Why a Resurrection?If man were an immortal soul in a material body -— and if the death of the body released the soul — then there would be no need for a resurrection to immortal life. Man would merely continue living after death. But the very fact that the Bible teaches the resurrection from the dead is further proof man has no immortal soul!
1. If Christ had not risen from the dead, would faith in a future life by a resurrection be all in vain? I Cor. 15:14-17. If there will be no resurrection. have those who are dead in their graves perisheded forever? Verse 18.
2. How did Christ Himself warn that the unregenerate — unrepentant — man is to per- ish? John 3:16 and Luke 13:3, 5. If man were an immortal soul. could he actually “perish”? (See in your dictionary that the word “perish” means to CEASE living.)
3. Who will hear the voice of the Son of God at the resurrection? John 5:25. Do they then “rise”? I Thes. 4:16.
NOTE: The dead cannot “hear” unless they are ﬁrst restored to LIFE! The dead are pictured throughout the Bible as being asieep in their graves, awaiting the day of the resurrection. Notice Jesus’ words when describing the death of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha: “
‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.’ Then said his disciples, ‘Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.’ Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead’ ” (John 11:11-14).
Death is pictured as a sleep. Death, like sleep, is a condition in which people are not conscious and from which they shall be “awakened”! Notice the plain evidence of Scripture:
“And many of them that sleep in ‘the dust of the earth shall awake” (Dan. 12:21; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose” (Matt. 27:52). “And when thy days be fulfilled,” said God to David, “and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers...” (II Sam. 7:12).
Death is described as a sleep dozens of times in the Bible when referring to the kings of Israel and Judah! “David slept with his fathers . . .” (I Kings 2:10). Notice that it does not say “the body slept while the soul was conscious.” It plainly says, “David slept.” It was the conscious person who fell “asleep” in death!
In the following verses the same expression is used to describe death. Look each one up and see for yourself that death is compared to a sleep: I Kings 11:21, 43; 14:20, 31; 15:8, 24; 16:6, 28; 22:40, 50; II Kings 8:24: 10:35; 13:9, 13; 14:16, 22, 29; 15:7. 22. 38: 16:20; 20:21; 21:18; 24:6; II Chronicles 9:31: 12:16; 14:1; 16:13; 21:1; 26:2; 27:9: Z‘S:2T: 32:33; 33:20.
Certainly here is Conclusive evidence that the dead are not conscious — that they have no conscious immortal souls"!
Man to BECOME Spirit1. Job once asked the question, “If a man die, shall lie live again?” what was Job’s answer to his own question? Job 14:14. What was the change Job spoke of, and when will it take place‘? I Car. 1-5:51--53.
2. What will Job. David and all those in the resurrection he like? Will they be like God? Ps. 17:15. Is God spirit? John 4:24. Are they there- fore to be composed of spirit then? I Cor. 15:42- 49. Compare this with I John 3:2.
3. Why were Adam and Eve not permitted to eat the fruit of the “tree of [eternal] life” after they sinned‘? Gen. 3:22-24, especially the last part of verse 22.
NOTE: Adam and Eve could have eventu- ally gained eternal life and become spirit by eating of the fruit of the “tree of life.” This plainly shows Adam and Eve did not have immortality inherent in themselves!
The “tree of life” symbolized the immortal Spirit — the way to eternal life. Adam was created incomplete. He was created to need the Tree of Life in order to live forever. If Adam had eaten of the fruit of that tree, rather than of the forbidden tree, he would have received the Spirit (the very life of God) and would not have died!
Adam, however, had to choose whether or not he would accept the free gift for the Holy Spirit. He chose,_(I Tim. 2:14, ﬁrst part), by disobeying the Holy Spirit and was cut off from access to the tree of life, is yet another proof that no man has ;Enternal life inherent within himself.
When Did Paul Expect to Be With Christ?Some who believe that Christians have an immortal soul use Philippians 1:23-24 as proof. Do these verses overthrow all of the plain scriptures we have studied? Let’s understand what Paul meant.
