Abundant Life

Teaching: The Dead Are Dead (Part One)

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

Do Christians go to heaven after they die?

The short answer? No. They remain in their graves until Christ comes back and resurrects them from the dead. How can Christ resurrect Christians if they are already alive and floating around in heaven?

No. When Christians die, the Bible says they “fall asleep.” Christians are in a state of unconsciousness until Christ returns.

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(RSS READERS: I’ve posted a wonderful video that talks more about this subject in detail. Please click over to see the video. Sorry for the inconvenience!)

Where Did the Idea Originate that Believers Would Live Forever in Heaven?

The basic teaching of orthodox Christianity concerning what happens after death is that the “souls” or “spirits” of righteous people go either to “heaven” or to some other blissful place. This teaching is in error. [1] It is impossible to understand such false doctrines without understanding their spiritual causes. From as early as the Garden of Eden, the Devil and his demons have been promoting the idea that people do not really die. After God plainly told Adam that he would “surely die” if he partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Devil lied and said to Eve, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). Ever since that time, the Devil has been actively promoting this same lie wherever and whenever possible. Unfortunately, the idea that people continue living on after they die has found a fertile breeding ground in most religions, including orthodox Christianity.

The vast majority of Christian denominations teach that there is no such thing as death (if “death” is properly defined as “the total absence of life”). Instead, according to their teaching, when the body dies, the “soul,” the “real you,” goes to heaven or hell and keeps right on living either in bliss or torment. Therefore, most Christians do not believe that people actually experience “death” when their body dies. [2] It is common to go to a Christian funeral and hear the minister say, “So and so is now in heaven,” even though his dead body is in the open casket in front of everyone.

Since a major part of the Devil’s agenda was, and still is, to convince people that “you will not surely die,” it is not surprising that most Christians believe that, in some way, “you” go on living even after you die. Whether that “you” is your spirit, your soul, or some other “essence,” the bottom line is always the same—“you” are fully conscious after death and not, in fact, “dead” (i.e., without life). This belief has no basis in Scripture. God designed humans as integrated beings with a body, soul, and spirit that together make a whole individual. Adam’s body was fully formed, but just “dust” until God breathed life into it (Gen. 2:7). Adam’s “life” (whether it be called “soul” or “spirit”) had no consciousness or life of its own apart from his body. The idea that the soul or spirit is like a ghost that can separate from the body and still have consciousness and movement without the body was introduced into Judaism after the Babylonian captivity and came from there and other religions into Christianity. [3] The idea of a disembodied living soul did not come from the text of Scripture. [For further study read Gnosticism – Gnostic ideas have had an influence on Christianity.]

The belief in being alive in some form after death is contrary to the revelation of the Bible. According to the Bible, a person who dies is dead until he or she is raised to life by the Lord Jesus and made to stand at one of the judgments. That is why the Bible speaks of a “day,” or time, of judgment, rather than an ongoing judgment occurring when people die. Revelation 20:4–6 speaks of some of the dead “coming to life” to reign with Christ, while others do not yet come to life. Revelation 20:13 states that the sea and the grave will give up the “dead” who are in them so they can be judged. If people are judged when they die and consigned either to heaven or hell, then there is no reason to get them up from the dead for “a day of judgment.” Why drag someone out of heaven or hell and judge him again if he had already been judged at the time of his death?

Once the religions of the world accepted the idea that the “soul” or “spirit” did not die when the body died, the next step was to determine its post-mortem address, in other words, where does the soul live after the body dies? The answers vary from religion to religion, but there are some similarities. A study of the various religions of the world shows that it was, and still is, very common to believe that “good” people go either to the abode of the gods (sometimes called “heaven”), or to some wonderful place on earth, while evil people go to a place of punishment or torment. These beliefs eventually found their way into both Judaism and Christianity. In The Early History of Heaven, J. Edward Wright addresses the biblical conception of what happens to the dead:

