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KJV = King James Version
NIV = New International Version
NWT = New World Translation
RSV = Revised Standard Version
...according to Jesus
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38 NIV
Victory over Death
Enemies of the Hope
Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10
Door to Heaven Closed in 1935?
How Far Will Some Go in Denying Jesus' Words?
Does the Soul or Spirit Survive?
Christ Opens the Way to Heaven
Does God resurrect YOU?...
...or re-create a perfect copy?
Jesus Reveals Secret Information
According to Jesus
"...a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
"JESUS didn't say that! Did he?"
We don't often hear people quoting Jesus' words all of Jesus' words about life after death. Just the portion of his words that we want to hear. Not his complete message.
Yes, some love to quote John 17:3 from Christ's prayer to the Father, "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ." (NWT) And others love to quote John 3:16, "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." (KJV) But, how often do we hear, "the rich man died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, he existing in torments..." (Luke 16:23-24 NWT)? Or, "woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24, NIV)?
We inscribe bronze plaques with, "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." (John 11:25 KJV) But we leave buried in the back pages of our Bible,
I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
Revelation 2:21-23 NIV
Yes, it is right for Christians to focus on the thought that Jesus loves me because he does! But it is wrong for Christians to preach only Jesus loves me, because the message that he preached did not focus on that, and the message that he sent us to preach does not focus on that.
The apostle Paul faithfully preached the whole message of Christ, even if his audience found the hard part of that message distasteful:
Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.
As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." Acts 24:24-25, NIV
We, too, ought to preach the whole story, the complete message of Christ, the harsh words along with the gentle, the bitter along with the sweet.
Some today balk at exposing false religion and denouncing cultic trends within the church. But faithfulness to Jesus' message requires us, at times, to speak as strongly as he did when he said to some, "Woe to you...hypocrites!...blind guides...Serpents, offspring of vipers, how are you to flee from the judgment of Gehenna?" (Matthew 23:13-33 NWT)
If we shy away from part of Christ's message if it is embarrassing for us to read it, much less to preach it then we ought to give serious consideration to his warning against that very attitude:
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 NIV)
What, then, did Jesus say about death and the hereafter?
Victory over Death
JESUS spoke often about death and dying. While words referring to life or living or being alive occur roughly 150 times in the Gospels, words that speak of the dead, death or dying appear more than 100 times. Christ's emphasis may have been on life, but a substantial portion of his message dealt with death.
Such a statistical analysis, however, is somewhat misleading. Why? Because of the very unusual context surrounding Jesus' references to life. A closer look reveals that most of those references speak of life after death: people coming to life, gaining life, receiving eternal life.
So, Christ's frequent mention of death did not impart a morbid, negative tone to his message. To the contrary, his message was a gospel message, meaning good news the good news of life triumphing over death.
And, besides vigorously preaching this message, Jesus actually demonstrated what he was talking about. He added credibility to the otherwise unbelievable by raising up the twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus who had just died (Mark 5:22-43, Luke 8:41-56), by stopping the pallbearers at a young man's funeral and commanding the corpse to live again (Luke 7:11-15), and then by summoning Lazarus from the tomb after he had been dead and buried four days. (John 11:1-45)
As if that were not enough, Jesus allowed himself to be publicly executed, certified dead by the Roman authorities, and buried in a sealed tomb guarded by soldiers only to rise from the grave on the third day and show himself alive in private and public appearances to hundreds of people, finally ascending heavenward before the eyes of assembled witnesses.
What a cause for joy! especially since he had recently promised those same witnesses, "I am going there to prepare a place for you," and, "I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2-3 NIV) Not just those eye-witnesses, but also all "those putting faith in me through their word" would end up "where I am...with me, in order to behold my glory." (John 17:20-24 NWT)
Who would not want to embrace that wonderful hope? Yet, strange as it may seem, some have reacted with hostility to Christ's words and deeds.
