Life's Reward
Lesson 10

Jesus said: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28–29 (NKJV)

Just before his death, David, a man beloved of God, said: “I go the way of all the earth.” But did David go to the place of his reward when he died? Peter, speaking a thousand years after the death of David, says that he is “both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” Then he adds, “David is not ascended into the heavens.” If David did not go to his place of reward at death, then no one else goes to either hell, purgatory, or heaven at death.

In spite of the clear Bible teaching on this matter, Catholics, as well as most Protestant churches, teach that a person’s reward comes at the time of death. It is this belief that opens the door to spiritism, transmigration of the soul, invocation of the saints, as well as purgatory and kindred teachings, each of which is based on the false conception of life after death.

1. Where did the doctrine of the immortal soul originate?

Genesis 3:1–5
Genesis 3:1–5

Note: This is not only the first, but the only intimation in the Bible that it is possible to continue to live out of harmony with the Creator. In evaluating the value of such testimony, it is well to keep in mind the words of Jesus. “He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44

2. What reward is promised to the overcomer?

Revelation 3:21
Revelation 3:21

3. Will all receive the same reward?

Luke 19:15–19
Luke 19:15–19

4. Will all be punished alike?

Luke 12:47–48
Luke 12:47–48

5. Can we earn salvation by good works?

Ephesians 2:8–9
Ephesians 2:8–9

6. In each case, what is the basis for the reward, or punishment?

Revelation 22:12
Revelation 22:12

Note: While our salvation is a free gift, and cannot be earned by good works, yet, the things we do have a direct influence on the nature of our reward. Notice also, it is when He comes that Jesus brings the reward with Him.

7. What reward did the apostle Paul look forward to?

2 Timothy 4:8
2 Timothy 4:8

Note: While the old warrior of the cross looked forward to a crown, it is a reward to be received “at that day.”

8. What day is the apostle speaking about?

1 Corinthians 15:51–53
1 Corinthians 15:51–53

9. Did the apostle expect our Lord to return in the near future?

2 Thessalonians 2:1–3
2 Thessalonians 2:1–3

Note: Clearly the apostle looked to the resurrection as a future event when he would receive his reward.

10. What reward does sin bring?

Romans 6:23
Romans 6:23

Note: The wages of sin is death—not life. If the wicked were to live in a burning hell throughout the ages, they would have eternal life, just as do the righteous, differing only in its quality.

11. When do the unsaved receive their reward?

Matthew 13:30
Matthew 13:30

Note: The unsaved do not go to any place of punishment as soon as they die, but are reserved in the grave until the day of judgment to be punished at “the end of the world. See also verses 38–39. The parable is so simple that it could hardly be misunderstood. Christ said that the tares represent the wicked people, and that they would be cast into the fire “at the end of the world.

12. For whom was the fire of destruction originally prepared?

Matthew 25:41
Matthew 25:41

13. When will Satan and his angels receive their punishment?

Jude 6
Jude 6

14. What is this death called?

Revelation 20:14–15
Revelation 20:14–15

15. To what are the wicked compared?

Malachi 4:1
Malachi 4:1

16. When the fire has completed its work, what will be left?

Malachi 4:3
Malachi 4:3

“Note: Matthew 10:28 speaks of this judgment as one which destroys both body and soul. It is well to note that in Matthew 25:46 Jesus refers to it as everlasting punishment, not punishing. The punishment is eternal in its results, not in its duration.”

17. Under certain circumstances, how long was the Hebrew servant” to serve his master?

Exodus 21:6
Exodus 21:6

Note: Clearly, in this case, the term “for ever” means as long as the servant lived, and no longer.

18. For how long a period of time did Samuel’s mother indicate he” was to serve the Lord in Shiloh?

1 Samuel 1:22
1 Samuel 1:22

19. For how long did she intend that he should serve the Lord?

1 Samuel 1:28
1 Samuel 1:28

Note: In order to understand the meaning of these terms, we need to look at other passages that use these same words or phrases. The term “for ever” must be understood to conform to the circumstances. In this case, “for ever” was so long as Samuel lived. “In both the Old and New Testaments, the word “forever” is used more than fifty times with reference to something that has already come to an end.

20. How long was Jonah in the whale?

Jonah 2:6
Jonah 2:6

21. What period of time does Christ indicate this to have been?

Matthew 12:40
Matthew 12:40

Note: At other times the term “for ever” can be an even more limited period of time. In Jonah’s case, though it was only three days, it no doubt seemed to be an interminable length of time to him in the belly of the fish.

22. What term described the fire that destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Jude 7
Jude 7

23. What was left when this fire had completed its work?

2 Peter 2:6
2 Peter 2:6

Note: In Jude the writer clearly compares the “eternal fire” that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with that which will cleanse the earth in the last days. Peter tells us that when it had completed its work, nothing was left but ashes. This is the same picture that is presented in Malachi 4:3.

24. Where will the fire burn the wicked?

Revelation 20:9
Revelation 20:9

Note: When the fire has completed its work, sin and sinners will be forever destroyed. See Revelation 21:4.

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” The Great Controversy, 678

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