Skip to comments.What Happens After Death?
Posted on 06/11/2006 4:21:52 PM PDT by DouglasKC
A drunken driver loses control of his car and careens headfirst into a van, killing a family. A mother dies of breast cancer, leaving confused children and a grieving husband. An infant boy succumbs to a birth defect. A gentle, elderly lady dies quietly in her sleep. A desperate, depressed teenager commits suicide.
Maybe death would be different if it were predictable or consistent. But death can be so capricious. It hardly seems fair.
To us life is precious. But death is everywhere! We don't want to die. We don't want to see our loved ones die.
Self-preservation is a powerful instinct. We design special diets and exercise programs to keep us young and fit. Through medical science we seek to isolate the gene that makes us age, hoping somehow to eliminate death. A few have even arranged for their bodies to be preserved cryogenically in the hope that they can be brought back to life when the cure for what killed them is finally discovered.
Yet, for all our efforts, hopes and wishes, death is the one thing in life that remains certain. Whether through old age, illness, accident or violence, whether we are rich, poor, male or female, no matter if we're good or bad, all of us regardless of race or creed-die.
Scientists cannot tell us what happens after death. Too many aspects of life itself are intangible-too elusive to measure and record. Philosophers disagree on death and the afterlife.
Religions also disagree. Traditional Christian denominations generally teach that the souls of the dead live on in a place or condition of heaven or hell. Many non-Christians believe in the transmigration or reincarnation of souls at death. Still others believe the dead will never live again, that this life is all there is.
What really happens at death? Why do we even have to die? Can we know if there is life beyond the grave? Where can we go for meaningful, believable answers?
Only the Creator of life can reveal its purpose and the state of the dead. By looking into the Word of God for answers to our questions about death, we can learn a great deal about both life and death.
Join us now for a look at what God, our Creator, says about life and death in His inspired Word, the Bible. You may be both surprised and challenged by what you learn.
|What Happens After Death?|
|The Wondrous Gift of Life|
|The Mystery of Death|
|Does the Bible Teach That We Have an Immortal Soul?|
|The History of the Immortal-soul Teaching|
|What About Reported Life-after-death Experiences?|
|God's Plan of Redemption|
|The Promise of Life After Death|
|Pre-Christian Belief Concerning Heaven|
|Words of Encouragement|
|Did the Apostle Paul Expect to Go to Heaven?|
|Are There Saved Human Beings in Heaven?|
|Those Who Died Without Knowing Jesus Christ|
|The Biblical View of 'Hell'|
|Will the Wicked Be Tormented Forever?|
|Are the Wicked Punished in an Ever-burning Hell?|
|Are Some Tortured Forever in a Lake of Fire?|
|Does the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man Prove Some Will Suffer in Hell?|
|Steps in Dealing With Grief|
|How Can We Help Those Who Are Grieving?|
|Everlasting Life Conquers Death|
Bump for a later read.
What happens when you die? Well, you, um, die hoping you get to be in the first resurrection.
Some of us get promoted, some begin their torment.
What Happens After Death?
I'm pretty sure though, that just before kicking off.....
..........people crap their pants.
That's what Mattt and Trey told me................
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
"If I knew God I'd be Him."
The writer has a problem with soul annhilation in his definition of hell. Rev.19:20 says that the antichrist and false prophet are thrown in the lake of fire and brimstone. In Rev. 20:10 it says after a thousand years Satan is thrown in the same place and the antichrist and false prophet are still alive and suffering.
The original Greek does not say that....in fact the word "are" has been added.
If one were to believe in the "Pagan concept" of soul immortality I can see where "are" would be a better translation. I believe the "Weymouth" translation renders it correctly by saying "were".....or had been. Nevertheless....the word "are" (or "were") in the original manuscripts does not appear.
I have read many of your posts and respect your intellect, but you of course realize that Satan is a "Spirit being". His torment will go on forever. On the other hand, humans thrown into the Lake of Fire will have a different kind of torment. That would be eternal separation from God. This is also called the second death [Rev. 20:14]. The dead are aware of nothing [Ecclesiastes 9:5].
Let me ask you a question. A man and a woman have children who turn out to be incorrigible sinners and unrepentant. The man and his wife, both God fearing and just, have failed in their efforts to convince their offspring of the error of their ways and you believe that a merciful God would allow these parents to eternally witness their children burning in a "Hellfire"? I think a merciful God, knowing that these children would be forever unrepentant, would destroy them in the Lake of Fire along with the Beast and False Prophet. I don't think a merciful God would allow these parents eternal anguish.
I can appreciate your feelings about this however Rev. 21:4 says that sort of sentimentality will be no more. Believing parents, just like the believing martyrs, will understand the just and righteous judgments of God and worship Him for it. Satan is a spirit being and the antichrist and false prophet are humans. That does not take away from the clear and explicit statement that they, not just Satan, will endure torment for ever and ever. Rev. 20:15 says that all those not found in the book of life will suffer the same fate; those are humans also.
