Bible Facts about the Other Side of Death
- Supplement to Lesson 9
A well known American said to his medical
advisers when he was eighty years old, "I'll give you a
million dollars for each year you can add to my life,"
Louis XIV was the wealthiest king France
ever had. One day, when he asked what was in a building he could
see from his palace window, one of his courtiers replied.
"Sir, that is the Church of Saint Denis where your royal
ancestors lie buried." The king immediately gave orders to
build another palace--the fabulous Versailles--southwest of
Paris, so he would no longer see that building.
What is death? What is on the other
side of death? The Bible has answers. Here they are:
WHY IS THERE DEATH?
When God made Adam and Eve in the Garden of
Eden, did He plan that this sinless pair. created in His own
image. should die? No, it was not His plan. God created man to
live. But God did not purpose that man should live if he sinned.
1. Did God warn Adam and Eve ahead
of time that they would die if they sinned?
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of
it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely
As soon as man sinned, he would begin
aging, dying, and committing more sins.
2. Satan, in the form of a serpent,
lied to Eve. What did he tell her?
shall not surely die."
Eve believed Satan instead of believing
God, and ate the fruit. Adam Joined her in disobedience. No sin
is small; each is quickly followed by more.
3. What did God tell them?
thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
God's sentence on sin is death. To partake
of the Tree of Life after that, would mean eternal life in sin.
But God did not let them do that--because the sentence of
disobedience was death.
4. How did God prevent them from
becoming immortal sinners?
now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of
life, and live for ever; therefore He sent him forth from the
Garden of Eden. . So He drove out the man; and He placed. . a
flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree
Because of sin, God has given each person a
brief, probationary life, now of seventy or so years, to test his
choices and actions--and then comes death.
Ezekiel 18:4--"The soul that sinneth,
it shall die."
Romans 5:12--"By one man sin entered
the world, and death by sin."
IS MAN IMMORTAL?
Because mankind sins, mankind is mortal,
subject to death.
So it is clear that man was originally
created with the possibility of becoming immortal--and
living forever. But he was not created with inherent immortality.
He was subject to death, if he sinned. He did not have
5. Is man immortal?
mortal man be more just . .than his Maker?"
6. Who only has immortality?
1 Timothy 6:15.16--[God]
who only hath immortality."
Only God has immortality, and the word,
"immortal," is found only once in the Bible, and refers
1 Timothy 1:17--Now unto the King eternal,
immortal, invisible, the only wise God."
So we have these Bible facts about mortal
1. Man is mortal. Job 4:17.
2. God is immortal. 1 Timothy 1:17.
3. God only has immortality. 1 Timothy
4. Man must seek for immortality
5. Immortality is brought to light
through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:10.
6. Immortality will be bestowed upon
those who are redeemed at the Second Coming of Christ. 1
In view of all this Bible evidence, why is
it that some people believe that man has innate, or
'natural," immortal? If that were true, he would not die.
Yet people are dying all about us.
HOW WAS MAN CREATED?
7. How was man created?
Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living
Let us follow the steps:
First, God made Adam's body
from the elements in the dust of the ground.
Second, God breathed, into
Adam's nostrils, the breath of life. There is no indication
here of an "immortal spirit," and there never was a
"spirit Adam." God simply breathed into Adam's
nostrils the breath of life and he became alive--mortally
live. Remember Genesis 3:22-24, quoted earlier. It was the
Tree of Life that gave continuing immortality, and mankind
had been barred from eating of it
Third, "man became a
living soul." Body plus breath of life equals a
living soul. Notice that God did not breath a living soul
into man, but He breathed into his nostrils the breath of
life, and man then became a living soul.
By itself Adam's body had no life, and no
other created being could give it to him. But God could give him
life, which He did. Adam's body, although perfect in every way,
was lifeless--until God breathed that life into him.
But the warning had been given him that if
he sinned, he would die. All around us. we see that men have
life, but then they get old and die.
