WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE DEAD?

One of the most misunderstood subjects in the Bible is the state  of  the dead. The main barrier to gaining a  clear  understanding  of  this subject is the teaching  which  assumes  that humans have an immortal soul and that, at death, this soul  goes to  heaven,  hell,  paradise, or someplace in-between.

Because this belief in the immortality of the soul is  extremely comforting,  most people avoid thinking about  the validity of the Christian teachings about heaven and hell.  Therefore,  the clear logical scriptures that speak of the state of  the  dead being  something  other than life are avoided like  the plague, simply  because they threaten the  very foundation of the teaching of an immortal soul.

Although the beliefs of  Catholics  and Protestants differ  radically  in  many respects, both believe in the immortality of the soul. They also believe that humans only die physically, but the spirit (i.e., the soul—the sentient being) remains alive in heaven, hell, or some transitory state in-between.

However,  the  Protestant  theology of going to  heaven  or  hell immediately  upon death cannot be proven from the Bible. Moreover, the Catholic concept of purgatory as a place or condition of spiritual cleansing is also a non-biblical teaching. Neither of these teachings are valid biblical concepts; they are simply figments of  theological  imagination, which were conceived to explain the state of the  dead in the context of humans having an immortal soul.

What happens to humans at death? Do they go to heaven, hell,  or somewhere  in  between? Do they go anywhere? Are  they  alive  in another dimension, or do they cease to exist? If one studies the Bible and  believes  what  it actually says, these questions can be answered truthfully.

TWO DIMENSIONS OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

In order to understand the state of the dead, it is important to understand what a human being is. Is the sum total of what God  created  as  human visually  discernible?  Many theologians  and others believe that humans have a soul which is  non-physical. The Bible does say that humans have a spirit; however, is this spirit a physical creation or is it  from  another dimension of existence?

The  scriptures  show that there are two  distinct  dimensions  of existence,  and  that humans are composed of elements  from  both dimensions. There is both a physical and a  spiritual dimension of existence and each is separate from the  other in  function and creation.  But, both work together  to enable humans to exist on a higher plane of consciousness than the  rest of the physical creation:

"And I say to you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body,  and after that have no more that they can do.  But I [Jesus] will forewarn  you  whom you shall fear:  Fear him [God the Father], who after  he  has killed  has power to cast into hell;  yes, I say to  you, Fear him" (Lk.12:4-5 KJV).  

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him [God the Father] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt.10:28 KJV).

The English word 'body' in these two verses is a translation of the Greek word 'soma,' which means 'a human/animal body' or 'a corpse'. The Greek word for  'soul' is 'psyche', which can be translated 'life' or 'mind'. These two scriptures mention two distinct elements of  human life: physical and non-physical. Moreover, both elements can be completely destroyed by God.

The English word 'destroy'  is a translation of the Greek word  'apollumi', which means 'to  destroy fully', 'to kill', 'to perish', 'to completely do away with'.  There is no doubt that the words used in Matthew 10:28 mean that God has the power to completely destroy  all aspects of human life.

Jesus  says that there are two elements of the human existence and  we must fear God who can terminate both the  physical  and  non-physical elements.

Paul  also refers to the two elements of human existence  in  his letter  to the Thessalonians:

"And may the God of  peace  Himself fully  sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and  body be  kept  blameless  at  the coming of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ" (1.Thes.5:23 Para.).

In verse 23, the English words 'spirit', 'soul', and 'body' are translated from Greek words  'pneuma', 'psyche', and 'soma', which mean 'the physical  breath' or 'the soul', and 'the spirit' or  'the mind', and 'the physical body'.

THE PHYSICAL ELEMENT OF THE HUMAN CREATION

In order to determine what the physical element of human life is, the creation of mankind should be reviewed:

"And the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of  the  ground, and  blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became  a living soul" (Gen.2:7 Para.). See also vs.8; Deut.32:18.

"In  the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you  return to the ground; for out of it you were taken: for dust you  are, and to dust shall you return" (Gen.3:19 KJV).

"You  hide  your  face and they are  troubled;  you  gather  your breath,  and  they expire and return to their  dust"  (Psa.104:29 Para.; Job 34:13-15).

