Original Documents

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Part 1
Part 2
Answers to Questions on Death and Dying A Fallen Church
How to Die Right Yet Live
Hour of Judgment
Origin of Satan
Resurrected in Christ
The Need for Consistent Bible Study Methods
The New Testament Soul
Sheol and Hades
Thoughts or Answers to Questions of Visitors
Times of Awful Events
Explaining death and eternal life
Additional Explanations
Post Script:
The Apostle Paul's Further Input
When the Thief on the Cross Arrives in Heaven
Absent from the Body and Our Tent House
When does our presence with the Lord take place
The Rich Man and Poor Lazarus
The robe-clad souls under the altar explained
What about those `spirits' in prison?
Praying for the Dead
Why is there so much suffering?
How to deal with out of body experiences
Example of a fill in the blanks Bible study
The Bible emphasis
How doe we know if loved ones are saved?
Notes and References
Extra: The Unquenchable Fire

A changed God?
Master Key
2nd Coming
Last Events

We are living in a time where people ask, `I am looking for a godly answer to why I am dying.' As we read these inquiries, we know that there is much heartache everywhere. We want to help you to find God's answer to such questions, and so we begin with a short introduction for the wide and varied Internet community.

For many people thoughts about the `Beyond' are perplexing and many prefer just to go along with traditional concepts on what happens to a person after death. Can we know anything for certain about the `Beyond'? Yes, we may know that above all things we can do each day, ought to be praising God in prayer and song for all the guidance and goodness He has shown us during our life. People use all sorts of methods to try and penetrate the barrier and get a glimpse behind the `veil'. Some occupy themselves with Astrology, Satanism, Spiritualism, Pantheism, Re-Incarnation or Ancestor Worship. "Ancestor worship, known as the Spiritualism of the East, survives as the exponent of immortality." [100] But now we realize that the Bible is the only source which can shed light on this age old question on the mortality or immortality of the soul. [105] Us people on earth, we have an innate repulsion toward death because we were created only to live and never to die. Death is an intruder; it was not meant to be. And so we approach the subject by starting with the biblical assertions of the beings of the `Beyond'.

All these non-Christians believing in a being like Satan may make it surprising that some Christians don't seem to believe in the existence of a devil, Satan, the arch enemy of God, of whom we read:

"... I beheld Satan as lightening fall from heaven." Luke 10:18

It was Satan's rebellion and consequent deception of man and their fall which caused the first war in the universe and it took place in heaven. When Satan killed Jesus Christ, he was cast out of heaven:

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found anymore in heaven." Revelation 12:7,8

There was `War in Heaven'! It is bad enough to have war on earth among nations, but in heaven too? [120]

What was the outcome of that war?

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Revelation 12:9

This war was between the risen Christ, the angels of the Lord and Satan and the angels that followed him. Satan and his angels were cast, thrown and shut out of heaven as this sweeping view in the Book of Revelation intends to show.

From then on peace could reign again about the throne of God:

"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, `Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.'" Revelation 12:10

For us it is important to recognize that it was Jesus Christ who overcame Satan and cast him out of heaven, and for us it is also through Jesus Christ that we can overcome Satan and sin today.

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." Revelation 12:11

This is referring to the martyrs through the ages, who overcame Satan and his snare by giving their lives for their belief in Christ.

As Satan, the devil or Lucifer was cast out of heaven, he hissed his wrath and vengeance back to God, and made it known that he was determined to fight the Almighty to the bitter end. Satan hates God, and everything that pertains to Him, for he lost his place in heaven. He hates God's truth, and endeavors in every way to pervert it, not wanting anyone gain what he lost. He works through all possible means to corrupt the truth of God, and to corrupt those who have been created by God in the image of Himself.[150]

Satan and his once holy, now fallen, angels were driven out of heaven by Jesus and His holy angels:

"... Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time." Revelation 12:12

Many and varied are his deceptions. Because he has such a short time, he is working today as never before to deceive all who will `listen' to him.

We also know that Satan has no scruples against using the lowest forms of deception to lead men astray. Jesus told the Jews who sought to kill him:

"You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44

Having been a highly placed angel in the government of God, Satan was created as a free-choice, beautiful being, full of wisdom and gifts of God. But sin was found in him first causing him to turn his God given gifts into lying evil, shrewdness, and cleverness. He is a master of deception and goes about like "a roaring lion" who succeeded in deceiving 1/3 of the angelic host to follow him. If he could deceive the holy angels dwelling in the presence of God, who are we to discern his temptations? He is still powerful enough to perform miracles the Bible says:

"And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." 2.Tim. 2:26.

The snares of Satan or his bait illustrates that Satan may actively go around to entice people to follow him, people who have accepted his lies, and do the work of their master.

"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and to the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Revelation 16:13,14

It certainly sounds that Satan has a very large following which ought to give us pause to consider these scriptural references. From verse 16 we learn that there will be a battle of Armageddon close to the end of the history of this world, as a climax of the lying wonders and deceptions of the spirits of devils. So we know that Satan and his evil angels work through people to tempt us, that is why we must learn about recognizing temptations and turn away from them.

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." 2.Corinthians 11:14

Satan and his evil ministering spirits can appear very righteous. Jesus warned of great wonders of miracles in the last days, before His Second Coming to end the reign of sin, which will deceive many.

In other words, do not think those places where great Satan's estrangement from God miracles happen are those which have the blessings of the God of heaven. Miracles are not a God given test on how He presents where truth can be found. Instead, God instructs his faithful people, to search in the quiet of their homes for Him in the pages of the Holy Bible. Do not attend the meetings where large loud speakers and television cameras present what is described as miracles. Stay home and study the Bible instead and you will find that Satan will do everything in his power to discourage you in doing so. As soon as you get weary of studying, you know Satan is on your case [500] and you must call upon the Lord and prevail and drive, by the power of Jesus Christ, the evil angels from around your habitat as you do not stop praying and continue to daily spend time in studying the great themes in the Bible.

Resurrected in Christ

What in essence happens is, Jesus buys us back from the grave.

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." Hosea 13:14
The mission of Jesus throws light on how to understand this. We read,

"The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45

"Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." 1.Timothy 2:5-6

What is the power of the grave? It is the power of bondage. Unable to resurrect ourselves, the grave is a long sleep and no end in sight for death is the opposite of life. Since we have sinned, death owns us. Jesus came to serve us by dying for us and redeeming us. He came to give His life for repentant, faithful sinners. A Christian's comfort is not to go to heaven at death, but to awake at the last Trump of God.

The next Bible truth is that Jesus did not just die; He arose from the grave making all other resurrections possible on the day God will accomplish it.

"I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you." Matthew 28:5-7

"Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here." Mark 16:6

"He is not here, but is risen." Luke 24:6. But the Jews had a platoon of a Roman guard watch the grave, Mt. 27:64-66; 28:4,11-15; (Cmpr. Dan. 6:17). Yet, they had no power to stop the resurrection of Christ. The bright light of the angel of the Lord caused them to fall to the ground as if they were dead.

But Jesus, always concerned about the spiritual condition of His disciples sought them out.

"This is now the third time that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead." John 21:14

"We are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4; Col. 2:12.

In these scriptures we simply read, `Jesus ... was crucified ..." and "... he is risen.' There is no allusion that a soul of Christ, meanwhile, went to heaven and returned just before his resurrection to reoccupy his body. We learn the opposite of this unscriptural view when we read the words addressed to Mary Magdalene by Christ himself, "I am not yet ascended to my Father." John 20:17. The Bible teaches no split personalty between a body and immortal soul - the "snake" does. Jesus and his contemporaries were immersed in their divinely given cultural world view, that, when man dies, he rests peacefully in his grave. The dead know not anything, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. . . . Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Eccl. 9:5,6,10. What we just read speaks of the sleep death we all die and of which Paul stated the long held truth of his people, saying, "... that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:10,11, NKJV. Paul says plainly, that the dead are under the earth, they do not go to heaven at the time of death. `Those in heaven' are of course the angels as they worship God, as believers bow in prayer to God on earth, and some day, those who were faithful believers among the dead under the earth, will rise again and worship God too.

Without Christ, the second death is forever for those who chose not to trust in Him. In this OT passage the details of death and judgment are not explained. Additional scriptures must be consulted.

Because Jesus did not die on the cross to sanctify another day to keep holy but to redeem us out of a world of sin, and because we are not to keep the day of crucifixion or resurrection holy but only preach about these events to lead people to accept Jesus as their redeemer, Christianity is challenged to reconsider.

Ishmael: Even the descendants of Abraham, who believed in the mortality of the soul and kept God's seventh day holy, and the descendants of his son, born of the free woman, so too probably the descendants of Ishmael believed these things, for we read, "And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirtyseven years: and he gave up the ghost and died: and was gathered unto his people. . . . and he died in the presence of all his brethren." Genesis 25:17,18 and "And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!" Gen. 17:18, hoping Ishmael might be a follower of the true God in Heaven while alive on earth as Abraham obeyed God and kept His commandments, statutes and laws, Gen. 26:5. But Ishmael nursed anger toward Abraham because of not being considered primary heir. However, all he knew originally about certain basic beliefs like what happens at death and on which day to rest, were uneffected by that at least for a season.[570] So it is true that the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael became mighty nations and we may have this hope in our bosom that, once the Arabic descendants of Ishmael find out that their highly esteemed progenitor "Father" kept the Sabbath, they will too, and Islam will be pacified and God in Heaven glorified so peace can reign in the heart, at least for those few among them which may search for truth for Christ died for all.

Communion service was given the early Christian church to remember the cross and the empty tomb. Baptism was given to mark the day when, for a new convert, faith was professed and is likened to the broken body of Jesus on the cross, buried in the watery `grave', but then rises again.

Because He is a risen Saviour, we have hope. Our Father accepted the sacrifice of His Son in our behalf. The fact that Christ has risen from the grave means His sacrifice is accepted. It means Jesus can move from the `prophet phase' to the `priest phase', and from the `priest phase' to the `king phase', Joh. 12:13; Rev. 1:5. He longs to receive us to Himself, that where He is, we may be also. He is watching to see whether we will be captivated by His goodness and show our acceptance of His sacrifice by manifesting a like character in the world that needs His witness.

But there are lying spirits (1.Kings 22:21f) still working to sow doubt. The devils are skilled but miserable deceivers. They do not countenance all the scriptures which bear on the subject we discuss. They know that there will be a day of judgment and they dread it and will lie about it. Do not follow them in their resistance to the truths in the Word of God.

The Need for Consistent Bible Study Methods

One of the most perplexing and confused subjects in the area of Bible studies, is the topic on `What happens to us after we die.' In this section we want to point out a logical approach which should help you to arrive at sound conclusions. This method of presenting the topic should include the following definitions and criteria:

1. A word study of the key words, i.e. spirit and soul.
2. An analysis of relevant Bible passages
The scriptural definition of spirit (Hebr. ruach, Greek pneuma ) includes the following observations:

In the Old Testament, the `spirit' (ruach) is explained as: Click here for the Bible texts

  1. breath (of a living body) - Job 17:1, Ezekiel 37:5 [600]; Ecclesiastes 3:19-21;
  2. wind - Genesis 8:1l, Psalm 1:4, Jeremiah 18:17;
  3. It can refer to the `spirit' of God - 1.Sam. 16:13, 2.Sam. 23:2, Isaiah 63:10;
  4. `spirit' in the sense of vitality - Genesis 45:27, Judges 15:19, 1.Sam. 30:12;
  5. `spirit' as a reference to the `state of mind' - Isaiah 54:6;
  6. `spirit' as the seat of emotions - Genesis 41:8, 1.Sam. 1:15, 1.Kings 21:5;
  7. `spirit' can refer to moral character, self identity - Ezekiel 11:19;
  8. `spirit' can be descriptive of the mind - Gen. 26:35, Proverbs 29:11, Ezekiel 11:5;
  9. `spirit' can mean breath in the sense of `life principle' possessed by man and animals - Genesis 6:17, Psalm 146:4, Jeremiah 10:14;
  10. `spirit' can mean courage - Joshua 2:11;
  11. `spirit' (`ruach') can mean `anger' - Judges 8:3;

The NT Soul

In the New Testament `spirit' (pneuma) can have the following meanings: Click here for the Bible texts

  1. Holy Spirit - Matthew 3:16, Luke 11:13, 1.Thess. 4:8;
  2. Evil spirit - Mark 5:8, Lk. 9:42, Acts 19:12;
  3. a `spirit' being - John 4:24; Hebr. 1:14 (God and angels);
  4. a state of feeling or being - Romans 8:15;
  5. the seat of thoughts and feelings - Mark 8:12;
  6. the vital principle of life - Matthew 27:50, Acts 7:59;
  7. a `frame of mind' - Matthew 5:3;
  8. `spiritual' gift or the `gift of the [Holy] Spirit' - 1.Cor. 14:37;
  9. spiritual significance - Rom. 2:29, 7:6, 2.Cor. 3:6;
  10. `spirit' can mean `wind' - John 3:8 (Holy Spirit is everywhere present).

When God gives `his breath', it is more than air, it is life and becomes the chemistry of the body.

Sheol and Hades

In the Old Testament the definition of soul (Hebr. nephesh) shows that nephesh is translated

  1. 119 times as "life" or "lives"; Gen. 1:20,30; Ps. 31:13; Is. 15:4; and there are other instances where "life" would have been a more accurate translation.
  2. 30 times as "person" (in the sense of `individual'), Gen. 2:7; Gen. 12:5, Joshua 20:2, 1.Kings 19:14, Ezek. 18:4;
    [This way expressions such as "my soul" are idiomatic for for "I"; also "me"; "thy soul"; for "you; "their soul"; for "they" or "them".]
  3. 15 times as "mind" and 15 times as "heart" Jer. 15:1;
  4. 9 times as "creature" Lev. 11:46; 24:18;
  5. 4 times as "will"; Deut. 21:14; Ps. 27:12; 41:2; Ez. 16:27;
  6. 2 times each as "appetite", "lust", "thing"; Prov. 23:2; Ex. 15:9; Lev. 11:10;
  7. 7 times as "body" or "dead body", Lev. 21:11; Num. 6:6; Hag. 2:13;
  8. 5 times as "dead" Numbers 5:2; 6:6; and
  9. 5 times or less as "man" Isaiah 49:7, "me", "beast" Lev. 24:18, "breath", "ghost" (Mt. 27:50, Lk. 23:46), "pleasure", "fish", "desire", "we", "they" and
  10. 4 times or less as other forms of personal pronouns but it is never translated "spirit", and it is never spoken of as "immortal".
  11. The soul can weep, Jer. 13:17.
  12. The soul can be taken prisoner, Jer. 52:28-30; the word for person or persons (pl.) is the same as for soul.

The word nephesh never means a conscious, ever living entity or ghost capable to exist apart from the body.

In the New Testament the Hebrew nephesh is equivalent to the Greek word psuche and means "life" or "soul" and is translated:

  1. 40 times as `life' - Matt. 2:20; Matt. 16:25-26, Mark 8:35, Luke 12:20,22, Rev. 8:9;
  2. 58 times as `soul' or `souls' - Matt. 10:28; 11:29, Lk. 12:19, Acts 2:41,43, Rev. 6:9; 16:3;
  3. Fewer times as
    a) `mind' - Acts 14:2, Phil. 1:27, Hebr. 12:3; and as
    b) `heart' - Eph. 6:6.
    c) 'self' - Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25, thus `spirit' and `ghost' speaks of our personality, our thinking mind which dies at death like the rest of our body.
  4. The soul can be baptized, Acts 2:41.
  5. The soul, spirit or ghost according to the Bible can die, Eze. 18:4; James 5:20; Rev. 16:3; 20:4; Ps. 89:49; Lev. 19:8. [Remember `ghost (Gen. 25:8)' is different then capitalized `Ghost (Matth. 1:18)', the latter of which refers to the Holy Ghost.]

The Greek word for destroy is apollumi (Mt. 10:28) which can mean: destroy, die, lose, mar and perish. For some the conundrum is, can it mean `annihilation'? Does the meaning of perish, approach that of `annihilation'? It is a mute question, however, considering the fact that Christ did not meet the thief in heaven on the day he died. `Annihilation' does not take place until the time of the second death from which there is no resurrection.

`Human beings were created as an indivisible whole wherein such components as the physical body, mind, soul (a living being), spirit (our thinking mind, character), emotions, and the will interact, influencing each of the other components. Components are interdependent and all are needed for human beings to survive in a healthy state. Thus, people do not possess immortal souls that live in physical bodies for a short space of time. When they physically die, they do not continue to live somewhere in a spiritual, disembodied state. They "sleep" (in Biblical terms) awaiting the call of the Life Giver. Because human beings are not composed of three units (body, spirit, soul) separate from one another; the well-being of the physical body directly affects the health of the mind (including the emotions and spiritual values), and vice-versa. Each person's health depends on the optimal interacting of all that contributes to a healthy body and to a healthy mind.'

The meaning of the Hebrew word `sheol', translated into the Greek word `hades'.

These words, `sheol' and `hades,' carry the meaning of grave. Death is the punishment for sin, not some type of period of torture as some believe. The scriptures intend to show that the death of a righteous, knowing he is at peace with God, can be peaceful while the death of the wicked, not knowing what awaits him, can be fearful. [See Champions on conditional immortality for the historic view.] We also must understand that the grave is not "the heart of the earth" (Mt. 12:40; Jonah 2:6) but rather the church (with Christ in it) is in the spiritual sense the heart and the life of the earth. The grave is not the generator of life, but the container of death, and therefore can never be called "the heart of the earth", not more than a man's carcass can be called his soul.

The apostle Peter explains what and where hell is:

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?" 1.Peter 4:17

Where is hell according to Peter? Since there is a beginning of judgment, meaning it has not been in session all along but starts at a given time, the dead (what: the grave, hell) or those to be judged from Adam onward, have been waiting for the judgment to evaluate their case and compare it to the record of their life kept in the heavenly record books. For Peter the beginning of the judgment was closer then for Enos or Daniel since Jesus would be the Savior, Priest and Judge after his sacrifice on the cross, resurrection, ascension and priestly service in the heavenly sanctuary. Thus, careful study shows that the Bible contains the answer to that question already since Old Testament times.

"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalms 9:17 [650]
The wicked, unlike the redeemed, do not have life:

"He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth in him." John 3:36.

"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." 2.Thess. 1:9

The denial of eternal life with God, in the judgment it is called hell; mental anguish on why such a one would insist not to want to be with God but instead chose separation from God, ending in their destruction (Obad. 16b), even though hell was prepared only for Satan and his evil angels (Mt. 25:41), when people separate themselves from God, He must honor their free choice. The second death, from which there is no resurrection, is the punishment of sin, which in itself is a merciful event, for heaven would be for them a place they could not endure since they never learned to love God or anything about His government.

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul (killing the "soul" means `life', they cannot take away the life eternal of the redeemed) : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matth. 10:28

Fear them which can destroy the unrepenting person by making him suffer the second death where he loses the gift of eternal life. The verse underscores the understanding that body and soul are an inseparable unit - a body in which the spark of life is, is a living body or person.[672] One does not exist without the other.

"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4

Since in Hebrew there is no direct word for "it", we must understand the context to decide how to read a sentence. That is why the word "it" above should read `he' or `she' as the following verse shows:

"But the wicked perish (they, he, she), and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they (he, she) shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Psalms 37:20

The sin of Adam and Eve led to the fact that they were denied eternal life:

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." Genesis 3:22-23.

Sending Adam and Eve out of the garden cut them off from the `Tree of Life' which is an added verification that man does not have an immortal soul. Man was locked out of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:23,24) so he would surely die, all of him, and not become an eternally living sinner not even having passed through judgment.[674]

"What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry." Nahum 1:9-10

The fire which destroys the already dead (stubble) wicked is said to be everlasting because its effects are everlasting, or eternal, for God and the brightness that surrounds Him is eternal.

But when does the punishment take place?

"Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." Matth. 13:30

Jesus teaches here that the "harvest" is the end of the world; therefore the wicked are not being punished now. Matthew continues:

"The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels." Matth. 13:39

These verses destroy the view that at death something like a `soul' is released from the body and goes to heaven, according to teachers of the immortality of the soul, or to a place of punishment. `Hades' (i.e. hell) is a word for `grave' and that is all it is. It is wrong to teach that the body of Jesus was in the grave but his `spirit' in heaven. It is even a greater error and not biblical to teach that the body of Jesus did not start decaying from the moment of his death.[700] Such views of the immortality of a soul are presuppositions in the mind of those who teach these ideas. They read the scriptures, with these ideas already in their thinking. The Hebrews did not believe thus. Lesson learned? Start with the Bible, not your church's creeds.

`Life after death' is a biblical teaching and comes only through Jesus. The Bible makes no distinction between the death of a `righteous' or `wicked' person, that is so, because that `distinction' comes into play only on resurrection day when Jesus returns again and His shout wakes up his faithful people from the grave while those who did not follow His invitation cannot hear or respond to it since they did not respond to His many everlasting gospel invitations during their life and so they will not be resurrected until a much later time. Immortal life is received only through Jesus - John 1:4; 3:16; 17:2. Therefore, we may most assuredly know that the resurrection is the beginning of our immortality, not before.

