Hopefully everyone is aware that PORTALS have been opened all over the Earth. Portals that allow spirits to move through the veil into our realm. Really this happens every time there is an Industrial Revolution. This is generally because people have lost faith in GOD and feel helpless. They are looking for some control over their circumstances and looking for something supernatural to give their life meaning.
This stirs up interest in spiritism and people begin to reach out to these entities. Whether that be witches and magicians seeking to gain power for their spells and tricks, or gang members and enforcers looking for supernatural protection, or lonely humans looking to make contact with the world beyond in hopes of making connections with those they have lost, or wealthy businessmen, corporate leaders, political figures, kings or presidents looking for power and control. There are all kinds of reasons people seek the aid of spiritual forces/energies/entities. NONE OF THEM GOOD.
These people are ALL DECEIVED. Not that they cannot gain what they are seeking from these spirits. They certainly can and do. The truth is that this is not where ANYONE should be seeking power. These forces/entities/energies ARE EVIL. They are in Rebellion against GOD. They are all condemned to HELL and will soon experience the fulfillment of that sentence.
We believers need to stop perpetuating the lies about death and our dead relatives/ancestors/loved ones and angels. There are so many strange notions that have developed over the years which have come to be accepted in society and some even in churches and among believers.
NEWS FLASH: Just because society says it is so; DOES NOT MAKE IT SO. TRUTH is TRUTH and it does NOT CHANGE.
No matter the motivation for these ideas and even though it may bring comfort to say these things, we must resist the temptation to allow these lies to fall from our lips. Speaking these lies brings disservice to God and openings for the workers of evil.
THE DEAD ARE ASLEEP UNTIL THE RETURN OF OUR LORD, THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO THINK OR HEAR OR FEEL OR SEE. THEY ARE NOT WATCHING OVER YOU.
Humans are not Angels and will never become angels. There are no EARTH ANGELS.
Hollywood perpetuates this error and depicts those who have died as being angels as is exemplified in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Or, the television shows Highway to Heaven, and Touched by an Angel. And many other TV programs and feature films.
But is it in keeping with our faith to believe it is possible that those who have died may be able to help us? The Catholic Church certainly teaches that those “Saints” who have died not only can help us, that we should pray to them. The church has even come to assign different saints their own “case files.” Know someone whose situation seems dire? Send them to St. Jude. Lost your wallet? Give a holler to St. Anthony. We bury a figurine of St. Joseph upside down in the backyard to sell our house. IS THAT BIBLICAL? Of course not! But, then the ROMAN Catholic Church has been pagan from the beginning. It is a ROMAN religion that worship ROMAN deities they renamed.
In this post, we will address these topics from a BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE. What anyone thinks, or believes, or feels, or decides; DOES NOT MATTER! The only TRUTH is in GOD. We will let GOD’s Word be the source of our responses.
You can find an answer that you like anytime. There are plenty of deceivers out there who will tickle your ears with the very thing you want to hear. They are not your friends. Though the answers find here may seem harsh and hard to accept…they will lead you to GOD and an eternal life. Those others will lead you to HELL for retribution followed by ETERNAL DEATH. This is not a threat, it is a promise.
When a person dies, he is dead, that is, totally without life. A Christian has body, soul, and holy spirit; so, we will look at what happens to each of these components if he dies. The body cannot live without the animating life force of the soul, so when the soul is gone, the body is dead. We have all seen lifeless bodies—the body is there but the soul, the life force, is gone.
Just as the body is not alive without the soul, so the soul cannot live on its own without a body. The soul is not a ghost that lives on after the body dies. Rather, it is the animating force that makes the body alive. God created the soul, the life force, for both animals and man and it is passed down from one generation to the next. There was no “soul ghost” that God put into us when the sperm of our father and egg of our mother came together.
Every living part of a human or animal has “soul,” that is, life. Every cell of our body has soul in it, which is what makes it alive. A dead cell is a cell without soul—the soul is gone. As with every cell, the egg from my mother and the sperm from my father that became “me” each had its own cell-body and soul, and that soul was passed down to “me” when the sperm fertilized the egg. If the egg were “dead,” the lifeless egg-body would be there, but it could not be fertilized; and if the sperm were dead, it could not fertilize the egg.
When a human cell dies, the life in that cell does not go to be with God, it is just gone. Similarly, the soul that makes the egg and sperm alive does not live on in the presence of God if the sperm or egg dies. Men have millions of living sperm, sperm with soul, that die; and women have hundreds of thousands of living eggs, eggs with soul, which are never fertilized and die. The soul in all those sperms and eggs does not “go” anywhere if the sperm or egg dies, and certainly not to be with God, rejoicing in His presence. As with the life in any cell, it just dies and is gone. On the other hand, if the sperm fertilizes an egg, then the life in them is passed on and becomes the life of the new baby.
The Bible says that God created the same life force, called “soul,” for both animals and man; but it is hard to see that in most English Bibles because the translators say “soul” when the verse refers to humans, but use other English words such as “creature,” “thing,” “life,” etc., when the verse refers to animals. The soul, the life, in animals and in mankind does not “go” anywhere when the animal or person dies, it just ceases to be. Interestingly, most Christians recognize that about animals and realize that animals do not go to heaven or “hell” when they die. Their body decays and their soul is gone. What we need to understand is that the Bible says people and animals are alike in that, when they die, their body decays and returns to dust and their soul dies too. That is one reason why there are verses, some of which we will see in this article, that say that when a person dies, his soul is in “Sheol,” the grave or the state of being dead.
Just as the soul gives us physical life, the gift of holy spirit from God gives us spiritual life. The holy spirit inside a Christian is not like a ghost with thinking capacity on its own. The holy spirit gives spirit life to the “person,” the body animated by the soul. Our holy spirit was not alive with God before we became a Christian, thinking and rejoicing in His presence, and then somehow came into us, like a ghost possessing our body, when we got saved. Rather, the holy spirit we now have was a part of God’s great reservoir of spiritual life, of which He gave us a part when we got born again. The holy spirit is the spiritual life from God that infuses every cell of our body and, as our new spiritual nature, is part of who we are.
For the record, the “spirit” that returns to God in Ecclesiastes 12:7 is the ruach, the animating life force in a person. If we die, God and the Lord remember us, and the Lord Jesus will re-energize our bodies with holy spirit at the Rapture. The holy spirit God gave us did not have a mind or memory before it was given to us and it does not have one after we die. It is spiritual life, spiritual power, that we have from God. My “spirit” is not rejoicing with God after “I” die. A person is alive only as an integrated whole before he dies and only as an integrated whole will he live again when God raises him from the dead.
The Bible has a significant number of verses that let us know that when a person dies he is dead and awaiting the Rapture or resurrection. Many are self-explanatory, while some need some explanation to get the most from them. It is not the purpose of this short article to replace much larger books on the state of the dead, nor can we mention every verse or argument that supports the teaching that the dead are dead or give an answer to the more difficult verses on the subject. In fact, we have tried to print only the relevant part of each Scripture section, saving space by leaving out parts of verses, so it will be helpful if you read these verses in your own Bible for a more complete understanding of them in their contexts. In this article, we will give some of the important verses and pieces of evidence that the dead are not alive in any form but are awaiting being raised from the grave.
The dead are in the grave, not in heaven or “hell.”
Many believe that we existed in heaven before we were born. Some even think that we had to give our consent to come to earth. Some believe that we were angels first.
The Apostle John repeatedly and emphatically makes it clear that Jesus alone pre-existed and came down from heaven. This emphasis begins right at the outset. The very opening words of the gospel testify to “the Word” as being with God (and, indeed, being God) in the beginning. We are then told of this Word:
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth,”
The Word came down from heaven and took on flesh, dwelling among us. This would hardly be worth saying if every human on earth came down from heaven and took on flesh. This is something distinctive about the Word (who, in context, is plainly Jesus). In the very next verse, John the Baptist re-emphasizes the importance of this:
John 1:15 “John testified about Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me,”‘”
John 1:30 The words of John are repeated again in
John 1:30 “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me,’”
Thus, we are clearly supposed to give this our attention. Jesus’ human life did not begin before John the Baptist. Jesus was younger than John. Yet, the vital truth, the reason Jesus ranks higher than John and should be honored and believed, is that he actually came before John. Jesus existed before His human birth, and this makes Him uniquely worthy of honor over and above even a prophet like John the Baptist! In this same chapter, we also read:
John 1:18.“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him,”
If, as Mormons teach, we were all spirits in heaven with God before this life, then we have all seen the Father. Yet, the gospel is clear that we have not. No one has ever seen God the Father. We need a heavenly witness to make the Father known to us precisely because we ourselves have never been there. Jesus was that heavenly witness. Jesus expounds on this himself in John 3, during his conversation with Nicodemus:
John 3:11-13 “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man,”
Jesus makes it clear that a person can only testify to what they have seen, and no one on earth has seen heaven save the Son of Man who came down from heaven. He is the one who can tell us heavenly things. The rest of us have never been there. Later in the chapter, John the Baptist drives this same point home further, saying:
John 3:30-32 “He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony,”
Again, we are from the earth. Jesus alone is from heaven. Only He can testify to heavenly things. Even a prophet like John is still a man from the earth. Jesus uniquely came down from heaven. This is why we ought to trust Him! Jesus goes on to expound on His heavenly origins again in chapter 6, saying things like:
John 6:32-33 “Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world,’”
John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst,”
John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh,”
Interestingly, the biggest issue the crowd had with this claim was not that He could give life, but that He had come down from heaven! We read:
John 6:41-42 “Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down out of heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, “I have come down out of heaven”?’”
Even some of Jesus’ own disciples could not accept the idea that Jesus came from heaven. We read again:
John 6:61-62 “But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?’”
Two things are clear from this. First, there was definitely not an assumption that people pre-existed in heaven. The crowd didn’t think so. The disciples didn’t think so. Everyone had trouble with Jesus’ claim here. Further, the claim here is not that everyone came down from heaven. It is clear that Jesus uniquely came down from heaven. Nothing in this passage makes any sense if we all came down from heaven. According to the gospel of John, according to even the words of Jesus Himself, the Son of Man is the only one who descended from heaven. That is the whole point! Jesus repeats this fact plainly in chapter 8:
John 8:23 “And He was saying to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world,”
He drives home the significance even more later on in the chapter, stating:
John 8:56-58 “‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM,”
Note, again, that the crowd is stunned by Jesus’ claim that He existed in the time of Abraham. There is definitely no assumption of a general pre-existence here. But Jesus’ bold claim is not that everyone existed when Abraham was alive. It is only that Jesus Himself did (indeed, Jesus is claiming to be the great I AM, the God of Abraham!). The very next story after this is John 9 and the man born blind. Thus, it is quite clear that John 9 does not imply any assumption of a pre-existence and certainly does not intend for us to think that such an assumption would be true! John’s entire gospel is built on the claim that Jesus (and Jesus alone) pre-existed, came down from heaven, and took on flesh. The gospel of John is antithetical to the Mormon doctrine of the pre-existence.
The answer is easy. No. We were not spirit beings prior to birth. While the soul of man will live eternally (either in Heaven or in Hell), the soul of man did not exist in a spirit form (or any other form) prior to conception. Erroneously, some seem to think that Jeremiah 1:5 suggests a spiritual pre-existence:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.
Since the Bible does not support any idea of the preexistence of man in any form, let’s try to understand what this verse means.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” That raises the question, how did God know us before He formed us in the womb? There are two possible answers:
1) We existed in some form, and at some place, prior to being conceived (formed) in the womb and that’s how God knew us.
2) God’s knowing us is different and outside the natural realm of how we know something.omniscience (all knowing) and His eternality (always existing) makes it possible for Him to have knowledge of someone before conception.
While the first is a possible answer, it is not a biblical answer. God’s Word does not support such an idea.
God’ Word does, however, teach a knowledge of God, which is wondrous and beyond our comprehension and yet completely true and understandable. God existed in eternity past. He exists now, and He will exist will continue to exist in eternity future. God is eternal. God is also omnipresent. Present in every moment of time, past present, and future. God is also omniscient (all-knowing). He is able to have knowledge of someone before conception or something before it occurs.
Since there is no biblical support for #1, let’s dig deeper into #2.
