Written by Kenneth Allan Clark. © copyright 2000 and 2011.
“Death And Resurrection” is the first half of the book “Death, Resurrection and The Last 10½ Years” before the second coming of Jesus Christ, written by Kenneth Allan Clark and first printed and published by Victorious Christian Ministries International in October 2000, reprinted and published in 2011.
Scripture taken from the “Clark's English Translation” © copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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It was in 1986, while sitting under the teaching of Pastor Mike Connell, that I first heard the truth about death and resurrection. Therefore much of what I have written in the first half of this book, I first heard from Pastor Mike. What Pastor Mike taught on this doctrine was so different to the teaching I had been brought up on, that this inspired me to daily search the scriptures and to read as many Christian books I could find on this subject;
“To see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
After much study, I had to agree, what Pastor Mike had taught me was a true account of what was written in the Scriptures.
I thank Pastor Mike, for loving first the truth and having the boldness and the good courage to share it.
Rev Ivan Dunnet of Hastings.
Although I was brought up believing in the pre-tribulation rapture, my research into death and resurrection drew me to very much doubt the pre-tribulation rapture theory. In 1989 Ivan Dunnet who regularly attended the home group I was running, brought along an article called “Exposing the pre-tribulation myth.” I was challenged by Ivan and the group to prepare a home group study on death, resurrection and the last days. I had ten weeks to prepare for what I planned to be a four-week study. However, Ivan Dunnet chose to challenge me on every point, whether he agreed with me or not, forcing me to research the scriptures on every point and stretching the study out to ten weeks.
I thank Ivan Dunnet, for continually driving me back to the Scriptures at that time.
Lorraine Dyer of Hastings.
It was during 1990 that I went about transforming the home group study material into the manuscript of a book, entitled “Death Resurrection and the Last 10½ Years.” It was during this time, that Lorraine Dyer, a good friend, spent many long hours with me going over my first manuscript.
For this act of friendship and comradeship, I thank Lorraine Dyer.
I thank Dawn, my wife and best friend, who not only has supported me and worked with me in the writing of this book, but also went without to allow me the many hours, over many years that have gone into this book.
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal damnation. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.
When we build a high rise building, first we lay the foundations. Secondly we build the building and then finally we build the pent house. In looking at Christian doctrines, I liken the doctrine of end time events to the pent house. If we don’t get the foundational doctrines right, we will never get the building right, let alone the pent house.
Paul list six foundational doctrines.
1: The doctrine of repentance from dead works.
2: The doctrine of faith towards God.
3: The doctrine of baptisms.
4: The doctrine of the laying on of hands.
5: The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.
6: The doctrine of eternal damnation.
Although most of us have reasonable understanding of the first four, our understanding of the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead could be much better. Because this doctrine is so closely intertwined with end time events; if we don’t get this foundational doctrine right we will never get the pent house right.
It is for these reasons we are going to look at the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and the makeup of man; body, soul and spirit. What happens to the three parts of our being when we die; and what happens when we are raised from the dead. With this foundation laid we will find it much easier to understand what the Bible has to say about end time events.
But first let us consider the translation of some Hebrew words into Greek and into English.
If you were to study your K.J.V of the Bible along with a good Bible Concordance and Bible Dictionary You will not only find the correct Hebrew to Greek to English translations for the following words. You will also find that the K.J.V. does not always use the correct or best translation for the modern English speaking person.
• The Hebrew words ‘shamayim’ and ‘shemayin’ which were translated into Greek as ‘ouranos’ and then into English as ‘heaven’, ‘air’, and ‘sky’ (I have translated as sky).
The literal translation of both the Hebrew words ‘shamayim’ and ‘shemayin’ is the heaved up things. When the Hebrew scholars translated the Bible into Greek they chose the Greek word ‘ouranos’ meaning the sky as the closest Greek word to the true meaning of the words ‘shamayim’, and ‘shemayin’. In Early to Middle English ‘shamayim’ and ‘shemayin’, ‘the heaved up things’ became ‘the heaven up things’, which was then shortened to ‘heaven’.
‘Heaven’ may have been a good translation back in the days of King James, but for the modern English speaking man the word ‘sky’ would give them a much clearer understanding of what the original writers of the Scriptures were saying. Which is why in my writings you will find the word ‘heaven’ has been replaced with the word ‘sky’.
• The Hebrew word ‘qeber’, which was translated into Greek has ‘mnemeion’, and then into English as ‘grave’, (I translate as grave).
• The Hebrew word ‘Sheol’, which was translated into Greek has ‘Hades’, and then into English as ‘Hell’, (I translate as Sheol).
The Hebrew word Sheol, which was translated into English has ‘Hell’, is translated into K.J.V. 31 times as Hell, and 33 times as grave. Considering there is not only a big difference between what is the grave and what is Hell, and that both the Hebrew and the Greek writers of the Bible made a clear distinction between the grave and Hell, one wonders how the translators of the K.J.V. could get it so wrong. But if we take the N.I.V. as an example of a Modern English Version, we find that the number of times they have translated the word ‘Sheol’ as grave is 59.
• The Greek word ‘Gehenna’ which is translated into English has ‘Hell’ (I either translate as ‘Sheol’ or ‘the fires of Sheol’)
Matthew 10:28 “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 and body in the fires of Sheol.
Note: The word often translated, as Sheol (Hell or Hades) in this verse, is the Greek word ‘Gehenna’. This word Gehenna was usually used to describe the fires that burn eternally in the pit of Sheol. The fires into which the wicked dead, both their body and soul, will be thrown after the resurrection; the Greek word usually used to describe Sheol, being Hades. Therefore Matthew 10:28 is referring to the second death. In the first death, the body goes to the grave, not into Sheol or into the fires of Sheol.
• The Hebrew word ‘chaiym’, which was translated into Greek as ‘zoe’ and then into English as ‘life’ (I translate as life).
• The Hebrew word ‘ruach’ which was translated into Greek as ‘pneuma’ and then into English as ‘spirit’ or ‘ghost’ (I translate as spirit).
It is of interest to note that all widely accepted English translations, almost always translate both the Hebrew word ‘ruach’ and the Greek word ‘pneuma’ as ‘spirit’, ‘ghost’ or ‘breath’. Traditionally man is never described as a spirit in the Bible, nor is spirit ever translated as a person or persons.
• The Hebrew word neshesh, which was translated into Greek has psuch, and then into English as ‘soul’ (I translate as soul)
Between them the Hebrew word ‘neshesh’ and the Greek word ‘psuch’, are translated into K.J.V. over 500 times as ‘soul’, 120 times as ‘life’, 28 times as ‘person’, 21 times as ‘self’, and 15 times as ‘heart’. While most modern English Bibles have further reduced the use of the word soul by 80 to 95%. Making it almost impossible for the average Christian to do any meaningful study on makeup of man, body, soul and spirit, or on the doctrine of death and resurrection.
The apostle Peter writes. Receiving the end of your faith, the deliverance of your souls (I Peter 1: 9). Or as the N.I.V. says “for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Considering the goal of our faith is the deliverance of our souls, we should ask; why have the modern English translators all but removed any mention of the soul of man and of Hell from our Bibles?
Clearly action needs to be taken to restore the written word of God to its original meaning. It is in part, for this reason my brothers in Christ and I took up the task of writing the “Clark's English Translation” of the Bible and why all Scripture (unless otherwise stated) in this book is taken from the “Clark's English Translation”. However do feel free to use your own favourite version of the Bible, along with the K.J.V. a good concordance and Bible dictionary to check these things out. In fact I recommend you check out all my writings and teachings, so that your beliefs and understanding of these things should not be founded on my teachings but on the written word of God.
One of my favourite passages of Scripture is Paul’s commendation of the Bereans.
Acts 17:10 Then the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea: who arriving there went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, to see whether those things were so. 12 Therefore, many of them indeed believed, and also not a few of the prominent Greek women and men.
Paul commends the Bereans, not because they chose to believe their own denominational doctrines; not because they chose to believe the teachings of Paul; but because they chose to love first the truth, and believe the written word of God.
