Tag Archives: death

Reformation 500 Years-The Controversy Ended

Today, October 31, 2017, marks the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation!  What does God have in store for us as we move forward in our journey?

I hope you have seen the importance of the Reformation period through these excerpts from the book, The Great Controversy.  We only scratched the surface in the last several days.  The book is over 600 pages. This inspired writing pulls back the curtains and exposes the working of the evil one over the centuries.

My prayer is that you will read the entire book.  But, more importantly, my desire is you will study God’s word daily. To help, you, we offer free online Bible studies.  If it is your desire to know more, just click on the link in the upper right-hand corner called “Free Online Bible Studies”

The Last Enemy Destroyed

 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15: 20-26

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The great controversy between Christ and Satan all started with war in heaven between Christ and Lucifer. (Revelation 12:7).  Soon Satan and His angels squeezed in on God’s new creation through his lies to Adam and Eve.  Then mankind came under the dominion of sin and death.  God’s first step in the plan of salvation was at that moment when HE asked Adam and Eve, “Where are you.”  (Genesis 3: 1-9). God came searching for us and asks us even today “where are you?” The question is more for us that it is for Him. When we realize we are separated from God, our heart will begin to change.

Then the first death occurred on earth when an innocent animal gave its skin for the covering of a naked, cold, and fearful creatures created in the image of God (Genesis 3:21). Since that time, death has reigned unstoppable on planet earth. The only hope we have is that innocent lamb of God who covers our sins and His resurrection that demonstrates his power over death.

The great controversy between Christ and Satan has continued throughout the ages even to our time. It is not over.  It will not be over until death is destroyed.  It is the last enemy…the last thing disturbing the peace God intended for the earth and universe.

The great controversy did not end with the cross nor the resurrection otherwise, Satan would not be effective in the destruction of souls today.  Today, he mars the image of God in people through his desperate lies and attempts to remove God from the very thoughts of mankind. But, the death of Jesus for our sins on the cross and His resurrection, not to mention the ministry of Jesus in the sanctuary in heaven, has forever sealed the fate of Satan and all those who have chosen a sinful life on earth in exchange for happiness and immortality on an earth made new. Jesus is the victor, because of His life, death, resurrection, heavenly priesthood, and His soon return to end the great controversy.

The rebellion continues, but the power of God’s word is stronger than all the evil of Satan and fallen angels.

The controversy will end when there is no more death and Satan and his followers are no more.  Until then, the battle for man’s soul will continue.  The beast will make every attempt to frustrate the desire of anyone to rely on Sola Scriptura and the direct access to Jesus as our mediator in heaven.

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Excerpts from the book, The Great Controversy stating on page, 636 and 662

God’s People Delivered

It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each other. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: “It is done.” Revelation 16:17.

That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, “such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” Verses 17, 18. The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a hurricane like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters. Babylon the great has come in remembrance before God, “to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” Great hailstones, every one “about the weight of a talent,” are doing their work of destruction. Verses 19, 21. The proudest cities of the earth are laid low. The lordly palaces, upon which the world’s great men have lavished their wealth in order to glorify themselves, are crumbling to ruin before their eyes. Prison walls are rent asunder, and God’s people, who have been held in bondage for their faith, are set free.

Graves are opened, and “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth. . . awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. “They also which pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient.

Thick clouds still cover the sky; yet the sun now and then breaks through, appearing like the avenging eye of Jehovah.

Now is fulfilled the Saviour’s prayer for His disciples: “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” “Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood, declaring: “Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me.” “Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept.” Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image, sin’s discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the divine!

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The Controversy Ended

At the close of the thousand years (Note: For a clear study of the thousand years, click here.), Christ again returns to the earth. He is accompanied by the host of the redeemed and attended by a retinue of angels. As He descends in terrific majesty He bids the wicked dead arise to receive their doom. They come forth, a mighty host, numberless as the sands of the sea. What a contrast to those who were raised at the first resurrection! The righteous were clothed with immortal youth and beauty. The wicked bear the traces of disease and death.

