The Resurrection in Light of the Cross

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 9:5-6Job 14:121 Corinthians 15:51-551 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

Spiritualism and the Bible

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

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,

“If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”  Genesis 2:17 NLT

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.

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. Genesis 3:4 NLT

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,

they shall not cleave one to another Daniel 2:43

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,

“Encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18

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.