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.

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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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