John 3:16 is here of particular interest:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The Greek word for `perish' means "to utterly destroy", "to blot out", "to vanish into nothingness." It refers to the end of all unrepentant sinners, and of Satan himself, all of these will perish but not so God's faithful flock. We find the same in the words, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. Comparing two opposites, `perish' and `everlasting life' is a common Hebrew way of writing. This `perishing' is not the sleep death, but the second death in contrast with everlasting life.

The reading of 1.John 5:12 "He that has the Son has life..." should read "He that has the Son has the life ..." and refers to the eternal life of verse 11 leaving the time spent in the grave unmentioned for in Paul's time the Hebrews knew that all parts of the dead rest in the grave.[800] This is the sense in which Philippians 1:23 must be understood where Paul says:

"... having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better."

Paul knew very well that before `being with Christ' comes the resurrection, therefore, quoting only one of these two verses may be misleading in today's confusion of the doctrine, for we read in Phil. 3:10-11:

"That I may know him and the power of his resurrection ... If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Paul believed that the `righteousness by faith in Jesus' (the giving up of self), he talked about in verse 9, is essential for a follower of Christ. The same meaning is conveyed in 1.Corinthians 5:1-6 which must be compared with 1.Corinthians 15:51-54. This `life' mentioned above begins with the Christian's new birth (John 3:7) and continues throughout all eternity; but it may be interrupted by death and restarted by the resurrection at Christ's Second Coming.

Thoughts or Answers to Questions Visitors Asked

Q: Why do we die when we go to God anyway?

To answer such a question we must go back to the very beginning. It requires us to exercise simple faith in the Word of God. Man was created to live forever. - DNA, RNA and all these studies proof that there is no such thing as a simple cell, the progenitor of everything alive. It reveals the laboratory of God and how intricately he provided for everything. Sin spoiled the peace and tranquillity of Eden. God had warned the first parents. Nevertheless, they fell and today we are still part of the history of sin in God's universe; but the struggle is nearing its final end rather quickly. So take courage and pray to get your life right with God who made provisions for the salvation of each soul/living person on the condition of our cooperation with His plan and not ours or that of churches which have left the platform of faith and truth. Repent, confess and seek forgiveness for all your sins and forget to ever commit them again and the blood of Jesus will wash you clean as He officiates in the heavenly sanctuary, see `Book of Hebrews'. God will bless those who put forth an earnest effort in this direction. Live up to all that is revealed to you by studying His word and claim Jesus as your Savior every day and you will be saved. Living that way, death loses its darkness and fear, since now you can look forward to be raised from death and be part of the soon coming kingdom of God - now by faith, but soon in reality. Death looses its forebodings and is now merely a short sleep, a rest, having died in the knowledge of the resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ in might and power to end the reign of sin and death. Therefore, if you can trust the Lord in something like this, how can you not trust Him about whatever "smaller" things you are struggling with?

A: To put it in a few words. It is important to remind us of the biblical distinction on the subject of death. According to Jesus when people get sick or old and "die" Jesus does not call it "death" but "sleep", the consequence of sin, Acts 7:60; Job 14:12-14; Jh. 5:28; Rev. 20:6;. Why? Because `dying, or death', as distinguished from the `going to sleep' kind of death Jesus spoke of, is the death, according to the Bible, which those die who have turned their back on God, rejected Him and chose to not want to be part of the Kingdom of God, 2.Thess. 1:9; Mt. 10:28; Ez. 18:4. This group made that choice during their natural life span in this earthly world. We have only this life to choose between a life with God, which He promises those who exercise the faith of Jesus and obey Him, or a life without Him. This underscores again that we have two choices, for or against God. While we all die the `sleep' death, only those who accept Christ as their Savior can inherit eternal life, while the rejecters of God's amazing grace will die the second death from which there is no resurrection, the consequence of their willful separation from God.

Times of Awful Events

Considering the horrendous outworking of wickedness in our world, and how it affects people, parents ask, what happens to those torn from us before we chose Christ ourselves, will God have mercy and unite us with them?

While we cannot second guess God on how He may decide these cases, check out what the hope of David was. Remember, we cannot pray for the dead.

God's Word admonishes those with broken hearts to come to Him and be healed of their sorrow, pain and heavy mind.[888]

But what about this explanation on death and eternal life by those who believe in an immortal (1.Tim. 1:17) soul?

"When we receive the free gift of eternal life, we are passed from death to life (John 5:24). But because the whole creation is still suffering from bondage to decay (and will continue to groan until the day of redemption, Acts 3:21), we still physically die to shed our mortal sin-filled bodies. As Paul said, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1.Cor. 15:50-53), although we are already heirs of God (Romans 8:17); we must shed our perishing bodies in order to inherit eternal life. Until Christ comes again and brings about the new heavens and earth, physical death is, for those who believe, their usher into eternal life with the Creator in their free-from-the-Curse bodies (1.Cor. 15:35-58). Although we still die, Jesus removed the "sting" of death for His children (V. 54-57) with the promise of life eternal. Those who reject the free offer of eternal life will die the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8). Physical death is the merciful way that God has given us to pass into His presence, instead of living forever in our sinful state with sin-filled bodies that are suffering from 6,000 years of the curse." [underlined by us]

The shedding of our mortal body - What does the Bible mean by that?

Explaining the underlined phrases:

1. `When we receive the free gift of eternal life ...', is the critical question. To the author of this little reminder, for their followers it takes place at death; from the biblical point of view, which is the only one that counts, it shall take place on the day Jesus comes again as we shall explain at length.
2. The concept underlying the phrase "are passed from death unto life" is explained in the following verse. "When the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." John 5:25. It is they that "hear" the voice of God who shall live. The grave of the Baptist Anne Attkinson (born 1629 - died May 24, 1706). The engraving reads, `Here lyeth the body of Anne Attkinson who departed this life ye 24 day of May 1706 aged 77 -My life is hid with Christ in God when this my Saviour Dear dos come again then I with Him in Glory Shall Appear.' This `hearing' of the voice of God does not take place until the day of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, 1.Thess. 4:16.
3. "the day of redemption/ restitution". Fallen creation is not restored until the day of the Lord's Second Coming.
4. "we still ... die to shed our mortal body". The Bible teaches that we die because of sin to be buried in a grave before we shed our mortal nature on the day of Christ's Coming. This is what the Welsh Baptist woman Anne Attkinson believed (Mouse over tomb stone) before the immortal soul was widely preached to Protestants, 1.Sam. 28:3; 1.Kings 11:21; 13:31; 2.Kings 23:30; Ps. 13:3; Hosea 13:14; John 8:51-52; 11:24; Acts 2:29; 5:10. These scriptures teach the Bible truth what Jews believed about death.[900]
But then there are those who say, `You don't put saints in the casket, only their remains.' How is that answered in the Bible?
The fundamental Bible truth on who has inherent capacity for eternal life is this, God ... "who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto ..." (1.Tim. 6:16). To say, at death something immortal of man escapes to heaven wars against this Bible assertion that only God is immortal.[930] Any doctrine which teaches that man has an immortal soul that even God cannot destroy, does not glorify God. Therefore, just like we do not have God's omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence and immutability, so we also do not have God's immortality. God can communicate immortality to us, but we do not have it inherently. Paul, under inspiration, underscores this assertion by saying that no one can approach God for the brightness of the light surrounding Him. Why, does the immortal soul have a ticket to penetrate this light barrier? Folks, be careful about such putting man on an equal platform with God. In the early church it was an understood factual truth, that man dies, is buried and all of him is in the grave. Nothing ascended or escaped to any other realm. Get real, folks, man dies and is dead - period - until resurrected on the Day of His Second Coming, John 11:14; Mark 12:25.
5. You may ask, doesn't the phrase "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom ..." proof that the soul goes to heaven at death? Such a conclusion can only be reached when one reads this scripture out of context. Paul crafted this 15th chapter in a certain sequence: the crucifixion and Christ's death, resurrection, his appearances, Paul's way of dispelling the doubts about the resurrection, there is a natural body (made of the elements of the earth, a living soul, 1.C.15:45) and a spiritual body (a quickening spirit - the Lord from heaven - in the sense that our body is also spoken of as a temple, our mind). The natural and spiritual body dwell both in the same body, you and me. In Verse 50 Paul is saying, before any of the saints get into heaven their bodies have to be made fit for heaven [1000], as it shall occur on the day of the Second Coming, when all the saints, dead or alive at the time, will be resurrected and translated, that is, made fit for the journey to heaven. To make the underlined phrase into something to support the immortality ideas is reading things into the Bible which are not taught anywhere. As the saints will be made fit for heaven physically, their thinking mind (spirit) can joyfully glorify God for this great day of salvation.
6. "... death is ... their usher into eternal life". Is that true? The Bible teaches Lazarus supposed Tomb in Bethany photographed before the 1880's. See our encyclopedia.that death as a result of age, disease, accident, is our enemy for it separates us from our family and friends.[1003] But this death is also described as `rest', in the grave where we cannot be tempted by Satan. The phrase `ushered in' in this context is not found in all the [KJV & Greek] Bible and therefore represents jumping to a conclusion. At death no one is being "ushered" anywhere. The dead are buried, decay and await the Trump of God while "resting" in their grave. Those who say there are only two things which are eternal, the Word of God and the soul of man, are correct on the first point but wrong on the second for only God has immortality and is eternal. Man's soul dies at death, Ez. 18:4; Jesus said, `Lazarus was dead', John 11:14.
7. The author of the quoted paragraph fails to take other comments of Paul, like that in 1.Thessalonians 3:16-17, into consideration which would have given reason not to use past tense, "removed", and instead use future tense ("shall ... then"), as in Thessalonians and future perfect as displayed in the actual verses, "shall have" in Corinthians. As a `promise' made in the past, the sting of death, we know, will be removed, but the consummation of the `promise' does not take place until the Second Coming [1100]. It is out of context to state that the sting of death is "removed" at death (except for individuals whose pain is over) when it is not removed until the Great Day of the Lord for all - since no one arrives in heaven before another.
8. "... pass into his presence." The Bible teaches (without using that phrase) this takes place at the Second Coming. For all we know, all those resurrected by the prophets, Jesus, the disciples and God's mighty evangelists over the ages, died again. Therefore, we ought not to make this doctrine of an `immortal soul' into a vehicle where these people died, according to their doctrine, got into heaven, and then back to earth again without so much as a word of their heavenly journey. Such journeys we may find in books like the `Book of the Dead' and similar writings, but not in the Bible.

Additional Explanations: The "hearing of the voice of the Son of God" takes place on the day of His Second Coming when the trump of God wakes up those from their sleep death who are written in the Book of Life to be with the Lord for ever more. We learn here two truths: (a) no immortal soul is implied, (b) since God already knows who are worthy of receiving eternal life when He comes again, the decision (`judgment'), who shall be part of the first resurrection, occurred before that day.

On this topic of the `shedding', the crucial difference is to discover at which time this `shedding' of our mortal body occurs. Two choices are offered:

  1. At death,
  2. On the day of His Second Coming.

In the Book of Job we read this truth, "My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me. ... If I wait, the grave is my house." Job 17:1,13. It is from the grave that Jesus will call his elect, his redeemed, when He comes. That is why He said, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth." John 5:28,29. There is no allusion anywhere in the teachings of Jesus that an immortal soul is in heaven. Our text says, all the dead are in (inside) their graves when Jesus comes.

Paul begins his 15th chapter in 1.Corinthians by testifying to the fact that Christ was seen by Ce'phas (another name for Simon, Luke 24:34), the 12 disciples, by over 500 followers, James, the brother of Jesus, all the apostles and by Paul himself after His historical resurrection - and we know that His resurrection body was of flesh and blood to the touch of the disciples. So will we be too. Man is not a spirit like the angels, Hebr. 1:13,14.
Note: No mention is made in 1.Cor. 15 and all the Bible of Christ's immortal soul having ascended to heaven. In fact the Bible says, "... no one has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." John 3:13. A close reading of the account in John 20:17,27-28 indicates that the time frame for the short ascension of Christ to the Father took place after his resurrection and before he met his disciples in the upper room. Vers 12-18 teaches the resurrection, which was a point of contention in Paul's days. John 16:22,23 teaches when this reuniting of Christ with His faithful people takes place, "... in that day," first after His resurrection, perhaps also at Pentecost and extended at His Second Coming when all his disciples will see Jesus again at the same time. Until now we read no word about a soul getting into heaven before the Second Coming. In fact we read that the "last" enemy (1Cor. 15:26; 1Thess. 4:16) is not defeated until the day of the Second Coming, 1Cor. 15:52. Therefore (b) is the correct answer.
Question: If Satan, the enemy, is not defeated until the Second Coming, how come some teach that souls arrive in heaven all along, presumably since Abel died.?. Please think this point through. The Bible teaches, on the day of the Second Coming two groups receive eternal life:

  1. the righteous who are alive at the time,
  2. the dead who rested in their grave and are resurrected then.

Both of these groups next meet the Lord in the air as they are lifted up above the earth by the power of God in their `changed' body, 1.Thess. 4:17; 1.Cor. 15:51-54, for Christ never touches the earth when He comes again according to verse 17. This is the moment of the shedding of their mortal body. All the redeemed shed their mortal body and receive their immortal body at this time. It happens to both groups at the same time. Paul says, "... when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption ..." The sentence construction uses future perfect which happens when "Death is swallowed up in victory," which was attained by Jesus Christ, V. 54. `Death' is here in capital letters and descriptive of Satan. We already mentioned that Satan will reign until the day of the Second Coming (leaving the Millennium unexplained for now). We ought to recognize that before Satan, Death, is conquered, no human being (except the `first fruits') arrives in heaven since the victory is not fully, gloriously demonstrated until the day of the Lord's Return in Glory. All those resurrected by the prophets, Jesus, the apostles and God's mighty evangelists, died again after having been resurrected.

Post Script: Those, who do not believe in a bodily resurrection, see no need of a resurrection of the body if the future existence is wholly spiritual. For the same reason they consider a future judgment unnecessary, if the soul is already enjoying the bliss of ethereal existence, or the torture of the damned. Accordingly the judgment should have taken place before their future state was decided, not after. Belief in immediate bliss or damnation after death makes a future judgment at the end of the world not only unnecessary but inconsistent. It seems so much more satisfying and in line with Creationists, to believe that the future existence of the saved will be molded somewhat on the original plan of the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve enjoyed existence on a plan not unlike our present one, yet without sin. It seems reasonable to believe that God has not abandoned His original plan. If He has not, there must be a resurrection of the body.

A just judgment must take place way later, after the death of a person, because the effects of his or her deeds are not fully revealed before the bar of justice until all those touched by that person's influence have outlived their reactions to it.

The Apostle Paul's References

But then another question is asked, `We know that the body dies, but doesn't the spirit go to heaven to be with the Lord?'

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. . . . We are always confident, knowing that, while we are home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. ... We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." 2.Corinthians 5:6,8.

In this enumeration of Paul, he desired first to rest in the grave until the great day of His appearance as he explains the meaning of this verse in 1.Thessalonians 4:13-18 (particularly in verse 17)[1300], and secondly to meet, be present with the Lord in the air to be with Him forever more. The spirit is the record of a person's character, his way of thinking, which `goes to God', meaning it is recorded in the heavenly ledger - it is not something that stays alive after death -, it just remains known to God. In other words, heaven maintains an exact copy of our life in living colors. When Jesus resurrected, did He remember everything from before He died? ... everything about His disciples? ... what He did? Will we remember everything when we are resurrected? Yes. The Bible teaches that our thoughts pick up where they left of at death. That means if you are in tune with God all the days of your life, you are saved and glorify God. On the other hand it means also, that the soldier of some wicked king, who died while just being ready to throw his spear, will be raised in that frame of mind. Therefore, on the issue of what happens to us at death the Bible teaches that we have only this earthly life to ready us for a life with God. It means, the only thing we take to heaven is our character. Again, we have here the unstated background of what the early Christian church believed about death, the resurrection, and what is to occur at the Second Coming.

Such Bible verses bank on pre-existing information the church members knew already from previous sermons and study sessions. Therefore, it did not have to be explained over and over again to them. That is why we cannot use such texts (as 2.Cor. above) all by themselves as proof texts. We must consult the whole Bible if we have trouble recognizing the true answer, for as you can tell, reading these writings some 2000 years later requires insightful study many are not willing to invest.

Some commentators express the view that Hebrews 12:22-23 talks about the "spirits" as if they are alive and in heaven. The 12th chapter of Hebrews talks about that believers are compassed by a "cloud of witnesses", holy angels (Hebr. 12:1,22). It talks about "... the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which `are written in heaven' (Note: they are written in heaven, not bodily present) `and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.'" Who are these `just men'? Of course they are the faithful people, those whose names are written in the book of life in heaven. Thus, in their thoughts, prayers and aspirations they "dwell" in heaven but live on earth.

James, the brother of Jesus, tells us about these "`pneuma/breath/air' spirits" only a few pages later. James wrote: "... the body without the `pneuma/air' spirit is dead ...". (James 2:26) James just expresses a biological fact. What does this unity imply? When air breathing, living creatures die, they cease to breath air. For the ancients that was the test of death.

When God created Adam, we read:

"And the Lord God formed [1500] man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7 [1510]

The components of creation are: A body + breath = a living soul (1. Cor. 15:45). Take one of these away, death results and death is the opposite of creation. This word `soul' is scripturally explained to be a complete human being underscored by the Bible in the OT and NT which states that a soul was not placed into man, but the breath was, which also means that since the beginning the Lord gave man thus the Holy Spirit (John 14:17). It states that because of sin a soul can die, Ez. 18:4; James 5:20. In addition we note that God `breathed into his nostrils', not his heart or brain. The nostrils provide a path for air to pass into the lungs. Are we to assume the soul resides in the lungs? Of course those who defend the notion of an immortal soul may object and claim the soul is not a substance, it is immaterial. Still, if such an imagined soul really is immortal, wouldn't God let us know that and how he breathed it into the body of Adam where we would assume the essence of his personality resides? Our body, brain, all our organs are physical and perishable at death.

But it is true. The soul certainly is immaterial. It is nothing. For the only particle or thing remaining of a human being is memories and an entry in the `super computer record book' maintained in heaven. The Bible teaches that man was created a little lower than the angels, Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7. That is so, because man is not a spirit being like the angels.

This is what biblical revelation teaches and there is no reason that we should think of the soul as anything else but a complete, flesh and blood human being. All biblical texts which deal with these words, `soul (psuche=life)' and `spirit', are explained this way. Those who speak of man possessing an immortal `soul' or `spirit' are not establishing that on the basis of a biblical definition [1600].

Quick Insert: I just finished after some 14 hours or so of typing a very helpful chapter of a very thick book which wonderfully explains where the ideas of an immortal soul really came from. The author would be very happy to know this is made available for all. It looks centuries back in history showing how in Egypt asceticism began, leading to monasteries and so on, and how that all was based on Plato talk about the soul and how monks were instrumental in bringing their strange ideas into the once Christian church and changing it forever. We ought to know some of these connections to understand the history behind the history. The article has a very good defense on what death is and how the Bible teaches what happens to us when we die. [Click Plato, Souls and Monks]

According to Genesis man is created of a body plus the breath to make a living soul or spirit, referring to his mental qualities, his very physical life.

That is why we read:

"Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind." Job 12:9-10.

"And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him." 1.Kings 17:17.

"And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived." 1.Kings 17:21-22.[1700]

We read in these scriptures that in Old Testament times the soul is equated with the breath of a living human being.

A List of Texts:

1. `The spirit (Hebrew: `ruach') of God is in my nostrils' Job 27:3

2. A `soul' can die:

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:20

"And that day Joshua ... smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king therefore he utterly destroyed ... and all the souls that were therein." Joshua 10:28,30,32

At the moment of death, when a living person suddenly ceases to have this divine quality of life some perceive that something like a soul leaves a body. But that idea occurs only in the thinking of the person who was taught the immortality of the soul whereas the Bible teaches the mortality of the soul. In the dying person, the easily observable cessation of breathing marks the moment of death, one part of the above equation does not function anymore. The person falls `asleep' in death and only God's resurrection power can raise him or her again.

The truth of this matter may be illustrated by the following consideration. How people die has many causes. How can something like an immortal soul escape from someone being instantly incinerated in a nuclear flash? The answer is, no `immortal soul' needs to escape, for the `spirit' or `soul' of a human being is the whole living person with a thinking mind or functioning brain. In every case God miraculously recreates the dead from the genetic elements recorded of the person. When Jesus and Lazarus rose, their body was not anymore in the tomb. Neither had they decayed to a skeleton or evaporated in a fiery flash, but to some that can happen and God can raise those too.

Jacob and countless others expected to rest in their grave as the following scriptures reveal:

"And Israel (Jacob) dwelt in the land of Egypt ...seventeen years ... and the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place. ... And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers." Gen.47:28-30;48:21;Josh. 24:32.

Jacob had nothing to say about knowing anything after his death that would enable him to watch the life of his children from heaven. Only God could do that. Jacob expected to rest in the grave. He, as well as Joseph, wanted to be buried near his own people when on that great day of resurrection the saints rise to meet God in the air. He wanted to experience that day and be able to see The Sight.[1850]

But what about these verses?

"David perceived that the child was dead ... now he is dead ... can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." 2. Sam. 12:19-23.

When would David go to be again with his infant son? When he himself dies? No. All God's people are reunited on the same day, at the same instant, when Jesus returns in glory the Second time. That is the event, David knew, he was looking forward to, Ps. 50:3-6; 96:13; Acts 2:29. We learn here that God will judge the people found written in His Book of Life before the time of His coming to this world. David looked forward to his second coming, for when the Messiah came the first time, he came not to judge but to redeem, after which the judgment of the wicked takes place according to God's time table.