Many, who have read this book, tell me that they have gained a far greater understanding by reading it a second time. They have found it a bit like a jigsaw. The first read is like turning over the pieces and having a good look at them. Then with the second read they begin to fall into place as the Holy Spirit reveals more truth and brings them to a greater understanding.
Jude 14 Enoch, seventh from Adam, also prophesied of these, saying, Look and see, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to punish all that are wicked among them of all their unjust deeds which they have wickedly committed, and of all their hard words which wicked sinners have spoken against Him.
Right back to Enoch, there was an in-depth knowledge and understanding among mankind, of what happens to us when we die, the coming of the Lord with ten thousands of His angels, the resurrection of the dead and the Day of Damnation. Enoch walked with God and God told him of these things. Enoch would have passed this information on to his son Methuselah. Methuselah would have passed this information on to his grandson Noah. Who in turn would have passed it on to his son Shem, who would have been preaching justification by faith in the blood The Lamb, to the people of the world, right up to the day the tower of Babel was destroyed.
In short, when mankind built the tower of Babel, they would have known and understood these things. Nevertheless, at that time, mankind chose to reject the truth and rebel against God. So God confused their language and scattered mankind over the face of the earth. Although God confused their language, I do not believe for one moment that God confused their knowledge of the truth about God their creator, the coming day of the Lord, the resurrection and of eternal damnation. Although God divided mankind into many nations, each nation would have taken with them a good understanding of these truths.
For this reason when one studies ancient civilizations of the world, it is not unusual to find many similar beliefs amongst the ancient civilizations of the world, to those beliefs held by today’s Christians. But because they loved not the truth, over the years the nations of the world have turned and wandered further and further from the truth. Knowing this many Christian missionaries will dig deep into the myths and history of pagan cultures. To find hidden truths in their ancient beliefs before witnessing into that culture. (I have covered this passing on of Scriptural knowledge more fully in the book, “God is revealed to us through Creation.”)
The choice is simple. Either you believe in a creator God, who gave the knowledge of these truths to all mankind (therefore all beliefs contrary to true Judeo-Christian beliefs, are the result of nations and people groups rebelling against God and turning away from the truth). Or there is no God, and this earth and all its living creatures, including mankind and their religious beliefs, just evolved over time. I happen to believe in God, the creator of the sky and earth, God who made man in his own image. A God, who before the tower of Babel was destroyed and the nations scattered around the world, told all mankind, of the Day of the Lord, the coming resurrection, and of eternal damnation.
Among the Children of Israel, there have always been those who believed, like their forefathers, that death came to their mortal body when their spirit return to God who gave it. Then their body would returned to the dust of the earth from which it came, while their soul would be carried by the angels of God to world of the dead, called Sheol in Hebrew, Hades in Greek and Hell in English. Sheol is a subterranean world into which, upon the death of the body, both the souls of the just and the wicked enter. With the just entering into one area to be with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (This area is sometimes called Paradise, which means a park or gardened grounds.) and the wicked being thrown into a place of torment, known as the pit (bor in Hebrew). This is the first death.
After the first death comes the resurrection of the dead; the justified too everlasting life, the wicked too eternal damnation. Eternal damnation is to be thrown, both body and soul, into the eternal lake of fire, where the wicked will suffer for all eternity. The Greek word Gehenna is sometimes used to describe the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Right from the beginning of the Scriptures, the Hebrew writers chose different words to describe the grave, the resting place of the body after death, and the subterranean world of the dead, the resting place of man’s soul after death. Both Job, who wrote the earliest book in the Bible, and Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible used the Hebrew word ‘quber’ to describe the grave, and the Hebrew word ‘sheol’ to describe the world of the dead.
This word ‘sheol’ was used by the Hebrew writers in three ways. So depending on how and where it was used, it could have any one of three meanings.
(1) Death and its power.
(2) The place of the dead in general, when the writer wanted to lump all the dead together.
(3) The place where the wicked who have died, are tormented while waiting for the final damnation.
When the Jewish translators went looking for a Greek word that meant the same as Sheol, they chose Hades. To the Greeks, Hades is a subterranean world, which holds both the souls of the just and the wicked.
New Testament writers continued to use the Greek word ‘Hades’ to describe the world of the dead in general. They also used the Greek word “Gehenna’ to describe ‘the lake of fire’, which is the second death. Peter uses the Greek word “Tartarus’, to describe the area within Sheol, where the fallen angels are kept in chains (2 Peter 2:4). Then in Revelation, John uses the Greek word ‘abussos’ to describe an area within Sheol. ‘Abussos’ is translated into English as either ‘the bottomless pit’, or ‘abyss’. It is up from this abyss that the beast mentioned in the Book of Revelation comes (Rev 11:7).
From the time of Enoch, through the line of Noah, Abraham and Israel, God has always maintained a remnant of believers who have maintained this truth, taught by God Himself. It was to this remnant of believers that God entrusted both the writing of the Scriptures and their preservation. It is these Israelites we can thank for the writing of both the Old and the New Testaments.
Although we can say the doctrine which was entrusted to those who wrote the Scriptures did not evolve or devolve, but was given by God and remained constant throughout the writing of the Scriptures; we cannot say the same about Christian doctrines on death, the intermediate state and the resurrection. Because there has been much change and variation in Christian teaching on these things over the years.
In the earliest years of the Christian Church, there was little thought given to the intermediate state. They believed that Jesus Christ was returning very soon. So what happened to their soul, in the interval between the death of their mortal body and the day of resurrection, seemed of little consequence. What happened to the soul during the intermediate time didn’t become a concern of most Christians, until it became apparent that Jesus Christ was not returning as soon as they had first thought.
Although the early Church Fathers were not unanimous in their beliefs on this subject, the majority of them followed basically the same beliefs on death, the intermediate state and the resurrection as the Jews.
The following is taken from “Systematic Theology,” by Berkhof Louis, p. 680.
Addison says, in his book, ‘Life Beyond Death’, p. 202.
“For many centuries the general conclusion was widely accepted that in a subterranean Hades, the righteous enjoyed a measure of reward not equal to their future heaven and the wicked suffer a degree of punishment not equal to their future hell. The intermediate state was thus a slightly reduced version of the ultimate retribution.”
This view was held though with some variations, by such men as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Novatain, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, and Augustine. In the Alexandrian School the idea of the intermediate state passed into that of a gradual purification of the soul, and this in the course of time paved the way for the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. There were some, however, who favoured the idea at death the souls of the justified immediately entered heaven, namely Gregory of Nazianze, Eusebius, and Gregory the Great. In the Middle Ages the doctrine of the intermediate state was retained, and in connection with the Roman Catholic Church developed the doctrine of Purgatory.
During the middle Ages, it was believed that only those who were just and free from every stain of sin, went straight to Paradise, (It was believed that very few other than martyrs went straight to Paradise), while all other Christians went to Purgatory. There they would be detained until they were purged from sin by purifying fires. How long they had to stay in Purgatory depended on how much sin there was in their life.
With the coming of the Reformation, all Reformers rejected the doctrine of Purgatory. But like the early Church Fathers, there was no unanimous teaching on this subject. Calvin, who had a strong following, taught that the justified went straight to Paradise.
Given that Calvin was brought up to believe that the only reason Christians went to Sheol/Hell, was to be purified of their sins, prior to their ascent into Paradise. Having then come to the understanding of the truth, that it is only by faith through Jesus Christ that we are justified and cleansed of our sins. One can understand how Calvin would then, wrongly jump to this conclusion; that all Christians upon the death of their body would go straight to Paradise.
Among the Reformers, the Socinians and the Anabaptist believed in the doctrine of soul sleep. That is they believed that when a man’s body dies, his soul enters into soul sleep until the day of Jesus Christ return and of the resurrection of the dead. Today most Churches, who believe in soul sleep, do not believe in a literal hell, and usually teach that the words Sheol and Hades should always be translated as grave.
However the term soul sleep for the Seventh Day Adventist could be a bit misleading. Anthony Hoekema suggest instead “soul-extinction”, since in the Adventist view, ones soul does not fall asleep at death, but actually becomes completely non-existent.
