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 they’re 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 they’re already resurrected. As mentoned before our flesh bodies will be replaced by the spiritual body. There won’t 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? That’s 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.

LUKE 16:19

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 sin.

LUKE 16:20-21

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

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 - God’s Word which feeds and strengthens. Skip down to verse 24.

LUKE 16:24

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 flame.

It will be documented later that this flame is a burning shame.

LUKE 16:25-26

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 from thence.

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 days.

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 tormented henceforth.

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.

2ESDRAS 7:90-99

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 thence forth.

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 the ground.

Eccl 9:3

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.

Eccl 9:4

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.

Eccl 9:5

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 it's labor.

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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