Spirit, Breath and Soul

Spirit/Breath + Body = Soul

Bible Answers: "What Happens When We Die?"

The Truth About Death: 

John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Psalms 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

“If it were true that the souls of all men passed 
directly to heaven at the hour of dissolution, then we might well covet death rather than life.”—Great Controversy, 539

“Even sickness and death are of less consequence than the salvation of souls for whom Christ made so immense a sacrifice . . One soul is of more value than the entire world.”—2 Testimonies, 540-541.

What Happens When We Die?

What happens when we die?What is the truth about death? What happens when we die? Do some soar to heaven while others descend to hell? Is there a holding place called “purgatory”? Do we enter the spirit world? What about reincarnation? Might I return as an eagle? Can the living actually communicate with dead and do the dead haunt the house they used to live in? The truth about what happens when we die can be found only in the Bible. The book of Revelation says, “Satan deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), thus we cannot expect the majority of human beings to be right about anything!

The purpose of this study is to prove these seven simple facts:

  1. Man is made from the dust of the earth and becomes a living soul with the breath of life from God which is the spirit.
  2. Fallen man is “mortal.
  3. Fallen man does not have an “immortal soul.
  4. It is not possible to communicate with the dead.
  5. Death is a painless, unconscious sleep. (No awareness of time.)
  6. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and then rose from the dead.
  7. Jesus Christ will resurrect believers at His Second Coming.

What is the Spirit and Soul?

The Spirit and Soul is something that is very misunderstood by many soBody + Spirit = Soul we will primarily let the Strong’s dictionary followed by the Bible define what they are. Put simply, the Spirit is basically the BREATH of life from God. Both the Greek and Hebrew words translate “spirit” to “breath” or “air.” The Greek word “pneuma” is known by many of you in relation to things like pneumatic tools which are air driven or pneumatic tyres which means tyres inflated by air. As you can see, the word “pneumatic” originated from the Greek word “Pneuma” and means “breath” or “air.”

Strong’s Old Testament Hebrew dictionary definition for Spirit.
H7307 ruach, Pronounced roo'-akh. From H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): - air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

Strong’s New Testament Greek dictionary definition for Spirit.
G4151 pneuma, Pronounced pnyoo'-mah. From G4154; a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit: - ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Compare G5590.

A person’s soul is just simply a living breathing creature. Have you heard the expression; I went to the park and there wasn’t a soul there? A soul just simply means a person and is who and what you are.

Strong’s Old Testament Hebrew dictionary definition for Soul.
H5315 nephesh, Pronounced neh'-fesh. From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental).

In the Beginning

Genesis 2:7 God formed Adam into “a living soul.
Genesis 2:16-17 God warned that if Adam sinned, he would “surely die.
Genesis 3:4 The serpent said, “you will not surely die.
Genesis 3:19 Because of sin, man will return to dust.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Death is creation of a living soul in reverse. We return to dust “and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Job 27:3 The spirit of God does not live in our nose! This is referring to the breath of life from God.
Genesis 3:22-24 God did not want Adam and Eve after sin to take from “the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.” So He drove them out of Paradise. Therefore no sinner will naturally “live forever” apart from Jesus Christ.
Genesis 5:5 After Adam lived 930 years, then “he died.

The Soul is Not Immortal

Job 4:17 The Bible calls man mortal.
Revelation 16:3 "Every living soul died in the sea." Souls can die.
Ezekiel 18:4 God said, “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Again, the soul can die!
Exodus 1:5 “Seventy souls” went to Egypt. Souls are people.
Acts 2:41 “Three thousand souls” were baptized. Again, souls are people.
1 Peter 3:20 “Eight souls were saved” in Noah’s day. Again, souls are people.
1 Timothy 6:16 God “only has immortality.” Man is not immortal.
2 Timothy 1:10 “Immortality” comes only “through the gospel.
Romans 2:7 Christians “seek for immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:53 At the end, “this mortal” shall “put on immortality.

Death is a Sleep

Job 14:12 The dead “shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep” until “the heavens be no more.”
Psalms 13:3 “Lest I sleep the sleep of death.
Daniel 12:2 “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.
Acts 7:60 When Stephen died, “he fell asleep.
John 11:11-14 “Lazarus sleeps … Jesus spoke of his death.
1 Corinthians 11:30; 15:6, 18, 51 Paul said death was “sleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-16 Those “which sleep in Jesus” will be resurrected.

Do the dead haunt their house?

Job 7:10 The dead “shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.

The Dead are Unconscious

Psalms 115:17 “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.
Psalms 146:4 When a man dies, “in that very day his thoughts perish.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 “The dead know not anything.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 “There is no work... nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave.

Jesus Christ Taught the Resurrection of the Dead

Matthew 22:23, 29 Jesus rebuked those who said there was “no resurrection.
Matthew 22:31 Jesus taught “the resurrection of the dead.
Luke 14:14 The saints will “be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
John 5:28-29 “All who are in their graves” will be resurrected at the second coming of Christ.
John 6:39, 40, 44, 54 All believers will rise “on the last day.
John 11:24 Martha said to Jesus, “I know that he [Lazarus] shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus

Matthew 16:21 Jesus would “be killed, and be raised again on the third day.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died ... was buried ... he rose again.
Matthew 28:7 The angel said, “he is risen from the dead.
Revelation 1:18 Jesus “was dead,” but is now “alive for evermore.
Revelation 2:8 Jesus “was dead, and is alive.

