Death and Resurrection

Scripture: John 11:25, John 11:11, Luke 8:54-55
Date: 09/20/2014 
Lesson: 12
"The Bible teaches that God will judge the lives of every human being, deciding the eternal destiny of each person who ever lived. The execution of the divine sentence, however, does not occur immediately after the death of each individual but only after his or her resurrection. Until then, both the saved and the lost sleep unconsciously in the dust. The resurrection, by itself, is neither a reward nor a punishment. It is the precondition to receiving eternal life or condemnation."
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for central study hour. We're so glad that you're tuning in, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website or on the various television networks. Like we say every week, it doesn't matter how you're joining us, we're just glad that you are. Today is no exception. We're going to sing your favorites and Pastor Doug is going to bring us the lesson study and we're going to open up God's Word and study together.

We're ready, here at central, to start singing so I hope you are too. Pull out your hymnals, if you're at home and you have them, and join with us on our first request - #154 - 'when I survey the wondrous cross' - this is one of my favorite songs so I'm so glad that it was the next as we worked our way through the hymnal. It's not a new one, but it's a beautiful one, so we are going to sing that. This is a request from susie in australia, william in nigeria, lemuel in the Philippines, and aime in rwanda. All three stanzas - there's four - we're going to do all four stanzas because it's a short one.

#154. What a beautiful song. Thank you so much for requesting that. Our next song is a perfect song for today. #633 - 'When we all get to heaven' - it is one of my favorites.

We have sung this over the years many, many times and I'm so excited we're singing that today. It is the perfect song today, after 16 years of standing up here - pretty much over one-third of my life with you guys- is the end of central study hour being here and the transition to Granite Bay, so I want us to sing this song with all the happiness in our hearts and the smiling faces because if this - if we don't see each other again, we will meet on the sea of glass one day when we get to heaven. #633 - I will tell you that this is a request from raymundo in belize, keryl in France, margaret in new zealand, and kenny, thelma, and Micah in the seychelles. We'll sing the first, second and fourth stanzas. I want to hear you sing this loud this morning, okay? #633 - Here we go.

Thank you so much. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for being with us today and for always being with us. And we thank you so much for knowing that you were always leading and guiding and you will be with us and the rest of the journey, until we are on those streets of gold. And I pray that you'll be with each person here at central church and our extended Sabbath school family around the world.

I don't know their faces - I know some of them - I've met them in different places, but they're special to me and I know they're special to you, so I pray that we'll all meet together on the sea of glass where we can continue singing our favorite hymns and songs and praising you. And if we don't see each other again before heaven, help us to remain faithful. In Jesus' Name, amen. It's been an incredible journey here. Amazing Facts and Sacramento central's partnership over the last 20 years in working together to produce programming like this one - central study hour - and also the everlasting gospel and today, although this is not the last lesson that Amazing Facts will be here - here at Sacramento central, but this is actually the last time that, as you've heard debbie kippel, this is the last time she'll be here and introducing The Songs and singing with us.

She'll be going on to Granite Bay to work with Amazing Facts there. And this is also the last lesson, technically - we don't want to say the final pastor doug, but this is the last lesson that Pastor Doug will be teaching here with central study hour here at Sacramento central. We'd like to invite Pastor Doug to come on up. And pastor mike, if you wouldn't mind coming up as well. Pastor mike has been here a lot longer than I have and I certainly wanted to allow pastor mike to share a few short words of appreciation and gratitude.

It's been a tremendous partnership. I've enjoyed it for the last year and a half and it's been an exciting journey. But pastor mike please, by all means, share a few thoughts with us. Well, Pastor Doug, it's been - for my part - been 16 years. Can you believe it? Amen.

Amen, yes. So I just want to tell you it's been a privilege working with you and, you know, your face is around this world on so many tv screens and once in a while we fill in and people will say to me, 'I've seen you on central study hour.' And I say, 'well, I fill in when the boss is gone.' And that's been my role for 16 years so I just want to thank you. This spot, it's a hallowed spot. Not because you've stood there - or pastor chris and myself, but God has come down and spoken, I believe, through you here for over these many, many years and we're sure he'll continue to do so. So, again, it's a privilege and a joy to have had a part with your stay here.

It's not the end - you'll be - your church is only two miles from my house. You know that? So God bless you, anyway. Thank you. I would like to invite jen, if you don't mind coming up. We just have a little gift we'd like to share on behalf of Sacramento central seventh-day adventist church for Amazing Facts.

