1. COMPONENTS OF LIFE
a. Describe the process of how God gave life to man. Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:45 (first part).
“When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were set in action. . . . Man became a living soul.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 415.
b. When man dies, how does this process work in reverse? Psalms 146:4; 104:29.
“Physical life is something which each individual receives. It is not eternal or immortal; for God, the Life-giver, takes it again. Man has no control over his life.”—Maranatha, p. 302.
2. WHAT IS DEATH?
a. What is the condition of man in death? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; Psalm 6:5.
“If the dead are already enjoying the bliss of heaven or writhing in the flames of hell, what need of a future judgment? The teachings of God’s word on these important points are neither obscure nor contradictory; they may be understood by common minds. But what candid mind can see either wisdom or justice in the current theory? Will the righteous, after the investigation of their cases at the judgment, receive the commendation, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,’ when they have been dwelling in His presence, perhaps for long ages? Are the wicked summoned from the place of torment to receive sentence from the Judge of all the earth: ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire’? Matthew 25:21, 41. Oh, solemn mockery! shameful impeachment of the wisdom and justice of God!”—The Great Controversy, p. 549.
“A correct understanding of ‘what saith the Scriptures’ in regard to the state of the dead is essential for this time. God’s Word declares that the dead know not anything, their hatred and love have alike perished.”—Evangelism, p. 249.
b. What happens to the physical body when we die? Ecclesiastes 3:20; Genesis 3:19.
“God declared that as a penalty for [Adam’s] sin, man should return to the ground whence he was taken: ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ [Genesis 3:19.]”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 352.
c. To what is death compared? John 11:11–14.
“To the believer, death is but a small matter. Christ speaks of it as if it were of little moment. ‘If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death,’ ‘he shall never taste of death.’ To the Christian, death is but a sleep, a moment of silence and darkness. The life is hid with Christ in God, and ‘when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.’ John 8:51, 52; Colossians 3:4.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 787.
3. THE PLACE OF THE DEAD
a. How is the permanence of death described? Job 7:9, 10; Psalm 146:4. As we consider these thoughts, what should this lead us to do? Psalm 90:12.
“It is a solemn thing to die, but a far more solemn thing to live. Every thought and word and deed of our lives will meet us again. What we make of ourselves in probationary time, that we must remain to all eternity. Death brings dissolution to the body, but makes no change in the character. The coming of Christ does not change our characters; it only fixes them forever beyond all change. . . .
“I appeal to the members of the church to be Christians, to be Christlike. Jesus was a worker, not for Himself, but for others. . . . If you are Christians you will imitate His example.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 169.
“Look upon every duty, however humble, as sacred because it is part of God’s service. Do not allow anything to make you forgetful of God. Bring Christ into all that you do. Then your lives will be filled with brightness and thanksgiving.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 226.
“Every moment is freighted with eternal consequences. We are to stand as minute men, ready for service at a moment’s notice. The opportunity that is now ours to speak to some needy soul the word of life may never offer again. God may say to that one, ‘This night thy soul shall be required of thee,’ and through our neglect he may not be ready. (Luke 12:20.)”—The Faith I Live By, p. 158.
b. Where do all men go when they die? Acts 2:29, 34, 35; Psalm 89:48; Ecclesiastes 9:10.
“Nowhere in the Sacred Scriptures is found the statement that the righteous go to their reward or the wicked to their punishment at death. The patriarchs and prophets have left no such assurance. Christ and His apostles have given no hint of it. The Bible clearly teaches that the dead do not go immediately to heaven. They are represented as sleeping until the resurrection. 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Job 14:10–12. In the very day when the silver cord is loosed and the golden bowl broken (Ecclesiastes 12:6), man’s thoughts perish. They that go down to the grave are in silence. They know no more of anything that is done under the sun. Job 14:21. Blessed rest for the weary righteous!”—The Great Controversy, pp. 549, 550.
4. DELIVERANCE FROM DEATH
a. What is the sting of death? 1 Corinthians 15:56.
“Let us have the spirit of Christ. He left his royal throne, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to this earth, all marred and seared by the curse, to meet man’s adversary, and deliver us from the bondage of sin and death.”—The Review and Herald, July 16, 1889.
b. What can we then say as we see the triumph of Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57. How does He deliver us from death? Verse 3; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.
“With His life Christ has purchased every human being. He died a cruel death to save human beings from eternal death. He gave His sinless life to obtain for the sinner a life that measures with the life of God. Through His death, He provided a way whereby man may break with Satan, return to his allegiance to God, and through faith in the Redeemer obtain pardon. . . .
“He who has all power in heaven and earth will restore every repenting, believing soul. . . . He has a deep interest in every soul, for He paid the price of His own life that no one should be eternally lost.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 230.
c. Through His own death, what does Christ destroy? Hebrews 2:14.
“In the Saviour’s expiring cry, ‘It is finished,’ the death knell of Satan was rung. The great controversy which had been so long in progress was then decided, and the final eradication of evil was made certain. The Son of God passed through the portals of the tomb, that ‘through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.’ Hebrews 2:14. Lucifer’s desire for self-exaltation had led him to say: ‘I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: . . . I will be like the Most High.’ God declares: ‘I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth, . . . and never shalt thou be any more.’ Isaiah 14:13, 14; Ezekiel 28:18, 19.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 503, 504.
5. DELIVERANCE FROM THE FEAR OF DEATH
a. What fear places many in bondage today? Through His death, what does Christ desire to do for us? Hebrews 2:15.
“In every time of distress, Christ turned to His Father. He ‘resisted unto blood’ in that hour when the fear of moral failure was as the fear of death. As He bowed in Gethsemane, in His soul agony, drops of blood fell from His pores, and moistened the sods of the earth. He prayed with strong crying and tears, and He was heard in that He feared. God strengthened Him, as He will strengthen all who will humble themselves, and throw themselves, soul, body, and spirit, into the hands of a covenant-keeping God.”—Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 131.
b. Of what should we not be afraid? Why? Matthew 10:28–31; 1 John 4:4.
“God has always had a care for His people. . . . Christ taught His disciples that the amount of divine attention given to any object is proportionate to the rank assigned to it in the creation of God. He called their attention to the birds of the air. Not a sparrow, He said, falls to the ground without the notice of our heavenly Father. And if the little sparrow is regarded by Him, surely the souls of those for whom Christ has died are precious in His sight. The value of man, the estimate God places upon him, is revealed in the cross of Calvary.”—My Life Today, p. 292.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Describe the process of how man became a living soul.
2. What is death to a Christian?
3. How does death affect the character?
4. How did Christ triumph over death?
5. How did Christ experience the fear of death, and how did He gain the victory?