Two verses from the Book of Psalms summarize the biblical conceptions of the afterlife and of humans’ place in the heavenly realm: “Heaven is Yahweh’s heaven, but the earth he has given to humans. The dead do not praise Yahweh, nor all those who go down to silence” (Psalm 115:16–17). These verses pointedly indicate what the biblical tradents thought about humanity’s place in the heavenly realm—they have no place there! [4]

Wright goes on to point out that both Judaism and Christianity adopted ideas of the afterlife from the culture surrounding them:

In the fifth century BCE, belief in a heavenly afterlife developed and spread across the Mediterranean world and the ancient Near East [Emphasis added]. Segments in Judaism and Christianity eventually adopted the belief that humans could have a place in the heavenly realm…The emerging Jewish conceptions of the universe and the ideas about what happens to a person after death were not the natural outgrowth of biblical religiosity but were the product of the fruitful interaction of the ancient biblical traditions with new trends in religion and science during the Greco-Roman period. Early Christianity…inherited aspects of both the biblical traditions and the newer Hellenistic expressions of Judaism. [5]

It is noteworthy that belief in a “heavenly” afterlife, as opposed to an “earthly” or “nether-worldly” afterlife, spread after the death of Malachi, the last of the writing prophets. After his death, there were few people left who could oppose the incursion of false doctrine into Judaism. Josephus, a writer and historian who lived in the first century, wrote about the Essenes. They were one of the Jewish sects of his time and the authors of many of the Dead Sea Scrolls. From Josephus’ writing it is clear that they believed, as did the Greeks, that the physical body was not a blessing at all but rather more like a prison and that the soul rejoiced when it was freed by the death of the body. Furthermore, after being freed, the soul went up to heaven.

For their doctrine is this: that bodies are corruptible and that the matter they are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal and continue forever; and that they come out of the most subtle air, and are united to their bodies as in prisons, into which they are drawn by a certain natural enticement; but that when they are set free from the bonds of flesh, they then, as released from a long bondage, rejoice and mount upward. [6]

Historical texts reveal that this type of misinformation about the Hope and everlasting life circulating in the culture of biblical times influenced both the Jews and the early Christians. Historical texts reveal that both the Jews and the early Christians had various ideas about the eternal future. Unfortunately, the biblical texts were often misunderstood and also often ignored as the source of ultimate authority, just as they are today.

Read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

You can read more about this subject here:

Is There Death After Life?

Free Online Seminar: Death & Resurrection to Life

Thanks for reading.

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Abundant Life

When You’re Dead, You’re Dead

Nanny’s death has opened a door on a subject that I’ve been wanting to talk about for quite some time. It’s something that weighs heavily on my heart and it’s another one of those subjects that I feel compelled to talk about.

It’s a potentially explosive subject because so many people believe a certain way and what I’m about to propose goes against that belief. But hear me out. I’m quite confident I can backup my claims. And I pray the information blesses you in the fact that it helps you understand God and His plan for us a little better. God was never meant to be a mystery – but over time, through misunderstandings and Greek mythology, He has become a mystery to many.

I would also like to say, upfront and quite clearly, that I will not debate this subject with you. I’m not a theologian. However, I am quite confident that I can provide materials that will help you further understand my claims and if you’re willing to learn more about it, will help you become a stronger Christian.

I will leave the comment section open, but I reserve the right to delete any comments that do not make sense or get abusive in any way. As long as you have something relevant and cohesive to add to the discussion, then comment away. Remember, in essence, we’re all in the same belief boat, but there are some very important distinctions that should be brought to attention.

What happens after we die is certainly one of those important distinctions.

Death is an enemy. Death is not to be embraced. Death is not to be celebrated. When you’re dead, you can’t talk to, and/or influence, people to live a Godly life. When you’re dead, you’re dead. The Bible calls it “falling asleep.”

You don’t go to heaven when you die. You don’t go anywhere when you die. Your soul (which is breath life), leaves you. You become an empty shell, just a body. Your spirit (which is the gift from God when you become a Christian) is your ticket to ever lasting life.

When you die, you’re dead. If you’re a Christian, then you have the hope of being raised from the dead when Christ comes back for you. Hence, a big reason why it’s important to become a Christian.

It’s also another reason to fully embrace life and treat it as something precious and special. When you believe that you go to heaven after you die, it somehow cheapens life, makes it secondary, and that’s simply not the truth.

I realize my saying this goes against the common, and fierce, belief that people go to heaven when they die. But that fallacy was started by a Greek myth – the Bible does not say you go to heaven when you die. It makes heavenly references but the only heaven humans will ever see is heaven on earth – or as the Bible calls it, “paradise on earth.”

And that happens when Christ returns and we, as Christian soldiers, defeat evil once and for all.

Before you start arguing with me on this point, please note that this post is not intended to argue the validity of my claim. I will post many, many, MANY articles and videos in the upcoming Sunday teaching sessions from the Truth or Tradition website that will clearly backup what I claim. In fact, stick around, I will be posting excerpts from the first round of Truth or Tradition articles and videos shortly. They can explain this in-depth subject WAAAY better than I ever could.

Life

You Can’t Take a Vacation from Death

This post is about the death reference I made in another entry — I feel like it deserves a more in-depth discussion than just a passing sentence or two in a vacation post.

Though we had a great vacation (as I’m sure ya’ll are sick of hearing about at this point), it was definitely peppered with sadness and guilt.

Yes, guilt.

Five people died this past week.

1. We heard about Farrah Fawcett’s death shortly before we left. This announcement was expected as the poor woman had been battling cancer for quite some time. I pitied the woman. Not only because of her cancer, but because she seemingly got more and more wacky over the years. Perhaps her behavioral changes can be blamed on her cancer treatments, I don’t know. But it got to the point where I could barely stomach watching her speak – she just seemed so …. sad, spacey and child like.

2. Ed Mcmahon died. Does anyone even know that? Poor Ed had the misfortune to die, of a ripe old age of 86 I might add, right around the same time as another celebrity and has completely been forgotten because of it. Poor Ed. I was saddened to hear of his passing – I remember watching him every night on the Johnny Carson show because yes, I’m THAT old and laughing at his goofy side-kick antics. I’m glad the man had lived a long life.

3. Michael Jackson – We were flipping through TV stations in our cabin one night when we got wind that MJ was gravelly ill and had been taken to the hospital. The next time we heard anything about him, he had passed away. We were shocked, as was the rest of the world. It’s always hard to digest something this sudden and this tragic. And it was certainly sad, but we weren’t devastated like a large portion of the population apparently is.

I’ve largely ignored all of the media hype surrounding MJ’s death. Well, to be perfectly honest, I pretty much ignore all media hype because that’s what it is, hype, a calculated method of getting ratings. It’s disgusting. But that’s neither here nor there. So the fact that MJ’s death is dominating the news right now doesn’t surprise me one bit – it’s popular, it’ll help ratings and it helps distract people from what’s really important – say, what’s going on with our government and our country right now.

In fact, I found a post on Sacred and Profane that sums my feelings up about Michael Jackson’s death perfectly.

It’s sad whenever ANYONE dies. Unfortunately (or fortunately), life goes on.

4. We learned of Billy Mays’ sudden death in the Miami airport. We had purchased an Internet “day” pass and Dude was checking his forums when an announcement about Billy Mays’ death caught his attention. I immediately suggested that it was probably a hoax and we Googled for a more reputable source.

It was indeed true. And yet another shock – so many dying in one week!

5. But the truly shocking part of this week came Thursday night while we were in our cabin. I was positioning the boys in order to take a picture of the latest towel animal (as you can see, they were in high spirits) and Kevin was calling our voice mail to see if there were any messages.

Look past the boys silliness and see Kevin in the background on his phone?

Cruise 09 (Misc)

That’s when we found out that Nanny had died.

