Is the coronavirus one of the last plagues of Revelation? Is there still time to be saved? let’s take a look at what the Bible says.
Yesterday was a special day at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church, as we welcomed four new members into church fellowship by profession of faith. Often our baptized Christian brothers and sister’s who discover the Bible truths taught by the Seventh-day Adventist church, choose to join by profession of faith, since they have already been baptized into Christ. Please see page 51 of the Adventist church manual. Please enjoy the pictures and testimonies of yesterday’s wonderful celebration.
I have had the pleasure of studying with Abel and Ely for the last several months. There home sits near a small lake, and we often enjoyed studying on the balcony overlooking the lake. They love God and His church family with all their hearts, and have already been very active in the church in many different ways, including attending my class on how to give Bible studies and lead others to Christ.
“My reconciliation with God and the Seventh-day Adventist Church
After been born and raised in an Adventist family, at the age of 17, decided to take my own path and make my own decisions as an “adult” in spite of my young age. After such strong determination, left my parent’s coverage facing a new life filled with challenges and lessons which marked me for the rest of my life. During those years away from the gospel, had intervals and a huge need to return to the ways of the Lord; but the distractions of the world kept me busy, maybe to the point of feeling “attached” which broke my first marriage and each us and our family. At that very moment, it’s when and where I’d reached bottom and realized that my life had to change once and for all.
Is in the summer of 2010 when my children were with their father for vacation when I’d found myself completely alone and broken; cried out to my God, and asked for his favor to please get me out of the abyss I was in at the time. In a conversation with a former classmate at the seventh-day Adventist Academy, mentioned a book called ‘Knowing Jesus is everything’ (author Alejandro Bullón) and I said: “Let me see, I think I have it in my mini-library” when I go and look for it effectively there it was, still a ‘practically brand new book’. This book was given to me in the year 2000 during my son’s presentation at church; also traveling to all the sites that I’ve lived; from Puerto Rico to Georgia, Georgia to Germany and Germany to Florida where I currently live. The year 2010, was the one where the total transformation in my life started, after reading the book. Afterwards, I’d started to attend a non-denominational church where I was baptized in 2011 by both the pastor of the Church and the man who became my husband. Only God knew what he was doing in my life. I had no idea that God had that gift of a man, a true man of God and also that he will forgive me for all my sins and loved me and saved me and my children.
After my baptism, one of my former classmates of the Academy says “Ely, you know the truth” and I said “I won’t return to the Seventh – Day Adventist Church, I have a relationship with God and it is all that I need ‘. Looking here and there for churches, one morning passed through the Avenue in front of this church and I saw the sign that says” Seventh Day Adventist Church”. I remember a day like it was yesterday, it was the beginning of 2012 when I decided to take the step and stop by the church. I got ready and drove to church; when I got there, Sister Isoline and the teacher Millie Mojica welcomed me and my family with such love and for the glory of God it remind me of my school days in the seventh-day Adventist Academy in Caguas, PR. At that moment, the promise of God that says: Stay faithful and I will give you the desires of your heart! Amen! I decided to establish myself in this church and told my husband “I’m not sure which church you want to belong to, but I am staying here” hoping that he was feeling the same way and to my surprise, he was. The Adventist Church is more than a church or organization, is a difference, in love and dedication all around the world. Even in Germany I found the ‘Pathfinders’ without looking for them and it brought back many memories.
My fellow brothers and sisters, the bible verse who says “Instruct the child in its way and even if it will be old will not separate of it” it became true testimony in my life. I felt as the bountiful son who was lost and returned. After trying to fill the emptiness in my life on my own, God filled me completely with the truth of the Adventism for his glory and honor. During all this process in my life my children, clearly, also were marked. To feel the voice of my son saying to me ‘Mami thanks for changing and being at home, you stopped going to clubs and now we have you here at home and in the church’. You will not know, how my son broke my heart with these words, but only it was looking at God and was giving him the glory and honor because it protected me and received me once again with open arms at home.
This is just a short part of my testimony, which I just shared with you, it’s meant for those parents who pray for their children for them not to get tired or give up on them and for them not to stop doing it. Also it’s intended for those children who have been feeling “aggravated” because of their parent’s ways of caring, to please love them and forgive them because they are not perfect in any way, and for them to understand that we enter entire perfection when we turn to the arms of our Creator. These last months with the Pastor William in our house, God’s plan refreshed our beliefs and what we learned in previous years and now comprehend as adults for our lives under the coverage of the Adventism.”
Ely also supplied me with some pictures of her baptism in the same Word document she sent with her testimony. I could not get the pictures to transfer from Word to this post, but the entire testimony in Spanish with pictures are provided by just clicking on the word “Ely” on the line below.
El testimonio de Ely con fotos Ely
Several Sundays ago we had a work bee at the church and Abel and Ely faithfully participated along with several other church family members. Abel is on far right. Ely is behind the camera.
Pastor Brad, Center, prepared Ryan (on Pastor Brad’s left with his wife Erika) and Janice (on Pastor Brad’s right with her boyfriend David) to join by profession of faith.
“I would like to start by thanking the congregation. I feel blessed to become a member of the church. I’ve been searching for God’s truth and The Lord led me to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Looking forward to continuance growth spiritually through the church.”
Please don’t allow the sun to go down on you before you give your heart to the One who gave His life for you! I would love to talk to you about giving your heart to Jesus and becoming a part of His body which is His church. If you are not int he Tampa Bay area, you can still contact me and I will be happy to help you find a Grace filled Bible based church in your corner of the world. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net
You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides- NLT here.
Brief overview: The Scriptures are inspired by God to lead us into a relationship with Him that will give us eternal salvation in heaven and a prosperous life here on earth. See 2 Timothy 3:15-16, John 20:31.
Why it is important to know the truth about the Scriptures:
Years ago I lived on a ranch helping out occasionally with the horses. The ranch had a very nice swimming pool just up the road from the mobile home where I lived. One evening I invited a family to go swimming. As we walked back on that road towards my home it was dark and a big juicy spider had made a web between the trees on each side of the road. Fortunately we had a flashlight that exposed the spider right before we walked into it. The children were terrified of the spider and walked around the trees to avoid this “monster.” When we returned to the house, I shared with the family Psalms 119:105, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I shared with them that just as our flashlight saved us from the spider’s web, God’s Word saves us from Satan’s webs. It is because of Satan’s webs that so many different beliefs and doctrines abound about the Bible. Satan has done his best to confuse people’s understanding of the Bible: not so our understanding of doctrine will be confused, for Satan knows we are not saved by doctrine but by God’s love and grace. Satan has worked hard to corrupt our understanding of God’s love and grace for he knows that is where salvation comes from and he does not want us to be saved. We needn’t worry. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible is the Same Holy Spirit that will teach it to us, if we just ask.
Why understanding the Scriptures in the light of the cross is important:
Many people ignore the Bible and many of those who do read it, read it only out of curiosity as a fairy tail book or some science fiction novel. The Bible is more than just prophecy or ancient stories. It is a love letter from God Himself. The Bible helps us develop a loving relationship with our God who showed us on the cross that He loves us more than He loves life itself. See John 20:31 and 2 Timothy 3:15.
For Further Studies on the Scriptures
What is the origin of the Bible?
Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT
What does Jesus call God’s word?
Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. John 17:17 NLT
How much of the Bible is inspired?
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
Note: The Scriptures, and not family or church tradition tell us what is right or wrong.
What is the word of God to be to us?
Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 NLT
Note: God does not give us the Bible just to be a control freak or tyrant, anymore than the authors of a recipe book write in order to be control freaks or tyrants. The writers of the recipe know what it takes for their creation to turn out right, and God knows what it takes of our lives to turn out right.
What is the reason the Bible was written?
But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. John 20:31 NLT
How are we to study the Scriptures?
He tells us everything over and over- one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there! Isaiah 28:10 NLT
Note: Our Bible beliefs or doctrines, come from comparing what the entire Bible says on the subject in order to get the big picture, instead of just getting our doctrine from one verse. For example, Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us the Spirit returns to God when we die, so many think that we go to heaven when we die. But if we take “a little here, and a little there,” we see in Job 27:3 that the spirit is simply our breath. So the big picture tells us our breath goes back to God, but nothing conscience returns to God till after the resurrection mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. There is more on this in the study about “Death in Light of the Cross.”
