Lesson 9 The Life After Death
Reading: Psalm 16
many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to
everlasting life, and some to shame and
1:21–24. For to me to live is
Christ, and to die is gain. 22But
if I live in the flesh, this is
the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23For I am
in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which
is far better: 24Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is
more needful for you.
Corinthians 5:1–9. For we know that if our earthly house of this
tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with
hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly
desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3If
so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4For we that
are in this tabernacle do groan,
being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that
mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5Now he that hath wrought us
for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6Therefore
we are always confident, knowing
that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For
we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8We are confident, I
say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present
with the Lord. 9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent,
we may be accepted of him.
OF THE LESSON TEXT
1:21–22. Paul realized his life was
useful yet he saw much gain in dying, and could scarcely decide which he had
rather do. Vv 23, 24. This gain consisted in being with Christ—a far
better condition for Paul. To remain would mean greater service for the church.
Corinthians 5:1. The dissolution of this body is not the end. We have a new,
immortalized existence awaiting us. Vv 2, 3. The present state is not
altogether satisfactory—we groan. We anxiously await our immortalized state. V4.
Our desire is not so much to be rid of the present body as to obtain the
glorious body. The present existence is far better than annihilation, which we
do no seek, but inferior to our glorious future. V5. The gift of the Holy
Spirit is counted a pledge of our future immortality which is indeed the purpose
for which God made us. V6. While in this body we do not have the presence
of the Lord in the full sense that we shall have later. V8. To be absent
from the body is to be present with the Lord in a way not now experienced. Three
states are pictured in these verses: clothed with our present mortal body,
unclothed and clothed upon with our new body. Whether we remain or die soon we
must seek to please God.
TOPIC: THE LIFE AFTER DEATH
THE SOUL SURVIVES DEATH
It is the body that dies.
The soul and body are distinct. B) It is the body that is mortal. Men may kill
it but cannot kill the soul (see Matthew 19:28). The death of the physical body
can and does occur without the death of the soul.
It is the belief of the race.
This belief is universal. All races believe in a life after death. Such belief
is inherent in human nature and not the result of traditional teachings. B) It
is supported by reason. The injustice and inequalities experienced here call for
an adjustment in a future life. Only in a future life can full justice be meted
to all. C) The conscience testifies to it. To those who have done will it is but
natural to hope for glory and honor (see Romans 2:7), but to the ungodly there
is a looking forward to indignation and punishment. Men expect the full
realization of these in the future.
It was the hope of the Patriarchs.
confessed they were strangers and pilgrims here and looked for a future
existence (see Hebrews 11:13–16).
It is the teaching of Jesus.
The Patriarchs still live (see Matthew 22:22, 32). Here Christ argues for a
resurrection from the fact that these men still live. Their bodies were long
since decayed but they themselves still live. It is their souls that live. What
is said of them is true of men universally (see Luke 20:28. The survival of the
soul wherein is the real identity of man gives ground for faith in a
resurrection. B) The rich man and Lazarus lived beyond death (see Luke
19:19–31). Whether a parable or not, this account must be true to facts.
Christ never based a parable upon falsehood or false doctrine. Both men were
conscious beyond death. This is not after the resurrection, for the rich man
still had brother living on the earth. C) The dying thief was promised a place
in paradise (see Luke 23:43). This promise includes the conscious existence of
both Christ and the thief. To seek to make this text mean anything else is buy
to pervert the Scriptures.
It is the teaching of Paul.
He believed conscious existence outside the body possible. In 2 Corinthians
12:1–4 he tells of a man (possibly himself, Acts 14:19, 20) who had a
wonderful experience. Paul could not tell whether this occurred in the body or
out of the body. Of course we do not know either. But this statement of Paul’s
show that he believed one could have conscious existence outside the body. If he
had not had this belief he should have known it was only a trance. B) He
believed the soul goes to be with Christ after death (see Philippians 1:23). He
did not believe in annihilation nor soul-sleeping, for neither of these can be
better than the present state. He contrasts a life of service with being with
Christ and tries to decide between these. C) He believed in three states of
existence: in the body, or the present state; absent from the body, in which
state we are in some greater sense present with the Lord; and clothed upon with
immortality, or the eternal state in the resurrected body.
It was and is the faith of the saints.
Stephen, at the hour of death, expected to enter the presence of Jesus. The
vision he received was either a reality or a deception. It could not have been
the latter. B) Many modern saints have seen in death the heavens opened. The
cases are many and well confirmed. The unsaved have likewise seen their doom.
THE STATE OF THE SOUL AFTER DEATH
A state of joy or sorrow.
To be present with Christ necessitates joy. No religious soul can be consciously
present with him and not enjoy a state of bliss. B) The account of the rich man
and Lazarus teaches such a state. Lazarus was comforted while the rich man was
It is not a purgatory.
A Catholic doctrine of purgatory is without Scriptural support, though it is
consistent with the Catholic system. B) The purging of souls is accomplished
through the blood of Christ in this life and not through future sufferings.
It will not be a probation.
There is no offer of salvation to the dead. B) The Scriptures teach positively
no future opportunity for salvation. There is no passing the great gulf, we
shall be judged by the deeds done in the body, and those who die in sin cannot
go where Christ is. C) The righteous are said to be resting, and the wicked are
reserved to the day of awards. There will be a resurrection and final judgment
after which all will receive their final awards.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY
There will be a resurrection.
There is no rational proof of a resurrection nor can reason show that a
resurrection is impossible or even improbable. We must look to the Scriptures
for the knowledge of this fact. B) The Bible distinctly states that there shall
be a resurrection (Acts 24:14, 15 and other texts). C) It will be a resurrection
of the body (Job 19:26; Matthew 27:52, 53). D) It will be a general resurrection
of all dead (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28, 29).
The resurrected body.
It will be a body, not a mere spiritual existence. It is “our house from
heaven” with which we are to be clothed. B) It will not be a new creation—an
entirely new body. Such would not be a resurrection. The actual body of Christ
was raised and so shall ours be.