Indeed, the immortality of the soul does make for some creative scriptural interpretation. How do you square 2 resurrections and judgement with going to heaven right when you die? Jesus was/is our example. He died and was resurrected. If when He died, His soul ascended, then why did he get resurrected in the exact same body with the same wounds and ask for some grub? And, if souls are immortal, then death is irrelevant and the following scriptures are fables, and Jesus is a liar:
Joh 11:11 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. Joh 11:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Joh 11:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Joh 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Ecc 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.
Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. Mat 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, Mat 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Mat 22:33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
Rev 20:6 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.
Revelation 21:4 indeed says that the old order of things has passed.....except, I guess, in your ever burning "Hellfire".
The wicked will experience eternal death because death is the most merciful fate a loving God could impose on those who insist on breaking his law and reaping the resulting unhappiness. They will be put out of their misery and not make others miserable either. [Revelation 21:8][Psalm 37:20] [Romans 6:23]
"I walked down a long corridor, and into a room...and they had me take a number..."
"An examination of all the words translated "hell" shows that the traditional view of an ever-burning place of torment where the wicked are punished for eternity cannot be found in the Bible."
Mark chapter 9, 42 and 43:
"And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.
How are you going to read it without including the 'are'...Doesn't make a bit of sense without it...
"The wicked will experience eternal death because death is the most merciful fate a loving God could impose"
What you are not taking into consideration is that in the judgment of those whose names are not found in the book of life, God is not acting as a "merciful, loving God" but as a just and righteous judge who is meeting out the penalty just as He warned He would. In Rev. 16:17 the fateful phrase "it is done" ends His grace and mercy for those who haven't trusted Christ for salvation. Now they get what they deserve just as those who have trusted Christ get what they don't deserve. Both get eternal life, just as they wanted.
Gehenna was a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem. This was in the same "Valley of Hinnom" where the idolizing Israelites threw their children into the "Fires of Molech" in Old Testament times. During the first century this valley still had ever burning fires as it was used for refuse and even dead bodies of indigents and criminals were cast in there to be rid of them.
Gehenna....... A mis translation into the word "Hell" has caused a lot of confusion over the years.
Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible. John 3:16. What does the word "perish" mean to you?
As I read it we receive either life or...... death.
I can just as easily insert the word "were" instead of "are" because neither appear in the Greek. If you use the word "were" it now makes more sense since we both know that flesh and blood being thrown into a "Lake of Fire" would be consumed and burned up.
[John 3:16] The choice is still "life or death".
And I suppose that, conversely, "hand" refers to help around the ranch.
Why is this a difficult concept for you? The Lord is saying, "If you have a hand or foot that causes you to sin, watch out!" If they are still attached you might be thrown into the Gehenna fire with all of the other criminal refuse. If you cut them off and throw them in....maybe the rest of your body will escape, entering the Kingdom of God maimed and crippled.....but entering nevertheless.
The fires of Hell are eternal.
You can, of course, provide scripture to support this position. I shall eagerly await its arrival.
However, if you're right, then you'll need to produce for me evidence of an actual "worm that does not die".
The only thing you have posted as evidence so far is [Mark 9:42-43] in post #20. I refuted that argument (post #23) that the word "Gehenna" that Jesus spoke was in no way the "Hell" that your church has instilled in your mind.
"Hell" is a mistranslation for the words "Gehenna"/garbage dump; "Tartarus"/gloomy dungeon of sinning Angels; and of course good old "Hades"/earthly grave. The only fiery end in scripture is the "Lake of Fire" [Revelation 20:14], the second death.
Some organizations have used the terror of an ever burning (unscriptural) hell to keep their folks in line. This would include the Protestants as well. It is false teaching and cannot be supported by any scripture. It has been perpetuated by an ignorant clergy with no thought for truth.
If you continue to throw dead bodies in a trash heap some may not burn immediately.....others not at all. Maggots (worms) will thrive....also continually. This was the "Gehenna" of the first century that Our Lord spoke of.
C'mon Diego, quit beating around the bush. Tell us what you really think. :)
Let's try a little experiment using natural language. Somehow you hear a sermon of Jesus today and He says:
"And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into A BURNING GARBAGE DUMP, into unquenchable fire: Where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished."
(Mark 9:42, 43)
Hmmmmm, it would seem if God the Son Himself says "unquenchable fire" and a "worm that dieth not" it modifies His use of the word "BURNING GARBAGE DUMP." Clearly it is an analogy, easily understandable by those of the day--as a place of eternal punishment (since those garbage fires were forever burning)...for offending an eternally righteous Being.