In Genesis 2:7, the English word 'soul' is the translation of the Hebrew word 'nephesh', which means 'a breathing creature or animal', 'vitality', beast', 'body', or 'breath'. There is absolutely nothing in the word 'nephesh'  that indicates anything other than physical life: human or  animal. The Hebrew word 'nephesh' literally means 'a state of  being alive'. God created a lifeless body in the form of man and made it a living soul (nephesh) by blowing  air into its lungs; thus, he gave it life.

"The  spirit of God has made me, and the breath of  the  Almighty has given me life" (Job 33:4 KJV).

PHYSICAL LIFE IS IN THE BLOOD

"And  whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or  of  the strangers that sojourn among you, that eats any manner of  blood; I  will  even set my face against that soul [nephesh]  that  eats blood, and will cut him off from among his  people,"  (Lev.17:10 KJV).

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood; . . ..Therefore I said to the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood,. . .  For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the  life thereof:. . ." (Lev.17:11-14 KJV).

In  this modern age, we can understand the biological implications of  this scripture. The heart circulates the blood throughout the body, which in turn performs its life sustaining functions.

If  God had not activated Adam's life functions by inserting  air into  his lungs, Adam would not have lived. But, is human life  no more  than a chemical-electric reaction of a well designed  structure  of  gas, fluid, and solid matter reacting to  internal  and external  stimuli? Is this the sum of what God created as  physical man? If so, humans would be no  different from any other animal.

But humans are different from animals and the rest of creation in many  obvious ways. Humans are on a higher plane of life  existence than the rest of creation. But, what is it that makes mankind different?   The unseen physical and spirit elements of the human creation makes it different from the rest of creation.

THE SPIRITUAL ELEMENT OF THE HUMAN CREATION

There is another element to human life besides the physical. This element  is  the spirit in man that separates mankind  from  the rest of creation:

"But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration  of the  Almighty gives them understanding" (Job 32:8 KJV).

Here,  the English word  'spirit' is a translation of the Hebrew word 'ruwach', which  means 'wind' or 'mind'.  It  does not mean a physical being  or even a  being at all. Rather, it denotes something that is not physical.

"The  burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, says the  Lord, which stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth,  and forms the spirit of man within him" (Zech.12:1  KJV). See also Ecc.12:5-7.

The human  spirit is a non-physical element of the human body that  truly  separates humans  from the rest of the physical creation. God calls  this  non-physical  element the spirit in man and he has designed it  to  be a part of  the human body. It is this  spirit  that  gives mankind  the  ability to be on a higher thought-plane  than all other physical creatures on earth.

The  spirit in man is only one of the two elements of human  life that the scientific community does not understand or ascribe to human life function. Nevertheless, the spirit in man is of major importance to human life after death.

THE GOD OF SPIRITS

The scriptures show that God formed  the  spirit that lives  within the human body. Animals do not have the potential for immortality  and they do not relate to God in the same way as humans. Furthermore, they do not have  the ability to worship  or  interface with God like humans do (Rom.8:14-16):

"And  they fell on their faces, and said, O God, the God  of  the spirits  of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you  be  angry with all the congregation?" (Num.16:22 Para.).

"Let the Lord God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation" (Num.27:16 Para.).

The spirit in man is not an undefinable  essence nor is it mysteriously apart from man. The spirit of man is man. The  physical body is the habitation of the spirit, which is  the sentient and conscious element of the human creation.

THE HUMAN LIFE FORM

Human life is unique in all of creation; a human being is the only life form on earth that is both physical and spiritual and has the opportunity  to be elevated to the highest of all life forms: a spirit-being in the Family of God. For a detailed  explanation  of the  destiny of humanity see our study about immortality and the new creation.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HUMANS DIE?

The  Bible  describes two major events that take  place  at  the death  of a human being and these events are of extreme importance to  the final destiny of each individual, because each event decides whether or not each individual will have a future existence. The Bible describes what happens to a human being's physical body and spirit at death.

What the Bible  says about the physical and spirit record and the  events that happen to humans after death is very different from what  is taught by the religions of this world. According to the Bible, after a human dies,  there are two records of their existence: one that is kept in heaven and one that is kept on earth.

NO MENTAL ACTIVITY AFTER DEATH

At  death the cerebral functions cease; there is no more  thought process,  no reward, no memory, no knowledge, and  no access  to  this world. Death terminates an  individual's interaction  with  this physical dimension of existence.

The Psalmist wrote:

"Put  not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man,  in  whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psa.146:3-4 KJV).

