TO DOWNLOAD THIS BIBLE STUDY CLICK LINK HERE :Then click on DOWNLOAD ARROW at top center of page.
WHERE DO WE GO
A very good question was asked in class last week of “Where do we go when we DIE?” I answered it briefly in class, but then after I thought about the short brief answer that I gave I did not think that I did the question justice.
The question was also asked about how are the Old Testament saints saved since the New Testament teaches us that no one is SAVED by the LAW and that salvation is through the name of Jesus only. In other words, there is only one name under heaven given among men whereby we MUST be SAVED so how then are the Old Testaments saints SAVED seeing they were BEFORE the death and resurrection of Jesus, the ONLY name under heaven whereby mankind MUST be SAVED?
It is for this reason that I am writing this study in God's word to give a more in-depth answer to the question of where we go when we die.
Let us begin this study in God's word by reading 2 Corinthians 5:1-12.
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved (speaking of our BODIES dying and decaying), we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.(To ME, this is not talking about some mansion up in heaven that some believe and teach, but rather our house in heaven is speaking of our new spiritual IMMORTAL BODIES, which ONLY the righteous will receive in the world to come at the second coming of Jesus. Please read the study “THE POWER AND THE AUTHORITY OF THE BELIEVER!” for a deeper understanding on this subject of what Jesus means by in my Father's house are many MANSIONS. Again the building and house of God not made with hands that are being reserved for us in heaven is not speaking of a “mansion” in heaven, but rather the PLACE that Jesus went to the cross to prepare for us was CLEANSED vessel for the Holy Spirit to DWELL IN to EMPOWER us to do the same works that Jesus did through the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. And the eternal house or building in heaven being talked about in this verse is referring to our new IMMORTAL glorified bodies of flesh and bone just like the flesh and bone glorified body that Jesus now has after he arose from the grave.)
4. For we that are in this tabernacle (speaking of the physical mortal body in which we presently live) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.(or in other words, it is not that we desire to die, but rather that we desire to have our new immortal bodies)
8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the BODY, and to be PRESENT with the Lord.(so you have to understand that we are a spirit being that has a soul or consciousness that lives IN a physical BODY of flesh that will one day die and decay, but the real you, that spirit and soul inside your physical body, goes to be with the Lord when your body dies.)
9. Wherefore (or for this reason) we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.(In other words, we always labor or work the works of righteousness so that we are found to be that good and faithful servant both now and at death.)
So then, according to this passage of scripture the real you and the real me lives in a BODY of flesh, bone, and blood that is called our home or our tabernacle, and when we die we leave this earthly home of our flesh, bone and blood PHYSICAL BODY and go to be present with the Lord. That is to say the real you, a living soul and spirit, will go to be PRESENT with the Lord when you die, that is to say, if so be that your are found to be righteous and that good and faithful servant when you die for ONLY those of us who are IN Jesus Christ when we die will go to heaven to be PRESENT with the Lord.
Now let me qualify this statement again by saying that we are speaking of only true born again Christians, who believe in the one true and only Almighty God of the Holy Bible and his Son Jesus and who have remained faithful unto death shall go to be present with the Lord when we die. The Bible teaches us that while we are yet alive in our earthly mortal bodies we are ABSENT from the Lord, who is in heaven. As Christians, we have an EARNEST of the Holy Spirit dwelling IN us, which is just a tastes of the Holy Spirit of Almighty God. And this earnest or sample down payment of the God's Holy Spirit causes us to be CONFIDENT that when our BODIES die that our soul and spirit shall leave this earthly home and go to be PRESENT in heaven with the Lord, where we will rest from our work on earth and WAIT until the second coming of Jesus to receive our new glorified IMMORTAL bodies. In other words, no one actually receives eternal life UNTIL the world to come begins AT the second coming of Jesus.
So once again, even though we, as faithful Christians, go to be with the Lord when we die, we are not yet made perfect or COMPLETE as the Bible says, UNTIL the SECOND coming of Jesus when he comes to be glorified in his saints.
Let us take a look at two passages of scripture that show us this truth. First please turn to Hebrews 11:39,40.
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received NOT the promise:
If you read the entire context of Hebrews chapter 11 you will see that the “they” here is referring to ALL the Old Testament saints, many of which chose to be put to death rather than to deny their God. And we also see from this passage of scripture that though they are with the Lord in heaven, they have NOT yet RECEIVED their PROMISE of ETERNAL LIFE as yet, because Almighty God has something BETTER planned, which is that we ALL, again speaking of ONLY faithful Christians, receive our reward of eternal life TOGETHER at the SAME time in the world to come that begins AT the second coming of his Son Jesus our Lord and Savoir.
