DEATH and DELUSION
BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
Greetings in the name of Jesus. The NAME denotes the nature of Jesus. To greet you in the nature of Jesus, I must have a oneness with Christ so that my words have spirit and life. His words cannot bring spiritual understanding to those who do not have a relationship with the Christ of God!
Today I would like to share some thoughts with you about the scriptural meaning of death. Some of the things mentioned about death remain an enigma to us if we just consider them from a natural standpoint. For example, how can “the dead bury their dead”? (Matt. 8:22) How can there be a second death? (Rev. 20:6) How can the dead actually stand before the throne of God? (v.12) We know that dead people cannot stand up. Unless we see death as separation from God, that verse does not make sense to us. It also says that the sea, death and Hades gave up the dead; then death and Hades (the unseen realm) were cast into the fire. (v.14) How can this occur in the natural sense?
Rom. 8:10 says, “And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” The body is dead because of sin, but if we have Christ in us, our spirit is alive! Obviously, Paul is not referring to the physical body. So what does it mean? The body of sin is the body of death; the body of sin has been accumulating in people through lies, error and delusion; it brings death, and death is separation from God!
In the New Testament, the Greek word used for DEATH is THANATOS, and for DEAD, NEKRON, meaning without life, or lifeless. People describe death in various ways. Some call it a separation from life or from consciousness; others call it a sleep with a suspended consciousness. These descriptions sound very suitable, but they do not get to its root meaning. Basically death is a conscious separation from God. We are in death even while we live in the flesh, if we are unconscious of spiritual realities. As long as we are only conscious of natural things, we are in death.
Before Christ came, everyone was in Adam. They were all dead, because in Adam all die! Everyone was separated from God. We are not talking about a physical body that has been placed in a grave. Jesus came to awaken us out of our sleep of death and to make us alive. He came to free us from our separation from God – the separation that dates back to the days of Adam! For in Adam all die!
In Mark 5:21-43 we read about the synagogue official named Jairus, who came to Jesus to ask Him to heal his dying daughter. Before Jesus got there, a messenger was sent to inform them that it was too late; she had already died. But Jesus told Jairus not to fear; he was only to believe! At the home of Jairus the people were already mourning his daughter’s death with all the appropriate music and wailing! Then Jesus said, “The child has not died, but is asleep.” (v.39) The people laughed at Him – they knew the difference between a dead person and a sleeping person! This girl had stopped breathing and her heart had stopped beating! After Jesus had put the crowd out, He entered the room where she lay. He took her by the hand and the girl arose. Jesus raised her back into mortality!
The people there, even as many today, considered death as being final – nothing could bring life back to the departed one. By raising people out of death, Jesus proved that He did not look at death the way we do. He saw death as separation from God; after the spirit has been regenerated, and restoration has taken place, the consciousness of life comes back to a person whether or not he is in the flesh. So what people called death, Jesus called sleep.
Another example of this is found in John 11. Mary and Martha sent for Jesus to come and heal Lazarus. But Jesus only did what the Father told Him to do, and the timing depended upon the Father also. So He waited two days before leaving on this mission. By the time He arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days and had already begun to decay. Mary and Martha wondered why He had not arrived earlier! Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (v.24) Jesus answered, “I AM the resurrection and the life.” (v.25) In effect He said, “I am the One who raises you from the dead. This is who I am. I AM your resurrection.” He didn’t say, “I give you resurrection” but “I AM your resurrection.” Therefore if we have Christ, we have the resurrection. If we have been baptized into the body of Christ, we have been baptized into resurrection. Since Christ is the resurrection, can you see that resurrection does not have anything to do with the physical body? The physical body will follow the normal process of death and decay, and return to dust as God said it would.
The restoration of these dead people to mortality or physical life was only a sign or demonstration. It showed that this was not resurrection in its reality, for they did not get a new body. Both of these people lived out their lives and died again! We just proved that raising people from the dead consisted of being restored to a state of consciousness. People are ignorant of the fact that they live and move and have their being in God, so they are living in separation from the Lord. When we are united with Christ, this separation from the Lord is erased! This is resurrection!
In 1 Cor. 15:12-13 Paul speaks about the resurrection of the dead. “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, not even Christ has been raised…” He said that, because Christ is the firstfruits of them that are awakened! When He died, we died together with Him; when He was buried, we were buried with Him; when He rose from the dead, we rose together with Him! In other words, when Christ was resurrected, everyone was resurrected together with Him. It is only unbelief that keeps us out of this!
