Where Do We Go When We Die? – Don Blackwell


Where do we go when we die? I suppose this is a question that every man who has ever lived has thought about because death is something that we all face as we grow and mature we see those around us pass on we see our grandparents die and maybe later we see our parents pass away as well maybe even our siblings and friends and the truth is clear that we too are going to die and we wonder what then you know a lot of strange ideas have been given to answer this question some have suggested reincarnation that is the idea that if you’ve lived a good life you come back in the form of another creature some have the idea of a ghost and they have the idea that you come back as a spirit and you live in the house where you used to dwell some have the idea of purgatory that is you go to a place of punishment until you’ve paid your debt and then you can move on from there and of course many people have the idea that you just cease to exist that is when you breathe your last breath that there will be no more conscious existence but you know as a Christian I don’t have to engage in a guessing game I don’t have to buy into superstitions or myths because I can know the answers to the questions not only where I came from but also where I’m going in this lesson we’re going to trace the journey of the human soul and we’re going to let the Bible answer for us where do we go when we die now the journey of the human soul doesn’t actually begin on this earth it begins in heaven I want you to listen to Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse 7 this is a verse we oftentimes used to discuss death but I want you to listen particularly to the end of the verse then shall the dust return to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 9 calls God the father of spirits and so the spirit originally comes from heaven it comes from God and so at the point of conception when the egg meets the sperm and a human life is created God places a soul he places a spirit into that new body you know the mother and the father give that child his physical characteristics but they don’t give him his soul God does that Genesis chapter 1 in verse 26 God said let us that is the Godhead let us make man in our image after our likeness now what does that mean to be made in the image of God primarily that has reference to the soul of man he is a being who will now live on for eternity and so when a human is conceived God makes him in the image of God by placing a soul into him now animals don’t have that we are far superior to the animals in that way now from the time that God places a soul into the newly formed human being it will continue to dwell in that physical body until that person dies 2nd Corinthians 5 and verse 1 says for we know that if our earthly house this tent is talking about our physical body it is a tent it’s a temporary dwelling place for the soul we know that if our earthly house this tent is destroyed we have a building from God a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens 1st Corinthians 15:54 talks about our physical body and refers to the the physical body as corruptible and so our soul for the 70 or 80 years that we have this physical body it dwells in this corruptible fleshly body now during that time we worship God with our spirit it’s it’s coming from the physical body but it emanates ultimately from our soul from our spirit John 4:24 says God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth so we engage the physical body but our spirit is the seat of worship the spirit is the heart of man we worship God with our speed we love God with our spirit with our soul Luke 10 and verse 27 you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart with all of your soul with all of your strength and with all of your mind now all the while the physical body is wearing out Salomon describes this process in Ecclesiastes chapter 12 he says remember now your Creator in the days of your youth before the difficult days come that is when you begin to get old the physical body gets old he says life becomes harder in many ways he says in the years draw near when you say I have no pleasure in them many people when they get near the end there they’re just ready to go and be with the Lord because physically life gets very hard for them he says while the Sun and the light and the moon and the stars are not dark and that is your eyesight begins to fail you’ve got to get bifocals and he says in the clouds do not return after the rain in the day when the keepers of the house begin to tremble he’s he’s talking about the hand as they begin to shake and the strongmen bow down that is your legs get weak you fall he says when the grinder ceased because they are few you you lose your teeth and he says and those who look through the windows grow dim when the doors are shut in the streets and the sound of grinding is low when one rises up at the sound of a bird you don’t sleep well like you did when you were younger and all the daughters of music are brought low that is you’re losing your hearing also they are afraid of height and of terrors in the way when the almond tree blossoms here your hair turns gray he says the grasshopper this very small creature is a burden desire fails your desire changes as you get older he says for a man goes to his eternal home and the mourners go about the streets he says remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed or the golden bowl is broken or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain or the wheel broken at the wail that is your going to die now listen he says then the dust will return to the earth as it was that is the corruptible body is going to die it’s going to decay it’s going to return to the ground and the elements now listen and the spirit will return to God who gave it what happens then what happens when I die for 75 years or 80 years however long my soul dwells in this this physical body what happens when the physical body dies Psalm 90 and verse 10 says the days of our lives are seventy years and if by reason of strength they are 80 years yet their boast is only labor and sorrow for it is soon cut off now listen and we fly away we fly away isn’t that fascinating language genesis 35:18 describes the death of rachel and it uses this language and it came to pass as her soul was departing James 2:26 says the body without the Spirit is dead the body without the spirit that’s very fascinating and so when I die my soul leaves this old corruptible body but where does it go you know on the day of resurrection we know that we’re going to get a new body we’re going