Track 5 of 7 in the Spiritual Realm series
Running time: 04 minutes, 21 seconds.
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Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.
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December 4, 2005
All of us at one time in our lives have wondered about the mystery of what it will be like beyond deaths door. Death is not a door that opens to a trap, set to close upon us and shut out all conscious existence. It is a door indeed through which we must pass but on the other side there is a wonderful life awaiting those who are faithful according to God.
Why don't Christians talk more about death? To many this is a subject that needs to be left alone. Many feel it is a scary thing to face death but God has many things to say about death and what is waiting for us. In fact, one thing a Christian shouldn't worry about is where he is going after he dies. John wanted the church to know for sure that everlasting life is in the future for the Christian.
I have heard many tell others about death, especially to children and loved ones, that grandma or grandpa is now in heaven with Jesus. It is my observation as a teacher that most Christians do not have a firm grip on what death is and what happens at death and beyond. We say these things not to confuse or scare the young but too often the real truth is not then shared with the mature. Confusion continues throughout many Christians lives.
Most of what I am going to teach will not be new material to you. Most of everything I will say, you have heard preached before. The problem for many is they've never put all the pieces together to see the beautiful picture God has made for us to see. Why do some people fear death so much when there are guys like Paul who had the opposite view of death? What did he know that we don't know?
Not many that I know can say the same thing Paul said many years ago. I can't help but wonder when I see a person in their coffin what their life is like now. What mystery to tell lies behind those white, sealed lips that can't be told? The afterlife is something man has been fascinated with throughout history and yet, many don't look close at what God has to say about the subject. For the next few weeks, we will look at what the Bible says about the Land of the Dead.
Where are the dead? That is a good question to ask. Some scholars like Gareth Reese call this place, an "intermediate place". It is important to know what this place actually is.
It is of course a disembodied state since at death the spirit leaves the body but when we are raised at the 2nd coming, we will all receive our new spiritual bodies.
Before we get into this too deeply, it is important to know some of the terms and what they all mean.
There is a real interesting scripture passage that follows a very important verse in the Bible that usually gets little attention. It does play an important role in our study.
We will learn that when the King James version of the Bible was translated, the scholars didn't distinguish between the Greek words, Gehenna, Haides and Tartarus. In all three cases, the translators translated them as the word Hell. This has led to a lot of confusion. There are specific uses for these words in verses throughout the New Testament and they help us understand better what is going on.
There are many who assume that when a person dies, the departed spirit ascends directly to heaven. Jesus said something very interesting about this while he was making another point.
Do you also remember what Jesus said to the thief on the cross right before the both died?
If this is true, then where did Adam, Noah, Abraham, David and others go who are listed in the Hall of Fame of Faith?
Let's take a look at the chart and let's begin to build how this whole thing works. We learned that there are basically 2 kingdoms that exist, The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Darkness. Satan is the ruler of this present age and his angels do his work on Earth. Earth is not a safe place for Christians. As I have already taught, we are living in enemy territory. When we studied James not too long ago, we learned a very important principle concerning entering into the Kingdom of darkness. It is found in James 1.
James is a summation of how man falls and enters the Kingdom of Darkness. There Satan rules over his victims and makes sure they are miserable and lies to them on how they can have a good and fulfilled life. But it never comes.
But God didn't leave it that way. It was not his intention for his creation, man, to be ruled by an evil angel like Satan. Paul writes to the Colossians a great truth to the world.
Then death enters in. It is amazing to me what happens when death appears. For many people, death is a topic that is too scary to talk about or even think over. But death is a reality and we must know what happens when death arrives. Unless Jesus comes back soon, all of us will experience a physical death and our death will be the end of the world for us. What is in our life is now finished. Our past is complete and our past counts at that moment. Judgment is already fixed and our destination is already determined. Where we spend eternity is fixed at our death.
Can anyone tell me what death is in the Bible? In every instance, we can substitute the word "separation" for the word death. Because when death arrives, it causes a separation of something. Can you give me some examples?
We need to stop a moment and get our bearing. It is real important to note some of the things Paul taught about Jesus and his return. The question is, if people are in heaven then why does Jesus have to come back? Hebrews 9 has an interesting statement in it:
I think this passage is important because it tells us a very important point, Jesus is coming back and he is coming back for those who are waiting for him. Who are they and where are they waiting?
To conclude what we have already looked at, Hades is the unseen world distinct from Heaven and Hell having two compartments - one of comfort and one of misery and torment. This is the realm or state the souls of all who die go. Hades is not a permanent state. It is only a temporary state until the 2nd coming of Jesus when the final judgment will take place. Even though Hades is temporary, it is in a way permanent. Even though the final judgment hasn't happened yet, it is already determined where the souls of all the dead will spend eternity. That reality is experienced in Hades.
For next week, I want you to read Luke 16:19-31. This will get you ready for what I am going to teach you about Paradise and Tartarus