Here is the other Bible passage,

"O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit." Psalm 30:3; 86:13; 89:48

So, what about it? David was glad that he did not die, got killed, when enemies where at his heels. He got `spared' one more time. But why should anyone be glad if something like an immortal soul would go to heaven at death? Well, we are glad we escape death because death is an enemy, not a friend, and we do not see God or be with God after death but rest in the grave until resurrection day, just like Jesus rested in the grave and did not go to heaven until after his resurrection.

Jesus resting in the grave is a picture for us that sees death as a span of time, a respite, though unnoticed by those who are dead, during which sin cannot afflict them. "Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same." 2.Chronicles 34:28

The dead cannot observe the living or commiserate with them.

When Did the Thief on the Cross Arrive in Heaven?

Did Jesus and the thief on the cross meet in heaven the day Jesus died?

No commas or sentence dividers in ancient Greek texts like the Codex Sinaiticus

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43

Setting the comma after "today" presents this meaning:

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with me in paradise." [1900]

Our modern, non-ancient-Greek Bibles have a comma but the original Greek did not use commas or sentence dividers. So the comma in modern translations is added by the publishers and set according to their idea what the meaning of the sentence should be. If one believes that some sort of immortal soul goes to heaven at death, they put the comma before `today', if one believes that at death a person goes to the grave only, the comma is set after `today' where it belongs. The Hebrews did not believe that at death an immortal soul goes to heaven, the Egyptians did [2000], in time popularized in Greek philosophy.

We know Jesus died on the cross on Friday, Luke 23:39-45. We also know that the thief lingered quite a bit longer before he died (John 19:31-37). The Bible states that the two thieves were still alive when the soldiers came to break their bones just before sunset on crucifixion day. Where is heaven? We read that the tree of life is in the midst of paradise (Revelation 2:7). The tree of life is by the throne, Rev. 22:1,2. Paradise is therefore a third heaven where God is (2.Corinthians 12:1-4). We read that three days later Jesus states that he had not yet ascended to heaven to His Father

"Jesus said unto her, `Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father': but go to my brethren, and say unto them, `I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.'" John 20:17.[2025]
That means Jesus did not meet the `thief on the cross' "today", nor the next or the next days . .. until He comes again in glory.[2026]

What about Daniel 12:1,2:?

"And at that time (the end time) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."

The dead shall awake, but not until when? - until Michael, Christ, shall come again in the clouds of heaven to end the reign of sin. If life with God is everlasting, why shouldn't `contempt (Hebr. der'on)', meaning `abhorrence', Isaiah 66:24, be everlasting? A parallel word for `contempt' in the OT Bible is the word `scorn' (Ps. 123:3,4), or in Arabic it is `dara (to repel)'. Daniel is not making a specific reference to the state of the dead as talked about in the New Testament. The Hebrew word for `everlasting' is not exactly synonymous with the English word `everlasting'. It can have more than one conceptual interpretation as we already showed. Therefore, we must always understand it in context. Basically the verse is better explained during NT times after Jesus provided more understanding on this topic. `Life' in hell fire is not of the same type as `life' eternal. There is an end to the former when the flames go out and no end to the latter. After witnessing the awfulness of sin during the millennia of the great struggle on earth and in the universe of heavenly beings, the inhabitants of the universe will regard sin with a feeling of strong revulsion. When the struggle is finished and God's name is fully vindicated, a mighty abhorrence of sin and of all it has contaminated will sweep through the universe. It is this abhorrence, this hating of sin, - our love of God - that makes possible the assurance that sin will never again mar the harmony of the universe.

"And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." Isaiah 66:24

We seem to have here an undying worm and unquenchable fire. What does that mean? In Mark 9:44-48 Jesus spoke three times, saying: "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." What is the `undying worm' a symbol of? Let us first observe that the `undying worm' is not a symbol of a soul which cannot die, but it is the symbol of corruption, a smelly dead body, which cannot be purged or made to smell nice and sweet.[2029]

God is a God of love and not an overseer of an eternal torture scene as some teach.

Absent from the Body and Our Tent House

Occasionally one can read also that the Bible describes our bodies as (tabernacle) "tents" in which we live (2.Pet. 1:13f). But who is `WE'? Above we showed that in Genesis the `body + breath = a living soul, a living human being. If the body gets destroyed or we stop breathing, the once living soul, the `ME' or `YOU' is dead. Dead does not mean, for a second only, and then alive again. The Hebrew concept of `soul' is a living, flesh and blood human being and not some foggy something inside of us. The dead, once living human beings, or living souls, are now in their grave. Only their memory remains and their records in heaven. We are appointed, once to die (Hebr. 9:27) - after which we are dead in the grave. Time goes by of which the dead are totally oblivious and at some point the heavenly judgment begins, Dan. 7:9,10. At the second coming of Christ He and His angels know who belongs to His heavenly family and those who are part of it shall rise from their sleep death. They had no sensation of time spent in the grave. For them it was just the twinkling of an eye before they see Jesus. When Jesus comes all those who are His, from Adam to the last person who died in Christ, will be resurrected by a shout and the sound of the trump of God - that is mass resurrection and the glorious day God's people wait for.

There is no disembodied soul of dead people in heaven. This is the error the "snake" suggested to Eve. It gives credence for Satanic agencies to appear in the guise of dead people and in such a round about way seem to have introduced the idea that animals could talk, suggesting what people should do. Such a believe, thus, opens a door for the evil one to impress his messages on people.[2035] But the Bible states that the dead are dead in their grave (`sheol, hell', the grave Ps. 49:15) and those who believe thus will not be deceived by such apparitions or appearances. The Christianity the Bible teaches is a "... doctrine, not of (natural) immortality, but of resurrection."[2050]

This is what is taught from Genesis to Revelation. See Revelation 16:3.

To reiterate once again, at death of course we stop breathing. Though before that we were a living soul made up of our God given body plus the breath. Now we become completely lifeless and our body starts decaying and the `worms' start devouring us nearly right away. The Bible states that at the time of the apostles their revered patriarch, royal father David was still in his grave, Acts 2:29.[2080] That is all of him (his dust) and there was no part of him anywhere else. At the time of the Second Coming of Jesus, the apostle Paul states:

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." 1.Thess. 4:14

Some preachers say, `See, God brings those believers which accepted Christ with him from heaven to be there when the dead shall be raised from their sleep.'

Hold it, hold it. Which direction is this verse talking about? Are those, which were asleep in Jesus, are they being brought from heaven to earth or are they being brought from earth to heaven? Didn't we just read, Jesus died while He was on earth, and after that He rose from the dead while still on earth, so also us humans. We die here on earth, spend time in the grave like Jesus did, then, when He wakes us up, we, who are faithful (2.Chr. 19:9-11), rise from the dead.

Well, the whole biblical context testifies to the fact that God does not bring a sleep train of snoozing saints from heaven to earth, but those that are sleeping in their grave he will raise up and take up to heaven - wide awake and in possession of their now glorified body for "... the Lord ... shall descend from heaven" accompanied by the heavenly hosts of angelic beings when He first appears, Vers 16. The death-sleep of the just resurrected on earth will seem to them just as the twinkling of an eye. There was no immortal something inside of them during their life on earth for it is only God who is immortal, 1.Tim. 6:15,16. When Jesus Christ comes as King he will come in the glory of his father and in the glory of the heavenly angels - notice no disembodied souls are mentioned - and they will take up the now resurrected faithful to God, to their heavenly home.[2100] That is why we read, "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep." The word `prevent' here has the equivalent meaning of `precede', as this situation is continued in Vers 17 where we read, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air ..." - the only instance of what may be called a `rapture'.

At funerals we should hear then said, `Rest peacefully in the recesses of the earth until that glorious day of the Lord." Or as we read on another gravestone, "Here lieth the body of (name) who departed this life on (date). My life is hid with Christ in God when this my Saviour Dear does Come Again then with Him in Glory I Shall Appear." We notice this gravestone quotes the Apostle Paul where he writes:

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4.

During funerals, therefore, it should not be said, `We shall meet you on the other side,' if it means when we die we also go where you are. These reunions, according to the Bible, do not happen until the day of the second advent of Jesus Christ when He shall raise the dead from their sleep death.[2150] And no, the `Second Coming' of Christ in glory is not a metaphore, it is straight Bible truth and a literal event.

Most pagans had no hope of life after death.[2152] The ancient Egyptians believed that man had an immortal soul.In their mind the winged figure of a spirit hovers over the dead body of a departed. They were pagans. Moses led Israel out of Egypt to remove them from these erroneous teachings. Christians are not to hang on to this pagan believe that man at death has something inside that keeps on living. That is paganism. Always remember, Only God has immortality, 1.Timothy 6:15,16.

To put it another way, the answer to the first question is that becoming a part of God's Heavenly Kingdom occurs at the same time for all who believe, at the day of His glorious Second Coming, no one will get there before another except those who God chose as his First Fruit. In their mind the winged serpent spirit signifies the soul of the departed. Today, all of God's people rest in their grave to be woken up on that day by the `Trump of God' as the Bible puts it. The `Trump of God' is nothing silent or secret except that we do not know the hour when Christ comes again. We are to be ready for it every day, for if we should unexpectedly fall to `sleep' in death, we have abundant life awaiting us upon the first resurrection and seeing Christ in the clouds of throngs of heavenly beings. This will be the noisiest, most welcomed event for the saints of all history [2200]. The rejecters will not rise until much later in the second resurrection to receive their judgment [2210], acknowledge the justice of God and become like dead stubble and sin shall rise no more. - The sermon above admonishes us to study His Word daily to grow in faith and learn about salvation.

[Supporting Texts: John 11:11; Acts 7:60; John 5:28; Acts 2:29,34; Revelation 20:6; 1. Thess. 4:13-18.]

How do we deal with explanations of those who believe in immortality:

"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?
Doesn't this scripture proof that our soul goes to heaven?

To decide that question we must read this scripture in the context in which it was written (being an example of easily distorting its meaning when reading this verse all by itself) for the apostle Paul is explaining it himself in the previous verses.

In Verse 1 and 2 Paul expresses his hope for the future, and describes life and death in relation to eternity:

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, and house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven."

The apostle is speaking here of our present body figuratively as our "earthly tent-house" by using images of the Israelite tabernacle (Ex. 39:40). He then says, since this our body temple starts to dissolve, of course after death, we have another - an eternal one, "our house which is from heaven". This is so because true believers in Christ Jesus can look forward to eternal life with Jesus in heaven, in which we are to accumulate `treasures,' aspire to live a godly life to become citizens of God's kingdom while living in our `tent-house' body. Therefore, we earnestly desire to be clothed with this `new house (body)', for if our present house is dissolved (decayed) and we do not put on `the house' "from heaven" (our resurrection body) we shall be found naked (dead, Job 1:21), verse 3.

Paul illustrates 3 conditions:

1. "Our earthly tent-house"
2. "Our house which is from heaven."
3. being "naked"

From verse 6, "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are home in the body, we are absent from the Lord."

We can see that the phrase (#1) our `earthly house' means our present, temporal, home body.

From verse 4, "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan - (#2, wishing we were already in heaven) -, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed (#3, `naked', that is dead), but clothed upon (having received the resurrection body), that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

Three stages are here presented the third of which, being `naked', is a reference to our dead body - death. In death we have neither the earthly nor the resurrection body.[2290] We have to wait for the resurrection body until Jesus comes again and raises us up from death - re-creates us, reassembles our genetic (DNA) information, and makes us whole again, Ps. 139:14-16. As our body is remade so also our mind (the `soul') starts to function again [2300]. Our `soul' is part of our body and can't fly away without it for a soul can die (Eze. 18:4; James 5:20) and animals are also spoken of as having a soul, breath of life, Gen. 7:21,22.

It is important to understand what Paul says, we do not get `our house from heaven' until resurrection day and there are only three stages, not a fourth stage in which a soul reunites with the body as immortality teachers claim. That is reading things into this verse which are not there. (For a word study on `soul' click here).

What the apostle Paul wanted most of all was to be changed from mortality to immortality without experiencing death (being unclothed). In other words he wanted for Jesus to come again in his life time - he was perhaps a bit impatient (groaning) to be with God? He wanted the experience of Enoch and Elijah when they were taken to heaven (Genesis 5:24; 2.Kings 2:11; Luke 9:35). That means, Enoch and Elijah were bodily taken into heaven, not just souls of them. But all other people, who are not taken into haven in a special resurrection or translation, those dead in the grave and those alive today, are present in heaven only by their record in the book of life or the book of remembrance, Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; Mal. 3:16. But please note this observation:

If the condition between mortality and immortality had been one where his disembodied `soul' (falsely understood by many as capable of life without the body) was already in heaven in the presence of God, Paul would not have had such earnest desire to avoid dying. Paul explained in other Bible passages, the time, when he expected immortality to be given, 1.Corinthians 15:51-53.

"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (be dead), but we shall all be changed (translated), In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (at the Second Coming, Matth. 24:30,31), at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (be immortal from this moment on, pending eating of the Tree of Life, Rev. 22:2). For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." 1. Cor. 15:51-53.

When studying the subject on the immortality of the soul, we need to be aware that in these words and concepts a number of unstated understandings of the time of Paul are of importance [2320], understandings of the membership of his churches from sermons he preached to them and which he does not repeat each time he touches on the subject. This is particularly relevant with respect to the wording in Phil. 1:23 and 2.Cor. 5:8:

"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [is] more needful for you." Philippians 1:23, 24

"Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."

When does this, our presence with the Lord, take place?

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to [answer] them which glory in appearance, and not in heart." 2.Corinthians 5:5-12

The answer is, our presence before the Lord does not take place until after the execution phase of the judgment (execution means here, serving of the decision, eternal life). Studying all of the Bible, including the Hebrew Old Testament, understanding of what happens to us after we die [2350], as also emphasized by Jesus in Matthew 16:27 in the New, is important. We read:

"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Matthew 16:27

"And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27.

"Do not be surprised at this; the time is coming when all the dead will hear his voice and come out of their graves: those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise and be condemned." John 5:28-29, GNB.

All of God's people do not receive their reward, eternal life, until after the Second Coming according to the promise, 1.John 2:25. No one will hear the actual voice of God before then. All the just (Luke 14:14; they are pronounced just after judgment), the redeemed of the ages, will hear this voice of God at the same time. [2360]

These `understandings' of the time of Paul, that the time spent in the grave from the moment of death until the Second Coming, is as the blinking of an eye (1.Cor. 15:52- Note: The dead are raised, reassembled to be living individuals, as only God can do it - implying that up to this moment they were not alive, anywhere!) and the biblical usage of the words `soul' and/ or `spirit' as a complete, living human being, are key issues on the doctrine of the state of the dead. Until the day of the general resurrection the dead are in the grave, their bodies are decayed, turned to dust (Job 34:15), awaiting their resurrection at the last trumpet. Not until their resurrection will they put on incorruption and immortality, but until then they rest in the grave just like Jesus did after He died on the cross.

So we can tell that Philippians chapter 1 is not a dogmatic statement but contains understandings not spelled out in detail in this scripture. We must consult all of what the NT and often also what the OT has to say about what happens to us after death. Then it will not be too hard to conclude that when man dies he is 100% dead. Jesus and all His teachers taught that death is unconscious `sleep', non-existence anywhere, until resurrection day. - Please remember, at the Second Coming when the trumpet, God's wake up call, sounds, only the redeemed will be resurrected. All others will not be alive until after the 1000 years, the Millennium.

At this point we also should show how the sanctuary teaches the biblical truth that immortality comes only through trusting faith in Jesus Christ. How is that related to the sanctuary? This divinely given truth was visualized for all of Israel through Aaron's almond rod. This stick was cut off from an almond tree and became dead wood, a picture of Christ after the Cross. It was then placed inside the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy where it greened and budded. That is why we read, "And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant." Hebr. 9:3.

In Revelation we find out the meaning, "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Rev. 1:17,18, because Jesus resurrected from `hades', an old Greek term for grave.

It says Jesus was dead, not alive somewhere else. Since Christ's sacrifice on the Cross was accepted of God, Christ had victory over death, the grave, and Satan. Christ holds the `keys of hell and death' with which he will unlock the grave for all people in two resurrections. "... there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." Acts 24:15b. You and I, we want to be part of the first resurrection.

Note: It would be very instructive to study Matthew 27:52-53 on this subject.

"And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

This scripture relating to us a special resurrection, reflects the truth about what happens to us at death and where the dead are as few other scriptures do. There is no sign of an immortal something in this account. These resurrected people "slept" in their tombs. In other words, no part of them existed elsewhere separated from the body. The evil "snake" said that lie, `Ye shall not surely die', Gen.3:4.

Rich Man and Poor Lazarus

What about those who put the idea of anthropomorphism in this passage of the `The Rich Man and Lazarus', Luke 16:19-31?

In fact the Bible states that the rich man lost his soul for we read:

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36.
"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? " Luke 12:20.
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matth. 16:26.
These verses may be combined in a free rendition to sound more like we speak today:

`What shall a foolish man profit and make some gains but neglect God and then lose his (eternal) life?'
For you see, a soul is a complete human being and we have only this life to decide our eternal destiny.

This scripture we may continue with the words, "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works." Matth. 16:27 As we are told here, our reward does not occur at the time of death but on the day of His Second Coming - the day poor Lazarus would be received into heaven by Jesus and His holy angels and eat freely from the Tree of Life by the River of Life as it were, sitting in the bosom of plenty of Abraham, Rev. 22:1-2,17. While poor Lazarus, now rich in being blessed to be among the redeemed in heaven, may be understood as a type for those who accepted Christ; the Rich Man, who was spiritually poor, according to the Bible, would not be resurrected until after the Millennium in the Second resurrection. The impenetrable chasm separating these, exists for all of those, who chose not to accept Christ as their personal Savior. That in Hebrew beliefs `the soul' is also equated with `life' we have already shown above.

One of the main arguments for the notion that disembodied human souls arrive in heaven is this parable of the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus. In this simile, Jesus taught not to trade your eternal life for fame in this short life on earth. The immortality believers explain the parable by saying that the rich man and poor Lazarus are not in heaven in their resurrection body but in the `spirit' body (anthropomorphism). But we know, man is not a spirit like angels, a different order of life, (Ps. 8:5). Even of Christ when born in His human form it is said that Jesus "was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death" (Hebr. 2:9). Only after resurrection it is said of man "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven," (Mark 12:25). This argument that man has or is a `spirit' (inside) we have already shown to be untrue by the word study above on how the Bible uses these words `spirit' and `soul'. With the idea of anthropomorphism a plethora of doctrines could be upheld which the Bible never intended to teach. Where do we stop to apply anthropomorphism? It is not a biblically ordained method of interpretation but is used to proof what they can't proof without using such ideas. There is no reason not to believe that Moses and Elias (Jude 9; Lk. 9:30) were bodily taken up into heaven as a `first fruit' just like Jesus was and thus could appear to Jesus in the Garden before the sufferings and the death of Jesus on the cross for his encouragement. For who is God that he should do something in vagueness and in secret? Not so. God does not split people into bodies and ghosts, pagans did that.

Those who view the New Testament to teach that the expressions, "body and soul" and "body, soul, and spirit" indicate that man is composed of three divisible components, and that at least one of them is immortal, should consider this:

1. The `bosom' of Abraham is a metaphore for a place of fulfillment, a spacious place with room for many as we learn in this scripture, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38. This idea of the `bosom' being a container of plenty is also understood here, "Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompenses the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them ..." Jeremiah 32:18. According to Jeremiah all the iniquity combined ends up in the `bosom' of the children of those who were unfaithful. These scriptures ought to help us to realize that this story of Jesus is a parable and not intended to teach literal events.
2. In the parable the Rich Man cries or yells to Abraham who replies in quiet words. Just like no one would assume that trees speak to each other as they do in the parable of Jotham found in Judges 9:5,8-16, so we should not hold that hell and heaven are in talking distance.
3. Jesus taught that both soul and body can be destroyed in hell: "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28.
4. A careful study of all the adjectives used in the Bible to qualify the word "spirit", as applied to man, indicates that not one of them supports the idea of immortality as a quality of the human "spirit".
5. The Spirit of God is the only "spirit" that has the appellative "eternal", Hebrew 9:14.
6. The Jews made prosperity the marks of a good man while a poor man was looked down upon. This view was one Jesus sought to correct.
7. The theme of the parable of the rich and poor man, therefore, is not to explain the state of the dead which rest in the grave, Acts 2:29,34. The understanding for that must be sought by comparison with additional Bible passages which touch upon the nature of man, i.e. Job 3:17; 1.Tim. 6:15,16; Romans 2:6,7, 23; 1.Cor. 15:51-54; Luke 14:14; John 3:36; Rev. 22:12 and more, some of which we cite above and which show that man is mortal; man has no natural immortality.

What about the following scriptures?

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Mt. 10:28.
"Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Acts 2:27.
"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held." Rev. 6:9.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Rev. 20:4.
Some say that on the basis of scriptures like these that "soul" is to be understood as existing after death in several instances:

"The soul is delivered up to death ... whereupon it leaves the realm of earth and lives on in Hades . . . or some other place outside the earth . . ." [2368] The NT verses listed by Arndt-Gingrich are the same as listed by Grimm-Thayer [2369] except for Matthew 10:28, where "soul" is spoken about as a whole person for no one can take away life eternal of a faithful servant of God. Even though that faithful servant dies the sleep death, they killed the body, but they cannot erase his record in the heavenly `book of life.' That means, those (Arndt, Gingrich, Grimm & Thayer) who believed in the soul separating and rising to heaven at death, do so without strict consideration that Christ did not meet the thief on the cross in heaven the day he died.