Now some of you may be thinking, “Well what about my family members, who have died, are they in heaven with Jesus?” To answer this question let us take a look at Revelation 6:9-11, which also shows us that while the righteous saints of the Old Testament are in heaven so ALSO are ALL believers in Jesus from the day of Pentecost to this present day who have died as faithful believer are as well in heaven under the altar of Almighty God. But this verse in Revelation chapter 6 also teaches us that they have not YET received their new glorified spiritual flesh and bone immortal bodies like Jesus alone now has being seated at the right hand of his God and Father.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the ALTAR the SOULS of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, UNTIL their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
So then, in this passage of scripture we see the SOULS of those saints, who have died faithful in the Lord, who are being kept under the ALTAR of Almighty God in heaven resting, UNTIL the time of VENGEANCE or until the times that the WRATH of Almighty God is executed upon all those wicked, who have killed and persecuted God's people, the Christians and the Jews.
When I became a Christian I was taught or was led to believe that as soon as we accepted Jesus as our savior, we received eternal life. Of course I new that I would die physically, but I had been given the wrong understanding that I would receive a new immortal body the very moment that I died and went to heaven to be with Jesus. I was taught by my church denomination that when Christians die they go to heaven to live in a mansion up in heaven for all eternity with Jesus and I am sure that many of you were taught the same thing.
However, later I learned from reading the word of God through the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit that we as Christians do not actually RECEIVE eternal life UNTIL the world to come, which does not begin until the second coming of Jesus.
Please read Mark 10:29,30.
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
So you see dear child of God, it is NOT UNTIL the world to COME that we as Christians actually RECEIVE our reward or PROMISE of ETERNAL LIFE to be clothed upon with our new glorified IMMORTAL body of flesh and bone like Jesus was given after he was raised from the dead.
Another verse that shows us this truth is found in 1 John 3:2,3, which teaches us that if we have this HOPE of the resurrection from the dead and the HOPE of obtaining ETERNAL LIFE abiding in us, then we will PURIFY ourselves EVEN AS Jesus is pure.
1 John 3:2,3.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear (or it has not yet manifested as yet) what we shall be: but we KNOW that, WHEN he (speaking of Jesus) shall appear (or when Jesus shall come again at his second coming), we shall be LIKE him; for we shall SEE him as he IS.
Something that is yet HOPED for is not actually already possessed, but yet remains as a PROMISE of assurance given to us. Please read the study “IS ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED BIBLICAL?”
So then, we know that right after Jesus rose from the dead he told Mary Magdalene NOT to touch him BECAUSE he had NOT YET ASCENDED to his God and Father. In other words, Jesus arose from the dead, appeared to Mary Magdalene and SPECIFICALLY told her NOT to TOUCH him, BECAUSE he had NOT YET ASCENDED to the Father, then Jesus ASCENDED to his God and Father and THEN he obviously descended back down to the earth that same day at evening time to show himself alive among his disciples or followers for forty days that he was NOT just a SPIRIT being without a tangible body, as in, a body of a spirit or ghost that could NOT be touched and felt by others saying to them TOUCH ME for I am NOT a SPIRIT.
In other words, after Jesus ascended to heaven shortly after he was raised from the dead and had been seen of Mary Magdalene and a few others, then Jesus DESCENDED from heaven or came back to the earth and appeared to many others for forty days showing himself alive forevermore. And it was at this time, when Jesus ASCENDED to heaven the FIRST time right after he was raised form the dead, that Jesus had received from his God and Father his new flesh and bone glorified IMMORTAL body.
To say this another way, Jesus was GIVEN the divine nature of IMMORTALITY or eternal life from his God and Father when he ascended into heaven the FIRST time right after he was raised from the dead. Please read the following passage of scripture.
“The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and sees the stone taken away from the sepulcher.
2. Then she runs, and comes to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him.
4. So they ran both together: and the OTHER disciple did out run Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. (John is a bit modest and humble here not giving us his NAME, but rather calling himself that OTHER disciple)
15. Jesus said unto her, Woman, why weep you? Whom seek you? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said unto him, Sir, if you have borne him hence, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
17. Jesus said unto her, TOUCH ME NOT; for (or because) 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.
19. Then the SAME day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were SHUT where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.
25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will NOT believe.
27. Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither your finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.(In other words, Jesus is NOW saying TOUCH ME as prove to yourself that I am NOT a ghost or spirit and that I am ALIVE forevermore never again to die. So the, obviously from the time Jesus told Mary Magdalene NOT to TOUCH him to this time eight days later where Jesus is now telling doubting Thomas to TOUCH him Jesus must have ASCENDED up into heaven to be GIVEN the divine nature of IMMORTALITY by Almighty God the Father, and then descended back down to the earth to show himself alive for forty days by many infallible proofs. After the cross Jesus was given the divine nature of Yahweh and this is just one of many reason of why Thomas said to Jesus, my Lord and my God in the next verse. Please read the study “JOHN 20:28 MY LORD AND MY GOD” for the many other reasons of why Jesus was not fully God and fully man at the same time having two natures on divine and one human.)
So then, in verse 17 we see Jesus saying to Mary Magdalene to NOT TOUCH him yet, because he had NOT YET ascended to his God and Father.
But then eight days later Jesus tells Thomas to not only to TOUCH him but to put his fingers in the nail prints that were in his hands and to thrust in his hand into his side so that he would BELIEVE and have eternal life.
