Faithlife Sermons

Where Do The Spirits Of Believers Go After Death?

Life After Death  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:41
0 ratings
· 224 views

Absent from the body present with the Lord. Paradise in Heaven.

Files
Notes & Transcripts | Handout
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
INTRODUCTION
1. Having determined from the Scriptures that man possesses a body; soul and / or spirit which continues after death, the question now before us is this: "Where do the spirits of believers go after death?"
2. In this lesson, we will be examining two different views:
a. One that we will call the "view #1" , which is held by many Christians
b. Another that we will propose as the "view #2" , which I believe is more in harmony with what is revealed in the New Testament
[Beginning, then, with...]

I. "View #1" EXPLAINED

A. STATED BRIEFLY, THIS VIEW TEACHES THE FOLLOWING...

1. When we die...
a. Our body returns to the dust
b. Our soul / spirits go to Hades, the realm of the "unseen"
2. This realm of departed souls/ spirits (i.e., Hades) is divided into three parts...
a. Paradise, the place of rest for the righteous
b. Tartarus , the place of torment for the wicked
c. And a Gulf, separating the two
3. During this interim period between death and the resurrection, the righteous...
a. Are separated from God and Christ
b. For God and Christ are "in heaven", and Paradise is in Hades, not heaven
4. Such is the state of the "disembodied spirits" until the Resurrection
a. At which time the spirits of both the wicked and the righteous will be united with their resurrected bodies
b. At this time will occur the Judgment, after which...
1) The righteous will spend eternity with God
2) The wicked will spend eternity in Hell (Grk., gehenna)

B. SCRIPTURAL JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS VIEW...

1. Is based heavily upon what we read in Lk 16:16-31
a. I.e., the story of the rich man and Lazarus
b. Notice especially verses Lk 16:22-26
Luke 16:22–26 ESV
22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
2. Lk 23:43 is also offered as support
Luke 23:43 ESV
43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
a. Where we read of the account of Jesus and the thief on the cross
b. Both of whom would be in Paradise that very day following their deaths
3. That Paradise was not in Heaven where God dwells is based on Jesus' words in Jn 20:17
John 20:17 ESV
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
a. Words spoken three days after promising the thief they would both be in Paradise
b. Yet Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father!
c. Suggesting, therefore, that Paradise was not Heaven (or in Heaven)!
4. As further evidence that Paradise is not in Heaven, appeal is made to Ac 2:29-35
Acts 2:29–35 ESV
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’
a. Concerning Christ...
1) His soul was not to be left in Hades (the realm of the dead, which included Paradise)
2) But after His resurrection Jesus ascended to the right hand of God (i.e., Heaven)
b. Concerning David...
1) Surely he went to Paradise (in Hades) when he died, as did Abraham, Lazarus, and the thief on the cross
2) But note that Peter said "David did not ascend into the heavens" (Ac 2:34)
Acts 2:34 ESV
34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
a) Suggesting the one could die, be in Hades (Paradise), and yet not be in Heaven with the Father
b) Just as Christ implied to Mary in Jn 20:17
John 20:17 ESV
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
[Such is the "traditional" view “View #1” as I understand it. Now let's take a closer look...]

II. "View #1" EXAMINED

A. THE EVIDENCE FOR THIS VIEW IS CONVINCING, TO A POINT...

1. This explanation for what happens after death appears consistent with the information we have prior to the ascension of Christ!
2. But in light of what is revealed in the Scriptures after Jesus' ascension into heaven...
a. This "traditional" view may need some revision b. But only concerning "the intermediate state" of the righteous

B. REASONS TO SUGGEST ARE VISION OF THE "TRADITIONAL" VIEW...

1.After Jesus ascended to heaven...
a. Paradise (the resting place of the righteous) is now spoken of as being in heaven!
1) We saw earlier that when Jesus spoke to Mary He had not yet ascended to the Father (i.e., heaven), though He had been in "Paradise" prior to His resurrection
2) Note carefully that "Paradise" is used synonymously with the "third heaven" (i.e., God's dwelling place) by Paul in 2 Co 12:2,4
2 Corinthians 12:2 ESV
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.
2 Corinthians 12:4 ESV
4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
3) Whereas Paradise was once distinct from heaven, now it is not!
b. The expectation of the righteous is to be with Christ upon death - Philippians 1:23; 2 Co 5: 6-8; 1 Th 5:9-10
Philippians 1:23 ESV
23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
2 Corinthians 5:6–8 ESV
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:9–10 ESV
9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
c. The book of Revelation speaks of the righteous dead being in heaven while much is still going on here on earth - Re 6:9-11; 7:9-17
Revelation 6:9–11 ESV
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
Revelation 7:9–17 ESV
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
d. The Scriptures speak of Jesus bringing the righteous with Him at His Final Coming - 1 Th 3:13: 4:13-14
1 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV
13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 ESV
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
1) I understand this to refer to the "spirits" of those who were righteous, and who are coming to be united with their resurrected bodies - cf. 1 Th 4:16
1 Thessalonians 4:16 ESV
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
2) Of course, I suppose Jesus could "pick up" these saints in Hades on His way, but in view of other passages I believe they are already with Him
2. I have a hard time reconciling...
a. Such passages as these found after Christ's ascension into heaven
b. With those made before Christ's ascension -- Unless something has changed
[Therefore, as an alternative to the "traditional" view, I propose a more "scriptural" view...]

III. "View #2" EXPLAINED

A. FIRST, EVERYTHING ABOUT THE "TRADITIONAL" VIEW REMAINS THE SAME FOR THE PERIOD "PRIOR" TO JESUS' ASCENSION...
1. All who died went to Hades
a. The wicked went to torment, awaiting judgment
b. The righteous went to Paradise to await the Judgment
2. Even Jesus, with the thief on the cross, went to Paradise, which was in Hades
B. BUT NOW, AFTER JESUS' ASCENSION, THE "INTERMEDIATE STATE" OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS DIFFERENT...
1. Paradise is now in Heaven, not Hades
2. The hope of the righteous is to spend the "intermediate state" in the presence of the Lord, awaiting the resurrection and the Judgment
C. IF THE "INTERMEDIATE STATE "OF THE RIGHTEOUS CHANGED, WHY?
1. That the change did occur appears to be clear
2. The "why" may be speculation on my part, but here is one suggestion...
a. God is holy, and sin cannot be tolerated in His presence
1) The righteous who died before the cross, were forgiven in view of Christ's death
2) But prior to the death of Christ, the true price for sin had not been paid
3) So until their spirits were actually "redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ", they were not permitted in God's presence, and Paradise remained in Hades
b. After the cross, and when He ascended, Jesus offered His blood as the "eternal redemption price" to God to appease for sin - cf. He 9:11-15; Heb 9:23-26
Hebrews 9:11–15 ESV
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 9:23–26 ESV
23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
1) With such an offering, the spirits of just men were now "made perfect" (He 12:23),
Hebrews 12:23 ESV
23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
and now in a position to be with God and Christ in heaven, awaiting the resurrection and Day of Judgment - cf. Re 6:9-11
Revelation 6:9–11 ESV
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
2) Thus Paradise (the intermediate place for the righteous) can now be in heaven!
c. And therefore the Christian, whose spirit is also made perfect by the blood of Christ, can have the hope to be with Christ and God in heaven, during the "intermediate state" prior to the bodily resurrection at the Last Day!

Life After Death Are The Souls Of The Redeemed Conscious?

Related Media
Related Sermons