Death and Resurrection in the Book of Acts

Acts 2:29 David is “dead and buried.” His body is still in the tomb.
Jesus raising the deadActs 2:34 David has not yet “ascended into the heavens.” He’s not in heaven yet.
Acts 9:36-41 Tabitha “was sick, and died ... Peter ... prayed; and turning to the body said ... arise ... she opened her eyes ... presented her alive.
Acts 13:36 David “fell on sleep and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption.
Acts 24:15 “A resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

All Believers will be Resurrected when Jesus Christ Returns

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “The Lord himself shall descend ... the dead ... shall rise ... to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:50-55 The saints cry out, “0 death, where is thy sting” when they are resurrected at the second coming of Jesus.
John 14:1-3 Jesus will take us to heaven when He “comes again.
1 Corinthians 15:12-23 Paul says there is a resurrection of both Christ and the dead, “but every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

We Must Beware of Satanic Deceptions

Matthew 24:4 “Take heed that no man deceive you.
2 Corinthians 11:14 Satan deceives as “an angel of light.
1 Timothy 4:1 We must beware of “doctrines of devils.
Genesis 3:4 The first doctrine the devil taught Eve was that if she sinned she would “not surely die”!
2 Corinthians 11:3 As “the serpent beguiled Eve,” so Satan continues to mislead even good people “through his subtlety.
Matthew 24:24 All can be deceived by the “great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Behold, the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice, and come forth, they that have done good, to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation. ~~Jesus Christ (John 5:28-29)

So far it has been proven from the Bible that when a man dies, he is dead, asleep and unconscious in the grave until the resurrection when Jesus Christ comes again. Some will say, if this is true, then how do we explain other verses in the Word of God that seem to teach that either people or their souls go directly to heaven when they die? The following passages are often used to teach an “immediate flight to glory”, whereas, upon closer analysis, they really do not. Read them all carefully, and then don’t forget what Jesus and the rest of the Bible says.

The Thief on the Cross - Luke 23:42-43

When Jesus was dying on the cross the crucified thief right next to Him said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” First of all, the thief’s question looked forward to the Second Coming, not theJesus and the thief on the Crossmoment of death. The interpretation of Jesus’ response depends upon where you place a tiny particle called a “comma.” The fact is, commas are not inspired, but were added over a thousand years later along with chapters and verses. Did Jesus Christ say, “I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise” or, “I say to you today, you will be with Me in paradise” (at the Second Coming)? Here is one translation that put the comma in the place that lines up with all other scripture.

Luke 23:43 TS98 “And Jesus said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you today, you shall be with Me in Paradise.

Here is further proof that punctuation is not inspired. Acts 19:12 KJV “So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” In this verse we see the diseases departed from the sick handkerchiefs or aprons. The comma should have been placed after the word “sick”. There are many such examples through even the King James Bible as well as other translations.

Let’s look at just one more that proves beyond all doubt that punctuation is not inspired by God. This following example involves chapters, verses as well as a comma. Matthew 28:1 reads, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

The end of the Sabbath which is sunset and dawn are twelve hours apart, so why the apparent contradiction in the above verse? The answer is found in the translation of this passage. By reorganizing the last verse of Matthew 27 and the first verse of Matthew 28, the apparent ambiguity completely disappears. See Matthew 27:62-66.

In Matthew 27:62, a request for a guard on the tomb was made on the Sabbath (the day after the preparation) and that the request was for a guard until the third day. By simply moving the text “in the end of the Sabbath,” from the beginning of Matthew 28:1 to the end of Matthew 27:66, which is where it should have been placed when punctuation and chapters and verse were added, we would have the following.

Matthew 27:66 “So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch in the end of the sabbath.

Matthew 28:1 “As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

It was the watch guarding the tomb that began at the end of the Sabbath. Since Jesus was to rise the third day, the Roman guards were put in place immediately at the end of the Sabbath because they anticipated that the body of Jesus would be stolen by the Jews sometime on Sunday.

Four reasons why the comma is wrongly placed in Luke 23:43

  1. Jesus did not go to Paradise that day. He went to the tomb.
  2. Crucifixion is very cruel and it normally takes several days to die and so the thief did not die that day which is why they broke his legs. John 19:31-33 NIV “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
  3. Right after His resurrection on Sunday morning, Jesus said to Mary, “I have not yet ascended to My Father.” John 20:17. Thus on Sunday, Jesus had not yet ascended to Paradise. “Paradise” is in heaven where God and “the tree of life” are. Revelation 2:7 “He that has 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.” Revelation 22:1-2 “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
  4. Jesus would not contradict Himself or the rest of the Bible. He said previously that believers go to Heaven “on the last day” when He “comes again.” John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 14:1-3.

What about Moses and Elijah? Luke 9:27-36

On the mount of transfiguration, “two men ... Moses and Elias ... appeared in glory.” These where not spirits or disembodied souls, but “two men.” Elijah never died. He was translated without seeing death. 2 Kings 2:11. Moses “died” and was “buried.” Deuteronomy 34:5-6. Yet the book of Jude reveals that Michael came from heaven and, “contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses.” Jude 1:9. Moses was also raised, that’s why the devil protested. Then Michael said, “the Lord rebuke thee.” Hence it was a living, resurrected Moses and a living, translated Elijah that appeared on the mount. Immediately prior to this appearance, Jesus told his disciples that they would soon “see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27. On the mount they saw God’s kingdom in miniature. Jesus was there, so was Moses (representing all resurrected saints), and Elijah (representing all translated saints at the Second Coming). Both groups are described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

Absent from the Body, Present with the Lord

Paul longed “to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8. The question is, would this transition take place at the moment of death, or at the Second Coming? Paul clarified in verse 4 that it would occur when “mortality” is “swallowed up by life” (verse 4). When is this? In his previous letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote that “mortality” would be “swallowed up” when the resurrection of believers occurs at the end of the world. “In a moment ... at the last trump ... the dead shall be raised ... this mortal must put on immortality ... then ... Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:50-55. Thus Paul expected “to be present with the Lord” at the Second Coming. He later wrote, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout ... the dead in Christ shall rise ... so shall we ever be with the Lord.” l Thessalonians 4:16-17. Jesus said we will be with Him when He “comes again.” John 14:1-3. Because death is like sleep, it will seem like barely a moment until we are “present with the Lord.