We're going to make sure we get it tuned in here on the camera. I don't know if you can zoom in and read that, but I'm going to try to read that so folk can know what we've written on here. It says, "in appreciation for 20 memorable years of service together" - you see, I wrote this - I can't even remember what I wrote - "in appreciation for 20 memorable years of service together in the proclamation of the gospel through central study hour and the everlasting gospel. Sacramento central seventh-day adventist church will always remain grateful for the partnership enjoyed with Amazing Facts." And so we'd like to - we'd like to present this to you but we know you've got a class right now so we're going to hold on to this for you and make sure you get this before you leave today. But it's been a wonderful 20 years - great partnership.

We know it's not over. We continue here - central study hour will continue here at Sacramento central and amazing facts study hour will continue as well. And it's been just tremendous. Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of what God is doing through Amazing Facts as well. Thank you.

God bless. Thank you so much. I'm almost speechless but that doesn't happen very long. You know, it has - this is, sort of, a transition time but I'm quite confident that we're going to continue - Amazing Facts to be working with and doing things with Sacramento central and we were talking - and the granite bay staff, just this week, about inviting pastor chris and pastor mike to come and preach for us. For instance, Pastor Ross and I are going to be gone in about a month to albuquerque doing some meetings there and we said, 'well, we're going to have a whole month - what will we do?' I said, 'let's have pastor chris come over and preach.

' And so, we're going to be continuing to see each other - we live in the same valley - but it does kind of Mark a transition point. Karen reminded me last night that we started at Sacramento central in September 21 years ago. And so this actually did - just the way the stars lined up - though I've not technically been the pastor here since the end of January and I'm still teaching here until now. And so this kind of Marks 21 years, which is three times seven, which has a spiritual significance. I don't know what it is, but it means something.

And so, you know, I'm - I've got mixed emotions. You know, I'm a little sad, but I'm also very excited because I think, where we once had one church doing media, now we're going to have two and that the lord told us to be fruitful and multiply. And so we're going to multiply the gospel and so this is good news. The gospel is going forth and so we're very excited about what the Lord is going to continue to do here at Sacramento central and I hope you'll continue to pray for Amazing Facts and Granite Bay and what the church programs are going to do there. Oh, come on now, some of you are crying, stop that.

If I start crying, I told debbie, it's going to get ugly and so. That's happy tears. Alright, very good. You know, just before we get into our lesson I do want to mention something I just alluded to. A part of Sabbath school is to talk about mission work and we're going to have an opportunity, beginning the last day of October - sometimes known as halloween.

That just happened to be when - it was a Friday night - so we're starting and see we had to finish these meetings before thanksgiving so we are starting October 31 in albuquerque. We'll be uplinking an evangelistic program that everybody - central church, Granite Bay - any church that's watching - in your home - if you get the internet or if you get these programs on satellite, you can participate in the programs called 'landmarks of prophecy.' And we'll be going through a new rendition of lessons. They are similar to the 'storacle of prophecy' lessons but they're called 'landmarks of prophecy' and there'll be 21 presentations. If you can invite your friends, you can do some evangelism. And so we hope, if your church or your home is interested in doing this event this fall, just go to 'landmarksofprophecy.

com,' you can register your site there, find out more, and get the details there. We hope you'll participate and pray for the series. Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain, right? We need to pray that God'll bless. In a minute I'll be doing lesson #12. During lesson 13 in this series, I'm going to be in australia and - isn't that interesting? I'll be in pastor chris' country and he'll be here teaching the last lesson.

So I'll be in australia and - pray for that as well. We're not only going to be speaking in sydney, doing a series at the main church there in wahroonga, we'll be going to adelaide and doing a city-wide series in the southern part of australia. Then I fly all the way to the western part of australia - to perth - and from there I take another plane and another three-hour car ride and we're going out to the middle of the outback and we'll be doing a series among the aborigines there. And so that's very exciting and they said, 'no one ever comes out here.' And so I said, 'I'll come.' And I read about it as a kid and always wanted to go out there to the way out. You know me, I go to caves and out in the desert.

I like going to the far corners of the earth. And so, pray about that series as well. Anyway, that's where I'll be next week and that's when you'll get the last - we're entering the new quarter soon on James. You'll really enjoy that. The new study on the book of James - written by a friend of mine - I'm just going to say this now, the next quarter - about 30 years ago - 25 years ago, two young interns got ordained at redwood camp meeting.

I was one and the other was clint waleen. Clint is now a doctor of theology and he wrote the lesson. So I enjoyed teaching the lesson - the first couple we recorded - and just knowing that my friend who was ordained with me is the author of those studies. Anyway - and so today we're on lesson #13 - no, #12 rather - dealing with 'death and resurrection' and these are the teachings of Jesus, more specifically, on that subject but we'll be bouncing around in the Bible because he's the author of the entire word. Our free study - this is a very good lesson - it's called 'are the dead really dead?' If you've not read this before, this is the Amazing Facts study guide on the subject.