Before I formed you…
When God said, “before I formed you…” He was clearly speaking of a beginning time of man’s existence. He marked that beginning time and defined it as “in the womb.” The text indicates that, when God spoke of knowing man prior to hiss being formed, He was speaking from His foreknowledge– HIs omniscience. Foreknowledge does not support the idea of a pre-existence, but rather of God’s pre-knowledge, [be]fore-knowledge, because God is eternally existent in past, present, and future all at the same time. This is difficult to understand since our minds are finite and our natural state exists within our time dimension, so let’s try to better understand by looking at examples of God’s foreknowledge.
Revelation Through Foreknowledge
God often spoke and gave revelation through His foreknowledge. Consider this prophecy given to Isaiah:
Isaiah 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
These words were given to Isaiah by the Lord. They were written 200 years before Cyrus was born and yet they speak of God knowing Isaiah two centuries prior to Cyrus being formed in his mother’s womb. This does not suggest that Cyrus preexisted in any kind of spirit form, but rather is a revelation of God’s perfect foreknowledge. Because God is outside the constraints of our time dimension, He is omnipresent and omniscient. God knew that Cyrus would be born and He knew all things that would do.
The Foreknowledge of God
Remember, God’s foreknowledge is omniscient (all-knowing) and infallible (without error). Our knowledge is limited and subject to error. However, there is a type of foreknowledge we can have. An example is having knowledge of a premeditated crime—a crime that is already planned but has not yet been committed. While this is a type of foreknowledge, it does not make the perpetrator a criminal prior to the crime, any more than God’s knowledge of Cyrus makes him a spirit being prior to his mother conceiving him.
Of course, man’s foreknowledge is also fallible. In our example of the premeditated crime, something could occur to stop the person from committing the crime. God foreknowledge is infallible. What He foreknows will come to pass.
So again, in Jeremiah 1:5 when God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, “ it is not speaking of a pre-existant being, but of God’s foreknowledge to speak of things that are yet to come into existence as if they already exist because they will, with all certainty, exist.
Testimony of God’s Foreknowledge
Prophets spoke of God’s foreknowledge:
Isa 42:9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.
Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
Dan 2:28 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed…
Jesus spoke of God’s foreknowledge:
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Paul of God’s foreknowledge:
Rom 4:17 …God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did….
Praise be to God! The One who knows all (omniscience), is ever present (omnipresent), is all powerful (omnipotent) and is all-good (omnibenevolent).
Psa 145:1 I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable
We did not exist with God before we were born on earth. 1 Cor. 15:46-47 says, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second is man is from heaven”1 The context is dealing with the resurrection of the body. Beginning with verse 35, Paul asks the question “How then are the dead raised?” Then Paul goes on to explain the resurrection of the believer and how the natural body must die before the spiritual one is raised. Paul is simply describing the proper order of existence. First, comes the natural body, then comes the spiritual or the resurrected body. If we lived in a previous existence, then Paul could have said something like, “First comes our spiritual body, then our natural body, then our resurrected body.” 1 Cor. 15:46-47 alone should be sufficient to put the argument to rest.
However, some say that 1 Cor. 15 is dealing with resurrection only and does not preclude a pre-existence. Again, looking at 1 Cor. 15:46-47 we get the answer. Paul does not mention bodies specifically. He mentions the nature of man in the proper order: natural then spiritual. Paul continues on in verses 48-49 to say, as is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Notice that Paul says that we are first born from the earth and second from heaven. Then in verse 49, Paul says the heavenly, spiritual image of man is future, not past. The proper order of existence is the earthy first, the heavenly second. Therefore, it is clear that we have no pre-existence.
Human beings don’t exist at all prior to their conception. Adam, the very first human became a “living being” when God formed his body from the ground.
Genesis 2:7 NIV Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
He was not an angel first. He originated from the earth. Jesus is the only human being whose existence as a person predated his human life on earth.
1 Corinthians 15:47-49 NIV The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
John 3:31 NIV The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
The Bible says that those who die are ASLEEP in the EARTH and will rise FIRST when he Comes.
The Return of the Lord
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13But 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. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For 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. 16For 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: 17Then 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. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In 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. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
2 Corinthians Chapter 5 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
That people get wings when they die.
At death, do humans gain wings? We don’t read of anything of the sort when someone dies. Humans and angels are not equal to one another. Angels are immortal by design, while humans are born mortal with an immortal component (soul). Humans bleed, angels do not. Humans die a physical death, but angels do not. Humans can marry and give in marriage and procreate, but angels do not. Humans can repent of their sin and change their eternal destiny while angels cannot.
So, since angels have wings and humans do not (and cannot will themselves to fly), can humans gain wings at death?
From what the Bible says, the answer is no. Humans do not gain wings at death.
In Luke 20:34-36, we read that humans who die and arrive at the resurrection 1) neither marry nor 2) are given in marriage, nor 3) die anymore. In this, humans are “like” the angels. We also receive an immortal body, according to the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:50-54.
But are we like the angels in that we get wings, too? I would have to answer that question with a “no.”
There is a passage that provides some insight into this question. In Luke 16 in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, it says that “the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22, NKJV). First the text says that the man died. Lazarus died. This is interesting because we want to answer what happens at death. So when Lazarus dies, the angels carry him to Abraham’s bosom, to Heaven. The angels carry him. We don’t read of Lazarus carrying himself, or of Lazarus flying away to Heaven on his own. So if there was any flying going on when he died, it was being done by the angels that escorted him to glory — not Lazarus. Had Lazarus flown himself to Heaven, he wouldn’t have needed any help from the angels themselves.
I happen to believe that the same way Lazarus was carried by the angels to Heaven is the same way you and I and those who believe will be carried to Heaven.
The Problem With “Gaining Wings”: Conclusion
What is the problem with the deceased “gaining wings” when they die? Well, as we’ve seen above, Lazarus didn’t gain wings when he died. The whole point of the parable is to teach the audience and us today what it will be like for those who struggle here and those who live in selfish arrogance here. If the parable doesn’t teach us something about what happens when we die, I don’t know what will. Lazarus didn’t gain wings, so much so that the angels had to carry him to Abraham’s bosom.