Souls under the Altar - Revelation 6:9-11

During the “fifth seal,” John “saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood.” This scene is symbolic, representing the martyrs who died for their steadfast faith in Jesus Christ. God said to Cain after he murdered his brother Abel, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground.” Genesis 4:10. These words parallel what John saw in Revelation 6. The blood of Abel did not literally cry out from the ground. Neither are there actual souls underneath a real altar in heaven. The “souls under the altar” scene occurs right after “the fourth seal” scene. There “Hell” is seen following “a pale horse” ridden by “Death.” Revelation 6:7-8. Again, this is obviously symbolic and refers to those martyred for their faith and whose deaths cry out to God for just retribution. Those slain are represented as being told to “wait” for God’s judgment and their future reward at the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The Rich Man and Lazarus - Luke 16:19-31

Believe it or not, this is the ONLY place in the entire New Testament that suggests that a lost soul goes into a fiery hell immediately at death. This idea is not taught anywhere else - not by Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter or Paul.

Jesus often told parables. While containing many practical lessons, parables are not meant to be taken literally. Here are 9 reasons why the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is definitely a parable:

  1. Jesus often began his parables in the book of Luke with the phrase, “a certain...” See Luke 12:16; 13:6; 14:16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:11-12; 20:9 (KJV).
  2. A man cannot literally enter into “the bosom” or chest of Abraham.
  3. It is impossible for anyone who is literally burning in fire to carry on a normal conversation.
  4. Can those in heaven and hell talk to each other?
  5. The rich man was represented as being “bodily” in hell, with eyes, a mouth, a tongue, etc. This is obviously symbolic. If the rich man’s grave was dug up, wouldn’t his body be there? Of course.
  6. A real man burning in fire would not ask for a little water to cool his tongue. (He would ask for the fire brigade!)
  7. Jesus Christ did not interpret every parable He told. Yet He did interpret the parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13. In His interpretation of this parable, Jesus said plainly that hell-fire occurs at the end, rather than at death. Read Matthew 13:40.
  8. Consciousness at death contradicts the rest of the Bible. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Psalms 6:5; 115:17; 146:4; etc.
  9. 2 Peter 2:9 says that the lost will not be punished until “the day of judgment” which occurs at the end of the 1000 years (see Revelation 20:11-15).

The purpose of this parable was to teach the greedy Pharisees that contrary to their present opinions, the rich are not necessarily blessed and the poor cursed (16:14, 22-23), that a man’s destiny is fixed at death (16:26), that speaking against Him with their “tongues” would result in their going into hell-fire (16:4), and that if they would not believe Moses and the prophets, a resurrection would not convince them (16:29, 31). Thus Jesus declared that we must believe Moses and the prophets. Nowhere in the writings of “Moses and the prophets” do people instantly go to heaven or into hell-fire at death. Why did Jesus use the name Lazarus? Because this parable was also a prophecy. At the end of His life Jesus would resurrect a real person named Lazarus, yet this miracle would still not convince the Pharisees that He was the Messiah. John 11:1-53.

Note: We should interpret parables in the light of the rest of the Bible, rather than the rest of the Bible in the light of one parable.

Saul, Samuel and the witch of Endor - 1 Samuel 28:5-14

Did King Saul really speak to Samuel after his death? Do the whole host of scriptures that clearly state the dead sleep until the second coming of Christ contradict this passage? Definitely not! In 1 Samuel chapter 28 we find Saul afraid of the host of Philistines and so enquiring after the Lord for help. But the Lord would not answer Saul so he went to the witch of Endor to see if he could contact Samuel from the grave and have him ask God how he could gain victory over the Philistines.

Saul of course sinned greatly by inquiring of an evil spirit in place of the Lord. If Samuel had actually gone to heaven, Satan would certainly not have been given permission to bring him down in response to the incantations of a wicked woman. The figure that appeared to the witch had to be an impersonation of Samuel by a demon or even Satan himself. If Satan can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), he can certainly appear as the prophet Samuel. Note in verse 11 that Samuel was supposedly brought up from below. Heretical but popular theology says that righteous people such as Samuel would come down from heaven, but pagan ideas assume that the dead are below ground. This popular pagan idea about death had obviously crept into the beliefs of God’s people well before the time of Christ. See the story of the rich man and Lazarus earlier and John chapter 11 for example.

This witch of Endor was known for having a familiar spirit but what is a familiar spirit? It is certainly not an angel of God because of His strong condemnation against consulting with them. A familiar spirit is a demonic spirit (fallen angel) that is in league with Satan. This is what the woman at Endor had. She had communication with a demon that was quite capable of impersonating Samuel. It was not Samuel who appeared but a demon masquerading as Samuel. Note in verse 12 that the first thing the demon did was expose Saul’s masquerade to the witch. Note also that Saul did not actually see anything himself and had to ask what she saw. The witch replied that she saw gods ascending out of the earth and an old man covered with a mantle. What were these so called gods ascending out of the earth with Samuel? More demons! Saul assumed it was Samuel he communicated with based only on what the witch said. Since the witch said she saw Samuel coming up from out of the earth (not down from heaven), King Saul was putting his trust completely in a spirit medium, a necromancer, a witch, against the expressed will of God. So the conversation that followed was not between Saul and Samuel, but between Saul and a witch with a familiar (demonic) spirit.

