God and Creation—Part 14

The Hope of Immortality

“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.”
—Romans 2:7

CLOSELY ALLIED WITH THE erroneous view that the earth is but a temporary dwelling place for God’s human creatures, and that at death all move on into other realms of life, is the belief that man by nature is immortal. This belief has no scriptural backing. It is generally supposed that the words “immortal” and “immortality” are freely used throughout the entire Bible. But this is not true. They do not appear at all in the Old Testament. They do appear in a few places in the New Testament, but their use is extremely restricted, and at the same time very revealing. They are never used with reference to man’s natural endowments.


To be explicit, the word immortal appears once, and is applied to the Lord. We quote: “Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.” (I Tim. 1:17) Surely this proves that man is not immortal!

The word immortality appears only five times in the Bible. One of these—I Timothy 6:16—refers to the Lord, and declares that he alone possesses immortality.

The word is used again in II Timothy 1:10, where we are informed that Jesus brought “life and immortality to light through the gospel.” This is very interesting, for it reveals that prior to Jesus’ coming, which was four thousand years after Creation, the people of God knew nothing about immortality—that it was brought ‘to light’ by Jesus. Jesus did not say that man was inherently immortal. Rather, he brought to light an opportunity, upon certain very rigid conditions, for a very few of earth’s millions to attain immortality. These are the ones for whom he went away to “prepare a place.”—John 14:2,3

In Romans 2:7—one of the remaining three texts of the Bible in which the word immortality appears—we read that through “patient continuance in well doing” we “seek for glory and honour and immortality.” Obviously, people do not seek for that which they already possess.

Because we do not by nature possess immortality, Paul wrote to those who are seeking for it, saying, “This mortal must put on immortality.”(I Cor. 15:53) The word immortality appears only once more in the Bible, and that is in the next verse. Here Paul speaks of the time when “this mortal shall have put on immortality.”

There are no other uses of the words immortal and immortality in the entire Bible. And, as we have seen, the few times they do appear in the Word of God they tell us either that the Lord alone possessed the quality of deathlessness which they describe, or that the followers of Jesus may hope to ‘put on immortality’ if ‘by patient continuance in well doing’ they faithfully seek for it.

There is no scriptural support at all for the almost universally accepted theory of human immortality. Immortality means deathlessness, or indestructibility. How inconsistent it would have been for God to sentence man to death, if he could not die! Inharmonious though it may be, it is just this incongruity that Satan has foisted upon the world by his falsehood, “Ye shall not surely die.”—Gen. 3:4


One of the higher orders of God’s Creation is the angelic. The Bible is the revelation of God’s purpose concerning his human creation, so it furnishes very little information concerning the angels except through its many references to their use as the messengers of the Lord in his dealings with man. In Hebrews 2:7, in a quotation from Psalm 8:5, we are informed that man, in his creation, was made “a little lower than the angels.” Man is the highest order of God’s earthly creatures, and since he is but ‘a little lower than the angels,’ we judge that they are probably the lowest of the spirit creations, dwelling in one of the many “mansions” mentioned by Jesus.

We use the word spirit in referring to the angels because it implies that which is beyond human perception. The angels, in their normal state, are invisible to human eyes, and they are not at all limited to our methods of communication and activity. The Bible reveals clearly that they are used as God’s messengers, and in the Old Testament there are accounts telling of occasions when they materialized in human bodies in order to converse with those to whom God sent them. Note the case recorded in Genesis, chapter eighteen; and the reference to this in Hebrews 13:2.

The Bible further informs us that some of these angels deflected from full obedience to their Creator, and allied themselves with Satan, who at one time was one of the chief ones among them. Thus Jesus refers to “the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41) Many of the angels who went over to Satan did so prior to the deluge of Noah’s day. They are referred to in Jude 6 as “the angels which kept not their first estate,” and the information is given that they are now “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” The Apostle Peter speaks of these as “the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.”—I Pet. 3:19,20

The language used concerning these fallen angels clearly suggests that they are under restraint, limited to undercover activities—or ‘under darkness,’ as Jude states it. These angels who, before their fall, were used freely by God as messengers to communicate with his human creatures, had their freedom of operation and communication taken away. But this does not mean that they have not continued to do all they could to make contact with humans.


