Our film projects often touch on “big picture” questions such as: Where did we come from? Where are we going? What is the meaning and purpose of life? Who defines morality? Every film maker is guided by a worldview that informs their work. We believe the Bible is the only Source that coherently answers the major questions of life.
The Truth about Death, Heaven & Hell
Ask 10 people what happens when you die, and you will probably get 10 different answers. But the Bible gives solid, rational answers revealing not only what happens when you die but also how to face death with hope and confidence. Jesus Himself holds the keys to Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18). And He says: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power” (Revelation 20:6). The first resurrection is the resurrection of the righteous. The second death refers to final death, eternal death. In John 5:28, 29 Jesus describes these two resurrections. To the righteous, Jesus promises “There will be no more death” (Revelation 21:4). God will bring about a final and permanent solution. That’s the great hope Jesus offers to whoever accepts Him as Savior and Lord. But what is the nature of death exactly?
“So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David”
– 1 Kings 2:10
“Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.”
– Psalm 13:3
“…’Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’…Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.’”
– John 11:11-14
You may think, “Ok, but they go to heaven or hell after death, right?” Well, let’s look at some often misunderstood words and concepts about the nature of man, and then study for yourself and pray about it. It really is a crucial issue. Remember the first lie? — “…Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:2-4).
“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 being.”
– Genesis 2:7
That word “being” comes from the Hebrew word “nephesh” and literally means soul, creature, living being, individual, etc. Wherever the word “soul” is used in the Bible, it refers to a person or the life of that person, but they are never separate entities. The New Testament writers carry this same view that a life or a person is the same thing as a soul. In Matthew 16:25, 26, the same Greek word “psuche” is used for a person’s life and soul. Put simply: I don’t have a soul, I am a soul! In this life, souls live and then souls die.
“The soul [nephesh] who sins shall die.
– Ezekiel 18:4 (repeated again for emphasis in verse 20)
“And they struck all the people [nephesh] that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them.”
– Joshua 11:11
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
– Acts 2:41
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
– Matthew 16:25, 26
“As long as my breath is in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils.”
– Job 27:3
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”
– James 2:26
The actual root word in the Greek is “pneuma,” a word which means “breath” or “air.” We take our English word “pneumonia” from pneuma because it is a disease of the lungs, or of breathing. We have pneumatic tires, also derived from pneuma, because they have air in them. But that same Greek word “pneuma” also has another meaning. It means “spirit.” For example, the Greek term for “Holy Spirit” is “Hagios pneumatos,” “Holy Breath” or “Holy Spirit.”
This brings us to a very interesting conclusion. The words “breath” and “spirit” are often used interchangeably in the Bible. Job said, “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3 – KJV). Job was describing the same thing by the words “breath” and “spirit.” Man has only breath in his nostrils. In fact, that is what God breathed into man’s nostrils at the time of creation. “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).
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality…’Death is swallowed up in victory.’”
– 1 Corinthians 15:51-54
“I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep…For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first [the first resurrection]. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day [2nd coming of Jesus and the first resurrection], and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
– 2 Timothy 4:7, 8
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself…”
– Job 19:25-27
“And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
– Hebrews 11:39, 40
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me [Jesus brings His reward with Him at the 2nd coming], to give to every one according to his work.”
– Revelation 22:12
“Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish.”
– Psalm 146:3, 4
“The dead do not praise the LORD, nor any who go down into silence.”
– Psalm 115:17
“For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?”
– Psalm 6:5
“For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished…”
– Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6
“Surely I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place and its inhabitants…”
– 2 Chronicles 34:28
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day…For David did not ascend into the heavens…”
– Acts 2:29-34
Since David has not ascended to heaven, what did he mean in speaking of the death of his first baby with Bathsheba: “I will go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:15-23)? David knew he would die some day and would be buried in the same royal cemetery that this baby was buried in. His use of the phrase “I will go to him…” had the very same meaning as the above text – “…you shall be gathered to your grave…”
The “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) – We do know that there are living witnesses in heaven other than Elohim (the Trinity), including angels, representatives from other worlds (Job 1:6), and some humans who have been translated include Enoch, Moses, Elijah and others who were resurrected at the time of Jesus death on the Cross (Matthew 27:50-53). But, contrary to what many think, this text does not refer to people who have died before us and now living in heaven. Except for the people the Bible tells us were translated, those Biblical heroes from Hebrews 11 won’t get to heaven before we do (Heb 11:39, 40). The “great cloud of witnesses” is figurative language, such as “Abel’s blood still cries out from the ground…he being dead still speaks” (Gen 4:10; Heb 11:4). It is the witness of their lives that we should aspire to.
