Is It Biblical To Set Up Images Of Divinity And Dead Saints And To Bow Down To Them?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version)

It’s common practice among some Christians to venerate the Holy Trinity, as well as dead saints (including Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus), by setting up images of them in places of worship (as well as in their homes), and by bowing down in reverence to such images, during prayer and worship. This practice, which is considered an act of respect or reverence for the people represented by those images, is a long standing tradition dating back to the immediate post-Apostolic period. The veneration of images of the Holy Trinity and saints became more pronounced and widespread during the reign of Emperor Constantine, when Christianity was made the state religion in a hitherto pagan Roman Empire. Is it biblical to set up images of divinity and dead saints in our homes and places of worship? Is it scriptural to bow down to or venerate such images, including those which are supposed to represent the Holy Trinity? We shall attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words:

Exodus 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

Exodus 20:6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The second commandment expressly forbids the making of images of any kind, whether of things in heaven, on earth or beneath the earth, for the purpose of worship or veneration. God made it clear to his people in the Scriptures that such an act amounted to idolatory and would be severely punished. When God spoke to Israel at Mount Sinai/Horeb, while establishing his covenant with them and giving them his laws for observance, he made it clear to them that he deliberately did not appear to them in any visible form or similitude, so that they would not see any form or picture to ascribe to divinity. Therefore, he warned them not to make an image of any form to represent him. Thus, we see God is particularly against the idea of being represented by images of any form or shape, both as a memorial and for veneration. Any image designed by humans to represent divinity is thus abhorrent and detestable to God!

Deuteronomy 4:10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

Deuteronomy 4:11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness.

Deuteronomy 4:12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.

Deuteronomy 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets.

Deuteronomy 4:14 And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.

Deuteronomy 4:15 You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully,

Deuteronomy 4:16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman,

Deuteronomy 4:17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air,

Deuteronomy 4:18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.

Deuteronomy 4:19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars —all the heavenly array —do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

What stands Jehovah apart from every other god worshipped by heathens is that he is a Spirit and invisible, and cannot be localised in the form of a statue or an image. We are told in the Scriptures that God is a Spirit, and that those who worship him must do so in Spirit and in truth. That’s the kind of worshippers God seeks- those who will connect to him spiritually without the need of physical images to appreciate his reality. The worship of Jehovah requires a faith relationship to connect to him. By his Spirit dwelling within his people, God connects with us in a profound manner, and thereby enables us to experience his awesome reality in a very personal way. Thus, without seeing God physically, true believers experience God spiritually, and have the witness of his presence within themselves, and therefore do not need any physical link to God in the form of statues and graven images! The Christian lives and walks by faith and not by sight!

St. John 4:19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.

St. John 4:20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

St. John 4:21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

St. John 4:22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

St. John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

St. John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

St. John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

St. John 6:46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (KJV).

1 John 3:24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith —of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

1 Peter 1:9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

Those who make images of the Godhead and dead saints and approach such in prayer and worship claim it’s done out of respect, and that the physical images help them to connect to divinity and the departed saints. They claim they don’t actually worship those images, but only use them as a means of connecting to the persons represented by the images. An examination of these claims in the light of the Scriptures and common sense render them baseless and absurd. Firstly, concerning the divinity, no one has seen God at anytime. Even for Jesus Christ the Son of God that once lived among men during his incarnation, no true picture of him exists that was captured while he walked on planet earth. The same goes for all the departed old and new testament saints whose images and statues adorn most cathedrals and religious shrines. Thus, the images and statues we see in these places of worship, that are supposed to represent divinity and departed saints, are only figments of some people’s imaginations! They are not images of the Godhead or of departed saints! There’s no difference between the images adorning some cathedrals and those adorning heathen shrines! Baptising such idols with Christian names doesn’t make venerating them any less idolatrous! People are bowing down to pagan idols inside Christian tabernacles, all the while thinking they’re worshipping Jehovah! What satanic deception! Secondly, you cannot kneel or bow down before an image or a statue and claim not to have worshipped or venerated it, for the very act of bowing down to an image constitutes worship! Don’t be deceived! The moment you kneel or bow down before an image you’ve worshipped the image! Even when some men of God fell down before angels in adoration, out of awe, they were severely rebuked for doing so, and commanded to worship only God instead! Above all, Jehovah expressly forbids people venerating images of him or of any being for that matter! He abhors and detests it, and so should we! Kneeling or bowing down to God in worship does not require an image or statue!

Psalms 95:6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

Psalms 95:7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,

Psalms 95:8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,

Psalms 95:9 where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.

Psalms 95:10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ’They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’

Psalms 95:11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ’They shall never enter my rest.’”

Revelation 19:9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

Revelation 19:10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”

Revelation 22:6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Revelation 22:7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

Revelation 22:8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.

Revelation 22:9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”

The three Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), like thorough-bred Jews, recognised the gravity of the sin of bowing down to an image, and would rather die than be compelled to do so! They rightly understood that image-worship was a heinous sin with grave consequences! Even Naaman, the Syrian general, upon conversion to the Jewish faith after his miraculous healing by Elisha, dreaded to escort his heathen king to the house of his god, as was his duty, for he feared to be leaned upon by the king when bowing down to the image of his god! We all need to have such fear of bowing down before any image, for it constitutes idolatory, and is a direct affront to God and a violation of the second commandment! Even the patriarchs understood that secretly bowing down to an image in one’s heart was an act of idolatory that deserved to be severely punished; how much more then when we make a public display of it!

Daniel 3:8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews.

Daniel 3:9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever!

Daniel 3:10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,

Daniel 3:11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace.

Daniel 3:12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon —Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego —who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king,

Daniel 3:14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?

Daniel 3:15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.

Daniel 3:17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.

Daniel 3:18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

2 Kings 5:15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

2 Kings 5:16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.

2 Kings 5:17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD.

2 Kings 5:18 But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also —when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.”

2 Kings 5:19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

Job 31:26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor,

Job 31:27 so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,

Job 31:28 then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

In conclusion, the Bible expressly forbids the setting up of images of any being in heaven, on earth or beneath the earth, for the purpose of worship or veneration. Such an act directly violates the second commandment, and provokes God to intense jealousy. And, God promises to punish fiercely those who indulge in such acts of idolatory! Jehovah is an invisible Spirit, and those who worship him must do so in Spirit and in truth. It requires a faith relationship to connect with God and serve him rightly. Every born-again child of God is connected to God spiritually, through his indwelling Holy Sprit, and doesn’t need to behold vain images of divinity to revere and focus on God. The divine reality is impressed upon the souls of true believers by the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is the seal of our salvation, and our connection to divinity. The Christian lives by faith, not by sight. It is therefore neither respect nor reverence for divinity that image worship inspires; rather, those who bow down to or venerate images of deity or dead saints only end up provoking God’s wrath and jealousy, and inviting judgement upon themselves! Let’s therefore desist from all forms of image-worship and worship God in Spirit and in truth, for that’s the only kind of worship that pleases God and secures his blessings.

Thanks for visiting and for reading. We look forward to reading your responses and feedbacks. God bless you!

Is It Biblical To Pray To God Through Angels And Departed Saints? An Examination Of The Doctrine Of The Mediatory Role Of Angels And Saints In Prayer And Salvation

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version)

Some Christian denominations propagate the doctrine of the mediatorial and intercessory roles of angels and departed saints in prayer and salvation. Such groups believe and teach that angels and departed saints can facilitate the prayers of living supplicants, and can also help avert God’s wrath and procure his blessings. Do angels and dead saints have any role to play in salvation and prayer? Can angels and departed saints act as mediators between God and mankind? Together, let’s search the Scriptures as we attempt to answer these questions.

The New Testament teaches that there is only one mediator between God and mankind, and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ was found worthy to die on behalf of mankind in order to reconcile us back to God. When no one could redeem Adam’s fallen race from the curse of sin and death (not even angels in heaven were found worthy to do that!), God’s only begotten Son had to leave his place of glory in heaven and come down to earth in the incarnation, to identify with fallen mankind and take their place in death in order to redeem them from God’s wrath. Christ’s vicarious death for the sins of humanity provided the ransom for all who would believe in his substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice on Calvary. By this singular act of humility and obedience to the Father’s will that led to the supreme sacrifice of himself, Christ obtained a name above all names, both in heaven and on earth, and the sole right to be high priest, intercessor and mediator between God and mankind.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Revelation 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

Revelation 5:2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

Revelation 5:3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

Revelation 5:4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.

Revelation 5:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Revelation 5:7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Revelation 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

Philippians 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

Philippians 2:11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

To consider the suitability of angels as mediators between God and mankind, let’s try to understand their positions and duties in God’s kingdom. Angels are servants of God who minister to him as well as to those who are heirs of salvation (saints). That’s what angels are- servants of God and of God’s people! They run errands for God and do his biddings. The angels are in such awe of God’s holiness that they can’t even bear to look at his face, and are always covered in his presence, as a mark of absolute reverence and humility. As holy and as fearful as we consider angels to be, God charges them with folly! How then can such creatures that fear and tremble in God’s majestic presence be expected to stand straight before him to intercede for mankind? How can servants who can’t speak for themselves while in God’s awe-inspiring presence speak for another? In the Scriptures, there’s not a single instance of an angel interceding for mankind, either to avert God’s wrath or to procure his blessings. As faithful servants, angels act only as they are instructed/commanded by God. They do not supplicate God on behalf of men! Angels only execute God’s decreed will and judgement upon men, and they do that without mercy! In fact, there are instances in Scriptures where God had to directly intervene to bring to a merciful end angels’ merciless executions of his judgement upon mankind.

Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Hebrews 1:4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”?
And again:
“I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?

Hebrews 1:6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:
“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

Hebrews 1:7 And of the angels He says:
“Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.”

Hebrews 1:8 But to the Son He says:
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

Hebrews 1:10 And:
“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

Hebrews 1:11 They will perish, but You remain;
And they will all grow old like a garment;

Hebrews 1:12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail.”

