A Chennai Pastor quotes Hebrews 9:27-28 to teach that there will be no death – yes physical actual death – for believers. This pastor teaches that believers can be immortal. This is a false teaching. He implies that Hebrews 9:27-28 teaches this: “Jesus died a physical death. He is our substitute, representative for us. Since kept our appointment with death, we will not need to die here and now! We believers, can be immortal!” Is this biblical?
PROOF FROM HEBREW 11 THAT WRITER TO HEBREWS DOES NOT TEACH IMMORTALITY ON EARTH
One basic principle of Bible interpretation is this: the same Bible author – who is inspired by the Holy Spirit – cannot contradict himself. The writer to the Hebrews DID NOT TEACH immortality on earth from Hebrews 9:27-28. I know this for sure. Two chapters down the line – in Hebrews 11 – He talks about many believers who died despite having faith in Jesus. Read that section in Hebrews and this truth is plain as day (where I have inserted short notes from my end in brackets): “Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to DEATH by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were KILLED by the sword (THAT IS THEY HAD EARTHLY DEATHS). They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their FAITH (it is not that they did not have faith – in fact they had it, yet they died), yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect (Yes, when we die and go to the other side of eternity there will be no physical death, but while we are on this side of eternity – there is a good chance we will die unless Jesus returns before that).[Heb. 11:36-40]. While this cultic Chennai pastor is using the book of Hebrews to teach “You will not die, if you are a believer in Jesus!” the writer to the Hebrews himself did not believe this ‘grave error about the grave’ (as we just saw)!
PROOF FROM HEBREWS 12 THAT WRITER TO THE HEBREWS DOES NOT BELIEVE IN IMMORTALITY ON EARTH
Scroll down a little bit more. Come to the chapter 12 of the book of Hebrews. Read Hebrews 12:4. It goes this way: “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood”. Here, the writer to the Hebrews is telling the believers he addressed this: “You must not go with the flow. You must fight sin. When you fight sin people might beat you up. You might bleed. You might lose your life. But you need to be faithful till death for Jesus! I do not see that kind of commitment in many of you. You are compromising. You are denying Jesus. You are playing with sin. Don’t! If your fight against sin leads to your persecution which in turn leads to your death – that’s fine!” So, there you have it again – even the writer to the Hebrews does not believe in is erroneous doctrine of “No possibility physical death for the believer before Jesus returns!” In Hebrews 11, there is a clue for this. And in Hebrews 12 also there is a clue for this.
IMMORTALITY ON EARTH TEACHING: A PRESENTDAY EXAMPLE OF ‘OVER-REALIZED ESCHATOLOGY’ WHICH A FEW IN THE CHURCH AT CORINTH WERE GUILTY OF
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church this: “Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!” (I Cor. 4:8). This statement of Paul was indicative of Paul’s concern that the Corinthian church believers had got ‘carried-away’ and landed-up in an “over-realized eschatology” which basically meant the blessings that could be theirs only after they reached heaven, they felt they already had them here and now or felt that they must have it here and now. For example, since the Corinthians believed this, they said, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (I Cor. 7:1). They felt, as they spoke in the tongues of angels, they were like angels in heaven, who do have not sex, perhaps and that’s why they made silly statement like this (‘it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman – that is his wife’) even when they were on earth! Gordon Fee, noted New Testament Scholar explains this further: “Corinthians seems to have considered themselves to be already like angels, thus truly spiritual needing neither sex in the present (I Cor. 7:1-7) or a body in the future (I Cor. 15:1-58)”. But Paul believed there were some things that would only happen on the Final Day. That’s why he wrote this to them: “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes” (I Cor. 4:5). Basically Paul was telling them: “Don’t get over-board!” Because when we go over-board, we fall into error. And when we fall into error in doctrines that affect salvation, we land up in hell. It is that dangerous!
In our time, the example of an over-realized eschatology is the wrong teaching that we will be immortal her and now which is cultic Chennai pastor is preaching. The same Chennai based cult pastor also quotes from I Corinthians 15:26 which says “the last enemy to be defeated is death” and teaches that until a generation of believers beats death here and now – that is becomes immortal now, that is, does not die at all while we are still on earth – only then Jesus will come back to the earth (I have heard him say this in an another message)! Till that happens, Jesus would NEVER come back, he says! What a heresy! The plain teaching of the Bible is this: “Man is destined to die once and after that face judgment” (Heb. 9:27). In the same chapter quoted by this Chennai pastor – I Corinthians 15 – we have evidence to know that death will be finally defeated only when Jesus comes back the second time and not before that. In I Corinthians 15:52 he writes that the transformation of our body into immortal, imperishable bodies will happen when the “trumpet” will sound. I Thessalonians 4:16,17 Paul clearly writes when the trumpet sounds Jesus would return again the second time to this earth. So, we believers will become immortal only after the second coming/secret coming of Jesus! Let us not fool ourselves!
