Memphis Belle

The Destiny of Mankind
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The Destiny of MANKIND:



TWO RESURRECTIONS FROM THE DEAD ARE PROPHESIED TO OCCUR IN THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION, AS WELL AS ELSEWHERE (CF. REV. 20; DAN. 12:1-3; JOHN 5:28-29). WHAT ARE THESE RESURRECTIONS? DON'T YOU GO TO HEAVEN OR HELL WHEN YOU DIE? WHAT DOES THE BIBLE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS SUBJECT THAT IS SO FUNDAMENTAL TO CHRISTIANS AND JEWS ALIKE? (And please temporarily put all your past understanding of this subject aside and view what is written here with an open mind. The accuracy of how we present the gospel to the unconverted world is at stake here.)

In one place the Bible says that David was not to remain dead, in the grave, and it also said that Christ's body wasn't even to decay. We know that Jesus Christ's body probably didn't decay during those crucial three days and nights in the grave and that the Bible says he ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of God the Father forty days after his spectacular resurrection back to immortality. But what about all who die in Christ, what about the Holy Prophets, what about those few kings of Israel that proved by their fruits that they possessed the Holy Spirit? Do they go to heaven when they die? Apparently Jesus Christ was pioneering a path to salvation for mankind. And if he was really doing that, then true Christians must follow a similar path as he did. He died, was buried, and after a specific passage of time, he was resurrected back to life as an immortal spirit being. He was able to appear and disappear at will. Finally, because he was very God, as God the Son, and came from God, he ascended back to God the Father's throne where he resides to this very day. Will we follow a similar pattern? What does the Bible have to say about this most interesting question? Do we die and then get instantly resurrected and go to heaven? Or do we just go to the grave and remain dead forever? What about this subject of Eternal rewards and going to heaven? What does the Bible say?

What follows is an honest survey on the Bible theme of death and resurrections. In this survey the Bible's plan of salvation unfolds. One might consider this information part of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. That Gospel of the Kingdom of God [not to be confused with the Gospel of Jesus Christ] is a massive all-encompassing subject in the Bible which appears to have three dimensions, past, present and future. But this paper's main focus is strictly on what the Bible has to say about resurrections and their timing in world history and the future, which gets us into a lot of Bible prophecy.

OPENING SCRIPTURES: According to the Bible, king David is not to remain dead, in the grave forever. And Christ's body is not even to decay. Psalm 16:10-11. "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hebrew: the grave, ground]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." This Psalm of David is a prophecy about the body of Jesus Christ and his own body. A little further on we will see what the New Testament has to say about this psalm of David. But let's focus in on who Jesus Christ was for a moment. The Bible prophesies in Isaiah that the Christ would be born of a virgin. Let's take a look and see what it says. The miracle of Christ's divine conception is prophesied here. Isaiah 7:13-16. "And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and chose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings." This is basically saying that the line of kings of both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah was to end before the Christ child would be born. We find this amazing prophecy was fulfilled after the Assyrian captivity of Israel in 721-718 B.C. and Nebuchadnezzar's final captivity of Judah in 585 B.C. Jesus Christ's miraculous conception in the virgin Mary did take place after these two events, some three hundred odd years after the time of Ezra and Nehemiah! Jesus Christ is the corner stone of the plan of salvation. His birth, life, death and resurrection are crucial to the subject of salvation. Before his birth only one or two resurrections back to physical life are recorded in the Bible, and it is basically a footnote in the whole theme of resurrections. What we mainly find in the Old Testament are prophecies about resurrections to come.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES THE BIBLE DEFINE AS A RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD? Isaiah 26:19-21. "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. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." These last statements are making reference to a period in the future, during World War III and the massive carnage that will make proper burial virtually impossible, thus this prophecy is about what we will see in the first resurrection. Does the Bible give us any examples of what a resurrection from the dead is? Let's look to the life of Jesus and see what a resurrection from the dead is, basically.


Matthew 9:18-26. "While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned himself about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame thereof went abroad into all the land." Now that is a Bible example of what a resurrection from the dead is. A dead body comes back to life. The Bible shows that there will be two distinct kinds or types of resurrections. One type, like this one, is back to physical life. The other type is to immortality, where the recipient died as a physical human being, but is resurrected back to life as an immortal Spirit Being.

Jesus Christ was using the miracle-working power of God to resurrect ordinary people who had recently died back to physical life to prove his Messiahship. He also had his future apostles go out and work similar miracles to prove they were of him. Matthew 10:6-8. "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils [demons]: freely ye have received, freely give." In another account we see a widows only son raised to life by Jesus, right in the middle of his funeral procession! Luke 7:12-15. "Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother." One of the most spectacular resurrections back to physical life that Jesus Christ carried out was that of Lazarus, who had died four days earlier. Many Jews in and around Jerusalem knew that he had died. John 11:39-45. "Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed on him." These are pretty dramatic examples of resurrections back to physical life. The Bible, as we shall see, lists one massive resurrection back to physical life, and one massive resurrection to immortality.

