STATE OF THE DEAD

 

As a reader of this page you must have at one point or the other lost a loved one, otherwise of the least must have attended the funeral service of someone you know. Have you ever asked these questions? Where does our love ones go when they die? Do they just disappear from the surface of the earth or do they transit to another world? Had they existed and now gone and gone forever? are they up in heaven looking over us?

 

          Life

Scientists are certain that living organisms: from the smallest micro-organism to the biggest mammal that ever lived on earth, will one day die. Yes, this is true but of all beings that exist there is one whose activities will be accounted for: that of human beings. Man will explain and give account of all his deeds to God. Why? Of all that God created, He handed all over to man as a steward thus he is placed to a higher standard of responsibility to God’s creation just like the saying goes “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Death is the absence of life. Then how did life begin? The bible tells us that God made man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).

             Dust of the ground   +   Breath from God   =   Living Being

 

This is simply what life is. In the absence of life, the formula may then be:

 

           Living Being   -   Breath of God   =    Dust of the ground.

This is death. We will explore these formulae together and see how true they are.

 

At creation God made man in His image (Gen 1:26,27). Man, as a living Soul commune and communicates with his creator and expresses this love between him and his maker. There was this mutual relationship between God and man. Man, disobeyed God destroying the wonderful tie between  him and God. An author wrote “When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, they were innocent and sinless, in perfect harmony with God. Enmity had no natural existence in their hearts”               

                                                                -E.G White Manuscript 72, 1904.

 

The interaction between God and man will be like that two friends who cherished each other and God will send angels to “visit Adam to give them instructions” on daily bases. -E.G.White in Fall of Man, Early Writings, Spiritual Gifts Volume I (1882) pp147.

Before the Fall, not a cloud rested upon the minds of our first parents to obscure their clear perception of the character of God. They were perfectly conformed to the will of God. For a covering, a beautiful light, the light of God, surrounded them. The Lord visited the holy pair, and instructed them through the works of His hands. Nature was their lesson book. In the Garden of Eden the existence of God was demonstrated in the objects of nature that surrounded them. Every tree of the garden spoke to them. The invisible things of God were clearly seen, being understood by the things which were made, even His eternal power and Godhead.”           

                                                                                                                              -Review and Herald, Article Nov 8, 1898

 

 

       Origin of Death

 

The fall of man (man disobeying God) was followed by a consequence: death. Man will never be the same again and man will need the inspiration of God to thrive and to live through this horrible world. God being the origin and his Word as a source of man’s power that will keep him at least lingering on. The original perfect world will never be the same again. Let us not forget that there were other issues that ensued after man sinned just before death will show its power. These we will observe in the interaction between God and our first parents after they disobeyed God revealing the consequences that will ever be with man as he dwells here on this planet.

  1. Shame - The couple “eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” ( Gen 3:7).

  2. Guilt - “And they heard the voice of the LORD God …and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.(Gen 3:8).

  3. Fear – Adam responding to God as He visited said “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.” (Gen 3:10).

  4. Blame game - “The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Gen 3:12). Adam blamed God for the whole situation.

 

         State of the Dead

 

What happened to your loved one who laid in the casket being viewed by family members, relatives, friends, and well-wishers. The bible tells us in the book of Ecclesiastes 12:7 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” There are two sets of persons on this planet: the good and the bad. Everyone’s soul return to the maker, God as our body returns to dirt (earth). This the reason we have cemeteries today. This is the  place to inter those who pass away. The bible never tells us that they are in heaven.

The passage above made mention of the word “Spirit”. What could this be? The word ‘Spirit’ appeared 456 times in the king James Version of the bible. In this same version of the bible the word “Soul” appeared 432 times. They are used interchangeably and may appear to be the same in some versions.

The word ‘spirit’ in the Old Testament on the languages from which the bible in English was translated from:

Hebrew - rũɑḥ.is the Hebrew word that can be translated to be spirit.

Greek word πνεαṽμα and the Latin word ‘Spiritus’ but all three translate to the phrase “air in motion” thus we can say ‘breath’ or ‘wind’. The following passages in the old Testament which is written and translated from the Hebrew:-

Gen 45:27; Judges15:19; Michah 2:7 as ‘breath’,

Gen 2:7 as ‘breath of life’

Gen 6:17 as ‘breath of life’

Exd 10:13,19 as ‘wind’

All coming from the Hebrew word rũɑḥ.

Read these few passages for yourself below:

“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.” Gen 2:7.

"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die." Gen 6:17

 “And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:” Gen 45:27.

 

 "And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all [that] night; [and] when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts."  Exd 10:13

 

"And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt."  Exd 10:19

"But God clave an hollow place that [was] in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which [is] in Lehi unto this day."  Judges 15:19

"O [thou that art] named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? [are] these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?"  Micah 2:7

In the New Testament which is written and translated into English from the Greek language the same word πνεαṽμα existed without an alteration in its original meaning and sense except that in most New testament passages the word man is attached to the ‘Spirit’ thus Man’s Spirit. πνεαṽμα still possesses it meaning of ‘breath’.

