Lesson & References Index

Lesson 10:  November 26 – December 2

The Fires of Hell

(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)

Sabbath Afternoon

Memory text: 1 Thessalonians 5:21

21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.

Sunday – Immortal Worms?

Mark 9:42-48
Jesus Warns of Offenses

42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 44 where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 46 where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

Isaiah 66:24

24 “And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Isaiah 66:22, 23

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord,
“So shall your descendants and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.

Monday - The Fires of Hell

Malachi 4:1
The Great Day of God

1 “For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.

Jude 7

7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Matthew 18:8

8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.

Mark 9:43

43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—

Deuteronomy 33:27

27 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’

Exodus 21:6

6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

Matthew 25:41

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

Deuteronomy 32:39

39 ‘Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

Psalm 36:9

9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Ezekiel 33:11

11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

Revelation 20:12

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

Read Revelation 20

Tuesday – The Saints in Purgatory

Ecclesiastes 9:10

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

Ezekiel 18:20-22

20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.

Hebrews 9:27

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Ezekiel 18:20-22

20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.

1 Timothy 2:5

5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Ellen G. White, Manuscript 51, Dec. 10, 1890.

I thank the Lord I slept well during the night. Arose at half past four and wrote ten pages before breakfast. Sister Wharff visited me some. She feels bad that we cannot stay longer. We packed our trunks to leave Lynn at quarter before eleven, accompanied by Elder Fifield.

Arrived at this place at quarter before twelve and walked to Brother Edwards’, where we shall make our home while here in Danvers. Wrote about eight pages.

Attended meeting in the evening. There were about forty present. The notice was not inserted right. It was designed to be published for Wednesday evening, but was printed for Thursday evening, therefore I shall now have to speak both evenings.

I spoke from Matthew 11:25-27. My mind was led out to dwell particularly upon the mission of Christ, which was to reveal the Father. The office work of revealing the Father and representing the character of God was reserved for Him who had been with the Father from the beginning. The knowledge of the only true God had become indistinct, and His attributes were falsified by Satan. Satan’s special work was to clothe the character of God with his own attributes, and he hid his satanic character and agency that he might be the more successful. The knowledge of God must be made known, His divine character represented. If God was the being which Satan represented Him to be, every being on the face of the earth would have feelings of aversion toward Him and would not solicit the help of divine agencies which must combine with human endeavor to be efficacious in the transformation of character and the regeneration of the human heart.

Satan’s work since his fall is to misinterpret our heavenly Father. He suggested the dogma of the immortality of the soul. “Thou shalt not surely die,” was spoken by the great deceiver to Adam and Eve in Eden, and we are acquainted with the result of believing his words. [Genesis 3:4.] The idea of an eternally burning hell was the production of Satan; purgatory is his invention. These teachings falsify the character of God, that He shall be regarded as severe, revengeful, arbitrary, and not exercising forgiveness. Without the correct knowledge of God, the human family would be divested of all divine strength. With false attributes kept before the mind as belonging to God, the human family would be the dupes of satanic lies and the subjects of satanic agencies, and he could practice upon their credulity with success. The plans of Satan have been indeed in a large degree successful, as the lack of a knowledge of God in the Christian world can testify. Satan’s cruel deceptions have had their effect and have demonstrated his attributes as a deceiver, a liar, a murderer, and an accuser of God and of all who love God.

The Jewish nation was separated from God, and why? Because of the deceiving power of Satan. His efforts were constantly to make that which was plain and clearly defined in the Word of God, indistinct and confused and mingled with error. The artifice of Satan was accepted in ideas and dogmas attached to valuable truth, which made of none effect the truth of heavenly origin. He works to intercept himself between God and man, obscure every direct ray of light that emanates from God, and throw his awful shadow across the path that leads to life, truth, and heaven.

