ETERNAL AND IMMORTAL LIFE POPULAR CONCEPTS VERSUS BIBLICAL REALITY

Many people believe there is life after physical death. It seems that no one really wants to believe that when a person dies, they are truly dead. During many  funerals, people refer to the deceased as having 'passed away'  or  'passed on'. Not many  people  want  to believe that a person ceases to exist as a conscious living being at death.

Almost  all religions of the world teach that humans  and  spirit-beings have eternal life and immortal consciousness or life in one form or  another.  But is this true?  Do humans or  spirit-beings have an eternal and immortal existence?

Because the  subject of eternal life and immortality and how to obtain them is  the  most important topic in the Bible, it is vital for everyone who seeks these qualities  of  life to understand what God's word has to say on the subject.  It is obvious by the fact of physical death that humans  are not immortal, but mortal in the flesh  and subject  to  death and  decay.

This study examines the scriptures to  determine  what eternal life  and  immortality are, who has them, and how they  can  be obtained.

THE SOVEREIGN GOD

Before one can begin to understand the subject of eternal life and  immortality, one must understand who controls eternity and immortality and what constitutes being eternal and immortal.  

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen" (1.Tim.1:17 KJV).

In Paul's acknowledgment of the majesty of God, he reveals that the  God he refers to is the king. Here, the English word 'king' is translated from the Greek word 'baslou', which conveys the sense of one who is the foundation of power ( i.e., the sovereign authority).

Paul also says that this sovereign God is  eternal, immortal,  invisible, and must be given honor and glory forever. In this verse, the English word 'eternal' is a translation of  the Greek word 'aion', which means 'ages' (i.e., perpetuity or eternal). And the English word 'immortal' is a translation of  the Greek word 'aphthartos', which means 'will not decay', 'continuance of life', or 'ever-living'.

The God Paul refers to in this verse is God the Father, the Sovereign God, who has authority and control over all that exists and over all that is eternal or immortal.

As Paul continues to instruct Timothy he says,

"I charge you before God [God the Father] who makes  all things alive, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good witness for God to Pontius Pilate, that,   you keep  the commandment, spotless and blameless,  until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; Who  in his own time will reveal the blessed and only potentate, the King  of kings and Lord of lords; the only One who has immortality,  dwelling  in  the light  which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen,  nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen" (1.Tim.6:13-16 Para.).

Verses 13 through 16 also show that God the Father is sovereign over all things including Jesus Christ and the qualities of life defined as eternal and immortal.

Verse 13 reveals that there is a God who has the power to give life to all things and that this God is someone other than Jesus Christ.

Verses 14 and 15 show that it is Jesus Christ who reveals the Sovereign God who is "the only potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords." Although Jesus Christ is also called the King of kings and Lord of lords, he is never called the only potentate. In these verses, the English word, 'potentate' is a translation from the Greek word 'dunastes' and means 'one of great authority'.

Jesus was to reveal the one with great authority. And the only being who is greater than Jesus is God the Father. Jesus refers to God the Father as the sovereign over all things in heaven and earth:

"You  have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again  to you.  If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said I go  to the Father: for my Father is greater than I" (Jn.14:28 KJV).

"And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness  of me.  You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor  seen  his shape" (Jn.5:37 KJV).

In verse 16 Paul also reveals that the Sovereign God (God the Father) who is the only potentate, and King of kings and Lord of lords, has all authority and control over immortality. The English word, 'has' in verse 16 is a translation of the Greek word 'eho', which means 'to  hold', 'to posses' or 'to own'. Moreover, the English word 'immortality' in verse 16 is a translation of the Greek word 'athanasia'; which means 'deathlessness', 'never dying', 'a  continuance of life.'

No Man has Seen the Sovereign God

"No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him" (Jn.1:18 KJV).

Here, John  cannot be referring to the Mighty One of the ancient Israel, because  men did see, hear, and speak to him face to face; John is speaking of the Sovereign God—God the Father. See our study paper about the identity of God and the God family.

It is clear from what Paul says in 1.Timothy 1:17 and 6:13-16 that God the Father is not only eternal and immortal, but also he has sovereign authority and control over the conditions of existence defined as eternal life and immortality. The following are qualities of the Sovereign God to whom Paul refers:

What are Eternal Life and Immortality?

Eternal life is a continuance of life that is sustained by God the Father and is conditional based on obedience to God and his law. Immortal life is life that springs forth from itself; it is not dependent on any other source to sustain it because it  is self-sustaining.

