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Introduction

Virtually every religion holds some type of belief about the subject of “life after death” – that is, the subject of what happens to people, after their bodies die.

Of course, Christianity also has beliefs about life after death. However, there are many different doctrines about life after death, among the various Christian denominations. In other words, within the overall Christian religion, there are radically different ideas about what happens to people after they die. So, I think it is worthwhile to take a look at some of those different beliefs.

Before discussing the various Christian doctrines about life after death, though, it is necessary to define two other, more “fundamental” concepts. These two concepts are the “building blocks”, as it were, of the Christian doctrines about life after death. Here are those two concepts:

 

Concept 1: What is the soul?

The first concept to understand is the idea of the human soul. There are two main beliefs about what, exactly the soul is:

Belief 1: In this belief, a “soul” is: an immortal, invisible presence. Basically, this belief states that a soul is some sort of spiritual presence, which is immortal – and which contains a person’s consciousness. So, each human being has a soul. A person’s soul lives inside his body, while his body is alive – but the soul leaves the body – and keeps on living – when the person’s body dies.

Since the soul contains a person’s consciousness, this means that a person remains conscious, even after his body dies – because his immortal soul is still alive. As a result, in this belief, no one ever really dies – because every person has an immortal soul, which (by definition) lives forever.

Belief 2: In this belief, a “soul” is: a conscious, living person. In other words, a person who is alive is – himself – a soul.  To put it another way, a living person does not have a soul – he IS a soul.

Since a soul is a living person, that means that a soul ceases to exist when a person dies. In other words, a soul comes into existence when a person is conceived – and that soul ceases to exist when the person dies.

As a result, in this belief, a dead person is actually dead. That is, when a person dies, he becomes completely unconscious – and he is not alive at all. One way of looking at this is that a dead person is “sleeping in the grave”, so to speak.

It is important to note, though, that this belief also holds that God can bring dead people back to life. In other words, God (or His agent) can resurrect dead people – so that people who have died can live again. Also, that resurrection will transform Christians’ bodies – from “natural” bodies to “spiritual” bodies. As a result, when Christians are resurrected, they will never die again.

 

Concept 2: Where will Christians spend eternity?

The second concept to be familiar with deals with the question of where Christians will spend eternity. There are two main beliefs about the location in which Christians will live forever:

Belief 1: In this belief, Christians will live forever in heaven. In other words, Christians will go to heaven – to be with God and Jesus – and they will live there for all eternity. As a result, in this belief, Christians will never set foot on the earth again, once they enter heaven.

Belief 2: In this belief, Christians will live forever on the paradise earth. Basically, this belief states that when Jesus returns, he will restore the earth to its original, paradise state. After that, Christians will live forever, with Jesus,on the restored paradise earth. So, in this belief, the Christian hope is to live forever on the restored earthnot in heaven.

 

Now that those two “fundamental concepts” have been defined, let’s take a look at some of the Christian doctrines about life after death.

 

The “Mainstream” Doctrine

First, consider the “mainstream” doctrine about life after death. This doctrine is held by the vast majority of Christians; probably at least 90% of Christians have this belief. In addition, almost all Christian churches teach this very doctrine. Basically, this doctrine contains the “default” Christian belief about life after death.

This doctrine holds two primary tenets:

– First, this doctrine states that the soul is an immortal, invisible presence. As a result, this belief states that no one ever really dies – because every person has an immortal soul, which lives forever.

– Second, this doctrine states that Christian’s will spend eternity in heaven. In other words, Christians will live in heaven forever, after their bodies die.

So, according to this doctrine, the following sequence of events occurs when a Christian dies:

– When a Christian dies, his immortal soul immediately leaves his body.

– Since the soul contains a person’s consciousness, this means that the person is still aware of his surroundings at that point – despite the fact that his body is dead.

– The Christian’s disembodied soul then goes up to heaven, to be with God and Jesus.

– Finally, the Christian’s disembodied soul remains in heaven, for all eternity.

