reply to post by NOTurTypical
Hope for Immortality?
Whether death strikes friends or family members, we experience the pain of loss. And we wonder: "Will we ever see them again?" When we consider
the inevitable end of life, we ask: "Is there any hope for the future?" The answer, thankfully, is: "Yes!" God Almighty—the Creator of life
itself—reveals our true hope in the Bible!
Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote: "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow
as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we
say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep" (1
Notice that Paul calls death a "sleep." He does not describe dead Christians as active or alive in heaven. Rather, they are "asleep," or
dead, until Christ’s Second Coming. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the
trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words" (vv. 16–18).
Once, when the Sanhedrin was interrogating Paul, he made the resurrection the major issue in his response: "But when Paul perceived that one
part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, ‘Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the
hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!’" (Acts 23:6).
Paul looked forward to the resurrection from the dead, at Christ’s return. He longed "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians
In Hebrews 11, often called the "faith chapter," we read of many heroes and heroines of the faith. Did they go to heaven at death? What does
Scripture say? "These all died in faith, not having received the promises [of eternal life, and of inheriting the earth], but having seen them afar
off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13). Later, we read: "And all
these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not
be made perfect apart from us" (vv. 39–40).
Faithful Christians who have died are waiting in the grave for the return of Christ! "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who
are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the
resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28–29, RSV).
This "resurrection of judgment" takes place after the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ and the saints (Revelation 20:5–6). Then comes the
White Throne Judgment—the time after the Millennium when spiritually blinded human beings, who have not previously come to the Truth, will be
resurrected and given their first genuine opportunity to truly accept Jesus’ sacrifice. Those who reject it will be cast into the lake of fire, to
Immortality: A Gift from God
We would remain dead, if God did not resurrect us. As human beings, we do not already have immortality! Immortality is a gift from God! "For the
wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23, KJV). If we already had immortality, we would
not need it as a gift of God. We receive the gift of immortality when we undergo a dramatic transformation at the resurrection.
Paul writes: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will 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 has put on incorruption, and this mortal has 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).
Yes, unless we have "put on" immortality through God’s gift at the resurrection, a soul can die! The prophet Ezekiel made this plain when he
wrote: "The soul who sins shall die!" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). The Hebrew word for "soul" is nephesh, which refers to physical life; it is the same
word used to describe animal life in Genesis 1:21.
"But that’s in the Old Testament," you may be thinking. "What does the New Testament say about the soul?" Jesus’ teaching was the same.
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul [Greek psuche, "life"] and
body in hell [gehenna fire]" (Matthew 10:28). Do you believe your Bible? Do you believe what Jesus said? God is able to destroy both soul and body in
The Bible plainly teaches that souls are mortal—not immortal. But God has a wonderful plan of salvation for all humanity—including you! He
wants you to be a part of His family for all eternity. God is love, and He has given you the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for your sins. Sin
brings the death penalty upon all of us. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans
Our sin has earned us the death penalty, but God sent His Son to pay that penalty, so we can be reconciled to God and redeemed by God. Through
His gift, we can walk in a new way of life, and have a new relationship with our Creator! Each of us was created in God’s likeness to have an
eternal and loving relationship with Him. But it is God who first demonstrated His love to us! Perhaps you are familiar with the precious "golden
verse" of the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have
everlasting life" (John 3:16).
God has created us in His own image—in His likeness. He wants to have a relationship with us, but we have separated ourselves from Him. "Your
iniquities have separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:2). Christians, however, have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, through
Christ’s shed blood. As Christians, we are no longer separated—we have direct access to God, through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Are you a person after God’s own heart? King David of Israel is another "hero of faith" mentioned in Hebrews 11. God called him a "man after
My own heart" (Acts 13:22). Has he gone to heaven, or is he still in the grave?
In the Kingdom of God, yet to come to this earth, King David will be the ruler over all the tribes and nations of Israel and Judah (cf. Ezekiel
37:24; Jeremiah 30:9). Certainly David should be in heaven, if the righteous go there the moment they die. Yet the Bible plainly shows that he is not
there! On the Day of Pentecost—the very day the New Testament Church was founded—the Apostle Peter said: "Men and brethren, let me speak freely
to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day" (Acts 2:29). After the death, burial, and
resurrection of Christ, David was still dead and buried! Peter went on to plainly state: "For David did not ascend into the heavens!" (v. 34). David
is awaiting the resurrection, as are all the other faithful saints!
Many religious people have been taught the false concept of the immortal soul, and as a result are frightened not only about their own future,
but for their friends and relatives who, they fear, are right now being tormented in an eternal hell. But the truth is that not one human being who
has ever lived and died is now suffering in hellfire!
Your Bible clearly refers to death metaphorically as a sleep. Jesus referred to His friend Lazarus’ death as a sleep (cf. John 11). The dead
have no consciousness. "For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The dead experience no conscious
passing of time. In the next split second of their consciousness, they will awaken in the resurrection.