What is everlasting life even about?
You’ve probably heard the words ‘Everlasting life’ dished out regularly by Christians like it has got some magical powers. It makes you wonder what in the world is this Everlasting Life everyone is talking about? The sad reality is many never even explain it fully and others have no idea even what they’re talking about, it’s like a song passed down to them all they have to do is memorize the lines then repeat the same to others.
Does it ‘for real’ mean living forever? Does this mean that I will never die? Well, who wouldn’t jump at an opportunity of being immortal! Anyone who enjoys living life would jump ship at an opportunity of immortality. Honestly, Ive never met anyone who craves death. Even a killer doesn’t want to be killed.
Are you telling me that the fountain of youth, that anti-aging drug has already been discovered and I didn’t know about it. Is it just by believing in this Jesus I could forever stay young, with firm skin and all things young looking.
I don’t know about you but come on, I would not prefer living forever in an elderly state with cracking bones, sagging skin, wrinkled face. If you’re providing Immortality, you should also provide a fountain of youth.
If you grew up or been around people who profess to be Christians you’re most likely familiar with this confusing term “everlasting life”. Before I became a Christian, most Christians I met used to tell me that If I ‘accept Jesus into my heart’, I will get everlasting life, go to heaven when I die. I was like give me a break, why would i want an everlasting life after my death! Why not have it right now so I wouldn’t have to die in the first place. It all sounded too good to be true like a con job.
I had seen many of these so called everlasting life recipient Christians dying every single day. So, I wondered if you truly have what you say you have (eternal/everlasting life) then why are you [Christians] dying daily and other still get old?
The concept of eternal life was laughable as it all sounded like a pyramid scheme just to con people into becoming Christians. There was no way in my sane mind I was willing to listen or even consider joining a people who sounded so deluded. The everlasting life ‘talk’ never made sense to me and I think I wasn’t the only one.
The promise of everlasting life goes like this,
“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” — (John 3:13–16)
John 3:16 is one of the most popular verses in the entire Bible, and the promise of everlasting life is the hope of every believer in Jesus Christ, but honestly, what is everlasting life, and when does it fully begin? When does it stop being just a promise to the actual time and moment when it will be actualized.
Apostle Paul does a great job of explaining it, see how he connects all of the pieces together from the first man (Adam) to Jesus Christ:
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the First Fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the First Fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” — (1 Corinthians 15:20–23)
Because of sin, we all die, but Jesus Christ has provided a way for us to live again. He is going to resurrect us from the dead, and give us new life. Jesus was the first one to resurrect, and the Bible says that he will resurrect those who belong to Him when he returns. He was the first fruits, and we will be the harvest.
Jesus taught that eternal life was granted at the judgment, when the sheep are separated from the goats. This is when the righteous are given everlasting life and the wicked are given everlasting punishment.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world… 41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels… 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” — (Matthew 25:31–46)
Let’s compare this to John 5, when Jesus also said,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” — (John 5:24–29)
What will happen at the Return of Jesus?
When Jesus returns, he is going to resurrect the dead, and sort them, separating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, and giving those who belong to him everlasting life, while sending the rest to everlasting punishment. So, we see that the full manifestation and actualization of eternal life will be at the resurrection, when Jesus Christ returns.
This same event (the resurrection) was prophesied by Daniel, concerning the end of the tribulation when the Messiah returns to resurrect the dead and judge the world.
“And the multitude of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.” — (Daniel 12:2)
Jesus actually had a lot to say about the resurrection, and he took many opportunities to point it out to those who would listen.
One of the most obvious examples of this is when his friend Lazarus died, and he went to raise him back to life. See the conversation he had with Martha about the resurrection of the dead.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. — (John 11:23–25)
To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in the resurrection, likewise, to believe in the resurrection is to put our faith in Jesus the Christ. He alone is the resurrection. He is the one who gives life and life everlasting.Tweet
The apostles understood this, which is why they spent so much times preaching about the resurrection. They knew that it was the most significant thing they could preach. It was the reason they were persecuted, imprisoned, and eventually martyred.
“Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” — (Acts 4:1–2)
Paul was very clear that he was on trial because of his testimony concerning the resurrection:
“But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged! — (Acts 23:6)
“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” — (Acts 24:15)
We cannot overstate the importance of the resurrection of the dead. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the most important event of his first coming, and the resurrection of the dead will be the most important event of his return.
This is how Paul describes its significance:
Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. — (1 Corinthians 15:12–19)
The resurrection is the very heart of the Gospel. If Jesus did not resurrect, then there is no salvation. If we do not resurrect, there is no eternal life. Without the resurrection, we die and that is the end. If there is no resurrection our faith is worthless, and we should be most deplorable of all people. The entire Gospel message hinges on the resurrection.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. — (1 Corinthians 15:20–23)
Paul preached the resurrection to the Greeks, wrote about the resurrection to the Corinthians, was imprisoned and eventually kill because of his teachings about the resurrection. He is so passionate about the resurrection that he writes these inspiring words to the Philippians:
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8–11)
Our great hope and desire is to attain the resurrection of the dead. Even Paul, didn’t say how he desired to live in heaven, he said that he wants to attain the resurrection.
Jesus Christ taught about the resurrection, his disciples preached about the resurrection, They all wrote about the resurrection, the apostles were imprisoned because of their testimony of the resurrection.
Everlasting life is fully attained at the resurrection, most of the Gospel message is about the resurrection. The most significant thing in the Bible is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead at His second coming, yet popular mainstream Christianity today teaches more of us going to heaven and preaches less of the resurrection of the dead. How can this be? Something truly needs to change.
Everlasting | Eternal life is deeply connected to the resurrection of the dead, for since it is the resurrection of the dead which ushers us into Everlasting life and without the resurrection there is no everlasting life.