That Blessed Hope
Is our Hope today different from believers in the past?
This teaching section begins to set out what we surely believe The Word of Truth to be on this vast subject.
Death is just as difficult to define as "life". In the being of a man, if he is alive, life can be said to exist. But what it is we know not. At the same time in every man there is that which we call death. Even as we live, we are dying. In Genesis 2:17 the Lord said to Adam: "...dying thou shall die."
From Exodus 19:12-13 we learn that death is just the opposite of life. When one is "put to death" that one "shall not live" . A man cannot be dead and alive at the same time. He might be dying as he lives, but when life goes out, and death comes, he cannot be said to live.
The 139th Appendix to the Companion Bible says "nekroi" (dead ) denote s persons who were once alive, but who are alive no longer; this we feel is one of the best definitions we have found for "death".
But perhaps the best is to be found in God's own words to Adam in Gen. 3:19 "...unto dust shalt thou return." Death then is a returning or reverting to the former state - dust - of the ground. From it we came, of it we are, and to it we shall "return". The wisdom of Solomon sets before us this same truth in Ec. 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." And in the next breath he quickly adds "Vanity of vanities - all is vanity."
Yes, for the sons of Adam, all end in an empty return to the earth. Should one not be found in Christ, the New Humanity, then all is Vanity for that one. Only those in Christ shall escape that Vain--Death.
A man found to be outside that New Humanity in Christ is no different than the beast of the earth (Ec. 3:20). And as the writer of Psalms 49:14 put it he is like the beasts that perish; "like the sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them..." (devour them). Oh - Vanity of Vanities!
This hideous thing we call death originated in that one to whom God ascribes the Power of Death - the devil (Heb. 2:14). The Greek word for power here is rendered four times "dominion", death then characterizes the dominion of Satan.
The results of Satan's pre-Adamic reign was the interdiction of death into the created universe and death shall remain a part of it until God has no further use of it. Then "Death and Hades" shall be devoured of the Second Death (Rev. 20:14).
The fulfillment of God's Divine Purpose in man required freedom of choice and the ability to reason; they must also bear full responsibility for the choice resulting of that reasoning. Such freedom required the presence of both good and evil. Should man chose evil, death reverses the creative process of his birth, for evil can not abide where God is ALL and IN ALL.
The Creator Himself tasted of death in the person of Christ Jesus that He might redeem those under its curse, for He alone has the power and holiness to overcome it. The very thing that has issued from the enemy, God is using to both redeem those in Christ and to dissolve those in Adam and also to consume Satan - that God may be ALL and IN ALL .
Remember the Creator of ALL has created ALL just as he wanted it and needed it. He fashioned Adam in perfect accord with His Divine Design which perfectly harmonized with His Divine Purpose. The design held the purpose always in view, for His Divine Purpose would only be realized as the result of the Divine Design.
The Lord God of all has never been fooled or surprised, so we cannot imagine Him ever being unaware of what was going to come out of Satan - the death of the living. In His foreknowledge He saw it coming. In divine wisdom He designed the human race to come under the influence of this death and shall make it the means whereby He is left ALL and IN ALL. (1 Cor. 15:22-28).
God may be ALL signifies that never again will such a being as Satan hold such power as he did. "IN ALL" signifies that all creation will be in absolute harmony with the Creator and His Divine Purpose .
We must know that God could have made Himself all manner of puppets and robots-creatures without a will or reason of their own. But such is not what He sought. He desired and designed a creature that could respond of their own volition. Creatures that would of their own reasoning faculties account an expression of words either to be true or false, right or wrong, "good or evil" (Gen. 5:22).
His design called for a vitally sentient being, capable of being moved by what His Word expressed and motivated to employ the principle of faith (Rom. 10:8-18).
God's own experience of death in Christ Jesus frees Him to move in grace in behalf of Man. In grace He could make provisions; by faith the creature could appropriate unto his own need that which the Creator provided.
Death feeds on all it touches until it is consumed (Psalms 49:14 ), or in the case of man who in faith appropriates the redeeming power of the Christ of God. That one is given a new life principle - he becomes a part of a new human race in Christ Jesus. Death has no more hold on that one. But the seed of Adam shall be totally consumed in the grave (sheol or hell) (Rom. 5:12-21). However, nothing is lost to God as so many think. All things simply revert to their former state, the body of clay unto dust, and the spirit of life unto the One who loaned it for a season. The soul is thus consumed away in this dying process.
So we see this hideous thing called death originating in Satan will be the very instrument our all-wise Creator will employ to rid His universe of all that opposes Him, He then will be ALL and IN ALL.
We have been thinking together about "death"; we should now perhaps consider the subject of "life", for as death worketh in each of us, so too that which we call life. But the age-old question What is Life? still nags at even the best of human minds. From the smallest of seeds and microorganisms to the largest trees and mighty mammals of the seas, we see one common denominator - "life". In truth we are engulfed in life. Yet the question persists: What is Life? Whence does it come? Where goeth it?
We know the answer shall continue to evade the wise of this world (1 Cor. 2:11). Man can know (find out) the things of a man, but even the most knowledgeable and wise of men cannot know the things of God-and life is a thing of God for God IS life: "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Paul is speaking to "we " - the sons of Adam. In John 1:4 we see in Him (Christ Jesus ) was "life" and the "life" was the light of men (all men). Study the use of the Hebrew word Neshamah - Strongs #5397, also Appendix 16 in the Companion Bible.