Enemies of the Hope
Many of the mourners who saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead responded by putting faith in Christ. "But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done." (John 11:46 KJV) Unbelievably, those religious leaders saw the whole incident as a threat to their position of power and influence. They sought to squelch the message Christ preached, ultimately by killing him. Moreover, to destroy the evidence "the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death." (John 11:47-12:10 KJV).
The Scriptures mention Lazarus no more, but Jesus was indeed put to death by these enemies of his powerful message. When he then thwarted their efforts by means of a resurrection even more spectacular than that of Lazarus, they again sought to cover up the facts:
...some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.
When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, `His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."
So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
Matthew 28:11-15 NIV
How sad that any would want to cover up the facts! to hide from people the events in connection with Jesus that confirm his wonderful promises of everlasting life! Could some, for selfish reasons, go so far as to deprive others of that wonderful hope? Yes, Jesus had already said of such men, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." (Matthew 23:13 NIV)
Similarly today, there are some who to preserve their own position and power in organized religion obscure Jesus' words, reinterpret his message, and turn men away from the hope he purchased for them with his precious blood. (Others, too, find portions of Scripture difficult to understand, and they are not to be faulted for that. Recall how patient Jesus was with the apostles who had difficulty grasping the significance of what their own eyes saw.)
For example, Jesus said concerning "his body" that "I will raise it again in three days" (John 2:19-21 NIV), but some modern religious leaders contradict him by declaring, "God disposed of Jesus' body" (The Watchtower November 15, 1991, page 31)
The risen Christ offered proof, saying, "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself..." (Luke 24:39 NWT) but they contradict this, saying, "...to convince Thomas of who He was, He used a body with wound holes." (page 145, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982 and 1989, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society)
Their reasoning is, "Having given up his flesh for the life of the world, Christ could never take it again..." (...Live Forever...,page 143), but Jesus himself said the opposite: "...I lay down my life for the sheep...I lay down my life only to take it up again...I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." (John 10:15-18 NIV)
Just as such teachers contradict what Jesus said would happen to him, so they also twist what the Bible says about death and the resurrection as it applies to the rest of us.
The Watchtower Society's book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth asks, "What Happens at Death?" and answers that death is a "state of nonexistence a state of complete unconsciousness" and "the dead cannot do anything and cannot feel anything. They no longer have any thoughts." (pages 76-77) To prove that "the Bible shows this" to be the actual condition of the dead, the book refers to Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 ("For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not any thing there is no work nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."). Then it turns to Psalm 146:3-4 for proof that when "earthling man" dies, "His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish." The book italicizes in each passage the key words that seem to indicate a state of unconscious nonexistence for the dead.
Is that what the Bible writers meant to say? Reading, not just verses 3 and 4, but all ten verses of Psalm 146 together makes clear that the Psalmist is not speaking about the condition of the dead at all. Rather, he is contrasting the hope enjoyed by those who trust in God with the false hope of those who trust in human leaders. While "the LORD shall reign for ever" (vs. 10) to accomplish His will, the human prince dies and with him dies all that he had thought or intended to do. On the day of his death "his plans perish," as the Revised Standard Version renders the last words of verse 4; "all his schemes perish" (Jerusalem Bible). In their proper context, verses 3 and 4 of Psalm 146 do not teach that the dead are unconscious.
THOSE who twist Scripture frequently alter the flavor of Bible verses by slicing them out of the meat of God's Word and sandwiching them into the middle of their own discussion.|
Smothered with spicy arguments and enclosed between layers of crusty theology, verses imported into such a "scripture sandwich" taste quite different than when found in their proper context in the Bible. Avoid such spiritual junk-food; instead, read the Bible itself to "taste and see that the Lord is good." (Ps. 34:8)
Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10
The lesson of Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10, on the other hand, is distorted in a different manner the same way a famous surgeon misused Scripture in a news conference announcing the first heart transplant. Exchanging hearts should be acceptable to Bible believers, Dr. Christian Barnard explained, because Scripture says that a man would give "skin for skin" to stay alive. Reporters failed to note, however, that those were Satan's words. (See Job 2:4.)
