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When looking up the definition of LIFE in the dictionary we find a number of definitions given, leading us to make a decision as to which one satisfies our individual belief; the fact is that life is very difficult to define. Biblically speaking, life is a trust, it is a loan from God for a short period of time <Job 1:21>, it is a gift from God; it is here today and gone tomorrow. Much to the dismay of many today, life originated, biblically, in the Garden of Eden <Gen.2:7>; and although we are told that life begins when we are born of our parents, according to God’s Word we are told that true life begins at conception <Psa.51:5> for it was at that moment in time that we inherited the sin-nature.

There are many comparisons that can be observed in life: it is like a journey <Gen.47:9>, it is like a shadow <Eccl.6:12>, it is like a vapour <Jas.4:14>; but what is the purpose of life? Basically, it is a short time during which we prepare for a very long eternity! It is a time for each of us to make a personal choice of the place that our soul will spend eternity! Each of us can live in respect and honour of Christ <Phil.1:20-21>, or live our life in total rebellion against the God, who gave us life; thus, suffering the consequences <Rom.2:9>. Let us be fully aware that the length of our life is set by God, and He will call an end to our days when it pleases Him, we do not know when that time will come, for it could be a short period or a long period: “The length of our days is seventy years — or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” <Psa.90:10, 12 (NIV)>. Many live far beyond eighty years today, but there will be an end to life!

iStockphoto-1598146621261-7cdbb2b30d4bLife is saddened by the fact that it will end in DEATH, and as we saw earlier life is difficult to define; death can be defined as the departure or the cessation of life. In death we find that the body is separated from the soul and spirit; the body is placed in the grave and finally disintegrates or “returns to dust” <Eccl.3:20>. The spirit returns to God <Eccl.12:7; cf Gen.2:7>; the soul goes to one of two places; the soul of the rebellious (unsaved) goes to hell (a place of great agony) <Lk.16:23>; while the soul of the righteous (saved) will go to a place of paradise <Lk.16:22; cf Lk.23:43>. The scriptures speak to two kinds of death, Spiritual and Physical; both originating in the Garden of Eden: Spiritual Death was the result of disobedience to God’s command; “And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”” <Gen.2:16-17 (NIV)>, although Adam & Eve did not physically die at that moment of disobedience, the judgment of death came upon them and all mankind, which is spiritual death <Eph.2:1>. The first record of Physical Death is seen in the record of Cain murdering his brother Abel <Gen.4:8; cf Jas.1:15>, which was the result of inherited sin, and physical death is the direct result of sin. So then, we find that because of their sin and spiritual death, God banished Adam and Eve from the garden and has guarded the way to the tree of life for all mankind: “And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” <Gen.3:22-24 (NIV)>.

Although there is nothing that we can do to avoid physical death, for it is determined by God, there is much that we can do avoid spiritual death. The Scriptures teach that spiritual death is an eternal banishment from God: “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” <2 Thess.1:8-9 (NIV)>: eternal death is also referred to as alienation from God: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” <Eph.4:18 (NIV)>. As it has already been stated previously that life is a short time during which we prepare for a very long eternity, the message of the Scriptures is that God has provided a way to escape the judgment for sin; and that provision is in the person of His Son Jesus Christ; Christ gave Himself as the required sacrifice for mankind’s sin by His death on the Cross, His burial and His resurrection: “…Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” <1 Jn.2:1-2 (NIV)>; each individual on the face of this earth has the same opportunity to make the decision to accept what Christ has accomplished for us – our salvation from sin – our escape from condemnation, from eternal separation from God, for Christ said “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” <Jn.5:24 (NIV)>; a “cross-over” from eternal death to eternal life with God. Therefore, our only hope of avoiding spiritual death is in Jesus Christ, for when our belief is placed in Christ the Holy Spirit works the miracle of regeneration in our life, transforming us into His image and makes us a child of God <Jn.1:12>.

