Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

Afterlife

“I said to myself concerning the sons of men, ‘God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.’ For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?”

“Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; it arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; it raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. They will all respond and say to you, ‘Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us. Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering’…All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb. But you have been cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch, clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpse. You will not be united with them in burial, because you have ruined your country, you have slain your people. May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever.”

“The king said to her, ‘Do not be afraid; but what do you see?’ And the woman said to Saul, ‘I see a divine being coming up out of the earth.’ He said to her, ‘What is his form?’ And she said, ‘An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe.’ And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage. Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ And Saul answered, ‘I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.’”

“‘But if the Lord brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the Lord.’ As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.”

“Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:31).

“As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people” (Leviticus 20:6).

“When they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Isaiah 8:19-20).

Within the Hebrew Scriptures, the place where the deceased go is called Sheol, translated in the Septuagint by the term Hadēs, whose usage carries over into the Apostolic Scriptures. In most of today’s English translations of the Bible (i.e., RSV, NASU, NRSV, ESV) both Sheol and Hades appear in the text, leaving the reader to decide what is being spoken of.

What we believe about the post-mortem state is undoubtedly affected by the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the introduction of their sin to the rest of humanity. Both psychopannychists and those who believe in an intermediate afterlife appeal to Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.” Adam and Eve introduced death to the human race, yet those who welcome the gospel can have eternal life. Psychopannychists conclude that physical death and physical life are entirely what are being described here, whereas those of us who believe in an intermediate disembodied afterlife would argue that something more than just physical life or physical death should be considered. Are “life” and “death” one-dimensional, or multi-dimensional concepts as seen in Scripture?

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