 

The “Kingdom of God” Doctrine

Now, consider an alternate doctrine about life after death. This doctrine is essentially the “polar opposite” of the mainstream doctrine listed above – i.e., it is as far away from the mainstream doctrine as two Christian doctrines can get from each other. I call this alternate doctrine the “Kingdom of God” doctrine. Only a tiny minority of Christians hold this doctrine – far less than 1% of Christians subscribe to it.

The two primary tenets of this doctrine are as follows:

– First, this doctrine states that a soul is a conscious, living person. That is, a living person does not have a soul – he IS a soul. As a result, when a Christian dies, the soul in question ceases to exist – i.e., that soul does not exist at all any longer, when the person dies. As a result, when a Christian dies, he is actually dead – i.e., he is simply unconscious in the grave.

– Second, this doctrine states that Christians will spend eternity on the paradise earth. In other words, when Jesus returns, he will restore the earth to its original paradise conditions – and then Christians will live forever with Jesus, on the restored earth.

So, according to this doctrine, the following sequence of events occurs when a Christian dies:

– When a Christian dies, he becomes completely unconscious – i.e., the Christian is actually dead, with no awareness of his surroundings (or of the passage of time, for that matter).

– However, when Jesus returns, he will resurrect dead Christians – i.e. he will bring dead Christians back to life. This resurrection will transform Christians’ bodies from “natural” bodies to “spiritual” bodies – so that Christians will never die again, after being resurrected.

– In addition, when Jesus returns he will restore the earth back to its original, paradise conditions.

– Finally, resurrected Christians will live forever, with Jesus, on the restored paradise earth.

– This restored paradise earth – with Jesus ruling as king – is called the “Kingdom of God”.

 

The “Hybrid” Doctrines

The two doctrines listed above are “pure” doctrines, so to speak. In other words, the mainstream doctrine is a pure “immortal souls going to heaven” doctrine; and the Kingdom of God doctrine is a pure “resurrected humans living on the paradise earth” doctrine.

As it turns out, there are some other Christian doctrines about life after death, which fall “in between” the two doctrines listed above. In other words, there are doctrines which contain some elements of the mainstream doctrine, and some elements of the Kingdom of God doctrine. The three doctrines listed below are examples of these “hybrid” doctrines.

 

Hybrid Doctrine 1 – Millennium on Earth, Eternity in Heaven

This doctrine holds the following basic beliefs, about life after death:

– A soul is an immortal, invisible presence – so that no one every really dies.

– When a Christian dies, his immortal soul leaves his body; and goes to heaven.

– When Jesus returns, he will cause every Christian’s immortal soul to get “reunited” with his body. Basically, when Jesus returns, he will cause all Christians’ souls to “re-enter” their physical bodies, on the earth.

– Christians will then live on the earth, with Jesus, for 1000 years.

– After the 1000 years, Christians will go back to heaven – and they will remain there for the rest of eternity.

This doctrine is very similar to the mainstream doctrine. In this doctrine, the soul is still an immortal presence; and Christians still spend eternity in heaven – as in the mainstream doctrine. The only real difference is that in this doctrine, Christians have a 1000 year “pit stop” on the earth, during the millennium, before they spend the rest of eternity in heaven.

A sizable minority of Christians have this belief – probably between 5 and 10% of Christians hold this view. This is primarily because a few large mainstream denominations are teaching this doctrine; and a very popular series of novels about the Tribulation culminated with this exact doctrine.

 

Hybrid Doctrine 2 – Millennium in Heaven, Eternity on Earth

This doctrine holds the following basic beliefs, about life after death:

– A soul is a conscious, living person – so that dead people are actually dead (not conscious at all).

– Christians will be resurrected after Jesus returns. In other words, when Jesus returns, he will bring Christians back to life.

– Immediately after being resurrected, Christians will go to heaven with Jesus – and they will live with Jesus, in heaven, for 1000 years.

– After the 1000 years, Jesus will restore the earth to its paradise state. Then, all Christians will leave heaven, and go back to the earth – and they will then live on the earth, with Jesus, for the rest of eternity.

This doctrine is very similar to the Kingdom of God doctrine. In this doctrine, the soul is still a conscious person; and resurrected Christians still spend eternity on the paradise earth – as in the Kingdom of God doctrine. The only real difference is that in this doctrine, Christians have a 1000 year “pit stop” in heaven, during the millennium, before they spend eternity on the earth.

