Is Death Final?

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DavidLeon
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Is Death Final?

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Post by DavidLeon »

Since the Bible teaches a resurrection this post will deal with the alleged contradictions with scriptures which say that death is final and have some brief comments upon some of the verses used to support resurrection as well.

The following scriptures are given by skeptics to support the interpretation that death is final.

Joshua 23:14 simply states that Joshua was going to die, it says nothing about death being final.

Job 7:9 - There are two possible meanings when Job said this; one is that from the perspective of his contemporaries his death would be somewhat final in this lifetime, the other possibility is that he was pointing out that the resurrection was out of his control. It wasn't up to him, and only a possibility. One thing is sure, Job believed in the possibility of resurrection. (Job 14:13-15)

Job 14:10, 12 - It has already been established that Job believed in the resurrection, but verse 10 is important to note because there is some variation in translation. The Masoretic Hebrew text found in Codex Leningrad, as presented by the Biblia Hebraica, by Kittel, Kahle, Alt and Eissfeldt, Privilegierte Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt, Stuttgart, seventh to ninth ed., 1951-55, and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, by Elliger and Rudolph, Deutsche Bibelstiftung, Stuttgart, 1977, reads "Where is he?" where the Septuagint, third and second cent. B.C.E., (A. Rahlfs, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1935) and Syriac Peshitta, Christian Aram., fifth cent. C.E., S. Lee, London, 1826, reprint by United Bible Societies, 1979 reads "he is no more." So where the KJV reads "he is no more" other translations like the Douay reads "where is he?" One thing to keep in mind when considering these verses of Job given by the skeptic as possible contradictions regarding a resurrection is that Job, at the time, was doubting his being approved of by God and so may have wondered about his own possible resurrection, even though in the next few verses he expresses a belief in the possibility.

Job 20:7 - Here even the KJV asks Where is he? (see above)

Psalm 6:5 simply states that when we die, we are no longer conscious of anything. We can't do anything. King Hezekiah expressed a similar sentiment, in fact it is common throughout the Bible. (Ecclesiastes 9:5; Isaiah 38:17-19; Genesis 3:19; Psalm 30:9; 88:10)

Psalm 31:17; 88:5; 115:17 - David refers to the wicked who are in contrast to the faithful, the faithful having the possibility of a resurrection to eternal life whereas the wicked do not.

Ecclesiastes 3:19 - This verse simply states that like animals, humans die. It doesn't say that it is final.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 - The KJV says there is no reward during death, some translations use the word wages rather than reward. The verse is trying to convey the vanity of materialism. Sort of like the modern day expression "You can't take it with you." It doesn't imply that death is final in the sense of there not being a resurrection.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 - This verse is an extension of the verse above. The book is talking about the vanity of an ungodly life as temporary.

Isaiah 26:14 - This verse is a reference to the wicked, and is a specific prophecy regarding Babylon, the captors of Judah during that time and who later fell to the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C.E.

Isaiah 38:18 simply states that when we die, we are no longer conscious of anything. See Psalm 6:5 above.

The following scriptures are given to support the interpretation that death isn't final and there will be a resurrection from the dead. Though the Bible teaches the resurrection, I did want to comment on some of the scriptures given.

1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 4:32-35; 13:21; Luke 7:12-15; John 11:39-44 all convey a temporary resurrection. All of the people raised from the dead in these verses died again sometime later. Those resurrected by Elijah, Elisha, Jesus and the apostles were, in part, a demonstration of the possibility of resurrection.

Daniel 12:1; Matthew 25:46; 9:24-25; Mark 5:39-42; Luke 20:37; John 5:28-29; Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:16, 52; Revelation 20:12-13 all convey the idea of a general resurrection of the dead. Of the faithful to life everlasting or of the unrighteous to either life everlasting or eternal destruction. (Acts 24:15)

Isaiah 26:19 - Where the KJV says "my dead body" some translations read "a corpse of mine" from the Hebrew Eveleth. It is singular, but likely in a collective sense. The Septuagint reads "those in the memorial tombs" and the Vulgate reads "my killed ones."

Ezekiel 37:12 is more likely a figurative resurrection of the Jewish nation when 42,360 people of all tribes of Israel and some 7,500 non-Israelites seized their opportunity to repopulate Judah. (See Isaiah 66:14; Revelation 11:11; Ezra 1:1-4; 2:64-65)

Matthew 27:52-53 - Matthew was the only one to mention dead people emerging from their graves upon Jesus' death. It is assumed that these resurrected dead were walking around. The omission of the dead people emerging from the graves by the other writers does not, of course, mean anything. Matthew was the first gospel to be written. In De viris inlustribus (Concerning Illustrious Men), chapter III, Jerome says: "Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed." So this (Matthew having been the first gospel) might be a reason for the others having not included the dead people emerging from their graves.

At Matthew 27:52-53 the Greek egeiro means simply raised up rather than resurrected back to life, resurrection in Greek is anastasis and in addition to this "they" (meaning the bodies that were walking around) is a pronoun, and in Greek all pronouns have gender and "they" is masculine whereas "bodies" (the bodies that were lifted up) is in the neuter. They are not the same. The passage is saying that an earthquake caused buried corpses to be thrown up out of the ground and there were other people, who were alive, walking around who seen this happen. This is not so unusual as it may seem. It has been reported as having happened in modern history, in Ecuador in 1949 and again in El Tiempo, Bogota, Colombia, July 31, 1962 where 200 corpses were thrown out of their tombs by a violent earth tremor.

Luke 9:30 - Not a resurrection of Moses and Elijah. Jesus referred to the transfiguration as a vision. (Matthew 17:9) Some critics have called it a dream but Peter, James and John didn't likely have the same dream. It was foretold that a prophet like Moses and Elijah would be sent, and in this vision the "appearance" or representation of them signified this. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:19-20; Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:17)
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