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    From the testimonies already examined, it is evident that the dead are not receiving their reward, but that their hope is respecting the coming of Christ, the resurrection, and the inheritance, to be given God’s people beyond the resurrection. We have been taught from our childhood that “the body is mortal, it will soon die; the soul is immortal, it can never die.” 1Webster’s Spelling Book. But we have seen from the Scriptures that man is mortal, and has no promise of immortality only through Christ at the resurrection. Webster’s statement above is a direct contradiction of the plain statements of the Bible. “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4, 20.HPGO 71.2

    Here theologians have found themselves in a difficulty, and to extricate themselves from it, have stated that the death of the soul was the “death that never dies.” What death is that? We should consider it a contradiction of terms, and that there was no death about it. What would you think if some one should tell you of a person who lived a life that never lived? You would most certainly conclude that it was either a contradiction in language or that the person was not yet born. So a death that never dies is just no death at all. But with the Scripture theory of immortality, there is no necessity for such explanations, and the Scripture statements concerning unconsciousness in death and no reward until the resurrection are all harmonious.HPGO 71.3

    We will now call attention to plain statements of Scripture which show us that the dead are asleep, without knowledge or reward. Of the dead, Solomon says: “Neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. Again he says, “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” Ecclesiastes 9:3. If they go to the dead, they are not rewarded; for, as we have just quoted, “neither have they any more a reward.” In verse 10, he says, “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”HPGO 72.1

    Paul says: “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.” If the dead enter at once into their reward, it surely would be of great advantage to Paul to be faithful, even though the body should never be raised. How often we hear the hymn,HPGO 72.2

    “I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath, And when my voice is lost in death, Praise shall employ my nobler powers”HPGO 73.1

    This sentiment, however, does not agree with the plain statements of David: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” Psalm 115:17. Again, “While I live will I praise the Lord; I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” Psalm 146:2.HPGO 73.2

    But, it is asked, Is not the death of persons spoken of in the Bible as though they were still in conscious existence? As, for instance, the case of Isaac: “And Isaac gave up the ghost and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.” Genesis 35:29. The claim is made on his being “gathered to his people,” that he and his people must be conscious. Were his people in Heaven? They must have been in the grave; for the last clause of the above text says, “Esau and Jacob buried him.”HPGO 73.3

    His father was in the grave, and went to his fathers when he went to the grave, as the Lord had told him. “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace: thou shalt be buried in a good old age.” Genesis 15:15. He went to his fathers in the grave. When Jacob supposed his son was destroyed by an evil beast, and was sorrowing for him, he could not have supposed his son was in Heaven: “And he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.” Genesis 37:35.HPGO 73.4

    Of Hezekiah, we read, “And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchers of the sons of David.” 2 Chronicles 32:33. It was also said to Josiah: “Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace.” 2 Chronicles 34:28. Such expressions clearly show that being gathered to their fathers meant their passing into the grave. Of David, Paul says: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.” Acts 13:36. The same David who went to his fathers, saw corruption. Certainly there is no corruption in Heaven. And as certain is it that David did not go there. Says Peter, “For David is not ascended into the Heavens.” Acts 2:34. Where is David? Peter says, “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.” Acts 2:29. David says of himself, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15. Again he says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forever more.” Psalm 16:11. If David was going into the presence of God to receive his reward at death, then he is represented as looking forward to the resurrection for satisfaction, when he had fullness of joy before. Or, in other words, he could be where there was fullness of joy, and not be satisfied. Of Stephen’s death, we read: “And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:60. He was the first martyr for Christ. As he yields his life as a sacrifice for Christ, he does it in these words: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” What is recorded? That he went to Heaven? No; but, “He fell asleep.” Paul says to the Thessalonians, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13. “Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Verse 14. “Bring with him.” That is, bring up from the dead by the power of Christ. Daniel says, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Daniel 12:1.HPGO 73.5

    Paul says to the Corinthians: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. But, says one, if the dead are asleep, there must still be some part that is alive. When men are asleep here they dream, and do not these texts show that the dead are in a sort of semi-consciousness? The texts quoted concerning the sleep show that they are dead, “sleeping in the dust of the earth.” In a sound sleep, literally, there is no dreaming, and so those who are in the sleep of death are without knowledge; “the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5.HPGO 75.1

    If you say that Solomon simply meant to tell them that the bodies of the dead know nothing, we answer, that, according to the immortal-soul theory, the body of a living man knows nothing. And in such a case it would make folly of the text to say that he tells them that a dead body knows nothing. It is the same that knows when alive that knows nothing when dead.HPGO 75.2

    “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” Psalm 115:17. If it be said that this language simply applies to the body, we reply that, with the common theory, a live man’s body does not praise the Lord. Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” The text is pointedly against the common theory, and presents the dead as in a state of “silence.”HPGO 75.3

    If we look still further at David’s testimony, we shall see why the dead are in silence, and why they know not anything: “While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God; which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is; which keepeth truth forever; which executeth judgment for the oppressed; which giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners.” Psalm 146:2-7.HPGO 75.4

    If we compare the above with previous quotations, we shall see plainly that David expected when dead he should be out of being. All the hope he saw for the Lord’s people was in the resurrection, as expressed in verse 7: “The Lord looseth the prisoners.”HPGO 76.1

    Job also says of one when dead: “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” Job 14:21. Mark his testimony concerning his condition, had he died in his infancy: “For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept; then had I been at rest with kings and counselors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver; or as an hidden, untimely birth, I had not been.” Job 3:13-16. Again he says, “Oh! that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been.” Job 10:18, 19. Again he says, “And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.” Job 7:21. Where would he be? Sleeping in the dust. As before shown in this work, he expected to see God in his flesh, when the Redeemer should come, at the latter day.” See Job 19:26.HPGO 76.2