Every eye in that vast multitude is turned to behold the glory of the Son of God. With one voice the wicked hosts exclaim: “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” It is not love to Jesus that inspires this utterance. The force of truth urges the words from unwilling lips. As the wicked went into their graves, so they come forth with the same enmity to Christ and the same spirit of rebellion. They are to have no new probation in which to remedy the defects of their past lives. Nothing would be gained by this. A lifetime of transgression has not softened their hearts. A second probation, were it given them, would be occupied as was the first in evading the requirements of God and exciting rebellion against Him.

Christ descends upon the Mount of Olives, whence, after His resurrection, He ascended, and where angels repeated the promise of His return. Says the prophet: “The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.” “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof, . . . and there shall be a very great valley.” “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.” Zechariah 14:5, 4, 9. As the New Jerusalem, in its dazzling splendor, comes down out of heaven, it rests upon the place purified and made ready to receive it, and Christ, with His people and the angels, enters the Holy City.

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. Yet, true to his early cunning, he does not acknowledge himself to be Satan. He claims to be the prince who is the rightful owner of the world and whose inheritance has been unlawfully wrested from him. He represents himself to his deluded subjects as a redeemer, assuring them that his power has brought them forth from their graves and that he is about to rescue them from the most cruel tyranny. The presence of Christ having been removed, Satan works wonders to support his claims. He makes the weak strong and inspires all with his own spirit and energy. He proposes to lead them against the camp of the saints and to take possession of the City of God. With fiendish exultation he points to the unnumbered millions who have been raised from the dead and declares that as their leader he is well able to overthrow the city and regain his throne and his kingdom. 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.

Satan consults with his angels, and then with these kings and conquerors and mighty men. They look upon the strength and numbers on their side, and declare that the army within the city is small in comparison with theirs, and that it can be overcome. They lay their plans to take possession of the riches and glory of the New Jerusalem. All immediately begin to prepare for battle. Skillful artisans construct implements of war. Military leaders, famed for their success, marshal the throngs of warlike men into companies and divisions.

At last the order to advance is given, and the countless host moves on–an army such as was never summoned by earthly conquerors, such as the combined forces of all ages since war began on earth could never equal. Satan, the mightiest of warriors, leads the van, and his angels unite their forces for this final struggle. Kings and warriors are in his train, and the multitudes follow in vast companies, each under its appointed leader. With military precision the serried ranks advance over the earth’s broken and uneven surface to the City of God. By command of Jesus, the gates of the New Jerusalem are closed, and the armies of Satan surround the city and make ready for the onset. 

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 aim of the great rebel has ever been to justify himself and to prove the divine government responsible for the rebellion. To this end he has bent all the power of his giant intellect. He has worked deliberately and systematically, and with marvelous success, leading vast multitudes to accept his version of the great controversy which has been so long in progress. For thousands of years this chief of conspiracy has palmed off falsehood for truth. But the time has now come when the rebellion is to be finally defeated and the history and character of Satan disclosed. In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy His people, and take possession of the City of God, the archdeceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause. Christ’s followers and the loyal angels behold the full extent of his machinations against the government of God. He is the object of universal abhorrence.

Satan sees that his voluntary rebellion has unfitted him for heaven. He has trained his powers to war against God; the purity, peace, and harmony of heaven would be to him supreme torture. His accusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach which he has endeavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself. And now Satan bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence.

“Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” Verse 4. Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy has now been made plain. The results of rebellion, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, have been laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The working out of Satan’s rule in contrast with the government of God has been presented to the whole universe. Satan’s own works have condemned him. God’s wisdom, His justice, and His goodness stand fully vindicated. It is seen that all His dealings in the great controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of His people and the good of all the worlds that He has created. “All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee.” Psalm 145:10. The history of sin will stand to all eternity as a witness that with the existence of God’s law is bound up the happiness of all the beings He has created. With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare: “Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.”

 The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch–Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness of Jehovah.

Satan’s work of ruin is forever ended. For six thousand years he has wrought his will, filling the earth with woe and causing grief throughout the universe. The whole creation has groaned and travailed together in pain. Now God’s creatures are forever delivered from his presence and temptations. “The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they [the righteous] break forth into singing.” Isaiah 14:7. And a shout of praise and triumph ascends from the whole loyal universe. “The voice of a great multitude,” “as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,” is heard, saying: “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Revelation 19:6.

