Skip to comments.What Happens When You Die?
Posted on 06/25/2011 7:52:46 AM PDT by Bed_Zeppelin
What happens when you die? The Bible uses the word death in different senses. Jesus said: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt 10:28). Also in Revelation 20:6, John speaks of a second death, apparently distinguishing it from the first death or the usual understanding of death.
It is important to note that the only way to escape the second death and Hell is through the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 11:26). Make sure to be in on that one! Now we turn to what happens to Christian believers at the first death. Paul addresses the issue of what happens to Christians when they die in 2 Corinthians 5:8 when he says we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. This refers to the intermediate state between a believers death and the resurrection of all believers bodies at the Parousia.
I have always thought that heaven is temporary state until Jesus returns for the general resurrection of the dead (Dan 12:2; Rev 20:4-6). So if you die before Christ returns, I always assumed you exist as a spirit until then. It seems to me that we consist of material and immaterial elements and in our present lives we are in a state of conditional unity. A useful analogy for conditional unity comes from chemistry.
Did you know that every summer, including this one, thousands of people will die from dihydrogen monoxide inhalation? Yes it is true they drown while swimming in pools, the ocean or lakes. Its a bad joke. Dihydrogen monoxide is H20 or plain old water. Now of course we all know that water is not usually dangerous and is, in fact, essential for life.
But what happens when you break water down into its two components hydrogen and oxygen? It suddenly takes on drastically different properties. In fact, it gets downright dangerous. In the presence of an oxidizer like oxygen, hydrogen can catch fire, sometimes explosively, and it burns more easily than gasoline does. According to the American National Standards Institute, hydrogen requires only one tenth as much energy to ignite as gasoline does. So when water is separated into its two elements, they are nothing like water.
It seems appropriate to think of the body and soul in the same way. In life we are like a molecule consisting of body and soul. At death the material and immaterial are separated and take on different properties. The material body decays and the immaterial soul transfers into the spiritual dimension. So what does the New Testament tell us about this process?
According to some scholars, Paul does not seem to believe in a bodiless ethereal state in heaven rather an immediate transformation to a new body. F.F. Bruce thinks Pauls view is that some sort of body is essential to personhood. This is most evident in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 where he speaks of putting on the heavenly dwelling. Paul argues that we put it on so that we will not be found naked (2 Cor 5:3) which likely refers to the intermediate state in which believers spirits are with God but they do not yet enjoy their resurrected bodies.
Accordingly, Bruce argues that Paul did not envision an intermediate state as a disembodied spirit and that it is difficult to distinguish any difference between this and the glorified body believers are to receive at the Parousia (1 Cor. 15:51). He believes that Paul is teaching that believers receive their eternal resurrection bodies at death, rather than waiting for Christ to return in glory.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Php 3:20-21)
Scholars have different views on this. Like Bruce, W. D. Davies argues, there is no room in Pauls theology for an intermediate state of the dead. But 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 seems to place this at the last trump the return of Christ. The general consensus of conservative theologians seems to support an intermediate state between death and the resurrection body. Millard Erickson argues, there is no inherent untenability about the concept of disembodied existence. The human being is capable of existing in either a materialized (bodily) or immaterialized condition.
Many commentators view the 2 Corinthians 5:1 passage as Pauls hope of receiving the resurrection body at Christs return. Another view of Pauls argument about not being found naked is that it was intended as a polemic against those who taught existence in a state of disembodied immortality. There are passages in the Bible that seem to support the idea of a temporary disembodied soul state (Rev 6:9) but even here these tribulation martyrs put on white robes. Isaiah 14:9-10 seems to describe the disembodied souls of the dead being stirred up. 2 Corinthians 12:2-3 also supports the idea of existence outside of a body.
I guess biggest question you have to ask is that if we get a body at death, then what is resurrection of the dead at Christs return for? It would no longer seem necessary (1 Thes 4:17; Rev 20:4). It seems to be tied to our old body in some way. Accordingly, there seems to be an intermediate state of some sort. A humble posture is in order as the evidence does not seem conclusive either way. Perhaps the resurrection body is granted but not fully realized until Christs return?
