Friday, April 1, 2011

For serious readers only - The Nature of Man.

Today I'm going to talk about the state of the dead and the nature of man.  Deep, huh? Well, I'm not an authority on this topic but will be gathering information from a variety of Biblical sources and hopefully will have some cohesion on the subject by the end!  WHY this subject is important will have to be discussed at another time. Feel free to add comments and questions at the end.

We first need to discuss the nature of man.  Is he immortal (eternal life in himself), or is this life given him by God?  In Genesis it says we were made from the DUST and God breathed into man and he became a living soul. Gen. 2:7. (note it doesn't say he HAD a soul). We know from the Bible that immortality is something we don't have now, but must strive for.

Rom 2:7 "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life."  And that only in the Son, Jesus, do we have life:  1 John 5:11,12  says, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life".

So life now, and then later, is different. Even before sin, Adam did not have immortality. His life was even then sustained by God and prolonged by eating from the tree of life. He was dependent on God before he sinned, and even more so after sinning.

{This makes it clear that the so-called eternal hell is a lie of Satan and not of the Bible.  Unless this eternal time in ever-burning hell is not "life" but death, then what IS death?  As far as I know, one cannot experience pain and suffering while dead.  Ecclesiastes 9:5 says "The dead know NOTHING". Most people I know who believe this, believe that the people in hell are alive - yes, and suffering eternal torture! Unfortunately they have misunderstood the symbolic "eternal fire whose worm shall not die" and the "smoke which rises forever and ever".  This will have to be explained by showing examples in the Bible where cities and people were thus described - which are now long burned up, etc. - another study.}

So yes, in Jesus we have everlasting life.  John 3:15-17 "...That whosoever believeth in him should not perish (it doesn't say live in hell forever) but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved."  A beautiful promise from a loving God - provision is made for ALL - but not all will accept it.

Those who believe we have immortality (just like God himself), must believe Adam had it before the fall too, and that we only lost it after the fall.  So what was the tree of life for?

But now people believe we have immortality because of Jesus - and yes, that is the reason he came down to earth - to earn it for us - but there is a specific time when we will receive it!

WHEN will we have eternal life?  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.

If you believe Jesus "comes again" at every man's death to take him to heaven, then you will have peace with your interpretation of this verse. However, I don't believe Jesus is saying this here. The rest of the Bible confirms a one-time second coming which will be visible to all - "as lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be"  and every eye shall see him. Matthew 24:27 and Rev 1:7.  (Read more here)

And more in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, (be dead, in other words. He's saying some of us will still be alive at his coming) 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 (this decaying body) must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

Verse 26 of this same chapter says "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death".

So, bottom line, man's nature is mortal - subject to death; and only God can give immortality because only he HAS it to begin with. This immortality is only given him at Christ's second coming. 

More on this topic will be forthcoming, Lord willing, because we have only scratched the surface!

Happy Sabbath!  Enjoy the great outdoors if you can!  Our weather promises to clear up at least for the next two days so we plan to get outside!

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