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  Death can be a sad thing which most everyone will experience. Some are indifferent toward death, while others fear it. But what happens after death?
  That is a question that has been asked since death was introduced into the world. Most people believe in an afterlife, a place your immortal soul … now set free, continues to live somewhere else, after you have died. Others are perhaps more honest, saying, they don’t know what happens after death. Some profess that nothing happens, that when you die, you’re just dead.
  Well, the Truth is, the Scriptures provide us with answers, vital toward understanding issues of life and death.

Man Is a Soul
   In the beginning, Yahweh Elohim formed man [of] the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, Genesis 2:7 (King James Version used throughout unless otherwise noted).
   The Hebrew word for soul is H.5315, nephesh (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) and which means, a breathing creature, breath, body, man, person, life, soul. In the Hebrew text, most entries of soul are translated from this Hebrew word, nephesh (neh’-fesh). The New Testament Greek equivalent is G.5590 psuche (psoo-khay’).
   Some postulate that man HAS an immortal soul. First of all, the Scriptures never say that man HAS a soul. Contrarily, a living person IS a soul. Therefore, because man is subject to death, so his being (soul) is mortal.
   There are several Scriptures that attest to the mortality of the soul, among which are the following:
      And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant, Genesis 17:14.
      The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself, Ezekiel 18:20, ESV.
      What man can live and not see death? Can he save his soul from the power of Sheol? Psalm 89:48, NASB.
   Even our Master Yahshua confirms that the soul dies, saying, And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in gehenna, Matthew 10:28.
   So, if the soul (humankind) is immortal, then man should have no need for the hope of eternal life, as it is written:
   For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for, Romans 8:24.
   Indeed, if men are already immortal, Yahshua needn’t have come as a man in flesh and blood, and die, “so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14, NASB)!

What about Heaven and Hell?
   In most English versions of the Scriptures, hell is denoted by any one of four words.
   In the Old Testament, the word H.7585 sheol, sheh-ole’ is used 65 times. The KJV and the NKJV translate the word sheol as grave 31 times; hell 31 times; and pit 3 times. No other widely-used English version of the Bible translates sheol as hell.
   The second appearance of hell is found in the Greek New Testament, and is G.86 hades, hah’-dace and is rendered in the KJV 10 times as hell, and once as grave. Hades is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew sheol and means the place of the unseen dead or, the grave.
   The third usage of hell makes one appearance in 2 Peter 2:4 – G.5020 tartaros, tar-tar-o’-os the deepest abyss of Hades – in reference to the angels that sinned delivered into chains of darkness, awaiting judgment, and perhaps the same bottomless pit into which ha Satan is committed and bound for a thousand years.
   The last word translated as hell is H.1516 & G.1067, gehenna, gheh’-en-nah – that wilderness valley proximate to the city of Jerusalem that served as a garbage dump and the site where ancient Israel performed its travesty rites of sacrificing children to the pagan deities. The word occurs 12 times in the KJV New Testament and is rendered hell.
   When the soul (man) dies (the first death) – as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27 – it (man) awaits the resurrection, but it is not a place of everlasting torment which ch-rchianity defines as hell. Indeed, when a soul dies, its being is not assigned either to heaven or to hell. To make that inference is to suggest that the resurrection is past already (2 Tim. 2:18).
   The best and correct way in which to understand death is the definition Scripture ascribes to it. In 2 Kings 15:38, we read, And Jotham slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.
   In Mark 5:39, Yahshua chided those who were weeping and wailing greatly, saying, “Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”
   Again, in John 11:14, we read that Lazarus was dead – four days stinking dead, in fact. But Yahshua told His disciples in verse 11, “Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.”
   The Apostle Sha’ul also likened death to sleep, writing to the Assembly at Thessalonica, But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope, 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
   Clearly then, when we read on tombstones, “Rest In Peace,” that is exactly what “the dead” are doing, until they are raised up in the resurrection – either to the resurrection of life, or to the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29).

