Death And Immortality

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What Really Happens?
Have you ever wondered What really happens at death? Do the dead exist to give certain television psychics a career and a business opportunity? What about the "stories" of "near death experiences", the "out of body" experiences and the "light at the end of a long dark tunnel" stories that we hear? Is there a "purgatory" that departed souls go to? Are the "dead" really "dead". Can we really know?
Ghost Crossing Over into the Light. Psychics and ghost hunters make a career out of being the telecommunications service to those who have "crossed over" to the other side. Or they are traffic directors to those confused souls who are lost on "this side" and convince them to go over to "the other side" through a door of light.

"And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?" .... " To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8: 19, 20)

In this study, we are going to look into God's Word to see what It can tell us about this topic of "death", about "What really happens at death?" We will build upon a number of scriptures for this study.

Should we seek our answers from those that have died through seances or other contact with the "dead"?
Should we depend upon the so called "near death experiences" that some have had?

Should we depend upon "man's wisdom"? Or should we depend upon God's Word?
God tells His people, through Isaiah the Prophet, to seek unto Him. That is what we should do, too.

In order to understand death, we should first understand the Bible's definition of life. Much of our confusion centers around the definition of the word "soul". Some believe that the soul or spirit is a conscious, transparent and independent entity that occupies a body. At death this soul continues to live apart from the body because many people believe that, good or evil, this entity is immortal.

The Bible says that God blew His breath into the lifeless man and he BECAME one who breathes. A living being or a living soul.
"Then 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." (Genesis 2: 7)

The Soul Is A Living Person.
Life DUST + BREATH FROM GOD = NEPHESH (living being, soul)
Light Think of the example of a light bulb.

The bulb is like our body. The electricity is like the breath of God. Together, they make up energized light that sheds its brightness around it. Likewise, our body, without God's breath, is dark. We are alive because God puts life into us.
» Living Brain (Mind). Consciousness, feelings, love, hate, envy, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, reasoning, thoughts.
Light Bulb + Electricity = Light
Body (dust) + Breath from God (spirit) = Living Soul (living being, nephesh)
The soul is simply a person who can breathe. It is not the breath only. Without the breath of God the dust would not be conscious. And without the dust, the breath would not be conscious. It takes the combination of both to produce a living creature.

The Soul Is Not Immortal.
The "Spirit" of man is the "breath",
what we inhale and exhale.
It is not a separate, immortal, conscious entity separate from the body and soul.
Only God is immortal.
The "spirit" is not an airy, translucent intelligent form that fills up our body. A spiritual being is an improvement on the dead physical body. It is one with breath or spirit or life, but is capable of doing much more with their improved spiritual bodies which has a working brain.
The bible also teaches that the soul can die. It is not immortal.
"See, 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 ... "
The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."
(Ezekiel 18: 4, 20)

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (ruwach) shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12: 7)

The Animals Have The Same Breath.
I said in mine 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 happens to the sons of men happens to beasts; even one thing happens to 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 unto 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 3 : 18 - 21)
Man and Animals have the same spirit (Breath of life (Ruwach)). God uses the same process to bring them both to life.

The Components of Life
Physical Mental Spiritual
The Process of LifeGod
Living Soul
The Process of Death
The Physical, Mental And Spiritual Union.
Neither the physical dust or spiritual breath are conscious when they are separate. What makes them conscious is their union in the mind. The brain is the physical organ through which the spirit of man communicates with the Spirit of God. Death severs this connection. The physical body deteriorates and returns to the dust of the earth and God stores what is unique about us in the spirit that returns to Him.

This is why the spiritual war is a battle for the mind because it is the only place and time where we are conscious. This is why Satan has dulled the minds of the last generation with drugs, sports, mindless television and other forms of useless entertainment.

Immortality And Eternal Life
Are we immortal? The bible teaches that only God is immortal. But it also teaches that we can have eternal life as a gift through Jesus Christ. Although both can live forever, there is a difference.
Spirits and Ghosts
There are no disembodied spirits. The dead cannot control the life giving spirit of God. This spirit is not something that can take a form or shape or has intelligence. It is simply life from God.