The words at Ecclesiastes 9:5 declaring that "the dead know nothing" (RSV), are not quoting Satan, but they do express a skeptic's hopeless despair. The entire book of Ecclesiastes is written in a sort of point-counterpoint style expressing such hopelessness and discouragement, and then eventually responding to this with positive expressions of faith. To take verses 5 and 10 as the final word on the matter would be akin to reading Luke's account of the temptation in the wilderness and then building doctrine on what the devil said rather than on Christ's response.
Those who try quoting Ecclesiastes 9:5 to prove the dead are unconscious should be invited to look at the rest of the verse and the immediate context. It goes on to state that those who die have no reward, no future a thought obviously at odds with the rest of the Bible (Compare Revelation 11:18.) Verse 2 says that "one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil." (RSV) Clearly, this is the skeptic's negative viewpoint, not God's view. The book of Ecclesiastes later concludes by refuting these thoughts with the positive assurance that "man goes to his eternal home the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God" who "will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:5, 7, 14 RSV)
|Door to heaven closed in 1935?|
Watchtower leaders expect to go to heaven themselves but consign their followers to everlasting life here on earth. They teach, essentially, that the door to heaven was closed in 1935:
Other words often quoted to prove that the soul perishes at death are found at Ezekiel 18:4: "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (KJV) Taken out of context, these words do indeed seem to say that, but what do they say in their proper context? The surrounding verses reveal that verse 4 is not even discussing what happens at death:
The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 18:1-9, KJV).
When read in its full context, the point is simply that the man who sins is the one who will die, and the man who obeys God is the one who will live. The passage does not address the issue of whether or not there is an afterlife. Why does verse 4 appear to do so when partially quoted out of context? The answer involves the usage of the word soul.
The empty tomb of Jesus Christ is one of the most powerful pictorial statements ever made. What is its meaning? The angel explains: "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." Matthew 28:6 NIV
But according to The Watchtower of November 15, 1991, the empty tomb means that "God disposed of Jesus' body, not allowing it to see corruption and thus preventing its becoming a stumbling block to faith." (p. 31)
An earlier Watchtower explained how this disposal allegedly took place, saying that Jesus' body "was disposed of by Jehovah God, dissolved into its constituent elements or atoms." Sept. 1, 1953, p. 518
|Jesus told ahead of time what would happen to his body.
He said, "I will raise it again in three days." (John 2:19-21 NIV)
"I will raise it up." (RSV)
"I will raise it up." (NWT)
The Watchtower Society has long claimed that "the man Jesus is dead, forever dead" (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 5, p. 454) even though the Bible says plainly that our one mediator is "a man, Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. 2:5 NW)
The Society's reasoning is, "Having given up his flesh for the life of the world, Christ could never take it again and become a man once more." You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, p. 143
But Jesus himself said,
"I lay down my life for the sheep I lay down my life only to take it up again. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." John 10:14-18 NIV
Does the Soul or Spirit Survive?
Those who argue that the dead are annihilated totally gone out of existence often focus their arguments on the Hebrew and Greek words translated soul and spirit. At first glance, their arguments may appear to succeed. The reason for this is that, just as in English, the original-language words vary in meaning depending on context. When secular newspapers refer to a homeless person as a "poor soul," they mean an unfortunate individual, without intending any reference to an immaterial inner being. And when they say that those who gave to charity displayed a "spirit of generosity," the reference is to a quality rather than to an angel, demon, or ghost. Yet those same English words are used to convey those other meanings in different contexts.
The same is true in the Bible's use of the Hebrew and Greek words for soul and spirit. When Luke writes at Acts 27:37, "we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls" (KJV), he means simply "people" or "individuals" nothing more. When the Psalmist writes, "the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul" (Psalm 86:14 KJV), he means simply that they wanted to take his life to kill him. So, soul can be a person or a person's life. But do such examples prove that the soul is never an immaterial thing that survives the death of the body, as some religious authorities claim?
