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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)


Mar 23, 2018

In this episode Brother Jonathan talks about the importance of context, change's in man's relationship with God, man's spirit, soul, and body, the natural man and the spiritual man, the different types of life and death in the Bible, what does the Bible say about "sleep", what does the Bible say about Hell, and where we go when we die.


Resurrection of Believers: Part 1


Remnant Bible Fellowship


  1. Introduction
    1. I’m getting quite a backed-up list of episodes to do. It’s alright though, because if someone asks me something then I want to make it a priority over something that I just want to do. I received an email this past week from George in Colorado, and he had some questions about some things. It dovetailed nicely with what I was going to do originally: the resurrection. He had a lot of questions, and some are pretty deep questions. So I’m not going to be able to go over all of them today, but hopefully I can help shed some light on some things. I talked to him on the phone also twice this past week. We had some edifying conversation. It’s nice to talk to believers who really want to plead for truth and not compromise. But guys, like I’ve said before, if you have any questions feel free to email me.
    2. Now, I have to clarify something in case anyone was confused. I am going to be doing an episode on the historicity of the resurrection of Christ here in a few weeks. What we’ll be preparing for this week, and continuing next time, is the resurrection in general. That is, the resurrection that is the hope of believers.
    3. In talking about some of the topics that we’re going to briefly look at, you have to understand that these are things that you’ll spend the rest of your life better understanding from the scriptures. Some things just don’t fit into neat little categories like what we would like. There are also some things that God just doesn’t explain or tell us about. We’re not going to know everything now. But, what we can know we can talk about from the scriptures.
    4. As some of you might know from having listened to the podcast for a while: I don’t like speculating. If I do speculate, then I try to say so. We can’t be dogmatic on things that God does not specifically state though. There are some things that are okay to differ on in understanding.
    5. I don’t know how well this episode is going to fit together. We have to discuss a lot of definitions of words. In everything that you study from the scriptures, you have to begin by making sure your definitions of the words are right. You have to get a sense of the semantic range of the words. Hopefully, something edifying will come out of this week’s episode though. Next episode is when we’ll really get into the resurrection specifically, but all the things that we go over this episode are important to know going into that one.
  2. Changes in Man’s Relationship to God
    1. Context is very important when you look at anything in scripture. If you set aside context, then you can teach whatever you want from the Bible. There are also some people who use the claim of “context” to interpret verses any way that they want. You know, if you zoom out enough, then you make the context of a passage to be anything you want. It’s kind of the opposite of those people who read so much into a passage, or between the lines of a passage, that they can even find what’s not even there! You can go to either extreme when studying.
    2. When considering anything about man, life after death, etc., you need to remember two important things when you’re interpreting scripture:
      1. The Fall
      2. Christ’s Resurrection
    3. Man was made a certain way in the beginning, but that changed. Man’s relationship to God was drastically altered after Adam and Eve sinned. We discussed some of the things about this in our series on the Atonement. Likewise, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ man’s relationship with God changed. Before the fall, man was perfect, and in complete unhindered fellowship with God. After the fall, he is separated from God and subject to mortality and death. He continued in this state—not wanting to go into the effect that the giving of the Law had right now at this point—until the coming of the Messiah. After Christ accomplished the atonement, man could now be reconciled to God: fellowship can be reinstituted.
    4. Even after this though you have to remember that the full end of salvation has not yet been finished. Christ’s work of atoning is done, but death is not yet finished yet. Remember that death is the punishment for sin. Until sin is done, there will be death, and until death is done, the redemption plan is not yet finished. This is why the scripture says:
      1. Hosea prophesied, saying, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” (Hosea 13:14)
      2. Paul revealed what was intended by this prophecy when he said, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 15:51-57)
    5. We’re talking about the resurrection. It’s the true hope of the gospel. The Apostles knew this, and spoke about it:
      1. “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” (Acts 4:1-2)
      2. “But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” (Acts 23:6)
  • “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:14-15)
  1. “Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.” (Acts 24:21)
  1. The Apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead. The hope of the believer is not to sit in heaven for all eternity. Our Lord Himself said that the meek with inherit the earth in Matthew 5:5. I did a brief episode on this topic sometime last year called “What does the Bible say about Heaven?” It was well understood by the Old Testament prophets that men would live on the Earth after the coming of the Messiah and the setting up of His Kingdom. Consider this passage from the book of Isaiah:
    1. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
  2. Does that verse sound familiar?
    1. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Rev. 21:1)
  3. Isaiah is prophesying of the same things that John saw in Revelation. A few verses after that, in Isaiah 65, Isaiah describes some of the conditions of that time:
    1. “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:20-25)
  4. If you noticed, Isaiah mentions that they shall build houses and plant vineyards. This is describing the Kingdom of Christ set up on earth, and those events happen after the first resurrection. We’ll be talking about that more next episode, but you see that it’s not until after the resurrection that man is completely restored to a pre-fall state. So anytime that you are looking at a passage of scripture that is describing man’s relationship with God, then you need to ask yourself the context of it. Is it describing after the fall, but before the Atonement of Christ? Is it describing after the Atonement, but before the resurrection? Here’s one: is it after the resurrection, but before eternity? Not many people think of that one. If you confuse any of them, then you might misunderstand that passage and apply it wrong.