2 Thes 2:8 as ‘Breath’

John 20:22 as ‘breath’

 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 

 2 Thessalonian 2:8

"And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:" John 20:22

The word ‘Soul’ is the immaterial part of an individual. The Hebrew word for “soul” is ‘nefeš’. This same word stands for so many other things in Hebrew which is not relevant to this study. The meaning of this word is ‘breath’. From here so many other derivations are seen:

          Referred to as ‘life’ as in 2 Sam 1:9;

          Referred to as ‘breath of life’ as in Jer 38:16; Job 12:10a

         

 

"He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life [is] yet whole in me."    2 Sam 1:9

 "So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, [As] the LORD liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life." Jer 38:16

"In whose hand [is] the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind."  Job 12:10a (caution: the underlined word is the one in consideration. Breath 10b is seen literally in this passage)

 

 

 

 

                                             The Living and the Dead 

 

Did Dead Samuel Talks to Living Saul?

 

There are on television and cable networks about ghost hunters, or one might have heard people say that the house they live in is hunted by ghosts and spirits of the dead. Do the dead really have any contact with the living? Let us see what the bible says about this issue.

The Bible was very specific about the condition of the dead. Ecclesiastes says:

“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. 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.  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” 

  •                                              Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,& 10. The KJV

The passage above answers the question asked about the dead having contact with the living but there are more questions than answers. One would ask, If the dead have no contact with the living then what are all those ghost stories and Halloween stories we hear?

This question takes us to the next level of what the bible talks about evil spirits and demons. In other word one might ask, What are the origin of evil spirits? There was once a time war in heaven (Rev 12: 7,8,9), Satan (then Lucifer) wanted to overthrow God in heaven ( Isaiah 14:12-14). When fought and lost the war he convinced and left with a third of the heavenly angels. Satan, the dragon as he was called in the book of revelation was cast out of heaven (Rev 12:9) and the destination was earth. That was how sin came into the earth. Read the rest of the story in Genesis 3 with the fall of or first parents- Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ confirmed this himself when He told his disciples “ I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:18 KJV

These fallen angels became the agents of Satan in forms of demons and evil spirits causing havoc where ever they go, inflicting illness on humans and animals. They also recruit human agents for which we see today hate crimes, terrorism, evil forces working through magicians, wizards and witches and so on. Their actions are contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ who emphasizes on peace, love, caring for the fatherless, orphans and widows. Human beings do not like to be associated with the devil and Satan himself understands so he will always send his agents of destruction to go on mission in disguise. They preferred being called ghosts, characters of different kinds found in movies than to be identified as the devil. Spiritism is the order of the day and our young ones have access to these influences as long as they are able to lay their hand on internet linked devices.

God knows that communicating with the Devil and/or his agents in whatever form: satanism, bewitchment, demonism, diabolism, enchantment, obiism, witchcraft, witchery will destroy us and God gave  these warnings:

God said “There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch” (Deuteronomy 18:10)(KJV).

             Horoscope and Palm reading seem to belong to this group of divinations which God hates. Children of God beware. We should not take them seriously more especially when they come in a small way such as these as harmless they may appear to be. They are found on most magazines and tabloids and there are people who just literally buy these not because of information but to find out what luck the might obtain for the day. Could you imagine a horoscope message telling you ‘beware on those you might meet today that are wearing red shirt…’. Place yourself in a position where you are planning to share some bible tracks on such a day. What happens to those on red shirts? They will be denied of God’s word on that day?

Also see the following bible passages: 2 kings 17:17; Ezekiel 12:24;13:6&7; 21:23; Exodus 22:18.

              May we analyze this true story in the bible to examine how far the dead conveys massages to the living if at all it happens. Saul, first king of Israel was aware of the God’s instruction when he asked that someone finds him such familiar spirit or media. (1 Samuel 28:6-20). Read for yourself the exact text from the bible. Caution: before you proceed bear in mind that Satan is a master counterfeiter and this story will expose him.

And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 

 “Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, [there is] a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. 

 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me [him] up, whom I shall name unto thee. 

 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? 

And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, [As] the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. 

Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. 

And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou [art] Saul. 

And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. 

And he said unto her, What form [is] he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he [is] covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it [was] Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face to the ground, and bowed himself. 

And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. 

Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? 

And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, [even] to David: 

Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. 

Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow [shalt] thou and thy sons [be] with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. 

Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.”

 

The witch of Endor was his next catch as the Spirit of the Lord has departed from him (1 Samuel 2:5). We are to note that there is no vacuum created in our souls at any point in time. If the Spirit of God is not present, then some other will occupy it. There are only but two of such forces. Pray that it be not that of the devil. The Spirit of God has abandoned Saul thus allowing the evil spirit to occupy his mind (1 Sam 16:14). The evil spirit is now in control of Saul’s soul after he disobeyed God. Saul did not follow God’s instructions on how to eliminate the king and the people of the Amalekites. (1 Samuel chapter 15).

At the war between Israel and the Philistines, Saul saw the Philistines army and was afraid and trembled(fear) (1 Sam 28:5). Earlier on this page we highlighted the point that one of the consequences of sin is fear. This is always the case at the departure of the Holy Spirit. And the king of Israel asked of the LORD and got no response.

