Come Join Us In Remembering What The World Has Forgotten..... The Seventh Day Sabbath!
Are The Dead Still Living?
Bible Study Subject
Shouldn’t the Children of the Most High, The Redeemed in the Precious Blood of Jesus, Saints of God, choose to believe the Truth rather than tradition?
I pray that they do. It is my desire to share with the Believers, the truth of God’s Word.
Of late I have been concerned about what many preachers are speaking out against, and that is the subject of: soul sleeping.
The Bible I will be using is the old King James Version. My prayer is that you will be blessed in reading this article and the spirit of your understanding will be opened to the Truth.
Recently while listening to a Christian based TV program, I heard two different people call in and asked the question, “Where do people go when they die?" The minister informed them that after dying they went straight to heaven, if they were Christians. This is not Biblical.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 states, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."
If there is any subject that is taught plainly in the Bible it is that when people die their spirit, “The Breath of Life,” returns to the Lord and their soul and body stays in the grave. It is my intention, and my responsibility as a Minister of the Gospel to confront this issue. If you are willing to read this article, I believe that you will see the subject in a new light. I call this form of looking into the word the "Two Witness" study. By using two and sometimes three witnesses on this subject.
Scriptures taken from both Old and New Testament writers will answer each question. First, in order to not be deceived, read the following scriptures: St. John 8:17, St. Matthew 18:16, 2nd Corinthians 13:1 and Deuteronomy 19:15
These scriptures are the keys to show us that we must always use two or three witnesses to prove doctrine.
If you find at least two different writers that agree on a subject, you will never find two that disagree (An exception to this rule might be the sign that hung over Jesus at the time of his death that is written in 4 different languages. Also, what was said about the cock crowing at Jesus' betrayal)
PEOPLE GO TO HEAVEN WHEN THEY DIE ~
In St. John 3:13 Jesus says that HE is the only one who has gone to heaven: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” And Acts 2:34 says, "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool."
If Jesus, in the book of St. John says that He is the only one who has ascended into the heavens, then we should take His word for it. And if Acts states that David has not ascended into the heavens, then we should believe it.
Again in 1st Corinthians 15:23 we read, "But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.” If you will notice the last three words of this scripture: it becomes very clear that those that are Christ’s shall be with him, “at his coming,” and not before.
Let’s move on to Enoch and the fact that many say he went directly to heaven without dying. I find no scripture to back up this claim.
On the contrary you will find in 1st Corinthians 15:50-52, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. *Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, *In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
This Scripture shows that it was impossible for Enoch, who was still flesh and blood at the time of his translation to be able to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
We also find in Hebrews 11:1-13 that Enoch is listed among the faithful that died and are waiting for the promise.
It states in Hebrews 11:5 that Enoch was translated that he should not see death. It is my belief that the reason God took him was so that he would not see the flood that eventually killed the whole world.
There is another scripture in the Bible that speaks of a person being translated. Colossians 1:13, in part, states that the Saints have been delivered from the power of darkness, "have been TRANSLATED" into the Kingdom of His dear Son.
I remember when my father was dying and the doctor asked my mother if she would like to wait in the hallway as my father's time was nearing to die. He did this out of compassion in an effort to spare her from seeing death.
Some may say, "What about Elijah?" Let's see. Most people say that Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot, but if you'll read 2nd Kings 2:1 you will see that he was taken up by a whirlwind.
Now: where was he taken? And did he die? In reading 2nd Kings 2:11 we find that Elijah was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind, and since we know from scripture that no-one has gone to heaven where God dwells, it is safe to say that Elijah was taken up to the first heaven. Genesis 1:20
~ There are three heavens:
* The Atmospheric Heaven, * The Starry Heaven * Paradise - where God dwells ~
Now, if you will notice the year in which Elijah was taken it was 852 B.C. Then go to 2nd Chronicles 21:12, which states that some 10 years after Elijah was taken up, King Jehoram received a writing from Elijah, in the year 842 B.C. (During Bible time the years were counted in reverse)
Elijah was still alive all that time. What he did in those ten years, I do not know. I just simply know that he was not in heaven with God, nor was he dead. The reason, or for what purpose God moves people from one place and puts them in another place is only for God to know. Remember Phillip? He was caught up by the Spirit, after talking to the Ethiopian Eunuch at Gaza, and then was later found at Azotus. Only God knows these things.
