of the charges against God is that He continually wrongs us by causing
all our problems. Whether it be accidents, poor health, major medical
crises, or even theft by robbers, it matters not. God is blamed for it
Have you noticed that few are blaming the devil for much of anything? What is the Bible truth about all this?
WE CAUSE OUR OWN PROBLEMS
are three charges against the goodness of God that people frequently
First, why does God do all these bad things to us? He doesn’t. All our problems are the result of our own sins and mistakes or the sins and mistakes of others. All of them.
A few examples from the Bible illustrate this:
Adam and Eve fell into sin by their own act. Abel died because of his brother’s angry temper. The Flood came on the world because of its wickedness. Sodom was destroyed because of the sins of its inhabitants. Korah and his associates rebelled against God’s authority, so the earth opened up and swallowed them. We could cite similar incidents all through the Bible.
Whatever problems you may encounter, the cause can always be traced to a problem with people, not with God. The cause may be traced to an accident, bad diet, a genetic flaw, meanness, crime, or something else. But the cause is always people, not God.
Second, even though God does not directly do all those bad things, why does He not keep them from happening?
The fact that He does not interfere is part of the working out of the great 6,000-year crisis of the ages, in which we are involved.
As we learned in the first chapter of this book, for untold ages, there was peace in heaven—until Lucifer sinned. When he did, he charged God with selfishness, deception, and unjustly requiring obedience to the laws of heaven.
What was God to do in this crisis? Because of His massive power, the slightest degree He dealt with Satan would be so overwhelming that the angels would be frightened into submission. Henceforth, they would serve Him from fear.
So, in His infinite wisdom, God decided to let the crisis work its way through to its end. Satan had said his ideas would wonderfully improve life. So God gave him time to demonstrate what happens when creatures rebel against God.
We are part of this terrible experiment in rebellion because we were born into this world. Someone may say, “Well, that’s not fair. We had no say about being born, so why do we have to go through all this suffering because we are in a world filled with devils tempting men?”
That is a key point, and here is the answer:
As soon as Satan won a large number of angels in heaven and they were cast out, he successfully overcame Adam and Eve. That victory gave the devil the opportunity to tempt and harass all of Adam’s descendants. Any detailed history book tells the result: murder, intrigue, and wars. Along with them famine and disease which Satan helped produce.
Yes, it is true that we are all born into this miserable world, without any choice in the matter. Yet God makes up for it in a most wonderful way! He says, “Child, if you will prove faithful to Me and, amid the hardships of this life, patiently remain loyal to Me,—I will reward you with eternal life!”
What a reward is that! In exchange for accepting Christ as our Saviour and obeying Him throughout these few brief decades on earth,—we will live with Him for eternal ages in heaven!
Think about it a minute. There is simply no loss in such an arrangement.
But someone will say, “That’s okay for those who accept Christ, but what about the rest of us who don’t? We have to suffer and die and miss out on heaven.”
Yet no one need be lost. God’s Holy Spirit and the good angels work with everyone who has ever lived on earth, seeking to draw them to God.
It is only by our own decision that any of us will be lost.
Titus 2:11—“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”
1 Timothy 2:4—“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Third, why does not God protect His own loyal children from the problems of life? Why do they have accidents? Why do they have genetic problems? Why are they robbed and slain?
Stop and think a minute. Any time anyone in the world appears to have an ability a little beyond that of the normal,—everyone is attracted to him. They crave his power, his authority, his money, his influence.
If it became obvious that Christians are given special protection,—everyone, with their hearts and lives unchanged, would become Christians! Instead, down through history, we find that the servants of God are maligned, ridiculed, persecuted, hunted, and slain. Satan works through the wicked to make their lives very difficult.
Why then do the faithful choose to remain loyal to God? Because of principle and no other reason. They serve God, not for what they can get out of Him, but because they love Him—in spite of the treatment they receive in this world. They are devoted to Him in spite of any outward rewards they might receive in this life.
