Where are the Dead?
My Beloved Brother/Sister;
Remember, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
1. Circle or Ball Earth?
2. Where are the Dead? Part 1
There is much speculation regarding the destiny of the dead. Some believe that upon death, we go to paradise; while others believe that we go into the presence of the Lord. Some may even say that we go to the lower chambers of the earth. While many ideas exist, there is only one way to know the truth; through the scripture.
"What saith the Scripture?"
"First, lets begin with the most basic question, What is a Soul?"
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
*** This is a key verse, because it paves the way for all other verses. As we can see, Adam (man) was formed from the (dust- עָפָר (aphar)- ashes, clay, dust) of the (ground- אֲדָמָה (adamah)- soil, ground. Here is an example of the word עָפָר (aphar) in Genesis 13:16 (“And I will make thy seed as the dust- עָפָר (aphar) of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust- עָפָר (aphar) of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”). And the LORD God breathed into his nostrils the (breath- נְשָׁמָה (neshamah)- breath of life-חַי (chai)- life, living, alive). For now, we will not draw our attention to what the (breath of life) is, but rather, to what a (living- חַי (chai)- living, alive, lively) (soul- נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh)- living being, life, yourself) is. We can understand from the context of this verse that man needs the (breath of life), to become a (living soul). 1 Corinthians 15:45 is a good cross reference: (“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul- ψυχή (psychē)- life, mind, heart; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”) The word (soul) in Genesis 2:7 is the Hebrew נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh)- living being, life, yourself. And the Greek word for (soul) in 1 Corinthians 15:45 is: ψυχή (psychē)- life, mind, heart. As you can see, both, the Hebrew and the Greek give the same definition for the word (soul). The Hebrew word for (breath) in Genesis 2:7 is נְשָׁמָה (neshamah)- breath. Here is another example of the word נְשָׁמָה (neshamah) in Job 37:10 (“By the breath- נְשָׁמָה (neshamah) of God, frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.”). The words (life- (chai)- life, living, alive) and (living- חַי (chai)- living, alive, lively) have the same Hebrew word: חַי (chai)
"Lets confirm that indeed, a living person is also a living soul that has life."
“Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.”
*** Most certainly, father Abram was comparing his (soul), to his own life. In the context of this chapter, there was a famine in the land, so Abram was told to go to Egypt, but Abram feared that the Egyptians would take away his wife, Sarai. Notice the word: (live), it is a reflection of the word: (soul). The word (live) is the Hebrew word חָיָה (chayah)- to live, be alive. ***Fact: you will not find the words ("dead soul") in the kjv, that's because a (soul) is a (living life), but, you will find the words ("dead body").
“These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.”
***Again, the soul is a living person. Here, the word (souls) is plural (thirty and three).
36 “Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.”
*** That is, 276 (souls-- ψυχή (psychē)- life, mind, heart), or lives.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
***The Greek word for (lose) is ζημιόω (zēmioō)- to sustain damage, to receive injury, suffer loss). The word (soul) is the Greek ψυχή (psychē). We also know that a (soul) is a living life. The meaning of this verse is that your (soul- you being) will be judged one day in the day of Judgement, and what will you give in exchange for your life (soul) if you lived without Christ. Consider the following verse in Matthew 10:28 (“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul-ψυχή (psychē): but rather fear him which is able to destroy- ἀπόλλυμι (apollymi)- to loose off or away, destroy) both soul-ψυχή (psychē) and body- σῶμα (sōma)- the body both of men or animals) in hell- γέεννα (geenna)- place (or state) of everlasting punishment.”). Here is an example of the Greek word destroy- ἀπόλλυμι (apollymi) in Matthew 27:20 (“But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy- ἀπόλλυμι (apollymi) Jesus.”) As we can see, you are a living (soul).
"As we can see, you are a soul- a living breathing life.
what happens to us when we die."
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
***Remember, in Genesis 2:7 man was formed from the (dust- עָפָר (`aphar)- dry earth, dust, powder, ashes, earth, ground) of the (ground- אֲדָמָה (adamah)- soil, ground). As you can see, (dust) and (ground) are synonymous, and when we die, we return back to the (ground), from where we were taken.
8 “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.”
9 “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?”
