Memory Verse: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).
INTRODUCTION: The Bible warns us against learning the ways of the heathen and accepting their beliefs (Jeremiah 10:2). Plato, (427‐347 B.C.) the Greek philosopher, was a very influential person in his and succeeding generations. “Platoism was the dominating philosophy of European civilization for many centuries. It is asserted by many scholars that Plato has exerted a greater influence upon the thinking of man in the western world than any other person in paganism” (Alva Huﬀer, Systematic Theology, The Restitution Herald: Oregon, Illinois, 1969, p. 149).
“Plato believed in the pre‐existence as well as the immortality of the soul. He believed that matter is evil. He taught that the soul is contaminated by the body and earth. Purification, he asserted, can be attained only when man’s soul is released from the body and dwells apart from the earth” (Ibid. p. 150).
The concept of an immortal soul originated in paganism, yet it is held today by many churches. Plato’s belief that matter is evil is often reflected in religious literature today. A typical article in referring to souls going to heaven at death might state, “as the eggshell cracks to release the chicken inside, so must your body give way to release the child of God inside … as for those saints who have already died and been released from their bodies … ”
The Bible is very plain regarding the state of man in death. It teaches that death is as a sleep in which man cannot think, feel, or remember. This agrees with medical science for when a person’s brain ceases to function all thought and feelings cease. There is no consciousness apart from an active, living brain.
The Bible has much to say regarding the reward of the saints. But, it all centers around Jesus’ return and the resurrection. If the saints are presently enjoying the bliss of heaven, the resurrection would be only an anti‐climax instead of the glorious homecoming of the saints. Going to heaven at death would be like arriving late at a celebration party after everybody had been celebrating for hours. The Bible has a much better program. We will rise together to meet Jesus, and all the saints of all ages will worship and rejoice together.
The Thessalonian saints were concerned regarding the fate of righteous loved ones who had died. Apostle Paul gave them comfort by explaining that they would rise to meet the Lord at His coming along with the living saints. If they were already in heaven, why didn’t he comfort them with that thought? They weren’t in heaven, so Paul pointed them to the glorious resurrection of all saints that will take place at His return.
- How is death described in the Bible? 1 Thessalonians 4:13; Psalm 13:3.
- What happens to our thoughts when we die? Psalm 146:3-4; Ecclesiastes 9:4-6, 10.
- A common belief is that the dead observe their loved ones from Does this agree with the Bible? Job 14:21.
- David died about one thousand B.C. Where did Peter say he was in his time? Acts 2:29, 34.
- How long will the saints remain in the grave? Job 14:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:22-23.
- Who will cause the dead to rise? 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
- Many people believe that those who have died are praising God in heaven at this time. What does the Bible say concerning this? Psalm 115:17.