Days of the Living Dead: Shocked by the Bible, Chapter 5

I must admit that after reading this chapter a few times, I don’t really understand Joe Kovacs’ point in writing it. He talks of several different resurrections (other than Jesus’), which are recorded in the Bible. The chapter is very short and really just points out that there were resurrections other than Christ’s recorded in both the Old and New Testaments. I don’t think that comes as a “shock” to anyone who is a Christians. Particularly since one of the accounts he brings up is that of Lazarus, which most Christians are aware of because it is included in much of the teaching concerning Passion Week. Without having read beyond this chapter, my guess is that he is using it to introduce another topic. Nevertheless, there were two points Kovacs makes that I think do need to be clarified.

On page 44 he wrote, “During the course of his lifetime, Elisha had been noted for performing numerous miracles, and it appears he was so full of the power of God that even long after his death, the remnants of this prophet were able to bring a fellow Israelite back from the dead.” I have several problems with this statement.

(1) Kovacs does not give any context or understanding as to why the prophet’s bones caused someone to be resurrected. The surrounding verses make the understanding of this account very clear. Those verses before record the final prophecy of Elisha as he lay on his deathbed. He prophesied that king Jehoash would only defeat the Arameans three times in battle. Then verses 20-21 occur, followed by the fulfillment of Elisha’s prophecy to Jehoash. So the resurrection account was recorded as a sign that even though Elisha was dead, the prophecy would still be fulfilled because it was from God.

(2) If this account had not served this purpose, then why didn’t all the people from the surrounding area bring the bodies of those deceased to lay them upon the bones of Elisha so they too would be resurrected? If the Israelites would not have done this, surely the Gentiles would have.

(3) Kovacs seems to intimate that the “power of God” is magical and rests upon inanimate objects. The Bible does not indicate that the “power of God” is bestowed upon something and that it must remain upon until it “wears off.” God bestows his power upon people to reveal his glory to individuals to bring them into a relationship with him. This is seen time and time again. God grants his Spirit or his “power” at different times to accomplish his purposes (Psalm 68, Romans 1:16 & 202 Timothy 1:7-8).

Everywhere in the Bible where God’s power is mentioned, it is not in reference to him bestowing it upon inanimate objects; it is always in reference to individuals or the actions of those individuals. For example, God did not place His power upon the rock in the desert to bring forth the water; he placed it upon Moses and his actions (when he struck the rock) to bring forth the water (Exodus 17:5). There was nothing mentioned about the rock being magical or filled with the power of God. Neither was there anything mentioned about the power of God being upon the “staff” that Moses used when striking the rock. This is certainly clear because later God instructed Moses to speak to another rock and instead he struck the rock with the staff. This brought God’s judgment upon Moses. I assume (because the Bible does not state this explicitly) that Moses had begun to think that there was something “magical” about his staff, that it contained the “power of God” to perform miraculous things.

Think about it—it was a sign that God had sent him (staff to snake and back to staff; Exodus 4), he used it to turn the Nile to blood (and to begin some of the other plagues in Egypt as well; Exodus 7-10), he used it to part the Red Sea (Exodus 14), he held it up while they defeated the Amalekites (Exodus 17), he had used it the first time to bring forth water from a rock (Exodus 17), as well as other miraculous things—with all of that in mind, is it really surprising that Moses would have began to think of the staff itself as powerful rather than God using him? This is exactly the point God made when he struck the rock rather than speaking to it—“‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’ These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he showed himself holy among them” (Numbers 20:12-13, emphasis added). Notice it did not say God showed Moses holy or that God showed the staff holy, but he showed himself to be holy. Moses had begun to revere the staff as powerful (i.e. he called it the “staff of God,” Exodus 4:20, 17:19), rather than revering the God who gave the power to Moses who held the staff. Notice the staff itself never “performed” any miraculous deed, it was always in the hand of Moses through whom God had chosen to work.

