Articles and book excerpts used in and referred to on Issues, Etc.
by Dr. Louis A. Brighton
Dr. Louis A. Brighton is Professor Emeritus of New Testament Exegetical Theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO.
If a Christian were asked, "What is the most precious gift that God has given to you through Jesus Christ?," most likely the answer would be "eternal life." And perhaps the verse quoted in the Gospel of John would immediately come to mind, "Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him has eternal life, and I (Jesus) will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40).1 Certainly the subject of the Bread of Life sermon that Jesus preached and which is related in John's Gospel (6:22-59) is this gift of eternal life. For this sermon declares how a hearer receives the gift of life, by faith (6:29, 35,40,47), and how it was procured, by the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - or as it is stated, "I am the bread of life which has come down from heaven; if anyone should eat of this bread he will live forever and the bread which I will give is My flesh for the life of the world" (6:51). But perhaps one of the most quoted verses of the Bible would also come to mind, "For God so loved the world that He gave the (His) Son, the only begotten, so that everyone who believes in him would not perish but rather would have eternal life" (John 3:16). And there would also be the words that Jesus spoke in reference to His being the Good Shepherd, "I am the Good Shepherd.. .who lays down His life for the sheep.. .and I give to them eternal life and they will never perish and no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:11, 28).2
When one has eternal life, that Christian will live forever (John 8:51), for because of the gift of faith he or she will never die (John 8:5 1; 11:26). Eternal death has no hold or authority over such a Christian (Rev. 20:6, 14-15; 21:8; cf. Rom. 6:23). Death has been forever conquered by Christ's death and resurrection (Is. 25:8; 1 Cor. 15:53-57; 2 Tim. 1:9-10). Death can now no more touch the believer in Christ than it could touch the exalted Lord Christ in all His heavenly glory (Rev. 1:17-18; 5:6-14; cf. Heb. 2:14-15; 9:26-28). Eternal life now envelops the follower of Christ forever (John 10:28-30).
How is this eternal life in Christ to be understood? In particular, how can it be thought of in the midst of the mortal life that the Christian experiences here in this fallen world where death still rules and conquers sinful flesh? Is this promised eternal life still in the future to be possessed only at death when the soul is before God in heaven? Is the definition of eternal life then to be explained as that life which is experienced only when the soul is in heaven? That is, is heaven this eternal life? If so, will the bodies of Christians in graves ever experience this everlasting life? Today there is much confusion concerning the gift of eternal life in Christ as to how it is to be believed and understood in the present mortal life here on earth and in relationship to the so-called afterlife. It is the purpose of this article to broach and examine this subject from a Biblical perspective in order to present a meaningful definition of what the Bible means by eternal life.
Definition of Eternal Life
Often eternal life is described as the "end of faith, the ultimate object of a Christian's hope," that is, an "uninterrupted fellowship with God," and "to be with God is to be in heaven."3 In addition it is defined as the "life of the Spirit. ..which consists of the union of the Christian with God through faith in Jesus Christ, especially the perfect enjoyment thereof in heaven." Eternal life is also at the same time "a present possession of every Christian" when God through His Spirit has called a sinner to faith in His Son.4
Does the Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior, have now in this earthly life the gift of eternal life? If so, how can it be at the same moment in time an object of hope, for Paul says that we are saved by hope, and a hope (the object of hope) that can be seen is no longer an object of hope but of sight (Rom. 8:24-25). Does such a hope for eternal life suggest that life is only a future gift? Or does it say that it is present now but not of sight but only by faith, a hope that is born of faith?
Many places in the Scriptures testify to the fact that the Christian now in this present earthly life has the gift of eternal life. For example, in John 5:24 we are told that if a person hears the words of Jesus and believes on Him who sent Him, he has eternal life and will not come into judgment, for he has been removed from death into life. And then in a following verse (v. 29) it is said that that Christian will also be raised from the grave into the resurrection of life.5 This suggests that by hearing the word of Christ in faith eternal life is a present given, but that the mortal body will itself not participate in this eternal life until the bodily resurrection at the second coming of Christ. It is this dichotomy in which the truth of eternal life is presented to us that can make it difficult to apprehend relevantly. It is quite easy to understand eternal life as a future gift and experience, for example, in heaven in the presence of God. But how do we relate to it as a gift that Christians possess now in this mortal life here in this present earth?
