The Soul at Death
Many ask what happens to those who die in Christ, or who have died not knowing the Lord
nor repented. The Book of Luke gives us an idea with the parable of Lazarus and the Rich
Man. We will read what Paul wrote. We will also cover what is written in the Apocrypha,
which gives us an even clearer picture of what many call heaven and hell. Let's go to 1
Thessalonians Chapter 4
1 Thes 4:13
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.
The subject is set in verse thirteen. The subject is where the dead are. Paul is
telling you not to be ignorant as to where they are.
1 Thes 4:14
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in
Jesus will God bring with him.
If you believe Jesus rose from the dead, then you should you know that those have died
in Christ are with Him also.
1 Thes 4:15
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and
remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
The word prevent here means "precede". We cannot precede them, why? Because
theyre already there with the Lord.
1 Thes 4:16
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
This is very similar to verse fifteen. Why will the dead in Christ rise first? Again,
because theyre already resurrected. As mentoned before our flesh bodies will be
replaced by the spiritual body. There wont be anything crawling out of the graves.
What is this trump? Paul states that it is the last trump (1 Cor. 15:52). That is the
seventh trump of Revelation. Jesus will not return until after the sixth when Satan
appears as the false christ and has his reign.
1 Thes 4:17
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the
clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Now this is not some secret or pre-tribulation rapture Paul is talking about. Aside
from what this verse may appear to say, let me ask you a question. Who is the prince of
the air? In Ephesians 2:2 it is the devil or Satan. Think about it. Who are you going out
to meet then? Thats right, the one that started the pre-tribulation lie, Satan.
Mainly from a woman in 1830.
What Paul is saying here is, in a cloud of believers we will meet Jesus. This word air
(ah-ayr) in the Greek means the spiritulal or air body. Jesus is returning here to
this earth as it written in Zechariah 14. His feet touch Mt. Olivet and it splits to make
way for His own to meet Him.
Now let's turn to Luke to learn what the separation is between the believer and
unbeliever's soul when they die.
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared
sumptuously every day:
There is no sin in being rich if God has blessed you, it is ill-gotten gains that is a
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table:
moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
If one comes to you spiritually sick do you share the bread - Gods Word which
feeds and strengthens. Skip down to verse 24.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he
may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this
It will be documented later that this flame is a burning shame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good
things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they
which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come
There is a gulf that separates those who have overcome and those souls that have not
accepted our Savior. It cannot be crossed at this time as the prophet Ezekiel could not
cross it (Ezek. 47:5)
Another witness to the gulf and the countenance of those with God and those apart from
Him. It is the Apocrypha. The Second Book of Esdras, which is Greek for Ezra, speaks of
where the dead are. We go to chapter 7 and Ezra speaking.
2 ESDRAS 7:75
75 Then I answered and said, "If I have found favor in your sight Sovereign, show
this also to your servant; whether after death as soon as each one of us gives up his
soul, we shall be beautifully kept at rest until those time come when you begin to renew
the creation, or shall be tortured at once.
Ezra is inquiring about our souls when we give up the spirit. Paul speaks of our
spiritual bodies all receive at death (1 Cor. 15) and that our souls return to our Father
(2 Cor. 5:6-8).
2 ESDRAS 7:76-77
76 And He answered me and said, "I will show you that also; but you must not
associate with those who have shown scorn, or count yourself among those who are tortured.
77 For you have a treasure of works laid up with the Most High, but it will not be
shown to you until the last times.
Your works are the only thing you can take with you (Rev. 19).
2 Esdras 7:78
78 For about death, the teaching is: When the final sentence goes forth from the Most
High that a man is to die, when the soul departs from the body to return to Hin who gave
it, first of all it prays to the glory of the Most High;
What happens to the soul is documented again in Ecclesiastes 12:7.
In the following few verses God says that the righteous shall worship the Most High and
those who have despised His law and hated those who reverenced God shall wander in torment
always grieving and sad in seven ways.
2 ESDRAS 7:80
80 The first way is that they have scorned the Law of the Most High. The second way is
that they can no longer make a good repentance, so that they may live.
