Sunday, November 9, 2014

What is the State of the Dead? Part 1 of 3 - Pastor David

Will we meet again and recognize our loved ones in the hereafter? Who has not asked this question? How many have pondered and wondered over the question, “Does death end all?” If we could really know the truth about rewards for the righteous and retribution for the unrighteous in the world to come, would we not change our program of living in this present world? Must we remain in the dark as to our knowledge of the present and future state of the dead? Can we find no answer to the question, “are the dead conscious?”

The atheist consigns man and beast to the same fate after death, stating that death ends all. There are many so-called scientists all around us working over‑time to prove that there are no dead. We have some people who call themselves Christian Scientists. They would persuade us to believe that sin, sickness and death are unreal only the erroneous conclusions of mortal mind. Of course, if sin is not sin, then death is not death. But the erroneous conclusions are those of a silly woman and her deluded followers.

There are other religious cults carrying on their nefarious traffic in human souls in the name of Jesus Christ, likewise teaching that sin, sickness and death are the unrealities of human conclusions.

Then we have the so-called Christian Theosophists teaching that death has to do only with the physical, and in reality is not death, but simply the shedding of the present body for a reincarnation, to be repeated in the gradual process toward perfection.

The Spiritists, some times called Spiritualists, disagree with the Theosophists, teaching that they also believe that physical death is the gate to a higher life, but they are sure that the individual remains here in this world in spirit form, requiring manifestations to be seen by kindred spirits here in human bodies. They have spirit mediums to produce these manifestations and contacts.

Then we have the religion of Russell and his successor, J. F. Rutherford. They had seen fit to change the name of their religious movement several times. They were known as International Bible Students, Millennial Dawn, and one or two other names; and now they send their false prophets hither and thither as Jehovah’s Wit­nesses. They teach the damnable heresy of soul sleeping, which they borrowed from the Seventh Day Adventists.

They teach that the spirit of man at death loses its in­dividuality, that body and soul go to sheol, or the pit, to remain together both unconscious. They deny that there is either joy for the righteous or pain for the unrighteous in sheol. They teach that Christ came back in 1874; remained in hiding until 1914, since which time His kingdom was set up on earth and with him in secret reign are those faithful ones who attained unto the true wheat or bride; that within a few years the LORD will manifest Himself, though His saints shall never see Him in His body, which was destroyed when He ascended to heaven. When the LORD manifests Himself, then the remainder of the 144,000 true Israelites, or the Church or Bride of Christ, will be given their seat of honor. Then millions will be brought back from the dead and given the opportunity to adjust their lives to the King. Those who ultimately refuse will be annihilated. Think of the nonsense of bringing back one who has ceased to exist in order to annihilate him again. Such is the utter foolishness of the servants of Satan.

We might refer to many others, including the false teaching of purgatory, which has brought to the Roman Church great riches. There is not one line in the Roman or Protestant Bibles to support their purgatory which they added centuries after apostles of Christ gave the truth to the Christian Church. Not one apostle believed in anything like purgatory. Not one of them agreed with any of the vagaries, superstitions, delusions and lies mentioned above.

How much more satisfactory it is to turn to God’s Holy Book, and search there for the answers to the questions concerning the hereafter which we have been unable to dismiss from our minds and hearts.

So often do we hear the statement, “we must wait until we die to learn whether or not there is consciousness after death, because no one has come back from death to tell us”? To believe in the Christ of the Bible is to believe in a Christ who was fully competent to tell us all about death and the hereafter, even before He by the grace of God tasted death for every man and then abolished death, and destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil. Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 2:14, 2 Timothy 1:9-10. Christ died for our sins; He was buried; and on the third day He arose from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. After His death He showed Him­self alive by many infallible proofs; for forty days. Acts 1:3; Acts 10:41. He ascended on high and led captivity captive. Ephesians 4:7-10. Some years after His death and resurrection He appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos and said, “I am He that liveth, and was dead: and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hades and of Death” Revelation 1:18.

Christ foretold His death and resurrection many times while He was a man on earth. One of His statements concerning His death and resurrection is found in John 10:17-18, “I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” Concerning the death and resurrection of Christ, God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophet, David, about one thousand years before the Savior was born, in this language, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither will thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption” Acts 2:27, Psalm 16:10.

In His triumph over death, Christ became the first fruits of them that slept. 1 Corinthians 15:20. While here in the flesh He truthfully said, “No man hath ascended up to heaven” John 3:13. Nearly one thousand years after David, the man after God’s own heart, had died, the messenger of the LORD said, “David, he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day” Acts 2:29. Concerning the resurrected Christ the Word of God is, “This man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God, waiting till His enemies be made His footstool” Hebrews 10:12-13. There is but one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5. In a resurrection, glorified body, Christ was the first man to ascend to heaven, the firstfruits of them that slept. The word, “firstfruits” suggests that there will be a harvest; that is, that many men will ascend to heaven; every man in his own order. 1 Corinthians 15:23. “At His coming”, Not before Christ comes for His own.

Now, the fact is, that Christ, because of His own personal dealings with death, the sepulcher and Hades, knows all about death from experience, and He is THE trustworthy and competent authority. He has actually died and come back to earth after death. But He knew all about death, Hades and heaven before He ever became man, and surely knew all about it while He was on earth speaking as never man spake. Now He has the keys of death and hades. He gave a picture sermon of death and Hades, retribution and reward. It was concerning a rich man and a poor man. This is recorded in Luke 16:19-31. Some people seem to get satisfaction by saying that the picture is only a parable instead of a reality. However, it is NOT a parable; it is the story of this situation, as the characters have names. But even if the truth is set forth in a parable, the truth of conscious joy and torment is taught by One who really knew what He was talking about. The Father said, “This is My beloved Son; hear ye Him” Matthew 17:5.

The man in torment said concerning those who had not died, his kinsmen on earth, “Testify unto them lest they also come into this place. But if one went from the dead, they will repent.” Luke 16:30. The answer was, and is, “Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31.

The answers to your questions are in God’s Word. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.

So concerning death and after death, our appeal is, “What saith the scriptures!

What is death? Death is the last enemy. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26. What is death? “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. “Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.” James 1:15. Death is the finished work of sin.Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12.

Had there been no sin, certainly there would have been no death. We speak of death as the absence or cessation of life. But in the Bible, death has more than one meaning. When we define death as the absence of physical life, we are dealing with but one phase of death. Death is far more serious than the cessation of existence. Death considered in all of its aspects is the most terrible fact in the experience of man.

Death extends far beyond time, into the eternal ages. Death is an enemy. Death is real. Death is more than a universal curse; death is a Divine judgment. There are millions who are living dead folks; dead, here and now, in sins.

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In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. BELIEVE today. The time is short.

So There You Have it!

Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.

Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.

In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry

Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20)

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