The State of the Dead and the Blessed Hope of Believers Today
I present this first for your careful study of the elements defining human life and death, and eternal life. We will consider the life of the body, soul, and spirit as seen in the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures. Then we will look at the glorious outcome of Christ’s Cross-work in the eternal plan of God for the grace believers of this day of “the dispensation of the grace of God.”
Old Testament Scriptures:
Some think the frequently seen Old Testament phrase to be “be gathered unto thy people” means the dead OT saints meet in heaven at that time. Let’s look at a few of these accounts of Scripture to see if that is true.
- Concerning Moses’ death, the Lord said: “And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and Be Gathered Unto Thy People.” Deuteronomy 32:50
So, in what sense was Moses gathered unto his people?
Read Deuteronomy 34:5 and 6. “No man knoweth of his [Moses] sepulchre [grave, burial place].” Note that the devil contended with Michael the Archangel for Moses body. Jude 9. (See also Moses transfigured on the mount. Matthew 17:3.)
- “Isaac gave up the ghost [spirit], and died, and was Gathered Unto His People.” Genesis 35:29.
Years after Isaac had died, the Lord appeared to Moses as the God of Abraham and Isaac; and referring to this Christ said, “For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living.” Luke 20:38. II Samuel 12:24.
Concerning his little baby that had died, David said, “Can I bring him back?” There present, was the lifeless body of the baby. So, David was not speaking concerning the body.
The issue was to bring back ‘LIFE.’
Now we will look at the key to the ‘life’ of the human being, the source of life for man’s body and his soul.
Here below are two great verses for the important truths we will build upon.
James 2:26: “The Body Without the Spirit Is Dead.” And here is another from Jesus;
Matthew 10:28b “… fear him [God] which is able to Destroy Both SOUL and BODY In
Hell [Greek. hades, the grave].”
Ecclesiastes 12:7 says. “Then shall The Dust [of the dead body] Return To The Earth as it was: and The Spirit Shall Return Unto God Who Gave It.”
Eccl 3:20 would contradict Ecclesiastes 12:7 if these verses did not clearly refer to man’s body in the grave:
“All Go Unto One Place; All Are of The Dust, and All Turn To Dust Again.”
This fact is that the DEAD in the grave have no consciousness.
Ecclesiastes 9:5a “The dead know not anything…”
Ecclesiastes 9:10b “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.”
FACT: “The BODY without the SPIRIT that IS DEAD.” (James 2:26), applying to all mankind.
- At death the spirit returns to God who gave it (Eccl 12:7). The spirit that gave man his Three Forms of Life (in spirit, in body, and in soul, see Gen 2:7) at death goes to the God of the living.
- Spiritless dead body goes to ‘dust,’ thus it can neither feel, nor work, nor know.
- With the loss of the “spirit-life it’s like shutting off electricity… the lights go out.
But What of The Soul at Death?
Let’s carefully note how the ‘soul of a man’ was first generated. This will help us to see how that upon physical death the ‘soul sleeps in death’ … until the restoration of man’s spirit-life at the resurrection.
In Genesis 2:7 (below) we have the account of Adam’s creation and how he received ‘life’ in his spirit and body, the simultaneously becoming “a living soul [a soul-self person].” Below we see exactly how the first man, Adam, received the ‘spirit life’ of God’s ‘breath’ (Heb, ruach, means ‘spirit’).
Note below how that that union of ‘spirit with the body’ spontaneously generated the ‘soul’ of Adam. Considering James 2:26s (below), we can see how that when the spirit of man returns to the Lord at death… this automatically puts an end to the soul of man, at least until his spirit is restored in the resurrection.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man [his physical body] of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [Heb. ruach, spirit] of life; and man [simultaneously] BECAME A LIVING SOUL.
Conversely, in James we see the loss of the vitalizing function of the spirit in man.
James 2:26a … the body without the spirit is dead,
What Exactly Happens to the SOUL at the Physical Death of a Man?
Note that there is no mention of the soul s in Eccl. 12:7 (below), since it ‘sleeps’ in the grave (see Job 7:21 below). The soul ‘sleeps’ unconscious, non-functional.
Ecclesiastes 12:7. Then shall the dust [of the dead body] return to the earth as it was: and The Spirit Shall Return Unto God Who Gave It.”
