Why Does God Discriminate Against Christians?
Lorraine Day, M.D.
The Bible says,
“God is Love.” 1 John 4:8
The Bible also says.
“God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34
This means that God does not show partiality. But most churches teach that God does show partiality – and in doing so, He discriminates, in the most cruel way, against Christians – the group that the churches teach God loves “the most!”
We know there are many Biblical examples of angels communicating with human beings.
Gabriel came to Mary, in Nazareth, in Galilee to tell her she would give birth to Jesus, “who shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:26-37
Six months before, an angel had come to Zacharias, the priest in the temple, to tell him that his wife, Elizabeth, who was barren and now older in age, would have a son, and that his name should be John. Luke 1:5-14
And an angel came to the shepherds in the field to tell them of the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:8-18
At the burning bush, an angel spoke to Moses. Ex 3:3 and Acts 7:30-36
Philip was told by an angel to go to Gaza to meet one of the representatives of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. Acts 8:26-40
An angel appeared to Cornelius to tell him to send his agents to Joppa to bring Peter back to minister to them. Acts 11:13
When Peter was in prison, an angel came to release him from prison. Acts 12:7-17
In the Old Testament:
An angel came to comfort Hagar after she and her son, Ishmael, had been sent into the wilderness. Gen 16:1-16
When Abraham was about to slay Isaac, an angel stopped him. Gen 22:1-14
Even animals have been visited by angels as was the donkey ridden by Balaam. Numbers 22:22-30
An angel shut the lions mouth when Daniel was in the Lions’ Den. Daniel 6:16-23
Twice an angel came to Zechariah. Zech 1:9-19;4:1-10
It is clear that angels have been communicating with man for thousands of years. Even presently, we hear of stories where angels have appeared to man in the mission field, or elsewhere.
Obviously, God approves of angels communicating with human beings.
Necromancy is an abomination to the Lord
Then why is it that God FORBIDS human beings to communicate with their “dead relatives” that most churches believe are in heaven with Jesus?
“There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.” Deuteronomy 18:10,11
Necromancers are those who communicate with the dead. Why does God categorize them along with witches, wizards, those who practice divination, and those who practice child sacrifice – those God said should be banished from the Israelite community?
We know that these other activities are directly from Satan, even though many churches are encouraging children to read the Harry Potter books – a book of witchcraft, if there ever was one!
Almost ALL Christians believe that when a Christian dies, he or she doesn’t really die. Instead, that person’s body remains in the tomb, but his or her “spirit” wafts off to heaven - - - and Jesus.
If that is true, then WHY doesn’t God allow those “spirits” of your dead relatives to communicate with you? Wouldn’t it be comforting for your dead relatives to come back and speak with you regularly? To tell you that now they’re free from the pain of the disease from which they died? To comfort young children they left behind? To spiritually guide their families? (After all, they’re in the presence of Jesus every day – or that is what the churches teach.), For dead children to come back and visit their parents to ease the pain of their loss? For dead relatives to be able to guide members of their family in the right way when they’re having difficulties or making bad decisions?
Why does God say that communication with dead relatives is forbidden - - and an abomination?
Why does God discriminate against these Christian people who desperately want to communicate with their dead relatives who have “gone to heaven”?
Isn’t it heartless of God to allow your dead relatives to watch all the suffering their families are going through on this earth – and be forbidden to do anything about it?
How could God be so cruel?
Why does God categorize communication with dead relatives along with witchcraft and sorcery?
Could it be that the “spirits” of your dead relatives are NOT the “spirits” of your dead relatives?
Could it be that the dead do NOT go to heaven (and not even to hell) when they die?
What does the Bible say?
The Bible tells us, in no uncertain language, that when a person dies, he or she goes into the grave – NOT to heaven or hell. The Bible tells us that the dead know nothing!
It is Satan – the Devil - the Adversary of Christ who came up with the doctrine of almost ALL the churches that teaches that after one dies, he or she is “still alive in spirit form.”
Indeed, this belief of the “Christian” churches that one continues to live in spirit form after death, came right out of the mouth of Satan.
In the Garden of Eden
When Satan, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he said:
“Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
“And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And here it comes:
And the serpent (Satan) said unto the woman, “YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE.”