Another point made sometimes is Matthew 25:46 where we read,

"And these shall go away in everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

When does that take place? On the day of Christ's Second Coming the righteous are raised from the dead to receive eternal life. Those who are not written in the book of life, but alive on that day, perish and all those who do not ascend with Christ on this day to heaven are dead, awaiting the second resurrection after the Millennium to be judged and punished then.

Jesus is saying, the powers which can harm life would never affect the souls (minds) of the Apostles, which His own resurrection proved. The body can be injured without the consent of the soul because as one suffers he can still think, but the soul cannot experience pain without the body being still alive. Therefore, the only thing to fear is losing, not our human life, but the life with God after resurrection day.

What about the robe-clad souls in the Book of Revelation?

"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held ..." Revelation 6:9

In order for us to get the whole picture, lets read on

"... and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and true, doest Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them [They were pronounced pure and holy]; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Revelation 6:10-11
Again, these verses were not written to explain the state of the dead. We read about these scenes, part of the fifth seal, that they belong to a period of time in the future from the time of John. The following observations and questions may come up:

1. What period of time does the 5th seal refer to?
2. Where is the altar under which the souls were seen?
3. What or who are these souls?
4. What condition are these souls in, are they conscious beings?
5. What is meant by the cry for vengeance?
6. When do they rest for a little season?

We believe, to all these questions satisfactory answers can be found in the Word of God.

1. Answer: Like the seals before this fifth seal, they have historically been understood to cover a period of time. The first was seen to approximate the period of the first church, Ephesus, the triumph of the gospel, Rev. 5:13. The second was understood to cover the period during which the pure gospel was being corrupted and persecution ensued. The third seal was interpreted to mean `settling spiritual darkness.' The taking away of Bible based faith, moral corruption and the rise of superstitions which we cover here. The fourth seal covers the period of church history where the blood of martyrs flowed freely. The fifth seal covers the period during which the persecuting power started to be restrained; the effect, we know from history, which was caused by the Protestant Reformation.

2.- 5. Answers: The souls under the altar are popularly being regarded as strong proof that disembodied spirits exist and that the dead have consciousness. Those, who teach this, point to the souls seen by the apostle John in a disembodied state, and yet they had knowledge of passing events, for they cried for vengeance on their prosecutors.

This view is, however, inadmissible for several reasons.

a) The popular view places these souls in heaven, but the altar of sacrifice on which they were slain cannot be in heaven. The only altar we read about in Revelation as being in heaven is the altar of incense, Rev.8:3f. It would not be correct to place these just slain victims under the altar of incense since that altar was never devoted to such a use. In addition, it is a repugnant thought to entertain the idea that in heaven souls of bloody victims of persecutions are shut up under an altar. How can we fathom the thought that in heaven, the place of joy and glory, such a state of existence should be found?

b) But we must examine these verses further. The popular view which places these souls in heaven, puts the wicked at the same time in the lake of fire, writhing in unutterable (mental) torment or anguish, in full view of the heavenly host. It seems logical, that the souls under the altar are those who had been slain during the period of the fourth seal - for scores of years - and most of them centuries before. There is hardly a question that their persecutors had all passed off the stage of action, and, according to the doctrine of hell fire, were being tormented and made to suffer right there - before the eyes of the souls under the altar - if we remember how those who interpret these things as real - present the parable of the `Rich Man and Poor Lazarus'. Dr. Martin Luther attacked as "rubbish" the notion that one can tear off a part of man and say, "It lives."[2380] But these souls under the altar are represented as if they cry to God as though He was delaying vengeance on their murderers. What greater vengeance could they want? If they thought that their persecutors were still alive on earth, they must have known (since some say they can think) that in a few years at most, these wicked would join the vast multitude of those suffering in hell.

Therefore, the popular doctrine on the condition of the dead cannot be correct, or their interpretation of these verses is not correct, for they are mutually exclusive.

c) But it is urged on seekers of truth that these souls must be conscious, for they cry to God. This argument may be valid, if we could find such a figure of speech as `personification' elsewhere in the Bible. Please be reminded that the blood of Abel is represented to have cried to God from the ground, Gen. 4:9-10. The stone cried out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber answered, Habakkuk 2:11. The hire of the laborers kept back by fraud cried, and the cry enters the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, James 5:4.

Conclusion: Therefore, while the souls under the altar could `cry', does that not proof consciousness after death.[2400]

The word `soul' means a complete, living human being and is not infrequently translated as `person' as a look in Young's Concordance will demonstrate under "person, nephesh", with quotes from Gen. 14:21; Num. 25:30; Jer. 43:6; Ez. 16:5, etc. demonstrate.
These souls were burned on stakes, beheaded or otherwise killed for their faith, but they trusted in God to raise them on that day of His Second Coming from their grave. Their words, their testimony, survived them and seared the conscience of some of their persecutors.[2410]

6. Answer to `Their white robes and when do they rest for a little season?'

These persecutions took place largely in the old world, Europe. But they also followed into those areas of the world where members of this persecuting power journeyed to. While the reformation slowed their terrible work, it did not altogether stop it as the events in the awful `Bartholomews Massacre' showed. Besides the events of that night, multitudes suffered death in various other places. They themselves, over those long centuries, had come out of the ranks of their persecutors, persuaded by the Bible to follow the Lord in keeping His commandments and His doctrines. Their lives had been misrepresented, their reputations tarnished, their names defamed, their motives maligned, and their graves covered with shame and reproach, as containing the dishonored dust of the most vile and despicable characters. This way the persecuting power which then molded the sentiment of the principal nations on earth, spared no pains to make her victims an abhorrence to all people.

But the Protestant Reformation began its work.

The full vindication of their cause was delayed for a season. But the spirit of persecution was finally restrained, the cause of the martyrs vindicated, and the "little season" of the fifth seal came to a close.[2450]

What about the spirits in prison?

"For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (capital `S', Holy Spirit): by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." 1.Peter 3:18-20
The Explanation: We learn here that all sinners find themselves in the "prison house of sin" (He suffered for sin), Romans 7:14 "sold under sin"; Galatians 3:22 "all are under sin"; 5:16,17 `the conflict', (verse 1, "liberty"); 2.Peter 2:19 "liberty, corruption, bondage".
Next we look at the scripture where it says, "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 1.Peter 1:10.
To this scripture we may add Romans 8:1-10 but suggest you read it to save space here. The "Spirit of Christ" then is the whole way of thinking, knowing we have decided to follow Jesus, we refrain from committing those sins we committed in the old life, because our thinking (spirit) changed.
When the Saviour walked this earth some 2000 years ago, He liberated prisoners from the prison of sin by His preaching, Luke 4:16 quoting Isaiah 61:1.
When Jesus finished reading this scripture he said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears", Luke 4:21. That very Sabbath day, this prophecy of Isaiah 61 was fulfilled. The prison was open and the prisoners loosed from the fetters of sin and condemnation, John 8:32,36.
Jesus Christ, the pre-existent one [2500], by His Spirit preached through Noah to the people in the prison house of sin in the days before the Flood:

"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eigth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." 2.Peter 2:5 (See also Hebr. 11:7; Rom. 8:1,2; Gen. 6:3)
Notice: The "spirits in prison" are not disembodied spirits. For we read in Hebrews 12:9,23

"Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?"
"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect."
Conclusion: We notice after reading these Bible texts that all references point to people who are alive on earth - for they are only "written in heaven". To Hebrew listeners, the word `spirit' and `soul' meant, more often than not, a complete, alive, air breathing human being. Only in this life can people hear the gospel message and accept salvation, for we read in Hebrews:

"And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27; Ecclesiastes 9:5,10.
Interpretation: Perhaps we may read the text in Hebrews this way in a free rendition:
`Additionally we had ancestors, our forefathers, which raised their children as parents would and they were honored by their offspring over all generations, so, if we obeyed our parents and they obeyed their parents, should we not even more so obey God, our heavenly Father and live?'
`To the congregation and church of Jesus Christ, the firstborn, whose names are written in the record books of heaven, and to God the judge of all of us, and to those people who lived a godly life and thus are considered perfect by God.'
Hebrews 12: 9,23 - - For you see, God's goal for you and me is not clean books in heaven, but clean hearts here on earth, which will also result in what? clean books. First things first.
By using for the word `spirit' the word "our", that is "me" or "us", as in `my or our heavenly Father' and then, in the second example, use for the word `spirit' the word "people" we try to preserve the deep down meaning of these Bible verses.

Offsite info:
More on Lazarus
Right after death with God Right after death first asleep in the grave and then with God
What about John 10:27-28?
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:27-28. Doesn't this scripture indicate that man has eternal life, he shall never perish and that death is the release of the soul? What stands in the way that after death we shall be with God?

Answer: The eternal life which God gives is a promise as long as we live in this world. On the day of the Second Coming of Jesus in Glory, the promise becomes reality. Because the person who is granted eternal life has passed successfully through judgment, to the verdict of which all participants agreed, his eternity is secure. Only by their sins having been forgiven by the grace of God can His brightness be a benevolent light to His people, 1.John 1-5.

In the words of Jesus himself, He said, the dead are really dead. "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead." John 11:14. Elsewhere Jesus underscores that the dead shall rise when He returns as king in might and power. Jesus never speaks of a soul existing apart from the body, "Then come ... the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, `Master, Moses wrote ... If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him ... last of all the woman died also. ... In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? And Jesus answering said ... Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. ... He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err." Mark 12:18-27. Man, after death, has not another existence waiting for him as a `spirit' being like the angels. This won't come about until the Second Coming, Mark 12:25, when all God's creatures have eternal life.

Christians know that there is a different relationship between God and the person who accepts His love and His will then there is between God and one who rejects him, Acts 17:28-29. Jesus made a son-ship possible, Jhn. 1:12; Ro. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:1-7. This relationship is made possible by the new birth - a spiritual rather than a physical experience, Jhn. 1:13.

In the following section we classify roughly three groups of texts:
Group I: those texts that reveal characteristics of God in relation to the believer Group II: those texts showing spiritual relationships Group III: those texts showing specific promises
Matth. 6:4: "That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which sees in secret himself shall reward thee openly." "... your Father knows what things you have need of, before we ask him." John 10:25-29: "I told you and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. ... ye believe not ... ye are not of my sheep ... My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, My Father which gave them me, is greater than all ..." John 14:22-23: "Judas (not Iscariot) said unto him: `Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?' Jesus said ...: If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and make our abode with him."

The critical question is this: When does this togetherness with God Father alluded to in John 10 take place?

Those who argue for man's soul going to heaven right after death will view these texts as meaning this togetherness takes place right after death. Those who argue for sleep death in the grave until the resurrection at the Second Coming understand that this togetherness happens after that event.

So what is the difference?

The Bible teaches that before man gets into heaven, receives eternal life, there will be a judgment, Hebrews 9:27. This text underscores the much misunderstood theology that no soul wings its way into heaven before it passes judgment.

We explained the pertinent scripture (2.Cor. 5:5-12) already above.

One explanation we may add at this point is this: People do not become `sheep', true followers of Jesus Christ, until they hear his voice. That voice knows each sheep by name and knows each sheep in the fold. No wolf dressed in sheep clothing will be among them. They have already been examined, judged, and found to be worthy to be counted among the sheep. While the idea of `judgment' is not stated in John 10, the application can be derived.

This is what Job affirms:

"And though after my skin (worms) destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Job 19:26
The day when Job expected to see God was not the day of his death, but the day when he would be resurrected. For Job also said,

"Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? ... For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest." Job 3:11,13

"So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." Job 14:12

There is no such thing as a soul going to heaven at death and then, on top of that, a resurrection where that soul comes down to reunite with the body. Such a doctrine is nowhere found in the Bible and just conjecture and forced interpretation to justify the erroneous belief in the immortality of the soul.

Something on the lighter side. Little Joe asks his dad, `Where did grandpa go?' Dad replies, `He went to heaven.' Little Joe thinks for a moment, then asks, `Why did Jesus raise Lazarus, the little girl and why did he save the three friends of Daniel? Wouldn't they rather have gone to heaven then live through a fire and live through more years of work and hardship?' Dad, surprised, says, `Well, I don' know, I don' know.' Yeah, Lazarus and the little girl certainly had nothing to say about their short stay in heaven.

What about praying for the dead?

For some the question may come up that an individual is invited to attend a memorial service in which those who passed away are to be honored for their achievements and services. Should God's people attend such services which often are candle light event type services or participate in them? - While we keep our dead in loving memory, we do not live for the past but for the present and must prepare for the future. To pray for the dead is forbidden in the Bible. We read, "Weep ye not for the dead . . .", Jer. 22:10; Eze. 24:17, in other words, if we do we are involved in spiritualistic services which are forbidden by God.

If God is a God of Love, Why is there so much suffering?

When God created the world in six days, He saw that it was good (Gen. 1:25). Then He said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let him have dominion over . . . the creation" (V. 26).

So we learn here that man was made in the image of God. That must mean, man is a free moral agent (see here who hates that). He can choose his own course without interference from anything. So are all intelligent creatures of God (intelligent created beings on other worlds in God's universe). They all are free moral agents. Lucifer, too, was a free moral agent but sin was first found in his heart. Sin is a deadly, malicious poison. We see it today. Sin does not like to see people live in peace, it wants to destroy, cause pain and death.

Yes, you say, but God created Lucifer and therefore sin, you know . . . therefore, it is God's fault.

Sure, God created Lucifer and everything. So think of what this complaint says. It wants God to act like Lucifer, kill everyone. [Click here to read the important study on the Origin of Evil which is also quite instructive once you get going on a quiet day.]

That is impossible, God has already arranged everything to save everyone, because Christ died on the cross for all. He died for all people of all ages, 2. Cor. 5:14,15; 2.Tim. 2:5,6; but salvation is offered under a condition - our free choice - as you learn when reading on.

So what then is the problem?

Why does He not end sin, death and all that suffering?

But He is ending it, right now, He is working to end it and in the process rescue for salvation the maximum number of people possible.

Salvation is a choice. We can have it. We can also reject it. Today, there are so many who reject, that God cannot hold back the consequences of their rejection any longer. Death, Satan, seeks now to destroy them all. Satan knows His own span of existence is running out and he is very angry (1.Pet. 5:8) and wants to take as many with himself into death as he can. That is what we see happening all around us. It is causing suffering in all of God's creation.

Salvation, true promised riches, can come only through faith in God and Jesus Christ whom He sent to save us.

The world we live in is Satan's ground where he will make his last stand. That is why our world is dying before our eyes. Unless we know that, we have difficulty coping with what is going to come our way. Now as never before we must learn quickly, by faith, to depend on the power of God. His Word says, `Why do you want to die?' Why don't you choose Jesus Christ instead? To make the influence of wickedness just a little smaller, believers are to help spread the gospel of salvation. God wants everyone to know that in difficult times we are not called to see the world through other people, but to see people through them by aiding and helping in spiritual matters in particular, as we wait upon the Lord.

How are we to deal with out-of-body experiences?

The above gives you the main points on the state of the dead. When a person claims reincarnate experiences, we believe in such cases it would be helpful to find out if the person is on medication or chemicals without trying to be too nosy. The fact is that some types of medications can be the cause of vivid dreams or imaginations. If not, then influence of ET spirit mediums ought to be considered or both.

Consider this grave stone heading

"Stop my friend, as you go by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, you soon shall be,
Prepare yourself, to follow me."

A passerby wrote underneath

"To follow you, I'm not content,
until I know, which way you went."

Spiritualism, the belief in the immortality of the soul, can bring people under the influence of Satan's deceptions, and it is taking place today. The great deceiver himself may feign that he is converted, after the modern order of things. The Bible says, that he will appear in the character of an angel of light (Rev. 12:12). Through the agency of Spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power when they are not. They are delusions of the devil. For Bible believing Christians it ought to be enough to know that these `spirits' of Spiritualism make no difference between righteousness and sin, between the noblest and purest of the apostles of Christ and the most corrupt of the servants of Satan. By representing the basests of men as in heaven, and highly exalted there, Satan says to the world: "No matter how wicked you are; no matter whether you believe or disbelieve God and the Bible, live as you please, heaven is your home." Already the false teachers in Judea wearied the Lord, saying, "... all evil doers are good." (Mal. 2:17), and therefore we do not heed any of their claims and sayings.

What we see happening today is that the line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church-members love what the world loves, and Satan determines to unite them in one body, and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of Spiritualism. When Christians cast away the shield of truth they will easily be deceived and accept a form of godliness without the power to convert the person, to say no to sin and live a Christ like life.

As one studies the history of the Christian church, he cannot help but see the destructive results of unraveling even one thread (one doctrine) of the coherent fabric of truth. The inner consistency of truth is one mark of its authenticity. When a person takes one doctrine–for instance, the nature of man –and imposes upon it an unscriptural definition such as the immortal soul notion, other doctrines are affected in some way. When one removes conditionality from the plan of salvation, human responsibility is diminished and the sovereignty of God is misunderstood.

Truth is not the sum of paradoxes. Truth is a union of harmonious components. Its components interconnect in such a way that when one part is removed, something serious is missing because of that incompleteness. Truth is a whole–and it changes people as they respond in regard to it. The Spirit of God has a work to do within us to change us and prepare us for heaven; this is not an optional work. Truth has been given to meet our emergency and our necessity; while truth alone does not save us, it plays a crucial role in the inward motivations and attitudes that cause us to be saved by grace through faith. We are changed by beholding, and so when we behold only a part of God's truth, we are only changed in part–and that part, being isolated, means the change is distorted. Distorted people present a distorted picture of God. A distorted picture of God lengthens the great controversy by lending the appearance of credence to Satan's claims about God.

The Great Controversy Theme (Jer. 25:31; Eze. 44:24; 1.Tim. 3:16) ties together the plan of redemption, Bible truth, and the peril and triumph of Jesus' entry into humanity and His death upon the cross. It holds together Christ's death for us with the application of His power within us. It shows why God purposes to demonstrate through His end-time people the ultimate fruition of what His amazing grace can do, and clarifies how Satan's charges will be finally negated. At the end of time God has called a people to understand, live out, and present to the onlooking universe God's love through our individual opportunities in the climax of the great controversy. [3000]

We brought together some reasons why the Champions stated that they could find no reason for the believe that at death people go to heaven or hell. They believed immortality is a gift God bestows when Christ Comes again in might and power and those written in the Book of Life are raised from death, the state in which they were from the moment of dying, on that great future day of His Second Advent.

Example of a Bible Study on the subject

How would you react if someone handed you the telephone and the voice at the other end was that of your mother who had died and was buried just six weeks before? Would you believe your mother could speak to you now? Or would you be positive that, no, she rests in her grave?

When a person dies, is that person really dead? We may have heard the saying, `Dead men tell no tales', but do they? Millions of people believe they are in touch with the dead. Government officials all over the world seek counsel from those who supposedly communicate with the dead.

Is this a gigantic hoax? Or is it one of the greatest blessings we have in this world today? The lives of people and governments are at stake the world over. Even more sobering, your own life and future could be in jeopardy. There is no defense for guess work when results can be so far reaching and final. We must obtain the facts.

Thank God, Jesus, the Star of the drama in Revelation, has the answers. He was dead, but is now alive forevermore. Every person ever raised from the dead has been raised by Him, and He will soon gloriously raise millions on the day of his appearing, 2.Tim. 4:8. He knows all these answers, in fact, he holds in his hands the keys of death.

Prepare for some surprises as we review His Word on this most important subject.

Fill in the blanks!