Job 7:21 … for now shall I SLEEP In the Dust [of The Grave]; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I [as a soul-self] shall not be.
Jesus Referred To Death As ‘Sleep.’
John 11:11, 14 These things said he [Jesus]: and after that he saith unto them, … Our friend Lazarus SLEEPETH; but I go, that I may AWAKE him out of SLEEP. 14Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is DEAD.
Matthew 9:24a He [Jesus] said unto them, Give place: for the maid is NOT [eternally] DEAD, but ‘SLEEPETH.’
This confirms Jesus’ words here about Death of the ‘Body and Soul’ in the grave.
Matthew 10:28 KJV And 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 [Gk. hades, ‘the grave’].
Mark 5:39 KJV And when he [Jesus] was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is NOT [eternally] DEAD, but SLEEPETH.
Luke 8:52 KJV And all wept… but he [Jesus] said, Weep not; SHE IS NOT [eternally] DEAD, but SLEEPETH.
A few New Testament verses to Confirm that ‘the Spirit’ is the ‘Life’ Generator of God
Luke 23:46. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus: He [Jesus] Gave Up The Ghost [Spirit].”
Luke 8:54-55 This twelve year old girl was dead. Christ came into the death chamber and said, “Maid, arise.” “And HER SPIRIT came again.” (Compare this with I Kings 17:22.)
Acts 7:55 and 59. Saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God - Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive MY SPIRIT.”
“Absent from the body” Explained
Read the context of the two verses below to see how that Paul was saying he preferred to be Raptured ALIVE; rather than die first. Paul thught it to be Raptured alive would be “far better” than being “found naked in the grave.”
Read this in context of Paul’s desire: 2 Corinthians 5:8 Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Philippians 1:23 Having a desire to depart [be Raptured alive], and to be with Christ; which is far better.
2 Corinthians 5:3 If so be that being Clothed [In Our Resurrection Body] we shall Not Be Found Naked.
Read the full text in Context:
2 Corinthians 5:1-8 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [our physical body] were dissolved [disintegrated], we have a building of God, an house [our spirit-body] not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house [spirit-body] which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle [body] do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [down payment] of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing RATHER to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (by the Rapture, Rather That Die and Be ‘found Naked’ In the Grave (cf. 2Cor. 5:3).
We know our blessed Lord suffered and tasted death for us. We know that He has abolished death and brought life and incorruptibility to light by the gospel. (cf. 2 Timothy 1:9-10)
We believers now have Christ’s “Spirit of life” IN, but we will gain our incorruptible body at the Rapture, to live forever in our ‘resurrection body’ which will be like Jesus’ glorious resurrection body.
Philippians 3:20-21 For our
conversation [Old English for ‘citizenship’] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious [resurrection] body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Our blessed Lord is in a glorified body in heaven. By Adam came death, by Jesus came the resurrection of the dead. Someday soon our blessed Lord shall descend from heaven and we shall be caught up to meet Him, at which time these bodies of humiliation shall be fashioned like unto His glorious body. And we shall see Him as He now is. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” I Thessalonians 4:18.
Let us remember the solemn words of God, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” There are many false prophets today saying that the dead will have another chance at salvation; but they are the deceitful lying representatives of Satan and not of the Lord. They corrupt the Scriptures to give this false hope to their deluded victims.
God’s Word is judgment, eventually, after death. There are only two destinies. There is no purgatory or third place. For every individual, it is either eternal glory with Christ and the redeemed believers, or eternal destruction;
2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who [the unbelievers] shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
I pray that you will be among those of the soon coming appearing of Christ Himself at our Rapture to heaven... whether dead or alive at His coming in the air. We should relish these verses below and be comforted.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are ASLEEP [dead], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which SLEEP [are dead believers] in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep [dead in their graves].
16 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: 17 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (KJV) Behold, I shew you a mystery [Grk. musterion, SECRET]; We shall not all SLEEP [not all will be dead when Jesus comes], but we shall ALL be changed, 52 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 [the living] shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible [body] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [body] must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING? O GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY?)
Thus, we of “the church” which is called “the body of Christ” look for this “blessed Hope.”
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV)
At the end of all ages God will have fulfilled His eternal purpose in recovering both the heavens and the earth in the eternal righteousness of Christ.
Ephesians 1:10 (KJV) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: