Jesus said that living believers (those truly born-again) would never die. How is this possible and what is the true meaning of death?
John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
The word “death” is used for the first time in Genesis chapter 2. God said this to Adam: Gen 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and immediately they die—they are changed; they are separated from God because of sin. From this point forward, the Scripture describes death as first, spiritual death, then physical death, and finally in Revelation chapter 20, eternal death.
The meaning of death is defined by these events as separation. Spiritual death is defined as separation from God’s presence. Physical death is defined as separation of soul and spirit from the body, and eternal death is defined as eternal separation from God in the lake of fire.
Examples of physical death:
The soul leaves the body at death: And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 1Kings 17:21
The spirit leaves the body at death: And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Acts 7:59
Man was created as a triune being consisting of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. The spirit is not the body; the soul is not the spirit. Each part is separate and distinct, for God created man in His own image and likeness. Here is a verse that makes this marvelous truth clear:
1Thess 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now let’s take the Bible definition of death (separation) and put it into these two verses in John, where Jesus said that believers would never die, and see exactly what Christ is saying:
John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never [be separated from me] die. Believest thou this?
John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never [be separated from me] see death.
How is it possible that a truly born-again believer could never be separated from God again? The answer is the Holy Spirit, who indwells all true believers at salvation, He abides with them and in them forever. If you have not the Spirit of God—of Christ—you are none of His.
John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Rom 8:9-11 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
The Bible defines death as separation: separation from God’s presence, separation of soul and spirit from the body, and eternal separation in a resurrected body that will be tormented forever in the lake of fire.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
If you have never truly been born-again, you will never see the kingdom of God and your name will not be in the book of life! Click on the “Testimony” tab and read about how a precious soul was passed from death unto life.