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Life After Death, Pt. 2

Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word. [music]

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects you today. I'm John Bradshaw. [music]

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Last time we were here we talked about death and the immortality of the soul. Is the soul immortal? And we found out the Bible does not say that the soul is immortal. Rather, it makes it very, very clear that immortality is found only in Jesus. Gary, I remember you mentioned the verse in Ezekiel 18:4 which said, "The soul that sins does," what?

Gary: It will die. In fact, the Bible, we looked it up, John, 432 verses that used the word "soul," not one of them says "immortal soul" and when you look at the word "immortal," you'll only find one verse and that's in Timothy, 1 Timothy and says, "Only God has immortality. He is the immortal king."

John: The wages of sin is death. The gift of God is eternal life. Immortality is a gift given by God when Jesus returns. Knowing this helped my sister-in-law get out of a very delicate situation, sticky situation. There she was late one night. She was a law student, keeping late hours, studying half the night away, burning the midnight oil. She's going to bed, my brother's in bed asleep. She's pulling back the covers on her side of bed, about to get into bed, she turns and there, standing at the foot of her bed, is my father.

Gary: And what was he doing in their bedroom?

John: It's anyone's guess. There he was standing the end of her bed just like that. The problem was he'd been dead for 18 hours.

Gary: And did she know he'd been dead?

John: Yes, she knew he was dead. She turned and looked at him and said, "Go on, get out of here. Get out of here now." She'd been wanting to say that to him while he was alive. Now that he was dead, she really could, and he just disappeared just like that. I've heard many stories of such occurrences. Why did that happen? We're not going to analyze that too far except other than to say, the devil is constantly seeking to deceive people, to give people experiences where they say, "I'm not going to believe what the Bible says because I've seen otherwise or heard otherwise or watched otherwise or my neighbor has had this experience." Stay with the Bible, we find there is no inherent immortality in a person's soul.

Gary: That's in their soul, John. What about their spirit? Because a lot of people have had these experiences and they haven't been even frightening experiences, they've been helpful. I know of a boy and his dad were out fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and the boat capsized. A quick storm came up, unexpected storm, capsized, the man drowns. The boy washes up on shore. He's alive. He's unconscious. He wakes up and then there is the spirit of his father. And he leads them on this barren island to the only house on the island and actually helps the boy and then he disappears. Now, there's a spirit doing something very good. What about spirits? Can these spirits be from the dead a blessing?

John: No, I'm not going to say whether they're a blessing or a curse because if they're a blessing then they're good and maybe they're real. And if they are curse then they're not good and they can't be real. We are not going to evaluate this thing on Bible Talk based on whether it's good or whether it's bad. We're looking to find out whether it's true or not and the Bible will help us. Something else that will help you is getting our free offer for today, Are the Dead Really Dead? Call us. Write us. We'll give you the information at the end of the program. You want this. If you can't write now, write it down, Are the Dead Really Dead? You want this and it will cover this subject very, very adequately.

The spirits, OK, I'm going to read a verse. It's Ecclesiastes 12 and verse 7. The Bible says that... Death is the context. "Then, shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Someone says, "There you go. When I die, my spirit goes back to God."

Gary: And the spirit is there to speak to us, to guide us, to share the love of God with us. A lot of people have that experience.

John: Yes, but that's not the truth of the matter. You won't find that in the Bible. In fact now, let me throw this out. People who communicated with departed spirits habitually in the Bible were put to death by order of God himself. So God isn't going to say, back there a few thousand years ago to communicate with the dead is evil and now, today, it is good. You get these spiritualistic mediums that will connect you with the dead. I remember watching one girl on television who was connected via this medium with her dead sister. "Oh, only my sister could know this. Oh, it could only be her. I'm amazed. Yes, this is for real." The fellow told her in the end, "You've been part of what we would call a séance." Now, when you put it like that, no one believes seances are from the Lord. Jesus wouldn't sanction you being part of a séance.

Now, the spirit goes back to God. How are we going to understand that in a balanced Biblical way?

Gary: To understand the spirit, you really have to go back to the beginning, in Genesis.

John: Creation story.

Gary: When God created man. In Genesis 2:7 we're told that God formed man out of the dust to the ground. So with His own hands, He shaped the body and the elements of man. But then, it says, "He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and then man became a living soul."

John: So if you look in the Bible, are you going to find where God gives somebody a soul?

Gary: No. A living soul is the result of the union of dust plus the breath. Now, the interesting thing here is this breath actually is the word that translates elsewhere as spirit. So God makes the body and then He breathes into him the spirit of life.

John: So in creation, God took the dust, He made Adam. Adam was a perfectly formed man, but his heart wasn't beating. No breath in him, right?

Gary: Same thing. Job says in Job 33:4, "The spirit of God has made me. The breath of the almighty gives me life."

John: Now, if you understand this theologically, the Hebrew poets, and Job was one essentially and Song of Solomon is poetry and Ecclesiastes is poetry that employ this literary device not as a parallelism. I'm sure, Gary, you're intelligent enough to keep me straight if I get this wrong, but--

Gary: Thank you for the compliment.

John: But the idea is that would express a thought one way and then, repeat the thought but express it another. We go back to Job 27. Sorry, Ecclesiastes 12 that we looked at before. "The dust returns to the earth as it was. The spirit shall return to God who gave it." But in Job 27 and verse three and I'm going to turn this in my Bible, I hope I find it nice and quickly. There you go. He says, "All the while my breath is in me," that's the first line, "and the spirit of God is in my nostrils."

