WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
by Jhun Bautista
This question is imperative and need to be answered based on the truth or inspired words – the Bible. John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16 17. The Bible provides the answer on this given question.
Man is mortal. All of us will die. Hebrew 9:27, “…it is appointed unto men once to die…”. The biblical definition of death is “a separation”. From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament Words, page 278, the word “death” is came from the Greek word “thanatos”. It means (a) the separation of the soul (the spiritual part of man) from the body (the material part), the latter ceasing to function and turning to dust. (b) the separation of man from God; Adam died on the day he disobeyed God, Genesis 2:17, and hence all mankind are born in the same spiritual condition. From this clarification, we clearly conclude that the word death means a separation. Man’s death is either physical or spiritual.
Man consists of a body and soul. Death occurs when eternal soul departs from the physical body. James 2:26, “…the body without the spirit is dead…”. The spirit and the soul are used interchangeably many times, referring to the inward man that bears the image of God. But when they are used together (I Thess. 5:23), the soul refers to the animal life. Genesis 2:7, “…and man became a living soul.” The spirit is the part made in the image of God. Man’s spirit bears the image of God. Genesis 1:26 – 27, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: …So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him…”. We look like God in that we have intelligence, emotions, and power of choice or will. Animals, though have life, do not possess these qualities but man does, and this makes us unique! Because man has free will, the power of choice, we are morally accountable creatures. Man’s body is made from the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,…”. Dust is a common element that comes from the earth. Man’s physical body formed from the earth and to the earth our bodies will return. Ecclesiastes 12:7a, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was:…”. At death (a separation), the body goes to the grave, and the inward man (spirit or soul) returns to God who gave it, i.e. it comes under his control and places it in the part of Hades that it belongs, comfort or torment. Ecclesiastes 12:7b, “…and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Where are the dead? They are in Hades! The Bible teaches that there is a place in the spiritual realm called Hades. The Old Testament refers to it as Sheol. This is the place of departed spirits. This is where the spirit of man goes when it is separated from the physical body at death. Man’s physical body (outward) is buried in the ground, but the eternal part of man continues to exist in Hades.
The King James Version (KJV) uses the English word “Hell” to translate “Hades” and “Gehenna”. Gehenna is the place of eternal punishment for the wicked and unrighteous. The word Gehenna occurs 12 times in New Testament. Each time it is translated as “Hell”. Matt. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 23:15, 33; Mk 9:43, 45, 47, and others). Hades is the place of departed spirits awaiting judgment. Hades is a temporary place. One must look to the context if the KJV is speaking of Hades or Gehenna.
The best teaching that we have on Hades is the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. We could find here that Hades is a place for both the righteous and the wicked. The part of the righteous is called “Abraham’s Bosom” and “Paradise”. Luke 16:22-23, 25-26; 23:43. The part of the wicked is called “Torment” and “Tartarus”. Luke 16:24-25; 2 Peter 2:4. There are two (2) conditions: the righteous are comforted, while the wicked are tormented in the flame. The rich man was immediately aware of his condition (v.24). The rich man recognized Abraham and Lazarus. The rich man could remember the events of his life (vs. 27-28). There was a great gulf fixed between the two realms (v.26). No one could pass from one to the other. This does away with the false doctrine of purgatory. Man’s eternal destiny is sealed at death. To say that a departed loved one is looking down upon us or watching over us from Heaven is false! None of our loved ones are in Heaven now!
Hades is not a permanent place. It will hold the dead until Jesus our Savior returns. John 14:3. Jesus Christ promised a future resurrection of all the dead. John 5:28-29; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:1ff. All of mankind will be brought before the Lord and will be judged which will result in a great separation, the judgment day. Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 25:31-46. There will be a destruction of the heaven and earth when Christ returns. 2 Peter 3:10-13. The entire physical universe will be destroyed, not just cleansed! These events (Resurrection of all the dead, Destruction of the heaven and earth, and Day of Judgment) are all teachings found in the Holy Bible and will take place at the Lord’s return. The Bible indicates that all of these will happen in a moment! After judgment eternity will begin. The lost will be cast into Hell (Gehenna), and the saved will be ushered into Heaven. Matthew 25:46.
