The Abolishment of Death

This is the last post of this series on the biblical view of death.[1]

Both spiritual and physical death can be abolished. The moment one believes on Yeshua the Messiah – that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again – at that moment, the believer is spiritually resurrected, and spiritual death is abolished for him or her (2 Tim 1:10).

Obviously, the Messiah has not as yet abolished physical death, since believers still die physically. Nevertheless, a day is coming in which it will be abolished (1 Cor 15:24‑26). Physical death will be abolished for all people – believer and unbeliever – but there will be two different destinies altogether.

A. The Abolishment of Physical Death for the Believer

Concerning believers, one must distinguish between four different groups of believers: Church saints, Old Testament saints, Tribulation saints, and Millennial saints.

1. The Church Saints

For the Church saints, death will be abolished at the Rapture of the Church. According to 1 Cor 15:50‑58, “corruption puts on incorruption, and mortality puts on immortality.” Also, 1 Thess 4:13-18 tells us that physical death will be abolished for the Church saints at the Rapture of the Church. This will occur sometime before the Tribulation.

2.  The Old Testament Saints

Death will be abolished for the Old Testament saints sometime after the Tribulation, after the Messiah’s Second Coming. According to Daniel 12:11‑12, there will be a Seventy-five-day Interval between the Second Coming and the start of the Millennium. During that Seventy-five-day Interval, the Old Testament saints are going to be resurrected. This is brought out in two passages in the Old Testament, Isaiah 26:19 and Dan 12:2.

3.  The Tribulation Saints

According to Rev 20:4‑6 there will be believers who are resurrected after the Tribulation and during that Seventy-five-day Interval. Obviously, these are the Tribulation saints, for they are the ones who refuse to worship the Antichrist.

4.  The Millennial Saints

The fourth category of saints, who are known as Millennial saints, will not need to be resurrected, because according to Isaiah 65:20, they will not die. There will be no death for believers in the Millennium, only for unbelievers.

B.  The Abolishment of Physical Death for the Unbeliever

As far as the unbeliever is concerned, physical death will be abolished after the Millennium as a result of the second resurrection for the purpose of suffering the second death (Rev 20:11-14). All unbelievers will be resurrected after the Messianic Kingdom, 1,000 years after the last resurrection of believers.

Conclusion

Spiritual death is abolished when one believes. Physical death will be abolished by resurrection for both believers and unbelievers. But the third type of death is eternal, and that death will last forever for unbelievers. Eternal death or the second death, will never be abolished.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

2 thoughts on “The Abolishment of Death

  1. Hello, i very much appreciate your work, may Yeshuha HaMashiach bless you and keep you up. I have recognized with sadness that the teaching of loosing salvation is wide spreading more and more. Teachers like Paul Washer etc. Even my brothers from another congregation now turned to believe this. They argue that the bible clearly teaches falling away from salvation, Peter,Judas,Hebrews,etc. Please,please give us arguments on that, could you please write an article explaining OSAS and give textual argumentation on why believers in Yeshua never will perish.

    • The following is an excerpt from my commentary, Hebrews: Christ is Greater (Steven C. Ger, AMG, 2007):
      God’s promise of eternal life is often grossly misunderstood. Specifically, many of us mischaracterize what is meant by the terms “eternal life,” and “eternal salvation.” What many of us actually seem to believe is that when we come to faith in Jesus, what is meant by our receipt of “eternal life” is our entrance into the tentative possession of “life in eternity.” In other words, we become the bearers of certificates allowing admission and occupancy into the more advantageous and desirable region of the afterlife. Nevertheless, if we do not expend conscientious effort to faithfully cling to that certificate, it might well be dropped, misplaced, blown away, or snatched out of our hands.
      In this manner of thinking, no one actually possesses “eternal life” at all, but rather, possesses “temporary life,” and “temporary salvation”; the temporary assurance that one will be accepted into the afterlife as long as he tenaciously clings to the certificate of admission. If faith was to waver or, worse still, spiritual rebellion to erupt, all guarantees of eternal bliss in God’s presence become absolutely null and void. However, this misconception is not how the Bible understands eternal life and, therefore, must be emphatically rejected and indefatigably countered.
      What we, as believers, receive upon the exercise of faith in Christ is no mere certificate entitling the bearer, upon his demise, to future admission into the heavenly realms. Rather, once we believe, we are born anew. The familiar phrase “born again” (Jn. 3:3) is no mere abstraction, but vital spiritual reality. We immediately receive new life (as opposed to what we already possessed, which was old death), and we receive that abundant, spiritual life eternally. In other words, we possess that new life not temporarily, but forever. Through God’s grace, eternal life means life evermore, come what may.
      The very fact that we were able to respond, to exercise faith in Jesus at all, indicates that we have already been supernaturally empowered to do so through God’s gracious regeneration of our naturally hostile and spiritually unresponsive natures. Now justified, we also inexorably begin the process of sanctification, meaning to progress toward holiness, for God’s sake.
      From that initial moment of salvation, eternal life is our perpetual possession and immediately becomes ours to enjoy (Jn. 3:15-16, 36; 6:47; 10:28). The journey along the pathway of eternal life has already begun, and it is impossible for the traveler to turn back or turn aside. The pathway will inevitably culminate in glorification: our departure (ready or not) from our current living circumstances and subsequent entrance into the heavenly realm of God’s presence. This culmination will occur either upon our own deaths or Jesus’ return for His church, whichever comes first (individual mileage may vary).

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