While the earth was wrapped in the fire of destruction, the righteous abode safely in the Holy City. Upon those that had part in the first resurrection, the second death has no power. While God is to the wicked a consuming fire, He is to His people both a sun and a shield. Revelation 20:6; Psalm 84:11.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin.

One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory: “He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding of His power.” Habakkuk 3:4, margin. That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God–there is the Saviour’s glory, there “the hiding of His power.” “Mighty to save,” through the sacrifice of redemption, He was therefore strong to execute justice upon them that despised God’s mercy. And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power.

Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying: . . . for the former things are passed away.” “The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24.

There is the New Jerusalem, the metropolis of the glorified new earth, “a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” “Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” “The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.” Saith the Lord: “I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people.” “The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Isaiah 62:3; Revelation 21:11, 24; Isaiah 65:19; Revelation 21:3.

In the City of God “there shall be no night.” None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to His name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close. “And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light.” Revelation 22:5. The light of the sun will be superseded by a radiance which is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noontide. The glory of God and the Lamb floods the Holy City with unfading light. The redeemed walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day.

And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13.

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.

 

Life and Death Confusion-Part 1

Elements of Confusion

The things we see and do every day incorporates our God-given ability to be logical.  He made us logical beings. But, what we see in movies and hear from some people is often not logical.  It is entertainment and may even have an agenda to express beliefs of the writer.  But, it is  God who invites us to “reason” with Him.

“’Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord”

Isaiah 1:18

Logic and good reason will come to those who seek it.  On the other hand, things like church tradition can overtake reason and dismiss plain scripture on the truths God wants to reveal.  Our great Creator brings light to things requiring deeper thought through the many writers of the Bible and His apostles and prophets.

“When you read this, you’ll see that I understand the mystery about Christ.  In the past, this mystery was not known by people as it is now. The Spirit has now revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.”

Ephesians 3: 4-5 (GW)

 Things such as church tradition about death, founded on something other than the word of God, has led many away from a true knowledge of God’s character.  It has hurt the ability of believers to present a true picture of the plan of God for those who may be seeking truth.

We might ask ourselves: “How do we present the story of sin and the solution as found in Jesus to a world so that they are drawn to him on their own free will?”

The short answer and the one that is the bed rock for the ideas set forth here is  beautifully summarized below:

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

John 12:32 (New International Version)

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:3 (King James Version)

It is the story of a giving  Creator God who greatly loved that He gave His Son to this world  condemned to die because of the law He initiated and cannot be changed i.e., “The wages of sin is  death.”  God demonstrated His great grace and compassion by paying the penalty of sin so that we would not perish.

Look carefully at John 3:16 and you will see something you might have missed.  It is the word perish.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

What is the reward of the believer?  It is eternal life or  “not perish(ing).” So if this is true, the unbeliever perishes.  Notice it does not say the unbeliever has eternal life in hell or anywhere else.  It says the reason God gave His only begotten son is that we might escape dying (perishing) forever.  Death passed upon everyone, but God made an escape through the death of His son His power to resurrect people.  When Jesus was around on earth, no one died in his presence.  He IS Life and Resurrection!  Eternal death (Perish) is escaped through Jesus only!  True, you may die once as a believer, but you will be resurrected at the end of time to live forever.  The unbeliever’s reward is here on earth.  There is no life for them…only eternal death.

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When Jesus died for us, he could not see through the “portals of the tomb.” (Desire of Ages, P. 753)  He believed He was dying this eternal death.  When the depth of the message about the death of Jesus comes clear in the mind of the sinner, it draws that person to Jesus and a decision.    Paul understood the power of the cross when he said.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 1:18 (New King James Version)

There is that word again (perishing).  The unbelievers or those who think the cross is foolishness will perish (die) forever.  It does not say they will live forever in hell.

Why is the message of the cross power to one and foolishness to another?

The answer may come in the choice of a person to study the message and respond. It is foolishness to the one who will not use his/her God-given gift of intelligence and scriptural logic. Those who are serious about finding truth and power will go forward looking for the “pearl of great price.” Matthew 13:46

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Once truth is found, the journey does not end.  There is more! Jesus gave to the disciples just enough truth for them to bear at that point in their relationship.  He said to them,

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

John 16:12 (NKJ)

Did you catch that?  Jesus purposely did not tell them some things because they were not able to “bear it” or as some versions suggest, “not ready to receive it.