OF ALL THE RESURRECTIONS, JESUS CHRIST'S RESURRECTION WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT. His resurrection pioneered the way for our individual resurrections to that of Immortality, composed of Spirit, as he is. The Apostle Paul brings this out in the fifteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. I Corinthians 15:17-20. "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 in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." As familiar to all of us as the next scripture is, it clearly indicates that the wages of sin is death, not Eternity spent in an ever-burning hell-fire. Romans 6:23. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is Eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

As we are seeing, resurrections back to life were used by Jesus Christ to prove the authenticity of his Messiahship, that he was indeed the prophesied Messiah come in the flesh. The final proof would be in his own resurrection--but his resurrection would be different from all these resurrections back to physical life. He would die as a physical human being and be resurrected back to Immortality--as a Spirit Being! And then he would go back to God, from whence he came-for He was the Word, Logos, the YHVH part of the Godhead, which is Elohim. Jesus Christ gave basically only one sign of the authenticity of his Messiahship to the disbelieving Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees. That he would be killed, and remain in the grave for exactly three days and three nights, exactly 72 hours, and then would be resurrected back to life. Let's look at the eye-witness accounts of the apostles to see what happened. The faith that Christianity is built on is based on these accounts. Let's understand what these accounts show us, for they show us a path to salvation and Eternal life. They show us a door into Eternity--and that door is Jesus Christ. Matthew 12:38-40. "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whales belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

The day Christ died was the Preparation Day before the first High Day during the Days of Unleavened Bread. This was Passover day. Christ had taken the Passover the previous evening at sundown, 24 hours earlier than the Jews' Passover Seder meal. The New Testament Passover is 24 hours earlier than the Jewish Passover memorial meal marking the very night they started their journey out of Egypt many centuries earlier. The New Testament Passover is the Christian memorial of Jesus Christ's sacrificial death. This particular day was a Wednesday, 31 A.D. Jesus died around three o'clock in the afternoon. The Sabbath mentioned in the following scripture was not a weekly sabbath but what the Jews called a High Sabbath. He had just observed the New Testament Passover the night before. (Some Bible scholars believe this occurred on Tuesday evening of 31 A.D.) Luke 23:54-56. "And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid. And returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment." Three days and three nights from Wednesday afternoon takes us to late Saturday afternoon, the end of the weekly sabbath, the 17th Nisan 31 A.D. This would be the time of the resurrection. Roman guards were present. They had been present for three days and three nights. The tomb had been sealed with a Roman seal. To desert their post's meant a death sentence. But somehow these hardened soldiers fled the scene in fear for their lives, for the next day, Sunday morning, we find a different scene. This sabbath spoken of in this next scripture is the weekly sabbath, which fell between the two Holy Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Mark 16:1-7. "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week [Sunday is the first day of the week in the Jewish calendar], they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."

JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE!! THIS WAS ONLY A PREVIEW OF WHAT'S TO COME! JESUS CHRIST PIONEERED THE WAY FOR US! HE WAS THE FIRST TO BE RESURRECTED TO IMMORTALITY, BEING CHANGED FROM FLESH TO SPIRIT COMPOSITION! Luke 24:13-31. "Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles [sixty stadia] from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know him. And he said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which happened there in these days?" [This was Jesus' uncle] And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." Then he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and he indicated that he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And he went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew him; and he vanished from their sight."


Matthew 27:24-25. "When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified." According to Jim Bishop this was a crowd of Jews who were associated with the temple, what we might call "in the temple's employ." They were being "coached" by the priests who were with them. This wasn't the general populace, who actually loved Jesus.

John 19:25-26. "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas [Cleopas, Jesus' uncle], and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing by, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son!'"

Matthew 27:62-66. "The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir" they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, `After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting a guard." [NIV text from here on.] John 20:11-19. "...but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, `Woman, why are you crying?' `They have taken my Lord away,' she said, `and I don't know where they have put him.' At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. `Woman,' he said, `why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?'

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, `Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.' Jesus said to her, `Mary.' She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, `Rabboni!' (which means Teacher). Jesus said, `Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: `I have seen the Lord!' And she told them that he had said these things to her. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, `Peace be with you!" [Shalom!]

I Corinthians 15:3-8. "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep [died]. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."


Acts 4:1-2. "The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead."

The only Scriptures that the apostles and Jesus himself studied and taught from were the Scriptures of the Old Testament, at this present time when this event happened in the temple. The Word of God in the Old Testament is consistent with the Word of God in the New Testament in this matter. What does the OT Word of God teach about those who have died? Let's see for ourselves.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20. "Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath, man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless [K.Js. "vanity" taken from the Hebrew meaning "emptiness--temporary"--which physical life is.]. All go to the same place; all come from the dust, and to dust all return."

Ecclesiastes 9:4-5,10. "Anyone who is among the living has hope--even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten...Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."

The apostle Paul mentions nothing in his epistles about the dead being or remaining in a conscious state after death--he only mentions soul sleep, which tends to agree with Ecclesiastes 9:4-5,10.

Acts 2:29-34. "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "The Lord said to my Lord: `Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'"

Gleaning a vital fact out of these verses about King David, who possessed the Holy Spirit, we read "I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day...For David did not ascend to heaven..." This is what the Bible says both in the New Testament and the Old. What then is the reward of those God has promised to save, and as we so often put in the present tense by saying, those who are saved?



 (Paul before Felix) Acts 24:10-15. "When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: `I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."

 (Jesus Christ's own words on the subject:) John 5:28-29 (King James Version). "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life [i.e. the resurrection to immortality] and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [Strongs #2920, Greek: krisis; decision; by extension a tribunal...judgment]." [i.e. the 2nd resurrection, cf. Revelation 20:5,12-13.]

Daniel 12:1-3. "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."

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