In the Christian world today, there are six main views (with many variations) of Hell and the intermediate state.
1: The view held by a large number of early Church Fathers. This view teaches that when the body of a saint dies, his soul descends into paradise and remains there until the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection to eternal life.
2: The Roman Catholic view. This view teaches that upon the death of a Christian, their soul enters into purgatory. There to suffer in the purifying fires until cleansed of sin, before they can enter into Paradise.
3: The soul sleep view. This view teaches that when our body dies, the soul either sleeps or ceases to exist until the return of Jesus Christ.
4: The view of Calvin and his followers. This view teaches that when a saint dies, his soul goes straight to Paradise.
5: A more recent view that would appear to have come out of the U.S.A. in the last 150 years, then promoted within the American Pentecostal movement and later pushed by persons within the American Faith movement. This view teaches that man is not a soul but a spirit, which either goes straight to Paradise or hell when one dies. Some believe that man’s spirit and soul are one and the same thing, therefore man is a dichotomy and not a trichotomy. Others believe that the soul is no more than man’s feelings and emotions, and that the soul of man ceases to exist when he dies.
6: The liberal (or allegorical) view. This view teaches that there is no literal Paradise or hell. When we die, they believe that is the end of us and we will be no more. Therefore any Scriptures that refer to the dead going to Paradise or hell should be interpreted allegorically.
NOTE: Views 1, 2, & 4 are trichotomy views, while views 3 & 5 are dichotomy views.
When man is viewed as a trichotomy, he is viewed as a combination of spirit, soul and body.
When man is viewed as a dichotomy, he is viewed as a combination of spirit and body only.
Why did I decide to write this book?
• Because, view number 1 was widely accepted by a large number of the early Church Fathers.
• Because I myself, after much research have come to the conclusion; this is the only view that lines up with the Scriptures.
• Because, apart from the Bible I have been unable to find any book that looks at this view in any depth.
1Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept faultless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we can begin to understand what the Scriptures tell us about death and resurrection, we must first understand our own being and God’s being in whose image and likeness we have been created. God is one being, yet God is three persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 1:26 And God said; “Let Us make man, in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them reign and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every moving creature that moves upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
When God created mankind in His own image, He put into mankind many likenesses of Himself. This does not mean that mankind is the same as God, but it does mean there are many similarities or likenesses between God and mankind. For this study, we will only focus on one of these likenesses. God is one being yet God is three. Man is also one being yet man is three. However, where God can rightfully be described as three persons, only one part of man, his soul, can rightfully be described as a person. So in looking at the three-in-one makeup of man, we can say that man is like God but not the same as God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
According to God’s word, our soul and our spirit can be divided and separated one from the other. They are not the same they are two distinctive parts of our being.
Matthew 10:28 “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 and body in the fires of Sheol.”
Our soul and our body are not one, but two parts of our being. Man can kill our body, but only God can destroy both our soul and body.
Note: The word translated, as Sheol in this verse is the Greek word Gehenna. This word Gehenna was usually used to describe the fiery pit of Sheol, into which the wicked, both their body and soul, will be thrown after the resurrection to eternal damnation. The Greek word usually used to describe Sheol, being Hades. Therefore Matthew 10:28 is referring to the second death. In the first death, the body goes to the grave, not to the fiery pit of Sheol.
II Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house, not made with hands in the sky. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our house which is from the sky, 3 if indeed, being clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality will be swallowed up by life. (Underlining added)
Our body that we now dwell in is as described as an earthly house, a tent (something which is only a temporary dwelling). While our body that we desire to be clothed with, is described as an eternal house (something that is everlasting).
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Firstly God forms the body of man from the dust of the earth. Secondly God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. In so doing God by His breath implanted into man part of God’s Spirit which became man’s spirit.
The breath of God and the Spirit of God are one and the same thing. We find the conformation this truth in the Gospel of John.
John 20:22 And when He (Jesus) had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them. Receive the Holy Spirit: (Words in italics added.)
God formed Adam’s body out of the dust of the earth. But there was no life in Adam’s body until God breathed into it. According to the Scriptures, this breath of God that is in man is the spirit in man.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding.
Job 34:14 If God should set His heart on it, and should gather to Himself His Spirit, (which is) His breath, 15 All flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.
(Words in italics added.)
And man becomes a living soul.
The Parable of the Egg.
For a moment, let us compare an egg with a man. An egg like man has a body, the eggshell. It has a source of life, the egg white. And it has a living being, the yoke. So the egg is a living being that lives in a body and it has a source of life.
When the life source of the egg (the egg white) is spent, its body (the shell) is broken, while the yoke (the eggs living being) lives on. Its old body broken, the living being puts off its shell (the old body) and lives on unclothed in the bird’s nest. In time, the living being will be clothed once more. This time in a coat of many feathers, with which the living being, the self-part of the egg, will rise into a new world; no longer as an egg, but as a bird.
Man has a body, made from the dust of the earth. Man has a source of life, his spirit that comes from God, and man has a soul, his living being. So man is a soul, who lives in a body and has a spirit.
Man is a soul, and the soul of man is a living being that never ceases to be. Man’s soul is eternal and the soul of man continues to live on long after man’s spirit has returned to God who gave it, and his body has returned to the dust of the earth from which it was made. But a time is coming, when man will put on a new body and rise to meet Jesus Christ in the air.
God formed man’s body from the dust of the earth. Our body is basically any part of our being that a scientist can analyse. This includes our flesh, blood, bones, brain and our five earthly senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste.
God breathed into man, and it is by this breath of God, the spirit within man, that we gain understanding of the things of God (Job 32:8). Our spirit that comes from God, is not only that which gives life to our body, it is by our spirit that we communicate and commune with God.
And man became a living soul, or as some modern versions say, man became a living being. Our soul (our living being) is the self-part or me-part of our being. Our soul includes our self wants, self-will, self-desires, our feelings and our mind.
Our brain is part of our body. Our brain stores information and controls and operates all of our bodily systems and functions. Our mind is part of our soul. It is by the use of our mind, that we (our soul) can communicate both with our body (via our brain) and with God (via our spirit). It is by the use of our mind, that we (our soul) make the many choices (both small and great) that we make every day.
We (our soul) can make one of three choices.
1: We (our soul) can choose to be led by our body, which is to be led by the lust of the flesh.
2: We (our soul) can choose to be led by our soul, which is to be led by our self wants, self-will, self-desires and feelings.
3: We (our soul) can choose to be led by God via our spirit.
At this point, I am often asked, “Where does our conscience fit in?” Our conscience is whatever prods us to do what we believe is right.
You could say that we have three consciences.
1: Our mind.
2: Our spirit.
3: The Holy Spirit.
Or you could say that our conscience is the interaction of all three.
What is death? In the Bible, death does not mean the end of man, as man is an eternal being. Death has more to do with separation. For example: Spiritual death for man is separation from God, while physical death, is separation from our physical body.
Even before we are born, we are already a soul who lives in a body and has a spirit. Safe within our mother’s womb all three parts of us are already very much alive. But the body is dead to the world around us, because it is separated from the world by our mother’s womb. As long as our body remains separated from the world, it is dead to the world and dead to us (our soul), because it has little influence or control over our soul. But as soon as we are born from our mother’s womb, our body comes alive to the world and alive to our soul. Because from then on our body has the power to influence our soul, and if we allow it, the body can even control our soul (our mind and our will).
Also, even while in our mother’s womb, our spirit is alive. If our spirit were not alive, there would be no life in our body, and we would be still born. But in the Biblical sense our spirit is dead, because our sin nature separates our spirit from God and our sin nature also separates our spirit from us, in that we choose not to listen to the promptings of our spirit.
Just as it is necessary for our body to come alive, by being born from out of our mother’s womb, before our body can have any great influence over our soul, so it is also necessary for our spirit to be born out of our old sin nature, before our spirit can have any great influence over our soul. This can only come about by being born again by the Spirit of God
John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Surely surely, I say to you, unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'”
Within our mother’s womb, we are carried in a bag of water. When our mother (who is flesh) gives birth to our body of flesh, we are born of water and enter into this world. But to enter the kingdom of God, we must be born again.