Solomon wrote:

"For the living know that they will die; but the dead know  nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them  is forgotten.  Their love, their hate and their jealousy have  long since vanished;  never again will they have a part  in  anything that happens under the sun"  (Ecc.9:5-6 NIV).

"Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there  is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in  the grave, where you go" (Ecc.9:10 KJV)

"The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into  silence"  (Psa.115:17 KJV).  

The reason the dead cannot praise  God  is because they are no longer alive; their life has been silenced. In death  there is no thought process.

"Return,  O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for your mercies' sake. For  in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?" (Psa.6:4-5 KJV).

"Behold,  for peace I had great bitterness: but you have in  love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for you  have cast  all my sins behind your back. For the grave  cannot praise you, death cannot celebrate you: they that go down into the  pit cannot  hope  for your truth. The living, he  shall praise you, as I do this day: . . ." (Isa.38:17-19 KJV).

It  is  obvious by the abundant scriptural proof that  all  conscious  thought  and life-functions cease at death. The scriptures that speak of  human speech,  desires, and  admonitions after death are either poetic metaphors or  analogies, or they are speaking of  demonic impersonations of dead people in some cases.

There is nothing throughout the entire Bible which indicates  that  the  human life function continues in one  state  or another  after death. Moreover, the Bible indicates just the  opposite;  it clearly shows that the physical life of a human is  a  temporary condition, which can be terminated forever.

THE SLEEP OF DEATH

Many scriptures speak of the state of the dead as analogous to sleep. Because  the dead do not have a conscious  thought  process (Psa.146:4; Ecc.9:5-6), sleep is an excellent description of  the condition of death. Below are a few references that show how God views the condition of death:

"And  many  of  them that sleep in the dust of  the  earth  shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and  everlasting contempt" (Dan.12:2 KJV).

"He said these things. And after this He said to them, Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going that I may awaken  him. Then  His disciples said, Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he  will recover.  But Jesus had spoken about his death, but they  thought that  He spoke of the sleep of slumber. Then Jesus said  to  them plainly, Lazarus had died" (Jn.11:11-14 Para.).

"While  they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord  Jesus,  receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out,  Lord, do not hold this sin against them. When he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:59-60 NIV).

"But  man dies and is cut off, and man expires; and where is  he? As the waters go from the sea, and a river wastes away and  dries up, so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are  no more, they shall not awake, nor be roused out of their sleep. Who will  grant that You would hide me in Sheol; You would  hide  me until  Your anger turns back; that You would set a limit  for  me and  remember me? If a man dies, will he revive? All the days  of my warfare  I will wait, until my change  comes"  (Job  14:10-14 Para.). See also 1.Kg.2:10, 1.Cor.11:29-30; 1.Thes.4:13-17.

The billions of humans who have lived and died over the centuries are completely unaware of the passage of time. The interim period between  the  moment  of death,  when  their  conscious thoughts ceased,  and  the instant when they awake to life  again  at  the resurrection  does not exist for them. It will be as if they  had gone to sleep and awakened without dreaming; the passage of  time is meaningless to them.

WHERE DOES THE BODY GO AT DEATH?

Science defines death as the cessation of the life function ( i.e., all systems cease to operate—the heart  stops circulating blood, the brain stops sending orders to the  organs, all thought process cease, the body becomes immobile, all  regeneration processes stop, and the body starts to decay).

The  Bible defines physical death in the same way as science:

"By the sweat of your face you shall eat  bread until  you return to the ground. For you have been taken  out  of it;  for  you are dust, and to dust you shall  return"  (Gen.3:19 Para.).   

God says our bodies were made  from  the elements of the earth and they will return to these  same elements after death.

"All  flesh  shall perish together, and man shall turn  again  to dust" (Job 34:15 KJV).

King Solomon Wrote:

"For  that which happens to the sons of men, and that which  happens  to beasts; even one event is to them. As this one dies,  so that  one dies; yea, one breath is to all; so that there is to the  man  no advantage  over the beast; for all is vanity. All go  to  one place; all are of the dust, and return to the dust"  (Ecc.3:19-20 Para.).

Solomon says that both man and beast have the same death process; they both die and return to the elements from which they were made. There is no quarrel with the scientific definition here. At death the  physical  body in which God placed the spirit of man ceases to  function. However,  there is more to the physical body than the visible elements from which it is made.

WHERE DOES THE SPIRIT GO AT DEATH?