As soon as Saul was crowned King, one of his achievements was to eliminate witches and wizards. (1Sam 28:3) The witchery practices were illegal but there were some still engaged in the evil act and were been done secretly.  He certainly knew if he sooth for one that he would find one. Indeed, he found one. The witch of Endor. He went to the witch of Endor who became frightened that Saul came to eliminate her. Convinced by Saul he was on a different mission to enquire of Samuel, she brought up Samuel. (1:Sam 28:12)  Samuel was already dead, buried and mourned before this time. (1:Sam 25:1).

Here goes the drama. The witch of Endor saw ‘gods ascending out of the earth (vs 13). And Saul who sees nothing asked the witch the form in which the gods were. There is something very important for those reading this page to understand. God has a way of doing His own thing. compare the following passages and see the description of the events as God or the angel of the Lord or Jesus himself appeared to His subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Solomon, Joseph, Mary etc .( Gen 17:1; Gen 35:1; Exd 3:15; Judges 6:12; 1 King 3:5; Matt 1:20; Luke 1:11 etc.)

And she said “an old man cometh up: and he is covered with a mantle”. The Holy Scripture goes on to tell us that “Saul perceived that it was Samuel”. Perceived? He knew it was Samuel by perception. Whoever Saul saw had a message for him.

  1. God has taken away your kingdom and given it to David.

  2. God will deliver the kingdom to the Philistines.

  3. You and your children will be with me by this time tomorrow.

The bible tells us that all that was told Saul came to pass. Saul, his three sons and amour bearer were killed in the battle. (1Sam 31:6). The  information relayed to Saul came to pass but does not give any credits to the witch of Endor. In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the LORD (Philp 2:10; Is 45:23). The Spirit of the Lord has departed from Saul and God will no longer communicate with him thus God allowed the evil spirits to reach out to him on the outcome of the war between Israel and the Philistines. The demons and evil spirit are subject to God’s order and command. Saul wanted consultation and counseling but it was too late. God allowed the devil and the demons to tell Saul what was to happen: he and his children will be with 'him' soon. What a scary message. This is also how God allows certain situations and tribulations to get to us in order for us to reconsider our ways especially when we have chosen the wrong path. The evil spirit could relay God's massage.

 

There are so many reason to believe that it was not Samuel that the witch of Endor brought up: first the devil is the father of all lies and liars (John 8:44). The work of the devil is to deceive and he gets people by deception and trickery. Saul must have seen one of the demons disguised as Samuel.

“When Saul inquired for Samuel, the Lord did not cause Samuel to appear to Saul. He saw nothing. Satan was not, and could not be allowed to disturb the rest of Samuel in the grave, and bring him up in reality to the witch of Endor. God does not give Satan power to resurrect the dead. But Satan's angels assume the form of dead friends, and speak and act like them, that through professed dead friends he can the better carry on his work of deception. Satan knew Samuel well, and he knew how to represent him before the witch of Endor, and to utter correctly the fate of Saul and his sons.”

                       -The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol II -1 Samuel Chapter 28 p 1023 (1953).

 Second, Saul as we saw earlier in this page knew that God does not approve of wizards and witches among the Israelites so he barned them from operating in Israel (1 Sam 28:3).

“The Witch and Satan Had an Agreement.--The witch of Endor had made agreement with Satan to follow his directions in all things; and he would perform wonders and miracles for her, and would reveal to her the most secret things, if she would yield herself unreservedly to be controlled by his Satanic majesty. This she had done.”

  •                                     - E.G.White, The Spirit of Prophecy Vol I comment on 1 Sam Chapter 28 pp 375, 376. 

 God’s people consult God in time of need and not the devil. The devil thoughts and deeds are never good for us (John 10:10) but God loves us (John 10:9,11) for He is the good Shepard.

Third, there is no way light and darkness; good and evil would come together (1 Cor 6:14,15; John 1:5). Do you feel that God will allow the agent of the devil to bring up the spirit of Samuel? That will contradict most of the bible passages we have already sited above. Let us examine another  God’s servant that the devil wanted to claim. Moses as the leader of the Hebrew nation on their way to the promise land angered God (Numbers 20:1-13) and God punished him by not letting him and his brother Aaron enter the promise land. The book of Jude reports on how Satan wanted to take advantage of the situation to claim Moses’ body at death but God did not allow him. God will not allow the devil to tamper with His own. (Jude 1:9). Jesus Christ confirms this as He was conversing with the Jews who came to Him at the Solomon’s porch asserting that no one can ever snatch off what belongs to Him (John 10:28 & 29). Fourth, as we discussed earlier God has a way of communicating with His own: the witch of Endor saw gods ascending out of the earth, followed by confusion and perceptions. God means could be any ways that seem good to Him but is always clear and straight forward: confusion is never associated with Him. .( Gen 17:1; Gen 35:1; Exd 3:15; Judges 6:12; 1 King 3:5; Matt 1:20; Luke 1:11).

 

“ When Saul inquired for Samuel, the Lord did not cause Samuel to appear to Saul. He saw nothing. Satan was not allowed to disturb the rest of Samuel in the grave, and bring him up in reality to the witch of Endor. God does not give Satan power to resurrect the dead. But Satan's angels assume the form of dead friends, and speak and act like them, that through professed dead friends he can the better carry on his work of deception. Satan knew Samuel well, and he knew how to represent him before the witch of Endor, and to utter correctly the fate of Saul and his sons. 

