Chapter 10:

"All Those in the Graves
Shall Hear His Voice"

Gravestone for Mother

Those who have lost a friend to death know the empty feeling that death brings. When we see good people die in their prime, all their potential as if thrown away, their happy dreams and plans suddenly ending in nothing, we may wonder "Does life really have no meaning, no purpose? Are our plans also useless? Did no One care about all the good they had in mind to do? Why did this have to happen?" We may feel exposed to the cruel hand of uncaring meaninglessness, as it seems they were. We look for words of reassurance that those we loved are not really gone forever. Many comfort themselves by believing that their dear one has departed to a new life in a better place, that they have already found a new and better purpose.

On the other hand, when a hated person dies, some take satisfaction in believing that he is now suffering horribly forevermore. Good riddance! Then there are some who believe that the dead wander the earth as ghosts and expect offerings from the living. What is the truth? We do not want to believe things which are not true, even if they are comforting, do we? What does the Bible say? We can be sure that the true God, the One who gives life, tells us the truth.

In contrast, Satan from the beginning has consistently lied about death. Urging Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, Satan said: "You will not die." But God had told Adam: "In the day that you eat of it you will surely die." Who was telling the truth?

The same day they sinned, God condemned Adam and Eve and put them out of the garden. But the next morning, they were still alive. Did that prove Satan right? No. Whether they could feel it or not, they had been damaged, they had begun to die. Like having an deadly infection, it was only a matter of time. From then on, they slowly deteriorated. Because their bodies started from a perfect condition, their end came quite slowly. Adam finally perished at the age of 930 years. Eve’s age at death was not recorded. —Gen 2.16, 17, 3.1-24, 5.5.

But Satan does not give up easily. When we die, he cannot deny the cold, stiff body lying there. So he has promoted another lie to deny death: "You are not really dead. Only the body dies. The real person goes on to live in the invisible realm like myself." Now if that were really true, it would be very important for us to know, especially if it involves the greater part of the punishment for sin. What did God say to Adam and Eve about that?

God clearly explained to them just what death is and what it would do to them. We should look carefully at what he said, because Satan deviously contradicts it. At Genesis 3.17-19 we read: "And to Adam he said: "Because you listened to your wife’s voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. And thorns and thistles it will grow for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field. In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return."

So according to God, their life would be miserable and difficult, under condemnation, alienated from their Father. (compare Ephesians 2.1, 12.) Finally they would die physically, and their bodies would return to dust. What then?

Did God neglect to mention anything? If the really serious punishment for their sin was to come after they died, surely he would have warned them about it. But looking at Genesis 3.20, we see that God had finished speaking. He had told Adam exactly what his punishment was: "you will return to the ground. To dust you will return." Was he talking only to Adam’s body, as a disposable shell? Or was he talking to Adam, the person himself? If he was only talking to the body, why didn’t he tell Adam, the person, what was to really become of him? No, God did not leave anything out. And the Bible consistently says: "The wages of sin is death." —Rom 6.23; see also Job 24.19, 20.

Figurative Death and Literal Death

As Adam’s natural descendants, we are born with no more right to life than he could give us. We are imperfect from birth, and we cannot prevent ourselves from sinning to some extent. So Romans 5:12 says: "through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned." "In Adam all are dying," 1 Cor 15.22 adds.

Because of this naturally inevitable outcome, the Bible says that mankind, condemned by God, is dead, despite the fact we are up walking around and perhaps quite unaware of our death sentence. As the apostle Paul put it, while we are estranged from God we are "naturally children of wrath," "dead in our trespasses and sins." Of course we are actually alive in the literal or scientific sense. We eat, grow, love, laugh, have children. We have hopes and plans for the future. Being figuratively dead does not stop any of that. But what about when we die physically? Does our essence, the real us, escape that death and continue to live actively on? Do we remain aware of our surroundings, able to see, hear, speak, think and feel? —Ephesians 2.1-3; see also 1 Tim 5.6.

Not according to God, who should know. Just as Adam returned completely to the dust, so do we. Ecclesiastes 9:4,10 says: "For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all. . . All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol [the grave, AV], the place to which you are going." —see also Job 3.11-19, Psalm 89.48.

Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20 adds: "For there is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind and an eventuality as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity. All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust, and they are all returning to the dust." It is shocking to contemplate: by sinning Adam brought mankind’s right to life down to the same level as the beasts! Separated from God, we die just like a dog does.

What does this mean? Should we "eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die?" That would make sense, if death was truly the end of it all forever. But it is not. —1 Cor 15.32.

The Hope for the Dead

King David loved God, and knew that his merciful heavenly Father would not abandon him to death forever. He composed a song, which in part reads: "I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also shall rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fulness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Ps 16:8-11, AV; compare Job 33.25, 26) These beautiful sentiments show that David expected to go to hell when he died. But he would not perish everlastingly; God would remember him and raise him up to a joyful life again. May we have the same hope? Yes.

It is clear that David did not think of hell as a place he would live in excruciating pain, eternally separated from God. No, David knew he would just be unconscious in death, as the other scriptures above show. And he expected to get out, to be freed from hell. David spoke Hebrew, so he actually said "sheol". The King James Bible translates the Hebrew "sheol" equally as "grave" and "hell", but sheol is not two different places. So when we see the word "hell" in our Bibles we cannot assume it means a place of eternal punishment. Many modern Bibles simply use the Hebrew word untranslated. (We will discuss hell at length a little later in this chapter.)

Nine hundred years later the apostle Peter quoted David’s song, then said "let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. . . For David is not ascended into the heavens." (please read Acts 2.25-36.) Had David’s faith been misplaced? No. His song proved to be an inspired prophecy that applied first to Jesus Christ. God’s loyal Son died and was buried (in hell, or the grave), but "this Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses."

Many witnesses could testify: Jesus was alive again! This assures us that, in due time, David will also rise from the dead. We too can trust God to remember us when we die. Like Christ, when death comes, we can say to God "into your hands I entrust my spirit." We need not dread death nor anyone who may threaten us with it. —see 1 Cor 15.3-6,12-22, Luke 23.46, Heb 2.14, 15.

For those who are faithful, this is more than a hope; it is a guarantee from God. Jesus said, "He that hears my word and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life." Because our faith is alive, we are "declared righteous." That means God lifts the condemnation we naturally inherit from Adam; he no longer considers us "dead in our sins." Our names are written into His "book of life", a listing of those whom He has approved. —see John 5:24, Romans 3.23, 24, 5.1-19, Eph 2.1-7, Php 4.3, Rev 3.5, Jas 1.12, 2.20-26.

This does not affect our natural lifespan at present; we do go on to die. But God considers us as if still alive. To him, our death is merely a sleep, from which he can easily awaken us. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, Jesus said: "Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I go there to awaken him from sleep." No, Lazarus had not gone on to another life elsewhere; he was dead. But to God it was if he were merely sleeping.

Lazarus’ sister Martha understood that her brother was dead. When Jesus reassured her with the words, "Your brother will rise," she replied "I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day." She did not mean the last day of Lazarus’ life: that was past, he had already been dead four days. She believed there was to be a future "last day" on which the dead would return to life.

Jesus then gave her an electrifying answer: "I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life, and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all." Then he proved to her and us that he has this authority over death: he went to the cave where her brother was buried and called "Lazarus, come on out!" —and Lazarus got up and came out! (Read the whole account at John 11.1-44.)

Speaking to a crowd at Capernaum, Jesus said "I am the bread of life. He that comes to me will not get hungry at all, and he that exercises faith in me will never get thirsty at all. . . for this is the will of my Father, that everyone that sees the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day. . . This is the bread that came down from heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever." (John 6.35, 40, 50-58) Later, to the Pharisees at the temple he said: "Most truly I say to you, If anyone observes my word, he will never see death at all." (John 8.51) You may be a believer, but you still eat lunch, right? Because you get hungry, and thirsty. Jesus clearly meant that we would never again hunger or thirst in a spiritual sense, not literally. It is in the same sense that we "never die at all." We do die, literally, but if we live our faith in Christ, we "come to life" in God’s eyes. We "are living" to him even while we wait in the grave. Of course, while dead we really are inactive; we "know not anything", we "sleep". But as Romans 4.17 explains, God "makes the dead alive and calls the things that are not as though they were." This applies to all those whom God approves, even to faithful ones who lived before Jesus’ time. Jesus said that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob "are all living to him [God]" even though they were still literally dead, awaiting that "last day". —Luke 20.38; see also 1 Peter 4.6.

