WHEN A PERSON DIES DOES
HIS SOUL GO DIRECTLY TO ETERNITY?....
OR, DOES IT REST SOMEWHERE UNTIL JUDGMENT?
This is a difficult question because the answer is virtually impossible to pinpoint; it is a problem dealing with relative answers. After a careful analysis of all the Scriptures pertaining to the subject and the surrounding difficulties, I must conclude that the spirits of men go into an intermediate state between death and the judgment.
Before delving into this matter fully, let me remind each of you that there is something far more important than what happens to us between death and the Judgment. The truly significant point to be concerned with is this: "Will the life I have lived on the earth result in the redemption of my soul in eternity?" Some religious groups make this entire problem the key-stone of their teaching. You can scarcely get them to mention anything but "soul-sleeping" and related themes. I have often told these ardent followers of error that it is of greater moment to be prepared on the Judgment Day than to worry about the state of the dead.
There are two major reasons that we believe the Bible teaches that our spirits go to an intermediate place called "Hades" after death and prior to eternity.
First of all, the great emphasis on the universal Judgment Day is mentioned throughout the New Testament. In Matthew 25; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:12; John 5:28-29 and 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10 we find abundant proof that all mankind will give a public answer for their conduct in their sojourn on earth. Immediately thereafter the doors of eternal doom and everlasting righteousness open wide (Matthew 25:46). This necessitates "a realm for departed spirits" (The Hadean world) prior to the Judgment. If our souls go directly to heaven or hell upon our separation from this life, the Judgment Day would be a farce!
Secondly, the passages in Luke 16:19-31; 2 Peter 2:4 and 2:9, along with Jesus' answer to the thief in Luke 23 stoutly affirms the existence of the Hadean world. The King James translation has thrown a lot of people off the track at this point by failing to distinguish between "Hades" and "Ghenna." The former being defined as the 'realm of the unseen" while "Ghenna" refers to the eternal abiding place of the wicked. Luke 16 teaches that after death the righteous enter one compartment in Hades while the unrighteous are detained in another, completely separated from the faithful.
At the consummation of Christ's reign (I Corinthians 15:23-25) the Hadean world along with death shall be abolished and all mankind both good and evil shall stand in Judgment before God (Revelation 20:12-15). At that time sentence will be given and the wicked shall depart to be with "the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), while the righteous shall enter in through the gates into the city the eternal abiding place of the redeemed (Revelation 22:14).
By: Johnny Ramsey
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