Satan will come in a very plausible manner to such as he can deceive, and will insinuate himself into their favor, and lead them almost imperceptibly from God. He wins them under his control, cautiously at first, until their perceptibilities become blunted. Then he will make bolder suggestions, until he can lead them to commit almost any degree of crime. When he has led them fully into his snare, he is then willing that they should see where they are, and he exults in their confusion, as in the case of Saul. He had suffered Satan to lead him a willing captive, and now Satan spreads before Saul a correct description of his fate. By giving Saul a correct statement of his end, through the woman of Endor, Satan opens a way for Israel to be instructed by his satanic cunning, that they may, in their rebellion against God, learn of him, and by thus doing, sever the last link which would hold them to God. 

Saul knew that in this last act, of consulting the witch of Endor, he cut the last shred which held him to God. He knew that if he had not before wilfully separated himself from God, this act sealed that separation, and made it final. He had made an agreement with death, and a covenant with hell. The cup of his iniquity was full.”

                                                                                   - E.G.White in Conflict and Courage, chapter166 That’s Not Samuel (1970)

 

As for the ghost haunters and the bizarre images they present on cable televisions for their viewers, the bible has one advice:

“[Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  (1Thess 2:9-12 KJV)

We must be careful to talk about apparitions for what Saul saw in the house of the witch of Endor was nothing else but an apparition.

 

          Halloween

For those who celebrate Halloween had made a choice to follow all that concerns the dead. The living has no business with the dead and where such a decision is made, it could be likened to the decision taken by the witch of Endor who made an agreement with Satan. Darkness has no business with the light. As those created by God and created in the image of God our sole purpose here is to give Him glory and lift Him up. We need to tell the whole world about Him.                     

 

      Where are they now?

 

This section will try to let us know where the saints of God are, especially those that we read about and hear about whenever we gather as Christians in fellowship halls or in churches. God’s saints from the ones that lived before Abraham to our loved ones who parted us few weeks ago.

 

Early Parents

Adam was the first man on earth and the name means “Man”. He was created in the image of God, as we all were and are. And Adam lived “nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” (Gen 5:5). The first man God created departed at the end of his time on earth. The next person we will like to consider here was Enoch. According to the book of Genesis, there were five generations, Enoch being the sixth. Permit me to mention their names and their ages.

                             Adam       930 years and he died

                             Seth         912 years and he died

                             Enos        905 years and he died

                             Caiman    910 years and he died

                             Jared       962 years and he died

                             Enoch      (365 years) and did not see death.

 

Enoch will be the first man to be translated after the fall of man. The biblical account of this says thus “And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.” God took him alive without seeing death. There are only two of such accounts in the bible. The second one was the case of Elijah the prophet, taken up by the horses and chariot whom Elisha the prophet was a witness. (2 Kings 2:11,12).

Enoch was the father of the ever recorded longest lived man on planet earth: Methuselah and the bible tells us that “And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.” Methuselah was the grand father of the man we know very well that survived the flood: Noah.  Noah’s father Lamech lived Seven hundred and seventy-seven years and he died.

Noah himself after the flood died at the age of 950 years(Gen 9:29). Abraham, the father of faith and the man of the first covenant with God, whose father- Terah was 205 years old when he died and was buried in Haran.

 

May we take a moment here and analyze the information obtained so far. There are many people including Christians who feel that the figures above might have been an error in the calculation of years and time. The figures are perfectly accurate. There was a reason Moses the author of the first five books of the bible had to learn to read and write with the society where civilization started. He schooled in Egypt and received one of the best formal education during his time as Pharaoh’s grandson. The first five books of the bible otherwise known as the Pentateuch was authored by Moses through God’s vision and inspiration. The ages of the patriarchs as shown in the bible was not handed over to Moses through a birth certificate or certain documentation from Abraham or his descendants so doubting the figures would be erroneous on our part as believers of God word.

From Adam to Noah was ten generations and from Noah to Abraham, another ten generations. Calculations here shows that the average life span of man for the first ten generations stands at 915.5 years and for the second ten generations: from Noah to Abraham stands at 317.1 mathematically. At the beginning of this conversation it was clear that the consequences of sin is death. God’s statement about withdrawing his spirit from man will further end up with more damaging consequences for man (Gen 6:3). God did not end the conversation there, He went further to place man’s average age at 120 years. It wasn’t long after that, man’s age crashed from 915 to 120 years. This tells us a lot about the effective presence of the Spirit of God in the life of man. God created man to live forever but Satan messed up this plan. The Holy Spirit striving with man forever will be like God allowing Adam and Eve in their sinful nature eat the fruit from the Tree of Life and living forever in sin. God in His infinite mercy and wisdom had to relieve man from the tyranny of sin. Death had to be a long lasting rest for man. It will now be man’s responsibility to tap into God’s grace through His Son to have the Holy Spirit work with him. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you… the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive,… for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Christ promised the disciples (John 14:16,17).

