ARE THE DEAD?
no erroneous teaching is doing greater harm in the world now than are the
mixed theories concerning the dead. Some
are teaching the mortality of the soul; others, the non‑separation of
soul and body at death; others, soul‑sleeping; others, no‑hellism;
others, non‑recognition of others in heaven; and so on to an endless
variety of theories. We know
nothing about this subject except what the Bible tells us, and in this chapter
we desire to adhere closely to the Scriptures.
“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a
living dog is better than a dead lion. 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.
Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished;
neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under
the sun.”—Eccl. 9: 4‑6. This
is the text used by many to teach that after death there is no more of man.
It is strange how men who want to believe a lie will so twist the
truth. For to him that is still
here there is hope of salvation: for there is more hope of the vilest living
person than of the noblest person dead. The
dead know no door of repentance open to them, as is open to those on earth.
Love, hatred, and envy perished. Not
that these cease in the next world absolutely; but as the end of this verse
shows, relating to persons and things in this world.
In Matt. 22: 32 we read, “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.”
This clearly teaches that though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have departed
from the earth, they are still in existence.
It is stated in James 2: 26 that “the body without the spirit
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
dead;” but it is nowhere stated that the spirit without the body is dead.
As we pass on to other points of the subject, many other Scriptures
will prove that the soul is immortal.
who admit the immortality of the soul deny the separation of soul and body at
death. Solomon says,
“Then (at death) shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and
the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”—Eccl. 12: 7.
This necessarily implies separation of body and spirit.
“Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his
people.”— Gen. 35: 29. Without
a separation of soul and body at death Isaac could not have been gathered to
his people, for he was not buried in the same tomb with all of them.
David’s child died, and concerning the child David said, “Now he is
dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him,
but he shall not return to me.”—2 Sam. 12: 23. It is absurd to think that
David simply meant that he was going to be buried with his son.
“I shall go to him” implies a separation of soul and body.
“Her spirit came again, and she arose straightway.”—Luke 8: 55.
How could her spirit have come again if it had not departed? This
number of verses should be enough to teach anyone that at death there is a
separation of soul and body.
Some teach that the words of Jesus to Jairus’s daughter prove that,
though there is a separation of soul and body at death, the soul departs to
some place of solitude, and there goes to sleep.
It is true, Jesus said, She sleepeth.
In speaking of the death of Lazarus, Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus
sleepeth.”—John 11: 11. In
many places does the Bible speak of the dead as being asleep.
A close examination of all such passages will show that the sleeping
refers to the body, but never to the soul.
“Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall
awake.”—Dan. 12: 2. Here the
sleeping is located in “the dust of the earth.”
The “sleeping,” therefore, refers to the body and not to the
soul, for above we
ARE THE DEAD?
that the body is that which goes into the dust, but the soul returns to God.
Isaiah speaks of the righteous dead as “walking” (Ch. 57: 2); and
if they are asleep, they are walking in their sleep.
“I saw under the altar the souls (not bodies) of them that were slain
for the word of God. . . . . And they cried with a loud voice, etc.”—Rev.
6: 9, 10. It is absurd to say
that this company were alseep. As
we pass on to other phases of the subject, other Scriptures will bring out the
fact that the dead are not asleep.
far we have proven the immortality of the soul, the separation of the soul and
body at death, and the falsity of soul‑sleeping.
Now we come to the question proper, Where are the dead?
Much light can be had by reading 1 Sam. 28: 3‑20.
The witch of Endor called up Samuel for Saul.
It could not have been Samuel’s body that came up, for they were not
at his tomb. The woman said,
“An old man cometh up.” Samuel
said to Saul, “Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?”
One thing sure, Samuel came up. He
had to go down before he could come up. Samuel said to Saul, “Tomorrow
shalt thou and thy sons be with me.” Let
us learn from this that before the resurrection of Jesus all the dead, both
good and bad, went down below the surface of the earth.
Thus there breaks upon us a great stream of light respecting the
location of the dead.
scholars tell us that there is a place beneath the surface of the earth called
in the Hebrew Sheol. The Greek
word for the same place is Hades. “The
word ‘sheol’ occurs in the Hebrew of the Old Testament
sixty‑five times, and in our English Bible is translated
thirty‑one times by the word ‘hell,’ and thirty‑one times by
the word ‘grave,’ and three times by the word ‘pit’.
The Greek word ‘hades’, which means ‘the unseen world,’
occurs eleven times in the New Testament, and is mostly translated by
the word ‘hell,’ and sometimes by the word ‘grave’.