Another thing that I want you to notice is that the DOORS were SHUT and yet Jesus appeared in the room that was apparently locked from the inside as you read this same account from Luke chapter 24.
I will just quote Luke 24:36-43.
“And as they thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.
39. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: HANDLE me, and SEE (Or in other words, TOUCH me and see for yourself that it is ME who has died and now am ALIVE); for (or because) a SPIRIT (Or a GHOST) has NOT FLESH and BONE, as you SEE me HAVE.(In other words, Jesus is NOW saying TOUCH but BODY of FLESH and BONE and prove to yourselves that it is ME who was dead and NOT am ALIVE, because a spirit of a ghost has NOT a BODY of FLESH and BONE as you yourselves SEE with your own eyes that I HAVE.)
So then, in this passage of scripture we see that Jesus, after he was risen from the dead and had ASCENDED to his God and Father and then DESCENDED back to the earth now has a BODY of FLESH and BONE that is IMMORTAL, but a body that still can eat and enjoy physical food, and can also apparently walk through walls or doors that are SHUT.
Now to ME, I see that right after Jesus first rose from the dead he was a spirit that could be seen as himself, but he had not yet ascended to his Father, and for this reason Jesus did not want anyone to TOUCH him yet. To say this another way, Jesus rose from the grave with his physical body that had NOT YET been glorified, and would not be glorified, UNTIL he ascended to his Father in heaven to be given the divine nature of IMMORTALITY being CLOTHED in an IMMORTAL tangible BODY of FLESH and BONE.
You see dear child of God, it was only after Jesus had ascended to his Father, and then DESCENDED back to the earth that Jesus allowed anyone o TOUCH him. So then, to ME, I must conclude that Almighty God gave Jesus ETERNAL LIFE even as the Father has life IN HIMSELF while Jesus was ASCENDED up into heaven before he DESCENDED back to the earth to be seen ALIVE for forty days that Jesus was NOW asking his disciple to TOUCH him. Then after these forty days of verifying his resurrection from the dead Jesus ASCENDED back to heaven with his new divine IMMORTAL flesh and bone body, which he had been GIVEN TO him to HAVE by his God and Father who always possessed like in himself.
In other words, Jesus is the ONLY one, who has ascended to heaven with an IMMORTAL body of flesh and bone. However this does NOT mean that others have not ascended to heaven after they have died as some FALSELY teach. Please keep in mind that the real you is SOUL and SPIRIT and that you dwell or live in a BODY of flesh, bone, and blood now in this present world. But when the righteous die the real you, your SOUL and SPIRIT being, goes to be PRESENT with the Lord in heaven where you rest under the altar of God UNTIL the FIRST resurrection where ONLY the righteous or the dead in Christ shall receive their new IMMORTAL flesh and bone bodies just like Jesus has now at the right hand of the Father. But your physical body remains in the grave on the earth, until that time of the FIRST resurrection.
Then AT the second coming of Jesus ONLY the dead in Jesus Christ will be resurrected from the dead and their physical bodies will be CHANGED in a moment and in a twinkling of an eye that on the divine nature of IMMORALITY. And then, we, who are alive and remain unto the coming of Jesus will ALSO be CHANGED in a moment and in a twinkling of an eye. And then, together ALONG WITH the dead in Jesus Christ, who have just receive their new glorified IMMORTAL bodies of flesh and bone, we shall be caught up TOGETHER to meet Jesus in the AIR. Jesus will then take us to the place called Armageddon to execute the WRATH of Gog upon the wicked. Please read the studies related to “THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS” for a deeper understanding on this subject.
We know that this new BODY that Jesus was given is an ETERNAL body that will never die or decay, because we read in John 5:15-30 that Jesus was GIVEN eternal life in himself EVEN AS Almighty God the Father has eternal life in himself.
“The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
17. But Jesus answered them, My Father works hitherto, and I work. (In other words, if Almighty God my Father works on the Sabbath, then I must also work on the Sabbath, because as I see my Father working I simply do what I see my Father doing.)
18. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (Please keep in mind that it is the JEWS, who are falsely accusing Jesus of exalting himself and making himself EQUAL with Almighty God, and NOT that the word of God itself is declaring that Jesus is equal with Almighty God the Father. Please also remember that it was the JEWS, who ALSO ACCUSED Jesus of having a DEVIL in John 10:20 and that no one incorrectly concludes that the very word of God is declaring that Jesus has a devil so why hear you him.)
19. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise.(to ME, this is like Jesus is seeing his Father healing someone like in a vision or a dream and then he simply does what he sees his Father doing in the vision or the dream. In another place we read that Jesus does what he HEARS the Father telling him to do.)
23. THAT (or so that) all men should HONOR the Son, EVEN AS they HONOR the Father. He that honors NOT the Son honors NOT the Father which has sent him. (In other words, I implore all Muslims and others, who do NOT believe that Jesus is the SON of Almighty God even though you say that you believe in the one true God, to please know and UNDERSTAND that the Bible ITSELF clearly teaches that you do NOT truly know the true God, BECAUSE you do not truly KNOW his SON Jesus the ONLY name given among the entire human race whereby men MUST be saved.)
