Eschatology and Ecclesiology The Biblical View ofDeath&The Intermediate State
The Biblical View of Death • Death is a consequence of Man’s fall in the garden (Gen 2:16-17; 3:19; Rom 5:12). • Basic meaning of death is “separation.” • Three kinds of death taught in the Bible. • Physical death – temporary separation of the soul from the body (James 2:26). • Spiritual death – spiritual separation from God as a result of sin (Eph 2:1). • Eternal death – eternal separation of an individual from God after resurrection (Rev 20:5, 12-15).
Significance of Death • For OT Saints • Death dreaded (Isa 38:10; Job 10:20-22). • Dread somewhat relieved by initial revelation about resurrection (Isa 26:19; Dan 12:1-2). • For NT Saints • Death no longer feared (Rom 8:2; 1 Cor 15:53-57; 2 Cor 5:8). • More revelation given about resurrection, including Christ’s own as the first fruits (1 Cor 15:20; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Rev 20:6). • Death will be not be part of the new creation for believers (Rev 20:14; 21:4)!
The Intermediate State • Definition and Terminology • The Intermediate State is the conscious existence of the personality of both the godly and the ungodly between physical death and the resurrection. • “Sheol” in the OT and “Hades” in the NT are the terms used to describe the place where departed spirits are confined at physical death, prior to the resurrection of Christ (Psa 16:10). • “Sheol” – occurs 65x in OT; translated variously as “hell,” “pit,” “grave,” and “hell.” • “Hades” – occurs 10x in NT, as a place of punishment 3x and as the state of death for both righteous and unrighteous 7x. • Other terms are used for the intermediate state in Luke 16:22-23 and 23:43.
The Intermediate State of the Believer • Three Key Scriptures: • 2 Cor 5:6-8 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight – we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. • Phil 1:21-23 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; • 1 Thess 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. • Death is referred to as “sleep” here because for the believer, it is a temporary condition for the body (not the soul).
The Intermediate State of the Believer • Resurrection bodies are not received until Christ’s return – either at the rapture for church saints (1 Thess 4:16-17) or after the tribulation for OT and tribulation saints (Dan 12:1-2; Rev 20:4). • Upon death, the souls of believers go to heaven, where Christ is, until their resurrection. • Note: heaven is not the eternal state!
The Intermediate State of the Unbeliever • While not yet in the lake of fire (Rev 20:12-15), dead unbelievers are in a place of conscious torment until the resurrection (e.g. Luke 16:23). • Nothing in the scriptures indicates a second chance at salvation after physical death.
Next Week: The Resurrections & The Divine Judgments Syllabus pp. 262-276 Benware pp. 321-329