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The body is the only part of man that dies at physical death (Jas. 2:26). The reason it dies is because the inner man, the life of the body, leaves the body. It then goes back to dust and is spoken of as being asleep (Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 3:19-21; Mt. 9:24; Jn. 11:11; 1Cor. 11:30; 15:6,18,20,51; 1Th. 4:13-17). Christ now has the keys of hades and of death (Rev. 1:18). Paradise under the earth is now empty, but the torment department of hades is being filled more every day. It will hold all the wicked dead until the end of the Millennium when hades will deliver up the souls in it, and the graves will give up all the bodies in them. Then the bodies, souls, and spirits of the wicked will be cast into the eternal hell (Rev. 20:11-15). To die and be absent from the body means we go to heaven to be with the Lord (Php. 1:21-24 Heb. 12:23; Jas. 2:26; Rev. 6:9-11). This is proof that the inner man does not go to the grave at death, but to heaven if one is righteous. If one is wicked he goes to hell awaiting the resurrection of his body (Lk. 16:19-31; Rev. 20:11-15).
I have previously mentioned on this site a reference that I have found useful in dealing with the issue of the "intermediate state" between the death of a Christian and the second coming of Christ at the close of the age. It is a free e-book titled Journey Out of Time by the late Dr. Arthur C. Custance, and it is fully viewable online at the following web address: http://custance.org/Library/Journey/index.html Briefly, Dr. Custance asserts that the instant Christians die, they are outside of time. There is therefore no interval in which an "intermediate state" can occur or exist, or when the eternal life that God grants to the Christian while still alive on earth will be interrupted. Christians will find themselves immediately in their glorified, resurrected bodies at Christ's second coming, along with all the rest of the redeemed from eternity past to eternity future, all of whom "arrive" together. Their bodies will appear to be lifeless to those they leave behind, but that is because those left behind are still "trapped in time". When I first encountered this concept, I thought of several passages of Scripture that seemed to pose problems with it, but Dr. Custance thoroughly and soundly addressed these to my satisfaction from both a scientific and a theological/Biblical perspective. His explanations also refute doctrines such as "soul sleep", or unscriptural practices such as trying to contact or communicate with the dead. In addition, this book also resolved personal questions that I had regarding common conceptions of the afterlife such as: If (as is widely believed) our disembodied souls, after the death of our bodies, possess all the essential elements of "personhood" (such as our senses, our intellects, and the ability to recognize others) prior to the resurrection, then why would the resurrection of the body be necessary? What would it add to our existence that we would not already possess? As I have stated previously, I recommend this free e-book to anyone interested in or having questions with regard to the "intermediate state".
This is a really good question and of course the bible is clear and we need the Holy Spirit's guidance to make sure we are guided into all truth John 16:13. An important part to understanding this is what happens to a person when they die. In the book of Job he kind of ask the same question but in a different way. Read Job 14:10 please get your bible and preferably use the KJV so we can be on one accord and reading the same thing. (I have nothing against the other versions). Job says when a man dies "Where is he?" now read Verse 12-14. Verse 14 gives some more detail and Job ask another question "If a man die, shall he live again?" then he says "will I wait, till my change come." Where is waiting? Well in verse 13 he says in the grave and when will the change come? Or what change is he talking about? Lets read 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. We see here that the change Job is talking about is the "..corruptible must put on incorruption,.." When does this happen? Lets read 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. These verses are talking about the Second Coming of Jesus and what will happen when Jesus comes the second time. So what happens when you are in the grave waiting? You are simple sleeping in the grave. How do we know? Well we just read in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 that there are those who are sleeping and will rise again. But here are other references as well Ecclesiastes 9:4-6; John 11:11-14 (this one is clear); Isaiah 38:18,19. Lastly there are two resurrections. One for the just and for the wicked. There are separate and distinct. The bible says Job was a upright man Job 1:1 so Job will be at the resurrection of the righteous which will be at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of the wicked is at the end of the millennium which is the Third Coming of Christ back to this earth with the saints to raise up the wicked. Read Revelation 20:4-7. God bless you in your studies. Please respond if you have an questions or confusion. In Christ,
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