Pain Management (2)
1. Until Death Do Us Part!!!
This concept of resurrection is to be distinguished from the Greek concept of the immortality of the soul. Belief in resurrection implies that a person who was truly dead is brought back to life; belief in immortality of the soul implies that the person’s true self (soul) does not die, which obviates the need for resurrection. Thus the doctrine of resurrection assumes that death is total—the whole person (body, mind, soul, spirit) dies, and no part of that person remains alive. God then brings the whole person (body, mind, soul, spirit) back to life
Nevertheless, Paul presents the most extensive biblical teaching on resurrection in 1 Cor. 15 and does so in a way that distinguishes the concept from both the Greek idea of immortality of the soul and the traditional Hebrew notion of extended mortal life. Resurrection, for Paul, denotes a complete transformation of the person into a being that now has eternal life (1 Cor. 15:35–55)
2. True Resurrection Life
The second type of resurrection from the dead is the type that means resurrection life, in which one is no longer subject to death (Rom. 6:9). True resurrection life means a person is no longer capable of dying physically, because there was a change in the nature of the body that has been resurrected. So far, Jesus is the only One who has been resurrected in this way; He is the only One who has undergone the second type of resurrection, that of resurrection life. That is why Yeshua is called the first-fruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5). Critics have often felt that this statement is contradictory, for how could Jesus be called the first-fruits of the resurrection since there were others who had been resurrected before Him. But all the others who were resurrected before Yeshua underwent the first type of resurrection, which was merely a restoration back to natural life. Jesus is the only One who has undergone the second type of resurrection, true resurrection-life, so He is no longer subject to death. That is why He is called the first-fruits of the resurrection, that is, the first to be resurrected unto resurrection life.
Perhaps the best way to explain the means of true resurrection-life as over against restoration-life is by the way it is stated in Hebrews 2:14, where we are told that Yeshua passed through death.
In the first type of resurrection, the resurrection back to natural life, one enters from the realm of physical life into the realm of physical death. When he is resurrected, he simply comes back to the realm of physical life: from physical life, to physical death, and back to physical life. Hebrews 2:14 states that Jesus did not merely come “out of” death, He passed through death, and that is the key. He went from the realm of physical life, to the realm of physical death, and then He passed through death into the realm of resurrection-life. Coming out of death is merely the first type of resurrection; but passing through death leads to the second type of resurrection, that of true resurrection-life.
A. The Messiah Conquered Death for the Believer
The first area is that Yeshua the Messiah conquered death. It is important that this is understood and the following three things be noted.
First, Hebrews 2:9 states that Jesus did taste of death for every man, then in verses 14–15, He passed through death into resurrection-life. By doing so, He was able to conquer death after tasting death for every man.
Secondly, going through death meant victory over death (Rev. 1:18).
Thirdly, this means that Satan is no longer the lord of death for the believer. Throughout the history of the Old Testament, the inter-testamental period, and into the Gospel history, until the death of Jesus, it was Satan who was lord of death for all, believers and unbelievers alike. But when Yeshua passed through death and gained victory over death, He took away the keys of death from Satan so that Satan is no longer the lord of death as far as believers are concerned. Satan is still the lord of death in cases of unbelievers, but no longer in the case of believers (Gal. 1:4; Col. 1:13).
B. The Messiah Causes Death for the Believer
The second area of death and the believer is that Yeshua the Messiah causes death as far as believers are concerned. The main passage for this truth is 1 Thessalonians 4:14. The Greek text literally reads, “The believer has fallen asleep through Jesus.” The key word is “through.” Again, when the Bible uses the term “sleep” in relationship to death, it is not teaching soul-sleeping but physical-sleeping, in that it is the physical body that sleeps during death, not the immaterial part of man, the soul-spirit. Furthermore, whenever the Bible uses the term “sleep” in relationship to death, it only uses it to speak of believers, never of unbelievers. Then he states: fallen asleep throug Jesus. What this means is that Yeshua the Messiah causes death for a believer. When a believer dies, it is the Messiah who has put him to sleep as a means of bringing that person home to be with Him.
As mentioned previously, throughout history until the Messiah died, Satan was the cause of death. One example is found in Job 1–2, where he caused the death of many. But after the Messiah’s death, after the Messiah passed through and conquered death, and took away the keys of death from Satan so that he is no longer the lord of death for the believer; it is now the Messiah who causes death for the believer. Satan still has the power of death over the unbeliever, but he does not have the power of death over the believer, with one exception. Satan still has the power of death over excommunicated believers. These are believers who have undergone church discipline and have failed to respond to the four stages of Matthew 18:15–20 and, therefore, have been excommunicated. Excommunication means that the believer is placed back under the authority of Satan as far as his physical life is concerned. Satan then has the power to destroy the flesh, the physical part of him; but the same passage teaches that Satan cannot destroy his spiritual life. That person is still saved, but, unless he repents, Satan has the option to put him to death physically (1 Cor. 5:4–5). This is the sin unto death of 1 John 5:16–17.