***Job uses the analogy of the potter and the clay to describe the relationship between God and man. Job also understands that when he dies he will return to the (dust- עָפָר (`aphar)- dry earth, dust, powder, ashes, earth, ground) again. Why did Job say (again)?, because he, like Adam and everyone else, are earthly vessels that must return to the place from whence they were taken. A doctor would know that the elements found in the earth are also found in the body. Think, where do we get (clay- חֹמֶר (chomer)- clay, (from its red colour)? the earth/the ground. I suppose the lesson here can be several things; 1) we are not star dust as some unbelievers think to say, 2) just as Adam was formed from the earth, so are we, in the sense that we carry the same genetic blood that Adam has-(“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth,...") Acts 17:26. Therefore, it is true to say, that we too, are of the ground.
13“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”
14“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
15“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.”
***By now, it should be well settled that the word (dust) means of the ground/earth. We return to the earth when we die.
"So far, we understand what a soul is, and what happens to us when we die. Now we need to understand what the breath of life is."
“And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.”
***In Genesis 2:7 we first learned about the (breath- נְשָׁמָה (neshamah)- breath of life- חַי (chai)- life, living, alive) which gave life man (Adam). However, In Genesis 6:17, the word (breath) is the Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit. Or, another way to read this verse is: ("...wherein is the spirit of lives, from under..."). Below is an excerpt of the Leningrad Codex Hebrew text (Click Here) for Genesis 6:17 :
Furthermore, the Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruach) can also have other definitions, such as; air, wind, spirit, breath. take for example Job 41:16 (“One is so near to another, that no air- רוּחַ (ruach) can come between them.”). Or Genesis 8:1 (“And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind-רוּחַ (ruach) to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;”)
Who has the Breath of Life?
21 "And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.”
*** In chapter 7 of Genesis, God was going to bring a world flood, in which all flesh- בָּשָׂר (basar)- flesh, of the body, of human, of animal) died-גָּוַע (gava`)- to expire, gasp, breath out) that moved (upon) the (earth- אֶרֶץ ('erets)- land, earth). All in whose nostrils- אַף (aph)- nose) was the breath- רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit of life- חַי (chai)- life, living, alive. Or, another way of reading this verse is: ("...All in whose nostrils was the breath of spirit of life..."). Below are two excerpts of the Hebrew text for Genesis 7:22.
sources: 1) Click Here 2) Click Here
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
***Two major key points here: 1) the (dust- עָפָר (`aphar)- dry earth, dust, powder, ashes, earth, ground) returns back to the earth upon death. Also, notice the verse says (the), this is giving reference to all flesh. Here is an example of the word (dust) in Genesis 3:14 (“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust- עָפָר (`aphar) shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”). 2) and the (spirit- רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit, ) shall return back to God who (gave- נָתַן (nathan)- to give) it. Take notice, the word (spirit) is not capital (Spirit). However, the word (Spirit) as in; (Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God) is also the Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit. But this verse is not speaking of the Holy Spirit as in; Genesis 1:2 ("...And the Spirit- רוּחַ (ruach) of God..."). Rather, the word (spirit) is in reference to the breath that God gave to all flesh; the (breath of the spirit of life). We need a good cross reference to understand this, consider the following verse.
21 "And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22 “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.”
***This verse is unique because it gives us a clue as to what the (breath- נְשָׁמָה (neshamah) of life- חַי (chai)) is. If you look to the side margin of the (1611 kjv), there is a cross-symbol before the word ("...breath of life..."). Now look at the side margin, and this is what it reads:
Hebr. the breath of the spirit of life.). Below, is an excerpt of Genesis 7:22 in the Hebrew text. Notice it has the Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruach)-spirit after the word נְשָׁמָה (neshamah)- breath, followed by the word חַי (chai)- life. Or, another way of reading Genesis 7:22 is: (“All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life..."). So, this means that (the breath of life) spoken of in Genesis 2:7 is also the breath of the spirit of life. Furthermore, (the breath- נְשָׁמָה (neshamah) of the spirit- רוּחַ (ruach) of life- חַי (chai) was in all (flesh- בָּשָׂר (basar)- flesh, of the body, of human, of animal); including (man- אָדָם ('adam)- man, mankind.
“All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;”
***The word (breath) in this verse is the Hebrew word נְשָׁמָה (neshamah)- breath- as in; "the breath of your mouth." It does not mean; (spirit) or (soul). The word (spirit) in this verse is the Hebrew רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit. Look at verse (3) in the (1611 kjv); it has an asterisk (*) before the words: (*the spirit of God...). Now look at the side margin, and this is what it says:
* That is, the breath which God gave him; a cross reference to Genesis 2:7 and Genesis 7:22. Notice, it says the spirit (of God); the (spirit- רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit) belongs to God, and he receives it back, just as Ecclesiastes 12:7 says. Did you notice it says (nostrils- אַף (aph)- nose); this is the same Hebrew word found in Genesis 2:7, and Genesis 7:22
7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils-אַף (aph)- nose) the breath-נְשָׁמָה (neshamah)- breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
22 “All in whose nostrils-אַף (aph)- nose) was the breath- נְשָׁמָה (neshamah) of the spirit- רוּחַ (ruach) of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.”