Next, to “gain wings” implies that wings are the reward for faithfulness to Christ here. They aren’t. The reward for faithfulness to Christ here is eternal life, for all those who love Him and His appearing (Romans 2:7; 6:23; 1 Timothy 6:12, 19; Titus 3:7; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 5:11; Jude 1:21). Eternal life is superior to gaining wings.
that we become angels, and can become guardian angels
There is a scripture that says that God made us a little lower than the angels. There is another that states that when we die, we are equal to the angels. There is another scripture that implies we are higher than the angels because God made us in His image. Are we equal, lower, or higher than the angels?
Scripture reveals that humans are made lower than the angels when the book of Hebrews says that Jesus Christ, who became a man, was made lower than the angels.
YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS . . . Hebrews 2:7 (NASB)
In the first chapter of Hebrews, we are told that Jesus was above the angels since He was and is God. But Hebrews 2:7-9 explains that when Jesus became a man, He was made lower than the angels in the sense that He took on human flesh. He was still God. He was God in human flesh. He was temporarily lower than the angels because He took on human form. Therefore, Hebrews 2:7-9 implies that humans are made lower than the angels.
It is important to note that scripture never says that we are equal to the angels. Scripture only reveals that we are lower than the angels while we live here on this earth. Yet, those who go to heaven will some day judge angels.
1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? (NASB)
Some day those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him will judge the angels. The saints of the ages will judge the angels. This will occur not while we are made of flesh and bone. It will occur only after we receive our new heavenly bodies. This is a future event that will occur during the millennial kingdom which is the time that Christ will rule and reign as king (Zechariah 14:9-21). In the sense that Christians will judge angels, they will be greater than angels.
The truth is, when we die and go to heaven, we become even greater than the angels! The angels are spiritual beings who were created by God to be His servants, and God has given them great authority and power to do His will. And at the present time, the angels are greater than we are, because God made us “a little lower than the heavenly beings” (Psalm 8:5).
But the Bible also says that in heaven we will be higher than the angels — and the reason is because we will be like Christ. The Bible says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3). Although that verse may be referring to the rebellious angels who chose to follow Satan, it still implies that our status after death will be above that of the angels. Source: DR. BILLY GRAHAM,SYNDICATED COLUMNISTspacer
No. We do not become angels when we die. Humans are one kind of God’s creation, and angels are another. To say we become angels is to say we stop being humans.
Genesis 1:25 reminds us God created everything after its own kind. There are different kinds of angels (Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangels, etc.), but they’re all angels. There are different races of people, but they’re all people.
We are higher than them in creation and destiny. The Bible calls us royal and says we are made kings and priests. Angels are ministering spirits sent to minister to us. We have been provided oneness with God. The Bible tells us we will be like Him (1 John 3:2) and with Him (2 Corinthians 5:8).
No, people do not become angels after they die. Angels are a different order of creation than people. God made Adam after his own image (Genesis 1:26), but it is never said that angels are made after his image. Sometimes people will attempt to comfort others by saying that those who have passed away have become angels in heaven, but this is not so. Nevertheless, Hollywood sometimes perpetuates this error and depicts those who have died as being angels as is exemplified in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
Angels are messengers who do the will of God, but people are those who are redeemed by God. It’s never said in Scripture that angels are redeemed. In fact, 1 Peter 1:12 tells us that the angels long to look into things regarding the gospel. If they were people who were good and saved and became angels, then it would make no sense to say they desired to look into the things regarding the gospel. Jude 6 tells us there were angels who “abandoned their proper abode” and were then reserved for judgment. This “proper abode” would not be the human realm but the angelic one. So, this would tell us that the first abode of angels is not earth, which would negate the idea of people becoming angels.
“Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:3).
It would not make sense to say that we (people) will be judging the angels if the angels were really people who became angels.
We Will Not Become Angels After Death
When a person dies we often hear their loved one and others say things like “God needed another angel” or “he/she is an angel in heaven”. Some even believe, as some movies, television, and books portray, that they come back to the earth as angels, either to help those they left behind or others in similar difficulties.
The Bible makes it clear that departed human spirits, are generally not permitted to visit or communicate with human beings.
In Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man, for example, the rich man’s request for someone to visit his brothers and warn them of the judgment to come was turned down
Luke 16:19, 21-31 NIV “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
Deuteronomy 18:9-13 NIV When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord ; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
God’s plan for human beings after they die is not to become angels, but to await resurrection to immortal, eternal life as glorified, perfected human beings.
That means that we will be like angels but not be angels.
Luke 20:34-36 NIV Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.
This was Jesus’ response to a scenario posted by people trying to trick Jesus where the described a problem at the resurrection where a woman had married seven brothers in turn as each died leaving her childless. His point was that angels don’t have a life cycle like ours of birth, marriage, procreation, and death. The widow wouldn’t be going back to the old life cycle after the resurrection either.
The good news is that in being like angels everything good that angels have that we don’t have now we will in the resurrection. We will be immortal, we will have direct, unfettered access to God. We will have power and knowledge beyond anything we can experience in our present mortal, fallen condition.
In fact it will be even better than that.
1 John 3:1-3 NIV See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
We will have the best of both worlds. We will have the best things of our human nature. We will be able to enjoy the world that God created in it’s originally intended perfection . We will keep our genders although we won’t need to be “fruitful and multiply” We will have the best of both worlds, just as God intended.
Our loved one is an Angel sent from Heaven.
When we meet the person of our dreams and they are just as we dreamed they would be we call them angels and that’s a good thing. When we refer to people this way we are using this dictionary definition of angel;
- a person of exemplary conduct or virtue; synonyms; saint, paragon of virtue; gem, treasure, darling, dear, star
The problem comes when we believe that the person we call an angel was an angel in heaven before they were born and is now living on earth as a human being. When that someone dies we often say that they somehow become an angel again. While that may sound comforting we miss one of the most comforting things about salvation which is the resurrection. It’s the true hope that only we as Christians have. At the resurrection we will be like Christ.
1 John 3:2 NIV Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Christ is not an angel but became a human being of flesh and blood and came to the earth for our salvation.
John 1:14 NIV The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.Hebrews 2:14-17 NIV Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
That people can talk to their dead relatives
Talking To The Dead
Bible verses about talking to the dead
Since the old Testament sorcery has always been forbidden and it was punishable by death. Things like Ouija boards, witchcraft, psychics, and astral projection are of the devil. Christians are to have nothing to do with these. Many people try to talk to their dead family members by seeking necromancers. What they don’t know is that they will not be speaking with their dead family members they will be speaking with demons who pose as them. It is extremely dangerous because they are opening up their body to demons.
