Study: How do you understand the expression “their worm does not die?” Click here for a hint.
Apply: In the end, we are either totally saved or totally lost. There is no middle ground. We can have either eternal life or will face eternal destruction. What choices do you have to make today? How should this reality — eternal life or eternal destruction — impact those choices?
Share: Your friend says we all are going to spend eternity somewhere, either in heaven or hell. How do you answer your friend? Click here for hints.
Study: How can these passages help us better understand the notion of “eternal fire” or the idea, as Jesus had expressed it, that the lost will be in “everlasting fire” (Matt. 18:8) or in a “fire that shall never be quenched”? (Mark 9:43, NKJV). Remember a camp fire can disintegrate a marshmallow and keep on burning. Just because the fire continues to burn does not mean the marshmallow still exists.
Apply: As unfortunate as the fires of hell are, what does the truth about hell reveal to us about God’s love, especially in contrast to the idea of eternal torment?
Share: Your friend says that the Bible says the wicked will burn forever so that must mean that they will be alive and burning through all eternity. How would Exodus 21:6 help your friend understand the meaning of the word “forever, simply meanimg for the duration or until you die?
Study:How do these passages shed light on the state of the dead and those awaiting resurrection?
Apply: What are ways in which you could help people understand that the idea that the dead are asleep in the ground is really “good news,” in the sense that they truly are at rest and know no pain and suffering?
Share: Your friend who said we will all spend eternity in heaven or hell is still confused, thinking the soul is immortal, and we all have eternal life either in heaven or in hell. How could you use 1 John 5:3-12 and 1 Timothy 5:15-16 to show your friend that only those who accept the gift of salvation have eternal life?
I heard a story in a pastor’s meeting a few weeks ago, where a hard working and dedicated pastor died around the age of 60. Some of the elders were so distraught that this hard working pastor was gone, they wanted to get together and pray for God to resurrect him and put him back to work. However, according to the story, his wife simply replied, “No. He has earned his rest. Let him rest.” I am not sure if his wife was thinking of this passage or not when she said what she did, but to me it seems to fit.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:13 NKJV
While teaching a Bible class years ago, a young student asked me why we don’t see more miracles today like we did in the Bible? He was especially wondering about resurrections. I shared several thoughts with him. For example if God was going to resurrect someone, why not just heal them and not let them die in the first place? If God was going to resurrect them, why not just not let them die? Also would modern day resurrections give the deceiver more ammunition for counterfeit miracles suggesting spiritualism? I believe the resurrections in the Bible served a practical purpose, for example the widow’s son continued to live and provide for his mother. Dorcas continued her community services. But beyond serving a practical purpose for that time, these resurrections also gave us hope for the resurrection when Jesus returns.
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4 NKJV
Our hope comes from the Scriptures and not modern day miracles. Having said that, I do believe if God sees fit he can work the same miracles through us today that he worked trough Elijah, Elisha and Peter when they raised the dead. While its obvious that you and I cannot raise the dead, it is also obvious that Elijah, Elisha and Peter never raised the dead. Actually Jesus in His humanity does not even take credit for raising the dead. He tells us His Father raises the dead.
For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. John 5:21 NKJV
Every miracle Jesus performed He performed by faith in His Father. In His humanity Jesus claims without the Father He was just as helpless as we are in our humanity without the Father.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19 NKJV
When Jesus raised the dead His humanity was just as dependent upon the Father as Elijah, Elisha and Peter were. While its obvious we cannot do such miracles on our own, it is also obvious that
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:10,12 NKJV
Sure Jesus meant we will take the Gospel farther into the world than He did when he said “greater works” but it also implies that as we rely on the Father the way Jesus, Elijah, Elisha, and Peter relied on the Father it is obvious we can do the same miracles Jesus did, if God actually needs the same miracles to be performed. Jesus said,
for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20 NKJV
We need to keep in mind just because it is possible does not mean it needs to happen. Jesus doesn’t need us to move every mountain, and He does not need us to resurrect every dead person. After all, there is a reason why mountains are where they are and there is a reason why those who are dead are still asleep. By the way I think a baby being born is just as big a miracle as someone being raised from the dead. I also believe God moves mountains today as needed. I also would not doubt that God can still raise the dead through us today as He did through Elijah in his day. Obviously we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, Obviously, what the Father did through Elijah, Elisha, Peter and Jesus, He can do through us.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.