"Who knows the spirit of the sons of man, whether it goes upward, and  the  spirit  of the beast whether it goes  downward  to  the earth?" (Ecc.3:21 Para.).

Solomon asked the same question many have asked over the  centuries about the destination of the spirit in man. However,  the great  difference between  Solomon and most others who ask this question is that Solomon knew the answer:

"Then  the  dust  shall return to the earth as it  was,  and  the spirit shall return to God who gave it" (Ecc.12:7 Para.).

The spirit of man returns to God who gave it. King  David and Jesus also understood that God was the custodian of the human spirit.

"Into your hands I commit my spirit: you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth" (Psa.31:5 KJV).

"And crying with a loud voice, he said, Father into your hands  I commit  my spirit. And saying this, He breathed out  the  spirit" (Lk.23:46 Para.).

At  death,  this  spirit, which is composed of  material  from  the spirit  dimension  of  existence, returns to God the  Father  who inhabits the spirit-world.

The Spirits Cry Out

The Book of Revelation has an allegorical reference to  the spirits of the  righteous dead crying out for God to avenge their death:

"And  when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the  alter  the souls  of those  having been slain for the word of God,  and  the witness which they had. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge  our blood  on  them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev.6:9-10  KJV).  See also Hebrews 11:4.

Although  the spirits under the altar are  unconscious and  unaware  of anything happening on earth or anywhere else, they  symbolically cry out for justice. This scripture confirms that  these human spirits have been returned to the Father  from their earthly habitation. See Gen.4:10, Hab.2:11; Jms.5:4.

IS THE BODY MORE THAN FLESH AND BLOOD?

The scriptures show that the human body is just a chemical-electric reaction of a well designed structure  of gas, fluids, and solid matter reacting to  internal and  external stimuli with the spirit of man  inhabiting  it. And at death, the body becomes lifeless and useless:

"Then shall the dust [physical body] return to the  earth  as it was; and the spirit shall return to God  who gave it" (Ecc.12:7 KJV). See also Gen.2:7, Deut.32:18.

"For as the body without the  spirit  is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (Jms.2:26 KJV).

THE INVISIBLE ELEMENT OF THE BODY

The scriptures clearly show two separate  elements that are  combined to form the creation called a human being. It  is also extremely clear that at death the body returns to the  earth and  the  spirit returns to God. However,  how do we answer  the  clear scriptures which indicate that a dead person is both  in  heaven and on the earth?

A  brief study into physical and spiritual law will show that  an object  cannot occupy two different dimensions of time and  space simultaneously.  This knowledge helps solve the mystery surrounding the scriptures that seem to indicate that the dead are in two places at the same time. See Ecc.12:7, Psa.31:5; 49:14-15  Lk.23:46,  Acts 2:27-29;34; Heb.chp.11.

There is  an invisible physical element to the body that is preserved on  earth  after the body dies. This invisible element of the human creation is extremely  important  to  the  destiny of each individual. Without  an understanding  of  what this essential element is,  much  of  the Bible  does not seem to make sense when it comes to the  state  of the dead and the various resurrections.

THE MYSTERIOUS REPHAIM

Who or what is the 'Rephaim'? Bible Scholars have had great difficulty discovering the intended meaning of this Hebrew word, because its usage  indicates that all dead humans remain on earth instead  of heaven or hell which is commonly believed.

The Hebrew word rephaim is often used as an allegory that describes  the dead and gives vital insight  into  an extremely important unseen element of the human body.

The Hebrew word 'rephaim' has three basic meanings: 'giant men', 'ghost of the dead', or 'shades' (i.e., shadows). There are many references that refer  to  the dead as 'rephaim'. These references also indicate that the 'rephaim' occupy 'sheol',  which is located within the confines of earth's environment. The following scriptures reveal the allegorical use of the word 'rephaim' to describe dead humans:

"Sheol below is excited for you, to greet your coming, waiting  for you rephaim, all the rulers of the earth. Rising them from  their thrones, all the kings of the earth" (Isa.14:9 Literal Translation)

In verse 14, Isaiah laments the state of the dead. But, in verse 19, he  speaks  of  the hope of the resurrection. He says that the 'rephaim' (the dead) that are dead in the dust of the earth will be resurrected:

"The dead will not live, rephaim will not rise, therefore you have punished and eliminated them, and caused their memory to perish" (Isa.26:14 Literal Translation).