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said:
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

Isaiah 6:2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

Isaiah 6:3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

Isaiah 6:4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Job 4:18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly (KJV).

2 Samuel 24:11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,

2 Samuel 24:12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’”

2 Samuel 24:13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

2 Samuel 24:14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

2 Samuel 24:15 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died.

2 Samuel 24:16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

Furthermore, mankind has a higher position in God’s kingdom than angels. Made in the very image and likeness of God, fallen men are redeemed and adopted to become sons and daughters of the living God, and not servants in the house of God, like angels. The Scriptures teach that the saints will one day judge even angels, even though angels are right now more powerful than we are! We do not supplicate angels for intercession on our behalf because we’re higher in hierarchy in God’s kingdom! Faithful angels also understand their positions in the spiritual realm. They neither solicit for prayers to be passed through them, nor do they accept worship from men. When some men of God in the Bible tried to worship angels and bow down to them, following the mighty powers they saw on display by angels, such angels promptly refused veneration, deflecting worship to God instead.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?

1 Corinthians 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

Revelation 19:9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Revelation 22:6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

Revelation 22:7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Revelation 22:8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

Revelation 22:9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

Judges 13:1 Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

Judges 13:2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children.

Judges 13:3 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.

Judges 13:4 Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean.

Judges 13:5 For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

Judges 13:6 So the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name.

Judges 13:7 And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Judges 13:8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”

Judges 13:9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her.

Judges 13:10 Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!”

Judges 13:11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, “Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?”
And He said, “I am.”

Judges 13:12 Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?”

Judges 13:13 So the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful.

Judges 13:14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

Judges 13:15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain You, and we will prepare a young goat for You.”

Judges 13:16 And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food. But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know He was the Angel of the Lord.)

Judges 13:17 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?”

Judges 13:18 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?”

Judges 13:19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the Lord. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on—

Judges 13:20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.

Judges 13:21 When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the Lord.

Colossians 2:18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

Colossians 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—

Colossians 2:21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”

Colossians 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

Colossians 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Similarly, departed saints (including Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus) have no powers whatsoever to influence our relationship with God. Though the saints who have left this world are alive in heaven, they have no business with either mediating in salvation or interceding in prayers. They have finished their race/ministry and are no longer involved in standing in the gap in prayers for people. Departed saints are resting in peace in paradise, while awaiting the reward of their labours at the coming of the Lord. In fact, when we call upon departed saints, we are actually disturbing their rest, and they don’t like that! The prophet Samuel felt disturbed and angry when king Saul called him back from paradise for prophetic guidance, after God had refused to communicate with him any further, because of his rebellion. Perhaps, Saul thought Samuel’s intercession for him could change God’s mind and procure God’s blessings for him, like when he was still alive on earth. But Samuel’s message to Saul was clear- if God has forsaken you, no departed saint can help you! Also, God makes it abundantly clear in the Scriptures that departed saints are not able to avert calamities brought about by their people’s sins, even if it was possible for such saints to intercede on behalf of their people. Any intercessory prayer from a departed saint (which is not even possible) is thus useless before God and cannot therefore help anyone alive!

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Revelation 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

1 Samuel 28:4 Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa.

1 Samuel 28:5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.

1 Samuel 28:6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.

1 Samuel 28:7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.”
And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.”

1 Samuel 28:8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”

1 Samuel 28:9 Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?”

1 Samuel 28:10 And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.”

1 Samuel 28:11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”

1 Samuel 28:12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!”

1 Samuel 28:13 And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?”
And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”

1 Samuel 28:14 So he said to her, “What is his form?”
And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down.

1 Samuel 28:16 Then Samuel said: “So why do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has become your enemy?

1 Samuel 28:15 Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.”

1 Samuel 28:17 And the Lord has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.

1 Samuel 28:18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.

1 Samuel 28:19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”

1 Samuel 28:20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night.

Ezekiel 14:13 “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it.

Ezekiel 14:14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.

Ezekiel 14:15 “If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they empty it, and make it so desolate that no man may pass through because of the beasts,

Ezekiel 14:16 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; only they would be delivered, and the land would be desolate.

Ezekiel 14:17 “Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, ‘Sword, go through the land,’ and I cut off man and beast from it,

Ezekiel 14:18 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only they themselves would be delivered.

Ezekiel 14:19 “Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast,

Ezekiel 14:20 even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

Thus, the Scriptures make it very clear that there’s only one mediator between God and mankind- the Lord Jesus Christ! He’s the only one that makes intercession for his people in heaven, where he’s entered into with his own atoning blood as the propitiation for our sins. Jesus is the only one whose sacrifice was found well-pleasing and acceptable to God on mankind’s behalf. No angel or departed saint can approach God on anybody’s behalf, for none of them is worthy. There’s only one person sharing God’s throne with him and standing at God’s right hand, with the requisite qualification to intercede and mediate for mankind- the only one with whom God is well pleased-and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son!

Hebrews 7:22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

Hebrews 7:23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.

Hebrews 7:24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;

Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.

Hebrews 9:12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

In conclusion, we can only approach God through one person- the Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer to God is to be offered through only one name – the name of Jesus Christ. If we pray to God through any other name, be it that of an angel or a departed saint, God will not hear us! No angel or departed saint merits that mediatorial role between God and mankind! Thus, any prayer offered through any person other than the Lord Jesus Christ is a wasted prayer that can never reach God’s throne! Any worship offered to God through any angel or saint is idolatrous, for no angel or saint is worthy of receiving worship. Angels may be tasked by God to give assistance or help to God’s people, but we’re not to solicit for their help or assistance, for they cannot help us on their own or of their own accord. Angels are just servants and messengers of God who must be called upon by God before they can act on behalf of mankind. And the one who gives the angels their tasks/orders is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Therefore, it’s the name of Christ we must call upon in salvation, prayer and worship. It’s his prerogative to decide how to bring about the answers to our prayers- either through angels or by any other means. To worship or venerate angels and saints and seek their intercession or mediation is idolatrous and sinful! Let’s beware, lest we provoke God to anger by sharing his glory with created beings, while ignorantly seeking to win his favour through their intercession!

The Acts 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

The Acts 4:11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’

The Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Mark 16:19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Romans 10:9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.

Romans 10:13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (AKJV).

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A Biblical Exposition Of The Different Judgements Awaiting Saints And Sinners At The End Of Life On Earth

It’s a well established fact in the Scriptures that every person will face God’s judgement at the end of this life, to give an account of the lives they lived on earth, and to be judged for their deeds/misdeeds. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that it’s appointed unto men to die once, and after this comes judgement. So, God’s judgement is surely awaiting everyone at the end of the road! That’s very clear, and should make us live soberly and carefully, as people who will give an account of their lives someday. However, what’s not so clear to most people is whether saints and sinners will undergo the same type of judgement before God. In this study, we shall examine the Scriptures to understand the different types of judgements saints and sinners will undergo at the end of the ages.

Hebrews 9:27 People are destined to die once and then face judgment (CEB).

The Acts 17:30 God overlooks ignorance of these things in times past, but now directs everyone everywhere to change their hearts and lives.

The Acts 17:31 This is because God has set a day when he intends to judge the world justly by a man he has appointed. God has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (CEB).

Let’s start with the judgement of unrepentant sinners. The Scriptures teach very clearly that sinners who die without remission of their sins will go to hell to await the second resurrection and final judgement at the end of the ages. During the final judgement which will take place at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, all the wicked and unrepentant sinners in hell will come up before Christ in their resurrected bodies, to be judged according to their works. For rejecting God’s grace and salvation through Christ Jesus, they will be judged for their unremitted sins. Sinners will thus be judged according to their works, to determine if their works can atone for their sins and procure salvation for their souls. But, because the best of any man’s righteousness is just like filthy rags before God (for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory), none of the inhabitants of hell standing in judgement before God will be justified, simply because their sins are unremitted, and the wrath of God abides on them perpetually, for rejecting God’s provided way of escape from the penalty of sin. Because the sinner standing before God in judgement was not saved in his lifetime, his name was not written in the book of life, which is the divine record of the redeemed of all ages. All sinners standing in judgement before God will be declared guilty of sin, because their names are missing in the book of life, and they will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. This is the prophesied outcome of the final judgement for all sinners whose sins were not remitted in their lifetime by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 20:11 I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and hell gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works.

Revelation 20:14 Death and hell were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire (NHEB).

St. John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

St. John 3:15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

St. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

St. John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

St. John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

St. John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

St. John 3:20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

St. John 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (NIV).

St. John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

St. John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them (NIV).

Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like the unclean;
all our righteous deeds are like a menstrual rag.
All of us wither like a leaf;
our sins, like the wind, carry us away (CEB).

Thus, we see from the Scriptures that sinners will stand in judgement for their unremitted sins, and that the outcome of this judgement for sin is the second death in the lake of fire. This will be the final destiny of all men and women who died without making peace with God through his son Jesus Christ. Now, what kind of judgement will believers in Christ face, seeing from the Scriptures that they too will undergo judgement before God? What’s the purpose of the judgement believers are to undergo before Christ, and what are the possible outcomes of this judgement? Let’s examine the relevant Scriptures to answer these questions.

It’s important to understand that the believer’s judgement for sin took place vicariously at Calvary some 2000 years ago, when Christ took upon himself the sins of the whole world and became a sin offering, to appease God’s wrath and reconcile sinful men back to God. As many as believe in this substitutionary sacrifice for sin and accept Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour are justified from all their sins and are reconciled completely with God. Christ received the full punishment for the believer’s sins at Calvary. Therefore, no believer shall come into judgement for his sins again, because he is already justified and in right standing with God. There is no condemnation again for anyone in Christ. The believer in Christ has already passed from death to life and cannot be condemned again! God cannot condemn again a man he has justified and adopted as his own son!

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;

2 Corinthians 5:15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

2 Corinthians 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation (ESV).

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

Romans 5:4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Romans 5:10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Romans 5:11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (NIV).

John 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

John 5:23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 5:25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

John 5:26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,

John 5:27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

John 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

John 5:29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me (NKJV).

