If Jesus has already returned, why is there still death?
Revised: 2012 Jun 24
Rev. 20:14 says, “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire” (ESV throughout). Those arguing this has been fulfilled are often asked, “Why then, do we still see death all around us?” The answer is simple: the end of death applies only to Christians who only appear to die as they are transferred into the spiritual realm when they expire. Consider the first verse of Revelation:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1).
The book of Revelation was addressed to God’s servants. So, everything in the book must be understood from their perspective. Death has been destroyed for Christians, not unbelievers. Revelation was not intended for the masses who hate God. They might read it, but will never understand it.
God’s Old Testament servants died and went to Hades. This was necessary because Jesus had not yet been sacrificed for their sins. However, once the plan of salvation was complete, death and Hades became unnecessary for God’s people. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). Today, when Christians die, their bodies decay, but their spirits go directly to heaven. In effect, they never die. Unbelievers, however, still die in their sins:
“21So he said to them again, ‘I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 22So the Jews said, ‘Will he kill himself, since he says, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ 23He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins’” (John 8:21-24);
“16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18).
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