  • Spirit, Soul, and Body
    1. Man is a tri-partite being. That means that he is made up of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. We see this in the beginning when God made Adam:
      1. “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.” (Gen. 2:7)
    2. Man’s body was formed out of the dust of the ground, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spirit), and man became a living soul.
    3. We’re going to look at all three of these briefly.
    4. Body
      1. The body is usually associated with dust.
        1. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:19)
        2. “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:” (Gen. 18:27)
        3. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7)
      2. It’s usually referred to as a container.
        1. House of clay, Job 4:19
        2. Earthen vessel, 2 Corinthians 4:7
        3. Earthly house/tabernacle, 2 Corinthians 5:7
        4. Temple, 1 Corinthians 6:19
        5. Vessels of honor/dishonor, 2 Timothy 2:20-21
        6. Tabernacle, 2 Peter 1:13-14
  • It contains the other two parts
    1. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1Cor. 2:11)
    2. “But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.” (Job 14:22)
  1. When it comes to the Judgment, we’re specifically told that we are going to be judged by those things which we have done in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
  2. Myer Pearlman noted that in Daniel 7:15 the word for “body” is the Chaldee word for “sheath”—Which sets up the interesting analogy of death being like a sword being drawn from its sheath.
  3. The body is not supposed to be used for our purposes, but for God’s. We read:
    1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1)
    2. “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body…For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1Cor. 6:13, 20)
  • It’s interesting to know that you can be cast bodily into Hell.
    1. “And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.” (Num. 16:31-34)
    2. “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.” (Mat. 10:28)
    3. “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Mat. 5:29-30)
    4. We know that God will do this at least once in the future to the false prophet and the Beast, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Rev. 19:20) And in case you were wondering, God mentions it again later, a thousand years later to be accurate, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) The Lake of fire is eternal torment guys. It’s literally eternal torment. The same Greek word used to describe the eternality of God Himself, “aionios”, in Romans 16:26, is used to describe the length of time that people are punished in the Lake of Fire in Matthew 25:46. God takes sin and rebellion very seriously.
  • The deeds of the body needed to be mortified, or put to death, by the believer through the Spirit of God. (Romans 8:13)
  1. Paul the Apostle indicated that our mortal bodies need to be brought under subjection if we want to please God. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
  2. Finally, the body that we currently have, our natural one, is not the same kind of body that we will have after the resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:35-38)
  1. Soul
    1. The soul is usually indicated in the Old Testament by the Hebrew word “nephesh”, and in the New Testament by the Greek word “psuche”. It’s important to understand that these words have a range of meaning. Every time they appear in the text of scripture it does not necessarily mean that it WILL be talking about the soul. A large majority of the time in the OT the word soul is used to mean a person in general. You have to watch. Just as how in English the word “plane” can mean either a geometric plane or an airplane. Context is what indicates the difference. Genesis 2:7 is a good example of “nephesh” meaning soul in the sense of our subject matter. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the word “psuche” is used there for “soul” as well.
    2. Every animal in God’s creation has a soul. Man and all the animals have souls. Some have defined the basic meaning of a “soul” as the “life principle” in a person or animal. That may be too simplistic though. It’s been said to be the part of man that is self-conscious. C.S. Lewis stated famously, “You are not a body that has a soul: you are a soul that has a body.” [paraphrased] The emphasis being that YOU are your soul. The body, as we’ve seen from scripture, is continuously described as a vessel, or container of some kind, that has your soul and spirit in it.
  • One thing that we do know from the scriptures, and can be sure about, is that when the soul leaves the body the person physically dies. This is shown by several scriptures:
    1. When Rachel, the wife of Isaac, died after childbirth, this is what was said, “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” (Gen. 35:18) It’s specifically stated that her soul was departing from her body because she was dying.
    2. When Christ is relating about the rich man who valued his earthly life and not God, this is what He said, “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20) God refers to the man’s physical death as when his soul is required by God. God has said that all souls belong to Him in Ezekiel 18:4. Where they go, and when they go, is entirely up to Him.
    3. When God is said to punish a hypocrite with death, we’re told, “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?” (Job 27:8) This corresponds to what Christ taught, saying, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37)
    4. In Psalm 86:13 we read, “For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.” The soul cannot be delivered from Hell if there is no risk in it presently going there. We know that this passage is not talking about some future possibility because the writer is speaking of it as having already happened.
    5. When prophesying of Christ we read in Psalms, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psa. 16:10) This passage is quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:27-28. Peter went on to say, “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:31-33) During the days that Christ was physically dead He was not still in the tomb unconscious. He had descended into the heart of the earth. He was in Hell. Now, that may bother some people, but only because people have certain ideas about Hell that are incorrect. Or maybe, incomplete would be a better way to say it. We’ll go over that in a few minutes though. But it is plain from the scriptures that Christ’s soul went to Hell during the time of His physical death. It was from here that His soul ascended back into His body for His resurrection.
