WHEN IS THE RESURRECTION?

THE FIRST DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN A gracEmail subscriber recently attended two funerals at which the pastor said the deceased had experienced their resurrections. This subscriber believes that the resurrection will take place at Christ's return. "Is there a biblical basis," he asks, "for believing that Christians who die now experience their resurrection … [Read more...]

afterlife discussion has nine lives

A recent gracEmail titled "Boy Who Told Fibs About Heaven" told of 16-year-old Alex Malarkey's announcement that his book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven (co-written with dad, Kevin), was untrue. Alex never went to heaven, he now says, but rather as a six-year-old made up the whole story to get attention. The gracEmail noted three major elements in Alex's story that contradict biblical … [Read more...]

Boy who told fibs about heaven

Titled The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, this 2010 bestseller from Tyndale by Alex Malarkey and his father Kevin Malarkey has sold more than a million copies. And why not, we ask, for a book that purports to tell the story of six-year-old Alex, who sustained head injuries in a vehicular collision that left him comatose for two months and paralyzed permanently. While in the coma, said Alex, … [Read more...]

OUR FUTURE SELVES

Oh, to live forever! Do you ever long for that? It's a grandiose wish, all right, and certainly not unqualified or without reservations. We would not want any pain, for example, should we somehow manage to live forever. Most of us have experienced pain here; we clearly have no appetite for any more. An unending life ought to be pain-free. While we are at it, let's stipulate that sickness also is … [Read more...]

THE RICH MAN & LAZARUS (2)

A gracEmail subscriber has heard the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) used to teach that when the wicked die they immediately begin to suffer conscious torment, and that after the Resurrection they will suffer that conscious torment forever. Why do I not teach these two things? * * * Some argue that this story cannot be a parable because Jesus says "there was a certain rich man" … [Read more...]

ARE THE DEAD CONSCIOUS?

A gracEmail subscriber writes," I read your book The Fire That Consumes and I believe your position is scriptural that the dead are unconscious between death and Resurrection. I do have some questions, however, about several passages." * * * My major concern in The Fire That Consumes was to investigate thoroughly all biblical teaching about the final state of the lost. Because those who believe … [Read more...]

THE ‘INTERMEDIATE STATE’

A brother who has read The Fire that Consumes inquired about the state of believers after the moment of death and before the resurrection at the Last Day, the period sometimes called "the intermediate state." * * * If one begins thinking at the point of biblical anthropology, it seems to me one easily concludes that there is no conscious "intermediate state." In the Creation story, God makes a … [Read more...]

DEATH AS SEPARATION

A gracEmail subscriber asks about the Bible's frequent reference to the dead as "sleeping" and a different subscriber asks if death does not involve separation of body and spirit. * * * Indeed, death involves the separation of body and spirit but a word of caution is in order. "Spirit" (from Latin, spiritus) is ruach (Hebrew) or pneuma (Greek) -- "breath" or "wind" -- with which our material … [Read more...]

JESUS’ TRANSFIGURATION AND THE DEAD

A pastor in Florida quotes the biblical passage which says that the dead know nothing (Eccl. 9:5), and asks how to square that with the account of Jesus' Transfiguration, in which Moses and Elijah briefly appear and talk with Jesus, then disappear again. * * * Indeed, the Bible describes the dead as going down into Sheol (Hebrew) or Hades (Greek), the "unseen realm" for which one might easily … [Read more...]

YOUR SON IS SAFE

A dear Christian sister whose 21-year-old-son was killed in Afghanistan asks: "Until Judgment Day, are Christians who die just 'sleeping,' or are they with the Lord? I know the Bible says we won’t have our glorified bodies until the resurrection but it also says that to be 'absent from the body' is to be 'present with the Lord.'” * * * I am so sorry for the loss of your son. May God give you … [Read more...]