Is There Life After Death?
By Stephen J. Spykerman
15th November 2017
Some years ago now, I was astonished to read a big headline in the Daily Telegraph, which read: MUSLIMS CAN GO TO HEAVEN, says the ARCHBISHOP! Thus, the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded Christians that they do not have the monopoly on the afterlife! MY RESPONSE TO THAT IS; DOES ANYBODY GO TO HEAVEN? E.G. (for example) IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH?
Something tells me that it is no good going to the Archbishop of Canterbury, nor any other high ranking prelate for the answer, as the Bible is the only place where we will find the unequivocal truth. So, what does the Bible say?
For the answer we need to go to the Book of Genesis where we find Adam, our human forefather in charge of the Garden of Eden. Adam, as the first man in effect was the King and Ruler of all the earth. Adam and Eve were commanded as follows:
“...Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, FOR IN THE DAY THAT YOU EAT OF IT YOU SHALL SURELY DIE!”
(Genesis 2:16-17, NKJV)
The message was so clearly implanted by God into Eve’s mind that when the serpent tempted her, she immediately responded in GENESIS 3:3 “God has said, you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, LEST YOU DIE!” Up to that moment in time, death meant exactly what it says on the tin. It was crystal clear that DEATH MEANS DEATH! Eve knew full well what God had said and until the moment when Satan sowed doubt in her mind she had absolutely no reason to think otherwise. Then Satan disguised as a serpent flatly contradicted God by saying to Eve: “YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE!” From here on their occurred a big change in man’s perception DEATH CAME TO MEAN LIFE! DEATH CAME TO MEAN LIFE IN ANOTHER FORM! All the sons and daughters of Eve have ever since that time walked in that deception. The whole world and all of its religions apart from perhaps Judaism, has fallen for Satan’s lie hook line and sinker. Man has ever since believed Satan rather than the Creator God Himself.
The truth is that when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, Adam lost his position as the Ruler of the earth. He lost his position to Satan, as at the very point of Adam’s sin he disqualified himself from that high position. Thus, it fell to Satan by default. We find the proof of this fact in:
“Then the devil taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.”
(Luke 4:5-6, NKJV)
Messiah Yeshua did not deny Satan’s authority to give Him all the kingdoms of the world. In fact, He referred to Satan as the ruler of this world (John 16:11). Whereas, the Apostle Paul referred to him as: “The god of this age!” (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Adam and Eve blew it! They bought into the Serpents lie and insinuations, believing that “knowledge” would put them on par with their Creator God. Thus, Satan tricked them into trading the “Tree of Life,” which leads to life eternal, for the fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge,” which leads to death.
It is therefore not surprising that most of the ancient pagan religions believed in the immortality of the soul. That is why the Egyptians built their pyramids to sustain the afterlife of their Pharaoh’s. Norsemen believed in VALHALLA. Hindus believe in NIRVANA, American Indians believe in THE HAPPY HUNTING FIELDS, Muslims believe in PARADISE, and Christians believe they go to HEAVEN when they die! The Greeks and the Romans too believed in the immortality of the soul, which basically is the belief that we humans already possess inherent eternal life. Thus, all of them perpetuate THE LIE OF SATAN WHO SAID TO EVE: “YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE!” Thus, the whole world walks in the deception that when you die, somehow your life goes on in a different dimension.
After Adam and Eve had sinned, God pronounced His judgment and said: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; FOR DUST YOU ARE AND TO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN.” Did you get that? DEATH IS A RETURN! – THERE IS A RETURN AFTER DEATH! If it were not for the certainty of the resurrection that would be the end and we would never see our beloved departed again. God makes it clear through His prophet Ezekiel that man is mortal……..
“THE SOUL THAT SINS IT SHALL DIE.”
God then repeats Himself for emphasis.
“THE SOUL THAT SINS IT SHALL DIE.”
Thus, we have a double witness!