The fallen foe was having things his own way. Hope and faith in God were almost extinct. The sayings of men took the place of the Word of God. The only people on the face of the whole earth who claimed to know God were corrupting their ways before God. Satan’s temptations were received as Adam received them from Satan through Eve, and the truth, the light, the way, was involved in a mass of rubbish, sayings and doings of men taking the place of a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” The darkness of error and superstition made of none effect the commandments of God, and men were placed in office in the priesthood who were vain, proud, and vindictive; they bore not the marks of divine attributes. They were adulterers and murderers, and many were so corrupt that everything sacred was confused with everything that was corrupt.

The Sabbath of the fourth commandment, that the Lord had declared should be a seal, a sign throughout their generations forever, was perverted; given to man of God to be a blessing, to ever be a memorial of His work of creative power in making the world, it was so loaded down with the inventions of man—“thou shalt” and “thou shalt not”—that its sacred, divine character was lost, and it was made, by self-righteous priests and rulers, an exacting, arbitrary institution, and a curse. No one could keep the Sabbath because of the man-made exactions. The farther the people departed from God, the more traditions of their own manufacture were added, which God had never specified or intimated. The Sabbath, which was given to man as a sign, a seal, was entirely misinterpreted, to become a yoke of bondage, just as Satan wanted it to be.

The whole law of ten commandments was treated in the same way. Satan exulted to see what power he could exercise in weaving his falsehoods in with the truth, making the truth of none effect by originating errors that counteracted the love of God to man. The supreme attributes of God which, when rightly represented to men, would lead them to love Him, are presented in such lines as to make them hate God rather than to adore Him. Oh, that the people could discern the crooked, lying part Satan is acting and turn to the Lord with all their hearts! Oh, that all could see His merciful, forgiving power! Mercy, the attribute in which the Lord delights, has been transposed into revenge and arbitrary exactions. Truths that were the most vital were attached to man’s requirements to make them a yoke of bondage. The moral law was borne down with such numberless ceremonies that the symbols, which were significant if kept distinct and separate from all human traditions, had but little force. The church of God was narrowed, and their power limited. The eternal future was becoming more and more obscure. The divine perfections were not magnified but were fading from the mind.

But the time had come when Satan’s work must be limited. The Lord God must be represented in a living character such as no imagery or description could make known to the senses. The highest angel in heaven could not do this work. Man was so unlike God that for [him to] approach the brightness of the heavenly light would extinguish him, for sin cannot live in the presence of a holy God.

One alone was sufficient and fully able to accomplish this mission. Christ, who was one with the Father, laid off His royal robe and His royal crown, clothed His divinity with humanity, and came into the world to bless the world with a living personation of God. He could approach the human family only as He should hide His glory and employ the faculties of a human being. Then humanity could touch humanity, while His veiled divinity, recognized in heaven, could lay hold on the Infinite One. The Father and the Son saw that it was expedient that Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, should make Himself visible and walk and talk with men, not as an angel but as a Teacher sent from God, possessing all the attributes of the Godhead under the garb of humanity, revealing the love, the sympathy, the compassion of God.

In a body which God—and not man—had prepared, He was fully able to unveil and disclose to man the perfection of Jehovah and reveal His paternal character as a God of infinite love. “No man,” He declared, “knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him.” Matthew 11:27. He stood upon the highest elevated platform. He held the salvation of the lost world in His hands. He declared, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.” On a certain occasion He said, “I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” Matthew 12:6.

Truth was the law of His lips, and mortal ears never listened to such words, so simple, and yet so high, so holy. Love revealed itself in all His works. He conferred honor on humanity in adopting our nature, that humanity might be benefited with a mind uplifted and sanctified by His own life being infused into our life and our character. He identifies His interest with finite man, making us one with Him because of the great love wherewith the Father loved us—a love so great that in order to accomplish this union He gave His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world. Thus the transgressed law might be magnified before all the universe of heaven, before all the worlds which God had created, and the controversy over His law might be forever settled. Through the eternal ages [it would be known] that God, who gave His law, is unchangeable. He will not alter or change the word that has gone forth from His lips.

His law is the foundation of His government in heaven and in earth. This law was not established forever to make men unhappy, but for the purpose of making them in harmony with God, in harmony with the whole family in heaven who delight to do His will, to keep all His commandments. The precepts of His law are to be kept by all human intelligences.

