Did any of the resurrected ones talk about heaven or hell?

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By BibleAsk Team


Did the Resurrected Talk About Heaven or Hell?

There are over 10 individuals mentioned in the Bible who were resurrected by Jesus and the prophets. https://bibleask.org/how-many-persons-were-resurrected-from-the-dead-in-the-scriptures/

But none of these individuals ever talked about what they saw in heaven or hell. The reason for that is that the dead sleep unconsciously awaiting the Resurrection Day according to the Scriptures.

Death – A State of Sleep

Here are some Bible verses (NKJV) that refer to death as a state of sleep:

  1. Job 14:12: “So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep.”
  2. Job 14:14: “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes.”
  3. Psalm 13:3: “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death;”
  4. Psalm 76:5: “The stouthearted were plundered; They have sunk into their sleep; And none of the mighty men have found the use of their hands.”
  5. Daniel 12:2: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
  6. Matthew 27:52: “and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;”
  7. John 11:11-14: “These things He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’ Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.'”
  8. Acts 7:59: “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'”
  9. 1 Corinthians 11:30: “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”
  10. 1 Corinthians 15:6: “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.”
  11. 1 Corinthians 15:18: “Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”
  12. 1 Corinthians 15:51: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—”
  13. 1 Thessalonians 4:13: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”
  14. 1 Thessalonians 5:10: “who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”

These verses emphasize the depiction of death as a state of sleep, often coupled with the hope of resurrection and eternal life.

The following comparisons in the NKJV demonstrate the suitability of sleep as a figure by which to represent death: 

  1. Sleep is a state of unconsciousness. “The dead know not any thing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6).  “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?” (Psalms 6:5).
  2. Sleep is rest from all outward activities of life. “there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). 
  3. Sleep renders conscious thought impossible. “His spirit departs … in that very day his plans perish” (Psalms 146:4).  “For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth” (Isaiah 38:18).
  4. Sleep continues until one is awakened. “So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep” (Job 14:12). 
  5. Sleep prevents association in the activities of those who are awake. “…nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:6b). 
  6. Sleep renders inoperative the emotions of the soul. “Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished” (Ecclesiastes 9:6a). 
  7. Sleep comes normally and inevitably to all. “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
  8. Sleep causes all praise of God to cease. “The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence” (Psalms 115:17).

These verses suggest that after death, there is no consciousness or awareness, and therefore, the dead do not engage in praise or any activities.

The State of the Dead

A soul is a living being. At Creation, two things combine to make a soul, dust and the breath of life. Until these two things combine, a soul does not exist. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).

At death, these two components separate. The body returns to dust, and the breath returns to God. The soul goes nowhere it simply ceases to exist. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). The spirit that returns to God at death is the breath of life and nothing more. So, the soul is the conscious life which resulted when God added the breath or spirit to the body.

Man is mortal (Job 4:17). Only God is immortal (1 Timothy 6:15, 16). In the Bible, except in allegorical usage, the soul does not go in and out of the body; neither does it have an independent existence outside of the body. The concept of an undying, immortal soul goes against the Bible, which teaches that souls are subject to death (Ezekiel 18:20).

Those who have died sleep unconsciously in their graves (John 11:11-14) till the Lord raises them up at the Resurrection Day at the end of time (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53) to receive their rewards and punishments at the Judgement “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).

In conclusion, the Bible does not record any statements from resurrected individuals about heaven or hell simply because the dead sleep in an unconscious state till the Day of Resurrection. Ultimately, the hope of resurrection and the promise of eternal life remain central tenets of the Christian faith and theology.

For a full study on the state of the dead, check: https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/112-the-intermediate-state/

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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