Death Delusions

>>This presentation is brought to you by the friends of the Amazing Facts ministry.


>>The Christians of the ancient Mediterranean world used catacombs, a network of subterranean chambers and galleries for burial. But during times of persecution, the catacombs became places of refuge because burial grounds were guarded or sacrosanct by Roman law. When churches above ground were destroyed by imperial order, worshippers met in catacomb chapels. By AD 200, Christians had carved some 600 miles of tombs in the volcanic rock in and around Rome. Eventually, the catacombs expanded into honeycombs of galleries with staircases and multiple levels. Romans preferred cremation, but Christians followed the practice of interring the dead in catacombs, which they called caiametria, or sleeping places, to suggest that for a Christian, death is merely a sleep before the resurrection. Did you know that Jesus plainly taught that death is a sleep? In fact, all of scripture confirms that it is an unconscious sleep until the resurrection at Christ's return. So why is there so much confusion, even among Christians, over what happens when we die? And how can you protect yourself against some of the potentially dangerous delusions about death in the last days?

>>I don't know if you've been to Paris before. They've got a tourist attraction there that is a little bit grisly. It's the catacombs of Paris. Unlike the catacombs in Rome, where it shows where the Christians lived and some of the burial areas, but in the catacombs of Paris they, basically, had a problem with finding new graves shortly after the French revolution because, you know, they were just - so many people were butchered with the guillotine - they couldn't manage all the graves and it became unsanitary. Well, there were all these ancient catacombs under Paris so they began to stack up the bodies - the remains - of six million Parisians in 190 miles of tunnels and there are about 160,000 tourists that visit Paris every year and they go down into these catacombs and they wind down this spiral staircase and they've got tour guides and most of it, obviously, is blocked off. They've got the one guy that works there and he - they said, 'Doesn't this bother you - all these spirits surrounded by all the ghosts of all these bones?' and he said, 'Well, it made me feel a little bit creepy at first but' - he says - 'now the bones kind of fall off and I pick them up and I stick them back in.' - he said - 'You know, you just get used to it after a while.'

How'd you like to have that job? But do you really need to worry about walking through a cemetery and the people spooking you? I heard one time, you know, people put some interesting things on their tombstones and it's an education to walk through a cemetery. And this one man, he put on his tombstone, "Stop, my friend, as you go by, as I am now - as you are now, so once was I, as I am now, you soon shall be, so prepare yourself to follow me."
Well a schoolboy was walking through the cemetery and he stopped and looked at that writing on the tombstone and he scribbled with crayon, he said, "To follow you I'm not content, until I know just where you went."
And that's really the big question: where do they go? What happens to people when they die? Jesus gives us some encouraging words in the book of Revelation, chapter 1, verse 18. He says, "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore...and I have the keys of (hell) and of death." Now the word hell there in the Bible represents the grave. He says, 'I've got the keys of the grave and death.'

We don't need to be afraid of death. If you understand this subject, you'll come to find that Christians do not really die, they go to sleep. Let's find out what the Bible says. Let's get into our study. Question #1: to understand the subject of death, we've got to go back to the beginning and look at what happened when God first made man. How did we get here in the first place? It says in Genesis 2, verse 7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." You notice it does not say that God gave man or injected him with a soul. The combination of the breath of life and the dust of the earth that the Lord assembled - man then became a living soul.

Don't miss that. When God first made Adam and he put all the positions - the organs in their place and there was blood in Adam's veins but his heart was not beating and he had a set of lungs but they were not breathing - then it says, 'God breathed into him that breath of life.'

Question #2: what happens when a person dies? Basically, it's creation in reverse. You read in Ecclesiastes 12, verse 7, "Then the dust" - the body - "shall return to the earth as it was." We know what happens when you die, you decompose. And it says, "and the spirit will return to God who gave it." So what is this spirit that returns to God at death? Is it a ghost that hops out of you? It says in Job, 'All the while my breath is in me and the spirit of God is in my nostrils.' Well, I bet you never thought about it that way before - you've got a soul up your nose - the spirit of God in your nostrils, what does that mean? It's the word there spirit is the Hebrew word ruach and it means 'The breath of God is in my nostrils.'