Before he was made. Adam had no living
soul. It came as a result of the union of his body and the breath
of the "spirit of life", for "the body with out
the spirit is dead." James 2:26.
WHAT ABOUT SOUL AND SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE?
The Hebrew and Greek words from which we
translate our English words, soul and spirit, are found some
1,700 times in the Bible. Actually, the word, soul, as used in
the Bible, does not always have exactly the same meaning. The
same holds true for the word, spirit.
But this we know very clearly: not once in
the 1,700 places in the Bible, where the original words for soul
and spirit are used,--is either of them said to be immortal,
eternal, never dying, imperishable, indestructible, everlasting,
or having immortality. In addition, not once are the dead
represented as being capable of a conscious existence apart from
WHAT ABOUT THE ANIMALS?
8. Do animals have "the breath
went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein
is the breath of life."
So it is clear that animals also possess
the breath of life, "the breath of the spirit of life."
Genesis 7:22, margin. Neither animals nor man are immortal; they
both die. Genesis 7:21-22: Revelation 16:3.
9. Are animals "living
every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to
every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is
The word here for "life" is
"living soul" in the original Hebrew (see Genesis 1:30.
So, according to the Bible, animals have
living spirits and souls as man does.
Is man then a mere animal? No, indeed. Adam
was the masterpiece of creation. Man is "fearfully and
wonderful made" (Psalm 139:14), "only a little lower
than the angels." Psalm 8:5.
CAN WE THEN BE SAVED AND HAVE ETERNAL
How tragic it is that man, created with
such high privileges and opportunities, fell into sin--and became
subject to death! But God had a plan to save him.
10. What was God's plan to save man
so loved the world, that He gave His only be gotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
Thank God for His inexpressible Gift!
Through humble, sincere repentance for the sins which crucified
Jesus Christ, and faith in Him, we can be accepted by the God of
heaven and enabled by grace to obey all that He asks of us in His
2 Timothy l:l0--"Jesus Christ hath
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.'
1 John 5:12--"He that hath the Son
hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life."
Is not that a most wonderful encouragement!
There is hope for us! Through His enabling grace, we can be
forgiven our sins and kept from falling back into them.
It takes the body and spirit of
life--together--to make man a living soul. But it is not, by
nature, an immortal soul. There is no such thing as a separate
soul which can live apart from the body. Job refers to the breath
of God within him:"The spirit of God is in my
nostrils." Job 27:3.
Paul writes, "The very God of peace
sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul
and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23. The body and spirit of life
make man a living soul. Christ came to save the entire man. To do
this, we must let Him sanctify all there is of us--body, soul.
It is the way of the cross which leads to
immortality. Let us follow Jesus in His sufferings, wherever it
may lead. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee
a crown of life." Revelation 2:10.
By giving our life and all we have and are
to Jesus--we will gain eternal life. "Whosoever will save
his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My
sake shall find it." Matthew 16:25. Jesus says to us,
"Come, follow Me. Choose rather to die--than to sin."
Through Christ, follow the narrow path to heaven and immortality.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A MAN DIES?
What happens after death? God has given us
this information in His Book, the Bible.
11. What happened when man was
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
At that moment, man became a living,
thinking, active being. Before then, he had not really existed.
During life, that breath remains in him.
The breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 33:4.
'The spirit of God is in my nostrils." Job 27:3.
12. What happens when a man dies?
But when a man dies, the opposite of what
happened at creation occurs:
shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit
shall return unto God who gave it."
The breath of life departs. and the body
returns to the ground.
First, the breath of life
departs. The "spirit of life," which God gives to
all men, leaves that person.
Psalm 146:4--"His breath goeth
Ecclesiastes 12:7--"The spirit
shall return to God who gave it."
Second, when the breath of
life leaves it, the body returns to the ground.
Psalm 146:4--His breath goeth forth, he
returneth to His earth."