Before we are born again, our sin nature (which is living our lives to please ourselves according to our own desires and will) and the powers of darkness control our lives. We think that we are in control of our lives but we are not. Then when we are born again, we choose to no longer be controlled by our sin nature, and in the name of Jesus Christ the powers of darkness no longer have any power over us.
This is how Paul describes the born again experience.
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who has rescued us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the deliverance from sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us able to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the deliverance from sin.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: the breath of the Almighty that gives them understanding.
Job 32:18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constrains me.
It does not matter whether we are born again or not, the spirit within, which comes from God, just doesn’t give life to our body of flesh, the spirit also gives us understanding of some of the basic spiritual truths, and it also acts as our conscience, telling us what is just and constrains us from doing wrong. Of cause we can shut out the voice of our spirit by not listening and hardening our hearts to the truth.
Have you ever wondered why little children, are often so open to spiritual truths, and why adults are often so hard to get through to with spiritual truths? That is because adults often shut down the spirit within them and will no longer listen to their spirit (1Timothy 4:2). But because all have that conscience, that spirit from God dwelling within them, none of us have any excuse for our sins.
We should not confuse these truths, with the truth that fallen man lives according to how it led by his soul and his flesh; and that when he repents and is born again, he chooses no longer to be led by his soul and his flesh (this is what we often call dying to self).
Instead he chooses from how on to be led by the Spirit of Christ which becomes one with his spirit. For this reason we often say that the born again man is no longer a living soul, but has become a living spirit. Nevertheless, the soul of the born again man still remains the self-part of man, and as long as we live in this earthly body, we need to daily die to self (that is, we need to daily die to our soul and flesh) and come alive to the Spirit of Christ who now lives within us).
I Peter 1:9 Receiving the goal of your faith, the deliverance of your souls.
The goal of our faith is the deliverance of our soul, but in order to deliver our soul, we must first die to our soul. As Christians we often talk about dying to self, and coming alive to the Spirit of Christ, who now dwells within us. This dying to self is what Jesus Christ calls losing one’s soul. In reality because of our sin, our soul is already eternally lost and damned, and unless we die to our soul for Jesus Christ sake, we shall never find it.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto His disciples, “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whosoever will to save his soul will lose it, but whosoever will lose his soul for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if gains the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Romans 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Matthew 10:39 He who finds his soul will lose it, and he that loses his soul for My sake will find it.
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus Christ gives us a good look at what Sheol is like. Some would say; “but isn’t this only a parable?” I do not believe that we should write this off as only a parable. Instead let us ask the question, “What is a parable?”
A parable is a true story about something the original hearers would have been very familiar with or knew all about. For example Jesus spoke about fishing, ploughing fields, sowing seed, harvest, baking bread, looking after sheep, births, weddings and deaths. All the parables that Jesus told are true, in the sense that they either happened, or could have happened, but many had an unfamiliar ending.
So the story Jesus tells us about the deaths of Lazarus and the rich man is true in that it could have happened. The unfamiliar ending is the rich man asking Abraham to send Lazarus back to the world of the living to warn his brothers. But what if Jesus Christ the Son of God had asked God the Father to send Lazarus back? When Jesus told this parable, it is very possible that Lazarus, Jesus Christ friend, who had been raised from the dead, was right there with Jesus. (John 11:1-47)
Was the Lazarus, whom Jesus Christ raised from the dead, the same Lazarus spoken of in the story? I don’t believe so. Nevertheless those listening to Jesus would have recognized this as a true story, in that it could have happened just as Jesus told it.
Jesus Christ starts in verse 19 by saying; “There was.” Meaning, this is something that has already happened. Jesus is not saying this is how it will be. Jesus is telling us, this is how it has been ever since the death of Abel, Adam’s son, and this is how it will remain until Jesus Christ comes for all those who belong to Him on the last day. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, & John 6:40)
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and rejoiced in abundance every day; 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores. 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 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.
This all happened before the resurrection of Jesus Christ from Sheol, the world of the dead, and because Jesus Christ was the first to ascend to God the Father from the world of the dead. We know that at the time of Lazarus’ death, Abraham’s soul was still in Sheol and his body still in the grave. So when Lazarus dies, his soul was taken down to Sheol to rest, along with the souls of Abraham and the other saints. But when the rich man died, his soul was taken down into the lowest pit of Sheol, where the souls of the wicked are tormented.
Luke 16:23 And in Sheol he lifted up his eyes. Being in torment and seeing Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom, 24 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. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed: so that they which desire to pass from here to you cannot; neither can they which are there with you pass to us.
Lazarus was in the place of comfort, while the rich man was in the place of agony and torment. Both are within Sheol, the world of the dead, but in different areas. The rich man could see up and across to where Lazarus was. But between them was a great gulf fixed, which no one could cross.
This picture that Jesus Christ gives us may not be an exact picture of Sheol, but it must be a very close likeness; for Jesus would not lie to us, and it is His way of explaining to us what Sheol is like.
In Luke 23:43, Jesus describes the place of comfort and rest within Sheol, as paradise. The word ‘paradise’ means a park, or a large garden ground. This word paradise is used three times in the Scriptures. In Luke 23:43; Jesus Christ describes the place of comfort and rest within Sheol as paradise. In 2 Corinthians 12:4; it is used to describe a vision of a place in the sky. Then in Revelation 2:7; it is used to describe a place on earth.
The tree of life, according to Revelation 2:7, is in the paradise of God. Also according to the Word of God, the tree of life was placed in the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden can rightfully be described as a paradise. When God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, God never removed the tree of life. Instead God placed an angel to guard the tree of life, so that no man may eat of it until the end of the age, when the earth is restored to those who have overcome (Genesis 3:21-24 & Revelation 2:7).
Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble (When your arms and hands tremble), and the strong men shall bow themselves (When you can no longer stand up straight), and the grinders cease because they are few (You have very few teeth left), and those that look out of the windows (Your eyes) be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low (You become hard of hearing), and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird (Yet the slightest sound will wake you), and all the daughters of music shall be brought low (You will not be able to hear sweet sound of music). 5 Also when they shall be afraid of heights, and fears in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail (With old age, life becomes just a burden). Because man goes to his long home (Sheol/the world of the dead), and the mourners go about the streets.
(Words in Italics added)
In this passage of Scripture, we have a look at the life of a man in his old age, and in his physical death. When his soul, man’s eternal being goes to Sheol/the world of the dead. The King James Version correctly says, “Then man goes to his long home,” while some newer versions incorrectly say, “Then man goes to his eternal home.”
The book of Ecclesiastes was written possibly 1,000 years before Jesus Christ. When the writer of this book died, his soul went down to Sheol. Sheol for the Old Testament saints is paradise and a long home, not an eternal home.
The writer then continues, by giving us a look at what happens to our body and spirit when we, our soul passes from this world into Sheol.
Some people, who have seen with their spiritual eyes, when someone else is dying, say that when the spirit of a man leaves his body, it looks like a silver wisp of smoke, or a silver cord, rising from the body towards the sky.
Ecclesiastes 12:6 (Remember your Creator) before the silver cord is loosed, (your spirit departs) or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well (These are three saying of that time, meaning he died. If King Solomon had written this today, he would have probably added, ‘he kicked the bucket.’). 7 Then the dust (his body) will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
(Words in Italics added)
God formed Adam’s body out of the dust of the earth. But there was no life in Adam’s body until God breathed into it. The breath that God breathed into man, according to the Scriptures, is the spirit in man (Job 32:8).
When man fathers a child, he passes on to his child a measure of that breath of God, which is the spirit within the child. So every man, woman, child and baby, has this spirit within them, which is the breath of God. Even though an unborn baby has yet to take his first breath of air, he still has this spirit, the breath of God within him.
It does not matter whether a man is old in years, or still an unborn baby in his mother’s womb. When God withdraws His breath, the spirit in man, that man or unborn child will die.
