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Death, Thenceforth, and Thereafter: What God Does With Us

Chapter 15 in About God
this chapter by Jonathan E. Brickman.


God has caused many things on this subject and others, to be written in Holy Scripture. Below you will find significant examples.

Some involve a word, "Sheol": it is a Hebrew word, often mistranslated to "grave". But where we have ancient word-for-word translation from Hebrew to Greek or Latin, we have "Hades". Hades, in Greek and Roman understanding, was a place of all of the dead. There is a word for such a place in every ancient language; the word "Hel" is old Anglo-Saxon for it, and it is where the modern "Hell" comes from. But all of these are very different than that common concept of a place of universal fiery torture ruled by a red guy with horns.

The "English Standard Version" (ESV) is used here for clarity. Do be careful.

Before the Messiah, the Christ

God recorded the following events for us concerning the times of the old covenants between God and human beings, before the times of the Messiah, Christ the Lord:

  1. God sent some directly, from the world to Himself. They never died.
  2. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
    Genesis 5:22-24
    Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
    And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
    2 Kings 2:1...11
  3. God sent some directly, while still alive, downward into the earth, into a place called "Sheol" in Hebrew, and "Hades" in Greek.
  4. But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD." And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
    Numbers 16:30-33
  5. Many others were sent to Sheol after death.
  6. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
    Ecclesiastes 9:9-10
  7. Sheol is a place of entrapment, of bondage. It is a place where proud men, those who love their own words and their own works, are humbled. God promised to not forever leave people in Sheol.
  8. ...the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
    2 Samuel 22:6
    This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
        yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah.
    Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
        death shall be their shepherd,
    and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
        Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
    But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
        for he will receive me. Selah.
    Psalm 49:13-15
    And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
    Matthew 11:23
  9. Some in Sheol suffer torment. Others are in a part of it called "Abraham's side".
  10. "There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
    Luke 16:19-23

Since the Coming of the Messiah, the Christ

God recorded the following events for us concerning the times of the new covenant between God and human beings, the times we live in today:

  1. The Lord Himself willingly died, and went down into the earth, and then afterwards was taken up to His Father, who is in Heaven.
  2. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.
    John 10:17-18
    Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
    Acts 2:29-31
    ...she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
    John 20:14-17
  3. The Father in Heaven has given the Lord Jesus the keys to, the power over, Hades (Sheol).
  4. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades."
    Revelation 1:17-18
  5. The Lord Jesus has stated that if anyone eats of His flesh and drink of His blood, which means if anyone believes into Him, he or she will not die. There is also a statement at the end of the same discussion, in which He states that He will raise people "up", "on the last day". In other words, they may well go down; but if so, He will raise them up.
  6. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God."
    John 3:16-21
    "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
    John 6:47-50
    "Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
    John 6:54
  7. The Lord Jesus promised a certain penitent man of faith and penitence, who was being crucified next to Him, that he would be taken up to a place called Paradise, that very day. Not "the last day", but that very day.
  8. One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
    Luke 23:39-43
  9. One longtime friend of a certain Apostle was taken up directly to the "third" Heaven: there are at least three. It is also written that this man was taken up into the place called paradise. The Apostle confessed that he did not know whether or not his friend was taken up in physical form or merely in soul and spirit.
  10. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows -- and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
    2 Corinthians 12:2-4
  11. There are persons who die, who are called dead "in Christ". These will be raised by the Lord Jesus Christ, when He returns. After this, the people of God who live in the world will be taken to Him as well, to stay, forever.
  12. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
    1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
  13. The Lord has laid a foundation for all humankind, composed of the many things He has commanded in the new covenant between God and humankind, which is recorded in the New Testament. If a man attempts to build stuff of this world on this foundation, rather than the Kingdom of Heaven, he will be saved - but he will suffer before he reaches heaven.
  14. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
    1 Corinthians 3:10-15
  15. The Lord has stated that anyone who does not forgive his brother for all offenses, shall be imprisoned by the Father in Heaven, until forgiveness is given.
  16. Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
    Matthew 18:32-35
  17. There shall come a time when God will call many to an event called the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb". His people -- comprising all who truly seek to love Him and do the things He has asked -- is discussed as the bride, and the Lord as the bridegroom. Many shall come to and remain at this wedding; but many shall not, and the ones that shall not, will be cast into a place called "Outer Darkness".
  18. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
    Matthew 24:30-35
    See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of things that are shaken--that is, things that have been made--in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
    Hebrews 12:25-29
    Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
    Revelation 20:11-15
  19. All of the dead of this world, will one day be resurrected. Some will be resurrected to life...and some, to a resurrection of judgment.
  20. Do not wonder at this, because there comes an hour in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice, and they will come forth; those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced evil things to a resurrection of judgment.
    John 5:28-29

    © 2022 Jonathan E. Brickman

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