In other words, Satan is saying, “Ye shall NOT die. Ye shall continue to live – but in spirit form.”
There it is:
God said that sin would bring DEATH.
Satan contradicted God. Satan said sin would bring LIFE – LIFE better than they had before. They would be perfect (after all, doesn’t one have to be perfect to be in heaven?).
Satan rejected what God had said and made up his own doctrine – that sin actually brings Life, Perfection, and Supreme Joy!
And virtually ALL the Christian churches have chosen to believe SATAN – rather than to believe God!
Satan even has churches CELEBRATING the Death of a loved one! Churches fail to comprehend that DEATH should be a somber time for loved ones, because DEATH is the result of Sin. We are ALL dying BECAUSE we are ALL sinners.
Before Sin – there was NO Death!
What Happens to a Person When He Dies?
Can the Dead Actually Come Back and Visit us? Virtually the entire Christian world believes that when a person dies, his body is buried but his “spirit” goes to heaven or hell. In other words, the person doesn’t really die, he just changes form and continues to live in spirit form.
Two main texts are cited to support this belief:
1) 2 Corinthian 5:6,8: “Absent from the body, present with the Lord”; and
2) Philippians 1:21,23: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor, yet what I shall choose, I know not. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ; which is far better.”
But there are almost thirty Bible texts that tell us that death is a sleep, and that when a person is dead, he remains in the grave and he has no thoughts. He is not conscious. He knows NOTHING! He is not in heaven or hell. He is dead in the grave and knows nothing.
The vast majority of Christians ridicule this explanation, disparagingly referring to it as “soul sleep,” then they dismiss the entire issue as heresy and nonsense.
But a biblical doctrine cannot be built on one or two texts while ignoring an additional almost thirty texts on the same subject. Let’s examine all the texts in the Bible that refer to the subject of “What happens when we die?”
There are many texts in the Bible that tell us that the dead are dead – in the grave and know NOTHING.
1) For the living know that they will die, BUT THE DEAD KNOW NOTHING; they have no further reward, for even the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now PERISHED; neither have they any share in anything that is done.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10
2) Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. No one remembers You when he is dead. Who praises You from the grave? Psalm 6:4,5
3) And the Lord formed man of the DUST of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the BREATH of LIFE, and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7 (This verse describes the Creation of Man)
4) Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the breath shall return unto God Who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7 (This verse describes the Death of Man, the reverse of Creation: His breath returns to God, his body returns to dust, and his thoughts cease.)
5) Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their breath departs, they return to the ground; on that very day, their thoughts perish. Psalm 146:3,4
6) The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. Psalm 115:17
7) Jesus Christ...the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who ALONE is immortal.1 Timothy 6:15,16 (Man is NOT immortal!)
8) For the grave cannot praise You, death cannot sing Your praise; Isaiah 38:18
9) The soul who sins, SHALL die. Ezekiel 18:4 (It will not just change into another form and go wafting off to heaven.)
10) But the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God has said "You shall NOT eat of it, neither shall you touch it, or you will die!" Genesis 3:3 (In this passage, Eve is telling, Satan the Adversary who has taken the form of a serpent, what God has told Adam and Eve.)
11) And the serpent (Satan) said unto the woman: "You will NOT surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will become as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4,5
This is the FIRST GREAT DECEPTION; God had told Adam and Eve, “If you sin, you will die”. But Satan contradicted God by saying, "If you sin, you will not die, instead you will become as gods!" This is still the theme, and the continuing deception, of virtually all Christian denominations.
The Bible regularly compares death to a sleep.
Jesus Himself referred to death as a “sleep.”
In John 11:11-14 Jesus compares death to sleep.
12) “These things said He; and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”
There we have it – from the mouth of Jesus, Himself.
Lazarus is ASLEEP = Lazarus is DEAD!
Death is a sleep! How could it be any more plain? How could ANYONE disparagingly refer to Jesus’ OWN definition of death?
Spirit vs Breath
The word incorrectly translated “Spirit” is actually the word “breath” in the Hebrew and the Greek. (See Strong’s Concordance under “Breath,” #7307. The word “Spirit” is the same – #7307. The Hebrew word number, 7307 is ruwach.) The translators translate the word ruwach as “breath” or “spirit” as it suits their own preconceived theological beliefs.