Either way the biblical teaching is clear that believers enjoy immediate fellowship with the Lord. Contrary to the teachings of Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovahs Witnesses, the idea of soul sleep is not supported by the biblical text (Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:23; Heb. 12:23). This offers great comfort to the loved ones of Christians. They need not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thes 4:13).
Finally, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 offers ample motivation for living to please God as well. We are charged to live courageously in knowledge that we will soon appear before the judgment seat of Christ when we shall give an account of our lives (Ro 14:12).
Although I went Catholic school for12 years I never believed any of this. I really tried, but it’s just not there for me.
This goes against the Bibles teaching about the “dead in Christ shall rise first”. Even Jesus taught death was like a sleep. Sorry, I’ll stick with the Bibles plain teaching rather than someones interpretation of how they would like for it to be.
>>> It’s interesting that no one who was raised back to life in biblical times had any stories to tell about what happened to them while they were dead.
This is not true. I’ve seen several stories and videos of first hand witnesses sharing their experience in heaven following a near or full death experience.
My expectation is that at that point, I will start voting Democrat.
That isn’t truwe,read Revelation were the martyers are under the alter, asking how long, they are given white robes and told to wait until the number of their fellow servants were killed as they have been killed (paraphrase can be found in REV 6)
*This shows that we will be conscience and aware of events in heaven and on earth to some degree.
That isn’t true,read Revelation were the martyers are under the alter, asking how long, they are given white robes and told to wait until the number of their fellow servants were killed as they have been killed (paraphrase can be found in REV 6)
*This shows that we will be conscience and aware of events in heaven and on earth to some degree.
Revelation is a book full of symbols. It teaches real things, but the symbol itself is not the literal teaching.
There is much symbolism in Revelation but there is also literal events and passages. This specific event is meant to be taken literally if read in context.
Was never familiar with this.
I was taught that my physical being was derived from the primordial soup and then to complete me god gave me a soul. Through both of these I developed emotions.
Which in a way explains everything. Physically we are all the same however, there we’re two other paths. God with spirituality and Satan with emotion.
God gave us the ability to love, be compassionate and forgiving. Satan gave us jealousy, avarice and hate.
God gave us the ability to think as individuals. Satan gave us groupthink. God gave us the ability to be the master of our own domain. Satan gave us rulers and enslaved us.
Now you know the evolution of conservatism and liberalism.
It would seem your belief is that God and satan are equals.
And there is the rub.
How come we can accept symbolism and allegory in Revelations, but some folks expect us to take EVERYTHING else in the Bible as fact?
I believe God gave us the ability to think. And thus, the ability to draw our conclusions.
I deeply respect everyone’s view on their religious beliefs. What a wonderful world it would be if everyone else held the same respect.
“Master of our own domain....”
You know that phrase alone is enough to take this thread in a completely different direction.
Apocalyptic imagery is pretty easy to spot. Certain passages use it and certain passages don’t. How we interpret scripture depends on the genre.
Left something out. When you die, your physical being is destroyed. However your spiritual being lives on and will eventually find another physical being to live within.
Which probably would explain why throughout the years you have great people who contribute accomplishments that benefit humanity. Then you get a Hitler every so often.
Which could also explain why over the course of story, the Jews have given humanity such great gifts and the Muslims give us bomb vests.
It is my belief that God created us to be intelligent and if we remember that CONTEXT is king when reading the bible it would save us alot of grief, there are difficult passages but when reading Revelation or other prophetic scripture it really isn’t too difficult to discern symbolism vs. literal passages. It is good too that we can disagree with respect, something rare is this world. Blessings!
Then what about the Transfiguration of Christ when He met with Moses and Elijah? Were they not dead but still communicating with Him? Not arguing, just not sure about the “soul sleep” theory.