Since many erroneously think that life is in the physical body, they also think that this physical body will be resurrected. But resurrection has nothing to do with our physical body because we are raised into another body – into the body of Christ! Christ’s seed, the Word of God, is an incorruptible seed! Every seed has its own body. So Christ, the Seed of God or the Word of God, has a body, and we are members of that body! We need to understand that we have risen from the body of death (the man of sin, the old Adam), and then have been raised up by the Spirit into the consciousness that we are the body of Christ. We are members of His body; we are made of the same substance as His body! Hopefully you can now understand that resurrection has nothing to do with the physical body! By the Word of God we are birthed into incorruptibility! Incorruptibility can never be corrupted and it can never die! Death, hell, principalities, powers, or things to come, cannot corrupt us nor separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus!
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead (plural form) are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” (vv.14-18) Who falls asleep in Christ? This is not a sleep in Adam, but in Christ! If Christ has not been raised, they have perished. PERISHED is a very strong word; it is almost synonymous with demolished or annihilated.
The Bible gives us a historical account of Christ’s resurrection. It tells us that Jesus Christ appeared to Peter and to the twelve disciples; also to more than 500 at one time, and to James, and lastly to Paul. Historically it has been proved, without doubt, that Christ was raised out of death. Since Christ has been raised, we too can experience a personal resurrection. Believing and understanding that we have experienced resurrection, that we have been raised from the death in Adam to the life in Christ, is of vital importance! In Adam, everyone was dead in his sins and trespasses and separated from God! Then Jesus went to the cross, and through death He brought us life. He died for all, for all were dead! In His resurrection He brought resurrection and life for all!
People who think they are alive without being resurrected into the life of Christ, try to change themselves into a better self by making the right choices! This is an exercise in futility! It doesn’t do a speck of good because they are already dead in Adam. They need to be resurrected into life! They need to be put into the new man!
Through the voice of the Son of God Lazarus came out of the grave. It is a good thing He called him by name; had He called everybody, they would have all been raised. The raising of Lazarus was a picture of resurrection. “…when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.” (John 5:25) Those who are dead in their trespasses and sins, then hear God’s voice, shall live! This can happen now! Life is very precious and seems natural to us even though we do not understand it; nor can we do anything with our life. Life is only in God.
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:20) Who are those who slept? I think he is talking about all who are in Adam. We know that Adam was put to sleep. Later, the prophets cried, “Awake…and arise for thy light has come.” They were prophesying about the great light that was to come, not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles! And this light was Christ; He was the light that lights every man who comes into the world! Yet many prefer darkness! (John 1)
But now Christ has been raised from the dead and He is the Firstfruit, i.e. the Firstfruit in resurrection of those that slept! A first fruit is the evidence of the harvest which will come later on. When Christ arose from the dead He became the Firstfruit of those that slept! So He must have identified with the Adamic nature, even to the extent of sleep and separation from God. His thirty years under the law – being circumcised, offering sacrifices and appearing in Jerusalem at appointed times – showed his identification with humanity. On the cross, in this identification He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” This was a separation from God in His consciousness – yet He was without sin. However He was raised out of this separation and became the evidence of the harvest which would follow!
Christ lived under the law for thirty years and even identified with the sleep humanity was in. Since He fulfilled the law for us, we no longer have to keep the ordinances of the law! This fact is proclaimed by all the writers of the New Testament. Anyone who tells us to keep the law of the old covenant is not living in the new covenant!
“For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.” (v.21) Resurrection came by the man Jesus Christ! “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5) Moses could mediate the law covenant but he could not be this mediator. He could not touch God like Christ did. He could not take us out of our death in Adam; only Christ can do that! Those who are not in Christ are still dead in Adam, even though they are physically alive and going about their work or pleasures.
