Where are the Dead –
According to the Bible?

SUMMARY

We have come to the end of this portion in our discussion regarding WHERE ARE THE DEAD–According to the Bible? In our introduction we stated several propositions or affirmations:

  • ONLY TWO HEAVENLY BEINGS POSSESS “IMMORTALITY”
  • ONLY ONE PERSON HAS BEEN RESURRECTED TO HEAVEN
  • ALL PERSONS WILL BE RESURRECTED IN THE FUTURE
  • “CHRISTIANS” WILL RISE AT THE RETURN OF CHRIST
  • ALL OTHERS WILL RISE AT THE END OF THIS 1,000-YEAR REIGN

It is our hope that you have come to understand that these are solidly based on an examination of the Bible. In these years as we enter the 3rd Millennium CE. At this moment only two Celestial Beings possess the dynamic life described by the word “immortality.” Only one person, The Firstborn from the Dead, Jesus Christ the Nazarene has been resurrected to heaven. All the rest of us, Christian and non-Christian, await that time of a future resurrection to our own judgment, whether everlasting life or everlasting disgrace. Christians entertain the awesome hope of either being resurrected or rapture upon the Return of Christ. The rest of mankind will experience their own resurrection on Judgment Day after the Thousand Years are ended.

What should be our attitude then? Realizing there is only one absolute we all know for a surety – that we will die – and the high probability of God’s existence, we ought to think seriously about our life now. King Solomon words in Ecclesiastes put us in a sober frame of mind to consider our life now: 7.1 “A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one's being born. 2 Better is it to go to the house of mourning than to go to the banquet house, because that is the end of all mankind; and the one alive should take [it] to his heart. … 9.4 For as respects whoever is joined to all the living there exists confidence, because a live dog is better off than a dead lion. 5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun. 7 Go, eat your food with rejoicing and drink your wine with a good heart, because already the [true] God has found pleasure in your works. 8 On every occasion let your garments prove to be white, and let oil not be lacking upon your head. 9 See life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life that He has given you under the sun, all the days of your vanity, for that is your portion in life and in your hard work with which you are working hard under the sun. 10 All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.” (NWT)

With this serious frame of mind we ought to be moved to think seriously every day as if this we the last page in that book or scroll that Messiah will one day read with our everlasting destiny in mind. The Nazarene with regard to this judgment: John 12:46-48, “I have come as a light into the world, in order that everyone putting faith in me may not remain in the darkness. 47 But if anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I came, not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day.” (NWT) Do we, then, want to familiarize ourselves with that “word” of the Nazarene so we understand what he expects of us?

For details on this matter we suggest reading the work by the Friends of the Nazarene Nazarene Commandments which is a list of the “commandments” of the Nazarene. (John 14:15; 15:12) These emphasize the need for a loving disposition in our treatment of others. If this day end as the last page in your own book of judgment, how will you feel about this final entry? Each day then we may begin the day with this thought in mind: “Lord, if this be my final page let it be one that pleases You.”

Happily, though, the God of our Lord does not judge us on just one page. By our faith in Christ we can have some of these pages removed and live our lives as one pronounced Not Guilty. Each of us is preparing a biography of our lives. Like King David there are some pages of which we are not proud. We thank God through Christ that He forgives us as we have forgiven others. Therefore, today, this day, go about it as if it were the last entry in your log the Creator is keeping on his creatures. May it reflect that spirit expressed by the Beloved John: “So now, little children, remain in union with him, that when (the Christ) is made manifest we may have freeness of speech and not be shamed away from him at his presence. If you know that he is righteous, you gain the knowledge that everyone who practices righteousness has been born from him.” (1 John 2:28, 28 NWT)

The God of our Lord the Nazarene bless the purity of your heart and the good you do. Amen.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved