Soul, Death, & Grace Chapter 4
THE WICKED AND DEATH
We have reviewed among other things regarding Jesus during death, that He was in the tIn the materials just reviewed we have often seen the statements about death qualified as pertaining to the righteous, or to those who emulated Christ’s life in their own life. Such make up our designated righteous-man model.
We have noticed that a righteous person can be presented as going into the grave at death, and staying in the grave unconscious and guarded during death until Jesus comes to earth again, unbars the tomb, and calls the sleeping one forth to life. We have also seen the righteous dead respond to the call of the life-giver partly by the power which dwelt in them while alive.
In such concepts there is continuity and not disruption between birth and the time one enters heaven. This means the righteous dead are presented as ‘existing’ in an unconscious state during death.
But what is one to think about those who never accepted Jesus as the Savior? Would they too have a continuous ‘existence,’ or is there condition in death to be presented with a different formula? Would one conceive of their life as being ended when they die the first time? If one were to say the wicked one’s life ends when they die, is this a contradiction of the Biblical teaching of the resurrection of the wicked prior to their experiencing the second death?
To formulate our thoughts in the direction of finding answers to such issues, we will look at some more materials, of course! From the concepts presented we will be formulating our wicked-man model.
To start, notice the following descriptions. “In consequence of Adam’s sin, death passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the grave. And through the provisions of the plan of salvation, all are to be brought forth from their graves…. But a distinction is made between the two classes that are brought forth…. They who have been ‘accounted worthy’ of the resurrection of life, are ‘blessed and holy.’ ‘On such the second death has no power.’ But those who have not through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression.” SD, p. 367.
“And every soul that refuses to become a partaker of the atonement provided at such a cost must bear in his own person the guilt and punishment of transgression.” GC, p. 540.
“But the wicked, who trample upon His authority, He will cut off and destroy from the earth, and they will be as though they had not been.” SR, p. 60.
“Enoch was troubled in regard to the dead. It seemed to him that the righteous and the wicked would go to the dust together and that would be their end…. In prophetic vision he was … shown the … world at the time when Christ should appear the second time…. He saw the righteous crowned with glory and honor, while the wicked were separated from the presence of the Lord, and consumed with fire.” 3 SG, pp. 55, 56.
“They suffer punishment varying in duration and intensity, ‘according to their works, ‘but finally ending in the second death.” GC, p. 544.
“Covered with infamy, they sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion.” Ibid., p. 545.
“There will then be no lost souls to blaspheme God as they writhe in never-ending torment; no wretched beings in hell will mingle their shrieks with the songs of the saved.” Ibid.
“Since it is impossible for God, consistently with His justice and mercy, to save the sinner in his sins, He deprives him of the existence which his transgressions have forfeited and of which he has proved himself unworthy.” Ibid., p. 544.
“They have died an everlasting death. They are never to have a resurrection, and God will have a clean universe.”
“Like the waters of the Flood the fires of the great day declare God’s verdict that the wicked are incurable…. Their will has been exercised in revolt; and when life is ended, it is too late to turn the current of their thoughts in the opposite direction, too late to turn from transgression to obedience, from hatred to love… .”
“In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah’s time. In mercy He destroyed the corrupt dwellers in Sodom…. It is in mercy to the universe that God will finally destroy the rejecters of His grace.” GC, p. 543.
In these materials the condition of the wicked dead is presented with a different formula and expected result than that which we found attached to presentations regarding the righteous who have died. Our righteous-man and wicked-man models are dressed quite differently.
We have fond the wicked dead and their state in death presented with terms like the following:
- blotted out
- deprived of existence
- separated from the presence of the Lord
- consumed with fire
- no hope of a resurrection
- cut off and destroyed from the earth
- as though they had not been
- must bear in his own person the guilt and punishment of transgression
- and, as a result of the second death experience,
- sink into helpless eternal oblivion
- died an everlasting death
- never to have a resurrection
The most apparent feature of this list is the absence of any of the terms applied to the righteous in death; comforting terms, such as sleep, rest, silence, guarded, and protected. To the righteous death is presented as only a time of quiet unconsciousness during which they are ‘alive’ unto God, for, as we noted earlier, “God counts the things that are not as though they were. He sees the end from the beginning, and beholds the result of His work as though it were now accomplished…. The dead live unto him.” DA, p. 606.
Summary and conclusion to Section I
At death the following chain of events begins:
- The spirit – character – goes back to God to be preserved by Him.
- The body is buried; to decompose or be resurrected before it returns to dust.
- If it decomposes, it is resurrected with the same form but different particles.
- If it doesn’t decompose, the same body is given life.
- The body of a righteous dead is protected and guarded during death, implying that to have authority over the body is to have possession of the person.
- The power of the grave, the territory of the enemy of God, was broken by Christ’s death and resurrection, and the grave is itself to be unbarred by Christ when He comes to earth the second time.
- After being resurrected people have the same character traits as they cherished before death.
- The righteous dead are brought forth from their graves to eternal life partly by the life that is in them (the gift of God given during their life on earth), and because they are partakers of the divine nature.
- The wicked dead come from their graves purely as a manifestation of the power of God, to suffer the second death and go into eternal oblivion.