What do some do with God’s word?
speaking of these things in all of his [Paul] letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. 2 Peter 3:16 NLT
What must we never do?
- 1:20 Or is a matter of one’s own interpretation.(Footnote Supplied from the New Living Translation.)
Note: We must let the Bible interpret itself and not make up our own interpretation.
Who will guide us in Bible Study?
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 NLT
How often should we study the Bible?
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 NLT
Note: The people of Berea searched the Scriptures every day, and did not just take Paul and Silas’ word for everything, but looked to the Scriptures for their source of truth. Again, we follow family and church traditions only as far as they go along with Scripture. Is it your desire to order your life in harmony with the Scriptures instead of the traditions of man?
You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides- NLT here.
Love and Obedience
Brief Overview: The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Savior. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. (Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 40:7, 8; Matt. 22:36-40; Deut. 28:1-14;Matt. 5:17-20; Heb. 8:8-10; John 15:7-10; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 8:3, 4;Ps. 19:7-14.)
Why it is important to know the truth about love and obedience: The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.
Why it is important to know the truth about love and obedience in light of the cross: “It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” –Desire of Ages, Page 480.
Further study on Love and Obedience
What are God’s people to walk in?
How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded. I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. 2 John 1:4-6 NLT
What warning is given about some Christians?
They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:5 NLT
What will some last day Christians do?
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT
How are we saved?
So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.Romans 3:28 NLT
Does faith abolish the law?
Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.Romans 3:31
Faith without works is what?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? James 2:17-20 NLT
Note: If a child who can’t swim has faith in their father they will jump in the pool when the father says, “jump in and I will catch you.” If the child does not have faith in their father, they will not obey. Likewise we show our faith by our good deeds and obedience. I will not lie on my tax returns because I have faith God will provide for me. I obey Him because I have faith. If I disobey Him, that shows Him I don’t really have faith.
How does faith work?
What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Galatians 5:6 NLT
faith which worketh by love. Galatians 5:6 KJV
Is more required than “lip service”?
So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. Ezekiel 33:31 NLT
Who is fooled and who is blessed?
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:22-25 NLT
Who receives salvation?
In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. Hebrews 5:9 NLT
What did Jesus say we must do?
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:16-17 NLT
What happens if we break even one commandment?
For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. James 2:10-12 NLT
Who are the wise and who are the foolish?
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws. ’Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:21-27 NLT
What does Jesus say?
“If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15 NLT
You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.
The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Brief overview: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6;1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)
God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:17; Ex. 34:6, 7; John 14:9.)
God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (John 1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:15-19; John 10:30; 14:9; Rom. 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:17-19; John 5:22; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:9-18; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; Heb. 8:1, 2;John 14:1-3.)
God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; Luke 1:35; 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11, 12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27;16:7-13.)
Why it is important to know the truth about the Trinity:
Some people make this teaching more intense and complicated than it really is. Some wonder how the Father , Son and Holy Spirit can all be three different Beings while just one God. It is really very simple. There is one Congress in the United States. Yet it has over 500 members. The Senator from Florida is a congressman, while the Senator from Hawaii is also. Still they make up one congress or one ruling entity. So there is one God or one ruling entity made up of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 1 john 4:8 tells us God is love. The Bible tells us love is being others centered as opposed to being self centered. If you think about it, there had to be a time in the universe when nothing else existed but God. I don’t know how long ago it was or how long it lasted, but my reason (which is subject to error) tells me at one point in time there had to be nothing but God. If God had been only one Being at that point in time He could not have been love, because love is being others centered, and He would have had only Himself to be centered on. But God has always been three Beings, each one centered upon the needs of the Others, therefore God has always been love. The Trinity or Godhead is the First family of the universe. They are a model of what are families can be.
Why it is important to understand the Trinity in light of the cross.