But both words mean ‘the unseen world of
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
whether good or bad. Now,
remember that these two words do not in a single instance in the Bible signify
the place where dead bodies are buried, and hence should never be translated
‘grave,’ as the word for grave, or tomb or sepulcher, is a different word
entirely; but ‘sheol’ and ‘hades’ are expressly for
souls, proving that the body and soul have different receptacles after
place was divided into two apartments, with a
“great gulf” between them. Before
the resurrection of Jesus all the righteous dead went down to one of these
apartments, while all the wicked dead went down to the other; the one into
peace and happiness, the other into fear and torment.
Luke 16: 19‑31 we learn the following: 1st.
This is an account of historical facts.
“There was a certain rich man, and there was a certain beggar;”
2nd. Both men died; 3rd.
They did not cease to exist; 4th.
Their souls were separated from their bodies, for “the beggar was
carried” and “the rich man was buried, and in hades he lift up his
eyes;” 5th. They both went to a
place where they were in speaking distance of each other; 6th.
Perfect recognition after death; and 7th.
They did not go to sleep at death. These things throw much light on the
question now in hand.
fall closed the doors of heaven against his entrance.
The ancient sacrifices provided for temporal salvation; but they could
never provide for eternal salvation. Hence
no man could enter heaven until Jesus made an atonement sufficient to settle
the sin question forever. “For
the law. . . .can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year
continually make the comers thereunto perfect. . . . .
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take
away sins.”—Heb. 10: 1‑4. Hence
Jesus said, “No man hath ascended up to heaven.”—John 3: 13.
Up to the resurrection of Jesus all those who died went down into the
lower parts of the earth, for sin had locked the doors of heaven against man.
ARE THE DEAD?
Isaiah 14: 4‑18 we read of the wicked king of Babylon descending into
Sheol. Jacob, thinking Joseph was
dead, said, “I will go down into sheol unto my son mourning.”—Gen. 37:
35. So we see that both the
wicked and the righteous went to sheol. The
righteous, however, went to a separate apartment from the wicked, as we have
was a righteous man, yet he knew that he was going to sheol.
While he knew this, yet he did not expect, to stay there always.
The apartment of sheol into which the righteous descended was called
Paradise. It was a place of happiness,
yet a place of confinement somewhat, and all the old saints had hope of
escaping from it some day. Hence
David said, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol.”—Psalm 16: 10.
Through inspiration David prophesied of his deliverance from sheol when
he said, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity
captive.”—Psalm 68: 18.
us notice the Bible facts concerning the deliverance of the saints from sheol,
and their place of abode since that time.
Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in
paradise.”—Luke 23: 43. Jesus,
being under the curse of the law, His soul after death had to descend into
hades, where He met the thief according to appointment.
The third day He arose from the grave, took His own blood, and was
going to heaven to make the atonement; but He stopped to comfort Mary.
She tried to take hold on Him, but He said: “Touch me not; for I am
not yet ascended to my Father.”— John 20: 17.
On the day of atonement, after the high priest had taken the blood, it
meant instant death to any one who touched him before he entered the Most Holy
place and made the atonement. Jesus
was the High Priest, He had taken the blood, but had not made the atonement.
He told Mary that He did ascend to His Father.
“By His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having
obtained eternal redemption for us.”—Heb. 9: 12.
Having obtained this eternal redemption, and thus unlocked the doors
of heaven, He went back to
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
and proclaimed to both the righteous and wicked dead, for the word
“preached” does not mean that He evangelized them, but that He proclaimed
His absolute victory over sin Satan, death and hades (1 Peter 3: 19).
Then, by the authority of His atonement, He opened the portals of
Paradise, and brought the saints all up from the under world to the light of
day. “Wherefore he saith, When
he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into
the lower parts of the earth? He
that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that
he might fill all things.”)—Eph. 4: 8‑10.
When Jesus had brought the souls of the saints from hades, He brought
their bodies out of the graves. “And
the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and
came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city,
and appeared unto many.” Matt. 27: 52, 53.
Jesus carried this company of saints to heaven with Him.
Since then when a Christian dies he goes direct to heaven.
“I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am,
there ye may be also.”—John 14: 3. “They
stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my
spirit.”—Acts 7: 59.
wicked are still confined in hades, where they will be until the judgment.
Then they will be resurrected and cast into the “Lake of
fire.” (Rev. 20: 11‑15). The
Greek for “lake of fire” is a different word entirely.
It is “Gehenna.” Perhaps
this place is the same as the “outer darkness” of which Jesus spoke in
Matt. 8: 12, for in Matt. 13: 42 He calls the same place a “furnace of
fire.” “Outer darkness” is
necessarily beyond the light of God’s Universe, and in this place the wicked
will meet their final doom.
we have given the Bible account of the dead and their location, both the good
and the bad; of the good both before and after the resurrection of Jesus, and
of the bad both before and after the judgment.