A very small minority of Christians hold this view – probably less than 1%. There is only one large Christian denomination that holds this belief.

 

Hybrid Doctrine 3 – Some Christians in Heaven, Other Christians on Earth

This doctrine holds the following basic beliefs, about life after death:

– A soul is a conscious, living person – so that dead people are actually dead (not conscious at all).

– Christians will be resurrected after Jesus returns. In other words, when Jesus returns, he will bring Christians back to life.

– There are two separate “groups” of Christians – the “anointed” group, and “everyone else”.

– The anointed group consists of an extremely tiny minority of Christians. In fact, some denominations say that the anointed group only consists of 144,000 individuals – and there are over 2 billion Christians today.

– After Jesus returns, the anointed group will immediately go to heaven – and they will remain in heaven for all eternity. The anointed group will also assist Jesus, in ruling over the earth.

– All other Christians will live on the paradise earth for all eternity.

This doctrine is essentially “halfway between” the mainstream doctrine and the Kingdom of God doctrine. Basically, this doctrine’ s belief about what will happen to the “anointed” group is quite similar to the mainstream view – i.e., that that group of Christians will live in heaven for eternity. However, this doctrine’s belief about what will happen to Christians who are not anointed is very similar to the Kingdom of God view – i.e., that that group of Christians will live on the paradise earth for eternity.

A tiny minority of Christians hold this view – less than 1%. There are only a handful of small Christian groups that hold this view – and only one of those groups is very well known.

 

Conclusion

As described above, there is a wide variety of beliefs on the overall “life after death” topic – even among the various Christian denominations. Hopefully this article will prove useful, in assisting people to clarify their own beliefs!

 

26 Responses to “Christian Doctrines about “Life after Death””

  1. on 02 Sep 2012 at 5:35 amWolfgang

    Hi,

    it seems to me that all those beliefs are faulty in certain major points due to a false premise being assumed:
    (a) immortal soul concept is non-biblical, (b) millennial + eternal political kingdom with Christ as political world ruler is non-biblical.

    It seems to me that the biblical truth is found with those who believe that a dead believer person (soul) is resurrected and changed to receive a spiritual body and received up into the presence of Good (heaven) with the resurrection from the dead in the last day becoming a reality , while believing persons (souls) living at and after the resurrection in the last day has become a reality are changed at the time of their death to receive their spiritual body and are received up into the presence of God (heaven).

    This belief does not believe in an immortal soul, does not believe in a political millennial kingdom on earth, does not believe in the earth being restored into an “utopia type paradise with no evil on earth”, seeing that even the original state of the earth was not a “utopia type paradise with no evil”.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  2. on 03 Sep 2012 at 3:30 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Brian,
    Great article. I believe in Belief 2: In this belief, a “soul” is: a conscious, living person. In other words, a person who is alive is – himself – a soul. To put it another way, a living person does not have a soul – he IS a soul. I also believe in the “Kingdom of God” Doctrine here on a restored earth (paradise). When I try to tell friends about my beliefs they always bring up the parable of “The Rich Man and Lazarus”.

    Most people seem to think that this a literal portrayal of what life after death is like…

  3. on 04 Sep 2012 at 9:39 amSean

    Hey Doubting Thomas,

    I wrote a piece on Lazarus and the Rich Man a while ago on the blog. Click here to check it out.

    Hey Brian,

    Great article. You have a such a wonderful analytical mind. We are fortunate to have you help us think more clearly. I want to run an idea past you to see what you think about it. So I was reading about Enoch in Genesis and noticed it says he was translated/transported or whatever. I was also thinking about how the typical triple-decker cosmology with heaven on top of earth on top of hell is a way of “spatializing” the temporal biblical scheme of paradise then fallen world then kingdom of God. It’s like they flipped it vertically or something. Anyhow, our understanding is that one must wait for the kingdom (or hell) b/c it is not established until Jesus returns whereas the typical perspective says we flit off to heaven or sink down to hell immediately.