So with all these facts in mind and understanding what the Word teaches about the state of the dead and the circumstances of Saul’s relationship with God at the time, we know that it could not have been Samuel raised from the dead but a fallen angel. The fact that Saul even attempted this séance with a witch or spirit medium was an abomination and rebellion against God of which Saul paid for with his life.

1 Chronicles 10:13-14 “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; 14 And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.”

The italicized words in verse 13 are added by the translator and are not in the original Hebrew text. So if we translate 1 Chronicles 10:13 verbatim, it actually reads as follows:

1 Chronicles 10:13 “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking of a familiar spirit, to enquire;”

So this verse also actually states that Saul communicated with a demonic spirit and not the prophet Samuel! One must not base their theology on what they think one scripture shows when several black and white scriptures clearly say otherwise.

Out of Body Experiences

Some will say, but what about all those out of body experiences you hear about? Firstly, when a persons heart stops beating they are not actually dead yet but their body is being derived of oxygen. It has been scientifically proven that when the body is deprived of oxygen that it can start to hallucinate and or have dreams which will probably be based on one’s own beliefs. In one experiment Dr. Ladislas Meduna administered 30% Carbon Dioxide and 70% Oxygen to a subject. Afterwards the subject stated, “I felt as though I was looking at myself, as though I was way out there in space…I felt sort of separated.” There have also been many other experiments done that have made the person feel as though they were having an out of body experience. One cannot base their theology on what one claims to have experienced. The word of God is very clear and is totally trustworthy. One cannot go by what they think they have seen or felt. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight:

Conclusion

Does it really matter if we know what happens when we die? Most definitely! The Bible says that people who misunderstand the subject of death will almost assuredly be deceived by the Devil on other issues including the final Battle of Armageddon. Revelation 16:14 says, “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” We must understand what the Bible really says happens when a person dies and what is the truth about death. David declares that man is not conscious in death. “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:4. Solomon has the same testimony, “The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” “Their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10.

Jesus said that He would go and prepare a place for us so when comes again we can be with Him where He is now. Obviously the dead cannot possibly be with Him there now according to the words of Jesus. John 14:2-3 says, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.Seances and lying demons 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” So this is what happens when we die from the Word of God and by no mans interpretation. This leaves only one conclusion to those who believe they have spoken to loved ones in séances etc. Since the dead sleep until the second coming of Christ, theses manifestations have to be demons masquerading as our loved ones to deceive us. As for Purgatory, it is found nowhere in the Bible and was manufactured by the Papacy as a means of extorting money from people through the dark ages. (No offence intended to the many wonderful people in the Roman Catholic Church) Truth is truth and this is the truth about what happens when we die. As there is no consciousness of time in sleep, the moment we close our eyes we will see Jesus coming in the clouds of Angels.

Select this link to continue the related topic of the Truth about Hell.

Summary using Scriptures

Here are just some of the Old Testament scriptures that could be quoted to prove what happens when we die. Download “what happens when we die” scripture summary as PDF.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 “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.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither you goest.”

Job 14:12 “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”

Psalms 13:3 “Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;”

If I was in heaven, I most definitely would be praising the Lord. How about you?

Psalms 115:17 “The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.”

Daniel 12:2 “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earthshall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Below are most of the New Testament scriptures that can be quoted that proves what happens when we die.

Luke 23:42-43 “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you comest into your kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, To day[,] shall you be with me in paradise.”

Punctuation, chapter and verses were added when the Bible was translated and the above verse has to be wrongly punctuated to be consistent with ALL other scripture. The following translation of the same verse done by “The Scriptures 1998, Copyright by the Institute for Scripture Research” has been correctly punctuated.

Luke 23:43 TS98 “And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you today, you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

The following three verses prove that Jesus had not yet gone to His Father in Paradise on the Sunday let alone on the Friday.

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.”

Revelation 2:7 “He that has 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.”

Revelation 22:1-3 “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of GOD and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the TREE OF LIFE, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:”

Here is further evidence that punctuation is not inspired.

Acts 19:12 KJV “So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”

In the above verse we see the diseases departed from the sick handkerchiefs or aprons. The comma should have been placed after the word “sick.” There are many such examples throughout the King James Bible as well as other translations.

John 5:28-29 “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the whichall that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

John 6:39 “And this is the Father's will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”

John 6:40 “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

One more time just for good measure.

John 6:54 “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

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. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

Martha understood this as well as she said to Jesus that if He had been there earlier that Lazarus would not have died.

John 11:24 “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;that where I am, there you may be also.”

Acts 2:29 “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.”

Acts 2:34 “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit you on my right hand,”

This is what Stephen said as he died when he was stoned. It was obviously well known in those days that death was referred to as a sleep.

Acts 7:60 “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 24:15 “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.“

1 Corinthians 15:6 “After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, butsome are fallen asleep.”

While still speaking of the resurrection of the dead, Paul shows quite clearly the truth of what happens when we die. Paul says in verses 17 and 18, that if Christ did not rise from the dead then all those that are fallen asleep (dead) have also totally perished. He also says that Christ was the firstfruits, that is, the first to be risen from the dead and afterwards, those at His second coming will be resurrected (verse 23).

1 Corinthians 15:12-23 “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.”

1 Corinthians 15:51-54 “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, 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 shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal 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.”

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 “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. 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.”

With a Bible in her hand, a friend of mine approached me one day with the question "Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?"  I thought for a moment then I responded that before I could answer the question, I needed to first clarify two things--number one, we are souls. You are a soul; I am a soul. Sometimes, we use the expression--the poor soul, he is one sorry soul, or oh, bless my soul, etc. We use this expression to denote a living entity.

