Isaiah wrote: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." [Isaiah 9:2]
Matthew quoted from this prophecy in Matthew 4:12-17. Who does not have to face death? All dwell in the "shadow of death" because we are mortal. This "great light" will shine upon every person!
Matthew showed that the gospel is a light for mankind on the subject of death. From the death and resurrection of Jesus, and his statements about death we can understand a great deal. Jesus said as Jonah was in the belly of the fish, he would remain in the grave for 3 days. Jonah referred to being in the fish as "sheol."
Out of the belly of hell [sheol] cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
Sheol has very much the same meaning as the Greek word Hades, that is the unseen, or the grave, but Hades was also the name of a Greek deity, and has mythological associations. Jonah was in "sheol" while in the belly of the fish, and he prayed to God, and God saved him. He was a type of all those who end up in sheol, because he was saved out of it.
When Jesus was in the grave, he was in sheol. Jonah could not go anywhere else, while he was in the fish. He went where the fish went. And Jesus, in the grave, could not go anywhere else either.
Jesus was restored to life by a resurrection. It is the same for everyone; when we die, we need to be raised up from the grave.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [or judgment].
The idea of immortality of the soul was a doctrine of Plato. In the early Christian era, it was merged with the teachings of the apostles by church fathers, who admired Plato. They are among the false teachers foretold by the apostle Peter, in 2 Pet. 2. Because of their doctrines, the great light
of the gospel of Christ was obscured.
IMO, Plato's doctrine of the immortality of the soul is one of the "tares" sown by the enemy in the parable of the tares in Mat. 13.
For those interested, there is a more detailed discussion in 4 chapters from E. White's Life in Christ.
Life in Christ
by Edward White
Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, London
On the Orthodox Doctrine on the Nature and Destiny of Mankind
On the Possibility that Christendom has Erred on the Doctrine of Human Destiny
On the Immortality of the Soul
On the Original Constitution of Manhttp://vinyl2.sentex.ca/~tcc/OP/white.html
Incidentally, Winchester's Dialogues are available here:
There is a very famous prophecy, which foretold the corruption of the gospel message, that occurred early in the history of the church. The gospel Jesus taught is called a great light
, and in Genesis 1, the sun is also identified as a great light
; the sun represents the gospel. It clothes the woman in Rev. 12:1. Peter quoted the prophecy of Joel in Acts 2, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The doctrine of the immortality of the soul turned the sun to darkness, as it makes a resurrection seem quite unnecessary. Why would anyone need to be raised from the dead, if his soul remained conscious after death?
Jesus spoke of death as sleep, because the resurrection is like awaking from sleep. The gospel teaches our need for a resurrection. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" [John 11:24-26].
When we believe the gospel we can be assured of awaking from death, as if from sleep. Most who believe in the immortality of the soul wonder why a resurrection is even needed. They are confused, and in darkness.
John identified Jesus as the true light, which enlightens every man. "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." [John 1:9]