If what the Judeo-Christian Clergy say is true, that a person goes immediately to heaven upon death: Then why did Jesus say: "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?...NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN, but he [Jesus Himself] that CAME DOWN from heaven, EVEN THE SON OF MAN which is in heaven." (John 3:12‑13)
Do you not believe Jesus? Our Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, who had just come from heaven, and who appeared in a flesh body, said, plainly that NO MAN HAS ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN. In other words no man had yet gone from the earth to heaven. Now who are you going to believe, those who teach a false doctrine or the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
At this point I suspect that you will cry out: "What about Elijah, he went up by a whirlwind into heaven." "What about Enoch, God took him to heaven." And of course you have already mentioned the vision on the mount of transfiguration, where the Apostles saw Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah.
Well let's start with Elijah, and go from there. In Second Kings we find related the story
of Elijah and his being taken up into the air by a whirlwind. "And it came to pass, as they [Elijah and Elisha] still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; AND ELIJAH WENT UP BY A WHIRLWIND INTO HEAVEN." (2 Kings 2:11)
This appears to be a direct contradiction to the words of Christ, who said: "No man hath ascended up to heaven." Is it a contradiction? It certainly appears to be so! Surely Jesus did not tell an untruth! Yet He plainly CONTRADICTS what (2 Kings 2:11) SEEMS to say! So, we MUST ask; Is there some difficulty between the Hebrew and the Greek words for "heaven?" Where did Elijah go? What did Jesus mean?
No the prophet Elisha, who had followed Elijah doggedly, claiming he would never desist from following him, was ABSOLUTELY shocked. For, while Elisha was asking for a "double portion" of the spirit of Elijah, "...it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared A CHARIOT OF FIRE, and HORSES OF FIRE, and parted them both asunder; AND ELIJAH WENT UP BY A WHIRLWIND INTO HEAVEN." Elisha SAW this happen with his own eyes!
For centuries now thousands of impassioned sermons have been preached by the Judeo-Christian Clergy of Organized Religion and others using THIS VERSE to underscore THEIR BELIEF and THE HOPES OF HEAVEN FOR THE SAVED!
Which of us has not heard the Clergy wax eloquent about the proverbial "pearly gates," the "heavenly city with streets of gold" and "great mansions;" about being "IN HEAVEN," forever and forever?
Millions of Christians have been led to believe that IMMEDIATELY UPON DEATH the "souls" of Christians GO TO HEAVEN. Then WHY did Jesus say what He did? Why did Jesus say this was a lie? Why did He say, "...NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN?" After all, He should have known, shouldn't He? He had BEEN THERE, with the Father, and the 24 elders, and all the angels and all the other beings related in the Scriptures as being in heaven with Almighty God. AND HE HAD JUST COME FROM
HEAVEN TO THIS EARTH, had He not?!
WHY do literally MILLIONS of churchgoing, professing Christians believe Jesus Christ didn't know what He was talking about ‑‑ or that HE HAD LIED? Do YOU believe Christ? Or do you prefer to believe, instead, WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TAUGHT, BY MEN?
What Happened to Elijah: Did Elijah DIE and go to heaven? NO. Elijah was not even ill; he was still doing the WORK which God had set before him and was merely TALKING with Elisha, walking along engaged in a conversation with him. When SUDDENLY Elisha saw what appeared to be a FIERY VISION, and Elijah was TAKEN, BODILY, up into "heaven." No doubt Elisha watched him UNTIL HE WAS OUT OF SIGHT!
Where did Elijah go? If it was a bright, clear day, HOW LONG could Elisha's eyes have followed Elijah as he departed? Probably, if Elisha had normally good eyesight, he could have seen Elijah, plus the blazing, glittering spectacle of the fiery chariot and horses, for several miles, perhaps even as much as 15,000 to 20,000 feet. But eventually, DISTANCE would have seemed to "swallow him up," and he would have no longer been VISIBLE to Elisha's startled eyes!
