7-Rapture is real – Saints are Changed

Rapture is real

Biblical Rules of Death, Part 7

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #7: The Rapture is real – The Saints are Changed (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Paul (in the New Testament era) said that he visited Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:4). However, the place he visited was “under the altar” – in God’s heaven. The Bible describes an event during the Great Tribulation when people are kept there (Revelations 6:9). Although that is a future event, the place is performing the same function today and holds millions (billions?) of Christians who died “in Christ.”

During the Great Tribulation, the souls “under the altar” cry out to the Lord for judgment and blood. These are saints who died during the tribulations. They cry out for blood, not because they are blood thirsty (not a Christ-like attribute), but because such bloodshed leads to the end of Great Tribulation and a resurrection at time is when they will receive their glorified bodies (Rev 6:10) and be complete for all eternity. Read more

6-Paradise is temporary

Paradise is temporary

Biblical Rules of Death, Part 6

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #6: Paradise is temporary (Matthew 27:53)

The place called “Paradise” is generally understood as a temporary place. It holds the souls of those, who for various reasons, have not yet been resurrected. They are in transition to their glorified bodies.

The original Paradise was the garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13). Adam and Eve enjoyed the provisions and the fellowship of God until they sinned. After that, they were cast out (Genesis 3:23) and the location has been hidden since. Read more

5-Everyone will go to either Heaven or Hell

Either Heaven or Hell

Biblical Rules of Death, Part 5

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #5: Everyone will go to either Heaven or Hell

Heaven is generally understood as the place of eternal life for the righteous. That is not precisely accurate since there are several locations identified with eternal life. Also, the present Heaven is replaced (at a later time) with a “new heaven” (Revelation 21:1).

Heaven is the place of God’s throne. So, when we speak of heaven, we are usually talking about the place of eternal life, in the presence of God. The word suggests everything holy and wonderful!

Hell is generally understood as the place of eternal punishment.  Read more

4-Satan claims the souls who sin

Satan claims the souls who sin

Biblical Rules of Death Part 4

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #4: Satan claims the souls who sin (Hebrews 2:14,15)

Satan has a legal claim on the souls of those who have not yet accepted Christ as their Savior. This is a direct result of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12). Adam relinquished (gave over to Satan) dominion in the earth when he sinned against God and was cast out of the garden (Romans 6:16).

In His righteousness, God has refused to allow those who die in sin to enter into His presence (compare Rule #2). Satan (a.k.a. “the devil”) holds the power of death over those whose sins have not been remitted (forgiven) (Hebrews 2:14,15).

A clear illustration of this is found in the book of Jude. God (in His sovereignty) called for the body of Moses (to appear at Jesus’ transfiguration, Matthew 17:3). The devil disputed it since Jesus had yet to shed His blood in remission for the Old Testament souls held captive (Matthew 27:52). Read more

3-No Forgiveness Without Blood

No Forgiveness Without Blood

Biblical Rules of Death Part 3

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #3: There is no forgiveness without blood (Heb 9:22)

In the Old Testament era, priests offered the blood of animals to try to reconcile sinful humans with the righteous God. The offering of innocent blood as a sacrifice for the sins of men was established by God Himself (Genesis 3:21).

Hebrews 10:4 “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

However, the blood of animals could only postpone the penalty of sin (Hebrews 10:4-1). It was like paying the annual interest on a loan but being incapable of repaying the principal amount. The sacrifice of bulls and goats kept their relationship with God active – but only temporarily. In the end, their sin debt was still outstanding and until it was paid, they could not go to heaven. Read more

0 – Biblical Rules of Death

rules of death

Biblical Rules of Death

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die.

This is a summary list of the articles in the “Biblical Rules of Death” series. Click the link for an article to read it.


Rule #1: Everyone has an appointment with death (Heb 9:27)

Published Oct 20, 2015


Rule #2: God cannot look on sin (Hab 1:13)

Published Oct 21, 2015


Rule #3: There is no forgiveness without blood (Heb 9:22)

Published Oct 22, 2015


Rule #4: Satan claims the souls who sin (Hebrews 2:14,15)

Published Oct 23, 2015


Rule #5: Everyone will go to either Heaven or Hell (Matthew 25:46)

Published Oct 24, 2015


Rule #6: Paradise is temporary (Matthew 27:53)

Published Oct 25, 2015


Rule #7: Rapture is real (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Published Oct 26, 2015


 

03 – Why God Judges Us

Why God Judges Us

Why God Judges Us

The cause of Judgment and death

It just seems that life is not fair. Some folks are smart, rich, and beautiful while the rest of us have little or nothing to brag about. Our jobs are dead-end and our lives are a rat race. Our financial problems lead to family problems which end in divorce and pain. All the while, there are people who inherited money, good looks, and ease. Why do I deserve this? Life is not fair! And after all this life’s problems, we die! WHY?