1. Did Paul have a desire to be with Christ? Phil. 1:23.
NOTE: All Christians should have the same desire. But does this verse state when Paul would be with Christ? Absolutely not! But people try to read certain ideas into this verse! Let’s notice when Paul expected to be with Christ.
2. Did Paul expect to receive something from Christ when he met Him? II Tim. 4:6-8. And when would that be — the time when Jesus returns and all the saints are resurrected? Verse 8. Notice the words “at that day.”
3. When Christ returns, will He bring His rewards with Him? Isa. 40:10; Rev. 22:12. When will all (both dead and living) Christians “meet the Lord”? I Thes. 4:16-17.
NOTE: Those who are dead in their graves are not conscious; they have no knowl- edge of passing time. The very next moment of their consciousness will be the time of the resurrection! That is why Paul wrote in II Corin- thians 5:9-10: “Wherefore we labour [while yet alive], that, whether present [alive in the ﬂesh] or absent [dead in the grave], we may be accepted of him.” When? Verse 10 tells — at the judgment when Christ returns! That is when Paul expected to receive the reward of his labors and to be with Christ. God will judge us at Christ’s coming (II Tim. 4: 1) —- at the resurrection from the dead — the awesome event every true Christian eagerly looks forward to!
"Body, Soul and Spirit”There are also some who claim that man is “body, soul and spirit.” But which of the two — the soul or the spirit—is immortal, even they never seem quite sure! Let’s understand this expression.
1.What does the Bible reveal about “body, soul and spirit”? I Thes. 5:23. Does this verse really prove the “immortality of the soul”? Of course not! It does not contradict all the plain verses we have already studied (John 10:35).
NOTE: Paul here referred to the MIND in man when he used the word “spirit.” And to the PHYSICAL LIFE when he used the word “soul.” And to the FLESH when he used the word “body.”
What’s wrong with having your whole mind, your life, and your body preserved blameless — preserved from the penalty of sin — in anticipation of the coming of Christ? (See also II Cor. 7:1.) Nothing! That is something we should all fervently desire!
How plain the Bible really is. Man is MORTAL, corruptible ﬂesh — organic matter with a temporary life. He has no eternal life inherent Within himself -— no “immortal soul”! He is a physical, ﬂeshly creature destined to die and turn to dust and remain that way — except for the intervention of the Almighty. But God has sent His Son to make it possible for us to receive the GIFT of immortality and eternal life at the resurrection from the dead! Will you qualify to receive that wonderful gift? , the glorious promises, and the great rewards, that God holds out for all mankind.
SUMMARY:Man was created to have a very special relationship with God that is utterly nonexistent with animals. Man was made in the similitude of the GOD kind. He was made in God’s image so that he might one day be born into God’s divine family! God’s purpose in making mortal man after His own likeness demanded mind power in man patterned after God ’s own mind. That is why the most remarkable thing about man is his mind. What is it then that separates humankind from the animal kingdom? What gives man this God- plane power of intellect? It all boils down to a nonphysical component in the human brain that does not exist in animal brain. It is this nonphysical component that makes man so vastly different from animals. It is what makes man truly UNIQUE! 1.Since man does not have an immortal soul within him which enables him to live on apart from his body after death (remember man is a mortal soul), does the Bible nevertheless speak of a “spirit IN man”? Job 82:8, 18; Zech. 12:1; I Cor. 2:11. NOTE: Many passages of Scripture show that there is a “spirit” IN man! This spirit is not the man—it is something that is in the man. Joined with the physical brain of the man, it forms human MIND. It imparts to man’s brain his unique powers of intellect and personality—the ability to think rationally and make free will decisions. It imparts the ability to learn mathematics, languages or other types of knowledge such as music, art, car- pentry, ﬁying, etc. But that’s all. The spirit that is in man has no consciousness of itself. It is not an “immortal soul.” 2. Is this “spirit in man” clearly distinguished from the Holy Spirit of God? I Cor. 2:11. NOTE: The spirit which is in man can be called “human” spirit, for it is in each human, even though it is spirit essence and not matter. It is not a “ghost,” spirit being, or the Holy Spirit. It is not the man, but spirit essence IN the man. It is NOT a soul—the physical