It is God’s “breath” that He breathes into us physically that gives us physical life. God also gives us Spiritual life (eonian life) by breathing His “spiritual breath” (Holy Breath or Breath of Holiness, often mistranslated “Holy Spirit”) into us as He did to the disciples at Pentecost.
13) “All the while my breath (#5397 - puff or wind) is in me, and the spirit (#7307 – breath or wind) of God is in my nostrils.” Job 27:3
Obviously God did not breathe a “ghost” into Adam’s nostrils. The word is not “spirit” but “breath. ”This is further confirmed by Isaiah 40:7.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the (spirit) breath (#7307) of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The translation here should be breath and not spirit as the King James Version translates it. What the “Lord bloweth” is breath NOT “spirit.”
And again in Isaiah 11:4.
“…And He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath (#7307) of His lips shall He slay the wicked.”
The word frequently mistranslated “spirit” clearly means “breath” and does not mean a spirit being or a ghost.
There is a word for “ghost” in the Bible. It is the Greek word phantasma (#5326 in Strong’s Concordance). This is the word that is used when the disciples thought they were seeing a ghost when Jesus was walking on the water during the storm on the Sea of Galilee. This story is told in Mathew 14:26 and Mark 6:49.
And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit (ghost – phantasma #5326) and they cried out for fear. Mathew 14:26
This Greek word, phantasma, is a totally different word and should not be confused with the word (#5326) “breath” (often mistranslated “spirit” or “ghost”).
When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room after His resurrection, John 20:21, 22 tells us:
Then says Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed (#1720) on them saith under them, Received ye the Holy Ghost (breath - #4151).
“Holy Ghost” is a serious mistranslation of the word “breath”. Jesus breathed spiritual “breath” on the disciples, not a “ghost.”
Humans beings are not immortal now, nor do they have an “immortal soul.”
14) The righteous receive immortality when Jesus comes again.
“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.
We become immortal “at the last trump” meaning at the time of Jesus’ Second Coming. We do NOT become immortal when we die – nor are we immortal now, while we are alive!
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.” 1 Cor. 15:51-54
15) David did not ascend to heaven at death, but awaits the coming of Jesus and the first resurrection.
“For David is not ascended into the heavens; but he saith himself, the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand.” Acts 2:34
16) Human beings do not have immortality, only God does.
“(God) only who hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.” 1 Tim. 6:16
17) The righteous will be resurrected to see God at the Last day.
“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.” Job 19:25,26
18) Where are the people who come forth in the resurrection? They are now in the graves.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. John 5:28,29
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 “(judging).” John 5:28,29
19) The wages of sin is death.
We die because we are deteriorating from the moment we are born – because we are sinners.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom 6:23
20) The soul (person) who sins will die. He doesn’t just change form and continue to live.
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4
21) The apostle Paul waited the coming of the Lord for his final reward.
“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Tim. 4:7,8
22) "I go to prepare a place for you. And I will come to get you and take you where I am." (Why does Jesus have to come to get the righteous if they are already in heaven?)
“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. John 14:2,3
“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.”
Jesus is preparing a place for us but we will go there when He comes again – NOT when we die.
23) Why do the righteous dead have to rise at the resurrection if they're already in heaven?
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the 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.” 1 Thess 4:16-18
24) The world will be judged on an "appointed day." You cannot go to heaven until God makes a judgment on your case. Obviously it doesn't happen when each person dies.
“Because he hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:31
25) Why is there a future judgment if everyone is already in heaven or hell?
They must have been "judged" already on an individual basis at the moment they died. But that is not biblical. (See previous text.)
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Rev. 20:12
26) Why do we "seek for immortality" if we already are immortal?
“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:” Rom. 2:7
27) Mary and Martha were Jesus' closest friends on earth, other than His disciples. What was their understanding about where Lazarus was in death and when he would be resurrected?
“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.” John 11:23,24
28) If Lazarus was already in heaven why would Jesus resurrect him back to this earth? That would be cruel!
“And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
And he that was dead came forth bound hand and foot with graveclothes; and his face was bound with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:43,44
There is no indication that Lazarus had been anywhere other than in the grave. Lazarus never spoke of being in heaven during those four days, or of seeing God, or of seeing angels, or of seeing any of the great prophets who had died hundreds of years before, nor did Lazarus even speak of seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel!