How many times have you had the experience of hearing the muted thunder of a jet airplane from very high overhead, only to look up into the sky and be unable to see the aircraft? Perhaps you remember an occasion or two when you have been able to see the VAPOR TRAIL left by the engines of the aircraft, and perhaps could even see it forming, MOVING across the sky high above, and still the airplane was so high your human eye could not pick it out.
Yet aboard that airplane could be more than 100 people ‑‑ flight attendants serving meals, pushing carts up and down the aisle, the flight crew at their places in the cockpit, inside of an airplane so big that a 6‑foot man could STAND UP in the intake of just ONE of its big jet engines ‑‑ and yet, because it was SO HIGH IN THE SKY you could not see it!
Now, if it were a cloudy day when Elijah was "taken up into heaven," by a whirlwind [some say this had to be a tornado ‑‑ which would only enforce that it must have been a cloudy day], then Elisha could only have seen him for a few hundred, or a few thousand feet. Actually, instead of being "taken" to heaven, Elijah was taken up into the AIR.
The word for "heaven" is "shameh" [pronounced "shaw‑meh'" and is #8064 Strong's Exhaustive Concordance] in the Hebrew language, which comes from a root word meaning "to be lofty." The word means "the sky" [as "aloft"] and alludes to "the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve." The word means "AIR" as well as "heaven."
Two or three examples of the interchangeable usage of this ONE WORD should suffice, although there are MANY in the Bible that we could use. Notice ‑‑ the following very carefully: "...and the windows of heaven ["shameh" #8064 Strongs Exhaustive Concordance] were opened." (Genesis 7:11); "...the windows of heaven ["shameh" #8064] were stopped...the rain from heaven ["shameh" #8064] was restrained." (Genesis 8:2); "...whose top may reach unto heaven ["shameh" #8064]..." (Genesis 11:4)
These are ONLY three examples of literally DOZENS in the Old Testament where the word "heaven" is OBVIOUSLY referring to this earth's IMMEDIATE ATMOSPHERE. In these first few quotations, reference is made to the FLOOD of Noah. The "windows of heaven" refer to the thunderous RAINSTORMS, and are therefore dealing with the immediate ENVELOPE OF AIR which covers this earth like a mantle and is, in fact, a literal PART of our earth and its immediate environment.
The scripture from Genesis Eleven deals with the famed "Tower of Babel," when mankind attempted to construct the very first "skyscraper [which was in reality a religious organization ‑‑ to replace the worship of Almighty God]."
Now, notice how the IDENTICAL WORD [shameh] was used for the word "air," in the following: "...the fowl of the air ["shameh" #8064 Strong's Exhaustive Concordance]..." (Gen. 1:26); "...and over the fowl of the air ["shameh" #8064]..." (Gen. 1:28); "...Adam gave names...to the fowl of the air ["shameh" #8064]..." (Gen. 2:20); "...winged fowl that flieth in the air ["shameh" #8064]." (Deut. 4:17); "...the birds of the air ["shameh" #8064..." (2 Samuel 21:10); "The way of an eagle in the air ["shameh" #8064]..." (Proverbs 30:19)
In EACH of these, and in 21 other separate examples in the Old Testament, the IDENTICAL HEBREW WORD translated "heaven" is rendered "air." Why? Because the translators, who where well versed in the Hebrew Language were not necessarily spiritually blessed enough to understand the verses they were translating.
So, they, not understanding what the verses meant would sometimes use the "wrong" word. This also explains why there have been so many different translations of the Bible. Because some were translated by evil men who wanted to destroy others faith in Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ ‑‑ others simply because of spiritual blindness.
However, it would appear that the translators understood that, when the Bible was referring to that "firmament" above the earth in which birds fly, it MUST mean "the air," and not the heaven where God's actual Throne is. Actually, as we shall see, the Bible clearly speaks of THREE "heavens," and positively identifies the "third heaven" as the heaven of God's throne!