    What about time travel? What if God takes our consciousness at the moment of death and transports it to the future judgment? So rather than beaming us up, he would be beaming us forward in time. For some reason, the last time I read the Enoch story this idea popped into my head and it intrigued me.

    This would also help us out on one of our thorniest, though almost never discussed, philosophical issues: how does the person retain continuity from death to resurrection? People posit the concept of mind to retain continuity from one moment to another, but if we say the mind evaporates then how is resurrection any different from a clone with a memory dump? It is still not the same person because that person died/disappeared. One needs to have continuity of mind to retain mental existence. But, if God transports our non-immortal minds/souls/whatever to the future and reintegrates them with our now thoroughly decomposed bodies, this would preserve continuity and fit with everything else. After all, I’ve long explained the sleep of the dead as a kind of time travel, owing to the fact that the person is unconscious during that time.

  4. on 04 Sep 2012 at 10:02 amtimothy

    Doubting Thomas and Wolfgang,

    What was, the old days, TWI belief under EW Bullinger dispensationalism?

    It seems that JL at living truth still has the same TWI belief, less tithing and lock box xxx?

    At the very least, I have the evolved, HUAHB, multi-layered current, super road runner cable net work, parakletos on line version. Which means I am moment(eye blinks) by moment, maintaining my departure status and waiting for the return/departure/change and permanet hook up with our Lord Jesus Christ, airborne and then ready to say hooah/Geronimo.

    I give respect to any, whose inpatients(unduldsamkeit) has led them to believe that all this has already come into fruition. I still can find my friends on facebook and drink Cuban instant coffee.

    The last time I checked:

    1 Corinthians 13:
    8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    This has not happened yetz.

    It is called “long suffering” and listed:

    Galatians 5:22-23
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:

    23against such there is no law.

    And it is not against the law.

    For many the appearing of Jesus Christ will be a type of surprise.(boseuberrashung)

    GOD has made it available for us to moment by moment go back to his word and be like the Boreans and re-check if it is true.

    Timothy (y) 8)

  5. on 04 Sep 2012 at 10:16 amWolfgang

    Hi Sean,

    So I was reading about Enoch in Genesis and noticed it says he was translated/transported or whatever.

    What about time travel? What if God takes our consciousness at the moment of death and transports it to the future judgment? So rather than beaming us up, he would be beaming us forward in time. For some reason, the last time I read the Enoch story this idea popped into my head and it intrigued me.

    To what are you referring with “time travel” or “instead of ‘beaming us up, …. beaming us forward in time’ “?

    Is the problem perhaps in the idea of needing “to have continuity of mind to retain mental existence” ? So what if there is no continuity of existence in the dead person, but the continuity of existence is sort of in God’s “record book / registry “? God knows, He is the one responsible for bringing about the resurrection / change …?

    The difficulty you mention is not only about “mind, soul” but also about “body”, since you all believe in a “bodily resurrection” … well, if the body has turned into dust, there is no body left “to resurrect”, since there is no continuity of a body either for a so-called bodily resurrection ?

  6. on 04 Sep 2012 at 10:59 amWolfgang

    Sean,

    This would also help us out on one of our thorniest, though almost never discussed, philosophical issues: how does the person retain continuity from death to resurrection?

    My rather simple answer would be: The person doesn’t, but God does so as to resurrect the person (and not “forget” them …)

    Also, taking Paul’s illustration from 1Co 15 into consideration, what continuation does the seed that is put into the ground keep with a new plant rising up from it?

  7. on 04 Sep 2012 at 2:19 pmSarah

    Wolfgang,

    well, if the body has turned into dust, there is no body left “to resurrect”, since there is no continuity of a body either for a so-called bodily resurrection ?

    What exactly gets resurrected if not the whole person, which according to Gen 2:7 is dust + breath?

    Sean,

    I think you’re on to something with regard to time and the resurrection.

  8. on 04 Sep 2012 at 3:28 pmSheryl

    As I understand it, our resurrected bodies will be “glorified.” Remember some did not recognize Jesus, the firstborn. I am thinking he must have had some way to change his body…he ate and drank, and walked through walls, and had flesh to be probed (by Thomas) and he disappeared into the clouds.