What is the flaw in their argument? Well, suppose we find in the rurals of some undeveloped country an illiterate peasant who has never seen the president of the United States, not even on TV or in newspaper photos. We could tell him that the president never wears a white shirt, and we could "prove" our point by showing him dozens of photos of the president in jogging sweats, in plaid sport shirts, in a bathrobe, etc. We might convince our victim, but we are only deceiving him. What is the flaw in our "proof"? The fact that we are hiding other photos that prove us wrong.
Similarly, while there are many Bible verses where the words for soul and spirit do not refer to an immaterial thing that survives the death of the body, there are other verses where that is exactly what is meant.
One unmistakable example is found at Revelation 6:9-11, where even the Watchtower Society's New World Translation fails to hide the truth. This passage speaks of "the souls of those slaughtered" and says that they "cried with a loud voice" and received an answer to their appeal:
And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those slaughtered because of the word of God and because of the witness work that they used to have. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: "Until when, Sovereign Lord holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?" And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number was filled also of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they also had been.
Revelation 6:9-11 New World Translation
They had been killed, but their souls were alive in heaven. This should not come as a surprise, since Jesus said, "do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Matthew 10:28 NWT)
So, Jesus says the soul can survive the death of the body.
The souls at Revelation 6:9 receive a reward after death, but is punishment possible? Jesus said, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell [ = gehenna]" (Luke 12:5 KJV)
What about the spirit? The Watchtower Society claims man's spirit is an impersonal life force, like electricity, with no personality and no ability to think: "The spirit has no personality It cannot think it might be likened to the electric current of a car's battery." (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, page 39) Yet the Bible reveals just the opposite:
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?"
1 Corinthians 2:11 NIV
"Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking."
Mark 2:8 NIV
"The spirit is willing, but the body is weak"?
Mark 14:38 NIV
Can an impersonal, unthinking force 'know' thoughts and be 'willing'?
In heaven are found, not only "thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly," but also, "the spirits of righteous men made perfect." (Hebrews 12:22-23 NIV; NOTE: The Watchtower's New World Translation says "spiritual lives" here instead of "spirits," but the Watchtower's own Kingdom Interlinear Translation reveals under the Greek that the verse says "spirits.") How did these "spirits of righteous men" get to heaven? No doubt one of those among them is the disciple Stephen who died a martyr's death. Scripture explains, "While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'" (Acts 7:59 NIV)
The Old Testament, too, speaks of an immaterial part of man surviving the death of the body. When the "dust returns to the ground," "the spirit returns to God." (Ecclesiastes 12:7 NIV) Isaiah refers to "departed spirits." (26:14 NIV) The Hebrew word translated "departed spirits" is defined this way in Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (S. P. Tregelles, 1846; Eerdmans, 1969 printing):
manes, shades living in Hades, according to the opinions of the ancient Hebrews, void of blood and animal life, therefore weak and languid like a sick person (Isa. 14:10), but not devoid of powers of mind, such as memory
The same Hebrew expression reveals the existence of "spirits of the dead" in a number of other places in the Old Testament, such as Proverbs 2:18, "For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead." (Proverbs 2:18 NIV) Also, "The man who wanders out of the way of prudence shall rest in the congregation of departed spirits." (Proverbs 21:16 Pocket Interlinear Old Testament).
God commanded Isaiah to proclaim this taunt against the king of Babylon, telling him not only that he is about to die, but also that he will be conscious after death to receive this greeting in the abode of the dead: "The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you they will say to you, 'You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us.'" (Isaiah 14:9-10 NIV)
In fact, the Bible abounds with references to persons dying, yet continuing to exist in a conscious state apart from their bodies. God commanded the Jews not to call up the dead. (Deuteronomy 18:11) It also records the fact that Saul violated this command and had Samuel called up:
"Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me." (1 Samuel 28:3, 15, 19)
The Watchtower argues that this was a demon impersonating the deceased prophet. Perhaps demons do impersonate dead loved ones at seances, but the Bible doesn't say that a demon spoke here. It calls the speaker Samuel.