"The dead will live, their corpses will rise, Awake and shout  for joy,  dwellers in the dust! For dew of lights [morning] is  your dew, and earth will give birth to rephaim" (Isa.26:19 Literal Translation).

Psalm 88 speaks of those who are dead in the depths of the  earth being devoid of life or conscious thought.

"For  the  dead will you do a wonder? Will the rephaim  rise  and praise you? Selah! (Psa.88:10 Literal Translation).

Proverbs shows that the foolish will occupy sheol where  the  rephaim are:

"The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point  of  the  city, calling out to those who pass  by,  who go straight on their way. "Let all who are simple come in here!" she says  to  those who lack judgment. "Stolen water is  sweet;  food eaten  in secret is delicious!" But little do they know that  the dead  [the Rephaim] are there, that her guests are in the  depths of the grave" (Pro.9:13-18 NIV).

"And he does not know that the rephaim are there. In the depths of sheol are her invited guests" (Pro.9:18 Literal Translation).

There is no doubt that this  thing spoken of as a 'rephaim' is a part  of the  human  creation. The question is what part?  The  scriptures show that the  rephaim are in sheol, have no conscious thought,   are  lifeless, and  will  be  resurrected.  See  also Psa.6:5, 31:17, Pro.9:18,21:16, Isa.14:19; 26:14-19.

The  rephaim cannot be any part of the spirit of man, because  the spirit of man returns to God  at death. But the rephaim are in a state of preservation on earth. A rephaim is the invisible yet a permanent part of a physical human body that continues to exist on earth after the human body decomposes and returns to the elements from  which it came. The rephaim is the record of the human body that will be used when the body is resurrected to a physical existence.

SPIRIT AND PHYSICAL DIMENSIONS OF EXISTENCE

The  scriptures show that spirit-beings and spirit-substance  can exist  in this physical  dimension (See Gen. chps.18;19 Numb. chps.22; Job 1:6-12; Lk. chps.24; Rev.12:7-9).  However, the scriptures also show  that physical beings cannot exist in the  spirit  dimension  (See Jn.3:3-5; 8:13-23; 13:33-36; 1.Cor.15:50). Therefore, it makes sense that the  spirit element of the human creation returns to God at death (Psa.31:5; Ecc.12:7; Lk.23:46), and the physical element of the human creation remains on earth at death (Gen.3:19; Job 34:15; Ecc.3:19-20).

Because God  designed  the human life-form with  both  spirit  and physical  elements,  both  of these elements will be used to reconstruct the individual at the time of their resurrection.

THE DEAD SHALL RISE FIRST

In  Paul's writings to the Corinthians and the  Thessalonians,  he speaks of the first general resurrection of the dead at which time the elect of God will be given immortality at Christ's coming:

"Behold,  I  show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep,  but  we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the  last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead  shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1.Cor.15:51-52 KJV).

"But  I would not have you to be ignorant,  brethren,  concerning them  which  sleep [are dead], that you sorrow not,  even  as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died  and rose again,  even so them also which sleep [are dead]  in  Jesus will  God bring with him. For this we say to you by the  word  of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord  shall not  prevent [proceed] them which  are  asleep  [are dead]. For the Lord himself shall descend from  heaven  with  a shout,  with  the voice of the archangel, and with the  trump  of God: and the dead shall rise first" (1.Thes.4:13-16 KJV).

These  scriptures are very important, because Paul says  that  the dead shall be raised and it is obvious that Paul understood that the dead remained on earth awaiting their  resurrection.  See  1.Sam.2:6; Psa.49:14-15;  Jn.3:13; Acts  2:29-34; Heb.11.

Logic  should  tell us that, because the spirit record of the  elect  returns to the Father, when Paul speaks of the dead rising from the earth, he must be referring  to  a  physical record, that will rise from the earth where it resides in sheol awaiting the resurrection.

THE RESURRECTION OF ISRAEL

Another  key  to understanding the rephaim is found  in  Ezekiel, chapter 37. This chapter speaks of the resurrection of the Israelites to physical life some time after the return of Christ.

"The  hand  of the Lord was upon me, and carried me  out  in  the spirit  of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of  the  valley which  was  full of bones. And caused me to pass  by them round about: and behold, there were very many in the open valley;  and, lo, they were very dry" (vs.1-2 KJV).

This event transpires on earth, and these bones represent  people who will be brought back to life.

