willieH: Hi Nancy...
The following answer are my present observations, which many shall disagree with, but when they are considered instead of immediately dispensed, ...make sense (at least they do to me)... I hope they shall at the least, give you some food for thought, as you search for answers to your questions...
When i read Christ's teachings sometimes i suspect it may be true (for me remember)
When Christ talks of 'He who believes in me, he will never die' does sound to me that Christ is saying that if you DON'T believe you will have to go through the 'second death' and be reborn again.
Don't know what bearing this might have on anything, but when CHRIST
said this, He cannot have meant "NEVER" in the sense of NOT AT ALL... for HE DIED... and He "believed" in a far GREATER sense than can any of us... Also... we DO die PHYSICAL death... so the word "NEVER" (which means NOT AT ANY TIME), cannot be the conveyance of this passage.
As I see this... He is NOT saying that NO DEATH will occur for you... rather, SPIRITUAL LIFE has been "re-born" by your "belief in Him", and you shall NOT EVER "die" in the Spirit again, FOREVER... You, as a believer
have "completed" the circle of TRUE LIFE which is in the SPIRIT... (you, in that belief/faith, have come HOME, if you will)
Another point, is that if there is really no ACTUAL "DEATH" in believers -- then what point is found in a "RESURRECTION"?
There is an old saying that the BRAVE die ONCE, but the COWARD dies a THOUSAND TIMES... I think that CHRIST's
Words more fall into "METAPHORIC" category, rather than an actual "never" APPLICATION.
IOW -- one that "BELIEVES" enters the state of (physical) DEATH clothed with LIFE... as He notes in Rev 3:18
If we are all going to remain alive when we 'die', to face the judgement seat, why would Christ say this?
Again... it is where, when and how you are percieving "the Judgment seat"... the common belief in Christianity is that this takes place in the Resurrection... AFTER
It is my belief that we are before it NOW
... and either we are NAKED in our SIN (as were Adam & Eve in the Garden) ...or CLOTHED in CHRIST
Paul noted in his writings that even though sin continued in his experience, ...it was no longer HE
that sinned but that SIN was a separate resident
within his members -- Rom 7:17
He was NOT conveying that a believer, based on his/her belief could go on in SIN... rather, that SIN in the members would take its occasions in his experience, irregardless of his desire to serve GOD... On the SURFACE, this sounds like "double-talk"
, but it is completely TRUTH... Even the Aposte JOHN joined PAUL in this thinking -- 1 John 1:8
Anyone who has ever dealt with a person which is prone to MISBEHAVIORS, can have a desire to NOT participate in those behaviors, yet FALL into them anyway... I counseled in a Homeless shelter for a span of time (almost a year), and there were MANY that desired to (1) quit smoking or (2) quit using cocaine or (3) quit abusing his/her spouse, etc... but FELL into those MISBEHAVIORS anyway regardless of INTERNAL (and heartfelt, tearful) desire to ABSTAIN from them... Their SIN was a TORMENT within
, that most (observing them) WITHOUT easily find condemnation instead of understanding and HELPING them to VICTORY, and OUT of these (various) AWFUL IMPRISONMENTS... CHRIST
plain & simply said -- John 12:48
-- NOW is the JUDGMENT of the WORLD
-- and then continued to say -- NOW shall the PRINCE of THIS WORLD be CAST OUT
Most view this PRINCE which is "casted out" as some mythical being called "satan" is being spoken of here... and as I see it, that is PARTIALLY correct...
However, that "being" is not some "fallen angel", rather -- is the CARNAL portion of the MEN (and women) we ARE while IN mind of THE FLESH (instead of the mind of the SPIRIT), not the "eviction" of a "talking snake/red guy with a pitchfork" --
And what is the second death? Is it being dead in heaven!? To me it doesn't make sense anymore.
(as I see it) -- THIS LIFE contains TWO DEATHS --- the "2nd death", which is PHYSICAL, and the "1st death" which is SPIRITUAL, and which occurs via our disobedience to the COMMAND of GOD, ...thereby bringing SIN into our experience, as well as the eventuality of the "2nd death" which is the GRAVE of the PHYSICAL.
Other spiritual writings refer to this life as a death and not real life, just a dream. The real life is beyond.
This is somewhat a TRUE observation... JESUS
noted those who were ALIVE, as DEAD -- Luke 9:60
-- let the DEAD bury their DEAD
-- obviously noting these as SPIRITUALLY DEAD
, yet able to perform LIVING TASKS (as in "burial")
So they were actually DEAD (1st death) and ALIVE (able to "bury", as they themselves headed for their 2nd death
Hope this helps you...