"Live by God's Every Word"  Ma 4.4

"You Shall Never Die"

(PERSONAL PROPHECY--An unconditional promise to a Believer is like a prophecy-- IT WILL HAPPEN.These promise-prophecies are for you PERSONALLY as a Believer in Jesus Christ)

"You Shall Never Die"
The personal prophecy that "You shall never see death" (John 8:51) is so phenomenal that it is often reduced to an allegory. And, remember, an allegory" says the words mean something different than what they actually say. But to reduce these words, "You shall never see death", to an allegory is to simply say "I don't believe it." However, Jesus believed the actual words, for He is the One who promised believers "You shall never see death."

In John chapter 11 Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus were all believers. Lazarus died. Jesus came to console the sisters. They both expressed their belief in Jesus (John 11:22, 27, 32). They also expressed their belief that their brother would rise from the dead in the resurrection on the "Last Day" (John 11:24). Jesus confirmed their belief in the "Last Day" resurrection. But then He went further,

1. The Last-Day Resurrection confirmed-- Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, (John 11:25)

2. Then He revealed a greater truth-- "and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die..." (John 11:26) 

This verse (25) in the picture is Jesus' statement confirming Martha's belief that her brother, Lazarus who had died, would live again in the resurrection in the remote "last day." But as is the case in the picture, Jesus' second part to the statement is often left off. Yet it is the clarifying part of the promise. In the part left off, Jesus went on to say in the next verse (26) that Lazarus wouldn't have to wait until the last-day resurrection to "live" again, for he would never die. That is, he would continue to live as a whole person in his spirit after his body went to the grave.

 What does this statement in John 11:26 mean. Verse 25 is clear enough. But verse 26 goes way beyond it. In effect, Jesus said, "Yes, you are correct that your brother will rise again on the Last Day. But your brother doesn't have to wait for resurrection day to live. Being a believer, your brother never died."

Two distinctions are essential here.

            1. In the Bible, there is Physical Death, and there is Spiritual Death. They are not the same.   

            2. There is also the Person, and the Body. There is a distinction.

First, physical death occurs when the human spirit separates from the body. The body only has life when it is inhabited by the human spirit (James 2:26). (Spiritual death is the separation of the human spirit from God; Eph 2:1; Rev 20:14).
Secondly, the Person (whole personality-personhood, mental, volitional, emotional faculties) resides in the human spirit (Rev 6:9-10), not in the cellular brain or body. The body clothes the spirit (2 Cor 5:1-9). If the body (and brain) is removed in death, the whole Person remains in the spirit.
These are two important Biblical distinctions which shed light on John 11:25-26.

So Jesus told Martha (and Mary) these two truths about resurrection in "the last day",

            1. First, John 11:25--"Yes, your brother Lazarus will rise again at the resurrection of his body in the last day, but that is the resurrection of his BODY; He will not have to wait until the last day to LIVE"...because...

            2. Second, John 11:26--"As a believer, Lazarus 'shall never die.'  His full 'personhood' will continue on without break as his body falls off (disrobes) from his spirit at physical death. Though his body goes to the grave, 'HE' (the fully conscious "he"-person) goes to heaven. Thus, a believer "shall never die."

This greatest of personal prophecies is confirmed by Jesus Himself

in other passages besides the pivotal John 11:25-26, as follows,

            1. Luke 16:22-- When another Lazarus, the poor man, died, he did not enter an unconscious state in the grave, where his body was laid, but "he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom [heaven]." The Person—Lazarus— totally alive in his spirit, "never died."   

            2. Luke 23:43-- On the day Jesus was crucified, when in His own Spirit He was about to go to heaven (Luke 23:46), Jesus told the man on the cross next to Him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." Both bodies were taken down from their crosses, but that man "never died", as he stepped out of his body and went with Christ to heaven.   

            3. Matthew 22:31-32-- Even more directly to the point of the Last-Day resurrection of the body, Jesus said, "But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." Notice in this passage Jesus refers to the "resurrection of the dead [BODY]", but then quickly affirms that the Persons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not in those dead bodies, but instead were "LIVING." The bodies of these believers would still be raised to re-clothe the Persons (spirits) at the last-day resurrection, but Abraham and Isaac and Jacob "never died" as Persons.     

            4. John 8:51-52-- "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death." What could be more plain? "He shall never see death." It fits all of the other passages above to a tee! Moreover, Jesus made the "Abraham" connection again, as the skeptics responded, "... Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word, he shall never taste of death.'" This led to Jesus' famous statement "before Abraham was, I AM" (v.58). Very similar to #3 above where God said, "I AM the God of Abraham...", proving the point that Abraham's "person" was not in the grave, but "LIVING."   

            5. John 6:50-- "[I, Jesus, am] the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat [ingest Jesus by faith] and not die...", but rather, "he shall live forever" (John 6:51)...because he "has passed out of death into life." (John 5:24) Again, Jesus made plain the personal prophecy that as believers, we shall "not die."

In summary then, at the event commonly known as "death," we expect to simply step out of our clothes (body) in the same way we, the whole person (spirit), steps out of our clothes in a doctors' exam room, and then put on our heavenly robe (exam room gown) in the presense of Christ. Therefore, we-the-person (spirit) will never see death (separation from God; Rom. 8:38-39).

Now, if this is such an unbelievably phenomenal truth that we want to "allegorize" it, let's remember that Jesus said in plain words,   

            1. Your body will rise again— glorified to clothe— you on "the last day" resurrection,   

            2. But you yourself "shall never die",   

            3. Because God is "the God of the [presently] living"   

            4. Thus, you will "never see death",   

            5. All of which, plainly spoken, means you "will not die", though temporarily your body will "sleep" (John 11:11-14) until the resurrection.

Praise the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who is "not the God of the dead, but of the LIVING.".

BELOW: The order of the "last day" resurrections (in blue) as revealed in 1 Thes. 4:13-18, 1 Cor. 15:20-24, and Rev. 20:4-5, 11-15, shown in the top graph according to the literal words of the Bible. The bottom two graphs depict what happens when the prophetic record is reduced to allegorical story-telling.