Lazarus had been dead – asleep – in the grave for the entire time.
29) Jesus did not go to heaven immediately at death! In addition when He was resurrected, He was in His body. He was not a “Spirit,” and the tomb was empty. He had not left his body in the tomb. His “Spirit” had not separated from His body. He was one single entity.
“But Mary stood without the sepulcher weeping; and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,
And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not it was Jesus.
Jesus said unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto to her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Do not detain Me (literal translation); for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” John 20: 11-18
There is NO Immortal “Soul”
The Bible uses the word "soul" approximately 1600 times, but never once does it use the expression "immortal soul." The word mortal means “subject to death.” The word immortal means one is not subject to death.
When we die, we sleep in the grave until we are resurrected. The righteous dead will be resurrected when Jesus comes. Those who died without knowing Jesus will be resurrected for the Judgment after the Millennium, in the Second Resurrection.
So, here we have twenty-nine Bible passages that tell us that the dead know nothing, that death is a “sleep” (even Jesus said that), and that the dead person does not go to heaven or hell, but remains in the grave until the resurrection, either the first resurrection (of the righteous) or the second resurrection (of the unsaved).
Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Death
What about these few texts that are used to support the false doctrine of "Immortality of the Soul", meaning that when you die, you are really still alive but just in a different form - a "spirit" form?
A) What does Paul mean by the expression "absent from the body, and present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:6,8)?
First, let us remember that Paul is the one who has stated the following:
1) Human beings do not have immortality, only God does (1 Tim 6:16).
2) We receive immortality when Jesus comes again (1 Cor 15:51-54).
3) Paul was waiting for the coming of the Lord for his final reward (1Tim 4:7,8).
4) That we "seek for immortality" (Rom 2:7) Why do we seek for immortaility if we already have it?
In light of all these texts written by Paul in which he clearly states that when one is dead – one knows nothing - we must try to understand what he means by "absent from the body, and present with the Lord."
Paul writes to the Colossians, in Chapter 2, verse 5:
"For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in spirit, joying and beholding your good order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ."
Clearly, this is an expression that Paul is using to tell the Colossians that his thoughts are with them, even though he cannot be there in person. He is not saying that his spirit has left his body and is "wafting" over to the Colossians.
And again, in 1 Cor. 5:3, Paul uses an almost identical phrase as he chides the Corinthians for having fornicators in their midst.
"And you are proud and have not mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has done this deed."
Again, Paul is speaking of being with the Corinthians in his thoughts but not actually being with them in person. He is not suggesting he is a “Spirit” or Ghost.
This, obviously, is an expression that Paul used often.
Now let's carefully dissect this entire passage: (2 Cor 5:1-8)
But before we do, we must consider two important issues.
1) The translation “Absent from the body,..present with the Lord,” is an INCORRECT translation of the this passage, 2 Cor 5:6, 8.
The literal translations of these passages, 2 Cor 5:6, 8, from the original Greek are as follows:
vs 6”…to be at home in the body, we are away from the Lord
vs 8”…to be away from home out of the body and to be at home with the Lord
2) We must consider the context in which these passages are written. We remember that the Bible was originally written without chapter or verse designations. Therefore, 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5, are not separate entities.
Chapter Four of 2 Corinthians is about purification, dying to sin and becoming a “new Creation in Christ.” – it is not speaking of a physical death.
For example, verse 11 speaks of our being delivered “unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
vs 11 “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
In verse 16, we are told that “we should not lose heart; but though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
Paul tells us that affliction and trials cause death to the flesh (our lust after worldly pleasures perishes) but renews our inward spiritual man “day by day.” When we die to sin, then the life of Jesus can be made manifest in “our mortal flesh.”
So these passages, in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4, are clearly talking about “burying the old man of sin,” being “crucified with Christ and becoming a new creation in Christ.” It is talking about spiritual death to sin - - - not literal, physical death.
In the summation of 2 Corinthians, Chapter Five, verse 17,19, Paul tells us:
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away: behold, all things have become new.
“And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ…
That is, that God was in Christ, reconciling THE WORLD unto Himself.”
