Second Timothy 4:1b states that Jesus will judge between "the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom" (author's emphasis).
This isn't discussing the distinguishing between those who are alive physically from those naturally dead, but rather, those who are alive spiritually as opposed to those dead in their sins. Only "the living" will enter the coming kingdom.
Certain Sadducees (who did not believe in the resurrection) asked Jesus about the issue of a woman who had married seven brothers who had died. They said, "In the resurrection whose wife shall she be?" (Luke 20:33). Jesus responded:
"Now, at the bush, even Moses pointed out that the dead are raised when he called the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. For to Him all live'" (Luke 20:37-38, author's emphasis).
This was not a reference to those who are physically alive, but rather, alive spiritually and eternally.
The Real "Walking Dead"
Proverbs 21:16 says, "The man who wanders out of the way of understanding will remain in the congregation of the dead."
The Beginning of the Problem and the Solution
First Corinthians 15:21-22 says, "For since death came by man, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Satan was a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44b). He committed mass genocide when he influenced Adam toward sin, for we were all in Adam. From that point, Adam passed on a death state to all his offspring, a status of separation from God.
The Breath of Life Restored
Genesis 2:7 says, "Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being."
A living soul is one infused with the presence of God.
After Adam fell, he still had a living body but a dead soul, devoid of God's presence. But then Jesus, "the last Adam," came and provided the answer.
First Corinthians 15:45 says, "The last Adam was made a life-giving spirit." (The King James Version calls this "a quickening spirit.")
In other words, He raised us back to a state of spiritual life. He reinstated "the breath of life" (the breath of God) in the disciples in the upper room when "He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:22b).
There are main three staples of life, both naturally and spiritually: breath, food and water.
Jesus was and is the source of the breath of life (John 20:22).
Jesus was and is "the living bread" (John 6:51a).
Jesus was and is the "living water" (John 7:38b).
Spiritually, He supplies life-imparting elements. No wonder Jesus said, "Enter at the narrow gate ... which leads to life" (Matt. 7:13-14). The word "life" is from the Greek word zoe which means divine life, resurrection life or the life of God.
Listen to this episode of Discover Your Spiritual Identity with Mike Shreve on the Charisma Podcast Network now. Subscribe to both this podcast and his other, Revealing the True Light: Comparing World Religions, also on the Charisma Podcast Network, for more enlightening truth and biblical insight like this.
Mike Shreve has been involved in evangelism (outreach to the world and ministry to the church) since 1971. His passion is to offer a faith-filled, grace-founded, Jesus-focused, power-imparting presentation of the gospel. The motto of the ministry concisely communicates his mission statement: "Speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15).
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