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,

Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, Father.”

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (NIV).

Since the believer is not appearing before the judgement seat of Christ to be judged for his sins, what then is the purpose of this judgement? The Scriptures make it clear that believers will appear before the judgement seat of Christ for the evaluation of their works and service to God, in order for them to be properly rewarded for their labours. During this judgement, Christ will unveil the motives of our actions and will bring to light everything done in the dark. The sincerity and honesty of our actions and intentions, our sacrifices for the sake of the Lord, the quality of our services, etc, will all be exposed for all to see. The Lord will also judge our faithfulness with the skills, talents, and abilities he gave us to use in his service and in the service of humanity. If our works are found satisfactory, we will receive appropriate rewards from the Lord. If, however, our works are found wanting, we will lose our rewards for service. But, it will not affect our salvation, as salvation is a free gift of grace and not a reward for our works. Our positions in God’s kingdom will be the rewards for our labours, but entering God’s kingdom is entirely by grace, and is totally dependent on faith in Christ Jesus, and not on any works of righteousness which we have done.

Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14:11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way (NKJV).

1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

1 Corinthians 3:5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe —as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

1 Corinthians 3:7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

1 Corinthians 3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Corinthians 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

1 Corinthians 3:13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.

1 Corinthians 3:14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.

1 Corinthians 3:15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved —even though only as one escaping through the flames (NIV).

St. Matthew 25:14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.

St. Matthew 25:15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

St. Matthew 25:16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.

St. Matthew 25:17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.

St. Matthew 25:18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

St. Matthew 25:19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.

St. Matthew 25:20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ’Master,’ he said, ’you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

St. Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

St. Matthew 25:22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ’Master,’ he said, ’you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

St. Matthew 25:23 “His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

St. Matthew 25:24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ’Master,’ he said, ’I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

St. Matthew 25:25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

St. Matthew 25:26 “His master replied, ’You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?

St. Matthew 25:27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

St. Matthew 25:28 “’So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.

St. Matthew 25:29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

St. Matthew 25:30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (NIV).

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —

Ephesians 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast (NIV).

The Lord promised to reward every labour of love done in his name and for his sake. Even a cup of cold water given to someone who belongs to him will not go unrewarded. Every toil, deed and action to promote the cause of Christ on earth is being noted in God’s book of remembrance, and will be rewarded accordingly. It’s at the judgement seat of Christ that the believer will receive the rewards of his service to the Lord during his lifetime. This is the judgement that believers in Christ will undergo- the judgement to evaluate and reward their labours in God’s vineyard. It is a judgement to determine the position of power and authority believers will occupy in God’s kingdom. Some believers who are little known here and relatively unsung will surprisingly occupy the highest positions of honour in heaven after this judgement, because of the quality of their work in God’s vineyard, which, though not noticed by man, was well documented and recognised in heaven. Similarly, some notable names who are considered first here by men will be last at the end of Christ’s judgement of our labours. We need then to be careful and heaven-minded as we serve God and his people, for our ultimate reward will come from God, not man! Let us then do our work as unto the Lord, and not unto men!

1 Corinthians 4:1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.

1 Corinthians 4:4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God (NIV).

St. Matthew 10:40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

St. Matthew 10:41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.

St. Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (NIV).

Hebrews 10:32 Don’t ever forget those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.

Hebrews 10:33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.

Hebrews 10:34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail. When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity.

Hebrews 10:35 Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you!

Hebrews 10:36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Hebrews 10:37 “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.

Hebrews 10:38 And a righteous person will live by faith. But I will have no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” (NLT).

Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.

Malachi 3:17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,

“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”

Malachi 3:18 Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him (NKJV).

Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (NIV).

St. Matthew 19:27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

St. Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

St. Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

St. Matthew 19:30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first (NIV).

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

1 Corinthians 9:27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (NIV).

Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (ESV).

In conclusion, the Scriptures teach that all men will stand before God in judgement at the end of the ages, to give account of their lives and deeds done in the body. Thus, a time of reckoning awaits every man at the end of the road. While all men will face God’s judgement, the nature of the sinner’s judgement is entirely different from that of the saint’s. The sinner will be judged for his unremitted sins, having rejected God’s pardon for sin in his lifetime. The wicked will thus be judged for their sins, and since the wages of sin is death, they will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. That’s the fate of all sinners who were not reconciled to God in their lifetime, through a faith relationship with Christ Jesus. As for the saint, because his sins were remitted in Christ, he will not appear before Christ for judgement on account of his sins, as Christ had already paid the price for the believer’s sins on Calvary some 2000 years ago. The believer has already passed from death to life and cannot come into judgement again for sin. The judgement the believer will face will be to evaluate his services and labour of love in order to determine the reward such labours deserve. The judgement of the believer is thus to determine his reward, position and authority in God’s kingdom, following a lifetime dedicated to the service of God. It’s a judgement of rewards for works, not punishment for sins. No believer will lose his salvation following that judgement, even though some will lose their rewards, because their services will be deemed unsatisfactory. May we then strive to make peace with God through his son Jesus Christ, that we may escape the judgement for sins. May we also, as believers, endeavour to serve faithfully and diligently in God’s vineyard, because our rewards are determined by the quality of our service, as God is no respecter of persons, but will reward each one according to his works.

Revelation 22:10 And he said to me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie (AKJV).

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A Biblical Exposition Of The Different Resurrections Of The Dead, And Their Implications For The Eternal Destiny Of The Soul

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

The resurrection of the dead is a foundational doctrine of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, there can be no redemption/salvation for mankind. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is predicated on the fact that the soul of man does not die at death, being made in the image and likeness of the immortal God. The soul only sheds the garment of flesh it wears at the end of life on earth, as it goes to a new abode. The body decays and disintegrates at death because it is made of the dust of the earth. However, the dead bodies of all people will be resurrected one day, to reunite with their departed souls, so that each person will stand before God in judgement for deeds done while alive on earth. Thus, there’s the promise of resurrection for everyone, whether we want it or not!

1 Corinthians 15:12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

1 Corinthians 15:13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

1 Corinthians 15:15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.

1 Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.

1 Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

1 Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

1 Corinthians 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

1 Corinthians 15:34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God —I say this to your shame.

1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”

1 Corinthians 15:36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

1 Corinthians 15:37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

1 Corinthians 15:38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

1 Corinthians 15:39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.

1 Corinthians 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.

1 Corinthians 15:41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

1 Corinthians 15:42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;

1 Corinthians 15:43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

1 Corinthians 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

1 Corinthians 15:47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

1 Corinthians 15:50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed —

1 Corinthians 15:52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

1 Corinthians 15:54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although every dead person will arise in the resurrection, all dead people will not arise at the same time, and the different timings of the different resurrections of the dead have implications for the final destiny of the soul. In this study, we shall examine the Scriptures to understand the different types of resurrections of the dead, their timings, as well as the implications of each type of resurrection for eternal life and eternal damnation.

To begin with, the Bible teaches that all dead people will arise someday. Death is not the end of an individual, but a transition to another world. When a person dies, the soul separates from the body and goes to either paradise or hell, depending on the person’s relationship with God. The body, which is made of the dust of the earth, decays, disintegrates and returns back to its elemental components. However, at the end of the ages, the bodies of all dead people will arise from the dust of the earth, to reunite with their departed souls, in order for each person to stand before God and give an account of the lives they lived while on earth. Death does not wipe out our accounts here on earth! God’s justice system does not end at death! In fact, God’s judgement is deliberately delayed until the end of each person’s life, and will take place at the end of the ages. How sober should that knowledge make us as we live our lives here?! If we know we must give an account of our lives at end of it all, to a God who will judge us according to our deeds, shouldn’t that make us live our lives on earth with fear and trembling, knowing a day of reckoning is coming, even for deeds done in secret that nobody else knew about? Yes, God sees the things done by each person in the dark, and he will bring every secret work into light, and reward each person accordingly.

St. Matthew 22:23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.

St. Matthew 22:24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him.

St. Matthew 22:25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother.

St. Matthew 22:26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh.

St. Matthew 22:27 Finally, the woman died.

St. Matthew 22:28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

St. Matthew 22:29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

St. Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

St. Matthew 22:31 But about the resurrection of the dead —have you not read what God said to you,

St. Matthew 22:32 ’I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

St. John 11:17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

St. John 11:18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,

St. John 11:19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

St. John 11:20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

St. John 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

St. John 11:22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

St. John 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

St. John 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

St. John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

St. John 11:26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

St. John 11:27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

St. John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

St. John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.

St. John 5:21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

St. John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,

St. John 5:23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

St. John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

St. John 5:25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

St. John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

St. John 5:27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

St. John 5:28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice

St. John 5:29 and come out —those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

The Acts 24:14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,

The Acts 24:15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

The Acts 24:16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

St. Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

St. Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

St. Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

St. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Revelation 22:10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.

Revelation 22:11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

Revelation 22:12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

Romans 2:6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”

Romans 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

Romans 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Romans 2:9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;

Romans 2:10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Romans 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.

Romans 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

Romans 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Romans 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.

Romans 2:15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

Romans 2:16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

The Scriptures describe two types of resurrections, based on the order in which they occur and the type of people involved. First, there is the first resurrection, or the resurrection of the just/righteous. It involves the resurrection of all the righteous dead – all those who died in right standing with God, from Adam to the last saint before the second coming of Christ. Although some saints will arise before other saints, depending on certain chronological events, all the righteous dead will arise within a time frame, before the resurrection of the wicked dead. In fact, some dead saints have already experienced the resurrection of their bodies, and are now in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ in their resurrected bodies. They arose from the dead following Christ’s resurrection, and ascended with him to heaven during his ascension. These are the first categories of saints to go in the first resurrection.

St. Luke 14:12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.