Paul repeated this idea when he said,

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

1 Corinthians 3:2 (KJV)

Only those who come to Jesus like children; wanting to learn and follow Him will understand and move from truth to truth.

There is an passage in Isaiah that illustrates this beautifully.  This truth is revealed in a question and an immediate answer:

Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?

Isaiah 28:9

Children grow on a simple diet of  on milk, but as they get older, they must be drawn away from the milk to more substantial food or they will cease to grow.  A child would never grow if fed on milk all their lives.  While it was important to the baby at the start, it is the solid food that will lead to growth and maturity.

It is the food (God’s word) and the willingness to do what is taught that will set the stage for God to reveal even more truth.

Those who want to follow the will of God will know if what I teach is from God or if I teach my own thoughts.

John 7:17

Has your experience with church, with Jesus, and with God become routine?  Are you content with what you know?  Is your faith in Jesus not producing any type of peace?  Is your experience lukewarm? What can you do with your doubts?

If you are still searching and are having difficulty believing Jesus was all He and the prophets claimed Him to be, I invite you to learn more about Him as we study this topic of life and death.  For this is what the whole story is about.  Eternal life versus eternal death.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:29

It is understanding the truth about the experience of death, as the Bible teaches it, that will help us deal with the doubts  and provide “rest for (our) souls.”

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Life and Death Confusion

Probably the number one reason people (including Christians) become discouraged and doubt God is the death of a loved one.  Some even come to hate God because of the death of a mother, father, son or daughter.  Doubters and Atheists have always asked this question,

“If there is a God, then why is there death and suffering?”  

As I write this, I have learned ISIS has beheaded 21 Coptic Christians. There are 21 families grieving in an intense way right now.  But there are many more who die every day.  Almost 7.2 million people died  in 2015. A dramatic clock showing  the population growth and the number of people who die can be found at this link:

World Population Growth and Decline

Why doesn’t God stop all the death and dying?   My prayer is that we will find some answers about death you may have not considered.  I believe that knowing the truth about death will bring more comfort than any made-up scene described by  well-meaning people.

Truth is always better!

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I have been to many funerals.  The last one was the funeral of a young man, 21 years old college student,  who was killed saving his girlfriend from a wall about to fall on her during a tornado.  I know his mother and step-father well.  A few weeks earlier I attended another funeral.  Again, a 21 year-old who died suddenly from aneurysm.  He was the son of my cousin.

When I went to the  funeral of my cousin’s son,  this grieving father laid his head on my chest like a little child.  I wept with him.  His pain was strong and deep.  The same with the mother of the brave young man who laid her head on my chest and wept.  Much later, in a meeting where I work, she came up to me and laid her head on my chest, again, in a room of stuffy executives.  I knew she was still hurting a year after the event and will continue to hurt, until they meet again.

I personally experienced the sting of death when my own father died in a car wreck on the day he retired.  We had just started to connect with each other.  My pain was almost too much to bear!

Oh Lord, why!

It is OK to ask why, but it is not OK to not search for answers and begin to hate God.

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At almost every funeral I hear things that contradict the simple word of God.  Tradition and well-meaning people who desire to comfort family and friends will of often say things like this:

“He has gone to a better place.  He is up there enjoying the streets of gold.”

or

“My daughter is looking down on us and watching over me.”

or

“My brother is up there teaching Peter how to play golf.”

or

God called Him home.  He wanted Him more” (The man had died of a massive heart attack)

Recently, I heard a pastor say this,

“Old Bob is up there drinking his favorite whisky and listening to his favorite country music.”

Is this how the scripture describes death and the life hereafter?  Some say that the soul is immortal and it never dies. Is this what scripture teaches?

I don’t know about you, but I want to know what God’s inspired writers know about death. I want to know what Jesus knows about death.  I want to know how I can have real comfort when a loved one dies.

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History of Death

When did death start?  According to Genesis, death passed upon all men when Adam sinned by disobedience.

“Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned.”

Romans 5:12

Adam and Eve were meant to live forever.  But the serpent (Satan) told them the first lie recorded in the Bible and it is about death.  Satan contradicted the plain words of God:

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:2-5

Many today, even Christians, believe that no one ever really dies.  They live in either heaven or hell.

God says you will die, Satan says you won’t.  Adam and Eve did not die that very day, but they were banned from the Tree of Life which evidently helped perpetuate eternal life.  Eventually, they DID die.

“They must not be allowed to take fruit from the tree that gives life, eat it, and live forever.”

Genesis 3:22

The Tree of life is lost in the first book of the Bible (Genesis), but regained in the last book of the Bible (Revelation)

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.On each side of the river was the tree of life, which bears fruit twelve times a year, once each month; and its leaves are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:2

Here we get a sneak peak of heaven where the throne of God and Jesus (lamb) are located.  Could it be that God uses a very natural way to perpetuate eternal life and it is found in a steady diet of the tree of life and the water of life?  Could this be the place Jesus went away to prepare for us?

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The sin of Adam and Eve was not believing nor trusting the plain words from their Creator.  Although they sinned first, they were not the first to die.  The first death was Abel.  His brother (Cain) slew him because of uncontrollable anger and jealousy.

“Then the Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry, and why do you look disappointed?  If you do well, won’t you be accepted? But if you don’t do well, sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it.”

 Cain talked to his brother Abel. Later, when they were in the fields, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 4:6-8 (GW)

How sad Adam and Eve must have felt knowing that it was their sin that led to the death of their son.  How much regret they must have had as they watched death begin to pop up all around them, even the death of plants and animals.

As a side note,  the Lord did not warn Adam and Eve, nor Cain that the cost of sin was living in hell.  If there was a place of eternal torment waiting for sinners, surely God would have warned them at the beginning.  His warning was about dying if they disobeyed His command. The wages of sin is death and always has been and the gift from God is eternal life where sin no longer raises its head a second time:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

Again, this verse does not say, the wages of sin is eternal life in hell.

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What is death? The answer can be found in understanding what is life as described in Genesis when God first made man:

“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.”

Here is God’s simple formula for what makes up life:

Dust (Elements of the earth) + Breath of Life  (life giving element from God) = Living soul.

Notice that God did not breath into man a soul, but rather the breath of life.  Man does not have a soul, rather man IS a soul. (Another topic for another time.)

Whatever the “breath of life” is, we know that when combined with the elements of the earth, we are formed into a soul or a living being.  This is where life started  in the beginning and then God gave Man and woman the ability to “procreate.”  This breath of life is passed from generation to generation through “procreation.”  When it is taken away, death results and all knowledge and activity stops for that person:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10

 So if life is found in the Biblical formula of Living Soul = Dust + Breath of Life = living soul.  Then the formula for death should be the opposite.  We find it in this verse:

Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

So now we see the Biblical formula for death:

Dead Soul = Dust -(minus) Breath of Life (aka spirit)

Now all this seems scary, but the Lord Jesus described death as a sleep that passes by very quickly,.  In fact the experience of death will pass like a flash for those who have died in Christ.  They will rise to see Jesus and all those they loved when they died. Here is where the comfort comes.  We are told to get our comfort from this thought, not the fanciful stories of well-meaning people.

“The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life. Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord. So then, comfort each other with these words!

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

What a reunion day that will be!  Those two young sons who were followers of Christ will meet their fathers, mothers, and friends who believe in the air before going to the place Jesus has prepared for those who believed Jesus when he said,

 “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die;

John 11:25

Isn’t that comforting to know that the sleep of the saved is but for a second.

I remember being put to sleep when having surgery.  The two hours that passed were but a flash.  I was told to take a deep breath, then instantly I was asked to wake up.  So it will be for those who die in the Lord regardless of how long they have been dead.

But what about the lost?  Is God a cruel terrorist who will punish those who rejected Jesus to a life of non-stop frying?  Next time we will look at the topic of Heaven and the destiny of the lost.  How does the Bible describe the home of the saved and how He deals with those who have rebelled against Him?

Blessings and comfort as you consider God’s plan for life eternal.