Jesus did not mean that those who put faith in him would go directly to their reward as soon as they died. Many years later Paul was inspired to write to the Thessalonian congregation, "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant concerning those who are sleeping [in death], that you may not grieve as others do, as those who have no hope. For just as we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so too, through Jesus, God will bring back [to life] with him those who are asleep [in death]. For we tell you this by the word of the Lord: that we who live to the presence* of the Lord shall in no way go ahead of those who are sleeping [in death]. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven and give the command with arch-angelic voice and with the trumpet of God, and those who are dead in union with Christ shall rise first. After that we who are alive, who have survived [to that time], shall together with them be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. So, be comforting one another with these words." —1 Thess 4:13-18.

Clearly, faithful believers who died before Christ's return would have to wait, until he came to call them from their "sleep." It is possible some of the Thessalonians misunderstood Paul, because in his second letter he wrote, “Brothers, respecting the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we request of you not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be excited either through an [apparently] inspired message or . . . through a letter as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.” In other words, ‘hold on, we didn't say he was coming today.’ He goes on to explain "it [the Lord's day] will not come unless the apostasy comes first." This was fulfilled over some centuries as Christianity was subverted by the introduction of worldliness and paganism. It is ending in our time, which we can clearly identify as the "last days." —see footnote above.

Resurrection and Judgment Day

Who will be raised up from the dead? Paul said, "There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous." Of course, we expect God to restore life to those who were faithful to him. But why would he raise up unrighteous people? —Acts 24.15, Jas 1.12.

The Bible plainly says that some will not be raised up. Isaiah 26:10, 14 says: "Though the wicked one should be shown favor, he simply will not learn righteousness. In the land of straight-forwardness he will act unjustly and will not see the eminence of Jehovah. . . They are dead; they will not live. Impotent in death, they will not rise up. Therefore you have turned your attention that you might annihilate them and destroy all mention of them." Some have already proved themselves incorrigibly wicked. God has already passed judgment on them, and he does not need to do it again. Nor will He raise them up simply to show them what blessings they missed. "They will not rise up." They are already annihilated forever.

Who, then, are the "unrighteous" that will be raised up? The thief who was hanged alongside Christ is one example. Clearly, he had some good qualities about him. He knew that his own crimes deserved punishment, and he had sympathy for Jesus. Why had he not followed Christ before? We do not know. But now he had no time to get baptized as a Christian. Yet he will not be forgotten; Jesus promised him, "You will be with me in Paradise." —Luke 23.32-43.

Perhaps even some of those Roman soldiers there, doing their job in impaling Jesus, were not condemned forever for that. Did not Jesus say (verse 34) “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”? Throughout history there have been many who "did not know what they were doing." Many did try to live good lives. Although ignorant and imperfect, they believed in justice and kindness. Paul refers to people like that when he says “Whenever people of the nations that do not have [God’s] law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused.”

How will Jesus, as Judge, deal with them? Paul finishes: “This will be in the day when God through Christ Jesus judges the secret things of mankind, according to the good news I declare.” (Rom 2:14-16.) Clearly Paul is implying that these who demonstrated godly law within their hearts will be favorably remembered, even though they were limited by their ignorance. They will return, not as righteous ones, but as persons not yet saved, not yet declared righteous. God knows that they have the potential to learn the truth and respond with faith.

What about us? Should we think, “So all I have to do is live a good life. I can stay ignorant and turn down every opportunity I have to learn about God, and still get by”? What do you think?

No. Jesus has sympathy for those who are ignorant because they have never had any opportunity to learn. He condemns those who refuse to learn when the opportunity comes to them. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.” “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ Your sin remains.” He likens his people to sheep; when they hear the shepherd’s voice, they follow. If we clearly hear the shepherd’s voice but will not follow, we are not his sheep. —John 15:22, 9:41, 10:3, 4, 16, 27; see also 3:19-21, Heb 10.26, 27.

Jehovah is so loving and merciful! He does not do to us what we deserve; he remembers that we are dust! Will everyone appreciate that when they find themselves alive again in a beautiful new world? You would think so. But being resurrected will not by itself save those "unrighteous" ones. It will merely give them their first decent opportunity to come to know and love God.

Dan 12:2 says, “There will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up, these to indefinitely lasting life, and those to reproaches and indefinitely lasting abhorrence.” So not everyone who returns will be benefited everlastingly by the experience. Some will thereafter become condemned. Jesus said the same thing: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” —John 5.28, 29.

Notice that when we put together all the scriptures on this subject, we come up with three kinds of resurrection: at 1 Thessalonians 4, those raised "meet the Lord in the air." This means they go to live in heaven, as explained in chapter 6 of this book. This is called the "first resurrection" in Revelation 20:6, and it is entirely before Armageddon. Then there is another resurrection in Rev 20:11-15. This one covers the other two kinds: those who are righteous but not chosen for heaven, and those who have not yet been judged.* These are raised after Armageddon to live in a "new" earth, and all of them must prove to be faithful through the final test, as explained in chapter 9. It is possible that some may fail before that, and clearly quite a few will fail that last test. Those that pass, however, will have been raised "to indefinitely lasting life" as Daniel said.

Everlasting Punishment

What happens to those who reject the many merciful opportunities God allows? In the Revelation, we see a vision of Judgment Day. Those who "are not found written in the book of life" are "cast into a lake of fire," said to "burn with sulfur." Is this literal? Is there an actual lake somewhere, perhaps inside this planet, where people are sent to live forever in the most horrible agony? Is this the Hell that is taught by so many religions worldwide? —Rev 20.11-15.

If you look carefully at this passage, you will notice that the dead are brought up out of "hell" (see the King James version provided in the link). Hell is emptied, then thrown into the lake. Even death itself is thrown into this lake. The people are then judged, and whoever was not written in the book of life is cast into the fiery lake. The lake is said to be the "second" death.

This account is clearly different from the traditional teaching of hell. Most people believe hell is the final place for the wicked, a place of no return forevermore. Not according to this. Clearly, people will get out, and some even will be found written in the book of life. Hell is obviously not what most people have been taught.

The English word "hell" is related to the words "hole" and "cellar"; it did not originally mean a place of fire, but was given that meaning later by the clergy. Likewise the word "inferno", which today means a raging fire such as the "hell" of the churches, comes from the Latin infernus, meaning only "low" or "underground". It is related to the word "inferior". Rather than use words now twisted by the clergy, we should look at the words originally in the Bible, and see how they were used.

The word "hell" is translated from "sheol" in Hebrew and "hades" in Greek. Earlier we noted that faithful King David expected to be in sheol temporarily, and that Jesus was not left in hades. Job described sheol for us in poetic language as a place where all the dead, good and bad alike, lie at rest, with the lifeless body being consumed by maggots. This fits with Jesus and others describing the dead as sleeping. This "hell", then, is no more than the state of being literally dead. It is not a specific location, but describes graves and death in general. It may imply God’s disfavor, or it may not. —Job 3.11-19; see also 17.13-16, Isaiah 14.4-11.

The lake of fire is quite different. It is not a place of rest with hope of arising someday; it is a "second" kind of death. We are all subject to the first kind of death, but we can avoid the second. But what is this death? Is it really a horrible kind of everlasting life?

Just as sheol is not a literal location, neither is the lake of fire. You will not find it by drilling into the earth. Rather, it is a way of describing the final condition of those judged as irreformably wicked. Earlier we quoted Isaiah 26.14, which said the wicked "will not rise up," but rather are "destroyed" or "annihilated". Fire is a fitting way to describe their end, because fire destroys utterly and irretrievably. The most effective and permanent way to get rid of garbage is to burn it.