A careful reading of Genesis 1 and 2 reveals two men. The first one was created; he was given dominion over everything – over the earth and over all that lived and moved, whether beasts, birds, fish, trees or plants! There were no restrictions for him. He could eat the fruit of every tree; every plant was there for his benefit! God looked at His creation and said, “It is very good.” The second man in Genesis 2 was not created; he was formed out of the existing creation. It does not say that he was given dominion over everything. But since he was capable of naming all the animals according to their nature, it shows that he had tremendous wisdom, insight and ability to govern. He lost that when death entered! Even the animals, birds, fish, trees and vegetation are included in this death! His mind lost its ability to see spiritually, so in his mind he became separated from God. Death brings a termination of life. In Adam all die! Adam caused everything to die – it was all lost!
The death realm carries within it the consciousness of Adam! When we live in the death realm, we see everything as Adam saw it. Everything has a beginning and an ending. But if we are in God, we are in immortality! And immortality does not have a beginning nor an ending! In Christ shall all be made alive! So everyone who is IN Christ is alive – and will remain alive! We live IN Him! This is one of the keys that unlocks the scriptures for us. Life is IN Christ Jesus!
“But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His presence.” (1 Cor. 15:23) King James translation says COMING – but the correct translation is PRESENCE. In the presence of Christ these first fruits of Christ come into resurrection! Do you have the presence of Christ? Have you received Christ? “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God…” (Jn. 1:12) Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you…Behold, I stand at the door and knock…I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Jn. 15:4; Rev. 3:20) When Christ comes into us, He comes into our consciousness! Thus He becomes our wisdom, our understanding, our regeneration! Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection; I AM the life! He does not give us life and resurrection apart from Himself! We have to receive Him and then He IS these things to us!
1 Cor. 15:50: “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” Flesh and its blood can never inherit the kingdom of God! It cannot, so it will not. We can forget about trying to get our physical bodies into the kingdom of God! They won’t inherit the kingdom of God in any shape or form. Our carnal thinking and concepts cannot inherit God! The perishable cannot inherit the imperishable! We cannot change ourselves amd make ourselves imperishable! The natural self or ego – the Adamic, natural, soulish man, is dead! The Law of Moses was a ministration of death. (2 Cor. 3:7) Those who are not in Christ are dead in Adam and separated from God in their consciousness.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (v.51) We shall not keep on sleeping but we shall all be changed. I believe this change takes place internally! I don’t think this has anything to do with a changed body. Jesus was still in His physical body when He said, “I am the resurrection”! He was the resurrection before He died and before a change had taken place in His body. So the resurrection is within us; it is within our spirit, and has to come into our consciousness and soul! Everything has been made alive! We now understand that we have a new life, a new Lord, a new head which is Christ, and a new body, which is the body of Christ. These things are in the unseen realm; we read about them in 2 Cor. 4 and 5.
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:52) This sounds as though this is to happen in the future, but actually it is also for the present. The last trumpet to sound is the one that puts an end to all the carnal ideas and concepts of God. Since our carnal mind is unable to comprehend who God is and who we are in Him, our realization of God was wrong. It brought us a consciousness of being separated from God. The last trumpet awakens us from our sleep in Adam. It brings us life! This happens in the twinkling of an eye because light comes to us in a moment. Illumination brings enlightenment. Christ is the light which enlightens our consciousness, our mind, our thinking and our comprehension of things. The light of Christ changes our thinking! We now realize that instead of needing to have our body changed, we need a change of mind; we need to receive inner illumination!
“…the dead shall be raised imperishable.” From the death in Adam we are raised into the imperishable life of Christ! This perishable body is put in the grave and will not be raised up; it will stay there unless people or animals disturb it. Imperishable life is much greater than the resurrection of our physical bodies! Our former ideas and consciousness of self are in the death realm and need to be brought out of death into life. This is resurrection! Living in the natural man is living in the death realm where everything has a beginning and an ending. At some time everything around us will die, perish or pass away. Everything!
In Rom. 13:11-14 it says, “And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Only those who have been awakened out of sleep can understand this. Just as sleep causes us to be unconscious of the things around us, so the sleep of Adam causes us to be unconscious of the things of God! This is death; it is darkness, ignorance and separation from God! Christ is the light, and light is illumination, enlightenment and a new consciousness in the Spirit!
“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8) We are now light IN the Lord. Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the Spirit is all goodness, righteousness and truth. As we walk in truth we prove what is acceptable to the Lord! The unfruitful works of darkness, such as music, science, religion, economics, politics, pleasures, etc., are the natural works of humanity. Though they are pleasing to the natural man, they have no spiritual value. We are not to put our trust in them, for they cannot bring us into spirituality! None of them will bear spiritual fruit. They can only bear fruit in the natural physical life which has a beginning and ending. But we want enduring fruit!
