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The Dead In Christ
July 08, 2010
I have added another page to my web site. The article answers the question, Is Jesus God? and you can read it by clicking here: http://www.anunseenworld.com/isjesusgod.html
-------The Dead In Christ-------
This world has all kinds of misconceptions as to what happens to us when we die. People believe in things such as reincarnation, purgatory, heaven, hell, soul sleep, and the belief that once death comes that's it - you cease to exist.
The doctrines of soul sleep and purgatory are within Christian denominations as well as heaven and hell. Many people outside of Christianity have a belief in a kind of heaven and hell concept where those who do good are rewarded and those who do evil are punished. When considering the afterlife, the first question one should ask is, "What does the Bible say?"
The Bible is the word of God. Since God is our creator, then God would have the answers to what happens after we die and they are written in His word.
From God's point of view, there are only 2 kinds of people: saved and unsaved. At death a person is either going to heaven or going to hell and will be there for eternity.
The word of God is very clear on how to be saved. It is simply putting your faith and trust in the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Christ was God in the flesh and God voluntarily laid His life down to bear the penalty for your sin and my sin so we would not have to pay the price ourselves. Those who reject this gift of pardon have to pay the penalty of their sins themselves.
The Bible talks about a people who are dead in Christ or those who sleep in Christ. "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." 1 Thess. 4:14
The term "sleep in Jesus" refers to a group of people who are now dead that had put their faith in Christ and what He did on the cross to save them from the penalty of their sins.
The phrase "will God bring with him" refers to the fact that this same group of people is now with God and will return with Him during Phase II of the resurrection. Phase I was Jesus Christ being raised from the dead as we are taught in 1 Cor. 15:23, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." The final Phase is the resurrection of those who are unsaved and are awaiting the Great White Throne judgment.
Phase II is more commonly known as "The Rapture". This event is outlined in 1 Thess. Chapter 4 Verses 15 -17: "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
What takes place here is that the bodies of the dead believers will come out of the ground, be changed into a new immortal body, and reunite with the spirit and soul that once occupied that body. Those who are living at the time of this event will simply have their bodies changed. All who are now dead in Christ, God will bring with Him on the resurrection day.
What about the doctrine of soul sleep that some denominations teach? This doctrine is based on this verse in Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 Verse 5, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."
This verse taken alone can be very misleading. Let's put the verse in the complete context it is written in, "2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun."
Jimmy Swaggart, in his Expositor's Study Bible, comments on these verses, "2 The modern confession message has attempted to do away with all the vicissitudes of life, it fails, as it must, because some trials are the Will of God. 3 The "one event" that Solomon is speaking of is death. It comes to all, irrespective of their being rich, poor, great, or small. Yet, despite this fact, men's hearts are filled with evil and madness, so long as they live without God. 4 There is hope for Salvation only while the individual is alive. All opportunities for Salvation are on this side of the grave. 5 When the life on this Earth is ended, the soul and spirit, whether of the wicked or the righteous, have no more earthly involvement, at least at this time."
The phrase "the dead know not any thing" simply refers to the fact that the souls and spirits of the departed are no longer involved in earthly affairs and it does not mean the soul and spirit are in a comatose state. The "dead in Christ" will one day become involved with Earthly affairs once again as God will bring "them" with Him when He returns to reunite their souls and spirits with their bodies and when He returns to set up an Earthly kingdom in which the resurrected Christians will serve as "kings" and "priests".
This also means we cannot contact the spirits of those who have gone before us. Those who claim to be able to communicate with the dead are, in reality, speaking to evil spirits, more commonly known as demons, and lead people into false belief systems. This false belief system is perpetuated by so called reality shows such as Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth.
The dead who are not in Christ will never again have an earthly involvement and they will have an eternity to contemplate the opportunity they missed by rejecting Christ.
Rejecting Christ is the most foolish thing a man can do yet most of the world does exactly this.
Copyright 2010 by Gary Goodworth
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