The Bible speaks clearly regarding death and the state of those who have passed into its embrace. What is death? If God doesn’t tell us, we will never know. Let us analyse God’s answer. Thirty-five centuries ago God’s man, living in the land of Uz, ancient Arabia, realised that a tree could be cut down, yet the old root could sprout again. But when man dies, then asks Job, “Where is he?” (Job 14:7-10)
1. Out of what did God make man?
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” Gen 2:7,first part.
2. When God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” what did man become?
“And man became a living soul.” Gen2:7, last part.
NOTE: Immediately the brain leaped into action. The heart began to beat and blood flowed through man’s veins. Consciousness was produced. How did it come about? It was not in the dust of the ground or the body, and itwas not in the breath of life. Consciousness was produced as a result of the union of the breath of life with the dust of theground, the human body. Consciousness depends entirely upon a union of the breath with the body.
3. When the process is reversed what becomes of man’s consciousness?
“Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7
NOTE: The spirit which returns to God is “the breath which God gave him.” Job 27:3, margin. So man’s breath, that is, the life principle, is withdrawn and the body is dissolved into dust. The heart no longer beats. The brain does not function. The blood no longer flows. What has become of man’s consciousness? It is gone. David says, “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created…You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.” Psalm 104:30, first part, 29, last part.
4. Does the intelligent, thinking part of man live somewhere after death?
“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:4
5. How much does a dead person know?
“For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, first part.
6. Do the righteous who die praise the Lord in death?
“The dead do not praise the Lord,nor any who go down into silence.” Psalm 115:17. Read Psalm 6:5;88:10-12
7. Where did Jesus say the dead would be when His voice shall call them?
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28, 29
NOTE: Job understood that he would await the call of the life giver in the grave. Read Job 17:13
8. What is man’s condition while in the grave?
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” 1Thessalonians 4:13
NOTE: Read John 11:11-14 concerning the death of Lazarus. Jesus used the term“sleep” and “death’ interchangeably. During his death (four days) he had not gone to heaven, hell or purgatory. When Jesus resurrected him to life he didn’t call him up from hell or down from heaven. He simply said, “Lazarus come forth.” John 11:43.
9. Where did Job expect to go when he died?
“As water disappears from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dries up, so man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep. “Oh,that You would hide me in the grave, that You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!” Job 14:11-13.
NOTE: Job had hope of living again when the resurrection would take place (Job14:14, 15). And he expected to see God in the flesh. Read Job19:23-27. The resurrection is man’s only hope of escape from the grave.(1 Corinthians 15:16-22)
In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost peter declared that David had not gone to heaven at his death, but was resting in his grave. Read Acts 2:34, 29. While we yet live let us prepare to meet Christ at His second coming. This was Paul’s hope. Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8. It can be our hope too.