What Elisha actually saw, then, was the DISAPPEARANCE of Elijah, by a miracle from God, with the aid of a fiery chariot and whirlwind ‑‑ ELIJAH WENT UP INTO THE "AIR," until he was taken up out of Elisha's sight! THEREFORE, ELIJAH DID NOT GO INTO THE HEAVEN OF GOD'S THRONE. And that is EXACTLY what the Lord Jesus Christ said!!!
Do “Souls” Go to Heaven? But, some will argue, Jesus didn't say no SOULS ascended into heaven! Some will argue, "It isn't the MAN who goes to heaven ‑‑ it is the soul of the man!"
With all the teaching today by the so‑called "Ministers" of America about a Christian accepting Christ and then going to heaven. There is so much of it you would think that there would be at least "one" verse of scripture that would clearly state that a Christian goes to Heaven.
Now, when asked this question; the first response received is usually to quote the verse, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Then when we respond they always seem to be quite put out that we will not fall all over ourself and agree with them. But when we responded that; if one would study the verse they made reference to they would find it had nothing to do with dying and then being immediately present with the Lord, but that we were trying to make him accept our beliefs.
First off, before we go any further I have been appointed a "Watchman on the Wall" by God Almighty and the Lord Jesus Christ, after the manner of that spoken of in Ezekiel. "I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel [America]; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth [Study of the Bible], and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 33:7‑9).
So, I merely present what God Almighty and the Lord Jesus Christ gives me and I care not whether you accept it or not for I have done my duty in presenting those Words to you. It should be brought to your attention also that if one enters the study of the scriptures with a preconceived idea about them it will affect what is believed about them and what will see revealed in them. That is why so many people can read the same verse of scripture and come up with different interpretations; they approach it with preconceived ideas about what it says. Usually because some so‑called "Minister" has told them so. And example would be if you believe in a purgatory, as the Catholics do than many verses will seem to point out that there is indeed a purgatory. But if one will approach the scriptures from a purely studious standpoint he will find that there are no scriptures which confirm either a purgatory or that Christians will go to heaven when they die.
Now back to the verse of scripture in question. Upon study you will soon realize that to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord merely means is to be present with the Lord by thinking about Him or in other words, to be present with Him in Spirit. That this is a true interpretation can be found by study of the following verses, which is not exhaustive, but should be enough to verify that what I am saying is true.
We know the dead know nothing not do anything until the resurrection by the Lord is proven by the following scriptures: (Job 17:13‑16; Psalms 6:5; 49:8‑20; 88:10; 115:17; 141:7; 146: 4; Ecclesiastes 9:5‑10; Hosea 13:14; Acts 2:34 and 1 Cor. 15:55).
Then Paul confirms that being absent from the body is spiritual, and not by actual physical death when he said to the Colossians: "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit." (Colossians 2:5).
Paul then goes on to tell us when we will be present with Christ, which is after actual physical death: "When Christ...shall appear, then ye also appear with him." (Colossians 3:4).
Then we have the witness of John the revelator who was in the spirit, or in other words was thinking about God and Christ when he received the visions as recorded in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:10). As he wrote the book of Revelation after he received the visions in the spirit, it is very clear that he was not physically dead.
Now many who study probably know the verses of the scriptures much better than I, but we must admit that to "understand" the Bible is a heck of a lot different than just knowing the verses and being able to quote them. And to know the scriptures comes only from a study of them, not in just learning what the scriptures say or think they say.
So, when this question is asked some will come up with the verse as quoted in Revelation Chapter 11: "And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven." (Revelation 11:12‑13).
Now, one can see at a glance at the preceding verses that this verse is not pertaining to
dead Christians. Many will point to: "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." (Matthew 5:12).
It relates that a Christians reward is reserved in heaven but it does not say the Christian is to receive his reward there. The scriptures relates: "...behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Revelation 22:12).
Or they will point out: "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." (Matthew 6:20). The Christians treasure is laid up in heaven but the Christian is not there.
Or: "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20). Well now we have a Christians name in heaven but still the Christian is not there yet.