Hebrews 11:9-10—“By faith he [Abraham] sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Only in this way, could the genuinely faithful be separated from those who would only serve God for the immediate gratifications He might give them.
THE TRIALS OF LIFE HELP PREPARE US FOR HEAVEN
The difficulties of life actually help us. God uses the trials of life, not only to test our motives and characters, but also to help us prepare for heaven!
Psalm 119:71—“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.”
Here are several Bible passages which show this:
1 Peter 4:12-13—“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
1 Peter 1:7—“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 11:24-26—“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
The apostle Paul clearly recognized the purifying power of problems.
Romans 5:3-5—“We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
God even predicted that His people would experience many sufferings.
Daniel 11:33—“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.”
Our sufferings help purify our hearts and prepare us for heaven.
Daniel 11:35—“And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end.”
Hebrews 12:10—“For they [parents] verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He [God] for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.”
Count the sufferings you may experience as nothing,—but look at the exceedingly far greater reward that you will receive, if you prove loyal to God:
2 Corinthians 4:17—“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
Revelation 2:10-11—“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried . . Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life . . He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”
James 1:12—“Blessed is the man that endureth temptations, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”
So you can see why we are told this:
2 Timothy 3:12—“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Hebrews 11:35-38—“Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy). They wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
When we suffer, our God is with us to strengthen us to endure.
Job 34:28—“He heareth the cry of the afflicted.”
Isaiah 43:2—“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and walkest through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
Psalm 46:1—“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
2 Corinthians 1:4—“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Romans 8:28—“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”
John 16:33, 20—“In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.” “Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice, and ye shall be sorrowful,—but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
1 John 5:4—“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
Revelation 12:11—“And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Hebrews 12:1-2—“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
James 5:11—“Behold, we count them happy which endure.”
Matthew 10:22—“He that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Revelation 14:12—“Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
SIN IS THE BIG PROBLEM
let Satan divert your attention from the real danger. Our selfish
grumbling and blaming God for every little thing—keeps us from Him. It
is sin which is our problem, not God.
Isaiah 59:2—“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”
The Bible clearly identifies sin. It is the transgression of God’s holy law.
1 John 3:4—“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
The misery in our world is not caused by God. It comes from living outside of obedience to the Ten Commandments. We have all sinned; and when we sin against God, we bring misery to others and trouble to ourselves. Ultimately, those sins lead to death.
Romans 3:23—“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
James 1:15—“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Romans 6:23—“The wages of sin is death.”
It is an interesting fact that, as soon as Adam and Eve chose to sin in the Garden of Eden,—they blamed God for what happened (Gen 3:12-13)! We cannot solve our difficulties until we stop casting blame on our heavenly Father for our actions and the actions of others.
Instead of complaining, we need to come to Him, in heartfelt repentance, and plead for mercy and forgiveness. He will not turn us away when we do this!
Eternal death is not something that God wants for anyone. He wants to save everyone on earth and help them live better, happier lives. He wants to finally take us to heaven to live with Him throughout eternal ages.
Satan knows that, as long as he can cause us to find fault with God for most everything that happens,—he, the devil, will maintain control over our lives.
Romans 1:21—“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
One of the reasons why people blame God for the misery in this life—is because God does not put an end to it. Yet the very reason it continues is because He is giving us extra time in which to return to Him, so we can be saved! If He suddenly put a stop to what is happening in this sinful world, everyone who had not returned to Him would perish without having had a full opportunity to do so.
2 Peter 3:9—“The Lord is not slack [slow] concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
By His angels and His Holy Spirit, God is pleading with everyone to find shelter in Him before it is too late.
Ezekiel 18:32—“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”
Revelation 22:17—“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
CHRIST’S SUFFERINGS WERE GREATER THAN OURS
Rather than casting blame on Christ, we should humbly acknowledge that His sufferings were greater than ours.
And He went through all that agony for us! For our sakes, He left heaven and came down to our dark world, so that we could be redeemed and live forever with Him above. Jesus Christ experienced the greatest sorrow of all! The Son of God lived a life of suffering and grief and died on the cross of Calvary, so you and I could return to God.