    I like your idea, Sean, of our consciousness immediately upon death going to the Father. Perhaps, as we remain unconscious in the sleep of death, God holds everyone’s “minds” until resurrection when we will be called from the grave. Sorta like being unplugged from the power source, then plugged back in again.

    Is it wrong to think of glorified bodies as avatars, of sorts, and the receptacles of our minds/thoughts?? And if God formed Adam of the dust and breathed life into him, why not the same with our completely decomposed bodies? I was just thinking about the athletes and health enthusiasts who work so hard to have a great looking body…I wonder if they would be disappointed not to have that body back again?

  9. on 04 Sep 2012 at 4:06 pmSarah

    Sheryl,

    And if God formed Adam of the dust and breathed life into him, why not the same with our completely decomposed bodies?

    It makes perfect sense. And in fact the resurrection is described in identical language as the original creation of man:

    [4] Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

    [5] Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.

    [6] And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

    (Eze 37:4-6 ESV)

    But as Sean alluded to, there are some interesting unexplored possibilities surrounding how this actually plays out. And perhaps also what it will look like to observers.

  10. on 07 Sep 2012 at 11:28 amBrian Keating

    Hi Sean,

    That is an interesting concept – that God sends people’s minds “forward in time”, immediately after their bodies die. If I understand the concept correctly, immediately after a person’s body dies, God sends his mind forward through time, to the day of judgment. Of course, if a person is deemed to be faithful at that judgment, then he will be granted everlasting life.

    So, in this concept, a faithful person will never experience death – because God will immediately transport his mind to the day of judgment, at the moment his body dies – and at that judgment, the person will immediately be granted everlasting life. (On the other hand, an unfaithful person will immediately encounter everlasting death.) Is that an accurate assesment of this concept?

    That concept does seem to make sense for Enoch; given some of the rather abstruse statements that are made about him (e.g., “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.”) One might also make a case that that concept is what Paul was talking about, when he referred to being “absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

    However, that concept seems rather “problematic” to me, due to the many accounts of resurrections in Scripture. For example, one rather famous account is the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter. (One of the parallel accounts of it exists in Luke 8:40-56.) Basically, Jairus asks Jesus to heal his daughter, because she is dying. However, by the time Jesus gets to her, she has already died. Jesus then tells everyone, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” He then proceeds to bring the girl back to life.

    If the “time travel” concept is true, then it doesn’t seem to make sense for Jesus to say “she is not dead, but sleeping”. In other words, if the time travel concept is correct, then Jesus should have said: “she is not dead, but alive – because God has already sent her mind to the future, and granted her everlasting life.”

    Even more importantly, if the time travel concept is true, then why would Jesus even want to resurrect the girl? In other words, if she were already enjoying everlasting life – with a spiritual body – on the future paradise earth, then why would Jesus want to drag her mind “backwards through time”, and force her to live again in this current evil age, with a natural body? (That would seem to be much more of a curse than a blessing…)

    There is one other item to consider. One could make the case that the girl in Luke 8 was not actually resurrected – instead, that she was merely “resuscitated”. In other words, one could argue that her body was not “permanently” dead, and therefore that Jesus simply “revived” her. (This concept is similar to administering CPR – i.e., a person’s heart can stop beating for several minutes; but administering CPR quickly can cause it to start beating again.) So, one could make the case that this girl was not “permanently” dead – and therefore, that God had not yet sent her mind “forward through time”.

    From what I understand, the ancient Jews also knew about this concept of “resuscitation”. Basically, 1st century Jews also knew that in some cases a person could appear to be dead, but could still be resuscitated. The understanding was that a person might still be able to be resuscitated, for up to three days after his apparent death.

    This is one of the reasons why the resurrection of Lazarus is so important. As listed in John 11, Martha and Mary send a messenger to Jesus, to tell him that Lazarus is deathly ill. However, Jesus does not go to see Lazarus immediately – instead, he stays where he is for two days. As a result, when Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus has been dead for four days. Therefore, Lazarus definitely was “permanently” dead. (In fact, Jesus explicitly tells us that Lazarus is dead, in John 11:14.)

