Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Christian View of Death—Absent from the Body and Present with the Lord

We have a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit (Genesis 35:18; 2 Kings 17:21; Matthew 10:28; Acts 7:59)
• Genesis 35:16-18 Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor. 17 When she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, "Do not fear, for now you have another son." 18 It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.

• Matthew 10:28 28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

• Acts 7:59-60 59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" 60 Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" Having said this, he fell asleep.

• Luke 23:42-43 42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
•**Luke 23:43 –both Jesus and the thief died and were buried, but Jesus while on the cross said they would be in paradise “today”.

At the moment of death, our soul separates from the body and departs to be with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:20-25; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4 )• 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight-- 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

• Philippians 1:20-26 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith . . .

Our material body returns to dust (Genesis 3:19) and we remain in a disembodied state in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23) until the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).• Genesis 3:19 19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

At the second coming of Jesus Christ , believers who have died will return with him and receive their resurrected bodies first; the believers who are alive at that time will be transformed as well (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 51-52)
• 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

• 1 Corinthians 15:20-24 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father . . .

• 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

A resurrected body is the final phase of our redemption (Rom. 8:23; Philippians 3:20-21) Other resurrection passages: Matthew 22:23-33; John 5:24-29 [*our deeds are produced by God 3:21], 11:23-27; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:4-6, 12-15 )
• Romans 8:23 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

• Philippians 3:20 - 4:1 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

• Matthew 22:23-33 23 On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, 24 asking, "Teacher, Moses said, 'IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER.' 25 "Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; 26 so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. 27 "Last of all, the woman died. 28 "In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her."
• 29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 "But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB '? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." 33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

• John 5:24-29 24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. [***Deeds are evidence of God’s work among confessing believers… John 3:21 21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." ]

• John 11:23-27 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

• Acts 24:15 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

See also:

 Therefore we also have as our ambition,
whether at home or absent,
to be pleasing to Him.
2 Cor. 5: 9