Upon death, the soul or spirit of man enters Hades. If he is saved or baptized in water for the remissions of his sins and become faithful until death, then he enters Paradise in Hades. If he is lost, his soul enters torments. It will remain there until the resurrection of all the dead or when Christ returns. Those who are alive when Christ returns will have no opportunity to repent. Even in Hades of Torment, there is no hope for repentance. There will be no opportunity to change our fate once we die.
Folks, now is the time to prepare for eternity. Today is the time for you to repent and be baptized for the remissions of sins. Acts 2:38; 22:16. Are you ready when you die or when Jesus Christ returns?
WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
by Jack McNiel
“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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
This passage addresses the fear that was expressed by some of the Christians in Thessalonica, that those who died in Christ, before His return, would miss going to Heaven when He did return. This fear came from the mistaken belief that Jesus would return before that current generation of Christians died. Paul addressed and soothed that fear by teaching that those Christians who have already passed away will be resurrected from the grave and “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). With this teaching they could “comfort one another…” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
This teaching clearly and concisely answers the question of what will happen at the resurrection with those who have passed away before the Lord’s return. Yet it also raises other questions: Where are the dead now? Where do the souls of men go after death while awaiting the Lord’s return? What about the souls of those who are lost; where do they go while awaiting the judgment?
Let us begin with a reminder that there will be a DAY in which all men, righteous and unrighteous, Christian and Non-Christian, saint and sinner will be judged and will receive their eternal reward or condemnation. (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 20:12-15) All of humanity will be judged at that time. So where are the souls of the dead?
There is a “place” somewhere in the spiritual realm where the souls of men await the coming Day of Judgment. This place is referred to in the New Testament as “Hades.” The Word “Hades” is not found in the King James Version; instead it is translated as “hell.” Other version such as the American Standard Version of 1901 and the New King James Version transliterate the Greek word “Hades” directly into English.
So then, what is Hades? Strong’s Bible Dictionary calls it “the place (state) of departed souls.” It refers to “that which is out of sight.” (Easton Bible Dictionary) The name is taken from Greek mythology and the “god” of the nether region known as Hades. The Greek word Hades corresponds with the Hebrew word “Sheol.” Sheol is translated in the King James Version as “the grave.” Again it represents that which is hidden from sight – the place of departed spirits. Another related term used in the New Testament is the Greek word “Tartarus.” It is found only one time in the Greek New Testament, in 2 Peter 2:4. It refers to the place where God has cast the “angels that sinned” to await the judgment.
A description of Hades is found in Luke 16:19-31. Jesus, in the relating of that story describes a “place of torment” (Luke 16:28) and a place referred to as “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). The righteous beggar Lazarus, upon his death, was carried into this place of rest, while the unrighteous rich man was in “torment.” The spirits of each of these men were in Hades (the grave), yet they were separated by a great impassable gulf (Luke 16:26). From this we can understand that there are two regions of the Hadean realm (Hades): “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22) or “Paradise” (Luke 23:43) and the “place of torment” (Luke 16:18) or the place where the angels who sinned and were “delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6)
Hades and hell do not refer to the same “place”. According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, “Hell is the place of the future punishment called “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.” Hades refers to the place where the souls of departed men await the resurrection. Hell refers to the place of eternal torment where the wicked will be cast on the Day of Judgment. Jesus said in John 5:28-29 “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.” From this passage we see that those who are in the graves (literally in the tombs; i.e. the dead) will hear the voice of the Son of God (John 5:25) and they will be bodily resurrected for the judgment; the righteous will receive the resurrection of life and the unrighteous the resurrection of damnation. In Revelation 20:13-15 we are granted a glimpse of what the Judgment will be like, “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (NKJV).