J5827Sasser@wmconnect.com J5827Sasser at wmconnect.com
Fri Aug 5 04:05:08 CDT 2005

Brethren and Friends, Jim Sasser here.  Here is a study from my
files.  Use to the glory of God.


Question: -- Where Does The Soul Go And Stay After Death?

Answer: -- One cause of confusion over this subject comes from
the fact that the KJV uses the English word "hell" to translate the
Hebrew word Sheol, and three different Greek words: Hades, Tar-
tarus, and Gehenna.  The difficulty is removed in the ASV and the

     A proper understanding of this subject begins with a proper def-
inition of "death."  James shows that the body dies when the soul
(or spirit) departs (Jas. 2:26).  There is no indication that the spirit
(soul) of man "dies" along with the physical body.  In the book of
Ecclesiastes we learn that the body returns to the dust from which
it came and the spirit returns to God who gave it (12:7).  Paul said
he was "hard pressed" between two desires, a desire to depart
and be with the Lord (which would be far better for him), or to
remain in the flesh where he could be of benefit to the saints (see
Phil. 1:21-24).  On the basis of these statements, some people
think that the spirit immediately into heaven at death.  However,
this concept does not take into consideration all that the Bible says
on the question before us.

     The spirit of man does not go directly to heaven, or to hell, as
some suppose, but unto a place the Greeks called Hades, "the 
abode of disembodied spirits."  

     The Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades represent the same
concept.  In the Old Testament it often represents the grave, with-
out further concern for the departed spirit.  But the reference in
Eccl. 12:7 indicates the concept of the spirit returning to God in
distinction to what happened to the body.  David expressed a sim-
ilar idea when he said he could not bring his child back, but he could join 
him (2 Sam. 12:15-23).  David did not mean that he could the dead child in the 
literal grave, but he could join his spirit
in the unseen, but spiritual, realm.

     The concept of Hades as the abode of disembodied spirits is
found in the accounts of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  While 
hanging on the cross, He "yielded up His spirit"
(Matt. 27:50) saying, "Father, into Your hands I commit My
spirit" (Lk. 23:46).  He had said to the thief, "Today, you shall
be with Me in Paradise" (Vs. 43).  Yet, on Pentecost Peter pro-
claimed of Jesus that "His sould was not left in Hades, nor did
His flesh see corruption" (Acts 2:31).  Thus, David's prophesy
in Psa. 16:8-11; (see Acts 2:25-28) was fulfilled in the resurrection
of Christ.  His body was raised from the tomb and His spirit return-
ed from Hades.  Indeed, He has the "keys of death and of Hades" (Rev. 1:18).  
Hence, after death, the spirit of Jesus went
into Paradise in Hades.

     The story of Lazarus and the rich man (Lk. 16:19-31) presents
a picture of two men in the Hadean world.  Both men had died
(vs. 22), and the rich man was being "tormented" in Hades (vs. 23), while 
Lazarus was being "comforted" in "Abraham's bosom" (vs. 22).

     Looking at both the story of Lazarus and the rich man and the
account of the death and resurrection of Christ, we must conclude
that Hades has within it both a place of comfort and a place of tor-
ment, and there is a "great gulf" that prevents passing from one
to the other (vs. 26).  If we should want a name for the place of
torment, it may be found in 2 Pet. 2:4, where the "angels that
sinned" were "cast down to hell" (Greek: Tartarus), being 
committed to "chains of darkness, to be reserved for judg-

     The Bible teaches that man faces judgment after death (Heb.
9:27), at the end of the world (see Matt. 13:40,49), following the
resurrection of the dead (Jno. 5:28,29).  All men will appear before
Christ (2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 14:10-12; Acts 17:30,31), to be judged
by His words (Jno. 12:48), according to their deeds (1 Pet. 1:17;
Matt.16:27).  At that time even sinners will be "convinced" that the
sentence is just (see Matt. 7:21-23; Jude 13,14).  The judgment
will not be to determine guilt or innocence, but to consign souls to
heaven for a reward, or to hell (Gehenna) for eternal punishment.
--------- James E. Cooper in Biblical Insights, Vol. 5, No. 3, March
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