And to prove that the (the breath of the spirit of life) is not the (soul) itself, we will look at:
18“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.”
19“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.”
20“All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”
21“Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward; and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”
***If we can understand this verses, then we can also answer many questions. Lets begin with verse (19): Both, man and animal have one (breath-רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit). Here is an example of the Hebrew word breath-רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit) in Ezekiel 37:6 (“And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath-רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit) in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”) As you can see, the word (breath-רוּחַ (ruach) can also mean spirit. However, remember, the Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruach) can also have other meanings such as: air, wind, spirit, breath, cool. Now, if we look at verse (21) the Hebrew word for (spirit) is רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit. Here is an example of the word רוּחַ (ruach) in Hosea 4:12 (“My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit- רוּחַ (ruach) of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.”). As you can see, the Hebrew word (ruach)- spirit can be used in various ways such as: unclean spirits, Holy Spirit, spirit of man, walking in the spirit, etc. Notice, both; (breath) and (spirit) use the same Hebrew word: רוּחַ (ruach- spirit). Now, lets look at the context of all verses. In verse (18) he says, concerning the the (estate- דִּבְרָה (dibrah)- condition) of men, that God might (manifest- בָּרַר (barar)- to purify, clear) them, that they themselves are (beasts- בְּהֵמָה (behemah)- cattle, animal, beast. Now, there are several interpretation for verse (18): 1) the (estate- condition) of man is compared to that of (beasts), that is, man is born like an wild ass; without spiritual understanding; see Psalms 49:20 (“Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.”). and 2) men technically (are beasts), in the sense that both, men and beasts have the same (breath-רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit) of God, which gives us life, and both were taken from the (dust of the earth). If you notice, it does not say (..."they themselves are (like) beasts..."). Consider Genesis 2:19 (“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”). Verse (19) is a continuation to verse (18); Both men and beast have striking similarities; both have the same (breath- רוּחַ (ruach)- spirit). Verse (20) reaffirms that both, men and beast (are of the dust- עָפָר (aphar)- Ashes, clay, dust, and all turn to dust again.). Verse (21) is a question, however, the author is not saying that the (spirit) of beast goes down to the earth, and that the (spirit) of man goes upward, for he just told us in the previous verses that man and beast are alike. The (spirit- (ruach)- spirit) of man and beast return to God upon death (ecclesiastics 12:7).
Take for example...
“And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.”
***This is the case of a damsell who had died and Jesus brought her back to life. The Greek word for (spirit) in Luke 8:55 is: πνεῦμα (pneuma)- spirit. The Hebrew word for (spirit) in Ecclesiastes 12:7 is רוּחַ (ruach)-spirit. As we can see, whether in Greek or in Hebrew, the word (spirit) has the same definition. This is important to know because: 1) it confirms that the (spirit) is not the (soul), 2) the (spirit) that returned to the damsell was the (the breath of the spirit of life) which all flesh must have to live. We will get into more detail about the (soul) further down.
“So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
***This entire chapter is filled with understanding regarding the condition of man while he lives and when he dies. Notice that when a man dies (sleeps), he cannot be awaken from his death (sleep) (till the heavens be no more). This is important to know because it confirms that no man has risen to heaven. Notice how it says (lieth down) and (riseth not) (till the heavens be no more). There is a strong emphasis in the word (till). As we continue, it will become more clear as to when the dead do rise up/awaken from their (sleep). The Hebrew word for (sleep) is שֵׁנָא (shenah)-sleep. Interestingly enough, the word (sleep) means exacly that. Here is an example of the word (sleep) in Genesis 28:16 (“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep (שֵׁנָא (shenah)-sleep), and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.”). If we look at (Job 14:10) it speaks about yielding up the (ghost)- (“But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?”) This is not refering to the Holy Ghost, but rather, the word (ghost) corresponds to the word (dieth); The Hebrew word for (ghost) in Job 14:10 means: גָּוַע (gava`)- die, dead, perish, expire, gasp out. Here is another example of the word (ghost) in Genesis 25:8 (“Then Abraham gave up the ghost (גָּוַע (gava`), and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.”). Now, in the Greek, the word for (ghost) is ἐκψύχω (ekpsychō)-to expire, to breath ones's last, take for example Acts 5:5 (“And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.”); same definition as in the Hebrew for the word (ghost) in Job 14:12.
