Feb 10th, 2019
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 12 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we’re going to continue our series ruffling feathers and challenging preconceived ideas by covering what the Bible actually says about life after death after the time of Christ.
This is the third installment in this series and if you haven’t heard parts one and two then I would highly suggest you go back and listen to season 2 episodes 10 and 11 before you listen to this episode. For those of you that have heard the first two installments in this series a quick recap. In the first installment we talked about the nature of life after death before Christ where everyone righteous or not was captive to Death in Sheol or Hades and within that place there were two main areas; The Pit and Paradise. In part two we talked about what the Bible tells us Christ was up to from the point of His death until He ascended over a month later; going into Hades, taking the keys of Death and Hades, being resurrected, then splitting His time between visiting the Disciples and preaching the Gospel to the dead in Hades, and finally taking those from Hades that had become believers with Him when He ascended.
OK, so Death used to hold all who died captive in Sheol and Christ took away that power as Hosea 13:14 foretold He would, “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. Death, where are your barbs? Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.” After Christ then, no one would any longer go to Sheol when they die. Some have insinuated that this implies an immediate leaving of the body at death to either Heaven or Hell. However, you’d be hard pressed to find any scriptures that actually teach this concept.
In fact, when we look at 1 Corinthians 15 we see, starting in verse 20
“But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is Death.”
I invite you on your own time to go read all the way through 1 Corinthians 15. Were going to skip a few places where Paul goes off into some tangents that aren’t dealing directly with this life after death issue. But, please go back and read all of 1 Corinthians 15, fill in the spots we’re skipping. Were going to jump down from verse 26, where we just read to verse 35
“But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come? 36 You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow — you are not sowing the body that will be, but only a seed, just like wheat or another grain. 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; 43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; 44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.”
That was verse 46, now we’re jumping down to verse 50
“What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 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 will be changed. 53 For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. 54 When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
55 Where, death, is your victory?
Where, death, is your sting?
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
And 2 Peter 3:13 tells us, “...based on (Christ’s) promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”
The Bible does support that the dead sleep until the return of Christ during a time of distress the like of which the nations of the world have never known before recorded in Daniel 12 and 1 Thessalonians 4 where the dead in Christ awaken and rise to meet Christ in the air then the living in Christ join them. After this, according to Revelations 7, those who rise in this “rapture” are given white robes and palm branches and have a praise and worship session. After this we find in Revelations 20 that Jesus returns to the Earth with all those who were martyred for Christ and reigns over the Earth for one-thousand years with those martyrs while Lucifer is locked away in chains deep in The Abyss.
At the end of this thousand years Lucifer is released long enough to marshall an army from the four corners of the Earth whose number is like the sand of the sea. They surround the remaining encampment of the righteous and are consumed by fire from heaven presumably destroying the world and Lucifer is cast into the lake of fire and sulfur to be tormented day and night forever. It is then that everyone else who has ever lived is resurrected, and we have what Isaiah 25 calls a “feast of choice meat, a feast with aged wine, prime cuts of choice meat, fine vintage wine.” (Just a side note for the vegetarians out there, it doesn’t look like you guys are gunna have any luck in the resurrection. It looks like there’s just going to be meat and wine. But, that’ll be fine, it won’t be your corruptible body anymore…) The books of judgement are opened and all are judged according to their works; receiving rewards for the good, and Christ wiping away every tear. When this judgement is completed the Book Of Life is opened, those whose names are found in it are gathered and those who are not are sent away to the only place for them to go at this point, the lake of fire.
2 Peter 3 and Revelations 21 tells us that Heaven, and the universe join Earth in destruction and a new Heaven, and new Earth are created to replace them. Those whose names were found in the Book Of Life live on the new Earth where there is no more death, sorrow, crying, pain, or, even according to Jesus in Matthew 22, Mark 12 , and Luke 20, any marriage either. There will be nations led by kings, but no night and no sun as God will be living on Earth in the city of New Jerusalem, called the bride of Christ, and God will be the light the world.
When you walk through it scripturally like that, it’s a far cry from the narrative told at funerals and in a lot of churches. But it’s our responsibility as believers to study to show ourselves approved. If there’s teachings in The Church that don’t align with scripture that we accept without question, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”