In any case, the Bible does make it clear that the dead live on, invisible to us. Before Christ accomplished his work on the cross, it appears that the departed spirits of all who died went to a place called "hell" not the popular mythological kingdom ruled over by a red Devil with pitchfork and tail, but an underworld called sheol in Hebrew or hades in Greek.
Without Christ's redemption, even the 'good' could not go to heaven. During his earthly ministry Jesus explained, "No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven the Son of Man." (John 3:13 NIV) The patriarch Jacob expected to go to sheol at death. (Genesis 37:35 Pocket Interlinear Old Testament) Jesus himself, during the interval between his death and the resurrection of his body, apparently also went to hades. He was not "abandoned in hades" (Acts 2:31 Zondervan's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament) but while there he preached "to the spirits in prison." (1 Peter 3:19)
Very little was said about sheol or hades in Scripture, until Jesus gave his parable of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus:
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Luke 16:19-31 KJV
The parable shows the departed spirits of both the rich man and Lazarus ending up in hades but on the opposite sides of a "great gulf" separating hades into two realms. The rich man is "tormented" in what he refers to as "this place of torment." In the other realm of hades the beggar finds himself in the company of the deceased patriarch Abraham, and he is "comforted" there. This, apparently, is the "paradise" Jesus promised to the repentant evildoer nailed up next to him at the crucifixion: "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43 KJV)
According to the Watchtower Society this parable is completely symbolic and reveals nothing at all about the afterlife. (Abraham represents God, the rich man represents the Jewish religious leaders, Lazarus represents followers of Jesus, and their deaths represent changes that took place when God transferred his favor from the former to the latter. The Jewish leaders "suffered torments when Christ's followers exposed their evil works." You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, page 89) Yet, even if that were the lesson Jesus intended to teach through the parable, what about the story he used to illustrate it? Jesus' other parables all use true-to-life circumstances to illustrate a point or to teach a lesson. People really did dig in fields and hide buried treasure, prodigal sons really did leave home and squander their money, employers really did hire men to work in vineyards, and so on. Reasonably then, regardless of any symbolic meaning that might also be attached to it, the story of the rich man and Lazarus would also be based on realistic events: some people such as Abraham and Lazarus are rewarded in the afterlife, while others such as the rich man find themselves in a place of torment.
Christ Opens the Way to Heaven
Jesus pointed forward to the time when "many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 8:11 KJV) By the time the letter to the Hebrews was written, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had apparently been taken to heaven, to the "city" God had prepared for them: "they were longing for a better country a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:16 NIV) What city? "heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God," home of "the spirits of righteous men made perfect." (Hebrews 12:22-23 NIV)
How did they get from sheol or hades to heavenly Jerusalem? Many interpret these verses as indicating that Christ did not leave hades alone but took with him Abraham and others:
"When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."
(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
Ephesians 4:8-10 NIV
However, that passage is rather obscure and difficult to interpret dogmatically. In any case, by the time Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, paradise and its inhabitants were no longer found in hades but rather in "the third heaven." (2 Cor. 12:2-4)
Believers in Christ today can be confident that "the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence." Our bodies may be "wasting away" and may even be "destroyed," but we will end up "in heaven...clothed with our heavenly dwelling" where we will be "away from the body and at home with the Lord." (2 Cor. 4:14-5:8 NIV)
Christians alive on earth when Christ returns will find their bodies "changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye," their "perishable" bodies being clothed "with the imperishable." (1 Cor. 15:51-53 NIV) At the same time those who had been at home with the Lord as departed spirits will experience a bodily resurrection:
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:42-58 NIV
We should humbly admit that "what we will be has not yet been made known." (1 John 3:2 NIV) But the Bible assures us that when Christ appears "we shall be like him." (1 John 3:2) The Apostle Paul expected at death "to depart and be with Christ." (Philippians 1:23 NIV) This appears to be different from the resurrection which does not take place until "the coming of the Lord" when "the dead in Christ will rise first." (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 NIV)
A QUESTION FOR BELIEVERS:
Does God resurrect YOU?