However, the word (ghost) has different uses and definitions according to the context of scripture in both the Hebrew and the Greek. Take for example Matthew 27:50 (“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost- πνεῦμα (pneuma)- spirit.”) In this verse, the word (ghost) πνεῦμα (pneuma)- spirit does not have the same definition as the word (ghost) ἐκψύχω (ekpsychō)-to expire, to breath ones's last. The cross reference to Matthew 27:50 is John 19:30: (“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost- πνεῦμα (pneuma)- spirit.”) As you can see, both, John 19:30 and Matthew 27:50 use the same word (ghost- πνεῦμα (pneuma)- spirit). On the other hand, (Mark and Luke) use a different Greek word for (ghost) ἐκπνέω (ekpneō)- to breathe out, breathe out one's life, breathe one's last, expire, First, in Mark 15:37: (“And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.”). And also in Luke 23:46 (“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit- πνεῦμα (pneuma)-spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”) As we can see, (spirit) πνεῦμα (pneuma)-spirit and (ghost)- ἐκπνέω (ekpneō)- to breathe out, breathe out one's life, breathe one's last, expire) do not have the same definition. Notice also, our Lord Jesus did not say ("into thy hands I commend my soul"); that's because his soul descended into the unseen world (hell): see Acts 2:27 (“Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”). And finally, if we cross reference Matthew 27:50 and John 19:30 with Luke 23:46, then we can see the parallel of the word ghost- πνεῦμα (pneuma)- spirit with the word spirit πνεῦμα (pneuma)-spirit; both have the same Greek word: πνεῦμα (pneuma)-spirit, although one says (ghost) and the other (spirit); neither one means soul-ψυχή (psychē).
Let's get back on topic. sleep.
“Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;”
***This verse gives a good definition for the word (sleep- יָשַׁן (yashen)- to (make to) sleep). Beautifully enough, (sleep) is describes as the (sleep) of (death- מָוֶת (maveth)- state of death, place of death). The same Hebrew word (sleep- יָשַׁן (yashen) is used in Genesis 2:21 (“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept (יָשַׁן (yashen): and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”. Interestingly enough Genesis 2:21 describes Adam falling into a (deep sleep), as one would, under surgery. Even more striking is the fact that the Hebrew word יָשַׁן (yashen) is not used metaphorically, but rather literally, in both verses.
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
***In this verse, the prophet Daniel is receiving a revelation for the end times. He is told that (many of them)- only God knows how many; that (sleep) in the (the dust- עָפָר (aphar)- ashes, clay, dust of the earth- אֲדָמָה (adamah)- ground, soil, land) shall (awake- קוּץ (quts)- to awake (from sleep). The word (sleep) is the same Hebrew word as in Psalms 13:3; יָשַׁן (yashen), however, the use of this word is not: (to (make to) sleep), but simply (to sleep). Also, notice the word (sleep) is in the present tense. Also, notice the correlation between (sleep) and (awake). Here is an example the word awake- קוּץ (quts) in Jeremiah 31:26 (“Upon this I awaked (קוּץ (quts), and beheld; and my sleep-שֵׁנָא (shenah)- sleep) was sweet unto me.”). Again, to (sleep) and (awake) are not symbolical, but are literal interpretations. Now, the second part of Daniel 12:2 speaks about the resurrection of the dead. See 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead- νεκρός (nekros)- dead, deceased) in Christ shall rise- ἀνίστημι (anistēmi)- to cause to rise up, raise up) first:"). We will get into more detail about the return of the lord Jesus in Part.2. The important thing to remember here is that no one has has left the grave once they have fallen asleep (died); they await for the resurrection. Notice how it says that the Lord will (descend from heaven with a shout). The resurrection of Lazarus in (John 11:43) was a "type"; a "shadow" of what was to come when the Lord Jesus descends from Heaven. Lazarus heard the shout of Jesus and he arose from the grave, in like so manner will be for (them that sleep in the dust of the earth). Notice, it says (shall awake) just as you would from your every day sleep. Look, John 12:17 is a perfect example (“The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.”) or, John 5:28 (“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,”) Notice, Daniel calls it (dust of the earth), John calls it (grave/graves).