The Character of God and the Destruction of the Wicked
Champions of Immortality 1. Revelation 1:18 refers to Jesus as "He that lives, and was dead." What does he have in his hand? Answer: _____________________________________
Note: Thank God! Jesus has the keys, or answers, to the mysterious questions and problems regarding death. And since He, only, has the answers, we must go to His Word for information. No other source is reliable.
2. What was Jesus called in Revelation 1:5? Answer: "The ___begotten of the ______________
Note: Jesus was the first begotten of or from the dead in the same sense that He was "slain from the foundation of the world". He was also "first" from the standpoint of pre-eminence, or importance. His resurrection was "first" in the same sense that the president's wife is "first" lady.
3. Why is Jesus' resurrection so important to me as a person? 1.Corinthians 15:20-22 Answer: "Even so in___shall__be made____."
Note: His resurrection is important to you and me because His resurrection has made all other resurrections possible.
4. How did God create man in the beginning? Genesis 2:7 Answer: "______man of the_____of the_______and_______into his_______the_______of______."
5. What happens at death, according to the Scripture? Ecclesiastes 12:7 Answer: "Then shall the_____ ______ to the______as it was: and the______shall______unto_____who gave it."
Note: Two things happen at death: the body returns to dust and the spirit returns to God. The `spirit' is not something alive, it is the character, our thinking mind, the quality of life, the self-identity of the deceased which is on record in heaven as we shall see. See Luke 8:52-55; James 2:26; Psalm 104:29.
Please note, when Jesus resurrected this girl (Luke 8), He did not only give her the breath of life back, but also her personality, character or self-identity which are preserved in the heavenly records. Her thoughts picked up where they were, when she died. That is why Jesus said to give her food, because before she died she was hungry, verse 55. - Also Stephen asked, to have his (my) spirit, his life experiences, personality returned to him on resurrection day, Acts 7:59. - Jesus too, did He say, `Into thy hands I commend the spirit? No! Not `the spirit,' He said into thy hands I commend my spirit. When Jesus resurrected, it was the same Jesus who died. He remembered everything from before He died, and his disciples saw and experienced Him as the same person He was before. - Therefore, God's people resurrect to eternal life when Christ comes again. Conversely and sadly so, the wicked, when they are resurrected, will then be just as wicked as before for in death they experienced no change. That is why `character' is so important since it is the only thing we take into heaven. - Question: The short film of John F. Kennedy, when he was assassinated, was he then dead or alive? - Answer: The film starts out with him alive, but when you were watching it, he was dead. That is how God keeps records of everyone in heaven.
6. If the spirit means "life", how should we understand Eccl. 3:19-21?
"For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
All go to the same place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?"
Answer: We should read verse 21 in context with verses 19,20. Then we realize that "spirit" here means simply `breath.' Verse 21 is a rhetorical question. It has a question mark. Stated differently the question may be expressed as, `Is there anyone who has seen the spirit/breath of man go up and the beasts spirit going down?' What is the anticipated answer? The anticipated answer, based on verses 19 and 20 is, that, no, no one has seen the spirit going up or down. They just go all to the same place. They just disappear (in their grave) and are gone.
7. What did Jesus say is the condition the dead are in? John 11:14. Answer: "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ___________ is______."
Note: This scripture says it all from the highest authority in the universe, `The dead are really dead!' Thus the Bible teaches that between death and resurrection, the dead sleep in their grave.
8. What is the `spirit' which returns to God at death? James 2:26; Psalm 104:29. Answer: _______________________
Note: To say it with words we can understand today: The `spirit' or `breath' which returns to God is the essence of the living, feeling human being, his or her cellular existence - the complete information contained in the genetic, chemical code. It `returns' not as a substance but when a person dies, that person knows by faith that God has this genetic code on file and can recreate him or her on that great day of the Lord (Ps. 104:30) by infusing once again the spark of life which only God can give. Thus the character, the self identity, is restored again at the Resurrection.
9. What happened when God placed the breath of life in man's nostrils at creation? Genesis 2:7 Answer: "Man________a__________living______."
Note: God formed man of the dust and made a body. He then combined breath with this body and man became a living soul. Therefore, the Bible definition for "soul" is: Body + Breath = Soul. A living, breathing being is a soul. The Bible, in this text, is saying that we are souls! The truth is we do not have souls, but we are souls. You are your spirit.
How else is that proven by the Bible? When Stephen was stoned to death, what was his last prayer? "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Acts 7:59; Hebr. 2:3. When Jesus died on the cross, what was His last prayer? "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit." Luke 23:46. When Jesus resurrected, was he the same Jesus who died? Yes! The disciples recognized him and his voice, Mark 16:9-14; Luke 24:36-43. In the mind of Hebrew or Aramaic speaking people the soul is a complete, flesh and blood human being. Stating it this way ought to bring conviction on this subject that the notion of an immortal soul is not taught in the Bible.
10. Do souls die? Ezekiel 18:4,20 Answer: "The soul that sinneth it shall________."
Note: Strangely, the Bible does not agree with the widely used term "undying soul". Rather, the opposite, the soul can die, James 5:20, and go into the grave, Isaiah 38:17. Scripture teaches that the soul has a very short life.
11. At death, the body returns to dust, and the breath (spirit) returns to God. What happens to the soul? Where does it go? Psalm 104:29,30; Job 34:15. Answer: The soul goes nowhere. It simply_______to exist, but the character identity is on record in the heavenly record book.
Notes: At death we simply cease to exist, except we are recorded in heaven's ledger. Please be reminded that the Hebrew word for `breath' is the same word translated as `spirit'. The Bible does not present `breath/spirit' as capable of living apart from the body except in allegory to illustrate some other message, the `Rich Man and Poor Lazarus', an allegory which does not use the word `breath', `spirit' or `soul', but only the word `died'. Lazarus, when resurrected by Jesus, was not called down from heaven, but forth from the grave. And the cemeteries of the world is where Christ finds the saved at His Coming, Jhn. 5:28-29; Luke 14:14.
12. Jesus and Job both tell us where the bodies of the dead are. Where are they? Job 21:32; John 5:28,29 Answer: _________________________
Note: They are not in heaven or hell, but rather in their graves. On the day of Pentecost, Peter said that David was in his grave and had not gone to heaven. Acts 2:29,34. But the Scriptures clearly teach, Hebrews 11:32, that David will be saved in God's Kingdom. David is not yet in heaven because God's plan is that the dead wait in their graves until Jesus returns and resurrects them, Hebrews 11:39-40.
13. What of us is missing in heaven? Numb. 11:6; Ps. 49:17; Ecc. 5:15;7:14.
What of us is put on record in heaven? Nehemiah 6:19; Ezra 9:13; Romans 2:6.
Answer: ________________ at all!

Answer: Our ________ deeds and our ______ deeds.

14. Can dead people think? Psalm 146:4 Answer: _________________
Notes: ___________________
15. Do dead people know what their loved ones on earth are doing? Job 14:12,21 Answer:__________________
Note: The following Scripture passages are very specific: Job 7:9,10 - The dead can't go back and haunt their houses.; Psalm 6:5 - The dead do not remember or give thanks.; Isaiah 38:18,19 - The dead can't learn truth.; Psalm 115:17 - The dead do not praise the Lord.
16. In death, doesn't some part of man know something? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6,10 Answer: "The_______know not___________."
Note: Words could not be coupled together in a sentence to be more understandable, "the dead know not anything." The passage says the dead do not love, hate or envy. They have no wisdom or knowledge. They do not work and they are in no way involved with anything that is under the sun. They cannot contact the living.
Resurrection from Death
17. When will the righteous dead, who are now in their graves, be raised? 1.Corinthians 15:20,23; 1.Thessalonians 4:15-17; Isa. 26:19; Ps. 17:15. Answer: At the coming of ________________
"What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he ________ _____ _______ from the hand of _____ ___________ ." Ps. 89:48.
"For thou wilt not leave my ________ ___ _________; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to ______ _____________." Ps. 16:10.
The Apostle Peter quoted this last text and applied it to Christ in Acts 2:31. He declared it could not apply to David, because "he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day." (v.29) He declared also that "David ____ ______ ascended into the heavens." (v. 34) This proves that unless a man is resurrected from the dead, his soul will be left in hell (Hades - the grave). Nearly a thousand years after David died, Peter declared he had not yet ascended to heaven.
Notes: __________________
18. How did Jesus speak of death?
Jesus said, . . . "If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world." Jh. 11:9b. Jesus meant, there is trouble ahead, be sure your understanding of church history is right.
"But if any man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him." (v.10). There will be trouble ahead; be sure your theology is straight.
"These things he said unto them . . ." (v.11), by which Jesus meant, `Stay close to me,'
for, "I am the ________________ and the _______; he that believeth in _____, though he were dead, yet _______ he live." (v.25), by which he meant, when I come again the Second Time at the end of the world for the word "shall" indicates future.
Answer 1: Jesus "poured out his ________ unto death." Isa. 53:12.
Answer 2: "Our friend Lazarus_________ ; but I go, that I may awake him out of ________. Then said his disciples, Lord if he _______, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his _________: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in ________. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ____________ ___ ________." John 11:11-14.
Also recall the scripture where it says, "_____________ in his (God's) sight is the death of his __________ ." Ps. 116:15.
Notes: Psalm 116, what does it mean? It means God's people are precious to God because of the character they developed before they died, - which heaven judges in the (investigative) Judgment (Rev. 20:11,12), based on the records in the books of heaven, that they are candidates for citizenship in heaven, while those whose names are not in the book of life, die the eternal death.
19. Do people have immortality now? 1.Timothy 6:15,16 Answer: __________________
Note: Man is mortal or subject to death. Job 4:17. Only God has immortality.
20. When will God's people receive immortality? 1.Corinthians 15:51-55 Answer: When they are_____________at Jesus' __________________ .
Note: Jesus will give immortality to His people as a free gift, when they are translated at His second coming. Until then, no one but God has immortality. Immortality means not subject to death, Luke 20:35,36. It is this last scripture which contains the title which the redeemed will have in heaven, they will be known as the "children of the resurrection." The concept of the undying, immortal soul of man, so often spoken of at funerals today, is contrary to the Bible. Scripture cannot be found to support it, because the Bible teaches just the opposite. It is Satan's plan to nullify Jesus' wonderful promise to give immortality at the resurrection by claiming that men already have it. - The `immortality' of the redeemed requires the eating of the fruit of the `Tree of Life' in the earth made new, Rev. 22:2. God's original plan for man living forever on earth as he had intended for Adam and Eve will come true now for it was pronounced "very good," Gen. 1:31, for God's people shall "inherit the earth", Ps. 25:13; 37:11,22; Matth. 5:5. That must mean the earth made new like it was originally intended. Satan and all evil angels are no more and life eternal will be our experience.
21. "I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." John 11:25
What is the message of this scripture?
Answer: _______________
Notes: God has turned death, that would have been eternal, into a little time of sleep, from which He will awaken the believer. Therefore, it is not that something immortal puts on immortality; but "this mortal" (1.Cor. 15:52) shall put on immortality. Paul taught, there is no life after death, safe by the resurrection, "If there be no resurrection of the dead, ... then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ perished." 1.Cor. 15:13-18.
Note also this scripture: "This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on Him, may have eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40.
That is why the Second Coming of Christ has been the "blessed hope" of all the ages. All the faithful of all ages are going into the kingdom together as a mighty throng. This blessed truth appeals to the spirit that loves to wait and share joys and good things with the saints of the ages and with loved ones. The poet Horatius Bonar wrote this song:
"Softly within that peaceful resting place we lay their wearied limbs, and bid the clay press lightly on them till the night be past, and the far east give note of coming day.
The cloud is heard, the Archangel's voice goes forth; the trumpet sounds, the dead awake and sing; the living put on glory; one glad band, they hasten up to meet their coming King."
22. God's people do not have immortality now, but, do they have eternal life? 1.John 5:12; John 6:54 Answer: _______________
Notes: We may think of it this way, when we hold an apple seed in our hand, in a way we hold the (potential) apple tree in our hand. God's word frequently overlooks the time we spend in the grave.
Satan's Hoax about Death
23. What lie about death did Satan tell Eve in the Garden of Eden? Genesis 3:4 Answer: "______shall_______surely________ ."
Note: Contrary to God's word, Satan said that death is not a fact. "You won't really die, if you disobey" is what he was saying to Eve.
24. Why did Satan want people to believe that the dead are alive and can be contacted? Revelation 16:14; 2.Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13,14. Answer: So his angels can pose as spirits of the______and_________people.
Note: Satan wants people to believe that the dead can be contacted so he can send his angels to pose as the spirits of the dead, and thus deceive them. 1 Samuel 28:7-25 (A lesson for us to avoid: Saul goes to contact a familiar spirit). His masterful delusions will deceive all but the very elect, Matthew 24:24. Notice that these evil angels also deceive the "kings of the earth", Revelation 16:13,14 but they are `the spirits of demons', see Numbers 25:1-3; Psalm 106:28; 1.Corinthians 10:20.
25. Fallen Christendom is referred to as Babylon in Revelation. What does God say is largely responsible for its fall? Revelation 18:2,4,5 Answer: "Babylon is______.... is become the habitation of_______and the hold of every foul____________________."
Note: Christendom is falling because Satan has gained access to the churches through his falsehood that the dead are alive. In all too many cases, messages from Satan's emissaries, who pose as spirits of the dead, are welcomed as marvelous counsel to the churches from the redeemed in glory. This gives Satan full power to deceive, and he makes every contact count. No wonder the apostle Paul so solemnly warned against such deception in 1.Timothy 4:1,2.
26. According to Revelation, these same evil angels, posing as spirits of the dead, approach the kings and leaders of earth. What is the result? Revelation 16:13,14; 18:23 Answer: a) Revelation 18:23 "By thy__________were____nations________."
Answer: b) Revelation 16:14 "______them to the_______ of that great_____of_____Almighty."
Note: These angels, claiming to be the spirits of the dead, will be the powers which will influence the rulers of the nations of the world and lead them into that final battle of Armageddon, which will end in their total destruction. Tragically, leaders of many nations today, consult with those who claim to receive messages from the dead before deciding any important issue. No wonder this planet is in such disarray. Satan, himself, is being given access to call the signals.
An Important Test
27. From what sources, only, should I receive my information on the subject of death? Isaiah 8:19,20 Answer: a) "Should not a people seek unto their_______"?
Answer: b) "If they speak not according to this_______it is because there is no_______in them."
Note: This passage plainly states that we must refuse to listen to those who claim to speak for the dead and, instead, obtain our information from God's Word only. Messages, which supposedly come from the dead loved ones, are never from these loved ones, but, rather, from Satan. That is a sobering thought!
28. Revelation says those who obey God will enter His Kingdom. Who will be among those shut out? Revelation 22:15 Answer: "For without are dogs, and___________and whoremongers and murderers and idolators." The 6th commandment also forbids selfmurder, suicide. Yes.
Note: Those who consult the dead (sorcerers) will be shut out of heaven. In Moses' day of the theocracy, God commanded that such be stoned. Leviticus 20:6,27, because it represents direct Satanic influences.
29. Witchcraft, which claims to contact the dead, is called, in the Bible, one of the works of the flesh for which people will be shut out of God's Kingdom. How should I relate to it? Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:11. Answer: "Have no___________with the unfruitful________of darkness, but rather________them."
Note: I should stay as far away as possible from anything that in any way resembles witchcraft. Presumed contact with the dead is virtually always contact with Satanic forces.
30. Why are the godly dead called blessed in Revelation 14:13? Answer: "They may_______from their__________".
Note: Notice the prophet does not say that they simply transferred their labors to heaven. No, their work is done. Ecclesiastes 9:10 also says clearly that the reason all work ceases at death is because there is no work in the grave where man goes at death. Man simply "sleeps" in the grave until the resurrection.
31. What finally happens to the terrible curse of death? Revelation 20:14 Answer: "It is cast into the________of fire."
Note: Death ends in the fire. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4 As your senses delight in the attractive loveliness of the earth, think of the world that is to come, that shall never know the blight of sin and death; where the face of nature will no more wear the shadow of the curse. Let your imagination picture the home of the saved, and remember that it will be more glorious than your brightest imagination can portray. In the varied gifts of God in nature we see but the faintest gleaming of his glory. It is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." [1 Corinthians 2:9; CE 55.2] The Apostle Peter testifies to the fact that even the evil angels are "reserved unto judgment" and "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." 2.Pet. 2:4,9. They are reserved to receive their punishment in a future time. They are not now being punished.
32. Read again the great passage of scripture on Jesus' return and the resurrection found in 1.Thessalonians 4:16-18. What does verse 18 say these words should bring us? Answer: "___________one another with these words."
Note: The Bible emphasis is not on an immortal soul winging its way to heaven at death, as many have thought. The scriptures do not focus on individual death as a means to go to heaven. Death is not a comfort. The focus of scripture is always on the second coming of Jesus and the resurrections as the source of comfort, 1.Corinthians 15:12-26. Because He rose again, all who sleep in Him will rise again. What a blessed comfort indeed!
33. What inconceivably great power is promised to God's people today? Philippians 3:10 Answer: "That I may know him, and the__________of His_______________. . . ."
Note: What a joy to be reunited with friends and loved ones who died believing in Jesus Christ. Truly, the second coming of Jesus will be a grand and glorious event for those who love and serve Him. Praise God! He offers me the same miraculous power in life that raised Jesus from the dead. How can a Christian fail with such fantastic power available. It is yours for the asking.
How do we know if our loved ones are saved? We cannot second guess God but we know that Jesus, our advocate, will save all when ever possible at all, but he cannot save those who had no faith, no love, no repentance and conversion, who did not live up to the still small voice reminding them to recompense with good rather than with evil. So, let us mercifully correct our loved ones and keep them from the power of the enemy. Do not be discouraged. Our loved ones die, they are torn from us by death. Their accounts with God are sealed up. We close their eyes and habit them for the tomb, and lay them away from our sight. But hope bears our spirit (often means `understanding') up. While we consider it a serious, solemn thing to die, we must consider it a much more solemn thing to live. Every day of life is freighted with responsibilities which we must bear. Our individual interests, our words, our actions, are making impressions upon those with whom we are connected. We are to find our consolation in Jesus Christ. Precious Saviour! He was ever touched with human woe.... Cling to the Source of your strength. We are not parted forever, but shall meet the loved ones who sleep in Jesus. They shall come again from the land of the enemy. The Life-giver is coming. Myriads of holy angels escort Him on His way. He bursts the bands of death, breaks the fetters of the tomb, the precious captives come forth in health and immortal beauty.
34. Here is a loaded question. How many have truly died sofar? Answer: ___________
Notes: ____________________
Only one has truly died so far. Jesus. Why would we say that? Because the death we all die, is called a sleep in the Bible. "Death" truly, is the second death from which there is no resurrection. When Jesus died on the Cross, He died the second death (Rev. 1:18; 20:14), but because He was without sin, the second death could not hold Him in the grave, and He resurrected. That is what Jesus had feared so much in Gethsemane, for He could not see His way through if all He did was accepted of His Father in Heaven. - Jesus, therefore, is the only one who truly died up to now. Not until after the wicked are judged will that number increase.
35. Will you accept Jesus' offer to give you this resurrection power for victory in your life today? Answer: ___________
Notes: ____________________
Has this study answered your questions? Are there any sincere doubts left? Please contact us with a brief note if their remains anything to be further explained.

Notes & References

[100] James H. Hyslop, Contact with the Other World, p. 14. The saying, `God does not condemn,' `man is accountable only to himself', `awaking the giant within you', are also of spiritualistic origin. - Please know that many doctrinal differences are today the result of different Bibles people use. There is great mayhem and damage resulting from that situation.

[105] Pro Immortality Contra Immortality
Satan, Genesis 3:4, contradicts God, Genesis 2:17. God teaches the truth, Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10.
The pagans fall into false teachings of: ancestor worship, cultic ceremonies for the dead, human sacrifices and construction of eternal abodes like the pyramids and mummifying the dead. It leads also to the worship of relics - body parts, pieces of items, etc. The Jews know that they must wait till the end of the world before they stand up from their death sleep to see God, Daniel 12:13.
The Greeks as voiced in the words attributed to Plato and Aristotle believed: the body is the confining container of the soul, death is the release out of this confinement. They thought "the soul is a body within a body, composed of fine particles spread all through the structure, most like wind with an admixture of heat." [Greece and the Helenistic World, Oxford, 1988, p. 369.] Same as above. But Plato and Aristotle were not who most historians say they were.
Philosophy: Goethe's `Fichte' (Spruce tree): "... I have grabbed eternity for myself." Jesus, death was not the release of his soul out of confinement about which he ought to have been full of joy, but he suffered death, John 6:40. Not until after his resurrection and return as king, will eternal life take effect.
The church: In the 3rd century A.D. penetrated the Platonic teaching of the immortality of the soul the Church of Rome. The apologists for this apostasy were men like, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Clements of Alexandra, Origen, Augustine. It was Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century who put this teaching in a final dress. In December of 1513 this dogma was confirmed and some Protestant churches a bit later began to accept it. Why? It reflects human pride. Being able to think that one's loved ones are in heaven. Bible Christians: The early church fathers rejected the teaching of the immortality of the soul. They included Justin the Martyr, Tatian, Clements of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp and Arnobius. Justin declared, those who believe in the immortality of the soul, ought not to be considered as Christians. Pope John XXII, 1331, declared: "do you know, when they (the souls) shall enter in? When their bodies rise up." Luther could say: "We shall sleep until He comes ...", but he is a bit uncertain. Well known theologians wrote on the subject. Karl Barth (1886-1968) wrote: "No soul remains." He rejected the idea of an immortal soul since it would mean that man reaches for God in order that he could cross his God appointed boundary. [`Evangelische Theologie'] Eberhard Jüngel (1933-??) said, "total break down of relationship." Paul Althaus (1888-1966) said, "When the soul is without the body, she itself is taken too."
The Consequences of the Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul Includes:

1. Teachings not known from the Bible made possible through the teaching of the immortality of the soul:
  • Purgatory, Letters of Indulgences, Prayer for the dead, alms and sacrifice of the mass for the dead.
  • Hellfire
  • Worship of saints and Mary (Maria) (See 1.Tim. 2:5 and Exodus 20:4)
  • Transmigration of the soul
  • Denial or disbelieve in the resurrection is evidenced that instead of upholding the risen savior, or better yet, upholding adult baptism, the church uses crucifixes - the dying Christ on the cross as if he never rose again.
  • Spiritualism – Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 2.Cor. 11:14. False Christianity lifts up `the flesh'. An RCC catechism documents the centrality of the flesh, "The flesh is central to salvation" [Tertullian, res. 8,2] One may read, `We believe there is a God, the creator of all flesh. We believe in the resurrection of the flesh, in which the creation and redemption of the flesh is fulfilled.'
  • 2. The waning of Christian teachings
  • Second Advent of Jesus Christ - Church History underscores that the flame of the forward looking hope for the Second Coming was extinguished over time. In fact new Numerous Bible Versions as the RSV and NIV, continually and wickedly alter those sciptures which teach it.
  • The resurrection of the dead is the opposite to the pagan belief in the immortality of the soul the latter of which makes pagan beliefs of fate and reincarnation possible. How pagan beliefs at first gradually then quicker intruded into the Christians church is presented here, here, here, here and several paragraphs before and after in more detail.
  • The final judgment at the end became superfluous.
  • 3. It casts suspicion on the character of God
  • God is made out to be to have lied, Genesis 2:17.
  • God is viewed as an injust tyrant - See on `hellfire' and on the Origin of Evil.
  • God is viewed as a Lord without mercy and love - The souls in heaven are made into having to see the suffering of their loved ones without being able to affect it.