Who Controls Life and Death?

This study will show that God the Father has reserved to himself the power to destroy spirits-beings as well as humans who violate his principles, precepts, and laws. The  following scriptures show beyond a doubt that  God the  Father has absolute control over life  and death:

"See  now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that  can  deliver  out of my hand.  For I lift  up  my  hand  to heaven, and say, I live for ever"  (Deut.32:39-40 KJV).

"The  Lord kills, and makes alive: he brings down to  the  grave, and brings up" (1.Sam.2:6 KJV).

"And  it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the  letter,  that he tore his clothes, and said, Am I God, to  kill  and make alive, that this man does send to me to recover a man of his leprosy?" (2.Kg.5:7 KJV).

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to  kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both  soul and  body  in hell" (Matt.10:28 KJV).  All power  over  life and death belongs to God.

Although the Creator God who became Jesus Christ had authority and control over all life, God the Father has absolute control over all life:

"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it"  (Jn.5:21 NIV).

The God Who Cast Off Immortality

The apostle John reveals that Jesus as the Creator God cast off  his immortality in order to become human and experience life and death as a human:

"In  the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with  God,  and the  Word  was God. The same was in the beginning with  God.  All things  were made by him; and without him was not anything made that  was  made. In him was life; and the life was the  light  of men.  And  the light shined in the darkness;  and  the  darkness comprehended  it not. . .He was in the world, and the  world  was made by him, and the world knew him not. . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of  the  only begotten of the Father) full of grace  and  truth" (Jn.1:1-14 KJV). See also Matt. chps.1-4.

Despite the  many scriptures that speak of Jesus being a member of  the God family, many people still feel that he was only a human being who did  not pre-exist. John records Jesus telling the Jews of his pre-existence:

"Jesus said to them, (AMEN AMEN LEGO HUMON PRIM ABRAHAM GINO-MAI  EGO EIMI [I am]) Truly, truly, I say  to  you,  Before Abraham was, I AM" (Jn.8:58 KJV).

Jesus told these Jews that he had pre-dated and existed before Abraham, which meant that he was the Creator God of Abraham. This angered the Jews so much that they immediately  tried to kill him for speaking what they considered to be blasphemy.

"I came  forth  from  the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go  to the Father" (Jn.16:28; 3:13 KJV).

Here, Jesus  says that  he came  from the Father into the world AGAIN. What did  Jesus mean  by 'again'? If we understand that Jesus  was  the  Creator God (Jn.1:1-12; Heb.1:1-3), this statement will not be a mystery. The word  'again'  is translated from the Greek word 'palin', which means 'once more', 'repetition', or 'again.' As the Creator and the  God  of ancient Israel, he came to earth many times.  Remember, Abraham,  Jacob,  Moses, and many others talked,  ate, and fellow-shipped face to face with the Creator.

"And  now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self  with  the glory  which I had with you before the world was" (Jn.17:5  KJV). See Jn.8:38-59; 17:24.

Clearly as the Creator God, Jesus had existed before his creation of humanity. Moreover, he  set aside his position as second in authority in the God family to become a human.

Jesus, The God Who Died

In the first chapter of Revelation, the apostle John records  his encounter  with  Jesus Christ who says he is the God  Alpha  and Omega (Rev.1:8).

"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid  his right  hand upon me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the  first  and the  last:  I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold,  I  am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Rev.1:17-18 KJV). See also Rom.6:8-10, Acts 2:24-32; 3:15,26.

The  Greek  interlinear Bible translates the phrase 'was dead', in verse  18, as 'I became dead'. The Greek word used for 'dead' here is 'corpse'.  The 'Alpha and Omega' says he was a dead body, but is now alive forever.  Despite the fact that  this statement says  that Jesus was totally dead, some still believe the totality of Jesus did not really die.

"And  to  the angel of the church in Smyrna write:  These  things says the first and the last: who became dead [was a corpse],  and lived" (Rev.2:8 Para.). Notice again that the Alpha and Omega (the Savior) says that he was totally dead at one time.

"But  we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than  the  angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by  the grace of God should taste death for every man"  (Heb.2:9 KJV).

"Your attitude should be the kind that was shown to us by Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, did not think it was wrong to be as the Sovereign God. Jesus did not cling to his rights as God,  but laid aside his power and glory,  taking on the form of a  man: And humbled himself even further, by allowing himself to unjustly  be put to death as a criminal on the cross" (Phil.2:5-8 Para.).