Nanny is Kevin’s grandmother. She was 86 (?) and her health had been failing her for a number of years. Apparently, she overdosed on her medication – she had been on 30 different types of drugs at the time – and had a stroke.

She lost consciousness and never woke up. She passed away Tuesday, June 23rd. We didn’t know about it until Thursday, June 25th. We were in Mexico at the time and we didn’t quite know what to do. Should we fly back for the funeral which was scheduled for that Saturday? We were on the tiny island of Cozumel and we felt … stuck.

Kevin and I agonized over what to do. In the end, we decided not to do anything. Nanny was gone and she would have wanted us to just stay put.

We feel guilty for missing her funeral. However, I was a bit relieved that we did because we would have had to sit through a “don’t be sad, Edith is in heaven now” sermon and well, she’s not. She’s asleep in her grave awaiting the return of Christ. (More on this later).

We didn’t tell the boys. They were having such a good time we didn’t want to dampen their spirits. Especially since we couldn’t DO anything about it.

The boys found out about Nanny’s death at the Miami airport through a message that Kevin had received from his sister on Facebook.

They were shocked and numb the rest of the trip home.

Even though we were all braced for her death because of her failing health, the fact that she went so suddenly and never woke up was still a shock.

We never had a chance to say goodbye. Even though Kevin had been over to her house the previous week to take her son (who is mentally challenged) to a car show. Only, he had his facts wrong and the car show wasn’t scheduled for that day, so Kevin had a chance to sit and have a chat with his grandmother.

We believe that was God’s way of allowing him to say goodbye to her.

We went to visit her grave the day after we returned (we got into town very late). It wasn’t hard to find her, it was the freshest grave in the area. We were all silent and lost in our own thoughts as we looked down upon her resting spot.

The boys, nor Kevin, ever cried, but they did tear up. Me? I just stared, dry-eyed and a bit shocked by everything. I think I’m still numb. I honestly don’t think it’s hit me yet.

When my mom’s mom passed away, I cried, hard. I cried because I would miss my grandmother, but I cried mostly for my mother. I could see how much she was hurting and my heart broke for her. I’ve never been able to handle seeing my mother in any sort of distress.

Sometimes I wonder at my reaction to death. I’m sad, of course, but it’s like I distance myself from it. It doesn’t seem quite …… real to me. I honestly can’t explain it any better than that. I KNOW my loved ones are gone, but still, it just doesn’t seem real.

It’s the oddest feeling.

I honestly think that’s the biggest reason I haven’t allowed myself to get too close to my family – because I’m unconsciously shielding my heart for the day they pass away. I think it’s a survival mechanism and though on the surface that sounds fine, it bothers me. I think it somehow makes me … less human. Definitely cold-hearted.

And it proves something I’ve suspected for a long time – I really do think I’m a hard-hearted person and that realization bothers me on so many levels.

We will always remember Edith for her kindness and willingness to care for children. She was amazing with kids. I’ll never forget how she stepped up and offered to watch Dude when he was a baby so I could continue working. She was so good with him. Dude came home on a monitor (he was a preemie and had sleep apnea, a condition quite common to premature babies) and though others were nervous having to deal with his special needs, she never batted an eye. In fact, she always had a full report for me whenever I picked him up.

Fed him at 10:10, 1:30 and 4:20.
Pooped three times – all normal stools.
Slept three hours
Monitor went off once, false alarm.

And so on.

I used to get a little annoyed at her efficiency, but I always appreciated her efforts and it made me feel like I hadn’t missed so much of his day and it eased my guilt of being away from him just a bit more.

I ended up quitting my job when Dude was about nine months old because Edith’s health wasn’t the greatest and putting my son into daycare simply wasn’t an option.

As a result of Edith watching Dude, they developed a special bond and she always had a soft spot for Dude from that point on. In addition, Edith and I would have long talks whenever I picked Dude up from work and I felt like we had also developed a special relationship.

She was a great woman.

Rest in peace, beautiful Nanny. We will see you soon.