The Sabbath question

Where shall we gather

More Studies

Contact Us


(Some of the Bible verses quoted in this study have had comments added in brackets. The sole purpose of this study technique is to emphasise or introduce a line of thought. All verses KJV unless otherwise stated).

What happens at the moment of death?
This is an important question.
What is our 'spirit', and does it really go to heaven or hell at death?
Will seances really make contact with 'spirits' of departed loved ones?

The Bible gives warning, that Satan and his dark angels are impersonating deceased relatives; for the purpose of giving cunning messages of deception to mankind.
He has set up the false doctrine that we go straight to heaven or hell at death; so that those experiencing these encounters will believe that they are truly their loved ones, giving them messages from God.
There is however clear Scripture to expose this false doctrine; for example; if the righteous dead are already in heaven, then why is Jesus coming to resurrect them out of their graves at His Second Coming. And if a person goes straight to heaven or hell at death, then they would also need to receive a judgement (and eternal life) at death. The Bible does not teach this!!!
Please read on, so you don't become one of the fooled!

(1Ti 4:1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Let's see what the Bible says about where we go at death!

1/ What do we consist of when alive?

(Gen 2:7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (ruach) of life; and man became a living soul (nephesh).
(Job 27:3) All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit (ruach) of God is in my nostrils;

The first point to notice is that we do not have an immortal spirit. The spirit, which the Bible speaks of, is the breath of life, which God puts in our nostrils
The spirit that God puts in our nostrils is not an intelligent, invisible, immortal part of our being. Neither do we have an immortal soul. In fact we don't even have a soul; because we are a soul.
Notice from the above verse that we become a soul when the breath of life (or spirit) is given to our lifeless body.

i.e. Body (Dust) + Breath (Spirit of God) = Living soul (Living creature, Hebrew = nephesh)

Notice the living 'creature' or 'soul' (which both = nephesh), which we become, is not a term limited to humans.
Neither is the 'breath' or 'Spirit of God' (which both = ruach), which is put in our nostrils limited to humans.
The Biblical formula for animals is exactly the same as for humans;
(Ecc 3:19) For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts;...as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath (ruach);
so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast:...

(Gen 2:19) ...and whatsoever Adam called every living creature (nephesh), that was the name thereof.
(Gen 7:15) And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath (ruach) of life.
(Job 12:10) In whose hand is the soul (nephesh) of every living thing, and the breath (ruach) of all mankind.

2/ Then at death...

(Gen 3:19) ...till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
(Gen 6:17) ...even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath (ruach) of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
(Gen 7:22) All in whose nostrils was the breath (ruach) of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
(Ecc 12:7) Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (Hebrew= ruach; sometimes translated as 'breath', as seen in previous verses) shall return unto God who gave it. (ie, the breath returns to God, leaving the body dead).
(Jam 2:26) ...the body without the spirit (Greek, pneuma = breath) is dead ...
(Psa 146:4) His breath (ruach) goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

i.e. Body (Dust) - Breath (Spirit of God) = Dead (No Living Spirit, No Living Soul, No Thoughts)

3/ A soul is the TOTAL living being or creature, Mind and Body (Not a Spirit).

(Psa 139:14) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul (nephesh) knoweth right well.
(Gen 12:5) And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth...
(Lev 5:2) Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, ...
(Lev 7:18) ...and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity.

4/ The soul does not stay alive, the soul dies.

(Eze 18:20) The soul (nephesh) that sinneth, it shall die.
(Rev 16:3) and every living soul died in the sea.

5/ A soul is not immortal, only God is immortal.

(1Tim 6:15-16) ...the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, ...

6/ The righteous will only receive immortality at Jesus' second coming.

(1Co 15:20-23) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept... 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.
(notice the dead are not made alive again, until Christ's Second Coming).

(1Co 15:52) 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
(prior to this, man does not have immortality, by which to exist between their death and the Second Coming).

7/ Death is generally referred to as 'being asleep'.

(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.
(1Ki 2:10) So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
(Deu 31:16) And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers...
(2Sa 7:12) And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers...
(Psa 13:3) O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
(Mat 9:24) He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.
(Act 7:59) And they stoned Stephen, ...and when he had said this, he fell asleep.
(1Co 15:18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

8/ Sleep is further explained as having returned to dust.

