“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 Corinthians 15:16-18 KJV.
“Peter, speaking through the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, said: ‘Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.’ ‘For David is not ascended into the heavens.’ The fact that David remains in the grave until the resurrection proves that the righteous do not go to Heaven at death. It is only through the resurrection, and by virtue of the fact that Christ has risen, that David can at last sit at the right hand of God.
Paul declares: ‘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.’ If for four thousand years the righteous had gone directly to Heaven at death, how could they be said to perish, even though there should never be a resurrection?
When about to leave his disciples, Jesus did not tell them that they would soon come to him. ‘I go to prepare a place for you,’ he said. ‘And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.’ And Paul tells us, further, that ‘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. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ And he adds, ‘Comfort one another with these words.’ How wide the contrast between these words of comfort and those of the minister previously quoted. The latter consoled the bereaved friends with the assurance, that, however sinful the dead might have been, he was received among the angels as soon as he breathed out his life here. Paul points his brethren to the future coming of the Lord, when the fetters of the tomb shall be broken, and the ‘dead in Christ’ shall be raised to eternal life.
Before any can enter the mansions of the blest, their cases must be investigated, and their characters and their deeds must pass in review before God. All are to be judged according to the things written in the books, and to be rewarded as their works have been. This Judgment does not take place at death. Mark the words of Paul: ‘He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.’ Here the apostle plainly stated that a specified time, then future, had been fixed upon for the Judgment of the world.
Jude refers to the same period: ‘The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the Judgment of the great day.’ And again he quotes the words of Enoch: ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all.’ John declares that he saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened;’ ‘and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books.’
But if the dead are already enjoying the bliss of Heaven or writhing in the flames of hell, what need of a future Judgment? The teachings of God’s word on these important points are neither obscure nor contradictory; they may be understood by common minds. But what candid mind can see either wisdom or justice in the current theory? Will the righteous, after the investigation of their cases at the Judgment, receive the commendation, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,’ when they have been dwelling in his presence, perhaps for long ages? Are the wicked summoned from the place of torment to receive the sentence from the Judge of all the earth, ‘Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire’ Oh, solemn mockery! shameful impeachment. of the wisdom and justice of God!
Nowhere in the Sacred Scriptures is found the statement that the righteous go to their reward or the wicked to their punishment at death. The patriarchs and prophets have left no such assurance. Christ and his apostles have given no hint of it. The Bible clearly teaches that the dead do not go immediately to Heaven. They are represented as sleeping until the resurrection. In the very day that the silver cord is loosed and the golden bowl broken, man’s thoughts perish. They that go down to the grave are in silence. They know no more of anything that is done under the sun. Blessed rest for the weary righteous! Time, be it long or short, is but a moment to them. They sleep, they are awakened by the trump of God to a glorious immortality. As they are called forth from their deep slumber, they begin to think just where they ceased. The last sensation was the pang of death, the last thought that they were falling beneath the power of the grave. When they arise from the tomb, their first glad thought will be echoed in the triumphal shout, ‘0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory?'” EGW, SOP, Vol 4, 1884, pp. 366-369.
It is the 4th day of this Ministry’s Zoom Camp meeting. We will continue tonight at 7:00-9:00pm US Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT). We will culminate our meeting this Sabbath 11:00am US (EDT) with a testimony from Tatenda Chinomona, from Australia, and will continue the study of Revelation 8:10.
I fully appreciate your support and prayers for this Ministry. Thank you so much.