to get an incorruptible body but what about in the meantime I want you to listen to this description in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 1 for we know that if our earthly house this tent the corruptible body is destroyed we have a building from God a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens right now we have a tent we have a temporary body but we’re going to get a building a lasting body an eternal body verse 4 for we who are in this tent groan being burdened not because we want to be unclothed but further clothes that mortality may be swallowed up swallowed up by life now there’s a very interesting language here because he speaks about being in this body as as being clothed in a tent and then he speaks about being in the resurrected body as as being in a building eternal in the heavens but then he also speaks about being unclothed what is it what what’s he referring to when is that going to occur well it’s when we die and the soul leaves the physical corruptible body you see there will be a period when the spirit or the soul will not have a body it will be unclothed if you will well when I die and my spirit leaves my body where does it go now that’s going to take us to the next part of this journey the entire second section of this chart comprises what is known as Hades this is the Hadean realm now many people are confused by the term Hades because they think of Hades as referring to hell they think of it as referring to the place of punishment and that’s not right the word Hades actually refers to the dwelling place of the dead it’s kind of a a holding area for disembodied spirits the good who die go to Hades the bad who die go to Hades I think part of the reason why we’re confused about this is because the King James Version translates the Greek word for Hades as hell and that confuses us in the original language there are two different words the two different words there are different words there’s one word for Hades and one word for Gehenna now Hades is the dwelling place of the Dead Gehenna is hell but the King James translates both words as hell in Matthew 16:18 when Jesus promised to build his church and he said the gates of hell would not prevail against it this is this is not hell this is the word for Hades it means that death would not prevent death would not stop his kingdom now if you don’t understand the distinction in these words you’re going to get very confused now incidentally just as a side note the Old Testament word for Hades the Hebrew word for Hades is the word Sheol Sheol and Hades refer to the same place and so once you understand that all people go to Hades when they die it’s going to clear up some things for you for example in Acts chapter 2 and verse 31 the Bible refers to Christ after his death as being in Hades now the King James Version says hell but the word there refers to Hades Jesus did not go to hell when he died he went to the Hadean realm to Hades but Luke 23:43 as Christ was about to die he said he was going to go to paradise now when you understand that paradise is in Hades it all makes perfect sense because paradise is a compartment of Hades in Hades there is a place where the righteous go and there is a place where the wicked go they’re all awaiting the day of judgement now the best description that we have in the Bible of Hades is in Luke chapter 16 it describes both compartments now I want us to read it together let’s look at it together and then we’ll discuss it Luke chapter 16 beginning in verse 19 the Bible says there was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day but there was a certain beggar named Lazarus full of sores who was laid at his gate desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table moreover the dogs came and licked his sores so it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom the rich man also died and was buried and being in torments in Hades now the King James uses the word hell it says that he was in hell but that’s not right the New King James correctly says that he was in Hades being in Hades he lifted up his eyes and he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom and then he cried father Abraham have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame but Abraham said son remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and likewise Lazarus evil things but now he is comforted and you are tormented and besides all of this between us and you there is a great gulf fixed so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot nor can those from there pass to us now I want us first to look at this place where Lazarus was taken we’re told that when he died when Lazarus died he was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom now this is the compartment of Hades where the righteous go to await judgment it’s the place known as paradise this is the same place that Christ promised the thief on the cross that he would go remember he said in Luke 23:43 assuredly I say to you that you will be with me in paradise in Luke 16 25 the Bible tells us that in this place the righteous are comforted in fact if you study the background the etymology of the word paradise it carries with it the idea of a pleasure garden now the opposite compartment of Hades is where the rich man went this place is a place of torment now this section of Hades is called Tartarus in the original greek peter uses this word in 2nd Peter 2 and verse 4 when he said for if God spared not the Angels that sinned but cast them down to Tartarus and delivered them into chains of Darkness to be reserved unto judgement they are waiting for the Judgment Day now this place is described for us in Luke 16 verses 22 and 23 this way verse 22 says the rich man also died and was buried verse 23 listen to this and in Hell the King James says held the word is Hades and in Hades he lifts up his eyes being in torments now normally when I teach on this subject I would spend some time here talking about the misery and the suffering of this place and we could spend an entire lesson just on that subject but for now let’s briefly observe that this rich man in torment is burning in fire he is crying out for for mercy he’s begging for mercy he believes that a mere drop of water would bring him at least a moment’s relief and I want you to appreciate with me that every person from the beginning of this world until now every person who has died lost in the eyes of God is in this place many of them have been there for thousands of years many just four minutes some four seconds but they’re there and they’re suffering now another observation that I want us to