Where Do We Go When We Die?

This is in response to a video made for a class, put on by the World Video Bible School. The teacher in that class was not identified.

Where Do We Go When We Die?

James 2:26 tells us, The body without the spirit is dead… (NIrV)

The speaker in the video makes a statement, and then asks the question of us, when we die, the soul leaves the body, but where does it go?

James, as we see above, states the body, lacking the spirit, is now dead.

So let’s assume two scenarios:

  1. I die as a believer. Now, Paul’s writings speak to us.

2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

In 2 Corinthians 5:1, having left the body for our heavenly home, the body should be dead.

2 Corinthians 5:6 NASB Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–

2 Corinthians 5:8-9 NASB (8) we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (9) Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

  1. I die without the saving knowledge of Christ.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 NASB For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.

In the video, the speaker now shows us a graphic, where the upper portion is paradise, and the lower portion is Hades, the place of the dead. The speaker goes on to say that Hades is not only the dwelling place of the dead but a holding place for disembodied spirits.

He then says,

the good who die go to Hades;

the bad who die go to Hades.

The speaker continues with, the reason we are confused is because, the King James Version of Matthew 16:18 translates hades, as hell.

Matthew 16:18 MKJV  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

I guess I am not understanding for in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is replying to Peter, after asking Peter a question, to which Peter responded with, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To this astounding response by Peter, Jesus replies, flesh and blood did not reveal this you but My Father in Heaven. Jesus might as well have said, the Holy Spirit of God revealed this to you. But Jesus continued, by disclosing to Peter, and whoever else was listening, that by saying, “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” Jesus was going to build His church on the principle that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, but note, the gates of hades shall not prevail against His church, NOR the principle that the church is founded upon – Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

Continuing to speak about our confusion, the speaker, as though he is telling us that what we see here in Matthew 16:18 has two different words to represent this word hell. I can tell you that I looked the verse up and all I see is one hadēs, a word that has unseen as its first choice in the Strong’s concordance. The speaker has now added Gehenna/hell to the mix and says that the KJV translated both words, Hades and Gehenna, as hell. As the speaker continued to articulate about Matthew 16:18, he said, this means that death would not stop His kingdom. The Old Testament word for the dwelling place of the dead is Sheol. Sheol and Hades are the same places.

Now, this is where I get annoyed. He says, “once you understand that all people go to Hades when they die it is going to clear up some things for you.” Well, NO!

I (Ozzie) can plainly see that those who do not have a relationship with Christ are merely lying quietly in the ground,

Ecclesiastes 9:5 NASB For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.

while those in Christ are immediately found in the presence of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

Paul continues with,

2 Corinthians 5:6 NASB Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–

Again, there is a logical path here. If, we are absent from the Lord while we are at home in the body, then, to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. It is not that difficult.

Perhaps the foolish assumption is that NO ONE gets to migrate one direction or the other, until at least the first resurrection, otherwise, how would anyone be in heaven, and yet we know that there are people in heaven during the time of wrath because John tells us about seeing the martyred saints, on two occasions, and he sees the Saints come riding back to earth with Jesus to wage war with the beast and the false prophet, and therefore we all rest quietly in Hades. The problem with the video teachers’ logic is that the first resurrection applies to the martyred saints during the time of God’s wrath upon the earth. The church does not have the term resurrection applied to it at any time.

In the video, the speaker attempts to justify our being in Hades by using Acts 2:31. While the speaker uses the NKJV, I will use the MKJV, they both say something similar.

Acts 2:31 MKJV  seeing this beforehand, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor would His flesh see corruption,

What is the context of this verse? Is it Hades, or is it the resurrection? If it is the resurrection, then we are NOT being directed to focus on Hades as a subject central to the conversation. What is central, is Jesus submitting fully to being a human, the Son of God; He did so to pay the full price for our redemption. Having put Jesus on the cross, Satan thought he had won and defeated God Himself, but he missed one critical thing, Jesus never sinned – nor was He born into sin, as a normal man, and therefore there was NO sin in Him. Satan had put him in hell illegally. As such, it is NO wonder hell could not hold Him.

Why would David speak prophetically about Jesus, and that God would not leave His soul in hell?

Psalms 16:10 MKJV  For You will not leave My soul in hell; You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

Hell is the word she‘ôl and means hades or the world of the dead including its accessories and inmates: – grave, hell, pit.

One more piece of logic and comparison before I move on. Jesus, in response to the scribes and the Pharisees, said, you will get no sign, but the sign of Jonah. You can pursue this story in its entirety in Matthew Matthew 12:38-41, but suffice it enough to say,

“An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; (40) for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Why is this significant, and why would Jesus refer to the incident?

  1. No one gets swallowed by a fish, they get eaten by sharks.
  2. If you got swallowed by a fish, NO ONE would expect you to live.
  3. Three days is the time frame, that the Jews clung to, pertaining to the soul leaving the body – we also see this in the case of Jonah. It was understood that Jonah’s soul left his body. Now Jesus uses that same time frame and says, that He will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Since they understood that the heart of the earth was Sheol, then they knew He meant hell; and, they knew that this was the formal time frame for an official separation if that is what God was going to do to Him – and they, because of His “blasphemy,” saying that He was the Son of God, would have been the event that caused Him to be sent to hell.

When Jesus came to heal His friend Lazarus, he was four days dead, a very intentional move on the part of Jesus.

The thing that gives us trouble is this passage from Luke16:19-31.

Considering what we just finished talking about, and how Jesus came to fulfill every demand necessary to purchase our freedom, it should be a done deal already, not worthy of a discussion.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  (20)  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores  (21)  and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.  (22)  “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  (23)  In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  (24)  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire.’  (25)  “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  (26)  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  (27)  “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,  (28)  for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  (29)  “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’  (30)  “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’  (31)  “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” NIV 

Who is Jesus talking to?

Jews. Jews that had an understanding of the concept of soul sleep. They knew that God had promised them eternity, but it was always a future event, and not to worry about.

Is it possible that this depiction of paradise and Sheol, is or was a reality?

Because Jesus describes in such detail, I can only assume that it was a reality.

What would have changed?

  1. We now have a personal relationship with Jesus, and the great mystery of Christ being in us, was solved, and therefore, where He is, we will be. This had to have an impact on this working relationship.
  2. Is it possible that the rich man was in some form of sheol/hell/? Again, Jesus gives us the details, and they are not rosy for this guy. “The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment.” However, for Lazarus, he was comforted.
  3. There was a monumental change. Who were these captives and where did He find them? Perhaps Sheol/Hell/Hades. It doesn’t matter and here is why. So if, you, like the video preacher/teacher, want to get technical, and say that Hades is little more than a calm resting place for the soul, distinct from the torment of hell, then know this, Jesus got the keys to both places, and neither is, for the believer, a place to be feared.
This entry was posted in 2 Corinthians, absent, bible study, body, death, death, Ecclesiastes, Hades, Hell, hell, know nothing, Matthew's gospel, Our being caught up, prevail, rapture, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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