 

The Patriarchs

From 915 to 120 years over a period of 30 centuries, the mean age of man continues to fall. David made this statement “The days of our years [are] threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength [they be] fourscore years, … and we fly away.” (Ps 90:10).  He did not fix a particular life span for man for he is not God but he made an observation that man’s mean life span was about 70 years and if get beyond that as a result of an extra strength may get to 80 years. It may depend on the version of the bible one is reading but the following words appear after 80 years: trouble and misery ( God’s Word Translation); their pride is but labor and sorrow(NAV 1977); travail and vanity (JPS Tanakh 1917). Today as you are reading this page it stands at 72.0 years by the World Health Organization in 2016.

 

Moses died at the age of 120 years (Deuteronomy 34:7), Aaron at the age of a hundred and twenty-three (Numbers 33:39), so the above number of 70-80 is lower than the age at which he departed. Joshua died at the age of one hundred and ten years after the hard labour of leading the Hebrew nation into the promised land.(Josh 24:29).

 

The Judges

Samson after judging Israel for twenty years, decided to die with his enemies the philistines and for the last time he asked God to pardon him and give him back his supernatural strength to destroy his enemies. Request granted and samson killed more of his enemies in death than the time he lived. He was buried at the cemetery between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samuel was a renowned judge in Israel that when the Israelites asked for a king he nearly died because it was a to him a total denial of the presence of God as the leader of the Israelite. He was the judge that anointed Saul and David as king. Heartbroken when all that was said of the consequences of Israel’s having a king fulfilled in his presence. Saul disobeyed God and God gave the throne to David. Samuel mourned for Saul for the rest of his life and died. The age at death was not revealed but he was buried in Ramah. (1 Samuel 25:1)

 

The Kings

Saul, the first king of Israel and two of his sons died in the battle of the Philistines. When the spirit of God left him for not obeying the words of God, he ended-up consulting the witch of Endor. The evil spirits delivered unto Saul his death warrant. He died with three of his sons and his amour bearer the following day at the war between Israel and the Philistines at Gilboa. They were burnt and their bones buried at Jabesh. 

David the shepherd boy became king after Saul and he had wives and children. He was king for forty years: 33 years in Jerusalem and seven in Hebron and he died and was buried in the city of David: Jerusalem (1 King 2:10,11; 2 King 14:20)

It was not Amon the first son of David or was it the first son, Daniel by Abigail reigned after David. Solomon was the next heir to the throne of David and Zadok the priest took a horn and anointed Solomon king (1Kings 1:39). This is the king who had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 King 11:3). He reigned as king for forty years. As a king he had a peaceful period of reign as compared to other kings who were at war with other nations. He died and was buried in the city of David his father. (1 Kings 11:43).

And all the kings of the southern kingdom of Israel (Judah) who were the descendants of David:- Solomon, Rehoboam, Asa, Jehosephat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, Azariah, Jotham, Jehoahaz (Ahaz), Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz (Shallum) and his brother Jehoiakim (Eliakim), Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) and his brother Zedekiah died and were buried in the city of David which is Jerusalem. The exceptions were Amon whose burial place was not made known to us. Jehoahaz (Shallum) died in exile – Egypt (2 kings 23:30-34) as prophesied by prophet Jeremiah (Jer 22:11,12).

All the kings of the Northern kingdom of Israel who were not of the descendant of David: Jeroboam, Nadab killed by Baasha at Gibbethon (Philistine), Baasha, slain and buried in Tirzah , Elah son of Baasha reigned in his stead.  Zimri, the servant and captain of half the chariot of Elah as he was drunk slew Elah and became king. After Zimri, Omri was the next king after Zimri committed suicide after seven days of being on the throne. Ahab the son of Omri and the husband of Jezebel became king after the death of his father. Ahab died in the war between Israel and Syria (1 King 22: 33-39) and his son Ahaziah became king in Israel. For the rest of the king of Israel (Northern Kingdom) were Joram (Jehoram), Jehu, Jehoahaz (not Shallum), Jehoash (not of Joash- also referad no red to as Jehoash), Jeroboam II, Zechariah, Shallum (not of Judah), Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, Hoshea died and were all buried in Samaria. After these Israel as a united and divided nation had no other king until its destruction in 70AD.

 

The Priests

The ever first priest recorded in the bible is Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18). Little is mentioned about him except that he was also the king of Salem.

In the days of Abram (later known to be Abraham) there was no Hebrew nation but there were some cities which will turned out to be the nation of Israel. Jerusalem was one of them. “…Jerusalem was known as Salem, or Shalem, “peace,” or “security” (see Ps. 76:2). The city of Jerusalem is first attested in Egyptian records of the 19th century B.C., and was then ruled by Amorite kings.” – The S.D.A. Bible commentary on Melchizedek (1953) p 272

 

The word “Jerusalem” stands for “city of peace,” and the name Melchizedek, means ‘“my king is righteous” or “King of righteousness,”’ which is interpreted from where the name appeared in the New testament book of Hebrews 7:2. No other information was given to us about his death.

The priests in Israel were a special group of people of the descendant of the third son of Jacob by Leah called Levi (Gen 29:14). Levi will be the father of the Levites, the priestly tribe of Israel. This is tribe Moses and Aaron came from (Exod 2:1). The Levites like the tribe of Reuben or Benjamin or any other tribes was a secular tribe until in the desert, as Israel rebelled against God, the Levites stood firm and faithful (Exod 32:25-29). This was the birth of the priesthood which continued all through the Old Testament.