The words breath and spirit are interchangeable many times in the Bible. It Hebrew it's ruach. The word often translated spirit in Greek is pneuma and so the word pneuma means breath. And so a lot of people have translated spirit - it's just the word breath and they think it means a ghost jumps out of you. Again, the body without the spirit is dead. That word there spirit in James chapter 2 is breath. The body without the breath is dead.

Everything breathes in our world. Even fish breathe. Mushrooms breathe. There is no life without breath. Every single cell of life in our world uses the gases of air somehow - they breathe or they die. So what is a soul then? The Bible talks about the soul and everybody thinks it's a little butterfly ghost - some kind of pink cotton candy that comes out of you. It's just, you know, an ethereal creature. That's not what the Bible teaches.

What is a soul? Genesis 2:7, "The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground," - we're going to review this - "and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a (soul)." The combination of the two things becomes a soul. Let's suppose for a moment here I've got a box - just a little wooden box - it's a combination of wood and nails. And I put the wood and the nails together and I make a box. Two components - wood and nails - box. So I now take my hammer and I pull out the nails and I set them over here, and I take the little pieces of board - the wood - and I set them over here. I've still got the nails. I've still got the wood. Where's the box? The box stops being a box when you separate the two.

That's the way it is with you being a soul. When you separate the breath of life from the body, it stops being a soul. Your soul experiences everything your soul experiences in your body. So the idea that you've got a little ghost inside you that goes flitting around after you die, you don't find that in the Bible.

Question - big question - do souls die? Can a soul die? Some people say, 'No, your soul's immortal.' Let's find out what the Bible says. Ezekiel 18, verse 4, "The soul who sins" - can you see what that says? - it shall what? - "The soul who sins shall die." The penalty for sin is death. Only the Lord has immortality. So you don't have an immortal soul. Matter of fact, you can read in Revelation 16, speaking about one of the plagues it says, 'And every soul in the sea died.' There the word soul is speaking about every living creature. And so when it says, in Ecclesiastes 'The body returns to the earth as it was and the spirit returns to God who gave it', what is that spirit that returns to God? Every creature in the world gets its life from God and when any creature dies the life returns to God who gave it. It doesn't mean that it's up there having a conversation - the butterflies and the fish are all talking to each other - they've all got these little ghosts. It's just talking about the power of life returns to God who gave it. And we read a lot of things and superstitions into the Bible. It's not there.

Do good people go to heaven right when they die? Here's what the Bible says - Job 17:13 - "If I wait, the grave is mine house." They sleep a dreamless sleep in the grave. And again, 'Men and brethren' - Peter speaking - 'let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried and that his tomb is with us to this day.' Now, I'm speaking about good King David, you know, the one who killed Goliath.

How many believe, if you know your Bible at all, that David would be saved? David's going to be saved. David died 3,000 years ago - 1,000 years before Christ - good man, good king. Here Peter is preaching right now at Pentecost 1,000 years later - after the cross - after Jesus ascended to Heaven - and he said, 'Let me tell you about King David, that he is dead and buried and his grave is still with us to this day.' They could look and see where his grave was, right there outside Jerusalem. It's still there today - I've been there.

Reading on, Peter says, 'For David is not ascended into the heavens.' Now I don't know how more clear the apostle can be when he says, 'He's dead. He's buried. His grave is with us and he's not in Heaven.' so if good King David is not in Heaven yet and Jesus has had 3,000 years to get him there, then maybe we don't go there until a future time.

Let's keep reading. When is that time? John chapter 5 - these are the words of Jesus - verse 28. When the Lord comes back it says, "...all that are in the graves shall hear His voice" and come forth. There's a resurrection. How many of you knew there was a resurrection? People don't come out of their graves until the resurrection. That's the purpose of the resurrection.