Since these fallen angels are no longer loyal to God, it is reasonable to expect that to whatever extent they have been permitted to reach the minds of humans their intent is always to deceive and mislead the people with respect to God and the straightforward truths of his Word. Furthermore, since Satan’s first and most basic of all deceptions is contained in his statement to mother Eve, ‘Ye shall not surely die,’ it is to be expected that he would use his allies, the fallen angels, to the fullest extent possible to foster this lie. This is exactly what he has done.

These fallen angels, possessing superior powers, are able, under limited circumstances, to read the minds of humans, especially those minds that yield readily to occult suggestions and influences. Thus, for example, a woman who has lost her mother in death holds in her mind precious memories of her mother. She would like to see her mother again, and talk with her. So at a séance she hears a voice, which she identifies as her mother’s voice. The voice reveals personal incidents that the mourning woman is positive no one but her mother and herself knew about. This convinces her that she is in communication with her mother.

But more important to Satan and the fallen angels who have perpetrated this fraud, it has been proved to this woman that the dead are not really dead at all. How could her mother be dead when she heard her voice, and by that voice revealed secrets that no one else could have done? This woman does not realize, of course, that the tone of her mother’s voice, and her manner of speaking, are registered in her brain, and the superior powers of the fallen angels are able to read and reproduce them. Neither does she realize that the fallen angels could have had knowledge of her mother while she lived.

This is the true Bible’s explanation of spiritualism. It is also the explanation of occult phenomena of all kinds, including the alleged proofs of reincarnation. It is the explanation of the deception that was foisted upon King Saul of Israel when he asked the witch of Endor to communicate with the dead prophet, Samuel. (I Sam. 28:7-25) The record of this is presented in the Bible without comment, but a moment’s reflection reveals that the dead Samuel did not actually appear to Saul. While alive, God had forbidden Samuel to in any way communicate further with the wicked Saul. Would he disobey God after death? There is nothing in what is reputed to be a message from the dead Samuel to Saul that the wicked king did not already know.


In all the séances held throughout the centuries, including those of modern times, no really worthwhile information has ever been obtained. When God sent one or more of the holy angels to communicate with his servants a definite and needed message was imparted by them. But the fallen angels are not sent by God. They are directed by Satan. They have no real information to impart. Their use by the Devil has as its chief purpose the establishing of the great deception that there is no death.

We hold much sympathy for all who in any way are deceived by Satan’s lie, Ye shall not surely die. Man was created to live. Death is foreign to him. In his search for comfort in the face of the inevitable it is pleasant to be told that death is not an enemy, but a friend which ushers him into a new and happier life, in which for all eternity he will be free from the sorrows which haunt the lives of humans, and where there will be nothing to mar his peace and joy.

It is also natural that those of us still alive as humans should like to make contact with our dear ones. We enjoyed fellowship with our beloved friends while they were with us, and why should we not wish to converse with them after they are dead? However, were it not for the fact that Satan’s lie, Ye shall not surely die, has changed the meaning of words, we would know that we could not converse with the dead, for the reason that they are dead.


How much better is the hope held out to us in the Word of God—the hope of actually seeing our loved ones again, and freely conversing with them—of spending eternity with them: not because they are now more alive than ever, but because by the power of the Creator, they will be restored to life. What this means is that God’s original purpose in the creation of man is yet to become a glorious reality, for there is to be a resurrection of the dead.

The command to fill the earth has been carried out under adverse conditions of sin, selfishness, and pain, as each generation has, in turn, gone into death. But God, in his love, provided a Redeemer, One who tasted “death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) This guarantees that the human creation, expanded to fill the earth as God commanded, will yet have the opportunity to subdue the earth, making it all one glorious paradise, in which, restored to life and reconciled to God, humanity will live forever.

This glorious consummation of the Divine purpose, so clearly expressed to our first parents in Eden, awaits only the completion of that “little flock” (Luke 12:32) to whom the promises of glory and honor and immortality are made, and for whom Jesus went away to prepare a ‘place.’ These representatives of the human race are, as we have seen, to be exalted to immortality, “then shall be brought to pass the saying, … Death is swallowed up in victory.”—I Cor. 15:54

This saying, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory,’ is quoted from Isaiah 25:8,9—a wonderful promise assuring us that death is to be destroyed, and that the people of the whole earth will rejoice in the salvation from death which God has provided for them. The earth will then be man’s eternal home, for death will no longer disrupt the continuity of life in the glorious ‘mansion’ of the Father’s ‘house,’ which he has given to the “children of men.”—Ps. 115:16

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Dawn Bible Students Association
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