In order to study the Bible productively, one needs certain things a Bible, a Concordance, the ability to read, and some, plain common sense. Armed with these things one will find that:
Why study the Bible to begin with?
Most people are content to leave the message from God, which is contained in the Bible, to their minister, rabbi, priest, guru, or whomever. Yet the most cursory reading of the scriptures will make one aware that God is, within the Bible's pages, speaking of nothing less than Life and Death. Now, no matter how nice a person your rabbi, minister, priest or whomever is, no matter how trustworthy, honest, or sincere he may be, should you trust him with your bankbook? Would you allow him to administer your finances, for you and your family's benefit, as he saw fit? Why would you not leave all decisions concerning your finances up to him, unconditionally? After all, would God steer him wrong? There is, of course, no need to answer this ridiculous question. But you might want to think about this one.
Why, then, would you want to leave your very life, along with the life of all those in your family, in his hands?
For again, we are talking here about the reality of life and death as God sees it and intends it to be.
Most people vary from being vaguely apprehensive, to being outright terrified of death. The word death is used in the Bible over 400 times. Yet, would it surprise you to learn that a true Christian does not fear death at all? That death, even here on earth, is scheduled by God to be destroyed? That it has served its purpose?
How do we know this? Because if you look up the word death in a concordance you will find every scripture in the Bible that uses the word death in it, all listed from Genesis to Revelation. And amongst that long list you will find the following three verses, which we will use to illustrate how easy it is to study the Bible.
Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. (KJV)
2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (KJV)
Yet, one can pull up a scripture from Psalms that seems to contradict the scriptures above.
Psalms 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? (KJV)
But, do they really contradict each other? Not at all! The key to studying the scriptures is to understand that in order to comprehend individual verses one has to keep in mind that all scriptures must harmonize. That an individual scripture does not stand-alone, all by itself. God does not tell us one thing on one page and something different on another.
Now the word "dead" literally means without life. With this in mind, let us find out how God harmonizes the scriptures above and why.
The scripture from Hosea above fits perfectly with the whole chapter the verse comes from. If you read that whole thirteenth chapter, you will see that God is speaking of a time yet to come. In other words, God is making a prediction of an event that has not yet occurred during the time Hosea lived.
While Psalms 6:5 is the lament and supplications of a man in prayer to God. A man, like all of us, who is also aware that death is the cessation of life. Both of which come under harmony with the death of Christ, which is what 2 Tim is speaking of, the salvation of mankind through the death of Jesus. All of which makes sense. All of which blend together in meaning. You might also notice that in Psalms 6, if you take the time to read it all, the man is saying, "Who could remember thee," meaning if there is no life how could one remember anything.
Now if you recall above it has been stated that God has scheduled death to be destroyed because it has served its purpose.
Revelations 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (KJV)
What was the purpose of death? It was the punishment received by Adam and Eve for themselves and all their descendants because they disobeyed. So how do we know this was not a permanent punishment? Why can we say death has served its purpose in the plan and purpose of God? Simply because God has told us so. That is why God predicted the death of death itself in Hosea and explains it further in:
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (KJV)
Well most people that allow religions to think for them will ask here, what about our immortal soul. By this, they mean that illusive spiritual and immortal substance religions tell us we are born with. However, the real question here is, does God tell us we are born with an immortal soul. The Biblical answer to that is no. Look up immortal soul in a concordance, and you will be rewarded with a blank page. Yet, look up the word 'soul' and you will find it mentioned in the Word about 450 times. You will also find the soul can be eaten by a lion, burned with a fire, cut by a sword, fed and starved, in fact you will find that the soul that sinneth shall die.
Ezekiel 18:4 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. (KJV)
And just to be sure we understand this it is repeated:
Ezek 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. (KJV)
Notice that the word soul as used in the Bible some 450 times harmonizes with all that is being said about it. The word soul is used first in Genesis 2:7 in which the word tells us "Man became a living soul." He wasn't given a separate soul; man became a soul. The Hebrew word used here for soul is "Nephesh" which literally means became alive or given the ability to live.
Nowhere in the word of God does it state or even hint that we are born with an immortal soul. The very word "Immortal" means exempt from death. Therefore to be born with an immortal soul would mean the 400 or so scriptures dealing with death would be a lie. Why? Because even though the flesh might perish and decay to dust, IF we had an immortal soul then life would not stop; nor, for that matter, could God cause it to die for it would be immune to death just as God Himself is. It would also mean that the Word would be lying when it tells us the gift of eternal life is held out to us, because if we were already immortal we would already have an immortal or eternal life.
Now common sense tells a rational person that there is something wrong here, especially in light of:
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (KJV)
How could you die if you are immortal? How could you be made alive if you did not die to begin with?
Just the same, there are scriptures that promise eternal life:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
Is God here telling us in Rom 6:23 that eternal life is available to us? He most certainly is. However, acquiring eternal life, and being born with an immortal soul, are two very different things. In order to obtain that gift of eternal life, (which one would not need if already immortal), one must first understand and accept the "Only begotten Son" of God, Jesus Christ. Since God knows and understands what it was that Christ did for mankind, He demands that we also accept and understand all that His only begotten son has done and accomplished. Now most religions preach that Jesus gave his life for us. Which indeed he did. But was this all he did? Not by a long shot! Let's take a look at the list of things Christ brought with him while abiding with us as a human.
1 The announcement that the Kingdom of God as a complete unit in both heaven and earth was to begin. (We know this as the gospel.)
2 The ransom from death hanging over all mankind.
3 The final law of Grace, completing the law as given to Moses.
4 Salvation for every man that ever walked the earth.
5 The promised new covenant between God and mankind.
6 The two commands under grace that allows all Christians to obey the complete law as given to Moses.
7 Ordained the beginning of the spiritual family predestined from before the creation of the universe was begun.
The seven things above represent the complete and perfect plan ordained by God and carried out by Christ from before creation was begun.
Use your Bible and your concordance to track down the words highlighted in the above 7 works of Christ. See for yourself if what is being said on these pages are not so, as given from the Word of God. We will start you out with a hint on number seven above, which is referring to Christ.
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (KJV)
If you do this with a real prayerful desire to learn what God, and not man, has to say, then you will be guided not only by the word of the creator, but the very same power that created the universe itself.
1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? Forever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 how long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; (KJV)
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