March 1, 2014
Where are the dead?
What happens when a person dies?
Some people believe that when a person dies the dead experience a period
of absolute nonexistence never to be seen or heard from again while
others believe that the dead are unconscious in the grave and the soul
sleeps at the time of physical death waiting to be reunited with the body
at the time of resurrection. Others believe that the dead person's
spirit/soul is separated from its body and goes to one of two places,
fully conscious, aware and interactive with its surroundings.
Before we can consider who is correct, we first need to determine the
makeup of humans by examining the scriptures and what they have to say.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23
, humans have a spirit, soul, and body.
The body consists of earthly elements [physical] while the spirit/soul
consists of heavenly elements [spiritual], (1 Corinthians 15:4)
the body a person has world-consciousness, through their soul they have
self-consciousness, through their spirit they have God-consciousness.
Only the body is made of earthly elements not the spirit/soul.
When God created the first human (Genesis 2:7)
he formed the body from
the dust of the ground. The body was dead until God breathed into Adam's
nostrils the breath of life and he then became alive… a living soul.
When a person dies, the spirit/soul separates from the body (James 2:26)
The body goes to the grave and returns to dust from which it was formed
from (Genesis 3:19)
while the spirit/soul goes to one of two places.
Jesus tells a story of the actual experiences of two men from two different
stations of life before and after they died, a rich man and a beggar by
the name of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
. After they had died, both were in a
state of consciousness but in two different places. Prior to his death,
Lazarus begged for a living. After he died he was taken to paradise and
was in comfort, waiting for the resurrection of his body. On the other
hand, prior to the death of the rich man, he lived a life of ease and
comfort. After he died he was taken to hell and was in torment, begging
for a drop of water, waiting for the resurrection of his body to be judged
and then cast into eternal Hell. The story tells they were fully conscious
and aware of their surroundings… even able to carry on a conversation.
Prior to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the spirit/soul
of the godly [those in Christ] were carried to a place called "Paradise"
[a place of comfort and water], while the the spirit/soul of the ungodly
[those outside of Christ] were carried to a place called "Hell"
[a place of torment].
Both places were a prison in the center of the earth, separated by a huge
gulf so that no one could crossover to the other side, although they could
see and talk each other. During this time, Satan held the keys of
"Death and Hell"
[control of the underworld prisons].
When Christ was crucified and died, his body went to the grave while His
spirit/soul went to the depths of hell. Because Christ was sinless, He
conquered death, hell and the grave, took the keys of Death and Hell
from Satan, released all the righteous souls that were in paradise, and
took them with Him to Heaven when He ascended on high during the
of the first resurrection (Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 2:14-15;
Eph. 4:7-11; Rev. 1:18)
According to the scriptures, after the resurrection of Christ, the spirit/soul of the godly
[those in Christ] now immediately go directly to be with Christ
while the the spirit/soul of the ungodly [those outside of Christ]
are still taken to hell to await their final judgement. Whether Paradise is now empty as a
sign to those still in Hell or it was merged into Hell to enlarge it, is unknown…
the scriptures are silent in this matter.
Until next time, consider this.