Jesus  Christ, the Creator of all things (Jn.1:1-3), was  an immortal spirit-being that inherently possessed the highest  form of existence: life that springs forth from itself, never dying or decaying. A being who was not subject to death emptied himself of his  glory, power, and immortality to become a mortal man.  Then, he, allowed his creation to murder him. Not only did this  immortal being voluntarily  give up his life but  also he died  an agonizing   physical death and completely ceased to exist  as  a living entity for a short time. See Lk.24:1-7.

"Paul  an  apostle,  not of men, neither by  man,  but  by  Jesus Christ,  and  God  the  Father, who raised  him  from  the  dead" (Gal.1:1 KJV). See also Acts 4:10, 5:30, 10:40; 13:30.

Jesus was completely dead; he ceased to exist. All that  remained  of him was the spirit and physical records of his  existence. Even these could have been completely destroyed and  erased, if the Father had willed it (Matt.10:28; Lk.12:4-5). It is important  to understand that Jesus would have remained dead  forever—never  to live again—if his Father had not resurrected him  from the dead.

It is also important to understand the enormity of what had taken place  during   Jesus' life  and at his death.  During  this  time, God  the  Father was the only eternal and immortal being in existence.

CAN SPIRIT-BEINGS DIE?

The Bible says that God the Father and Jesus Christ are immortal and the  Father controls who is given eternal life and immortality. Presently the only immortal spirit-beings are God the Father and Jesus Christ. Although many people believe that all spirit-beings are immortal because they are composed of spirit, this is not true. As Jesus explained the rewards of a righteous life to his disciples, he also explained the punishment that will be given those who refuse to live righteously  after they are called to salvation:

"Then  shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart  from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his  angels"  (Matt.25:41 KJV).

Why is a  fire prepared  for  Satan and the evil spirits under his control? It makes no sense to prepare a fire to cast evil spirits into unless they can be harmed by this fire.

Angelic Beings are Eternal, not Immortal

Many assume that angels have immortal life and cannot die because of the following statement Jesus made about those  accounted worthy  of  eternal life not being subject to death  and being equal to the angels:

"And  Jesus  answering them said,  The children of  this  world marry,  and  are given in marriage: But they which shall  be  accounted  worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection  from the dead, do not marry, nor are given in marriage:  Nor can they die any more:  for they are equal to the angels; and are the children  of  God,  being  the  children  of the  resurrection"  (Lk.20:34-36 Para.).

In verses 34 and 35,  Jesus is only answering the Sadducees' question of marital status in the Kingdom of God; he is not addressing the question of eternal life or  immortality. He explains that marriage is only for humans and is not necessary in the spirit world. Angels are created  beings, which do not procreate as humans do. Likewise, when the children of God are transformed into spirit-beings, they will neither marry or procreate.

Verse 36 does not say angelic beings are immortal.  It just  says that the resurrected saints will be in a condition similar to the angels. However, unlike the angels who have eternal life which can be destroyed, people who participate in the first resurrection are given immortal life as  sons  of God. Because these children of God are immortal they have  life that springs forth from itself, which  never dies or decays and is not dependent on any other source to  sustain it; therefore, they cannot die (1.Tim.1:17, 6:12-16, Heb.2:9:10; 1.Cor.15:50-56).

Angels are not immortal spirit-beings, they are eternal beings, which have their life sustained by the power of God. Eternal life can be  terminated, which is documented by the many scriptures that show the  destruction of evil spirits.

Notice how Mark relates this account:

"For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry,  nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven" (Mk.12:25 KJV).

The  angels Jesus refers to in answering the Sadducees,  are  the righteous angels in heaven. These spirit-beings do not die because they have  not committed  anything worthy of death. However, the rebellious angels have disobeyed God and will be punished for their disobedience.

Spirit-beings Can Die

Can spiritual beings die? Yes, spirit-beings are subject to death under  certain  conditions.  God the Father has  ultimate  power  and authority  over all that he has caused to be  created,  including evil spirits. However, evil spirits want us to believe that they are immortal beings that will live forever. Nevertheless, they are not immortal; they are only eternal.

