Understanding Human Nature
SpoOoOoky Season is here! And with it, ghost hunts.
It’s the time of year when just about every city offers a tour of its most ghastly haunts. Thrill-seekers sign up to venture the historic Queen Mary, morgue-turned-bar Kells Irish Pub, creepy graveyards and abandoned buildings, bringing along EVP recorders to document their own ghostly encounters.
While many Protestant Christians may roll their eyes at the thought of ghosts roaming our halls, they are quick to embrace the idea that the spirit of a deceased love one immediately transcends (or dare I say descends) to its divine appointment.
What does God have to say about the state of the dead?
Although Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 and 1 Samuel 28 can be regarded as proofs that the spirit does not rest at death, Bible scholars will argue over the true meaning of these passages. In fact, the author of Ecclesiastes seemingly contradicts himself in Ecclesiastes 9:5-10.
A plethora of other verses throughout the Old and New Testament suggest quite the opposite of an immortal spirit. Review Job 3:11-13; Psalm 115:17, Psalm 146:4, 1 King 2:10, and 1 Kings 22:40, all of which are corroborated by Jesus’ own words regarding death in Mark 5:38-39 and Luke 8:51-52. Jesus iterated similar sentiments at the death of Lazarus, for whom He cried. And Paul, in a letter to the Thessalonians, wrote that the dead in Christ sleep until Jesus calls them to rise at the Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
When studying the Bible as a whole, and letting the Word interpret itself, what’s the most likely reality is that the soul rests until the Second Coming of Christ.
Connecting: What is the Biblical justification most Christians use to support the idea that their loved ones ascend to heaven at the time of their death, even despite contradictory verses?
Sharing: If Lazarus had visited God during his first death, would it have been cruel for Christ to resurrect his body?
- No, this gave God a chance to tell Lazarus that death is nothing to fear
- No, if Lazarus had been in heaven Christ would not have cried
- Who said Lazarus would have gone to heaven and not hell…?
- Yes, Lazarus would have had a taste of perfection taken away from him
- Yes, Lazarus’s second physical death would have left his loved ones devastated once again
Applying: Brainstorm, perhaps with a partner or small group, how to explain the state of the dead to someone who hasn’t studied the Scriptures. Pray for guidance so you can be ready for that encounter.