    6. Finally, we can’t ignore Christ’s own teachings on this matter. Luke 16 is called by some a “parable” when it is obviously not. Christ never named anyone in a parable…ever. Here, the poor man has a name: Lazarus. Also, the description that He gives of things fits the rest of the scriptures description of reality. We can reasonably infer that this passage is referring to the rich man’s soul being in Hell because we know from the previous passage about Christ that it was His soul that descended to Hell. We read, “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 16:22-23) The rich man’s body was buried, and his soul immediately is seen to be in Hell. We’ll talk more specifically about Hell itself in a little bit.
  1. Another passage to point out in conjunction with that one is 2 Samuel 12:22-23, where we read, “And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2Samuel 12:22-23) This is after David had committed his sin with Bathsheba. Bathsheba became pregnant, and to punish David for bringing such a reproach upon Israel—being the King—God was taking the child’s life. David emphasizes very clearly that the child physically dies. He states very confidently though, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” David knew that he would see this son after his own death, but the child would not return to the land of the living again. This shows that in physical death, people’s souls are not unconsciously lingering in the body. This is the idea that is conveyed throughout scripture. The dead are conscious where they are after death, and it’s not in their bodies.
  2. We’re told in scripture that it is God who makes the soul:
    1. “For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.” (Isaiah 57:16)
  3. We’re also told that it is the soul that sins, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) And in Micah 6:7, “…shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” This is why we’re told that blood is needed to atone for the sins of the soul in Leviticus 17:11. Also, this is why we’re told in Hebrews 10:39 that we believe to the saving of the soul.
  1. Spirit
    1. There is a difficulty in drawing a really clear line between a person’s “spirit” and a person’s “soul”. Sometimes the word “spirit” is used almost interchangeably with the word “soul”. There is a distinction to be made though. This can at least be seen in Hebrews 4:12:
      1. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)
    2. At some point there is a division between the two. Though, it’s kind of hard to be very clear about what that dividing line is. That makes sense though when you think about it. We are not like God who is Omnipresent. The Son can act independently (in a sense) from the Father while never being actually separate from Him. We are not a triune being in the same sense as God is. Our souls and spirits, so far as I can tell from scripture, are not separable from one another in the same way. My spirit cannot go to somewhere and do one thing while my soul is going somewhere else doing another thing entirely. Again, so far as I have seen scripturally. I’ll try to point out the similarities that I have seen, and the differences that I have seen.
  • The body dies when the spirit leaves the body just like the soul. This can also be seen when Christ on the cross, or Stephen at his martyrdom, commend their “spirits” to God.
    1. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (Jas 2:26)
  1. But we’re also told that the spirit can come back again. This is another instance showing that in physical death the soul/spirit leaves the body.
    1. “And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.” (Luke 8:52-55)
    2. Now in Luke’s gospel we are told that her spirit “came again”. The Greek word underlying that makes clear that it is actually coming back and not just “waking up” as it were. I mention it because it’s very important. Neither Mark nor Matthew mentions that her spirit had to return to its body for her to come alive again. This is a good example that just because a passage does not mention something, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. For instance, the same language is used to describe Tabitha being raised from the dead by Peter in Acts 9:39-40 as in Mark and Matthew about the girl. The implication being that Tabitha’s spirit had to return to her body also, but it simply was not mentioned. There are enough clear scriptures to indicate that such would have to be the case.
  2. Now, the underlying word for “spirit” is primarily the Greek word “pneuma” in the New Testament. It can also be translated things such as, “breath, wind, inner life, etc.”. You have to pay attention to context to see which meaning is being used. It’s the same thing that I said about the word “soul”. You have to watch.
  3. Every man has a spirit whether he is saved or lost.
    1. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1Cor. 2:11)
    2. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Rom. 8:16)
  • “Spirit” is immaterial, like the soul. It is not made of matter. This is actually very interesting to me, because what occurs to me when I consider it is that unclean spirit (devils/demons) are continuously looking for a human body to use. This is indicated by Christ in Luke 11:24. Perhaps this is because they have no physical body of their own as Christ indicates.
    1. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39)
  • God is a Spirit, because of this it is with our spirits that we must worship him. It is our spirit that is the basis for our relationship with Him.
    1. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
    2. “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb. 12:9)
  1. When you go through the scriptures you see that it is by our spirits that we are connected with God. We’re told that when we’re converted we are “born of the Spirit” in John 3:5, and that we are joined to the Lord we are “one spirit” with Him in 1 Corinthians 6:17. This is why our bodies become “temples” of the Holy Spirit after we are converted, cf. 2 Corinthians 6:16. This shows one of the big differences between soul and spirit. The spirit is entirely connected with our relationship with God. Spiritual gifts are said to be done by the Holy Spirit through our spirits being connected to Him. We’re told that when David prophesied that it was his spirit speaking in Matthew 22:43. When a person prayed in tongues, it was their spirit that prayed in 1 Corinthians 14:14. It also shows that it really is THEIR spirit doing the things in conjunction with the Spirit of God because we’re told that the spirit of prophets are subject to them in 1 Corinthians 14:32.
  2. Jesus perceived things “in his spirit” we’re told in Mark 2:8.
  3. Just as how a Christian’s spirit is united with God’s Spirit, in Mark 1:23-26 we see that a lost person can be indwelt by an unclean spirit. I find this very telling. We’re told in Romans 8:14 that believers are led by the Spirit of God by their union with Him. It seems that in the same sense unbelievers are lead about by the influence of unclean spirits sometimes. Also, we’re told that it can even be Satan himself sometimes:
    1. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” (Eph. 2:2)
  • The New Testament is referred to as the “ministration of the spirit” in 2 Corinthians 3:8. It’s because the lost are considered “spiritually dead” by God as we’ll see in a few minutes.