When someone dies it’s either they go to Heaven or Hell. They can’t comeback and talk to you it is impossible. There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death. The way many wiccans got started is they tried something of the occult once and then they were hooked. Now demons stop them from seeing the truth. The devil has a hold of their lives.
They try to justify their ways and they only go further into darkness. Satan is very crafty. There is no such thing as a Christian witch. Anyone who practices things of the occult will spend eternity in hell. Catholicism teaches praying to dead saints but throughout the Bible Scripture teaches that speaking with the dead is an abomination to God. Many people will try to do all they can and twist Scripture to get around this, but remember God will never be mocked.
Saul put to death for contacting the dead
1. 1 Chronicles 10:9-14 So they stripped off Saul’s armor and cut off his head. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death before their idols and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. They placed his armor in the temple of their gods, and they fastened his head to the temple of Dagon. But when everyone in Jabesh-gilead heard about everything the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors brought the bodies of Saul and his sons back to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones beneath the great tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days. So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord’s command, and he even consulted a medium instead of asking the Lord for guidance. So the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
2. 1 Samuel 28:6-11 He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets. Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.” So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men. “I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?” “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?” But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.” Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?” “Call up Samuel,” Saul replied.
What does the Bible say?
3. Exodus 22:18 You shall not permit a sorceress to live.
4. Leviticus 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.
5. Galatians 5:19-21 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
6. Micah 5:12 I will put an end to all witchcraft, and there will be no more fortune-tellers.
7. Deuteronomy 18:10-14 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery,or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.
8. Ecclesiastes 12:5-9 when people are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags itself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then people go to their eternal home and mourners go about the streets. Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”
9. Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 But anyone still alive has hope; even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! The living know they will die, but the dead know nothing. Dead people have no more reward, and people forget them. After people are dead, they can no longer love or hate or envy. They will never again share in what happens here on earth.
10. 1 Peter 5:8 Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the Devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
Trust in the Lord alone
11. Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Don’t depend on your own wisdom. Respect the Lord and refuse to do wrong.
You can’t talk to dead family members. You will really be talking to demons who pose as them.
12. Luke 16:25-26 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us, and anyone wanting to come to you from here is stopped at its edge; and no one over there can cross to us.’
13. Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is destined that men die only once, and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and he will come again, but not to deal again with our sins. This time he will come bringing salvation to all those who are eagerly and patiently waiting for him.
End times: Catholicism, Wiccans, etc.
14. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas.
15. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
New Testament Views
John 14:26, NIV “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John 15:26, NIV [Jesus speaking] “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” ()
John 16:13, NIV “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
Spiritual Guidance Comes From God Alone
2 Peter 1:3 As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!
2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is w ong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.
Jesus is the only mediator we need between this world and the world to come:
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 4:14 That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him.
Our God is a living God. Believers have no reason to seek the dead:
Isaiah 8:19-20 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
What Does the Bible Say About Talking to Ancestors?
Many of the desires a person seeks in talking with ancestors are understandably important. People ask for:
- Blessings, happiness, good luck
- Provision, material good fortune
- For ancestors to “watch over” or protect in some measure or form
As valid as these desires are, the truth of the Bible gets at the source of these desires. God is the only one who can provide true, lasting, even eternal blessing, provision, and protection. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, why would we seek the dead on behalf of the living (Isaiah 8:19)? Why not seek out the living God instead of the dead (Jeremiah 10:10)?
Can the Dead Hear Us According to the Bible?
In the gospel of John, Jesus teaches about death and judgment and eternal life. In one place, Jesus even describes the dead as being able to hear the authoritative, divine voice of “the Son of God,” who is none other than Jesus himself.
It would seem, then, that the dead can hear in some respect, but that this is a phenomenon that is related specifically to the end of time when Jesus will speak and call out the dead from the graves to everlasting life: some to the glories of heaven and others to everlasting torment in hell. Otherwise, the notion of the dead hearing and raising in response to the voice of Jesus would not have been an issue to the original hearers of this statement, which it certainly was.
Whether or not the dead can hear us, there is no systematic teaching in the Bible on the subject. Apart from demonic spiritual powers that may seek to manipulate or misconstrue spiritual realities (promising actual communication with the dead but likely providing a demonic imitation), there is little reason to assume from the Bible that the dead can hear us.
|Saying prayers for the Dead is a practice used for praying to or for the dead. Some groups/religions practice this.. These prayers are often intercessory in nature and take two forms.
Praying for the dead is a useless endeavor. Once a person is dead their fate is determined by their choices and actions while they wer alive, it is too late to change what is already done.
If they lived a life acceptable to GOD, their eternity will be blessed and joyous. There is nothing they will be lacking and nothing you could do or say would cause any improvement on what GOD has in store for them.
What Does the Bible Say About Praying to the Dead?
In the Bible, praying is always understood to be an act of worship.
The idea of prayer itself in the Bible seems to speak to the idea of an intervening or interposition between the physical and the spiritual. Prayer is often associated with entreaty or earnest plea to God. (The Hebrew verb ꜥāṯar in the Bible, meaning “to pray” or “entreat” is only used to speak of praying to God. As a noun instead of a verb, the word carries with it the idea of the worshiper, the one who prays to God.)
Thus prayer should only be directed to God, who alone has the authority and power to intervene and act in our lives according to his goodness and his promises. The Bible does not support praying to anyone or anything other than God alone, including the dead (Isaiah 44:17; 45:20; 1 Kings 18).
That anyone who has died can send you any communication, messages, items
Do We See Communication with the Dead in the Bible?
Only one story, in particular, stands out with someone attempting to communicate with a dead judge — and the story doesn’t end well.
King Saul (1 Samuel 28), terrified by the size of the Philistine army he’d have to face soon, consults God for help. When God doesn’t appear to answer, he takes matters into his own hands and meets with a medium to try and communicate with his recently passed friend, Samuel.
The witch appears to bring up Samuel, or someone acting as the former judge, and the Samuel who appears is not super pleased that an apparition of himself has been brought back.