    We will now look at the testimony of Jeremiah concerning Rachel, fulfilled in the mothers’ weeping at the time Herod slew the children of Bethlehem while seeking to destroy Christ: “Thus saith the Lord, A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” See Jeremiah 31:15-17, and Matthew 2:15. These children were not in Heaven, nor in a hell of punishment, but out of existence. Now notice the consolation which the Lord gives these mothers: “Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” Why, say you, I thought children, when they died, went right to Heaven. Is Heaven the land of the enemy? No; but the grave is, and these are the words of consolation offered to those whose children are in the graves.HPGO 76.3

    How different is the above from that given by those who believe in immediate rewards at death. I will quote a sample from the “Christian Almanac,” illustrating the popular consolation given to weeping mothers. “Lady, how many children have you? Two on earth, and two in Heaven. Thou art mother of angels then. They are yet yours, only gone before! Rejoicing in the heavenly pastures, guarded by the Good Shepherd-little lambs of the heavenly fold! Earth, then, is less attractive. These invisible little spiritual cords twine around you, and draw your soul upward. Like ‘still, small voices,’ ever whispering, ‘Come to the world where spirits live.’ Mother of cherubs! Walk softly! Little angel-eyes watch thy steps! Spirit forms stoop to listen! Keep thy soul free from earth; thou shalt go to them, though they cannot return to thee!” How different this from the word of the Lord: “They are not.” “They shall come again from the land of the enemy,” and “There is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”HPGO 77.1

    “Said the woman of Tekoah, when pleading before David, “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person; yet doth he devise means that his banished be not expelled from him.” 2 Samuel 14:14. Here are several direct statements respecting the dead. (1) They are “as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.” (2) They are represented as “banished” from the Lord-a very different sentiment from that which is commonly taught, that God’s people go immediately into his presence. (3) In the testimony of this woman of Tekoah, we learn that if God does not devise some means to redeem his people, they will not only remain “banished,” but they will be also “expelled from him.” The means God has devised is to get the saints out of the enemy’s prison, for “He [Satan] lets not his prisoners loose homewards.” Isaiah 14:7.HPGO 77.2

    This work is to be accomplished by Christ, through the resurrection. Christ says, “Or else, how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” Matthew 12:29. The strong man spoken of represents Satan.HPGO 78.1

    Notice a corresponding testimony concerning him in Luke: “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” Luke 11:21, 22. The spoils he (the devil) takes from the army of the saints, he puts into his prison house (the grave). But Christ, a stronger than he, is coming upon him, and he will take the spoil.HPGO 78.2

    According to the testimony of Paul, Christ is to conquer the devil through death. See Hebrews 2:14. This work is predicted of Christ by Isaiah. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death,” etc. Here it is promised that Christ shall divide the spoil with the strong. When he has bound the strong man, he will raise the saints of God from their dusty beds, while the wicked dead will be left with Satan, to be destroyed with him at last.HPGO 78.3

    We have a view of the fulfillment of this work in Revelation 20:1: “And I saw an angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.” We understand that he who is here represented as binding Satan is Christ. He is called an angel (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16), and he is the one who has the key of the bottomless pit. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen: and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18. John proceeds to tell us what Christ will do: “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.” Here the strong man is bound. He is rendered inactive. His power is broken, or as Christ says in Luke, “When a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” The next thing of which John gives an account after the binding of Satan, is the resurrection of the saints. Verses 4, 5: “And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God..... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”HPGO 79.1

    The means God has devised to accomplish the resurrection is the death and resurrection of his Son. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Christ died, passed into the tomb, into the prison house of “the strong man armed”-Satan. But God had promised not to leave his soul in hell. “Bright angels rolled the rock away, And Christ, the conqueror, rose.”HPGO 79.2

    Jesus broke the strongest power of Satan, and rose a triumphant victor over death and the grave. Then he obtained the keys of hell and of death. There he received power to bruise Satan under our feet. In the act of rising from the grave it is fully manifested to all men that Christ has power to conquer Satan and deliver those “who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” This is the great work to be accomplished. Christ is “our hope,” and, as we have set forth in these pages, it is in and through him that we, if his servants, will receive an eternal victory over death at his coming and the resurrection. Any hope of reward at death, or otherwise than through the resurrection, is not the gospel hope. There is no promise of any such reward in the Bible, and all that is ever urged in its support, at most, is but inference. Of this kind of testimony, Dr. Adam Clarke says: “Let it be remembered that by the consent of all (except the basely interested), no metaphor is ever to be produced in proof of a doctrine. In the things that concern our eternal salvation we need the most pointed and express evidence on which to establish the faith of our souls.”-Comment on Matt.5:26.HPGO 79.3

    An eminent English writer says: “But if the proposition is not expressly revealed, the right of inferring is equal on all sides; and surely those conclusions which are inferred from what is expressly revealed should be at least as just and as strong as those which are inferred from what is not.”-Blackburne’s History of the Controversy, p.337.HPGO 80.1

    Dear reader, in concluding these few pages, we express the earnest wish that Christ may indeed be your hope, that we may each receive all that grace and strength proffered to us through him, that we may be complete in him who is the head over all to his church, and that we may share eternal joys with him in the day of his coming. Amen. 1Those wishing to pursue this matter still further are requested to examine a work entitled, “Nature and Destiny of Man,” 384 pages, bound, price $1.00, in which all these inferences are examined, and a thorough harmony is shown in the entire Bible on the subject of life only through Christ. Address Review and Herald, Battle Creek, Mich.HPGO 80.2

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