  • A word of warning for us is that just as believers have received the spirit of God we can also be deceived into receiving a spirit that is not God’s.
    1. “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2Cor. 11:4)
  • We have been warned that in the latter days there would come “seducing spirits” and “doctrines of devils”.
    1. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (1Tim. 4:1)
  1. Now, you may have understood by now that the influence that unclean spirits and devils can have on a person is because they are spirits, just like the angels.
    1. “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:13-14)
    2. “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7)
  • We’ll talk more about the relationship of man’s spirit, God’s Spirit, and the resurrection next episode.
  1. Natural or Spiritual
    1. I’d like to talk briefly about the two categories of which all men fall: Natural or Spiritual. We read about these two most clearly in 1 Corinthians:
      1. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:9-16)
    2. Some people try to include the word underlying “carnal” in 1 Corinthians 3:4, but I disagree. The longer that I look at it the more I believe that being “carnal”, or “sarkikos”, is just another way of describing the natural man. I say that because all men fall into two categories: saved or lost. Those are the two that Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 2. All men can find themselves in one or the other: spiritual or natural. The two underlying words for them are “psuchikos” and “pneumatikos”. They are formed for the same words underlying the words for soul and spirit. The word underlying “carnal” is the word that is normally translated “fleshly”. While it is sometimes used to just simply refer to our physical bodies, the Greek word “soma” is normally used for that. I don’t consider “carnal” to be a third type of individual as much as it is a description of someone who is natural, or acting like a natural man—like how Paul means it in 1 Corinthians 3:4.
      1. “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” (1Cor. 3:4)
      2. Paul is rebuking the believers at Corinth for acting just like the lost do.
    3. The reason that I make that distinction I think is more clear when you consider what a natural man would be if he wasn’t carnal. Wouldn’t he be spiritual? If the natural man wasn’t spiritual, wouldn’t he have to be carnal? You see, there is no middle ground between spiritual and natural. It would be like saying that there is a middle ground between saved and lost.
    4. Natural
      1. Some people have criticized the use of the word “natural” for “psuchikos”. I understand their contention, but I do disagree. The word “psuchikos” if you transliterated it would be something like “psychic”. That English word has a completely different meaning. Psychics are people involved with deeply demonic and occultic things, hardly natural. Indeed it would be considered a spiritual state—albeit in an ungodly manner.
      2. This word is also used elsewhere in the NT:
        1. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” (Jas 3:15)
        2. “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” (Jude 1:17-19)
  • In both of these passages, the word “sensual” is used to describe a man of this state. The basic meaning of a person in this state is one—as Jude says—who does not have the Spirit of God. He is earthly, devilish, as James says.
  1. Adam Clarke had this to say about this natural man:
    1. “But the natural man - The apostle appears to give this - as a reason why he explained those deep spiritual things to spiritual men; because the animal man - the man who is in a state of nature, without the regenerating grace of the Spirit of God, receiveth not the things of the Spirit - neither apprehends nor comprehends them: he has no relish for them; he considers it the highest wisdom to live for this world. Therefore these spiritual things are foolishness to him; for while he is in his animal state he cannot see their excellency, because they are spiritually discerned, and he has no spiritual mind.” (Adam Clarke’s commentary, comment on 1 Corinthians 2:14)
  2. He is a man who lives for the present world. He is led about by the desires of his own will and heart apart from God. He is self-willed and vain.
  3. It is important to note that this is the same word that is used to describe the natural body that is changed at the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:44-46. We’ll talk more about that next episode though.
  • The natural/sensual man is one who is led about by the passions and desires of his own will and body. He is self-willed, and not someone who says, “My will is to do thy will Father.” It’s an animal-like mentality because one of the marks of being made in the image of God—as only humans are—is that we are meant to be spiritual beings in a relationship with the Father of spirits, God. This person rejects that. They are led by the lower desires of the body as opposed to the higher inclinations of the mind and spirit. This is a man of no understanding.
  1. Spiritual
    1. Spiritual is set in contrast to natural by Paul. The underlying word is “pneumatikos”. It’s very important to understand that this is not someone who is led about by his own spirit: it’s someone who is led about by God’s Spirit:
      1. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1Cor. 2:11-13)
    2. Remember that Jude said that the natural/sensual man is one who does not have the Spirit of God. In Romans 8:14 we read that all believers are led by the Spirit of God, and in v.16 we’re told that He bears witness with our spirit. So a spiritual man is one who is a Christian. He is taught by the Spirit of God we’re told in 1 Corinthians 2:12-13. He is discerning we’re told in v.15 of that same chapter.
  • Just like the word natural is used in 1 Corinthians 15:44-46 to describe the natural body that is changed at the resurrection, even so the word for spiritual is what is used there to describe the kind of body that the natural body is changed into at the resurrection.