In Leviticus 17:12 we read that God said to the children of Israel: "...No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you." And then in Revelation 16:3, we read that fishes in the sea are souls as well. Shocked? Let's read it: "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea."

The other item I wanted to clarify is this: We do not have a soul--one that leaves the body at death to go to heaven or hell whichever applies. The spirit or the breath of life that God placed in man's nostril at creation, that goes back to God.

We are not immortal; however, if we are faithful to the end, we will be changed from mortal to immortal at the Resurrection Morning when Jesus Christ returns to this earth and raises up the dead in Christ and those who are alive in Christ will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The music you're hearing says: "In the resurrection morning (not before), when the trump of God shall sound, we shall rise, hallelujah! we shall rise!" See 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Not completely satisfied with my answer, my friend continued: "You are saying that the soul is mortal. Then, you are telling me that God is mortal because in Isaiah 1:14 God used the word soul in reference to Himself. He said 'Your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.'" There are many texts in the Bible like this where God referred to Himself as a soul. Hebrews 10:38 says: "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."

I told my friend that God used the word soul in the text merely to denote Him as a living entity as I had already explained. This side of the Resurrection Morning, man, as a living entity, is mortal; God only is immortal.

She leafed through her Bible to find other texts that would prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that man has a soul and it is immortal. Waiting for her to find her texts, I added: "If the soul is immortal, like you said, then it cannot die. Correct?" She looked at me and responded in the affirmative. I then asked her how could she harmonize that with Ezekiel 18:4 which states: "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." She paused momentarily, then admitted that she couldn't harmonize it, at least not at the moment, but she would do more research on it. That's one thing I like about my friend. She was like the Bereans, more noble than those in Thessalonica, because they searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

I think this whole point would be clarified by the following paragraphs taken from Revelation Seminars that I attended sometime back. They explain the meaning of the spirit, breath, and soul, and a fitting illustration is presented.

Job 27:3 points out that the 'spirit' and the 'breath' are the same. Job further states that this spirit or breath is in his nostrils. Please remember that it was the 'breath' that God placed in Adam's nostrils at creation, Genesis 2:7. So the spirit that returns to God when a person dies is the breath of life. Keep in mind that the spirit, or breath, returns to God, at death, but not the disembodied soul.  Never, in the Bible, is the disembodied soul said to return to God at death.

The word 'breath', here, is not referring to one's common breathing, but breath as the 'divine spark of life'. It is this breath or 'divine spark of life' that returns back to God at death. Only God has the power to create life and He retains that power exclusively.

At creation, two things combine to make a soul: body and breath. Until these two things combine, a soul does not exist. At death, these two things (body and breath) separate. The body returns to dust and the breath returns to God, and once again, the soul no longer exists. The soul goes nowhere at death. It simply ceases to be.

A simple illustration may help clarify this point. Suppose that I combine lumber and nails and make a box: lumber plus nails equals box. Then suppose that I no longer want the box so I pull the nails, and put them in a pile, and stack the lumber in another place. What happens to the box? Where does it go? It goes nowhere. It simply ceases to be. The box is a combination of two things. There is no such thing as a box unless lumber and nails are combined to make it. The nails and lumber still exist but there is no box until the two are joined together. So with the soul: the breath exists and the body returns to dust, but the soul does not exist unless the two are combined.

Death is not life in heaven, hell, limbo or purgatory. It is not life of any kind, anywhere. In death, the soul does not live, the spirit does not live. No shadowy substance of any kind lives. It is the exact opposite of life--death.