>>Don't go anywhere, friends, we'll be back in just a moment with the rest of today's presentation. One of the most confusing subjects in our world today is the big question: what happens when we die? Seems like everywhere you turn, someone out there has a different opinion about the afterlife, whether heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo, or eternal nonexistence. Well, are you tired of all the contradictory and confusing messages? Wouldn't you like to know what the Bible really says once and for all? To help answer all of your questions, Amazing Facts would like to send you a very special free gift. It's called, "The Afterlife Mystery." This attractive, full-cover magazine provides simple, but vital biblical facts to help you decode death, hell, and eternal life amid all of the confusing deceptions today.

In a captivating, contemporary way, it presents powerful lessons about what happens when we die, and more importantly, how you can be ready for eternity. To get your free copy, call the phone number on the screen and ask for offer number 839 or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, be sure and share it with a friend. Let's return now to today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts from the word of God.

How much does one comprehend after death? I mean, don't you die and at least you're in limbo or Purgatory or Pbraham's bosom? We've got all these places we've concocted where people kind of - it's a waiting room for Heaven or Hell and the Bible doesn't teach that. Show me the word limbo in the Bible. Purgatory - where's that in the Bible? It's not there, is it? These are just man-made things. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10 - several places you can look. Do you believe the Bible, friends?


>>Here's what it says: "...The dead know not anything," - couldn't be more clear than that. It's like a dictionary definition. - "neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun." Under the sun means in this life. Once a person dies, they don't come back to haunt anybody. They don't know anything. They have nothing to do at all with anything that's going on in this world.

Again, speaking of the dead, it says, 'His sons will come to honor and he knows it not. They are brought low and he perceives it not of them.' In other words, when a person dies, they're not up in Heaven looking down on their family - first of all, would you be very happy up in Heaven if you could look down and see all the trouble that your family is having and maybe your kids are going through? I mean, would you be enjoying the bliss of Heaven when you see all the tragedy and misery on this world? It says the people in Heaven have no more pain - no more sorrow. They're not going through all that agony of watching what's happening down here, they are sleeping a peaceful, dreamless sleep.

Now some of us are thinking right now, 'Pastor Doug, what about that verse there in 1 Corinthians - 'To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'? Well, that's absolutely true. If you're saved and you die, your next conscious thought is the presence of the Lord. Jesus called unconsciousness - the unconscious state of the dead - sleep in John 11, verses 11 to 14. How long with they sleep? It says, 'So man lies down and he rises not until the heavens be no more.'

Now we read this one to you a moment ago. When is it when the heavens are no more? 'The day of the Lord will come in which the heavens pass away.' So they sleep until the heavens are no more. They sleep until the heavens pass away. That's when the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. So it's at the coming of the Lord that the dead will rise. They're not risen yet. As far as they're concerned, they have no consciousness of time. The resurrection happens as soon as they die because it's the next thing they know, but we live in time, has it happened yet? 'For as in Adam, all die. Even so, in Christ shall all be made alive.' So everyone dies in Adam. We've all got these physical bodies. Adam died. God's saying 'The day you eat thereof you will die.' Adam began dying, spiritually, and then even began dying physically the day that he sinned. 'But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits' - here's the order - this is New Testament. When do they raise? - 'Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ's' - what does it say? - 'at His coming.' When do they rise? We all die, but afterward 'They that are Christ's, at His coming' - that's when they come back to life. If that's clear say 'Amen.'


>>That's so clear to me. Jesus made it so clear, He said, 'Our friend lazarus is asleep.' and then He later explained, when the disciples said, 'Well good, he's sick - sleep, that'll be good for him.' He said, 'No, no, Lazarus is dead.' Jesus said, 'I'm speaking in symbolic terms. Lazarus is dead.' Later He goes to the tomb to raise Lazarus - he'd been dead four days and Martha wanted to - she said, 'Lord, it's not going to be pleasant.' He said, 'Roll away the stone.' and she said, 'By this time there's a bad smell because he's been dead four days. You know it's so - death is not a pretty thing.' And He said, 'He's not going to smell.' 'It's going to be awful, Lord.' He said, 'Roll away the stone. Trust me.' When they rolled away the stone it probably stunk when they did. But then Jesus said - 'When He said these things He cried with a loud voice, 'Lazarus come forth.'' All of a sudden, in the dark opening of that tomb, this figure came waddling out, bound up with these mummy-like cloths and Jesus said, 'Loose him.' Lazarus was alive.