Along with a number of past transgressions, Saul trusted someone to communicate with the dead, something Scripture explicitly warns against (Deuteronomy 18:11), and he loses the battle to the Philistines. Because of this, his sons and Saul lose their lives.
Scripture makes it clear that we cannot seek the help of necromancers or mediums. As much as it hurts to lose loved ones and not hear their voice, we can rest assured if they had a saving faith, we will see them again.
We may have often heard the incorrect phrase, “Your loved one is an angel now,” after they’ve passed. And people may argue that angels are loved ones who visit us here on earth.
The Bible makes it clear that humans shouldn’t communicate with those who have passed. Furthermore, we can find nowhere in Scripture where loved ones appear as angels.
After all, God has given us his Word, the convictions of the Holy Spirit, and communicates to us in a variety of ways. This parable shows us that even if God allowed for those who have passed to communicate with us, because of our sinful nature, we would likely not listen to them.
Why Does This Matter?
When a loved one passes away, as one of mine recently has, we miss them deeply. We long to hear from them and hope they are looking down on us from heaven.
But we often can forget that if they had a saving relationship with Jesus, and we do as well, that we will indeed see them again.
Scripture makes it clear that we cannot seek the help of necromancers or mediums (Leviticus 19:31; Isaiah 8:19). As much as it hurts to lose loved ones and not hear their voice, we can rest assured if they had a saving faith, we will see them again.
Furthermore, we know that God communicates to us in a variety of ways. We don’t need loved ones who passed to guide us in the right direction. We have an all-powerful, all-good, all-present, and all-knowing God to steer us toward the path of righteousness.
We also have the Holy Spirit (John 14) who plays the role of comforter.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God
God understands the pain we’re enduring when we lose someone close to us and provides us peace, comfort, and encouragement during these seasons.
Three things to keep in mind:
1. God said never visit a witch
2. Witches were supposed to be executed
3. The spirit that came up and claimed to be Samuel says that the witch had the power to raise him.
Hebrews 9:27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
Revelation 20:13-15 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire. (This happens at the very end. So, the dead, all who have died just and unjust are raised at the end. No one is in heaven before this time. Though it is possible that the spirit of the dead person is not asleep, even so, they are not in heaven. NO ONE can go to heaven, until after the judgement. So their spirit might be in a place other than heaven, but still unable to watch what is happening on earth or to interact with the living.)
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (If you are seeking to communicate with the dead for guidance, JUST ASK GOD FOR GUIDANCE. HE is the best source anyway.)
Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
That people can see ghosts of their deceased loved ones, or of some other person who is haunting a particular location or object.
Are Ghosts Real? Four Direct Conclusions from the Bible:
First, the Bible is quite clear that no one returns to earth and makes appearances after death. Jesus made this fact quite clear in Luke 16:26 In reiterating Abraham’s answer to the rich man who wanted a chance to return to earth from Hell and warn his brothers, Abraham said: “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” In addition, the writer to the Hebrews declared in Hebrews 9:27 that the “after-death process” includes no option for a return to earth: “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
Second, any apparition observed is certainly not a returned-family member. Once we die, there exists no possible pathway to return to the land of the living. This fact rules out the return of a dead person as a “ghost” to haunt a house or place of their death—or wherever.
Third, the apparition could be an actual demonic manifestation. This happened to Martin Luther when he was in the process of composing his “Ninety-Five Theses” for posting on the Wittenberg Door. The Devil appeared in his room at night and Luther actually threw an ink bottle to drive him away.
Fourth, let’s consider the possibility that our minds are perfectly capable of fooling us into experiencing a ghost that doesn’t exist!
Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not a tape recorder. It records “highlights” and then fills in the blanks between the “highlights” according to what the brain “thinks” most likely happened—based on previous experiences. This is why four people who witness a traffic accident from four different corners of an intersection can have greatly varying accounts. It is not just that they are looking from different angles. Their brains each record the “highlights” most meaningful to them. One observer may focus on the horror on a passenger’s face at the moment of impact. Someone on another corner may be fascinated by how the front of the engine collapsed back into the firewall. Each brain then fills in “facts” that it thinks most probably occurred between the recorded “highlights”. Each observer believes that they have the real truth of what happened at the accident.
By the way, stored memories are never retrieved in the same form in which they were laid down. The “highlights” emerge relatively unscathed but the “in betweens” can vary considerably over time. Walking in scary places at night can provide all sorts of possibilities for “ghostly” encounters—especially when someone thinks he or she might actually see one. Memory of strange noises, frightful moments, mewing cats, imbedded pictures of horror movies—just to name a few stored emotional triggers—can bring up “highlights” that remind us of ghosts. Stress, tension, fear and/or expectations can cause “ghostly” highlights to emerge. It is possible for the brain to fill in a “ghost” between the recorded “highlights. Then, we actually “see” a ghost. The various parts of the brain that would be involved in actually encountering a ghost light up positive simultaneously during fMRIs. SOURCE
People need to stop perpetuating the lie that our loved ones watch over us after they are dead.
A popular belief among some Christians is that our loved ones who have died (and other Christians) watch over us from heaven (if they went to heaven). You may hear this at funerals or in a casual conversation with some Christians. Is this true? Do deceased Christians watch over us from heaven? Do they know what is going on down here on Earth? Let’s take a look at what Scripture says about the topic.
Knowledge of what is happening on Earth
There are actually a few passages that show us that Christians in heaven do have at least some kind of knowledge of the happenings on earth. Revelation 6:10 says, “They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’” This shows us that the saints in heaven (WHICH WOULD ONLY BE THOSE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS WHO WERE RESURRECTED ALONG WITH CHRIST, no one else can be in heaven because the do not have their resurrected bodies) have at least some knowledge of what is going on here on earth. They understand that those who persecuted them have not been judged yet. Other verses in Revelation (18:20; 19:1-5) teach us that the saints celebrate the fall of Babylon, showing us that they will know when this event will happen on earth.
Luke 15:10 says that “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Theologian Randy Alcorn notes that it says “in the presence of the angels” not “by the angels.” This seems to indicate that it is the saints who are rejoicing. However, John MacArthur believes that it is the angels that are rejoicing (he says that the rejoicing was among the angels). Whatever the case, if the verse refers to Christians in the presence of angels, this does not teach that Christians are watching our every move like some believe. The same can be said for 1 Samuel and the passages in Revelation. These all imply that people in heaven do have at least some knowledge of the events on earth. None of them say that these saints are watching over us.
