State of the Dead

The first deception which fastened itself upon the mind of man was the idea that man could live out of harmony with his Creator and never die. Though this assertion went directly contrary to that which God had stated, it was accepted in the place of God’s Word and acted upon. This false concept was ultimately accepted within the professed Christian church and is part of that wine of Babylon with which she had made the nations drunk. “Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day.” Testimonies to Ministers, 61.

The servant of the Lord has told us that in the closing struggle of the great controversy, there are two issues on which Christendom will unite.

“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul, and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of Spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome.” The Great Controversy, 588.

In view of the rapidly approaching crisis, it is imperative that each one of us be thoroughly grounded in the truth. The editors of Historic Adventist LandMarks think that it is a good idea to review, from time to time, some of our basic doctrines. This will not only be an excellent review, but will also provide an outline for marking your Bible, a help in giving Bible studies. –The Editors

Creation of man: “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” Genesis 1:26, 27.

Question: In what condition is man in death?

Job 14:12–14—”So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep. Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, that You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes.” NKJV. Note: The most common definition found in the Bible is that it is a sleep.

Psalm 13:3—”Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” NKJV.

Jeremiah 51:39, 57—”In their excitement I will prepare their feasts; I will make them drunk, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep and not awake,’ says the LORD. . . . ‘And I will make drunk her princes and wise men, her governors, her deputies, and her mighty men. And they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not awake,’ says the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.” NKJV.

Daniel 12:2—”And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” NKJV.

John 11:11–14—”These things He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’ Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’” NKJV.

Acts 13:36—”For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.” NKJV.

I Corinthians 15:51—”Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” NKJV.

Psalm 104:29, 30—”Thou hidest Thy face, they are troubled: Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth.” KJV.

Job 27:3—”All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils.” KJV.

Genesis 3:19—”In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” KJV.

Question: Is this sleep with dreams, or consciousness, or is it totally unconscious?

Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10—”For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun. . . . Whatever your hand find to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” NKJV.

Psalm 49:12–20—”Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave form their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for He shall receive me. Selah. Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” KJV. Note: A man that is given honor after he is dead has no knowledge of it.

Isaiah 38:18,1 9—”For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit can not hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known Your truth to the children.” NKJV. Note: The dead do not know God’s truth. They cannot praise God; they are unconscious; they know nothing.

Psalm 6:5—”For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks? NKJV.

Psalm 115:17—”The dead do not praise the LORD, nor any who go down into silence.” NKJV. Note: The Bible teaches this truth over and over again. God must have known that there would be some misunderstanding on this subject.

Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20—”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; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV. Note. As we have already seen, Solomon has already told us that the dead have no consciousness. Certainly he will not, a few chapters later, contradict himself. What then, is meant by the spirit returning to God?

There is one difference, however, between man and beast, according to Ecclesiastes 3:21. “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” At death, the spirit of man goes back to God so that He can preserve them in their unconscious state until the resurrection day when the righteous will be brought back to life. “Behold, I show 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.” I Corinthians 15:51, 52 KJV.

I Corinthians 15:17, 18—”For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” KJV.

Question: When do we go to heaven?

John 14:1–3—”Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” KJV. Note: Jesus said that after He prepares a place, He will come to the earth again to take the righteous to the mansions prepared in Heaven. We do to be with Christ when He returns, and not before. This is why the Second Coming of Christ is so important to the New Testament believers.

Question: What does Paul say would happen to the dead if there was no resurrection?

I Corinthians 15:12–23—”Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” KJV. Note; If for 4,000 years the righteous have gone directly to heaven at death, how could Paul have said that if there is no resurrection, those who have fallen asleep in Christ are perished? What need would there be for a resurrection.”

Question: What further does Jesus say about the future life?

John 5:28, 29—”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.” KJV.

John 6:39, 40—””And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise Him up at the last day.” KJV. Note: The dead are going to be raised at the last day [the resurrection]!

John 11:23, 24—”Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” KJV.

Question: What does Peter say about the future life?

I Peter 5:4—”And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” KJV.

Acts 2:29, 34, 35—”Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, for he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. . . . For David is not yet ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.” KJV.

Question: What did Job say about a future life after death?
Job 19:25–27—”For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” KJV.

Question: What did Paul say about the future life?

II Timothy 4:7, 8—”I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” KJV.

Acts 13:36, 37—”For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: but He, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.” KJV.

Acts 24:14, 15—Again, from the apostle Paul: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” KJV.

I Thessalonians 4:14–17—”For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” NKJV. This describes the resurrection.

I Corinthians 15:51–55—”Behold, I show 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. 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.’” KJV.

Question: Will the resurrection be a secret and invisible event, or will it be noticed by all?

I Thessalonians 4:16–18—”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.” KJV.