Now here's a question: a lot of the Christian world teaches today that when you die you go right to Heaven or Hell - before the judgment, before the resurrection. Have you heard that? That is a false teaching. It doesn't matter how popular it is, it is unbiblical. And, if nothing else, use your head - think. There are about twelve resurrections in the Bible. If one person was resurrected in the world today - a bona fide resurrection - dead and buried four days, doctors declared them dead - dead, dead, dead - cold, lifeless, dead - no brain waves - buried him. Four days later they open the grave, they stink, and all of a sudden they come back to life. Would you have every news agency in the world sending reporters - and they would be shoving microphones in their face and saying, 'What was it like on the other side? What did you see? What did you experience?' Right?

How come, out of the twelve resurrections in the Bible, not one of them ever comments on what they experienced in death? Because they didn't experience anything! I mean, can you imagine? What a dirty trick that would be. Here Lazarus dies - he's up in Heaven. He's with the angels. He's getting - reaching out for the tree of life and all of a sudden - poof! - he's back in grave clothes. 'Thanks Jesus, I really appreciate that.' 'Yeah, I thought I'd raise you 'cause you're my friend - bring you back, give you your old body again.' Would that have been - or, I mean, you know, if he was burning in Hell and Jesus brought him back he'd say, 'Oh boy, it was hot. Thanks a lot!' But he makes no comment at all about anything. Why? Because they knew back then the dead don't know anything. They're asleep. It's a dreamless unconscious sleep. It doesn't matter how popular the other teachings are, they're not biblical, friends.

What happens to the righteous dead at the second coming of Jesus? It says in 1 Corinthians 15, 'We'll be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet' - speaking of the trump when the Lord descends - 'for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible.' - speaking of the saved dead. They're the ones in the first resurrection - 'for this corruptible' - this old body is not going to be there - 'it must put on incorruption' - the glorified body - 'and this mortal' - we're mortal now - 'will put on immortality.'

When do we get immortality? When the Lord comes. Our bodies aren't immortal yet. What was the devil's first lie? First lie that the devil told in the Garden of Eden? He said to Eve, 'You shall not surely die.' God said, 'You eat the forbidden fruit and you'll die.' There's two choices that God has given people. He 'so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish' - die - 'but have everlasting life.' It's life or death. That's what salvation's all about - life or death. 'He that has the son has life; he that has not the son has not life.'

You see, the devil says, 'You either live forever in Hell or you live forever in Heaven because you're immortal.' The Bible doesn't teach that. We've got life or death that we get to choose. The dragon said, 'You'll not really die, you'll be transformed into a ghost or you'll be reincarnated.' He's got all these other theories. 'That old serpent called the devil and satan who deceives the whole world.' He's a serpent. That's what the dragon said to Eve, 'You don't really die.' Does the devil still say that today?

You know what's sad? The devil is saying it today through many pulpits around the world - that people don't really die, they turn into ghosts or spirits or angels or they're reincarnated, or they're channeled somewhere else in some other universe and there's no limit to the theories.

Question #8: why did the devil lie to eve about death? Could this subject be more important than many people think? 'And when they say unto you, 'Seek those that have mediums and wizards who whisper and mutter,' - people go to get a soothsayer - they go to get someone who will channel - an occultist - a medium - to call back the dead - to communicate. God says, 'Should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?' God is saying, 'Why are you trying to talk to the dead?' and yet our culture is just full of this. "Some shall depart from the faith," - Paul said - 1 Timothy 4:1 - "Giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils;" a lot of people on our world - even in our churches - that have been seduced by spirits - they're deceived - and they say, 'Well, I know what the Bible says, but I had this spirit tell me.' A lot of folks - and some who don't even believe in God, somehow believe in ghosts. You help me figure that out. They don't believe in God but they believe the dead, somehow, can communicate. They believe in spiritism is what it is. Life after death.

