If It Were Not So: Deception from the Beginning
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”
What happens if something we think is true is not true? We open ourselves up to even greater deception in the last days.
For instance, so many people believe in the “immortal soul.” They believe that when we die, our soul goes “somewhere” – either to heaven or hell or a spiritual world. But the Bible tells us that:
“Who [God] only hath immortality…” 1 Timothy 6:16
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:53
The belief that the soul is immortal was the very first lie that Satan told Eve:
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” Genesis 3:4
The Bible tells us that the soul can die and be destroyed.
“Behold, all souls are mine… the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4
“… fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 12:10
The majority of Christians believe that when they die that their soul will immediately go to heaven. However, the Bible does not support this belief. In fact, the Bible clearly tells us that when you die, you await the second coming of Christ for the first resurrection. We are told throughout the Bible that death is like a sleep.
“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 Thessalonians 4:16
It wouldn’t make much sense for God to send “the dead” back to the grave to raise them up at the second coming. If those who had died in Christ were immediately whisked away to heaven, wouldn’t they just stay?
“Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
“…He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said the disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:11-14
When a person dies, their thoughts perish and they cannot praise God.
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5
“The dead praise not the Lord…” Psalm 115:17
When Lazarus had been in the grave for four days… do you think he had been to heaven? If he had been in heaven, don’t you think he would have said something? People have always wondered what death was like. And if he had been in heaven for four days, it would be a rude awakening to be brought back to the suffering of this world.
The Bible tells us that when Jesus died…
“… the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Matthew 27:51-53
There is no mention of what heaven was like from any of these saints. However, we are told specifically that these saints arose from their “sleep.”
So, you might wonder, ‘What about the thief on the cross? Didn’t Jesus say he would be with Him in paradise that very day?’ Well, we know that the Bible does not contradict itself, so let’s look at it. The verse reads:
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, Today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
The Greek language has no punctuation. So, the scholars who translated the Bible had to insert commas where they felt it was appropriate. If you move the comma over one word, how does it read?
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
The entire meaning of the verse is changed! We also know that Jesus did not go to heaven when he died. Jesus could not have been with the thief in paradise that very day because he spent his time in the grave. The Bible says:
“Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father…” John 20:17
We also know that David, the man after God’s own heart, has not yet been taken to heaven.
“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 into this day.” Acts 2:29
“For David is not ascended into the heavens…” Acts 2:34
Isn’t that amazing? I love how clear the Bible is about all things! The mistake people make is that rather than studying the Bible line upon line, precept upon precept, and here a little, there a little they take one or two verses and make assumptions, pulling the meaning of the verse out of context. A person must look at all the verses about a particular subject to gain clarity in the meaning.
If a person believes that the dead in Christ go to heaven immediately, they often also believe that their loved one can “come back” to give them messages. How easily Satan can deceive those who do not understand!
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Revelation 16:13-15
In the last days it is said that there will be devils working miracles. What would happen to those who believed their dear loved one was in heaven and then they had a “visit” from that person? They would believe whatever that person told them. How easily a person can be deceived! And all because they did not wrestle the Scriptures for the truth!
It is imperative that we protect ourselves from the devil’s deception. We must put on the armor of God.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18