Death and Resurrection

Q. What Do Adventist Believe About Death?


A. The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.  (1Timothy 6:15-16)

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6)

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. (Psalms 146:3-4)

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, 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)

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

Behold, I show 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. (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For 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. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28-29)

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  (Revelation 20:1-10)

Q. Did the widow’s son soul leave his body at death?  1 Kings 17:21


A. 1 Kings 17:21 (King James Version)
21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.
The word used for soul in this Scripture is the Hebrew word nephesh. This Hebrew word occurs more than 700 times in the Old Testament and has been variously translated “soul” in many Scriptures, such as, Genesis 2:7 And 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 soul.

It is also translated as creature, as in Genesis 1:21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

The correct translation of the word nephesh 1 Kings is and should be life as it is in, Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
Exodus 4:19 19And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.
Joshua 2:14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

This word is also used to show the absence or opposite of life, which is death. Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
Numbers 9:6-10 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:

7 And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.

Of all the various renderings, the translation “life” would probably be the most suitable in the text under consideration.  The translation “soul” is misleading and conveys to many the idea of an immortal entity, capable of a conscious existence separate from the body.  This idea is not resident in the word “nephesh.”

In all of the more than 700 occurrences of the word, never once is such an idea attached to it or even implied.  Not once is a nephesh called immortal.  To translate nephesh “life” is in harmony with what the translators of our Bible have done in 119 other instances.  Genesis 35:18-19 gives us a clearer understanding of what 1 kings 17:21 is actually saying.

Genesis 35: 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
With this information and the reality that the soul is not immortal and that the opposite of life is death, we may understand what Elijah meant when he said, “let this boy’s soul return unto him.”  Many of the “literal translations have properly penned this Scripture.

1 Kings 17:21 (New International Version)
21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”

(New American Standard Bible)
21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray You, let this child’s life return to him.”

(Holman Christian Standard Bible)
21 Then he stretched himself out over the boy three times.  He cried out to the LORD and said, “My LORD God, please let this boy’s life return to him!”

I pray this has been a help to you and has answered your question.

Q. What Happens To Someone’s Soul When They Die?


A. Eze 18:20  The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Genesis 2:7 And 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 soul.

The reverse of God’s truth is also true as verified in the following scripture.

Ps 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. (Consciousness perishes)

God’s word says dust must combine with His breath for a soul to live.

God’s word also says the reverse is true; when His breath separates from the body, there is no longer a living soul with thought.

God’s word leaves no question that the soul dies.

Mt 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Jas 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death….

Jos 10:35  And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day. . .

In the following text, Jesus also confirms that death is sleep without soul or thought until He restores it.

John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

God’s word makes it clear that it is more than the body that sleeps at death. Again, we are told that the soul or thoughts (consciousness) also cease.

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished…. (Ability to think)

In the following text, we can see that Daniel had clear understanding of God’s truth as well.

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel, like Jesus, knew that the dead sleep without life until after they awake from the grave.

God’s word is filled with examples that there is no soul (thought) after death until resurrection when the dust and His breath are recombined. Here is one more example.

We know that God said David was a man after His own heart. If souls exist after the dust and breath separate, David would surely be a candidate for heaven.

Ac 13:22  …I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

However, the following text tells us that David has not yet gone to heaven but is still awaiting the resurrection.

Ac 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens. . .

Now that we know that God says the dead sleep until resurrection, why do we hear of people seeing dead relatives? These are fallen angels manifesting themselves as our deceased relatives to deceive us into believing Satan’s lie.

Ge 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.

But God says the dead vanish and do not return to their house to haunt.

Job 7:9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.

10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.

At the time of resurrection we will live again because God will once again form us out of dust, and add the breath of life, the combination required to produce a soul.

Ge 2:7 And 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 soul.

God designed our exclusive personality the first time and at the resurrection, He will not have forgotten that unique character He desired us to be when He restores our body and soul.

Having been eaten by a shark or cremated at death will not prevent God from restoring us. As with the formation of Adam God can use any dust He pleases.

We as God’s own handy work are so loved by Him that He would die to save us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Q. What is Death?


In death does the soul sleep (as Jesus said) or continue in thought?
“3 Put not your trust in princes, [nor] in the son of man, in whom [there is] no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”  Ps. 146:3, 4
Do the dead sleep or go to Heaven and praise the Lord?
“3 Put not your trust in princes, [nor] in the son of man, in whom [there is] no help. 4   His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
Ps. 115:17

Do those who have died remember to give God thanks?
“5 For in death [there is] no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”  Ps. 6:5

When the body parishes at death, can the soul still know love or hate?
“5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.”  Ecc.9:5, 6

After death, does the soul consciously maintain its knowledge?
“10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”Ecc.9:10

Can the dead haunt (appear) in a house?
“9 [As] the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no [more]. 10   He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.”  Job 7:9, 10

Do the dead wait until resurrection (as Jesus did) to ascend?
“34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,”  Acts 2:34

Did Jesus really say the dead are asleep?
“11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.  John 11:11-14

Are the dead really asleep until resurrection day?
“13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For 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: 17 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.”  1 The 4:13-17

When do the dead have victory over their sleep?
“51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 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. 55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?”  1 Cor. 15:51-55

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