One Eternal Life But in Three Modes
There is one eternal life that is a gift of God's grace in Jesus Christ. But the Scriptures testify that we experience this life everlasting in three different modes.6 That is, we experience eternal life in three different stages or periods of time and reality. The first mode of possessing the gift of eternal life is in this present mortal life here on earth, but we experience it only by faith. The second mode or manner that the same gift of eternal life is experienced is from our death until the end of the world as our souls are in heaven before God while our bodies lie in the graves. The third mode will commence at the resurrection of our bodies when in body and soul we will live forever with God in the new heaven and earth. However, there are not three different eternal lives, for it is the same life that is received and experienced in three ways, three modes.
Eternal Life Now in This Present Earthly Life
In 1 John 5:10-12 we are told that whoever believes the witness () that God has given concerning His Son has eternal life (). For this life is in His Son, and he who has the Son has this eternal life. This life in Jesus the Christian possesses now in this mortal earthly life. It is not only a future reality but also a present one. It is for this reason that the Christian has already been translated, removed, from death into life (John 5:24). Death no longer holds the believer in Jesus. Rather, the life that Jesus gained by His death and resurrection possesses the Christian. That is why Jesus could say concerning Lazarus that he was not dead but only sleeping, and that he who lives and believes in Him will never die. The Lord Christ gives this eternal life to everyone who believes in Him because He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-27).7
In His earthly ministry Jesus often used earthly metaphors to illustrate that the person who holds to Him has eternal life and will never die. For example, in John 4:14 Jesus told the woman at Jacob's well that whoever would drink of the water that He gives would never thirst again, for the water that He gives springs up in the believer for the purpose of eternal life. And in John 6:50-5 1 the Lord Christ likens Himself to bread which if a person eats will never die but rather live forever. And the bread He gives is His own flesh for the life of the world. Jesus also spoke in terms of endearment in a personal manner to emphasize that he or she who follows Him in this present life of suffering has eternal life. "My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me. And I give to them eternal life and they will never perish forever and no one can snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:27-28). And this promise He will keep, for as the Good Shepherd He laid down His life for His sheep and in His resurrection He took it up again (John 10:14, 17-18).8
Though in this earthly life we possess eternal life, yet through our mortal flesh we still experience death. Paul in several places addresses this anomaly. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 he states that his suffering was of such a measure that he even despaired of life. But he recognized that his suffering, as a sentence of death, served the purpose of moving him not to trust himself but rather God who raises the dead. God would always rescue him, preserve him from death. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 Paul describes how Christians carry about the great treasure of the Gospel in earthen vessels, that is, in dying mortal bodies (vv. 7-8). The follower of Jesus then at all times bears the death of Jesus in his own mortal body. Through his or her dying body Christians display the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus might be visible in their dying bodies as He keeps them alive. Paul says this because God who raised Jesus will also together with Him raise up our bodies (vv. 10-14).
The Scriptures testify that all who sin will die, but that the free gift of God's grace in Jesus Christ is eternal life (Rom. 6:23). This eternal life the Christian through faith has now in this mortal life. For Paul also describes that all who have been baptized have been baptized into Christ's death. We were buried with Him, and we were also raised with Christ now to newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). The promise of eternal life which we possess now only by faith is nevertheless assured to us by the presence of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament, for the Spirit is the down payment, our guarantee, of what has been promised but not yet seen (2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14; cf. I Pet. 1:3-5).9 For this newness of life, this eternal life, will finally be visibly demonstrated in the resurrection of our bodies at the End (1 Cor. 15:20-22, 5355).10
Because the Christian knows that by faith in Christ he has eternal life now in this earthly, mortal life but yet does not possess it in his present dying body, he longs to put off his perishable fleshly self so that in the resurrection he can be clothed with his immortal, imperishable body (1 Cor. 15:53-55; cf. 2 Cor. 5:1-9). Nevertheless, the Christian knows that by faith in Jesus Christ he has now the gift of eternal life. He has this eternal life now just assuredly as he knows that he will have it forever in his resurrected body from the grave at the End. This is the first mode of eternal life - the gift of God's grace of life forever in Christ, which he now has in this mortal life by faith alone.