A final word to this subject: Christ’s death on the cross was no accident, it was appointed by God; for someone had to die to pay sin’s penalty, and that person had to be “without sin” or “sinless” for the sacrifice had to be “spotless” or pure according to the Law given through Moses <Ex.12:5-6; Lk.23:13-15>; “God made him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” <2 Cor.5:20 (NIV)>. Christ’s death was necessary for the redemption of all mankind making it the concern of every individual person to accept His sacrifice <see Lk.24:46-47; 1 Cor.15:3-4>.

iStockphoto-1586249411653-2a167d4d5fa5And so, the Scriptures teach that just as Christ was raised from the dead, all mankind will experience a RESURRECTION. Why is the resurrection such an important topic? Daniel, in his final prophecy wrote: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” <Dan.12:2 (NIV)>, and throughout the Scriptures a resurrection is mentioned; Job, in his discourse with his three friends asks the question: “If a man dies, will he live again?” <Job 14:14 (NIV)>; he then answers his own question – “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” <Job 19:26-27 (NIV)>. Christ’s disciples preached the same message throughout the New Testament, for indeed that is the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ <see Jn.14:1-3; cf 1 Cor.15:51-53; 1 Thess.4:16-17>.

Some have enquired as to what kind of body we will have in the resurrection; here again the Scriptures have told us that just as Christ had a new body at His resurrection so we too will have a new body, it will be an incorruptible body, incapable of death and decay <1 Cor.15:42-44, 52-53>, it will be a spiritual body not limited to the laws of earth, and we also learn of the reasons for this. We are instructed that “…. man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” <Heb.9:27 (NIV)>; God has appointed a day of accountability! So then, we see that all Christ’s followers, as well as all those that have rebelled against God, will have a new body in the resurrection, a body that will never more see corruption, a body that will never again die. We all then will face God to account to Him for the life that we have lived; all believers will stand before His throne in Heaven where He will reward us for our service to Him <see Matt.25:31-34; cf 2 Cor.5:10; 1 Pet.4:17a>. Unbelievers will also be judged for the life they have lived <see Matt.25:41; 1 Pet.4:17b; Rev.20:12>. The point to observe here is that both believers and unbelievers will live for ever – eternity – alive in the new incorruptible body; all believers will enjoy heaven and the presence of God forever, while all unbelievers will live away from God in agony of judgment FOREVER! <see Lk.16:23-26; cf Ezek.18:20, 32>.

The conclusion to all of this is that in LIFE we have the choice to live as we please, God allows us to do so because He will never force His dictate upon us, we were created with a determination to do what we wish, but this does not excuse us to live a life of rebellion against God. We must understand that God is still in control, we need to understand that we belong to God because He has created us for His glory, and when we rebel and go our own way it is not for His glory. He has given us life to enjoy, but inherited sin drives us away from Him to follow and serve Satan, and our only escape is to turn to God in repentance, accept His salvation and allow His Holy Spirit to control our life. Let us not forget or ignore this, for this life will end in DEATH in a short while, and then there will be no turning back to attempt to make things right, the way we live is the way we will die! RESURRECTION will come, and as has been stated, we will all stand before God’s judgment seat to give account of the way we lived; God is a God of justice and He will never allow sin to go unpunished, whether in this life or in the next.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” <Heb.10:26-31 (NIV)>.

In life or in death we all belong to God! <Rom.14:8>.




One of the basics of Christianity taught in the Word of God – The Bible; is the fact that there will be a resurrection of all the dead. That was confirmed by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”  <1 Cor 15:12-19 NIV >

However, as we study this subject it is important to understand that not all the dead are raised at the same time, since we find that there has already been a partial resurrection of believers: “The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” <Matt.27:52-53 NIV>. Two other resurrections are still in the future and will be different in respect to who will be raised, and when. These are referred to in the scriptures as “those that will be raised to life everlasting”; and “those that will be raised to condemnation” <see Jn.5:28-29; Dan.12:2>.

In Luke 14:14 our Lord speaks of the “resurrection of the righteous” which is a reference to the first resurrection only <cf 1 Cor.15:22-23; 1 Thess.4:13-16>. Paul in his letter to the Philippians writes: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection …… becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” <Phil.3:10-11 NIV>; and his reference to “the resurrection from the dead” does not imply that all the dead are raised simultaneously for he does not say the “resurrection of the dead”, indicating that some of the dead will remain in that state.

“…. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” <Rev.20:4-6 NIV>; in this passage we see the first resurrection of the righteous and the outcome it will have on those that attain to this event: they will reign with Christ and will not be overcome by the second death.

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” <Rev.20:11-15 NIV>; this passage describes the second resurrection of “those that will be raised to condemnation” and note here that the condemnation will be “the second death” which takes place when such are “thrown into the lake of fire.” An examination of the details of these two resurrections will also indicate the time between the two events which is 1000 years.