26. For AS the Father has life in himself; so has HE (speaking of Almighty God the Father) GIVEN to the Son to have LIFE (or ETERNAL LIFE) in himself; (You see, up to this point in time ONLY Almighty God the Father was IMMORTAL. In other words, it was not until Almighty God GAVE his Son eternal life that Jesus BECAME an IMMORTAL being with a flesh and bone body. To say this another way, Jesus was GIVEN the DIVINE NATURE of IMMORTALITY by his God and Father who has always possessed immortality in himself being the ONLY source of LIFE of any kind.)
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. (showing us that there are TWO resurrections of the dead)
Now just speaking for MYSELF, I PERSONALLY have not heard ANY sermons or Bible teachings on this passage of scripture, and I think that it is safe to assume that I am not alone. I know that this is a highly controversial subject, but I feel very strongly that I should at least make my fellow brothers and sisters AWARE of this passage of scripture that so many seem to just skim over.
We can see from this passage of scripture that we as Christians PASS from death unto LIFE at the time of the RESURRECTION from the dead. Jesus himself received eternal life after he was raised from the dead by Almighty God his Father and then it was also given to Jesus, or it was committed unto him by Almighty God to execute judgment over mankind, because Jesus was the Son of MAN.
To ME, this passing from death to life means that DEATH has NO STING in it for the true BELIEVER in Jesus Christ. The STING of death is ONLY for the disobedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ and those, who REJECT Jesus as the Christ, the SON OF the living and one true God, Almighty God the Father called Yahweh in the Old Testament.
Please read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
54. So WHEN this corruptible shall have put on incorruptible, 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.
58. THEREFORE (or for this very reason), my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the WORK of the Lord, for as much as you KNOW that your labor is NOT in vain in the Lord.”
I heard a testimony of a Christians man that was working on an oil rig and fell from the top of this tower down on some machinery to his death. His wife asked this pastor to pray for her husband, who was put on life support, but in truth was not really alive, but rather his physical body was being made to breath by a machine. When they got him to the hospital when his breathing was kept going by this machine, he came back to life and told what had happened. He said that he remembered falling, but he did not remember hitting the ground. While in heaven he was told that he had to come back to earth, because of those praying for him. He did not remember any pain when he died even though his body was broken and injured so badly that the doctors were amazed that he lived. The point that I want to make is that he simply passed from this life to the next with no pain or and no fear. He simply passed from this world to be PRESENT with our Lord in heaven WITHOUT losing CONSCIENTIOUSNESS. There was NO STING of death for those of us who are true born again Christians.
Now again I want to make it clear that I am speaking of the death of a true faithful Christian that there is no sting of death when they die.
I know that the natural man wants to cling to this life and I see no wrong in this. But we, as Christians, should not fear death. The Bible teaches us that this life we now live is but a mere vapor that passes in a moment of time compared to eternity. The comparison has been made by asking the question what is the difference between a baby dying at birth to the life of a man that lives to be 100 years old before he dies when it come to eternity? And the answer is only a moment in time. Please read James 4:14, which teaches us that our life is but a VAPOR that quickly vanishes away.
“Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a VAPOR, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”
In other words, COMPARED to eternity, our life, even if we live to be 100 years old is like a mere VAPOR of our breath on a cold day that appears only for a brief moment in time and then quickly vanishes away. This is why we are encouraged to always walk in LOVE and to endure the suffering of wrong doing that is done to us in this life, because it does not compare with the reward that we shall receive in the world to come. Be confident that to be absent from this mortal body is to be PRESENT with the Lord in heaven with NO STING of death.
So then, we are to look toward the joy of eternal life that is set before us and not fear to die, because we KNOW that whether we live or die we KNOW that we shall live and reign with Jesus when he comes again. Every thing that we do for our Lord shall not be done in vain.
Now as for the wicked, the Bible ITSELF teaches us that they will be cast out into outer darkness and that there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I personally believe that the wicked will know what they have MISSED out on and will beg for forgiveness, but it will be TOO LATE once a person dies. The Bible itself does not teach an eternal torment in flames of fire, but rather teaches that the wicked will be destroyed in the lake of fire on the day that they are judged for the works at the end of the 1000 year reign of Jesus.
However, in the meantime, while their dead bodies or the wicked and disobedient to the gospel are in the grave, the soul and spirit of the WICKED and the unrighteous are being kept in the place for the dead where the Old Testament saints where once kept, but on the other side of the great gulf in the bosom of Abraham. Please read the study called “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?” which goes into more detail about this holding place for the SOULS of the dead. And also please read “IS THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP BIBLICAL?”
So then, this brings us to the other question that was asked was, “What happened to all the Old Testament saints who died before Jesus came to be the atonement for the sins of mankind?”. Were they saved? And if so, HOW were they saved, because does not the Bible teach us in the NEW Testament that NO man is NOT saved by the law and that the name of Jesus is the ONLY name under heaven given among men whereby we MUST be saved. In other words, since the Bible teaches that the name of Jesus is the ONLY name under heaven given among men whereby men MUST be SAVED, then HOW are these Old Testament saints going to be saved seeing that they died BEFORE the time of Jesus?