The other statement Kovacs makes that bothered me was on page 48—“This resurrection [Tabitha, Acts 9:40-41], along with all the others, raises important questions. Were these dead people alive in heaven right after they died? After all, many churches teach that when God’s people die, they immediately go to heaven. Surprisingly, there is no verse in the Bible that specifically indicates that, though many people share that belief.” This simply is not the case.

Second Corinthians 5:6-10, makes it clear that when we are present in the body (i.e. alive) we are away from the Lord. It also makes clear that when we are absent from the body (i.e. dead) we are present with the Lord.

In Luke 23:43 Jesus is speaking to the thief that defends Jesus as innocent and says, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” The thief died just a few hours later, so where could paradise be? It is obviously not here on earth because he died. It certainly can’t be hell, since it is described as a place of torment. No, paradise is described as being in the presence of God, which is heaven (2 Corinthians 12:14, Revelation 2:7).

So Mr. Kovacs cannot be correct in saying “there is no verse in the Bible” that teaches people will be in heaven right after they die, since I have just provided two passages. I feel that I must also add that not everyone will be in heaven when they die. Only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will find themselves in heaven. Those who have rejected him as their Lord and Savior will find themselves in hell. That we will die and find ourselves in eternity is not a question to me; what is in question to me is whether we will find ourselves in heaven in the presence of God or in hell banished from the presence of God.
What'd you think? 


13 Response to "Days of the Living Dead: Shocked by the Bible, Chapter 5"

  • Bill Says:

    There seems to be a problem with this scripture using Mr. Hyde's interpretation.
    1 - Jesus didn't go to Heaven, He went to Hell according to Protestant and other's teaching.
    2 Paradise is not in Hell, it's where God is. (2Co12:4; Re2:7)
    The verse should be translated as such:

    Today I verily say to you, you will be with me in paradise. (Notice; the comma has been moved.)

    This does not necessitate the thief to be with Jesus during His first day in Hell.
    It does not necessitate the thief to even be present with Jesus.
    It does not even nescessitate the thief to be alive.
    Jesus most probably was referring
    to a future resurrection when the thief will be resurrected and then he will be with Jesus in paradise.


  • Mr. Hyde Says:

    Bill,

    I appreciate you taking the time to read through my review of Shocked by the Bible. However, your first point is a false premise. Just because Protestant's and others teach that Jesus went to Hell, does not make the belief true or correct. That belief comes from a poor interpretation of 1 Peter 3:19.

    As to the quote from Luke and Jesus' statement to the thief--The Greek supports the construction of the NIV where today is emphasized not with "verily I say unto you," but with "you will be with me in paradise."

    καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀμήν σοι λέγω, σήμερον μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ.
    Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Matthew Black et al., The Greek New Testament, 4th ed. (Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies, 1993, c1979), 240.


  • Bill Says:

    I agree with you completely that just because Protestants and others teach that Jesus went to Hell does not make the belief true or false. I also agree that belief comes from a poor interpretation of 1 Peter 3:19.

    About the statement from Jesus in Luke:
    Jesus died. He was dead for 3 days. He was not in Heaven. He didn't go to Heaven until several days after being raised from the dead.

    And so, he was not in Paradise, and the thief could not have been in Paradise either. That's why I think that Luke 23:43 is poorly translated in many Bible versions.


  • Mr. Hyde Says:

    Bill, please correct me if I am wrong. But I believe I understand your point in your last comment to mean that Jesus was in the grave and not in heaven/paradise nor hell?

    If so, how do you square that up with your first comment where you clearly intimated that Jesus went to hell?

    One last question, what Scriptures led you to the conclusion that Jesus went to hell or stayed with his body in the grave for 3 days after his death?


  • Bill Says:

    That is correct. Jesus was simply in the grave. He died. He was dead. He was not aware of anything because He was dead. He was not conscious. He had no thoughts. He was - dead.

    I want to clear my first comment up. It wasn't very clear. I didn't mean to imply that Jesus went to Hell. I was simply stating what many Protestants believe. Personally, I don't think He did anything at all while He was dead.

    Here are a few scriptures that show He was in the grave for 3 days.