human is a soul. The human spirit, given to every human being by God, does not supply human life—the human life is in the physical blood, oxidized by the breath of life (Lev. 17:11). But the spirit in man does impart the power of intellect to the human brain. This nonphysical component in the human brain does not exist in the brains of animals. The spirit in man is spirit essence, just as in the material world air is a gaseous essence. But this “human” spirit cannot see. The physical brain sees through the eyes. The human spirit in a person cannot hear. The brain hears through the ears. This human spirit cannot think. The brain thinks. The human spirit imparts the power to think farabove the level of brute animals’ brain function. Without such spirit animals cannot do original thinking. Whatever knowledge enters the brain through the ﬁve senses is instantly stored (memorized) in the “human” spirit within the person, much like a computer stores information. It enables the brain to have instant recall of stored-up knowledge in the spirit, thus enabling the brain to utilize bits of related knowledge in the process of THINKING and REASONING. The human spirit imparts the power of intellect to the physical brain in two ways: 1) it gives the brain instant recall of whatever the brain calls for in the knowledge stored in this memory; 2) it supplies the brain whatever energy is needed to cause it to think—that is, to put the pieces of information stored in the spirit together in the process We call “thinking,” “reasoning” and “drawing conclusions.” The human spirit also is the very means God has instilled to make possible a personal relationship between human MAN and divine GOD. (More about this shortly.) Animals also see, hear, smell, taste and feel, but what they perceive through their senses is not stored as in the human spirit. There is no spirit to cause the physical brain to function in the process of thinking, reasoning and acquiring knowledge. 3. Why has the truth about this “human” spirit in man not been understood by the world today? Rev. 12:9. NOTE: The marvelous truth about the “spirit in man” is so important that Satan twisted and perverted it long ago. He clouded the minds of men and led them into believing his “big lie” as far back as the time of Adam and Eve. 4. What did Satan tell Eve? Gen. 3:4. NOTE: Here was the origin of the “immortality of the soul” teaching so prevalent today! Satan told Eve she would “not surely die”—in other words, she had an “immortal soul” that would live forever. Eve believed this lie. And most of the world today continues to believe some variation of that ancient “big lie”!
A Second Spirit NeededMan has the intellectual capacity to design space- ships to take him to the moon and back, to invent the computer and to do other marvelous exploits in the physical, material realm. Yet during man’s nearly 6,000 years on earth, he has proved that he cannot solve his problems with fellowmen. Why has this been so? Because man’s real problems are spiritual in nature and the natural man simply cannot solve spiritual problems. In produc- ing the computer or in ﬂying to the moon, he is dealing with physical matter which he can under- stand because of the human spirit within him. But he cannot solve problems with fellow humans because this involves knowledge and understanding of spiritual principles which he cannot comprehend without the addition of another spiritual element to his mind! 1.What was the apostle Paul inspired to write about man’s understanding of the spiritual things of God? I Cor. 2:9-11. What must be added before a man can comprehend spiritually revealed knowledge? Verse 11, last part; verse 14. NOTE: Man was made to need another spir- it—the Holy Spirit of God! Just as a human could not know the things of human knowledge except by the human spirit within him, so he cannot know the things of God—spiritual knowledge—-except by the addition of the Spirit of God. Just as surely as no animal brain—such as that of a cow, for example-can comprehend or under- stand human affairs without the human spirit, so no human mind can have comprehension of spiritual truths on the divine plane without the Holy Spirit! Even the greatest scientific and philosophical minds simply cannot come to know and under- stand SPIRITUAL truths with their natural minds. God’s truth is “foolishness” to them. The natural man with his human spirit is limited to material knowledge. Spiritual things cannot be seen with the eye, heard with the ear, felt with the hands. The human mind, which can receive knowledge only through the physical senses, can never really comprehend spiritual concepts and principles without the Holy Spirit of God. A man can come to know that which is spiritual only through God’s Holy Spirit, which works with the human spirit in his mind. That is the only way the human mind can receive and comprehend the knowledge of and attain God’s GREAT PURPOSE for man’s existence! 