“And the LORD formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Nephesh in Hebrew) (KJV). e.g. Man became a living being (NKJV).”
So, if we go with the living Word of God, rather than with the accepted wisdom of this world, we find that MAN DOES NOT HAVE AN IMMORTAL SOUL, BUT INSTEAD THAT MAN “IS” A SOUL (nephesh) – WHO WHEN HE SINS IS CERTAIN TO DIE! FURTHERMORE, ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD WHEN YOU DIE, YOU REALLY ARE DEAD.
Nevertheless, despite this clear instruction, the mainstream Christian churches teach that man is a temporary body in which there dwells a soul, which either goes to heaven or to hell when a man dies. For centuries, people have taught that man has a soul; a living, feeling, knowing, hearing, intelligent life source, which departs from the body the moment it dies!
QUESTION: IS IT TRUE THAT MAN HAS AN IMMORTAL SOUL?
The truth is that the words “immortal soul” is nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures! Believe it or not, the phrase “IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL” is nowhere to be found in the Bible. The Bible does not teach that man has an immortal soul, on the contrary the Bible teaches exactly the opposite!
There are a number of problems attached to the Christian idea that human beings have IMMORTAL SOULS, which are either destined to “go to heaven,” or “go to hell.” They believe that only those people who have accepted Jesus as their personal saviour are going to heaven, whereas everyone else is going to hell. Now we agree with the teaching that Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved! (John 14:6 & Acts 4:12)
BUT WHAT IF MANY OF THEM NEVER SO MUCH AS HEARD ABOUT MESSIAH YESHUA, (Jesus Christ) OR HEAVEN before they died? The billions who lived and died prior to the advent of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), in the first four thousand years of human history, never heard about Christ. Since then billions have died in non-Christian lands, hundreds of millions of Chinese, Japanese, Indonesians, Nepalese and Burmese, as well as Arabs, Africans, Pakistanis and Indians. Tell me, ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE SCREAMING IN HELL FIRE EVEN AS WE SPEAK? WHY? SIMPLY BECAUSE, ACCORDING TO ESTABLISHED CHRISTIAN TEACHING, ALL THESE PEOPLE NEVER “RECEIVED JESUS!”
The false doctrine of the “immortality of the soul,” coupled with the false premise that every human being regardless of race or nationality is having a chance for salvation RIGHT NOW, and only now, has put the Christian church on a false trail. If the Christians are right in their belief that THIS IS THE ONLY DAY OF SALVATION FOR THE WORLD, then the vast majority of mankind stands condemned forever.
If they were to be correct in their assumption that only those who have been “BORN AGAIN” up to this point in time are saved in heaven; and if Christ was to return today to collect the rest of the “Born-Again” Christians of this generation leaving all the rest of humanity condemned to judgement and hellfire, then all I can say is that they CONTRADICT THE WORDS OF YESHUA, who said: “I WISH THAT ALL MEN BE SAVED.” He thus expressed the very heart of God.
But according to the Christian theory the vast majority of mankind is going to burn in hell forever and ever, simply because they never heard about Jesus! Thus they actually make God out to be a sadist who takes sadistic pleasure in seeing all those billions of mankind screaming in torment and pain forever and ever. If their doctrine is true, then their sadistic God is burning unsaved mankind, inflicting unimaginable pain on them without any let up or relief for all eternity. It makes God out to be worse than Hitler’s Nazi S.S., who would torture their victims until they died. Death would literally come as a relief to them. Yet, This Christian God they speak of never gives any relief to his victims; he goes on torturing them throughout all of eternity. Their God is an eternal torturer! What a wicked charge to lay against the God of Israel. I personally can think of only one god who would be so utterly cruel and merciless and that is Satan the Devil himself. Satan is speaking of his own fate.
