What Happens at Death?
by Paul Taylor 7/27/2013 / Bible Studies
You gasp and breath your last breath, your body falls limp and begins to cool, your skin color begins to pale, your heart is no longer pumping the life carrying blood through your veins; this is the end process as the body transitions into the final stage of life we call death, a route we all must take; but then what?
Does your spirit drift off towards some distant light at the end of a tunnel with departed family and friends beckoning you on?
Maybe your spirit drifts into a burning sulfur smelling abyss with a legion of red clad, horned beings, sporting tails and ushering you with jabs from their pitchforks, deeper into the abyss?
But, then could you be floating around communicating with the many seers, palm readers, psychic's or some other earthly medium?
Or do you become unaware of anything; a deep dreamless sleep?
These are age old questions which have been around since the beginning of creation, and man by various means has attempted to bridge this chasm to communicate with the dead through séances, spells, potions, witches and a number of other tactics to get a glimpse of the so called "other side". There are those who claim to actually communicate with the dead, relaying messages to loved ones from the grave. Some of these mediums/seers have become wealthy and well known through TV, books and movies, but is it really possible to communicate with the dead? What proof is there of such claims?
Some refer to the 16th chapter of Luke noting the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, as being an actual event of someone in Hell, but this was a parable and not a real life event.
If you believe God's word, found in the Holy Bible, is true, then you would know the ability to communicate with the dead is about as ludicrous as the moon being made of cheese; drifting off down a tunnel to some distant glowing, comforting light, or being escorted through a sulfur smelling fiery abyss by pitchfork wielding entities are also somewhere out in left field.
Then there are those which claim to have had an out of body experience when they were declared to be clinically dead. There is medical evidence to refute this claim, and indicates the brains reaction to the blockage in the flow of oxygen to the brain. I am in no way making a judgment call as to what a person experiences during a near death experience, but rather relaying information gleamed from medical sources.
To understand what happens at death in the Biblical perspective, we have to go to the beginning, where it all started; the Garden of Eden.
In the book of Genesis we are told how God created the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in them in six days, and on the sixth day He created man.
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. (Emphasis is mine)
Keep this verse in mind as we work through this study, (the breath of life) and (living soul), they are both very important subjects in this study.
God formed man with his own hands, from the elements of the earth (the dust of the ground), and unlike the former act of speaking things into existence, God put his personal touch on man by personally forming this new being with his own hands.
This being was a mere form of flesh and bones, completely immovable and useless, but then God performed a miraculous feat, which only he had the ability to accomplish, he leaned down, deliberately and precisely breathed into this lifeless form the spirit of life from his own spirit, and man became a living soul, no longer cold, still and lifeless, but a product of God's own crowning achievement.
We know we cannot exist without breathing. We stop breathing, we become a lifeless form again, useless, immovable, cold and the body begins to revert back to the dust of the earth. Without the breath we are nothing, we can't exist, so what happened to the breath and where did it go?
If we look at Ecclesiastes 12:7 we are told that the body melts back into the dust it came from and the spirit (breath) returns back to God. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.Job is telling us, ( Job 27:3), the spirit is in his nostrils (Genesis 2:7) which is also the breath, and Ecclesiastes we are told, the spirit is returned back to God and the body returns to the dust it was formed from.
Job 27:3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils. Job is indicating the breath is the spirit of God and this is the life within us.
Nowhere in the Holy Bible is there any scripture indicating the spirit has any life, feeling, form or anything else after death. The spirit is the "breath of life" and nothing else, which causes the form to become a "living soul", and upon death it is returned to God, who gave it.
But, what about the soul? Are we not a soul?
The soul is a living being as indicated in Genesis 2:7, but, the soul is a combination of two things, the body which God formed from the dust, and the "breath of life" which came directly from God himself. The body therefore, is nothing without the breath, so the soul cannot exist without the breath of life from God. In Genesis 2:7 we discover that we become a living soul, only after God breaths the "breath of life" into our nostrils, and until he performs this act, we are a lifeless and useless mass of flesh and bones, incapable of any form of actions
If we are breathing, as indicated by the scriptures, we are a living soul, but when we quit breathing, where does the soul go if the spirit is returned back to God? In Ezekiel 18:20 we are told, The soul that sinneth, it shall die. In the previous verses we saw that once the breath leaves the body it is dead and of no more use, it is technically useless, and as we have all sinned, we all must die, but we will live again if we trust and believe in Jesus Christ.
Let's look at some other scriptures to reinforce the fact that once the breath leaves our bodies we are no longer a mobile entity, soul, spirit, ghost or whatever else you care to refer to the dead as.
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. Here Job is emphasizing that once we die we are in a perpetual state of sleep from which we cannot be awakened.