The words 'soul' and 'spirit' are used over 1600 times in the Bible, but not one time are either given any life or personality or wisdom or knowledge when separated from the body.


~~~


You asked "What about the thief on the cross? Didn't Jesus tell him that he will be in Paradise that same day with Jesus? Doesn't that substantiate this teaching?" Let's look those texts up. They're found in Luke, Chapter 23:42, 43 (Amplified version): "Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! And He answered him, Truly, I tell you, today you shalt be with Me in Paradise."  Please make a mental note that the comma above (in yellow and underlined) was placed after the word 'you'. This, unequivocably, gives the meaning that 'Today, Jesus and the thief will be in Paradise.'

Please don't lose me here now. Three days after Jesus hung on the cross and promised the thief that he would be with Him in Paradise, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to embalm His body, but the body wasn't in the tomb for Jesus was already raised from the dead. As Mary was weeping by the empty sepulchre, she turned back and saw Jesus standing there. Thinking that it was the gardener, she asked him where he put the body of Jesus. Then Jesus said: "Mary" and Mary immediately recognized that voice. She said "Rabboni".

I want you to notice verse 17 of John, Chapter 20: "Jesus said 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." Three days after Jesus had promised the thief that He would be with Him in Paradise that very day, He told Mary not to touch Him for He had not yet ascended to Heaven. It was forty days later that Jesus ascended to Heaven.

So, what's going on? Here we have apparent contradictory statements. Does the Bible contradict its own teachings? Can we depend on the Bible? Yes, we can depend on the Bible, and, no, the Bible doesn't contradict itself. Then how do we harmonize this apparent contradiction?

In the original Greek manuscripts of the Bible, punctuations were not provided. The translators, who were intelligent men but not inspired, provided these. A misplaced comma, substantiated the prevalent, yet erroneous, teaching of the times; but it gave the statement an incorrect meaning, a meaning that doesn't harmonize with a preponderance of texts about the subject. I'm going to copy Luke 23:42, 43 and place the comma where it's supposed to be--after the word 'today'. This simple change modifies the meaning totally. Watch. Luke 23:42, 43: "Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! And He answered him, Truly, I tell you today, you shalt be with Me in Paradise."

What Jesus told the thief was: "Truly, I tell you today...today when you and I are hanging on the cross dying, today, when we are hurting and in great pain, when we are thirsty and hot from the blazing sun, yes, today, when we are humiliated, forsaken and alone--you will be with me in Paradise. Paradise is heaven, and the thief will go to heaven in the future as corroborated and promised by Jesus in John 14:1-3.

John 14:1-3 say: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Clearly, this text teaches that God's people will go to Paradise at the second coming of Christ which is future--future for us and future for the thief who hung and died on the cross 2000 years ago. Placing the comma in the correct place harmonizes Luke 23:42,43 with other texts on the subject. The dead in Christ shall rise in that Great Resurrection Morning at Christ's Second Coming.

But, wait, what about the rich man and Lazarus? Doesn't that parable teach that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell? I'm glad you asked. I think this parable of Jesus is the most misunderstood parable in all the Bible, probably the one responsible for all this confusion about the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Jesus didn't intend it to be that way however.

A parable is a story to illustrate a point. It may be a true story or simply a fabricated illustration as was the case with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Parables cannot always be taken literally. See Judges 9:8-15. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) cannot be accepted literally because: (1) Abraham's bosom is NOT the home of the saved. Heb 11:10,16. Abraham's bosom is a FIGURATIVE representation of heaven. The representation of hell is also FIGURTIVE.  BOTH MUST BE LITERAL OR BOTH FIGURATIVE. (2) Those in heaven will NOT be able to talk with those in hell. Isaiah 65:17 says the former things will not even be remembered, and Rev 21:4 says the former things are passed away, which includes hell. (3) The Bible indicates that the dead, (good and bad), are in their graves, Job 17:13; Job 21:30-32; and that they will hear Jesus' voice FROM THEIR GRAVES, John 5:28,29, and not from Heaven or hell. (4) The Bible teaches that men will receive their reward at the second coming, and not at death, Rev 22:11,12; Matt 16:27. (5) It would make Jesus contradict Himself, Matt 13:38-42; Matt 16:27.

In the book Christ's Object Lessons, Chapter 21, we find the parable of the rich man and Lazarus beautifully explained. In giving this parable, Jesus was attempting to inculcate in the minds of His hearers precious truths through their preconceived notions and erroneous opinions about the hereafter. Here's Chapter 21:

"In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Christ shows that in this life men decide their eternal destiny. During probationary time the grace of God is offered to every soul. But if men waste their opportunities in self-pleasing, they cut themselves off from everlasting life. No afterprobation will be granted them. By their own choice they have fixed an impassable gulf between them and their God.

"This parable draws a contrast between the rich who have not made God their dependence, and the poor who have made God their dependence. Christ shows that the time is coming when the position of the two classes will be reversed. Those who are poor in this world's goods, yet who trust in God and are patient in suffering, will one day be exalted above those who now hold the highest positions the world can give but who have not surrendered their life to God.

"The rich man did not belong to the class represented by the unjust judge, who openly declared his disregard for God and man. He claimed to be a son of Abraham. He did not treat the beggar with violence or require him to go away because the sight of him was disagreeable. If the poor, loathsome specimen of humanity could be comforted by beholding him as he entered his gates, the rich man was willing that he should remain. But he was selfishly indifferent to the needs of his suffering brother.

"There were then no hospitals in which the sick might be cared for. The suffering and needy were brought to the notice of those to whom the Lord had entrusted wealth, that they might receive help and sympathy. Thus it was with the beggar and the rich man. Lazarus was in great need of help; for he was without friends, home, money, or food. Yet he was allowed to remain in this condition day after day, while the wealthy nobleman had every want supplied. The one who was abundantly able to relieve the sufferings of his fellow creature, lived to himself, as many live today.

"There are today close beside us many who are hungry, naked, and homeless. A neglect to impart of our means to these needy, suffering ones places upon us a burden of guilt which we shall one day fear to meet. All covetousness is condemned as idolatry. All selfish indulgence is an offense in God's sight.

"God had made the rich man a steward of His means, and it was his duty to attend to just such cases as that of the beggar. The command had been given, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might' (Deut. 6:5); and 'thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself' (Lev. 19:18). The rich man was a Jew, and he was acquainted with the command of God. But he forgot that he was accountable for the use of his entrusted means and capabilities. The Lord's blessings rested upon him abundantly, but he employed them selfishly, to honor himself, not his Maker. In proportion to his abundance was his obligation to use his gifts for the uplifting of humanity. This was the Lord's command, but the rich man had no thought of his obligation to God. He lent money, and took interest for what he loaned; but he returned no interest for what God had lent him. He had knowledge and talents, but did not improve them. Forgetful of his accountability to God, he devoted all his powers to pleasure. Everything with which he was surrounded, his round of amusements, the praise and flattery of his friends, ministered to his selfish enjoyment. So engrossed was he in the society of his friends that he lost all sense of his responsibility to co-operate with God in His ministry of mercy. He had opportunity to understand the word of God, and to practice its teachings; but the pleasure-loving society he chose so occupied his time that he forgot the God of eternity.

