You may download a printable version of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.
You may listen to the podcast presentation of this topic here.
Brief overview: Death is a state of unconscious sleep. The dead do not know anything at this time and are not awakened until the last trump at Christ’s second coming. See Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, Job 14:12, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Why is it important to know the truth about Death:
The teaching that you don’t really die is a lie Satan started in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” By telling this lie Satan hoped to get Eve and all mankind to believe that there is really no consequence for disobeying God. He also wants us to believe that we are all immortal regardless if we have a relationship with God or not. This opens the door for spiritualism where people may actually be communicating with the devil and his angels, thinking they are speaking with their loved ones. Our salvation does not come from knowing what happens when we die. Our salvation is found alone in God’s love. However, no lie is ever harmless, and when Satan told the lie, “Ye shall not surely die”, not only was he lying but he was also calling God a liar. Not a safe path for us to follow.
Why understanding death in the light of the cross is important:
First of all if you don’t really die then Jesus did not really die for us and we still need a Savior. The lie that we don’t really die destroys the cross and everything Jesus endured and accomplished on it. If Jesus was not really tasting death likeHebrews 2:9 says He did, then we have just minimized the cross to a six hour pain endurance marathon.
I remember sitting in a funeral a while back for a little girl who was hit and killed by a car. Her mother sat on the front pew sobbing uncontrollably. Meanwhile the pastor talked about how happy the little girl and Jesus were right now up in heaven. Do you know how cruel that made Jesus look to the poor mother? Would Jesus tear a mother’s heart apart just to go have fun with her daughter? I think not! The little girl is resting in her grave and will be united with Jesus in heaven when the mother is reunited with her at the second coming.
For Further study on Death
What did Adam become?
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7 NLT
Note: The KJV says man became a living soul. A living person is a soul. To be living you must have the combination of breath and a body. Breath + Body = “soul” or “person.” Without both the body and breath there is no soul or person. Just like a box made of wood and nails. The box is the combination of wood and nails. Take the nails away from the wood and you have no box. Take the breath away from the body and you have no soul or person.
Whose spirit returns to God?
For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7 NLT
What is the Spirit?
As long as I live, while I have breath from God. Job 27:3 NLT
Note: The KJV says, “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, Job 27:3. The NLT makes it clear that the spirit is simply our breath. So in Ecclesiastes 12:7 all that returns to God when we die is our breath. We are not conscious.
What does God take that turns the body to dust?
But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. Psalm 104:29 NLT
What age old question did Job ask?
“But when people die, their strength is gone. They breathe their last, and then where are they? Job 14:10 NLT
What is the Bible answer?
people are laid to rest and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep. Job 14:12 NLT
Do the dead know what happens to the living?
They never know if their children grow up in honor or sink to insignificance. Job 14:21 NLT
How much do the dead know?
The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NLT
What did Jesus call death?
Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. John 11:11-14 NLT
How long had Lazarus been dead?
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. John 11:17 NLT
Did Martha believe Lazarus was in heaven when he died?
“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” John 11:24 NLT
Was Lazarus called from heaven, hell or the grave?
Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” John 11: 43-44 NLT
When are the dead raised?
And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. 1 Corinthians 15:16-23 NLT
When do we receive immortality?
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 NLT
Our hope and comfort:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have diedwill rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NLT