We'll send it to you for free. It's filled with great illustrations and Amazing Facts on the subject of death and the resurrection. And these lessons are great because the mixture of the study points, the Scriptures, the pictures makes it easy for everyone to understand. When you call, call the number -788-3966 - ask for offer #117. Please read it and then share it with somebody.

You may know someone that is confused on what the Bible says about the subject. Okay, memory verse - memory verse for our lesson today is from John 11:25 - John 11:25 - this is the new king James version. Are you ready? "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live.'" That's a wonderful promise that if we believe in Christ, though we may die - you notice he says, 'may die.' What percentage of people, before now, have died? Except Enoch, Elijah - yeah, even Moses died. He's been resurrected but everyone else has died, right? But will there be some, in the last days, that may not die? 'If you are alive and remain when Jesus comes' - I like that, that Jesus said, "though he may die.

" Because there will be some exceptions. I want to be part of that generation that doesn't have to find out what it's like to die, don't you? I just want to get my new body, like that - moment - the twinkling of an eye. Okay, this lesson is important because we're in a world that has been cursed by death. One of the things that makes heaven wonderful is what it says there in Revelation 21, 'there'll be no more death.' Everything in this world dies. Your clothing dies.

Moth corrupts. Your refrigerator will someday die. You know, Karen and I are just so thankful, when we bought the house - when we moved into Sacramento here 21 years ago, and we moved into the house - a lady and her family, they built the house, the kids had all gone - moved away - the husband passed away and she said, 'I'm moving into a retirement home' and she sold the house with a lot of - the washer, the dryer, the refrigerator, the freezer, the furniture. We had nothing in town. It was a miracle the way it worked out.

Our freezer that we bought from mrs. Yorton - and we don't know how long she had it - is still going. The air conditioner - we keep thinking we're going to have to replace it one of these days. It doesn't work that well, but it's still working and she had it for years before we bought the house. the Lord has done, with this house, what he did with the shoes of the children of Israel.

You know how they just didn't wear out? But eventually, we will have a formal ceremony and our refrigerator and our air conditioner will die because everything seems to die. And if you've lived long enough, you realize that, in spite of your best efforts - I'm doing all I can to be as healthy as I can and follow all the natural remedies of health and, if you plan it carefully, you can die like Moses died. That's the way to do it. 120 - He climbs a mountain, his eye is not dim - then he falls over. Isn't that the way to go? You know, I've said if Americans would follow the health principles God outlined in his word, there would be no health crisis.

The reason there is a health crisis in North America and many countries right now, is because of the atrocious living habits of the average American citizen. Instead of like Moses, you know, being active until your final illness and then you die, people spend the last 30 years of their life dying - from high blood pressure or from the effects of diabetes or from a number of other things. That was never God's plan. But if we would take care of ourselves - what's overwhelming our medical institutions is that people are sick for such a high percentage of their lives now and most of it - not all, but most of it can be traced to living habits. Now, that's a different study on health.

This is on death. But if you do everything you can do to take care of yourself- did Moses still die? And people are afraid of death. Hebrews 2, verse 14, "inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself (Jesus) likewise shared in the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil," - death was not God's plan, it comes from the devil - "and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Living a life where you are afraid of death binds you. It's slavery. People are controlled all the time by this fear of death.

God doesn't want us to have that. When you're a Christian, what you do is - let me tell you a story and then I'll explain it. Some settlers were traveling across the great plains, years ago, in a wagon train and they noticed, off in the distance, something that struck terror into their hearts. There was a great prairie fire raging towards them. They saw it was miles away and some of the women and children began to scream and they were thinking about 'this fire's approaching.

We're all going to die. What are we going to do?' Well, the wagon master was not afraid. He said, 'gather all the wagons over here.' He set a fire directly behind them. The prevailing winds that were bringing the approaching fire took the fire behind them and it pulled it away and they waited - you know, a grass fire burns really hot but it only burns for about 15 minutes and then it simmered down. They moved the wagon train over to the scorched area that was burned and the children said, 'aren't we going to be killed by the fire? The fire's coming!' And the parents said, 'no, because of what the wagon master did we're now standing where the fire's already burned.

It can't burn here twice.' And so when the fire came to the edges it just went around them. They were standing where the fire burned. If you die now, before Jesus comes, or you physically die, if you are crucified with Christ, you don't have to be afraid of death. Someone said, 'if you're only born once, you'll die twice.' If you're only born once, then you die the second death. You need to be afraid of death.

