Alexander Bogomoletz, a Russian scientist, once said that a man should live to be at least 150 years of age. He actually prepared a serum that was designed to retard the aging process of the connective tissues of the body. Unfortunately, the learned doctor died at the age of 64, just 86 years short of the goal he had set for himself and for all mankind. And we still do not understand the mysteries of life and death.
No one has yet discovered the fountain of youth, and neither has anyone been through that veil of death to return and tell us what it is like on the other side. The only authentic information we have on this subject is found in the great book of God, the Bible. Here are unfolded the answers to questions which have troubled the hearts of men and women down through the ages. Piercing through the froth of human emotion and superstition, it will bring satisfying assurance for those who fear the future and who wonder what happens to the soul five minutes after death.
To introduce this subject, we must find the answer to one great, basic question. If we can answer it correctly, all the other questions about death and the soul will open up like flowers in the sun. The really important issue is this: What kind of inherent nature does man possess? How did God create him? Does he have a mortal nature or an immortal nature? According to the dictionary, the word "mortal" means "subject to death," and the word "immortal" means "not subject to death." Simply stated then, we are asking whether God created man with a nature that could die or with the power of an endless life.
The answer to this significant question is found in Job 4:17, "Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?" There is the word we are looking for! Man is mortal. He is subject to death. God did not make him without the capacity to deteriorate and die. The fact is, only God has that inherent power of eternal existence. He is immortal. And the only time that word is used in the Bible, it refers to God. "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Timothy 1:17).
The human family was not invested with a natural immortality. The Word of God assures us that God alone has that kind of nature. He is the author of life, the great source of all existence. From Him every other life in the universe has been derived. "King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen" (1 Timothy 6:15, 16).
At this point someone may raise another question about the subject of immortality. Is it possible that man has a mortal body but an immortal soul living in the tabernacle of flesh? Perhaps the "real" person is not the body at all but the undying soul-entity dwelling within the mortal body. We need not puzzle over this point, because it is concisely settled by a number of Bible texts.
Qod said, through the prophet, "Behold, all souls are mine: as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). This firmly establishes that the soul is definitely not immortal by nature, or it could not experience death. Since the word "immortal" means "not subject to death," there could be no question of death for a soul possessing an innate immortality. At least ten other verses affirm exactly the same thing: the soul is not naturally immortal.
Jesus, the great Master Teacher, declared that the soul could die, in Matthew 10:28. "And fear not them which kill the body ... but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." By this clear statement, Christ places the matter beyond all question. The soul can die and will die in the fires of hell. Therefore, it cannot be immortal by nature.
This is shocking to a lot of people. The traditional position has been exactly the opposite of this. How upsetting it is to learn that in all the 1700 biblical occurrences of the words "soul" and "spirit" not once are they referred to as being immortal or undying.
Where, then, did the doctrine come from? Most of us have heard about the "soul that never dies" from our earliest years of childhood. One thing is certain: it did not originate in the Scriptures. The truth is that it came directly from pagan tradition and mythology. The ancient Chinese ancestor-worship was rooted in the belief that the soul did not die. Egyptian pyramid hieroglyphics reveal that the doctrine of a naturally immortal soul was basic to their worship of the sun god. In India, where I lived for years, the Hindus believe strongly in reincarnation and transmi gration of the soul. Darkest African voodoo ceremonies are built around the concept of an undying soul.
There is not one text that supports such a teaching in the Christian Bible; nevertheless, the Word does tell us how the doctrine got started and who preached the first sermon on the subject. Read Genesis 3:1-4, "Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die."
Please notice that somebody disagreed with God. The Creator had declared that sin would bring death, but Satan said the opposite, "You will not really die." That was the first great-granddaddy lie that was ever told, and the one who told it has been trying to uphold it ever since. That original sermon on natural immortality has been repeated many times through the years, often by preachers and theologians who ought to know better. A few years ago the Reader's Digest featured an article entitled "There Is No Death," by one of America's most popular Protestant ministers. The great preacher said exactly the same thing that the great deceiver said to Eve, "You don't really die at all. It may seem like death, but you really keep on living and know more afterward than you did before."
Can that doctrine be dangerous? Indeed, it involves much more than just promulgating a false statement. The implications of this satanic teaching are far-reaching and eternal in consequence. Millions will be lost because they do not understand the truth about the nature of man. Deception on this point opens a door which can flood the life with darkness and actual demon control. The only protection we will ever have against this insidious danger is to know the truth about death and the soul.
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