State of the Dead

If you have ever wondered about what happens after you die the Bible has an answer and you will be amazed at what it really teaches. Guaranteed, this knowledge of Bible truth will improve your understanding of a fair and loving God. Let's start with a good foundation and build through this very important subject.

The first thing we will establish is that only God is immortal. Meaning he is the only one who can not die. He had no beginning and he has no end.
1 Timothy 1:17 "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The word immortal is used only once as an adjective in the Bible and it only refers to God.

1 Timothy 6:15,16 "Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."

Currently, most people believe that when you die you go immediately to another place whether that be heaven, hell, nirvana or you are reincarnated as something else, in essence all these beliefs are that the soul continues in existence. As we read through the Bible we will begin to see that that isn't true to scripture.

The Bible says that no one will receive immortality until AFTER the second coming, so what happens to man now when he dies? Jesus states the following:
John 11:11-14 "These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

How does Solomon describe what happens to people when they die?
Ecclesiastes 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

Are people conscious of what is happening after they die?
Ecclesiastes 9:5,6 " For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward: for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun."

What about the persons thought processes, do they continue after death?
Psalms 146:4 "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thought perish."

What is the spirit that returns to God?
James 2:26 "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Let's review some other verses that relate to spirit and the breath as the same. The spirit which returns to God is the lifegiving power. It is not a functioning, conscious entity. It was not conscious when it entered man, and it is not conscious when it leaves.

How does the Bible define the soul?
Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Man was formed from the dust of the earth. Then God breathed into him the breath of life. The result was man became a living soul. The soul is not a separate entity placed into the body, it is the reaction to the combining of these two elements. Another word for "breath" is "spirit." These two words are used interchangeably in the Bible. Let's look at an example.

Job 27:3 "All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils:"
Job uses a Hebrew structure called parallelism. He says something in one sentence and then repeats it again using a synonym ( a word meaning the same thing) in the next sentence. Here the words "breath" and "spirit" are used interchangeably. This is how the "spirit" ca be in his nostrils. This definitely is not talking about the Holy Spirit. The word for "spirit" here means "wind". In this context, it means the life energizing force, tat which keeps a person breathing and their heart beating.

Another example is in Job 33:4 "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life."
Again, "spirit" and "breath" are used as synonyms. So the Bible is telling us that life results when a lifeless body, made of the elements of the earth unite with the energizing force called the spirit or breath. Man becomes a living soul. Notice he isn't infused with a soul. but he becomes a living soul when the breath and body are actively joined.

A different illustration to help understand this is as follows: An electric light consists of two elements. There is a filament in a bulb that is connected to a power source. As long as the power is connected to the filament in the bulb, you have light. When you disconnect the power source, does the light travel back through the wires to the electric company? No. The light ceases to exist. The light only exists when it is united with the power source. So the light is like the living Soul. It is active, thinking person. But when you turn the light switch off and the electricity is dis connected to the bulb, where does the light go? It doesn't go into a third dimension. No, it just goes out. When God turns off the electricity to our life, the breath stops entering the body. Where does the living soul go? Where does the person go? Does he go immediately to heaven, hell or purgatory? Is he reincarnated into something else? No. He ceases to exist. Just like the light. The Bible describes this ceaseless state as a peaceful sleep.

Can the dead worship God?
Psalm 115:17 "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence."
Psalm 6:5 "For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?"

When will the dead meet their Lord?
1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

The Bible is very clear that when people die they don't go to heaven or hell. They sleep until the resurrection. Then after the resurrection they either go to heaven or hell. Let's look at several verses that tell us we don't go to heaven or hell immediately upon death.

Acts 2:29, 34 "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day." "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand."

Job 14:10-15

I Corinthians 15:51-54

Job 21:30-32

Food for thought - Jesus states that the reason He comes back the second time is to take His people to His Father's house. But why would Jesus come back the second time to take His people to His Father's house if they had already, upon death, immediately gone to heaven? It just doesn't make logical sense, for not only does the teaching of being conscious immediately after dying destroy the Bible teaching of the resurrection, but it also destroys many elements of the second coming.
Let's read, 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 which clearly states "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" With the Bible understanding, all who died in Christ are dead as if in asleep and when he returns he will recreate them with the sound of his voice, God's all powerful breath. He spoke things into existence in the beginning and he will do it again.

I understand it is a hard when a new perspective is given to a belief you have always had. Think about how much more loving this Bible based study shows God to be. No one is in heaven looking down on those they love and seeing them suffer. No one in heaven sees those they love turn from Christ and live hateful and destructive lives and see they end up in hell. How could anyone be happy in heaven at this point? According to the Bible, sinners will be raised to meet their judgement and than be destroyed by God's consuming fire. See the lesson on Hell.

What about the thief on the cross? Didn't Jesus say he would be with him in heaven the same day? Let's look at this in detail.
Luke 23:42,43 "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
How could Jesus see the thief that same day in paradise when he died and was laid into the grave and did not rise again until Sunday? Why would Jesus tell Mary in John 20:17 "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." that he had not ascended yet to his father if he had already been there with the thief? You see there is always an explanation, God does not change and his word is truth.

The original language had no commas. The comma you see was placed there by the person translating Luke. Let us read it with the comma after the word "today", it would read like this "And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise."

Who started this lie of not dying but just moving on to another place?
Satan is the originator of this teaching. This was part of his first lie in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:4 "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:"

Who has the keys to the grave?
Revelation 1:18 "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Since Jesus has immortality and will grant it to us at his second coming, how can we be sure to receive it?
1 John 5:11,12 "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

Death is a peaceful sleep until Jesus returns the second time. There is no knowledge of the passing of time while dead, just like sleep or being put under anesthesia in the operating room. You will just close your eyes and when you awaken you will see Jesus. There is really nothing to fear if you abide in Christ Jesus. ,