But if you're born twice you only die once. And if Jesus comes you don't have to die at all so you don't have to be afraid of death. But if we accept Christ and we are crucified with Christ and we take up our cross, and we lay down our lives for Jesus, you don't have anything to be afraid of. You know what else is very liberating about that? You're not easily offended when you're dead. Have you noticed that? Try and offend a dead person.

They almost never react. And so you find that, you know, it's a lot easier to take insult and injury and when people - the reason Jesus was so meek is because he was dead to self. And when you really surrender your life to Christ and you're dead to self, you're not afraid of those offenses. But the good news is you're not afraid of death because when we're crucified with Christ then we have life and Christians don't die, they go to sleep. So unless you're afraid of going to sleep at night - or you always thought - kind of terrorized kids - the first prayer I learned to pray, as some of you, 'now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake.

' Tony campola, he said, 'why do we teach kids to pray that way?' He says, 'why don't we teach them, 'lord, wake me up before I die.' Instead of 'if I die before I wake.'' If you're going to pray, pray he wakes you up first. But we say, 'if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.' How many of you remember that prayer that somebody taught you to pray? That can scare a kid before they go to sleep. Didn't you know that? I never worried about sleep until they taught me that prayer and I thought, 'what? I can die in my sleep?' And so people live in fear of death, but that's not God's plan. You know, if we understood the subject of the state of death - and this lesson is going to cover two things: it's going to talk about Jesus' teaching on death as well as the teaching on hell. So let's get into the state of the dead.

Someone look up for me psalm 13, verse 3 - and I don't know who has that verse - back here? Let's get you a microphone. Hold your hand up so they can find you there. And you'll be next on the list. I'm going to read job 3, verse 11 - talk about some of the teachings. Now the teaching about what happens when you die does not begin in the new testament with Jesus.

Jesus reiterates what was always the teaching, even in the old testament. And, by the way, what is the oldest book in the Bible? It's job. Moses probably wrote the book of job in the wilderness just before he wrote Genesis. And you read the context of job and the ages of the people in job and their ages fall around the time of Abraham's father. You notice that the ages - they went from, you know, 900 years - after the flood, like 600 years, years and 200 years - and that was about the time of terah.

When you look at the ages of the people in job, that's about how long they were living. It happened back then, predating the time of Moses. Job says, in job 3:11, "why did I not die at birth?" - This is when he's complaining about his sufferings - "why did I not perish when I came from the womb? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; then I would have been at rest." It used to be, you know, you put on the tombstones r-i-p - rip - what does that stand for? Rest in peace. Most people used to understand that the dead are resting, waiting for the resurrection, but a popular misunderstanding about death has become very prominent in the Christian church and we're going to see what we can do to straighten that out a little today. Alright, I'm going to do another one, job 14:12, "so man lies down and does not rise.

Till" - it says he's going to rise but when? - "Till the heavens are no more," - when is that? 2 Peter 3:10, "but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise." - At the coming of Christ the heavens pass away. The elements melt with fervent heat - talking about the heavens is the atmosphere around the earth. Job said, 'man lies down till the heavens are no more. They will not awake nor be roused from their sleep.' So, until Jesus comes they lay down, they are not roused from their sleep. The judgment day does not happen until Jesus comes.

The resurrection does not happen until Jesus comes, meaning the dead are asleep till Jesus comes, right? Alright, go ahead, read for us psalm 13:3. "Consider and hear me, o lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;" so even king David, who wrote the Psalms, how did he view death? A sleep. And John 11:11, you all know the story about Lazarus, "these things he said, and after that he said to them, 'our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.'" Even the disciples were confused. They said, 'oh lord, he's been sick for days. If he's sleeping that's good.

It means maybe the fever will break and he'll get better.' And Jesus said, 'no, you're not getting it. When I said our friend Lazarus sleeps, what I'm talking about is death. Lazarus is dead. He's sleeping in death.' Now the story of Lazarus is, I think, one of the best examples - well, I tell you what, before I get to Lazarus - I'll talk more about that - I want to read Ecclesiastes 9:5 and 6, written by Solomon, "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.

" Or it can be translated, 'done under this sun.' Meaning, 'in this life.' When people die, they do not come back to haunt. They do not hover around as spirits to torment. They are sleeping a dreamless, unconscious sleep. The living know they'll die; the dead know how much? Nothing. Their iq reaches zero.

They don't know anything. They're unconscious. They're asleep and so - but boy, everybody out there in the spiritualistic world of our society now, they're all channeling. They're all talking about how this person is there - 'I sense their presence' - and they're dead - they're asleep. Now we believe in everlasting life.