That is what the Jews did when they put their trash into the valley of Hinnom, which served as the garbage dump for Jerusalem. Sometimes even criminals deemed unworthy of any burial were dumped, after being executed, over the wall into this valley, and either got consumed by maggots or burned. Sulfur was used to intensify the heat to burn difficult materials, such as flesh.

Many centuries before the time of Christ, the valley of Hinnom had been used for repulsive human sacrifice: parents would burn their children alive there. They called this "making them pass through the fire," perhaps believing they were passing through to an afterlife to be with the gods. Those parents were very wrong, terribly misled. Jehovah was very hurt at heart to see this happen, so hurt that he was furious. They should have known better; his law specificly forbade such things. So he desecrated and defiled their "holy place", this valley, by having it turned into the city’s garbage dump.

Reading the account at Jeremiah 7.29—8.2, you will see what else he decided to do to punish them. If, indeed, living forever in flames is the proper punishment for those whom God condemns, he seems to have forgotten to mention it. No, God does not forget anything. And throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, you will find very strong expressions of the wrath of God, sometimes with lengthy descriptions of the calamities that God would bring upon the wicked. Yet not once does he mention any everlasting torture in fire. From this we see it is not God’s way to torture the wicked alive forever; rather, he destroys them. —compare Deut 28.15-66.

What, then, is the "hellfire" that Jesus spoke of? There, he said, "the maggot does not die and the fire is not put out." (Mark 9.43-48) Well, remember Jesus did not speak English. The word he used (Gehenna) actually means "the valley of Hinnom." Those he addressed knew exactly what he was talking about: the infamous city dump of Jerusalem. He was painting a graphic word picture of what awaited them if they did not fear God: they would be thrown away like so much garbage, burned completely or consumed by maggots, with no hope of being raised up. He was not implying, nor would any of his listeners have misunderstood him to mean, that they would have to live forever in a raging fire, shrieking in pain and terror, moaning and sobbing for mercy from a merciless, uncaring God. Yet millions today believe this is the fate of those who cross God, even those who have never heard of him. What utter cruelty! What injustice! Such a god could be feared, but never loved. No, such vicious ideas are from the twisted mind of Satan, not from the merciful God of the Bible.

But What About the Rich Man?

We have seen many scriptures showing that the dead are aware of nothing at all. They "sleep" until being raised up for their reward at a future day. Those condemned forever are destroyed completely, "body and soul". (Matt 10.28) Yet many people ignore all of that, and point to one scripture as proof that people are tormented alive in fire after death. This is the parable of the rich man and the beggar, found at Luke 16.19-31. (please read.)

Put briefly, a rich man enjoyed his wealth but ignored the plight of a poor man in need just outside his gate. Then both died, the rich man living after death in a blazing fire, while the poor man found comfort in Abraham’s arms. The rich man asked Abraham for some relief, but was refused. What does all this mean? Is there any explanation that harmonizes with the other scriptures? Surely it would not be right to throw away the rest of the Bible, just because it presents a different picture of death.

The first key to understanding this parable is to recognize that it is a parable, not an account of an actual event. In a parable, each character or feature stands as a symbol of something which resembles it in real life. (Compare Jesus’ parable of the sower with his explanation of it, at Matt 13.3-8, 18-23.) To understand the parable of the rich man, it is helpful to realize who Jesus was talking to at the time: the Pharisees. (Luke 16.14) These were quite rich and were sometimes very disdainful of the poor. They would have understood that the rich man meant them, and the poor man represented the ordinary people they despised.

Who did "Abraham" represent? Well, Abraham was the beloved forefather of the Jews. He was dead and still sleeping in his grave, just as David was. No, he had not gone to heaven. Jesus said plainly that He himself would be the first one to rise from the dead and go to heaven (John 3.13; see also 1 Cor 15.20-23). Who, then, would "Abraham" picture? Apparently, God himself, as the loving Father of mankind.

This parable, like so many others, was a prophecy. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they would "die" and suffer rejection by God, while the ordinary people would be comforted. This actually came true; not after literal death, but after a figurative kind of death.

When the Christian congregation was established, it was humble, ordinary people that put faith in Jesus. It was they that received the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost. Hence they "died" as to their past "poor" spiritual condition. (Lu 6.20, 21; Rom 6.11) No longer did they have to beg at the gate of the educated Pharisees for the scraps of scriptures they might deign to let them hear. Now they were truly "in the arms of Abraham", the warm position of God’s approval and support. —Romans 6.2-4, 22, 23.

But for the Pharisees it was a different matter! They could see that they had been rejected. Figuratively, they had "died", they had been removed for misusing their responsibility as teachers of God’s word. Worse, the Christians relentlessly publicized this throughout the land. Truly, this was torment to them. If only they had one little drop, one little sop, a word of reassurance, to ease the pain. But no, the Christians were not to do that.

The rich man’s request for one drop of water shows the parable cannot be literal, since a person literally sitting in a fire would not ask for one mere drop of water, and that applied to the wrong end of the anatomy. But taken as a prophetic parable, it makes a lot of sense. In fact, we can see an application of it in our time. So many clergy have acted like the Pharisees did, teaching their flocks just scraps of the Bible while living luxuriously off their tithes. But Jehovah’s Witnesses have been set free, and do not have to beg those clergy. We teach hard truths that expose those hypocrits, and this torments them. We give them no sop of kind words excusing their malfeasance.

Our Spirit and Our Soul

Now that we have seen very plainly what the Bible says about death and how we can escape it, let us go back and examine two words that many are confused about: spirit and soul.

Most people think these are the same thing. They are not. They are distinct words in both Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible. In Hebrew, spirit is "ruach" and soul is "nephesh"; in Greek, spirit is "pneuma" and soul is "psyche".

The righteous man Job made this comment: "While my breath is yet whole within me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will speak no unrighteousness, and my own tongue will mutter no deceit!" (Job 27:3,4) By saying that the "spirit" was "in his nostrils", and making it parallel to "breath", Job gives us a clue as to what it is: a special, invisible life-breath that only God can give. Later in the book of Job we hear a wise young man say: "If he [God] sets his heart upon anyone, if that one’s spirit and breath he gathers to himself, all flesh will expire together, and earthling man himself will return to the very dust." (Job 34:14, 15) If we stop breathing long enough, we die; likewise, if we lose that "spirit", or special life-force from God, we perish.

Animals live by means of the same spirit. Eccl 3.19, quoted earlier, said that man and beasts "have but one spirit." Psalms 104 praises God for his creations, describing many animals. Then it says: "If you take away their spirit, they expire, and back to their dust they go. If you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you make the face of the ground new." (29, 30) Clearly, spirit does not refer to the individual, personal creature itself, but to something within it that causes it to live.

Speaking of a man dying of old age, Eccl 12:7 says, "Then the dust returns to the earth just as it happened to be and the spirit itself returns to the true God who gave it." The references above make the meaning plain: the spirit that returns to God is not the man himself, but the life-force that God gives to all living creatures.

If a person loses his spirit, can he get it back? Yes. In one case, a man was found near death from exposure. King David’s men gave him nourishment; the account says "he ate and his spirit returned to him." That is, he revived. What if a person has really died? Notice how Jesus raised up the twelve-year old girl: “He took her by the hand and called, saying ‘Girl, get up!’ And her spirit returned, and she rose instantly.” The similar expressions in these two accounts help us to see that "spirit" simply means that which enlivens a person. It is not the person himself. —1 Sam 30.11, 12; Luke 8.52-55.

As was discussed in chapter 3, Who is God?, the word "spirit" is used rather broadly in scripture. Besides our enlivening force, it also can mean one’s attitude, or degree of enthusiasm. Even today we call an enthusiastic person "spirited". Do we mean they are possessed by more ghosts than a dull ("dispirited") person? Of course not. It’s just a figure of speech, just as in the Bible.

What Is the Soul?