We take this Neshamah-life to be distinctively the life principle given to all mankind. In it, by it, and because of it all men have an intuitive consciousness of a Creator being (Rom. 1:19-32). However, mankind would prefer to erase that bit of knowledge from their minds, for acknowledgment of this Creator demands a responsibility to Him.
The wise of this world celebrate (worship) life. The man of God will only worship and celebrate the divine source of life-the Creator. Not that which is but created (Rom. 1:25). Yes, man lives for life, a man of God will live for God. We sometimes hear men speak of life: "she lost her life in an auto accident" "he gave his life for his country" "they took his life from him." Strictly speaking we have no life of our own (only Deity has life). "So hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself " (John 5:25 )
When someone is killed their life is not taken only their time for life is not theirs. The best we have in Adam is Time. A few days, a few years, but we cannot make any claim to life being ours - All life is God's. The Creator is now, at this very instant, flowing out to all, imparting life to each of us . "If He gathers unto Himself His spirit and His breath all shall perish " (Job 34:14). All that live is still ABSOLUTELY DEPENDENT on the Creator - God. "All the while my breath (neshamah) is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils" (Job 27:3)
The author of Death, being the archenemy of Life, came to Eve with the most destructive lie that was ever perpetrated on the human mind. "...ye shall not surely die" (Gen 3:4). Young's Literal Translation has it, "dying, ye do not die," and so yet today 99%+ of all the so-called preachers of biblical truth are still echoing that great lie, telling their listeners "even though you may die physically, you do not surely, or actually die, for you have immortal 'life'.
When in fact the real truth of God's Word is that we have no life that we can call 'our life', especially the 'ZOE' life, that power which allows us a time of existence. We might perhaps think of our "BIOS" life as our own, i.e. our own biography, that history and manner of life we have lived; that BIOS life we have lived with the ZOE life-principle that He who is life has so graciously loaned us for the short time we are the SOULISH living sons of Adam.
We would like to pause here and recommend to those who account themselves serious students of Biblical Truth, and true Bereans to make a complete study of these three Greek words. Also note appendix 170 in the Companion Bible.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was, and is, absolutely unique and distinct from all other living forms in that He has life in Himself and He alone hath "life" (John 5:26 ) "He only hath immortality " (1 Tim. 6:16) we suggest to you that any one that teaches the immortality of man is in fact preaching the gospel of Satan- " ...for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). The 'it' here being that great lie of Gen. 3:4. He was telling Eve that she was immortal, having life in herself.
Now some might argue that technically he was not lying, that before The Sin she did have immortality. But they have nothing to rest that argument on. The record clearly shows that the man Adam needed food, and he must partake of the tree of life to continue to live (Gen. 2:7-17).
The truth is Adam had no life in himself, and make no mistake - no seed of Adam has life in itself. The only "life" we can hope for is in the Second Man - the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Let no man deceive you..." (Eph. 5:6). In 1 Tim. 2:14 we are told that the woman was deceived (lied to), and she believed The Lie, perhaps because she did not understand the truth of the matter. But we are also told that Adam was not deceived, implying he did understand that it was a lie. Some misinformed folks might be excused with Eve. But not you, for you have now been cautioned. You must now search and see for yourself.
LIFE IN CHRIST vs. DEATH IN ADAM "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world...I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God" (John 1:29-34).
What is the sin of the world? Note it is sin - not sins , but what sin? Perhaps Rom. 5:12 holds the answer, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men..." Rom. 5:21 tells us "...sin hath reigned unto death... " Allowing the figure of speech Metonymy to stand here, we have sin being equal to death.
Turning to 1 Cor. 15:22 we are told, "in Adam all die" and Ps. 49:14 tells us "that man is like the beasts that perish...like sheep they are laid in the grave (hell)." Yes, every man is going to Hell, saved and unsaved, death shall feed on them, their beauty shall be consumed in the grave. However, the writer of the Psalm had hope, "...but God will redeem my soul (me) from the power of the grave (hell)" (vs. 15). What made this man different? He was accounted of God as "In Christ". Therefore, he will be made alive in the day of Christ. We are told in 1 Cor. 15:22, "...in Christ shall all be made alive."
How will man be made alive? In Christ. Why are men made alive? Because they are In Christ. When will men be made alive? In the Day of Christ, each in his own order. What men are made alive? All men, those in Christ will be raised to life and those not in Christ will be raised to judgement. Since the Lord Jesus Christ is become the Son of man all will be raised because Christ has become The New Head Of The Human Race and thus The Scripture calls Him - The Son Of Man. He is the only source of Resurrection Life .
The man who is in Christ has life - he that is NOT in Christ has no life only judgement. Why do some have life and others do not? 0nly because they are not in Christ. But why are they not in Christ? Because they have chosen NOT to be in Christ or have never been told of our wonderful Savior.
In John 1:9 we are told that Christ has enlightened every man . He is offering LIFE to each one - He died for each one -for the sin (death) of the world. But many reject Him and His gift of life "ye will not come to me, that ye might have life..." (John 5:40 ).
Sin is not the issue. Christ died for the sin of the world . Death is not the issue. He has overcome both death and hell and holds the keys that open its gates (Rev. 1:18, Matt. 16:18). The only reason men die without any hope of resurrection is because there is no life outside of that life in Christ - that life alone can redeem a dead soul from the grave (hell). IN HIM alone is Life. All judgment is of the Son of man. He knows those that are IN HIM and those that await judgement.
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