WHY BELIEVING IN IMMORTALITY ON EARTH IS A DANGEROUS, HELL-TAKING DOCTRINE
I am a youth evangelist. I call youth to give their lives here and now. I tell them, “Do not postpone your commitment to Christ!” The primary motivation not to postpone one’s commitment to Christ is the love of God. “When Jesus gives joy unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8) when you come to him which sin and its pleasures can’t give (Hebrews 11:25), why waste even a nano-second living for Satan and in Sin?” – I ask the Google Generation often. But there is also another biblical reason, why we must come to Jesus here and now. We can’t sweep this reason under the carpet because it does sound like music to the ears! The real possibility of sudden death for anyone of us reading this is a reason why we must repent and come to Jesus now. The Bible teaches about the brevity of life thro’ examples and edicts, time and again. We have examples of Ahab (I Kings 22) and Absalom (I Sam. 18). Jesus himself gave an edict about possible sudden death when he preached, “Tonight your life will be taken from you….” (Luke 12:20). James preached about how short life can be post the death and resurrection of Jesus where he compares physical life to a quickly vanishing vapor (James 4:14). I said, ‘post the death and resurrection of Jesus’ because this “New Covenant” gang of cultic preachers try to undermine Bible passages before Romans saying they were written before Jesus died and rose again and inaugurated the new covenant. Coming back to my premise – Sudden Death possibility being a common Bible theme which we will ignore to our peril. Jesus also preached, “Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32). Basically, Jesus was saying this: “Remember Mrs. Lot did not have lots of time to repent – so repent now. Come to me now! Tomorrow may be too late! After you die it will be too late!” I believe this gang of preachers – including this Chennai pastor, a prominent worship leader, certain preachers from Kerala – do not like this kind of preaching. They want to tone it down a bit. They want to make bible truth more palatable to their hearers – their generation. So they want to teach things like – “you will not die!” But they are speaking lies to woo youth. Don’t believe those lies. They will take you to hell along with these preachers (if they do not repent). For the Bible is very clear: when salvation-slowing or salvation-altering false teaching by the introduction of “destructive heresies” is given by “false prophets” and “false teachers” they are bringing “swift destruction” upon themselves and their followers (2 Peter 2:1).
WHEN YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN IMMORTALITY ON EARTH FALSE TEACHING, YOU SHOULD NOT BE BURYING THE DEAD BODIES OF BELIEVERS!!!
Before I finish I would like to bring a reason from the logical outworking of the hyper-grace/new covenant teaching movement to show the hollowness of the immortality on earth false teaching. This poison-peddling Chennai Pastor says, “When you had an appointment with sin, Jesus went and took faced the appointment on your behalf. So, you are no longer a sinner (even when your performance does not match it)! When you had an appointment with poverty, Jesus went and took your appointment and so you will no longer be poor – you will be rich and prosperous! When you had an appointment with death, Jesus went and took your appointment and so you will no longer die!” The simple question I want to ask him, and his followers is this: Is there still sin in your life post the cross of Jesus? The answer for this question – if truthfully given – is a resounding “Yes!” So, when will sin effectively and finally go away? The Bible gives the answer: when we cross over to heaven where there is no sin; however, while on earth, though we will not enjoy sinless perfection (I John 1:8) we can overcome the temptations consistently so that in our lives there is no “practice of sin” (I John 3:9). In the same way: if a person is not ‘rich’ even after becoming a believer, all his needs will be met when he goes to the Heavenly state – that is the implication. And so, if a person dies here and now, it must be understood that only on the other side of eternity will there be no death! Only in the heavenly state “will there be no more death” – the Bible is very clear (Rev. 21:4). When God overlooks our sins here and now by looking at the finished work of righteous Jesus on the Cross (as these hyper-grace/new covenant teachers claim) they should also say (using the same argument): ‘even if you are poor, you are rich, because “Jesus died to make you rich”; even if you die, you are not dead, because Jesus met death on your behalf!!!’ BUT THEY DO NOT SAY THAT! SEE THE CONTRADICTION!!!!! So, if any among this group dies (God forbid), will they not bury the body? Will they tell the police who may show up: “though dead, this person – who believes in hyper-grace/new covenant – is not dead because Jesus died so that we will not die – so let us keep the body in our home even if it stinks without burying it???!!!!!!” Yes, this teaching is a ‘stinkingly’ wrong teaching!!!!!
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Find out moreatwww.dukev.org. Whatsapp him at 91-8886040605)