This will also be the case for Daniel:
“But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
***Daniel, like all other men has fallen asleep and (rest) (till the end be). Notice the word (rest), it is the Hebrew word נוּחַ (nuach)- To be at rest. Here is an example of the word נוּחַ (nuach) in Exodus 23:12 (“Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest- נוּחַ (nuach), and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”). Did you notice how the word (rest) does not mean to (die). Daniel 12:13 has taught us a new word, (rest); it goes hand on hand with (sleep) and (awake).
The following verses will reaffirm that to be dead, means to (sleep) .
11“These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.”
12"hen said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.”
13“Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.”
14“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”
***This case of Lazarus is a perfect example of what it means to (sleep). As we can see, Jesus tells his disciples that Lazarus (sleepeth), note: the word (sleepeth) is in the present tense, and it is the Greek word κοιμάομαι (koimaomai)- to lie down in sleep. Acts 12:6 uses the same Greek word: (“And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping (κοιμάομαι (koimaomai) between two soldiers,...”). Notice how the Greek word (κοιμάομαι (koimaomai) is used in the active present tense in both, John 11:11 and Acts 12:6. Understand reader, all of the above verses are a "shadow" of the resurrection that will take place when our Lord Jesus returns. Notice how it says in verse (11) (I); the same Jesus that awoke Lazarus from his (sleep), will do so again in the end of time. Ironically enough, the disciples spoke a great truth out of ignorance, they thought Lazarus was taking a nap (rest in sleep), which is true, but not in this world. Jesus went to (awake him out of sleep). Finally, after some confusion on behalf of the disciples, Jesus tells them that Lazarus is (dead- ἀποθνῄσκω (apothnēskō)- to die away; this same Greek word is used in Matthew 9:24 (“He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead- ἀποθνῄσκω (apothnēskō), but sleepeth καθεύδω (katheudō)-to sleep. And they laughed him to scorn.”) Did you notice how the Lord Jesus identifies both, Lazarus and the maid in a state of (sleep), yet, also (dead).
This occurrence with Lazarus is but a shadow of what is to come; that is, the return of the Lord Jesus, descending from heaven with a shout and awakening them that (sleep) in the (dust of the earth). And they that (sleep) in Christ, will hear his voice; just as Lazarus hear the voice of Jesus in John 11:43 (“And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.”).
There are many more instances in which the word (sleep) is used, but I will give you one more example.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6
3“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”
4“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
5“And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:”
6“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.”
***Verse 6 is our key verse. Mind you, Paul is speaking after the cross (in the new covenant). This is important because Paul says that (some) brothers have (fallen asleep). The word (sleep) is used differently in this verse, it is the Greek word κοιμάομαι (koimaomai)- to be laid down (in death). Paul does not say: "they are with the Lord now"; that's because, in the resurrection of the dead, the Lord Jesus will (awaken) them from their (sleep). Consider the following verse, in John 14:2-3, Jesus said (“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”). The Lord said this words before his departure back to heaven. Notice how it says (receive) (you); the word (receive) is the Greek word παραλαμβάνω (parala)- to take or receive beside; that means he has not received anyone yet. The common misconception among Christians today is that when a believer dies, he goes into the presence of the Lord; and for this they use Philippians 1:23 or 2 Corinthians 5:8. These two verses will be addressed in Part. 2.
"It is time to move on. Now, what is the status/condition of the (dead), while they (sleep)"
5“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”
6“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.”
*** This is a key verse. two comparisons are given, that of (the living) , and that of the (dead). The word for (dead) is the Hebrew word מוּת (muth)- to die. The (living- חַי (chay)-living, alive) are well aware that they (shall die) some day, and while they still live, they have their (memory, reward, love, hate, and envy), among other things. The opposite is also true for the (dead), the (the dead know not) (any thing- מְאוּמָה (meumah)- nothing, in any way. they have no (memory). Neither do they have feelings, such as (love, hatred, envy); all has (perished- אָבַד (abad)-to be lost, vanish, go astray, be destroyed. In summary, many other topics can derive from just these two verses, such as: communication with the dead, reincarnation, ghosts, purgatory, etc. But the main point here is to know that when a believer or non believer dies (sleeps), he/she has no recollection of his/her formal life.
“The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.”
***This is another verse that explains the condition of the (dead) מוּת (muth)- to die. The word (dead) in this verse is not referring to be; spiritually dead, but rather, it means to be literally dead, here is an example of how this word is used in Ecclesiastes 9:4 (“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead-(מוּת (muth) lion.”) The question is; why can't the (dead) praise (the LORD)?. As it was stated in Ecclesiastics 9:5-6, the dead cannot praise, nor do (any thing); because they have no (memory); all has (perished). I suppose the comparison here is to that of someone who has fallen into a deep sleep after a long day of work, and has no sense of time; oblivious to the life that surrounds him, not even the alarm clock can awaken him. This verse also teaches that not even believers can can praise the LORD when they fall asleep (die).