Isaiah 53:5—“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.”
Christ suffered far more throughout His earthly life than any of us will ever experience. Satan used every type of persecution and harassment to keep Him from going forward with the plan of atonement. Yet, for our sakes, Jesus steadfastly went all the way to the horrible death on the cross.
Our sins crucified the Son of God! Surely, we have much to repent of. Instead of blaming God, let us blame ourselves for our problems. When we blame God for anything, we please Satan; and he draws his chains the more closely about us.
Instead of faultfinding, let us praise our Redeemer! Christ would have experienced the agonies of Calvary for just one person. You are that person.
Luke 19:10—“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
John 3:16-20—“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
STRENGTH IN THANKFULNESS
It is not in blaming God, but in confessing and forsaking our sins and praising Him, that you and I can find a way out of the dark cave of despair.
Psalm 34:1—“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Psalm 145:2—“Every day will I bless Thee, and I will praise Thy name forever and ever.”
Revelation 12:11—“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”
It is when we thank God for everything that happens that we receive renewed strength to carry on. We only weaken ourselves when we accuse Him of wrongdoing.
Nehemiah 8:10—“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
I promise you that the more you thank God, the more you will have to thank Him for.
1 Thessalonians 5:18—“In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Ephesians 5:20—“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 4:6—“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.”
Psalm 66:16—“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.”
Psalm 34:2-3—“My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”
CHRIST WILL FINALLY DESTROY SATAN
Christ died on Calvary, not only to save us but to destroy Satan and his evil deeds.
1 John 3:5, 8— “And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin . . He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
Hebrews 2:14—“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
But when that final day comes that Christ destroys the devil, all those who have sullenly clung to the devil and voiced his accusations against God will also perish.
It is now that we want to begin praising God all the day long! For that is how the saints in heaven will spend eternity. Let us not dally in the devil’s camp, encouraging him with our complaining.
Revelation 5:13—“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”
Sin and sinners will finally come to an end, and their evil deeds will forever perish.
2 Peter 3:10—“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
Hellfire will end and everywhere throughout the universe there will be peace and happiness. No eternally burning hell will bring sadness to the hearts of God’s faithful ones.
Revelation 21:4—“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. For the former things are passed away.”
The wicked will perish and sin will never arise a second time.
Nahum 1:9—“What do ye imagine against the Lord? He will make an utter end. Affliction shall not rise up the second time.”
Revelation 21:4; 22:3—“There shall be no more death.” “And there shall be no more curse.”
PRECIOUS PROMISES IF YOU WILL COME
Just now, I invite you to come to the best Friend you could ever have. Here are several precious Bible promises written just for you. Claim each and every one. Make them your own.
On your knees, plead them before God. He will comfort, He will strengthen. He will make you His own child.
Romans 6:23—“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Exodus 34:6-7—“The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”
Matthew 1:21—“He shall save His people from their sins.”
Isaiah 53:6—“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Acts 16:31—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
2 Corinthians 6:2—“Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
John 1:12—“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
Galatians 2:20—“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
John 3:3—“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:17—“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Philippians 2:13—“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Hebrews 10:16—“I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.”
1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Philippians 4:13—“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Bible Facts About the Other Side of Death
Another charge made against God is that He brings terrible suffering to many people as soon as they die. It is said that their agony continues on, for centuries, for ages, forever!
But the Bible does not teach this horrible error. In order to properly understand the Bible truth about hell, we first need to find what the Scriptures teach about death itself.
As soon as a man dies, what happens to him? Does he fly around in the air? Does he go directly to hell or to heaven?
Let us find out.
A well-known American said to his medical advisers when he was eighty years old, "I’ll give you a million dollars for each year you can add to my life."
Louis XIV was the wealthiest king France ever had. One day, when he asked what was in a building he could see from his palace window, one of his courtiers replied, "Sir, that is the Church of Saint Denis where your royal ancestors lie buried." The king immediately gave orders to build another palace—the fabulous Versailles—southwest of Paris, so he would no longer see that building.
What is death? What is on the other side of death? The Bible has answers. Here they are:
WHY IS THERE DEATH?
When God made Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, did He plan that this sinless pair, created in His own image, should die? No, it was not His plan. God created man to live. But God did not purpose that man should live if he sinned.
1. Did God warn Adam and Eve ahead of time that they would die if they sinned?
"Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
As soon as man sinned, he would begin aging, dying, and committing more sins.
2. Satan, in the form of a serpent, lied to Eve. What did he tell her?
"Ye shall not surely die."
Eve believed Satan instead of believing God and ate the fruit. Adam joined her in disobedience. No sin is small; each is quickly followed by more.
3. What did God tell them?
"Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
God’s sentence on sin is death. To partake of the Tree of Life after that would mean eternal life in sin. But God did not let them do that—because the sentence of disobedience was death.
4. How did God prevent them from becoming immortal sinners?
"And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever; therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden . . So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
Because of sin, God has given each person a brief, probationary life of sixty or so years, to test his choices and actions—and then comes death.
IS MAN IMMORTAL?
Because mankind sins, mankind is mortal, subject to death.
So it is clear that man was originally created with the possibility of becoming immortal—and living forever. But he was not created with inherent immortality. He was subject to death, if he sinned. He did not have "natural immortality."
5. Is man immortal?
"Shall mortal man be more just than God . . his Maker?"
6. Who only has immortality?
"[God] who only hath immortality."
Only God has immortality; and the word, "immortal," is found only once in the Bible, and refers to God:
So we have these Bible facts about mortal and immortal:
1. Man is mortal (Job 4:17).
2. God is immortal (1 Tim 1:17).
3. God only has immortality (1 Tim 6:16).
4. Man must seek for immortality (Rom 2:7).
5. Immortality is brought to light through the gospel (2 Tim 1:10).
6. Immortality will be bestowed upon those who are redeemed at the second coming of Christ (1 Cor 15:51-55).
In view of all this Bible evidence, why is it that some people believe that man has innate, or "natural," immortality? If that were true, he would not die. Yet people are dying all about us.
HOW WAS MAN CREATED?
7. How was man created?
"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."
Let us follow the steps:
First, God made Adam’s body from the elements in the dust of the ground.
Second, God breathed, into Adam’s nostrils, the breath of life. There is no indication here of an "immortal spirit," and there never was a "spirit Adam." God simply breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life and he became alive—mortally live. Remember Genesis 3:22-24, quoted earlier. It was the Tree of Life that gave continuing immortality, and mankind had been barred from eating of it.
Third, "man became a living soul." Body plus breath of life equals a living soul. Notice that God did not breath a living soul into man, but He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man then became a living soul.
By itself, Adam’s body had no life, and no other created being could give it to him. But God could give him life, which He did. Adam’s body, although perfect in every way, was lifeless—until God breathed that life into him.
But the warning had been given him that if he sinned, he would die. All around us, we see that men have life, but then they get old and die.
Before he was made, Adam had no living soul. It came as a result of the union of his body and the breath of the "spirit of life," for "the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26).
WHAT ABOUT SOUL AND SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE?
The Hebrew and Greek words from which we translate our English words, soul and spirit, are found some 1,700 times in the Bible. Actually, the word, soul, as used in the Bible, does not always have exactly the same meaning. The same holds true for the word, spirit.
But this we know very clearly: Not once in the 1,700 places in the Bible, where the original words for soul and spirit are used,—are either of them said to be immortal, eternal, never dying, imperishable, indestructible, everlasting, or having immortality. In addition, not once are the dead represented as being capable of a conscious existence apart from the body.
WHAT ABOUT THE ANIMALS?
8. Do animals have "the breath of life?"
"They went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life."
So it is clear that animals also possess the breath of life, "the breath of the spirit of life" (Gen 7:22, margin). Neither animals nor man are immortal; they both die (Gen 7:21-22; Rev 16:3).