Or: "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel." (Colossians 1:3‑5). A Christians hope is laid up in heaven but the Christian is not there yet.
There is not one single verse of scripture which clearly places a Christian in heaven where Almighty God is! It is a diversion which Satan and the anti‑Christs have dreamed up to negate the activities of the Christians of the world.
The so‑called Judeo‑Christian Churches of today constantly teach that this world is not a Christians home; that he is just passing through on his way to his celestial home; that we will leave all this behind. This is exactly what Karl Marx had in mind when he made his famous statement that religion is the opium of the people. Indeed this false teaching drugs them into submissiveness to the propaganda of Satan and his minions.
So instead of taking the dominion of the world into their hands as God promised in the
beginning: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion...over all the earth." (Genesis 1:26),
In the name of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ, they have allowed the Communists to take over the dominion of the world in the name of their god Satan or the State. Thus when we really think about it this teaching merely paves the way and makes it smooth sailing for the one‑worlders.
Do you want to know why Communism seems to be winning in this war, and it is a war, for the control of this world over Christianity? A lot of it, in fact, most of it has to do with the two false teachings of Christians going to heaven and leaving this world behind and the Rapture.
This heavenly mentality does not appeal to most because it is a teaching that a Christian must wait until he dies to receive a reward for his attempt at virtuous living. That certainly does not appeal to the young because they are interested in living not in dying.
However, if they were taught the truth, that a Christians final resting place is to be this world in the Kingdom of God on Earth not in some far away place beyond the stars, and that as the descendants of Anglo‑Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic and Kindred People; that the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel and Joseph and their descendants were promises made to them they would think and react quite different to the threat of the domination of the world by Communism. In fact, Communism would never have become a threat in the first place.
Also the Communists have realized a great truth that the so‑called "Ministers" the Clergy of Organized Religion have not taught our people, that being; It is the people who determines the type of religious leaders we will have; that our religious leaders then determine the type of religion we will have; that the religion we have then determines the political leaders we will have; that the political leaders we have will then determine the economics which we will live under and that the economics which we live under then determines the morality the people will have.
You think that is not true, then consider this: Today in America we have more abortions than we ever had before; we have more rapes than we ever had before; we have more crime than we ever had before; we have more dishonest politicians, judges and so‑called pastors than we ever had before; we have more divorces than we ever had before; we have more people on drugs than we ever had before; we have more cancer than we ever had before; we have more sickness than we ever had before; we have more heart attacks than we ever had before; and have you noticed that we have more so‑called "Ministers," Preachers," "Evangelists" and etc. than we have ever had before; we have more churches than we have ever had before; we have more Bible study groups than we ever had before; we have more religious broadcasts on radio and television than we have ever had before.
Think about the changes which have occurred in the United States in just the last forty
years since we as a nation turned from Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ and began to worship the people known as the Jews and began blessing the state known around the world today as Israel.
Forty years ago: Abortionists were sent to prison for murder; Pregnancy out of wedlock was thought of as scandalous; Homosexuals were known for what they are: Queers; Pornography was despised and the courts sent those who produced this filth to jail; Marriage was sacred; Living together outside of marriage was considered a shame; Divorce was a disgrace for both parties; Homemaking was honored and day care was provided by mothers in their own homes and not in some anti‑Christ day care center; Ladies did not smoke or curse; "Damn" was considered flagrant language in a movie and was threatened with removal; Houses and Automobiles did not need to be locked; A man's word was his bond and to break it was to being dishonor to himself and his family; Drugs were something you bought at a pharmacy or drug store; Popular music was devoid of demonic jungle beats and words; Eastern religions were still in the east; Child abuse was almost unheard of; Schools were in the neighborhood, and students prayed and read the Bible; The literacy of the American people was the highest in the world; High School Graduates could actually read their diplomas; Creation could still be taught as an alternative to evolution; AIDS was a gift of God." (1 Cor. 12:28); Our governments; local, state, and national, still promoted Christian values rather than the so‑called Judeo‑Christian values of lotteries, horse racing, sports and casino gambling; Christian teaching focused on sacrificing for Christ rather than confessing materialistic success; Governmental authority was respected and the Police were justly held in high esteem; The courts still dispensed justice and the judges were moral men and women, not ungodly anti‑Christs; Socialism and Communism were considered a curse and an enemy of mankind.
Yes, as the Virginia Slims cigarette ad once put it, "You've come a long way, baby!" Like the ancient nation of Israel we have been blessed like no other nation. But also like Israel we have turned our back on the One who provided us with these blessings.
We have become an arrogant and carnal nation wallowing in materialism and indulging in the pursuit of pleasure. In the process we have become the prime moral polluter of the plant earth. Judeo it is. Christian it is NOT!!!
And like Israel of old the wrath of God is hanging over our nation. God is calling us to repentance through natural signs like the drought of the past few years. But like Ancient Israel we have become spiritually blind while listening to the swan song of the Prophets of Baal; the Clergy of Organized Religion. And now we are being lulled into a deeper sleep by the anti‑Christs of the Zionist led nation of Russia, as they cry peace, peace when there is no peace until "sudden destruction" comes upon our people.
Can you not see the so‑called "Ministers" the Clergy of Organized Religion are teaching false doctrines to our people. As a result the Christians of America and the other Christian Nations of the Western World is all too much like the fellow in the following story.
A man was once taking a trip to Boston, Mass. from his home town and was to take the 3:15 train to Boston. He's all packed up, has his luggage with him at the station and is ready to go. As he is heading to the train gate to catch the 3:15 to Boston he notices a machine on the wall of the station which had a sign stating that for one dollar it will tell you your weight and fortune. Well he just couldn't resist so he put a dollar in the machine. Out popped a card saying he weighed 180 lbs. that he was dressed in a brown suit and was going to catch the 3:15 to Boston. He looked around to see if someone might be watching him and was pulling a trick on him. Not seeing anyone he scratched his head and put in another dollar into the machine.
Out popped a card saying "you still weigh 180 lbs. dressed in a brown suit and are going to catch the 3:15 to Boston." Well this just floored him. He then got a bright idea and he ran to the rest room and changed his clothes so that he now had on a blue suit. Looking in the mirror and satisfied with what he saw he ran back to the machine and waited while a couple of people put a dollar into it. Then when his turn came he put in another dollar. Out popped a card which said "you still weight 180 lbs. but you have now changed into a blue suit and have just missed your 3:15 train to Boston. So, you see the teaching about a Christian being caught up in a Rapture and be transferred to heaven is merely a diversion and has served its purpose with great success. That purpose to deceive Christians into standing back and doing nothing to oppose Satan and his Children and their take over of the Earth.
Have you ever asked yourself the question: Why is there no segregated graveyards? Have you ever seen an indication on a tombstone that some of the bodies there, were only the physical relics of souls which are now screaming in hell fire, while others are in spiritual bliss in heaven?
Yet, such is the belief millions who confidently assume the teaching of a heavenly home, or an ever‑burning hell. No matter how sinfully or depraved the recently departed might have lived, many a pastor seems able to comfort distraught loved ones with the thought that, at the very last moment, cantankerous and crusty old Uncle so and so somehow made it through the pearly gates!
I would like for anyone to come up with the words "immortal soul," "When we get to heaven," "I will see you in heaven," and "We go to heaven when we die."
Some will state at this point: "You are only repeating yourself." Well how many times have you heard a so‑called "Minister" of the Clergy of Organized religion repeat the same message Sunday after Sunday and never make that statement to him/her. What we are attempting to do, in perhaps a clumsy way, is to present yet another side to the same question. And in that way try to cover all the bases, so that you will understand the scriptures better.
Now back to those questions we just presented. You will never find them in the Holy Bible because they are not there. There are simply no such words in the Bible!!! The Bible is God's handbook to man ‑‑ the revelation of knowledge man could not otherwise discover for himself. The Bible is REVEALED knowledge!
