Welcome to The First Great Deception chapter of The Great Controversy
The first lying sermon Satan ever preached on immortality of the soul: Ye shall not surely die.
Satan presented to Eve his first great deception in the garden of Eden.
Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:2-5
Satan declared that mankind would become like God. Moreover, will possess greater wisdom than before, and being capable of a higher state of existence. Eve yielded to his temptation. Through her influence Adam was led into sin as well.
They accepted the words of the serpent that God did not mean what He said. They distrusted their Creator. Furthermore, they assumed that He was restricting their liberty and upholding them from obtaining greater wisdom and exaltation.
Immortality is promised to humanity on condition of obedience
In the midst of Eden grew the tree of life. Its fruit had the power of perpetuating life. Had Adam and Eve remained obedient to God, they would have continued to enjoy free access to this tree and would have lived forever.
After they sinned, they were cut off from partaking of the tree of life and became subject to death.
Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19
Adam could not transmit to his posterity that which he did not possess. Thus there could have been no hope for the fallen race, had not God by the sacrifice of his Son, brought immortality within their reach.
While death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, Christ hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Romans 5:12; 2 Timothy 1:10
And only through Christ can immortality be obtained.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life. John 3:36
There is not an immortal sinner
Satan only promised Adam and Eve life in disobedience. He lied to them – Ye shall not surely die. It was the opposite to the word of God: The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezekiel 18:20.
Cherubim and a flaming sword kept the way of the tree of life. Genesis 3:24. Thus no one of the family of Adam has been permitted to pass that barrier and partake of the life-giving fruit.
The wages of sin is death
Those who flatter themselves that God is too merciful to execute justice upon the sinner, have only to look to the cross of Calvary. Christ the sinless became sin for mankind and bore the guilt of transgression. All this sacrifice was made that sinners might be redeemed.
I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. Revelation 21:6, 7
We must resist and overcome sin in order to inherit all things.
God will render to every man according to his deeds: Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; Romans 2:7, 9, 10
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.
How God’s method of dealing with sin resemble His character?
The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty. Exodus 34:6, 7
The transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. Psalm 37:38
God does not force the will or judgment of any. He desires that His creatures would love Him because He is worthy of love. He would have them obey Him because they have an intelligent appreciation of His wisdom, justice, and benevolence. And all who have a just conception of these qualities will love Him because they are drawn toward Him in admiration of His attributes.
Those who have chosen Satan as their leader are not prepared to enter the presence of God. They:
- despise His love, make void His law, and reject His mercy
- they dishonor and hate God because they know that He abhors their sins.
On the other hand, pride, deception, licentiousness, and cruelty have become fixed in their characters. Thus:
- truth will never be agreeable to a liar
- meekness will not satisfy self-esteem and pride
- purity is not acceptable to the corrupt
- disinterested love does not appear attractive to the selfish.
Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb?
Like the waters of the Flood the fires of the great day declare God’s verdict that the wicked are incurable. A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them. Moreover, the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.
The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God. Their final end is in the second death.
Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. Psalm 37:10
They shall be as though they had not been. Obadiah 16
Eternal torment doctrine
It is one of the false doctrines that make up the wine of the abomination of Babylon. The doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell is not the teaching of the Book of God.
As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die? Ezekiel 33:11
Another people who don’t accept the doctrine of eternal torment are driven to the opposite error. They see that the Scriptures represent God as a being of love and compassion. Thus they cannot believe in eternal torment.
But holding that the soul is naturally immortal, they believe that all mankind will finally be saved. They regard the threatening of the Bible as to frighten people into obedience, and not to be literally fulfilled.
Thus the sinner can live in selfish pleasure, disregarding the law of God, and yet expect to be finally received into His favor. Such a doctrine presumes upon God’s mercy, but ignores His justice. Moreover, it pleases the carnal heart and encourages the wicked in their iniquity.
What the Scripture has to say about consciousness in death
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6
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
The Bible also 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.
When they arise from the tomb, their first glad thought will be echoed in the triumphal shout: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:52-55.
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