In conclusion, it is clear that the “dead in Christ” or believers in Christ who die before Christ’s coming in the air will be raised from the dead and will be caught up to meet Him in the air one thousand years before “those that will be raised to condemnation” <see 1 Thess.4:16-17>; and that the doctrine of the resurrection concerns only the bodies of the dead, no matter what the state of decay may be, they will be raised either to glory or anguish <cf Lk.16:22-24; 2 Cor.5:8; Phil.1:23>.


In the study of this subject one must be careful of the term “general judgment” that is used by some writers; this term is not scriptural and neither is the theory conceived in the scriptures. The event of Rev.20:11-14 should not be considered as one great event that takes place at the end of the age comprising all people of the earth – saints and sinners. The scriptures speak of five judgments that differ in four respects: the individuals; the location; the time; the consequence.

  1.  The Believer in Christ: these have had their sins judged at the Cross of Christ when He paid the penalty of sin (AD 30) <see Jn.19:17-18; 1 Pet.2:24; 3:18; Gal.3:13; 2 Cor.5:21; Heb.1:3; 9:26; Rom.8:1; Jn5:24>.
  1. The Judgment of Sin in the Believer: this can take place at any time and in any place, and results in discipline by our Lord if the believer fails to assess himself/herself <see 1 Cor.11:31-32; Heb.12:7; 1 Pet.4:17; (cf. 1 Cor.5:5; 2 Sam.7:14-15; 12:13-14; 1 Tim.1:20)>.
  1. The Conduct (deeds) of the Believer: this will take place at the coming of Christ in the air, resulting in a reward or loss to the believer, but whatever the result, the believer will be saved. Every action, thought and word of the believer will be reviewed by our Lord <see 2 Cor.5:8-10; Rom.14:10-12; 1 Cor.3:11-15>. The time of this judgment is also given <see Matt16:27; Lk.14:14; 1 Cor.4:5; 2 Tim.4:8>; and the place is also given <see 1 Thess.4:17>.
  1. The Judgment of the Nations: this will occur at the second advent of Christ in the “Valley of Jehoshaphat” (a symbolic name for a valley near Jerusalem – NIV Study Bible). The result will be that some are saved and some will be lost, the basis being the treatment of these nations to the remnant of Israel “brothers of mine” <see Matt.13:40-41; 25:40-46; Joel 3:1-2, 12-14>. The judgment of the nations should not be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment <Rev.20:11> compare the following distinctions:

NATIONS: No resurrection; nations judged; on earth; no Record Books. Three groups: sheep; goats; brothers of mine”. Time: when Christ appears.

GREAT WHITE THRONE: Resurrection; Judgment of “the dead”; earth and sky have “fled from his presence”; Record Books opened. One group: “the dead”. Time: after Christ has reigned 1000 years. [source: “Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth”; Emmaus Bible School]. Since the believers (saints) are partnered with Christ in this judgment they cannot be the subjects <1 Cor.6:2; cf. Dan.7:22; Jude 14-15>.

  1. The Judgment of the Wicked Dead: will be on a set day after the Millennium, and will take place before the Great White Throne; the result being “eternal damnation” <see Acts 17:31; Rev.20:5, 7, 11, 15>. The scriptures also refer to a judgment of angels <see 1 Cor.6:3; 2 Peter.2:4; Jude 6>.

The word “day” <see Acts 17:31; Rom.2:16> may be confusing to some, but it simply means a length of time or period of time <see 2 Pet.3:8; Jn.8:56>; and the word “hour” (“time”) <Jn.5:25> has now lasted over 2000 years.

The resurrection of the dead is certain; for as we have seen from the scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ taught this to His disciples, and the apostles spoke of this in their documents to the Churches. It is also a promise to all believers in Christ <Jn.14:2-3> and a warning to unbelievers <Jn.14:5-6; 20:29, 31; 3:15>. As certain as the resurrection is, so also are the Judgments. The purpose of Christ’s first advent was to bring salvation to a world of sinners through His death on the cross, and all who reject Him and His offer of salvation will pay the penalty of such rejection, and there will be no exceptions <Jn.3:17; 5:24; 12:47-48; Rom.8:1; 9:28>.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” <Heb.10:26-31 (NIV)>