    So, if the “time travel” concept is true, then Lazarus certainly would have been enjoying the future paradise earth, with a spiritual body, in John chapter 11. If that were the case, then why would Jesus want to resurrect Lazarus back into this age, with a natural body? Jesus does resurrect Lazarus, of course; so that indicates to me that Lazarus had not been transported through time – instead, that he was simply dead and unconscious in his tomb.

    In any case, whether or not God sends a person’s mind “forward through time”, it will certainly seem that way to a person who has died. In other words, since dead people are not aware of the passage of time, from their perspective they will wake up in the resurrection, immediately after they fell asleep in death (no matter how much time has actually passed by).

    Does this make sense?

  11. on 07 Sep 2012 at 12:49 pmSean

    Brian,

    Yes, that makes sense. You bring some great objections to my idea. Sleep is indeed the best metaphor. The Lazarus test case is quite insurmountable. Thanks for such a detailed response.

  12. on 07 Sep 2012 at 2:19 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    It’s too bad too that there were no ‘interviews with Lazarus’ where he explained what he experienced those four days in the grave. That there is nothing recorded about it seems to support the notion that nothing remarkable happened to him during that time.

  13. on 07 Sep 2012 at 2:55 pmSarah

    There was a recent discussion on another forum somewhat related to this subject. It involves the scene at the Mount of Transfiguration. What did the apostles actually experience when they saw Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah, who had died long ago? One person wrote the following (this was not a response to anything I posted, just for the record):

    The fact is, this particular situation is completely unprecedented in Scripture. There are contradicting inferences that can be drawn from it. For example, your point that Peter thought they were “real conscious beings because he wanted to build tabernacles for them” could easily be seen as his supposing that they were present bodily. Consciousness was not the issue, but physical presence was the issue. And that would require the resurrection. Ghosts do not need to have a tent. Peter thought that they were real, flesh and blood persons — Moses and Elijah. That hardly supports the idea that he saw disembodied “souls”, which they would have to be in order to support the idea that the soul remains awake and active after the decease of the body. If “souls” can be seen outside the body, how come we don’t ever see one leaving the body at death?

    When Paul was “caught up into the third heaven” in 2 Cor. he said that he could not tell whether his experience was physical or not. It was so real to him, that it certainly seemed to be tangible. If that was Paul’s experience, and it also seems to have been John’s experience in Revelation where he was taken to the future, why is it so difficult to believe that the three disciples were transported along with Jesus to the future kingdom, perhaps even bodily? Jesus had just told them that some standing there would not die until they had seen the Kingdom come with power. God is not bound by time, as we are.

    Anyone have any opinions on the Mount of Transfiguration in terms of what actually happened there? If it was a vision, did the apostles see the real Jesus interacting with a visionary Moses and Elijah? Or is it possible they had all somehow been temporarily transported to another “time”?

  14. on 08 Sep 2012 at 5:59 amWolfgang

    Hi,

    Brian wrote above

    From what I understand, the ancient Jews also knew about this concept of “resuscitation”. Basically, 1st century Jews also knew that in some cases a person could appear to be dead, but could still be resuscitated. The understanding was that a person might still be able to be resuscitated, for up to three days after his apparent death.

    so then, had those who had died and were raised back to life within a 3 day time period only “apparently dead” ? Had Jairus’ daughter, or the lady Dorcas, or the son of the woman at the time of Elisha not really died?

    This is one of the reasons why the resurrection of Lazarus is so important. As listed in John 11, Martha and Mary send a messenger to Jesus, to tell him that Lazarus is deathly ill. However, Jesus does not go to see Lazarus immediately – instead, he stays where he is for two days. As a result, when Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus has been dead for four days. Therefore, Lazarus definitely was “permanently” dead. (In fact, Jesus explicitly tells us that Lazarus is dead, in John 11:14.)

    See above … were those other folks who were raised back to life not really (“permanently”) dead ? What do you mean with “Therefore, Lazarus definitely was ‘permanently’ dead”? To add a thought, since Jesus was raised before 4 days had passed, was he not really or “permanently” dead?

    It seems to me that a number of things are being confused … ?

