Bible Facts about Death
10 March 2019 AM – Hebrews 2:14-15(a) – Heb19 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Last week, in Hebrews 2:14-15, we touched on the subject of physical death and eternal death. To clarify and strengthen our understanding of the subject of death, hell and heaven, I want to take two or three weeks to focus our attention on these subjects. While these are common subjects, many Christians lack a clear biblical understanding of them.
Transition: This morning as we focus our attention on the subject of death, I want to identify for us several Bible facts about death that each of us needs to know.
1. Part of you will NEVER die.
a. God has created man with three parts.
1) (1 Thessalonians 5:23) “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2) We have mortal physical bodies (visible & breathing).
3) We have immortal souls (inner man, heart).
4) We have immortal spirits (God consciousness).
b. Your spirit and soul will never die.
1) Solomon knew this thousands of years ago. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
2) Jesus taught this as well. (John 5:28) “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.” (Matthew 25:46) “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
3) The Bible says, your soul is immortal and will live somewhere eternally. That is true of every human.
2. Death is a separation from the body.
a. At death, the soul and spirit leave the body
1) (Genesis 35:18) “And it came to pass, as her [Rachel’s] soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”
2) The apostle Paul called our body a tabernacle or tent. (2 Corinthians 5:1) “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
b. When the spirit and soul leave the body, then what?
1) The body is left behind and either buried or burned. In the O. T., the body is often said to go to the grave.
2) Before Christ’s resurrection, the souls of the dead went to the “nether parts of the earth” (Eze 31:14, 16, 18; 32:18, 24). Some think this is in the middle of the earth. It is also called Sheol or Hades. We believe that abode of the dead had two compartments. The souls of unbelievers entered a compartment called hell and believers in God entered a compartment called paradise.
3) We will look at hell in detail another week.
4) The word paradise is found only three times in the Bible. Scripturally speaking, it is often referred to as “the part of hades which was thought … to be the abode of the souls of the pious until the resurrection”. Online Bible According to C.I. Scofield, prior to Christ’s ascension, paradise (also called “Abraham’s bosom”) was a compartment of hades where the blessed dead abode in comfort, but at His ascension paradise was moved to the immediate presence of God. He supports this view with 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, which clearly indicates that paradise, is synonymous with the third heaven where God abides. He said that according to Ephesians 4:8-10, the change took place when Christ “led captivity captive”. (1099)
5) The assumption that paradise was originally a compartment of Sheol or hades seems likely to be true; but the belief that it is now in the presence of God is clearly supported by the New Testament. Jesus said to the dying repentant thief, “today thou shalt be with me in paradise,” yet it is certain that He did not remain in a compartment of hades because He prophesied that He was going to His Father, not to the abode of the dead (John 16:10). Likewise, 2 Corinthians 5:8 teaches that at the moment of death, believers are “absent from the body, and … present with the Lord”. Paul spoke of being caught up into paradise (the third heaven) as previously pointed out. John also referred to heaven as “the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).
6) Some falsely teach that when one dies his soul goes to sleep in the grave until the resurrection. Often the Bible uses the word “sleep” do describe death. Sleep is a polite way to say a person is dead. This in no way implies that his soul is sleeping in the grave. Jesus said that his dead friend Lazarus was sleeping. Lazarus’s soul was in the OT paradise. Christ had not yet risen from the dead to take paradise to heaven. That day, Jesus raised Lazarus’ body from the grave and his soul from paradise.
7) Jesus did not teach soul sleep in Luke 16:22. “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
8) The apostle Paul did not believe in soul sleep. (Philippians 1:23) “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” (2 Corinthians 5:8) “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14) “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
3. Death is a relocation of the immortal soul.
a. Before Christ’s resurrection
1) When a person died, his soul went to hades. It did not sleep or return to dust as did his body.
2) The souls of unbelievers suffered in hell while the souls of believers were comforted in paradise.
b. After Christ’s resurrection
1) Now, when an unbeliever dies, his soul goes to hell. Hell is still a place of torment and flame as it was in the O.T. It is a temporary place of torment awaiting the final Judgment Day when all those in hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity (Rev 20:13-15).
2) Now, when a believer dies, his soul enters the presence of the Lord as we read in 2Co 5:8 above. He is instantly with the Lord (Php 1:23 above). When the Lord returns at the Rapture to take believers to heaven, He will bring the souls of believers with Him to be reunited with their resurrected bodies (1Th 4:14 above). He will give living believers their immortal bodies as they return to heaven.
3) Resurrection is a reconnection with the soul. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) “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: 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.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Conclusion: Hebrews 2:14-15 assures us that we do not need to fear death, especially eternal death, because Christ at His death and resurrection destroyed the power of death.
Death is not the end, as many today believe. Death is beginning of eternity. The Psalmist wrote, (Psalms 116:15) “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” If you have placed your faith in Christ’s death and resurrection as full payment for your sin, He has promised you eternal life with Him in glory. Focus on that wonderful promise, (2 Corinthians 5:8) “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
If you have not yet trusted Christ, it is not too late. You can trust Him today and escape the fear of eternal death separated from God. God invites you to come. Do not turn His invitation down. Let me sit down with you and explain it in detail. Trust Him while you can!
Song: Come to the Saviour – 254