Job 34:14 If he (God) set his heart upon man, if he gathered unto himself his spirit and his breath; 15 All flesh shall breathe their last together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
It is worth noting here, that if God were to withdraw from all mankind, his breath, which is the spirit in man. All flesh; that is all mankind, both the just and the wicked would perish, and their mortal bodies would return to the dust.
Man is a soul, he lives in a body, and he has a spirit. When God takes back his breath, which is the spirit in man, the soul of man goes to Sheol, while the body dies and returns to dust. Just as both the body of the just and the wicked return to dust, so both the spirit of the just and the wicked return to God who gave it.
The last thing that a man does in this life, whether old in years, or still in his mother’s womb, is to expire the breath of God, the spirit within him, which returns to God who gave it.
Both the writers of Genesis and Job understood that life did not depart from either the old man or the unborn child, with the expiring of their last breath of air. But that life departs with the expiring of the breath of God, the spirit within man.
Therefore to breathe one’s last, is to breathe out, or expire out the breath of God, the spirit within us. Both Moses and Job understood this and used the word ‘gava’ to explain this breathing out of the breath of God, the spirit within us. This word ‘gava’ means ‘to gasp out’ ‘to expire’.
(Genesis 25:8 & 17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11; 10:18; 13:19; & 14:10.)
In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, the Greek word ‘ekpneo’ meaning ‘to breath out’ is used when referring to Jesus Christ giving up his spirit to God. (Mark 15:37 & Luke 23:46) The King James Version translates both these verses as ‘to give up the ghost’, while some newer English versions translate both of these verses as ‘to breathe one’s last’.
The account of Jacob’s death and burial:
Genesis 49:29 Then he charged them and said unto them: "I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
Jacob here is telling his sons, “I (I being the soul of Jacob) am about to be gathered to my people. (Who have gone on ahead of me into Sheol). Bury me (me being the body of Jacob) with my fathers (Abraham and Isaac) in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite.”
Jacob knew that regardless of what his sons did or didn’t do, at the moment his spirit left his body to return to God who gave it, that he (his soul) would be gathered to his people. This was a job for the angels, and not for his sons (See Luke 16:22). But it was a job for Jacob’s sons to bury his body. Therefore Jacob commands his sons to bury his body with the bodies of father Abraham and Isaac.
Genesis 49:33 And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
Jacob gathered up his feet into the bed. Jacob’s body lay on his bed.
He breathed his last. Thus releasing Jacob’s spirit back to God who gave it.
And Jacob’s soul was gathered to his people” in Sheol.
These three things happened in an instant. But it took some time for Jacob’s sons to fulfil Jacob’s command, to take Jacob’s body from Egypt to Canaan to bury it.
The account of Abraham’s death and burial:
As a young man, Abraham travelled with his father about 600 miles (1,000 km) from Ur to Haran. After living in Haran a while, his father died and Abraham travelled on, about another 300 miles (500 km) to the land of Canaan. After living in Canaan for some time, Abraham’s wife Sarah died. Abraham, having decided not to take his wife’s body back to the city of Ur to be buried with the bodies of his people, bought the cave in Hebron in the land of Canaan, in which to bury his wife Sarah. (Genesis 23:1-11)
Genesis 25:7 These are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived: one hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre. 10 The field which Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth. There Abraham was buried, and Sarah his wife.
Then Abraham breathed his last, releasing his spirit back to God who gave it. Just like Jacob, his body died, and his soul was gathered to his people in Sheol. But unlike Jacob, Abraham’s body was buried 900 miles (1,500 km) away from the bodies of his people. So clearly, in the first death, the soul and the body of man, does not end up in the same place. However, after the resurrection, the in the second death, the wicked will have both their body and soul, cast into the fires of Sheol. (Matthew 10:28)
Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?
We know the spirit of man comes from God and returns upwards to God because God’s word tells us this is so (Ecclesiastes 12:7). While the beast, whose spirit is not from God but of the earth, returns downwards to the earth.
In the following passage from Leviticus, Moses used the word ‘nephesh’ eight times. In the N.K.J.V. it is correctly translated twice as ‘soul’; and wrongly translated three times as ‘life’, twice as ‘person’ and once as ‘one’. When we correct these errors, we find that once in verse 11 Moses writes the soul of the flesh is in the blood. Then twice in verse 14 Moses writes the soul of all flesh is in the blood.
Leviticus 17:10 And whatsoever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among you, who eats any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. 12 Therefore I said to the children of Israel, No soul among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. 13 Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourns among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 for it is the soul of all flesh; the blood of it is for the soul of it. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off. 15 And every soul that eats that which died naturally or what was torn by beast, whether he is one of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening, then he shall be clean.
When the Israelites killed their lambs upon the altar, it was the blood poured out upon the altar that made atonement for the soul; for in the act of pouring out the blood, the soul was poured out.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my just servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, in pouring out his blood he poured out his soul unto death. Christ poured out his sinless soul, to deliver the sinful souls of all mankind.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this that a man lay down one’s soul for his friends.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his soul for the sheep.
Matthew 20:28 Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His soul a ransom for many.
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and are known by my own. 15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my soul for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 Therefore my Father does love me, because I lay down my soul that I might take it again. 18 No one takes 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.
As I said earlier, because man is an eternal being, for man death has more to do with separation than it does with the ending of life. When we talk about the death of Jesus Christ, we are
1: Talking about Jesus giving up his spirit to God, the breath of God within him that brings life to his mortal body.
2: Talking about Jesus Christ (his soul) being separated from both his spirit and body.
When we talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are
1: Talking about the coming back together, of Jesus Christ’s body, soul and spirit.
2: Jesus putting off His mortal body and the putting on His eternal body.
Bearing in mind that Jesus Christ became like us in every way. (Heb 2:17 & Phil 2:7) If we can understand the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then we can also understand the death and resurrection of man; For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again; in like manner God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (1Thessalonians 4: 14).
But first we need to clear up a possible misunderstanding, or confusion, as to what happens to the Spirit of Jesus the Christ, and the spirit of Jesus the man. To do this, we will look at and to come to terms with how we measure the presence of God.
On one hand, the presence of God is everywhere. (Psalm 139:7-9) No matter where we go, from the heights of the shy to the lowest depths of Sheol, God by his Spirit is present. On the other hand, God by his breath has placed in man a portion of his Spirit, which became the spirit of man.
In the beginning, the Spirit of God and the spirit of man were one. But then sin brought separation between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man. This is what we call spiritual death.
Between these two extremes of the presence of God, we have
1: The coming back together of the Spirit of God and the spirit of man. So that man is no longer separated from God, but is born again, into the kingdom of God. (John 1:10-13 & 3:3-8)
2: The gift of the Holy Spirit, which is promised all who repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin. (Acts 2:38) This can also be referred to as the filling of the Holy Spirit or the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Now, we know that the portion of God’s Spirit, which is the spirit in man, is different to the portion of God’s Spirit by which we are born again. We also know that the portion of God’s Spirit by which we are born again, is different from that portion we receive as the gift of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise it would not have been possible for the first Christian converts in Samaria to be born again by the Spirit of God and not to have also received the gift of the Holy Spirit when they first believed and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 8:14 -17)
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are all One and all equal in every way and by the Spirit of God, were present everywhere.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (Jesus Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. (Words in italics added)
But when Jesus the Word of God gave up His equality with God, to become just like us in every way; one of the equalities with God that Jesus give up was this ability to be everywhere present by the Spirit of God.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and was made in the likeness of men.
Now when it says of Jesus, “was made in the likeness of man” or as it says in Hebrews 2:17
Therefore it was necessary, He in all things had to be made like His brethren - - - - -
It does not mean that Jesus was born into this world as a sinner. No! When Jesus, the Son of God, became flesh and was born into this world, he was without sin. But it does mean that when Jesus was born into this world he had both that portion of the Spirit of God, which is man’s spirit, and that portion by which man is born again into the kingdom of God. But it was not until His baptism of repentance, that Jesus received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also being baptized; and praying, the sky was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from the sky which said, "You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased."
