Yet at the same time, there is another phenomenon at work in the universe. It is the miracle of life, abundant life, triumphant life; life that in a million different ways is the antithesis of death; life that overwhelmingly triumphs over the very worst that death can do.
In short, there exists throughout this universe two diametrically opposed processes, decay and death on the one hand and triumphant life on the other. "Cycles of Mother Nature" they are often called; but that is a sad understatement of a great truth, that all the miracles of nature are in reality the handiwork of Jehovah (Yahweh), the God of Israel, the Creator of the mighty universe. Yes, it is a fundamental fact that all creation owes its existence to Him; and nothing throughout the limitless expanses of the cosmos can continue to function without His authority and power. He can give life and He can take it away. He can build up, and He can break down. He can open and He can close. If you accept His mercy and live in accordance with His will, you will pass through the portals of the tomb and rise to live for all time. Ignore Him, resist Him, reject His offer of mercy and salvation and in the final Judgement you will be condemned and will cease to exist. "You will then be as though you had not been." This, in truth, is the essence of Bible teaching.
Let us now turn to the Word of God, the Bible, to find out what He has to say about death. What is death anyway? How did it come about in the first place? What happens to a person when he/she dies? Where do they go? Can the living communicate with the dead? Are the dead in heaven or hell or in some other place? Is death the end of existence, or is there an afterlife? And to address an immediate problem - How can we conquer our inherent fear of death?
The Second Death, however, is a very different matter. It is death in the
fullest sense of the word - the real thing! It is the final, irreversible
annihilation of the soul; the death from which there is no resurrection - no
return. The second death is the 'absolute end of existence.' It is,
therefore, greatly to be feared.
(John 11:11-14&24-26, Psalm 13:3, Revelation 20:12-15)
Beware of that subtle and dangerous deception. The Bible plainly states that
"the soul that sinneth, it shall die" and that "the dead know not anything,"
nor can they communicate with the living. Any person or spirit, therefore, that
teaches otherwise is most certainly not of God. See
Lesson 17 on Spiritism.
(1 Timothy 4:1, Revelation 16:13-14, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11, Isaiah 8:19-20)
The answers to this question is best understood if one considers a simple box, made of wood and nails. Arrange the wood in a certain way and nail it together and lo! you will have a box. Remove the nails and separate the pieces of wood and of course you will cease to have a box. When dismantled the box didn't go anywhere, did it? It simply ceased to exist as a box. In its place remain a few nails and pieces of wood. Its maker could quite easily reassemble the box and bring it back into existence.
It is the same with the make-up of a human being. The Bible states that, "The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul."
Please note that man was not given a "soul," a separate ethereal something which was immortal. Oh no! Man "became a living soul." A soul, then is a being composed of two basic elements, the dust of the ground and the breath of life.
At death this process of creation is reversed; a person is dismantled, taken to
pieces, as it were. The breath (the Spirit of God) leaves the body and the
body returns to the dust of the earth. Like the box, that person, that soul,
ceases to exist. That person, that soul, does not go up to heaven, or down to
hell or to any other place. He/she simply ceases to exist. The soul, another
term for 'living being,' could just as easily be reassembled by its Maker as
could that box - and that is what will take place at the Resurrection - but it
is important to remember that souls do not go anywhere at death: neither to heaven, hell or Purgatory. They simply cease to exist. This is the Bible teaching on this matter.
Genesis 2:7, Ezekiel 37:11-14, John 5:25-29)
If you do these things, then slowly the sweetest of miracles will overtake your mind. Unshakeable confidence will replace fear in your life; joy will replace sadness and peace will replace turmoil. In short, you will no longer fear death.
Because deep within your being you will know that you are a child of the Almighty God, a new person, a living person; one who may sleep the "deep sleep" of the first death, but certainly not one who will ever taste of the REAL DEATH, the second death, that soul-annihilating event from which no one will ever return. (Matthew 10:28, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Psalm 33:18-19, John 3:16, Lesson 6 on The Resurrection)
It is quite impossible for the present human mind to fully appreciate the
extent of that astonishing statement. But it is true nonetheless. Yahweh has
promised to remake the whole universe and this time there will be no more
sickness, sorrow and death. In other words, those who enter the Kingdom of God
will 'live for ever' in a new universe where "disease and death" no longer
exist. You will agree that that is something to really look forward to.
(1 Corinthians 15 especially verses 26&51-54, 2 Timothy 1:10, where these points are proved beyond any doubt)