  1. The spiritual man is one who has given the primary place to his spirit being connected to God’s Spirit. He has been “born of the spirit” (John 3:5) and he is “spiritually minded” (Romans 8:5-6). This is the man that has put on the “new man” and is renewed in knowledge. (Col. 3:10)
  1. Life and Death
    1. In talking about life and death, we have to define things biblically. Some people get confused because different meanings of the words are sometimes used in the same sentence, and usually they’re used without a different Greek word underlying it. Context is everything here. But basically the scriptures tell us of three different kinds of life and death each:
      1. Physical
      2. Spiritual
  • Eternal
  1. So we have physical death and physical life, spiritual death and spiritual life, and eternal death and eternal life. Each of these is spoken about in the New Testament at one time or another. One thing to consider though is that we’re kind of talking about states here. You are either physically alive or you are not. You are spiritually alive or you are not; and you can change states. You can change from physically alive to physically dead, and you can change from being spiritually alive from spiritually dead. One thing that you cannot do though is to go from eternal life to eternal death. That will be clear when we get there. Most people define eternal life incorrectly.
  2. Physical
    1. This one is the most clear, and is defined with the most common sense. This is when we’re talking about the person in their physical body or not in their physical body. When the body has the spirit/soul it is physically alive.
      1. “And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.” (Luke 8:55)
    2. When the spirit and soul depart from the body the person is considered physically dead.
      1. “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” (Gen. 35:18)
      2. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (Jas 2:26)
    3. Spiritual
      1. Spiritual life and death is what we’re referring to as the difference between a natural man and a spiritual man. Those that have the Spirit of God are called spiritually alive.
        1. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:9-10)
        2. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2)
        3. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)
        4. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39)
        5. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2Cor. 3:6)
      2. An unregenerate men, a lost man, does not have the Spirit of God, and is considered spiritually dead. This is why Christ referred to them as “dead”.
        1. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Eph. 2:5)
        2. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” (Eph. 4:18)
        3. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:” (2Cor. 5:14)
        4. “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” (1Tim. 5:6)
        5. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (1Jn. 3:14)
        6. “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” (Rev. 3:1)
        7. “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry… It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:24, 32)
      3. Eternal
        1. Most people define “eternal life” incorrectly. They believe that it’s just some box or something that God gives you when you’re converted that stays with you forever because it’s eternal, right? Wrong. Eternal life is eternal because it’s God’s life, and He is eternal. I’ve talked about this a lot on this podcast so I won’t belabor the point again here. I would recommend that if you have any questions about “eternal life” that you should listen to the 2 part series on “Discussing Eternal Security”. It’s just a discussion of Biblical salvation actually.
        2. But let’s consider both eternal life and eternal death, and look at some scriptures.
  • Life
    1. “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
      1. In this verse you see that it is in the world to come that we actually receive eternal life. We are partakers of eternal life now through our faith in Jesus Christ, but we do not actually “receive” it so that it becomes ours until after the resurrection.
    2. “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:54)
      1. It’s important to note that both “eateth” and “drinketh” in this verse are present active participles. That means that they describe a continuous action. It is not describing a “one and done” thing, but Christ is describing the person as continuously eating and drinking that means that they have eternal life. The life that is in Jesus Himself, cf. 1 John 5:11. We are partakers of it through Christ presently.
    3. “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” (1Jn. 2:25) Here it is shown again that eternal life is something that is promised to us in the future.
    4. In general, eternal life is when believers are to live forever in their spiritual bodies after the resurrection. This is what the prophet Daniel was speaking of: “But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” (Dan. 7:18)
    5. We’ll be talking more specifically about the resurrection next episode.
  1. Death
    1. In contrast to eternal life, which is when believers receive their resurrected bodies never to die again, you could sum up eternal death as when the lost are resurrected never to live again—albeit, not in the sense of life that you think. Eternal death is that eternal state of the lost after the judgment. It is also called, “the second death.”
      1. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6)
        1. Here we see that anyone who is partaker of the first resurrection will not be affected by the second death, eternal death. This is because they are partakers of eternal life.
      2. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:14-15)
        1. Here we see that being cast into the Lake of Fire is more specifically identified as the second death, eternal death.
      3. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8)
        1. In addition to this list you can include the list in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, because those that are not part of the kingdom of God are not saved.
      4. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Rev. 2:11)
        1. We’re specifically told what the condition for not being a partaker of eternal death is: overcome. We’re told elsewhere that it is our faith in Jesus Christ that overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4-5)
      5. Sleeping
        1. Whenever I looked for references to “sleep”, in all its variations, I found 101 verses that mentioned some form of it 114 times. Out of the 114 mentions of “sleep” in some way, the vast majority of them were clearly referencing physical, normal, sleeping. Only about 30 references seemed to make clear that that was not what was being talked about. So let’s look at it really quickly.
        2. In the Gospels is a very good example of what this other idea of “sleep” means biblically.
          1. “And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.” (Matt. 9:23-25)
  • So Jesus says that this young girl is sleeping. Earlier in the account the girl is called dead (v.18). Mark records the same event.
    1. “And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.” (Mark 5:38-42)
  1. Again, earlier it was said that the girl was physically dead in v.35. Luke records the same event, but he adds one detail.
