Is death really a mystery? For centuries, our ancestors held various beliefs on death. Where do the common phrases, Dead men tell no tales and Rest In Peace, come from?
First we must know and understand what man is. How did God create man in the beginning? For that we go to Genesis 2:7, which reads: “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.”
Today many denominations believe and teach that men have a physical body and a spiritual soul, but that is not what the Bible says. Read that verse again. God “breathed” into man “the breath of life” and thus the first man and all men became “a living soul”. We do not have souls, we are souls!
So what happens to us when we die? What does the Scriptures say happens at death? Now we read Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Two things happen at death:
- when we die, our bodies return to the dust from whince we were created by God
- our spirit then returns to God who gave it to us.
But what is the “spirit” that returns to God at our deaths? James 2:26 explains: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Whoa. This is getting very interesting. What is the Bible trying to tell us? Most Christians agree that without the “spirit” the body is dead, but what is the “spirit”? Is it a soul? No, because Genesis 2:7 told us that we are living souls! So what is the “spirit”?
Job 27:3 says: “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils.”
Wait a minute. How can the “spirit” be in his “nostrils”? Again, we turn back to Genesis 2:7. Remember it told us that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life“?
That means that the “spirit” that returns to God at death is the “breath of life” God breaths into all of us, not a conscious soul. BODY plus BREATH = SOUL. You and I are living, talking, walking souls.According to the Bible, BODY plus BREATH = SOUL. You and I are living souls! Click To Tweet
So at death two things happen:
- the body returns to dust
- the breath of life, or “spirit”, returns to God.
The soul is now dead, because the living soul or person is now dead. The soul no longer exists. (Psalm 104:29)
So where do we go when we die? Do we ascend immediate to Heaven or descend to Hell? Do we sleep? What? What happens to our bodies and our conscienceness? Who we are?
Lets turn to the Bible again, because we can only trust the Bible, God’s Written Word.
Job 21:32 reads: “Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.” (Emphasis added.) And in John 5:28,29 Jesus Himself says: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 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.” (Emphasis added.)
Jesus cannot lie because He is God, and God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Jesus Himself stated that when we die, we go into our graves. Dead people are not in Heaven or hell, but in their graves. Peter said, on the day of Pentecost, that David was in his grave and not in Heaven. (Acts 2:29,34). The Scriptures also clearly say that David will be saved and in God’s kingdom (Hebrews 11:32). David is not yet in Heaven because God’s plan is that the dead wait in their graves until Jesus’s Second Coming and resurrects them (Hebrews 11:39-40).
So now we know where the dead people are. But do the dead have a conscious? Can we communicate with them or they with us? What do they do in the graves?
Psalm 146:4 says: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” And Job 14:12 says: “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” And Job 14:21 says: “His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” (Emphasis added.)
There are many, many more verses that explain what happens to the thoughts and consciences of people when they die. The simple answer is this: when we die, our thoughts cease immediately, we know not what is going on in the world, and we sleep until Jesus resurrects us at the Second Coming.
But what does Jesus Christ say about death? In John 11:11-14, Jesus says: “Our friend Lazarus sleeps“.
Is this not a relief? Is this not wonderful news? I am so relieved and happy to know that, if I died this very day, I would not go straight to Heaven when I died and then be able to see all of the suffering my family has to endure here on earth. That would not be Heaven at all. I am so happy and relieved that dying is nothing more than slipping off into a deep, deep sleep to await the voice of my Savior. What can be happier than this?
So we all must make a decision now. Do we trust what the Bible and Jesus Himself says about death? Or do we follow the doctrines of our churches which teach things that are not supported by the Bible? Personally, I chose to follow Jesus and His teachings, and I have decided to have the Bible as the foundation of my faith.
More Scriptures on Death
- Job 7:9,10 — The dead cannot come back and haunt houses.
- Psalm 6:5 — The dead do not remember or give thanks.
- Isaiah 38:18,19 — The dead cannot learn truth.
- Psalm 115:17 — The dead do not praise the Lord.
- Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10 — The dead know nothing.
Isaiah 8:19,20 says: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”