Special Sabbath School Offering for the 

May God multiply your generous offerings!


Sabbath, March 5, 2016

“Nowhere in the Sacred Scriptures is found the statement that the righteous go to their reward or the wicked to their punishment at death. The patriarchs and prophets have left no such assurance. Christ and His apostles have given no hint of it. The Bible clearly teaches that the dead do not go immediately to heaven. They are represented as sleeping until the resurrection.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 549, 550.

No wisdom or knowledge in the grave 

1. What do the Scriptures say about a person’s state after he dies? What does not exist for him then?

Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten…. 10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

“A correct understanding of ‘what saith the Scriptures’ in regard to the state of the dead is essential for this time. God’s word declares that the dead know not anything, their hatred and love have alike perished…. Unless we are rooted and grounded in the truth, we shall be swept away by Satan’s delusive snares. We must cling to our Bibles. If Satan can make you believe that there are things in the word of God that are not inspired, he will then be prepared to ensnare your soul. We shall have no assurance, no certainty, at the very time we need to know what is truth.” –Evangelism, p. 249.

2. According to the holy word, after a person dies, does he have any knowledge of what is happening with his family or anyone else? Is he able to communicate with anyone?

Job 14:12, 21 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep…. 21His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.

Ecclesiastes 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

“The Bible declares that the dead know not anything, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun; they know nothing of the joys or sorrows of those who were dearest to them on earth.” –The Great Controversy, p. 556.

No remembrance of the Lord

3. Does one who has died remember or praise the Lord? What else is he completely unaware of?

Psalm 6:5; 115:17; 88:10-12 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?… 115:17The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence…. 88:10Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. 11Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? 12Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

“When, in answer to his prayer, Hezekiah’s life was prolonged fifteen years, the grateful king rendered to God a tribute of praise for His great mercy. In this song he tells the reason why he thus rejoices: ‘The grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day.’ Isaiah 38:18, 19. Popular theology represents the righteous dead as in heaven, entered into bliss and praising God with an immortal tongue; but Hezekiah could see no such glorious prospect in death. With his words agrees the testimony of the psalmist: ‘In death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?’ ‘The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.’ Psalms 6:5; 115:17.” –The Great Controversy, p. 546.

4. What else ends when a person dies? According to the word of the Lord, to what does the body return?

Job 17:11 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

Psalm 146:3, 4 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

“Man is only mortal, and while he feels himself too wise to accept Jesus, he will remain only mortal.

“Physical life is … not eternal or immortal; for God, the Life-giver, takes it again. Man has no control over his life.

“The word of God nowhere teaches that the soul of man is immortal. Immortality is an attribute of God only.

“Upon the fundamental error of natural immortality rests the doctrine of consciousness in death–a doctrine, like eternal torment, opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures, to the dictates of reason, and to our feelings of humanity…. What say the Scriptures concerning these things? David declares that man is not conscious in death. ‘His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.’ Psalm 146:4.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 174.

What happens to the soul and spirit

5. To whom does the spirit of life given by the Lord return? Where does the soul remain until the moment of the resurrection?

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ezekiel 18:4, 20, first part 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…. 20The soul that sinneth, it shall die….

Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.

Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

“Peter, on the day of Pentecost, declared that the patriarch David ‘is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.’ ‘For David is not ascended into the heavens.’ Acts 2:29, 34. The fact that David remains in the grave until the resurrection, proves that the righteous do not go to heaven at death. It is only through the resurrection, and by virtue of the fact that Christ has risen, that David can at last sit at the right hand of God.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 174.

Immortality and glory given at Jesus’ coming

6. What did Jesus say about Lazarus, contradicting the idea that the dead are with Jesus in glory or in the torment of a burning hell? In what state do they remain until the resurrection day?

John 11:11-13 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

“But if the dead are already enjoying the bliss of heaven or writhing in the flames of hell, what need of a future judgment? The teachings of God’s word on these important points are neither obscure nor contradictory; they may be understood by common minds….

“The theory of the immortality of the soul was one of those false doctrines that Rome, borrowing from paganism, incorporated into the religion of Christendom. Martin Luther classed it with the ‘monstrous fables that form part of the Roman dunghill of decretals.’ … Commenting on the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes, that the dead know not anything, the Reformer says: ‘Another place proving that the dead have no … feeling. There is, saith he, no duty, no science, no knowledge, no wisdom there. Solomon judgeth that the dead are asleep, and feel nothing at all. For the dead lie there, accounting neither days nor years, but when they are awaked, they shall seem to have slept scarce one minute.’ ” –The Great Controversy, p. 549.

7. When will the righteous be given immortality and enter into glory? How will it be possible for one to receive the gift of eternal life?

1 Corinthians 15:53, 54 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

“They sleep; they are awakened by the trump of God to a glorious immortality. ‘For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible…. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.’ I Corinthians 15:52-54. As they are called forth from their deep slumber, they begin to think just where they ceased. The last sensation was the pang of death; the last thought, that they were falling beneath the power of the grave. When they arise from the tomb, their first glad thought will be echoed in the triumphal shout: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ Verse 55.” –The Great Controversy, p. 550.

For additional study

“In the very day when the silver cord is loosed and the golden bowl broken (Ecclesiastes 12:6), man’s thoughts perish. They that go down to the grave are in silence. They know no more of anything that is done under the sun. Job 14:21. Blessed rest for the weary righteous! Time, be it long or short, is but a moment to them. They sleep; they are awakened by the trump of God to a glorious immortality.” –The Great Controversy, p. 550.

Psalm 16:10; Philippians 3:20, 21.

“When Christ comes, He takes those who have purified their souls by obeying the truth. Some will go into the grave who are now in active life, and some will be alive and be changed when Christ shall come. This mortal shall put on immortality and these corruptible bodies, subject to disease, will be changed from mortal to immortal. We shall then be gifted with a higher nature. The bodies of all who purify their souls by obeying the truth shall be glorified….” –The Upward Look, p. 97.