The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul comes from the pagan world and not from God. The concept of the immortal soul logically speaking does not leave any room for the two great scripture doctrines of the resurrection and the general judgment and opens door to modern spiritism. From it have sprung such other evil doctrines as the conscious state of the dead, saint worship, mariology, purgatory, reward at death, prayers and baptism for the dead, eternal torment, and universal salvation.
The doctrine that the saints, as disembodied spirits, find their eternal inheritance in faraway, indefinable regions, "beyond the bounds of time and space," has caused multitudes to turn away from the scriptural view that this present earth is to be destroyed by fire at the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, and that from its ashes the voice of Omnipotence will evoke a new earth, which will be the future everlasting kingdom of glory, and which the saints will possess as their eternal inheritance.
The return of Christ is portrayed as a spiritual, not a literal event and was supposed to have been fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem, or is said to be fulfilled in conversion, at death, or in spiritism. How many minds have by such teaching forever been closed against the scriptural view that the second coming of Christ is a future definite event, literal, personal, visible, resulting in the destruction of all His foes, and everlasting life to all His people!
Most Christians think, that the spirit of man is some sort of ghost-like entity that at one's death continues to live on. The holy ones are supposedly living already in heaven, and those who were bad, are thought of as suffering in hell. If that were true, then those who went to hell a thousand years ago would be suffering much longer than those who went there just recently. Would that be fair? Would God permit those who died earlier to suffer longer? No, never, because our God is a god of righteous judgment. There is another complication with the idea that at death we will go directly either to heaven or to hell. The scriptures say, "And the nations were angry and thy wrath is come and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest . . . destroy them which destroy the earth" (Rev.11:18). Here we see that at the end of time the dead will be judged, which would mean that those who at the time of their death went to live in heaven or in hell, at the end of time would have to die again and go back into their graves so that the scriptures can be fulfilled which say "and thy wrath is come and the time of the dead, that they should be judged." How can anybody after death go to either heaven or hell without first being judged? There is no such judgment when we die, the judgment is at the end of time according to Rev.11:18. This all becomes more obvious as we consider 1.Cor.15:52 which says, "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." So, according to this, the righteous dead receive their heavenly body at the end of time and not at the time of their death. Therefore they cannot go to heaven right after their death because they have not received yet their heavenly bodies. We cannot be resident in heaven with our present bodies. The conclusion to be drawn from this is, that all the dead from the time of Adam until the present are still in their graves. Neither do they have any awareness of the time for as long as they are in their graves, until at the end of human history they shall be raised. Further proof from the scriptures concerning the state of the dead:
"Our friend Lazarus sleepeth (11)...... Lazarus is dead (14)" John 11:11-14. "For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love and their hatred and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun" (Eccl.9:5-6). "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence" Ps.115:17. Many may object to taking any advice from the old testament, believing that for our present dispensation only the new testament is applicable. But let us hear what the apostle Paul had to say about that, 2.Tim.3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." You may ask yourself, what did Paul have in mind in the above verse when he said, "All scripture....", was he talking about the old or the new testament? I will give you the answer, because I know with certainty that Paul was only talking about the old testament. How do I know? Because there was no new testament section of the scriptures in the days of Paul, it simply did not exist at that time.
State of the Dead from a Pastor's point of View,
Are the Dead really Dead?
[Principles & Doctrines - Index]