Ecclesiastes 12:7--"Then shall the
dust return to the earth as it was."
Genesis 3:19--"Dust thou art, and
unto dust shalt thou return."
Psalm 104:29--"Thou hidest Thy
face. they are troubled: Thou takest away their breath, they
die, and return to their dust." (Also Job 34:14-15).
Job 17:13-16--"Our rest together
is in the dust" (Also Job 3:11-18).
Isaiah 26:19--They "dwell in the
Isaiah 38:18-19--"For the grave
cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee: --The
living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this
Acts 2:29. 34--"Men and brethren,
let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he
is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto
this day . . For David is not ascended into the
A simple illustration will help explain
this: The creation of man is like making a wooden box; the body
is like the boards; the breath of life is like the nails; put the
nails into the boards, and you now have a box--which is like the
The death of man is the opposite: Remove
the nails from the boards, and there is no more box.
Here it is from the Bible:
Creation: "God formed man
of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis
Death: "Then shall the
dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall
return unto God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7.
IS MAN CONSCIOUS AFTER DEATH?
13. Is a man awake after he dies?
breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day
his thoughts perish."
living know that they shall die: but the dead know not
is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave,
whither thou goest."
14. Do his feelings and emotions
their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now
When a man dies, his thoughts and knowledge
cease. His feelings and emotions cease also.
For any given man, his thinking and feeling
did not exist until God breathed life into him. When the electric
current is turned off, the bulb is still there but the light is
gone. At death, every thing stops.
WHAT IS DEATH?
Death is like sound sleep. That is what the
Bible teaches. The dead are entirely unconscious. Death is called
"sleep" fifty-four times in the Scriptures.
Few passages are more obvious than John
11:11-14, where Jesus carefully explains to His disciples that
death is really a sleep.
5. How did Jesus describe death?
friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of
sleep . . Howbeit Jesus spake of his death . . Then said Jesus
unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."
When Stephen was stoned to death, he
"fell asleep." Acts 7:60. Christ is called the first
fruits of them that slept (1 Cor. 15:20); and in verse 51 Paul
says. "We shall not all sleep." Elsewhere, he writes
that he would not have them ignorant concerning them which are
1 Thessalonians 4:13--"I would not
have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are
asleep [dead]." In verse 14, he speaks of them as asleep in
Christ, and explains, in verse 16, that this means "dead in
16. Is there no awareness of
anything in this sleep of death?
in death there is no remembrance of Thee."
dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into
Ecclesiastes 9:5--"The dead know not
Job 14:21--"His sons come to honour,
and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he
perceiveth it not of them."
WHERE DID THE ERROR ORIGINATE?
Where then did mankind get this idea of
"natural immortality"? It originated in ancient
paganism. The Egyptians believed in the immortality of the soul,
and gave the idea to the Greeks and Romans, who introduced it
into Christianity in the third century. AD.
But. remember, this idea did not originate
with the Egyptians, but with Satan. God originally said.
"Thou shalt surely die" if you sin. Genesis 2:17. But,
to contradict it and encourage mankind to sin, Satan said,
"You shall not surely die" if you sin. Genesis 3:4. The
teaching that sinners will not die came from the devil. Eve
sinned because of that lie. Millions since then have feared and
worshiped the dead.
But, as we have learned, the truth is that,
to prevent sinners from becoming immortal, God barred the way to
the Tree of Life as soon as man sinned. Genesis 3:22-24.
We know from ancient Christian records that
almost no Christians accepted natural immortality until it was
brought from paganism into the Christian church through liberal
apostate Christians in Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century
AD. In later centuries, many returned to the Bible truth on this
subject, including such men as Martin Luther, Isaac Watts, and
John Milton. Is there no solution to the problem of death? Yes,
there is! It is acceptance of Christ and the coming
WHAT IS THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION?
Christ told His disciples that He would be
raised to life (Matthew 16:21), and afterward He was. Luke 24:39.