    Because of infant baptism, members of churches who practice it, may have no idea what the church they consider themselves part of really teaches and why. Without diligently examining the reasons of "their faith", they cannot discern truth from error.

  • [120] War in heaven would not be a shooting or blood shedding war. Heaven is inhabited by spirits whose nature may be guessed at in a small way from what the Bible says. Being cast out of heaven may be something like being locked out, separated from God the source of all life, which in itself is very serious since it leads to death.

    [150] Some adore Satan and are known as Luciferians, meaning they turn the truth on its head in that they worship Lucifer rather than Jesus. Satan, working through people, by using sly slogans and concepts of which Hegelian Dialectic is one, produces error by wanting to put together a `thesis' (the truth) and mix it with the `antithesis' (error) you end up with the synthesis (a mixture of truth and error), which, they hope, will be accepted by the biblically illiterate, gullible public as a new truth. [Juan Maler, Sieg der Vernunft, The model of free masonry. The book also reveals certain secret signs of those involved.] These appear to be wicked plans being put together.

    [500] Because we always have time for what we really want to do (things like watching tv, or going to shows, but we ought not too) no matter what, but when it comes to Bible study weariness can set in right away, which can also be a sign of sleep deprivation, triggered by the action of reading small letters in a quiet setting. Therefore, Bible study also requires getting your daily sleep. Besides that, for God to guide you, we are called to also remove everything from around our habitat (house, car, office) which reminds of Satan and sin (pictures, music, magazines, books, etc.) so Satan will not have left a toe hold in our life anymore, for once we decide to believe God's Word, only one can dwell in our heart - therefore, we clean up everything around us down to the last little picture, slogans on clothing, jewelry, statues, everything.

    [570] The descendants of Ishmael were: Nebajoth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. Apparently their towns bore these names, had castles and twelve princes, Gen. 25:13-16.

    [600] What do the "dry bones" of Ezekiel 37:5 mean?
    "The souls (living people) of those whom we desire to save are like the representation which Ezekiel saw in vision, - a valley of dry bones. They are dead in trespasses and sins, but God would have us deal with them as though they were living. Were the question put to us, "Son of man, can these bones live?" our answer would be only the confession of ignorance, "O Lord, Thou knowest." To all appearance there is nothing to lead us to hope for their restoration. Yet nevertheless the word of the prophecy must be spoken even to those who are like the dry bones in the valley. We are in no wise to be deterred from fulfilling our commission by the listlessness, the dullness, the lack of spiritual perception, in those upon whom the Word of God is brought to bear. We are to preach the word of life to those whom we may judge to be as hopeless subjects as though they were in their graves.
    Though they may seem unwilling to hear or to receive the light of truth, without questioning or wavering we are to do our part. We are to repeat to them the message. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Eph. 5:14.
    It is not the human agent that is to inspire with life. The Lord God of Israel will do that part, quickening the lifeless spiritual nature into activity. The breath of the Lord of hosts must enter into the lifeless bodies. In the judgment, when all secrets are laid bare, it will be known that the voice of God spoke through the human agent, and aroused the torpid conscience, and stirred the lifeless faculties, and moved sinners to repentance and contrition, and forsaking of sins. It will then be clearly seen that through the human agent faith in Jesus Christ was imparted to the soul, and spiritual life from heaven was breathed upon one who was dead in trespasses and sins, and he was quickened with spiritual life.
    But not only does this simile of the dry bones apply to the world, but also to those who have been blessed with great light; for they also are like the skeletons of the valley. They have the form of men, the framework of the body; but they have not spiritual life. But the parable does not leave the dry bones merely knit together into the forms of men; for it is not enough that there is symmetry of limb and feature. The breath of life must vivify the bodies, that they may stand upright, and spring into activity. These bones represent the house of Israel, the church of God, and the hope of the church is the vivifying influence of the Holy Spirit. The Lord must breathe upon the dry bones, that they may live. {4BC 1165.3-6}

    [650] The word "turned" (Hebr. `haphak'). What does the Bible say about the `evil' or `wicked'? Study Mt. 12:35, 39; 13:49; 22:10; 24:48; Hebr. 10:22; Rev. 2:2; 22:11. - to point out a few. We learn, the evil or wicked: (1) produce evil deeds, they trespass God's law as if it does not exist, (2) they want visible proof that God exists, when we must be saved by faith only, so God's universe can be sure His people are serious, (3) in the end only two groups exist on earth, the evil and the good, which God will separate, (4) all were invited (to the wedding, Christ's Second Coming), (5) even those with an evil conscience, which, if repented of and forgiven, can be washed clean with the blood of Christ, (6) but God's people must bear the evil in the world until (7) the final judgment separation. They know that the resurrection of Christ itself is a sign of the judgment of the world. His empty tomb is full of significance. He will return. His judgment of the world is as sure as His resurrection, which makes it a point of interest. Which Christian does not believe in the reality of the resurrection? And yet, but few Christians see any significance in the reality of the judgment. God's judgment arriving in the person of Jesus Christ in the clouds will take billions by surprise. - Please remember, when we speak of `Christians' we mean those who are followers of Jesus Christ. They do not break the commandments of God, they obey the health laws (eat not forbidden foods), do not drink alcohol, smoke, use illicit drugs or violate any of God's laws.

    [672] Is there electricity in the human body? Well, not the type of electricity as we receive from the power plants. The fact is we do have what we call electrolytes and conductive nerves. We can obtain electro-cardiograms and read brain waves, so we do have low currents which man made instruments can measure and express in man devised units of power measurements. Not only that, if in contact with an electrical source we can get shocked, perhaps even die from it, depending on the load received. That means our body can conduct electrical currents.

    [674] To ask about the `Tree of Life' and that Adam and Eve had no access to it after the fall, is a logical question. Many would like to know: If man goes to heaven at death, how can that be possible, after man was denied immortality since Adam, and so too later, during the time of the reign of sin in the world.' What is the answer? It is not possible for man to live forever without access to the `Tree of Life,' Rev. 2:7. We should say, logic should require that a nebulous soul without a physical body cannot eat.

    [700] But doesn't the Bible say, "He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption", Acts 2:31; ? Certainly. The bodies `corruption' refers to a more advanced stage of decomposition. Jesus' was not long enough in the grave for that to occur. But we may say that internal, microscopic changes should have occurred for Christ was certainly dead for a time. This may be demonstrated by the fact when the Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus on the cross, it says, "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." John 19:34.

    [800] The emphasis is on the article "the" as I heard once correctly explained by Spiro Zodhiates on radio. Hopefully the minister will learn the truth about death and dying sometime soon.

    [888] Here are some Bible texts: Comfort for Widows and Orphans: Gen. 48:21; Ex, 22:21-23; Deut. 10:14-19; 24:17-22; 1.Ki. 2:2,3; 17:8-16; Psalms 9:10-13; 10:14-18; 23; 27; 37:5,37; 39:10; 55:23; 68:5,6; 70; 82:3,4; 89:27; 102:18; 103:13; 118:8; 146; 147:3; Isa. 1:17; 40:11; 41:13,14; 49:14-16; 54:10; 63:16; Jer. 31:9; 49:11; Micah 7:7-9; Mt. 28:20; Mk. 12:41-44; Lk. 2:36-38; 7:11-16; 18:1-8; Jh. 14:18; 16:22; 1Cor. 10:13; Eph. 3:15; 1.Tim. 5:3-16; 1.Ptr. 5:6,7; Hebr. 10:35,36; James 1:27.
    Times of many deaths: Lev. 26 and Deut. 28; 32:35; Num. 21:4-9; Deut. 32:39; 2Sam. 24; Ps. 62:2,3; 68:20,21; 80:4; 85; 90; 91; Jer. 9:20; Lament. 3:22-42; Amos 3:6; Mt. 24:7; Lk. 13:1-9; Rom. 12:19; 14:7,8; Rev. 6:7,8 more.
    Times of war: Ex. 14; 15; 17:8-16; Deut. 1:29,30; 20:1-4; 31:6; Judg. 10:15,16; 1Sam. 7; 12:24,25; 2Ki. 6:8-17; 2Chr. 14:10; 20:1-30; Ps. 3; 10; 18; 20; 27; 33:16-20; 44; 46; 60:13,14; 76; 81:14,15; 91; 108; 124; 127:1; 138:7; 143:9; 147:10,11; Prov. 21:30,31; Isa. 25:4,5; 26:1-12; 30:15; 45:5-7; Jer. 8:23; 14:7-9, 19-23; 47:6; Lament. 2; 3:22-24; Dan. 9; Mt. 24:6,7; Lk. 19:41-46; Rev. 6:3,4.;
    In Fearful Situations: Ps. 34:4,7; Prov. 18:10;
    Guardian Angels- Verses and a Poem: "The angel off the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them." Ps. 34:7. There are faithful angel watchers with their wings above us spread, Shielding us from unseen dangers night and day; Prompting us to seek for guidance when unconsciously we tread in the paths of hidden danger by the way. Could the veil of mist be lifted and our mortal eyes behold silent records being taken of each scene, how we'd guard our words and actions, many tales we'd leave untold, and we'd strive to keep our records pure and clean. - "And the books were opened." Rev. 20:21. For the solemn hour approaches when those books by angels kept, will be opened at the page that bears our name. Do we fear to meet the record - deeds o'er which the angels wept, sins for which our Saviour suffered grief and shame? When our names are called in judgment, will our Advocate appear and confess before the angels, `They are Mine?' Or deny, `I do not know them, they refused My call to hear, and those cherished sins of theirs would not resign'? - "I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, `Cornelius, thy prayer is heard.'" Acts 10:30,31. When we stand for truth mid error and temptation's waves resist, All is noted by these angel friends of ours; and they draw a little nearer, ever ready to assist, And thus weaken by their aid the tempter's powers. When discouragement o'ertakes us, and we sink beneath its waves, looking through the hazy glass of doubt and fear; angel guards press close around us, pointing up to Him who saves, and again our hearts are filled with hope and cheer. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood." Eph. 6:12. Evil angels throng our pathway, as with eager haste they press their temptations and their snares to trip our feet; holding up the world before us in its artificial dress, luring to forbidden pathways by deceit. As the brightness of the candle lures the moth to hidden death, so the glitter of this world appears to charm; but its joys are on the surface, and destruction lurks beneath, blinding eyes to faithful signals of alarm. - "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Heb. 1:14. But our Father in His wisdom knows the weakness of our frame - knows our adversary's strength and subtle power; and in tender love and mercy sends the angels in His name to sustain and keep us in temptations hour. Angels find their highest pleasure in this work for fallen man, dwelling with us amidst earth's saddest scenes below; working in co-operation with their loved Commander's plan to uplift and save the world from sin and woe." A.M. Williams, Australian Christian Worker.

    [890] About Christ as he is now we study 1.Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:7; Rev. 2:7 and 22:14. In essence it appears that Jesus will forever have a body as the redeemed shall have in heaven. As such he, like the redeemed, shall eat of the tree of life which bears fruit every month, and thus live forever. This is the supreme sacrifice which Christ made to save the human race.

    [900] The gravestone reads, "Here lyeth the body of Ann Attkinson who departed this life ye 24th day of May 1706 aged 77, `My life is hid in Christ with God when this my Savior Dear dos come again then I with Him in glory Shall Appear.'" - For a Christian, death is but a small matter. Why? To the believer, Christ is the resurrection and the life. In our Saviour the life that was lost through sin is restored; for He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will. He is invested with the right to give immortality. The life that He laid down in humanity, He takes up again, and gives to humanity. "I am come," He said, "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." "Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 10:10; 4:14; 6:54. - Christ speaks here of death as if it were of little moment and then gazes briefly at the time after the final judgment, Jh. 8:50. "If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death," the second death from which there is no resurrection and from which Jesus saves us, "he shall never taste of death." To the Christian, the first death is but a sleep, a moment of silence and darkness. The life is hid with Christ in God, and "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." John 8:51, 52; Colossians 3:4. The voice that cried from the cross, "It is finished," was heard among the dead, the first fruit, who rested in their graves of the first death. It pierced the walls of sepulchers, and summoned the sleepers to arise, Mt. 27:52-53. The resurrection of Jesus was a sample of the first and final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. Thus will it be when the voice of Christ shall be heard from heaven. That voice will penetrate the graves and unbar the tombs, and the dead in Christ shall arise. At this time the phrase "I am come that they might have life" is fulfilled. When Jesus came the first time He fulfilled all conditions, because of His perfect life, to overcome the devil, the causer of sin, and give His people spiritual strength to likewise overcome and not do the evil deed because Jesus dwells in our heart. At the Saviour's resurrection a few graves were opened, but at His second coming all the precious dead shall hear His voice, and shall come forth to glorious, immortal life. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will raise His church, and glorify it with Him, above all principalities, above all powers, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come. According to the Bible, the second resurrection, after the millennium, is that of the wicked who then appear before the Lord and die the second, eternal death which Jesus died on the cross and from which He saves His people. This second death could not hold Him in the grave for He was without sin. Therefore we have assurance that the death of Christ did not stop the Word of God and what it taught, instead, His death provided an atoning sacrifice of sufficient value to call forth the blessing of divine power to change people. Jesus' life in place of ours means He makes a substitutionary atonement legal. Then He sends the Holy Spirit to allow a regenerative work to take place inside those who choose to be among the redeemed, for you see, the resurrection is a legal matter. This is how we are not only accounted right before God in the heavenly judgment taking place since 1844, but are also made right.

    [930] Comments on 1 Timothy 6:16 have been written in a context which runs as follows. "The supreme concern of the Christian pastor must ever be that of purity and sanctity of his own motives. Thus when Paul has warned Timothy against the vanity and avarice which controlled the false teachers in Ephesus, he brings his epistle to a climax in a solemn charge to shun these evils and earnestly seek the things of the highest good, not to set his heart upon selfish and worldly gain, but to be looking for "the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ." [Erdmans, The Pastoral Epistles.]
    Adam Clarke wrote: "All beings that are not eternal must be mutable; but there can be only one eternal Being, that is, God; and He only can have immortality. Dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto." NT Commentary, p. 1247. Other commentators like Jamieson, Fausset and Brown speak briefly on Verse 16 with no inference to the subject of the immortality of the soul of man.
    Adventists believe the following may explain the biblical position. We read, "To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life." Romans 2:7. Why should believers seek for what they already have? In other words, if we have immortality already, why do we need to seek it as Paul councils the readers of his Letter to the Romans?

    [1000] `Made fit' for heaven is a short way of describing the path of a Christian. How a Christian first hears the gospel, is converted, confesses his sin and repents, is baptized and becomes a follower of Jesus Christ. How God's grace works in him and keeps him in a co-operative attitude to keep growing in Christ and considers the attractions of this world as nothing and God's promises as everything. The `natural' body is not designed to live in the heavenly realm. The `spiritual' body is not ours until after the resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ, Job 19:25-27. However, we can be spiritually minded today on earth.

    [1003] Will we be able to recognize family and friends in heaven? All the sons and daughters of God will recognize each other for God is a God of love who created human families, therefore it can not be otherwise for He is not a God who would alter our mind at a whim, for then man would be just a pawn in His hand. God gave man a powerful mind to use for His glory, not to limit man and perform alterations in his brain and pigeonhole him into loneliness. Not at all. Those who teach that, teach a Satanic view which claims that God makes man forget all his friends and family in heaven. It is anticlimactic and would lead people not to advance God's cause on earth, for it makes God out to use draconian measures, Satan's way of doing things. Do not heed those teachings.

    [1100] Here follows a description of the great day of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds. It is the mass resurrection and seeing Jesus in the clouds which evokes a great shout of joy coming from the lips of the now resurrected and living redeemed. If the soul goes to heaven at death, wouldn't this day be more so an anti-climax? That is why the teaching of the Second Coming of Christ has not been a strong doctrine among these churches.
    "The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place. "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people." Psalm 50:3,4. [GC 641.2]
    "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:15-17. [GC 642.1]
    The derisive jests have ceased. Lying lips are hushed into silence. The clash of arms, the tumult of battle, "with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood" (Isaiah 9:5), is stilled. Nought now is heard but the voice of prayer and the sound of weeping and lamentation. The cry bursts forth from lips so lately scoffing: "The great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" The wicked pray to be buried beneath the rocks of the mountains rather than meet the face of Him whom they have despised and rejected.[GC 642.2]
    That voice which penetrates the ear of the dead, they know. How often have its plaintive, tender tones called them to repentance. How often has it been heard in the touching entreaties of a friend, a brother, a Redeemer. To the rejecters of His grace no other could be so full of condemnation, so burdened with denunciation, as that voice which has so long pleaded: "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" Ezekiel 33:11. Oh, that it were to them the voice of a stranger! Says Jesus: "I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof." Proverbs 1:24, 25. That voice awakens memories which they would fain blot out--warnings despised, invitations refused, privileges slighted. [GC 642.3]
    There are those who mocked Christ in His humiliation. With thrilling power come to their minds the Sufferer's words, when, adjured by the high priest, He solemnly declared: "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Matthew 26:64; Lk. 2:11-15. Now they behold Him in His glory, and they are yet to see Him sitting on the right hand of power. [GC 643.1]
    Those who derided His claim to be the Son of God are speechless now. There is the haughty Herod who jeered at His royal title and bade the mocking soldiers crown Him king. There are the very men who with impious hands placed upon His form the purple robe, upon His sacred brow the thorny crown, and in His unresisting hand the mimic scepter, and bowed before Him in blasphemous mockery. The men who smote and spit upon the Prince of life now turn from His piercing gaze and seek to flee from the overpowering glory of His presence. Those who drove the nails through His hands and feet, the soldier who pierced His side, behold these marks with terror and remorse. [GC 643.2]
    With awful distinctness do priests and rulers recall the events of Calvary. With shuddering horror they remember how, wagging their heads in satanic exultation, they exclaimed: "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him." Matthew 27:42, 43. [GC 643.3]
    Vividly they recall the Saviour's parable of the husbandmen who refused to render to their lord the fruit of the vineyard, who abused his servants and slew his son. They remember, too, the sentence which they themselves pronounced: The lord of the vineyard "will miserably destroy those wicked men."Mat. 21:41. In the sin and punishment of those unfaithful men the priests and elders see their own course and their own just doom. And now there rises a cry of mortal agony. Louder than the shout, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," which rang through the streets of Jerusalem, swells the awful, despairing wail, "He is the Son of God! He is the true Messiah!" Mt. 26:63; 27:40,43,54; Mk. 3:11; 15:39; Lk. 1:35; 3:23,38; Jh. 1:49; 5:25. They seek to flee from the presence of the King of kings. In the deep caverns of the earth, rent asunder by the warring of the elements, they vainly attempt to hide.Lk. 23:30; Rev. 6:15-17. [GC 643.4]
    In the lives of all who reject truth there are moments when conscience awakens, when memory presents the torturing recollection of a life of hypocrisy and the soul is harassed with vain regrets. But what are these compared with the remorse of that day when "fear cometh as desolation," when "destruction cometh as a whirlwind"! Proverbs 1:27. Those who would have destroyed Christ and His faithful people now witness the glory which rests upon them. In the midst of their terror they hear the voices of the saints in joyful strains exclaiming: "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us." Isaiah 25:9. [GC 644.1]
    Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His hands to heaven, He cries: `Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!'Daniel 12:2. Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live. And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55. And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory. [GC 644.2] This shout is like their personal testimony to their faith, 2.Cor. 2:14.
    All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb. Adam, who stands among the risen throng, is of lofty height and majestic form, in stature but little below the Son of God. He presents a marked contrast to the people of later generations; in this one respect is shown the great degeneracy of the race. But all arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth. In the beginning, man was created in the likeness of God, not only in character, but in form and feature. Sin defaced and almost obliterated the divine image; but Christ came to restore that which had been lost. He will change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto His glorious body. The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will "grow up" (Malachi 4:2) to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering traces of the curse of sin will be removed, and Christ's faithful ones will appear in "the beauty of the Lord our God," (Ps. 90:17) in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. Oh, wonderful redemption! long talked of, long hoped for, contemplated with eager anticipation, but never fully understood. [GC 644.3]
    The living righteous are changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." (1.Cor. 15:52) At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels "gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Mt. 24:31) Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God. [GC 645.1] - Well, some say, but what about these words, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 8:38-39. - These words by the Apostle Paul certainly are authoritative, but he himself was later, toward the end of his ministry, led into sin by Jewish fellow believers when he like they, shaved his head in order to offer the blood of a red heifer at the Temple of Jerusalem; a task which was not needed anymore after Christ died on the Cross, Acts 21:19-26. The text in Romans says, that nothing can "separate us"; it does not use the word soul (however the whole living human being is a soul). Every saint of God is represented in heaven by his record in the heavenly book, not as an immortal ghost. Romans 8:38-39 is another example where Paul builds on a priori knowledge among the Christians in the churches. They know already when man dies, all of him is dead until resurrection day, but God keeps an exact record of every person who ever lived and based on those records will first judge and then, on resurrection day (Dan. 7:9,10; Rev. 20:12), recreate them all according to the heavenly records (genetic information). - In our scientific age we can understand this viable option a lot better, how the Creator God can recreate a person. The evangelicals are fighting this understanding, they are way behind in coming to grips with certain Bible truths.
    On each side of the cloudy chariot are wings, and beneath it are living wheels; and as the chariot rolls upward, the wheels cry, "Holy," and the wings, as they move, cry, "Holy," and the retinue of angels cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty." (Rev. 4:8) And the redeemed shout,"Alleluia!" as the chariot moves onward toward the New Jerusalem."[`Great Controversy', p. 641-645.]