(Job 7:21) And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
(Psa 22:15) My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
(Ecc 3:19-20) For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast:... All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

9/ We have no thoughts, nor does part of our conscious being leave our body, while in this sleep.

(Psa 88:11) Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave?
(Psa 146:4) His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
(Isa 38:18) For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit (grave) cannot hope for thy truth.
(Ecc 9:5) 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.
(Ecc 9:6) Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun.
(Ecc 9:10) Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
(Psa 115:17) The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
(Job 14:21) His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.

10/ We do not go anywhere while in this sleep.

(Job 17:13) the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.
(Act 2:29) Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. For David is not ascended into the heavens:
(Joh 3:13) No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
(Joh 7:34) You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.
(notice Jesus said we 'cannot come' to heaven where He went. He will return for us 'in the last day').

11/ Rising from this sleep, from the dust, is compared with 'becoming awake'.

(Joh 11:11) Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
(Dan 12:2) 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.
(Eph 5:14) Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
(one of the amazing things about how God has set this up; is that regardless of whether you have been dead for 4 years or 4000 years, at the resurrection, you would not be aware of any time that has passed since your death).

12/ The dead remain in this condition until Jesus' Second Coming (referred to as the last day), at which time both the righteous living and the righteous dead will be gathered to meet the Lord in the air.

(2Pe 3:4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
(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.
(Joh 5:25) Truly, truly I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear it will live.
(Joh 5:28) Don't be amazed at this, because the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice, and will come out-those who have done what is good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced what is evil to the resurrection of condemnation.
(1Th 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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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.
(1Th 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: 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.
(Rev 20:13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (the grave) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
(Joh 6:40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Joh 6:44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Joh 6:54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

13/ The righteous living at Jesus Second Coming, will not experience death.

(1Co 15:51) Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

14/ We do not know the hour of His Second Coming. We know the living wicked will be destroyed, and die their first death, but the living righteous will be gathered to Jesus.

(Mat 24:37) But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man (Second Coming) be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away (destroyed them; compare Luke 17:27) ; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken (took them = destroyed them) , and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken (destroyed) , and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
(Notice those 'left' are gathered at the Second Coming):
(1Th 4:17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up...
(Mat 13:30) Let both (wicked and righteous) grow together until the harvest (Second Coming), and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "FIRST gather together the tares (wicked) and bind them in bundles to burn them (destroy them), but gather the wheat (righteous who are left) into my barn."

15/ Following, Jesus speaks of the two resurrections of the dead. The first for the righteous dead at His Second Coming; followed by the second for the unrighteous dead, 1000 years later (this is then followed by the second death for the unrighteous). No relocating of souls, to heaven or hell, occurs prior to His Second Coming.

(Joh 5:28) Don't be amazed at this, because the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice, and will come out-those who have done what is good to the resurrection of life (at the Second Coming) , and those who have practiced what is evil to the resurrection of condemnation (1000 years later).
(Rev 20:5) But the rest of the dead (ie, the wicked dead) lived not again until the thousand years were finished. (the resurrection of the wicked dead occurs as follows...)
(Rev 20:13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (the grave) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
(Rev 20:14) And death and hell (the grave) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
(Rev 20:15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (This is the first and only event in which the earths unrighteous are eternally destroyed. This is their second death. It is a false doctrine that the wicked are tormented for eternity. They will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
The result is eternal; not the process. We are given an example, note the following verse; are Sodom and Gomorrah burning today?).
(Jud 1:7) as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

16/ There is no such thing as spirits of the dead. Spirits 'impersonating the dead' are of Satan.

(1Ti 4:1) Now the Spirit (God's) speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
(Eph 6:12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (Satan and His dark angels), against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(Lev 19:31) Regard not them that have familiar spirits (spirits of loved ones), neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
(Lev 20:27) A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit (contact with a deceased loved one), or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death:...
(2Ki 23:24) Moreover the workers (mediums, psychics, etc) with familiar spirits (spirits of loved ones), and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law...
(Deu 18:11) Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits (sťance), or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD:...
(Rev 16:14) They are demonic spirits that perform signs.

17/ Some misinterpreted verses:

With such clear teachings in Scripture about death, it is quite amazing that any other conclusions could be reached. The only reason for alternative teachings is that a few verses are commonly misinterpreted. We shall now look at some of those commonly misunderstood verses.

(Luk 23:43) Jesus said to him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." ISV

Jesus was speaking to the thief on the cross. He does seem to be telling the thief that he would join Jesus that day in paradise.
However, original Greek texts did not have a 'comma'; man later added it.
Notice what happens if we decide to move the comma;
"Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise."

In English, this verse holds two different meanings, simply by man putting a comma in either of two different positions.
So how do we confirm where the comma actually belongs?
You would firstly need to look at whether this idea is harmonious with all other verses on this topic.
And in this case, the Greek word is what carries the most weight in understanding this verse correctly.
Verily I say unto thee today shalt thou be 2071 with me in paradise.

If you look in the concordance at 2071 'esomai', it means 'future tense' of 1510.
If you look at the use of 1510 'eimi' it is always used in 'present tense' situations, ie, 'today' is present tense.
Examining verses using 2071 'esomai', it always relates to 'future tense' situations.
(Mat 8:12) But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be 2071 weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Mat 24:37) But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be 2071
(Rom 9:9) For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have 2071 a son.

So to be in keeping with the intended meaning of 'esomai', the verse should be more accurately translated as;
Verily I say unto thee today (today when my situation must look so hopeless), thou shalt be 2071 with me in paradise (when I raise you up in the last day).

Other evidence supports that this must be the case.
It is our understanding, that when Jesus was dead in the tomb, He couldn't go anywhere; He was dead.
If not, he didn't pay the penalty for sin, for all mankind. The penalty for sin is not death by cancer, or old age, or road accident (these are all consequences of sin).
If Jesus' death was intended to save us from our first death; then why is everyone still dieing from these causes?
Because the penalty for sin, is death by execution, the second death.

The second death is the one that Jesus can save us from, (and some living at the Second Coming will be blessed with not experiencing any death).
At the end of the thousand years, God will execute the wicked by raining fire down from heaven and by casting them into the lake of fire; this is the second death, being the penalty for sin.
Jesus was the first to experience the second death (through His execution), in place of all sinners who put their faith in Him.
This death however could not hold Him, because He was without sin.
The second death is to die body and soul. Notice what Jesus said;
(Luk 23:46) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

The word 'commend' 3908, means to deposit or commit for protection. Jesus gave up his Spirit; it returned to the Father.
The spirit that Jesus commended into the hands of the Father at that time, is not referring to a conscious, intelligent part of His being, that could exist outside His body.
The Greek word for 'Spirit'; G4151 pneuma; which means 'current of air' or 'breath'.
This will be the experience of all the wicked that will die the second death, when their Spirit (ie, their breath) returns to God; they will cease to exist.
This is why Jesus needed the Spirit from the Father, to raise Him from the dead on the third day;
(1 Pet 3:18) For Christ also hath once suffered (the experience of the second death) for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit:

Jesus was dead, until the Father raised him from the dead;
(Gal 1:1) Paul, an apostle,...by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
(Rom 8:11) But if the Spirit of him (the Father) that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Other evidence verifies that the thief on the cross couldn't possibly have been with Jesus in heaven (paradise) that same day.
On the third day, when Jesus left the tomb, He emphasises that He hasn't been to heaven, to His Father yet;
(Joh 20:17) Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:...

The thief is actually waiting in the grave, like most other dead people from throughout history.
When he is resurrected at Christ's Second Coming, to the thief it will seem like he went straight from death to heaven, because his 2000-year sleep went unnoticed by him. There are many other verses we could quote to show this consistency;
(Act 2:29) Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day...
(Act 2:34) For David is not ascended into the heavens:...

