That is the declaration of Jesus Christ about Himself and His Word, see John 14:6. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
In Hebrews 9:28, the Bible said: “So also the Messiah (Jesus Christ), having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring SALVATION (Greek 4991, sōtēria) to those who are waiting for Him.”
Greek #4991, sōtēria denotes “deliverance, preservation, salvation” – Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
Salvation, this word is used of the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians (Exo 14:13), and of deliverance generally from evil or danger. In the New Testament, it is specifically used with reference to the great deliverance from the guilt and the pollution of sin wrought out by Jesus Christ, “the great salvation” (Heb 2:3) – Easton’s Bible Dictionary
So Hebrews 9:28 teaches that Jesus Christ secured salvation at the cross and that was why He declared, “It is finished” (see John 19:30) before giving up His breath and died, but salvation was completed at His return. So it is wrong to assume that the Christian death would go to heaven even without Christ’s return. See 1Corinthians 15:20-23.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ.
Again see John 14:6. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
Jesus Christ said those words (John 14:6) in reply to Thomas’ question. See John 14:5. “Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?””
The conversation was in the context of Jesus telling His apostles about His death, resurrection and departure or ascension. See John 13:36. “Simon Peter said to Him (Jesus), ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward.’ Then to comfort His disciples, Jesus went on explaining the truth:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
Hence, together with John 14:6, twice Jesus Christ declared He alone is the way to the Father or heaven. And no one can go by themselves to heaven without first Jesus Christ’s return paving the way to heaven. Hence in Revelation 14:13-15, Scripture declared:
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a Son of Man, with a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in Your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.”
It was only at the time of judgment, the Second Coming, that Revelation declared, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
Don’t despair ‘cause Jesus promised to return within the generation of His immediate disciples, the apostles. See Matthew 16:27-28. “For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what He has done. TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, THERE ARE SOME STANDING HERE WHO WILL NOT TASTE DEATH UNTIL THEY SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING IN HIS KINGDOM.”
Did Jesus mean the disciples would not die before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Of course not! Rather, Jesus Christ promised to return within the apostles’ generation.
How can we be sure Jesus was referring to the apostles, not any random disciples in the future? See Matthew 16:21-28.
“From that time Jesus began to show His DISCIPLES that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’ Then Jesus told His DISCIPLES, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what He has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.’”
I know traditional Christianity is teaching us otherwise, that Jesus is yet to return, though it has been millennia since Christ’s promised return. Surely, if you are Scripture and God-loving Christian, we know that Jesus Christ spoke only the truth and Scripture alone is infallible. So we have no other choice but to take the words of Jesus Christ as truth. Because to insist otherwise is to rebuke Jesus Christ and accuse that His words aren’t true. Or that He failed on His promises of return. If so, how then can Christians embrace John 3:16 as truth, believing salvation is with Jesus Christ?
It’s amazing how all Christendom would declare Scripture alone as infallible. However, when confronted by clear and straightforward declarations of Jesus Christ contradicting existing or popular beliefs, they would adhere to declarations or writings of men, creeds and the likes to support their ideas of the truth.
In this age of fake news, we ought to check and verify every information or declaration to know the truth. The only source of truth in matters of faith and salvation is Scripture alone, not any pastors or writings outside the Bible. So the Scripture in John 8:31-32 said:
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””
From the moment I became a Christian, I have resolved to believe in Scripture. So when confronted by statements of truth in the Bible, even if it’s the opposite of existing and prevailing Christian teachings, I would go out my way studying the Scripture to ascertain the truths of God’s Word. It was quite a journey but certainly rewarding.
You also can know the truth. It only requires true Christian discipline knowing that only Scripture or the Bible is infallible. Take it from there, do not stopped searching, and you also will see the truth.
My son, if you receive My words and treasure up My commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints. (Proverbs 2:1-8)
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