The Hebrew word for soul (nephesh) occurs very frequently in the Hebrew scriptures, and basically means a being, a creature, a person; or, the individual, personal life that a person or animal has. (Hebrew has a different word, "chaiyim", for life in general.) Only strictly literal translations render nephesh consistently as "soul". Others translations translate the word in a variety of ways. Here is a partial listing: life, my life, your life, its life, a person, creature(s), beast(s), animal(s), being(s), I, me, you, he, him, she, herself, whoever, anyone, my heart, your heart, breath, anything living, everything living, an individual, mind, the dead, a dead person, a body, a corpse.

Astonished? You should be. In every case the original word was "nephesh", either singular or plural. Actually, such renderings are usually reasonably close to the meaning intended. The only harm done is that the readers are left unaware that all of these are covered by one word, "soul".

There are a few of these you may be wondering about. For your comparison, here side by side we show a literal translation (the New World Translation, 1984 rendering*) and less precise translations (from two popular versions; others are similar):

The 2013 NWT edition uses the common meanings in the main text, and footnotes that the original said "soul." This is easier to read, yet keeps the deeper understanding available.

Gen 1:20: "And God went on to say: ‘Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls and let flying creatures fly over the earth upon the face of the expanse of the heavens.’"

King James: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."

Gen 9:4: "Only flesh with its soul--its blood--you must not eat."

King James: "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat."

Gen 37:21: "When Reuben heard this he tried to deliver him out of their hand. So he said: ‘Let us not strike his soul fatally.’"

King James: "And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him."

Lev 24:18: "And the fatal striker of the soul of a domestic animal should make compensation for it, soul for soul."

King James: "And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast."

Today’s English Version: "anyone killing an animal belonging to someone else must replace it. The principle is a life for a life."

Deut 24:15: "In his day you should give him his wages, and the sun should not set upon them, because he is in trouble and is lifting up his soul to his wages; that he may not cry out to Jehovah against you, and it must become sin on your part."

King James: "At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it; lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee."

Num 6:6: "All the days of his keeping separate to Jehovah he may not come toward any dead soul."

King James: "All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body."

Today’s English Version: "He must not defile himself by going near a corpse." (see also Lev 19.28, 21.11, 22.4)

"Soul" is often spoken of as the person himself, and at other times, as if were something a person possesses. For example, Judges 12:3 reads, "When I got to see that you were no savior, then I determined to put my soul in my own palm and go over against the sons of Ammon." The King James Version reads, "And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon." As you can see, the expression "my soul" does not mean some ghostly entity within our body; it simply means our individual life, our life as a person. It implies our whole self, and is a stronger way of saying "myself". For example, Psalm 6:3 (New World Translation) says, "my own soul has been very much disturbed." Or, "my whole being is deeply troubled." (Today's English Version) —see also Isa 29.8.

There is a popular song in Christendom with an often-repeated refrain: "And the soul never dies." Have you ever heard it? After reading the verses above, would you say it is true? The Bible plainly says: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek 18.20, AV; see Jas 5.20, also Psalm 89.48 again.)

When a candle goes out,
where does it go?
Does the flame go anywhere?

Similarly, a person can "lose" his soul. At its simplest, that merely means he has lost his life; he is dead. When Elijah raised up the little boy, the account says "the soul of the child came back within him and he came to life." Not that his soul was living somewhere else; simply, the dead boy got his life back. —1 Kings 17.17-24.

The expression "lose one’s soul" can mean something more permanent: the person has lost his right to life; he is condemned. Notice how both the simple and extended meanings are used by Jesus at Matt 16.25, 26 (also compare the parallel account at Luke 9.24, 25.) If we "lose our soul"* (die) for Christ, we "save" or "find" it (our life will be returned to us in the resurrection), but if we seek to save ourselves in our own way, we will permanently “lose our soul” (or “self” as Luke puts it).

This makes Matt 10.28 easy to understand: "Do not become fearful of those who can kill the body (our present existence) but cannot kill the soul (our whole self, our right to life); rather be in fear of Him that can destroy (utterly annihilate) both soul and body (our total existence) in Gehenna (God’s trash heap)."

Wait For the Dead to Return

If someone whom you truly love dies, it is normal to find it hard to accept that that one is really gone. In your heart you may never get accustomed to their absence. In fact in your grief you may imagine at times that they are still alive. You may even think you hear them moving or speaking in another room of the house.

Here is where a grave danger comes in: Satan is eager to support the false belief that your beloved is not really dead. You have to have faith that God is really telling you the truth. So do not feed your imagination. Do not answer back to imagined voices! Doing that, some have then been visited by a "ghost" that pretends to be the dead person. God emphatically forbids us from trying to talk with the dead, because He knows that we will contact the demons (fallen angels), not the dead person. —see Deut 18.9-13.

These rebel angels are enemies of God. You cannot be a friend of God and a friend of his enemies at the same time. The demons do not love you. They are very cunning and deceitful, so they can be sweet and charming for as long as it takes to pull you away from God; but once they have you, they can on a whim turn viciously ugly. Do not become involved with them! Trust Jehovah! You will see your dead beloved alive again, when the time for the resurrection arrives.

Saul, the first king to rule Israel, proved unfaithful to God, being disobedient and presumptuous on several occasions. Samuel was the leading prophet at the time, and he had to tell Saul that God had rejected him. From then on God refused to respond when Saul prayed, and Samuel would not speak to him either. Soon after that, Samuel died of old age. Later the Philistines amassed a large army to attack Israel, and Saul was terrified. Still Jehovah refused to answer his calls for help. By this time Saul’s mind had become twisted by ungodliness. He had begun to believe that it was possible to speak to the dead, despite God’s law against such things. Anyone who even tried to speak to the dead was supposed to be executed. But Saul was able to find a witch hiding in remote En-dor. There he asked her to call Samuel up out of the grave, to ask him what he should do about the Philistines. The being that rose in ghostly form from the earth looked like Samuel, and spoke as if he was Samuel, but he was not really Samuel, of course. Samuel had been a prophet of God and would never cooperate with a witch. Nor could any witch force God to pass along advice that He had refused to give by any other means. No great genius was needed to see that Saul was doomed, so the demon simply foretold the obvious: Saul would die, the Philistines would win. —1 Sam 15.22, 23, 35, 28.4-19.

Saul was not loyal to Jehovah. He did not obey and was cast away by God. We must learn from this. Do not try to speak to the dead. Instead, seek to please Jehovah by being loyal and submissive to his authority. The next chapter will explore other ways we can do this.

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Gen 2.16, 17
Jehovah God laid this command upon the man: "You may eat to satisfaction from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, for in the day you eat from it you will surely die."

Genesis 3:1-24, paraphrased:
Now the serpent . . . began to say to the woman: "Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?" The woman replied to the serpent: "We may eat of the trees of the garden, but as for the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'you must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it, that you do not die.'" Then the serpent said to the woman: "You will not die at all. In fact God knows that in the very day you eat from it your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like God, knowing good and bad."
Then the woman saw that the tree was . . . something to be longed for to the eyes . . So she began taking its fruit and eating it. Later she gave some also to her husband when with her and he began eating it. Then the eyes of both of them became opened and they began to realize that they were naked. . . .
Later they heard the voice of Jehovah in the garden . . . and the man and his wife went into hiding from His face . . . And Jehovah kept calling to the man . . . Finally he said: "Your voice I heard in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked and so I hid myself." At that he said: "Who told you that you were naked? From the tree from which I commanded you not to eat have you eaten?" The man replied: "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate." Then Jehovah said to the woman: "What is this you have done?" To this the woman replied: "The serpent— it deceived me and so I ate." . . .
Then God said to the woman: "I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you." And to Adam he said: "Because you listened to your wife's voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, 'You must not eat from it,' cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it will grow for you . . . In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return."
After this Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she had to become the mother of everyone living. . . And Jehovah God went on to say: "Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now so that he may not reach out and take fruit also from the tree of life, and eat and live to time indefinite,—" With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eden . . . and posted at the east of the garden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning continually, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 5.5
So all the days of Adam amounted to nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

Ephesians 2.1, 12
. . . you were dead in your trespasses and sins . . . and you had no hope and were without God in the world.

