Tuesday, April 1, 2014

a great gulf fixed: a primer on the afterlife



The Word for today:
Luke 17:1-19

mark this: Luke 16:26 --
Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.
and this:  Genesis 2:17 --
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
and this:  Ephesians 2:1 --
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
***
"A great gulf fixed."
Death is separation. It does not mean extinction.
Man is separated from God by sin. People are dead while they live.  See Ephesians 2:1, above.
At 'first death'--physical death--the body becomes inert because the person’s spirit has moved out.
A 'second death' is spiritual death--eternal separation from God.
Adam, in the day that he ate of the forbidden fruit, died spiritually--he was separated from God.  See Genesis 2:17, above.
(Physically, he did not die until about 900 years later.)
***
"Hell."

Hell, as we usually think of it, is actually the biblical "lake of fire." It is not yet open. Hell’s first occupants will be the Antichrist and the false prophet (Revelation 19:20). Satan does not join them there for 1000 years--until after the Millenium (see Revelation 20:10).
“Sheol” in the Old Testament (which is translated as “Hades” in the New Testament)--

is the place of the unseen, departed dead, and is divided into two compartments--
1. Paradise (which is called Abraham’s bosom in the Luke 16 parable), and

2. the place of torment.
Paradise was emptied when Christ took the Old Testament believers with him at his ascension:

"When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." (In saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 

(Ephesians 4:8-10)
No one occupies the paradise section of Sheol today.
The only part of Sheol still occupied is the place of torment where unbelievers have always gone--and still go--when they die. The day is coming when the place of torment will deliver up the lost for judgment at the Great White Throne (see Revelation 20:11–15). All who stand at this judgment are lost, and they will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. (Revelation 20:14)


***
The bodies of believers today--and ever since the resurrection of Jesus Christ--go into the grave and return to dust, but their spirits go to be with Christ: 

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
***

Believers' bodies will resurrect--to be reunited with our spirits--at the Rapture. The Rapture is the resurrection of the church. Our resurrected bodies will be new, eternal, glorified--just like Jesus' resurrected body:

Behold! I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
***
Christ is first (firstfruits) in resurrection; then the the church will be raised; then the O. T. saints; then the Tribulation saints.  All of these, put together, constitute the first resurrection--which is the resurrection of the saved. (See Revelation 20:6)
The second resurrection is of the lost. They are raised for judgment:

***
If all of this is too much to remember, then just remember this--and you won't have to bother with all the rest:

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