9.Are animals "living souls"?
"To every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life."
The word here for "life" is "living soul" in the original Hebrew (see Gen 1:30, margin).
So, according to the Bible, animals have living spirits and souls as man does.
Is man then a mere animal? No, indeed. Adam was the masterpiece of creation. Man is "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps 139:14), only "a little lower than the angels" (Ps 8:5).
CAN WE THEN BE SAVED?
How tragic it is that man, created with such high privileges and opportunities, fell into sin—and became subject to death! But God had a plan to save him.
10. What was God’s plan to save man from sin?
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Thank God for His inexpressible Gift! Through humble, sincere repentance for the sins which crucified Jesus Christ, and faith in Him, we can be accepted by the God of heaven—and enabled by grace to obey all that He asks of us in His Inspired Writings!
Is not that a most wonderful encouragement! There is hope for us! Through His enabling grace, we can be forgiven our sins and kept from falling back into them.
It takes the body and spirit of life—together—to make man a living soul. But it is not, by nature, an immortal soul. There is no such thing as a separate soul which can live apart from the body. Job refers to the breath of God within him: "The spirit of God is in my nostrils." Job 27:3.
Paul writes, "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess 5:23). The body and spirit of life make man a living soul. Christ came to save the entire man. To do this, we must let Him sanctify all there is of us—body, soul, and spirit.
It is the way of the cross which leads to immortality. Let us follow Jesus in His sufferings, wherever it may lead. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10.
By giving our life and all we have and are to Jesus—we will gain eternal life. "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosover will lose his life for My sake shall find it." Matthew 16:25. Jesus says to us, "Come, follow Me. Choose rather to die—than to sin." Through Christ, follow the narrow path to heaven and immortality.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A MAN DIES?
What happens after death? God has given us this information in His Book, the Bible.
11. What happened when man was created?
"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."
At that moment, man became a living, thinking, active being. Before then, he had not really existed.
During life, that breath remains in him. "The breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 33:4. "The spirit of God is in my nostrils." Job 27:3.
12. What happens when a man dies?
But, when a man dies, the opposite of what happened at creation occurs:
The breath of life departs and the body returns to the ground.
First, the breath of life departs. The "spirit of life," which God gives to all men, leaves that person.
Second,when the breath of life leaves it, the body returns to the ground.
A simple illustration will help explain this: The creation of man is like making a wooden box. The body is like the boards; the breath of life is like the nails. Put the nails into the boards, and you now have a box—which is like the living soul.
The death of man is the opposite: Remove the nails from the boards, and there is no more box.
Here it is from the Bible:
Creation: "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,
Death: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7.
IS MAN CONSCIOUS AFTER DEATH?
13. Is a man awake after he dies?
"His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."
Ecclesiastes 9:5—"The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything."
Ecclesiastes 9:10—"There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
14. Do his feelings and emotions cease also?
"Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished."
When a man dies, his thoughts and knowledge cease. His feelings and emotions cease also.
For any given man, his thinking and feelings did not exist until God breathed life into him. When the electric current is turned off, the bulb is still there but the light is gone. At death, everything stops.
WHAT IS DEATH?
Death is like sound sleep. That is what the Bible teaches. The dead are entirely unconscious. Death is called "sleep" fifty-four times in the Scriptures.
Few passages are more obvious than John 11:11-14, where Jesus carefully explains to His disciples that death is really a sleep.
15. How did Jesus describe death?
"Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep . . Howbeit Jesus spake of his death . . Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’ "
When Stephen was stoned to death, he "fell asleep" (Acts 7:60). Christ is called the firstfruits of them that slept (1 Cor 15:20); and in verse 51 Paul says, "We shall not all sleep." Elsewhere, he writes that he would not have them ignorant concerning them which are asleep.
16. Is there no awareness of anything in this sleep of death?
"For in death there is no remembrance of Thee."
Psalm 115:17—"The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence."
