Where are the Dead???
by Mark J. Ward
Most folks teach that people die and go straight to heaven or hell. Is this what the Bible really teaches? Please read on and study the passages of Scripture to see what the Bible really has to say about where the dead really are! Enjoy your study of God's Holy Word!
"And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 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" (Luke 16:20-23 - KJV).
When we speak of the dead, we are speaking of those who have their spirits separated from their bodies. James 2:26 teaches, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." What happens to folks when they die? Where do they go?
Luke 16 sheds light on this interesting topic. The King James Version (the Old King James translation) can be misleading in that the word "hell" is used in the English; "hades" is a more accurate rendering and is found in some translations. When people die, their spirit separates from their bodies. We see their bodies (sometimes) at funerals. Others' bodies are lost at sea. Some folks' bodies are cremated. But in all cases, their body and their spirit are separated at death, according to the Scriptures. Where do the spirits "go" at death???
Please notice all of the text in Luke 16 concerning the Rich Man and Lazarus. This is not a parable dear Reader! If you have a sub-heading in your Bible that says so, please remember that the sub-headings are NOT part of the inspired record. They are added by the folks who printed the Bibles; and those people are uninspired and subject to mistakes (only the subheadings and comments now, Dear Reader). The Bible says "there was a certain rich man..." and "Lazarus" is mentioned by name and was a real person! So, this is NOT a parable, as many erroneously teach. This passage teaches us where the spirits of the dead go.
Next, please notice that there are two places of abode for the spirits of the deceased and a "gulf" that make up "hades". There is a place of "paradise" that Jesus referred to in speaking to one of the thieves on the cross; "Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). This is the place cited as "Abraham's bosom" in Luke 16 where Lazarus' spirit went after his death. But the place of discomfort in "hades" is called "torments" and the rich man was tormented in the flame and was in pain. There are only two places in Scripture (generally speaking) for our spirits to go after death: they are both in "hades" and one is called paradise and the other is called torments. There is a great gulf that keeps people from going from one area of hades to the other.
(Please read Luke 16:20-31)
"20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at
his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich
man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
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
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth
Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and
send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool
my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime
receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but
now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf
fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot;
neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest
send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they
also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let
them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them
from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Please notice the following depiction of "hades" (where our spirits go after death):
The careful Bible student who does a "word study" on forms of the word "hades", will come to the understanding that there is a place of disembodied spirits: hades, the realm of the dead. That is where our spirits go when we die, awaiting the coming of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of all the dead (See I Corinthians 15).
Thanks for reading. mjw
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