We believe in the resurrection. We believe that God will, someday, make some people immortal. When does that happen? When Jesus comes, then this mortal will put on immortality. We don't have immortality now. 'God and God only,' the Bible says, 'hath immortality.

' Speaking of - in relation to our world. Alright, so let's talk about Lazarus for just a moment here. You know the story. Matter of fact, if you want to turn to John chapter 11, it's there. I'm looking at the clock and I don't think I'm going to have time to go into great lengths here, of the story.

I could probably tell you it and you can reference it if you like. Jesus had some dear friends: Lazarus, Martha - they had a home, they were brother and sister. Sometimes their younger sister, mary, would visit. She principally lived in magdala - later also known as mary magdalene or mary of bethany. We believe it's the same mary just like you've got Simon - is called Simon, he's called Peter, and he's called cephus and sometimes people use different names.

Lazarus got sick, had a fever for several days, he died. By the time the message reached Jesus - they lived in bethany right by Jerusalem. Jesus is ministering up in Galilee, which is many miles away. He's probably 50 miles away - and they said, 'come, the one you love is sick.' But he lingered several days after getting that message and the disciples wondered why he didn't just get up and go down and heal him. Of course, Jesus didn't even need to go.

He could have spoken the word and healed him like he did for the servant of cornelius, right? But Jesus deliberately lingered because he was going to use the resurrection of Lazarus to teach a lesson. So after a couple of days he heads down but the trip takes a few days because it's many miles - they're traveling by foot. By the time they get there he had already died and was buried going on four days now. He comes - the funeral is already in process. They've got hired mourners that are there.

Jesus doesn't want to go to the house where everyone's gathered because it'll be a spectacle and there's a crowd. He sends a messenger to mary and Martha and said, 'the master's here. He's outside the town.' And that's where the cemetery was too. Usually you don't put the cemeteries right in the town. And mary and Martha come to meet him.

Martha comes and said, 'oh lord, if you had been here my brother wouldn't have died.' And Jesus said, 'don't be afraid, he'll rise again.' She said, I know he's going to rise in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life.' And pretty soon mary catches up and she falls down at Jesus' feet and she's weeping and they come to the hillside where they had dug a hole in the hill, which was common back then, and had covered it with a stone - much like the tomb of Jesus - and the mourners said, 'oh, they're going to weep at the tomb.' You know, sometimes we'll have a memorial service here and then we have the graveside service - you go to the actual grave - and that's what they did back then. They were mourning in the house and then suddenly they're going to cry now at the grave. And so they go to the grave and people all gathered there. Jesus says, 'Martha, roll away the stone. Have the servants roll away the stone.

' She says, 'oh lord, that probably wouldn't - that's not going to be good. He's been dead four days and after three days decomposition, in this climate especially, set in and there'll be a smell.' And Jesus said, 'didn't I tell you to believe?' So they roll away the stone and I just can imagine - I mean, he really had been dead four days and Martha was right, until Jesus spoke life into the corpse of Lazarus, he was a decomposing corpse. He was really dead. And I think Jesus allowed them to actually smell that stench. If you've ever smelled a dead body, it's awful and - had a bear died in the woods not far from our place.

You could tell because the vultures were circling and when we got within an eighth of a mile, you could smell it. And it's - same thing when a human dies. It's almost an identical smell. By the way, they're both omnivores and that's why. And when they rolled away the stone, everybody - 'why'd he do that?' You know? I just want you to know Lazarus was dead.

Jesus wanted them to know he'd been dead a long time. And then when Jesus spoke those words, 'Lazarus come forth.' Soon they heard a shuffle and everybody was probably as still as they could be and they looked - they peered into the darkness and pretty soon they thought they saw a shadow move and it shuffled out into the light and they saw - there he was - Lazarus standing all wrapped up like a moving mummy. And that's why Jesus said, 'loose him.' Can you imagine the gasps in the crowd? I mean, no one, I mean, you know, Lazarus - I'm sorry - Elisha prayed and resurrected a boy, but he had only been dead a day. Elijah prayed and resurrected a boy - hadn't been dead quite a day. Somebody who had been dead was laid down on the bones of Elisha - he came back to life.

There's several resurrections in the old testament, but they'd only been dead about a day. Jesus raises the daughter of jarius - just been dead about a day. Jesus touches the young man - the widow of nain - doesn't say his name - on the way to the funeral - maybe been dead two days. Lazarus has been dead four days. You might argue in these other cases, maybe they were just in a semi-catatonic, coma-like state.

We thought - we checked for a heartbeat and there wasn't any, but I guess there was. We just didn't check closely enough. So some people said that about Jesus. They said Jesus wasn't really dead. Have you heard that argument before? 'He swooned on the cross.

