Is there life after death?
This question is as old as the human race. With this question unanswered, we go through life bewildered, uncertain as to our origin and destiny. To establish the fact of death is no problem - every second someone dies.
“Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”
2 Samuel 14:14
“For we must needs die, and are as water split on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.”
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”
1 Peter 1:24
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:”
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
Job asked the question, “If a man die shall he live again?” Is there life beyond the grave? He adds, “Man dieth and wasteth away; yea man giveth up the ghost and where is he?” Job answers his own question in Job 19:25-27 when he says, “For I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy any body, yet in my flesh I shall see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and whom my eyes shall behold.”
The Psalmist David in Psalm 23 says, “And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Many civilizations have believed this in a very primitive way. The kings of Egypt and the warriors and chiefs are examples. Basically, this doctrine of the “immortality of the soul and also of the body” is strictly a biblical one.
Introducing the immortality of the “body” at this time may come as a surprise to you. You have considered the soul of man as immortal, but someone asks, “Is the ‘body’ immortal also?” Let us see what the Scripture says:
- The body of man is referred to as mortal, or subject to death six times in the New Testament - See Romans 6:12, Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 (twice), 2 Corinthians 4:11, and 2 Corinthians 5:4.
- The body is referred to as immortal, a condition in which death loses control three times in the New Testament. (This word “immortality” is applied to the Lord Jesus one time in 1 Timothy 6:14-16 - “[Our Lord Jesus Christ] which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality[…].”
We learn from this that the body of our Lord Jesus is immortal. The other two occurrences of this word is found in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54.
Two classes of Christians are in view here:
- Those who have died in Christ, whose bodies are suffering corruption.
- Those who are alive at His coming.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. This corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when “this corruptible” (those who have died in the Lord) puts on incorruption and “this mortal” (those still alive at His coming) puts on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying, “Death is swallowed up in victory!” Paul describes this change of the mortal to immortality for us in 1 Thessalonians 4. [Read this]
We have answered the question “If a man die shall he live again?” so far as the Christian believer is concerned, but what about the unbeliever? (And lest anyone should mistake the term, I mean those who have not been “born again”) Is the unbeliever annihilated after death?
The Scripture speaks of three kinds of death:
(1) A spiritual death
(2) A physical death
(3) A second death
The impenitent dead do not take part in the first resurrection. Their spirits remain in “prison” for 1,000 years more. Revelation 20 proclaims the resurrection of the just and then follows the description of the binding and imprisonment of Satan and the thousand years of Christ’s reign. This is followed by the account of the release of Satan for “a little season,” and his final sentence and doom. The record goes on. Read Rev. 20:11-15. Note the language - “This is the second death” (see Rev. 20:14). Note also Rev. 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such, the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him.”
In closing, let me give you the biblical description of the two conditions in eternity:
- Heaven: Revelation 21:1-5 and Revelation 22:1-5
- Hell: Luke 16:19-31
As Savior… “Come unto me.” (Matthew 11:28)
As Judge… “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)