Verse of the Day…
They who have been “counted worthy” of the resurrection of life are “blessed and holy.” “Over such the second death has no power.” (Luke 20:35; Revelation 20:6.) But those who have not received
pardon through repentance and faith must receive “the wages of sin,”
punishment “according to their works,” which ends in the “second
Since it is impossible for God to save sinners in their sins, He deprives them of their existence, which their transgressions have forfeited and of which they have proven themselves unworthy. “Yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.” “They shall be as though they had never been.” (Psalm 37:10; Obadiah 16.) They sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion.
And so God will make an end of sin. “You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. O enemy, destructions are finished forever!” (Psalm 9:5, 6). In the Book of Revelation, John hears a universal anthem of praise without one note of discord. No lost souls blaspheme God as they writhe in never-ending torment. No wretched beings in hell will mingle their shrieks with the songs of the saved.
The error of natural immortality is the basis for the doctrine of consciousness in death. Like eternal torment, this doctrine is opposed to Scripture, to reason, and to our feelings of humanity.
According to popular belief, the redeemed in heaven know everything that takes place on earth. But how could the dead be happy in knowing the troubles of the living, in seeing them endure the sorrows, disappointments, and anguish of life? And how revolting is the belief that as soon as the breath leaves the body, the soul of the unrepentant is sent to the flames of hell!
What do the Scriptures say? Humanity is not conscious in death: “When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.” “The living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…. Their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.” “Sheol [the grave] cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day.” “In death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?” (Psalm 146:4, NRSV; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; Isaiah 38:18, 19; Psalm 6:5.)
On the day of Pentecost Peter declared that David “is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day…. For David did not ascend 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 when they die.
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Source: Ellen G. White, The Great Hope, pp. 35-36