    1. “While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.” (Luke 8:49-55)
  2. We see that earlier in the passage the girl is said to be dead again, but Christ refers to her as sleeping. In v.55 though, it is stated very clearly that her spirit came again to her body. Luke’s account sheds some light on this issue for us:
    1. When men referred to her as being dead, Jesus, and therefore God, said she was sleeping. So God refers to physical death as men “sleeping”.
    2. Luke’s account verifies for us what James said: the body without the spirit is dead. (James 2:26) When the girl’s spirit came again to her body, at the commandment of Jesus, her body revived and she was physically alive again.
    3. Luke’s account shows us also that every place where a spirit is not explicitly mentioned as having returned to the body, such as in Matthew’s and Mark’s account of the same event, should be interpreted that way. We have two clear passages that tell us that the body without the spirit is physically dead, and we should interpret the rest of scripture this way.
  3. Let’s consider the martyrdom of Stephen and see if this is the same idea that we get.
    1. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)
    2. Stephen knew he was going to die—that’s the point of stoning someone. So Stephen is fully expecting his spirit to go to be with God. Immediately after he prays that we’re told that he “fell asleep.” This passage fits the description of the New Testament that the body without the spirit is dead, and the person is who is physically dead, their body being without their spirit, is called “sleeping”.
  • Let’s consider another New Testament passage:
    1. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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 them which are asleep.” (1The. 4:13-15)
    2. We have the word “asleep” used in v.13 and v.15, and the phrase “sleep in Jesus” used interchangeably with them in v.14. So those believers who are said to be sleeping are said to be sleeping “in Jesus”. That’s very important to note. Also, the passage goes on to say that they are “dead in Christ” in v.16. Now if we consider what the other NT passages tell us about people “sleeping” then we know that they are physically dead, and that their spirits are somewhere else outside of their bodies. We see in the passage in 1 Thessalonians that it says that at the return of Christ God will bring them “with him”. This implies that those believers’ spirits whose bodies are physically dead are presently with God.
    3. A counter-argument that may come up is that the passage says that they are raised up first in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The contention could be that they are physically raised up first and that’s why the passage says that they are with him. The problem with that is that it denies the definition of physical death given in the rest of the NT. The body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26), and when the spirit returns to the body is physically alive again (Luke 8:55). The more clear and consistent interpretation is that God brings back the spirits of the believers, just like the angels come with Christ at the second coming—because angels are spirits themselves, cf. Heb.1:14—as seen in Revelation 19:14 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7. As the Lord descends from heaven with a shout the bodies of believers are resurrected, and the spirits of the believers who were dead in Christ are reunited with their new bodies. Then, all believers are caught up together to be with the Lord. All having been changed, and all together with God at the same time. This is the interpretation that fits the passage and the rest of the NT.
  • By these things we can better understand the rest of the Bible’s references for sleep:
    1. In Deuteronomy 31:16, 2 Samuel 7:12, and 1 Kings 11:21, the phrase “sleep with thy fathers” is just a reference to physical death. The spirit of the person going to be where the spirits of dead loved ones have already gone.
    2. Job 7:21, and Daniel 12:2, which use the phrase “sleep in the dust” and “sleep in the dust of the earth”, respectively, is just referencing the fact that the body stays in the ground where it is buried while the person is dead. We’ll talk more about Daniel 12:2 next episode when we more specifically talk about the resurrection itself. But Job well understood that when he died it was his body which remained in the ground, and he even showed an understanding that he would be resurrected some day by the Lord:
      1. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)
      2. Job also understood that man’s spirit was in him: “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” (Job 32:8)
      3. Yet Job spoke of the fact that God could take man’s spirit from him, and then his body would decay back to dust. “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” (Job 34:14-15) All of these passages show that Job had a New Testament understanding of the matter.
    3. Job’s clear understanding of this is shown also in another place which could be misconstrued to teach an idea of soul-sleep:
      1. “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” (Job 14:12)
      2. The context shows that this is not the case though, in v.10 of the same passage, just two verses prior Job says, “But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” (Job 14:10)
      3. Job understood that men die and their spirits/ghosts leave the body. His question, “and where is he?” shows that he understood that the spirit goes to another place. All of this fits the pattern that I’ve shown the NT to teach.
      4. Also, v. 13 goes on to say, “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” (Job 14:13) The underlying word for “grave” here is “sheol”. It is not meaning a literal grave, or a hole in the ground. “Sheol” is the Hebrew word for the “land of the dead”. Job is here referencing that he knows men don’t stay in the physical grave in the ground. We’re going to talk more about this in a few minutes.
    4. Likewise in Psalm 13:3 we read about “sleep the sleep of death”, and that can be interpreted the same way as elsewhere.
    5. In Jeremiah 51:39 and 57 we read about people who “sleep a perpetual sleep”. The context shows that it is referring to physical death.
    6. In the NT you have references to believers who “sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30), who are “fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:6, 18), and also who “fell asleep” (2 Pet. 3:4). All of these fit the pattern of what we’ve already talked about.
  1. I believe that’s every reference in the Bible that uses some variation of the word “sleep” that could be confusing. All of the rest of them, because I looked at all 101 verses, are clearly speaking about normal physical sleeping. It is possible that I missed one, but I don’t believe that I have. I will be going over the verses that talk about resurrection next episode when that’s what we’re focusing on.