Job 24.19, 20
The drought, also the heat, snatch away the snow waters;
So does Sheol those who have sinned!
The womb will forget him, the maggot will sweetly suck him,
He will be remembered no more.
And unrighteousness will be broken just like a tree.

Ephesians 2.1-3
Furthermore, you were then dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the way of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience. Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and its way of thinking, and we were naturally children of wrath even as the rest.

1 Tim 5.6
But the one that goes in for immoral sensual gratification is dead though she is living.

Job 3.11-19
Why from the womb did I not proceed to die? Why did I not come forth from the belly itself and then expire? Why was it that knees confronted me, and why breasts that I should take suck? For by now I should have lain down that I might be undisturbed; I should have slept then; I should be at rest with kings and counselors of the earth, those building desolate places for themselves, or with princes who have gold, those who fill their houses with silver; Or, like a hidden miscarriage, I should not come to be, like children that have seen no light. There the wicked themselves have ceased from agitation, and there those weary in power are at rest. Together prisoners themselves are at ease; they actually do not hear the voice of one driving them to work. Small and great are there the same, and the slave is set free from his master.

Psalm 89.48
What able-bodied man is there alive who will not see death? Can he provide escape for his soul from the hand of Sheol?

1 Cor 15.32
If . . . I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus [in struggle to be true to his faith], of what good is it to me? If the dead are not to be raised up, "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die."

Job 33.25, 26
Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; Let him return to the days of his youthful vigor. He will make entreaty to God that he may take pleasure in him, and he will see his face with joyful shouting, and He will restore His righteousness to mortal man.

Acts 2.25-36
For David says respecting him [Christ], "I had Jehovah constantly before my eyes; because he is at my right hand that I may never be shaken. On this account my heart became cheerful and my tongue rejoiced greatly. Moreover, even my flesh will reside in hope; because you will not leave my soul in Hades, neither will you allow your loyal one to see corruption. You have made life’s ways known to me, you will fill me with good cheer with your face." Men, brothers, it is allowable to speak with freeness of speech to you concerning the family head David, that he both died and was buried and his memorial tomb is among us to this day. Therefore, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that he would seat one from the fruitage of his loins upon his throne, he saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear. Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, 'Jehovah said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet."' Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.

1 Cor 15.3-6,12-22
For I handed on to you, among the first things, that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and he was buried, yes, then he has been raised up the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that he appeared to upward of five hundred brothers at one time, the most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep [in death].

1 Corinthians 15:12-22
Now if Christ is being preached that he has been raised up from the dead, how is it some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If, indeed, there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised up. But if Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is certainly in vain, and our faith is in vain. Moreover, we are also found false witnesses of God, because we have testified against God that he raised up the Christ, but whom he did not raise up if the dead are really not to be raised up. For if the dead are not to be raised up, neither has Christ been raised up. Further, if Christ has not been raised up, your faith is useless; you are yet in your sins. In fact, also, those who fell asleep [in death] in union with Christ perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. However, now Christ has been raised up from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.

Luke 23:46
Then Jesus called with a loud voice and said: "Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit." When he had said this, he expired.

Hebrews 2:14-15
Therefore, since the "young children" are sharers of blood and flesh, he [Christ] also similarly partook of the same things, that through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, the Devil, and set free all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives.

John 5:24
Most truly I say to you, he that hears my word and believes Him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.

Romans 3:23-24
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom by Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:1-19
Therefore, now that we have been declared righteous as a result of faith, let us enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have gained our approach by faith into this undeserved kindness in which we now stand; and let us speak joyfully on our hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but let us rejoice even while in tribulations, since we know that tribulation produces endurance; endurance, in turn, tested and proven quality; the proven quality, in turn, gives us hope, and the hope does not lead to disappointment; because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy spirit, which was given us. For, indeed, Christ, while we were yet weak, died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly will anyone die for a righteous person; indeed, for the good person, perhaps, someone even dares to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, since we have been declared righteous now by his blood, shall we be saved through him from wrath. For if, when we were enemies, we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, now that we have become reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only that, but we are also rejoicing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned—. For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law. Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned like the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come. But it is not with the gracious gift as it was with the trespass. For if by one man’s trespass many died, the undeserved kindness of God and his gift in undeserved kindness by the one man Jesus Christ abounded much more to many. Also, the gift is not through the one that sinned. For the one trespass produced a judgment of condemnation, but the free gift, out of many trespasses, a declaration of righteousness. For if by the trespass of the one man death ruled as king through that one, much more will those who receive the abundance of the undeserved kindness and of the gracious gift of righteousness rule as kings in life through the one, Jesus Christ. So, then, as one trespass put all men into condemnation, likewise also by the one act of justice all men may be declared righteous for life. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners*, likewise also through the obedience of the one shall many be made righteous.

*literally, ones who fall beside, that is, miss the target, make the incomplete pass, fail to succeed.

Ephesians 2:1-7
Furthermore, you were then dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the way of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience. Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and its way of thinking, and we were naturally children of wrath even as the rest. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with the Christ, even when we were dead in trespasses— by undeserved kindness you have been saved— and he raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus, that in the coming age* there might be demonstrated the surpassing riches of his undeserved kindness in his graciousness toward us in union with Christ Jesus.

*the word translated "way" in verse 1 is the same as "age" here. The basic meaning is epoch, time period.

Philippians 4:3
Yes, I request you too, genuine yokefellow, keep assisting these women who have striven side by side with me in the good news, along with Clement as well as the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Revelation 3:5
He that conquers will thus be arrayed in white outer garments; and I will by no means blot out his name from the book of life, but I will make acknowledgment of his name before my Father and before his angels.

James 1:12
Happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving him.

James 2:20-26
But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith apart from works is ineffective? Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? You behold that his faith and his actions worked together, so that his works completed his faith, and the scripture was fulfilled which says: "Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness," and he came to be called "Jehovah's friend." You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works [of faith], and not by faith alone. In the same manner was not also Rahab the harlot declared righteous by works, after she had received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without [its] works is dead.

John 11:1-44
Now there was a certain man sick, Lazarus of Bethany, of the village of Mary and of Martha her sister. It was, in fact, the Mary that greased the Lord with perfumed oil and wiped his feet dry with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore his sisters dispatched word to him, saying: “Lord, see! the one for whom you have affection is sick.” But when Jesus heard it he said: “This sickness is not with death as its purpose, but is for the glory of God, in order that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. However, when he heard that he was sick, then he actually remained two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples: “Let us go into Judea again.” The disciples said to him: “Rabbi, just lately the Judeans were seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered: “There are twelve hours of daylight, are there not? If anyone walks in daylight he does not bump against anything, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he bumps against something, because the light is not in him.” He said these things, and after this he said to them: “Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.” Therefore the disciples said to him: “Lord, if he has gone to rest, he will get well.” Jesus had spoken, however, about his death, but they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. At that time, therefore, Jesus said to them plainly: ‘Lazarus has died,” and I rejoice on your account that I was not there, in order for you to believe. But let us go to him.” Therefore Thomas, who was called The Twin, said to his fellow disciples: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Consequently when Jesus arrived, he found he had already been in his memorial tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem at a distance of about two miles. Accordingly many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary in order to console them concerning their brother. Therefore Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, met him; but Mary kept sitting at home. Martha therefore said to Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. And yet at present I know that as many things as you ask God for, God will give you.” Jesus said to her: “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him: “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?” She said to him: “Yes, Lord; I have believed that you are the Christ the Son of God, the One coming into the world.” And when she had said this, she went off and called Mary her sister, saying secretly: “The Teacher is present and is calling you.” The latter, when she heard this, got up quickly and was on her way to him. Jesus had not yet, in fact, come into the village, but he was still in the place where Martha met him. Therefore the Jews that were with her in the house and that were consoling her, on seeing Mary rise quickly and go out, followed her, supposing that she was going to the memorial tomb to weep there. And so Mary, when she arrived where Jesus was and caught sight of him, fell at his feet, saying to him: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus, therefore, when he saw her weeping and the Jews that came with her weeping, groaned in the spirit and became troubled; and he said: “Where have you laid him?” They said to him: “Lord, come and see.” Jesus gave way to tears. Therefore the Jews began to say: “See, what affection he used to have for him!” But some of them said: “Was this man that opened the eyes of the blind man not able to prevent this one from dying?” Hence Jesus, after groaning again within himself, came to the memorial tomb. It was, in fact, a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said: “Take the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him: “Lord, by now he must smell, for it has been four days.” Jesus said to her: “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Therefore they took the stone away. Now Jesus raised his eyes heavenward and said: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. True, I knew that you always hear me; but on account of the crowd standing around I spoke, in order that they might believe that you sent me forth.” And when he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come on out!” Then he that had been dead came out with his feet and hands bound with wrappings, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them: “Loose him and let him go.”