St. Luke 14:13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

St. Luke 14:14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Revelation 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Revelation 20:5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

St. Matthew 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

St. Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

St. Matthew 27:52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

St. Matthew 27:53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Ephesians 4:8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”

Ephesians 4:9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

The next category of the righteous to experience the first resurrection will be those saints who died in Christ between Christ’s ascension and his coming in the rapture. They will arise first, before the living saints at that time will undergo transformation of their own bodies to meet the Lord in the air. Thus, the dead in Christ at the time of the rapture will be the second category of believers to go in the first resurrection. That is why believers in Christ are enjoined not to mourn over dead saints like the people of the world who have no hope beyond life on earth here. Our hope as Christians is not only in this life. If it were, we would be the most miserable of people! If we judge success or achievements in this life as the only reward of our faith in God, then we would be frustrated. There is life hereafter, where the true and eternal rewards of service to God will be given to faithful servants! Whatever we enjoy or suffer here now cannot be compared with the glory to be revealed hereafter!

1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But this is precisely what is written: God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being (CEB).

St. Mark 10:28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

St. Mark 10:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel

St. Mark 10:30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields —along with persecutions —and in the age to come eternal life.

After the rapture of the saints, there will be a short period of time (seven years) during which the Anti-christ (the Beast) will have his reign of evil on earth. It will be at this time that Israel as a nation will come to accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. The Anti-christ will fiercely persecute the Jewish believers and other Gentile believers on earth at this time, and will kill some of them. All the believers in Christ who will die during the reign of the Anti-christ, while the main body of believers are in heaven with Christ in the marriage supper of the Lamb, will also undergo resurrection of their bodies, to join up with the rest of the saints in heaven. This is still part of the first resurrection. In fact, it will be the last part of the first resurrection. This closes the door to the first resurrection, because at the end of the seven-year reign of the Anti-christ, Christ will return with all the resurrected saints to defeat the Anti-christ and establish his millennial reign on earth. During the millennial reign of Christ, there will be no further resurrection of the dead. The first resurrection would have come to an end. The rest of the dead (the wicked dead in hell) will not rise until at the end of the millennial rule of Christ.

Revelation 11:1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers.

Revelation 11:2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.

Revelation 11:3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

Revelation 11:4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”

Revelation 11:5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.

Revelation 11:6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Revelation 11:7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.

Revelation 11:8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city —which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt —where also their Lord was crucified.

Revelation 11:9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.

Revelation 11:10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

Revelation 11:11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.

Revelation 11:12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

Revelation 7:10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Revelation 7:11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

Revelation 7:12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

Revelation 7:13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes —who are they, and where did they come from?”

Revelation 7:14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 7:15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

Revelation 7:16 ’Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat.

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ’he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ’And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ “

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.

Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Revelation 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Revelation 20:5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

At the end of the 1000 years of Christ’s rule on earth, Satan will finally be thrown into the lake of fire, having been given his last chance to deceive the nations and finish his ministry. Thereafter, the judgement of God for sinful men will take place. All the rest of the dead yet to resurrect at this time will now arise. This will be the second resurrection. It is also called the resurrection of the unjust/wicked. All those in hell will be partakers of this resurrection. This is an ominous resurrection, because all those who take part in it will face God’s judgement for sin, having rejected his mercy and salvation during their lifetime on earth. They will stand before Christ and be judged according to their works. But, their works will not be able to save them, because no man’s works, outside of Christ’s merit and sacrifice, can procure salvation for the soul or justification before God, for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Only faith in Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary can save any man. But those standing before Christ in judgement following the second resurrection rejected God’s provided way of salvation in their lifetime. They rejected God’s mercy, and will now have to contend with his wrath. The book of life will be opened to see if the names of those standing in judgement can be found therein, for only those whose names are in the book of life will escape the second death, which is the penalty for those found guilty in this final judgement for sin. Alas! To the consternation of those standing in judgement before God, their names are missing from the book of life, for only those who had a faith relationship with God while on earth (and were thus saved) have their names written in the book of life! Then comes the final verdict and pronouncement of divine judgement- all whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. The second death in the lake of fire is thus the ultimate end of all those who come up in the second resurrection. No wonder the Bible describes those who come up in the first resurrection as “blessed and holy“, for the second death has no power over them. None of those who come up in the first resurrection will come to the second death in the lake of fire, because they were saved in their lifetime by trusting in God’s salvation and having faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour. They will never come to judgement for sin nor to the second death, since they already possess eternal life, having passed from death to life by accepting Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

Revelation 20:8 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.

Revelation 20:9 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.

Revelation 20:10 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 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (AKJV).

St. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

St. John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

St. John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

St. John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

St. John 3:20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

St. John 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

St. John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

St. John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Galatians 2:16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?

Romans 4:2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about —but not before God.

Romans 4:3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.

Romans 4:5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —

Ephesians 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

In conclusion, the resurrection of the dead is a universal hope and promise for all mankind. All dead people will rise again at the end of the ages. However, while some will rise to eternal life and glory, others will arise to everlasting shame and contempt. The resurrection of the righteous/just will take place first, and is thus called the first resurrection. It encompasses the resurrection of all righteous men and women, from the resurrection of Christ, to the second coming of Christ. All those who take part in the first resurrection will enter into eternal life and glory, and will escape the second death in the lake of fire. The wicked will also experience a resurrection from the dead, after the resurrection of the just. This is the second resurrection, the purpose of which is to enable unrepentant sinners undergo judgement for their unremitted sins. Those wicked souls in hell who come up in the second resurrection will end up in the lake of fire, which is the second death, for they cannot escape the judgement of God, having rejected God’s mercy and salvation in their lifetime. By not being part of the first resurrection, all those in the second resurrection will automatically be cast into the lake of fire. Thus, sinners will only be resurrected to be condemned and to experience everlasting shame and contempt. May we all then, like the apostle Paul, strive to be in first resurrection (the resurrection out of the dead), for only those who take part in the first resurrection will experience everlasting life and glory. To be in the first resurrection, we must make peace with God, through his Son Jesus Christ, and be born again and remain so to the end. That is the only way to escape the second death in the lake of fire.

Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss because of Christ.

Philippians 3:8 But, nay, rather I also count all things to be loss because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them to be trash, that I might gain Christ

Philippians 3:9 and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of Law, but through the faith of Christ, having the righteousness of God on faith,

Philippians 3:10 to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death,

Philippians 3:11 if somehow I may attain to a resurrection out of the dead

Philippians 3:12 Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold, but one thing I do , forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to those things before,

Philippians 3:14 I press on after the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (LITV).

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Is There A Transient Place Where Souls Of The Dead Go For Purification Before Proceeding To Paradise? An Examination Of The Doctrine Of Purgatory In The Light Of The Bible

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version)

The term “purgatory” refers to the condition, process, or place of purification or temporary punishment in which, according to medieval Christian and Roman Catholic belief, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for heaven. Purgatory (Latin: purgatorium; from purgare, “to purge”) has come to refer as well to a wide range of historical and modern conceptions of postmortem sufferings short of everlasting damnation (Carol Zaleski, Encyclopedia Britannica).

The concept of purgatory as a transient place of purifying torment and punishment, for souls of the dead who were not totally in right standing with God while alive, is deeply entrenched in Roman Catholic theology. This doctrine teaches that these souls, who were not perfect before God in their lifetime, need to pay for their sins, through fiery purging in purgatory, as well as through the prayers and penances of their living loved ones, in order to secure admission into paradise. How long the souls of those in purgatory are to undergo this sanctifying punishment is not stated, but it would appear to depend on each individual’s degree of sinfulness and the quality of penances carried out on the person’s behalf. Eventually, after making atonement for their sins and unrighteousness, souls in purgatory would be released to proceed to paradise, where they would now enjoy eternal bliss, after earning the right into the presence of God and of the saints. That’s the summary of the doctrine of purgatory as propagated by the Roman Catholic Church and allied groups.

How does the concept of purgatory fare in the light of the Bible? Is there an intermediary place between hell and paradise that serves as a sanctifying ground for those who didn’t make it completely right with God on earth here, and so couldn’t go straight to paradise? Is the concept of atoning for one’s sins by whatever means, outside of the blood of Christ, scriptural? We shall attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Let’s begin our examination of this doctrine by looking at its foundational plank- the assumption that those who die in a state of grace (who died in Christ, one would have to assume) need further purification before being allowed into the presence of Christ in paradise. Thus, this doctrine believes the atoning sacrifice of Christ on Calvary isn’t sufficient to completely save an individual who places faith in it, and therefore the person must still suffer for himself, by undergoing additional purification after death, to be worthy of paradise. What a demeaning and belittling of the perfect sacrifice and great exchange that took place at Calvary some 2000 years ago! What a trampling underfoot of that priceless, precious and efficacious blood of God’s only begotten son that was shed to loose us completely from our sins and make us righteous before God! The very contemplation of the idea that anything can be added by any man to what Christ did on Calvary, to make his salvation complete, is blasphemous in itself! How can anyone’s works, both here and in the hereafter, be imagined capable of facilitating one’s salvation? Christ took a human form in the incarnation for just one reason- to become a sin offering in order to make those who believe in him become the very righteousness of God! Whoever believes in Christ’s perfect atoning sacrifice is justified immediately and becomes accepted before God. Such a person becomes totally reconciled with God and is transformed into a new creature. Whoever has the son of God has life, and will not come into any form of judgement again, as long as he holds onto Christ to the end!

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —

Ephesians 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast (NIV).

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;

2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

2 Corinthians 5:16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Revelation 1:6 And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (AKJV).

Ephesians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Let it be clearly stated here that Christ’s atoning sacrifice on Calvary was perfect! Nothing can be added to what he did by anyone, simply because you can’t make what is perfect better. Christ saves to the utmost and delivers completely those who trust in him. Whoever the son of man sets free is free indeed! He doesn’t save people partially and then expect them to complete their salvation through a secondary purging in purgatory! The blood of Christ purges completely and totally every sinner that’s sprinkled with it! How then can anyone say that someone who died in a state of grace (who died knowing and believing Christ as Lord and Saviour) would require additional judgement and purification in a purgatory to be qualified to be admitted into God’s presence? The blasphemy of this abominable error is horrifying! Let me repeat it again – whoever believes in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour till his last breath on earth received full judgement for sin vicariously at Calvary, and shall not come to any form of judgement for his sin again! Such a person has moved from death to life and cannot be condemned by God again! The believer in Christ has direct access to God’s presence at death, to be escorted there by holy angels! That’s what the Scriptures say! The dying thief on the cross met Christ in his last minutes on earth and ended in paradise same day (Luke 23:42-43)! Lazarus died and was escorted by angels into Abraham’s bosom in paradise same day (Luke 16:22)! Neither went through purgatory before making it to paradise!