Satan is a spirit being and he can therefore never be killed. His future according to the Scriptures is to be thrown into the lake of fire. Let us see what God has in store for Satan:
“Satan knows that his ultimate fate is to be thrown into the lake of fire. Satan is a spirit being and thus he is not subject to death and as such his suffering will indeed last for all eternity. Whereas Satan is a spirit being, man is made of flesh and subject to death and decay. Whereas Satan is immortal, man is not. Satan the arch-deceiver wants man to believe in his own immortality so that man can share in his fate of eternal torment.”
WHY NO SEGREGATED GRAVEYARDS?
Have you ever heard anyone “preached” INTO hell at a funeral? No matter how the recently departed person has lived his or her life, most are “preached straight into heaven.” Why are there no segregated graveyards where one section features “thumbs up” white tombstones for those who have gone to heaven, whereas the back section has “thumbs down” black monuments for the ones who have gone to hell? No matter how sinfully the dead person might have lived, the cantankerous, crusty old swine somehow made it through those pearly gates at the last second of his life. One person commenting on the beautiful funeral dress of a famous women atheist at her funeral, “There she was – all dressed up and nowhere to go!”
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman church wrote on the subject of death by saying: “The wages of sin is death!” (Romans 6:23) Notice, he said: The wages of sin is death – not eternal life in torture! The whole issue of hell has been misunderstood by the mainstream Christian church.
In the New Testament the word ‘hell’ is translated from three different Greek words, respectively: ‘Hades’ – ‘Tartaroo’ and ‘Gehenna.’ Hades refers to a grave or pit. It has absolutely no connection whatsoever to any fire. When a person dies they go to this ‘hell,’ better known as the grave. Even Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) went there Himself. (ACTS 2:31) In the KJV the word ‘hell’ has been rendered instead of ‘Hades,’ which is the correct term. The word ‘hell’ refers to the grave and not some ferocious fiery furnace that never goes out. In the Old Testament (the Tanach) the word ‘hell’ does not feature at all in the original Hebrew language in which it was written. Whenever, the word ‘hell’ does appear in its various translations, it invariably has been taken from the Hebrew word ‘Sheol’ in the original text. ‘Sheol’ means grave and the Greek word ‘Hades’ is its equivalent counterpart in the New Testament.
The second word in the New Testament that is translated as ‘Hell’ is “Tartaroo!” This word is mentioned only once in all of Scripture. Notice 2 PETER 2:4, the word ‘Tartaroo’ is referred to as a ‘place of restraint’ for the angels who sinned, and nowhere in the Bible can you find any mention of human beings being put into this kind of ‘hell.’ Tartaroo, just like the word ‘Hades’ does not refer to a fire; rather, it speaks of ‘chains of darkness’ holding the demons, (fallen angels) in a place of restraint or prison.
Once we look at the true origin of the word ‘hell’ we find that the Bible confirms that, all of the dead, irrespective of whether they were good or bad, are asleep in their graves (sheol or hades) awaiting the resurrection of the dead. The Bible shows that all who die will eventually be resurrected. The question is not IF a person will be resurrected but WHEN. (1 CORINTHIANS 15:22-23)
The third word translated as ‘hell’ in the New Testament occurs no less than twelve times. The word is ‘Gehenna.’ This term ‘gehenna’ represents ‘the Valley of Hinom’ mentioned in the Old Testament in Nehemiah 11:30; 2 Kings 32:10; Jeremiah 19:6, and in many other places. This valley was a deep narrow gorge just outside the city of Jerusalem where the refuse of the city was burned. It had become a place of horror for Israel, as it was the receptacle for bones, the bodies of beasts and criminals, refuse and all things unclean. The fires in this deep pit were kept burning day and night so as to totally consume all the foul and corrupt things that were thrown into it. Thus this ‘gehenna’ came to epitomise a place of absolute destruction. It became a symbol of evil and total ruin. Anything thrown into this pit was utterly destroyed, leaving only ashes. It was Jerusalem’s ancient version of today’s modern incinerator plants, and anything that went into this ‘gehenna’ was incinerated. The point is that whatever was thrown into this incinerator was totally consumed by the fire, and there certainly would be no life left after that. The Bible speaks of the ‘Second Death,’ and it is those who are the incorrigibly wicked, WHO ONCE RESURRECTED REFUSE TO REPENT, who’s fate is to die the ‘Second Death,’ see (Revelation 20:6 & 20), by being thrown into ‘gehenna’ (the lake of fire) where they are incinerated. There will never be a resurrection from this second death. This is in fact an act of mercy on the part of their Creator God, as they would be as miserable as sin for all of eternity if they had an immortal soul. God mercifully ends their lives for good, leaving only ‘the smoke of their torment to ascend forever.” (Revelation 14:11)
IS THIS THE ONLY DAY OF SALVATION?