Luke 20.38
He is a God, not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all living to him.

1 Peter 4:6
For this purpose the good news was declared also to the dead, that they might be judged as to the flesh from the standpoint of men but might live as to the spirit from the standpoint of God.

Some have misinterpreted this verse as saying that Christ, while dead, went and preached to (and saved!) people in hell. No, he was really dead until the third day. The correct meaning becomes clear with the addition of a single word Paul was implying: 'the good news was declared to those who are now dead.' They were alive when they heard the good news, and put faith in it, but since then they have died. They are "judged as to the flesh from the standpoint of men," that is, we see them as impotent in death, buried and gone; but they "live as to the spirit from the standpoint of God." Here "spirit" means life-breath or life-force (as explained later in this chapter), which God can and will restore to these faithful ones in his due time. From his standpoint, they are just a moment away from being alive. So do not think it is a waste of time to work hard for the good news, only to end up dead; death has been conquered. (That fits with the context in verses 1-5, which you can study on your own.)

Revelation 2:26, 27
To him that conquers and observes my deeds down to the end I will give authority over the nations, and he shall shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels, the same as I have received from my Father.

Jas 1.12
Happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving him.

Luke 23.32-43
But two other men, evildoers, were also being led to be executed with him. And when they got to the place called Skull, there they impaled him and the evildoers, one on his right and one on his left. [[But Jesus was saying: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”]] Furthermore, to distribute his garments, they cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But the rulers were sneering, saying: “Others he saved; let him save himself, if this one is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” Even the soldiers made fun of him, coming close and offering him sour wine and saying: “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was also an inscription over him: “This is the king of the Jews.” But one of the hung evildoers began to say abusively to him: “You are the Christ, are you not? Save yourself and us.” In reply the other rebuked him and said: “Do you not fear God at all, now that you are in the same judgment? And we, indeed, justly so, for we are receiving in full what we deserve for things we did; but this man did nothing out of the way.” And he went on to say: “Jesus, remember me when you get into your kingdom.” And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”

John 15:22
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John 9:41
Jesus said to them: “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ your sin remains.”

John 10:3-4
The doorkeeper opens to this one, and the sheep listen to his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has got all his own out, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.

John 10:16
I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.

John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 3:19-21
Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. For he that practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, in order that his works may not be reproved. But he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works may be made manifest as having been worked in harmony with God.

Heb 10.26, 27
For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, but we should have a certain fearful expectation of judgment, of his fiery zeal [of justice] that will consume those in opposition.

Rev 20.11-15
I saw a great white throne and the one seated on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened: the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, out of the things written in the books. And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Hades gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And whoever was not found written in the book of life was hurled into the lake of fire.

I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Job 3.11-19
Why from the womb did I not go on to die? Or come forth from the belly and then expire? Why was it that knees were in front of me, and why breasts, that I should take suck? For by now I should have lain down that I might be undisturbed; I should have slept then; I should be at rest, with kings and counselors of the earth, those building isolated places for themselves, or, with princes who have gold, those who fill their houses with silver; or, like a hidden miscarriage, I should not have come to be, like children that have seen no light. There the very wicked have ceased from agitation, and there those weary in power are at rest. Together prisoners themselves are at ease; they no longer hear the voice of one driving them to work. Small and great are there the same, and the slave is set free from his master.

Job 17.13-16
If I keep waiting, Sheol is my house; in the darkness I shall have to spread out my lounge. To the pit I shall have to call out, “You are my father!” To the maggot, “My mother and my sister!” So where, then, is my hope? And my hope— who is it that beholds it? To the bars of Sheol they will go down, when we, all together, must descend to the very dust.

Isaiah 14.4-11
Raise up this proverbial saying against the king of Babylon and say: “How has the one driving others to work come to a stop, the oppression come to a stop! Jehovah has broken the rod of the wicked ones, the staff of the ruling ones, the one striking peoples in fury with a stroke incessantly, the one subduing nations in sheer anger with a persecution without restraint. The whole earth has come to rest, has become free of disturbance. People have become cheerful with joyful cries. Even the juniper trees have also rejoiced at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Ever since you have lain down, no woodcutter comes up against us.’ Even Sheol underneath has become agitated at you in order to meet you on coming in. At you it has awakened those impotent in death, all the goatlike leaders of the earth. It has made all the kings of the nations get up from their thrones. All of them speak up and say to you, ‘Have you yourself also been made weak like us? Is it to us that you have been made comparable? Down to Sheol your pride has been brought, the din of your stringed instruments. Beneath you, maggots are spread out as a couch; and worms are your covering.’”

Jeremiah 7.29—8.2
Shear off your uncut hair and throw it away, and upon the bare hills raise a dirge, for Jehovah has rejected and will desert the generation with which he is furious. “For the sons of Judah have done what is bad in my eyes,” is the word of Jehovah. “They have set their disgusting things in the house upon which my name has been called, in order to defile it. And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.”
“Therefore, look! days are coming,” is the word of Jehovah, “when it will no more be called Topheth and the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of the killing; and they will have to bury in Topheth without there being enough place. And the dead bodies of this people must become food for the flying creatures of the heavens and for the beasts of the earth, with no one to frighten them away. And from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem I will cause to cease the voice of exultation and the voice of rejoicing, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land will become nothing but a devastated place.”
“At that time,” is the word of Jehovah, people will also pull out the bones of the kings of Judah and its princes and priests and prophets, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from their graves. And they will actually spread them out to the sun and to the moon and to all the army of the heavens that they have loved and that they have served and that they have walked after and that they have sought and that they have bowed down to. They will not be gathered, nor will they be buried. As manure upon the face of the ground they will become.”