2. Does God reveal there is duality in the creation of man‘? I Cor. 15:45-49. Must man be born again to enter the Kingdom or Family of God? John 3:3-8. NOTE: Mortal man was created incomplete. The complete creation of man is to be accomplished in two stages: 1) the physical phase, which was completed with the ﬁrst man, Adam; and 2) the spiritual phase, which began with the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. And to accomplish the spiritual phase, man was made to need another Spirit- the Holy Spirit of God. 3. How does one receive the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38; John 7:37-39. NOTE: Through Christ, the Second _Adam, we can receive God’s gift of His Holy Spirit. Upon repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, whose death paid the penalty for sin in our stead, we may be reconciled to God and receive the Holy Spirit of God, which is added to our human spirit. 4. Do we then become the begotten children of God? I Peter 1:3; Rom. 5:14-17. NOTE: The human spirit in man and the Holy Spirit of God join to make a begotten child of God, just as the male sperm cell and the female ovum or egg cell join to make a begotten human, but not yet developed or ready to be born as a human being. God’s Holy Spirit, when it combines with the human spirit in the human mind, does two things: 1) it begets the human with divine, eternal life to be later born into the God family as a divine being, then composed wholly of spirit; 2) it imparts to the mind the ability to comprehend spiritual knowledge—to understand the things of God. 5. Could Adam and Eve have been begotten by God’s Holy Spirit? Gen. 2:9, 16-1'7. NOTE: As thoroughly explained previously , the ﬁrst human beings were freely offered this second and much-needed Spirit. Of the two symbolic trees in the garden in Eden, the “tree of life” represented God’s Holy Spirit. To have taken the fruit of that tree would have been to receive God’s Holy Spirit, which would have joined with their human spirits, impregnating them as spiritually begotten (not yet born) children of God. But by taking of the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” our ﬁrst parents rejected God’s Spirit, which would have begotten the very life of God in them and would have enabled them to understand revealed spiritual knowledge. Thus they cut themselves and their descendants off from access to God’s Spirit and limited themselves and the human race to material knowledge and understanding, except for those whom God would specially call (John 6:44). 6. When will spirit-begotten Christians be born into God’s spirit family? I Cor. 15:50-53; I Thess. 4:16-1'7. NOTE: The Spirit-begotten Christian now has, conditionally, the presence of eternal life within him (or her) through a portion of the Spirit from the Father. But this does not mean he is an immortal spirit being. He is not yet composed of God’s Spirit. He is now an “heir” of God (Rom. 8:16- 1'7)—not yet an inheritor or a possessor, not yet “born again.” But, if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, God will, at Christ’s return to earth as King of kings, give us immortality by His Spirit that dwells in us (Rom. 8:11). Now just as in human reproduction the impregnated embryo, which later becomes a fetus, is not yet born but must be nourished for a period of time through the human mother; so the begotten Christian is not yet born into the God family. The divine life has merely been begotten. It must now grow! Why We Must Grow Spiritually Included in God’s purpose for creating man is the development of righteous, spiritual character within him! Notice again what God said in Genesis 1:26: “Let us make man in our image... .” The original Hebrew here indicates far more than merely the form and shape of God—His outward likeness. “Image” also refers to mind and character! God intended for man—to whom He gave the gift of a thinking, reasoning mind—to ultimately have the very mind and character of GOD! God’s purpose in creating man is. to reproduce Himself with perfect spiritual character as only God possesses. Man was therefore created in God’s own image and likeness His own form and shape with a mind similar to His—so God could begin to develop the very character of God in him. 1.Are spirit-begotten Christians therefore admonished to grow spiritually? II Peter 3:18; I Peter 2:1-2. Who are we eventually to become like? Matt. 5:48; Eph. 4:15; I John 3:2, 9. NOTE: Just as the