Be honest now. DO WE REALLY SEE EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD HAVING A CHANCE OF SALVATION NOW? IS THIS THE EVIDENCE OF OUR EYES? Let us face it Christianity has only been preached on a semi global scale in the last two and a half centuries and even then with very mixed results. Apart from that, the Christian message went out with great fervor in apostolic times for perhaps two and a half centuries after the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ). Then there is also the fact that the early church did not preach the same message as the church does today, as their gospel was pure. It most certainly did not contain any notion of man having an immortal soul. Today’s Christian gospel has been polluted by pagan ideas introduced by Emperor Constantine, which were borrowed from the Greek and Roman world. In between those two periods the world experienced the DARK AGES BROUGHT ON BY THE EMERGING DOMINANCE OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH from around 300 A.D. on wards. It is this idolatrous church which introduced the utterly pagan doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The plain fact is that the Protestant Reformers such as Luther and Calvin never thought to get rid of this doctrine of demons.
SO, WHAT REALLY HAPPENS TO US WHEN WE DIE?
The Bible teaches that when a person dies his existence really ceases:
“That in that day his thoughts do perish!”
Did you get it? What is the point of being in heaven if you are unconscious? What is the point of being in heaven if you cannot think or reason anymore?
“The soul who sins shall surely die!”
Remember the scripture that says: “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10) It is only too clear from this that we are all sinners and the end of every sinner is death. As the saying goes; ‘death and taxes are inevitable.’ As the scripture says also: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.” (Hebrews 9:27) THIS JUDGMENT CAN ONLY COME AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF THE DECEASED.
“For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing!” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6)
How much is nothing? Here we have yet another authoritative statement from the scriptures that we simply are not conscious of anything once we have died. The plain teaching from your Bible is that after our death we are aware of nothing and we know nothing!
“The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go into silence!”
Here we have it stated in a different way. We cannot even praise the Lord when we are dead. What would be the point of us being in heaven if we cannot even praise God whilst we are there? Notice the psalmist says that, ‘the dead go into silence!’ This is again a reference to us being completely unconscious and oblivious to anything that is going on in the world and the wider universe. The Bible teaches that when we die our existence ceases altogether. Our thoughts perish and this means that we know nothing, we see nothing, we hear nothing, we have gone into complete silence and we cannot even praise God. It’s like being in a coma.
Yet despite the clear words of the Bible, Christian’s will speak of their departed loved one as: “She has gone to be with the Lord!” How on earth do you square this teaching with the above Scriptures?
SO, DO ANY OF US GO TO HEAVEN WHEN WE DIE?
ONCE AGAIN, WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
If anyone has the answer, it has to be the one who claimed to have come from heaven Himself. It is no good asking anybody who has not experienced heaven for himself. We need to get the answer from someone who can speak with unquestionable authority on the subject. There is only one person who fits the bill. LET US SEE WHAT MESSIAH YESHUA (JESUS CHRIST) HAS TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT?
“And NO man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
“NO-ONE has seen the Father except the one who is from God, only He has seen the Father.”
HOW ON EARTH CAN CHRISTIANS JUSTIFY THEIR BELIEF IN GOING TO HEAVEN TO BE WITH THE LORD, when YESHUA (JESUS) HIMSELF, their very own Jesus, plainly said that “NO MAN HAS ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN AND THAT NO-ONE HAS SEEN THE FATHER?” Is it not incredible that in teaching that good Christians go to heaven when they die, they are actually flatly contradicting the words of their own founder and Lord?
Now look at what the apostle John had to say on the same subject….. “NO-ONE,” HERE IS THAT absolute WORD AGAIN!
“NO-ONE HAS SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him!”
The significance of the timing of this statement by the Apostle John cannot be overstated in that he made this inspired statement in approximately 85 A.D. – e.g. some fifty years after the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua. By this time tens if not hundreds of thousands of disciples of Yeshua, including MOST OF THE APOSTLES, had already been martyred by the Romans – yet NONE of them had seen God. NOT A SINGLE ONE HAD GONE TO HEAVEN. Thus the Apostle John confirmed some fifty years after the resurrection that NO ONE HAD SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME! This is the inspired word of God, and it does not leave any room for argument. The Apostle then repeated his statement in 90 A.D., some fifty five years after the resurrection of our Savior:
“NO ONE HAS SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME!”
Thus the Apostle John gave a double witness, in that he said it twice, and in this he followed the example of His Master, as Yeshua too had twice affirmed that, apart from Himself, No man had seen the Father.
Finally, look at the word of the Prophet Daniel. The Prophet is referring to the time of the end at the close of this age, immediately prior to the return of our King Messiah. Righteous Daniel is told that he too will have to wait for his inheritance until the end of days.
“But you go your way to the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the day.”
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.”
In this prophecy the Prophet Daniel speaks of the righteous sleeping in the dust of the earth where they are. Then, even at the end of the age, still waiting to be woken up. They are awaiting the resurrection from the dead, and they are decidedly not doing that in heaven. They clearly are asleep in the dust of the earth! There is no dust in heaven!
When Yeshua said that NO MAN had ascended to heaven, and that NO ONE had seen the Father, He meant NOT EVEN ABRAHAM, who God called His FRIEND, and whom the Apostle Paul referred to as the FATHER OF THE FAITHFUL. He also meant that not even MOSES, who according to God was THE MEEKEST OF ALL MEN. He also referred to KING DAVID, whom God called A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART.
We find astonishing confirmation of this in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter of the Bible.
Which mentions a long list of the all-time giants of faith that have gone before us? Listed are respectively: ABEL, ENOCH, NOAH, ABRAHAM, SARAH, ISAAC, JACOB, JOSEPH, MOSES, RAHAB, GIDEON, BARAK, SAMPSON, JEPHTAH, DAVID, SAMUEL, and the PROPHETS. The chapter then goes on to tell us what they were all waiting for?
“THAT THEY MIGHT OBTAIN A BETTER RESURRECTION!”
Well, if God is keeping all of those giants of faith waiting in the dust of the ground, who on earth do we think we are, going to heaven when we die? What is so special about us? Are we better than the Patriarchs and Prophets of God?
“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death. Then the Jews said to Him, Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make yourself out to be?”
NOTE: Yeshua did not contradict them! Yeshua actually had been referring to the SECOND DEATH, which occurs after the resurrection (See: Revelations 20:6).
WHAT ABOUT THE PARABLE OF LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN?
What about it? Yeshua frequently used parables to convey a highly important spiritual principle or message. Not many people realize that Yeshua used parables in order to DELIBERATELY HIDE THE TRUTH.
“But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn and their sins be forgiven.”
WHY? BECAUSE HIS DAY WAS NOT “THE” DAY OF SALVATION!
“What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.”
(See also verses 25-27). (COMMENT - What this amounts to is that God’s main concern at the moment is to save and redeem the elect set apart body which is to become the Bride of Christ. The reason the Christian church does not understand this is because they are ignorant of God’s master plan for the salvation of mankind, as His plan, which operates in various predetermined stages, is revealed in God’s High Holy Days, as listed in Leviticus 23.)