    Reading the Scripture records about people being considered “dead”, it seems obvious that it had nothing whatever to do with the duration of how long ago they had drawn their last breath …

    When it comes to the topic of “resurrection / raised from the dead”, it seems simple and obvious that the Scriptures record some instances of people who had died and who were “raised back to life again”, so as to continue their life on earth for whatever period until they eventually died. It seems equally simple and obvious that the Scriptures speak of a resurrection of the dead of all those who died prior to “the last day” not “back to [natural] life”, BUT “to eternal life”.

    Thus, we read in the Scriptures that Lazarus was “raised back to life” after having been dead already 4 days, whereas Jesus was “resurrected from the dead to eternal life” not even having been dead for 4 days.

    Dead people are dead … they are anything else (partly alive, metaphorically alive, etc.). When a dead person is spoken of as “asleep”, it is the figure of speech euphemism, the literal truth is that the person is dead.

  15. on 08 Sep 2012 at 12:56 pmtimothy

    Hi Wolfgang,

    Jesus Death involved draining of blood just like the sacrificial lamb:

    John 19: (kjv)
    34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

    The life of the flesh is in the blood. Jesus gave his life/blood.

    I know, from the current Wars, that 60% of deaths occur from “bleed out”and 25% of these could have been prevented with
    tourniquet/blood stopper powder.

    Jesus was beyond “resuscitation” and only GOD could make him alive again. According to Jewish law, to be fully legally dead, our savoir spent three days and three nights in the grave.

    Ephesians 2:
    13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

    Hebrews 10:
    19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,…..

    1 John 1:
    7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    Timothy

  16. on 08 Sep 2012 at 1:29 pmWolfgang

    Hi Timothy,

    did you notice that I did not use the term “resuscitation” ? I am not sure how those who mentioned it in earlier posts even define the term … I mean, does the Scripture even speak of it in any particular situation where we read about a dead person being raised back to [this natural] life?

    As far as I am concerned, I think the more important truth to recognize is that there are records (a) about dead people being raised back to [this natural] life, and (b) about the dead being raised to eternal life or judgment in the resurrection of the dead (with Jesus being the only one, prior to the resurrection from the dead at the last day)

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  17. on 08 Sep 2012 at 2:27 pmtimothy

    Yes Wolfgang,

    I did notice and just copied the spelling from the quote.

    “Resuscitation” is actually a term used for first aid and reviving a drowning victim. Mouth to mouth resuscitation is actually artificial breathing. Even better yet, is a resuscitator device with oxygen, which purges the lungs with pure oxygen. (with mouth to mouth only 10% of the air force breathed in is oxygen)

    Here is one OT record, as you mentioned, of a young man being raised back to life:

    1 Kings 17:
    17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.

    18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

    19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.

    20 And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?

    21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.

    22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

    23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.

    24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.

    The Apostle Paul, raised a man who fell from an upper story, back to life. One thing about these records is it doesn’t say how dead the dead were.

    For sure, without his blood, Jesus was “door nail dead”. And only GOD, supernaturally, could raise him from the dead.

    For sure Jesus is the first fruits from the dead to a spiritual man.

    Timothy

  18. on 08 Sep 2012 at 3:07 pmWolfgang

    Timothy

    One thing about these records is it doesn’t say how dead the dead were.

    what is that to mean? if the record states that a person was dead would that not mean “really dead”, but only “a little bit dead” or “half way dead” ?

    As I mentioned before, for me dead means dead … I would say that the real point here is not about “really dead”, “not really dead”, “permanently dead” or “not permanently dead”, etc …. the real point is about the meaning of the term “raised” / “resurrected” and to determine in the context if the record is (a) about someone being “raised back to [this] life” and subsequently at some future time dying again, or (b) about someone being “resurrected to eternal life”.

  19. on 08 Sep 2012 at 3:19 pmtimothy

    Wolfgang ,

    I agree with your point and do not know where one would find the answers.

    (b) about someone being “resurrected to eternal life”

    This must be the same way Jesus was resurrected.