The biblical view is that an invisible part
of youyour soul or spiritsurvives the death of your body. ("fear not them which kill the
body, but are not able to kill the soul"Matthew 10:28 KJV) It is still YOU. Later, YOU
receive a glorified resurrected body, like Jesus.
If told, "Your double will live on in your place," how satisfying would that be?|
Yet that is the 'hope' offered to Jehovah's Witnesses by their leaders.
Or re-create a perfect copy?|
|The Watchtower teaching is that YOU vanish into nothingnesstotally gone. God later "brings a new body forth from the earthly elements, and in that body he places the same characteristics, the same distinctive qualities, the same memory, the same life pattern that the person had built up until the time of his death."The Watchtower June 1, 1959, p. 333||
In the Watchtower view the resurrected person is just a duplicate of the
person who diednot the same soul or spirit with a new body.
The Watchtower Society admits that
"someone may say, 'is he really the same person? Is he not just a copy?'" (Is This Life All
There Is? p. 172) The Society argues, essentially, that it doesn't make any difference, since
our molecules replace themselves constantlyan argument that avoids the real issue.
Jesus Reveals Secret Information
UNLIKE presumptuous religious leaders who have proclaimed their teachings as "new light," only to discard those ideas after a while and come up with other contradictory "new light," Jesus Christ really did shed new light from God. This was, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 13:35 KJV) Much of the information Jesus revealed touches on the afterlife the heavenly reward awaiting his disciples and the punishment in store for the wicked.
He revealed that all who hear the Gospel and put faith in Christ will end up in heaven with him to behold his glory. (John 17:20, 24; Hebrews 12:23) "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3 KJV)
Jesus also had more to say about punishment after death than anyone else in the Bible. "And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him." (Luke 12:4-5)
Proclamation of the Gospel was "Good News," but it also made mankind more responsible in God's sight. "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31 NIV)
This was indeed something new, both for the Gentiles who had been left largely without knowledge of the true God prior to this, and for the Jews who were being called from a distant organizational relationship with God the Father to come individually into a closer, more personal relationship through the Son. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6 KJV)
Jesus was the kindest, most loving man ever to walk the earth. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 KJV) His love drew people to him, wherever he went even hardened prostitutes and macho soldiers.
How, though, can we reconcile this with the unbelievably serious consequences of rejecting that love?
Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:28-29 NIV
The punishment for rejecting Christ is more severe than simply dying without mercy. Does the context soften this?
And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:24-29 NIV
This is, without doubt, a warning not to be ignored. Yet it should not leave any of us with an unhealthy fear of God a fear that God might be cruel, unfair, unloving.
Would God the Father or Jesus Christ take someone you love and inflict pain unmercifully on that person, tormenting them without letup, ignoring their desperate pleas, hurting them repeatedly and continually, for ever and ever? Even those who know God personally, who feel his love, and who know that "God is love" (1 John 4:8), and who know that he is the one who teaches us to love even we may fear for others. But to assure our hearts in this, he had recorded in his Word the fears that Abraham entertained when he heard of the punishment about to be inflicted on the city of Sodom. God patiently put up with a lengthy cross-examination by Abraham, finally assuring him that the Judge of all the earth will indeed do what is right, what is fair, and what is good. (Compare Genesis 18:23-33)
If the thought of some receiving punishment after death troubles us, the solution does not lie in denying the Bible's inspiration, nor in explaining-away Jesus' words by distorting their meaning. Rather, the solution lies in trusting God. After all, that is what faith really means: not getting God to answer all of our questions, but putting our trust in God even in matters we find difficult to understand.
Jesus taught that childlike trust is required of us: "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:17 NIV) Instead of approaching the matter like scholars trying to understand God, we need to get down on our knees and take hold of His hand the way a little toddler trustingly holds onto his or her father's hand, securely confident that Dad has everything under control.
Moreover, as we read Jesus' words on the subject of what happens after death, we need to attach significance, not only to what he says but also to what he leaves unsaid. Much of the controversy that has upset and divided sincere believers on these issues stems from attempts to fill in the gaps attempts to 'clarify' or 'clear up' the aspects that Jesus leaves 'unclear.'