A Cloud of Witnesses
Hebrews 12:1 is sometimes used as evidence that Christians in heaven watch over us. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” This verse begins with the transition “therefore” which points us back to the preceding section (chapter 11) which gave an overview of the faith of Old Testament saints such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many others.
Alcorn says concerning this verse: this is “creating the mental picture of the Greek competitions, which were watched intently by throngs of engrossed fans sitting high up in the ancient stadiums. The ‘great cloud of witnesses’ refers to the saints who’ve gone before us, whose accomplishments on the playing field of life are now part of our rich history. The imagery seems to suggest that those saints, the spiritual ‘athletes’ of old, are now watching us and cheering us on from the great stadium of Heaven that looks down on the field of Earth. (The witnesses are said to ‘surround’ us, not merely to have preceded us).”
MacArthur and Steven Cole have different views however. MacArthur says, “The deceased people of chapter 11 give witness to the value and blessing of living by faith. Motivation for running ‘the race’ is not in the possibility of receiving praise from ‘observing’ heavenly saints. Rather, the runner is inspired by the godly examples those saints set during their lives. The great crowd is not comprised of spectators but rather is made up of ones whose past life of faith encourages others to live that way.”
Cole says, “There is a question about whether these witnesses are watching us from heaven as we run the race; or, more in line with the meaning of the word witness, do we look to their testimony as an example of how to run the race? There is no indication in the Bible (unless it is here) that those in heaven are watching us on earth. Probably, with the race metaphor, the picture here is that as we run the race, along the route we encounter the Old Testament saints (and, by extension, other heroes of the faith in the New Testament, plus those who lived after biblical times). They are calling out to us by their examples of faith, ‘Keep going, I made it and you can, too! I know it’s hard, but the reward is worth it! Don’t quit! The finish line is not too far ahead!’”
It is also interesting how the New King James translation renders Hebrews 11: 4. “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks” (emphasis added). It is clear that by studying this verse (Hebrews 12:1) in context, it teaches us that we are surrounded by the witness/faith of the Old Testament saints, not that they are watching us and cheering us on like they are at a football game.
There is no place in the Bible that teaches us that people in heaven watch over us. In fact, the passages that do speak about the topic imply only limited knowledge, not complete knowledge. It is not like a Christian in heaven is watching me type this right now.
10. How long] Cf. Psalm 94:3.
Verse 10. – And they cried with a loud voice, saying; i.e. the souls cried. Ebrard, Dusterdieck, Hengstenberg, make “the slain” nominative, in contradistinction to the “souls,” which is both unnecessary and unnatural. Zullig compares Genesis 4:10, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” How long? (comp. Zechariah 1:12, 13, “How long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem? And the Lord answered with good words and comfortable words”). No doubt the souls waiting in Paradise are answered by “comfortable words,” yet, not having lost their interest in earthly struggles, nor their longing for the triumphant vindication of God’s glory, they cry, “How long?,” not as needing the time to be shortened for their own sakes, for they rest, though not yet entered into the fulness of God’s glory. O Lord, holy and true; O Master, the holy and true (Revised Version). “Master” (δεσπότης) is the correlative of “servant” (δοῦλος). This is the only instance of its occurrence in the Apocalypse. (On “true,” see previous passages.) Deal thou not judge and avenge our blood. The cry is not a petition for personal revenge, but a request for the termination of those ills which for a time afflict man, and the termination of which must, by virtue of God’s eternal justice, be accompanied by visible retribution on the wicked. (Cf. Bede, “Those souls which offered themselves a living sacrifice to God pray eternally for his coming to judgment, not from any vindictive feeling against their enemies, but in a spirit of zeal and love for God’s glory and justice, mid for the coming of that day when sin, which is rebellion against him, will be destroyed, and their own bodies will be raised. And so in that prayer wherein Christ teaches us to forgive our enemies, we are also taught to say, ‘Thy kingdom come.'”) The passage has given rise to varying interpretations, which are thought to be more consonant with the spirit of the gospel. Thus I. Williams would understand the souls to represent only the Old Testament saints, especially as it is not explicitly said that they died for the witness of Jesus, as in Revelation 20:4. On them that dwell on the earth. That is, on the worldly, those who have taken the side of the world in its conflict with Christianity. Revelation 6:10
I wanted to hear your insight regarding what happens when we die. I’ve studied out the topic some on my own and have gathered that we enter a state of ‘rest’ or ‘sleep’ when we die and then are “awakened” on judgment day. I’ve often heard people say when true Christians die, they are “with God,” but it would seem the answer is “not yet.” What light can you shed on this topic? — Dave Nemetz (Madison, Wisconsin)
It feels like hundreds of disciples are asking about what happens after death! I wrestled with these questions for a number of years, resisting the view to which I have now come. (All of us must do our best to interpret the scriptures in a way that makes sense to us; this may involve a prolonged period of time, during which our views may go back and forth.) I finally published my view in 1997. Let me summarize, however, how I understand the sequence of events:
Death -> Hades -> 2nd Coming -> Resurrection -> Final Judgment -> Heaven/Hell
After we live, we die. (Once — no reincarnation — Hebrews 9!) If we die lost, we don’t need to wait until Judgment Day to find out where we stand. John 3:18 says that those who do not believe already stand condemned. 2 Peter 2 speaks of punishment before judgment day yet after death. Yet for the redeemed, there is something awesome that happens after death. Like the penitent thief, we go to paradise. Not heaven! Jesus insisted that no one had gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven. Peter said that not even David ascended to heaven. (The term paradise occasionally refers to heaven, as in Revelation 2, but I believe the picture of the next world that emerges from Old and New Testaments forces us to distinguish paradise from heaven.)
One important reason I think no one has ever gone to heaven is that Jesus taught this was dependent on his coming again (John 14). He said he was going there to prepare a place for us. One day he will return to take us there; yet this return has not taken place yet! John 5 says that when he comes back, all the dead will hear his voice and rise from the dead. So this part of the sequence is 2nd Coming – Resurrection. Yet between death and our resurrection we are conscious. Sleep is only a metaphor for death (as in 1 Corinthians 15). The doctrine of “soul sleep” is a errant one. I believe Luke 16 supports this view. Lazarus is in paradise (the metaphor here is “Abraham’s bosom,” a term commonly used by the early Christians to refer to the good part of Hades) while the Rich Man is in agony. They can see each other. They are both in Hades. In older English, “Hades” was rendered “hell” — a very negative word for us, but originally neutral. It was the underworld, with a “good” compartment and a “bad” one as well.