    [1300] "4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
    4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
    1.Thessalonians 4:13-18
    Verse 17 reveals the real hope of the apostle Paul and his often unspoken rule which we must apply to understand him correctly, and which all early Christians understood, when he writes about being absent from the body and present with the Lord. In such scriptures he disregards the time spent dead in the grave, since then a body is oblivious to time, and rather talks about the moment of waking up from the sleep of death, to first, see Jesus coming together with those who are alive on that day, and then be with Him forever.

    [1500] As Matthew Henry commented on this word `formed', "Of the other creatures it is said that they were `created' and `made'; but of man that he was `formed', which denotes a gradual process in the work with great accuracy and exactness." [The Bethany Parallel Commentary of the Old Testament]

    [1510] When God created man he did not use dry dust but wet clay, Isaiah 64:8. Adam came forth without a character. Character is formed as an accumulation of impressions and information entering the brain.

    [1600] How the error of an `immortal soul' is implanted in verse 7 as a foregone conclusion can be seen by a remark of Adam Clarke [Ibid., ref. 1500] who wrote, "In the most distinct manner God shows us that man is a compound being, having a body and a soul distinctly separately created, the body out of the dust of the earth, the soul immediately breathed from God himself." This in contrast to viewing the meaning of verse 7 not to be one of distinctness but rather as a union, one cannot exist without the other. Physical life (body) and mind are one in the same body. We read that the breath of life was breathed into Adam's nostrils, to reach his lungs, not into his heart or brain. While God breathed the first breath for Adam into his lungs, when Eve was created we read nothing about God breathing the first breath into her. We assume that is what happened. Strictly speaking, however, we do not know that to have been the case. Therefore, is it fair to ask, do women have an immortal soul? What is the answer? The answer is that neither man or woman has an immortal soul. Those teaching the immortality of the human `soul' may state that, yes, the soul can die, and, yes, the soul is immortal at the same time citing the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus and some Paulinian verses in which Paul in his sweeping way talks about departing and being with the Lord leaving the conditions in between a bit open but explains them in other verses.
    For the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable because not all its parts are meant to be understood literally, that ought to be a no brainer. Dear reader, when the Bible says that only God is immortal, that is all we need to know, with that statement we should gage such erroneous teachings as the immortality of the soul.

    [1700] A manuscript written in Coptic in the manner of an `enconium' or `homily' on Elijah the Tishbite is attributed to John Chrysostom (ca. 1199 AD), bishop of Constantinople, but with some doubts. See TSBA, Vol. IX, June 1893, pp. 355-404. Enconiums on Elijah appear to have been much sought after and esteemed among Copts, and there is little doubt that several such works existed in Egypt. Elijah and John the Baptist, misunderstood but revered by ascetics whose example the latter blindly followed, and whose lives were closely imitated by hosts of monks, recluses and solitaries often living in desert environments. This particular enconium uses the word "soul" as referring to a living human being, "The soul that shall build a house of prayer for thee upon earth shall live in the heavenly Jerusalem ...", p. 394.

    [1850] Where does it say that in the Bible? It aludes to that in Hebrews 11:8-14, that ever since Enoch and Abraham, the patriarchs `looked for a city whose builder is God.' `they died in faith ... of promises ... having seen them afar off ... they seek a country,' namely Israel and Jerusalem and eventually the heavenly Jerusalem in Zion given them from God for they walked in harmony with the divine principles of God, Gen. 5:24; John 8:56.
    The story is told that, when David Livingston died on complications of Malaria, he exacted the promise from his two servants to bury his heart in Africa but his body in England. One day they found him. He had died praying on his knees. These two servants, Shula and Sissy, kept their promise and did just that. They embalmed him with salt and sowed him into cloth, then carried his body on their shoulders a thousand miles to Sansibar where the British identified him by his lion attack wounds and were dumbfounded for that dedicated effort.

    [1900] There is at least one Bible version which renders this verse as given here, it is the 1930 Revised Edition of the Concordant Version. The `Today's English Version' which is the same as the `Good News Bible' renders this verse, "I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me." The problem is not a comma, but the word "that" which should be placed to read, "I promise you today that you will be in Paradise with me." In effect it is the same problem as the comma, the word "that" could have been left out, therefore, denominational views determined where the translators put it.
    We should also know that commas were not used in the early manuscripts. They were not invented until 1490 AD. For these reasons we can be quite certain that the comma in Luke 23:43 has been misplaced. However, my Greek Bible by Nestle-Aland, `Novum Testamentun', does have a comma but it is a heavily edited Bible with all kinds of annotations and it seems like the publisher wanted to make sure his beliefs are brought before the reader.
    As a rule we should never base a doctrine on a comma. There is another misplaced comma in the KJV of the Bible. We read, "So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." Acts 19:12. Read this slowly to realize that there is a missing comma after the word `sick.' Just on basic English grammar it should read, "So that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." After all they didn't use sick handkerchiefs, did they!
    On this topic consider also this about the word `paradise.' According to Revelation 2:7 the `tree of life' is in paradise and from Revelation 22:2 we know that the `tree of life' is located in the `New Jerusalem' which is described as descending from heaven after the 1000 years, the millennium, Revelation 21:2. From this we learn that the thief on the cross would join Jesus in heaven, in paradise, in the New Jerusalem for the millennium and that this has not yet taken place but will take place on the day of His Second Coming and the resurrection of the dead. Sadly this scripture has been used for centuries in a wrong way to present a false gospel. When people find out the truth and ask their spiritual leaders about it, what will happen? Well, they usually are very surprised and ask, `where did this come from?' They expect their flock to be like sheep, follow them unquestionably, act like they are blind and can't think and read for themselves. So, when you recognize this truth, you have grown up in maturity in original Bible truth, and decide your faith based on that.

    [2000] "The Egyptians ... were also the first people to put forward the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and to maintain that after death it enters another creature at the moment of that creature's birth. It then makes the round of all living things - animals, birds, and fish - until it finally passes once again, at birth, into the body of a man. The whole period of transmigration occupies 3000 years. This theory has been adopted by certain Greek writers, some earlier, some later, who have put it forward as their own. Their names are known to me but I refrain from mentioning them." Herodotus, The Histories, Book II, Sec. 123, S. 131. The publishers reference states (assumes) these `writers' to be the Pythagoreans and Orphics. But the last part of the emphasized sentence produced here in italics and color is noteworthy with respect to the `Cultural Foundations of the Western Civilization'.
    A reference to soul was apparently found on a basalt stele found in south-eastern Turkey which is attributed to Kuttamuwa/Kilamuwa of the 8th century. It has been translated to read, "I, Kuttamuwa, servant of Panamuwa, am the one who oversaw production of this stele for myself while still living. I placed it in an eternal chamber and established a feast for this chamber: a bull for [the storm-god] Hadad ... a ram for [the sun-god] Shamash ... and a ram for my soul that is in this stele." [`World Archaeology,' Vol. 3, No. 9, Issue 33, Feb/Mar 2009, p. 12.] This represents another example of the pagan origins of the believe in an immortal soul.
    In Jewish services in the synagogue at times the `Kaddish' may be read. In it we get a glimpse what Jews believed about death, "May his great name be magnified and sanctified in the world that is to be created anew, when he will revive the dead, and raise them up unto life eternal ... ." "... as soon as he dies he is restrained from the Torah and good deeds, and the Holy One ..." [Joseph Heinemann with Jakob Petuchowski, Literature of the Synagogue, N.Y., 1975, p. 84, 145.] As we can see, there is no thought on immortality found in their long held understanding on this subject. From the NT we know that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but not the Sadducees, Acts 23:7-8. But Martha knew that the dead will rise again in the resurrection at the last day, Jh. 11:24. Even King Herod believed in the resurrection of the dead, Mark 6:16. After the Maccabeans drove the Syrians out of Palestine, the Helenistic Jews went into hiding. It was no longer safe for a Jewish scholar to endorse Greek ideas. Yet these Jewish intellectuals continued to apply their logic to the problems of the day, and they formed a new Jewish sect of the Sadducces. [See also, Josephus, Antiquities, Bk. XIII, chap. X, Sec 6.]

    [2025] Additional Bible texts how the word `today' is used are these: Zechariah 9:12; Hebrew 3:7,15; 4:7; 5:5. Three days after the death and burial of Jesus on Friday, resting in the grave on Sabbath and rising from death on Sunday. In Jewish thinking a portion of a day is counted as a whole day, not necessarily a 24 hour period.

    [2026] Of course some try to get around this scripture by saying, to them paradise is the place where the good souls are waiting until the resurrection, meaning to say that is where Christ did go on that Friday, that is where he descended to according to some priests. They think when Christ died on Friday he went to this paradise and brought several souls back from the grave on Sunday in a special resurrection (Mt. 27:52); then, according to them, Christ, the thief and these souls together went to heaven which now is paradise. But all of this happens in a mysterious background which is not explained to us in the Bible. - So they speak of two types of "paradise", one a sort of waiting place for good souls and the other the heavenly paradise.
    When that happens we can refer to context which is a more difficult route to take. The more important lesson from this event is the great concern Jesus had at this terrible moment for this one thief as He also had for Mary at the foot of the cross, Jh. 19:27.
    In the end, those who rely on scripture only recognize that context hardly admits for such a scenario of two types of paradise and the whole idea of Christ doing things affecting His doctrines without explaining even one iota of such happenings (the word paradise occurs only in Lk. 23:43; 2Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7).

    [2029] Explaining the contrasts: In Mark 9:43 "life" is set forth in contrast with `the fire that never shall be quenched.' So we want to let the Bible explain itself on these scriptures, how they use such contrasts, since many stumble over them without understanding. Mark 9:43-45 In Romans 6:23 and many other scriptures "life" stands in contrast with "death." That is easy enough to remember. In John 3:16 the contrast is between "everlasting life" and "perishing." It ought to be obvious for us to recognize that Jesus is drawing some contrasts. These contrasts show that "the fire is not quenched" stands in opposition to "their worm dieth not," and is an equivalent expression, yet it seems incongruous that maggots should pursue their work in the presence of fire. There is nothing in the word `skolex' (worm), that even remotely justifies the popular explanation equating `worm' with `soul' (as in Isa. 66:24).
    So let us read the Greek text. Mark 9 Apparatus In the `Nestle-Aland' NT Greek Bible, Mark 9:44 and 46 are not given. These repeated verses read, "Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched." Why is that? Because they are quotes of Isaiah 66:24 and already given in Mark 9:43 & 45 last part. We also notice that Mark 9:43 is a parallel text to Matth. 5:30. Here is the comparison. Remember that the author, `Markus' (Latin), uses more often Latin expressions in place of Greek (ex. centurion for major). So it is said that he wrote his gospel late but still before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and that he wrote it for the gentile Christians of his days. For this reason we ought not to be surprised that some phrases are part of it, which are not found in Matthew.

    "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell." Matth. 5:30 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched." Mark 9:43.

    We can see that the underlined part is missing in Matthew. - - According to the `apparatus' (abreviattions) pertaining to Mark 9:43 underlined in red, the

    1. `koine' means the `received text';
    2. the `D' stands for a particular way of reading;
    3. the `Theta + pl' means, the main representative text from Caesarea (`pl' means most of them);
    4. the phrase `lat' means the Latin Vulgate version;
    5. the `sy' means `all or the most important Syriac versions';
    6. P means (if it shows up) that the extant Papyri were consulted.

    In order to show that the KJV has some words added which are not there in the standard, `koine' Greek text, namely the words "never shall", in Mark 9:45. That means these words were added because they are found in some versions, but more minor ones. That seems to indicate that Mark's phrase in 9:43,45, `... into the fire that never shall be quenched' is not supported by some major Greek text versions of Mark 9, and we ought to tread carefully and probably not build a doctrine on just these phrases. In the German translation by Martin Luther these words are not found but the word "eternal" (aionios) is used which is found in the Greek of Nestle- Aland (underlined in blue). The often dependable German language Zürcher translation has a note stating that some Bibles use `unquenchable fire', meaning not all do.
    For this reason, this writer believes Luther's translation to be a better one on this text for it lets us know that the fire is the "eternal fire", which, the Bible says, is God's glory. God's glory is described as a consuming fire ("kai gar o theos hemn pur katanaliskon", "... God is a consuming fire", Hebr. 12:29 (where hemwn = `spear throwing', as if God throws `pur', fire.), which was used to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah ("the Lord rained ... brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven", Gen. 19:24), Jacob saw it ("... he was afraid ... how dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God ...", Gen. 28:17), it was exhibited on Mt. Sinai ("thunders and lightening ... and ... Sinai was altogether on a smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire ...", Ex. 19:16-18), the experience of Nadab and Abihu, "... there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them ...", Lev. 10:2.
    Conclusion: I apologize for this lengthy and detailed footnote, but it seems important given that some important doctrines are depending on a correct and defensible interpretation of these scriptures. So, if we accept that the `unquenchable fire' is that coming from God as it did at Sodom and Gomorrah, to devour the wicked at the end of time, how would that influence the understanding of these verses? It would mean that the fire can never be quenched because it is the Glory of God (Lk. 21:27) which is the source of this fire (Ps. 50:3; Isa. 66:15). It is not unquenchable because it is some separate fire, not originating from the Glory of God, burning in hell. That interpretation would demand the conclusion that hell fire goes out when nothing is left to burn because it is not a fire designed to burn sinners for eternity. Why, if they cannot change or correct their life, why would that have to be such a punishment for a short human life in sin? It must be man's view that wants to see offenders punished to fulfill their feelings of hatred toward those. We ought to know and remember that the Bible teaches that the sheep in Matthew 25:41 represent believers and the goats, unbelievers. In this scripture Jesus is saying that the fire, which will consume and destroy unbelievers, was not prepared for them, but "for the devil and his angels." As to what happens when we die we must remember that only God has immortality, not man. Man dies and all of him is in the grave until Jesus comes again and resurrects His faithful people who were judged before His coming in the heavenly judgment based on their record in the Book of Life. The wicked will be judged by the saved during the Millennium and receive their sentence after that, before they pass out as dry bones or dry branches and the fire of God burns them so nothing will remain that could remind of sin. - If we left anything unclarified write to us.

    [2035] The account of the fall in Eden is written in a way which makes unsuspecting readers think that it intends to say that the snake in the `tree of the knowledge of good and evil' could talk. That is not the case in reality. We know already that all animals were created by God and only man could communicate with God. We read also, that God had already warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil." That means our first parents were aware of the presence of evil in the universe. They knew that the "evil" was a spirit being and they must be on guard. The account of the fall seems to say that Eve approached the forbidden tree, which means that illicit thinking took already place in her mind, which, once entertained led her deeper and deeper into falling for deceptions. There happened to be a snake in the tree and wily Satan used that snake as a medium and made it appear as if it was talking to Eve when it was not. Snakes cannot talk, Satan can. Eve basically knew that but she was alone. She made the mistake of leaving the side of her husband, who let it happen. From here on out the "snake" is used as the medium by which Satan tempted, succeeded in doing so and thereby earning another title of his evil existence, Satan was now referred to as a snake, Gen. 3:15. - In our world today, many videos, especially for children, deceive our young ones at an early age to (at least for a while) think that animals can talk. These lies are driven by Hollywood and mass media. They are the cause of much perplexity and lies to be passed around, drawing people away from understanding the Word of God which can pass all critical thinking.

    [2050] Dr. William Temple, former archbishop of Canterbury, in a Drew lecture on `Immortality', October 1931 at Sion College in London, England. The beliefs of the Hebrews are well put by the words of Jesus when he said, "... I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2-3) and the thief on the cross when he said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Luke 23:42. In other words, when Jesus says, `I will come back and take you to be with me,' there is no one of the human family with Him until that day when He comes back - of course in His glory, that of His Father, and of the holy angels and all of heaven for why should our Saviour do anything in secret when He even suffered death on a Roman cross in public?

    [2080] An archaeological discussion with many color images and illustrations of the City of David, including the wandering of his tomb in later period times, can be read in Bargil Pixner, Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion in BAR, May/June 1990, p. 16-35,60. The last person, said to have positively known its location was Rabbi Akiva who was executed during the 2nd Jewish Revolt against Rome (132-135 AD) which was suppressed by emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). Today no one knows exactly where it was located but the eastern hill is the favored locality.

    [2100] On the question of where the dead go, what about the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)? This parable is one of a series of parables which are not to be understood literally. Why?
    1. `Abraham's bossom' is figurative, not literal.
    2. `one drop of water' is not enough to cool man in hell.
    3. `people talk back and forth' from heaven to hell which is absurd in a real setting.
    Therefore: The Bible teaches that sinners are not punished until the day of judgment, 2.Peter 2:9; Rev. 20:15, and that the righteous are not rewarded until the resurrection of the dead at the Second Coming of Christ, John 5:28-29; Rev. 22:12.
    In the parable, the words: "They have Moses and the prophets" (Luke 16:19-21), show that the writings of the Old Testament give the true teaching on the question of `where are the dead', for the rich man's brothers were referred to them. As we showed already, the Old Testament teaches: the dead are not conscious (Ps. 146:3-4; Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10). Conclusion: The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is not intending to teach the answer to `where are the dead' but was given by Jesus to underscore that in this life we settle our eternal destiny; after death, the great gulf is fixed and no man is valued merely for his possessions. It rebukes the covetousness of the Pharisees as stated in Verse 14. Compare related parable like scriptures: Lk. 16:19-31; Judges 9:8-15; 2.Ki. 14:9; Lk. 15:11; 16:1. It is an accepted principle of Bible interpretation that a doctrine of faith is not to be built on a parable or allegory alone. This is especially true when details of the parable contradict other scriptural teachings. Only the fundamental teaching of a parable as conformed by its context and supported by the general teaching of the Bible may be considered as a basis for doctrine. It is dangerous to base Christian doctrine on parables. To check try also other Bible versions. I tried the 1961 Oxford NEB, it seems to be ok on 1.Thess. 4:17. You can get various versions in used bookstores for less.

    [2150] `Be risen with Christ' could be a reference to the day of baptism of Paul's converts, since at baptism, the baptismal candidate is buried in memory of Christ in the water and lifted out of the water, as a symbol of the resurrection. The phrase "... your life is hid with Christ in God." should be put through the biblical screening procedure and we would find out that the word `hid' in its 125 occurrences, without exception, always means that something is being `secreted away' in the sense of not wanting to be noticed. In the 3rd chapter of Colossians `hid' means the same as in Colossians 2:3. In context with verse 2, the word "`mystery' has its usual New Testament meaning. It describes something once hidden but now disclosed, ... they are hidden in Christ as in a treasure house ...". [Charles Erdman, `The Epistles of Paul to the Colossians..', p. 68.]
    Should we then assume that immortal souls are existing under such secretive, hidden conditions in heaven? This idea of an immortal soul is a rather ill conceived, erroneous doctrine. What the apostle wants to say by using the word `hid', that only God knows where all the graves of his faithful people are and only He can raise them from their first death-sleep. In fact, when God raises His saints, they do not come forth with exactly the same body cells, warts and all, they had when they died. Nay, they come forth with cells made by God on the basis of their genetic records kept in heaven minus all the things sin did to their bodies during their life on earth.

    [2152] A 2nd century letter may illustrate the pagans view of death. "Irene to Taonnophris and Philo good comfort. I am sorry and weep over the departed one as I wept for Didymas. And all things, whatsoever were fitting, I have done, and all mine, Epaphroditus and Thermuthion and Philion and Apollonius and Plantas. But, nevertheless, against such things one can do nothing. Therefore comfort ye one another." Thus this letter closes like Paul where he writes, ".... sorrow not, even as others which have no hope ... Wherefore comfort one another with these words." - With these words that were written in the previous verses, of course. 1.Thess. 4:13, 18. (The blue part quoted in Adolf Deissmann, Light From the Ancient East, NY: George H. Doran Company, 1927, p. 176.) This letter seems to confirm that pagans in the Greek realm in those days had no hope for life after death; remember, we are not to pray for the dead.