While explaining the necessity for a child of God to have faith with works, the apostle James makes an interesting statement about evil spirits and their fear of God:

"What does it  profit, my  brethren, though a man says he has faith, and has not  works?  Can faith save him?  [Obviously not!]  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute not having daily food, and one of you says to  them, depart  in  peace, be  warmed and filled, and does not give them the things which are needful to the body.   What does  it  profit?  Therefore,  faith, without works,  is  dead, being alone.  Yes, man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show  me  your faith without your works, and I will show  you  my faith  by  my works.  You believe that there is one God;  you  do well:  the devils also believe, and tremble" (Jms.2:14-19 KJV Para.).

What is it that evil spirits know about God that would make them tremble in fear? This question is answered in Mark's account of Jesus meeting a man in a synagogue who was possessed  with  a demon:

"And  there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean  spirit; and  he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do  with you,  you Jesus of Nazareth?  are you come to destroy us? I  know you, you are the Holy One of God" (Mk.1:23-24 KJV; Lk.4:33-35).

In verse 24, the English word 'destroy' is a translation of the Greek word  'appolumi', which  means 'to destroy  fully', 'complete destruction', 'to  perish', or  'to die'.  This  same word is used many times to describe  the  utter destruction of individuals and places (Matt.10:28, 12:14, 21:41; Lk.17:29). All of these examples of the word 'apollumi' are  used to  convey  utter or complete destruction. Both the  Hebrew  and the Greek words for 'destroy' mean 'the destruction and cessation  of existence'.

The  question  the demon asks is important because  it  tells  us three essential facts about evil spirits:

SATAN'S  PUNISHMENT

"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of  the bottomless  pit and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid  hold on  the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and  Satan, and bound him a thousand years,  And cast him into the bottomless pit,  and  shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that  he  should deceive  the nations no more, till the thousand years  should  be fulfilled:  and  after that he must be loosed  a  little  season" (Rev.20:1-3 KJV). See also Isa.24:21-22.

At the beginning of the millennium, this powerful evil being will be bound  and held in a prison for a thousand years, after which he will be released for a short time. But what will happen to him after his release? Will he be allowed to continue his existence or will he be destroyed?

"When  the thousand years are over, Satan will be  released  from prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of  the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle.  In number  they  are  like the sand on the  seashore.  They  marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of  God's people,  the city he loves. But fire came down from  heaven   and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown  into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had  been thrown. They will be tormented day and night  for  ever and ever" (Rev.20:7-10 NIV).  

If this translation of verse 10 is taken  at face value, it seems to say that Satan will be cast into a lake of fire to be tortured  for eternity. But, does the phrase 'for ever and ever' mean an  eternity in the original Greek language?

For Ever and Ever

The English phrase 'for ever and ever' in verse 10 is a gross mis-translation of the original Greek phrase 'eis  tous aeonas ton aionon', which means, 'to the ages of  the ages'.

A more correct translation of verse 10 is as follows:

"And  the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of  fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet were. And  shall be tormented day and night until the age of ages."

Satan will not endure everlasting punishing; he will have his existence terminated; he will cease to exist forever. The  age spoken of in verse 10 is the termination of an age.  It is the time when the existence of physical humans on earth will end. Moreover, it is a time when  a new age will begin and the mystery of what God is  doing here on earth will be revealed. See our study about the Festival of the Eighth Day.

Satan Will Die

After Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, the Creator God gave a prophecy about the termination of Satan's existence:

"And  I will put enmity [separation] between you and  the  woman, and  between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise  your  head, and you shall bruise his heel" (Gen.3:15 KJV). Note, the  woman's seed is a reference to Christ.  

The  Hebrew word for 'bruise' is 'shoof', which means 'to crush'  or 'strike at'.  Because Satan is referred to as a serpent, it makes sense that Satan is the serpent that would try to destroy the Savior.

Almost all Bible scholars agree that this verse is speaking about the  Savior who would come and triumph over Satan.  Satan  would strike at the heel and damage it a little bit.  But, Christ will crush the head of Satan; thereby, he will destroy him.

"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen"  (Rom.16:20 KJV).

The Greek word 'suntribo' translated as 'bruise' in verse 20 means 'to crush' or 'to completely shatter.' In other words, it means 'to destroy'.

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he  also  himself likewise took part of the  same;  that  through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that  is, the devil;"  (Heb.2:14 KJV). See also 2.Thes.2:8.

In verse 14, the English  word 'destroy' is a translation of the Greek word  'katargeo',  which comes from  the root 'argeo', which means 'to render  entirely  useless.' It can also mean' to abolish', 'to cease',  'to  vanish away', or 'to utterly destroy'. Christ will utterly destroy  Satan.

There  is  nothing in the Greek word 'katargeo' that  indicates  anything other than destruction; it does not show that Satan will continue to live. Indeed, it indicates he will be utterly destroyed. Verse 14 also shows that Jesus has the power to destroy Satan.

Satan the Lawbreaker

"You are of your father the devil, and the lusts  of  your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no  truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own:  for he is a liar, and the father of it" (Jn.8:44 KJV).

Satan and other evil spirits were cast out of the Kingdom of  God because  of their rebellion (Rev.12:1-9). They are against the  law  of God  and will not conform to it willingly. Moreover, they willfully  break the laws of God and obey only what God imposes upon them by force.  

A Covering Cherub Will Die

Ezekiel  chapter 28 contains the prophecy about the physical king  of  Tyrus and the destruction of the evil cherub who possessed the king.

"Son  of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of  Tyrus,  and say to him, Thus says the Lord God; You seal up the sum, full  of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You  have been in Eden the garden of God; every  precious  stone was  your  covering,  the sardius, topaz, and  the diamond,  the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald,  and the carbuncle, and gold:  the workmanship of your tabrets and  of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were  created.  You are the anointed cherub that covers; . . ." (Ezk.28:12-14 KJV).

Verses 13-14 do not describe the physical King of Tyrus; they describe someone completely different. The only kind of being that could  fit this  description has to be from the  spirit  realm  of existence. These verses show the magnificence and beauty of  a  powerful  spirit-being  who  was created to hold a powerful position  within  the Kingdom of God.

"And I have set you so:  you were upon the holy mountain  of God;   you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones  of fire.   You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created,   till   iniquity  [lawlessness]  was  found   in   you. By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the  midst of you with violence, and you have sinned:  therefore I will cast you  as profane out of the mountain of God: and I  will  destroy you,  O  covering cherub, from the midst of the stones  of  fire" (Ezk.28:14-16 KJV).

The English word 'destroy' in verse 16 is a translation from the Greek word 'abad', which is translated 57  times in the Old Testament as 'destroyed', 79 times as  'perished',  and 36  times as 'to destroy' or 'to perish.'   The  word 'abad',  as  used in Ezekiel 28, cannot mean anything  other  than total destruction. These scriptures prove beyond doubt that  this powerful spirit-being will have his life terminated and will cease to exist.

"Your  heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have  corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness:  I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may  behold you. You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of  your iniquities,  by the iniquity of your traffic; therefore  will  I bring  forth a fire from the midst of you, it shall devour  you, and I will bring you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of  all them  that behold you.  All they that know you among  the  people shall  be  astonished at you: you shall be a terror,  and  never shall  you  be any more"  (Ezk.28:17-19 KJV).   (A  more  correct translation is, "You shall never be a terror anymore").

The fire that will come from within this powerful spirit-being will consume him; he will be destroyed and turned to ashes. The  judgment  and punishment for this spirit-being has already been madeChis fate is  sealed. He will be destroyed by fire  for  his  rebellion.  Remember,  the  penalty  for committing  willful  sin  is  death (Rom.6:23).

It is important to understand that the Lake of Fire in which evil spirits and humans will be cast is a physical place that burns with physical fire. Because both evil  spirits  and  people will be destroyed by the same physical fire (Matt.25:40-41; Rev.20:7-10)  and turned  to  physical  ashes that will be trodden  under  the  feet  of  the  righteous (Mal.4:1-3), it seems likely that God will change both evil spirits and people into fleshly beings before they are destroyed by this fire.

IS THERE A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH?

We  have  learned that evil spirits can  be  destroyed;  however,  is there  a  fate worse than death reserved for some evil spirits?

Notice what some evil spirits ask Jesus:

"When  he  arrived at the other side in the region of  the  Gadarenes,  two  demon-possessed men coming from the tombs  met  him. They  were so violent that no one could pass that way. "What  do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come  here to torture us before the appointed time?" Some distance from them a  large herd of pigs were feeding. The demons begged Jesus,  "If you  drive us out, send us into the herd of  pigs"  (Matt.8:28-31 NIV). See also Lk.8:26-33.

What did these demons fear? Did they fear death, or something worse than death? Notice, they asked if Jesus had come  to  torture them  before their appointed time. What torture and what time were they  referring too? Actually some of  these evil beings will suffer  a fate far worse than death.