These passages are clearly referring to a spiritual re-birth, a dying to sin, and becoming a new creation in Christ.
These two chapters are talking about a spiritual re-birth on THIS SIDE of the grave.
Now, let us read 2 Cor 5:1-8 (Literal concordant translation)
Vs 1: For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were destroyed (we die to sin – die to our earthly flesh), we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal (eonian) in the heavens. (Our old man of sin dies and God has changed us into a New Creation in Christ.)
Vs 2: For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. (We desire God to put His disposition in us – His “Eonian” life – so we can be “clothed” with His ‘robe of righteousness’).
Vs 3: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked (unrighteous).
Vs 4: For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of (eonian) life.
Vs 5: Now He that has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest (down payment) of the spirit (God’s breath of holiness – “eonian life”).
Vs 6: Being, then, courageous always, and aware that being at home in the body, we are away from the Lord: (If we are comfortable “in the flesh” – following after earthly things - then we are “away” from the Lord, we are not walking with the Lord.
Vs 7: For we walk by faith, not by sight:
Vs 8: We are encouraged, and are delighting, I say, and willing rather to be away from home out of the body, and to be at home with the Lord. (literal translation) God has given us His eonian life, the disposition of Christ manifested in us.
vs 9. Wherefore we are ambitious also, whether at home or away form home, to be well-pleasing to Him.
“vs 17…”Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away, behold all things have become new.”
This is the summation of Chapters 4 and 5 showing that the theme is to give up living a life “of the flesh” and to become a “new creation in Christ.”
The “fruits” or works of the flesh are given in Galatians 5:19-21 and include witchcraft, hatred, adultery, murder, drunkenness, etc. But the fruits of the spirit (of God’s breath of holiness, which is a changed heart ) are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. (Gal 5:22, 23) A “new creation in Christ” will exhibit the fruits of the spirit, not the fruits of the flesh.
Conclusion: This passage in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 5, is NOT talking of dying a physical death and immediately going to heaven. It is discussing dying to sin and becoming a new creation in Christ.
B) Phil 1:21,23. Doesn't Paul imply that an individual goes directly to heaven at death by stating that he "desires to depart and be with Christ" and "death is gain"?
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose, I know not.
For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:"
The Bible does not contradict itself. Paul does not state one thing in one place and the opposite some other place in his writings. The apostle is clear. At the Second Coming of Jesus, the righteous dead are resurrected to receive their eternal reward (See 1 Thess. 4:16,17, 1 Cor 15:51-54)
Paul said "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..." 2 Tim 4:7,8. Paul looked forward to his crown of righteousness that he would get - when Jesus comes.
Death, indeed, was “gain” for Paul. It meant freedom from the pain of a weary body, deliverance from the bondage of a Roman prison, and security from the temptation of Satan.
Also, during his ministry, Paul had been beaten repeatedly, he had been stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked and constantly hounded by the Pharisees who were plotting to kill him. Death would be a sweet relief, a sleep with no conscious passage of time for him. The next event he would experience after closing his eyes in the sleep of death would be to arise at the resurrection and "depart and be with Christ."
The passage in Phil1:21,23 does not state that Paul would immediately be with Christ when He died. Everything else Paul wrote would deny that interpretation.
C) The Parable of the rich man and Lazarus. In this parable, the rich man goes immediately to hell and Lazarus goes to heaven. How does one explain this parable if the dead are sleeping? (Luke 16:19-31)
It is important to note that this is a parable. It is the fifth in a series of five parts of a parable beginning with the parable of the lost sheep, Luke 15:3, where the Bible identifies this as a parable. Remember, verses and chapters were added hundreds of years after the Bible was written, and they were designated by uninspired translators, not by inspired Bible writers.
“and He (Jesus) spoke this parable unto them…” Luke 15:3
The five parts of this parable are: 1) the lost sheep, 2) the lost coin, 3) the lost boy (prodigal son), 4) the unjust steward, and, 5) the rich man and Lazarus. Each part of the parable is designed to teach a different aspect of the same theme.
“Two groups of individuals are the objects of this five-part part parable. On one hand are the Pharisaic aristocrats. On the other hand are the ‘tribute collectors and sinners,’ downtrodden and despised, the objects of contempt and loathing from the Pharisees.