' That when they gave him that gall it was actually a drug that put him in a stupor-like state. And these folks, they don't read their Bible, and some folks will go, 'oh, that's what I thought. He wasn't really dead.' Well, did you read the part about the roman spear that completely opened up his side and all his blood was drained out? I mean, he was dead. So - people say the dumbest things. So, alright, Lazarus was dead.

And they knew he was dead. Now he came back to life. Now, this is the reason I like to emphasize this story. People that say that when you die you either go right to heaven - before the resurrection, before the judgment - or you go right to hell before the resurrection and the judgment - before the coming of Jesus. And that people are there burning in hell or that people are there, they go up and they're rejoicing in heaven before these events have taken place.

Or folks would say, 'you know I died on the operating table and I went off into heaven' or 'I went to hell.' There's books and movies about them. They're all different. But people talk about their near-death experiences. And I don't question that God might give a person a dream or something and I'm not going to judge them for that, but that's not what the Bible says happens. If anybody in the Bible should be our criteria, it's Lazarus.

He'd been dead four days. If that happened today every news corporation in the world would pay whatever it cost to send their best reporters around the world with their best recording equipment and you would just see a city suddenly appear, of reporters, around this guy named Lazarus, with their microphones and their cameras all trained on Lazarus. And they would turn up the mics and they would do a sound check and they would focus their cameras and everybody would wait breathlessly as some reporter finally asked that question, 'what did you see? What was it like? You have the answer. You've been dead four days. What is on the other side of death?' Lazarus is going to know the big question of the ages, right? And you know what Lazarus said? Uh.

..nothing. What a disappointment. After all that expense and those camera people have traveled so far. Not only Lazarus said nothing about death - I mean, don't you think there'd be some comment? Don't you think Lazarus would have said - I mean, wouldn't everyone have gone to Lazarus and said, 'did you see Moses and Elijah in heaven? What did you do? Were you on the golden streets? Where were you? Did you eat from the Tree of Life? Did you see Ezekiel there? What was happening?' Lazarus said nothing and nobody asked him what he saw because they all understood the teachings of Jesus about death. It was a sleep.

It was an unconscious sleep. Do you ask your spouse every day when they wake up, 'so what'd you dream?' I don't, you know, people call me and want to tell me about their dreams all the time on the radio program and I tell them I don't have the gift of Joseph. I don't want to translate your dreams. Most of the dreams are a little goofy anyway, let's admit it. Aren't our dreams kind of a little scattered - don't make a lot of sense? Lazarus didn't say anything.

He didn't even dream because death is a dreamless sleep. 'Now pastor, what about when the Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the lord?' That's true. For a believer, when they die, their next conscious thought is the resurrection - one of two resurrections - resurrection of the just and resurrection of judgement. But they don't know anything until then. So for them it's immediate.

And so if you have a loved one that has died, you can rejoice for them because you can be assured their next conscious thought is going to be coming out of the grave with a glorified body and being in the presence of the Lord. It says we'll be caught up to meet him in the air, right? But has it happened yet? No. Jesus tells us when it's going to happen. the Lord shall - matter of fact, I'm kind of getting out of the format of the lesson, but I am covering the material of the lesson. Corinthians 15 - let's go to verse 20 - 1 Corinthians 15:20, "but now Christ has risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

" - Very clear - "for since by man came death (adam), by man (Jesus) also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in adam all die, even so in Christ all shall" - is shall present tense or future tense? The word 'shall' is future tense - "in Christ shall all be made alive. But each one in his own order." Here's the order: "Christ the firstfruits," - Jesus rose already - "afterward those who are Christ's at his coming." Now I don't know what could be more clear than that. When do they wake up? At his coming. And so this idea - why is it important for us to understand the dead are asleep right now and they're unconscious? Because in the last days satan is going to have deceiving spirits.

They will claim to be resurrected loved ones that will give deceptive messages about the Bible. And, you know, there's a lot of folks out there - they'll believe some apparition or some message from grandma who's dead and buried - before they believe the Bible. They say, 'I felt it, this presence. It was grandma's voice. I could even smell the smell of grandma and she spoke this message.

' And often it'll contradict the Bible. And so we've got to know that the dead are asleep and if you're getting these messages, they're not from God. And so the Bible says 'three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet. They go forth to the Kings of the earth to deceive and they're going to - they're going to impersonate the Spirits of the dead.' Isn't that what happened? King Saul went and saw a witch that claimed to have the power to resurrect Samuel who gave a totally discouraging message and Saul was dead the next day? Not a good idea to consult mediums. The Bible forbids that because the devil does have some limited power.