Ecclesiastes 9:5,6 5 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. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun. Ecclesiastes is reinforcing the fact that the dead are in a state of sleep and cannot come out of the grave or take part in anything again.
Job 7:9,10 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. 10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more Job again is alluding to the fact that once the breath of life has vanished from our bodies we are no more.
We see in these scriptures that we are not capable of any form of activity after the breath of life has left our bodies and returned back to God. We are no longer a living soul, because the soul has sinned, therefore the soul must die and when the soul dies so does the body, and as Job indicates, we vanish away as a cloud, having a part in nothing, ever again.
Though we are in the grave melting back into the elements we were formed from, we have the blessed assurance of 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Paul is also indicating a perpetual sleep until Jesus shouts for his Bride, The Church to come forth from the grave.
If we have been born again into Christ and follow his teachings, keeping the faith until death, then we shall be raised incorruptible as Paul describes In 1st Corinthians 15:54 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. Isa 25:8
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Hos 13:14
We see in these scriptures the finality that comes with death, but, there are those which teach, you immediately egress either into:
A: Heaven if you are a saved sinner
B: Purgatory, a sort of temporary holding place for purification or for temporary punishment. There are varying interpretations in different religious circles of this state of the dead. There are too many to describe but suffice it to be a temporary middle ground for further enlightening for the continued journey to heaven. The scriptures do not support a purgatory.
C: Hell, a place of eternal fire and torment with the Devil and his demons to be forever tormented.
With all these varying interpretations of where the dead go after death, is there any wonder that so many people have been deceived on this as well as other Biblical truths?
Preachers preaching a funeral will allude to the departed one being in Heaven and looking down on the ones left behind or that they are now singing and rejoicing with the Angels. All of this is comforting to the loved ones left behind, but it is a deception as the foregoing scriptural references point out. The dead are in the graves awaiting the sound of the last trump.
I have searched and no where can I find a reference to a place of purgatory or of anyone going straight to hell or heaven at death. If this were the case there would be no need for Christ to return as there would be no one to resurrect from the graves.
Recall when Jesus raised Lazarus after 4 days in the grave? There is no recorded evidence of Lazarus declaring the glory of Heaven or the atrociousness of Hell. Had Jesus brought me back from Heaven to this sinful world I would probably have been a little tift, but Lazarus was dead as Jesus said in John 11:11,14 .Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 14 .Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
When we die we are in a perpetual state of sleep and our next conscious thought will be the resurrection. We will not dream, we will not float around as restless spirits, communicating with the living, the Bible is plain on this subject. Acts 2:29,34 tells us David is still in the grave, and remember David was a man after God's own heart. Are we better than David to ascend to Heaven at death. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens:
Some cite the pardon Jesus gave the thief on the cross when the thief said to Jesus,"Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom" 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:42,43
The original writings did not have punctuations, sentences, or paragraphs, instead it was a continuous line of words and the interpreters placed the comma in the wrong place, (before today instead of after) in this particular verse. This is proven by the fact that Jesus did not go to heaven upon his death, but rested in the tomb on the Sabbath.
If we look at John 20:17 we see Mary confronting Jesus after the resurrection and he tells her; 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 God, and your God.
Now if we look in Matthew 28:9 we see Jesus meeting with the disciples and they fell onto his feet to worship him; And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. At this point they were allowed to touch him as he had ascended to the father and returned. This is another study in and of itself.
We see in these verses that the thief on the cross did not go to heaven on that day, but according to the various scriptures throughout the Bible, he is still in the grave. Why would Jesus allow the thief to ascend into heaven immediately upon death, when Lazarus, David, Job and a host of other patriarchs were not?
As we have seen in the foregoing verses of scripture, when death overtakes us and we are placed in the grave, the Bible says there we remain until the first resurrection; Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Even though we go into the grave a lifeless useless mass of decaying matter, to be in a perpetual state of sleep, we are assured of a resurrection with an immortal body, to be with Christ for eternity, and until the resurrection occurs we are in the graves, not roaming around endlessly communicating with the living, but awaiting the sound of the last trump of God and the shout of Michael for us to come forth out of the graves.
Don't be persuaded and deceived into thinking , grandma or grandpa is speaking to you from the grave, what you are hearing or seeing are demons, which have the ability to take on the appearance and character of anyone at anytime.
Put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, study God's word for the truth and reject the demon driven charlatan fortune tellers/seers claiming to speak to your departed loved ones. They are only speaking to the demons of hell. We are told not to associate in any form with witches, seers, fortune tellers, astrologers, or anyone working magic. Exodus 22:18 tells us Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. God's warnings to us concerning these are to the point in Deut.18:10-12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
Copyright 2013 by Paul Taylor All RightsReserved Worldwide All scripture is from the KJV