This will be the last article in our bible contradiction series. It has been a really fun and inspiring series. We have discussed Jesus and his superiority to us and God, does God tempt or test man, and now we will be discussing the life of the righteous people. The two scriptures we will be referencing to are Psalms 92:12 and Isaiah 57:1. One claims that we will flourish, the other claims just the opposite; we will perish. The question to keep in mind as we go along is “will the righteous flourish or perish?”
Psalms 92:12 says “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.” With a lot of proposed contradictions, ripping the verse and taking it out of context is the main problem. Just so we don’t have any confusion, the word “flourish” means to grow and prosper. At first most of us (including me) would think that this verse is talking about the righteous thriving on this earth. But when we stop and think about our life as Christians, it’s not always grand and pleasant. There is always trouble and evil we are constantly dealing with. The bible also tells us we will suffer and it wont always be joyful (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 5:10.) Therefore David must be talking about us flourishing in heaven not on this earth. This psalm is a psalm of praise, we’re praising God for the eternal life we will receive after we have suffered a little while here. Then we will flourish and be filled with joy in heaven. (Romans 8:18)
On the other hand, we have Isaiah 57:1 which says “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.” The word “perish” means to break away or destroy according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. But the context of this verse means a whole lot more. Isaiah says that the righteous (which is God’s elect or Christians) will perish, and it simply means we will die on this earth. The NLT Bible puts “Good people pass away;” He is simply stating the fact that we will die, but he also goes on to say that no one really understands and no one notices why we die. Then this great prophet tells us why, “the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.” That’s why we will perish. God takes us away from this earth, so that we will no longer have to deal with the evil of this world (Revelation 21:4). The bible also tells us that we will only perish on this earth, in eternal life there is no death (John 10:28). If we read further into Isaiah 57, verse two says “Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” This further explains that Christians enter into the kingdom of heaven and find peace as their physical bodies on this earth are dead.
One might point out John 11:26 which says “and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Which death is he talking about? He is not talking about us never passing away from this earth, because we will. Instead Jesus is talking about us never dying in heaven if we live and believe in him. John 3:16 mentions the same thing. 2 Peter 3:9 also says that God never wishes that any of us should perish in the eternal fire, but that we should find repentance from our sins in him and have eternal life.
Both of these verses go right along with each other and seemingly follow each other in order of the events that they will occur. Isaiah 57:1 says we will die and pass on from this life and enter into heaven, and Psalms 92:12 says that we will flourish like a palm tree meaning we will flourish in heaven. So, the conclusion is that this is not a contradiction. They are explaining the order of which death and eternal life will occur. The biggest thing to remember if you come across a “contradiction” is to look at the context of the verse(s). Define unknown words, read before and after that verse, and look at other verses to come up with your own conclusion. I really enjoyed this “Bible Contradiction” series.