Where Are The Dead
Many believe that when one dies they remain in some hole in the ground awaiting the resurrection, while others believe that when one dies they either go to heaven or hell. But the Bible does not say this at all. Lets go to the Scriptures and find out what it says about life after death.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7). When we die our physical body returns to the elements of the earth from which it was made, and our soul and spirit return to God. But when does this happen? The Apostle Paul would best explain it in the book of Corinthians. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8). When our physical body dies, our soul goes directly to the Heavenly Father from which it came. Keep in mind that the "Body is our physical being" the "Soul is our individual self" and the "Spirit is the intellect of the soul." Thus we have the Body - Soul - Spirit, that makes up every living being. But what happens when the soul returns to the Heavenly Father?
The rich man and Lazarus: When the Pharisees listened in and ridiculed Christ for His teachings on this day that He was addressing His disciples, he spoke of this parable which would kind of explain what happens when one dies and goes to heaven. There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:19-23). Lazarus was with Abraham in Heaven because he was a believer and had no greed in his heart. The rich man was experiencing hell, because on his greed and love for money over the Word of God. It is written that we cannot serve both God and money. It appears in today's society, that the majority always put fame and fortune first over God, but the end result will be just as the rich man had to experience.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (Luke 16:24-26). When we die, there are two sides to the gulf. A separation between Heaven and hell that we cannot pass to either side till the end of judgment day. Then after judgment, we will either be with the Heavenly Father for eternity, or we will not exist at all. Our soul will be blotted out of the "Book of Life" which is called the second death. Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28). If God destroys our soul, there is no second chance!
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man wanted to warn his family of the gulf and the torment that he was experiencing, and wanted a messenger sent to warn them so that they may repent. But, Abraham said that if they would not listen to the prophets, they would not listen to any messenger either. How many of us today will not learn the truth of the Word. Yes, many say that they believe and think that is all they need and go on with their every day life. But, what do they really believe? And how can you really believe in Christ if you do not get to know Him through the Word? After all, Christ is the living Word. (John 1:1). So we see that when we die, our soul goes to the Heavenly Father, and depending on if we are in sin or not and doing the will of God, this will determine which side of the gulf we will be on. But won't those who are dead be raised as Lazarus was in the end times? Lets go to (John 11:1-16, 38-45). Jesus raises Lazarus from death.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is
for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." Jesus loved
Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he
stayed where he was two more days.
"But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet
you are going back there?"
Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
Then Thomas, called Didymus, said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a
bad odor, for he has been there four days."
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" The
dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth
around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him
When our body can no longer perform its functions in the physical world,
expressing the thoughts and feelings of our spirit, which we have from the
spiritual world, we say that we die. This happens when our lungs stop breathing
and our heart stops beating.
Lets start with the word sleep as it is used in this scripture and find it’s
meaning. In the Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary the word sleep #2827 is
“koimao” from 2749 to put to sleep, to slumber, to decease, to be dead. The
apostle Paul would give a good analogy of this in (1 Corinthians chapter 15).
(Ecclesiastes 12: 6-7), says the body that is made of the earth returns to the earth
and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
(2Corinthians 5:7-8), tells us that when we are absent from this flesh body, we are present with the Lord.
In (1Thessalonians 4:13), the apostle Paul was trying to explain that if you believe that Christ rose from the dead, so will those which are asleep or dead. We cannot prevent them that are dead because their souls are already with the father. He goes on to say that when Christ returns at the last trump that the dead shall rise first, and then we which are alive shall be caught up with the Lord in the air. The dead He is speaking of here are the spiritual dead. Remember that when Christ returns, we put on our spirit bodies.
Paul goes on to say: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body , and there is a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:44). In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52). When referring to the ones which are alive to meet the Lord in the air; We must go back to the original Greek to translate air which is Aer = Breathe, Strong's 109 Greek Dictionary, prime from Psucho = To Breathe, G5594, prime from Psuche = Breath or Spirit, G5590, prime from Pneuma = Spirit or Breath of Life, G4151. When Christ returns we will be changed into our Spirit bodies to meet him.
Don't let anyone deceive you by saying that your soul and spirit remain in the ground when you die. All souls return to the Heavenly Father when
you die from which they came from. Some may be on the other side of the gulf
until Christ returns for judgment day, but their are many souls who are with the
Father now, because they loved and obeyed Him, and followed the truth of His
Word. A good example would be Moses, Elijah and the apostles of Christ just to
name a few. I am sure they have proven themselves worthy and are in Heaven with
the Father as we speak.
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