Eternal Life with God in Heaven
The second mode of eternal life is that time, that interval, between physical death and the resurrection of the body at the End. While this mode or interval is not spoken of in the Scriptures as much as the first mode, nevertheless, there is enough so that both a definition and a brief description can be derived.
At death the soul or spirit of the Christian is taken to God in heaven while the body is placed into the grave.11 In Ecclesiastes 12:7 the statement is made that when the dust, that is, the material or substance of the body, returns to the ground (the grave), the spirit returns to God. 12 Similarly in Psalm 146:4 it says that when the body returns to the ground the spirit (or soul) departs. This suggests that at death the soul does depart from the body, and that the soul goes to God in heaven while the body is placed in the ground.13
That the soul does go to God in heaven and is consciously aware of being present in His heavenly presence is attested to in several places in the New Testament. Well do we remember the words of Jesus spoken to the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).14 In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 paradise is equated with heaven, the very presence of God. The thief on the cross, at the moment of his death, would be in the very presence of God in heaven (Luke 23:43).15
In Revelation there are graphic pictures of the souls of God's saints in heaven in His holy presence. In Revelation 6:9-11 the souls () of those who had been martyred are pictured before the incense altar which is in heaven before God. They are dressed in white garments, and they are at peace while they wait for their fellow believers still here on earth in suffering. In Revelation 7:9-17, which is the most beautiful picture in the entire Bible of the saints in heaven, the followers of Christ stand before the heavenly throne of God. They are dressed in garments that have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and thus made white. This time the saints in heaven are worshiping God the Father and the Lamb, and they are at peace never again to be touched by suffering. For they are led by the Lamb, Jesus Christ their shepherd, and God has wiped all tears from their eyes. 16
The holy Scriptures also speak of the Christians who have died as not being dead but only sleeping (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:6). Though their bodies are in the state of decay in their graves, they themselves are not dead. Whenever the New Testament refers to the death of faithful followers of Jesus, it declares that they are not dead but only sleeping. For example, when Jesus confronted the daughter of Jairus on her death bed, He said that she was not dead but only sleeping (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:35-43; Luke 8:49-55).17 And in reference to the death of Lazarus and his entombment Jesus told His disciples that he was only sleeping.18
It is because of these references in the Scriptures that the death of a Christian is sometimes described as a sleep. For example, Luther in comforting Christians before the face of death says that death is "a deep, sound, sweet sleep," and that the coffin should be considered as nothing but "our Lord Jesus' bosom or Paradise," and that the grave is nothing but "a soft bed of ease and rest."19 However, this is not a soul sleep, for the soul is very much alive before God in heaven and aware of being in the presence of His heavenly throne (see Rev. 4:4, 9-11; 5:8-10; 6:9-11; 7:9-17).
It is difficult to imagine this state or mode of eternal life in which the soul is alive before God's heavenly throne while the body is asleep in the grave. Perhaps the analogy of a dream can assist us, without necessarily answering this mystery. During a dream we are asleep in our beds. Our bodies are lying on the bed in a motionless, inanimate position while our minds are active in living out a situation. In the dream we are not conscious of the fact that through our bodies we are not actually sensorially experiencing what our minds are participating in. Though in the imaginative thoughts of our minds we see and hear and walk, etc., in the sights and sounds of events of the dream, our actual bodies with their sense organs are not engaged. But as we experience the dream in its thoughts and visions, we are not mindful or aware that our bodies are not engaged in the scenes of the dream. We only become aware of the inaction of our bodies when we awaken.
Can this analogy of a dream be likened to the time when our bodies are asleep in the graves while our souls are in heaven? Certainly we can say this. While our bodies are in their graves, through our souls we are alive before God's holy presence in heaven. For example, through our souls we are singing and rejoicing before God and the Lord Christ (see Rev. 4:9-11; 5:9-14; 7:9-17). However, we are doing so not by means of the sense organ of the voice and mouth of our bodies, for they are still and inanimate in the graves. Nevertheless, we are consciously worshiping and are consciously aware of the fact that we are in heaven before God. And it can be conjectured that as our souls are before the Lord Christ and the heavenly Father, we are not consciously aware that our bodies are asleep in their graves, certainly not conscious in a way that would cause us pain or fear from the fact that our bodies are decaying back to dust (see Rev. 6:9-11; 7:15-17).