It does not purport to be a textbook on science, mathematics, geology, astronomy, biology, or physics. However, it is that ONE BOOK from which and through which ALL STUDY should be approached.
God did not waste time and space in His Word repeating for man, endlessly, thousands of things man could easily discover for himself. He did, however, REVEAL to the willing hearts and minds of those who are NOT HOSTILE to God's Word a precious fund of knowledge which we could not discover for ourselves!
But the deeper truths do not come easy; they come with intense study. We know this to be true because the scriptures say: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing..." (Proverbs 25:2)
The Bible has been PROVEN to be the divinely‑revealed Word of God? Paul said, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16‑17)
The divinely‑revealed Word of God is the ultimate source to which we must go to discover the REAL TRUTH about the reward of the saved, about what happens at death; about the promise of "heaven," or the threat of "hell."
Wouldn't it seem logical to you that "if" heaven is the reward of the saved; that "if" hell is the reward of the sinners; that "if" the saints are RAPTURED away to heaven; there would at least be ONE SINGLE SCRIPTURE somewhere in the Bible PLAINLY SAYING SO?
Is it LOGICAL that of ALL THE DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE, these main‑line, trunk‑of‑the‑tree "doctrines" of a "rapture," or "going to heaven," or an "ever‑burning hell," should be TOTALLY ABSENT from the Bible?
Millions of churchgoers have sat in the church pews of America and heard graphic descriptions of heaven. They have heard one tear‑jerking story after another of the death of saintly elderly persons; visions of heaven, last‑moment death‑bed repentance, and stories of people who have been revived, supposedly from death, of people who have gazed upward as they died and said they saw Jesus coming!
But for all this gingerbread and euphoria around the edges of the subject, these same church‑going people have NEVER in their LIVES have sat down at a lengthy Bible study or
church serve where they heard a minister WADE THROUGH dozens of SCRIPTURES IN THE BIBLE promising "HEAVEN" as the reward of the saved!
They have heard hundreds of VAGUE ALLUSIONS from only a few scriptures which are capable of several interpretations! But they have NEVER heard a patient, careful, well‑organized, THOROUGH Bible study or sermon PROVING FROM THE BIBLE that "HEAVEN" is the reward of the saved! Why haven't they? The reason is simply because IT CANNOT BE PROVED!
Why Did Christ Teach the Resurrection?: Why did Jesus continually speak of a RESURRECTION? For He said; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the DEAD shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." (John 5:25)
He described those who were in their graves, DEAD, knowing nothing, at the time of the second coming of Christ. "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are IN THE GRAVES shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28‑29)
These scriptures plainly refer to a FUTURE event. Jesus spoke of a general RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, which He called a resurrection "of life." He clearly spoke of the opposite of death. He spoke of life.
God's word says: "...the living know that they shall die: but THE DEAD KNOW NOT ANY THING..." (Ecc. 9:5)
David, in the Psalms, relates: "The dead praise not the Lord..." (Psalms 115:17)
Thus, we can clearly see that David is explaining that death is a completely mindless state; an ABSENCE of knowledge and awareness.
Solomon, David's son, explained that men die a death exactly as do beasts: "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, THEY HAVE ALL ONE BREATH." (Ecc. 3:19)
God's Word reveals that human beings live a physical, chemical existence. We are mortal, temporary, transitory creatures; sustained by the material elements of this physical creation. We are water‑drinking, air‑breathing, food‑ingesting creatures whose life is dependent solely upon our bloodstream and the foods [as fuel] we take into our systems.
When we die, a total cessation of this physical, chemical existence occurs. Death is the ABSENCE OF LIFE. The Bible describes those who go down into their graves as being just as DEAD as any animal is dead! "...yea, they have all one breath; so that A MAN HATH NO PREEMINENCE ABOVE A BEAST..." (Ecc. 3:19)
But Jesus Christ spoke of a time when they will be raised up TO LIFE! Notice, He did not describe a supposed "immortal soul" being placed back into a formerly dead body!