The institution of the Sabbath was given when the foundation of the world was laid and the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. It was God’s memorial ever to preserve to men the knowledge of the true God. It was the Creator of the world who made the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

The Father giving His only begotten Son to our world, Satan has used as an argument to deceive the fallen race as he deceived Eve in Eden, by stating that Christ’s dying for the world was for the purpose of making the commandments of God null and void. All this work of deception is to get rid of the true memorial set up by Jehovah to testify who is the living God, the Maker of the world. That immense sacrifice in the gift of Jesus Christ to our world was to bring man back to his allegiance to God. But Satan has so blinded the eyes of those who believe not, that he has put everything in a false light. He tells his evil angels—and men who are bewildered and entangled in his crooked deceptions—that when Christ died the death knell was sounded to all the laws of Jehovah, and ministers believe the lie and repeat the same from nearly all the pulpits in our land. 

Wednesday - A Paradise With Disembodied Souls

Revelation 20:12-14

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Acts 2:29

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

Acts 2:34, 35

34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’

1 Corinthians 15:16-18

16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

Genesis 5:24

24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

2 Kings 2:9-11

9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?”

Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Matthew 27:51-53

51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Revelation 6:9-11
Fifth Seal: The Cry of the Martyrs

9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

Thursday - The Biblical View

1 John 5:3-12

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Certainty of God’s Witness

6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 Timothy 6:15, 16

15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

Psalm 36:9

9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Colossians 1:15-17

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Hebrews 1:2

2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Read Genesis 3
Ephesians 1:4

4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Romans 5:12-21
Death in Adam, Life in Christ

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 6:40

40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 11:25

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Friday - Further Thought

Read Ellen G. White, “The First Great Deception,” The Great Controversy, pp. 531–550.

Read Ellen G. White, “Can Our Dead Speak to Us?” The Great Controversy, pp. 551-562.

Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 544-548.

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. While life is the inheritance of the righteous, death is the portion of the wicked. Moses declared to Israel: “I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.” Deuteronomy 30:15. The death referred to in these scriptures is not that pronounced upon Adam, for all mankind suffer the penalty of his transgression. It is “the second death” that is placed in contrast with everlasting life.

In consequence of Adam's sin, death passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the grave. And through the provisions of the plan of salvation, all are to be brought forth from their graves. “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust;” “for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22. But a distinction is made between the two classes that are brought forth. “All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29. They who have been “accounted worthy” of the resurrection of life are “blessed and holy.” “On such the second death hath no power.” Revelation 20:6. But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression—“the wages of sin.” They suffer punishment varying in duration and intensity, “according to their works,” but finally ending in the second death. Since it is impossible for God, consistently with His justice and mercy, to save the sinner in his sins, He deprives him of the existence which his transgressions have forfeited and of which he has proved himself unworthy. Says an inspired writer: “Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” And another declares: “They shall be as though they had not been.” Psalm 37:10; Obadiah 16. Covered with infamy, they sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion.

Thus will be made an end of sin, with all the woe and ruin which have resulted from it. Says the psalmist: “Thou hast destroyed the wicked, Thou hast put out their name forever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end.” Psalm 9:5, 6. John, in the Revelation, looking forward to the eternal state, hears a universal anthem of praise undisturbed by one note of discord. Every creature in heaven and earth was heard ascribing glory to God. Revelation 5:13. There will then be no lost souls to blaspheme God as they writhe in never-ending torment; no wretched beings in hell will mingle their shrieks with the songs of the saved.

Upon the fundamental error of natural immortality rests the doctrine of consciousness in death—a doctrine, like eternal torment, opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures, to the dictates of reason, and to our feelings of humanity. According to the popular belief, the redeemed in heaven are acquainted with all that takes place on the earth and especially with the lives of the friends whom they have left behind. But how could it be a source of happiness to the dead to know the troubles of the living, to witness the sins committed by their own loved ones, and to see them enduring all the sorrows, disappointments, and anguish of life? How much of heaven's bliss would be enjoyed by those who were hovering over their friends on earth? And how utterly revolting is the belief that as soon as the breath leaves the body the soul of the impenitent is consigned to the flames of hell! To what depths of anguish must those be plunged who see their friends passing to the grave unprepared, to enter upon an eternity of woe and sin! Many have been driven to insanity by this harrowing thought.

