These are Jesus’ words: “The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” (John 10:10). And Jesus further said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies” (John 11:25). In this verse Jesus declares that he is the life, and that he communicates life to those who are dead, therefore Jesus does not kill anyone. We are talking of spiritual death, for Paul says: “You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Col. 2:13). The spiritual death is the reward for sin: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). One day some Samaritans refuse to receive Jesus in their village. James and John, who worshipped of Jehovah as their true god, said: “‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from the sky, and destroy them, just as Elijah did?’ But he turned and rebuked them, ‘You don’t know of what kind of spirit you are. For the Son of Man didn’t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them’” (Luke 9: 51-56). We find two great truths here:
- The Spirit of Christ is not the same spirit of Jehovah.
- Jehovah destroys the souls of men and Jesus snatches them from death through the baptismal resurrection. It is Paul who declares this: “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Paul affirms the same doctrine in Rom. 6:4-8.
Jehovah destroys the souls of men, for he declares himself: “The soul who sins, he shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). However, before the law existed Jehovah destroyed the souls of men. Jehovah declared before the flood happened: “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals” (Gen. 6:7).
We read about the death of the firstborn in the land of Egypt: “For Jehovah will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two doorposts, Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to strike you” (Ex. 12:23). We have the impression that the destroyer is someone else, but the written words reveal that Jehovah is the destroyer: “It happened at midnight, that Jehovah struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt” (Ex. 12:29). In Ex. 13:15 we read again that Jehovah killed the firstborn. No doubt Jehovah is the destroyer of souls and Jesus Christ is the savior of souls. Death is with Jehovah, and therefore David declares: “To Jehovah, the Lord, belongs escape from death” (Ps. 68:20). And the very Jehovah answers to Moses, when he said: “Please show me your glory”. The answer was: “You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live” (Ex. 33:18-20). This declaration of Jehovah is opposed to the message of Jesus, who said: “This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).
Jehovah is different. He is so attached to the dead that he founded a kingdom of spiritual corpses, for all were dead in transgressions and sins. This mystery is revealed by Paul, who said: “For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; so much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ” (John 5:24).
Well, Jehovah founded his kingdom 1,600 years before Christ; therefore, a kingdom of spiritual dead — a kingdom of spiritual deceased, for all sinners are dead in his sins. For this reason Jesus said to a disciple who wanted to follow him and needed to bury his dead father, first: “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead” (Matt. 8:22). And the apostle of the gentiles speaks of this again, saying: “even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Eph. 2:5). Notice that Paul said: “Even when we were dead”. Paul was a faithful religious person who fulfilled the law in all details. It is he who proclaims this truth: “If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I yet more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless” (Phil. 3:4-6). If Paul, a Jew faithful to the law and blameless, declares that he was dead in transgressions and sins, then all the Jews were dead, as well as all the Israel who formed the kingdom and Jehovah. Jehovah is the king of the dead.
And Jehovah reveals by the mouth of Isaiah that he is going to create a new heaven and a new earth, saying: “‘For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says Jehovah, so your seed and your name shall remain. It shall happen, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me,’ says Jehovah. ‘They shall go forth, and look on the dead bodies of the men who have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they will be loathsome to all mankind’” (Is. 66:22-24).
Jehovah does not let go of the dead in the new heaven, neither in the new earth. And those who worship Jehovah, horrified, are eternally condemned to watch this mountain of decomposing corpses being eaten by worms. This is not a new heaven, but a new hell.
The saved by Christ will go to the celestial kingdom of God (2 Tim. 4:18; 1 Pet. 1:3-4), and John, the apostle of love, describes the picture: “There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:3-5).
This is the abundant life that Jesus gives us in this life and in the other!
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira