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1. Who can unlock the mystery of death? Revelation 1:18
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the of Hades and of Death.”
2. How did Jesus create the first man? Genesis 2:7
“And the Lord God formed man of the of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the of life; and man became a living being.”
God created us by forming our bodies of earth’s elements and breathing into it the breath of life. Man then became “a living soul” (KJV). We can illustrate man’s creation as dust + breath = a living soul.
3. What is the “breath of life” God breathed into man?
a. “The of God has made me, and the of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4 NKJV
b. “The body without the is dead.” James 2:26 NKJV
This breath is the “spirit” or life-energizing power of God that keeps a person breathing and their heart beating. In Job 27:3 we read, “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils” (KJV). Here Job utilizes a Hebrew poetic technique that uses the words “breath” and “spirit” interchangeably. This is how the “spirit” can be in Job’s nostrils. In Psalm 104:29 and 30, the words “breath” and “spirit” are again used interchangeably; in the original Hebrew they are exactly the same word! When God breathed the spirit-breath into Adam’s lifeless body, he “became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7, KJV). Notice he isn’t given a soul, but he becomes one.
4. What happens when a person dies? Ecclesiastes 2:7 NKJV
“Then the dust will return to the as it was, and the spirit will return to who gave it.
Death is when the breath or spirit returns to God and the dust returns to the earth. It is the opposite of creation.
5. What happens at death to the person or “living soul”? Acts 7:59, 60 NKJV
“And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my .’ Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell .”
Because he knew his Bible, Stephen understood his spirit would return to God at his death. But when he died, the Bible says, “He fell asleep.”
6. How does Jesus describe death? John 11:11-14 NKJV
“Our friend Lazarus , but I go that I may wake him up… Jesus spoke of his , but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is .’”
The Bible always represents death as a peaceful sleep until the resurrection. (See Psalm 13:3; Matthew 27:52; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 51.) At the resurrection, “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” (Daniel 12:2).
7. Is the sleep of death something we need to fear? NKJV
“The dead do not the Lord, nor any who go down into silence.” Psalm 115:17
There is nothing to fear in death, because according to the Bible there is no planning, work, knowledge, wisdom or even praising God in death (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Psalm 146:4). When a person falls into death’s peaceful slumber, all pain, suffering, and consciousness cease. (If we truly went to heaven upon death, as commonly taught, wouldn’t we expect to praise God?) The sleep of death, however, is not the final destiny for God’s children. It is only a temporary rest, until the resurrection when we will go to heaven.
8. Do God’s children go directly to heaven at death? Acts 2:29, 34 NKJV
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both and , and his tomb is with us to this day… For David did not into the heavens.”
The Bible says King David, one who is surely saved, did not go to heaven at death. It says he is buried and still in his grave awaiting the resurrection.
9. How does the Bible answer the question, “Where do we go when we die?” Job 14:10-15 NKJV
“But man dies and is laid away; indeed he breathes his last and where is he? … So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep… Hide me in the … appoint me a set time and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? … I will wait, till my comes. You shall call, and I will answer You.”
Job asks the question, “Where is he?” when a man dies. His answer is conclusive—man lies down and doesn’t rise; neither is he awakened from his sleep; is in the grave until the appointed time; he will be remembered by God; and he will live again when God calls and he is changed to immortality.
10. When will the dead awaken and be changed? 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 NKJV
“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 . For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. Then shall
be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’”
God does not forget His sleeping saints. He sends His angels forth at Jesus’ return to gather them together (Matthew 24:31). They are resurrected at Jesus’ call and the last trumpet and are given immortal bodies. Note that Paul says this is when, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” If we went to heaven immediately at death, then this wouldn’t be true. By the way, have you ever considered that there isn’t a need for the resurrection at the second coming if the saved are already in heaven?
At first glance it may seem disappointing to realize the Bible says our dead loved ones, whom we thought were in heaven, are really asleep awaiting the call of Jesus. But, when you think about it, the Bible truth is really good news. What if they were in heaven looking down on all our pain and suffering? Heaven wouldn’t really be heaven to them, would it?
11. Where do lost people go when they die? Job 21:30-32 NKJV
“For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath… He shall be brought to the .”
The unsaved are reserved in the grave until they are brought forth to be punished in hell fire. The Bible makes a lot more sense than the popular teaching that the lost go straight to hell at death. Think about the implications of this unbiblical doctrine—an unconverted petty thief from the first century would burn in hell 1,900 years longer than Hitler, a dictator who caused the horrible deaths of millions. Is it truly justice to burn a small-time thief thousands of years longer than a mass murderer? Besides, with what the Bible says about the judgment, would God send someone to hell before they have their day in court? You now see why God allows all to sleep until the resurrection. This is the only way He can be fair. Every case passes through the judgment first, and everyone is rewarded at the same time.
12. Where did the teaching of the natural immortality of man originate? Genesis 3:4 NKJV
“Then the said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ “
The idea that we don’t really die was Satan’s first lie to humans. He has fostered this deception ever since. History reveals ancient pagan religions were the first to teach people have immortal souls. The Egyptians, Persians, and Greeks all taught it. This erroneous view of death entered the Christian church as it fell away from truth in the early centuries. The teaching that the soul is immortal is not in Scripture. Of the 858 times the word “soul” is used, never is it linked with “immortal.” The Bible teaches the soul is mortal and it dies and sleeps until the resurrection. (See Ezekiel 18:4.)
13. Why does Satan want us to be confused regarding death? Revelation 16:14 NKJV
“For they are spirits of , performing signs.”
The reason Satan wants people to believe we don’t die is because it leaves them open to his deceptions. If devils can change themselves into the appearance of holy angels, they can also appear as our dead relatives. (See 2 Corinthians 11:13.) They can even tell us things that only we and the deceased knew. The Bible predicts the spirits of devils will work miracles like this in the last days (Matthew 24:24). The proportion of adults who say they have been in touch with the dead is on a rapid rise. Satan is preparing people for his last great deceptions.
14. Do you have the assurance that you will receive eternal life? If not, would you like to?
Eternal life is found only in Jesus. This is why it is vital we receive Him as our Savior from sin and the Lord of our life (1 John 5:11-12). For some people, this decision happens in two steps. First, they accept Jesus’ work of salvation. Later, as they grow in faith, they learn that God also wants them to accept His commandments and guidance John 14:15). At this more mature stage of faith, they make a conscious decision to ask Jesus to be their Lord and yield their lives in obedience. If you haven’t yet accepted Him as both Savior and Lord, will you make this decision right now?