Raging Waves and Wandering Stars

Jude's letter is mainly a warning to the elect about the false brethren who were among them. While giving this warning  message, Jude also records two types of punishment for evil spirits.

Jude verses 5-7; 13 KJV

"I  will therefore put you in remembrance, though you  once  knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the  land of  Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.   And  the angels  that  kept  not their first estate, but  left  their  own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under  darkness to  the judgment of the great day [See 2.Pet.2:4]. Even as  Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like  manner,  giving themselves  over to fornication, and going after  strange  flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of  eternal fire" (vs.5-7).

What Jude reminds them of was common knowledge at that time. Verse  6 shows that some of these rebellious angels are  chained in a prison of darkness until the day they will be punished by  fire. However, in verse 13, Jude makes a statement about a second group of rebellious  angles. His statement explains what torture the  demons who met Jesus at the tombs were concerned about:

"Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame;  wandering stars,  to  whom  is reserved the  blackness  of  darkness  for ever" (v13).

The following are translations of words from the original Greek text that show the severity of the punishment  noted  in Jude, verse 13:

Because there is no reference to the death of these evil  spirits, the indication is that this prison of blackness and darkness is a  place they will never leave. Moreover, it is probably where they shall be confined to wander alone forever.

For  a  sentient being, there could be no  greater  or  torturous punishment than to be totally cut off from all other beings and left alone with one's thoughts in total darkness forever. This is  the torment that  demons fear more than death. Some demons are already experiencing this torture, which is indicated in Jude 6 and 2.Pet.2:4.

Another Dimension

There are scriptures that say no evil will be allowed in the new heavens, the new earth, or the Holy City (See 2.Pet.3:10-13;  Rev.21:1-27). This seems to contradict the scriptures that say some of the demons will be punished by being left alive in total darkness. However, not allowing any evil presence in the new heavens and  earth does not preclude the existence of another dimension of time and space outside of where the God family exists (See 1.Pet.3:18-20; 2.Pet.2:3-5).  The  current physical and spiritual realms  are  an example of two separate dimensions of time and space that exist concurrently; therefore, there is no reason to believe that  God cannot design and create as many separate dimensions of time and space as he deems necessary for  whatever purpose he desires.

It is obvious from the scriptures, that all spirit-beings do  not have  immortal life. If they did, they could not be  destroyed. All spirit-beings, besides the Father and those of the New  Creation can only possess eternal life as long as they are  obedient to the Father. And although  the  majority of evil spirits will be destroyed  in  a Lake  of Fire (Matt.25:41), some will suffer a fate  worse  than death for their rebellion against God.

ARE HUMANS IMMORTAL?

The  realty of death is one of the most terrifying thoughts  that can come to the human mind. It is so frightening and  distasteful that most people try to avoid talking or thinking about it.  Life is our most precious possession, but no matter what we do or how  hard we try to preserve it, the inevitable will happen—we will eventually die.

At the Beginning

At the very beginning of human history, God warned the first man that if he disobeyed his instructions he would die:

"And  the Lord God took the man, and put him into the  garden  of Eden  to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded  the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not  eat of it, for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely  die" (Gen.2:15-17 KJV).

Satan Enters the Garden

"And  the serpent [Satan] was cunning above every animal  of  the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, Is it true  that God has said, You shall not eat from any tree  of the garden?  And  the woman said to the serpent, We may  eat  of  the trees  of the garden, but the fruit of the tree which is  in  the middle  of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it  nor touch it, lest you die" (Gen.3:2-3 Para.).

Satan who is a  master of deception questioned Eve to see if she understood  what God had said regarding the trees of the  garden and he discovered that she did understand that disobedience would cause her death.

The Big Lie

"And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not really die" (Gen.3:4 Para.).

The first humans believed this lie; they believed that they  were immortal and could not die. However, they were not immortal; they did  die. Throughout human history the vast majority  of their descendants  have believed this same lie, and many will face  the final  death because they preferred to believe a lie instead  of the truth.

The scriptures show beyond a shadow of a doubt that, when  wicked individuals are punished with death, they cease to exist from all dimensions of God's creation. Death is the absence of life; it is not existence  in another form.

The Spirit Returns to God

"Then  shall the dust [the human body] return to the earth as it was;  and the spirit shall return to God who gave it" (Ecc.12:7 KJV).