Read the entire fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. This is called the "resurrection
chapter." In this marvelous portion of scripture are found some of the most important and
plainest doctrines of the Word of God. Not only is the resurrection described in great
detail, but even "foolish questions" are answered. Continually, people think they have
discovered a question too difficult even for God. They will relate, tiresomely, the devouring of bodies buried at sea by sharks. Then they describe how the sharks are finally caught by a fisherman, and their livers sold in the market. They then say that some other human being eats the shark's liver, and therefore, a portion of the bodies of the dead, by providing fuel for a shark's stomach, being absorbed into its body and becoming a part of its liver, now becomes a part of the body of another living person! So how does God solve the problem, they ask?
They will go on to describe what happens when people are fused into nothingness in an atomic explosion, burnt in a crematorium and their ashes scattered over the mountains, in the air, or at sea; or even puzzle endlessly over what happens to those who died centuries ago where even the bones themselves have turned to nothing but dust.
To such questing minds, it seems impossible for God to "resurrect" the body that was. The Apostle Paul shows these are "foolish question," and answers them thoroughly in the famous "resurrection chapter of (1 Corinthians 15). "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest NOT THAT BODY THAT SHALL BE, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a NATURAL body, and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY." (1 Corinthians 15:35‑44)
Notice first that the Apostle Paul refers to carnal human reasonings about just HOW God is going to bring back an utterly corrupted and decayed human body as a question proposed by a fool.
Then, he shows that through the unlimited miracle working power of God a completely corrupt, dishonorable, NATURAL body which can waste away to become fused once again with the elements of this earth: "...for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Genesis 3:19)
And is to be resurrected as a SPIRIT BEING? "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord FROM heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and THE DEAD shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:46‑53)
You need to read and study ALL of this marvelously revealing chapter in your own Bible. Read it slowly, accept it on face value, as it is, and believe it as the very Word of God! Which it is. If you do, you will never again be confused about the RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.
This chapter plainly shows that, at death, your physical, temporal bodies, sustained in a chemical existence by the natural elements of this earth; food, water, and air, completely cease to function, and that total unconsciousness and oblivion results! Not only is there a complete cessation of life ‑‑ there is a total loss of consciousness! Then, within moments after death, the physical body begins to decay.
This chapter also explains that no matter how rapidly that decaying process [whether being blown to bits in an atomic explosion or slowly decaying in a normal grave] God is capable of completely RE‑CREATING a new SPIRIT LIFE, giving the individual brand‑new SPIRIT body! The Apostle Paul went to great pains to explain it is not the old, decaying, "corrupted" body which is raised, but a SPIRITUAL body. There are literally dozens of scriptures in the Bible which speak of this great resurrection.
Notice another of the most important. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment 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 worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4‑6)
Just as Jesus spoke of a resurrection to "life" and a resurrection to "judgment," this
scripture reveals that the DEAD in Christ as being resurrected at the second coming of
Christ, and then reigning with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, while "the rest of the
dead," [those who were NEVER CONVERTED], remain totally oblivious to all this passage of time until after the thousand years are over.
Beginning in verse 11 to the end of chapter 20, the picture of the "great white throne judgment," or the great latter day resurrection of perhaps billions of human beings will take place to be "judged every man according to their works."
Now, let's read the Thirty‑seventh Chapter of Ezekiel in the light of the last part of Revelation Twenty. This is the famous "dry bones" chapter of Ezekiel and the bones shown are said, by Almighty God, to be "the whole house of Israel" who are to be resurrected. "Then he [God] said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel..." (Ezekiel 37:11)
Then God goes on to relate: "...Behold, O my people, I will open [what will God open? ‑‑ He will open] YOUR GRAVES [and then what will God do? ‑‑ He will], and cause you to [what?] COME UP OUT OF YOUR GRAVES [in other words be RESURRECTED; from what? FROM THE DEAD and if one is to be resurrected FROM THE DEAD they cannot be present with the Lord!!!]..." (Ezekiel 37:12)
Here again, you see two OPPOSITES: death, complete unconsciousness; human bodies by the millions decaying, or having already decayed, forgotten IN THEIR GRAVE, in contrast to a great future RESURRECTION TO LIFE.