RESOURCES FOR IN-DEPTH STUDY:
Spirits of the Dead (Do they speak or hear?)
The Rich Man and Lazarus (and many other texts explained)
Absent from the Body
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
– Romans 8:18-21
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:16–18
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
– Revelation 22:12
If the Bible is true, why hasn’t Jesus returned to end all the suffering?
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is longsuffering [patient] to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The time will soon come, however, when God’s mercy will no longer have an effect on the hearts of humanity. And those who disrespect His patience and reject Jesus as the Christ will be lost. But God’s fairness can be trusted – those who have never had an opportunity to learn about Jesus and who have lived up to the truth they have known, will not be guilty of rejecting Him (John 9:41; Romans 2:14-16).
RESOURCES FOR IN-DEPTH STUDY:
Heaven: Is it For Real?
- John 14:1-3 — Heaven is a real place—we can take Christ’s word for it!
- 2 Peter 3:10-13 — Our Lord has promised to create a new heavens and a new earth.
- Micah 4:8 — The first or original dominion will be restored to the human race.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12; Job 19:25-27; Luke 24:36-43 — God will give us glorious immortal (physical) bodies – not spirits floating around. Job believed this and Jesus – after His resurrection – presented His glorified body as having flesh and bones.
- Revelation 22:3 & 4 — We will lovingly serve our God forever and enjoy the closest fellowship with Him – face to face.
- Matthew 8:11 — We will fellowship with the early heroes of our faith (Abraham; Isaac and Jacob) and with the greatest minds of the ages forever.
- Revelation 21:16 & 17 — God’s capital city is 12000 furlongs—or 1500 miles square! Its great wall is 144 cubits—or 216 feet high. Its glories will far exceed the fondest imagination.
Revelation 21:18-21 — This spectacular city has walls whose foundations are gems with streets of pure gold and twelve gates of pearl (each gate a single pearl).
Revelation 21:1; 23-25 — There will be “no more sea” and “no night there”,
Isaiah 65:21-25 — We will build houses and plant vineyards. It is also a place of tranquil peace where wolves and lions will be vegetarians.
Revelation 21:2 & 10 — Matthew 5:5,The Holy City (New Jerusalem) will descend from God out of heaven. And the meek will inherit the earth.
Revelation 22:2 & 14 — Just as it was in the Garden of Eden – the tree of life will be the capital city – bearing 12 fruits (one for each month) to bring eternal vitality to God’s redeemed.
Remember the Bible study about death? Death is simply the absence of life. When the Bible mentions the “second death,” it means eternal-permanent death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). In other words, people who reject Jesus will die twice (they are resurrected for “judgment day” – 2 Peter 3:7; Revelation 20:11-15; John 5:28, 29); but believers will only die once. This is why Jesus called it a sleep (John 11:11) and said “…whoever lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:26). He was talking about the first-natural death that we all die. When anyone dies with faith in Him, it’s a dreamless sleep until Jesus wakes him up at the 2nd coming (the first resurrection)! The raising of Lazarus from the dead was just a foretaste of that glorious promise to all of Jesus’ faithful followers (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life [first resurrection], and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [second resurrection].”
– John 5:28, 29
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power…”
– Revelation 20:6
“But the heavens and the earth…are reserved for fire until the day of judgment…the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
– 2 Peter 3:7-10
“All the proud, yea, all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up.”
– Malachi 4:1
“…fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”
– Revelation 20:9
“’You shall trample [walk on] the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,’ says the LORD of hosts”
– Malachi 4:3
“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
– 2 Peter 3:13
RESOURCES FOR IN-DEPTH STUDY:
Hell-Fire: A Twisted Truth Untangled
In the Beginning…God Made it Holy
The Bible Sabbath – Why God said Remember