You Can Know You Have Eternal Life
718 – The Divine Mystery Revealed (25)

by Jim Mettenbrink

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     Early in His ministry, Jesus told His disciples.  “
To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11).  In the previous articles we considered many aspects of this “mystery” which was hidden through the ages (Colossians 1:26).  The eternal destiny of people is part of the hidden mystery.

     The Bible begins revealing mankind’s dilemma — death caused by sin.  Being denied access to the tree of life, man’s destiny is death (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:2-8, 19).  When God chose Abraham to be the progenitor of the nation of Israel, He promised his descendants would be a nation and one person would be a blessing to the whole world (Genesis 12:1-3), but there was no promise how one could overcome the curse of death and thereby live forever.

     When God began fulfilling the promise, establishing ancient Israel as His chosen nation, He made a covenant with them to bless them with prosperity if they obeyed faithfully, but if they walked in disobedience, He would punish them (Deuteronomy 28).  However there was no remedy for death.  In fact that covenant is rightly called the covenant of death (c.f. 1 Corinthians 15:56; 2 Corinthians 3:7).

     Sin always resulted in death.  For unintentional sins, an animal died as a substitutionary sacrifice (e.g., Leviticus 6:1-6).  For some sins the death of the sinner was required (e.g., Leviticus 20:10).  In all cases of sin, death was the result.  No promise of life… only death!  That changed 1400 years later for those who agreed to obey the New Testament?

     It must have become the talk of the town when Jesus told the Jews, “
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 5:28, 29).  So there is something beyond death and the grave!

     Obviously this resurrection of the dead would occur on a day in the future.  Not only that, Jesus referred to two states of being — life vs condemnation.  Recall condemnation is God’s attitude toward sin requiring death.  Jesus referred to eternal death beyond the grave.  “
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18).  What about this death and its significance?

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