We read about this in Acts 4:12.
So then, the context of Acts 4:12 teaches us that Almighty God has chosen that salvation comes through the name of Jesus and that NO OTHER name is given among mankind whereby we MUST be saved. We also see in Galatians 3:21-23 that no man is SAVED by the LAW, but rather that those in the Old Testament were KEPT by the LAW.
In other words, those in the Old Testament, who did indeed walked in RIGHTEOUSNESS and followed the law were KEPT by their works of righteousness to hear the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ in order to be SAVED, which we will see shortly. The Bible also teaches us that God chose by the foolishness of PREACHING the gospel of Jesus Christ to save them that believe. To say this another way, without hearing the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, how could the Old Testaments saints be SAVED seeing that salvation come ONLY through the name of Jesus and Jesus was not yet crucified for our sins. The answer to this dilemma is given to us in the word of God if you are willing to hear the truth of the whole word of God.
The Bible teaches us in Matthew 12:40 that Jesus spent three days and three nights in the BELLY of the EARTH. Again I wrote a study called “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?” that goes into greater detail than I am going to in this study.
Basically to just summarize, while Jesus was in the heart of the earth, he obtained victory over the enemy and took back the keys of death, hell, and the grave. But the Bible also teaches us that Jesus ALSO DESCENDED into the lower part of the earth for another reason and and that reason was so he could PREACH the gospel to the people, the dead spirits, in this underworld, so that they could be saved by the PREACHING of the GOSPEL in the same manner as men, who are still yet living, who BELIEVE the preaching of the gospel. Please read 1 Peter 3:18,19, which clearly teaches us that Jesus PREACHED to the SPIRITS, who were being kept in the belly of the earth.
1 Peter 3:18,19
“For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Here in these verses we see that after Jesus suffered and died for the sins of mankind he went into the belly or the heart of the earth and PREACHED the gospel to the SPIRITS of men who had died. We know that these SPIRITS were the spirits of MEN, because of the CONTEXT that continues into the next chapter of 1 Peter.
So now please read 1 Peter 4:6, which is the same CONTEXT of 1 Peter 3:18,19 and plainly shows us that these spirits in this holding place in the belly of the earth where the spirit of MEN, who had died.
“For for this cause (or for this very REASON) was the GOSPEL PREACHED ALSO to them that are DEAD, (but WHY? Why was the GOSPEL preached to the SPIRITS of DEAD people, who died in the OLD Testament BEFORE Jesus came to die on the cross for the sins of mankind?) THAT (or so that)THEY (speaking of the Old Testament saints, who were KEPT by the law of God) might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
In other words, these SPIRITS of MEN, who had died during the Old Testament times, who were in the belly of the earth where they were being kept in the bosom of Abraham, UNTIL the time that the MESSIAH should come and suffer and die for their sins. And since salvation comes by the foolishness of PREACHING and the ONLY name under heaven given among men whereby men MUST be saved had not yet been given to these Old Testament saints, it was then therefore necessary that the GOSPEL be PREACHED unto them, because again Almighty God chose that salvation comes by the foolishness of PREACHING to save those that BELIEVE. And God chose that the ONLY way to him and eternal life was through his Son Jesus.
This is found in 1 Corinthians 1:18-21.
19. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
So then, again it was necessary to PREACH the GOSPEL to the Old Testament saints so that they could be SAVED by the gospel of Jesus Christ in the same way that men and women, who are alive in the flesh are saved by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because there is salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus.
Now please keep in mind that this preaching to the DEAD was a one time deal and was for the Old Testament saints ONLY, because FAITH in the name of Jesus had not yet come. In other words, NOW in this present age, since Jesus has already come, suffered, died and rose again for the sins of mankind, once a person dies and they have rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ, then there is no hope for them to be saved. You see, some believe and teach that you can pray for the dead and even baptize in proxy for the dead so that they will be saved on the day of judgment. Please read the study “IS PRAYING FOR THE DEAD BIBLICAL?” for a deeper understanding that once an unsaved person dies physically, then there is no prayer that can saved them except to raise them back from the dead and preach the gospel to them persuading them to believe on Jesus. This can happen and it has happen before, but why WAIT till your loved ones die before you pray and preach the gospel to them to be saved.
Again, I MYSELF do not find any SCRIPTURAL foundation for this belief in praying for the dead to be saved or having the gospel preached to people by Jesus after a person dies. So if you are waiting for a second chance after you die, then I would advise you to get right with God NOW, because to ME, I do not see in the Bible any where that we are instructed to pray for the dead. We are only instructed and commissioned to PREACH the gospel to every creature so that those, who make their own choice to BELIEVE will be saved.
The ONLY verse of scripture that I find that even remotely gives us hope that the ones, who have not been given that chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, may be saved is found in 1 John 3:7.