“And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Eph. 5:11-13) Light causes us to wake up. When we are walking in light we become children of the day, and we are no longer of the night. We no longer stumble around in the darkness of our ignorance. Light manifests everything – both in the natural and spiritual realms. That is why God began His creative work in Genesis by saying, “Let there be light.” This was not the natural light of the sun, moon and stars which only came into being on the fourth day. This was the light that is in Jesus Christ; it is “the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man…For this reason it says, `Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’.” (Jn. 1:9; Eph. 5:14) Everyone who is in Adam is sleeping! It is now time to wake up from that sleep and death. Death is the cessation of a consciousness of God. Christ gives us light and understanding! If we walk in the day we won’t walk as fools; we will redeem the time because the days are evil. So death is really the delusion we are in when we do not have the light of Christ.
2 Tim. 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” A spirit of timidity is one of fear; if we lack discipline something is wrong with our mind. Fear does not come from God! Do you think God gives us a fear of sickness? Does He give us sickness so we can become fearful? No, He certainly doesn’t! Then why do we fear? Fear comes from a desire for self-preservation. Being sick is no fun, and some sicknesses lead to the death of our bodies. The world is trying to fill us with the fear of cancer, aides, heart disease, etc. These illnesses are not pleasant! Going to the doctor and getting pills must not supplant God; they cannot take the place of God because God is our supply in everything! The world system is designed to take away our trust in God by deceiving us into thinking that the world system can take care of us – thus downplaying or even eliminating the idea that God has made us and that He will take care of us! Submission to God and His purpose is an unknown factor to the world system!
God is a good God! We have to come to grips with the God of Jesus Christ! If we understand what the nature of Christ demonstrated, we will see the Father in Him. He revealed and demonstrated the exact expression or image of God! He showed that He was meek and lowly in heart! He didn’t seek His own way, He didn’t resist evil, nor did He take any man to court, etc. He got all His instructions from the Father! “I do nothing except the Father tells Me…I do nothing of Myself…it is the Father in Me who does His works.” These are also the things Jesus told us to do! The Old Testament people could not have a true conception of God because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. There was no permanence to their enlightenment. Permanence came after the death of Christ when the Holy Spirit was given.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” (2 Tim. 1:8) We are only afflicted for the gospel when we say the same things Christ said. We suffer together with Him – we do not suffer FOR Him. We can suffer FOR our sins. Humanity’s suffering is basically due to its separation from God. That is why there are all these problems, illnesses, sicknesses, envy, greed, fighting, wars, etc. “The whole world lies in the wicked one.” The afflictions for the gospel are due to the witness that Christ is our life, and that He is made unto us wisdom and knowledge. All the treasures of God are hidden in Him! Christ is not up in the sky and separated from us, but Christ IS our life! We are in Christ and Christ is in us! Christ is our consciousness of God, and He is enlightening us. He is our wisdom from God!
“Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” (v.9) The correct translation reads, BEFORE TIMES EONIAN. This happened before time came into existence, not after sin came. It happened before humanity existed and before any rule had been established! The next verse brings us into the NOW.
“But now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, WHO ABOLISHED DEATH, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Tim. 1:10) He brought immortality to light! Immortality has always been in existence, but we were ignorant of it; it has now come into our awareness! It was made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, for He abolished death! This does not seem like a true statement for this present time, for we still see death all around us. So the natural thing is to relegate it to the future. But Jesus abolished death! He did not recognize death as being permanent when He dealt with the daughter of Jairus, with Lazarus, and with the widow’s son whom He raised from the dead. He restored their physical lives. By doing this He demonstrated that the mortal body could function again after the spirit came back into the body! This proves that the life is not in the body, but in the spirit.
Since Christ abolished death, it cannot be eternal! “..that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. 2:14) By making the devil powerless, the power of death was destroyed! God’s power destroys all other powers, but His power cannot be destroyed! Jesus Christ recognized that death is only temporary; it is not eternal! It came as the penalty for the sin of having received the lie. Believing a lie takes us out of truth and into a delusion. The penalty for this brought death. Christ, the truth, came to undo the lie – and He did! By the Spirit He now calls us to come into truth! Truth takes us out of our delusions and wrong conceptions of death, hell and the grave. It takes away our former ideas of who we thought we were. In Christ we are no longer helpless and dead in trespasses and sins! Christ has awakened us out of the sleep of death! We are NOW regenerated spiritually!