“In the first part of the parable, the ‘tribute collector and sinner’ are the principal subjects. In the second, the sinner alone is seen. The fourth section parallels the second inasmuch as there the Pharisaic class is also seen by itself. As the lost piece of silver demonstrated the utter helplessness of the sinner, so in the case of the Unjust Steward, the true character of the Pharisee is vividly portrayed.
“The third and fifth sections of the parable group together both of the classes mentioned, and bring to a climax the great disparity which existed between them.” The Rich Man and Lazarus, Concordant Publishing Concern, pg 5
Jesus was using stories familiar to many in His audience. They were stories, parables, illustrations, only. The story of “The Rich man and Lazarus” demonstrates clearly that it is a story only, and not fact. People do not actually have conversations between heaven and hell. Abraham must have had a very large bosom to contain all the individuals who go there. Do people from heaven actually visit people in hell? How could a fingertip, dipped in water, cool the tongue of a person who was being tormented in the middle of a fire?
There is no doubt that this is a parable, and in fact, Jesus stated that it was.
D) What does Rev 6:9-11 mean when it describes the souls under the alter crying with a loud voice saying "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood?"
Personification is commonly used in the Bible to describe situations with symbolic language. After Cain killed Abel, the Lord said to Cain, "The voice of your brother's blood cries to me from the ground" (Gen 4:10). Obviously, Abel's blood was not really speaking. According to Heb 12:24, "The blood of Jesus speaks better things than that of Abel." Again this is symbolic.
This passage in Revelation, Chapter 6, communicates that God has not forgotten His faithful martyrs through the centuries. Their blood symbolically cries out for God to bring justice upon their persecutors and to reward the faithful ones with eternity.
E) Is the soul immortal?
The Bible uses the word "soul" approximately 1600 times, but NEVER ONCE does it use the expression "immortal soul." The word mortal means subject to death. The word immortal means - not subject to death.
The Bible plainly states, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek 18:4) It does NOT say "The soul that sinneth, it shall continue to live, but in a different form."
God told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would die. Satan contradicted God and said, "Ye shall NOT surely die." ( Gen 3:4)
If a person does not really die, but just changes form, then, in the Garden of Eden, Satan was correct and God was lying! But the Bible says, "It is impossible for God to lie." Titus 1:2
F) If the dead are asleep, how could the Witch of Endor bring the prophet Samuel back from the dead to speak to King Saul (1 Sam 28:15)?
Please note three important facts:
1) Throughout the Old Testament, God commanded that spiritualists be driven out of the land of Israel and be put to death. The Bible unmasks all spiritualism as the work of demonic, satanic forces (Deut 18:10-15, Isa 47:13,14).
2) Saul had previously rejected the prophet Samuel's counsel. The specific reason Saul inquired of the Witch of Endor was that he had first inquired of the Lord but received no answer. King Saul received “no answers” because he was not obeying God. What Saul saw, when he visited the witch, was NOT Samuel. The Bible declares the witch saw "gods ascending out of the earth" vs 13, and Saul "perceived" he saw Samuel (1 Samuel 28:14). Satan and his evil angels can masquerade as dead loved ones, imitating both their forms and voices (Rev 16:14).
In addition, Samuel, a favored prophet of the Lord, would have certainly gone to heaven, if the soul were immortal. So why was he coming up "out of the earth"?
3) The ultimate result of Saul's visit to the Witch of Endor was not repentance, confession of sin and life, but despair, discouragement and death. (1Sam. 28:16,20,21, 31:3,4,9,10) Saul was deceived by Satan and surrendered his soul to demons.
G) Why does the Bible say that necromancy is an ABOMINATION to God? (Deut 18:11)
Necromancy is defined as communication with the dead. If dead people go immediately to heaven in spirit form, why would God declare it an abomination for our dead relatives to come back in spirit form and talk to us?
Answer: Because our dead relatives are in the grave. And these "spirits" are demons masquerading as dead loved ones. These beings are appearing to Christians so they can then mislead the Christians with lies about heaven, God, and End-Time events.
These Christians will believe the lies because they think they are coming from their dear, departed loved ones whom they trust, when instead, they are demonic spirits impersonating dead loved ones.
What about the Virgin Mary apparitions?