Why God judges us

Why God judges us is a question that demands an answer.

Read more

02 – Where Do We Go At Death?

Where do we go at death?

Where do we go at death?

At any point in time (since the cross), God views humankind in at least three classes:

  • The blessed dead: Made up of glorified O.T. saints and the souls of saints temporarily kept under the altar awaiting their glorified bodies. (Few – if any – of the N.T. Saints have yet to receive their glorified bodies.)
  • The living: Made up of unbelievers, Jews (chosen but have not accepted Christ as Messiah), Laodicean christians (churches and people who are part of the church but for some reason, they are not ready to be caught away at the coming of Jesus), and Philadelphia saints (rapture ready). There are other classes of living persons after the rapture.
  • The unforgiven dead: These are tormented souls who are physically dead, living in unimaginable suffering, in hell, waiting on the Great White Throne Judgment and the second death.

For the present, each person alive on earth is a triune being, consisting of body, soul & spirit (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:23). It may seem strange, but each element of our being is dealt with differently at death and, the destinations are also different. All who have less than all of these elements are anxiously awaiting their resurrection (see Note 1, “Reunion of Body and Soul”).

Regardless of our spiritual standing with God, when we die, our BODY is buried and eventually returns to dust. It may be burned beyond recognition or buried at sea or even melted in an atomic blast but, one way or another, it returns to the earth. This is just a visible reality of life. It is often rehearsed by a priest or minister as the undertaker lowers a casket into the ground and they drop soil into the grave, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” (from the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer). This is clearly why Solomon would (wrongly) declare in Ecc 3:19 that “the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both… (v.20) All go to the same place.” (To understand why this verse is in error, read our article on “Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes“. Each time we visit a funeral, we are reminded that our existence in this body is limited to a few short years of increasing pain.

But there is a resurrection! And the bodies of those who have been “born again” are miraculously changed! They will no longer be just mortal “dust” but these become the immortal (eternal) bodies that will never again experience pain or suffering. (For more about this, see our article on the “Rapture”.)

The SPIRIT (of life) returns to God who gave it. In the Bible, the words “spirit” and “wind” (or “breath”) are often used interchangeably. (If you read the original languages, you will understand that they generally are just different translations of the same original word.) Jesus used the two words in John 3:8 to describe being born of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples (in Acts 2), they described the event as including a sound of a “rushing mighty wind.”

In Ezekiel 37:9, it was the spirit/breath/wind that brought the dry bones back to life. At the creation (Gen 2:7), God breathed life into Adam and he became a living soul. (See John 5:21 to understand that all life is given from God the Father, or the Son). So, when He chooses, God can withdraw His spirit (breath) and we die (physically).

We have no real control over when or how we die, where our body will be buried, or the return of the Spirit to God. Our family determines where and how our body is “put to rest.” Someone might say that we can control the time and manner of our death – we can kill ourselves. But I am not so sure that is absolutely true. It appears from Scripture (See Note 2, What is the #1 cause of death?) that God can keep people alive even if they try to die.

In the larger scope of things, God chooses when we stop breathing the breath of life. And, since He gave the spirit of life, He can reclaim it at any time. In Ecclesiastes 12:7 (see Note 3, How to study the book of Ecclesiastes), Solomon wrote a profound truth, “the dust [body] returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit [of life] returns to God who gave it.”

In summary, the Judgment of Actions states that since all have sinned, then we will all die a physical death. At death, the body is buried and returns to dust. And the spirit of life (or breath) returns to God the Father who gave it. That just leaves us with the soul‘s destination:

Where does the SOUL go at death?

The question of where our soul goes when we die must be answered if we are to have peace in this life. The Judgment of ACTIONS is involved but, I believe that the soul’s eternal destination is determined in a separate judgment, the Judgment at DEATH.

Logically, the next article is “Why God judges us“.


Notes

Note 1, Reunion of Body and Soul. There are many references in the  Bible to Resurrection. Although some near-death experiences may differ, TRUE resurrection is the point where a person’s soul is reunited with their body. The process varies for different groups, so we will deal with it more completely in a future article.

Note 2, What is the #1 cause of death? An interesting thought was revealed to me a few years ago… We do not die of heart attack, stroke, or cancer – we die because God withdraws His spirit, or breath of life (Rev 9:6).

Note 3, How to study Ecclesiastes. See our article here about how to study the book and see this article about how to use context to understand the Bible better.


 

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