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Where Are the Dead Part 1
Scripture: 1 John 5:13; Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Cori...
Track 6 of 8 in the Understanding the Spiritual Realm series
I cant 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 cant be told The afterlife is something man has been fascinated with throughout history and yet, many dont 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.

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Mike Nobis 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.

View all sermons by this speaker.

The Spiritual Realm
Where Are the Dead? Part 1

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.

1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

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?

Philippians 1:21-23 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far

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.

A place or state where a person is between his death and the second coming of Christ. Gareth Reese – New Testament History, Acts

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.

Corinthians 15:51-52 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

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.

John 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Just to quickly review, we learned two weeks ago in my Hades Study 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.

John 3:13-15 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Do you also remember what Jesus said to the thief on the cross right before the both died?

Luke 23:42-43 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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, we learned a very important principle concerning entering into the Kingdom of darkness. It is found in James 1.

James 1:13-18 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

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.

Colossians 1:13-14 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

2 Peter 1:5-11 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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?

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.

John 15:2, 6: He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Matthew 18:3-4; 10-11: And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

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:

Hebrews 9:26-28 But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

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?

Colossians 3:1-4 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

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