These human efforts range from highly intellectual efforts at theological essays, sprinkled with Greek words and other words that might as well be Greek to most readers to works of fiction (Christian novels) that some today rely on for their theology to works of art picturing horned red devils sticking pitchforks into tormented victims.
But, did it ever occur to such theological deep thinkers that Christ left certain matters unclear full of annoying information gaps because he wanted to? Although a parent sometimes tells a child, "If you leave the yard again, I'll send you to your room for the rest of the day," there are other times when a parent intentionally leaves the penalty for disobedience much less specific. "If you leave the yard again, you'll have to face your father when he comes home!" "If you leave the yard again, you'll wish you didn't!" So, can't we allow our heavenly Father to take the same approach?
Of course he could have made it very clear what would happen to the dead the good and the bad. If modern writers can spell it out clearly in black and white, as many indeed have done in books reflecting various persuasions, certainly the Author of the New Testament could have found the right words, too. He could have removed all ambiguities and spelled it all out. At the very least, he could have selected a chapter from one of the many books on the market today and canonized that chapter as part of inspired Scripture. Then none of us would be left wondering exactly what happens to the dead.
Another important consideration is the fact that Jesus spoke to us in three different ways in Scripture:
(1) Literally, using what we would call "straight talk." He generally spoke this way to his disciples in private.
(2) In parables, or stories with moral lessons. This is the way he often spoke to crowds of onlookers.
(3) Symbolically, in signs. This sort of presentation characterized the Apocalypse or Revelation which we find at the end of our Bibles today.
Confusing Jesus' three forms of speech is a serious mistake, but one often made.
If Jesus says that wicked men are put outside in the dark to weep and gnash their teeth, should we turn this into a picture of children undergoing fiendish torture? If our sensibilities are offended by our concept of hell and who goes there, then perhaps our concept is wrong.
Just as some deny what the Bible says about punishment after death, there are other religious people who go overboard in the opposite direction, allowing their imagination to run wild with sadistic glee as they picture devils with pitchforks having a grand time inflicting every brutal torture imaginable on helpless men, women, and children. This approach is every bit as unscriptural as the course JWs take. Revelation 20:10 makes it plain that the devil himself is among those undergoing punishment not ruling over an evil empire in hell.
One final point that needs to be made in this introduction is that Jesus spoke to us to common people not to professors, clergymen, doctors of theology, or any special class of Bible interpreters. If he intentionally bypassed the priests at Jerusalem's temple and the teachers in the synagogues, choosing instead to speak directly to fishermen, tax collectors, and prostitutes how could we possibly think he meant for our generation to receive his words as interpreted and explained by some spiritual elite?
When today's dock worker, truck driver, or tax accountant picks up the Gospels and reads them, the impression they receive from Christ's words is the impression he meant for them to receive. If they end up with a different impression after discussing and studying Scripture with so-called learned men, that is the wrong impression.
Jesus himself said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." (Matthew 11:25 NIV) Any human author can write with rarely-used words and complex sentence structure, so that only the well-educated reader will understand, but God did something much more difficult: He had his message presented in such a way that the well-educated reader would have no advantage; rather, the simple-minded reader with childlike trust would be the one more likely to grasp the message.
After Death What?...according to Jesus
According to Jesus:
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4 KJV
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
(Matthew 5:3-12, KJV).
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:20, NIV).
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. [ = gehenna]
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. [ = gehenna]
(Matthew 5:29-30, NIV).
13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14, NIV).
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(Matthew 7:21-23, KJV).
Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 8:10-12, KJV).
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
(Matthew 10:14-15, KJV Compare Mark 6:11).
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. [ = gehenna]
(Matthew 10:28, NIV).
40 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.
41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.
42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
(Matthew 10:40-42, NIV).
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell [ = hades] : for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
(Matthew 11:21-24, KJV).
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
(Matthew 12:32, KJV).
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
(Matthew 12:36-37, KJV).
41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
(Matthew 13:41-43, NIV).