Gary: That's right.

John: We discovered the spirit is the same as the breath God put in the person back in the Garden of Eden.

Gary: Wait a minute here because it does say, "The spirit of God was in my nostrils." You wouldn't think about the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit or some immortal spirit residing in your nose.

John: No, that' wouldn't... No.

Gary: You think of other stuff out there, but it's not going to be the spirit.

John: No, that wouldn't be right at all. It's Genesis--

Gary: So that's that equation there where he says, "The breath is in me and the spirit is the breath of God." Now, that breath is the life-giving energizing force.

John: Yes and how do we know that Genesis 2:7, "Breathe into his nostrils the breath of life. Man became a living soul." It's like, God had a... You got a computer. It's not going anywhere till you boot it up. And God booted up Adam back there in the Garden of Eden and brought them into being.

Gary: Or you could use the illustration of electricity. We're sitting here under a light. That light bulb without the electricity doesn't give off light.

John: That's right. It's nothing without the breath, let's say.

Gary: The bulb could represent the body of man, the electricity the breath of life from God, the energizing force, and then the light that emanates from that bulb when the electricity goes through the filament represents the living soul. That's the thinking, rational, acting human being. Not always rational, of course.

John: Yes, sometimes, it is an irrational human being, but we get the idea.

Gary: But when you turn the electricity off and it no longer flows through the filament, where does the light go?

John: There's just no light there. The light--

Gary: Goes out.

John: Seizes to be, yes.

Gary: So it doesn't go into another sphere. It doesn't go to heaven. It doesn't go to hell. It doesn't go to purgatory. It seizes to be. It doesn't go into another dimension. It's the same way with death. When we die, the life energizing force of God, that spirit of light that keeps our heart beating, that goes back to God because He is the author of life. The body returns to dust, as the Bible says, and then we go to sleep. Listen to this text in Psalm 104:29. It says, "You," referring to God, "hide your face, they're troubled. You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth your spirit, they are created and you renew the face of the earth." So, you see, the spirit here is equated again with the breath. Breath goes back to God, they die and return to dust. It's just like with Stephen.

John: Yes, this is a good one because the Bible clearly deals with Stephen's death and describes it some detail.

Gary: Stephen in the New Testament, you read about him in Acts 7. He was a Christian martyr. He was stoned for his faith and as he's dying, he looks to heaven and he calls on God and he says, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," because he knew the spirit goes back to God who gave it.

John: Yes, receive my spirit. Right.

Gary: Then he knelt down. He cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with the sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep. So his spirit, the life energizing force that kept his heart beating went back to God because God is the author of life. He holds that, but Stephen falls asleep.

John: This is something we ought to pick up on. If you want to know what happens when you die, you get our free offer, Are the Dead Really Dead? You can get that by contacting us by phone or emailing or whatever. The details are coming up in just a couple of moments. There's the story of Lazarus in John chapter 11. Lazarus is sick. Now, remember, Stephen died, breath went back to God. Spirit went back to God. He fell asleep. The disciples come to Jesus, "Lazarus is sick." Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." He's asleep, I'm going to go wake him up out of his sleep. They said, "That's good. He's getting some sleep. He'll do well," but Jesus said, "No, no." And he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead." Now, friend, this is the testament in the Bible. He equates death as being asleep, plainly and simply.

Gary: Numerous times in the Bible, Psalm 13:3 says, "Consider and hear me, O Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death."

John: Sure.

Gary: Matthew 27:52 at Jesus resurrection, it says, "The graves were open and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised."

John: That's right, but, now, that's difficult to negate. Those who were asleep were raised. You've got the story of Lazarus that we mentioned. He's asleep, Jesus said. Jesus goes and addresses the tomb, "Lazarus, come forth." Lazarus comes forth and he didn't say, "Boy, I've been having this dream." He didn't say, "I've been somewhere." He didn't say, "I've been in heaven. You got to come." He didn't say, "I've been in hell. You don't want to go." Where'd he been? He'd been right there in the grave. Jesus did not call him down, "Lazarus, come down." No and that would hardly even been fair for the Lord to call him back from heaven.

Gary: Would have been a dirty trick.

John: Sure. Lazarus is, "No, I don't want to come. I'm having too nice a time here." But he was asleep in the grave.

Gary: So what happens in that sleep? Psalm 115:17, "The dead do not praise the Lord nor any who go down in the silence."

John: How many funerals you've been to? Oh, I'm so happy for Larry because he's praising the Lord right now.

Gary: Right and sometimes people are afraid. We're going to be sleeping in the grave. They got this idea. There's going to be some level of consciousness. They could be locked in this dark place.

John: Claustrophobia.

Gary: Totally asleep, totally at peace. That's why the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it now with all your might for there's no work, device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you're going."

John: Yes, Ecclesiastes says, "The soul, the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything." When you're asleep, you don't know a thing about... Here's a funny thing. If you get knocked unconscious, God hits you with a piece of wood over the head and you get knocked unconscious, you don't know a thing that's going on around you. But many Christian preachers want you to believe that if God hits you hard enough and kills you, suddenly, you know everything going on around-- [music]

Gary: The thing we do know is that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we will not stay in the grave. We will resurrect and spend eternity with Him. [music]

John: We can be assured today that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and we praise the Lord for that. We want Jesus to be your hope as well. And we hope that you will join us for more next time here on Bible Talk. [music]

Man: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you want to know. To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simply call, write, or email and ask for, Are the Dead Really Dead? The toll-free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of the Life Talk radio.

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