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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Fifth (The Pause)

Hope everyone's still doing well!  This week is about what happens after death.  I called this newsletter "The Pause" because that's pretty much what I see death as: a pause. 

There are a couple different views on death.  We already know that we are made up of a body, a living soul, and a spirit.  Clearly, we see that our bodies simply return to the earth from which they were made.  As far as the spirit/soul is concerned, it's probably easiest to start in the New Testament with a look at the places that talk about hell and paradise.

The first thing to understand is that hell in the New Testament is translated from two different Greek words: hades and geenna.  It's important to differentiate these two because one has to do with death and the other has to do with judgment.  Geenna is the word used when referencing judgment at the end of the age with Jesus returns, so we're not concerned with that one for this discussion.  This is verified with Luke 12:5, which is where Jesus tells us to only fear the One who has the power to cast you into geenna.  The only one that can do this is Jesus and it will happen to some after they stand before Him at His judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10).

What we're more concerned about in what happens after death and before the first resurrection is the use of the word hades.  We talked previously about the fact that in the end Death and Hell (hades) will deliver their dead for judgment (Rev 20:13).  So hades is a place where the dead go.  We also can read that when people die they go into a sleep state, or a pause (John 11:11-13).  This is further confirmed when you read Eccl 9:5,6, where it talks about the dead no longer having a part in what happens on earth, and in 1 Samuel 28:15 when Saul uses a woman with a familiar spirit (a medium) to speak to Samuel who was dead.  Samuel asks "why have you disturbed me?" indicating he was in a state of peace/sleep.  Of note, in these verses the word for hell is sheol, because the original language is Hebrew in this case, and this word is also translated to English in other verses as "grave." 

This brings us to the word paradise.  Interestingly enough, the word paradise is only used in three verses in scripture, all in the New Testament.  The most famous is when Jesus tells the thief on the cross that he will be with Jesus in paradise (Luke 23:43).  This doesn't give us a lot of information on this place, but based on Jesus being there with the thief, and based on no mention of paradise in Revelation, to me this must be an area of Hell (Hades) for the righteous dead.  So those going there will also be in a state of sleep.

I know some religions teach that the dead believers go to heaven and watch us, but there's no real scriptural evidence for this belief.  When you think about it, if that place is really paradise I'm not sure I would consider it that if I were forced to watch my friends and family suffer while they're still alive on this wicked earth.  To me, it's better that the dead sleep until Jesus comes again and we're resurrected to be judged according to our works, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:10). 

I hope this newsletter speaks to you and I hope you have another blessed week!

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