We are then told that Jesus Christ being filled with the Holy Spirit was led into the wilderness (Luke 4:1). The next thing we know, Jesus Christ is preaching
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovery of sight to the blind, to send away ones having been oppressed with deliverance.
We can clearly see a difference between that portion of the Spirit of God that has become man’s spirit, and that portion which is the gift of the Holy Spirit. But we cannot see any clear difference between the gift of the Holy Spirit, the filling of the Holy Spirit or the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we cannot separate the gift, from the filling or the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as to have one is to have all three.
When Jesus Christ, while on the cross breathed His last, releasing his spirit back to God who gave it (Luke 23:46). It was only that portion by which his body has life, which was returned to God who gave it.
When Jesus Christ, His soul, descended into Sheol, Jesus Christ took with him, that which is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then having first descended into the depths of Sheol, Jesus then ascends far above the highest sky, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Thus, the equality that Jesus Christ had with God the Father in the beginning is restored to him, and now by his Spirit, Jesus Christ fills all things.
Because Jesus Christ by his Spirit is now present everywhere, from the highest sky to the depths of Sheol, it is now possible for the born again believer to live always in his presence. It is only the weakness of our flesh that prevents most of us, including myself, from always living in the realization of Jesus Christ presence.
Therefore, for the born again believer, no matter where we are, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Ephesians 4:8 Therefore he said, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what does it mean but that he first also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same person also that ascended up far above the whole sky, that he might fill all things.) 11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
When it says, “He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth”, it is referring to Jesus Christ descent into Sheol, where Jesus first spent some time in Paradise before descending into the pit of Sheol. There in the pit of Sheol Jesus preached to fallen angels, held in chains, who had been disobedient in the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:18 – 20 & 2 Peter 2:4). Jesus Christ then ascended from Sheol, victorious over all his enemies, including death and the law of sin and death.
In the ancient world, it was a common thing to do, when a king won a major victory over his enemies, to take the enemy in chains and make a public spectacle of them, by parading them through the land right up to the city gates. Then the victorious king would give gifts to his people. The king would not only give gifts of wealth to his people; he would also give many of his top generals and captains to the people as civic and community leaders.
After this parade, the disarmed enemy king, would often be unchained and allowed to return to his own kingdom as a puppet ruler. To make sure that the defeated king stayed subject to the victorious king, the victorious king would station some well-armed troops of his own in the puppet king’s kingdom. These troops, although not living in their own land, in the name of the victorious king, they held all power and authority over the puppet king and his subjects.
What does it mean to disarm a defeated king and his powers? This does not mean a total disarmament. For modern day Iraq, it meant no weapons of mass destruction. For Germany in 1918, it meant no battle ships, no subs, no tanks or planes. In the ancient world, it often meant no blacksmiths to make weapons of steel (1 Samuel 13:19 – 20). For Satan, to be disarmed means that he is no longer able to use the Law to condemn those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 – 2).
Jesus Christ, having won the victory, goes about celebrating his victory, and establishing his rule and authority over Satan, the defeated king of this world, in much the same way as an earthly king would have done 2,000 years ago.
For over 4,000 years, Satan, the king of this world, his principalities and powers, had held mankind captive by the law of sin and death. But on the cross, Jesus Christ disarmed all the powers of darkness, by nailing the Law to the cross. Having disarmed the powers of darkness, which had held mankind captive; Jesus then takes captivity (Satan and the principalities and powers of darkness) captive and makes a public spectacle of them).
Colossians 2: 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has quickened together with him, having forgiven all your trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances of the law that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. 15 Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it.
Then, just like the earthly kings, Jesus Christ gives gifts to his people, gifts of men to the Church. Some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, some pastors and teachers; while the disarmed Satan has been returned to rule over his kingdom, the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).
Then, just like the earthly kings, Jesus Christ gives gifts to his people, gifts of men to the Church. Some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, some pastors and teachers; while the disarmed Satan has been returned to rule over his kingdom, the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). What of Jesus Christ’s heavily armed troops that he has stationed in Satan’s kingdom, to make sure Satan and his demons remain subject to the will of God the Father? We the disciples of Jesus Christ are his heavily armed troops, given the task of seeing that Satan and his demons remain subject to the will of God.
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us through your name. 18 And he said unto them, I saw Satan as lightning fall from the sky. 19 See, I give unto you power to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in the sky.
We, as the disciples of Jesus Christ, may live in this world, but we are not of this world. We are of the kingdom of God, and Jesus our King has given us all power and authority over Satan, his devils and demons. Although we are subjects of the kingdom of God we are currently stationed in this world. When we confront Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ, we have the power to shoot him down in flames. When we confront devils and demons, we have the power to trample them under our feet, and nothing, by any means, will hurt us.
The soul of Jesus Christ descended into Sheol.
According to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ, in pouring out his blood, first poured out his soul unto death (Leviticus 17:10 & Isaiah 53:12).
Then Jesus Christ (the soul of Jesus Christ) descended into Sheol, before he ascended into the highest sky (Psalm 16:10 & Ephesians 4:8 – 10).
Before the descent of his soul down into Sheol, this is what Jesus said to one of the criminals who were crucified with Him.
Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, "Surely, I say to you, this day you will be with me in Paradise."
So, Jesus Christ (that is the soul of Jesus Christ) descended into Sheol (1 Peter 3:18 – 20 & 2 Peter 2:4), spending at least some of the first day in Paradise, with the man who was crucified with him. Three days later, the soul of Jesus Christ ascends from Sheol to the grave, where the spirit, soul and body of Jesus come back together again. Then Jesus Christ rises from the grave and speaks to Mary.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.'"
So Jesus Christ (his soul) spent three days in Sheol.
The body of Jesus Christ was placed in a tomb.
Luke 23:50 There was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; a good and righteous man. 51 (He had not consented to the counsel and their deed,) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged for the body of Jesus. 53 He then took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was cut out of rock, where no man had ever been laid before.
Although the body of Jesus Christ was laid in a tomb, unlike the body of others, his body did not return to dust. After three days the body of Jesus did not even smell, for the body of Christ did not see corruption (Psalm 16:10).
The spirit of Jesus was returned to God who gave it.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, he said, “Father, ‘into your hands I commit my spirit.’” Having said this, he breathed His last.
On the cross, through his blood Jesus Christ poured out his soul unto the death of his mortal body; and breathed out his spirit which returned to God who gave it.
1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
What Paul is saying here, is that when we die, the body we now live in is sown into the earth (Our body is placed in the grave). The body that is sown into the earth is perishable, but on the day of resurrection, it will be raised imperishable. This means that we will not receive our new imperishable body until the day of our resurrection from the dead. In 2 Corinthians 5:1 – 4, we read that the perishable body that we now live in is called an earthly tent. (A tent being only a temporary dwelling) while the imperishable spiritual body that we will one day live in, is call an eternal house.
It was the custom 2,000 years ago that after the wedding contract had been made, for the young man to give his bride to be, a wedding robe. Then he would go back to his father’s place, to make a dwelling place for his bride. Before the bridegroom left to make his brides dwelling place, he would tell her of his intentions to prepare a dwelling place for her and that he would come again for her, so that they could live together always in her new dwelling place. It was not the custom for the bride to move into her new dwelling place until the day of the wedding.
John 14:2 "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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
In this passage, Jesus is telling us (we who are His bride to be) of His intentions to return to His Father’s house to prepare our dwelling places for us, which are our imperishable spiritual bodies. When they are ready, at the time of the Father’s choosing, the Son, our bridegroom, will return for us who are His bride. So that where Jesus Christ is, there we may be also.
At that time, and not before that time, the dead in Christ will be raised from Sheol, given their new eternal bodies and arise from the grave. At the same time, we who are still alive will put off our earthly bodies (our earthly tents) and put on our eternal bodies (our mansions).
1 Corinthians 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, (not all of us will die and have our body placed in the grave) but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, (those who have died and had their mortal bodies placed in the grave, will be raised with imperishable bodies) and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (Words in Italics added)
No one, neither those who have died before hand, nor those who remain alive will receive their imperishable spiritual body until the sounding of the last trumpet. Then, and only then, shall we all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Let us look at Psalm 16 verses 9 & 10. In verse 9, the Hebrew word ‘kabod’ is translated as ‘glory’. This word ‘kobod’ is the same word used by the Hebrews to describe the presence of the Lord, who went before the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years.