Ecclesiastes 9:5—"The dead know not anything."
Job 14:21—"His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them."
WHERE DID THE ERROR ORIGINATE?
Where then did mankind get this idea of "natural immortality"? It originated in ancient paganism. The Egyptians believed in the immortality of the soul, and gave the idea to the Greeks and Romans, who introduced it into Christianity in the third century A.D.
But, remember, this idea did not originate with the Egyptians, but with Satan. God originally said, "Thou shalt surely die" if you sin (Gen 2:17). But, to contradict it and encourage mankind to sin, Satan said, "Ye shall not surely die" if you sin (Gen 3:4). The teaching that sinners will not die came from the devil. Eve sinned because of that lie. Millions since then have feared and worshiped the dead.
But, as we have learned, the truth is that, to prevent sinners from becoming immortal, God barred the way to the Tree of Life as soon as man sinned (Gen 3:22-24).
We know, from ancient Christian records, that almost no Christians accepted natural immortality until it was brought from paganism into the Christian church through liberal apostate Christians in Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century A.D. In later centuries, many returned to the Bible truth on this subject, including such men as Martin Luther, Isaac Watts, and John Milton.
Is there no solution to the problem of death? Yes, there is! It is acceptance of Christ and the coming resurrection!
WHAT IS THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION?
Christ told His disciples that He would be raised to life (Matt 16:21), and afterward He was (Luke 24:39). The angel declared, "He is risen!" Mark 16:6, a wonderful Bible promise has been given to God’s children that, just as Christ rose from the dead to life, so those who believe in Him shall also rise to life!
"All that are in the graves shall . . come forth." John 5:28-29. "Christ . . the firstfruits of them that slept." 1 Corinthians 15:20. "Afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming." Verse 23.
17. What is the truth about the resurrection?
"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."
18. Will Paul and all God’s children receive their rewards then?
"Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."
The resurrection from the dead is the real hope of those who, when their beloved die, "sorrow not, even as others" (1 Thess 4:13). Christians who live to see the second coming of Christ will go to heaven "together with" the resurrected righteous. They will not prevent [in the Greek, go before] them which are asleep (1 Thess 4:15).
The promise is that those who die will not go to heaven before those who live to see Christ return in the clouds of heaven. "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Hebrews 11:40. Even a thousand years after the death of David, Paul said he was still not in heaven:
Indeed, Peter said that if there is not that resurrection,—then no Christians will go to heaven, and that is the end of it all (1 Cor 15:16-18)! Thank God that there will be a resurrection of the dead!
An actual bodily resurrection will occur at that time.
For the people of God who have died, the sleep of death will end at the resurrection; and, when raised to life, they will be caught up together with the living righteous to meet their Lord in the air—to be forevermore with Him.
19. Will our bodies be changed when Christ returns?
"[Christ] shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."
Man originally came from the dust of the earth; and, at the resurrection, he will arise from the dust again.
Man was originally created "a little lower than the angels" (Ps 8:5). But, after the second advent, it will be said of the redeemed:
WHAT WILL THE RESURRECTION BE LIKE?
Death is an enemy (1 Cor 15:26); but, on behalf of God’s faithful ones, it will be conquered at the second coming of Christ when He raises His beloved children from the dead. At that time, they will give a shout of victory over death!
20. When will we have victory over the grave and death?
"Behold, I shew 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.
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
"The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
HOW CAN WE RECEIVE THAT LIFE?
Sin brings death, not life. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. In Christ alone is salvation; in Him alone is life!
Christ is the pathway to life. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6. It is only through Christ that we can have that life. "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."John 3:16.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."
21. Who only can give us eternal life?
"This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
22. What must we do to receive that life?
"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
John 5:24—"He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
John 6:53—"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you."
We receive life by accepting and obeying Christ. Rejoice in the fact! There is life only in Christ; and, if we accept Christ and obey His Word, we can have that life!
In view of such a destiny, it is our solemn, but happy, duty to give our lives to God and serve Him all our earthly days.