  1. Hell
    1. There are few misconceptions about the word “hell” as it is used scripturally. As I said at the beginning, you have to keep things in context. The underlying word in the Old Testament is “sheol”, which means “a subterranean place” (The English and Hebrew Bible student’s Concordance, p.193) Strong’s concordance defines it as, “the world of the dead (as if in a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates”. It’s variously translated as “hell”, “grave”, or “pit” in the OT. It’s clear when “sheol” is used that it is not meaning a literal grave in the ground. The Greek equivalent of this word in the NT is “hades” which means “…the nether world, Hades as the place of the dead,…” (BDAG). Strong’s concordance defines it as “properly unseen, i.e. “hades” or the place (state) of departed souls.” It is variously translated in the NT as either “grave” or “hell”. Again, it is clear when it is used that it is note referencing a literal grave in the ground.
    2. Some other words are “gehenna” which is a Hebrew word that is transported over into the NT. It is referencing the Valley of the Son of Hinnom which Christ used as an illustration of the Lake of Fire. It is translated as “hell”. Then there is the word “tartaros”. It has the specific sense of incarceration, or the deepest abyss of hades. This is only used a couple of times in the NT. It is translated as “cast down to hell.”
    3. There are only 3 instances in the OT when the word “sheol” is translated as “pit”. These instances are when Korah and his companions are swallowed up alive and go down to the “pit”. It is referencing “sheol” and not a literal pit. They went to hell. The other time is in Job 17:16 where the “bars of the pit” are referenced.
    4. It is translated as “grave” 31 times, and “hell” the rest of the time. I’ll give you a couple of examples:
      1. “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” (1Sam. 2:6) Here the word is “sheol” and is not referencing a literal grave. It is meaning the place of the departed dead.
      2. “It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.” (Gen. 44:31) Here we see the sons of Jacob referencing the “grave”, or “sheol”.
  • In Job “sheol” is translated as grave also. “As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.” (Job 7:9) There are actually several references of “sheol” being translated as “grave” in Job: 14:13; 17:13; 21:13; 24:19. In none of these places is a literal grave meant. The same is meant for some other OT places where “sheol” is translated as “grave”: Psalm 6:5; Psalm 30:3 (where the soul is said to have been in the “sheol”, this shows that the soul is not with the body in death also); Psalm 31:17; 49:14-15; 88:3; 89:48; 141:7; Proverbs 1:12; 30:16; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Isaiah 14:11; 38:10, 18; Ezekiel 31:15; Hosea 13:14. In none of those places is a literal grave meant. Hell is meant.
  1. The rest of the time in the OT “hell” is how “sheol” is translated. It’s clear when you look at them all that you see where “hell” is located: “shall burn to the lowest hell” (Deu. 32:22), “deeper than hell” (Job 11:8), “let them go down quick into hell” (Psa. 55:15), “thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell” (Psa. 86:13), this one again shows that the soul went to Hell in death and did not remain with the body, “that he may depart from hell beneath” (Pro. 15:24). There are other references obviously, and I would encourage you to look them all up in a concordance to see what all is said. But the sense that you get is clear: it’s beneath.
  2. What’s also apparent is that it is regularly coupled with death, in places such as Pro. 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; Isaiah 28:15, 18; Ezekiel 32:21. Again you can look them all up and see that hell is coupled with death regularly. It is where the dead go in the OT we’re told. In Ezekiel 32:27 it says that you go “down to hell” and it is set in contrast to the “land of the living”; and in Proverbs 15:24 we’re told that Hell is “beneath” and that “life” is “above”.
  3. In the NT the greek word “hades” is translated as grave once in 1 Cor. 15:55.
  4. The word “hades” is used throughout the NT to mean the place of the dead equivalent to the OT sheol. The difference that most people don’t realize is that the word “gehenna” is the underlying word when it is specifically identifying it as a place of everlasting torment.
  5. The references to Hell in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:22, 29, and 30, are all referencing “gehenna”. Christ is emphasizing that you are risking eternal torment. In fact most places in the Gospels use the word “gehenna”. None of the references to Hell in the NT can mean a literal grave.
  6. Only one place is translated from the word “tartaros”.
    1. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” (2Pet. 2:4)
  7. At the end of the present age Hell itself is actually emptied for the Judgment we’re told.
    1. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Rev. 20:13)
  8. But after the Judgment we’re told that Hell, and all of its contents, are thrown into the Lake of Fire.
    1. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Rev. 20:14)
  9. So Hell itself will have an end, but there will still be eternal death, the second death, for all those who are part of the second resurrection—which we’ll talk about next episode.
  10. In Luke 16 we read Christ’s words about life after death as it then was. There is nothing in this passage to indicate it as a parable. It does not carry any of the traits of being a parable. Indeed, it is so much in alignment with what the rest of the Bible teaches about life after death prior to Christ’s resurrection that even if it was it would not alter the Biblical view at all. We learn several things in this passage, but it is important to note that the Jews had already devised the same ideas from the Old Testament before Christ gave this teaching. They actually had already named the place of comfort in the land of the dead as “Abraham’s Bosom”. Christ acknowledged this teaching to be true by appropriating it Himself. But in Luke 16 we see:
    1. That, at least before Christ’s resurrection, all the dead went to Hell. Remember, Hell is just a generic word for meaning “the place of the dead”. The word itself is not a direct tie to torment. Context usually indicates that.