Exodus 40:34 Then the cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and (the kobod) the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud upon the tent, and (the kobod) the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (Words in Italics added)
“The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Today we would say, either, “The presence of the Lord,” or “The Spirit of the Lord filled the church.” In our Bibles today, this word ‘kobod’ is usually translated as ‘glory’. However on the day of Pentecost, when Peter quotes Psalm 16, he translated it as ‘tongue’.
In verse 10 of Psalm 16, the Hebrew word Sheol was used to describe the world of the dead. This world is divided into at least two areas, one area for the souls of the justified and the other for the souls of the wicked. In some modern versions, the word Sheol is wrongly translated as grave. When we die, our soul goes to Sheol, while our body goes to the grave, and our spirit returns to God who gave it.
In older English versions, Sheol and Hades, (the Greek word for Sheol) are often translated as Hell. Although this is a correct translation, it is a label that we today usually only use to describe that area within Hell set aside for the souls of the wicked. While we call that area within Hell set aside for the souls of the justified, paradise, as did Jesus Christ when on the cross (Luke 23:43).
King David in Psalm 16 speaks of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the day of Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter points out to the Jews that David was seeing ahead to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:25 "For David speaks concerning him (Jesus): 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is at my right hand, that I should not be moved. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue (spirit) was glad; moreover my flesh (body) shall also rest (in the grave) in hope. 27 Because you will not leave my soul in Hades (Sheol), nor will you allow your Holy One(’s body) to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy with your presence.'”
29 “Men and brethren, let me speak plainly unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day.” (Words in Italics added)
In verse 29, Peter is saying that the body of David still lies undisturbed in the grave to this day.
Acts 2:30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath unto him that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne. 31 He, foreseeing this, spake of the resurrection of The Christ, that his soul was not left in Sheol, neither did his flesh see corruption.
32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the sky, but he said himself: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool." '
Peter says in verse 34, “For David did not ascend into the sky.” Peter’s basic argument in this passage is this. When a body rises from the tomb (the grave), we know that the soul has ascended from Sheol, and the spirit, soul and body have all come back together. Therefore, because the tomb of Jesus Christ has been opened, and we have seen him and talked to him, we know that the soul of Jesus Christ has ascended from Sheol. On the other hand, we know that the soul of David has not ascended from Sheol, because his unopened tomb, with his body still in it, is with us to this day.
An open guarded tomb, without the body still in it, is proof that:
1: The soul of that person has ascended from Sheol.
2: The body of that person has been resurrected from the tomb.
Therefore we know beyond all reasonable doubt that Jesus Christ (his soul) has ascended from Sheol. The body of Jesus Christ is no longer in the tomb, because he has risen.
Also, a tomb or grave with the body (or the remains of the body) still in it, is proof that:
1: The soul of that person has not ascended from Sheol.
2: The body of that person has not been resurrected from the tomb.
Therefore because the tomb of David still remains with us to this day, with his body still in it, we know beyond all reasonable doubt that David’s soul is still in Sheol.
By using the same basic argument or reasoning that Peter used to prove that David’s soul was still in Sheol and therefore David has not ascended into the sky. We can also say, because the remains of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to this day, still lie at rest in the tomb of the Patriarch’s, we know beyond all reasonable doubt, that the souls of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still in Sheol, and they have not ascended into the sky.
Matthew 27:50 Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51 And look, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth shook, the rocks were split, 52 the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose; 53 and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!" 55 And many women were there looking from a far off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him.
Question: Given that a person’s dead body resting in the grave is proof that person’s soul is still in Sheol. Therefore we know, that David, Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, were not among the many saints who were raised to life at the time of Jesus Christ resurrection. Who were the many saints that were raised to life at that time?
In this passage, Matthew uses that Greek word ‘polus’, meaning ‘many’ three times.
In verse 52: We have the bodies of many saints.
In verse 53: We are told that they appeared too many people.
In verse 55: We have many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to his needs.
Although the saints who were raised from the dead, may have appeared too many thousands in the Holy City; there was no-where near that number of women who followed Jesus from Galilee. Maybe only between ten and twenty women from Galilee watched that day.
So how many is many? And how many is few? If I want to field a football team, 10 are few and 20 are many. If two kings are about to enter into battle, one with an army of 100,000, the other with an army of 200,000; a 100,000 are few and 200,000 are many. Few are always less than many, and many are always more than few.
Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, the Greek Words ‘ologos’ and ‘polus’ translated into English as ‘few’ and ‘many’ are often used in this way. So what Matthew is saying here, is that compared with the few people, who in the past have died, been placed in a tomb, and then, sometime later, have been raised from the dead, many on this day were raised from the dead.
Prior to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there had only ever been one man (maybe two) who had died, been placed in a tomb, and then later raised from the dead. So one (or two) is few. Therefore if only 24 saints were raised from the dead at the time of Jesus Christ resurrection, that would be many. Also, if those 24 saints after appearing too many in the Holy City, were to ascend into the sky with Jesus Christ. This would explain how the 24 elders, spoken of in the book of Revelation, got before the throne of God in the sky before the resurrection on the last day.
Another possible answer is that Jesus Christ was the firstfruits sacrifice, and the many saints, who were resurrected with Jesus are the firstfruits wave offering; which according to the Law, had to be present to the Lord God at the same time as the sacrifice.
Leviticus 23:9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you, on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD.’”
Because Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the firstfruits sacrifice; in order to fulfil the law of the firstfruits sacrifice, Jesus had to be presented to God along with the wave offering of the firstfruits. It was to fulfil this law that some of the saints were resurrected along with Jesus Christ and presented to God as a wave offering.
Jesus Christ said;
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to destroy but to fulfil.”
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of them that sleep. 21 For since by man came death, by man also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.
In this passage we are told that each will be raised in his turn. First to be raised from the dead, is Jesus Christ, who is the firstfruits. But there is no mention of the many saints who were resurrected along with Jesus Christ. So we would have to put a question mark over them. Either they were taken up into the sky with Jesus, as the firstfruits wave offering, or like Lazarus they lived on earth after their resurrection for a time, before dying again. In which case we should ask; why no further mention of them?
Regardless whether these saints ascended into the sky as complete spirit, soul and body beings, or they died and were reburied; according to the Scriptures (Acts 2:29), David was not one of them. We know this, as on the day of Pentecost his tomb was still unopened and his body still in it. Also because the tomb of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was not disturbed at that time, and their bodies still remain in the tomb to this day, we can say that neither were they part of this resurrection.
After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the firstfruits, those who are next in order for resurrection are those who are Christ’s. These will be raised from the dead at Christ’s coming. It is important to note that according to 1 Corinthians 15:22 – 23; there is only one resurrection day for those who are Christ’s and this will be on the day of his coming.
The Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ’s First Coming and His Second Coming.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men once to die, and after this damnation, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and unto those who expectantly wait for him he shall appear a second time, without reference to sin, to bring deliverance.
Jesus Christ came the first time to bear our sins (To carry our sins away, Psalms 103:12). When Jesus appears for the second time, it will be to bring deliverance. So we can safely say that all those who are Christ’s (apart from maybe the 24 elders) will be resurrected at the time of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.
In Revelation 14:1 – 5: we have mention of the 144,000 who are offered as firstfruits. But as one reads through the Book of Revelation, it becomes clear that these 144,000 are among those who will be part of the resurrection of the justified and the catching up of the saints at the time of Jesus Christ Second Coming. At that time all those who are Christ’s will be resurrected. This resurrection will also include David and all the other Old Testament saints, who were not part of the firstfruits wave offering.
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:16 - 18
II Timothy 2:16 But avoid wicked and fruitless discussions, for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their speech will eat (away at the truth) as does gangrene. Of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 who concerning the truth have gone astray, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.
(Words in italics added.)
