The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 154 of 185
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statement--"he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live". Surely
there must be something more behind the second statement?--and we believe there is. If
we translate it literally it reads: "and everyone living and believing into Me by no means
shall die unto the age". What does it mean `shall not die unto the age'? There was
another occasion when the Lord made a similar statement--and similarly of disputed
significance: six days before the Transfiguration He said "Verily I say unto you, There
be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming
in His kingdom" (Matt. 16: 28). But the little Greek word an has not been translated,
and indeed is more easily paraphrased than translated--"till they may see the Son of man
coming". They would live long enough to see the Kingdom dawn, if . . . . . The Greek an
signifies a contingency. Had the Jews received the Lord Jesus as Christ--the Messiah--
it could have taken place within the lifetime of those `standing here'. The same word an
also occurs in John 11: 25, where it appears with kai (and, or even) as kan: an element
of contingency is present. The Concordant Version renders it: "He who is believing into
Me, even if he should be dying, will be living. And everyone who is living and believing
into Me may by no means be dying for the eon". The element of doubt is found in `even
if he should be dying', the contingency being the coming of the eon or age of the
Kingdom. To paraphrase: "Whoever is believing in Me, even if he should die before the
coming of the age, shall live. And everyone who is alive and believes in Me shall by no
means die before the coming of the age". Death, while not totally excluded, was viewed
by the Lord as a fairly remote possibility. If the church today has the same `ministry of
healing' as that entrusted to the Lord's apostles and disciples, and evidently envisaged by
the Lord in His words to Martha, why are there not those alive today who were then
`living and believing' in Him?
When John the Baptist sent to enquire whether the Lord Jesus was indeed `He that
should come' (Matt. 11: 2-6), the reply sent back to him was that `the blind receive their
sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are healed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up,
and the poor have the gospel preached unto them' (verse 5). These were the evidences
that the Messiah was present, that the King had come, and included the raising of the
dead. Throughout the Book of Acts we find these evidences are still present--including
the raising of the dead. Tabitha (or Dorcas) was raised (Acts 9: 36-43); Eutychus, `who
fell down from the third loft' during Paul's "long preaching", "and was taken up dead"
was brought alive (Actsxx. 9-12). It is true that there are also records of deaths which
were not followed by resurrection: the martyrs James and Stephen, Ananias and Sapphira
who `lied to the Holy Ghost'. But these would seem to be special cases, the former to
receive "the martyr's crown', the latter to be saved ` as by fire'. In I Cor. 15: Paul tells
of those to whom the Lord appeared after His resurrection, and in verse 6 says "After
that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part
remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep". At first sight this appears to be the
normal toll by death to be expected; but the word translated `some' is the Greek tines--
`certain ones'. The same word is used by Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians--
3: 1--"Need we", he says, "as certain ones, epistles of commendation?" implying that
the `some others' (as the A.V. puts it) were known to the Corinthians. Of the five
hundred brethren to whom the Lord had appeared certain ones had fallen asleep, but the
majority were still alive. As for the sick, not only did the `prayer of faith save the sick'