"For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even  one thing  befalls  them:  as the one dies, so dies the  other;  yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  All go to one place; all  are  of the  dust, and will turn to dust again.  Who knows the spirit  of man  that  goes  upward, and the spirit of the  beast  that goes downward to the earth?" (Ecc.3:29-21 Para.).

Many have concluded from these scriptures that the human spirit is immortal because it returns to God. However, just because  the  human  spirit returns to God does  not  mean  that humans  are immortal. The scriptures clearly show that  only  the righteous  will  possess  immortality  in  the Kingdom  of   God (Matt.25:31-34, Jn.3:16,36; 1.Jn.5:11-12) and the  unrighteous will  be destroyed because of their  wickedness (Matt.25:41-46; Mal.4:1-3).

God Can Destroy the Spirit in Man

The apostle Paul was inspired to speak of the temporary condition of the flesh and the hope of the continuance of life as a spirit-being:

"Therefore  we  do not faint, but if indeed our  outward  man  is being decayed, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day—for  the lightness of our present affliction works out for  us  a far more excellent eternal weight of glory; we are not  considering  the  things seen, but the things not being seen;  for  the things  seen are not lasting, but the things not seen  are  everlasting" (2.Cor.4:16-18 Para.).

Although  there is hope of eternal and immortal life in the  spiritual  realm, the  reality is that the spirit can be destroyed if a  person  is incorrigibly wicked and does not repent of their sin.

Jesus  says, "And fear not them which kill the body, but  are  not able  to  kill  the soul: but rather fear him which  is  able  to destroy  both  soul  and body in  hell"   (Matt.10:28  KJV). See Gen.6:1-7; Lk.12:4-5.

The Greek word for 'body' here is 'soma', which means 'a physical  human/animal 'body'  or 'corpse'. The  word  for 'soul'  is 'psuche', which means 'breath', 'life', or 'mind'. Here, there are two distinct elements of physical and non-physical  human  life  and  both elements can be completely destroyed by God.  There  is nothing in either of these two words that indicates anything immortal.  

The  Greek word for 'destroy' is 'apollumi' which  means  'destroy fully', 'to kill, 'to perish', 'to completely do away with', or 'to die'.  The word 'appolumi' is used many times to describe the utter destruction  of  individuals  and places (see  Matt.12:14,  21:41;  Lk. 17:29).  In  every  context where 'appolumi' is found  in  the  New Testament,  it means to completely destroy and it is used to convey utter and complete destruction.

There is no doubt as to the meaning of the words used in  Matthew 10:28. The point is clear that men only have the power to kill the body, but God has the power to  completely  destroy all aspects of his human creation.

Unrepentant Sinners Die

"Behold,  all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so  also the  soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it  shall  die" (Ezk.18:4 KJV) See also verse 20.

The English word, 'soul' in verse 4 is a translation from the Hebrew word 'nephesh', which means 'a breathing creature or animal', 'vitality', 'beast', 'body', or 'breath'.  There is  absolutely nothing in the word 'nephesh' that  indicates anything other than physical life, whether human or animal. And there is nothing throughout the entire Bible that  indicates  humans  are immortal. 'Nephesh' literally means 'a state of being alive.'  

"For  the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God  is  eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom.6:23 KJV).

"Brothers,  if anyone among you goes astray from the  truth,  and anyone  turns him back, know that the one turning a  sinner  from the  error  of  his  way will save the soul  from death" (Jms.5:19-20 Para.).

"Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that  no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1.Jn.3:15 KJV).

Sin is defined as the violation of the physical and spiritual law of   God;   sin  is  lawlessness (Rom.14:23; 1.Jn.3:4; 5:17; Jms.4:17). The violation of God's law  requires the death penalty (Rom.6:23) for the incorrigible, unrepentant lawbreaker.

The Finality of Death

"For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and  all the  proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble:  and the  day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord  of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." . . . "And  you shall  tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes  under  the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the Lord of hosts" (Mal.4:1;3 KJV).

Malachi does not say whether these wicked individuals are evil spirits or humans. What is clear from many other scriptures is that there is a time in the future when both evil spirits and humans who oppose God will  be  destroyed in a lake of fire, and that those who are destroyed by fire will never live again. See our study paper about the resurrection to the second death.

"But  the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and  murderers,  and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and  all liars,  shall have their part in the lake which burns  with fire and brimstone: which is the second death"  (Rev.21:8  KJV).  See also Rev.20:12-15; Heb.9:27).