human body and brain gradually begin to form during the gestation period in human reproduction, the righteous and holy character of God must begin to form and grow once one is begotten by God’s Spirit. Obviously, we cannot become absolutely perfect in character until the resurrection, when God will complete the process by giving each of us a new, perfect spirit body with its perfect—sinless (I John 3:2, 9)—nature that will be like Christ’s and the Father’s. But in the meantime, God wants us to grow in His spiritual character daily by obeying His commandments and overcoming and rooting sin out of our live-growing toward that spiritual perfection! - Such perfect, holy character cannot be created by ﬁat. It must be developed, and that requires time and experience. God gives us time in which to learn that only His way of life brings real peace, happiness, and a joyful, abundant life. We will have learned that sin causes only heartache, misery, suffering and death. 2.What is one important way we are to grow once spiritually begotten of God? Matt. 4:4; II Tim. 3:16-17. NOTE: We become spiritual “embryos” when, upon receipt of the Holy Spirit, we are begotten of God. And to grow spiritually, we must take in spiritual nourishment. Just as the embryo in a mother’s womb must be nourished with life- giving food through the placenta, so we must be nourished by the Word of God. “. . . The words that I speak unto you,” said Jesus, “they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Those words are recorded in the Bible-—and Jesus said we are to live by every word of God. We drink in these life-giving words from the Bible through reading, studying and meditating (thinking) on what we read. Spiritual character development requires time and comes largely by experience—by putting the Word of God into practice in our daily lives. One builds the righteous character of God as he comes to discern, through God’s revelation in the Holy Bible, right from wrong—the true values from the false—truth from error, then chooses the right and rejects the wrong and, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, resists the wrong and DOES the right! Grow- ing in spiritual knowledge and spiritual character is a gradual process that continues the rest of one’s life. 3. Is prayer also essential to our spiritual growth and overcoming? Matt. 6:5-15; Eph. 6:18. NOTE! In addition to Bible study, earnest prayer is absolutely necessary. We also absorb spiritual nourishment through personal, daily contact with God. When you study the Bible, God is talking to you. When you pray, you are talking to Him. You really get to know God in this manner, just as you become better acquainted with people by conversation. 4. Is the love we share in Christian fellowship with other spiritually-begotten people in God’s Church another important way we grow in God’s character? I John 1:3, 7; Heb. 10:25. 5. Exactly what part does God’s Church play in the individual Christian’s spiritual growth? Gal. 4:26; Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11-15. COMMENT: God’s Church is the spiritual “mother” of all who have been begotten by God’s Holy Spirit. God has set His called and chosen ministers in His Church to “feed the ﬂock” so the individual members may grow spiritually. Christ has given His ministers the responsibility to instruct, teach and counsel the members of the Church. So just as a human mother feeds her begotten child within her womb through the placenta and umbilical cord, God’s children are nourished with spiritual food within the true Church. And as the human mother carries her unborn baby in that part of her body where she can best protect it from physical harm, the function of God’s Church is to also protect the begotten children of God from spiritual harm—from the false doctrines of false ministers who appear as Christ’s representatives, but actually (whether wittingly or unwittingly) represent Satan and his way (II Cor. 11:13-15). 6. When will We, if We are spirit-begotten Christians, become fully mature, fully grown members of God’s divine family‘? I Thess. 