Deuteronomy 32:3 For I proclaim the name of the Lord:
Ascribe greatness to our God.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.

Hebrews 7:22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

Hebrews 7:23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.

Hebrews 7:24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;

Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Hebrews 7:28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,

Hebrews 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

So, since the Scriptures make it abundantly clear that the believer who dies in Christ (dies in a state of grace) doesn’t come into judgement, but has passed from death to life, who then goes to this fictitious man-made purgatory? The unbeliever who never placed faith in Christ, or the backsliders who had stopped believing Christ at the moment of death? The Bible is unequivocal about the fate of these groups of people. It’s appointed unto man to die once and thereafter face God’s judgement. There’s no second chance and no second opportunity to make things right with God after death, for judgement follows death. It’s all over for the soul’s destiny at death. The unbeliever who rejected God’s salvation and mercy in his lifetime goes straight to hell! There’s no purgatory anywhere in God’s Bible where the unsaved sinner goes to undergo cleansing and purification for his sins! God’s fire of judgement that burns the sinner is not to cleanse him, but to devour and consume him! No amount of prayer, penance or indulgence can move the sinner from hell to paradise. The final destination of all those in hell is the second death in the lake of fire, for they were already condemned on earth by virtue of their rejection of God’s son and his atoning sacrifice for their sins. Thus, praying for the dead is absolutely useless! Wishing that they would rest in peace does not affect their state one bit, because those resting in peace in paradise are already doing so (and don’t need our prayers for that), while those roasting in hell cannot move to paradise by whatever means, not just because of the wide, unbridgeable chasm/gulf between the two locations, but most importantly, because God’s judgement has so decreed! Whatever state a man falls down in death, so will he remain for the rest of eternity. If he dies a saint, he will arise a saint. If he dies a sinner, his soul will arise from hell a sinner and be cast into the lake of fire in the second death. There’s nothing done for any man after his death that will have any impact whatsoever on the state of his soul! Nothing can be given in exchange for a man’s soul after death!

Hebrews 9:27 People are destined to die once and then face judgment (CEB).

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Luke 16:19 Now there was a certain man of great wealth, who was dressed in fair clothing of purple and delicate linen, and was shining and glad every day.

Luke 16:20 And a certain poor man, named Lazarus, was stretched out at his door, full of wounds,

Luke 16:21 Desiring the broken bits of food which came from the table of the man of wealth; and even the dogs came and put their tongues on his wounds.

Luke 16:22 And in time the poor man came to his end, and angels took him to Abraham’s breast. And the man of wealth came to his end, and was put in the earth.

Luke 16:23 And in hell, being in great pain, lifting up his eyes he saw Abraham, far away, and Lazarus on his breast.

Luke 16:24 And he gave a cry and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may put the end of his finger in water and put it on my tongue, for I am cruelly burning in this flame.

Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Keep in mind, my son, that when you were living, you had your good things, while Lazarus had evil things: but now, he is comforted and you are in pain.

Luke 16:26 And in addition, there is a deep division fixed between us and you, so that those who might go from here to you are not able to do so, and no one may come from you to us.

Luke 16:27 And he said, Father, it is my request that you will send him to my father’s house;

Luke 16:28 For I have five brothers; and let him give them an account of these things, so that they may not come to this place of pain.

Luke 16:29 But Abraham said, They have Moses and the prophets; let them give ear to what they say.

Luke 16:30 And he said, No, father Abraham, but if someone went to them from the dead, their hearts would be changed.

Luke 16:31 And he said to him, If they will not give attention to Moses and the prophets, they will not be moved even if someone comes back from the dead (BBE).

John 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

John 5:29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white seat, and him who was seated on it, before whose face the earth and the heaven went in flight; and there was no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, taking their places before the high seat; and the books were open, and another book was open, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by the things which were in the books, even by their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man by his works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and Hell were put into the sea of fire. This is the second death, even the sea of fire.

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not in the book of life, he went down into the sea of fire (BBE).

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

Hebrews 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

St. Mark 8:36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

St. Mark 8:37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (NIV).

Is there any wonder then that there’s not a single verse in the entire Bible that talks of such a mythical place like purgatory? Yes, not a single verse in the entire Bible! Where then did this unbiblical contraption come from? Who conceived such a damnable heresy to deceive and beguile unstable souls into believing in a second chance at salvation after missing the opportunity here? The answer is simple- devils and and carnal men destitute of the Spirit of God conspired to conceive, hatch and birth this lie, right inside the pit of hell. These fiends from hell try to make the word of God ineffective by their traditions, teaching for doctrines the figment of men’s imagination, rather than the word of God. According to the Lord Jesus, such messengers of Satan cannot escape the damnation of hell! The hottest part of hell is reserved for such people who deliberately and maliciously pervert the right ways of the Lord for greedy gain. The scriptures warned us from the very beginning to be on the look out for these messengers of Satan masquerading as ministers of Christ. Their devilish mischief and horrible end were accurately prophesied in the Holy Scriptures long ago!

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe; they will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons.

1 Timothy 4:2 These teachers are hypocrites and liars. They pretend to be religious, but their consciences are dead (NLT).

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

2 Peter 2:3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

Matthew 15:8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.

Matthew 15:9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

In conclusion, purgatory as a concept of postmortem suffering for self-redemption undermines the all-sufficiency of Christ’s atoning sacrifice at Calvary for man’s salvation. It also contradicts the biblical portrayal of the uselessness of human works for salvation. It is by grace that we are saved, and not by any works of righteousness which any man can do, both here and hereafter. Any soul that’s saved and gets to paradise does so through the merits of Christ alone. No penance, indulgence, prayers for the dead, or offerings of any kind, contributes anything to any man’s salvation. Also, because Christ took the complete judgement for our sins upon himself at Calvary, none of those who trust in him to the end will come to any form of judgement for their sins again, for that would amount to double jeopardy (punishing someone twice for the same offence). As for the sinner who never knew Christ as saviour, death only takes him to hell to await the formality of the final judgement that will catapult him into the lake of fire. The unrepentant sinner stands condemned already as he dies, because he rejected God’s mercy in Christ, and must face God’s full wrath in hell and the lake of fire. There is no second chance at salvation for the sinner after death, as his fate is sealed already. Thus, purgatory as a place of second chance for either saint or sinner is unscriptural. It’s a doctrine of demons designed to deceive and give false hope to people after death. For the soul’s destiny, it’s either hell or paradise, with no intermediary place available in God’s Bible. This mythical place called purgatory is therefore only a figment of the imagination of demon-inspired false teachers.

Thanks for visiting and for reading. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you again. God bless you!

A Biblical Exposition Of Paradise As A Place Of Eternal Rest And Bliss For Souls Of The Righteous After Death

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

The belief in paradise as a place of utter bliss, devoid of sufferings, is widely accepted by most people, both literally and figuratively. Most primitive myths believe mankind started life in some sort of paradise, but eventually lost it, and every human endeavour thereafter has been geared towards recreating some form of paradise on earth. Whether it’s the quest for an El Dorado or Utopia, man’s futile search for paradise on earth only reflects the deep yearnings of the human soul for a return to true paradise.

Paradise is presented in the Scriptures as the final resting place of the righteous, and the ultimate reward for obedience and faith in God. It thus behoves us to understand all we can about this final destination of the saints, in order to be motivated to do all we can to enter into this glorious place. In this article, we shall examine the Scriptures for a clear understanding of paradise, focusing on its location, the state of the souls there, as well as qualifications for entry into it.

When God created the first man and woman, he placed them in paradise in the garden of Eden. It was a place of delight and pleasure. There, mankind did not toil or suffer, nor was there sickness or death. Everything mankind needed for wholesome living was in abundance in that delightful garden. Thus, Adam and Eve lived blissfully in the garden of delight, until they sinned and were chased out of paradise. The man and his wife were evicted from paradise because of rebellion against God, and were sentenced to a lifetime of toil, suffering and finally death. That’s how mankind forfeited paradise, to enter the life we now experience.

Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

Genesis 2:9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground —trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.

Genesis 2:11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.

Genesis 2:12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)

Genesis 2:13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.

Genesis 2:14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Genesis 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ’You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Genesis 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,

Genesis 3:3 but God did say, ’You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Genesis 3:4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Genesis 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Genesis 3:10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Genesis 3:11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Genesis 3:12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me —she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Genesis 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ’You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

Genesis 3:23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Genesis 3:24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Thus, we see that paradise was initially located on the earth, in the garden of Eden. When man was expelled from it, access to it was barred by angelic beings, to prevent fallen man from getting back there in his sinful and corrupt state. Later, paradise was relocated from the earth to a region beneath the earth. At what point the relocation took place is not stated in the Scriptures. But it was relocated from the earth to a region under the earth, to house the souls of righteous men and women after death, pending the resurrection of their bodies. Until the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, paradise remained under the earth, just like hell, but with a wide gulf separating both regions. Apparently, people in both regions could see one another, but couldn’t cross over, because of the wide chasm separating them. While those in hell experience torment and anguish from the unquenchable fire that burns them without respite, souls in paradise are at peace and experience unimaginable bliss.

St. Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

St. Luke 16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores

St. Luke 16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

St. Luke 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.