“Who concerning the truth, have gone astray saying that the resurrection is already past.” It was only about 33 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that Paul wrote this. Therefore we can safely say that Paul did not believe that any great number of saints had been resurrected along with Jesus Christ. Otherwise, coming so soon after Christ resurrection, Paul could not say that it was straying from the truth to say that the resurrection was already past, without clarifying which resurrection.
Therefore to say that there was anything like a mass resurrection of the Old Testament Saints at the time of Jesus Christ death and resurrection, or any time between then and Paul’s letter to timothy, 33 years later, is to stray from the truth.
According to the Scriptures, the Old Testament saints including Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, along with the New Testament saints, are in Sheol waiting the day of resurrection. As according to Paul there are only two resurrection days for the just and justified. First Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob shall remain in Sheol, the world of the dead until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men once to die, and after this damnation, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and unto those who expectantly wait for him he shall appear a second time, without reference to sin, to bring deliverance.
Jesus Christ came the first time to carry away our sins. When Jesus appears again, for the second time, it will be to bring deliverance to those who expectantly wait for Him.
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
To bring deliverance to those who expectantly await for Him. Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross, and he cast them away as far as the east is from the west. Now we do not have to fear the damnation that comes after death. Instead, we eagerly with expectant hearts wait for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. For when Jesus comes, our deliverance will be revealed and we will receive the goal of our faith, the deliverance of our souls.
We have been delivered. Delivered from condemnation and redeemed from the powers of darkness. On the day we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Deliverer, we were delivered, born again, taken out of the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. But we are yet receive the deliverance of our soul; and our soul still suffers (or is grieved as Peter puts it) from many trials and temptations.
We are delivered from our sins and the powers of darkness, but no matter how good we have it in this world and no matter how good we have it in Paradise when we die. This deliverance that we now have is not the goal of our faith; that deliverance, the deliverance of our soul is still to come.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in the sky for you,
When we are born again, it is into a lively hope. The hope of an eternal inheritance, reserved for us in the sky. Apart from all the blessings I have already received and will receive from God my Father in this life, I also have an eternal inheritance, reserved for me in the sky. It has my name on it and it is my inheritance.
It is your inheritance.
1 Peter 1:4b reserved in the sky for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith unto deliverance ready to be revealed in the last time.
God; through Jesus Christ, has delivered us, and we are being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation deliverance. Although we are delivered, we have not yet received this deliverance that we are being kept for. This deliverance is ready and is being kept for us in the sky, to be revealed in the Last Time. The Last Time can equally be translated as the Last Day. According to the Scriptures, the resurrection of the will not be until the Last Day (See “The Last Day” on page 53).
1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are distressed by various trials, 7 that the testing of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
This appearing of Jesus Christ is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. According to Hebrews 9:28; Jesus Christ is coming a second time to bring deliverance.
1 Peter 1:7b and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, 8 who having not seen you love. In who though you do not see him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the deliverance of your souls.
Or as the N.I.V. puts it, “receiving the goal of your faith – the salvation of your souls.”
One of the greatest paradoxes of the Christian faith is; if you want deliver your soul, first you must lose it.
Mark 8:34 When he had called the people and his disciples to him, he said unto them, “Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever desires to deliver his soul will lose it, but whoever loses his soul for my sake and the good news, he will deliver it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
The goal of our faith is the deliverance of our soul. But when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Deliverer, we don’t gain the deliverance of our soul; we lose our soul, we lose our self-will, we lose our self wants, we lose our self-desires, and we take on the will, wants and desires of God the Father. But in return, the goal of our faith, the deliverance of our soul, is kept in the sky for us, ready to be revealed on the Last Day when Jesus Christ comes again.
Yes, we have been delivered out of the kingdom of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God, but we have not yet received goal of our faith, the deliverance of our souls.
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and the right to condemn was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had they received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
With the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, those who died knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Deliverer will be raised from Sheol, to be clothed in their new eternal body. At the same time, we who are in Christ and remain will put off our old earthly body and put on our new eternal body. Then together we shall all be caught up to meet Jesus in the air. This is the first resurrection. But for the rest of mankind, those who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Deliverer, and who still remain alive on this day; this will be a day of trial by fire. A day when all the wicked will be removed from the face of the earth (2 Thessalonians 1:6 – 8). It will be just like the day of Noah. On that day, God brought trial by water upon the wicked, while the justified were lifted above the waters. At the Second Coming, God will bring trial by fire upon the wicked, while the justified are lifted above the fire to meet with Jesus in the air.
The justified will be saved, but the wicked will be removed and their souls cast into the pit of Sheol. The souls of the unjustified will have no part in the first resurrection for they will remain in the pit, suffering in torment and agony for another 1,000 years. Then after the 1,000 years they will be raised from the world of the dead, to face damnation. After which they, both soul and body will be cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the sky fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it; and death and Sheol delivered up the dead who were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and Sheol were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
It is my understanding of Revelation chapter 20, that verses 4 to 6, are telling us about the resurrection day of all those whose names are found written in the Book of Life. While verses 11 to 15 are telling us about the damnation of all those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life, which will take place a thousand years later.
In verse 13 it says; “The Sea gave up the dead.” Meaning the bodies of those buried at sea, will be raised from the sea. Then it says; “Death and Sheol delivered up the dead who were in them.” ‘Death’ meaning the bodies of those buried in the earth. ‘Sheol’ meaning the souls held in the world of the dead.
Verse 14 says; “Then death and Sheol were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” This verse is referring to the bodies that have just been raised from the dead (both those bodies that were buried at sea and in the earth) and the souls, which have just been raised from Sheol. All these will be thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second death.
Where is the lake of fire? It would appear that this lake of fire is within world of the dead.
In Luke 16:19 – 27, Jesus gives us a look at the world of the dead. Lazarus is pictured with Abraham in Paradise, looking across a great gulf to where the rich man is in agony, because of the fire. This is a picture of the first death, when the bodies of all the dead remain either in the earth or in the sea, while their souls go either to paradise or to the place of torment, both within the world of the dead, also known as Sheol, Hell and Hades.
During the first resurrection, the souls of all whose names are written in the Book of Life are raised from Sheol and united with their body in the grave. Then as they are being raised from the grave, they shall take off mortality and put on immortality. From then on, they will spend eternity with Jesus Christ, living a life of everlasting joy and peace.
A thousand years later, the souls of those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life will be raised from Sheol and united with their body. They will then be raised from the grave to face their maker, on this the day of their judgment. Because they have both sinned and rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Deliverer, their names are not found written in the Book of Life. Therefore they (both their body and soul) will be cast into the fires of Sheol, to suffer everlasting torment and agony.
This is the second death, also spoken of by Jesus Christ.
Matthew 10:28 “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 and body in the fires of Sheol.”
In the first death, it is only the soul that God cast into Sheol, while the body remains in the grave. But in the second death, all whose names are not found written in the Book of Life will have both their body and soul cast into the everlasting fires of Sheol.
As all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, the second death is our just punishment for our sin. Therefore if it were not for the grace of God, this second death would be the fate of all mankind. But God in His love and mercy towards us has provided a way by which all mankind may be delivered from this everlasting suffering in the fires of Sheol. That way is by repenting of your sin, and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Deliverer.
John 3:16 “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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be delivered from condemnation. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
If you want to be delivered, believe and find a Bible believing church that preaches and teaches from the Bible. Repent and be baptized for the release from sins in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus was baptized by immersion in water. This is the way Jesus taught his disciples to baptize, and it is the way you should be baptized.
One of the last things Jesus Christ said to his disciples was,
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go all the world, and preach the good news to every creature. 16 He that believes and is baptized shall be delivered; but he that believes not shall be damned.
Everlasting life, peace and joy in the presence of Jesus Christ, or everlasting death, which is eternal separation from God, eternal separation from all your friends and love ones, and to be cast into the everlasting fires of Sheol to suffer eternal torment and agony. The choice is yours; choose today, for tomorrow may be too late. To die without choosing everlasting life is to choose everlasting death, the just punishment for your sins.
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by
VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL. P.O. BOX 144 WYNNUM QLD 4178 AUSTRALIA.
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Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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