    Mt 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    Mt 16:21 ¶ From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

    1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

    (He died, He was buried, He was raised in three days)


  • Mr. Hyde Says:

    Bill, your quotes from Matthew and 1 Corinthians do not address where Jesus was during the three days. Each passage simply state that he would physically die and be physically raised back to life the third day. There is no statement as to where he was during the three days.

    Likewise, Jonah was not dead inside the great fish, he was alive.

    One more question, do you hold to the belief of soul sleep?


  • Anonymous Says:

    What is the definition of soul sleep?


  • Bill Says:

    Mr. Hyde, with all due respect to you, I think those scriptures do tell where Jesus was.
    They clearly say that He had been killed and that He had been buried.
    The scriptures don't say that He was anywhere else. So that's where He was. He was dead and He was buried. If God the Father had not raised Him up He would still be dead and buried to this day.

    About soul sleep.
    No, I don't believe in "soul sleep".
    I do know that Jesus sometimes referred to death as sleep as in John 11. But He was talking about death and not sleep as he plainly said in verse 13, and even more plainly in verse 14.
    I believe that a person when he dies is dead completly. However, God with His great power is able to bring that person back to life again.


  • Mr. Hyde Says:

    Anon, soul sleep is the belief that a persons soul does not leave the body upon their physical death, but remains in the grave until the final resurrection at the end of time. The person is not aware that they are in the grave, but are in an unconscious state.


  • Mr. Hyde Says:

    Bill,

    I understand your point well. What is still confusing me is that you seem to indicate that Jesus' soul remained in the grave with his body; which is soul sleep. The other option is that his soul departed from his body, which leaves two options. The first option is what you mentioned in your first post--that he descended into hell. The other option is that he ascended into heaven.

    Of those three options, which one do you adhere to? Or am I completely missing something of your belief? Have I incorrectly assumed your position about the physical body and the soul?


  • Mr. Hyde Says:

    Bill, after reading your comment again I think I may understand better what you believe. You believe that the soul "dies" with the death of the physical body; is this correct? If so, how do you square that up with Scripture?


  • Bill Says:

    Good morning Mr. Hyde,

    Thank you for clearing this up

    Yes, that is what I believe. There is no immortal soul. Our only hope for immortality is to receive it as a gift from God the Father.

    I want to square that up with scripture.

    Ec 3:19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

    Ec 9:4 ¶ For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
    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

    Ec 9:10 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.


    Job 7:8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.
    9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.
    10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.

    Job 14:21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.

    Isa 26:4 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.

    Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
    Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

    Joh 3:16 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.
    (shows a contrast between not having eternal life and having eternal life)

    Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    (again, shows a contrast between not having eternal life and having eternal life)

    1Timothy 6: 15-16 He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
    (If Jesus is the only human that has received immortality then all of the rest of us do not have immortality)

    Our only hope for eternal life is the resurrection.

    God has the power and the ability to bring us back to life again.

    To me the resurrection is one of the most amazing and profound things taught in the Bible.


  • Andrew Pritchard Says:

    God bless you both. I am warmed in Christian love to you Mr Hyde for your excellent Bible knowledge. Bill, I love you also for your recognition of what the Bible clearly says. I am Andrew Pritchard who also wrote a book available on Amazon, but also as a free PDF. Just Google "The Gospel According to the Scriptures", Andrew Pritchard. You can now both review my book! (smile) Mr Hyde, dear sir, you missed a VERY important scripture and allowed church doctrine to get in the way of Bible truth! Bill will agree with me, in Genesis 2:7, Adam BECAME a living soul; he was not given a soul. This information is repeated in 1 Cor 15:45. So, the soul (the person) that sins shall die. God grants the believer in Him immortality at the resurrection. To claim that the soul is immortal is to agree with the serpent in the garden. Now we do not want to do that, do we? By the way, the spirit (Greek pneuma) that goes back to God is the breath that God gives us. A tyre that has perished cannot hold wind or air. Hugs to you both in Jesus. Mr Hyde, please review my book!