Ouch! ... that's a terrible blow to atheists. They think that they can just die one day, and never live again - and never answer for their deeds on earth or anywhere else. How convenient. Atheists believe in determinism which states that each cause has an effect. But, they omit to state that it is only they who are free from this injunction, as their lives and deeds - and death - has no consequences or effects. How inconsistent is that belief? Enough of that. I am here to bury Caesar, not to praise him, lest he should rise again.
Scripture teaches that we will never die, once we are reborn, and that people who have not been reborn are still dead. Reborn is the word for being born of the Spirit of God. Dead means we are spiritually dead due to our sins.
Let us start off with two passages where Jesus Christ Himself talks about life hereafter:
Firstly, His argument with the Sadducees (people who do not believe in the resurrection):
Mat 22:23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, v:24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die ....
Mat 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, v:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. v:33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
Secondly His teaching to Nicodemus:
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. v:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? v:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. v:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Then we have two scriptures pointing to the fact that people who live may be dead (spiritually) and those who are dead, may be alive (spiritually):
Luk 9:59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. v:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
Joh 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. v:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. v:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. v:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
And speaking of Lazarus - there is where we will start our investigation into the resurrection, because Lazarus is a type of the believers who died in the flesh, and who went to the grave or pit as it is known. If we read the passage in John 11 carefully, we will see that Jesus is not here talking to Lazarus or about him. He is using this opportunity to talk about His own death and the consequent resurrection of the dead. That is why He shouted at Lazarus: Joh 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. It is still the same shout we hear in: 1Th 4:16 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:
When Jesus Christ spoke about the grave and hell, he even used the same name of Lazarus again: Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; v:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. v:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. v:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. v:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. v:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: v:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. v:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. v:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. v:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Our understanding then is that the grave and hell (or the bosom of Abraham - paradise and hell) are two totally separate things. And the first is where Jesus went in to set the captives free. (See part 16).
Paul confirmed this in: 1Co 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.
And what better example do we have than Jesus Christ Himself, who rose from the dead. If, then, what is said here is true, shall we not get our lives in order to please God and even to get some prize from Him which he promised: Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.