Having said this, Aaron now became the first official priest in Israel. Married to Elisheba, had four sons. The four became priest and assisted Aaron their father in daily services of the temple. His two sons – Nadab and Abihu died as they ministered wrongfully before the Lord. The other two, Eleazar and Ithamar live on. At the death of Aaron God instructed Moses to take Aaron and his son Eleazar to mount Hor. Aaron was striped of his priestly garment and given to Eleazar in the presence of the Israelites. This will be the last time they will ever see Aaron. Aaron died and Israel mourned him for him thirty days (Num 20:22-29). And Aaron was 123 years when he died in the same year that the Israelites were about to end their forty years journey in the desert (Num 33:39).

Eleazar the son of Aaron was the high priest after his father Aaron in the presence of Moses and the Israelites and when Moses died, Eleazar installed Joshua as God commanded as the leader who lead the People into the promised land. He helped Joshua in the allocation of the land to the tribes of Israel. Eleazar died and was buried in the land that was apportioned to his son Phinehas which is the land allocated to the tribe of Ephraim-At Mount Ephraim (Joshua 24:33)  

Phinehas became the high priest after the death of his father and God made a covenant with him of a “perpetual priesthood” to reward him of his faithfulness (Num 25:7-12). Since then the chief priests and priests in Israel had been from the descendants of Phinehas till the time the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.

Eli was the chief priest in Shiloh prior to the birth of Samuel during the time of the judges. He had two sons who acted wickedly in the house of the Lord and the consequences was not a pleasant one (1 Sam 2:22-36). The ears that heard what God did to Israel “tingled” as He promised (1 Sam 3:11). There was a war between Israel and the Philistines. The Israelites lost thirty thousand men, Hophni and Phinehas were slain, lost the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistine army. When Eli heard that the Ark had been taken by the enemy army he collapsed and died and Eli’s daughter in-law delivered prematurely on hearing the news of his husband, the father in-law and that of the Ark of Covenant. The premature baby was named Ichabod which meant that the glory of God has departed from Israel. Eli died at the age of ninety-eight having judged Israel for forty years.

Zadok was the priest during the time of David the king. His name mentioned 40 times in the king James version of the bible making him the second most influential priest after Aaron. There are other Zadok (Zadoc) which appeared in the book of Nehemiah (3:29;10:2;13:13) and in Mathew (1:14) and also another Zadok about five generation from Zadok the priest. He was the one that anointed Solomon king. The name Zadok means “Righteous” or “Justified”. He was a high Priest from the descendant of Eleazar the son of Aaron thus giving him the name Zadok Hakohen. We still see that today with the Jewish community whose names are ‘Kohen’ or ‘Cohen’ claiming that they are from the tribe of Levi or descendants of Aaron the priest (1Chron 6:4-8). Zadok was the first high or chief priest to serve in the first temple that Solomon built. There are no bible records on the death of Zadok the priest.

 

The Prophets

Samuel was a priest and a prophet before Elijah about 150 years earlier. (see priests above). Elijah was a well-known prophet from the northern kingdom of Israel. He operated from a city called Tishbe likely from around 870-845 B.C. His encounter with king Ahab, Jezebel’s husband. Ahab was the king about 874-853 B.C. and ruled Israel for 21 years. A powerful prophet in Israel whose name was mentioned 30 times in the New Testament (as Elias) and 60 times in the Old Testament. No other person known shared that name in the bible. Why the contrast in those names Elijah and Elias, possibly while writing the English bible (especially seen in the Kings James Version) were translated into English language from Hebrew in the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament. There is a case where the name Jesus and Joshua which in Hebrew means the same but appear differently in both the  Old and New Testament.                                                                       

Show down at Mount Carmel left eight hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the groves (Asherah: a female deity) dead (1kings chapter 18:19). Elijah was one the people and prophets of God in the bible who never witness death. He was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind of horses and chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:1-11). He is the second after Enoch. These two are the only recorded individuals to have ascended to heaven. No other. The bible’s only record of people in heaven are Enoch, Moses and Elijah.

 

Elisha was the prophet after Elijah who witnessed  his (Elijah) ascension into heaven. He was based in a city called Abel Meholah from 845-800 B.C. Elisha asked for the double portion of Elijah’s spirit and received it as he recovered Elijah’s mantle and having witnessed his ascension. The name Elisha appeared fifty-two times in the Old Testament (KJV) and only once in the new testament alluded by Jesus Christ himself (Luke 4:27).  Only a  few versions used the name Eliseus (KJV). These other similar names Elishah which occurred 3 times in the Old Testament and must not be confused by ‘Elisha’. He was well known for his cure of Naaman, the Syrian captain infected with the disease leprosy. ( 2 kings 5:1-19). He also coursed his servant Gehazi and he was infected with leprosy forever ( 2 kings 5:20-27). Elisha the prophet died of an unspecified illness. ( 2 Kings 13:20). The next few verses explains on how a dead man that was to be laid to rest touched the bones of Elisha and he came back to life.

