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*** By what
figure does the Bible represent death?
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning
them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no
hope.” 1 Thess. 4:13 (1 Cor. 15:18, 20) (John 11:11-14).
NOTE. In sound sleep
one is wholly lost to consciousness; time goes by unmeasured; and the
functions of the mental organs are suspended for the time being.
*** Where do
the dead sleep?
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall
awake.” Dan. 12:2.
*** How long
will they sleep there?
“So man lieth down, and riseth not, till the heavens be no
more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” Job. 14:12.
*** What must
take place before Job could expect to awake?
“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my
appointed time will wait, till my change come.” Job 14:14.
*** Where does
“If I wait, the grave is mine house; I
have made my bed in the darkness.” Job 17:13.
*** While in
this condition, what does one know of those he has left behind?
“His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are
brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” Job 14:21.
becomes of man’s thoughts at death?
“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that
very day his thoughts perish.” Ps. 146:4.
*** Do the
dead know anything?
“For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know
not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of
them is forgotten.” Eccl. 9:5.
*** What part,
if any, do they take in earthly things?
“Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now
perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that
is done under the sun.” Ecc. 9:6.
NOTE. If one
continued in consciousness after death, he would know of the promotion or
dishonor of his sons. But Job says he does not know this, then if, as
stated in the last text quoted, in death one loses all the attributes of
his mind, as love, hatred, envy, etc., it is plain that his thoughts have
perished, and that he can have nothing more to do with living objects.
Again if man in death prolongs his powers of thought, he lives; and if he
lives he must be somewhere. Where is he? Is he in heaven, or in hell? If
in either place immediately after death, what is the necessity of a
judgment in the end of the world to decide his case? Is there a
possibility that some have at death gone to the wrong place, and must
needs be sent to the other, after having been in bliss or torment for
*** What does
the psalmist say about the dead praising the Lord?
“The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down
into silence.” Ps. 115:17.
*** How much
does one know of God when dead?
“For in death there is no remembrance of thee.” Ps. 6:5.
*** But are
not the righteous dead in heaven?
“For David is not ascended into the heavens.” Acts 2:34.
*** If the
dead cannot praise God, what must take place to enable them to do so?
“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they
arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the
dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isa. 26:19.
*** What was
the only thing with which David would be satisfied?
“As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be
satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Ps. 17:15.
*** If there
should never be an awakening of the dead, what would be the result?
“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; and if
Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then
they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” 1 Cor. 15:16-18.
*** When does
the resurrection of the righteous take place?
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with
the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in
Christ shall rise first.” 1 Thess. 4:16 (1 Cor. 15:23).
NOTE. If, as we have
learned (Eccl. 9:5), the dead know not anything, then they will certainly
have no knowledge of the lapse of time. A thousand years will be to them a
day or a moment. To go down to the grave, and wait till the resurrection,
even though it be a thousand years, will be to those who experience it
like a sudden transition from this life to the next. It ought to be a
consoling thought to one whose life has been filled with anxiety and grief
for loved ones who persist in wickedness, to know that they will in death
be spared torment. Again, it would mar the felicity of one’s enjoyment in
heaven if he could look upon earth, and see his friends and relatives
maltreated by strangers, or suffering from cold and hunger. It is wise
that God has ordered it as expressed by the patriarch: “His sons come
to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he
perceiveth it not of them.” Job 14:21.
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