State of the Dead and Associated Topics
“But man dies, and wastes away: yea, man gives up the ghost, and where is he?” (Job 14:10). “Where is he?” What happens to man when he dies?
In the beginning, Elohim told Adam and Eve, the “tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17, emphasis added). They could eat from every tree in the garden except this one tree for if they did eat of it, they would die.
The serpent (Satan) told the woman, “Yea, hath Elohim said; Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:1-4, emphasis added).
In direct contradiction to what Elohim had said, the serpent (Satan speaking through the serpent [ventriloquism]) said: “Ye shall not die.” The Devil has been questioning and contradicting Elohim for over six thousand years now, and his time is about to come to an end.
But what about mankind? Are we still questioning Elohim? What happens to us when we die? Where do we go when we die? These are questions that can be honestly asked, and the Bible will give us the answers.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, “death is the end of life.” Is that how most people look at death today? I do not think so. Most people believe that there is another state of being after the body dies; that the “soul” lives on.
The understanding of what happens to the soul and what the soul is varies among different cultures. Most who read and study the Bible believe the “soul” goes to heaven or hell. Not too long ago, there were theories of places called purgatory and limbo, but those ideas have been mostly discarded and could not be substantiated from the Bible.
Webster’s Dictionary describes the “soul” as “the immortal part of man, as distinguished from his body.” Webster’s Dictionary tells us that “immortal” means “not subject to death.”
So according to non-Biblical sources, the body is subject to death (an end of life), while the “soul” is “immortal” (not subject to death). This is how most people see the difference between the “body” and the “soul.” But is this how the Bible treats death, the body, and the soul? When Elohim said to Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from the “tree of knowledge of good and evil,” was He just referring to the body and not to the soul?
Genesis 2:7 reads, “And Yahuwah Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” According to this verse, for man to become a “living soul” two components are required: the “dust of the ground” and the “breath of life.” We know that when a man dies, his body eventually returns to “dust,” but where does the “breath of life” go? “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto Elohim who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7, emphasis added). The word spirit found in this verse is the same word as is translated in other places as the “breath of life.” Please note that the “spirit shall return unto Elohim” from Whom it came. It does not say that the “spirit” will go to heaven or to hell and is immortal.
The doctrine of the immortality of the soul (not subject to death) is a teaching traceable back to the words of Satan in the Garden of Eden to Eve and contradicts what Elohim told Adam and Eve. Satan has used this false doctrine (lie) to enslave millions if not billions of earth’s inhabitants through fear. Coupled together with the ancient Greek teaching of “hell,” Satan has used these lies to slander the character of our beneficent Creator.
Hell, as embraced by the world and many in the church, is pictured as a place of eternal torture; this concept originated in ancient Greek philosophy. Punishment in hell typically corresponds to the punishment owed for the sins committed during one’s life. Plato’s Myth of Er portrayed by Dante’s Divine Comedy most accurately portrays what many in the world and in the church believe about “hell.” As we will see, “hell” as mentioned in the Bible, is much different from Plato’s and Dante’s hell. It is inestimable the number of “souls” who will be lost through these outlandish teachings of man that originated with Satan!
Is there anyone who is immortal? “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise Elohim, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” “I give thee charge in the sight of Elohim, Who quickens all things . . . Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Who no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:13, 16, emphasis added). According to the Bible, only Elohim has immortality (“not subject to death” according to Webster’s Dictionary). Nowhere in the Bible does it say the “soul” is “immortal.”
Immortality is to be conferred upon the righteous at the second coming of Messiah. “For this corruptible [man in his inherited, fallen state] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [mankind at the present time] must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:53-55, emphasis added). Someday, the righteous will be given immortality. There is no place in Scripture indicating that the wicked receive immortality. The wicked cannot suffer eternally unless they receive immortality which prevents them from dying.
Mankind has come to fear and even hate Elohim because of these teachings (immortality of the soul and eternally burning hellfire) which have turned man from and against Elohim. These erroneous doctrines falsely portray the attributes of our merciful and just Creator. Elohim who gave Israel just and righteous laws is portrayed as so unjust as to require an eternity of being tortured for those who have been in rebellion during their lifetime of seventy or eighty years. Elohim Who said an “eye for an eye and tooth for tooth” (Leviticus 24:20) and a life for a life is made to appear a sadist of the worst possible kind, torturing for eternity (never ending) those who have displeased Him.
When I first began to read and study the Bible for myself forty-three years ago, the greatest teaching I came to understand was the truth of what would eventually happen to the wicked, and the fact that they would not have to suffer throughout eternity. I could love such a Being without fear as I began to discover the truth about Him and the false light in which Satan had characterized Him. How could people love Someone who would torture His enemies forever? There would always be a hidden fear lurking there in people’s minds as they wondered what would happen if they should displease Him? The Bible is emphatic: “There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
What type of a picture do you have of Elohim? How you relate to Him is dictated by the picture you have in your mind of what He is like. Do you see Elohim as the prodigal son’s father watching with longing heart for the return of his son? And when the father sees him coming from a great distance, he runs out to meet him, embraces him, clothes him and has a great feast for him. That is an accurate picture of what Elohim is like given by Yahushua Himself. He does not hold us off at arm’s length until we reform our lives, which only He can do, but goes in search of us as pictured in the parable of the lost sheep.
Yahushua used parables to help us understand what Elohim and the kingdom of heaven are like, so it is very important that we perceive the character of Elohim correctly if we are to live with Him throughout eternity. Could you imagine living with Someone throughout eternity Who you could not fully love and trust and were afraid of? To me that would be supreme torture.
Let us look at the Bible to determine the truth for ourselves concerning, death, hell, the reward of the wicked, and other related subjects. We have already discovered from the Scriptures that when someone dies, his body goes back to dust and the “breath of life” goes back to Elohim, who gave it in the first place. “And Yahuwah Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [‘breath of life’] shall return unto Elohim who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
The soul is not a disembodied spirit. That is what spiritualism teaches and is why so many have gotten caught up in the occult. The soul consists of both the “dust of the earth” and the “breath of life;” this is the Biblical definition of the “soul.”
John 11 contains the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of the town of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Master with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto Him [Yahushua], saying, Master, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. When Yahushua heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of Elohim, that the Son of Elohim might be glorified thereby. Now Yahushua loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When He heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was. [Why did He not immediately go to help them in answer to their call?] Then after that saith He to His disciples, Let us go into Judea again. His disciples say unto Him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone Thee; and goest Thou thither again? Yahushua answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him. These things said He: and after that He said unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; [The disciples had evidently forgotten about the message concerning Lazarus and were apprehensive about the danger that threatened their Master and themselves.] but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said His disciples, Master, if he sleeps, he shall do well. Howbeit Yahushua spoke of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking rest in sleep. Then said Yahushua unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him. Then when Yahushua came, He found that he [Lazarus] had lain in the grave four days already . . . Yahushua said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto Him, Master, by this time he stinks: [He had started to decay.] for he hath been dead four days” (John 11:1-39, emphasis added).
Lazarus had been dead for four days by the time Yahushua and His disciples arrived in Bethany. Yahushua had stayed away intentionally so that Lazarus could die and begin to rot so that there would be no question as to whether Lazarus had indeed been dead. Lazarus’ sisters stated that if Yahushua had been there, Lazarus would not have died, but it was Yahushua’s intention to reveal to His disciples that the grave had no power beyond the control of His authority even after man had rotted away and returned to the dust. Yahushua referred to the death of Lazarus as “sleep!” His disciples responded, “Master, if he sleeps, he shall do well.” “Howbeit Yahushua spoke of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Yahushua unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”
Throughout the Bible, death is referred to as “sleep,” and yet people are offended when this is brought to their attention! Let us just imagine that when Lazarus died, his disembodied spirit (what spiritualism teaches) went to heaven as most people believe happens. So when Yahushua called Lazarus back to life, his spirit would have to leave heaven and return to the earth. Hardly seems fair, does it? Today, we hear reports of those who have supposedly had near death experiences, but Lazarus tells us nothing of what he surely would have experienced while there in heaven having been dead for four days. The Bible is very clear: “The dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
Let us look at just a few examples to assure you that this is not an isolated incident where death is referred to as “sleep.” “And Yahuwah said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land” (Deuteronomy 31:16, emphasis added). “So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David” (1 Kings 2:10, emphasis added). See also 1 Kings 11:21, 11:43, 14:31).
Death is referred to as sleep throughout the Bible, and we will be awakened from that sleep and resurrected to eternal life and given immortality when Yahushua returns. “For if we believe that Yahushua died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Yahushua will Elohim bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Master, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Master shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Master Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Master. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, emphasis added).
Not until Yahushua returns and takes us all to heaven together “shall we ever be with the Master.” If we should die before Yahushua returns we are in the grave until then, awaiting that day!
When Yahushua was dying on the cross, “Yahushua said unto him [the thief dying on the cross next to Him], Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Was the thief in paradise with Yahushua on that very day?
When Yahushua was resurrected from the dead and revealed Himself to Mary, He said, “Touch Me not; for 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 Elohim, and your Elohim” (John 20:17, emphasis added). Yahushua had not yet ascended to heaven three days after He was crucified, just as He had foretold.
You will notice what happens when we place the comma in Luke 23:43 after today instead of before: “Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” Yahushua was telling the thief on that day he would someday be with Him paradise. Yahushua knew He would not be resurrected until after “three days and three nights” of being in the grave. He would not be in heaven but asleep in the grave like all others who die, until His Father should call Him back to life. “Paul, an apostle, (not by men, neither by man, but by Yahushua Messiah, and Elohim the Father, Who raised Him from the dead;)” (Galatians 1:1).
“As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decays and dries up: so man lies down, and rises not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that Thou would hide me in the grave, that Thou would keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee” (Job 14:11-15, emphasis added).
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see Elohim: Whom I shall see for myself, and not another: though my reins (heart: Amplified, NAS, NIV) be consumed within me” (Job 19: 25-26, emphasis added).
Knowing and understanding what happens to man after death fortified and strengthened those who were martyred for their faith over the centuries, and it will do the same for us when the time comes should we be called to lay down our lives for the Master! The fear of death has lost its hold on the saints of Elohim.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He [Yahushua] also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him [Satan] that had power of death, that is, the devil: and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15, emphasis added).
Men are naturally fearful of the unknown, but the Bible makes it clear what takes place at death and what is to follow. On the day of Pentecost when the disciples received the power of Elohim’s Spirit, Peter made it very clear that King “David is not ascended into the heavens” (Acts 2:34). In referring to Messiah, Peter also told his audience in reference to Yahushua that, “Thou [Elohim] wilt not leave My soul in hell [grave], neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27).
We saw how Lazarus saw corruption because he was in the grave for four days, while Yahushua was resurrected back to life after being in the grave for only “three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40) as He had foretold He would be.
“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. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, emphasis added).
“Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Life has come to an end, waiting for the resurrection of the dead when we will be brought back to life. So death, as taught in the Bible, is as when one falls asleep for the night, to be awakened back to life at the resurrection. “They are as asleep” (Psalm 90:5).
There are two main resurrections that are discussed in the Bible, the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5) and the second resurrection, which is implied with the mentioning of the first resurrection. “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” (Daniel 12:2). While this verse in Daniel deals with the special resurrection that will take place just prior to the return of Yahushua, it does show that the results will be different depending on the individual. One resurrection is “to everlasting life” and the other resurrection is “to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Yahushua had this to say about the two resurrections: “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” (John 5:29).
The word for “hell” in the Old Testament is sheol which could also be translated as “grave.” When the Bible was translated, the prejudices of those who did the translating were included in how they interpreted sheol.
In the New Testament, the word translated as “hell” is gehenna or the Valley of Hinnom, which was a place like the “city dump” that some of you might still remember as always burning or smoldering until new trash was thrown on and which never went out.
Another word translated as “hell” in the New Testament is hades which also could have been translated as “grave.” Again the prejudices or preconceived opinions of the translators was apparent in how they translated from the old manuscripts to what we find written in the Bible today.
The subject of eternal fire is also discussed in the New Testament. “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7, emphasis added). Are Sodom and Gomorrha still on fire? No. Are the results of the fire which fell upon them eternal? Yes. This we are told in Jude 7 “are set forth for an example.” So it will be with those who suffer the punishment of Elohim. They will be burnt up and go up into smoke and only ashes will remain. The “results” of their punishment is eternal.
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith Yahuwah of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root [Satan is the root] nor branch [Satan’s followers are the branches]. But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith Yahuwah of hosts.”(Malachi 4:1-3, emphasis added).
“But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Yahuwah shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away” (Psalm 37:20, emphasis added). When you burn something, it is either turned to ashes, or it goes up in smoke.
Probably the most widely memorized verse in all of the Scriptures is John 3:16: “For Elohim so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” You will notice that those who do not have eternal life will perish and not suffer for eternity.
When you see Scriptures like the following which say the “smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever” (Revelation 14:11), understand that just as “fire and brimstone” (Revelation 14:10) came down on Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them “forever and ever” so the wicked are destroyed “forever and ever.” The results of the fire will be eternal, but the punishing will not be eternal. “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be” (Psalm 37:10).
When the “enemies of Yahuwah” are consumed, it will be just as it is when fat is burned up. They will be gone forever, and only their ashes will remain to be walked on by the redeemed (Psalm 37:35-36, Malachi 4:1, 3). Many have used the false doctrine (lie) of everlasting hellfire in an attempt to scare people out of hell and into heaven (and probably into their church so they can become good tithe-paying members). Elohim does not operate that way. “Yahuwah hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). “Or despises thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of Elohim leads thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, emphasis added). “Remember, O Yahuwah, Thy tender mercies and Thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old” (Psalm 25:6). Only by love and truth does Elohim draw us to Himself. Never by force, fear, or intimidation will anyone enter into the kingdom of heaven.
We are told the following in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when Master Yahushua shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, with flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not Elohim, and that obey not the gospel of our Master Yahushua Messiah: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Master, and from the glory of His power” (emphasis added).
Please note that the lost will “be punished with everlasting destruction” and not with everlasting punishing.
The word perdition is used in the Bible to describe the fate of the lost and even of Satan (Revelation 17:8, 11). The word can be defined as “destruction or perish or eternal death.” But some will still say the “soul” is eternal and cannot be destroyed, but Yahushua had this to say about the matter. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both the soul and the body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, emphasis added). This verse does not say that He will punish the soul eternally but will “destroy” the soul in hell or as we have seen, the grave.
The problem is that the teaching of the immortality of the soul has been promoted since Adam and Eve’s fall and has been proclaimed by so many for so long that it is hard for the real truth of the matter to be seen and accepted. We are told in Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceives the whole world” (emphasis added). Most when confronted with the “truth” will not admit they have been deceived, unless they are earnestly searching for “truth.” When an honest man who has been in error is confronted with the truth, he will do one of two things: he will stop being honest or he will accept the truth that exposes his error admitting that he was in error. In most cases, pride prevents people from admitting they have been deceived. But the whole world has been deceived as we are told in Revelation 12:9.
Unless we study matters out for ourselves, which we are commanded to do in the Bible, we will be deceived. “Study to show thyself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We cannot; we must not depend on anyone to do our studying and thinking for us! No matter how much confidence we have in that individual, or we may end up being “ashamed.” It is a humbling experience to realize you have been deceived, and then being able to admit it. We have all been deceived by Satan. Not one who has ever lived on earth has escaped Satan’s deceptions except Yahushua.
I hope that in this appendix and in the book in general, I have not striven with you but have followed the counsel of Elohim given in 2 Timothy 2:24-26. “And the servant of the Master must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if Elohim peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (emphasis added).
I have sought to lay out the truth of these matters as seen from the Holy Bible and not from man’s reasoning to the best of my Elohim-given ability. Having the truth of the matter on these issues (death, non-immortality of the soul, eternal destruction, and what happens after life) is of such paramount importance to our eternal salvation that I would be greatly remiss should I not include this.
I hope that some reading this book will have changed their view of what Elohim is truly like based on what the Bible says in contrast to what you may have been taught to believe. But in the end, we owe it to ourselves to study matters out thoroughly on our own as we are counseled to do in the Holy Bible! “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).
In 1 Peter 1:9, it is written, “receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” When you consider what the “soul” is, do you not see the impact of what this verse is saying? Our soul is our being; who and what we are; physically, mentally, and emotionally. We will have a body and not be a disembodied spirit floating around throughout eternity. We will build houses, plant vineyards and gardens and enjoy life to its fullest, without any of the detriments and limitations we have had to previously endure on this earth when it is made anew. Elohim and His only begotten Son shall live with us throughout eternity.
“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 in Messiah shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:51-55, emphasis added).
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).