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Life After Death, Pt. 1

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:17, Genesis 3:4, Ezekiel 18:4
When you die are you really dead? Are people immortal and continue to live in a different state after death? What does the Bible say about death and soul?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the bible and how the bible affects you today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Today, Gary, a subject that affects everyone. They say there are two certainties in this life, death and taxes.

Gary: So today we're going to talk about taxes.

John: Well, something not quite as bad as taxes. We'll talk about death. Well, you know I'm kidding. The Bible calls death an enemy and it confronts every last one of us. Listen to this. A friend of mine told me this story a couple of months ago. True story. He was working in a hospital near Philadelphia, or perhaps in Philadelphia, Hahnemann Hospital. He was working while he was a student, I think, down in the basement of the hospital, in the shipping or purchasing or storage room or something right next to the morgue.

One day some orderlies were wheeling a dead body into the morgue and they were kind of playing around out in the corridors, kind of tearing up the place and doing all sorts of things, when suddenly the dead body sat up on the bed.

It was a woman. She sat up on the bed. These guys changed to a different shade of color altogether and bolted, screaming, running as fast as they could.

Now my friend understood what the Bible says about death, so he didn't take off. Here's what had happened. This woman apparently had died sitting up and in order to get her to lie down on the stretcher, they kind of weighted her body down.

Well, while they were tearing around out there in the corridors, the weights fell off and up she sat and away they went, screaming at the top of their voice.

What was it that gave my friend the peace to be able to face this without being, really, too worried at all? And what was it, perhaps, that gave these guys such a scare?

Most Christians would have believed, like these young fellows, that there was something going on there. Maybe the woman wasn't really dead.

Because most of us, somewhere along the line, were taught that when you die, you're not really dead because we have an immortal soul. Do we read about the immortality of the soul in the Bible?

Gary: That is the key issue. I'll tell you why. Even if I understood what the Bible says about this, I'd probably run, too.

John: You might have bolted with the rest of them.

Gary: Dead person came, sitting up. Right. Yes, the main teaching that is commonly held by all churches, really, today, most all, is that we have a naturally immortal soul. That there is some part of you that is immortal that upon death is going to live somewhere else forever and ever.

John: Cognizant and intelligent and knowing and so on.

Gary: Right. If you're a Hindu, you're going to live in a different body maybe. Maybe you're going to be reincarnated. Maybe you're going to be in a different level of heaven. If you're a Christian, you're going to go to heaven or hell or purgatory. So different religions have different destinations, but they all hold in common this idea that we are naturally immortal, in and of ourselves and that the body is just this temporary shell.

John: Interesting what some of these belief systems do to the way you relate to various things. I was sitting on a plane next to a Hindu lady recently. And I mean no disrespect. I was very interested in what she believed about certain things and we got into an in-depth discussion. And she said how, for her and people who believed like her, death isn't the end, it's just the start of a new beginning.

Consequently, life is cheap because death is equal to life, she told me. So if you live or die, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. How you understand this really impacts the way you live to a great extent.

Immortality of the soul. Do you come back as a kitty cat or a dog or another person or not at all? Is it the end when you die or do you go to heaven or hell? How are we going to find out the truth of this matter from the Bible?

Gary: Well, you can go simply to the Bible and you can look up every place where the bible uses the word soul and you can look up where it uses immortal. I like to use a computer program Bible and if you type in the two words, immortal soul, in tandem...

John: Are you going to find it in the Bible?

Gary: You will not find a thing. Not a single verse in the Bible out of hundreds that use the word soul will you find "immortal soul."

John: Now hold on, there's somebody who says, "I was taught this as a child and my grandmother taught me and her grandmother before her. And you can't tell me in the entire bible there's not a single place that says 'immortal soul. '"

Gary: Here, I'm going to do it right now. I've got my computer Bible up. I'm going to type in "immortal soul". Now I just typed in "soul". There are 432 verses where you have the word "soul" used in it. Now let me type in the word "immortal". Four 432, don't forget that.

John: Let me say this now. This subject we're touching on is kind of a challenging subject because so many people have been told that the Bible says the soul is immortal. Almost every funeral you go to underscores this idea. As you've done the typing there, "soul", 400 and whatever, "immortal soul," how many times?

Gary: Zero, absolutely zero.

John: Not even one.

Gary: Not once. Out of 432 times the word "soul" is used, not once.

John: Maybe "immortal spirit."

Gary: We can do that one.

John: Try "immortal spirit."

Gary: "Immortal spirit". I don't think we'll find anything there either. Here we go. No. But, you know, there is one that we will find.

John: What's that?

Gary: Only God hath immortality.

John: Really?

Gary: Where is that found?

John: That's found in the Bible in one Timothy 6:16.

Gary: Yep. So only God has immortality and here it is. Right here it says, "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto." So, only God has immortality. We do not. In fact, there is a text right here, John. It's in Ezekiel 18:4. It says, "Behold, all souls are mine. The soul of the father, as well as the soul of the son is mine. The soul who sins shall die."

John: Wow.

Gary: So, here it says souls die and we've all sinned, the Bible says. We fall short of the glory of God.

John: That that everybody dies and then you just kind of go on living as an immortal soul. Do me a favor. You've got your computer there. Type in the word "immortal", see what you get. Would you do that?

Gary: Sure.

John: And maybe we could look at every place in the Bible that the word "immortal" is used. Maybe we can do that.

Gary: Well, because there's only one verse.