No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, and no one has power in the day of death ... (Ecclesiastes 8: 8)

If life is the combination of dust and the breath from God, then what is death? It is described as the opposite process.
Spirit Returns to God. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (ruwach) shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12: 7)
Body Returns to Earth. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. (Psalm 146: 3 -4)

Death DUST - BREATH FROM GOD = DEATH SLEEP For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2: 26)
Light When the electricity is turned off, the light goes out. When God takes back His life giving breath, we die. This breath has no independent consciousness on its own so that it can exist as an intelligent entity without a physical body.
» Dead Brain - Mind. No consciousness, no feelings, no love, no hate, no knowledge.
Light Bulb - Electricity = Darkness
Body (dust) - Breath from God (spirit) = Dead Soul

This would be the end of the story, but God promises us eternal life. So what happens after we die and how do we get to live forever? To answer this question, we will define several concepts that are used in the Bible.

So far we have learned that all the dead, righteous and wicked, are asleep in their graves. They are unconscious and unaware of what is happening. They will wake up from this first death by a resurrection. The bible teaches that there are two different resurrections. The first resurrection is for the righteous only, and this occurs at the Second Coming. All the living wicked are killed at the Second Coming. The wicked dead remain dead, unaware of the historic events.
The second resurrection is for all the wicked and they will wake up after one thousand years at the third coming to face the judgment.
The Righteous Living Reign with Christ Third Coming Righteous return to Earth Heaven
Eternal Life
Righteous Dead Resurrected First
Rapture 1000 Years Resurrected Second
Wicked Dead All The Wicked remain dead Judgment Hell Fire Ashes
All Wicked Living Die The First Death Wicked Resurrected
("The Rest of the Dead")
Second Death
The first death is a sleep from which everyone will wake up. The second death is eternal.

There are two resurrections. The righteous dead will come up in the first resurrection. Then, after a thousand years the wicked will come up in the second resurrection to face the final judgment and the second death.

The First Resurrection.
The First Resurrection
Only the righteous will be resurrected at the Second Coming. This is the first resurrection.

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5: 28-29)
When will the first resurrection, or the resurrection of the righteous occur?

The first resurrection occurs on the last day, at the Second Coming after the heavens are rolled away.
"Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20: 6)

Isaiah 26 also describes the fate of the dead at the Second Coming.
The Wicked Dead at the Second Coming. The dead will not rise, the departed spirits will not rise; therefore You have punished and destroyed them, and You have wiped out all remembrance of them. (Isaiah 26: 14)
The Resurrection of the Righteous. Your dead will rise, their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. (Isaiah 26: 19)

This is the first resurrection, the resurrection of life. There are two main theories about the events of the first resurrection:

  1. The visible rapture - all humans will see the event. This is the correct view.
  2. The secret rapture - the righteous will disappear and the wicked will not see the event.

The Second Resurrection.
The Martyrs and Righteous. "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead or their hand;
The First Resurrection. and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The Second Resurrection. (But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.)
This is the first resurrection."
(Revelation 20: 4-5)
The Second Resurrection
The wicked dead, those who do not die In Christ, are not resurrected until the end of the 1000 years.
All of them suffer the second death.
The Martyrs and Saints1000 YearsThe Rest of the Dead
First Resurrection Second Resurrection

The first resurrection here refers to prior verses which talked about the righteous dead. After that, the "rest of the dead" come up in the second resurrection after the 1000 years are over.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20: 12)

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15: 26)
Satan meets the wicked at this resurrection. He is weakened after 1000 years of desolation.
Satan Meets His Dead. Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you all the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth. It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. They will respond and say to you, "Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us". (Isaiah 14: 9-10)

The Three Resurrections
1. Christ2000+ Years2. Righteous 1000 Years3. Wicked
First Fruits First Resurrection Second Resurrection
The Resurrection Of The First Fruits.
The first and second resurrection are what we call the two general resurrections. But there is an exception. When Jesus died, many graves were opened and other people rose from the dead and started preaching in Jerusalem. (Matthew 27: 51-53). They were the first fruits. They are the evidence that God can and will resurrect the dead.
The Resurrection Order. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15: 22-23)

Now the term "first fruits" does not mean the first in order. Lazarus and Moses were resurrected before Christ. It refers to the best of the group. Christ became the first of the fruits because His death and resurrection was the first that really mattered. If Christ was not resurrected, all humans would perish. Throughout the years God has chosen several humans to represent the people who would be in heaven. We all die once and the righteous are born twice. The wicked die twice.

