The Gospel Herald -- Promoting the fundamentals of the 1888 message.


When a person dies they lie, asleep, in the grave. We find that this coincides nicely with the numerous passages of Scripture describing death as a "sleep."

  • John 11:11-14—Jesus compares death to sleep. (The Bible compares death to sleep over 50 times).
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16—Those asleep in Jesus rise at His Second Coming.
  • John 5:28, 29—There are two resurrections (life and death).
  • Genesis 2:7—God created man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. God did not put a soul into man.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:7—The body returns to the dust and the spirit returns to God. The Bible does not say the soul returns to God, but the spirit.
  • Job 27:3—The spirit is the same as God's breath of life, or His power.
  • Psalm 146:3, 4—When the breath (or spirit) returns to God, the thoughts perish.
  • 1 Timothy 6:16—Human beings do not naturally have immortality, only God does.
  • Romans 2:7—We seek for immortality. The Bible uses the word soul some 1600 times, but never once uses immortal soul.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-54—We receive immortality when Jesus comes again.
  • Psalm 115:17—The dead do not praise God.
  • Acts 2:34—David did not ascend to heaven at death, but awaits the coming of Jesus and the first resurrection.
  • Psalm 6:5—In the grave there is no remembrance of God.
  • Ecclesiastes 9:5—The dead do not know anything.
  • Job 19:25, 26—The righteous will be resurrected to see God at the last day.
  • Ezekiel 18:4—The soul (person) who sins will die!
  • Romans 6:23—The wages of sin is eternal death, not eternal life in hell. Death is the absence of life. The gift of God is eternal life.
  • 1 Timothy 4:7, 8—The apostle Paul awaited the coming of the Lord for his final reward.
  • Revelation 22:12—When Jesus comes His reward of eternal life will be brought with Him.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is just that, a parable. In this parable Christ was not describing the condition of man in death, but, if you will read the context beginning with Luke 15:3, and ending in Luke 16:31 you will find a series of parables given to illustrate the covetousness of the Pharisees.

Christ was wishing to rebuke the Pharisees. They, as well as many of the Jews, thought that riches were a sign of God's favor, and poverty of His displeasure. Christ drove home the one primary lesson, that the reward awaiting the covetous rich, who have nothing but crumbs for the poor, was the very opposite of what the Jews believed.

Josephus, an historian and contemporary of Christ, describes the same scene as a "doctrine of Plato" the Greek philosopher. (Discourse to the Greeks concerning Hades. Flavius Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus, Book 2, pp. 637, 638, Kregal Publications.)

Many of the Jews had been thoroughly Hellenized and were familiar with this Greek story. As was usual in His parables, Christ took something that was familiar and turned it into a gospel lesson which could be easily understood by His intended audience.

Will the wicked be destroyed? Yes, that is abundantly clear. How they are destroyed and who destroys them is the real question. An interesting article on this subject, written by an SDA author, entitled Our God is a Consuming Fire is available. Though broken up into several sections (for ease of reading on the screen) it's not really very long. It's also available in PDF format for those of us who find reading on the computer monitor tiring.

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