Time and time again, the Bible speaks of the FIRST RESURRECTION at the precise instant of [what?] THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST!!!
In this regard, we will study carefully one of the cherished scriptures used by the
proponents of the "hope of heaven" doctrine. "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning THEM WHICH ARE ASLEEP, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also WHICH SLEEP in Jesus will God [what?] BRING WITH HIM [Who? The Lord Jesus Christ upon His Second Coming!!!]. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain [where do those which are alive remain; ON EARTH, until when?] 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13‑18)
This text is used over and over again to imply that Christians GO to heaven. But what does it really say? It says BOTH the "DEAD in Christ [who have been completely DEAD, oblivious, unconscious of the passage of time in THEIR GRAVES] and the living Christians will "be caught up together with them IN THE CLOUDS, to meet the Lord IN THE AIR..."
While you may think of clouds as not being literally composed of matter, if they were not particulate matter, they would be invisible, and you could not see them. Even so, the air itself is, in practical fact, "material," meaning it occupies space, has weight, is subjected to certain rigid and unalterable laws, and is composed of a wide variety of gases. Our "atmosphere" is a thin envelope of life‑supporting gases which are held close to the surface of the earth by gravity. Living plants produce oxygen, which is necessary for human and animal survival.
Whereas clouds are merely vapor, formed by condensation and the forming of tiny ice particles when moisture‑laden air is subjected to changes in pressure and temperature. Most jet air travel is well above the majority of all clouds. Certainly, all of the orbital satellites are far above the clouds, and yet are held in an orbital pattern above the earth, established by the pull [law] of gravity.
So when the Bible speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ RETURNING TO THIS EARTH it is plainly revealing He is coming ALL THE WAY BACK DOWN, just as He left.
In the First Chapter of Acts is related the very FIRST message that Jesus was to return to the earth from heaven after He had ascended to His Father, Almighty God: "And when he [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they [the disciples] beheld, he was taken up; and a CLOUD received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up FROM you into heaven, shall so COME in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9‑11)
They watched Jesus being enveloped IN THE CLOUDS only a few hundred feet above their heads! Jesus would have been completely INVISIBLE if He were only a very FEW THOUSAND feet from them. The scripture plainly shows He was STILL VISIBLE until CLOUDS obscured Him from their view. The Bible then says He will COME BACK TO THIS EARTH, "in like manner" as they saw Him GO into heaven.
Now turn back to First Thessalonians Four and read those passages quoted earlier again. Notice what it DOES NOT SAY. It does NOT say anything whatsoever about "going to heaven." It says nothing whatsoever about "an immortal soul!"
Rather, as plainly corroborated by many other scriptures, it shows the resurrection of THE DEAD in Christ, and the instantaneous change (1 Corinthians 15:50‑52) of those who are "alive and remain," to be caught up together AS ONE GROUP "in the CLOUDS," and finally concludes by saying, "...and so shall we ever be with the Lord." And where will the Lord BE on that same day?
Remember, He is COMING BACK [to earth], He is not merely going to "visit the general vicinity" of the earth, catching away saints in a so‑called "rapture" and take them off to Heaven!
Don't you see the proof, that is presented to you, FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE!!! "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the woman ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." (Zechariah 14:1‑4)
The setting of this prophecy is the DAY OF THE LORD. The day of the Lord is that period of time immediately following the heavenly signs of Revelation Seven, and the first five "seals" of Revelation Six, or the GREAT TRIBULATION as prophesied by Jesus in Matthew Twenty‑four.
The gathering of all nations against Jerusalem to battle is the same great battle depicted in (Revelation 19:11‑21)