John: There you go.

Gary: And it's the verse we just read. Verse one Timothy 1:17. Actually we read 16, this is 17. "Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor, glory forever and ever."

John: Now, did you get that? One time the Bible uses the word "immortal." "Now unto the king eternal..." That's God. "...Immortal, invisible, the only wise God." The only time the Bible uses the word "immortal" it's talking about God Almighty.

Gary: Now if you go back to the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:4, this is where you have this teaching that first begins to be introduced to mankind, that we won't die. It is the serpent talking to the woman. God said to Adam and Eve, "If you eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, in that day you'll die."

The serpent comes along, tells the woman, "No, you'll not really die." In fact the words are, "You will not surely die." Genesis 3:4.

So there he taught, "You'll be like Gods," and isn't that what natural immortality teaches? That when you die you go into a higher plane with a greater consciousness and awareness of what's happening in the Cosmos. Here that's what the serpent is teaching.

John: Notice something now. This is a direct contradiction of what the Bible says. God said, "You shall surely die." The devil says, "You shall not surely die," a direct contradiction. One thing I've got to do right now is let you know if you want to find out more about this, we are going to offer you a free study resource.

We would love for you to get this thing. "Are the Dead Really Dead?"

It's free. It's a wonderful, powerful study right from the Bible. "Are the Dead Really Dead?"

At the end of this program we'll give you a phone number, address, email address, all the information that you need that is. Contact us, we'll send that to you free. You will find out much of what the Bible says about this important subject.

Gary: Now when you look at this topic of immortality, I'll tell you where it came into Christianity.

John: Yeah.

Gary: It actually dates back to the Greek philosophers like Plato.

John: Now, hang on. Let's set this up a little bit. What you are about to do is tell us that this did not come into the Church from the Bible but the idea of the immortal soul came into the Church from philosophy.

Gary: That's right, these Pagan ideas filtered through Greek poets and philosophers and especially through Plato. Plato was the one that developed this concept, Immortal Soul. He believed that human beings were composed of two parts, an immortal soul housed inside a mortal body.

John: That's what so many Christians believe today.

Gary: That's right. Here I'm going to quote to you from a book by J.A. Bih, "The Immortality of the Soul." So you'll see this is an historical fact, it's in these history books out here. "The phrase "The Soul Immortal," so frequent and conspicuous in the writings of Plato, we have not found in pre-Christian literature, outside the influence of Greek philosophy."

John: No kidding, so he's saying that Christians did not write about this thing?

Gary: When you look at pre-Christian literature, is what he's talking about, before Christ. You're never going to find this then he says, "Nor have we found it in Christian literature until the latter part of the Second Century." So while Jesus and the Apostles were alive, you'd never find this. It wasn't until the Second Century. And then he says "We've noticed that all the earliest Christian writers..."

You go to the second century, you start reading where this idea comes into the Church and here's what you'll find. "We've noticed that all the earliest Christian writers who use this phrase were familiar with the teaching of Plato."

So he says, they got it from Plato. One of those early Christian writers in second century 160 to 220 A.D., Tertullian said "I used the opinion of Plato," when he declares every soul is immortal.

So when Tertullian was espousing this, and he was one of the early Christian Fathers who taught this and made it popular in the Christian Church. He says, "I use the opinion of Plato." Who said the soul is immortal.

John: He certainly wasn't using the opinion of the Bible or the opinion of Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the Bible do you find any talk about an immortal soul. In fact, a riveting verse is in the Book of Romans. Romans 2:7 where the Bible says, -- listen to this then -- "To them who by patient continuance and well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life."

People here are being described as seeking immortality. Why in the world would you seek immortality if it was already inherently residing within your immortal soul? You're starting to make the Bible contradict itself and make a little nonsense.

I don't mean to be offensive, but in Bible Talk, we're trying to get down to what the Bible says. If there's a verse in the Bible that says I have an immortal soul, I want to find it. If the Bible says otherwise, I want to know that, too.

Gary: And neither does it say John, that we have an immortal spirit. Here's where immortality comes. Immortality comes as a gift from God to the saved, and God is going to give us immortality. We're not saying that we have no existence beyond this life. But that gift comes to us through Jesus Christ, what he did for us on Calvary. We're not naturally immortal. It only comes to us as the gift of God. Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ."

So the wages of sin is death, not immortal life in Hell, it is death and then the gift of God is eternal life. Now that gift will be bestowed upon us at the Second Coming.

We have it by promise now but we will actually receive that at the Second Coming. One Corinthians 15 says that we will all be changed at the Second Coming. We will put on, incorruption at the last trump.

John: That's good news, and that's exciting news. The Bible is clear the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. One John 5:12, Gary, this is an exciting verse where it says, "He that hath the son hath," what?

Gary: Has life.

John: Just like that friend. If you want life, eternal life, immortality, we get that through Jesus Christ. Receive Jesus, receive life. The Bible testimony is, "He that hath the son, hath life." This is a big one. We are just starting to scratch the surface. We'll talk more about this next time. We hope you will join us then for more, on Bible Talk.

[musical interlude]

John: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study-guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know.

To receive this free informative Bible study-guide, simply call, write or email and ask for, "Are the Dead Really Dead?" The toll-free number is 866-BIBLE SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058, Roseville California 95678.

That's PO Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678.

Or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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What Happens When you Die (Signs of the Times) by Pacific Press

What Happens When you Die (Signs of the Times) by Pacific Press
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