Eternal Life in the New Heaven and Earth
While faith defines the first mode of eternal life and while heaven points to the second mode of the same eternal life, the third is illustrated by the description of the new heaven and earth. This third mode or stage of eternal life begins with the resurrection of our bodies at the End, and it will last forever in the new heaven and earth. While the term heaven sometimes is used in a general way in reference to this third mode (e.g., Matt. 5:12; 6:20; Luke 10:20; Eph. 2:4-10; 1 Pet. 1:3-5), it does so by conjoining our souls before God in heaven, the second mode, and of our bodies and souls after the resurrection, the third mode. Nevertheless, there is an important distinction between the second and third modes. For the ultimate goal and consummation of Christ's redemptive activity is not the second mode, but the third. Our souls before God in heaven while our bodies sleep in their graves is but a transient and temporary experience of God's gift of eternal life in Christ. The lasting, and forever, experience of eternal life is to live in our souls and resurrected bodies with God in the new heaven and earth. What do the holy Scriptures have to say about this mode of eternal life?
That the bodies of Christians in their graves will be raised is a factual truth of the Holy Scriptures. They will be raised for eternal life. Already in the Old Testament the resurrection of bodies from the grave is attested. For example, in Daniel 12:2 it is said that those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life and others to everlasting shame. And in Ezekiel 37 in the vision of the valley of dry bones we have a graphic illustration of such a bodily resurrection. While this vision points first to the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian exile, it also serves as an extended metaphor of an actual resurrection of bodies (see vv. 11-14). In Isaiah 26:19 the prophet declares that the dead will live again and their bodies will rise from the dust (cf. Ps. 104:29-30). But it is especially in the New Testament that the resurrection is fully declared and defined. The Lord Christ in John 5:28-29 tells how He will call all bodies from their graves. His authority and power to do so were demonstrated in the raising of Lazarus and others, which authority and power He had earned by His own death and resurrection (cf. Matt. 27:52-53). In 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 Paul carefully defines and describes the resurrection of our bodies, bodies that had been mortal and dead but now immortal and living forever.20 And in Revelation 20:13 we are pointedly told how in the resurrection the sea will give up its dead, and death and grave will give up their dead.
What will it be like to live forever in our resurrected bodies, and where will we live? The Scriptures witness to the fact that we will live on a new earth and heaven. Already Isaiah the prophet speaks of this, for God Himself said to the prophet that He will create a new heaven and a new earth, and because of this new creation the former things will never again be remembered (65: 17).21 And in Isaiah 66:22 it is said that this new heaven and earth which God will make will last forever.22 Peter in his second epistle echoes this truth when he says that at the coming () of the Lord the present heavens will be destroyed, and there will be a new heaven and earth (3:10-13). And in Revelation 21:1 John says that he saw a new heaven and earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away.
Do the Holy Scriptures tell us what the new heaven and earth will be like and what kind of life God's people will have and experience in the new heaven and earth? The apostle John in Revelation 21 gives no physical description of the new heaven and earth. He does, however, give a beautiful picture of life with God in holiness and righteousness, which life and relationship will be lived and experienced eternally on the new earth. In so doing John describes the bride of Christ, God's people in Christ, as the holy city Jerusalem coming down from heaven to the new earth (21:2, 9-10). The city is a perfect cube, patterned after the holy of holies of Solomon's temple (21:15-16; cf. 1 Kings 6:20). This suggests that the people of God will be the holy of holies of the new earth among whom God will dwell as He did with Adam and Eve before their fall into sin.23 God in His holy presence will dwell in the midst of His people on the new earth. And because of His presence there never again will be any pain or tears or suffering or death (21:3-4).
While John in Revelation does not write about the new heaven and earth in geophysical terms, he does indirectly suggest in Revelation 22:1-5, with reference to the tree of life, that it will be like the original earth in its pristine form, that is, like the Garden of Eden. It will be Eden restored.24 Hints of such a renewal of the earth so as to be again like Eden are given in Isaiah, though Eden by name is not mentioned. Because of the righteous action of the Branch of Jesse natural life of the earth will be again like that of Eden (11:1-9), and when speaking of the new heaven and earth, the prophet again speaks of natural and animal life being like that which was true of Eden (65:17-25).
