Getting An Understanding - Concerning The Sleeping Ones

By Joseph L. Watkins

We have gotten the title for these papers from Proverbs 2:6; 3:13 and 4:5-7. I have found that if we are to ever have the right understanding of the truths of God, we must, as best we can, always view His truths from His perspective of that very divine truth.

In the past my view of the dead was of one large group consisting of two groups: (1) The unbelieving in Adam and (2) The believing ones of God in Christ Jesus. All together these comprised the company of the dead. Oh yes, I did see the unbelieving ones in Christ Jesus as being just asleep; however, as so often is the case, my view was not God’s view – and always His is the right view.

We learn from Gen. 2:7 that God made His man His first creation of man. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

And over in 1 Cor. 15:45-49 we are told: “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam (the man Christ Jesus) was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit...The first man is of the earth, earthly; the second man is the Lord from heaven.”

So beyond any question, we must first understand that our God has two altogether distinctly different creations, and as He made His first man Adam he told him in Gen. 2:17: “The tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

And so, being a man (just like you and I), he did eat thereof, and yes, he did die the death of all men. For he did not regard the words of God, so now we all must die the death of all men - even as we learn from Rom.

5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

From 1 Cor. 15:22 we know that “in Adam (all of the old humanity) all die.” Viewing “the dead” from the Creator’s divine perspective, He sees that all - every seed of Adam’s race - as having already died in Him on the very day He died. The Lord said, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” - and in that day all the seed also died. So, as far as the Lord is concerned all of the old humanity is gone, even as all the grass of the earth that came forth on that day, it died and is just gone; it has now ceased to be, it is no longer in existence. All that died with Adam on that day are also gone.

From the Lord’s view only the new humanity in Christ Jesus, the last man, hold any interest for our Maker for He is the God of the living, not of the dead.

We rejoice in knowing, and now better understanding, that from His view He sees the end from the beginning, and yes, even before the beginning, as we read in 1 Pet. 1:18-20: “...the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot; Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world (before all creation)...”

Yes, from God’s perspective, before Adam sinned he saw the last man and the last creation in Christ Jesus as being already before Himself. So in truth and in fact,before Adam disobeyed His holy Maker, and thereby becoming estranged from Him, our great, all-wise, all- loving Creator had already provided a full reconciliation between Himself and the first humanity. Now, this great work was never intended to remove the judgment of death - this work of God only made life available for any and all that desire to have that life.

Yes, any that will die with Christ Jesus can also live again with Him. “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Rom. 6:8). And the truth is, if we believe that we shall also live with Him - then we shall live with Him.

The Lord’s divine perspective is by far the less complicated, man’s view is always all mixed up and confusing. Our God has but one creation in view - only the new one - the old one is gone and is of no concern to Him. All He sees is that which is in Christ Jesus.

At one time my own view of the dead and the dying took in both the saved and the unsaved. However, from the Lord’s perspective the old humanity is no longer a part of it; it is just not an entity - it is dead, non-existent. And of those believing ones in Christ Jesus that are said to have died bodily, God sees them as just being “asleep”; for in Christ Jesus all are alive, but at this hour they are “asleep.” Study and believe John 11:1-15; the body that Lazarus had been using was dead, but in spirit the seed of life was just in a state of dormancy (1 Pet. 1:23-25).

From man’s view there are those would like to say that some are “spiritually dead,” but our God knows of no such souls, for in Adam all are dead. Yes, dead, without any hope of life, just non-existent. Man sees the living as among Adam’s seed, the unbelieving and also the living as being in Christ Jesus - the new humanity. The truth of all of this is, all in Adam are now dead and are not to be a part of any resurrection, and all in Christ Jesus are now seen as being alive and are to once more be alive “in resurrection.”

Yes, the Lord’s perspective of the living in Christ Jesus in as already being raised to life in Christ Jesus; and should one be a chosen, initiated, called-out member of the church which is His body, the Lord sees that one as already “...made sit together with Christ Jesus in the heaven above heaven” (Eph. 2:6).

We need to look at another aspect of this great subject of death. One that many folks seem to have a lot of very strong emotions concerning is that which man calls “capital punishment,” man requiring another man’s life as payment for taking a life. We must understand that no man has life in himself, but one man and one man only is ever said to have life in Himself; read John 5:26: “For even as the Father has life in Himself so He gave also to the Son life to have in Himself.”

No other man has life in himself. In truth and in fact, all that man has is “time,” a few days. Another man may take away another’s time or days, but he has no life in the first place, unless that one so happens to be in Christ Jesus, and that one cannot ever lose that life. So, the right thing is for the whole society of men to take away the days of the offending one.