220 – THE DEAD
To Jesus Christ, physical death has less importance than the spiritual death. Physical death is the cessation of life in the flesh. A man dies as a cat or a dog die. Spiritual death is the death of the soul, that is, spiritual death. Therefore, a man, alive in this world, can be spiritually dead. This spiritual death, in the religious sphere, is caused by the evil of sin, according the teaching of all Christian denominations. We transcribe something Jesus said: “And another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead’” (Matt. 8:21-22). To Jesus, the people following along the funeral are also dead. There is a similarity between the deceased man and those who bury him: the dead man does not know that he is dead because he died, and those who bury him do not know that they are dead, because they think they are alive.
Let us go right to the issue. Biblically, death reigned over all from Adam until Jesus, for Paul declared,“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17). Christ is the resurrection and the life, and, therefore, he declared, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes on Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). And the Lord continues to say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).
The dead began in Adam, “Therefore, just as through one men sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). The living began in Jesus Christ. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). It is thus proven, that before Christ there were only dead men, that is, people who were spiritually dead, who sooner or later would physically die. The dead died.
The god Jehovah killed, in the Old Testament. Let us look at it. “And Jehovah said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them” (Gen. 6:7). And the Flood came. Three hundred years later, men, descendants of Noah, had multiplied, and sodomy spread around. Jehovah, then, destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven. Lot was the only to escape with his two daughters (Gen. 19:24-25). The Assyrians, led by Sennacherib, invaded Judah, whose king was Hezekiah. This king was a good king, and Jehovah went to the front of Hezekiah’s army and sent forth a killer angel, who killed 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35). In the time of David, Jehovah decided to kill his own people. He, then, incited David to number the people. David, submissive, obeyed. Jehovah considered this obedient act of David a grave sin, and to punish him, sent a plague that killed 70,000 men (2 Sam. 24:1; 24:15). The grave problem is that Jehovah killed dead people. Men were spiritually dead in sins and trespasses, and Jehovah killed them physically, cutting short any chance they might have of changing their ways; for the Spirit of Christ was in the Old Testament revealing the future work(1 Pet. 1:9-11).
Jehovah killed dead men. This is amazing and grotesque, though real. Jehovah killed them without them having any consciousness of wrong. The strangest thing about it is that Jehovah physically killed those who were going to inescapably die, either of old age, or by means of an accident. Jehovah only killed them sooner. The intriguing for us is: If Jehovah killed people already dead, why did he not give them a chance to exit from death? The answer is simple. Jehovah did not have life to give, only death, for he said to Moses, when Moses asked to see his glory: “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (Ex. 33:20). What Jehovah was saying to Moses is that, if Moses looked into his face, he would die. But Moses was the greatest prophet! (Deut. 34:10). Moses was the meekest (Num. 11:17), the most faithful (Num. 12:7), full of the spirit of Jehovah (Num 11:17), the mediator of the covenant of Jehovah with Israel (Ex. 24:1-8). Moses was set as god over Egypt (Ex. 7:1). The face of Moses shone (Ex. 34:29-35). And if Moses looked into the face of Jehovah, would he die? Moses served Jehovah for 40 years, and do you know what was his recompense? He was forbidden to enter into the rest of Jehovah, that is, into Canaan. Joshua and Caleb were lesser men than Moses, and went into Canaan. Let us read the text: “Truly, not one of this evil generation will see that good land which I said I would give to your fathers, But only Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, he will see it; and to him and to his children I will give the land over which his feet have gone, because he has been true to the Lord with all his heart. And, in addition, the Lord was angry with me because of you, saying, You yourself will not go into it: Joshua, the son of Nun, your servant, he will go into the land: say to him that he is to be strong, for he will be Israel’s guide into their heritage” (Deut. 1:35-38).
The glory of Jehovah consisted of killing. He destroyed humanity in the Flood (Gen. 6:7). He destroyed four sinful cities by fire (Deut. 29:23). He killed all the first-born of Egypt (Ex. 12:23, 29). When he destroyed the armies of the Egyptians in the sea, the very Jehovah declared that he was glorified by this slaughter (Ex. 14:4, 17; 15:6).
Jesus has a very opposite ministry from that of Jehovah, for he gives life to dead men. “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). Jesus does not kill dead men, as Jehovah did. Jesus raises the dead. “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live” (John 5:25). The great work of Jesus has always been to raise the dead, and he has declared, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies” (John 11:25).
The glory of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was to give them eternal life, and so he declared, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). And very loudly Jesus declared further, “Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Luke 20:38).
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA