Many do not understand what really occurs to a human being when they die. In this article I am going to address this subject as it pertains to a Christian.
We first have to look at the question, “what is man made of”? Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Notice that man became a soul, not that he has a soul! God is stating that man became a living creature, from the Hebrew word, “Nephesh”. The same word, “Nephesh”, applied to animals as well as humans. Notice Genesis 7:21 “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping things, and of the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.”
I find, even from top religious figures, that there is misunderstanding and confusion about the word spirit and the word soul! Why? Because we've been incorrectly taught that we humans have an immortal soul and that IT goes to heaven, when we die.
Amazingly enough, that deception began - in the garden of Eden! Genesis 2:16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest therof THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.” But a clever, subtle creature, named Satan the Devil, told them that they would not die; that they had IMMORTAL SOULS! This serpentine creature has used this colossal lie to deceive this whole world (Rev. 12:9; John 8:44). Chapter 3:1 “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2. And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4. And the serpent said unto the woman, YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE”:
This was just the opposite of what God had told them. Satan was inferring that they already had immortality or an immortal soul!
Verse 5. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat therof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” So here is where these two first human beings made the wrong choice -- the choice that they could make decisions as to what is RIGHT or WRONG, apart from God’s Commands or judgments.
This is why this world is like it is today; man has been making the wrong choices ever since! Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16.In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that ye mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17. But if thine turn away, so that thou will not hear, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18.I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordon to go to possess it. 19. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both you and thy seed may live.”
True Christians have been called of God and given the opportunity to make that RIGHT CHOICE NOW! The Great majority does not understand that God the Father must DRAW PEOPLE TO HIS SON, Jesus Christ, before they can become Christians – members of His own Body, the Church. John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW him: and I will raise him up (resurrect) at the last day.”
I Corinthians 1:2 “ Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…Verse 26 “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (Read on through the chapter to see the type of individual, God is calling at this time.) When we recognize that calling, what must we do? (And you’ll realize something is taking place in your life! Believe me!). Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins (for making the wrong choices – breaking God’s Holy Commandments, i.e. sinning), and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT (after having “hands laid upon you, by the ministry of Jesus Christ) of THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
Now, you will have the POWER and the DESIRE TO OBEY GOD (and make more RIGHT CHOICES than you have before). And you will begin to understand the Bible and to know what life is really all about – AND YOU’LL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU AT DEATH!
JOB UNDERSTOOD THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD!
Job 14:10 “But a man dieth, and wasteth away: yea man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 11. As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: 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. 13. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou would keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14. If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.”
So death is likened unto a deep sleep, from which we must be awakened. Other Scriptures explain what happens when you die and the state of the dead. Job 32:8 “But there is A SPIRIT IN MAN: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” (We’ll read about this “spirit” in another Scripture later. Briefly, it is a “spirit essence”, which coupled with the “physical brain”, gives human beings mind or intellect. This is what makes us so much higher in talents and abilities than any animals. Man IS a soul, not that he HAS a soul, which some believe is IMMORTAL. The Bible plainly refutes that idea! Notice Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls (lives) are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: THE SOUL THAT SINNETH , IT SHALL DIE.” Anything immortal cannot die! But, Verse 20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son…“ These Scriptures reveal the difference in some so called “immortal soul” and the truth of the “spirit in man”, let’s complete our subject matter of what happens at:
THE DEATH OF A CHRISTIAN
Ecclesiastes 12:7 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God that gave it.” Chapter 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. 20. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21. Who knoweth the SPIRIT OF MAN that goeth UPWARD, (goes up to God, who gave it, where it stays in a dormant state (asleep) until a resurrection!) Yes, all “living creatures” or “souls” die alike. But there is a vast difference in the ULTIMATE FUTURE of a human being and an animal! We are made in the image of God!
Let’s focus on the New Testament teachings and read about the first or better resurrection:
I Corinthians 15:12 “Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some of you that there is no resurrection from the dead. 14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain. 17. ---ye are yet in your sins 18. Then they also which are fallen asleep IN CHRIST are perished. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s AT HIS COMING.”
I Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” Revelation 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Revelation 5:10 “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Chapter 20:4 “And I saw thrones and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…”; and they lived and reigned with Jesus Christ a thousand years. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Hebrews 11:35 “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” What a fantastic reward God has offered to those Christians in the first resurrection!
There are many, many, more places in the Bible showing the fantastic reward of being in this first and better resurrection! Notice these encouraging words found in: Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose. 29For whom He die foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He (will) also glorify.”
To be privileged to be born into the very Family of God is beyond anything we could ever imagine! I John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God (in a begotten state), and it doth not yet appear what we shall be (in a “born again” state): but we know that, when he shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see Him as He is.” This is the hope of all Christians, to enter into the very Family of God at the first resurrection. God speed that day.
(If you would like to know more about the resurrections listed in the Bible send for Lesson 15 of our Mini-Correspondence Course. Better yet, enroll today by clicking the button below and receive all 32 Lessons.)