“Notice the concern that has been asked about is spoken to directly by Paul. The concern, those who have died and are gone, so where are they. These Thessalonians were concerned about loved ones in Christ and their desire to see them again or if relationships ended at some point when death happens. Paul spoke the Lord's Word to this very issue. Paul heard the Spirit tell him that He didn't want His people ignorant nor feeling sad nor grieving outside of what is healthy and normal. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. As a side note, we have Jesus uniting the dead who are with Him with their bodies, we will soon see these are glorified bodies given, but the side note is important as there is much wrong teaching about those who die. Many have taught that when a Christian dies, they go to sleep and are unconscious of sorts in the grave (soul sleep), but Paul states clearly that Jesus brings these people with Him when He returns, people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, people like David and Moses and Samuel, people like Paul and Peter and Timothy. Jesus brings those who died in Him and all those who were led to heaven in His ascension. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Jesus doesn't bring the dead in Christ with Him if He has them sleeping in death in some grave that has decayed bodies or worse yet DNA floating in the ocean because one was shark bait and process through the shark's digestive system. To be absent from the body (2 Corinthians 5:8) means that the soul is absent from the body, the body is dead in the ground or somewhere on the earth, but the soul is present with the Lord for all who died in Him.
Now ask yourself this, why does the Lord bring those who died in Him with Him at His coming? 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. This answers the question, but one needs to consider what the answer is. Those who alive are raptured, yet before they are raptured, those who are with Jesus have a union also, one that takes place with their soul and their new house for their soul. It is at this time that their soul is united with a body to house them, a temple of the Lord that will last eternity. Jesus brings the dead in Christ so that they may have a house to hold their souls in order that they may be a part of the bride and rule and reign with Him for the 1000 years. 1 Corinthians 15:35 ¶ But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? In the great resurrection Chapter, Paul details some very critical information, this is preached at that famous bunny holiday and usually no other time, but it is vital for our understanding because of the details. Paul restates an asked question from the unbelieving and skeptical about those who died in Christ, and their bodies. At the time of Jesus’ Parousia or coming, He unites those who died in Him with a body, a house to rule with Him. Paul answers this question of the skeptics! 1 Corinthians 15:36-40 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. It is from this passage that we get the common term, glorified bodies. At the coming or Parousia, those who died in Christ receive their glorified bodies. This is critical to answer who the dead in Christ are.”
Jesus demonstrated for all what happens when the flesh body dies. The soul returns to the Maker that sent the soul/spirit. That is what Jesus was telling Nicodemus in John 3. The first requirement to 'see' the Kingdom of God is to be born from 'above', NOT again as some contend.
AND the parable of the man 'rich' with ill gotten gains, saw across the gulf, Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. Now that parable is NOT possible if Abraham's soul is still sleeping.
Peter says that Christ while in the tomb went and preached to the 'spirits' in prison to offer them salvation first. IPeter 3:18-22; 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to those that are dead. that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit....
AND it is NOT a new thing because Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 7 reads Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it.
AND When the flesh body of the Adam was formed the flesh was NOT living until the 'breath of life' which means soul/spirit was breathed by God into his nostrils.
All of what I quoted is 'plain' Bible teaching right from the instruction of the Heavenly Father and demonstrated by His only Begotten Son.
Moses and Elijah? Well, Elijah had been taken away while still alive, so technically he didn’t need to be resurrected (as far as we know). Moses might have been resurrected for the occasion. God can do that. We can say for sure that they weren’t disembodied spirits, since they were present at an event and seen by observers. I don’t want to go beyond what the passages say.
Its funny. About twenty years ago we had new neighbors move in. We invited them to a cookout to welcome them to the town.
It was clear to see they were Russian immigrants.
Somewhere that afternoon, I realized that the husband and I had both attended our respective military colleges—his in the USSR and mine in the US. He was to join the Soviet Air Force, and I had spent time in AF ROTC (before wanting to get my feet wet.) We spent the afternoon laughing at the BS we had both been taught about each other.
After a few drinks, he did not look like a big bad bear, nor I like a psycho cowboy.
That experience taught me that when you get down to skin and bones....we are so much more like each other than we want to admit.
Gotta run. Mrs. Genoa has my honey-do list ready.
There is a real and true Be still exercise that even our military is using now which will get you onto the path to salvation unlike anything else. It is a free download and at fhu.com.
It doesn’t really matter to me. The Bible teaches us that Christ died that we might have everlasting life. However it comes about is fine by me.
Luke 16: 19-31
19There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24And 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.
25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The Bible is silent?! In Luke 16, Jesus himself described what happens after a good person or a bad person, respectively, dies:
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
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.