So then, if a person, who has NOT ever HEARD the gospel of Jesus Christ AND they are living a godly lifestyle when they die, then there MAY be a CHANCE that they MIGHT be preached the gospel by Jesus, BUT for ME I would not take that CHANCE. I only share this verse, because there are those, who refuse to believe that all the righteous good people in the earth shall be LOST just because they were never given the chance to HEAR the PREACHING of the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, and BECAUSE of dogmatic demanding preaching of well mean Christians firmly telling these dear people that all their loved ones are LOST, then some of the people will NOT believe in such a MERCILESS God of the Christians.
In other words, there are some who cannot accept that a MERCIFUL God would cast away all the people in the world, who are GOOD people, who walk in righteousness, but who have never HEARD the GOSPEL and when they hear that there is NO HOPE for their loved ones who have died some will be turned AWAY from the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I would have to say that I am one of those people, if so be, that I was not already saved.
To say this another way, I only what to give those who have love one that have died without HEARING the gospel a little HOPE that just maybe God in his great mercy might give the righteous dead an opportunity to HEAR the gospel and be saved.
I know that some shut you will people down even if they THINK that any can be saved by any other way than believing in Jesus. But if they are truly listening to what I am saying, then you would know that I am NOT saying that any will be saved WITHOUT believing on the NAME of Jesus, the ONLY name given among men whereby we MUST be saved, because, IF SO BE, that the righteous good moral people, who have died, are given a chance to HEAR the gospel after they die, then they WILL be BELIEVING ON the NAME of Jesus after being given the chance to HEAR the gospel.
Now this is NOT what we are to teach as the gospel, but we can give others HOPE that that loved ones, who were indeed good moral righteous people when they died, MIGHT has a chance to HEAR the gospel and be saved BY their faith in the NAME of Jesus based upon a few verses in the Bible about people who are doing righteousness ARE righteous EVEN AS Jesus is righteous and that Jesus did not come to save the RIGHTEOUS.
However, this does NOT mean that I believe in the FALSE teaching of universalism, which falsely teaches that eventually in the end ALL of humanity will be saved, but rather I hold to the HOPE that God KNOWS the hearts of people, who are DECEIVED by ignorance of other religions, but who are in some instances better moral living people doing RIGHTEOUSNESS more than many Christians I know.
So again let me clarify myself. I agree fully that all those, who HAVE HEARD the gospel, but yet they for whatever reason they make their OWN choice NOT to accept Jesus as their savior and then they die having never accepting Jesus as their savior, then I believe that they shall be LOST and shall NOT receive eternal life in the world to come no matter how good they or others THINK that they were. In other words, their righteousness is as filthy rags to God, because THEY have HEARD the TRUTH of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore THEY would KNOW that the Bible clearly teaches us that we are not saved by our OWN good works.
But again I will say that I also have a struggle accepting that all the GOOD moral righteous living people in the world, who do indeed walk in righteousness, but yet who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, and who shall die WITHOUT ever having a chance to hear the GOSPEL in order to be saved are forever lost. To ME, it seems reasonable that Almighty God, who is not willing that any should perish would give an opportunity for all of mankind who have died, but who do indeed did follow and obey the voice of their God given CONSCIENCE to do GOOD and to walk in RIGHTEOUSNESS the best that they knew how to do so, that when they die they will be given the CHANCE to HEAR the GOSPEL at least one time before the judgment, since it PLEASED God that BY the PREACHING of the GOSPEL to SAVE them that BELIEVE. Again, this is just my OWN personal OPINION of what these verses in the Bible mean.
So if you are like ME in this area and you are struggling with the GOODNESS of God and the teaching of the Bible that says that there is NO OTHER NAME whereby men should be SAVED, then know that the NAME of Jesus means the salvation of Yahweh or Yahweh saves. In other words, those who are saved are the WORKMANSHIP of Almighty God HIMSELF. Meaning that no one can save themselves by their OWN good works wherein they BOAST. But where is their boasting in wanting to do the good things that your God given CONSCIENCE it leading your to do.
Again this does NOT mean that I believe that one day ALL of mankind will eventually be saved as the doctrine of Universalism FALSELY teaches. First of all many people do NOT obey their God given conscience and are NOT good MORAL people. Please read the study “IS UNIVERSALISM A SOUND BIBLICAL TEACHING?” to learn from the whole word of God that it is not a Biblical sound teaching and that ALL UNRIGHTEOUS people will be cast into the lake of fire on the day of judgment INCLUDING UNRIGHTEOUS Christians living in a lifestyle of SIN when they die.
However, I myself am inclined to believe that whosoever works RIGHTEOUSNESS is righteous even as Jesus is righteous and so to ME, any person of any religion, who is simply OBEYING his or her God given CONSCIENCE to do GOOD and to WALK in RIGHTEOUSNESS following their God given consciousness IS RIGHTEOUS even as Jesus is righteous, because how is following and obeying their God given conscience their OWN good works if they are NOT boasting in themselves?