A Special Resurrection.
Seventh Day Adventists also believe in a special resurrection that occurs shortly before the beginning of the first resurrection. Certain wicked people and the righteous whom they encountered will be in this group.
The references to the Second Coming in the Gospels and Daniel 12 could be interpreted as merging the common elements and purpose of the first and second resurrections without hinting about the 1000 year separation. So is there any evidence for a special resurrection that is part of the first general resurrection of the righteous?
First Fruits ResurrectionsSecond
2 General Resurrections (Millennium)Third
CrucifixionRaisedDead Fruit (Worst)Raised (Best)Fruit Raptured "Go Up" To TabernaclesDead Fruit
- Rotten Fruit Special Resurrection FruitFirst GeneralRaisedSatan Punish (1)Many Days Second General Burned Punish (2)
The Earth Is BrokenRain Hail Hail No Rain Satan AbyssWeeds Burned Hail

The Second Death.
The Second Death
The wicked dead, whose names are not written in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire, which is "the second death". Those who have no part in the first resurrection, of the righteous
The righteous dead, do not suffer this "second death". We are told not to fear those who can put us into the "first death", but rather we are to fear the "second death". The second death is that final and eternal destruction from which there is no further resurrection.
In the second death, both the wicked and death itself will be destroyed forever in a lake of fire. Hell is the second death.

» The Real Second Death Total separation from God is the second death. Hell fire is just one method to achieve it.
Jesus suffered the second death for all of us. He felt the separation on the cross and it broke His heart.
When He conquered the second death, He was given the keys to death and hell so that He could deliver us from this punishment (Revelation 1: 18-19). He will resurrect everyone from the first death and He has freed the righteous from the death sentence in hell. Satan is not in charge of hell. Jesus has control of the keys.

Cleansing From Death With The Water For Impurity
There are several laws about cleansing from death. One of these is the mystery of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19). It makes the pure impure and the impure pure.
Let us see how these are applied to the righteous, the wicked and the earth.

Contradictions Explained
There are some apparent contradictions based on the Bible and the testimony of some personal experiences.

Contradictions: Personal Testimony From The Dead
The personal testimonies seem to be designed to support the original lies when Satan tempted Eve.

The overwhelming amount of evidence says that the dead are unconscious and asleep and that God forbids any attempt at communication with them. Since the dead cannot communicate with the living, the Bible forbids us to communicate with anyone who claims to be dead or with anyone who claims to communicate with the dead. This is because Satan will use this as a method to deceive you. Therefore, whether or not you believe that the dead are conscious or in heaven or hell or in your basement, the Bible still forbids you to contact them. Logically this means that the will not contact you.
There shall not be found among you ... a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 18: 10-13)

» The Testimony Of The Dead And The Sinner
In a recent Christian program which attempted to prove where the dead go, the host paraded a number of testimonies from Hollywood and sports celebrities and few from others who claimed to see heaven or hell in their near death experience. I specifically watched to learn all the Bible verses that might contradict my beliefs.
What Does This Mean?
Your loved ones are not suffering in hell or purgatory. They are asleep in the grave, unaware of the passage of time.

It also means that your loved ones are not in heaven yet. They do not have to worry about you or what is happening on earth. They do not have to experience the agony of waiting. As for experiencing joy, they will not know about the passage of time. As far as their experience is concerned, the first thing that they will see after they die is the joy of the Second Coming.
They are sleeping in peace.
So you can rest in peace.

This doctrinal study never quoted a single text from the Bible, instead it took the testimony of people who claimed to have been dead and returned. Most of this testimony was from people who do not worship God and promote lifestyles that are against the commandments of God.

But if the dead cannot communicate, then who is responsible for the ghosts and haunting and the ability of psychics to communicate with the dead? This is discussed in our lesson on the occult. The Bible teaches that Satan tries to deceive us with all power and signs and lying wonders.

Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2: 15 Time: 120 minutes
Print: 18 pages
Copyright     Updated : March 2014
Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2008)