The biggest questions of life are: Why are we here? and What follows death? Many traditions have developed over the centuries about the nature of death and the heareafter. Most of them are based in mythology. In this study we will examine death and the resurrection from the only standpoint that matters — what Yahweh’s Word tell us is true.
Man was created with a soul that never dies.
b. Nowhere does the Bible say that man has an immortal soul. Satan’s lie, the first lie ever told, was that Eve “would not surely die,” Genesis 3:4. The immortal soul idea is rooted in ancient pagan beliefs. The Jewish Encyclopedia notes that a soul that lives on after death is “nowhere expressly taught in Scripture...The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended,” Vol. VI, pp 564, 566. “From early Old Testament times, the Israelites believed that the body and soul were one, and that death brought the death of the entire ‘self’” (Nelson’s Illus. Ency. of the Bible, p. 164).
Who of the following never died?
g. Romans 5:12 reads, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (See 1Cor. 15:22; Gal. 3:22.) Psalm 89:48 asks, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” Hebrews 9:27 tells us that it is appointed unto men once to die, and then the judgment. No one on earth has escaped death, not even Yahshua (John 19:33; 2Cor. 5:14-15), who was the death penalty sacrifice for our sins. Because the wages of sin is death, if He never died as required by His sin sacrifice, then our sins remain unpaid, 1Cor. 15:13-14. Enoch died after 365 years, Heb. 11:5, 13, and EliYah was back writing letters after his trip in the whirlwind, 2Chron. 21:12—both mortals.
When we die....
b. Ecclesiastes 9:5 and 10 say “the dead know not anything.” All awareness and thought processes stop at death, Psalm 6:5; 146:4. The dead are unconscious and oblivious to what’s around them, in what the Bibles compares to as a sleep (John 11:11-14; 1Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 26, 51; 2Pet. 3:4; 1Thes. 4:13-14).
The terms “soul” and “spirit” mean the same thing.
b. “Soul” in Hebrew is nephesh (Greek psuche), meaning a living, breathing creature. It is translated “soul” when used of humans, and “creature” when used of animals. It is the physical life we have as living beings on earth. When breath of life was breathed into Adam he became a living soul (not an “immortal” soul), Gen. 2:7. Man’s soul is subject to death, Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4, 20. The soul of man is like the soul of beasts, Eccl. 3:19, all of which die, v. 20. “Spirit” (Hebrew ruach, Greek pneuma) resides in man, 1Cor. 2:11, given by Yahweh when we came into being, Zech. 12:1. In conjunction with the brain, this spirit forms the human mind, 1 Cor. 2:11. It gives us our intellectual and emotional traits and separates us from mere animals. Our spirit engenders individually unique characteristics, making us who we are. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says that this spirit, and not an immortal soul, is what is taken back to Yahweh at our death, Ps. 104:29.
Yahshua used the story of Lazarus and the rich man to show...
d. This parable given by Yahshua is filled with allegory. It is not meant to teach literal facts surrounding death but is an object lesson to show the difference between those who humbly accept the Truth and are blessed for it (Lazarus) and those who are callously arrogant, selfish, self-justified and exclusivist (meaning the Pharisees), Luke 16:14-31.
Innate immortality is ascribed in the Bible to...
a. Only Yahweh has innate immortality, 1Tim. 6:16, and He raised up His Son with the power of His Spirit and gave Him immortality, Rom. 8:11. His Son at the resurrection will in turn grant this power of everlasting life to those who have proven faithful, Matt. 19:29; 1Cor. 15:52-54; Rom. 6:23; 1Thess 4:16.
To be resurrected to life...
b. Romans 8:11 reads, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” See Rom. 8:23.
What is the purpose of a resurrection?
a. Some believe that the resurrection is for the purpose of reuniting soul and body. But as we have seen, the soul does not go flying away at death but rather dies with the body.
How many resurrections are in Scripture?
b. The first resurrection is of those who hear the Truth now and obediently follow it. These righteous, both living and dead, are raised at the return of Yahshua when the trumpet is blown, Matt. 24:31; 1Thess 4:16-17. They will become spirit beings and will live forever in the Kingdom, 1Cor. 15:51-52. The second resurrection is to physical life and comes after the thousand-year reign of Yahshua. It is made up of those who never learned of the Truth but who will have that opportunity in the Millennium, Rev. 20, and who will then be judged by their works, v. 12.
Yahshua was the first and only one to rise from the dead.
a. Having died, Yahshua is the first to live again. He is called the “firstfruits of them who slept [died],” 1Cor. 15:20- 23. Col. 1:18 says He is the Firstborn from the dead. All the patriarchs who preceded Him in death are still in their graves waiting fro the resurrection and their reward, Heb. 11:13.
Yahshua will secretly return and rapture the saints safely away to heaven...
d. Yahweh promises protection on earth for His Assembly, Rev. 12:14, not a rapture away to heaven to watch in safety as friends and relatives suffer unspeakably in the tribulation. Noah and his family were protected on earth, in the ark, while Israle was protected in Goshen during the plagues on Egypt. (See our booklet, Is There a Coming Rapture? Prepare to be surprised!)
d. Those who rise in the first resurrection at Yahshua’s return are said to forever be with the Messiah, 1Thess. 4:17. Clearly they have already been judged by their lives now and been found worthy, Rev. 20:6. Paul in Romans 2 says that a righteous judgment will reward everyone according to their deeds. Yahshua is the Judge, John 5:22, and the Word is the standard by which we are judged, Psalm 96:13. Those who are ignorant of the Truth will be given an opportunity to learn the Truth and then accept or reject it at the white throne judgment following the Millennium, Rev. 20:12.
The last to be destroyed after the final judgment will be
a. In 1Cor. 15:25-26 Paul writes, “For He must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” This prophecy waits fulfillment as spoken in Rev. 20:14., “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” “Hell” is the Greek hades and means the grave. All of this is in preparation for the new Jerusalem to come down from heaven, which will be inhabited by Yahweh Himself, Rev. 21:3