St. Luke 16:23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

St. Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

St. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

St. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

St. Luke 16:27 “He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,

St. Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

St. Luke 16:29 “Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

St. Luke 16:30 “’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

St. Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

When Jesus died, while his body was in the grave, his soul went to paradise, to show himself to those righteous souls there, as their long awaited Messiah who had now appeared and paid the price for their sins, and thus secured their redemption. Upon Jesus’ resurrection, all those righteous souls in paradise also arose and showed themselves to people who were still alive on earth. And when Jesus ascended to heaven, forty days after his resurrection, he took along with him all the righteous souls in paradise and ascended with them to heaven. He thus relocated paradise from being co-located with hell under the earth, to a new location in the heavens. Now, paradise is located in heaven. Souls of righteous people who die now go to heaven, where paradise is located, while souls of the unrighteous still go to a region under the earth, where hell is located.

St. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

St. Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

St. Luke 23:41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

St. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “

St. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

St. Matthew 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

St. Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

St. Matthew 27:52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

St. Matthew 27:53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Ephesians 4:8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”

Ephesians 4:9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,

2 Corinthians 5:3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Paradise is a glorious and beautiful place where no sin exists and where no sorrow is experienced. There is no crying and weeping there, and no sickness nor death. In paradise, the tree of life nourishes the saints of God, while they drink from the refreshing water of life. The streets of paradise are paved with gold, and the glory of the place is unimaginable. Believers have individual mansions in paradise, as our Lord Jesus told us in the Scriptures. Paul was taken to paradise in an out-of-body experience, and saw and heard things not fit for the human ear to hear, concerning the glory of the place. All Paul could say was that no man can imagine or fathom what God has prepared for the people that love him. The sight of paradise was so glorious that Paul couldn’t wait to die and leave this world in order to get there! It’s that glorious! It was the promise and glory of paradise that kept the saints of old going. It was the country promised to Abraham and his descendants, unto which they looked, and for which they counted life on earth as but dung. That same promise of life in paradise is offered to every believer and overcomer in Christ Jesus. We need to be faithful unto the end and to overcome so that we too will go to this indescribable place of glory!

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (AKJV).

2 Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know —God knows.

2 Corinthians 12:3 And I know that this man —whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows —

2 Corinthians 12:4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Philippians 1:23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

Philippians 1:24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Philippians 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Philippians 1:26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 11:9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

Hebrews 11:12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Hebrews 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Hebrews 11:14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also (AKJV).

Revelation 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

Revelation 22:2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

Revelation 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 22:6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Revelation 2:7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God (AKJV).

Finally, paradise will ultimately be relocated back to earth, where it started, before sin came and disrupted everything. When the rebellion of sin is finally done away with and the wicked are judged and cast into the lake of fire, along with satan and all his rebellious angels, the earth will be renovated and paradise will be relocated from heaven back to earth. Not only will paradise be relocated to earth, God too will relocate his throne from heaven to earth, in order to dwell with his children! God will be with his children physically! We will see him physically and be with me him forever. Paradise then will have no need for the sun or the moon, for God and the Lamb will be its light. There will be no need for physical temples again, because we will see and worship God live! It will be an eternity of blissful living! The desire of all ages and the Utopia man has consistently dreamed of will be here at last! Finally, the meek will inherit the earth when paradise is brought back to the earth.

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

Revelation 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21:4 ’He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Revelation 21:7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth (AKJV).

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (AKJV).

In conclusion, paradise, as the abode of the righteous, was the starting place for sinless man, and it will be his final destination. The original man lost paradise through sin, but thank God Christ’s atoning sacrifice at Calvary has purchased man’s redemption from the guilt and penalty of sin. Christ has thus restored paradise again for as many as would accept him as Lord and Saviour. Paradise should be the ultimate goal of any sane person, as the alternative to missing it is landing in hell and the lake of fire, a horrible place of sufferings and torment, where unquenchable fire burns the inhabitants without respite, for all eternity. In paradise, eternal life is restored, as well total abolition of all the effects of sin and the curse. The holy trinity will be physically present in paradise with the saints, and we will live happily for all eternity, without the devil, his angels and his human agents. We will go back to the very beginning before the fall, and without the chance of it ever happening again, because that old serpent, the tempter and deceiver, will be no more!

Thanks for visiting and for reading. God bless you!

A Biblical Exposition Of The Reality Of Hell As A Place Of Torment And Sorrows For The Souls Of Unrepentant Sinners

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

Some people are of the opinion there’s no literal place burning with fire called hell, where the souls of unrepentant sinners go to after death. While some of the deniers of hell don’t believe in life after death and the reward and punishment that will follow, others simply can’t accept the fact that a merciful and loving God can be that indignant and fiery in his judgement, to send any of his beloved creatures to such a horrible place of torment! Does hell exist? If yes, where is it located? Who are the people that go there, and what is the state of the souls in hell, as well as their ultimate fate? This article will attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

The Almighty God, Jehovah, is a God of knowledge and justice. Each individual’s actions are carefully weighed and rewarded by him. God’s judicial system defers judgement and punishment/reward till the end of each person’s life on earth, thus giving everyone a chance to make things right with him while they’re still alive. God doesn’t count anyone out, until life on earth is truly over for that person. That’s why the thief on the cross was able to make peace with God with almost his last breath, and just about squeezed into paradise thereby. Such is the mercy and long-suffering of God with sinners! He is this long-suffering and merciful with humans because he doesn’t want anymore to perish, but desires for all to come to repentance.

1 Samuel 2:3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogance come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed (AKJV).

Romans 2:2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

Romans 2:3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Romans 2:6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”

Romans 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

Romans 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Romans 2:9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;

Romans 2:10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Romans 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.

St. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

St. Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

St. Luke 23:41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

St. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “

St. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people —

1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

The judgement of sinners who refused to repent during their lifetime on earth will take place at a set time at the end of the ages, for God has set aside a day to judge the world in righteousness. This means that sinners are not being judged individually as they die. All will be judged collectively at the same time, at the end of the ages. So, what happens to the souls of sinners from the time they die to when they will face God’s judgement? The answer to this question may be found in recalling what happens to those who commit heinous crimes, between their arrest and trial. Such offenders are usually kept in custody (prison), pending trial. The same thing happens to sinners when they die. They go to God’s prison house, where they are kept in custody until judgement day. That prison house is called hell or hades.

The Acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

The Acts 17:31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Hebrews 9:27 People are destined to die once and then face judgment (CEB).

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits —

1 Peter 3:20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.

Hell is located beneath the earth. It’s a bottomless pit (abyss) originally created by God to be a prison house for the rebellious devil and his angels. Some of the fallen angels are currently imprisoned there, while the rest, like satan, still roam free on earth and in the heavens. They too will be eventually thrown into hell, and ultimately into the lake of fire, after completing their mission and fulfilling God’s purpose for them. As God’s maximum security prison, hell is under lock and key (Jesus holds the keys of hell), and is guarded by powerful angelic beings. It’s a place of darkness and anguish, where fire burns and torments the inhabitants non-stop. Although hell was initially designed for the devil and his angels, it also houses wicked and rebellious human beings who follow satan to reject God’s rule and his righteousness. We’re told in the Scriptures that the wicked shall be turned into hell, as well as all the nations that forget God. Hell is enlarging every day as it receives more and more human inhabitants. The road to hell is broad and wide, and unfortunately, many people are on it.

St. Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ’Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

St. Matthew 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,

St. Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

St. Matthew 25:44 “They also will answer, ’Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

St. Matthew 25:45 “He will reply, ’Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

St. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;

2 Peter 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;

2 Peter 2:6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

2 Peter 2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless

2 Peter 2:8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) —

2 Peter 2:9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling —these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.

Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Revelation 1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (AKJV).

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (KJV).

Isaiah 5:11 Woe to them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

Isaiah 5:12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.

Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.

Isaiah 5:14 Therefore hell has enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoices, shall descend into it (AKJV).

St. Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

St. Matthew 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

The spirits in hell are conscious and alive, and are sensitive to their environment. They feel the excruciating pain and torment there, as they weep and wail night and day, pleading for mercy and for their agonies to be lightened. But, alas, that’s not possible! The fire will burn them without consuming them, for the soul is indestructible! And so, their torment will continue day and night, till the final judgement.

St. Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

St. Luke 16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores

St. Luke 16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

St. Luke 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.

St. Luke 16:23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

St. Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

St. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

St. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

St. Luke 16:27 “He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,

St. Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

St. Luke 16:29 “Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

St. Luke 16:30 “’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

St. Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

The Lord Jesus warned people to do all they can to avoid hell, as the torment there is real, unbearable and unimaginable! If an eye would cause one to sin and go to hell, the Lord said it would be better to pluck out that eye, than to go to hell with both eyes! If a limb would cause one to land in hell, it’s better to cut off that limb, than to end up in hell with all limbs intact. This is because the torment of hell is for ever, and is better imagined than experienced. There, the fire is not quenched, nor do the worms cease that torment the inhabitants.

Mark 9:43 And if your hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:44 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:45 And if your foot offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:46 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:47 And if your eye offend you, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

Mark 9:48 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt (AKJV).

Isaiah 66:22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure.

Isaiah 66:23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 66:24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Souls in hell will be there till the final judgement. At the final judgement, the inhabitants of hell will be released to appear in judgement before the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be the one to judge all men. Sinners in hell will be judged according to their works. But no man’s works can save him, for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and none is righteous! The righteousness of any man is just like filthy menstrual rags before God. And that is what the inhabitants of hell will find as they stand before God in judgement. Their works, like that of every other person, won’t be able to save or justify them before God, for no man is saved by the works of the flesh (Romans 3:20; 4:2; Ephesians 2:8). By rejecting God’s atoning sacrifice of his Son, and by refusing to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, every sinner is already doomed. Whoever rejects God’s son is already condemned, because the wrath of God abides on such a person. The book of life will be opened to find if the names of the inhabitants of hell are written therein, for only those whose names are in the book of life will escape the second death. Of course, none of the inhabitants of hell will find their names in the book of life, for only the redeemed of the Lord have their names written therein. And because their names are not written in the book of life, all those in hell will be transferred to the lake of fire, having been pronounced guilty before God. This is the second death. All in the lake of fire will burn eternally with fire and brimstone (sulfur).