So what then do we make about the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man?
We need to be very cautious about parables before we base our doctrine on what is in effect merely an illustration. We need to be aware of the allegorical nature of parables. When Christians read the parable of Lazarus and the rich man it confirms their belief in the after-life where the good man goes to heaven and the bad man to fiery torment in hell. This parable has perplexed many believers in the past centuries, in that it does appear to suggest that the dead are conscious elsewhere. When we examine a passage like this it is best to look at the background and the context in which Yeshua is speaking. The Roman world in which Yeshua was born had for centuries been influenced by Greek philosophy. Plato, in the absence of any discipline for sin, taught that there was another life following life on earth. (e.g. YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE!), and in that “afterlife” men would receive a fitting recompense for their conduct, either in the ‘Elysian Fields,’ or in the caverns of the lost. Whereas, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, the ruling class of the Saducees decidedly did not.
LUKE 16: 19-31
An Orthodox Jew, listening to this story would have immediately understood it not to be a literal account, for it contradicts the Torah, particularly in Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy. Knowing their Tanach, they would have also been aware of the story contradicting the teaching in the Psalms and Ecclesiastes. They would have recognized the parable as a figure of speech called ADMISSION, in which a thing is temporarily admitted in order to deny it. This was a recognized way of teaching in the Hebrew society of Yeshua’s day. It is not so common in the English language, although examples do exist. For example, a lover of classical music might say, “When better music is written, Beethoven will write it!” The statement clearly means something more than the words convey. It means Beethoven is dead, and so better music will never be written, for his music surpasses that of all other composers!
The main point of the parable is found in the closing statement in Luke:
“Abraham said to him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
Yeshua was speaking of his own resurrection from the dead, and He illustrated in this parable that, just as his own nation did not pay heed to Moses and the prophets His people would also reject Him even if He rose from the dead.
The secondary point of the parable is that there is a great and impassable chasm between Paradise and Gehenna.
The Christian belief of an afterlife in either heaven or hell clearly is a denial of the resurrection. Once again the Apostle Paul shows us how important this is:
“For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
(1 Corinthians 15:16-17)
Notice Paul says, “FOR IF THE DEAD DO NOT RISE.” He is referring not just to followers and disciples of Messiah (Jesus Christ). He is clearly not talking about just the Gentile or Jewish believers in Messiah. He is simply speaking of THE DEAD, meaning everybody who has ever lived and died. As always, Paul does not mince his words. It is clear from these words that the whole of the Christian faith hangs on this one question. If you hang onto your belief in the immortality of the soul and in an afterlife in heaven or hell, you are effectively denying the resurrection from the dead, and according to Paul YOUR FAITH IS FUTILE AND YOU ARE STILL IN YOUR SINS. At this point, let us ask ourselves a few pertinent questions:
Question 1: If the dead really do go to heaven when they die, what need is there for a resurrection from the dead?
Question 2: Why have a resurrection from the dead for them if they have already gone to their eternal reward?
