Making clear the truth about death
According to Scripture, the dead, both the righteous and the wicked, are in the grave waiting for one of two resurrections. The first resurrection is for the righteous and takes place at the second coming of Christ. At the second coming, Christ raises those who belong to Him and those in Christ who are still alive when He comes will be changed in a twinkling of an eye. He then estabishes His 1000 year earthly Kingdom.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.
Notice how Paul says, “comfort one another with these words” regarding the resurrection of the dead. If these people were already in heaven, why would these words comfort them?
The second resurrection, pertaining to the wicked, happens after the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth.
Revelation 20:5 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image, nor accepted its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.
Right now, man, both the righteous and the wicked, are mortal, which means they are subject to death.
Job 4:17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?
Job 10:5 Are Your days like the days of a mortal man?
Hebrews 7:8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.
Both the soul and body are subject to death and destruction.
Matthew 10:28 do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in gehenna.
Mortals will get immortality and experince eternal life at the resurrection when Christ returns.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
It’s very clear that the dead who belong to Christ will be resurrected when He returns, not before. This means they are not in heaven today.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
John 6:40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.''
There is no sinario in the Bible where the dead righteous are taken out of heaven only to be put back into the grave only to resurrect them and bring them back to heaven. It's all made up. Not only is this unblbilcal, there is no reason for this to happen if they are already in heaven.
Even King David died and was buried.
1 Kings 2:10 So David fell asleep with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
King David, who was called the apple of God's eye and the man after God's own heart is not in heaven today, but rather, he is still waiting in his grave right where he was buried.
Acts 2:29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Acts 2:34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: `The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand.
There is so much more that Scripture reveals about the state of the dead such as Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 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.
Psalms 115:17 The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence.
Psalms 6:4-5 Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?
The Bible is clear, we all sleep in the grave waiting to awake at the return of Christ.
Daniel 12:2 Many people who have already died will live again. Some of them will wake up to have life forever, but some will wake up to find shame and disgrace forever.
John 5:28-29 Don’t be surprised at this: A time is coming when all who are dead and in their graves will hear his voice. Then they will come out of their graves. Those who did good will rise and have life forever, but those who did evil will rise to be judged guilty.
Isaiah 26:19 But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!
There are a few verses that people use to teach the dead are alive but it’s not because its true, but rather, it's because they are misinterpreting the verses to fit what they believe.
Let’s take look at these verses.
Did Jesus tell the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with Me in Paradise"?
No, He didn’t.
Let’s take a closer look at it.
Luke 23:42-43 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingdom.'‘ And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.''
In spite of the fact that the entire Bible speaks of the Kingdom of God coming and the resurrection of the deasd and nothing about people dying and going to heaven, there are still some people who use this verse to teach that we go to right to heaven at death. The words of Jesus Himself, when He taught us how to pray, said pray like this, "Thy Kingdom come". The great hope we have in Christ is the promise of His coming Kingdom.
All throughout the Old and New Testament, we find the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. All the followers of Jesus understood the promise of the coming Kingdom and believed it. Listen.
Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Even the thief himself understood the great hope of the coming Kingdom. Listen.
Luke 23:42 Then the thief said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
The literal Kingdom comes when Jesus comes back, at His second coming. It's at that time that He raises the dead, which will include the thief. Listen.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.
People have been taught to believe that the thief was with Jesus in Paradise the day they died but is this true? No, it's not.
To prove this, let's see where Paradise is.
Paradise is where God dwells in heaven, it's in the presence of God, which is also where the tree of life is. Right now it's in heaven where the Father dwells.
Revelation 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
Revelation 22:1-2 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
When Jesus died, did He ascend to where the Father dwells? In other words, did He go to Paradise that day? No, He didn't. Listen to what He tells Mary right after being in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father.
In the above statement, Jesus had just rised from the dead and was talking to Mary when He tells her that He had not yet ascended to the Father. This was three days after His death, and yet He still had not ascended to the Father. This means He could not have been in Paradise with the thief on the day they died.
So how did we come to the conclusion that the thief would be with Jesus in Paradise that day?
We came to this conclusion through the false placement of a comma, not through Scriptural support.
The Greek language does not use commas. Commas are not inspired. There can be error or willful deception when placing commas. For example. The use of the comma below reveals sick handkerchiefs. Listen.
Acts 19:12 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. ~ KJV
Where a translator places a comma in a sentence can be influenced by a preconceived belief. If he believes people go to heaven at death, he will place a comma to fit that belief.
Let me show you what I mean.
Luke 23:43 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.''
With the comma after the word, ‘you’ it’s made to sound like Jesus would be in Paradise with the thief that day. But we know Jesus didn't ascend to heaven until after being in the grave three days, so He couldn't be in Paradise with the thief that day.
If we use the plan of God and the Bible itself to influence where we place the comma, the verse should read like this: Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.'' In other words, Jesus was telling the thief on that day, not that he would be in Paradise on that day. Jesus and the thief being in Paradise on the day they died contradicts the whole Bible and the very words of Jesus Himself.
Absent from the body present with the Lord?
2 Corinthians 5:8 but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
People quote the words, "Absent from the is to be present with the Lord" as though it's a statement of what happens when we die but in reallity, they are taken out of context. All throughout the letters that Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he speaks of the great hope we have in Christ, which is the resurrection from death to life and immortality. He knew and understood that it was at the resurrection that he would be raised to immortality and be given a new body, just like Jesus. The context of the verse itself tells us that Paul understood when he would get his new body. Listen to the context.
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
After comparing the two bodies, Paul says he would much perfer rather to be absent from his old dying body and be with the Lord in his new immortal body.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
All Paul was saying in his statement was that he would much perfer rather to be with Jesus in his new body. He wasn't saying it would happen as soon as he died, otherwise, he would be contradicting himself in all his other letters.
Listen to what Paul taught and believed about when he would get his new body and what happens when Jesus comes back.
1 Thessalonians. 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory.''
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
What about Lazarus and the rich man?
When you read the context of Luke 15 and 16 you will find four parables, one right after another ending with Lazarus and the rich man. A parable is not meant to be a literal true story, but rather, a spiritual lesson. A parable should not be used to teach a doctrine, especailly if the doctrine contradicts all of Scripture, as well as, God's plan. Here are just a few things that the parable teaches that are unbiblical.
1. The Bible teaches clearly that no one is alive in the grave.
2. The Bible teaches that the grave is a place of silence.
2. You have to read heaven into the parable because it's not even mentioned once.
3. Abraham's bosom is not a literal place where God's people can see and talk to dead people burning in hell.
4. All the millions of people who died over the years would never fit in Abraham’s bosom.
5. A drop of water would never help a person if he was burning alive.
6. Paradise is in the presence of God. It would not be Paradise if we could see and hear people burning alive.
Jesus was not using His parable to teach the doctrine of what happens when we die because the parable contradicted the whole Bible. When you read the parable about Lazarus and the rich man you find Jesus correcting the misconseption the Pharisees had about people's eternal standing with God based on their condition in this life. If you're rich in this life it's because you are accepted by God but if you're poor it's because you are cursed by God. Jesus used His parable to show them they were wrong. He wasn't teaching a doctrine of what happens when we die.
We can see how the verses that people use to teach a person goes right to heaven at death is not true. The Bible is clear, we all wait for the return of Christ to raise the dead to immortality and eternal life.