By Oscar M. Baker
In past issues of Truth For Today, Mr. Oscar M. Baker, our founder, would often
answer questions he received from others.
Q. What is the rock and what is the church mentioned in Matthew 16:18?
That rock was that which the Father had revealed unto Peter, Simon Stone (rolling stone). The church before had been founded on the promise made to Abraham. It was the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38). That rock is Christ, the Son of God.
Q. Where is the third heaven mention in 2 Cor. 12:2?
It does not exist as yet. It is still future. The first heaven is the one created in Gen. 1:1. But that heaven and earth were overthrown (Gen. 1:2; 2 Peter 3:6). They no longer exist as they were back then. The second heaven is found in Gen. 1:6, called the firmament or heaven. In this is a temple and a throne, and many other things mentioned in the Scriptures. But this present heaven will also pass away (2 Pet. 3:10). It is only tem- porary under which God is working out the plan of the ages. Then there will be a new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. This heaven is the third heaven. John was caught up into the day of the Lord and saw this third heaven (Rev. 21:1).
Q. Is there a possibility that souls go to heaven when they die?
John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Those spoken to in this context had no hope of going to heaven in the first place. It was necessary that the Lord should come again so that they could be with Him (and that right here on earth, the kingdom). Col. 3:4 has to do with present time, the church which is the body of Christ, and of which He is the Head. It is manifest here that one does not go to be with Christ at death, but has to await the manifestation to be with Him. Also John 3:13 makes it plain that as late as A.D. 64, no one but the Lord had gone to heaven.
Q. Why is it that not all will be saved? Did not Christ come to save the world?
The dying malefactor and the two thieves who reviled Christ on Calvary would never enjoy paradise. So they did not go there. For those who do not believe, it would be eternal torment for them to go to heaven and hear the praises of God forever. Many church members cannot stand a Bible class. How would it be for them in heaven? God is merciful in that He allows these to return to dust and stay dead forever. He has an environment prepared for those who love Him and who will be ready to praise Him and rejoice in His presence. And by being holy and righteous, God could not provide any other future environment.