As we consider the resurrection of Moses in this week’s Sabbath school lesson, lets take a look at the resurrection in general. In John 14 Jesus knows the disciples are going to miss Him when He goes away so he comforts them.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3 NKJV
Notice Jesus has to come again in order for His disciples to be with Him again. They do not die and go straight to heaven, otherwise Jesus would have comforted them by saying, “When you die you will go straight to heaven and see me.” He never even hinted at such a notion. Jesus makes it clear that they will only be reunited with Him when He comes again. He receives them unto Himself when He comes again, and not when they die. This is why the special resurrection of Moses was so important. Without it Moses would still be in his grave. If Moses died and went straight to heaven then his resurrection in Jude 9 would be meaningless. If we die and go straight to heaven then why is the resurrection be such a crucial theme of the New Testament? Let’s take a look at what the Bible really Says about death and the resurrection.
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 even if we have no relationship with God. This opens the door for spiritualism in which people may actually communicate 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.
Why understanding death in the light of the cross is important: 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 like Hebrews 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 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? 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. Genesis 2:7
What returns to God? Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7
What is the spirit? All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; Job 27:3
What does God take that turns the body to dust? Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Psalm 104:29
What age-old question did Job ask? But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where [is] he? Job 14:10
What is the Bible answer? So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Job 14:12
Do the dead know what happens to the living? His sons come to honour, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them. Job 14:21
How much do the dead know? For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:5–6
What did Jesus call death? These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. John 11:11-14
How long had Lazarus been dead? Then when Jesus came, he found that he had [lain] in the grave four days already. John 11:17
Did Martha believe Lazarus was in heaven? Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. John 11:24
What did Mary say? Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. John 11:32
Was Lazarus called from heaven, hell or the grave? And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. John 11: 43-44
When are the dead raised? For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:16-23
When do we receive immortality? Behold, I show 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall 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 shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54
Our hope and comfort: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 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.
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
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
A Bible student was excitedly telling me about a movie he saw where someone died and went to heaven and saw his dead loved ones. When I confronted him about the state of the dead, he told me, well maybe they did not actually die. Maybe it was a dream. “But you said he saw his dead loved ones in heaven,” I said. My student suggested it was just a future vision then. He was quite emotional about the movie and told me it had strengthened his faith in God. What could be wrong with that? Several things are wrong, but for now lets just look at one. What if he saw another movie validating evolution? Do we put our faith in movies? Do movies validate or discredit the Word of God? No! If my student had read the Word of God but only believed because a movie said the Bible is true then we have a very serious fundamental problem. We don’t go by appearances. We go by the Bible.
I’m not sure if it was Halloween or not, but Satan dressed up as a serpent. He offered Eve a treat, but it turned out to be a trick. Eve heard the Word of God concerning the fruit from a certain tree,
Well sure that’s what God’s Word said, but now Eve sees this serpent who not only ate the fruit and did not die but can also talk now. Pretty convincing evidence if seeing is believing. It appears that not only can you disobey God and not die, but you actually get special powers and advantages you never had before. If the serpent could talk after disobeying God then what possibilities were there for Eve? Eve decided God’s Word was not true since it did not go along with what she saw and heard.
The serpent appeared to be more credible than God’s Word since the proof was right there in front of her. You can’t disprove something you see and hear right? Wrong! Eve ate the fruit and she is now dead. That serpent Satan used is dead too, and one day Satan himself will die. It may have appeared God’s Word was not true but it was very true!