Christians need to jettison some of the pagan baggage the church has foisted on them AND RETURN to the faith once delivered to their fathers, and return to the Hebrew roots of their faith. Is this not typical of Satan, the author of confusion, and the father of all lies, to cause maximum confusion in this area! He started this particular lie in the Garden of Eden. He contradicted the Creator God Himself, when he said to Eve; “YOU SHALL SURELY DIE!” Satan was calling God a liar and Eve believed him. It was from this blatant lie that the doctrine of the immortal soul was born, and the world has believed this lie ever since. We need to return to the truth of the Scriptures, as it is the only place where it can be found. Messiah Yeshua confirmed this Himself when He spoke on the same subject to His disciples in:
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
It is clear from this that we find the truth in His word. Did you notice the significance of what Yeshua said? “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” What does He mean by abide? Abide means to ‘act in accordance with,’ or remain faithful to’ or it can mean ‘to remain, continue in, or to dwell in,’ and it can also mean ‘to endure, or to persevere with.’ Yeshua is in effect giving us a clear definition of who His disciples are. His true disciples act in accordance with His word, they remain faithful to it and they will endure whatever consequences their obedience to His word brings and persevere regardless. This means that His true disciples will measure their beliefs and preconceptions and ideas against the word of God in the Bible. If they find any conflict, they will follow God’s word rather than their own opinions, or the opinions of their denomination or church. For them the only opinion that counts is Gods opinion as expressed in His word. In other words, they are prepared to submit their lives to the word of God and make changes where necessary no matter what it costs. We have the cast iron promise from Messiah Yeshua that when we truly abide in His word with all that this entails, we will come to know the truth. The knowledge of the truth, as we apply it in our lives, will then set us free. The plain fact is that what we know and what we understand is often not the truth. Only those who are prepared to jettison their false beliefs, after much prayer and study in the light of the scriptures, then become Yeshua’s true disciples.
“So is also the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
(1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
What I love about Paul is his agricultural analogy of sowing, and he is following in the footsteps of Messiah, who Himself frequently used agricultural analogies in His parables. Why, oh why are we so blind? Can we not see that all of creation, all of life and all of nature speak of resurrection? It is the most elementary fact of biology that the seed that is planted in the ground has to die first before it can sprout into new life. Every farmer knows this! Paul understood these things and he made it very clear. Let us read:
“Some will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.”
(1 Corinthians 15:35-36)
Look at the sun, how it sets every night only to rise the next morning in a glorious resurrection. Look at the seasons, even they speak of a resurrection. In the winter, all of nature’s plant life dies and goes to sleep, only to bring about a glorious resurrection to new life in the spring. You see, all of creation around us speaks of Him and of His great plan for our redemption. Here we are in our physical, corruptible, dishonourable, weak and natural body. Hopelessly lost without our Creator, and then we die and go to sleep in the dust of the ground, where we await the resurrection of the dead. Just like any other seed, we wait for the resurrection that is certain to come. God will not allow any of His human seed to die in the ground. He will use our human spirit, which has gone back to Him when we died, and which contains our mind in order to resurrect us back to life again.
To quote from Paul’s famous resurrection chapter again, just look at these words:
“For as in Adam ‘ALL’ die, even so in Christ ‘ALL’ shall be made alive.”
(1 Corinthians 15:22)
Did you notice the word ‘ALL?’ Yes, my friends, the resurrection is for everybody! What most Christians do not understand is that God is not calling everyone right now; He has planned more than one resurrection! In fact He has planned to resurrect everyone who has ever lived! He even has plans to resurrect every foetus that has ever been conceived, even the ones that were prematurely aborted. THIS IS THE GLORY OF THE RESURRECTION IN THAT EVERYONE GETS A FAIR CHANCE TO MEET WITH MESSIAH, THE SAVIOR OF MANKIND. It’s only thereafter at the Judgement Seat, they meet with the Creator Jehovah Himself, who is the God of Israel.
ANOTHER AWESOME ASPECT OF THE RESURRECTION IS THAT THERE IS HOPE. WE ALL SHARE THE SAME SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE THAT WE WILL MEET AGAIN WITH OUR Grandfathers and Grandmothers, our fathers and or Mothers. YES, WE WILL MEET WITH ALL THOSE OF OUR FAMILIES WHO HAVE DIED BEFORE US, whether they are long lost brothers or sisters, sons or daughters! What a wonderful comfort this is for those of us recently bereaved of a loved one, as we stand in front of their grave. This is the glorious comfort of the TRUTH of the resurrection of the dead! What is more, we will meet them not in heaven, but rather here on earth, as the Scriptures tell us that HEAVEN IS COMING TO THE EARTH!
(See: Revelations chapters 20 – 22).
“And Darius, the Mede, received the kingdom, being about 62 years old.” (Daniel 5:31)