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Query for the Month

of March 1999

Next up-date: April 1st 1999 (God willing).

 


Query:

 

Response:

John 11:1-16 This is how Jesus sees death

Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.

When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was [instead of rushing off to help]. Then after that said He to His disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples said to Him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone You; and go You there again?

Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him. [No one can be hurt who walks in the way God wants him to].

These things said He: and after that He said to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent you may believe; nevertheless let us go to him.

Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus [twin], to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him.

Here Jesus has told us that when we die we go to sleep - a long sleep until the resurrection. As we may know from the rest of the story, Jesus came to the grave four days after His friend's death and called Lazarus forth so that the glory [or character] of God could be seen. He does not want us to stay asleep for longer than we have to.

Ezekiel 18:31 He pleads with us

Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel?

There is no basis in the Bible for believing that we go to heaven or some other place when we die. True, there are verses which are used to give this impression, but they are being "wrested" as Peter calls it.

2 Peter 3:15-16

... even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Not that it is hard to understand what happens when we die. It is very simply put forth in the Bible. If we start at the beginning we shall see that this is so.

First the creation of Adam:

Genesis 2:7 Note carefully what happened

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

First, God created the body from the materials of this world, then He breathed into that body a "breath of life", which came directly from Himself. Then, man BECAME a living soul. God did not put into the body a living soul, it was the combination of the two elements from heaven and earth which produced the soul.

It is rather like an electric light bulb. We make a glass and wire "body". Then we apply to it an electric "breath of life" which produces light (the soul). We can separate the power and the glass and feel them. We cannot separate the light and feel it, for it does not exist apart from the combination of the others! Yet it has marked effects upon its surroundings. When we disconnect the power and the bulb, the light ceases to exist. The heat which was generated in the glass while the light was present, slowly fades away and the bulb becomes cold.

Thus God tells us through the Bible that,

Ecclesiastes 12:5

.... man goes to his long home [the grave], and the mourners go about the streets: or ever [or when] the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern [these are like the light bulb and the cutting off of the power], then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [the breath of life] shall return to God who gave it.

What remains is simply the memory that God has of us and we are told that Jesus will bring that memory with Him at the second advent and apply it in the resurrection to those who are brought forth from their graves at that time.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [or dead], that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with [or in] Him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. 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: 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.

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 Both man and beast are treated the same

I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one 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?

Ecclesiastes 9:4-5

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 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.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you [are] going.

Isaiah 38:18-19

For the grave [and anyone in it] cannot praise You, death can not celebrate You: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living, he shall praise You, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known Your truth.

Where then does the thought of an immortal soul come from? Those two words are never together in the Bible. Whenever a soul is mentioned it means a living creature, human or animal etc. as in:-

Job 12:9-10

Who knows not in all these that the hand of the LORD has wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Genesis 7:21-22

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

We are told that a soul can die, therefore it can not be immortal.

Ezekiel 18:4

Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.

In fact, the only time the word "immortal" is used in the KJV Bible is:-

1 Timothy 1:17

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

This is backed up by the statement:-

1 Timothy 6:15-16

.... which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Romans 2:6-9 Here we are told to seek immortality

Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

But to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [will be given] indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

1 Corinthians 15:53-54 And here we are told when we shall get immortality

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

 

Conclusion:

Where do we go when we die? Into a grave for a long sleep. We do not posssess an immortal soul, therefore we cannot go into either heaven or hell. (The word "hell" normally means the grave in the Bible).

Moses was told:-

Deuteronomy 31:16

And the LORD said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods .....

And Peter, 1,000 years after David's death said,

Acts 2:34

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit You on My right hand ...


 

Spiritual Dictionary:

Where do we go when we die?

Where do we go when we die? Into a grave for a long sleep. We do not posssess an immortal soul, therefore we cannot go into either heaven or hell. (The word "hell" normally means the grave in the Bible).

Moses was told:-

Deuteronomy 31:16

And the LORD said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods .....

And Peter, 1,000 years after David's death said,

Acts 2:34

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit You on My right hand ...


Next thought. To be discussed from April 1st 1999.

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