In Matthew 3 Jesus is baptized and God’s voice is heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son.” In Matthew 4, after 40 days of fasting, Satan appears to Jesus as an angel of light. He tells Jesus there was an angel who was kicked out of heaven, and insinuates Jesus, in His humanity weakened by fasting sure looks like that fallen angel. “If” Said Satan, “You are the Son of God turn these stones into bread.” Jesus may not have felt like, nor in the wilderness appeared to be the Son of God, but He had heard God’s Word say, “This is my Son.” Jesus did not go by feelings or appearances. He told Satan He would live by God’s Word and God’s Word said “This is my Son.”
John the Baptist was there at the baptism and heard the Word of God too. However, John later found himself in prison, and while he wanted to believe God’s Word he struggled because it did not appear to be true, as he sat there staring at prison walls. He sent a message, asking Jesus if He was the Messiah. Why did he have to do that when He already heard God’s Word say “This is my Son?” John made the same mistake Eve and millions have made. They only believe God’s Word if it goes along with what they see. Eve and John the Baptist would have been kept safe if they would have trusted God’s Word instead of illusions.
During World War two, Arthur Maxwell wrote an article for Signs of the Times Magazine, assuring everyone Hitler would be defeated, as Daniel 2 says there will never be a one world empire in Europe again. His boss saw Hitler raging all over Europe invading one country after another, and told Maxwell to hold off on publishing the article as there was no way of knowing what Hitler might do. it appeared Hitler would indeed take over Europe. While Hitler was raging all over Europe setting up concentration camps and destroying his enemies, Maxwell knew it was impossible for Hitler’s army with all of their Flak Cannons to succeed. How did he know? Seven simple words in Maxwell’s Bible read,
While Maxwell’s boss was joining Eve and John the Baptist at looking at appearances, Maxwell joined Jesus and trusted God’s Word. Maxwell published his article very confident that Hitler would fail in taking over all of Europe. Spoiler alert! Hitler lost the war. The Bible was right-again.
Jesus has warned us that in the last days that some..
shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24
Spiritualism, insinuating that the dead are not really dead but can talk to us will be one of the greatest illusions. During the Religious Awakening, the Fox Sisters appeared to be communicating with the dead in their secret chambers, but Jesus warned in Matthew 24:26 that He would not be there. Even though it may appear that the dead can speak, just as it appeared a serpent can speak, the Scriptures will keep us from being deceived.
Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. Isaiah 8:19-20 NLT
A friend of mine was visiting some friends when their young son went missing. Tragically they found him face down in the pool. As they rushed him to the hospital, the mother was frantically praying to Mary to save her son. Mary could not save her son. She was dead. Sadly the boy died. In times of trouble shall we call upon the dead, or Jesus Who is alive and has conquered the grave? Shouldn’t we have a personal relationship with Jesus instead of dead people?
Saul lost his personal relationship with God and was so desperate he called upon Samuel who was dead. Saul seeks a medium and according to 1 Samuel 28:14“perceives” he is talking to Samuel. When I was 5 years old, I was at the mall with my parents, and went to one store with my dad while my mom went to another store. When my dad and I came out of our store I saw a woman with some bags who I “perceived” to be my mother. I ran up to her and hugged her, but as I looked up, instead of seeing my mother I saw a very surprised stranger. Hopefully she needed a hug that day, but she was not my mom even though I “perceived” her to be. Samuel was not talking to Saul just like the serpent wasn’t really talking to Eve. It was an illusion created by Satan. Further more, why would Saul be seeking comfort from a dead person instead of the living God and the Scriptures?
Saul should have sought counsel from God’s Word instead of an illusion. Today we should seek counsel and courage from the Bible instead of movies based on spiritualism. Movies appearing to prove spiritualism to be true should not be our source of encouragement. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 Paul describes the second coming and resurrection. Then Paul says,
When we lose a loved one, our encouragement does not come from the words, “They’ve gone home to be with the Lord.” Those words are never insinuated in Scripture. Paul did not tell us to encourage each other with those words, or with exciting tales about after death or near death experiences. He described for us how those who are dead and sleeping in Christ will be raised at the resurrection at the second coming and will meet the living in the air to be with Jesus to live forever. He tells us, encourage each other with these words.
You may study this week’s SS lesson and more here.