Scientists search for the meaning of near-death experiences. You've heard of near-death experiences? Sometimes they're called 'NDEs'. A person dies on the operating table - ostensibly dies - supposedly they die - their heart stops beating - and so the brain is not getting oxygen and then they have this experience where they come out of their body and they then begin to hover above the operating table and they can kind of hear what's going on and they're having all kinds of weird experiences.

Some doctors did some research on this, regarding carbon dioxide and out of body experiences - OBEs, here. In one experiment, Doctor Ladislas Meduna administered 30 percent carbon dioxide and 70 percent oxygen to a subject. Afterward the subject stated, 'I felt as though I was looking down at myself - as though I was way out here in space. I felt sort of separated.' Well the guy didn't die. You show me someone gets their head cut off and comes back. (Laughter) I'll be impressed. That's not what happens. Their heart stops beating is typically what happens.

Do devils really work miracles? It says, 'For they are the spirits of devils working miracles.' And again he says, 'I will go forth and I'll be a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets.' Can devils perform signs and wonders and miracles?


>>Can they deceive? It says, 'There will arise in the last days false christs and false prophets and they' - do what? - 'they show great signs and wonders inasmuch that if it were possible they would deceive even the very elect.' God is saying, 'Look, I've told you beforehand.' So why do we need to understand this subject in the last days? Because the devil is going to use the misunderstanding about death to deceive many people. "By thy sorceries" - Revelation 18:23 - "were all nations deceived."

I heard a story about a woman who was, I think, living in San Francisco at the time, during the Vietnam war. She had a son over there. The son was not a Christian - anything but. And then one day she got a very tragic note in the mail. It said - when she opened it up she started to shake because she knew it was from the State Department. It said, 'We regret to inform you that your son is missing in action and presumed dead.' Oh, she was just totally devastated - her only son and it really hurt her because she was a good Christian and, by all outward experience it seemed like he had died lost.

And then one day, while she was in her bedroom weeping, all of a sudden her son appeared and he was there and he said, 'Mom' - and he's in this glowing robe - he said, 'I've seen you. I've been watching you. You're crying over me and you don't need to cry anymore.' He said, 'I'm okay.' and so she didn't know what to think. She said, 'Son' - she went to lunge for him and hug him and he said, 'You can't touch me.' - he said - 'but I want you to know that you don't need to worry.' 'But you aren't a Christian.' He said, 'God is merciful. He saves everybody.' And she said, 'Well, that's not what the Bible says.' 'Well, these warnings are in the Bible to encourage people to live right, but God is merciful. Nobody's going to Hell. No one will be lost.' And he began to tell her all these things that were contradicting the Bible and she was so confused. And he appeared to her several times and it made her feel good to see him. It gave her comfort to see this apparition but she was so - and she was a leader in her church. She didn't know what to do.

And then one day she heard a knock on the door and she opened the door and there's her son again, except now he's in a uniform and his arm is in a sling. And she said, 'Why are you appearing at the door and why are you wearing this uniform?' And he said, 'Mom, what are you talking about? Aren't you glad to see me?' It was her real son. He wasn't really dead. Evidently, the devils got - their computer software crashed or something. They messed up and they started impersonating her son and he wasn't really dead. She saw something, but it wasn't her son. And he had been working on her to deceive her about what the Bible really said, eroding the teachings of the Bible.

Are you thankful for the Bible truth that teaches us the truth on this sensitive subject of death? You know, I'm so glad you can say with the apostle Paul that 'I might know Him and the power of His resurrection.' Jesus said, 'I am He that lives. I was dead and behold, I am alive forevermore.' And He's got the keys of death and Hell. We're finishing where we started. He's got those keys of life and He's offering them to you and me. That's good news, friends. Nobody's up there haunting you. People don't get their rewards until the Lord comes back. The Bible says that because Jesus rose again, we can rise again. He is the resurrection and the life. If you've got Jesus, you've got life.

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