SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Friday September 20, 1996

Further Study

FURTHER STUDY: What did Paul mean when he longed "to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8)? Compare Phil. 1:23.

"From a superficial reading of vs. 6-8 some have concluded that at death the soul of the Christian goes immediately to be present with the Lord,' and that Paul, ardently desiring to be with the Lord (v. 2), welcomed death. But in vs. 3, 4 Paul describes death as a state of being naked,' or unclothed.' He hopes, if at all possible, to avoid this intermediate state, and ardently desires to be clothed' with his house . . . from heaven.' In other words, he hopes to be translated without seeing death. . . . Elsewhere (see on 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:15-17; 2 Tim. 4:6-8, etc.) Paul makes it certain that men are not clothed' with immortality individually at death, but simultaneously at the resurrection of the just."--SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 863.


  1. The mother of a friend who believes in the natural immortality of the soul passes away. At the funeral your friend approaches you weeping and exclaims, "I know she is in heaven now!" In those particular circumstances, how would you respond?
  2. Why is it vital in these last days that everyone understands the Bible teaching on the state of the dead? What can the results be for those who do not understand the Bible truth?
  3. How could you use this week's lesson to comfort a person who is terminally ill?

SUMMARY: Death is a sleep, a state of unconsciousness. The Bible teaches that a living person is a mortal soul; a dead person is a dead soul. The soul is not immortal. Even though Adam's sin introduced sin and death into our world, Christ's sacrificial death earned eternal life for all. By accepting Him as Saviour and Lord, eternal life is ours now and immortality at His second coming.