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 13:49-50, KJV).
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
(Matthew 16:25-27, KJV).
The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.
(Matthew 17:22-23, KJV).
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell [ = gehenna] fire.
(Matthew 18:8-9, KJV).
28 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
(Matthew 19:28-29, NIV).
18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
(Matthew 20:18-19, KJV).
23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
(Matthew 20:23, KJV).
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 22:13, KJV).
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
(Matthew 22:30-32, KJV).
14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell [ = gehenna] than yourselves.
(Matthew 23:14-15, KJV).
33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell [ = gehenna] ?
(Matthew 23:33, NIV).
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 24:44-51, KJV).
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
(Matthew 25:23, KJV).
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 25:30, KJV).
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
(Matthew 25:34, KJV).
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
(Matthew 25:41, KJV).
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
(Matthew 25:46, KJV).
24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
(Matthew 26:24, NIV).
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
(Matthew 26:64, KJV).
31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
(Mark 9:31, KJV).
41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
42 "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell [ = gehenna], where the fire never goes out.
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell [ = gehenna].
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell [ = gehenna],
48 where "`their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'
(Mark 9:41-48, NIV).
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
(Mark 10:29-30, KJV).
34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
(Mark 10:34, KJV).
25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
(Mark 12:25-27, KJV).
4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell [ = gehenna]; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
(Luke 12:4-5, KJV).
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
(Luke 12:43-48, KJV).
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
(Luke 13:27-28, KJV).
19 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24 So he called to him, `Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
25 "But Abraham replied, `Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
27 "He answered, `Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house,
28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
29 "Abraham replied, `They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
30 "`No, father Abraham,' he said, `but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
31 "He said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
(Luke 16:19-31, NIV).
1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.
2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied round his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
(Luke 17:1-2, NIV).
34 Jesus replied, "The people of this age marry and are given in marriage.
35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage,
36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection.
37 But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord `the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'.
38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."
(Luke 20:34-38, NIV).
43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
(Luke 23:43, NIV).
46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
(Luke 23:46, NIV).
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
(Luke 24:38-39, KJV).
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
(John 2:19, KJV).
12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
13 No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaventhe Son of Man.
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:12-16, NIV).
21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.
22 Moreover, the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
23 that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.
24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice
29 and come outthose who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.
(John 5:21-29, NIV).
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
(John 6:39-40, NIV).
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 6:54, KJV).
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
(John 10:17-18, KJV).
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
(John 11:25-26, KJV).
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. ... Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
(John 13:33-36, KJV).
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
(John 14:2-6, KJV).
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
(John 14:18-19, KJV).
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
(John 16:28, KJV).
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;... Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
(John 17:20, 24, KJV).
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
(John 20:27, KJV).
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [ = hades] and of death.
(Revelation 1:18, KJV).
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
(Revelation 2:7, KJV).
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
(Revelation 2:10, KJV).
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
28 And I will give him the morning star.
29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
(Revelation 2:23-29, KJV).
4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
(Revelation 3:4-5, KJV).
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
(Revelation 3:19-21, KJV).
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
(Revelation 6:9-11, KJV).
John 6:60-64 NIV
"After Death What?...according to Jesus" Copyright © 1997 by Dave Reed.
Permission is granted to print, quote, translate, reproduce and distribute for any non-commercial, non-profit purpose, provided that the material is not altered or misrepresented; the author and copyright holder reserves the right to revoke such permission at his discretion.
Originally published as a 40-page booklet, ISBN 0-9637448-4-4, printed March 1997 in U. S. A. by Comments Publishing P.O. Box 819, Assonet, MA 02702. Illustration of disciples bowing before the risen Christ: a copyright-free wood engraving from a Nineteenth Century Bible found in The New Testament: A Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth-Century Sources Edited by Don Rice (Dover Publications, 1986). Cover illustration of Jesus © Metro Creative Graphics, Inc. Clipart © Corel Corp., Zedcor, Inc., Metro ImageBase, Inc., T/Maker, et al. Used with permission.