IN DEATH MAN SLEEPS ~
1st Thessalonians 4:13-16, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you 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. *For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or go before) them which are asleep. *For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."
Psalms 13:3 "Consider and hear me, oh Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death."
Many preachers do not like to hear the words, "soul sleeping" but, it is exactly what the Bible teaches and there are many scriptures concerning sleep and death as being one.
IN DEATH MAN RETURNS TO THE DUST ~
Daniel 12:2, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
In 2nd Corinthians 5:8 we read where Paul states, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” This will show that whether a person is alive or dead, he is with the Lord at all times.
St. Matthew 22:32 (God doing the talking) "I am 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. “ So you see you are always in the presence of the Lord.
God said in Genesis 4:10 "And he said, what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother Abel cries out unto me from the ground.”
Note: It would be a wise deduction then that if Abel were present with God in heaven after his murder, he would have spoken directly to God instead of speaking to him from the ground.
Also we find in Genesis 3:19, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: from dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
As concerning the dust of the earth, the American Heritage Dictionary describes it as: “The earthly remains of a human body.” We know that, logically, the body returns to the ground and is consumed by the elements of nature.
The Scriptures prove this in many places, one being found in, Job 12:10, "Man dies, and wastes away: yea man gives up the ghost, and where is he?"
Isaiah 26:19, "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."
These scriptures plainly show that the dead are sleeping in the dust of the earth. They are not in paradise or in Hades.
MAN'S SPIRIT RETURNS TO GOD ~
Here we are dealing with the spirit of man and as it is noted in scripture, the Spirit never dies. Therefore, the spirit of man goes back to God who gave it.
Jesus himself says in St. Luke 23:46, "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."
What the spirit does after it goes back to God I do not know. I do believe that the spirit of man will join his new body in the resurrection.
Another witness is found in Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
MAN'S SOUL REMAINS IN THE GRAVE ~
After death and burial the soul remains here. Ezekiel 18:4, "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth it shall die."
When referring to the soul of the sinner it will have what is called the "second death" but, when referring to the soul of the righteous, it "sleeps" unto the day of resurrection.
Many preachers go out on a limb and start telling you where the dead have actually gone. These Scriptures that we have just shown you will prove that the dead are sleeping in the dust of the earth, whether wicked or righteous.
As for a sinner's second death, he has no second chance to return unto God. The Scripture states that a sinner is dead while he yet lives. Simply put, it means that he is dead in sin; and the second death is the time when the sinner is cast into the Lake of Fire. Revelations chapter 20
As for the righteous, they are never separated from God as we stated in St. Matthew 22:32.
ARE THE DEAD WATCHING?
I have also heard many preachers proclaim, even during a church service, that your father or mother or grandmother, who have died, are in heaven grieving and crying over the way that you may be living your life.
I find in Revelation 7:16-17 "They shall hunger no more, neither thrust any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. *For the Lamb which is in the mist of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
And again in Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are past away."
But the two best scriptures that I know of are found in the following:
(1) Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, “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.”
(2) Isaiah 26:14, “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.”
So we see that there is no way that those who have died can be in heaven continuing to partake in the sorrows and cares of this life any longer. In fact, they are still sleeping in the dust waiting for their call --- either unto everlasting life or everlasting death.
IS MAN TWICE RISEN?
And lastly, there are some who have stated that just before Christ’s return the souls of the righteous dead that are with him now, must re-enter their graves in order to be resurrected and stand before the judgment. I find no logic behind this belief, nor do I find scripture to back it up.
Look at 1st Corinthians 15:16, “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:” When Christ died He laid in the grave, just like any other man.
His spirit returned to the Father and his body and soul remained in the grave, just like any other man. He died once and he rose from the grave only once.
In Hebrews 9:27 it states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
Job 14:12 “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
I can not see the logic in a person dying, going directly to heaven and then returning unto the dust of the earth to be raised again to face judgment. Do you?
A person who honestly has read the Scriptures knows that man must first die, then rise and then face the judgment of God. Then according to his deeds, whether good or bad, he will receive his reward. We must conclude then that, “The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.” Psalms 115:17
Therefore let us consider wisely that which we believe, for it states in I John 2:21 "I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth."
Carl Stewart, Minister
House of Prayer Sabbath Ministries