 

Jonah was a prophet whose story in every way had been disputed by a lot of historian but believed by Christians mostly because Jesus Christ also alluded to the story of Jonah, reported by three of the four synoptic gospels (Matt 12:39-41; see also Matt 16:4; Luke 11:29-32; Jn 21:14-17). In the New Testament the name appeared as Jonas in older versions like the KJV. He was swallowed by a fish, was in the belly of the fish for three days and was vomited on shores of a city he reluctantly agreed to go at God’s order. Jonah just did not refuse to go but he wanted the wrath of God to fall on the city of Nineveh. Finally, he had no choice but to deliver the warnings of God, the Ninevites repented and Jonah was aggrieved. He was aggrieved to the point he wanted God to take away his life. A lesson that God is ever merciful Jonah failed to appreciate. God has no pleasure to see sinners perish (Jer 33:11). The bible made no mention of the prophet’s death.

 

Isaiah, a major prophet in the Old testament and author of the book of Isaiah has a name that means “the LORD saves”, and also called Esaias in the KJV New Testament.( He had people or disciples who might have helped him in his recordings(Is 8:16)). He received the best education Jerusalem could offer during his own time. He was a historian and writer with the governments of his time and was ‘possibly’ the brother of the king Amaziah who ruled Judah from 796-767 B.C. His time as a prophet spanned over a period of five Judean kings so he knew a lot of these monarchs having being in the Judean courts over these periods (2 Chron 26:22;32:32). Isaiah, of all the prophets had a detailed information of a family man. He married a prophetess (Is 8:3) and had two children- Shearjashub (Is 7:3) and Mahershalalhashbaz (Is 8:3) the longest name in the bible. One of his outstanding prophesies were those of the death of Jesus Christ in Isaiah chapter 53. The bible had no information about his death but a Jewish popular literature book “The Talmud” suggested that he suffered martyrdom being sawn into two under the orders of king Manasseh. He prophesied to the nation of Judah for about 64 years.

 

Jeremiah, known to be Jeremias in the New Testament (not unusual) of some older translation of the bible was one of the last prophets when the nation of Judah came to an end under the leadership of Mattaniah (Zedekiah). Also known as the weeping prophet God told him that his appointment and consecration was from birth. He is known for his 70 years of the Jewish captivity in Babylon. His prophesies and preaching with those of his counterpart prophets: Habakkuk, Nahum, Zephaniah, influenced a change in the early reign of Josiah the king of Judah but later kings (Zedekiah) planned a revolt contrary to God’s instruction through Jeremiah and were crushed by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah likely died in Egypt but how and when he died is not known to us.

 

Daniel was the prophet of the future. He saw thing that will happen during our own time. He was the prophet towards the end of the seventy years of exiled Judah as he was in exile in Babylon. Cotemporally prophesying with Ezekiel who was also a priest of the descendant of Zadok, warned Judah of impending God’s judgement due to their sins. Daniel’s four visions which is related to those had in Revelation are of a central focus- Christ return and His government. Daniel saw the last days. He saw the world we live in and how it will end. He saw the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ established and His reign was everlasting. There he was with His saint who lived for ever.

These prophets of the bible, both mentioned and the ones we could not list here, at one point or the other passed away except for Elijah and Enoch who was translated into heaven. They all died in accordance of the word of God to our first parent Adam and Eve. They are asleep (Jn 11:11) in their graves awaiting Christ second coming when God’s saints shall awake from their sleep

 

The 12 Apostles

As the time of the apostles, there were clearer and better ways of keeping information and records as compared to as the Old testament time. Most of the events after the death of Christ were corroborated by history. The twelve as chosen by Jesus Christ: Simon (Peter), Andrew the brother of Simon, James and John the sons of Zebedee, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, Lebbaeus  surnamed Thaddaeus (Jude or Judas), Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, their death were well documented.

These twelve men were with Jesus for three and half years. He preached and taught all over Palestine but as the end of Christ’s ministry approached each and every one of them will be tried for their faith in God. The apostles were afraid to die. Peter the most prominent of all Christ’s disciple whose name appeared at least 155 times ( re-occurring in the synoptic gospel) and other New Testament books will be tried. Peter during Jesus’ trial denied knowing whom He was three good times and later regretted and repented of what he did. Peter led the church for a while before his death. The bible revealed nothing about his death but history (tradition) revealed that Peter died in Rome possibly during the Neronian persecution in the first century A.D (50s and 60s. Tradition tells of a story of Peter asking his executioners to crucify him up-side down (reverse crucifixion). There was no evidence, neither had there been any clue to the location of the tomb of Peter. It is important to note that the first of the twelve that was martyred and recorded in the bible was James the brother of John the Zebedee, killed by Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:2) in AD 44. The rest of the twelve died by persecution through one way or the other without any detailed information on where or when they died. These twelve disciples, wherever their graves may be, like any other saint will await Christ second coming on that wonderful resurrection morning of God’s saints. (1 Cor 15:51-57)

 

The Other Disciples

Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus was a convert of Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus to persecute and capture Christians. He was a part of the Jewish persecution machinery of the first century. Now converted and became victim of the machinery which he set up. A powerful evangelist and church planter of the first century was captured and arraigned before the Sanhedrin (Acts of the Apostles chap 25 & 26). In chapter 27 there are every indication that Paul was taken to Rome as a prisoner. It is believed that this is one the last words that he wrote in his letter to Timothy “I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”. Paul is believed not to have made any trip back to Caesarea from Rome. The bible made no mention of where he died but tradition tells us that he was beheaded in Rome on this trip from Caesarea to Rome.