So, What Exactly Happens at Death?
   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, Genesis 3:19.
   Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to Elohim who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.
   We give place to the Apostle:
   Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, Romans 5:12.
   Death is a departure from the world, it is not an extinction, it is a mere change of place. We (our soul, our very being with its emotions, will, and intellect), for our sin, are predestined to return to the very dust from which we were created. And the spirit returning to Yah who gave it is nothing more but the animating life power of Yahweh Himself, Whose very breath infused life into the first man Adam and subsequently, into every human that is born. Without this animating breath of life, we would just be a shell … nothing different from the corpse lying in the grave. James likens the body to faith, which without works is dead, so also the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26).
   Among the seven last sayings of our Master were also these words: “ ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit’. Having said this, He breathed His last” (Luke 23:46 NKJV).
   The word for spirit in Hebrew is H.7307 ruach, roo’-akh and corresponding to the Greek G.4151 pneuma, pnyyoo’-mah, both which have the same meaning to blow, breathe, wind. According to its definition, spirit has no conscience. It is a force, not a being. At death, the soul (being) loses all conscience and consciousness.
   Following are a number of Scriptures that corroborate this sentient loss:
      For in death [there is] no memory of You; in the grave who shall give You thanks? Psalm 6:5, NKJV.
      For will You do wonders to the dead? Shall the dead rise [and] praise You? Selah, Psalm 88:10, NKJV.
      The dead do not praise Yahweh, Nor [do] any who go down into silence, Ps.115:17, NASB.
      • His spirit departs, he returns to the earth. In that very day his plans perish, Ps. 146:4, NASB.
      For the living know that they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor do they have a reward any longer, for their memory is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate, and their zeal hav already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun, Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, NASB.
      Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going, Ecclesiastes 9:10 ESV.
   So, as we can see by the many verses of Scripture, all thoughts, memories, conscience cease at death. We can’t ascend to heaven anyway, because Yahshua Himself said no man has (John 3:13). In fact, according to the Apostle, only He, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Sovereign over sovereigns has immortality (1 Tim. 6:15).
   Nevertheless, some will even challenge the authority with which the Apostle wrote these words by citing the two witnesses recorded in Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5 that declare that Enoch walked with Elohim, and was not – translated that he should not see death, neither was his grave found – for he had this testimony that he pleased Him and, therefore, Elohim took him.
   But these same who hold this persuasion are then hard-pressed to explain why Enoch’s name appears among the list of those who died in the faith, as it is written:
   These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth, Hebrews 11:13.
   So, what then does it mean Elohim took Enoch so he would not see death? It could possibly mean He let Enoch – of them which are mentioned in Genesis, Chapter 4, Enoch had the shortest life of only 365 years – die early so that he would not see the massive death occurring with the flood. But whatever the interpretation, one thing is clear: Enoch did die, and he isn’t in heaven because that would make Yahshua a liar.
   Still unconvinced, the died-and-gone-to-heaven folk will bring up Eliyah for whom the Scripture says, Yahweh dispatched a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire and a whirlwind to bring Enoch to heaven (2 Kings 2:1, 11). However, this fiery chariot, drawn by fiery horses, was not seen in the heavens, but as running on the earth, and came between the two, separating them from each other, taking up Eliyah into a conflux of clouds by means of a wind formed by a supernatural power whirling about him and was no other than the ministry of angels and, by solar rays striking on them, appeared fiery or red.
   But it cannot be thought necessarily, that Eliyah was “translated” to the place of Elohim’s abode. For even Sha’ul in 2 Corinthians 12:2 references a man (probably himself) – but whether in the body, or out of the body he did not know – caught up to the third heaven, thought to be the place of Yahweh’s abode and perhaps, such an experience nothing different from Kepha’s experience in Acts 10 when he “fell into a trance and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him” (Acts 10:10–11). Nevertheless, again, according to the Scripture, only Yahshua the firstfruits of resurrection has immortality (1 Tim. 6:15).
   Moreover, c.900 years later, Eliyah with Moses of more than four centuries distant, are seen in corporeal form and given recognition to Peter, James, and John with Yahshua as these two spoke to the Master of His decease He was to accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28–31).

Resurrection, Our Hope
   But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Yahshua died and rose again, even so Elohim will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Yahshua. For this we say to you by the word of the Master, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Master, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel and with the trumpet of Elohim; and the dead in Messiah shall rise first, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, NASB.
   Our hope is in the resurrection. In fact, the resurrection is so important that Sha’ul said that if the resurrection isn’t real, “we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).
   “Now if Messiah is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Messiah has been raised; and if Messiah has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain. Moreover, we are even found to be false witnesses of Elohim, because we testified against Elohim that He raised Messiah, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Messiah has been raised; and if Messiah has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished. If we have hoped in Messiah only in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied. But the fact is, Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man death came, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Messiah the first fruits, after that those who are Messiah’s at His coming. …If the dead are not raised, let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. ...But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?’ You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But Elohim gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of mankind, another flesh of animals, another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written: ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ The last Adam was a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy one, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly one, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I am telling you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?’ (1 Cor. 15:12–23, 32, 35–55 NASB).
   So, what we are looking forward to, is the resurrection of the dead – the moment we will be changed from corruption to incorruption. This is what awaits us after death. We die and take what I like to call a dirt nap and are raised in glory at the coming of our Master on the last day.

   “No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him … For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44, 40).
   That is what awaits the faithful on the last day. Yet, some will still believe that we go to heaven at death.
   On this, we give the last word to Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist from the second century, who had this to say about them who promulgated ideas of going to heaven at death;
   “For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this (truth of the resurrection), and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians,”

-Brother Lucas Bentley

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