Except for excommunicated believers, it is no longer Satan who puts believers to death; it is Yeshua who puts believers to death. Because it is Yeshua who puts believers to death, the biblical view of death concerning believers is the concept of sleeping. Again, the word “sleep” in relationship to death is used only to speak of believers, never of unbelievers (Mat. 27:52; Jn. 11:11–14; Acts 7:60; 13:36; 1 Cor. 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thes. 4:13–14; 2 Pet. 3:4). The word “sleep” in relationship to death shows God’s view of the death of a believer in that it is merely a temporary suspension of physical activity until the believer wakes up in the resurrection.
The Messiah Consecrated Death for the Believer
The third area of death and the believer is that Yeshua the Messiah consecrated death. For the believer, the Messiah has changed the whole content of death. This does not mean that death is a blessing, for death is never a blessing (1 Cor. 15:26). Death is a product of the Fall and was never part of God’s perfect plan for man. But death does contain a blessing in that, by means of death, the believer goes into the very presence of God at the moment of death (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23). Again, the believer does not fall asleep in his soul, but only in his body, for his soul goes immediately into God’s presence. According to Hebrews 9:27, it is still appointed unto men once to die, but death is simply not the same thing for believers. Death has been consecrated as far as the believer is concerned.
So there is no need for a believer to fear. One of the reasons that Jesus died was to take away the fear of death from man (Heb. 2:14–15). Believers do not need to fear death, realizing that it is the means by which the believer will enter into Heaven. The proper attitude the believer should have regarding death is brought out in the Scriptures.
God’s attitude is given in Psalm 116:15: Precious in the sight of Jehovah Is the death of his saints.
The believer’s attitude is given in several passages:
2 Corinthians 5:1: For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.
2 Corinthians 5:6–8: Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.
Philippians 1:21–23: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if to live in the flesh, if this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better.
Another place where the believer’s attitude of death is given is 2 Timothy 4:6–8, where Paul described his attitude toward his own approaching death: For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing.
The believer’s attitude should be one of recognition that, should he die, he should not fear death but realize that by death he shall be in the very presence of God. For that reason, believers are not to sorrow as the unbelievers who have no hope (1 Thes. 4:13). There is a place for weeping for the loss of a loved one, as Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus in John 11:35. There is a place for weeping and for sorrow, but not the type of sorrow that expresses hopelessness. Sorrow and tears: yes; lamenting and wailing: no.
The fourth area in discussing death and the believer is the subject of suicide. “What about believers who commit suicide?” It has already been pointed out that Yeshua puts most believers to death, and Satan can put excommunicated believers to death. Now the question is, what happens in the case of suicide? If suicide has occurred in the case of an excommunicated believer, it can be deduced that Satan was the cause of that death. In the case of the excommunicated believer, Satan can use suicide as well as other means to put one to death. But what about believers who have not been excommunicated who commit suicide?
The Bible is totally silent on the theological implications of suicide. The Bible simply does not spell out theologically what suicide involves. It records accounts of people who committed suicide, but it does not give any theological implications as such. From the context of the biblical record of those who committed suicide, two things can be known: first, those who do commit suicide are out of fellowship with the Lord; and secondly, suicide is always out of the will of God; it is never the will of God for anyone to commit suicide. But that is all one can be certain about concerning those who commit suicide: they are out of fellowship and out of the will of God. Suicide is an act of the human will over the divine will since it is not God’s will for anyone, especially believers, to commit suicide. But one must be careful not to draw too many other theological and doctrinal conclusions from historical accounts.
The Messiah is the cause of death for believers if death is inflicted upon them. Satan can cause the death of excommunicated believers, and this he can do in two ways: first, death could be inflicted upon the excommunicated believer by some outside source, such as accidental death or disease; secondly, Satan can use suicide, and he may cause death to be self-inflicted in the case of an excommunicated believer. These are the two categories of how death occurs concerning believers discussed so far.
However, there is a third cause of the death of a believer in that a believer can take matters into his own hands and cause death by self-infliction, by committing suicide. Believers are capable of any and every sin when they are out of fellowship with the Lord, and one of these sins which they are capable of performing is the sin of suicide. Having said this, what is the spiritual status of the believer guilty of suicide? Because of the silence of Scripture, we do not know all that we would like to know about this particular subject. But there are certain things that can be surmised.