Notice, it says (neither any that go down into silence), the emphasis is in the words (any) and (silence), this means that 1) the word (any) applies to everyone (believer, or non believer.) 2) The word (silence) is the Hebrew word דּוּמָה (dumah)- cut off, a place of silence. Here is another example of the word (silence) in Psalms 39:2 (“I was dumb with silence (דּוּמָה (dumah), I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.”). 3) If we compile all the words that we have learned (sleep, rest, silence, awake) then we can grasp the meaning of what it really means to be dead.
Some brothers have used the parable of Lazarus and the rich man to explain that the rich man had recollection (memory) of his formal life and that he is suffering in torment. I will briefly explain this parable in part.2. This also debunks the catholic belief of purgatory.
“So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
***This verse was already explained, but we will look into it with more detail. This verse confirms again what happens to a man when he dies (sleeps). Reader, take notice, it says that a man does not rise up again (till the heavens be no more). We can cross reference these words to
2 Peter 3:10 (“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”) And also with Isaiah 34:4 (“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.”) And with Revelation 6:13-14 (“And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”). In all three examples, the context suggest: the return of the Lord. Much more can be said about the Lord's return, but this too will be explained in part. 2. Nevertheless, notice the last part of this verse (nor be raised out of their sleep). The word (sleep) in this verse is the Hebrew שֵׁנָא (shenah)- sleep; it is not used symbolically, but literally. Consider Genesis 28:16 (“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep-(שֵׁנָא (shenah), and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.”). As you can see, the Hebrew word שֵׁנָא (shenah) is used to interpret the awakening of the dead and of the living. That means that all that have died, remain in the grave (asleep) even up to this present hour.
"As you have noticed, this question about the dead, requires a lengthy answer. But the end is not yet, I have much more to say. Next, we need to ask: has anyone awaken from their sleep and ascended into heaven?"
29“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.”
30“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;”
31“He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”
32“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
33“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
34“For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,”
35“Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”
***Much, much can be said from these verses. First, look at verse (29), Peter is saying that (the patriarch David) (is- present tense) both, (dead- τελευτάω (teleutaō)- to end (life), decease) and buried), now skip to verse (34) it confirms that even David has not (ascended into the heavens). Interestingly enough, it says (heaven(s), that way, no one can say that David is in the third heaven, or in any other heaven. We can cross reference this words to Acts 13:36: (“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep κοιμάομαι (koimaomai)- to lie down in sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption-διαφθορά (diaphthora)- thorough corruption:”). The corruption here spoken of, is that of the body, unlike Jesus, whose body was not left in the grave long enough to rot and putrefy. Did you notice that in Acts 2:29 David is said to be (dead), but in Acts 13:36 he (sleeps)? Next, I would like to briefly put an emphasis to the word (soul) in verse (31), notice, it does not say (spirit). We already know that a (soul) is who you are; your being. Verse (31) is a topic of its own; but we will not address it here. Verse (32) is the resurrection of his Son. Verses (34) and (35) are important; Peter was quoting Psalms 110:1, in other words, the Father (the LORD) said unto my Lord (Jesus- (the Son) Sit thou on my right hand, (Until) I make thy foes thy footstool. This was a prophesy foretold by the Patriarch David, and its partially fulfilled (and I say partially) because the last clause says (until) I make thy foes thy footstool, which is yet happening as God fulfills all things.The point I am trying make here is 1) David (is)- present tense) not ascended into the heavens. 2) Our Lord is at the right hand of God (Until) all his enemies are subdue.
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
*** This is another key verse, that should not be overlooked. This verse has a two fold meaning, 1) Saint John tells us that (no man hath ascended up to heaven), Though Enoch and Elias had, yet not by their own power, nor in the sense our Lord designs; whose meaning is, that no man had, or could go up to heaven, to bring from thence the knowledge of divine and heavenly things- Gill. 2) only (the Son of man) has (ascended up to heaven). Which confirms two more truths, 1) No men, other than the Lord Jesus has resurrected from the dead with a glorious body, 2) the (dead) are still in the (grave) waiting for the resurrection. ***By (waiting) I do not imply that the (dead) have any knowledge of the resurrection. But rather, it is the next event that is to occur.