This is what 99% of Christians have understood from this (and various other) words of Jesus for 2000 years. The soldier out of step is the "Church of God," not orthodox Christianity. There are very good reasons why that denomination is so tiny.
I'll take the words of Jesus over the arrogance of a rebellious sect any time.
Joh 5:29 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.
My Bible software uses "damnation" for the KJV, but "condemnation", "judgment", and "accusation" are synonyms. But what is the opposite of life? Is it life with an eternal torment clause or eternal not-life or death?
I'll take the words of Jesus over the arrogance of a rebellious sect any time.
Somehow, I heard James Earl Jones in my head when I read that. I wonder why?
This is your answer for that pearl of wisdom Notice it is the many who are mis lead....not the few.
The Church of God was always portrayed in scripture [ Luke 12:32 ] as anything but a large, wealthy, politically influenced, worldly organization.
As in my response to reductio in post #27.....why is it hard for you to believe the Lord was speaking here, using an analogy. In your vision of an eternal hellfire and little fork tailed devils running around, how would it be a worm would survive? Would they have received eternal life also as you think the wicked are to receive?....contrary to all scripture. My scriptures say the wicked will receive death. [Rev. 21:8][Psalm 37:20][Romans 6:23] You can spin it until the cows come home but you cannot show me any scripture that says the wicked will live forever in an eternal hell fire. It is poppycock..... and most thinking adults should realize this.
Relishing and reality are two very different things. When Timothy McVeigh was excuted I, and I'm sure most of FR, didn't relish it, but we certainly did acknowledge that justice was done--and justice in itself is a good thing.
I for one cannot imagine what heaven is like...and the bible just gives us hints--telling us about the gates, the foundations and the streets, but that is it. We apparently don't have the capacity to take it all (or even some) in right now. We will though, see the unbelieveable righteousness of God, and, the totally just judgements from His hand...therefore the knowledge of hell itself will be right--as all will bend the knee to Christ.
No Christian "relishes" an idea hell (and Jesus Himself seemed to shudder at His own words), even though it surely seems Hitler, Stalin and Mao belong there...and that may well be exactly what they wanted...to their eternal pain. I can't imagine seeing anyone but the worst in such a situation though and agreeing (now) with the justice of it, but the reason I cannot, is my mind is darkened about the incredible goodness of God. Only when we understand the righteousness of God can we really understand the horror of sin (and therefore the justice of its punishment)...and today we all see in a glass darkly. Then we shall see face to face.
(by the way, as an evangelical conservative Anglican I regard (most) C of God folk as my Christian brethren, even if they can't return the favor.)
Again, it is the considered opinion now, and through all of history that scripture completely contradicts your (rare) view. When the direct quotes of Jesus are given, you just talk around the obvious adult meaning understood in normal language. No serious scholar taught, (nor does scripture) the charicature of "fork tailed devils" that is your attempt to make orthodoxy look absurd, they only read the natural meaning of exactly what Jesus said.
The ancient creeds (Apostles and Nicene) ALL acknowlege the physical resurrection of ALL the dead, NOT just Christians. Christians' bodies rise to eternal life, and non-Christians rise to eternal punishment. It is the C of God that has left orthodoxy, not visa versa.
If I were part of a church in which on a basic issue differed from 99% of Christians now, and throughout history, I would be defensive too.
Ancient Christian orthodox doctrine is not spin, it is the considered judgement of (many, many) devout scholars over the centuries on exactly what the Bible teaches.
But hey, I don't condemn all denominations but my own. Do you?
I understand your thinking on this and it does represent the thinking of most of the "Mainstream Church". I am not trying to be defensive, but you have to admit most folks would reply that "fork tailed devils" would be the order of the day for "their" view of hell.
If as you say, all the dead will be resurrected....where are those wicked dead right now? Are they asleep in their graves.....or are they receiving a preview of hell fire and damnation?
I am not a member of any church and I don't condemn anyone.
Just because a lot of people do something, that doesn't make it right. How many people voted for Gore? How many people voted for JohnvietnamKerry?
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
You see, I used to believe as you; that souls are immortal and that the resurrection was either irrelevant or only relevant for some people to come at a later date. Then I read the Bible.
(by the way, as an evangelical conservative Anglican I regard (most) C of God folk as my Christian brethren, even if they can't return the favor.)
Dude, you tore into the Church of God just a minute ago and now you consider them brothers? Sheesh, what kind of dysfunctional family do you come from? Personally, I try my hardest not to judge people, but to identify evil and distance myself from that. That being said, I was beaming the day Zarkie got his. But I know that he sleeps now, and he may even have a chance to repent, depending on how you read the second resurrection. Here is another text you might want to meditate on:
Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Unquenchable: impossible to quench) "unquenchable thirst"
Quench: snuff out, blow out, extinguish, put out, as of fires, flames, or lights; "Too big to be extinguished at once, the forest fires at best could be contained"; "quench the flames"; "snuff out the candles"
Just because something is unquenchable doesn't mean that its eternal. A forest fire can't be quenched. It can only be controlled and the fuel removed until it burns itself out.
