Eschatology

 

 

4. When a man dies, does he cease to exist or does he go to another world where he continues to hear, to see, to remember, etc.?

 

 

 

According to what the Holy Scripture teaches, since man has an immortal soul inside his body, when he dies he continues to live in another world, which we can’t see (unless God gives us a vision or a dream) and where he is fully conscious.

Those who die in Christ, that is, who are at peace with God at their death, go to paradise which is a wonderful and glorious place located in heaven; while those who die in their sins, that is, who are lost and enemies of God, go to Hades (commonly called ‘hell’) which is a horrible place located in the heart of the earth.

The apostle Paul, since he had peace with God, had the assurance that after death he would go to heaven to be with the Lord, for he said to the Corinthians: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), and to the Philippians: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better …” (Philippians 1:23), and to Timothy (a short time before his death): “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18 – NIV).

The above mentioned words of Paul – as you can see – are eloquent: after his death he would continue to live, and we are sure he continued to live in heaven with the Lord.

To confirm that Christians after death go to heaven, I want to quote the following words of John: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:9-11). Please note the following things: those souls were seen by John, John heard them crying out with a loud voice, those souls could remember how they had died on the earth, and they could hear. So when Christians die their being exists in full consciousness in heaven near the throne of God. That’s what the Scripture teaches on the afterlife of Christians.

Instead, as I said before, those who die in their sins go to Hades, which is an underground place where fire is burning and where the souls of the wicked suffer unspeakable torments. The following story told by Jesus makes it very clear: “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 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 [Greek: Hades] he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. 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. 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. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:19-31). Please note the following things: first, after that rich man had died he continued to live in hell consciously, for he felt the pain caused by the fire in which he was; secondly, he could speak and argue; third, he could see and hear, and last but not least he could remember that he had left five brothers on the earth.

Therefore, in the light of the above mentioned biblical teaching, the doctrine which holds that the human being after death ceases to exist completely and is no longer conscious is FALSE. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for the Scripture clearly teaches that man has an immortal soul which is conscious after death, and depending upon the spiritual state of the individual at death, goes either to paradise (a place of rest in heaven) or to Hades (a place of torment in the heart of the earth).

Beware of those who teach that man does not possess an immortal soul.

 

 

 

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