After our resurrection, we appear before the judgment seat of Christ. This judgment is declarative, not investigative. God is not trying to figure out whether we are going to be admitted to heaven; he already knows! He is merely declaring officially what our destiny is. The righteous will then (not before) go to heaven. The lost will be cast into the lake of fire.
So where are disciples who have died? They are in paradise; they’re conscious and they’re happy. And yet I do not think it is correct to state that they are in heaven. Not yet! Not until the Lord returns.
For more on this, please listen to my four-part audio series, What Happens After We Die?
This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2003. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.spacer
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV / 27 helpful votes
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. …
1 Corinthians 15:20
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
1 Corinthians 15:6
After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
“But man dies and lies prostrate.
Man expires, and where is he?
“As water evaporates from the sea,
And a river becomes parched and dried up,
So man lies down and does not rise.
Until the heavens are no longer,
He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.
Luke 23:43 ESV / 94 helpful votes
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus said this to the thief on the cross because at the time of his resurrection, he took those Jews who had died before his crucifixion’s with him to heaven.
Some believers question whether psychic experiences of talking with the dead are real. The Bible backs up the reality of these events, but not the idea of talking with dead people. Rather, these experiences are associated with deceiving spirits, demons, angels of light, and counterfeits for the true Spirit of God:
1 Timothy 4:1-2 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
1 Corinthians 10:20-21, What I am saying is that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want any of you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too.
2 Corinthians 11:13-14, These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.
I have to apologize to all, I have missed a very important truth. I don’t know how I did not make the connection, but all I can say is I obviously had a blind spot. Now, I see the obvious. I thought that at the resurrection all people would have an eternal spirit. But, that is not the case. Thanks to the mercy of GOD. Humans lost the access to the tree of LIFE and immortality. GOD did not want us to live foreverin our sinful state. SO, when we die, we are asleep until the Resurrection. At that time, those who belong to GOD will be GIVEN Eternal Life/Immortality. Those who chose not accept the gift of salvation, will perish. They will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire.
The tree of life, mentioned in the books of Genesis and Revelation, is a life-giving tree created to enhance and perpetually sustain the physical life of humanity. The tree was planted by God in the Garden of Eden: “The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9). The centrally located tree of life would have been easily accessible to Adam and Eve from any point in the garden.More details concerning the tree of life come after Adam and Eve’s sin: “The LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever’” (Genesis 3:22). In his disobedience, Adam lost his eternal life. The tree of life in Eden must have had some role to play in maintaining the life of Adam and Eve (and possibly the animals). Adam would “live forever,” even in his fallen condition, if he had eaten the tree of life after his sin. God placed a sword-wielding cherub at the entrance to the garden specifically “to guard the way to the tree of life” (verse 24). It seems access to the tree of life would have prolonged Adam’s physical life indefinitely, dooming him to an eternity in a cursed world.
It was a mercy that God kept us from the tree of life. By barring access to the tree of life, God showed compassion in His omniscience. Knowing that, because of sin, earthly life would be filled with sorrow and toil, God graciously limited the number of years men would live. To live eternally in a sinful state would mean endless agony for humanity, with no hope of the relief that comes with death. By limiting our lifespan, God gives us enough time to come to know Him and His provision for eternal life through Christ but spares us the misery of an endless existence in a sinful condition.
In His great love, God provided One who would redeem fallen mankind. Through one man, Adam, sin entered the world, but through another Man, Jesus Christ, redemption through the forgiveness of sin is available to all (Romans 5:17). Those who avail themselves of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross will be resurrected to see the tree of life again, for it stands in the middle of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, where it bears “twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). In the eternal state, the curse will be no more (verse 3), access to the tree of life will be reinstated, and darkness will be forever banished (verse 5). Eden will be restored.
Many teachers out there teach that the human soul is inherently eternal, and consequently the souls of the wicked must also always exist which leads to the doctrine of Eternal Suffering. But is this true?
Some ask the inevitable question, “how can a God of love subject anyone to such a terrible fate? Let’s see if this idea of eternal suffering is true by looking at the very scriptures that these teachers use to support their teaching. Before we begin though, let’s think this hypothesis through.
First off, how are the wicked alive if they are cut off from the God of the living? Do they have another life power source apart from God? Or do they get to keep the breath that gave them life in the first place. If so, why does it say that the spirit goes back to God who gave it in Ecclesiastes 12:7?
and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
And what happens when you forfeit your soul, does it mean you keep it?
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? … For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36)
These scriptures answer our sensible questions regarding what eternal judgement must entail.
Are these just isolated scriptures taken out of context though? Let’s read on and discover more scriptures that tell a completely different story to the Doctrine of Eternal Suffering.
First we will investigate if the human soul is eternal as many assume.
- the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20)
- Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.(Matthew 10:28)
This is enough to answer anyone who believes that the human soul never dies. We have to clear witness scriptures that teach that the human soul can actually die. But there is more. In fact there is a wealth of teaching about the possible destruction and death of the human soul and the destruction of the wicked. After all, do we not already hold to the fact that eternal life is for the righteous soul ONLY.
- for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
- hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
- But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.
- He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.
- What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction?
- And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
- They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
- I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
- I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
- For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
- and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
- Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
- Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
- They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
- By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Anyone who denies that the wicked will be destroyed, perish, forfeit their soul, die, or thrown into the Second Death that also destroys the present earth and heaven simply deny scripture and prophecy regarding what is taught on Eternal Judgment. In the Book of Revelation. we clearly read that Death and Hell are thrown into the Lake of Fire, and we know that the SAME fire that destroys the heavens and earth also destroys the wicked.
This teaching that says that both the righteous and wicked will have their soul exist for all eternity is clearly not aligned with scripture. But how important is the correct belief on Eternal Judgement? Well it is is one of the foundational doctrines of the true faith. See Hebrews 6:
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so. 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. 9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
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.
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.