Deut 28.15-66
It must occur that if you will not listen to the voice of Jehovah your God by taking care to do all his commandments and his statutes that I am commanding you today, all these maledictions must also come upon you and overtake you: Cursed will you be in the city, and cursed will you be in the field. Cursed will be your basket and your kneading trough. Cursed will be the fruit of your belly and the fruitage of your ground, the young of your cattle and the progeny of your flock. Cursed will you be when you come in, and cursed will you be when you go out. Jehovah will send upon you the curse, confusion and rebuke in every undertaking of yours that you try to carry out, until you have been annihilated and have perished in a hurry, because of the badness of your practices in that you have forsaken me. Jehovah will cause the pestilence to cling to you until he has exterminated you from off the ground to which you are going to take possession of it. Jehovah will strike you with tuberculosis and burning fever and inflammation and feverish heat and the sword and scorching and mildew, and they will certainly pursue you until you have perished. Your skies that are over your head must also become copper, and the earth that is beneath you iron. Jehovah will give powder and dust as the rain of your land. From the heavens it will come down upon you until you have been annihilated. Jehovah will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. By one way you will go out against them, but by seven ways you will flee before them; and you must become a frightful object to all the earth’s kingdoms. And your dead body must become food for every flying creature of the heavens and to the beast of the field, with no one to frighten them away. Jehovah will strike you with the boil of Egypt and piles and eczema and skin eruption, from which you will not be able to be healed. Jehovah will strike you with madness and loss of sight and bewilderment of heart. And you will indeed become one who gropes about at midday, just as a blind man gropes about in the gloom, and you will not make your ways successful; and you must become only one who is always defrauded and robbed, with no one to save you. You will become engaged to a woman, but another man will rape her. You will build a house, but you will not dwell in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not begin to use it. Your bull slaughtered there before your eyes— but you will not eat any of it. Your ass taken in robbery from before your face— but it will not return to you. Your sheep given to your enemies— but you will have no savior. Your sons and your daughters given to another people and your eyes looking on and yearning for them always— but your hands will be without power. The fruitage of your ground and all your production a people will eat whom you have not known; and you must become one who is only defrauded and crushed always. And you will certainly become maddened at the sight of your eyes that you will see. Jehovah will strike you with a malignant boil upon both knees and both legs, from which you will not be able to be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. Jehovah will march you and your king whom you will set up over you to a nation whom you have not known, neither you nor your forefathers; and there you will have to serve other gods, of wood and of stone. And you must become an object of astonishment, a proverbial saying and a taunt among all the peoples to whom Jehovah will lead you away. Much seed you will take out to the field, but little will you gather, because the locust will devour it. Vineyards you will plant and certainly cultivate, but you will drink no wine and gather nothing in, because the worm will eat it up. You will come to have olive trees in all your territory, but you will rub yourself with no oil, because your olives will drop off. Sons and daughters you will bring forth, but they will not continue yours, because they will go off into captivity. All your trees and the fruitage of your ground whirring insects will take in possession. The alien resident who is in your midst will keep ascending higher and higher above you, while you— you will keep descending lower and lower. He will be the one to lend to you, while you— you will not lend to him. He will become the head, while you— you will become the tail. And all these maledictions will certainly come upon you and pursue you and overtake you until you have been annihilated, because you did not listen to the voice of Jehovah your God by keeping his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. And they must continue on you and your offspring as a sign and a portent to time indefinite, due to the fact that you did not serve Jehovah your God with rejoicing and joy of heart for the abundance of everything. And you will have to serve your enemies whom Jehovah will send against you with hunger and thirst and nakedness and the want of everything; and he will certainly put an iron yoke upon your neck until he has annihilated you. Jehovah will raise up against you a nation far away, from the end of the earth, just as an eagle pounces, a nation whose tongue you will not understand, a nation fierce in countenance, who will not be partial to an old man or show favor to a young man. And they will certainly eat the fruit of your domestic animals and the fruitage of your ground until you have been annihilated, and they will let no grain, new wine or oil, no young of your cattle or progeny of your flock, remain for you until they have destroyed you. And they will indeed besiege you within all your gates until your high and fortified walls in which you are trusting fall in all your land, yes, they will certainly besiege you within all your gates in all your land, which Jehovah your God has given you. Then you will have to eat the fruit of your belly, the flesh of your sons and your daughters, whom Jehovah your God has given you, because of the tightness and stress with which your enemy will hem you in. As for the very delicate and dainty man among you, his eye will be evil-inclined toward his brother and his cherished wife and the remainder of his sons whom he has remaining, so as not to give one of them any of the flesh of his sons that he will eat, because he has nothing at all remaining to him because of the tightness and stress with which your enemy will hem you in within all your gates. As for the delicate and dainty woman among you who never attempted to set the sole of her foot upon the earth for being of dainty habit and for delicateness, her eye will be evil-inclined toward her cherished husband and her son and her daughter, even toward her afterbirth that comes out from between her legs and toward her sons whom she proceeded to bear, because she will eat them in secrecy for the want of everything because of the tightness and stress with which your enemy will hem you in within your gates. If you will not take care to carry out all the words of this law that are written in this book so as to fear this glorious and fear-inspiring name, even Jehovah, your God, Jehovah also will certainly make your plagues and the plagues of your offspring especially severe, great and long-lasting plagues, and malignant and long-lasting sicknesses. And he will indeed bring back upon you all the diseases of Egypt before which you got scared, and they will certainly hang onto you. Also, any sickness and any plague that is not written in the book of this law, Jehovah will bring them upon you until you have been annihilated. And all of you will indeed be left with very few in number, although you have become like the stars of the heavens for multitude, because you did not listen to the voice of Jehovah your God. And it must occur that just as Jehovah exulted over you to do you good and to multiply you, so Jehovah will exult over you to destroy you and to annihilate you; and you will simply be torn away from off the soil to which you are going to take possession of it. And Jehovah will certainly scatter you among all the peoples from the one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, and there you will have to serve other gods whom you have not known, neither you nor your forefathers, wood and stone. And among those nations you will have no ease, nor will there prove to be any resting-place for the sole of your foot; and Jehovah will indeed give you there a trembling heart and a failing of the eyes and despair of soul. And you will certainly be in the greatest peril for your life and be in dread night and day, and you will not be sure of your life.

In other words, "don't mess with me, I can hurt you bad." Yet not a peep about torture after death. Why would he not say it here, if it were in fact his foremost way of punishing the wayward?

Mark 9.43-48
If ever your hand makes you stumble, cut it off; it is finer for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go off into Gehenna, into the fire that cannot be put out. — And if your foot makes you stumble, cut it off; it is finer for you to enter into life lame than with two feet to be pitched into Gehenna. — And if your eye makes you stumble, throw it away; it is finer for you to enter one-eyed into the kingdom of God than with two eyes to be pitched into Gehenna, where their maggot does not die and the fire is not put out

Matt 10.28
Do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

Luke 16.19-31
A certain man was rich, and he used to deck himself with purple and linen, enjoying himself from day to day with magnificence. But a certain beggar named Lazarus used to be put at his gate, full of ulcers and desiring to be filled with the things dropping from the table of the rich man. Yes, too, the dogs would come and lick his ulcers. Now in course of time the beggar died and he was carried off by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. Also, the rich man died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, he being in torments, and he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in the bosom with him. So he called and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this blazing fire.” But Abraham said, “Child, remember that you received in full your good things in your lifetime, but Lazarus correspondingly the bad things. Now, however, he is having comfort here, but you are in anguish. And besides all these things, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you people, so that those wanting to go over from here to you people cannot, neither may people cross over from there to us.” Then he said, “In that event I ask you, father, to send him to the house of my father, for I have five brothers, in order that he may give them a thorough witness, that they also should not get into this place of torment.” But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to these.” Then he said, “No, indeed, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent.” But he said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.”

Matt 13.3-8, 18-23
Then he told them many things by illustrations [parables], saying: “Look! A sower went out to sow; and as he was sowing, some seeds fell alongside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell upon the rocky places where they did not have much soil, and at once they sprang up because of not having depth of soil. But when the sun rose they were scorched, and because of not having root they withered. Others, too, fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. Still others fell upon the fine soil and they began to yield fruit, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty.”
18. You, then, listen to the illustration of the man that sowed. Where anyone hears the word of the kingdom but does not get the sense of it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart; this is the one sown alongside the road. As for the one sown upon the rocky places, this is the one hearing the word and at once accepting it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is quickly stumbled. As for the one sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. As for the one sown upon the fine soil, this is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty.

Luke 16.14
Now the Pharisees, who were money lovers, were listening to all these things, and they began to sneer at him. [then he started the parable of the rich man, verse 19]

John 3.13
Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23
However, now Christ has been raised up from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. But each one in his own rank: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence.

Lu 6.20, 21
He lifted up his eyes upon his disciples and began to say: Happy are you poor, because yours is the kingdom of God. Happy are you who hunger now, because you will be filled. Happy are you who weep now, because you will laugh.

Romans 6:11
Likewise also you: reckon yourselves to be dead indeed with reference to sin but living with reference to God by Christ Jesus.

Romans 6.2-4, 22, 23
Seeing that we died with reference to sin, how shall we keep on living any longer in it? Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him through our baptism into his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, we also should likewise walk in a newness of life.
22-23: However, now, because you were set free from sin but became slaves to God, you are having your fruit in the way of holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Sam 30.11, 12
And they got to find a man, an Egyptian, in the field. So they took him to David and gave him bread that he might eat and gave him water to drink. Further, they gave him a slice of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. Then he ate and his spirit returned to him; for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights.

Luke 8:52-55
But people were all weeping and beating themselves in grief for her. So he said: “Stop weeping, for she did not die but is sleeping.” At this they began to laugh at him scornfully, because they knew she had died. But he took her by the hand and called, saying: “Girl, get up!” And her spirit returned, and she rose instantly, and he ordered something to be given her to eat.