What say the Scriptures concerning these things? David declares that man is not conscious in death. “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:4. Solomon bears the same testimony: “The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” “Their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10.

When, in answer to his prayer, Hezekiah's life was prolonged fifteen years, the grateful king rendered to God a tribute of praise for His great mercy. In this song he tells the reason why he thus rejoices: “The grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day.” Isaiah 38:18, 19. Popular theology represents the righteous dead as in heaven, entered into bliss and praising God with an immortal tongue; but Hezekiah could see no such glorious prospect in death. With his words agrees the testimony of the psalmist: “In death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?” “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” Psalm 6:5; 115:17.

Peter on the Day of Pentecost declared that the patriarch David “is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.” “For David is not ascended into the heavens.” Acts 2:29, 34. The fact that David remains in the grave until the resurrection proves that the righteous do not go to heaven at death. It is only through the resurrection, and by virtue of the fact that Christ has risen, that David can at last sit at the right hand of God.

And said Paul: “If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” 1 Corinthians 15:16-18. If for four thousand years the righteous had gone directly to heaven at death, how could Paul have said that if there is no resurrection, “they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished”? No resurrection would be necessary.

The martyr Tyndale, referring to the state of the dead, declared: “I confess openly, that I am not persuaded that they be already in the full glory that Christ is in, or the elect angels of God are in. Neither is it any article of my faith; for if it were so, I see not but then the preaching of the resurrection of the flesh were a thing in vain.”—William Tyndale, Preface to New Testament (ed. 1534). Reprinted in British Reformers—Tindal, Frith, Barnes, page 349.

It is an undeniable fact that the hope of immortal blessedness at death has led to a widespread neglect of the Bible doctrine of the resurrection. This tendency was remarked by Dr. Adam Clarke, who said: “The doctrine of the resurrection appears to have been thought of much more consequence among the primitive Christians than it is now! How is this? The apostles were continually insisting on it, and exciting the followers of God to diligence, obedience, and cheerfulness through it. And their successors in the present day seldom mention it! So apostles preached, and so primitive Christians believed; so we preach, and so our hearers believe. There is not a doctrine in the gospel on which more stress is laid; and there is not a doctrine in the present system of preaching which is treated with more neglect!”—Commentary, remarks on 1 Corinthians 15, paragraph 3.

This has continued until the glorious truth of the resurrection has been almost wholly obscured and lost sight of by the Christian world. Thus a leading religious writer, commenting on the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, says: “For all practical purposes of comfort the doctrine of the blessed immortality of the righteous takes the place for us of any doubtful doctrine of the Lord's second coming. At our death the Lord comes for us. That is what we are to wait and watch for. The dead are already passed into glory. They do not wait for the trump for their judgment and blessedness.”

But when about to leave His disciples, Jesus did not tell them that they would soon come to Him. “I go to prepare a place for you,” He said. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.” John 14:2, 3. And Paul tells us, further, that “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” And he adds: “Comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. How wide the contrast between these words of comfort and those of the Universalist minister previously quoted! The latter consoled the bereaved friends with the assurance that, however sinful the dead might have been, when he breathed out his life here he was to be received among the angels. Paul points his brethren to the future coming of the Lord, when the fetters of the tomb shall be broken, and the “dead in Christ” shall be raised to eternal life.

Before any can enter the mansions of the blessed, their cases must be investigated, and their characters and their deeds must pass in review before God. All are to be judged according to the things written in the books and to be rewarded as their works have been. This judgment does not take place at death. Mark the words of Paul: “He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31. Here the apostle plainly stated that a specified time, then future, had been fixed upon for the judgment of the world.

Jude refers to the same period: “The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” And, again, he quotes the words of Enoch: “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all.” Jude 6, 14, 15. John declares that he “saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: ... and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books.” Revelation 20:12.