LESSON 14

THE FIRST DEATH LESSON


Scriptures

Genesis 2:17 | Genesis 3:19 | Genesis 2:7 | Ecclesiastes 9:5 | Ecclesiastes 9:6 | Psalm 146:4 | Daniel 12:2 | John 5:28 | John 5:29 | 1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 | 1 Thessalonians 4:15–16 | 1 Thessalonians 4:17 | Romans 6:23 | 1 Corinthians 15:52 | 1 Corinthians 15:53 | 2 Corinthians 5:8 | Genesis 3:4 | Leviticus 19:31 | Genesis 5:24 | 2 Kings 2:1–17 | Matthew 27:52-53 | Jude 1:9 | Acts 2:34 | Acts 2:29 | Luke 23:43 | John 20:17 | Luke 16:19–22 | Luke 16:23–24 | Luke 16:25-26 | Luke 16:27-28 | Luke 16:29-30 | Luke 16:31 | Revelation 20:5–6 | Revelation 20:7–9 | Revelation 20:10–11 | Revelation 20:12–13 | Revelation 20:14–15 | Revelation 15:8


When Christ comes again, He is coming to raise the dead. When God first told Adam and Eve about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He warned that if they ate from it, they would ______________________________  (Genesis 2:17). When the pair sinned, this sentence went into effect. God said, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you _______________ to the _______________, for out of it you were taken; for _______________ you are, and to _______________ you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

 

The sentence of death meant that Adam and Eve would return from where they came; that is, the ground. God had _______________ man of the _______________ of the _______________, and _______________ into his nostrils the breath of _______________; and man became a living _______________ (Genesis 2:7). Man did not come to life until the “breath of life” was breathed into his nostrils. Before this, his mind was non-existent. So when God told Adam that he would return to the state in which he was before he was created, God was saying Adam would not have consciousness in death. This is why the " _______________ know that they will _______________; but the _______________ know _______________. ... Their _______________, their _______________, and their _______________ have now _______________ " (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6). In other words, in death, the mind knows nothing. In the very day that one dies, his _______________ departs, he returns not to heaven, but to his _______________, and in that very day, his _______________ perish (Psalm 146:4). This is also why the Bible says that “_______________ of those who _______________ in the _______________ of the earth shall _______________, some to _______________ life, and some to shame and _______________ contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

 
 

Death is like a sleep. Christ affirmed this when He said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the _______________ will hear His voice and _______________  _______________ -those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28, 29). They are in the grave, “asleep.” Therefore, Paul wrote, “I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen _______________, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who _______________ in Jesus. … For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the _______________ in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–17).

 

The wages of _______________ is _______________, but the _______________ of God is _______________ life (Romans 6:23). Eternal life is just that—a gift; only the righteous receive it, but not until the _______________ trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52). Then, and only then, does the mortal put on _______________, and not before (1 Corinthians 15:53). It is at the resurrection, not at death, that we become absent from the corruptible, mortal _______________ and become ______________ with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Satan’s first lie to man was that he would not surely _______________ (Genesis 3:4). Since then, the belief that man is naturally immortal has been the basis of almost every false religion. This is why God warns against communicating with familiar _______________ (Leviticus 19:31), be- cause these spirits are simply demons impersonating the dead, those with whom we were “familiar” when they were alive. Even within Christianity, Satan has been able to sell this deception of the naturally immortal soul.

Many Christians speak of so-called “near-death” experiences as evidence that the dead go straight to heaven. The problem with this, however, is that Muslims, Buddhists, and people of every other religion also have near-death experiences. But the Muslim is not seeing Jesus upon entering heaven! Different people see their own version of heaven during their experiences. Instead, these phenomena are actually a cunning deception of Satan to promote the lie that one does not really die. When the brain loses oxygen, it is subject to hallucinations in which the subject does not realize how long it actually lasts. Likewise, when we dream at night, the dream might seem to go on for hours when we have only been dreaming for minutes. William Tyndale put it this way, “And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection. … And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?” View Source 

And Martin Luther said this concerning the state of the dead: “Salomon judges that the dead are asleep, and feel nothing at all. For the dead lay there [knowing] neither days or years, but when are awaked, they shall seem to have slept scarce one minute.” View Source

Consider this: The greatest evidence of Christ’s resurrection was an empty tomb. This is because resurrection is a physical event. Had Christ’s body still been in the tomb, then Christianity would have likely died with Jesus. To say that Christ was in heaven when His body was in a tomb on earth would have been ludicrous. If the body is in the grave, the person cannot be in heaven. Of course, the Bible speaks of a few special individuals who were given early access to heaven—Elijah, Enoch, Moses, and a small group of people at the resurrection of Christ. (See Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:1–17; Matthew 27:52, 53; Jude 1:9.) But in each of these special cases, the individuals were raised into heaven with a body! The greatest evidence that the dead are still in the grave is the fact that they are still in the grave.

Click here to open An Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue (Parker’s 1850 reprint), bk.

Click here to open Tyndale's Answer

Click here to open An Exposition of Salomon's Booke, called Ecclesiastes or the Preacher.

Peter, even after the resurrection of Christ, said that King David had not _______________ (Acts 2:34) into the heavens, and that he was still both _______________ and _______________ (Acts 2:29). Not until the resurrection will David, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—and the millions and millions of others who await it—enter into heaven. While on the cross, Christ told one of the thieves that he would be with Him in paradise. Christ said it to him “today,” (Luke 23:43) or that day; He did not promise the thief that he would be in heaven “that day.” Evidence for this view is that when Christ resurrected three days later, He said to Mary, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet _______________ to My Father” (John 20:17). Resurrection, not death, is the hope of the Christian. While the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) teaches that the wicked will be cast into hellfire, it does not state when this happens.

 

The book of Revelation makes it clear that the wicked are not cast into hellfire until the end of the millennium when, Death and _______________ (meaning the grave) are cast into the lake of fire. This is called the _______________ death (Revelation 20:14, 15). Hence, if hell is not burning now, and will not be set on fire until the end of this special 1,000-year period, then the wicked cannot now be in a place of torment! No, both the wicked and righteous sleep until the appointed time.

 

The first resurrection occurs at Jesus’ second coming. “Blessed and _______________ is he who has part in the first _______________. Over such the _______________ death has no _______________” (Revelation 20:6). Those who do not come up in the first resurrection will come up in the second resurrection one _______________ years after the first (Revelation 20:7). The millennium, the 1,000-year reign of peace, begins with the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the righteous, and the slaying of the wicked by His presence.

The second coming of Christ also recreates one last sanctuary pattern that will ultimately rid the earth of sin forever. All who symbolically died with Christ at the altar of sacrifice will be raised up in- corruptible, purified, and cleansed—symbolized by the laver. The two articles in the outer court, the altar of sacrifice and the laver, symbolize the resurrection and purification of the righteous. The outer court itself symbolizes the earth. Just as the common people were allowed into the outer court, so in the earth, all were invited to come to Christ. But just as only the priests could enter into the tabernacle itself and had to be cleansed at the laver in order to enter, so only the righteous who have been purified will enter into heaven. “They shall be _______________ of God and of Christ, and shall _______________ with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

In fact, we learn that no human enters the temple until after the seven last plagues are fulfilled. “The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and _______________  _______________ was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled” (Revelation 15:8). Only after the plagues and Christ’s second coming, and not before, will the righteous be raised from the dead to enter the temple in heaven to begin their work of jury duty!

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