John 5:22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:

John 5:23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.

John 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;

John 5:27 And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.

John 5:30 I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me (AKJV).

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

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

John 3:21 But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God (AKJV).

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (AKJV).

Thus, we see that the souls of sinners imprisoned in hell are destined for eternal destruction, because their fates were already sealed during their lives here on earth, by their rejection of God’s salvation. The judgement of the final day is but a confirmation of the word of God that those who reject his mercy here are eternally doomed, with no second chance to make things right with God after death.

In conclusion, hell or hades is a prison house and a place of torment designed by God to keep in custody rebellious and sinful men and angels, pending the final judgement. When unrepentant sinners die, they go to hell where they remain until the final resurrection, when they will be released from hell to appear before the Lord Jesus Christ to be judged for the sins they committed while alive on earth. All the inhabitants of hell, because their names are not written in the book of life by virtue of their rejection of God’s salvation in their lifetime, will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. There, they will burn for ever and ever. That is the fate and final destiny of all rebellious sinners among men and angels. Hell is therefore not a metaphor for suffering, but a real place of torment and unimagined sorrows which men should avoid at all cost, by taking hold of God’s pardon for sin through Jesus Christ and getting saved thereby. That’s the only way to escape the torment of hell and the second death in the lake of fire. The God of mercy is also the God of judgement and justice, and he will punish sin and rebellion severely, while rewarding faith and obedience accordingly.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

Hebrews 10:27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

Hebrews 10:31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

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What Happens To The Souls Of Children Who Die Before Reaching The Age Of Accountability?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

The Scriptures are very clear about the fate of adults after death. Their souls either go to paradise or to hell, depending on their relationship with God. Adults bear personal responsibility for their actions as free moral agents. A free moral agent has the mental capacity and freedom of will to make informed choices and decisions, and is held accountable for those decisions, by both God and man. However, the fate of children who have not come to the age of accountability is not so clear-cut, with reference to personal responsibility for their sins. What happens to the souls of children who die before reaching the age of accountability, and before having had the opportunity to repent of their sins and make things right with God? Will they go to hell when they die, or will they be allowed to go to paradise? We will try to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Though no clear-cut Scriptures exist about the eternal destiny and fate of children who die before reaching the age of accountability (and therefore never had the opportunity of making peace with God), circumstantial evidence gleaned from the Scriptures suggest such children would go to paradise at death. From the Old Testament, infants/children were included in the redemptive covenant, and atoning sacrifices covered them too. A redemptive price was named for the children of God’s people (God described those children as belonging to him), and male infants were circumcised on the eighth day, as a seal of God’s everlasting covenant of redemption and ownership. Both male and female infants were dedicated to the Lord at set times after birth. The children thus became the Lord’s, and were under his protective care, until they could decide for themselves whether to remain the Lord’s or not, when they come to the age of accountability.

Genesis 17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.

Genesis 17:10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Genesis 17:11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

Genesis 17:12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner —those who are not your offspring.

Genesis 17:13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.

Genesis 17:14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Leviticus 12:2 “Say to the Israelites: ’A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.

Leviticus 12:3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.

Leviticus 12:4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.

Leviticus 12:5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

Leviticus 12:6 “’When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.

Leviticus 12:7 He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. “’These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl.

Leviticus 12:8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”

St. Luke 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

St. Luke 2:22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

St. Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ),

St. Luke 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Numbers 3:40 The LORD said to Moses, “Count all the firstborn Israelite males who are a month old or more and make a list of their names.

Numbers 3:41 Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the LORD.”

Numbers 3:42 So Moses counted all the firstborn of the Israelites, as the LORD commanded him.

Numbers 3:43 The total number of firstborn males a month old or more, listed by name, was 22,273.

Numbers 3:44 The LORD also said to Moses,

Numbers 3:45 “Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the LORD.

Numbers 3:46 To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites,

Numbers 3:47 collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.

Numbers 3:48 Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.”

Numbers 3:49 So Moses collected the redemption money from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites.

Numbers 3:50 From the firstborn of the Israelites he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel.

Numbers 3:51 Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the LORD.

In the New Testament, we read of children being made holy and sanctified by virtue of the covering of Christian parents. The grace of God upon their parents is said to extend to them also. If God would cover such children with his grace, surely, he would accept them into his presence were they to die before reaching the age of accountability? We also see God going to great lengths to care for certain children in the Bible, providing for their needs and defending them from harm. If he could display such care for their material needs, surely he would care for their souls too? Surely, he wouldn’t allow them to perish in hell were they to die before they get to the age of accountability when they’re reasonably expected to make informed choices about the salvation of their souls?

1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

1 Corinthians 7:13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Genesis 21:14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

Genesis 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes.

Genesis 21:16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

Genesis 21:17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.

Genesis 21:18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Genesis 21:19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Genesis 21:20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.

God accepts and honours the praises and worship of babes and sucklings, and uses them to shame and humble proud and arrogant adults who would not praise God. When the Lord Jesus was triumphantly entering Jerusalem, children kept thundering his praises, to the irritation of the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted the children to shut up. The Lord accepted the praises of the children and rebuked the Pharisees for attempting to shut them up. God does not accept praise from anyone he is not at peace with, as even the sacrifice of the wicked (including the fruit of their lips) is an abomination to him. For the Lord to have accepted the praises of children, it means he also accepted their person. Would he accept the praise of such little ones and thereafter allow them to be damned if they were to die at that tender age?

Psalms 8:1 LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.

Psalms 8:2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

St. Matthew 21:15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

St. Matthew 21:16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “’From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’ ?”

Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
How much more when he brings it with wicked intent! (NKJV).

Furthermore, we’re told in the Scriptures that the kingdom of God belongs to children, and that no one should hinder them from coming to the Lord. We’re also told that except we change and be like little children, we won’t enter the kingdom of God. Those aspiring to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven are enjoined to be like little children. The hearts of children are thus God’s standard of purity and innocence for entry into his kingdom. Also, children have their special guardian angels who behold God’s face daily. Thus, we can see that children occupy a special place in God’s heart and in God’s kingdom. Will God allow such people that matter so much to him to perish in hell if they were to die in their infancy or childhood, before they reach the age of maturity, when they can make informed decisions about following the Lord?

St. Mark 10:13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.

St. Mark 10:14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

St. Mark 10:15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

St. Mark 10:16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Matthew 18:2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,

Matthew 18:3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Matthew 18:6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven (NKJV).

Finally, it will be contrary to the principles of natural justice to punish someone for offences they neither understand nor are aware of, and for which they can neither repent of nor make amends for, by virtue of their immaturity and natural lack of capacity. Human laws absolve minors of responsibility for offences committed, and do not punish them like adults who commit similar offences. Surely, humans cannot be expected to be more just than their Maker? God does overlook sins committed in the days of childhood ignorance, and holds people accountable for their sins only when they come to the age of accountability. Those who do not yet see sin for what it is, and can neither understand the meaning of sin nor its consequences, by virtue of natural immaturity of intellect and lack of capacity, will be forgiven by God during this natural period of ignorance. Children are blind spiritually, and though naked, are unaware of their state and therefore not ashamed of it (like Adam and Eve before the fall) and do not experience the guilt of sin, until they come to the age accountability.

The Acts 17:24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

The Acts 17:25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

The Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

The Acts 17:27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

The Acts 17:28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

The Acts 17:29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

The Acts 17:30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

The Acts 17:31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (NKJV).

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? (AKJV).

St. John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

St. John 9:40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

St. John 9:41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

In conclusion, the Scriptures support the fact that children are included in God’s redemptive plan, and that they have a special place in God’s heart and in God’s kingdom, being God’s standard of purity and innocence. Until they come to the age of accountability when they become responsible for their actions and accountable for their sins, children’s sins are overlooked and covered by God. However, from the age of accountability, children become responsible for their sins and are treated as adults in terms of personal responsibility for their salvation. Thus, from birth till the age of accountability, any child who dies is presumed innocent and will go to paradise. However, because the age of accountability varies from person to person and only God knows when an individual attains that age, it’s important that parents introduce their children early to the Lord, as we do not know exactly when each child comes to his/her age of accountability and becomes responsible for his/her sins/actions before God. No wonder the Scriptures admonish us to bring up our children in the ways of the Lord, so that when they get to the age of accountability, they won’t depart from the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

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What Happens To People After Death? A Biblical Exposition Of The Fate And Destiny Of The Soul Following The End Of Life On Earth.

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version)

Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death —that is, the devil —

Hebrews 2:15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Death is the most dreaded event by humans, partly because of the uncertainties surrounding it. The fear of the unknown makes the thought of dying the most traumatic experience imaginable for any human being. Is death the end of all things concerning a person? Is there life after death? And if there is, what kind of life should people expect to have after dying? These are some of the questions that haunt people throughout life. The Bible provides answers to most, if not all, of these questions, and we would be wise to take time to find out the Biblical facts about the fate of the soul after death, for it’s something that concerns all of us, as the certainty of death is the only reality all men share in common.

When God made man, he made man’s body from the dust of the earth, and then breathed into him the breath of life, and the man then became a living soul. Man thus has two components- his body, which is made of dust of the earth, and the breath of life in him, which is his spirit/soul. When man sinned and death was pronounced upon him, God made it clear that at death, the body, which is dust, would go back to dust. It would decay and decompose and turn back to the very elements that it came from. But, what happens to the breath of life contained in that body at death? Since it’s not part of the dust that must return to dust, where does it go? The answer lies in understanding what death itself is. According to the Scriptures, physical death is simply the separation of the body from the spirit/soul (the breath of life). Once the breath of life permanently leaves a person, physical death is said to have taken place. Thus, physical death is the state of the body without the spirit or breath of life in it.

Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Genesis 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ’You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

The Lord Jesus told us to fear only God, who alone can destroy both body and soul of man in hell. Thus, the concept of the dead ceasing to be aware of happenings around them speaks only of the dead bodies of people, not of their departed spirits/souls. The body decays and decomposes after a few days following death, and eventually disintegrates into its elemental components, going back to the dust from which it was made. The physical body thus becomes lifeless and loses consciousness and awareness at death. But, that doesn’t mean the individual has ceased to exist. He or she may no longer be in contact with the physical world, by virtue of the disintegration of the physical body, but the spirit/soul of the person lives on, in a new abode. Thus, the miracle of raising people up from the dead in the Bible was simply calling back their departed spirits to return into their lifeless bodies. The departed spirit would now leave its new abode and return back to the body, and the body would literally receive the breath of life again and live! That’s a preview of the final resurrection!

St. Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

St. John 11:17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

St. John 11:18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,

St. John 11:19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

St. John 11:20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

St. John 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

St. John 11:22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

St. John 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

St. John 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

St. John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

St. John 11:26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

St. John 11:27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

St. John 11:28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”

St. John 11:29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.

St. John 11:30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.

St. John 11:31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

St. John 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

St. John 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

St. John 11:34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

St. John 11:35 Jesus wept.

St. John 11:36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

St. John 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

St. John 11:38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.

St. John 11:39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

St. John 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

St. John 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

St. John 11:42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

St. John 11:43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

St. John 11:44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

St. John 11:45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

What exactly happens to the spirit/soul of the dead when they depart from this earth? Where do souls of dead people go to? The Lord Jesus told us, from the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, that when people die, their souls either go to paradise or to hell, depending on the relationship they had with God while alive on earth here. If a person was saved and was in right standing with God, at death, their spirits/souls go to paradise, where they rest, while awaiting the resurrection of their bodies. Those who were not in right standing with God and were not saved go to hell or hades, a place of torment and sorrows, while awaiting the second resurrection and God’s judgement, and would eventually be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. The soul’s destiny after physical death is thus contingent on its relationship with God while alive on earth. The wicked are cast into hell, as well as all the nations that forget God, while those who believe and trust in God and serve him faithfully end up in paradise. Paul talked about being absent from the body (physical death) and being present with the Lord as being a far better experience than being alive on earth. Death is simply the soul removing its garment of corruptible flesh, and putting on an immortal spiritual body.

St. Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

St. Luke 16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores

St. Luke 16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

St. Luke 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.

St. Luke 16:23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

St. Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

St. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

St. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

St. Luke 16:27 “He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,

St. Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

St. Luke 16:29 “Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

St. Luke 16:30 “’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

St. Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Psalms 9:16 The Lord is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Meditation. Selah

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell,
And all the nations that forget God (NKJV).

St. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

St. Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

St. Luke 23:41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

St. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “

St. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,

2 Corinthians 5:3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Philippians 1:20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Philippians 1:23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

Philippians 1:24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Philippians 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Philippians 1:26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

We can thus see that the souls of the dead do not sleep with the body at death. The souls of the dead are alive and active after death, in their various locations. They are conscious, feel pain and torment, as well as enjoy peace and happiness. The souls of the dead are knowledgeable and aware of their surroundings and recollect things that happened while in the body. The concept of soul-sleep (the souls of the dead being asleep and unconscious in death, along with the body) as propagated by some Christian groups is therefore wrong and unbiblical.Though the physical natural body disintegrates in the earth and turns to dust, the real individual (the soul) is alive, conscious and will eventually answer for the deeds done in this body. But first, the soul of each person will go to a resting place (paradise for the righteous, and hell/hades for the unrighteous), while awaiting the resurrection of the body and final judgement for those imprisoned in hell. The saints in paradise will rise first in the first resurrection, and will reign with Christ, while the rest of the dead will continue to remain where they are in hell/hades, and will arise in the second resurrection to face God’s judgement and be sent to their final and eternal destination in the lake of fire.

Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.

Revelation 6:10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

Revelation 6:11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.

Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Revelation 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Revelation 20:5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

In conclusion, physical death, which is the separation of the body from the soul, is a necessary end for all humans. The fear of death is universal, and mostly stems from the uncertainties surrounding death and the fate of the dead. The devil uses this fear of death to torment and hold many in captivity, subjecting them to a lifetime of fear and bondage. This need not be so. Death is not the end of a person, but an exit from this world into another. There is life after death, for the soul of man is eternal and does not die with the body at death, being made in the image and likeness of the eternal God. Each person’s destiny after death depends on the life one lived here and the relationship the person had with God. The souls of those who had a right standing with God in this life go to paradise after death, while the souls of the wicked who did not know God nor feared him end up in hell/hades, a place of sorrow and torment. The soul of man does not go to sleep after death, but is alive, conscious, active and relates with its new surroundings, capable of feeling both happiness and sorrows, depending on its location. Life therefore continues after death, as well as the opportunity to give an account of the lives we lived here on earth, and to receive the reward/ punishment for our labours.

Romans 14:7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.

Romans 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

Romans 14:11 It is written: “’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ’every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

Romans 14:12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Give No Offense To Jews, Gentiles Or The Church Of God: Living In Peace With All Men Is Key To Winning Lost Souls For Christ.

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New Revised Standard Version)

Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42:2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

Isaiah 42:4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” (NIV).

Today, it’s common to see some Christians (including ministers of the gospel) deliberately displaying rank hostility towards people of other faiths, as well as other not-so-conservative Christians. These “firebrands” are hailed by their fellow travellers as uncompromising Christian warriors, as they aggressively confront nonconformists and freely throw flames and bombs around, in their reviling and denunciation of people of other faiths. To such people, living at peace with infidels and unbelievers is a sellout and a sign of compromise and weakness. What does the Bible say about our relationship with people of other faiths? Is seeking peaceful coexistence with all men (as much as it lies with us) a sign of compromise and a selling out of the faith? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

1 Corinthians 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest soul winners in the history of the Church, left some hard words for some Christian hardliners in Corinth who appeared to favour a more confrontational approach to the practice and spread of Christianity. Paul was quick to make these provocative firebrands realise that Christianity is fundamentally a religion of peace that seeks reconciliation with both God and man. The gospel we preach is called the gospel of peace, not of war, and the Lord we serve is the Prince of Peace. True Biblical Christianity does not stoke divisions and wars, but promotes peace and harmonious coexistence with all, in order to create a conducive environment for the preaching and acceptance of the gospel. Paul admonished the Corinthians (and by extension all Christians) to desist from practices that deliberately offend Jews, Greeks (heathens) and other members of the body of Christ. His reason was simple- to avoid roiling up non-believers and other believers unnecessarily, especially in the non-essential grey areas of the faith and matters of conscience, so that we can have the opportunity to access them easily and win them for Christ. Paul was seeking, not his own good, but the good of others. We see that view elaborated further in another portion of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.

1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (NKJV).

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Ephesians 6:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (NKJV).

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (NKJV).

Paul further exhorted Christians to pursue peace with all men, as much as it depends on us. Following peace with all men and living sober righteous lives was seen by the original apostles as a necessary prerequisite for the successful preaching of the gospel. Even in the face of extreme provocations and malicious attacks, the apostles enjoined Christians to hold their peace, and not retaliate or return fire for fire. Like the example set by the Lord Jesus himself, when abused we’re not to return abuse, but we’re to commit all things to God who judges righteously. We’re told in the Scriptures that the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind and gentle, correcting with patience unbelievers who do not yet understand spiritual truths. After all, we were once like them, and we’re are what we are today by the grace of God. That same grace is available to all men to bring them into a saving knowledge of God.

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Romans 12:20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.

2 Timothy 2:22 Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:23 Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

2 Timothy 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient,

2 Timothy 2:25 correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth,

2 Timothy 2:26 and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

1 Peter 2:23 When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

Christians do not win other people over by hurling verbal insults and missiles at them, or by demeaning others and making them feel little. We do not win people to Christ by displaying a holier-than-thou attitude. What convicts and converts unbelievers to the Christian faith is not provocative and demeaning utterances, but a Christ-like life of love, meekness and gentleness, and the use of words seasoned with salt that minister grace to the hearers. It is the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit in our lives and words that win the hearts and minds of unbelievers and turn them to Christ.

Colossians 4:5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands, so that, even if some of them do not obey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct,

1 Peter 3:2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:10 For
“Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;

1 Peter 3:11 let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.

There was a time when some of the apostles of the Lord displayed such intolerant attitude towards opposition and resistance. In their misguided zeal for the Lord, these apostles were ready to call down fire from heaven to consume and devour all opposition and adversaries, like Elijah of old. They thought they were still operating under the old testament anointing of tit-for-tat and fire-for-fire, like a lot of Christians today still believe. But, did the Lord put them in check! What a stern rebuke they got from the Lord Jesus, who promptly made them realise that they were under a different covenant from the one Elijah operated under, and that the spirit he came with, which should now operate in his disciples, was different from the spirit upon Elijah! Jesus did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them! We need to take heed to that rebuke of the Lord more than ever today, because that incendiary spirit of those sons of thunder has possessed a lot of Christians! A lot of Christians today are operating under the spirit of Elijah rather than the Spirit of Christ!

Luke 9:51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,

Luke 9:52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.

Luke 9:53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

Luke 9:54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

Luke 9:55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.

Luke 9:56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village (NKJV).

In conclusion, Christianity seeks to reconcile men to God and to one another, through the preaching and the out-living of the gospel of peace. As carriers of the gospel of peace, we should strive to be at peace with all men. Biblical Christianity does not seek to unnecessarily provoke, antagonise or ridicule people of other faiths. Christians are not rabble-rousers or bomb-throwers who delight in stoking divisions and encouraging strife. Our aim is to direct men to the Saviour and convince them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to save themselves from the wrath to come, by embracing the Saviour Jesus Christ. Only a peaceful coexistence with our neighbours and a humble and godly interaction with unbelievers will bring them to Christ. Let us therefore seek peace with all men and ensure it. Let’s stop provoking one another. Instead, let’s follow the things that will promote peaceful coexistence with our neighbours. Like the Scripture says, let us give no offense to Jews, Gentiles or the church of God, for the sake of Christ and his gospel. There is a blessing to being peacemakers, and that is what children of God are!

St. Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.