Is Death the End?
There is an instinct in all of us to want to preserve our lives, to avoid death… the grim reaper Death is real – we can’t escape its reality, even those who have themselves frozen in the hope that future technology will be able to cure them have still died.
Not a subject many think about seriously till later in life – it’s not very nice – Does not always happen just to the very old – may be sudden, unexpected accident or illness
So, is death the end?
The question we are examining concerns what happens to us after death. – Is death a permanent end of our existence?
There are a number of common views …….. but our aim is to look at the Bible answer – Which is that we cease to exist at death, but there is a hope of resurrection back to life again – promised by God
We will assume that as true and that we take the Bible as our authority -The Bible must overrule whatever our personal preferences or feelings about what we would like to happen as those feelings come down to human intuition or wishful thinking.
Our origin & nature
In Genesis 2 v 7 we are told “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.” (AV)
1.We are made from the ground
2.We are living souls
(To many soul suggests some spirit within man which survives the death of the body. That is not how it is used here – no implication of independence from body – Most newer translations use word ‘being’ or ‘creature’. In fact same word is used for creation of animals Gen 1 v21 & 24 )
3.It is early in Genesis – chapter 3 – that we are told how a person’s life might end. Adam was told he would die if he disobeyed God and when he did, the judgement pronounced was…Gen 3 19 “…In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
He was to return where he came from – the ground
Death was a judgement for disobedience, a cessation of life rather than the start of a new life.
This is confirmed in passages like Ezek 18 v4 – Soul that sins shall die
So what does the Bible say about people when they are dead? – What do they experience?
This passage in Daniel which refers to events in ‘the last days’ is interesting and suggestive:
Dan 12 1-2 “And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Some, the faithful, to receive a reward – an awakening to everlasting life
It is interesting that Death is called sleep in the dust of the earth – matching what we already saw from Genesis.
This picture of sleeping in death is also used in the New Testament –
John 11 11 Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
1Thess 4 13-16 …concerning them which are asleep… and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Time and again Jesus & Apostles demonstrate the same teaching we saw was in the Old Testament (Their scriptures of course)
John 5 v 28 …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, and those who have done evil, to ….
The Resurrection – 1Corinthians 15 v 20-23
The NT spells out the hope that we have seen – Jesus promises resurrection as a reward, but what is resurrection?
In 1Corinthians 15 Paul writes that the hope of the Christian is resurrection from the dead. He confirms that Christ did rise and states when others will do the same in the future – when Christ returns
1Cor 15 v 20-23 “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
Later in the chapter (verses 51-53) Pauls describes the change that will happen to those given immortality.
So, Is death the end?
No – it does not need to be – the promise is of a resurrection from the dead
So although those who have not believed will be condemned to death, those who repent & believe will have everlasting life.
Let’s read the Bible, the word of God so that we all can have that hope of life.