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Death/Intermedia and resurrection

posted 18 Oct 2012, 07:33 by Karima Rossouw   [ updated 18 Oct 2012, 07:44 ]



God has written both the first and the last chapter in the history of all things.  In the book of Genesis we read of the beginnings of all things – the universe, life, man, sin, death and society.  In the Revelation of John, which is the climax of the New Testament and of prophetic Scripture, we learn how all things will find their goal and final fulfilment.  Many, like Daniel, ask, “What shall be the end of these things?”

It is very important to know this that death is the separation of soul and body and it is at that time when man is introduced to the unseen world.

In the Bible it is described as follows:

1.       A Sleep:  This was a normal Jewish expression of speech to refer to death as sleep.  This was used in speaking of a believer’s death

When Stephen was stoned, he cried out:  Act 7:59-60 “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”  And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

John 11:11 these things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

2.       The earthly house of this tabernacle (tent) being dissolved:  This is shifting or moving tent to an eternal building made by God.

2 Cor 5:1 for we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

3.       Putting of this tent:  2 Peter 1:14  ...knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

4.       God requiring the soul:  Luke 12:20 but God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required or you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?

5.       Going the way from where there is no return:  John 16:22 for when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return.

6.       Being gathered to one’s own people:  Jacob had prophesied sitting on his bed, then simply lay down and died.  Yet his spirit and soul lived on to be with his people.  Gen 49:33 and when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

7.       Going down into the realm of silence:  Psalm 115:17 The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence.  This happens before Jesus’ resurrection, they waited for him to announce the good news of His victory over death.  It here appears that they waited in silence!  This is all the great men and women of God who died before Christ.

8.        Giving up the spirit or breathing your last:  Acts 5:10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last.

9.       Returning to the dust:  Gen 2:19  In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

10.   Being cut down:  Life in the body is only temporary.  Job 14:2 He comes forth like a flower and is cut down; he flees like a shadow and does not continue.

11.   Departing:  Phil 1:23  For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.  Death is the first outward and visible effect of sin, and it will be the last effect of sin from which we shall be saved.  1 Cor 15:26  The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

What will be the eternal effect of death on salvation be?

The Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour has ended the eternal effect of death.  His gift of immortality (“incorruption”) is now available to us all.  Immortality means: not being subject to death.  The key is the life giving Spirit who makes our spirit alive towards the things of God

How is death connected with the doctrine of immortality?

There are two terms, “immortality” and “incorruption,”  and they are both used in connection with the resurrection of the body.  1 Cor 15:53-54  For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Immortality in the Scriptures is applied to the body and not to the soul.  Even Christians are mortal because their bodies are subject to death.  After the resurrection and the rapture they will reach the state of immortality.  To put it in other words, they will have glorified bodies which are not subject to death any more.

The wicked, too, have a resurrection; but does this mean that they have immortality?  No; their entire condition is one of death, or eternal separation from God.  They have existence, but not the fellowship with God.  They also do not experience the glorification of the body which constitutes real immortality.  They exist consciously in a condition of being into subjection to death.  Theirs is not “the resurrection of life” but the “resurrection of damnation.”  This is a contrast between grace and justice.

John 5:29  …”and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

If immortality applies to the body, why should we therefore be speaking of the immortality of the will?

The body dies and goes to the dust.

The soul or spirit continues to exist consciously in the unseen world of spirits.  We therefore conclude that man is mortal and his body is subject to death, but his soul [including the will] is immortal, surviving the death of his body,

What is the distinction between immortality and eternal life?

Immortality is future and refers to the glorification of our mortal bodies at the resurrection.

Rom 2:5-7 ….eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour, and immortality.

Eternal life concerns mainly man's spirit.  It is a present possession, and is unaffected by the death of the body.  Eternal life will reach its perfection at the coming of Christ, and will be lived in a glorified, deathless body.  All Christians, both living and deceased, already have eternal life, but will not have immortality until the resurrection.

There should therefore be a stage where the deceased (the ones having died) are before the resurrection which takes place at the coming again of Christ.  This stage or state is generally called the Intermediate State.


This is the state of death between death and the resurrection.  It should be carefully noted that the righteous do not enter into their final reward, nor the wicked into their final punishment, until after their respective resurrections.  Both classes are in an intermediate state, awaiting that event.  Departed Christians got to be “with the Lord,” but do not receive their final reward.

The intermediate state of the righteous is described in Scripture as one of:

1.       Rest: Rev 14:13  Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on,’ “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they nay rest from their labours, and their works follow them.”

2.       Waiting:  Rev 6:10-11  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until bothe the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

 3.       Holiness:  Rev 7:14  He said to me,  “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

 4.       Activity:  There is nothing to destruct them from devoting every minute to God.  Rev 7:15  “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple.  And he who sits on the throne will dwell among them.”

 Remember the wicked also enter into an intermediate state, where they await their final punishment, which takes place after the White Throne judgment, when Death and Hades are emptied into the lake of fire.  Rev 20:14  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.

The first death is the separation of the soul from the body for some time.  The second death is the separation of the body and soul from God forever.

We get false views about intermediate state, which is the follow:

1.       Purgatory:

The Catholic Church teaches that even the faithful need a process of purification before they may to enter God’s presence.  There is no evidence for this view in Scripture.

2.       Spiritism:

Spiritism teaches that we may communicate with departed spirits, these communications being mediated through a “medium”.

Consulting spiritists is forbidden. The Bible indicates that there is evil and danger in the practice.  Lev 19:31  ‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them:  I am the Lord your God.’

Lev 20:6-7; Isa 8:19

You must remember that the dead are under the control of God, the Lord of life and death, and cannot therefor be subject to mediums.  He holds the keys – these are emblems of authority to open or shut at will.

Rev 1:18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

Spiritistic manifestations are due to the operations of strange psychic forces of which we have very little knowledge, or that the messages originate from lying and seducing spirits.

1 Kings 22:22  “The Lord said to him, ‘ in what way?”  So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord say, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail.  Go out and do so.’

3.       Soul-sleeping:

Some groups such as the Seventh-day Adventists, believe that the soul exists in an unconscious state until the time of the resurrection.  The Old Testament teaches that while the body enters the grave, the departed spirit enters Sheol where it lives a conscious existence.  Isa 14:9-11; Psalm 16:10  For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your holy One to see corruption. 

2 Cor 5:8  We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

And after the intermediate state it the resurrection that follows:


The resurrection of the body will be characterized by:

1.       Relationship:  1 Cor 15:36-37  Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.  And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain-perhaps wheat or some other grain.  The grain is sown into the ground and it dies as a seed.  Through the act of dissolution it somehow fertilizes the living germ within it, enabling it to develop into a beautiful new green plant.

2.       Reality:  There are people who do not want to go to heaven because they say it is a vague kind of existence.  On the contrary, the life to come will be just as real as this present one and more so.  Glorified bodies will be real and tangible, and we shall know each other, talk with one another, and freely take part in heavenly activities.  Jesus in His resurrection body was real to His disciples.  Although He was glorified, He was the very same Jesus.

3.       Incorruption:  The resurrection body will be free from sickness, pain, weakness, and death.  Rev 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

4.       Glory:  Phil 3:21 ..who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

5.       Agility:  It will pass through space with lightning speed, due to the mighty energy giving it life.

6.       Subtlety:  In walking the earth in a glorified body we shall not be hindered by such a little problem as a wall or a mountain – we shall simply walk through it!

John 20:26  And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with then.  Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said,  “Peace to you!”

There are many things we do not know, and cannot yet know about the future life.  However, this we do know:

1 John 3:1-2  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.