    [2200] Describing the Second Coming of Jesus Christ this way, accompanied by throngs of heavenly beings, or, as the Bible says, in the clouds of heaven is sometimes criticized. Critics point to Isaiah 19:1:
    "Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt ..."
    The metaphor of the Lord riding upon a cloud in this passage of Isaiah is usually understood to mean, the arrival of the Assyrians in Egypt which causes "... the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it."
    Isaiah's description is something that happened in the past, an event on earth among nations and people. Does that mean whenever we read about `the Lord coming in the clouds' we should think of it as a symbol for political, earth bound events? The image of `a cloud' is frequently used in various ways in the Bible including the Book of Daniel. The type of interpretation with an immediate historical fulfillment is used by Daniel and illustrates the effectiveness of God's sovereign dominion over history. The second type of interpretation with distant historical fulfillments is more often found in the Book of Daniel and most often relates to the very end of time. The Bible employs a common sense approach and presupposes the overall goal of God is understood, namely, the resolution of the sin problem in His universe. All scripture relates somehow to this overall goal to cleanse all of God's creations from the influence of sin. The culmination toward this goal will begin when Christ returns the second time as king of kings.

    [2210] Belief in the indestructibility of the soul can be further considered why it should be true. To believe that condition of man invites several problems. It seems to put into question a future judgment. Taking for granted a belief in punishment and reward, we would first conclude that no human being's record can be complete at death. His life has ended, but his influence continues, his "works do follow" him. "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Rev. 14:13. Earthly courts do await the final outcome of a crime, in case of a wounded victim. If the victim dies after the arrest of the perpetrator, it definitely influences the final sentence. Therefore, a human being is responsible for more than the immediate outcome and judgment must be delayed to some more remote point in time than the death of a person. This implies that no soul could justly be admitted into heaven or hell at the time of death.(See also: Luke 12:48; 2.Pet. 2:9)

    [2290] Discussing some more 2.Cor. 5:9, "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him." 2.Cor. 5:9.
    In Paul's words, "whether present or absent", that is be alive at the time of His coming again or dead, "... we may be accepted of him ...", means Paul having run a good race in faith to God knows that some may not have and may be found out to be unworthy, in which case they have neither body (their birth or their resurrection body), as a result of rejecting God's way. From other scriptures we know the Bible teaches that those who did not run a good race will be resurrected after the 1000 years. They have been judged to die the eternal, second death for they desired not to be part of God's kingdom.

    [2300] When Adam and Eve sinned, their physical body changed. Having no access to the `Tree of Life', their body cells began to age and over many years led to their death. The brain is part of the physical body just like the heart, lungs, liver and intestine are. When our organs begin to experience loss in functionality with age, so does the brain. The brain, seat of our mind, is an organ. In it resides what we know and who we are. It is our `spirit', our personality. There is no immortal part to it, as the whole body of Adam and Eve sinned, so all of their body also died. We are 100% mortal. At the moment of death, microscopic events, starting decay, set in right away, exemplified by cessation of breathing and blood circulation. And so it is that Lazarus and Jesus were dead. But God knows our genetic code and therefore can recreate us on resurrection day. Tracing the origin of belief in an immortal soul we may mention the following spread of evidence:
    01. The concept of `winged serpent spirits' signifying the soul of the departed as represented in the Egyptian `Book of the Dead' where the `ka' is spoken of as "ever living." [See PSBA, March, 1879, p. 27.] While the written information on the "ka" or soul, genius, man's ghostly double, in the Book is rare, the painted illustrations are not.
    02. `Winged serpent guardians' as artfully constructed on the throne of Tutankhamon, Cairo Museum.
    03. The Mayan serpent sun god, Quetzalcoatl', is shown to come out of the mouth of a dragon. Art work from 1000 A.D., Cozumel Island.
    04. In art work found in Rome, we can find a winged serpent on a chariot carrying the soul to heaven.
    05. We would like to remind our readers of the forward carved head on Scandinavian `serpent boats' testify to their believe in the afterlife.
    06. In India we see the lord Nrsimshadeva represented with a hydra (multi-headed cobra) behind his head.
    07. In Assyrian art we can see eagle headed genie representing their views on the afterlife.
    08. Many ancient churches are filled with coffins of dead church leaders who are often given a saintly veneration.
    09. A tomb stone from the home of the Fox sisters reads; "The Birthplace of Modern Spiritualism, Upon this site stood the Hydesville Cottage, Home of the Fox sisters through whose mediumship communication with the `spirit world' was established March 31, 1848. `There is no death, There are no dead.' Placed here by M.E. Cadwallader, Dec. 5, 1922."
    Comment: Such are the origins of the belief in an immortal soul repeating the falsehood of the "snake" from Eden. They are so deeply engrained in this worlds populations, that, in the Christian Era, people began to search the scriptures with a view to make it support their traditional believes in this pagan doctrine. We show that the Hebrews faith did not support the idea of an immortal soul, neither does the Bible.

    [2320] An old `Messiah' Hebrew text (4Q521) from Qumran contains the phrase, "... resurrect the dead" and no hint of an immortal aspect of human death. See here the entire text.

    [2350] The Old Testament understanding of where the dead are is particularly well expressed in this passage if we just let these words speak for themselves, "He will swallow up death in victory ... and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth ... And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us ..." and "O Lord ... Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead." Isaiah 25:8-9; 26:17,19. The Bible teaches the resurrection of the righteous patriarchs, Mark 12:26-27. The Sanhedrin and the scribes knew that the fathers of Israel were still in their graves. The Jews taught their sons,

    "He will send the Messiah at the end."
    "God will raise the dead according to the multitude of His mercies."
    When shall they live? After the indignation, the judgments of God, Isa. 26:20-21. Notice: The dead arise all of them together in their now glorified body. There is no separation between the body and a soul. The living body `Is The Soul.' As Christ arose in His body, so shall we - after having rested in our grave until the shout of God wakes us up at His Second Coming. At the end there are two classes of people:

    1. the class which died before Christ's return of whom is written, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." Hosea 13:14; 1.Cor. 15:55.
    2. the class which is alive when the Lord returns - they were translated, "These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and the Lamb." Rev. 14:4.
    There will be a reception in the air. Jesus will ascend with the righteous to His Father's home and to the heavenly throne - John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; Matth. 16:27; 25:31; Isa. 40:26; 26:2; Matth. 25:34; Rev. 22:14. The notion of an immortal soul was foreign to the Hebrew faith.

    [2360] Does this scripture mean that the `good' and the `evil' will be raised up together at the same time? At first it may seem that way. To find the answer we must study the other Bible passages which contain information on this subject. In Luke 14:14 we read only of the resurrection of the `just'.
    The same writer, John, the author of his gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, answers the question in his `Revelation', Rev. 20:4-6,

    Verse 4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

    `They', those who reign with Christ for 1000 years, are the righteous who were raised at the Second Coming - the 1st resurrection.

    Verse 5 The First Resurrection and the Second Death explained in part - but search also other parts in this article
    "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."

    When we assign the last sentence shown in red to verse 6, we get the following meaning:

    "This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." A revised reading of Revelation 20:6 for illustration only and to underscore that the red sentence belongs context wise to verse 6, not verse5. (read the right side column next)

    `The rest' are those who are part of the 2nd resurrection. This sentence (with the red in it) reaches back to Verse 4 and forward to Verse 6, context wise it should belong to Verse 6.

    We should say though, when Christ comes, a select few of the wicked will be resurrected to witness His Coming in glory to this earth. Who are they? They are those who put Him on trial, delivered Him to be crucified and those who pierced his body, Matth. 26:64; Mark 14:62; Rev. 1:7. While these men will see Jesus come, they will not survive and die 3 times - first their natural death, next the death after they see Him in the clouds, and then the death which is for all other of the wicked the second death, but for these `witnesses' it will be the third. - Dear reader, life in this world without God is without hope unless we belong to God. Just observe these man who had gained their riches dishonestly and how they, now at the eve of their life, have to pay a heavy price enforced by human laws, and then again, unless they convert, the price all must pay who disregarded God's claims on our life.
    Let us be faithful Christians and dig for all the truths about God and free us from the clutter of all that is false.

    Verse 6 "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." The resurrection of those who rose from the grave before they reign with Christ for 1000 years.

    This passage says clearly that there are two resurrections,Two Resurrections: Jesus frequently did not separate two events, which, he knew, were separated by time for at His time that distinction was not current truth. the first resurrection of the righteous (in blue), which followed Christ throughout the centuries and many of which died the death of a martyr**, followed by the 1000 year millennium at the end of which the second resurrection of the wicked takes place. John 5:28-29 does not distinguish between the two resurrections on the time scale since that point was not as urgent at the time when the doctrine of the resurrection fact itself was not generally known among any people. To teach the two resurrections right then would have been hard to swallow for probably most new converts to Christianity. Not until John the Revelator wrote did God shed light on that subject. Suffice it to say, the reason that there are definitely two resurrections is because the Bible speaks definitely of the "first resurrection". If there is a "first" that term is used, because there is a "second" resurrection. Many times when the Bible uses such terms, it is the beginning of a list. See Genesis 1; Gen. 8:13,14; Judges 20:22,24.
    On this subject, the important lesson we want to learn, none of us want to be among those of the second resurrection for they will stand outside the City of God among all the unrepentant sinners of the ages, and they look around and they cry out, `I am lost, I am lost. Look, I am lost,' in an involuntary cry of the guilty conscience. Friend, it does not have to be your experience for the door to salvation is still open. Resolutely step out and learn to know all about Jesus and you will be saved. Pray, "Jesus, save me from my self. Cleanse me with your precious blood from all my sins and create a new heart in me. Amen." Pray every waking hour.

    Question: Where in the Bible does it talk about the second resurrection and who are those resurrected?

    Answer: From Matth. 25:31-46**, 2.Thessalonians 1:7-9; chapter 2:8 and Rev. 6:14-17 we know that the implication is that the wicked will be slain by the brightness of the Lord Jesus' coming while the (first) resurrected (1.Cor. 15:22,23) and living redeemed will be translated and taken into heaven. These slain "wicked", those who did not accept God's offer of salvation (Rev. 6:15-17), will be dead for the 1000 year period at the end of which that "second" resurrection takes place for we read that Satan will be loosed out of his prison, namely 1000 years with no one to tempt into sin (Rev. 20:3 the "bottomless pit" is the destroyed earth as it appeared before creation), for all the wicked are dead (that prison is not a literal prison but one of circumstanes) - but Satan will now go out and deceive the nations, namely "the rest of the dead" (Rev. 20:5), all those wicked people now resurrected in the second resurrection; their condition is described in Isa. 20:4,5. [** Please notice that Jesus does not yet detail that the "everlasting punishment is that at the very end, after the millennium and the second resurrection.] We learn from Rev. 20:6 that the righteous have come forth from their graves and are now immortal, 1.Cor. 15:51-53. Another death is going to take place, 1000 years after Christ's Second Coming, still ahead for the wicked, but it has no authority over the righteous. - Therefore, when we accept Christ as our Saviour now, when He then comes in the clouds on that last day of this old world's history we will not react by running away from Him because we think He is coming to punish us - for we accepted Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, confessed our sins, repented, and began a live of willing obedience to all that God's word teaches and reveals to us in diligent Bible study - try to find well construted study guides like those of the `AmazingFacts' for an organized set of topics. No, we will be able to stand and welcome Him with open arms.

    After Satan, and the now in the second resurrection made alive wicked, are together again, the devil begins immediately his deceptive work. He gets them to try and take the city of God, Rev. 20:8,9, culminating into their second death and the end of the reign of sin.

    Let us show these events in a table a bit different than above because of many questions.

    People live their daily lives, some with and others without Christ. Both groups die the death all people die. The righteous with the hope of eternal life and the wicked without.
    For the last generation on earth, before the Second Coming of Christ, those who accepted Christ as their Savior, followed the Bible and lived a godly life - those will be translated without seeing death.(**) The saved who died since Adam's time will be resurrected in the "first" resurrection. There are two kinds of people - those who say, "Lord Thy will be done," and those to whom the Lord says, "I have to respect your choice; your will be done." In the end no one asked to be born, We are here only because we have been created without our consent. God offers us the hope of eternal life, if we choose it. If we do not, then we will go back to the nothingness out of which we came. It is, in the end, our own choice, (Matth. 25:46; John 5:29; Rev. 21:1-4,8), two choices. Those who did not accept Christ as their Savior will be slain by the glory of God, the brightness of His coming, for nothing of sin can stand on their feet and live on that day. This is the first death for the unsaved people who were alive on the day of the Second Coming.
    The events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ will also cause ruin to everything on earth because God has withdrawn His protective care. Since the saved saints are raised and ascend with Christ and all the holy angels and all His people to heaven. At the Flood of Noah the earth got washed clean of all life, except those in the arch, this time the earth will have no life existing on its destroyed folds and torn features, except Satan and his fallen angels. "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger." Jer. 4:23-26. The now desolate earth is described as a bottomless pit in the Bible, its appearance similar to before creation. Satan and his demon angels exist by themselves for a millennium on earth unable to find anyone to tempt to sin.
    At the end of the Millennium the City of God descends to earth and the unsaved dead are resurrected. This is the second resurrection.
    What condition is the earth in? "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it." Jer. 4:23-28.
    But people may ask, why does God raise the wicked back to life again? Why not just leave them dead and gone? Answer: Because Jesus takes great care to dot every "i" and cross every "t" so that this "great controversy" that raged through God's heavenly universe and earth, will never be repeated. In the wisdom of God, therefore the wicked will confess that they deserve what they receive, for the Bible says, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." Rev. 1:7. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." Romans 14:11.
    Now all people who ever lived are alive, the redeemed inside the City of God and the wicked outside the City.
    During the Millennium the redeemed under the presiding presence of God were judging the wicked according to the standard of God's Law, 1.Cor. 6:1-3; Rev. 20:4. Each case was examined and the verdict is ready to be pronounced. The wicked outside the City are shown exactly the reasons for their sentence and they acknowledge the righteous judgment and die the second death from which there is never another resurrection. Their memory vanished with them.

    Note: That a number of God's people will be translated without ever seeing death is also the reason why the last generation must live according to healthful principles, for when Jesus comes He does not come as a physician or health practitioner, for He has given us principles to live by so we will not have to suffer all the diseases which unbelievers are afflicted with. As soon as you find out which foods are among those best avoided and discontinued, do not delay to follow good counsel. Pharamaceuticals are also among the poisons which are not according to God's design for man. Natural means is what God counsels. The Apostles healed many people in their days, but they did not live in the time up close to Christ's Coming in power. We are that generation and have special expectations to fulfill relative to that, for we are only translated as we are. God does not, in most cases, design to wean us of drugs of any sort, or flesh foods, milk, cheese (there are no slaughter houses in heaven), etc. We ought to practice self-denial as Christ, our example, did. How can self-denial be practiced? See here on that.

    The words of Jesus underscore also the judgment aspect of the "just" being with him in heaven not until after the judgment in the following scripture:

    "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do ... For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. (Jeus could raise the dead) For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
    (as did the raising of Lazarus to demonstrate the power of God in Jesus Christ) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
    I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
    John 5.
    Eternal life is a promise which we can be assured of and savor in our mind while alive but which is not in actuality fulfilled until the day of His Second Coming, 2.Timothy 4:1 and 1.John 2:25; Hebrews 9:14-15,27. Eternal life comes only through Jesus, Romans 6:23; Joh. 3:36; 5:24; 1. Joh. 5:11,12. In funerals where the immortality of the soul is taught, most everybody is said to go to heaven - without having first to go through judgment as the Bible teaches. Of course that is exactly why people love this false teaching, they put their loved ones in heaven without God having a single vote. A classical example of deception. Like Adam was deceived by the curse of his first sin.
    ** Why did these martyrs die for their faith? It depends if they died during the persecutions of the Roman Caesars or the persecutions of the major `Christian' Church. All of them died for their faith in Jesus Christ, their Saviour, but in later centuries, those who died by the hand of `Christian' priests who used the sword of the state to carry it out, died often for reasons of doctrinal differences. Doctrines like (a) the wine of the Lord's Supper turning into the true blood of Jesus instead of the biblical symbol of the blood of Jesus, (b) adult vs baby baptism, (c) biblical Sabbath keeping instead of papal Sunday keeping, etc.

    [2368] Walter Bauer (author 1877-1960), William F. Arndt (editor, 1880-1957); F. Wilbur Gingrich (editor, 1929-1972), Arndt-Gingrich, Greek Lexicon, p. 901.

    [2369] C.L.Wilibald Grimm (1807-1891), Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek Lexicon, p. 677.

    [2380] "Now, if one should say that Abraham's soul lives with God but his body is dead, this distinction is rubbish. I will attack it. One must say, 'The whole Abraham, the whole man, shall live.' The other way you tear off a part of Abraham and say, 'It lives.' This is the way the philosophers speak: 'Afterward the soul departed from its domicile,' etc. That would be a silly soul if it were in heaven and desired its body!" Theodore G. Tappert, ed. & tr., Luther's Works, vol.54, Table Talk [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967], p.447). Actually this error is loudly proclaimed today. They say, when Jesus died, his body was dead but not his spirit. Where was his spirit then? After His resurrection Christ said to Mary "touch me not" Joh. 20:17, since He had not yet presented Himself to His Father. That should mean Christ's `spirit' had not ascended to heaven after He died on the cross. Why? Because `spirit' means a living human being, a thinking mind, not some ghostly entity. - However, later the same day, when Christ appeared to his disciples in the upper room, the `doubting Thomas' was allowed to touch Christ. That means that from the time Christ met Mary to the time when He met Thomas, Christ had ascended to His Father and His sacrifice was accepted.

    [2400] Albert Barnes, Notes on Revelation, pp. 190-191, comment on Revelation 6:9-11: "We are not to suppose that this literally occurred, and that John actually saw the souls of the martyrs beneath the altar - for the whole representation is symbolical; nor are we to suppose that the injured and the wronged in heaven actually pray for vengeance on those who wronged them, or that the redeemed in heaven will continue to pray with reference to things on earth; but it may be fairly inferred from this that there will be as real a remembrance of the wrongs of the persecuted, the injured, and the oppressed, as if such prayer were offered there; and that the oppressor has as much to dread from the divine vengeance as if those whom he has injured should cry in heaven to the God who hears prayer, and who takes vengeance."

    [2410] Famous names of martyrs are recorded in John Fox's book of `The Martyrs'.

    [2450] We are fully aware that some interpreters (Adam Clarke at al.) tried to place these events into the time before the destruction of Jerusalem. That view would crowd a lot of prophecy into a narrow space of time with dubious fulfillments and leave large eras of history blank and without guidance by the prophetic Word of God. It is the Preterist viewpoint, invented to free the persecuting power from its unflattering, condemning involvement of the events described in the Book of Revelation. See The Bethany Parallel Commentary on the Old/New Testament, Minneapolis, 1983.

    [2500] The pre-existence of Jesus Christ is taught in the Old and New Testament: John 17:5, Micah 5:2, John 1:1-4,15, John 8:58, John 17:24, Philippians 2:6-8, Colossians 1:17 and Hebrews 1:8.

    [3000] Herbert Douglass, `Messenger of the Lord', pp. 256-263.
    Ellen White's view of death and resurrection: "Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him." {6BC, 1093; } About the state of the wicked she wrote: "Now Satan prepares for a last mighty struggle for the supremacy. While deprived of his power and cut off from his work of deception, the prince of evil was miserable and dejected; but as the wicked dead are raised and he sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he determines not to yield the great controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans. The wicked are Satan's captives. In rejecting Christ they have accepted the rule of the rebel leader. They are ready to receive his suggestions and to do his bidding. . . . In that vast throng are multitudes of the long-lived race that existed before the Flood; men of lofty stature and giant intellect, who, yielding to the control of fallen angels, devoted all their skill and knowledge to the exaltation of themselves; men whose wonderful works of art led the world to idolize their genius, but whose cruelty and evil inventions, defiling the earth and defacing the image of God, caused Him to blot them from the face of His creation. There are kings and generals who conquered nations, valiant men who never lost a battle, proud, ambitious warriors whose approach made kingdoms tremble. In death these experienced no change. As they come up from the grave, they resume the current of their thoughts just where it ceased. They are actuated by the same desire to conquer that ruled them when they fell.
    Now Christ again appears to the view of His enemies. Far above the city, upon a foundation of burnished gold, is a throne, high and lifted up. Upon this throne sits the Son of God, and around Him are the subjects of His kingdom. The power and majesty of Christ no language can describe, no pen portray. The glory of the Eternal Father is enshrouding His Son. The brightness of His presence fills the City of God, and flows out beyond the gates, flooding the whole earth with its radiance.
    Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the "great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Revelation 7:9. Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.
    The redeemed raise a song of praise that echoes and re-echoes through the vaults of heaven: "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Verse 10. And angel and seraph unite their voices in adoration. As the redeemed have beheld the power and malignity of Satan, they have seen, as never before, that no power but that of Christ could have made them conquerors. In all that shining throng there are none to ascribe salvation to themselves, as if they had prevailed by their own power and goodness. Nothing is said of what they have done or suffered; but the burden of every song, the keynote of every anthem, is: Salvation to our God and unto the Lamb.
    In the presence of the assembled inhabitants of earth and heaven the final coronation of the Son of God takes place. And now, invested with supreme majesty and power, the King of kings pronounces sentence upon the rebels against His government and executes justice upon those who have transgressed His law and oppressed His people. Says the prophet of God: "I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Revelation 20:11, 12.
    As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed. On judgment day, they stand before God, not in person, but through their records, Rev. 20:12-15. After they are raised, they see just where their feet diverged from the path of purity and holiness, just how far pride and rebellion have carried them in the violation of the law of God. The seductive temptations which they encouraged by indulgence in sin, the blessings perverted, the messengers of God despised, the warnings rejected, the waves of mercy beaten back by the stubborn, unrepentant heart--all appear as if written in letters of fire." {GC 664-666}

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