But in particular it is Paul who addresses what the new heaven and earth may be like in natural, physical terms. In Romans 8 he describes how all creation () apart from the human race is eagerly awaiting the revelation of God's people at the End (v. 19).25 Because of man's sin, all creation was put under the judgment of God (cf. Gen. 3:17-18) and has ever since been subject to decay, atrophy, destruction, and death. But God subjected His creation to such frustration, futility (), because of man's sin, on the basis of hope (v. 20). For creation itself will be set free from this slavery of decay and ruin into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (v. 21). Meanwhile, all creation groans and suffers as it awaits its final liberation at the End when God's saints receive the redemption of their bodies, that is, the resurrection (vv. 21-22). In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul, by way of analogy, makes a comparison between the Christians' resurrected bodies and "the subhuman bodies of earthly animate life and the heavenly inanimate bodies" (vv. 39-41).26 "With poetic boldness and with a penetrating prophetic insight Paul sees the whole splendid theatre of the universe together with all subhuman life within it as eagerly awaiting the time when the sons of God will be made manifest in their true glory.27 As God's saints in Christ, at and through the resurrection, will be restored to their original created perfection, so also will the entirety of God's created cosmos be restored from its ashes to its pristine created condition. For this reason Peter declares how we Christians look forward to when God will destroy the present heaven and earth and then according to His promise bring about a new heaven and earth (2 Pet. 3:11-13; cf. Is. 65:17; 66:22).28
Whatever physical form the new heaven and earth will have, whether exactly like the original creation as related in Genesis, or one that will be similar, it will be a real earthly home for God's people to live in forever with Him in righteousness and perfection.29 It will be the Garden of Eden all over again in which God's saints in Christ will live forever in the third mode of eternal life. The same eternal life that Adam and Eve would have lived if they had not sinned and lost that gift of life with God. This eternal life with God has now been restored in Christ, by faith now, in heaven before God's heavenly throne at death, and at the resurrection and forever in the new heaven and earth.
The end result of the incarnation "suggests that, as a result of Christ's redemptive activity and his own bodily resurrection, those in Christ in the resurrection will be restored to God's original design for humanity's bodily state, and so also will the present earth be restored to its original, divinely intended state as a home for God's resurrected people.30 If the Biblical doctrine of the incarnation is taken seriously, that is, that God's eternal Son became a real human being so as to restore human earthly life to its original human bodily estate, then we must also believe that the earthly home of real bodily human beings will be restored to its original pristine condition. For God's saints in the third mode of eternal life will live forever in that perfect state that Adam and Eve would have lived if they had not fallen into sin. And thus will be completed what God set out to do through and because of the incarnation of His Son.
Eternal life is that blessed state of existence with God in perfect righteousness, which life is a gift of His grace because of the incarnation and redemptive activity of Jesus Christ. From the moment of his or her conversion the Christian has this gift of eternal life. However, it is experienced in three modes or stages. The first is by faith while still in this mortal life here on the present earth. The second is that of the soul before God in heaven while the body is in the grave. And the third will be that of the body and soul after the resurrection forever in the new heaven and earth.
While there are three modes of eternal life, it is the same life that the Christian experiences in three different stages. Though now by faith only in this present mortal life, it is nonetheless as real as the possession of it in heaven before God's throne and in the new heaven and earth after the resurrection. Nevertheless, as Christians possess eternal life in their faith in Christ now in this earthly life, they long for the time when he or she will enter the second mode where all suffering will be gone and all tears taken away. And finally they look forward to the End at the second coming of Christ when they with their newly resurrected bodies will life forever in the third mode, the new heaven and earth.31
1. The word appears some 135 times in the New Testament. Of these instances, it appears 66 times in Johannine literature - 36 in John, 13 in 1 John, and 17 in Revelation. The word , an adjective which refers usually to an unending duration of time which has no end (BDAG, 3rd ed., 33), appears some 71 times in the New Testament, of which 17 appears in John, more than any other book.