In many places around the world, "Mary" is supposedly appearing, and giving messages to “the faithful.” This is necromancy and the Bible says it is an abomination, because the apparition is not really Mary. The apparitions are demons impersonating Mary.
H) What does Peter mean when he talks about Christ preaching to the "spirits in prison" (1 Peter 3:19)?
In order to understand this text, we must read the entire passage (1 Peter 3:18-22).
Verse 18 reveals that Jesus, the divine Son of God who was crucified for our sins, was "made alive" through the power of the Holy Spirit (God’s Breath of Holiness).
Verse 19 makes a transition and declares that it was by this same “Holy Spirit” that Christ “spoke” to the “spirits in prison.” There is nothing to suggest that the “spirits in prison” represent people in hell! When did Jesus “preach” to these “spirits in prison” and who are the “spirits in prison”?
Verse 20 tells us that in the days of Noah, the hearts of men and women were evil continually. They were in bondage to evil. They were "in prison."
Notice, it does b say these persons were in the grave, nor in hell.
When Jesus read His Messianic mission to those in the synagogue in Nazareth, He read from Isaiah. 61:1 where He said He was "sent to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
Never once during His life on earth did Jesus physically release anyone from prison or from slavery. In fact, His cousin, John the Baptist, was allowed to remain in prison to die a martyr’s death, being beheaded by King Herod at the request of Herod’s wicked wife, Herodotus.
Because Jesus, while on earth did not release anyone from literal slavery or literal prison, then, in Isaiah 61:6, He was obviously speaking about spiritual “prison,” spiritual darkness and ignorance.
Clearly Christ’s mission was to speak to "the spirits in prison." The resurrection of Jesus "spoke" volumes to those in bondage to sin, it spoke of redemption and eternal life available because of Jesus' sacrifice. Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of the world gave Jesus the authority to redeem ALL mankind, including those desperately wicked sinners who lived before the flood.
I) Where was Jesus' body when He was resurrected?
When Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He was “wearing” His body. He did not leave His body in the tomb, where many Christians believe the body remains when the "spirit" goes to heaven. But when the women came to the tomb, the tomb was EMPTY! No “body” was found there.
And this was even before Jesus had ascended to heaven. He told Mary, "Do not detain me, I have not yet ascended to My Father." John 20:17 (literal translation) In addition, it was obvious that He was not in "spirit" form because Mary took hold of His feet. Later on, Thomas touched Him - His hands and His side. And Jesus ate food to prove that He was not a “ghost.”
J) What does Jesus say about the state of death?
When Lazarus became ill, his sisters, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus asking Him to come at once. But Jesus stayed where He was for two more days, then He told His disciples that He was going to Judea to see Lazarus.
Jesus said to His disciples, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep." The disciples responded, "Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well."
Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, "Lazarus is dead." John 11:1-14
Here, Jesus Himself, designates death as a sleep.
In addition, when Lazarus was resurrected, he had been in the tomb four days, certainly long enough to have gone to heaven, if that is where righteous dead people go immediately. But when Lazarus was resurrected, he made no mention of having been to heaven.
If indeed the righteous dead go immediately to heaven, wouldn't it be cruel of Jesus to bring Lazarus back down to earth again, to live in this sinful world, and then die another death when he could have been in heaven all that time?
The obvious conclusion is that Lazarus had been in the grave all along, and had never been to heaven, because when a person dies, he is asleep and knows nothing until the resurrection. The righteous will be resurrected at the first resurrection - - - when Jesus comes. And the unsaved will be resurrected at the second resurrection, after the one thousand year millennium. (Rev 20:4-6)
K) What does the word "soul" mean?
The word "soul" in the Bible is used to describe fish, animals, birds, and man. The word “soul” refers to any creature that has the five senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. The word “soul” is never applied to plants (they do not have the five senses) or to inanimate objects, objects that are not alive.
The word "soulish" is used often in the Bible. It is frequently mistranslated as "natural" (i.e. the "natural" man) when in fact, it should be the "soulish" man, meaning one who lives by sense knowledge, knowledge acquired through the five senses rather than by revelation knowledge from God.
L) Aren't the "spirit" and the "soul" separate entities from the body? The Bible says “No!”
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living SOUL." In Genesis 2:7
Note that God did not “put” a soul in Adam. Adam became a living soul.
