord, or get bro.____ to preach your funeral. He's never yet lost a case!"

Perhaps such "funeral salvation" led bro. Lovell to conclude that few church members really believe that denominationalism is mortally wrong. It is all right to preach that one must be a faithful member of the Lord's body, but in the presence of death our emotions take over and we "funeralize" them right home to glory.

If someone says we have no right to "pass judgment" on the dead, to consign them to hell; I will remind him that consigning folk to heaven is also "passing judgment". Promise of the resurrection, and promise of heaven are distinctly different things.

JOH.14: takes the worst beating of all scriptures. "Let not your heart be troubled-" "I go to prepare a place for you-" "I will come again, and receive you -- ". Are there no qualifications here?

In the first place, vs. 2 says the mansions "are" there; so Jesus didn't return to heaven as a carpenter -- to build houses. Nor is He straightening furniture, and putting clean linen on the beds. Jesus' work on earth would soon be finished, and He had to return to a spiritual existence to make operative the scheme of redemption. He told Mary "touch me not" i.e., do not try to keep me here -- to hold me to an earthly existence (JOH.20:17; cf.1 JOH.5:18). The death, burial, and resurrection, with subsequent return to a spiritual existence, were all a part of the "going to prepare" (Note context, especially JOH.13:20-f.). Man's heavenly "place" was dependent upon our Lord's filling His divine assignment in heaven's economy. This included: (1) becoming our High Priest (HEB.7:26-f; HEB.8:4); (2) and in the same vein, our King (ZEC.6:13; JOH.18:36-f; DAN.7:13-f); (3) sending "all truth" via the Holy Spirit (JOH.16:7-15). By reading these citations carefully you will see each assignment for the Saviour demands His return to His place at God's throne.

But each thing accomplished by his return involves obligation on the part of those who would follow him.

He is High Priest to a "holy" and "royal" priesthood (1PE.2:5-10). See the warning (vs.7-8) to those whose faith is not sufficient to cause them to obey the Lord?. JOH.14: does not promise a heavenly mansion to these.

He is King to those who hear (i.e., "heed"). His voice (JOH.18:37). We are called into His kingdom by obedience to the gospel (2TH.1:8 2; TH.2:14; COL.1:13; MAT.7:21). JOH.14: does not promise a heavenly mansion to all who die; but only to the faithful citizen.

Jesus returned to heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit, that we might have "all truth". It is by this truth that we are to be judged in the last day (JOH.12:47-48). Christ was not a Judge while on earth, but he will return "in glory" to judge (MAT.25-31-f) and woe to him who has nothing more than his "funeral promise" for protection.