Understanding the trinity is crucial to understanding John 3:16.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT For years I just pictured Jesus coming to die for us and making all the sacrifices while God the Father just stayed up in heaven and watched from a distance. Then in the mid-1990s I got a phone call from my mother. A young friend of ours had died while waiting on a heart transplant. My mother was crying, telling me she had lived a full life so why couldn’t she have just given our young friend her heart? “No way!” I thought to myself. “You are my mother!” When I hung up the phone I had a clearer view of John 3:16 and what happened at the cross. God the Father was not just watching from a distance as His Son made all the sacrifices. It was actually God who was making the greater sacrifice. Many of us would rather suffer ourselves, than see a family member suffer. Unless you understand the Trinity, and that there was a Father sacrificing not Himself, but His Son, you really can’t understand the cross.
Further Study on the Trinity
Who was present at the Baptism of Jesus?
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:16-17 NLT
Note: Here we see three distinct members of the Godhead, the Son Jesus, coming up from the water, The Holy Spirit descending like a dove, and the voice of the Father from heaven.
Did Jesus have to submit His will to the Father?
“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39 NLT
Does God want us all to be united as one as He and the Father are one, while we are still a multitude of Entities?
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name;now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. John 17:9-10 NLT
You may download a printable version of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.
Brief overview: Death is a state of unconscious sleep. The dead do not know anything at this time and are not awakened until the last trump at Christ’s second coming. See Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, Job 14:12, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Why is it important to know the truth about Death:
The teaching that you don’t really die is a lie Satan started in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” By telling this lie Satan hoped to get Eve and all mankind to believe that there is really no consequence for disobeying God. He also wants us to believe that we are all immortal regardless if we have a relationship with God or not. This opens the door for spiritualism where people may actually be communicating with the devil and his angels, thinking they are speaking with their loved ones. Our salvation does not come from knowing what happens when we die. Our salvation is found alone in God’s love. However, no lie is ever harmless, and when Satan told the lie, “Ye shall not surely die”, not only was he lying but he was also calling God a liar. Not a safe path for us to follow.
Why understanding death in the light of the cross is important:
First of all if you don’t really die then Jesus did not really die for us and we still need a Savior. The lie that we don’t really die destroys the cross and everything Jesus endured and accomplished on it. If Jesus was not really tasting death likeHebrews 2:9 says He did, then we have just minimized the cross to a six hour pain endurance marathon.
I remember sitting in a funeral a while back for a little girl who was hit and killed by a car. Her mother sat on the front pew sobbing uncontrollably. Meanwhile the pastor talked about how happy the little girl and Jesus were right now up in heaven. Do you know how cruel that made Jesus look to the poor mother? Would Jesus tear a mother’s heart apart just to go have fun with her daughter? I think not! The little girl is resting in her grave and will be united with Jesus in heaven when the mother is reunited with her at the second coming.
For Further study on Death
What did Adam become?
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7 NLT
Note: The KJV says man became a living soul. A living person is a soul. To be living you must have the combination of breath and a body. Breath + Body = “soul” or “person.” Without both the body and breath there is no soul or person. Just like a box made of wood and nails. The box is the combination of wood and nails. Take the nails away from the wood and you have no box. Take the breath away from the body and you have no soul or person.
Whose spirit returns to God?
For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7 NLT
What is the Spirit?
As long as I live, while I have breath from God. Job 27:3 NLT
Note: The KJV says, “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, Job 27:3. The NLT makes it clear that the spirit is simply our breath. So in Ecclesiastes 12:7 all that returns to God when we die is our breath. We are not conscious.
What does God take that turns the body to dust?
But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. Psalm 104:29 NLT
What age old question did Job ask?
“But when people die, their strength is gone. They breathe their last, and then where are they? Job 14:10 NLT
What is the Bible answer?
people are laid to rest and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep. Job 14:12 NLT
Do the dead know what happens to the living?
They never know if their children grow up in honor or sink to insignificance. Job 14:21 NLT
How much do the dead know?
The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NLT
What did Jesus call death?
Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. John 11:11-14 NLT
How long had Lazarus been dead?
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. John 11:17 NLT
Did Martha believe Lazarus was in heaven when he died?
“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” John 11:24 NLT
Was Lazarus called from heaven, hell or the grave?
Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” John 11: 43-44 NLT
When are the dead raised?
And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. 1 Corinthians 15:16-23 NLT
When do we receive immortality?
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 NLT
Our hope and comfort:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have diedwill rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NLT
You may download a printable copy of In Light of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.
The Punishment of the Wicked
Brief overview: The wicked will be destroyed by fire. The punishment will be everlasting but the punishing will not. The wicked will die instead of being tormented for all eternity. See John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Obadiah 1:16, Matthew 10:28, Ezekiel 18:4, 20.
Why it is important to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked:
I have a friend who is involved in a prison ministry that visits a juvenile detention center. My friend was telling me that they had recently shared thetruth about hell with the young men there. My friend said the Chaplin at the jail got very upset with him for letting the young men know that the punishment of the wicked is not an eternity spent in hell but rather death just like the Bible says in John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. The reason the Chaplin did not want them to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked was because he wanted the fear of being tormented for all eternity to motivate them to behave.
The teaching of people being tortured throughout all eternity is the most satanic false doctrine of all! It totally misrepresents the love and character of God making it impossible to love and know Him the way He loves and knows us.
Why it is important to understand the punishment of the wicked in the light of the cross:
Many churches use hell and fear as a motivation for doing good because they do not properly understand the love motivation. They do not understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice in dying the second death. They make the Cross out to be a mere pain endurance marathon instead of seeing a Savior who was actually willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save the world. When the early church saw the depths of Jesus’ love and sacrifice it turned the whole world upside down! Meaning it changed everything! It was God’s love that constrained, empowered and motivated them. This love is the only motivation that will actually succeed. Galatians 5:6 talks of a faith that works by love, not a fear of punishment. In John 14 Jesus says, “If you love Me keep My commandments”, not if you don’t want to go to hell you better keep my commandments. We must uplift the cross and the truth about the cross like never before. Young men in juvenile centers and people everywhere else need to know that there is a God who did way more than suffer for six hours on a cross. He faced the second death for them. He loved them more than He loved his own life. He loved them so much that when tempted to come down from the cross and go back to heaven He chose to die instead. Simply put, Jesus stayed on that cross for the young men in the juvenile detention center because the thought of heaven without them was hell to Jesus! When the love motivation receives its due power it will accomplish so much more than the fear motivation invented by men. Some people quote John 3:16 all the time while preaching of an eternal torment of sinners while that verse clearly says those who do not believe will “perish” instead of being tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
Further study on the punishment of the wicked
What is the opposite of eternal life?
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT
Note: Those who don’t believe perish. They are not tortured for all eternity. God did not kick Eve out of paradise just because she took a piece of fruit she was told not to. The serpent told lies about God’s love and interest in Eve’s welfare, that Eve and all mankind bought into. When Eve stopped believing in God’s love she stopped believing in her only Source of life. At the cross Jesus died for our sin of unbelief, and when we believe again in His love, we gain back the life we lost when we stopped believing in His love. This is the message of john 3:16.
What is the wages of sin?
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NLT
Note that the wages of sin is not eternal torment in hell.
What becomes of the soul or person that sins?
For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. Ezekiel 18:4 NLT
Note: KJV says soul, NLT says person. Both the KJV and NLT make it clear that the entire soul or person dies in hell and will not be tormented throughout eternity.
How long does the devil have?
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.” Revelation 12:12 NLT
Note: The devil does not have eternity in hell or anywhere else. He has but a little time left to exist.
What will happen to the devil or Satan?
You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate .You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” Ezekiel 28:18-19 NLT
Note: Satan, like all sinners, will be annihilated and exist no more.
What happens to both body and soul in hell?
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 NLT
Note: Neither soul nor body are tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Both are destroyed.
What is the final end of the wicked?
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Malachi 4:1-3 NLT
Note: There will be nothing left of the wicked – nothing but ashes.
What does the lake of fire stand for?
Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:14 NLT
What is God’s promise?
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”Revelation 21:3- 4 NLT
Note: Sinners cannot be eternally tormented in light of the promise that there will be no more pain. The promise is unconditional.
Can we trust that promise?
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 NLT