2. Also see Matthew 25:46; John 4:14; 5:24; 6:33-35; Romans 2:7: 6:32; Titus 1:1-2; 1 John 2:24-25; Jude 20-21.
3. Erwin L. Lueker, Lutheran Gyclopedia (St. Louis: Concordia, 1954), 457-458. Luther speaks of a Christian who in the face of death knows that because of his Savior he has eternal life after this earthly life. He also states that "our temporal death is an entrance into eternal life" (Ewald M. Plass, What Luther Says [St Louis: Concordia, 1959], 1:376 (cf Erlangen edition, 3:554; 17:313)
4. Lutheran Cyclopedia, 346.
5. Cf John 4:14; 6:50-51; Ephesians 2:1-6; Colossians 3:1-4; Revelation 20:4-6. The inspired authors John and Paul refer to the conversion of a Christian as a resurrection, a resurrection to life even though still living in this mortal earthly life. The final resurrection of the body from the graves at the End is the final consummation of this resurrection, this conversion to life from the death-like state of unbelief. See Louis A. Brighton, Revelation (St. Louis: Concordia, 1999), 560-568.
6. The word "mode" is from the Latin modus. It originally meant "a measure, a quantity," and then by metonymy "a way, a manner," as in a "manner or way of life," or "a way of experiencing something, a particular form or manifestation of a reality." It is in this latter sense that the word is used in relationship to the gift of eternal life.
7. Wben Jesus confronted Mary at the tomb of Lazarus, she did not fully understand that her brother though in the grave was still alive because of the life of Jesus. That is why Jesus then told her that He was the resurrection and the life so that whoever believes in Him even though he should die would live. Lazarus was only sleeping and would rise from the grave, because he had the gift of eternal life even while lying in the grave (John 11:11, 23-26).
8. This intimate relationship between the Lord Christ and His followers is prophetically described in Ezekiel 34:11-16. The Lord Yahweh would become the shepherd of His people. He would seek them out who had been scattered. He would rescue them from danger. He would tend them and care for them. He would search for the lost and heal the injured (cf. Is. 40:11: Jer. 31:10: Zech. 10:3: Ps. 23: Luke 15:1-7; 19:10).
9. The word that Paul uses for "down payment" is . It literally means "a pledge, a guarantee" of what has been promised. The served as a legal claim or as a contract which guaranteed the final delivery of what had been promised. For the Christian this , which seals for him his eternal inheritance of everlasting life, in visible form is the Sacraments through which the Holy Spirit works.
10. The End refers to the end of this present earthly life which will come about at the parousia of Jesus Christ. It is capitalized because of its importance in human history, and because at that point all things will end and then will be made new (see Rev. 21:5; Brighton, Revelation, 600-601, 645 together with footnote 17). The word is related to the "Day of the Lord" . It is the Day when the Lord God will execute both His judgment and salvation (Amos 5:18-27; Zeph. 1:14; 2:3; Mal. 4:1-5; Matt. 24:42-44; 2 Cor 1:14; 2 Thess. 5:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:10-13).
11. The Greek for our English word "soul' is . Usually is coupled with when reference is made to the entire person (e.g., Matt. 10:28). At times refers to the life force or principle of life which animates the (e.g., Matt. 6:25). Sometimes it is associated with (e.g., 1 Con 15:45; Heb. 4:12). On the whole subject of see TDNT, IX, 608-660, especially 637-656.
12. The LXX translates the two Hebrew concepts with (dust) and . The dichotomy of man as body and soul (or spirit) is in keeping with Genesis 2:7 where we are told that God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.
13. The Lord Christ evidences that He was aware of the separation of body and soul (Matt. 10:28).
14. The word appears three times in the New Testament, Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; and Rev. 2:7. In the first two instances it refers to being in the presence of God in heaven. In the third instance, Rev. 2:7, it seemingly refers to life in the new earth and heaven after the resurrection. For the meaning of the word and its reference to eternal life in the new heaven and earth see Brighton, Revelation, 66-67, 69, 623-633.
15. For further discussion on this see William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Lake, 1032-1033: I. Howard Marshall, Commentary on Luke, 872-873. Similarly the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-3 1) suggests that at the moment of death Lazarus was in heaven with God. In this parable the "bosom of Abraham" is equivalent to paradise. In Luke 20:37-38 Jesus in referring to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob declared that they were alive (cii Matt. 22:23; Mark 12:26-27). And on the Mt. of Transfiguration Moses and Elizah appeared with Christ and spoke with Him (Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36). All this gives evidence that while the body is in the grave, the souls of the righteous are alive in the presence of God in heaven.
