Worried About World Events? The Bible has answers
Coronavirus is sweeping the world, and many people are dying. Our video presentation on this topic is in two parts shown here:
So far the first half of 2020 has been dominated by the COVID-19 Coronavirus Crisis which has been spreading around the world and has now infected more than 12 million people and killed more than half a million now in mid July. Some people are very fearful of the disease, particularly the older population and people with pre-existing conditions, and they take great care not to mix with people, on the other side there are people who don’t care about it because they think if they can’t go anywhere, what’s the point of living.
Some people suffer badly if they catch the virus and others have no symptoms and some die from congestion in their lungs.
Concern for death
Governments all over the world are trying to stop it’s spread because otherwise many people will die, particularly those who smoke or who are older, but it spreads so easily. It’s a tragedy that more than 550,000 people have died of it so far.
- It’s a tragedy that about 10 million people die every year from cancer.
- 17.8 million people die from cardiovascular diseases each year.
- 8 million people die from smoking every year.
- Obesity causes 4.7 million premature deaths every year.
A lot of money and effort is put into curing these diseases, but when someone dies of old age why is there not the same level of concern? People live trying to not think about the fact that one day life will be over.
Whatever the cause of death, it’s something no one has been able to avoid. But the Bible does have a solution to this.
Let’s read from 1 Corinthians 15:16 which is one of the books in the Bible where the Apostle Paul is writing about some false teaching that said there is no such thing as a resurrection.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
The Apostle Paul is saying if there is no resurrection of the dead, then people who have died as faithful followers of Jesus Christ are perished. He doesn’t say faithful people who died will be fine because their souls go to heaven, he says they are perished. Totally destroyed. He says the resurrection is our only hope, and if there’s no resurrection people who follow Christ are the most miserable people because they’re wasting their time.
But then he continues saying that resurrection is true because it was made available by Jesus Christ as a way of being restored to life in the future, when the Kingdom of God is established on Earth.
Next let’s look at John 11:23-26 where Jesus is talking to Martha about resurrection. Martha’s brother Lazarus had died 4 days before, and Jesus is telling her he will be resurrected now, though they have a discussion about how anyone can believe in Jesus, be resurrected and live for ever.
I have here Rotherham’s translation in the Gospel of John 11:23
23 Jesus saith unto her—Thy brother shall rise.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise, in the resurrection, in the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her—I, am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, even though he die, shall live again!
26 And, no one who liveth again and believeth on me, shall in anywise die, unto times age-abiding. Believest thou this?
From these verses it can be seen that they are saying people who believe in Jesus and die, will be resurrected at the time called here the last day. And after that if they really did believe on on him and acted on their belief they will live for ever. It is not directly stated here that people have to live as faithful people as well as believing, but we know that is also a key requirement from other parts of the Bible. More on that later, but sticking to resurrection for the moment here is Jesus and Martha talking about a day in the future when people will be raised from the dead.
Before leaving John 11 take note that earlier on in verses 11-14 Jesus talks about death as sleep. This is very common in the Bible.
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
So when it says people are sleeping in the Bible it often means they are dead, particularly in the New Testament, last division of the Bible. The reason it talks about death as sleep is because the dead believers will wake up again, though for some of them, they will be waking up centuries or thousands of years later, depending on when they lived.
Another verse about resurrection is John 6:40 “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
This is quite clear, God want’s people to believe on Jesus Christ and to be raised from the dead and have everlasting life. Note we can’t have everlasting life now, it’s after the day of resurrection.
Here in the book of the Acts of the Apostles 24:14, the Apostle Paul is in a court case because the Jewish rulers who were in control in Israel didn’t like anyone believing in Jesus, and he said in the court case:
14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
So we can see the Apostle Paul believed there will be good and bad people raised from the dead. It’s not mentioned here but we know from other places in the Bible that people will be judged at this time. Notice that resurrection is the hope that the Apostle Paul had. He doesn’t have any other hope and as we saw earlier. Without resurrection people who have fallen asleep in Christ, that means died, have perished. So resurrection is the only hope after death.
We’ll look at one more place to do with resurrection and that’s Psalm 49 which says:
1 Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
This is written for everyone, all over the world.
6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
God says you can’t pay money to be saved.
8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
Here it’s saying people go about their daily lives thinking they will continue & their children will carry on their name. But they die like animals and there’s nothing left to show that they existed even after 100 years. So thinking this is folly, but their children and friends all approve of the same thoughts and carry on with that false impression of life.
Continuing in v15,
15 ¶ But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
This is resurrection. In the last day God will take him out of the grave, and when he says God will receive me, he means, receive him into the Kingdom of God.
16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
In v19 when it says they shall never see light that means they will be continually dead, that means unconscious. They perish like animals and nothing is left.
So from these places in the Bible it’s clear that the Bible talks about resurrection quite a lot. If you want to look at some additional places the read Job 19:25-26, Daniel 12:2, & Matthew 22:29-30.
But now I want to show you from 2 passages that some people will not rise from the dead at all, they will stay dead permanently.
Isa 26:14 Talking about other people who had dominion over Israel, it says,
14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
So it’s very clear that these people will not rise at all, they will be dead & unconscious permanently.
Also in Jeremiah 51:57 where it’s talking about the rulers of Babylon it says:
57 And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
They will sleep a perpetual sleep without waking.
It’s clear from these verses that someone who is dead is not aware of anything, it’s the same as being asleep or unconscious, but let’s see a little more detail on this in Ecc 9:5-6:
5 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.
6 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.
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
So the Bible tells us there is no work, knowledge or wisdom in the grave where we are all going. This means when we are dead we are totally unaware of everything.
Another place is Ps 6:5
5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
So when we’re dead it’s not possible to even remember God.
How can you be saved
Being a part of this resurrection is described in the Bible as being saved, and God tells us that not everyone will be resurrected, so how can you be there?
The answer to this is found in an Instruction Jesus Christ gave to his disciples in the Gospel of Mark 16:15-16
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (or condemned).
This opens up some further questions because what is the gospel that God requires people to believe? It involves developing within you the characteristics of God. The details of the gospel are all contained in the Word of God which we call the Bible.
So if you believe in the gospel, and are baptised, then you can be saved, which means you can be resurrected when Jesus returns. If you have the assurance of resurrection after death, then death is not something you have to fear. Because you will live again. So find out how you can be a part of the resurrection.
Let’s look at the Gospel of John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Just to clarify the meaning of “condemned already” in v18, you may be aware the New Testament was originally written in Greek. The original Greek word is κέκριται and according to Strongs Concordance it means to distinguish, that is decide (mentally or judicially). It’s also passive voice & perfect tense so it’s already happened.
So what it means is by default, people are already “condemned” to perish. That is, people who do not believe. It’s saying the same thing as v16. When people are born into the world, they have no knowledge and the default outcome is that they will perish. But if they step off that path to death by believing in Jesus Christ and being baptised, they can end up with the the outcome of being resurrected, and being in the Kingdom of God.
Let’s look at one more section of the Bible which shows someone following these steps, in Acts 16:30-34
This is when the Apostle Paul is visiting Philippi in northern Greece with Silas. They are put in prison and in the night there was a great earthquake and the doors opened. We read of the jailor in v30 here.
30 And brought them out (Paul & Silas), and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Here the jailor and his household believe and are baptised and will be resurrected from the dead when Jesus Christ returns.
After the resurrection happens the Kingdom of God will be established and everything in it will be done the right way. For more information about the Kingdom of God, click here.