"And  he  said to me, Son of man, can these bones live?  And  I answered,  O Lord God, you know. Again he said to me,  Prophecy upon  these bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, hear  the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones; Behold I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: And  I will  lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you,  and cover  you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall  live; and you shall know that I am the Lord" (vs.3-6 KJV).

Here, God promises to resurrect these dead Israelites to physical  life (Ezk.37:11). The word for 'bone' in Hebrew can also be  used allegorically to mean a dead person.

"And  when  I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came  up  upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.  Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy son of man,  and say to the wind, Thus says the Lord God; Come from  the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.  So  I prophesied as he commanded me, and the  breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army" (vs.8-10 KJV).

There are similarities between this resurrection and the  creation  of Adam and Eve. God made Adam's body from the elements of the earth; then, he took a bone from Adam's body and  made Eve. In this resurrection, God takes the bones (an allegory of the dead Israelites) to use as the foundational  substance  with which to reconstruct each individual Israelite. Adam, Eve, and these resurrected Israelites are constructed  from the elements of the earth. And like Adam, these Israelites have no life force until air is placed into their lungs and they begin to breath.

"Therefore  prophesy and say to them, Thus says the  Lord  God; Behold,  O my people, I will open your graves, and cause  you  to come  up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of  Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I  have  opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your  graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And shall put my spirit in you  and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own  land: then shall you know that I the Lord have spoken and performed  it says the Lord" (Ezk.37:12-14 KJV).

In order for these reconstructed bodies to function as sentient  beings, the  spirit of man must be put back into the body: "For as the body without the spirit is dead . . ." (Jms.2:26). At death, the body dies and becomes useless to the spirit that inhabited it.

THE RECORDS OF THE DEAD

The Father has not only promised to resurrect all of the Israelites  who have ever lived and died without an opportunity for salvation but also he has promised to resurrect the rest of humanity who have  not had this opportunity. In order to accomplish this task, he has a record of each person's intellect (mind). And this record is stored in heaven.

The  Father has made provisions for a record to be kept  of  each individual that has ever existed. Humanly, we can understand that everything in the physical universe  operates under  a system of immutable laws, which control and sustain  the physical  creation. The physical record of man does not exist  in some mysterious magical non physical dimension of time and space;  it exists as a physical thing, which was created as a  part of  the  human being and exists under the specific  laws that regulate its physical existence.

The rephaim or the record of  a dead human body, which occupies sheol, is not  spirit or  human, does not have conscious thought, and is not animated or alive.  However, it is real and  made of physical substance that occupies physical time and space within this  dimension of existence.

Because  of  the abundance of allegorical and factual references about sheol and  the rephaim (record of dead bodies) that occupy it, the rephaim must be  the physical record and pattern of each human body.

Logic  tells us that because this record or  pattern  is invisible yet physical, it must be composed of pure physical energy in one form or another. This invisible yet physical element is the physical record/pattern that God will use  to reconstruct each  individual's unique physical body at the  proper time in his plan for the salvation of humanity.

The  physical  body decays and returns to  its  basic  elements, while the physical element, which is the pattern or record of the individual, remains intact and is stored on earth.

The  rephaim,  which is the record/pattern of the  physical  human form,  remains  on  earth because it is a part  of  this  physical dimension  of  time  and  space  and  cannot  enter  the  spirit realm.

The Resurrection Process

The spirit record of a human is  kept in heaven, the physical record is stored on earth, and each is being held  ready  for the resurrection process. The  scriptures show that there will be two kinds of resurrections: one is to spirit life as a spirit-being, and the other is to physical life as a human being. Therefore, it is important to know the process involved in each.

Resurrection to Immortality at Christ's Return

"The  dead  in  Christ shall  rise  first: Then we which are alive and remain  shall  be caught up together with them in the Clouds, to meet the Lord  in the air"  (1.Thes.4:16-17 KJV).

During the resurrection of the righteous dead, the following will occur:

Resurrection to Physical Life

During the resurrection of the dead to physical life for the  purpose of  giving them an opportunity for salvation or for destroying them because of incorrigible wickedness, the following will occur:

SUMMARY

The dead are simply dead; they have no life function; they are as if they were asleep awaiting a resurrection. Some of the dead will be  resurrected  to  eternal life and immortality, some will be resurrected to physical life, and some will be resurrected to the punishment of eternal death.

By B.L Cocherell, file b7w14