Remember that even the things like worshiping false idols done in IGNORANCE God winked at, but now calls ALL men to REPENT. This is NOT talking about God's people Israel who KNEW not to worship idols, but rather is talking about those who NEVER HEARD about the one true God, who in IGNORANCE worshiped idols that God WINKED at. So then, has God become so merciless that he now cast every good moral person who walks in righteous in the lake of fire just because they have NEVER had the CHANCE to hear the gospel so they they could believe on the only name under heaven given among men for them to BELIEVE and be saved?
Again please understand that I am FIRM believer in preaching the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. I teach that Jesus is the ONLY name given among men whereby we MUST be saved. But I also have a rational mind that tells me that it was impossible for the 120 Christians on the day of Pentecost to preach Jesus to EVERY SINGLE person on the earth to be saved. So how it that JUSTICE for all the good righteous people of that day and our day as well who NEVER had the CHANCE to HEAR the GOSPEL of Jesus?
Please understand that I am NOT saying that the BIBLE ITSELF teaches us that the dead will be given a SECOND CHANCE or even a FIRST chance, but rather that I myself along with many other Christians struggle with God burning alive good moral righteous people who have NEVER heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and we HOPE that at the very least God would give them a CHANCE to be saved. For a deeper understanding of we are not saved by WORKS please read the studies “WE ARE NOT SAVED BY OUR OWN GOOD WORKS!” and “THE WORKS of the LAW VERSUS GOOD WORKS”, and “WHAT DID JESUS MEAN-I AM THE WAY?”, but for now let us continue this study to answer the question of where do the dead go?
Up to this point we have looked primarily at where RIGHTEOUS DEAD go when they die, but what about the UNRIGHTEOUS and the WICKED? Where do the WICKED go when they die?
In the Old Testament BOTH the RIGHTEOUS and the WICKED went into the BELLY of the earth to await the day of JUDGMENT. We see this in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31.
20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22. 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;
23. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24. 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.
26. 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.
27. Then he said, I pray you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house:
28. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Again for a deeper understanding of this subject of this place called paradise also known as the bosom of Abraham for the RIGHTEOUS ONLY that was in the belly of the earth in Old Testament times, but is NOW in heaven under the altar, then please read the study “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?”
You see, those Old Testament saints after they heard the gospel preached to them arose from the grave and ascended to heaven with Jesus where they are now under the altar in heaven awaiting their CHANGE or their reward of ETERNAL LIFE and their new glorified IMMORTAL body like Jesus has of flesh and bone.
Here are the scriptures that teach us what I just said.
Matthew 27:52,53 teaches us that many bodies of the SAINTS rose from the grave when Jesus rose from the grave and were seen of many.
“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the SAINTS which slept AROSE, (Please notice that ONLY the SAINTS arose from the dead. I point this out, because some FALSELY teach that those, who arose from the dead with Jesus were only people, who just recently died in the city of Jerusalem. You see some falsely teach that once a person dies, then they are dead and that NO ONE goes to heaven when they die, but rather they are still in the grave with absolutely no consciousness whatsoever. If this were true, then it seems pretty odd that ONLY the righteous saints arose from the dead with Jesus. I explain the errors of this false teaching in the studies called “IS THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP BIBLICAL?” and “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE”)
Now the Bible does not expound that these saints ascended into heaven with Jesus, but we can see from Hebrews chapter 11 that the SAINTS of the Old Testament will not be made perfect as in they shall not receive their new glorified eternal bodies UNTIL we who are yet alive and remain unto the coming of Jesus shall receive our reward of eternal life. In other words ALL the SAINTS shall be glorified TOGETHER at the second coming of Jesus.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
7. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, (Noah OBEYED God) prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
13. These all died IN FAITH, NOT having RECEIVED the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
The they here in verse 40 are speaking of all the Old Testament SAINTS along with all those, who have died IN Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost to the day Jesus returns will NOT yet RECEIVE their new glorified PERFECT IMMORTAL BODIES like Jesus has now, until WE ALL received our reward of ETERNAL LIFE TOGETHER in the world to come AT the SECOND coming of Jesus when we shall see Jesus as he is.
You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, the SOUL and SPIRIT of a person is very much ALIVE even though it is ABSENT from the physical body in which the soul and spirit dwells. Please read 2 Corinthians 12: 1-4 where Paul is caught up into PARADISE and he cannot tell whether or not if he is still IN his physical BODY.
2. I knew a MAN in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether IN the body, I cannot tell ; or whether OUT of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven (speaking of the throne of God).
3. And I knew such a MAN (whether IN the body, or OUT of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;)
In other words, Paul calls himself a MAN that was either still IN his BODY or that MAN was OUT of his BODY, but he could not tell for sure whether he was IN or OUT of his body. All he knew for sure was that he was IN HEAVEN and heard unspeakable revelations from God. So a person does indeed have CONSCIOUSNESS even when they are OUT of their own BODY.
