As many are aware, today we see the majority of religions, including some Christians denominations are proclaiming that prayers to the dead are acceptable and should be done often if the dead are in fact considered a saint. Most teach that when a person dies they go to a spirit world where they can be contacted by us in prayer, or by a psychic or spirit guide in a séance. Some also teach re-incarnation where the soul goes from one life to the next forever in the hopes of cultivating enough wisdom to become perfect and therefore eternal in nature. Then there are those that teach the spirit of the deceased can actually haunt people if the deceased had been wronged in some major way in their mortal life. And finally, some teach that dead saints are allowed to come back from heaven, physically appear unto us and warn us of mortal dangers if we don't heed their Heavenly warnings and follow their advice. One of these denominations even go so far as to claim that the mother of Jesus Christ Himself appears from time to time to relay messages from heaven.
Before making a judgment about which church is correct, if any. Lets go to the Bible and see what the Bible has to say about where we go when we die. We're going to the Bible because these are churches and religions we are investigating. If we were investigating something someone told us about how to properly tune an engine we would go to the mechanics manual of that particular engine to find out if what was being said or done was correct and acceptable for that engine type. These are churches we're dealing with which claim to be teaching us what the Bible says about these topics, so lets see if they're right.
Psalms 6:3-5 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
The Psalmist is praying for deliverance to arrive before death here because he knows he won't have the ability to remember anything from the grave, nor can he give thanks from the grave.
Psalms 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perishEcclesiastes 9:5,6 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
In Isaiah we see that king Hezekia was sick and Isaiah told him he was about to die. The king turned his face to the wall and prayed. In his prayer he says the following…
Isaiah 38:18-19, "For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth."
It appears rather plain here. The dead seem to be just that…DEAD! They can't remember, they can't thank anyone, they can't praise God, they can't think, they can't even dream because the verse says, "his thoughts perish." All their abilities have perished, "the dead know not any thing." Notice the last verse shared where it said, "…neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun."The Bible is stating that the dead can in no way take part in anything under the sun. The (RSV) Bible actually translates the above last verse like this. "…they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun." Pretty plain is it not?
If the Bible is saying the dead can't affect anything that happens here on earth. Why are people still praying to these dead saints when the dead can't hear them? Why do people still believe in hauntings, seances, apparitions etc??? They believe it because they never read in their Bibles the truth about these things. They just trusted their church leaders to tell them truthfully what the Bible says. So, who or what are these people seeing at these seances, hauntings and apparitions? Some churches believe that Mary the mother of Jesus is showing up in apparitions around the world. Many also believe that paintings or statues of Mary are actually bleeding real blood, or crying real tears. Does this mean Mary is not only alive and well, but now trapped inside statues made by men? How can this be? Does not the Word of God plainly state that the dead can in no way affect anything that happens here on this earth? If these apparitions aren't Mary, then who are they?
I'm sure you're wondering. "Just where do we go when we die?" Don't go running to get this answer from your preacher, teacher, friend, pastor, or priest. Just go back in the Bible to find out. It is were you should always go when you're in question. However if you do at times have to go to a person for answers, always verify it in the Word of God before making any final decisions! Don't trust me or any man! Go to God's Word for the final answer and you will never go wrong.
So…where do we go when we die?
Psalms 13:3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
The Bible refers to death as sleep. During this dreamless sleep, "his thoughts perish," so, is it possible to affect the lives of others or carry on normal day to day activities in normal sleep? I think not. In the book of John we find a situation where Jesus Himself refers to the dead as being asleep.
John 11:11-14 …Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
The disciples thought when Jesus said Lazarus was sleeping that he would be ok. So Jesus had to plainly say "Lazarus is dead." Before going on, I must interject as to the main reason Jesus calls death "sleep" here. It is because He knows that everyone will awaken one day out of death as we awaken each morning from sleep. Some will awaken to receive eternal life, and others will awaken to be destroyed in eternal damnation.
John 5:28-29, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
Getting back to Lazarus we discover that a few verses later we realize how long Lazarus would have been sleeping the sleep of death if Jesus had not raised him from the dead later on in verse 43.
John 11:23,24 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Martha, the sister of Lazarus understood the biblical truth about the state of the dead. She knew Lazarus wasn't going to awaken until the last day when Jesus splits that eastern sky at His second coming. The book of Job also mentions the length of sleep for the dead.
Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
Notice the word till in that verse. This means the dead will not, or cannot awaken until the last day as Martha calls it in the previous verse shared.
My Favorite verse on this subject.... 1Corinthians 15:20-23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
According to this verse, the dead in Christ will remain in their graves awaiting the order of resurrection. What is that order you ask? Jesus is the "firstfruits of them that slept" And then those that are believers in Jesus will "be made alive". But when will they be made alive? According to the Bible, they will have to be made alive in the order that the Lord set up. Jesus, the "firstfruits" and then those that are His followers, "at His coming" …Rather blunt is it not?
Did you notice how David used the dead to illustrate how it is to be dead? He stated his enemies sought to make him feel as if he could do nothing like a person in the darkness of a dreamless sleep who has been dead for a long time. If people wen to Heaven directly at death as so many false teachers declare today, why is David saying this? And so one can see that yes, you will come across many Bible verses in the Old or New Testament areas of the Bible that confirm truth as the Lrod would have you know it. And yes, this is why the prophet Isaiah stated the following in Isaiah 28:9-10, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"
And so again, as you study the Word you will find all sorts of verses that back up the truth regarding the state of the dead because the Bible purposely speaks truth cover to cover in very many areas just as Isaiah stated long ago.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 4:16 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 in Christ shall rise first: 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.