"The time came when a change took place in the condition of the two men. The poor man had suffered day by day, but he had patiently and quietly endured. In the course of time he died and was buried. There was no one to mourn for him; but by his patience in suffering he had witnessed for Christ, he had endured the test of his faith, and at his death he is represented as being carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.

"Lazarus represents the suffering poor who believe in Christ. When the trumpet sounds and all that are in the graves hear Christ's voice and come forth, they will receive their reward; for their faith in God was not a mere theory, but a reality. '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. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'

"In this parable Christ was meeting the people on their own ground. The doctrine of a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection was held by many of those who were listening to Christ's words. The Saviour knew of their ideas, and He framed His parable so as to inculcate important truths through these preconceived opinions. He held up before His hearers a mirror wherein they might see themselves in their true relation to God. He used the prevailing opinion to convey the idea He wished to make prominent to all--that no man is valued for his possessions; for all he has belongs to him only as lent by the Lord. A misuse of these gifts will place him below the poorest and most afflicted man who loves God and trusts in Him.

"Christ desires His hearers to understand that it is impossible for men to secure the salvation of the soul after death. 'Son,' Abraham is represented as answering, 'remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you can not; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.' Thus Christ represented the hopelessness of looking for a second probation. This life is the only time given to man in which to prepare for eternity.

"The rich man had not abandoned the idea that he was a child of Abraham, and in his distress he is represented as calling upon him for aid. 'Father Abraham,' he prayed, 'have mercy on me.' He did not pray to God, but to Abraham. Thus he showed that he placed Abraham above God, and that he relied on his relationship to Abraham for salvation. The thief on the cross offered his prayer to Christ. 'Remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom,' he said. (Luke 23:42.) And at once the response came, Verily I say unto thee today (as I hang on the cross in humiliation and suffering), thou shalt be with Me in Paradise. But the rich man prayed to Abraham, and his petition was not granted. Christ alone is exalted to be 'a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.' Acts 5:31. 'Neither is there salvation in any other.' Acts 4:12.

"The rich man had spent his life in self-pleasing, and too late he saw that he had made no provision for eternity. He realized his folly, and thought of his brothers, who would go on as he had gone, living to please themselves. Then he made the request, 'I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him Lazarus to my father's house; for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' But 'Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.'

"When the rich man solicited additional evidence for his brothers, he was plainly told that should this evidence be given, they would not be persuaded. His request cast a reflection on God. It was as if the rich man had said, If you had more thoroughly warned me, I should not now be here. Abraham in his answer to this request is represented as saying, Your brothers have been sufficiently warned. Light has been given them, but they would not see; truth has been presented to them, but they would not hear.

"'If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.' These words were proved true in the history of the Jewish nation. Christ's last and crowning miracle was the raising of Lazarus of Bethany, after he had been dead four days. The Jews were given this wonderful evidence of the Saviour's divinity, but they rejected it. Lazarus rose from the dead and bore his testimony before them, but they hardened their hearts against all evidence, and even sought to take his life. (John 12:9-11.)

"The law and the prophets are God's appointed agencies for the salvation of men. Christ said, Let them give heed to these evidences. If they do not listen to the voice of God in His word, the testimony of a witness raised from the dead would not be heeded.

"Those who heed Moses and the prophets will require no greater light than God has given; but if men reject the light, and fail to appreciate the opportunities granted them, they would not hear if one from the dead should come to them with a message. They would not be convinced even by this evidence; for those who reject the law and the prophets so harden their hearts that they will reject all light.

"The conversation between Abraham and the once-rich man is figurative. The lesson to be gathered from it is that every man is given sufficient light for the discharge of the duties required of him. Man's responsibilities are proportionate to his opportunities and privileges. God gives to every one sufficient light and grace to do the work He has given him to do. If man fails to do that which a little light shows to be his duty, greater light would only reveal unfaithfulness, neglect to improve the blessings given. 'He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.' Luke 16:10. Those who refuse to be enlightened by Moses and the prophets and ask for some wonderful miracle to be performed would not be convinced if their wish were granted.

"The parable of the rich man and Lazarus shows how the two classes represented by these men are estimated in the unseen world. There is no sin in being rich if riches are not acquired by injustice. A rich man is not condemned for having riches, but condemnation rests upon him if the means entrusted to him is spent in selfishness. Far better might he lay up his money beside the throne of God, by using it to do good. Death cannot make any man poor who thus devotes himself to seeking eternal riches. But the man who hoards his treasure for self can not take any of it to heaven. He has proved himself to be an unfaithful steward. During his lifetime he had his good things, but he was forgetful of his obligation to God. He failed of securing the heavenly treasure.

"The rich man who had so many privileges is represented to us as one who should have cultivated his gifts, so that his works should reach to the great beyond, carrying with them improved spiritual advantages. It is the purpose of redemption, not only to blot out sin, but to give back to man those spiritual gifts lost because of sin's dwarfing power. Money cannot be carried into the next life; it is not needed there; but the good deeds done in winning souls to Christ are carried to the heavenly courts. But those who selfishly spend the Lord's gifts on themselves, leaving their needy fellow creatures without aid and doing nothing to advance God's work in the world, dishonor their Maker. Robbery of God is written opposite their names in the books of heaven.

"The rich man had all that money could procure, but he did not possess the riches that would have kept his account right with God. He had lived as if all that he possessed were his own. He had neglected the call of God and the claims of the suffering poor. But at length there comes a call which he cannot neglect. By a power which he cannot question or resist he is commanded to quit the premises of which he is no longer steward. The once-rich man is reduced to hopeless poverty. The robe of Christ's righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven, can never cover him. He who once wore the richest purple, the finest linen, is reduced to nakedness. His probation is ended. He brought nothing into the world, and he can take nothing out of it.