There are many such accounts of people having near death experiences where they are taken to heaven and the come back into their bodies. I can personally attest to my wife dying in my arms and my first thought was that of fear and to call 911, but the Holy Spirit spoke boldly to me saying, “STAND IN YOUR AUTHORITY”. I knew instantly in my heart to speak life to my wife's dead body and to call her back to her body in the mighty name of Jesus the name above all other names including death. I did as the Holy Spirit instructed me and my wife was resurrected from the dead. When she came back into her body she immediately began to tell me of her experience of leaving her body and going to heaven. The man standing before her up in heaven, whom she believed was Jesus, told her that she had to go back. She said that she sensed this even before he told her. So even though I myself have not seen the other side of glory I know from the scriptures and my wife's own testimony that when a righteous person dies their soul and spirit being go to be PRESENT with the Lord in heaven just like the Bible ITSELF clearly teaches us in 2 Corinthians 5:8.
“We are CONFIDENT, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the BODY, and to be PRESENT with the Lord.”
Then we read in Revelation 6:9-11 that the SAINTS are under the ALTAR in heaven AWAITING their CHANGE and for Jesus to execute the vengeance and wrath of God on the wicked.
10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you NOT judge and AVENGE our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
I believe that these souls that are under the alter in heaven awaiting their new spiritual bodies are both the Old Testament saints AND the faithful Christians, who have died from the time of birth of the church to this present day, and the souls of righteous Christians who die that will be added from now to the second coming of Jesus. Be assured that the righteous dead who are IN Jesus Christ are IN heaven and are PRESENT with the Lord.
We can know this with absolute certainty, because the word of truth also teaches us that at the second coming of Jesus that God will bring WITH him the dead in CHRIST when he descends down from heaven with his Son Jesus to execute his wrath upon the UNRIGHTEOUS. And at that time of the second coming of Jesus the dead BODIES of these who have died IN Christ will be raised from the dead and CHANGED to divine IMMORTAL bodies of flesh and bone like Jesus has now. And then we who have remained faithful and have remained alive or survived unto the coming of Jesus will be CHANGED along WITH those who have died IN Christ that God has brought WITH him from heaven. We are told that this CHANGE or this transformation from mortal to becoming IMMORTAL takes place in a moment and a twinkling of an eye at the second coming of Jesus.
So once again this change is our receiving of our eternal immortal bodies of flesh and bone just like Jesus in this new world to come where we will reign with Jesus for a 1000 years. Then right after we are given these new IMMORTAL bodies we are all CAUGHT UP to meet Jesus in the air where we will be with the Lord while he executes the WRATH of Almighty God upon the disobedient to the gospel and the ungodly. Then Jesus and the righteous saints, who have just been given immortal bodies shall reign for 1000 years on the earth.
Then after the 1000 year reign of Jesus has ended and the final war has taken place there will be a SECOND and final resurrection. And in this second and final resurrection BOTH the righteous and the wicked will be raised from the dead. Please understand that the righteous is NOT us as Christians who have ALREADY been given eternal life, but rather the MORTAL righteous, who lived and died DURING the 1000 year reign of Jesus in their MORTAL bodies.
Now obviously there will be wicked unrighteous MORTAL people who will also die DURING the 1000 year reign of Jesus as well especially at the end during the FINAL war, who will will be raised with the righteous who died during the 1000 year reign of Jesus. But ALSO ALL the wicked unrighteous people from Adam to that time of the 1000 year reign of Jesus will be raised from the dead as well.
Then all the righteous during the 1000 year alive, who are yet living and did NOT die along with the righteous who will have just been just resurrected shall be judged and given eternal life at this time to join all the righteous, who where given eternal life before the 1000 years.
And then all the wicked from all the ages or periods of history shall be judged according to their unrighteous WORKS and for NOT accepting Jesus as their savior to be found GUILTY and worthy of the SECOND DEATH. Then all the wicked shall be cast into the lake of eternal fire to receive everlasting destruction, which is called the second death.
Now the wicked I personally believe are still being held or kept unto the day of judgment in the belly of the earth that is called the PIT. This is another study in and of itself concerning the wicked as in where they are now after they die and what will become of them when they are judged and found to be unworthy to receive eternal life. If you would like a deeper understanding on where the WICKED dead are now before their final judgment please read the studies related to hell, eternal torment, soul sleep and is the soul of man immortal listed in the side menu bar.
Please understand that I am NOT teaching that human beings possess an immortal soul, but rather I am teaching that the soul and spirit given by God remains connected together, until the day of judgment when God alone decides whether or not to DESTROY both the body and the souls of the ones he himself has created.
In other words, just because when the physical BODY of a person DIES this does NOT mean that the SOUL and the SPIRIT of that person dies and goes into a state of unconsciousness at that point in time. What I am saying is that the SOUL and SPIRIT of a person does NOT need a body in order to have conscious thought. Again I cover the errors of this false teaching that once a person dies then they are dead as a door nail, so to speak, and that there is absolutely no consciousness in the grave in the studies called “IS THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP BIBLICAL?”, “IS THE SOUL OF MAN IMMORTAL?” and “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?”
Thanks for reading, I pray that I have answered your questions. May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God.
Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Return to Homepage