When Adam became a living soul, that meant he could get up and walk and had the use of his five senses.
Therefore: dust + breath = soul (a living person). This is what happened at creation - when God created Adam and Eve.
In Eccl 12:7 we see the reverse of creation - what happens in death.
"Then shall the dust (the body) return to the earth as it was; and the spirit (literal: breath) shall return unto God who gave it."
The soul (the person) then just ceases to exist, just as light ceases to exist when one turns off a lamp. The “light” does not “go” anywhere - it just ceases to exist. When a person quits breathing, he ceases to exist as a living person.
Jesus described death as a sleep, an unconscious state during which one is not aware of anything.
M) If we immediately go to heaven or hell when we die, why do we need a judgment? Hasn't the decision already been made by God at the moment we die as to whether we are righteous or unrighteous?
There are numerous texts that speak of the Judgment: Heb 9:27, Heb 10:26,27, James 2:13, 2 Peter 3:7, Jude 6, Jude 14,15, Rev 14:7. If those people who have died have already gone either to heaven or hell - - - and then the judgment occurs, would it be possible that they were actually sent to the wrong place? Would some who were in heaven, now be sent to hell and vice versa? Could God have made a mistake?
God doesn't make mistakes. So what need would there be for a judgment if the person who dies has already been given his “reward” – whether it is heaven or “hell” as Christians believe.
N) Why does the Bible so frequently speak of the JOY of the resurrection, if everybody has already gone to heaven or hell?
Many Christians believe that when a person dies, the body stays in the grave but the "soul" or "spirit" goes wafting off to heaven. They believe this "spirit" floats around in heaven until Jesus' Second Coming, then it comes back down to earth and climbs into its body in the grave to get ready for the resurrection.
But if the "spirit" has been doing just fine in heaven all this time without a body, why does it need a body at the time of Jesus' Second Coming? Or, for that matter, why does the "spirit" need a body at any time?
This idea of the "spirit" climbing back into a body in the grave is ludicrous. The Bible frequently speaks of the joy of the resurrection, because the righteous who have been asleep in their graves will be resurrected to immortality, at the Second Coming of Christ, and will be reunited with their righteous loved ones.
After looking at all the evidence in all the texts in the Bible regarding "Death,” it is clear that death is a sleep, a state of lack of consciousness, as Jesus Himself so plainly stated. The dead remain in the grave until either the First Resurrection (of the righteous) that occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus, or the Second Resurrection, (of the unsaved) that occurs after the one thousand year Millennium.
Why is this SO IMPORTANT?
If a Christian believes that righteous people go to heaven immediately when they die, then when “spirits” or apparitions appear to those still living, bringing messages supposedly “from God or from Heaven,” the living Christian will be deceived. That’s why the Bible tells us it is an abomination to communicate with the dead. Communication with the “dead” is spiritualism, sorcery and witchcraft.
Deut 18:11 says, "There shall not be found among you anyone that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord."
The following are the definitions of the terms found in Deut 18:11:
divination: one who tries to foretell the future or explores the occult
observer of times: astrologer
enchanter: a sorcerer or witch – including the Harry Potter witchcraft “stories”
charmer: one who casts spells
consulter with familiar spirits: a spiritualist or a witch
wizard: a magician or sorcerer
necromancer: one who claims to foretell the future by alleged communication with the dead
But again, why would God declare communication with the dead an abomination? Because the dead are asleep in the grave, and not in heaven or even in “hell.” Any beings impersonating our dead friends or relatives, or signs or wonders such as the "Mary apparitions,” are demonstrations of demonic evil spirits (evil angels) who can impersonate the dead.
Spiritualism, the belief that the dead survive as spirits who can communicate with the living, is now pervasive in this country and in the world. It is becoming "trendy" to be a psychic or a witch. Beautiful witches are the focus of television shows. The enormously popular Harry Potter books and movies are teaching witchcraft, casting of spells, paganism and spiritualism to children and adults. God clearly calls this an abomination!
This is a very dangerous phenomenon sweeping America and the world. Children and adults who deal with psychics, astrologers, fortune-tellers, seances, Ouija boards, and any other type of spiritualism, become open to actual possession by satanic demons.