16. In addition one can point to the twenty-four elders who in heaven sit on thrones around the throne of God (Rev. 4:4). And in Revelation 14:13 all those who die in the Lord are said to be at peace from all their earthly toil (cf. Is. 52:2; Dan. 12:13).
17. Marshall (Luke, 348) states that "The (of the girl) is regarded as surviving death and being separated from the body." The "corresponds to in Greek thought (cf. E. Sjoberg, TDNT, VI, 376-380)."
18. A similar event is described in Luke 7:11-17 when Jesus raised the son of a widow who lived in Nain, though his death is not spoken of as a sleep.
19. Plass, 1:371; Weimar, 35:478. Cf. also Plass, 1:379; Weirnar, 122:402ff. where Luther also refers to death as a sleep, but a sleep from which we will awaken and live again.
20. The contrast between "mortal" and "immortal" is telling in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54. refers to a perishable state or condition of decaying which ends in destruction. is a state of living that is not subject to decay, but rather is a state of being and existence that can never be touched by death.
21.It is the Qal participle of "to create, to form, to shape." The same word is used in Genesis 1:1 with regard to the original heaven and earth (cf. Is. 42:5).
22. It is the Qal participle of "to make, to do."
23. See Brighton, Revelation, 595-599; 608-618.
24. See Brighton, Revelation, 622-633. He states, "Though Eden itself is not explicitly mentioned, 'the river of the water of life' (22:1) and especially 'the tree of life' ((22:2) are obvious allusions to the primeval paradise.... That John receives, by way of the tree of life, the Garden of Eden, a theme with reference to the new heaven and earth could also suggest that the newly recreated physical earth will be like that of the original. The geophysical earth, in its pristine form with living creatures and plant life for the enjoyment and benefit of humanity (cf. Gen. 1:28-30), and with bodies of water, as indicated by the "the river of the water of life" (Rev. 22:1), nourishing and refreshing the earth (Gen. 1:9-10; 2:10), could be a type and model of the new earth.... All this could be seen encompassed in God's assertion in Rev. 21:5, "I make all things new!"
25. C. E. B. Craafield, Romans,1:411-412 states that the is 'the sumtotal of subhuman nature both animate and inanimate."
26. Brighton, Revelation, 633. Cf. Gregory J. Lockwood, 1 Corinthians (St. Louis: Concordia, 2000), 586-589, especially 587, footnote 7.
27. Cranfield, Romans, 1:412, quoted in Brighton, Revelation, 633.
28. It is of interest to note that in Revelation 11:15 when the seventh angel sounds the trumpet to introduce a scene of the end of the world it says, "The kingdom of the cosmos has become our Lord's and his Christ's, and he will reign forever and ever." In commenting on this, Brighton (Revelation, 309) states, The cosmos here in 11:15 "refers to that part of God's creation which rebelled against him, the human race, but also to that creation itself which was placed under the judgment of God because of human sin (Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 8:18-23). At the End in the final display of the victory of Christ, God will openly claim all of his creation as his own, in particular that part of creation that was once under the prince of darkness. God will publicly display his reign over all creation as he lays claim to that realm of creation that has been restored through Christ's redemption."
29. In Revelation 21:5 God speaks in the first person and tells John, "Behold I make (moiC) all things new." This was said with regard to the new heaven and earth. See Brighton, Revelation, 600-603.
30. Brighton, Revelation, 632. George Ladd states, "Man is a creature, and God created the earth to be the scene of his creaturely existence. Therefore, even as the redemption of man in the bodily aspect of his being demands the resurrection of the body, so the redemption of the very physical creation requires a renewed earth as the scene of his perfected existence" (Theology, 631, as quoted in "What Is New about the New Heaven and Earth," Gale Z. Heidel, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40:1: 37-56).
31. The Christian who still lives on the present earth at the second coming of the Lord Christ will go from the first mode of eternal life immediately into the third (see 1 Thess. 4:13-18; cf. 1 Cor. 15:51-52).
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