"Christ lifted the curtain and presented this picture before priests and rulers, scribes and Pharisees. Look at it, you who are rich in this world's goods and are not rich toward God. Will you not contemplate this scene? That which is highly esteemed among men is abhorrent in the sight of God. Christ asks, '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.

"When Christ gave the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, there were many in the Jewish nation in the pitiable condition of the rich man, using the Lord's goods for selfish gratification, preparing themselves to hear the sentence, 'Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.' Dan. 5:27. The rich man was favored with every temporal and spiritual blessing, but he refused to cooperate with God in the use of these blessings. Thus it was with the Jewish nation. The Lord had made the Jews the depositaries of sacred truth. He had appointed them stewards of His grace. He had given them every spiritual and temporal advantage, and He called upon them to impart these blessings. Special instruction had been given them in regard to their treatment of their brethren who had fallen into decay, of the stranger within their gates, and of the poor among them. They were not to seek to gain everything for their own advantage, but were to remember those in need and share with them. And God promised to bless them in accordance with their deeds of love and mercy. But like the rich man, they put forth no helping hand to relieve the temporal or spiritual necessities of suffering humanity. Filled with pride, they regarded themselves as the chosen and favored people of God; yet they did not serve or worship God. They put their dependence in the fact that they were children of Abraham. 'We be Abraham's seed,' they said proudly. (John 8:33.) When the crisis came, it was revealed that they had divorced themselves from God, and had placed their trust in Abraham, as if he were God.

"Christ longed to let light shine into the darkened minds of the Jewish people. He said to them, 'If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God. This did not Abraham.' John 8:39, 40.

"Christ recognized no virtue in lineage. He taught that spiritual connection supersedes all natural connection. The Jews claimed to have descended from Abraham; but by failing to do the works of Abraham, they proved that they were not his true children. Only those who prove themselves to be spiritually in harmony with Abraham by obeying the voice of God, are reckoned as of true descent. Although the beggar belonged to the class looked upon by men as inferior, Christ recognized him as one whom Abraham would take into the very closest friendship.

"The rich man though surrounded with all the luxuries of life was so ignorant that he put Abraham where God should have been. If he had appreciated his exalted privileges and had allowed God's Spirit to mold his mind and heart, he would have had an altogether different position. So with the nation he represented. If they had responded to the divine call, their future would have been wholly different. They would have shown true spiritual discernment. They had means which God would have increased, making it sufficient to bless and enlighten the whole world. But they had so far separated from the Lord's arrangement that their whole life was perverted. They failed to use their gifts as God's stewards in accordance with truth and righteousness. Eternity was not brought into their reckoning, and the result of their unfaithfulness was ruin to the whole nation.

"Christ knew that at the destruction of Jerusalem the Jews would remember His warning. And it was so. When calamity came upon Jerusalem, when starvation and suffering of every kind came upon the people, they remembered these words of Christ and understood the parable. They had brought their suffering upon themselves by their neglect to let their God-given light shine forth to the world.

"The closing scenes of this earth's history are portrayed in the closing of the rich man's history. The rich man claimed to be a son of Abraham, but he was separated from Abraham by an impassable gulf--a character wrongly developed. Abraham served God, following His word in faith and obedience. But the rich man was unmindful of God and of the needs of suffering humanity. The great gulf fixed between him and Abraham was the gulf of disobedience. There are many today who are following the same course. Though church members, they are unconverted. They may take part in the church service, they may chant the psalm, 'As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God' (Ps. 42:1); but they testify to a falsehood. They are no more righteous in God's sight than is the veriest sinner. The soul that longs after the excitement of worldly pleasure, the mind that is full of love for display, cannot serve God. Like the rich man in the parable, such a one has no inclination to war against the lust of the flesh. He longs to indulge appetite. He chooses the atmosphere of sin. He is suddenly snatched away by death, and he goes down to the grave with the character formed during his lifetime in copartnership with Satanic agencies. In the grave he has no power to choose anything, be it good or evil; for in the day when a man dies, his thoughts perish. (Ps. 146:4; Eccl. 9:5, 6.)

"When the voice of God awakes the dead, he will come from the grave with the same appetites and passions, the same likes and dislikes, that he cherished when living. God works no miracle to re-create a man who would not be re-created when he was granted every opportunity and provided with every facility. During his lifetime he took no delight in God, nor found pleasure in His service. His character is not in harmony with God, and he could not be happy in the heavenly family.

"Today there is a class in our world who are self-righteous. They are not gluttons, they are not drunkards, they are not infidels; but they desire to live for themselves, not for God. He is not in their thoughts; therefore they are classed with unbelievers. Were it possible for them to enter the gates of the city of God, they could have no right to the tree of life, for when God's commandments were laid before them with all their binding claims they said, No. They have not served God here; therefore they would not serve Him hereafter. They could not live in His presence, and they would feel that any place was preferable to heaven.

"To learn of Christ means to receive His grace, which is His character. But those who do not appreciate and utilize the precious opportunities and sacred influences granted them on earth, are not fitted to take part in the pure devotion of heaven. Their characters are not molded according to the divine similitude. By their own neglect they have formed a chasm which nothing can bridge. Between them and the righteous there is a great gulf fixed."



~~~


Hallelujah! We Shall Rise

In the resurrection morning,
When the trump of God shall sound,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!
Then the saints will come rejoicing
And no tears will e'er be found,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise.

Refrain 
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!
Amen! We shall rise! Hallelujah!
In the resurrection morning,
When death's prison bars are broken,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! We shall rise.

In the resurrection morning,
What a meeting it will be,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!
When our fathers and our mothers,
And our loved ones we shall see,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!

In the resurrection morning,
Blessed thought it is to me,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!
I shall see my blessed Savior,
Who so freely died for me,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!

In the resurrection morning,
We shall meet Him in the air,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!
And be carried up to glory,
To our home so bright and fair,
We shall rise, Hallelujah! we shall rise!

--J. E. Thomas
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