Mary was the chosen one to be the earthly mother of Christ. She found favor in the eyes of God to have this mission accomplished through her. This is an assignment for her just like the one given to the prophets, priests, kings and apostles. She stand in need of Grace and mercy of God as any other like Samuel and Moses (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11) and respects no person. She is blessed among women ( Luke 1:28). The bible did not tell us about how or when or where Mary died but traditions (history) suggests that she might have passed away in Ephesus where she resided probably for a while or in Jerusalem. These are speculations but one thing is certain: she is at rest like many other saints of God awaiting His glorious return as His resurrection demonstrates to those who believe in God. None of these saints are in heaven looking down on us. This is a deceptive lie and will do us no good to believe in it. This is the reason the bible expressly says the dead are asleep. (Read carefully the story in John chapter 11).

 

The Popes, Pastors, Religious Leaders and Lay Members 

God’s creation, no matter what we profess to be: from Pope Linus to Pope Francis; John Calvin; Martin Luther; Charles Wesley; John Smythe; Joseph Smith; William Miller; James and Ellen White; Charles Taze Russell; Mary Baker; L. Ron Hubbard; Siyyid Ali-Mohamed, and so many others that are not mentioned  here will certainly go through the same protocol when it comes to salvation before the judgement seat of God. No human participation in any way saves anyone other than to accept that which God has offered to us through His son Jesus Christ by which all must be saved. We all stand before God equal when it comes to salvation and must be judged by God’s moral law. We, one day shall certainly die as do others (Eccl 9:5) for we are all descendants of one parent: Adam and Eve, our first parents whom God punished for their unfaithfulness.

 

 

Everyone

Whatever constitute the human ideology: race-black like people from Africa, white looking very much like those from the Scandinavians, brown like the American Latinos and yellow like the Chinese, God loves us all and will not treat any of us differently; Wealth-billionaires, millionaire, upper-middle-lower income earners, the poor and the rich;  knowledge- the elite and the ignorant; geographical location- North, South, East or West; sex- Male or Female; social status…, God’s grace and mercy places every one  equal before his judgement seat.

Everyone, burn of a woman and at one point or the other will return to the Dust. There is absolutely nothing of our own power will place us at a greater privilege than the person next to us but for God’s will. Those He loves and those He hates (Rom 9:11-17), there is a reason for all He does and we have no reason to question His authority, for He is God.  

All mentioned above will remain in their graves until Christ’s return at the sound of the trumpet. The bible says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.” (1 Cor 15:52-53). Also made clear is that from Adam to Pope John Paul II, to the smallest man in the street who passed away yesterday the bible says “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep; His sons come to honour, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them.” Job 14:12,21.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

          First and Second death.

All the personalities mentioned above and many whose name were not listed who are no longer with us, which includes departed family members and loved ones of those browsing through the pages of this sites, they are all asleep (Job 14:12; Jon 11:11-14). All that are dead (or asleep) are witnessing the first death and will belong to two categories: the good and the bad which the bible described as the “righteous” and the “wicked” ( Gen 18:22-25; Ex 23:7; Ps 7:11; Prov 10:30; )  and in some instances they are described as the “sheep” (good) and the “goat” (the bad) (Matt 25:31-35). Jesus Christ the righteous judge will decide who belongs to which group at His second coming. (see Christ Second coming). All those who died before Christ Second coming are those who have experienced the ‘first death’.

The bible talks about the “second death”:  

  1. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:11(b)).

  2. Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power… and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev 20:6)

  3. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8).

As God promised, the second death does not only involve humans but death itself will be destroyed:

  1. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second    death. (Rev 20:14)

 

These are the only four passages in the whole bible that used the word second death (KJV) and what is it all about? At Christ’s third coming as He comes to establish the new earth, Satan and the false prophets, with the wicked will now be destroyed for ever and ever and their smoke of their torment will ascend forever (Rev 14:11). We should note that the wicked will not continue to burn and burn and burn forever, no! it simply means that they will be destroyed and the process is irreversible.

 

Reincarnation

The dictionary definition of reincarnationism is “A doctrine that on the death of the body the soul migrates to or is born again in another body”. WordWeb Dictionary.

If one needs to go by this definition then it undermines what the bible’s teaching on God’s judgement. If God will judge everyone of us according to our deeds (Matt 16:27; 1 Cor 3:9; Rev 22:12). If God is going to judge everyone of us according to his labour, those that had or will reincarnate four or five times as the Hindus do, how will this be resolved? In which life will God judge this individual? This does not add up thus it is a false teaching. 

  

Sources:

Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible Vol I, Baker Book House Grand Rapids, Michigan (1988).

Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible Vol II, Baker Book House Grand Rapids, Michigan (1988).

E.G. White in Conflict and Courage, chapter166 That’s Not Samuel (1970)                    

E.G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Vol I comment on 1 Sam Chapter 28 pp 375, 376. (1870).

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol II -1Samuel Chapter 28 p 1023 (1953).

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol I - Genesis Chapter 14 p 272 (1953).

Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines, Rose Publishing Peabody, Massachusetts p107 10th anniversary edition (2018)