Satan himself can be transformed into an angel of light. That's why - an angel of light means a messenger of light. They'll say, 'I am a messenger who's come from heaven.' There'll be a beautiful, melodious voice - it'll be deceiving. That's why you've got to know - 'sorry, get behind me satan. I know the dead are asleep and that that message is not from God.

' So we need to understand what Jesus taught about that. Alright, back to - better get back to the lesson a little deeper here. Someone look up for me John 5:21 - who has that? You've got the slip of paper. Alright, let's get you the microphone. And I'm going to read acts :15, Paul said, "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

" What is the resurrection called? It's a hope. Paul said, 'I have a hope in God.' 1 Thessalonians 4:13, "but I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep," - how does Paul describe death? A sleep - "lest you sorrow as others who have no hope." God wants us to have hope. The resurrection is our hope. Paul said that if, in this life only, we experience living, we are, above all people, most wretched. If there is no resurrection of the dead - you know, I think c.

s. Lewis - and I'll probably misquote, but the essence of what he said was "one of the proofs for God is that we have been made with this desire that it is unnatural for us not to have eternity. We are wired by God for eternity. Even our brains in our lifetimes - it doesn't make any sense if you believe evolution - that our brains are able to contain many more years of information than we actually live. When someone is about 33 - it's interesting that at 33 your brain is at its prime - 25 your brain finally stops growing - you're at your prime.

By the way, which is when Jesus laid down his life - in his prime, right? That your mind - you haven't really - you're not losing memory yet - that if you have trained your mind well, you are able to contain libraries full of information. Most of our brains remain unused in our brief lives. Did you know that? A baby, if he has a certain kind of brain sickness - I think it's called a hemispherectomy - we've got a few doctors here - dr. Baker, is that right? When they take out one of the hemispheres of a baby - a whole half a brain - that baby then, the other side can compensate and they can live a perfectly normal life with a perfectly average iq using half the brain. It's phenomenal.

I don't know what got me on that. Oh, we're wired to live forever. We know that it's not normal to die and we want to live. We strive to live and God, he wants us to live forever. Alright, go ahead and read for us John 5:21.

John 5:21, "for as The Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so The Son give life to whom he will." The Bible tells us that Jesus can give eternal life. We're not talking about life in this world, he's obviously talking about something beyond this world. Job 19:25 - I like that we - job, you're really going back to the foundation. "For I know that my redeemer lives, and he shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh" - meaning in new flesh - "I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" This is the message of the Bible.

We will see him face to face. Though these bodies are destroyed, God will resurrect us with a glorified body, but a real body. What kind of body did Jesus have when he rose? The disciples were scared. They thought he was a ghost when they met him in the upper room and he said, 'a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see that I have.' And he said, 'I'm hungry. You have anything to eat?' And even Peter says, 'we ate with him.

We know that he was real when he rose from the dead. And so job said, "in my flesh I shall see God." The kind of glorified body that was meant to live forever, like adam and eve had. Now what happens is we all are given this breath of life at creation. Genesis 2:7, "and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground," - elements of the earth - "and breathed into his nostril the breath of life;" - that's called inspiration - "and man became a living being." Death is creation in reverse. It says in Ecclesiastes 12, verse 7, "then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the Spirit will return to God who gave it.

" Now many people take that verse 'the Spirit returns to God who gave it' and they think the word 'spirit' means the little ghost of your soul - the essence of who you are - a conscious being somehow flutters out of your dust and goes off to be with God. The word there is the word 'breath.' It says, 'the dust returns to the earth and the breath of life returns to God who gave it.' Matter of fact, even job says - same exact word - ruach - in Hebrew - 'the breath of God is in my nostrils.' If you think that means a soul or a ghost - well, do you have a soul or spirit in your nose? I mean that doesn't - it's talking about the breath of God that goes in your nose. So people have said, 'oh, see, the Spirit returns to God as soon as a person dies.' It's not talking about a conscious spirit. It means the breath of life goes back to God, right? And then, let's look here in Luke 8 when Jesus went and raised that little girl, tabitha, all wept and mourned. Luke 8:52 - this is in your lesson - and he said, "do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.

" How did Jesus refer to death? Sleep. And then he took her by the hand and she arose and "then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And he commanded that she be given something to eat." Alright, talk about the resurrection and the judgment. We're going to move along. Someone look up Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 14.

Over here. We'll get you a microphone. Hold your hand up so whoever has the mic can pass it to you. Okay, Daniel 12, verse 2. Now I like this verse because it covers several things - talking about, 'and then Michael will stand up, the great prince that stands for the children of thy people.