Isa 29.8
Yes, it must occur just as when someone hungry dreams and here he is eating, and he actually awakes and his soul is empty; and just as when someone thirsty dreams and here he is drinking, and he actually awakes and here he is tired and his soul is dried out; thus it will occur with the crowd of all the nations that are waging war against Mount Zion.

James 5.20
Know that he who turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Psalm 89.48
What able-bodied man is there alive who will not see death? Can he provide escape for his soul from the hand of Sheol?

1 Kings 17.17-24
It came about after these things that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick, and his sickness came to be so severe that there was no breath left in him. At this she said to Elijah: “What do I have to do with you, O man of the true God? You have come to me to bring my error to mind and to put my son to death.” But he said to her: “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her bosom and carried him up to the roof chamber, where he was dwelling, and laid him upon his own couch. And he began calling to Jehovah and saying: “O Jehovah my God, is it also upon the widow with whom I am residing as an alien that you must bring injury by putting her son to death?” And he went on to stretch himself upon the child three times and call to Jehovah and say: “O Jehovah my God, please, cause the soul of this child to come back within him.” Finally Jehovah listened to Elijah's voice, so that the soul of the child came back within him and he came to life. Elijah now took the child and brought him down from the roof chamber into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah then said: “See, your son is alive.” Upon that the woman said to Elijah: “Now, indeed, I do know that you are a man of God and that Jehovah’s word in your mouth is true.”

Matt 16.25, 26
For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it. For what benefit will it be to a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Luke 9.24, 25
For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake is the one that will save it. Really, what does a man benefit himself if he gains the whole world but loses his own self or suffers damage?
(Note the parallel expression in bold.)

Genesis 35:17-19
While she had difficulty in making the delivery the midwife said to her: "Do not be afraid, for you will have this son also." And the result was that as her soul was going out (because she died) she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. Thus Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath, that is to say, Bethlehem.

Deut 18.9-13
When you have entered into the land that Jehovah your God is giving you, you must not learn to do according to the detestable things of those nations. There should not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah, and on account of these detestable things Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you. You should prove yourself faultless with Jehovah your God.

1 Sam 15.22, 23, 35
In turn Samuel said: “Does Jehovah have as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Look! To obey is better than a sacrifice, to pay attention than the fat of rams; for rebelliousness is the same as the sin of divination, and pushing ahead presumptuously the same as uncanny power and teraphim. Since you have rejected the word of Jehovah, he accordingly rejects you from being king.” . . 35 And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, because Samuel had gone into mourning for Saul. As for Jehovah, he regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

1 Sam 28.4-19
Subsequently the Philistines collected together and came and pitched [military] camp in Shunem. So Saul collected all Israel together and they pitched camp in Gilboa. When Saul got to see the camp of the Philistines he became afraid, and his heart began to tremble very much. Although Saul would inquire of Jehovah, Jehovah never answered him, either by dreams or by the Urim [a device used by priests to ask simple yes-no questions of God] or by the prophets. Finally Saul said to his servants: “Seek for me a woman who is a mistress of spirit mediumship, and I will go to her and consult her.” Then his servants said to him: “Look! There is a woman who is a mistress of spirit mediumship in En-dor.” So Saul disguised himself and clothed himself with other garments and went, he and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. He now said: “Employ divination, please, for me by spirit mediumship and bring up for me the one whom I shall designate to you.” However, the woman said to him: “Here you yourself well know what Saul did, how he cut off the spirit mediums and the professional foretellers of events from the land. Why, then, are you acting like a trapper against my soul to have me put to death?” Immediately Saul swore to her by Jehovah, saying: “As Jehovah is alive, guilt for error will not befall you in this matter!” At this the woman said: “Whom shall I bring up for you?” To this he said: “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw “Samuel” she began crying out at the top of her voice; and the woman went on to say to Saul: “Why did you trick me, when you yourself are Saul?” But the king said to her: “Do not be afraid, but what did you see?” And the woman went on to say to Saul: “A god I saw coming up out of the earth.” At once he said to her: “What is his form?” to which she said: “It is an old man coming up, and he has himself covered with a sleeveless coat.” At that Saul recognized that it was “Samuel,” and he proceeded to bow low with his face to the earth and to prostrate himself. And “Samuel” began to say to Saul: “Why have you disturbed me by having me brought up?” To this Saul said: “I am in very sore straits, as the Philistines are fighting against me, and God himself has departed from me and has answered me no more, either by means of the prophets or by dreams; so that I am calling you to let me know what I shall do.” And “Samuel” went on to say: “Why, then, do you inquire of me, when Jehovah himself has departed from you and proves to be your adversary? And Jehovah will do for himself just as he spoke by means of me, and Jehovah will rip the kingdom away from your hand and give it to your fellowman David. As you did not obey the voice of Jehovah, and you did not execute his burning anger against Amalek, that is why this is the thing that Jehovah will certainly do to you this day. And Jehovah will also give Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Even the camp of Israel Jehovah will give into the hand of the Philistines.”

Review for Chapter 10

How did God define death to Adam?

How does Satan promote his original lie?

Who are the living dead?

What do dead people do?

Where did King David expect to go when he died?

Why should we not fear death?

What did Jesus say Lazarus was doing in the tomb? Why?

How did God guarantee the resurrection?

Why does God call the dead "alive" if they are not yet raised up?

What three distinct groups will be raised up? (Note: part of the answer is in chapter six)

What fourth group will not be brought back?

Why raise up unsaved people?

How can you ensure a resurrection for yourself?

What awaits those who despise God's mercy?

What is the Bible hell?

What was "Gehenna"?

How did its "maggots not die"?

What does the story of the rich man in Hades teach us? And what conclusion should we NOT draw from it?

What is the spirit within us?

Do animals have spirit in them? Explain.

How does the spirit "go back to God" when a creature dies?

Name the different ways the word for "soul" is translated in various Bibles.

Do animals have souls?

Does anyone have a soul?

What is a soul?

How can a person "lose" his soul? Can he ever get it back?

Why should we never try to contact the dead?

Restore Scripture View

Most Bible versions say "coming" here, but that word is better applied to Christ’s glorious manifestation to the world, when he destroys the wicked and defeats Satan (described in Matthew 24:30, more in Revelation 19 and 20; see chapter 8). The original word here (parousia) means "presence". Christ's presence begins with the "last days" period, when he revives true Christianity to proclaim his kingdom before the end. (Matt 24:14) This presence is also called "the day of the Lord", and it extends from the beginning of the last days, through his glorious "coming," all the way to the time he turns the Kingdom back to his Father a thousand years later. See chapters 7 and 9 of this book; more in chapter 12.

Paul does not say exactly when during that time these chosen ones will be raised, but he does imply that it would be one of the first things Jesus would do. We do know they have to be raised before the war of Armageddon, because Christ promised these world-conquerors that they would share with him in the final striking of the nations. See Revelation 2:26, 27.
Hebrews 9:27 says, "It is reserved for men to die once for all time, but after this a judgment." Then Revelation tells us about the second death. If you can only die once, what is the second death? The first death is simply the natural death that happens to all children of Adam, good and bad alike. So far, not one person has escaped that death, so in that sense, "it is reserved for men." After dying, some have been judged worthless immediately, but the next thing most will wake up to experience is that future Judgment Day. But that does not have to go badly for us. Even those whose knowledge of God was limited, by no deliberate choice of their own, will be examined with mercy.
Where the King James reads "lose his life", the original Greek uses psyche (soul). Interestingly, the expression "lost soul", so common in churches, is not found in the Bible. (People may picture a "lost soul" as one wandering around aimlessly, whereas the Bible means one who is dead, or condemned to death.) The illustration of the candle shows that language (both modern and ancient) allows for figurative meaning of the phrase "go out." So in the story of Rachel's death at Genesis 35:17-19, when it says "her soul was going out" when she was dying, we do not have to assume it went anywhere. She simply no longer had it. Many other references to death make this clear: the person has not gone to live elsewhere.