Luk 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Luk 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Mal 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and 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.
Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
It can't be much clearer. The fate of the wicked is to be burned up, because:
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Death versus eternal life. Not eternal life versus eternal life.
It's not a very good idea to try to reason your way to correct theology based on an emotional appeal.
The blessed in heaven see things as God sees them. They will have the same sorrow at seeing damned souls in hell that God has. However, that sorrow is tempered by the certain knowledge that those souls freely chose their fate, and God simply respected their choice.
Isaiah 1:18.....sorry old friend, I couldn't resist!
The blessed in heaven see things as God sees them.
Who are these folks...."blessed in heaven"?
They will have the same sorrow at seeing damned souls in hell that God has. However, that sorrow is tempered by the certain knowledge that those souls freely chose their fate, and God simply respected their choice.
I cannot find reference to this in my Bible. I know this is a tradition of your Church....and I respect you for your beliefs....but they are not mine.
Get me my worm. The one that doesn't die, that is. Don't bother bubble-wrapping it, because clearly, it won't die.
Now until I have that worm, I'm going to be the consistent one, see, and figure that Christ was talking past a mere burning garbage dump. Otherwise, see, I'm going to figure you owe me one worm-that-does-not-die.
This is simple, really. If Hell is a burning garbage dump, because that was what you say is the literal translation, I'm going to be the proud owner of a literal worm-that-does-not die, which you will be sending me shortly.
Isa 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
"Carcasses" are dead bodies, not alive or eternally alive bodies. Now if you think that somehow we have "worms" and that they eternally alive, then Albert Barnes Notes on the bible says:
For their worm shall not die - This image is evidently taken from the condition of unburied bodies, and especially on a battlefield. The Hebrew word (ÃÂºÃÂ¥ÃÂ¬ÃÂ² tôlâ‛) properly refers to the worms which are generated in such corrupting bodies (see Exo_16:20; the notes at Isa_14:11). It is sometimes applied to the worm from which the crimson or deep scarlet color was obtained (the notes at Isa_1:18); but it more properly denotes that which is produced in putrid substances. This entire passage is applied by the Saviour to future punishment; and is the fearful image which he employs to denote the final suffering of the wicked in hell.
Your kids fight over your stuff.
I know this question wasn't addressed to me. However, I just can't refrain from asking. Do you accept them all, and if so, how could you possible accept positions which contradict each other?
You pile your friends up in a minivan, and let's posit that you have asked them all which way it is to Chicago, and let's further posit that find that you have seven different friends telling you that Chicago is in seven different directions, one opinion for each friend. You are saying that that's all well and good, that you'd listen to them all, and still get to Chicago?
Very enlightening. I like the ideas of a more merciful God and Scripture seems to support it. What about animals?
I plan to meditate on this some. I always took the book of Revelation a bit differently - did not think about the Judgement "Process", but more like, if you weren't saved during your natural life, you weren't gonna be in the Book of Life and were basically hosed. I like the second chance option - it also explains the mercy of God towards childrena and aborted babies - as well as those who were basically decent people but their churches (like Catholic for instance) never taught the salvation doctrine explicitly. Again - will have to study this some more. Thanks for the post!
Christ meant that anything thrown into this valley (Gehenna) would completely burn up before the fire could burn itself out. This condition would best be described as "unquenchable".(See post #41) Evidently during the millennium this fire will be continuously burning also according to the reference in Isaiah 66:22-24. As you can see in this scripture the Lord is speaking of the end times.
The phrase "worm dies not" simply means that some bodies thrown into the valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) did not burn, becoming literally stuck on ledges without falling into the fire. [Ecclesiastes 3:20] In other words, two possible things could happen to these bodies. (1)Fall into the fire and burn up, or (2) get stuck on a ledge and be consumed by maggots (worms).
As I said in an earlier post, this valley, Gehenna, had been in use for centuries by the Israelites and its history was well known to the first century populace because it was still used as a garbage disposal area for the City of Jerusalem. Earlier it had a more sinister use.
If it is your belief that we are talking about immortal worms here.....keep waiting for FED EX. If you possess a Bible dictionary I would suggest you look up the word "Gehenna"....as that is the word translated "Hell" in this passage [Mark 9:43-48]. The confusion stems from the fact that Gehenna was, in a way like Hades (grave), a resting place for dead bodies....not an ever burning hell fire as mainstream Christianity would like you to believe.
"Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!" --Jesus Christ.
Those who would offer for sale the false concept of a non-eternal Hell simply want to believe in such a concept since it's easier. But it isn't the truth.