There will be a time of trouble such as there never has been since there was a nation even unto the same time' and it says in verse 2, "and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake." When do they awake? When Michael stands up - at the culmination of this time of trouble, right? Some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. There are two resurrections and they are followed by a judgment. Acts 24:15, "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept," - this is Paul speaking in his defense, to felix - "that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just" - first resurrection - "and the unjust." - Second resurrection. You notice also in Daniel 2 - 'some to everlasting life; some to shame and everlasting contempt.' And then you read in John 5:28, Jesus said, "do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life," - first resurrection - "and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." I remember when I first heard this I thought, 'two resurrections? I thought there was only one.' But the Bible is pretty clear that these Bible writers - I just gave you three out of several examples - they separate them, okay? Go ahead and read for us that verse from Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 14, please. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is man's all.

For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil." That's the summarization of the wisest man who ever lived - that we should live reverent lives - that's what that means. Fear God - a life of revering God. Keep his commandments because there will be a day of reckoning for everything. Paul said we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. There is a judgment day that comes.

Part of the judgment happens before Jesus comes. Judgment must begin at the house of God. This is the judgment called the pre-advent judgment and that stands to reason - it makes sense. If the Lord is dispensing rewards when he comes, does it make sense to you that there's been some kind of judgment before he comes, otherwise how do you know who's going up and who's not, right? So there's a pre-advent judgment, there's also a judgment that takes place during the 1,000 years and then there is the great white throne judgment at the end of the millennium and that's where - then Christ is on his throne. So - oh, there's so much I'm trying to cover here.

Let me see here, what did Jesus say about hell? I've got to get into that. Jesus used two words talking about hell. There's actually four - two are old testament and one is used by Peter - tartaris is only used once in the Bible - it means a place of darkness. Jesus used the word gehenna, which was based on the valley of hinnom outside of Jerusalem. They had once had pagan Gods there and they turned it into a city dump and it was always smoldering and it stunk and it was full of worms and that's why Jesus said you're better off going to heaven missing a hand, foot or eye than going to gehenna, where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die.

He's talking about the valley - the dump. And the other word Jesus used is hades. In the Greek world, everybody knew about pluto, the God of hades, who was responsible for this place of torment. And that comes in prominently in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. People often think, when they're trying to understand death, they turn that parable that you find in Luke 16, verse 19, about a rich man that feasts sumptuously every day and a poor beggar named Lazarus - interesting - it talks about raising a man named Lazarus.

Lazarus was a very common Jewish name. It comes from the word eliezer - it's the Greek way of saying eliezer. And here you've got this poor beggar - he's a symbol of the gentiles. The dogs come and lick his sores. The rich man symbolizes the jews - or the church, in our day and age.

We've got the truth but we just feast and we are clothed in purple and we've got, you know, all the riches of truth and we don't share it. And then all of a sudden there's this great reversal that takes place. We find out that the rich man, after he dies, he is now in the Greek place of torment called hades and Lazarus, the poor man, who is being comforted by the dogs - that represented the gentiles. The jews thought, 'we're going to Abraham's bosom, but the dogs - the gentiles - they're all cursed by God.' But, instead, Lazarus goes to Abraham's bosom. He goes to the Jewish place of reward.

So Jesus is using great irony in this story. It is not to be taken literally because it tells, in the parable, about them talking back and forth. Do we really believe that people in heaven are going to be able to talk to the people in hell and the people in hell are going to talk to the people in heaven? Would a drop of water cool the person's tongue who is burning in hades? This Greek place of torment? Do we really believe that all those who die are going to Abraham's bosom? Think about how big his bosom would have to be if everybody dies - I mean, the symbolic language is very clear. The message of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus had nothing to do with the state of the dead, it had to do with if we - the punch line - the punch line of the parable is usually what the message is. Here's what it says - the moral of the story - I don't like using 'punch line.

' The moral of the story was the last verse and he says, 'if we do not believe Moses and the prophets then neither will they be persuaded though one should rise from the dead.' If the Jewish nation did not believe the writings of Moses and the prophets - that Jesus was the Messiah, then the resurrection would not convince them. The resurrection of Lazarus didn't convince them. They wanted to condemn Lazarus. The resurrection of Jesus would not convince them. That was the message of the whole parable.

It had nothing to do with the state of the dead so don't take that part of it literally. So anyway, we've run out of time and there's still some lesson left. I'll have my notes online, friends. And don't forget the free study guide. Ask for offer #117 when you call and it's called, 'are the dead really dead?' And this is really valuable and if you want to be really clear on this subject, this study has got a lot more Scriptures in it.

788-3966 - That's 866-788-3966. Thank you very much and, God willing, we'll study together with you again next week.

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