In other words they are spiritually dead and have mortal souls.
2 ESDRAS 7:83
83 The third way is that they will see the reward destined for those who have believed
the agreements of the Most High.
The agreement is the new covenant which Jesus Christ made for us.
2 ESDRAS 7:84-87
84 The fourth way is that they will consider the torment destined for them in the last
85 The fifth way is that they will see that the dwelling-places of the others are
guarded by angels in profound silence.
86 The sixth way is that they will see that some of them will pass over to be
87 The seventh way, which is worse than all the ways that have been mentioned, is that
they will waste away in shame and be consumed in disgrace, and whither with fear, at
seeing the glory of the Most High before whom they they sinned while they lived, and
before whom they are destined to be judged in the last times.
When those who have been sinful and unrepentant arrive in heaven they see the glory of
God and are happy until they are led to the other side of the gulf, their countenance
falls and are ashamed they did not cut it.
God also tells Ezra about that have lived well and served Our Father diligently.
90 Therefore this is the teaching about them:
91 First of all, they see with great rapture the glory of Him who takes them up, for
they will rest in seven orders.
92 The first order is that they have striven with much toil to conquer the wicked
thought that was formed with them, so that it should not lead them from life to death.
93 The second order is that they see the labyrinth in which the souls of the ungodly
wander, and the punishment that waits them.
94 The third order is that they see the testimony that He who formed them has borne to
them, because they were alive and faithfully observed the Law which was given them.
95 The fourth order is that they understand the rest which they now enjoy, gathered in
their chambers, in great quietness, watched over by angels, and the glory that awaits them
in the last days.
96 The fifth order is that they exult that they have now escaped what is corruptible
and will possess the future as their inheritance, and besides perceive the narrowness and
toilsomeness from which they have been freed and the spaciousness they are destined to
receive and enjoy in immortality.
97 The sixth order is that it is shown to them how their face is destined to shine
like the sun, and how they are made like the light of the stars, and be incorruptible
98 The seventh order, which is greater than all those that have been mentioned, is
that they will exult boldly, and that they will trust confidently, and rejoice fearlessly,
for they hasten to see the face of Him whom they served in life, and from Whom they are to
receive their reward when they are glorified.
99 These are the orders of the souls of the upright, as henceforth proclaimed, and the
above ways of torture are those who would not give heed will henceforth suffer.
Part of the seventh order is that we will rejoice fearlessly. We will worship God
without anyone telling us when to pray or if we can at all.
What side of the gulf will you be on. Those who have not made it and will burn with
shame until this earth age passes or those who serve The Father with all their heart. Do
the best you can, though you may fall short, but upon repentance have a fresh start. There
is also the Millennium when those who have not heard the true Word of God will be taught.
In closing let's turn to the Book of Ecclesiastes. Chapter 9 is frequently used to
teach "soul sleep". In other words when you die you sit out here in a hole in
3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that
there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and
madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
Simply put we are all going to die eventually. Unless your still here when Jesus Christ
returns. Ecclesiastes is written to the man under the sun, his flesh not soul necessarily,
and how to be happy in it.
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a
living dog is better than a dead lion.
When man sees the corpse of the dead he is glad he is alive. Why is a living dog
better? The lion being king of the beasts is nothing if dead. Nothing but a carcass. The
dog still has life in it.
5 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.
Does it say anything about your soul here? No, it doesn't. When the flesh dies what
happens to the soul? We just covered it. Your soul and spirit return to He who gave it.
Now, if there is no spirit or soul in that dead carcass, what can it know? Nothing! There
isn't a thing there for it to know. The flesh is done with reaping any more rewards of
When the flesh dies your done with it. It is not coming back. Whether your buried or
cremated it doesn't matter. Your soul returns to God, saint or sinner. As we have studied
you will be on one side or the other of the gulf in heaven. For those that believe on
Jesus we are much better off than those who don't. The scripture "God is not the God
of the dead, but of the living" has a greater meaning than most would think.
Written by Phil Najera
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