    2. There were at least two places in Hell: one is a place of comfort (Luke 16:22, 25) called by the Jews “Abraham’s Bosom”; and the second is just referred to as Hell, and is mentioned as a place of torment in Luke 16:23-24. This second place is where we get the everyday use of the word “hell”.
  • Between the two was a “great gulf” it says in Luke 16:25. There was a dividing between the two places. The underlying Greek word for “gulf” is where we get the term “chasm” from. Abraham specifically mentions that a person cannot pass from one side to the other. Jesus, mentioning this, puts His approval on it.
  1. After that, the basic idea of Hell is Biblical. Remember though that Hell itself is a temporary place until the second resurrection, and the Judgment. Then Hell itself will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
  • Where do we go when we die?
    1. The question that can be asked now is where do we go when we die? So let’s put together some of the things that we’ve seen.
    2. Physical death occurs when the soul/spirit leaves the body. (Jas. 2:26; Luke 12:20; 8:52-55)
    3. Hell is the land of the dead. It is continuously described as being beneath, or in the depths. This is clearly seen in passages such as Proverbs 15:24, and the ones we listed earlier.
    4. The soul is described in the OT as having gone to Hell in places such as Psalms 86:13.
    5. Up till the time of Christ’s own death, souls were said to go to Hell. This is seen when prophetically it is said that Christ Himself departed unto Hell. We read this when Peter acknowledged it on the day of Pentecost when quoting Psalm 16:
      1. “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 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. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:24-33)
    6. In this Peter acknowledges that Christ’s soul went to Hell the three days that He was dead. After Christ was raised from the dead, He ascended to God the Father. He Himself said that He would after His resurrection:
      1. “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.” (John 20:17)
    7. We know that He did ascend to the Father before appearing to others because He allowed them to handle His body afterwards. Christ is the first man to physical die, be raised from the dead never to die again. He is the firstbegotten from the dead. He changed the pattern forever. Continuously in the NT we are told that He is our pattern, and that we are to follow His steps. We’re even told in Philippians 3:21 that our resurrection body will be patterned after His resurrected body.
    8. The question that must be asked is did something change after Christ rose from the dead? I believe something did change. The barrier between man and God had been done away. This seen that when Christ died the temple veil was torn in half. In Hebrews we read:
      1. “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:” (Heb. 9:7-8)
    9. The veil between the holy of holies and the outer sanctuary pictured that the way into God’s presence was not yet made manifest. When Jesus accomplished the atonement, God Himself tore that veil in half to let everyone know that know the way in had been made manifest. This is why we’re continuously told in the NT that we have access to God the Father through Jesus.
    10. Also, when Christ was on the cross He said that He would go to paradise. :
      1. “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
    11. This is also acknowledged in Ephesians 4:8-10 where Psalm 68:18 is quoted.
    12. Peter acknowledged that Christ went to Hell in the passage from Acts 2 that we read. That’s because at the time there was that division in Hell that Christ Himself mentioned in Luke 16. Paradise was the place of comfort that the Jews referred to as Abraham’s Bosom. What is interesting is that that is the place where the OT saints were waiting. Those who had truly lived faithfully to God, but the atonement had not yet been accomplished to remove their sins. The way into the holiest of all had not yet been made manifest.
    13. Now what I find telling is what else happened at the time of Christ’s resurrection: He wasn’t the only one who raised from the dead. He brought some people with Him we’re told.
      1. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matt. 27:50-53)
    14. How these OT saints were raised, and with what body they came, is not the question. It is the fact that they were raised when Christ was raised. It’s as though Christ raided Abraham’s bosom, or Paradise, when He was resurrected. Now what is interesting is that from this point on in the scriptures believers are never even alluded to as descending to Hell. Paul does reference Paradise though:
      1. “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2Cor. 12:4)
    15. Now though Paul references Paradise as being in Heaven. When Christ was on the cross Paradise was in the lower parts of the earth. We know that Christ had to descend there first, and that He did not ascend to the Father until after His resurrection. That means that when Christ told the thief on the cross that TODAY He would be with Him in Paradise that it had to be synonymous with Abraham’s Bosom in hades, the heart of the earth. If it was not so, then Christ lied. We can therefore directly know that Paradise moved after Christ’s resurrection. After Christ’s resurrection Paradise is now in the third Heaven, the very abode of God. Paul says so in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
    16. Paradise is also mentioned in Revelation:
      1. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Rev. 2:7)
    17. Here, Christ says that the tree of life is in the paradise of God. Later on in Revelation the tree of life is said to be in the heavenly city. (Revelation 21:10-22:2) This means that Paradise, where the saved dead go, is in Heaven. Other scriptures in the NT seem to indicate this as well.
      1. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” (Eph. 3:14-15)
        1. From this we see that the family of God is currently in Heaven.
      2. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” (1The. 4:14)
        1. Because we know that “sleep” refers to those that are physically dead, their souls/spirits departing from their bodies, we see that at the second coming God brings the righteous dead with Him.
      3. I honestly believe that after all that we’ve talked about there is only one Biblical view that is consistent with the scriptures: the normal one.
  • Closing
    1. Next episode we’re going to be focusing on the resurrection itself.