The destruction of wicked humans will be accomplished in the same manner  as the destruction of evil spirits; they will be  consumed by fire.

Humans are Mortal

Regardless  of what people believe or want to believe about  the spirit  in man, the evidence from the Bible shows that humans  are mortal; they do not possess  immortality in any way, shape, or form. Notice what the apostle Paul says about the endeavor to obtain eternal life and immortality:

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereto you were also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses" (1.Tim.6:12 KJV). See also verse 19.

"To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for  glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:" (Rom.2:7 KJV). See also Matt.19:16-17; Lk.10:25-27;18:18-20.

"Behold  I  show you a mystery; We shall not all  sleep,  but  we shall all be changed, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye,  at the  last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead  shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this  corruptible  must put on incorruption, and this mortal must  put  on immortality. 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"  (1.Cor.15:51-54  KJV).  See  also  1.Cor.15:26, 2.Tim.1:9-10, 2.Pet.1:4; Rev.20:6; 21:1-4.

If humans already possess immortality, these scriptures would make no  sense. Why must a person continue to strive for eternal life and immortality if they already have it? It is apparent from what Paul says that eternal life and immortality is only guaranteed if a person lives  a righteous  lifestyle.  It is also obvious from what  Paul  says that those who are called to the first resurrection must be changed into immortal beings  in order to continue life in the spiritual dimension:

"And  if  the  spirit of him who raised Jesus from  the  dead  is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also  give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit, who [which] lives in you" (Rom.8:11 NIV). See also Job 4:17; Rom.6:12.

There is nothing throughout the entire Bible that  shows humans  have  an eternal or immortal spirit. In fact, the scriptures show  just  the opposite; they clearly show human life as a temporary condition. See 2.Cor.4:17-18.

SUMMARY

Although many would like to believe that they will gain immortality  by virtue of being human or by belonging to  one  religious organization or another, this is not what the word of God says.

God says that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked:

"Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the  death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from  his  way and  live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for  why will you  die,  O house of Israel?" (Ezk.33:11 KJV). Please  read  the entire  33rd chapter of Ezekiel to see the concern God has for  Israel,  and the finality of the of the punishment for being wicked. See  also Ezk. 18:20-32; 18:27; 2.Pet.2:1-22; 1.Cor.6:9.

All wicked individuals, whether humans or evil spirits, will be punished for their wickedness and will eventually be eliminated from the Father's realm of existence. The scriptures clearly show that when a human or an evil spirit is punished with death in the Lake of Fire, their life will be terminated, and all traces of  their existence will be erased; they will totally cease to exist (Mal.4:1).

Eternal and immortal life represent the highest form of  existence. This is the kind of life that God the Father offers to those he calls to participate in the first resurrection. He is offering people eternal life and immortality  as sons of his in his kingdom and family.

Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life , and that they might have it more abundantly" (Jn.10:10 KJV).

No form of existence can be more abundant and filled with joy than eternal and immortal life on the divine spiritual plane of existence in the Family and Kingdom of God (see 1.Cor.2:9).  What gift could be greater than to have immortal life, which springs forth  from itself and does not depend on any other source to sustain it because it is self sustaining?

"Who  has saved us, and called us with an holy calling,  not  according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior  Jesus  Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality  to light through the gospel:" (2.Tim.1:9-10 KJV).  See also 1.Jn.2:25.

Concerning eternal and immortal life, the choices for anyone called to salvation today are the same as those called before and during the Old Covenant with ancient Israel. Anyone who is called to salvation today and chooses to live a righteous life will be rewarded with eternal and immortal life. However, those who refuse to keep their agreement with God will be punished with a death from which there is no return. The Creator God who became Jesus Christ  had these choices summarized and recorded so that there would be no doubt as to what he was offering for righteousness:

Deuteronomy 30:15-19 KJV

"See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil;  In that I command you this day to love the Lord your  God,  to  walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes  and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and  the Lord your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it" (vs.15-16).  

"But  if  your heart turn away, so that you will  not  hear,  but shall  be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve  them;  I denounce  to you  this day, that you shall surely perish,  and that you  shall not prolong your days upon the land,  where  you pass over Jordan to go to possess it" (vs.17-18). 

"I  call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that  I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:  therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:" (v19).

It is God the Father and Jesus Christ's earnest desire that his chosen people choose life.

By B.L Cocherell, file b7w7