The 2001 Commentaries

The spiritually ‘dead’

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At Revelation 20:12 we read that the ‘dead’ we seen to be ‘standing before [God’s] throne’ and ‘being judged.’
So, since they are able to stand for judgment, in what sense are they dead?

Note that at Matthew 8:22, Jesus said:

‘Let the dead bury their own dead.’
And at Romans 8:10, Paul speaks of our bodies being ‘dead’ because of sin.

Then at 1 Corinthians 15:22 he explains that;
‘Because of Adam, all men are dying.’
And apparently, Adam was viewed as one of the dead from the day that he sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, since God had warned him (at Genesis 2:17):
On whatever day you eat from it, your life will end and you will die.’
But thereafter, the Bible tells us that Adam actually lived on for hundreds of years, during which he fathered all of his children.

So from this, we have concluded that;
All men are considered as dead and dying before God due to the sin that we inherited from our forefather Adam and due to our own sins.
Therefore, since this seems to be a logical conclusion;
The scripture in Revelation Twenty then appears to be speaking of people that will no longer be physically dead (they will have been resurrected) and that’s when they must stand before God to be judged.

However, from the promises of Jesus;
It does appear as though people can be considered no longer dead even before the resurrection.
For notice what Jesus is recorded to have said at John 5:24:

‘I tell you the truth;
Whoever hears what I say and believes in the One that sent me will have age-long life…
He won’t have to be judged, but he has come out of the death and into the life.

And John wrote again at 1 John 3:14:

‘Because we love our brothers, we know that we’ve crossed over from death to life.
However, those that don’t love stay dead.’

So it appears as though a person is no longer considered to be ‘dead’ by God when his/her name is written in ‘the book of life.’ This doesn’t mean that they won’t die, but that they are considered as ‘the living’ in God’s eyes;
And as such, they will not be counted among the dead that are raised in the resurrection.
(For more information, see the commentary, ‘The Resurrection’).

This also appears to be the meaning of Jesus’ words at Matthew 22:32, which say:
‘Haven’t you read what God told you about the resurrection of the dead, [when He said],
I am the God of AbraHam, the God of IsaAc, and the God of Jacob?
He isn’t the God of the dead, but of the living!

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