Verse of the Day…
When He was about to leave His disciples, Jesus did not tell them that they would soon come to Him. “I go to prepare a place
for you,” He said. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will
come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:2, 3). Paul tells
us further that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and
remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” And
he adds, “Comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians
4:16-18.) When the Lord comes, He will break the chains of death
and will raise the “dead in Christ” to eternal life.
God will judge everyone by the things written in the books and reward them as their works have been. This judgment does not take place at death. “He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.” “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all.” (Acts 17:31; Jude 14, 15.)
But if the dead are already enjoying heaven or writhing in the flames of hell, what need is there for a future judgment? Ordinary minds can understand God’s Word on these points. But what unbiased mind can see either wisdom or justice in the current theory? Will the righteous receive God’s approving words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…. Enter into the joy of your Lord,” when they have already been living in His presence for long ages? Are the wicked called from torment to receive the Judge’s sentence, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire”? (Matthew 25:21, 41.)
The theory that the soul is immortal was one of those false doctrines that Rome borrowed from paganism. Martin Luther classed it with the “monstrous fables that form part of the Roman dunghill of decrees.”* The Bible teaches that the dead sleep until the resurrection.
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Source: Ellen G. White, The Great Hope, pp. 36, 37.
*E. Petavel, The Problem of Immortality, p. 255.