Another common misconception is that 'paradise' is a different place to heaven.
Jesus was referring to heaven as a 'paradise' when he spoke to the thief on the cross.
The following verses verify the fact that 'paradise' is actually referring to heaven, (it means place of future happiness);

(Rev 2:7) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
(To identify where this 'paradise' is, we need to know where the 'tree of life' is).
(Rev 21:2) Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,...
(Rev 22:2) In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life,...
(Rev 22:14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

So you see that Jesus was simply using 'paradise' as a descriptive word for the 'Holy City' in heaven, which descends from heaven to earth with the saints inside, at the end of the thousand years.
(Col 2:5) For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

Paul is not saying here that he has a spirit capable of leaving his body. If you read the preceding verses, you will see that Paul is saying to the Colossians in his letter; even though I can't be with you in person, I am with you in spirit. This is an expression we use even today; it does not mean that Paul has physically left his body to be with them in spirit.
(1Co 5:3) For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.
Again Paul is using the expression, even though he can't be with them in person, he is with them in spirit.
(Phi 1:20) This is according to my eager expectation and hope that I will have nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, because of my boldness Christ will be exalted in my body, now as always, whether I live or die.
(Phi 1:21) For to me, to go on living is Christ, and to die is gain.
(Phi 1:22) Now if I go on living in this body, that will produce more results, yet I do not know which I would prefer.
(Phi 1:23) Indeed, I cannot decide between the two. I have the desire to leave this life and be with Christ, for that is far better.
(Phi 1:24) But for your sake it is better that I remain in this body.
(Phi 1:25) Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will continue to live and be with all of you for the sake of your progress and joy in the faith.

Paul is stating that he doesn't know which he would prefer, to continue his good work among the people on behalf of Christ, or to be with Christ. Not that he has any power in choosing between the two. No time factor is given in these verses, because Paul knows that when he does die, he will not go straight to Christ. However, when he comes out of his unconscious state of sleep, at Christ's Second Coming; it will seem as if he passed straight from death, to Christ; even though about 2000 years have passed by.
(2Co 5:5)
God has prepared us for this and has given us his Spirit as a guarantee.
(2Co 5:6) Therefore, we are always confident, and we know that as long as we are at home in this body we are away from the Lord.
(2Co 5:7) For we live by faith, not by sight.
(2Co 5:8) We are confident, then, and would prefer to be away from this body and to live with the Lord.
(2Co 5:9) So whether we are at home or away from home, our goal is to be pleasing to him.

Again Paul is saying he would 'prefer' to be living with the Lord. He knows he will not go straight to the Lord at his death, but as already covered, it will seem that way not only to Paul, but to all whom are resurrected at Christ's Second Coming.
(1Th 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.

To believe those which 'sleep in Jesus' are brought to God at death, would go against all the other clear teachings of Scripture. Again, no time factor is given in the above verse, so we can only take it to mean, that Jesus will 'bring with Him' at the appropriate time, that is, at His Second Coming; (see 1Co 15:20-22).
(Heb 9:27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Again, no time factor is given in this verse. Yes, after we die there comes the judgement, but the judgement is not passed on to us at the point of death. It will have occurred however by the time of Christ's Second Coming, because at this time He knows who will be resurrected, and who will stay dead till the end of the 1000-years.
The living are judged during the Great Tribulation. The whole purpose of the Great Tribulation is to test the living;
(Rev 3:10) Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from (ek ex = through) the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
(Luk 16:22) "One day the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.
(Luk 16:23) In the afterlife, where he was in constant torture, he looked up and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus by his side.
(Luk 16:24) So he shouted, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and to cool off my tongue, because I am suffering in this fire.'
(Luk 16:25) But Abraham said, 'My child, remember that during your lifetime you received blessings, while Lazarus received hardships. But now he is being comforted here, while you suffer.
(Luk 16:26) Besides all this, a wide chasm has been fixed between us, so that those who want to cross from this side to you can't do so, nor can they cross from your side to us.'
(Luk 16:27) "The rich man said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house-
(Luk 16:28) for I have five brothers-to warn them, so that they won't end up in this place of torture, too.'
(Luk 16:29) Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets. They should listen to them!'
(Luk 16:30) But the rich man replied, 'No, father Abraham! Yet if someone from the dead went to them, they would repent.'
(Luk 16:31) Then Abraham said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even if someone rises from the dead.'"

As you may have already guessed, Abraham's bosom is not a literal place. God would have to make Abraham into quite a giant, for the righteous dead to gather into his bosom. And do you honestly believe departed spirits can communicate between heaven (paradise) and hell?
How pleasant would heaven be, for those in it; when they are communicating with unfortunate loved ones being tormented in hell?
However, as with all parables, the situations and objects of description are not always to be taken literally.
Have you noticed how Luke grouped all the parables together.
Notice how Jesus begins each of His parables;

(Luk 12:16) And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:...

(Luk 13:6) He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard;...

(Luk 14:16) ..."A certain man gave a great supper and invited many...

(Luk 15:3-4) So He spoke this parable to them, saying: "What man of you....

(Luk 15:11) ..."A certain man had two sons....

(Luk 16:1) ..."There was a certain rich man who had a steward...

(Luk 16:19) "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus...

(Luk 19:11) ...he added and spake a parable,... A certain noble man went into a far country...

(Luk 20:9) Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard,...

These are all parables.
As with all parables, Jesus uses situations and examples that the people would be familiar with and understand. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but the Sadducees did not (see Mat 22:23). The parables are about getting a lesson across, using a situation that they all can relate to. The situations and objects of description are not always to be taken literally.
For example, in one parable, Jesus uses harvesting wheat (among tares), to represent how He will deal with the righteous and wicked at the Second Coming.
The message or lesson of the Lazarus parable, is to the person who was given much, but did not help those around him who were in need. They will not go unpunished for their actions. And secondly, if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets (God's written word) about the fate which awaits the wicked, (based on how they live while in the body); then they will not be convinced even if someone (ie, Jesus) rises from the dead.
(1Pe 3:18) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
(1Pe 3:19) by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

Some Christians believe Jesus preached to the spirits of the antediluvians after He died on the cross?
If Jesus did this, what did He offer them?
Did Jesus grant them a pardon for their rebellion, or did He shake a divine finger at them and say, "Eternal hell is the reward you deserve - you vile evil-doers?"
Is it possible to escape from hell after being sent there?
Did Jesus release any hostages, if that's where He went?
If so, where is the evidence?
Would not any departed spirit, witnessing this frightful eternal destiny, do anything in their power, to persuade God to reverse the judgement upon them?
Although many Christians believe the spirit remains alive after death, they generally reject the 'second chance theory' for salvation after death, believing that matters pertaining to our eternal reward are determined during our present life on Earth;
(2Co 5:10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

After death, can the 'things done while in the body' be atoned for while in Hades?
If not, what is the point in preaching to someone, when the fate of their judgement has already been sealed?
There is an alternative explanation for 1Peter 3:19.
The Bible does not contradict itself, so unless you have harmony with all Scripture, you have to ask; have I got this right?
For a start, the word 'spirit' in 1Pet 3:19, does not necessarily refer to a deceased person. That Greek word also refers to living people;
(1Pe 3:4) Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

If you read verse 18, it is saying that the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same Spirit through which He preached to the antediluvians, in the days of Noah;
(Gen 6:3) "My Spirit will not contend with man forever."

[An understanding that Jesus was the active representative of the Godhead since creation is important. Jesus is the great I AM who appeared to Abraham, Moses, and others, eg,
(Joh 1:18) No man hath seen God (the Father) at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he (Jesus) hath declared him.
(Joh 6:46) Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he (Jesus) which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
(Joh 8:58) Jesus said to them," Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."
(Joh 13:19) Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am (he).
Read full study on this topic here;
Creation  ]

Because there is no reference to timing, it is possible that this 'preaching' being talked about was done before the flood, before they were destroyed. They were in 'spirit prison' in the sense that the Holy Spirit was no longer able to work with them. They had committed the unpardonable sin. Notice in the following verse the 'prison' (5438 phulake) is referring to a place (or state) of living people;
(Rev 18:2) And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison (phulake) for every foul (morally impure) spirit (human, the rational soul),...

So to paraphrase 1Peter;
(1Pe 3:18) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
(1Pe 3:19) by (the same Spirit) also He (Jesus) went (in the days of Noah) and (using His spirit, through Noah) preached to the(people whose) spirits (were) in prison (to immoral behaviour),

I think most people would agree that it is possible for a person to be physically alive but spiritually dead (Romans 8:10). Peter says that Jesus was physically put to death in the body, but made alive by the same Spirit that tried to save the antediluvians. Because of decadence and rebellion against God, the antediluvians were dead to the Spirit. Since they were not willing to allow the Spirit to lead them onto the ark, they drowned when the flood came.

Home  | More Studies  | Contact Us