The worst thing Satan could do to Christ was to take Him into death! This was the worst thing that delusion and ignorance and separation from God could do! Christ submitted to death, not to get honor for Himself nor to prove anything, but in obedience to His Father! Jesus did not yield to Satan’s temptation to prove that He was the Son of God. He simply trusted God’s witness that He was His beloved Son! God does not have to prove anything to Himself nor to anyone else, and therefore will not do so! As far as Christ is concerned, death has been abolished, for THROUGH DEATH He destroyed the power of the devil! Christ is the life, so there is no death in Him; He is our life, so there is no death in us. Therefore we need not fear death! When Christ raised Himself up, He made resurrection available for all men. Now everyone can come into this realization!
“In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) This is now made manifest through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus! At the time Jesus lived on earth many people followed Him because of the miracles of healing and the multiplication of bread and fish. Yet the religious hierarchy had it in their hearts to kill Jesus long before He was killed. He was crucified and killed in the heart of man before He died on the historical cross. The death of the physical body of Jesus demonstrated the spiritual reality of natural man’s death and separation from God. It was a showcase of the ignorance that was working in Israel and in all men! Jesus came to reveal man’s ignorance, and He did!
But death was not able to hold Him! So He now comes to us, not in a personal body of flesh, but in the Spirit! His Spirit within us causes us to cry, “Abba! Father!” He brings us the understanding and enlightenment that Christ had; He brings the Spirit of sonship to us! Unless this becomes a reality within us, we cannot be witnesses of this relationship. We have to be raised from the dead before we can understand that we are sons of God!
Every Adamic-natured man is dead in his trespasses and sins, and is ignorant of God! He is asleep and estranged from God! Because of his preoccupation with death, he could not receive the life Jesus exemplified. So the Jews resisted Jesus, and they resisted God, and they persuaded the Roman government to crucify Jesus. They indisputably demonstrated the indictment on their own relationship with God!
But now we have the Christ! In Him the grace of God has come to us! He has manifested His purpose and grace that was in Him even before the world began! Now that it has been manifested, it is available to us. We can receive it, walk in it, and testify to it!
“If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1) He has raised us together with Himself to sit with Him in the heavenlies! Just reflect on this – He has raised us together with Himself! He did everything FOR us and TOGETHER with us! If we are in Christ, we are where He is. Physically, this would be impossible, but spiritually it is a reality, for Christ is no longer a physical person! He is spirit and omnipresent, even as God is spirit and omnipresent. Omnipresence cannot have a right hand like we do. The right hand of God represents a place of authority! This means Jesus has been given all the authority of God. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt. 28:18b) Jesus is not physically sitting on a white throne. Since we are now spiritual beings, we must set our mind (affection) on the things above, not on the things that are on earth! Those who are in Adam have their affection set on getting health, wealth, wisdom, riches and honor. In Christ we are dead to those things; because we are dead to the natural, we set our affections on things above. Even as Christ is spiritual and God is spiritual, so are we!
“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (v.3) The “I” is dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ has become our life! This needs to come into our realization. We can experience this even though nobody can see it; but we know it! The Holy Spirit brings life out of the letter! Paul knew these things and wrote them down for us.
“When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (v.4) When something is revealed, it is unveiled; when Christ our life is unveiled, we shall also be unveiled with Him in glory. In other words, when Christ really appears in us in His essence, then we are appearing with Him in glory. Why? Because Christ is our life and our life is IN Christ! Christ IS made these things to us!
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” (v.5) All of these things belong to the body of sin. The flesh itself is really neutral; it has to be given breath and life and direction. The mind of the flesh minds earthly things, and Satan works through the flesh. Our spiritual mind of Christ minds the Spirit, and God works through the Spirit.
Christ has already accomplished this! It is not only for the future! Death has been overcome and abolished in Christ. This is the reality Christ lived in! And may this mind that was in Christ Jesus, be in you and me! So consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding. Amen. Lord give you understanding. Amen.
DEATH and DELUSION [Lloyd Ellefson] 1