4:16-17; Phil. 3:20-21; I John 3:2. NOTE: Finally, when resurrected from the dead or changed from mortal ﬂesh to immortal spirit at Christ’s return, the incredible human potential will have blossomed into reality. We will have been BORN into the divine family of God possessing the fullness of the very character of God! But since the mortal bodies of those to be resurrected Will have already returned to the dust of the earth, how will God restore their former appearance and accumulated funds of knowledge‘? And what about the righteous character God built with- in them While alive‘? The answer to these intriguing questions has to do with the “spirit in man”! Spirit “Recording” Makes Resurrection Possible There is an old saying. “You can't take it with you when you die." You may drive yourself relentlessly to amass a ﬁnancial fortune in this life. but you’ll leave it all behind when you die. There is, however. something infinitely more valuable in life that isn't lost when one dies. And that is the righteous, spiritual character that God, the Master Potter (Isa. 64:8), is fashioning in those of us who are His spirit-begotten children. In the resurrection, you not only will look just like you do now (without handicaps or blemishes, of coursed. you will have the same knowledge you acquired in this life-and the same character! Such men of God as Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel died thousands of years ago. But they will be brought back to life at Christ’s return. Since they were composed of corruptible ﬂesh and blood, their bodies have long since decomposed and returned to dust. So how can they exist again as individual personalities? God had to provide some way to preserve their form, shape, appearance, mind and character. God can bring a dead individual back to life even though a human body that once lived disintegrates, decomposes, or is cremated and scattered to the four winds. It is the “spirit in man” that preserves our very form, shape, memory and character. The resurrected immortal body in the ﬁrst resurrection will be precisely like the former, though now com- posed of spirit. Recall that God puts in every person a separate “human” spirit. As was emphasized before, this spirit does not impart life, cannot see, hear, feel or think. But it-does impart mind power to the brain. And this spirit records every bit of knowledge received through the ﬁve senses and it records whatever character has been developed during one’s life. The “spirit in man” also records the personality of the individual and the physical makeup of the whole body! 1.But what happens to the spirit in man at death? Eccl. 12:7. NOTE: When we die, all consciousness ceases (Eccl. 9:5, Psalm 146:4). The physical brain decays. But the “human” spirit, which is not conscious because it has separated from the human brain which makes consciousness possible, returns to God. It is preserved intact by God until the resurrection! It is the one ingredient that was IN humans which makes it possible for individuals to exist again. Therefore the Bible speaks of the dead as being “asleep” in the meantime (Dan. 12:2). And so when a person dies, the spirit “recording” returns to God and is “ﬁled” away until the time God will “replay” it to bring about the resurrection of the identical personality to life and consciousness ! To help illustrate how the spirit in man pre- serves an individual’s physical makeup, knowledge, character, personality-—actually the whole per- son—intact until the resurrection, consider how magnetic recording tape is now used to preserve both sound and picture. In sound recording, a voice or the music of an orchestra is electromagnetically recorded. Your naked eye can’t see anything that was recorded on the tape, yet it’s there. This sound is then reproduced or “resurrected” when played on a tape machine. Until then, however, it makes no sound whatsoever. But when played on the tape machine, the whole sound “comes to life” precisely as it sounded when originally recorded. In the case of a television tape recording, both video (picture) and audio (sound) are recorded. It comes “back to life” in the form of a vivid full-color picture with sound when replayed! All of this seems commonplace today. We have come to take these “modern miracles” for granted as part of everyday life. Then should it seem too diﬂicult for the Creator, miracle-working God to preserve the unique individual that we are by means of the “spirit in man”?
2. What type of body will the dead in Christ receive at the resurrection? Phil. 3:20-21; I Cor. 15:42-44, 52. NOTE: The resurrected being, now born of God at resurrection, will be composed of spirit, not of matter as the human model was. He will suddenly come alive with his new body. It will seem like the next second from his loss of consciousness at the time of death. He will discover all his memory intact. He will look as he did when he was a physical human being. The character which was built within him will be there. And he will remain alive forever! Now we see clearly the great purpose the Creator God had in making man UNIQUE among all His physical creation. Mortal man has within his reach the glorious reality of attaining the resurrection of the dead and receiving immortality—forever being a part of the universe-ruling Family of God!