The angel declared, "He is risen!" Mark 16:6. A
wonderful Bible promise has been given to God's children that,
just as Christ rose from the dead to life, so those who believe
in Him shall also rise to life!
"All that are in the graves shall . .
come forth." John 5:28-29. "Christ . . the first fruits
of them that slept." 1 Corinthians 15:20. "Afterward
they that are Christ's at His coming." Verse 23.
17. What is the truth about the
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18--"The
Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead
in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the
Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore
comfort one another with these words."
18. Will Paul and all God's
children receive their rewards then?
2 Timothy 4:8--"Henceforth,
there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord,
the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me
only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."
The resurrection from the dead is the real
hope of those who, when their beloved die, "sorrow not, even
as others." Verse 13. Christians who live to see the second
coming of Christ will go to heaven "together with" the
resurrected righteous. They will not prevent [phthano in the
Greek--go before] them which are asleep. Verse 15.
The promise is that those who die, will not
go to heaven before those who live to see Christ return in the
clouds of heaven. "God having provided some better thing for
us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
Hebrews 11:40. Even a thousand years after the death of David,
Peter said he was still not in heaven:
Acts 2:34--"For David is not
ascended into the heavens."
Indeed, Paul said that if there is not that
resurrection,--then no Christians will go to heaven, and that is
the end of it all! 1 Corinthians 15:16-18. Thank God that there
will be a resurrection of the dead!
1 Corinthians 15:16, 18--"For if the
dead rise not, then is not Christ raised . . Then they also which
are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."
John 5:28--All that are in the graves shall
hear His voice, and shall come forth."
An actual, bodily resurrection will occur
at that time.
Job 19:25-26--I know that my Redeemer
liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh
shall I see God."
For the people of God who have died, the
sleep of death will end at the resurrection, and, when raised to
life, they will be caught up together with the living righteous
to meet their Lord in the air--to be forevermore with Him.
19. will our bodies be changed when
shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto
His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able
even to subdue all things unto Himself."
Man originally came from the dust of the
earth, and, at the resurrection, he will arise from the dust
Man was originally created "a little
lower than the angels." Psalm 8:5. But, after the Second
Advent, it will be said of the redeemed:
Luke 20:36--"Neither can they die
any more: for they are equal unto the an gels: and are the
children of God, being the children of the
resurrection." At the Second Advent of Christ, He will
raise His own from the dead. Oh, glorious promise! Wonderful
WHAT WILL THE RESURRECTION BE LIKE?
Death is an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26),
but, on behalf of God's faithful ones, it will be conquered at
the Second Coming of Christ when He raises His beloved children
from the dead. At that time, they will give a shout of victory
20. When will we have victory over
the grave and death?
1 Corinthians 15:51-58--"Behold,
I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
"For this corruptible must put on
incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
"So when this corruptible shall have
put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on
immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is
written, Death is swallowed up in victory. "O death, where
is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
"The sting of death is sin; and the
strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
'Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye
stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the
HOW CAN WE RECEIVE THAT LIFE?
Sin brings death, not life. "The wages
of sin is death." Romans 6:23. In Christ alone is salvation;
in Him alone is life!
Acts 4: 12--"Neither is there
salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven
given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Christ is the pathway to life. "I am
the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6. It is only
through Christ that we can have that life. "That whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life." John 3:16.
John 10:27-28--"My sheep hear My
voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them
eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man
pluck them out of My hand."
21. Who only can give us eternal
1 John 5:11--"This
is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this
life is in His Son."
22. What must we do to receive that
1 John 5:12--"He
that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God
hath not life."
that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is
passed from death unto life."
ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have
no life in you."
We receive life by accepting and obeying
Christ. Rejoice in the fact! There is life only in Christ, but in
Christ we can have that life!
In view of such a destiny, it is our
solemn, but happy, duty to give our lives to God, and serve Him
all our earthly days.
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