    Timothy

  20. on 09 Sep 2012 at 4:33 amWolfgang

    @ Sean,

    any further thoughts from your end to my earlier posts to you (#5 & #6 above)?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  21. on 09 Sep 2012 at 7:02 amtimothy

    Wolfgang,

    Pardon me for continuing.

    Your question from post # 6 above:

    **Also, taking Paul’s illustration from 1Co 15 into consideration, what continuation does the seed that is put into the ground keep with a new plant rising up from it?**

    IMHO view # 1:

    One answer:

    Genisis 1:
    11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

    12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

    The continuation is the seed within the new plants fruit, rising up from it, to grow another new plant, rising up with seed in it self, and so on propagation.

    Matthew 13
    1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; …

    The seed sown is the word of GOD and those who bring forth fruit have the word of GOD to sow again. They plant and water, however GOD gives the increase.

    1 Corinthians 3:
    6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

    7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase

    IMHO View # 2:

    The subject of:

    1 Corinthians 15:
    36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

    37 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:

    38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

    is about plant life seed as an analogy to the resurrected spiritual body of Jesus Christ. Jesus is a human being who was killed dead and buried.
    GOD raised him to life in a body that pleased him, GOD

    42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It 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.

    45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

    46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

    1)First, Jesus Christ was a living,**earthy**, human being who died and was buried.

    2)Second, GOD raised Jesus from the dead into a spiritual man.

    47 The first man is of the earth, **earthy**; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

    48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

    49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we **shall** also bear the image of the heavenly.

    **shall**=future, at our HOPE, the return of Jesus Christ, the first resurrection where we too will be fruit from the dead and “born again”!

    50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

    51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

    Resurrected from sleep or changed=born again with a
    **new spiritual body**!

    52 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.

    53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

    When one has died and is dead the body corrupts.

    54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

    All this is *current* IMHO from teaching(didaskalia) and scripture.

    Timothy

  22. on 10 Sep 2012 at 12:21 pmtimothy

    Wolfgang,

    All of the above came while considering that *all plants*, wheat/herb, grape vines and fig/olive trees bear/produce fruit.

    This comes from the parable of the sower referring to the wheat stalks as fruit, bearing 100, 60 or 30 grain per stalk.

    Wolfgang:
    **Also, taking Paul’s illustration from 1Co 15 into consideration, what continuation does the seed that is put into the ground keep with a new plant rising up from it?**

    Answer…the plant will be of the same kind, as the plant from which the seed it grew from.

    Every bit of Jesus crucified body was the equal(isos) of the humankind body. He was the perfect offering/sacrifice for the human race.

    Wolfgang,
    a question: What does this verse have to do with the new spiritual bodied resurrected Jesus Christ?

    John 12:
    24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

    Timothy

  23. on 11 Sep 2012 at 5:32 amWolfgang

    Timothy,

    while I appreciate your reply posts, I am not quite able to follow some of your train of thought as it seems to be not directly related to the topic being discussed. Sure, there may be some wonderful further truths concerning “plants” and how they all “bear fruit”, etc …. but you certainly lost me as far as these have to do with the initial topic …

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  24. on 11 Sep 2012 at 12:17 pmtimothy

    Wolfgang,

    All is clear.

    I wish for you to better explain your question to Sean. Should Sean not want to answer. I would like to, as horticulture is involved when agriculture is being used for analogies by Jesus Christ.

    A gardener is a person that tends to a garden and is therefore a horticulturist. However, not all horticulturists are gardeners.

    “Wolfgang:
    **Also, taking Paul’s illustration from 1Co 15 into consideration, what continuation does the seed that is put into the ground keep with a new plant rising up from it?**”

    kind regards,

    Timothy

  25. on 11 Sep 2012 at 9:22 pmDoubting Thomas

    Speaking of fruit and horticulture. I read that in Y’shua’s time when a fig tree stopped producing fruit. They would take some of the branches of a wild fig tree and graft them on to the original (old) trunk. The tree would then start producing fruit again. The Israelites were the original fig tree and we have been grafted on to the original church (congregation) of the Israelites… 🙂

  26. on 12 Sep 2012 at 10:13 amSarah

    Doubting Thomas,

    Excellent point!

  

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