But Abraham said, Son, 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 cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 16:28
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
16:30 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.
Couldn't be any clearer than that! The good will go to Abraham's bosom, the bad will be tormented in Hell - though somehow still within sight of Abraham and those in his bosom.
Billions of years could pass and it would seem like an instant. I remember reading the testament of John Paul II, and he believed he would awaken in the future.
Maybe its like twins at that point, they both exist?
I wouldn’t call them equals. I would humbly suggest that Satan was a loyal employee gone bad, was fired and decided to start his own gig.
Maybe that explained the snake?
I do have a hypothetical question for everyone. If there were other life forms aside from us, somewhere in a different universe, dimension, whatever, do you think there would also be good and evil? And if so, would you call them God and Satan?
And if that is the case, could it be assumed that maybe we are just a tiny speck and there are greater powers screwing with us in some sort of weird alien game of chess?
Sorry, daughter got very sick and is hospitalized..again. This thread seemed to have significance based on the title and this is how I am coping.
That’s a parable, a story, intended to make a point. The incidental details are clearly not meant to be taken as literal teaching about conditions in heaven and hell. Do you really want to base your doctrine on a parable?
Do you suggest that Christ would speak of things that didn't actually happen, just to make a point?
That’s what a parable is.
Point #1 The soul returns to the Maker. This does does not imply it is awake and conscious.
“AND the parable of the man ‘rich’ with ill gotten gains, saw across the gulf, Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. Now that parable is NOT possible if Abraham’s soul is still sleeping.”
This is an allusion or a metaphor NOT a parable. A parable could be based on actual events, this cannot be. Allusions were common in the eastern story.
Quoting Ecclesiastes 9:5 “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing.”
I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
I suppose that that, too, was merely a parable?
Put yourself in the place of one of those persons standing there at that moment. Would you have thought "Well, that isn't meant literally! Christ isn't really saying that He will 'come in his kingdom' before the elapse of a normal human lifetime of, say, 60-80 years."
Or would you have been OVERJOYED to hear that your Lord was promising that His literal coming, and the end of the world as you knew it, would transpire NOT at some undefined point in time thousands of years, but rather in the foreseeable future?
He was giving them CONCRETE hope by defining an approx. waiting time.
You either go to heaven to be with Jesus or you go to hell to wait for the White Throne Judgment and eternal damnation in the lake of fire.
A parable is not always fictitious.
Moses and Abraham are alive and well in Heaven. As well as many others who are necessary for the preparation of Heaven. The remainder will be joined at The Second Coming.
But the dead in Christ DID rise first! They were roaming around Jerusalem after the Resurrection of Christ and only the believers could see them. They were waiting for Christ to ascend to heaven.
Even with the good thief — “Christ says, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” That Paradise is a pleasant or not so pleasant waiting place — depending on the state of one’s soul at the moment of death.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.... —Hamlet
That’s not a parable.
the BODY dies at death; the SOUL lives and undergoes a particular judgment with Christ.
It is at the Last Judgment that we are reunited with our bodies.
No one knows the answer of course but I'm beginning to believe that earth and its inhabitants are the only battleground for good vs. evil. Now in another dimension is an entirely different matter further delved into in your next question.
"And if that is the case, could it be assumed that maybe we are just a tiny speck and there are greater powers screwing with us in some sort of weird alien game of chess?"
Ephesians 6:12 implies that there are principalities, powers, and wicked rulers definitely waging war against the human race.
"Sorry, daughter got very sick and is hospitalized..again. This thread seemed to have significance based on the title and this is how I am coping. My bad."
Truly sorry you, your daughter, and your family is going through this. May the God of mercy and healing be with you all through this ordeal.
I understand that is the Roman Catholic position. Is that right?
By putting the comma in the proper place you can make better sense of it. Jesus was assuring him that day , that he would be with Him in paradise. The "good" thief didn't even die that day. He died after sunset which was, in Jewish terms, the next day.
One of my favorite theological writers is Spiros Zohiades. He is an expert on ancient Greek, and he has written quite of few books going through the NT with emphasis on translation, and a lot of commentaries.
He wrote a book called “Life after death.” It’s very interesting, quite intricate. For instance, I did not understand the differences between hell and hadees.
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