notice is the fact that there is consciousness in the Hadean realm you know there is a doctrine taught by some in the religious world called soul sleeping and soul sleeping suggests that when a person dies that he goes into a state of unconsciousness and he ceases to be aware but this passage as well as others teach us that after death men are very much aware of what’s going on the rich man’s crying in pain Lazarus is is comforted you know Psalm 116 in verse 15 says precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints friends I don’t believe that refers to them slipping into a state of unconsciousness that doesn’t make any sense to me you know I taught on this subject on one occasion and a gentleman came to me afterwards and he said Don that was a great lesson he said but you need to read this particular passage because you’re wrong about there being consciousness in the Hadean realm and he handed me a piece of paper well I unfolded it and I looked at it it was Ecclesiastes chapter 9 and verse 5 where the Bible says the dead know not anything the dead know not anything but you know he was misinterpreting that verse because he was pulling it out of context in fact if you will look at the next verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 9 verse number 6 uses that phrase again under the Sun again it’s used in verse 3 it’s used in verse 9 it’s used in verse 13 and the context of this passage is things going on in this world things under the Sun the things on this earth and the point of the passage is that when you die and you go to Paradise or torment you are no longer aware of what’s taking place on this earth now to prove that in second chronicles chapter 34 King Josiah was told by God that God was going to bring punishment upon Jerusalem for their sins but that he was going to die and he was not going to see it happen now once you listen to the language in verse number 28 he said surely I will gather you unto your father’s that is you’re going to die you shall be gathered to your grave and peace and your eyes shall not see all the calamity that I will bring on this place and its inhabitants now what’s the point he will have died he will have gone to the Hadean realm so he was not going to see what was going to take place on this earth the dead know not anything with regard to what’s going on back here now one final thing that I want you to notice about the Hadean realm you notice that on the chart that between paradise and torment there’s a green line and it has the words great gulf that’s because Luke 16:26 says that there is a divide there is a great gulf fixed so that no one can pass from one side to the other once you are in paradise you are there to stay until the day of judgment once you are there in torment you are there to stay until the day of judgment and so that means every person who has ever died unfaithful in the eyes of God is still there many have been there for thousands of years some for minutes some for seconds but I think about them crying I’m tormented in this flame but it doesn’t end now that takes us to the next section of this chart which is the Resurrection Day the resurrection day is what we typically call the Judgment Day the Bible calls this day the day of the Lord Peter says but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night 2nd Peter 3:10 now what is going to happen on that day the day of judgment to the souls who are in Hades who are in Paradise or torment what’s going to happen to them on that day the Hadean realm is going to give up all of the souls that it contains and it will cease to exist also on that day the earth is going to give up the bodies john 5 28 and 29 jesus said for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves will hear his voice and will come forth those that have done good to the resurrection of life those that have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation or damnation and then the souls the spirits that have come from Hades will be reunited with the bodies that have been resurrected on the earth but with this new union the new body the new body is going to be different the resurrected body is not going to be like the physical body that we have now the resurrected body will not be made of the same particles that were put in the grave the resurrected body will be a different material if you want to use that term you know sometimes people will express concern about having their bodies cremated because they think that’s going to pose a problem at the resurrection but the resurrected body is not going to be made up of the same elements that we have on this earth how do I know that first Corinthians 15:50 says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God the resurrected body will not be a flesh and blood body listen to this from verse 44 of 1st Corinthians 15 the body that is the physical body is sown in corruption it the resurrected body is raised in incorruption it is sown in dishonor it is raised in glory it is sown in weakness it is raised in power it is sown a natural body it is raised a spiritual body there is a natural body there is a spiritual body now let’s break this down what we’ve just read it says the resurrected body will be incorruptible you see our current bodies are they’re subject to death they get old they wear out but the new body it won’t wear out secondly the resurrected body will be a glorious body our present bodies have many things associated with them that that are not glorious they’re low and vile the new body will be a thing of beauty and joy and purity thirdly the resurrected body he says will be raised in power you know our present bodies get tired they’re inherently weak the resurrected body will have unfailing vigor it will be capable of unwary being activity the resurrected body will be a spiritual one in our present bodies are natural he says the resurrected body will be designed for spirit life as opposed to physical fleshly life so the day of judgment is going to be a resurrection day it’s the day that Hades will be destroyed it’s the day that we will get our resurrected new incorruptible spiritual bodies now with that in mind listen to 1st Corinthians 15:54 and 55 so when this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written death is swallowed up in victory o death where is your sting o Hades where is your victory death and Hades will be overcome on that day in other words the physical grave and the temporary abode of the Dead the Hadean realm will both come to an end on the day of judgment you say well what about those of us who are still living when the Judgment Day comes first Corinthians 15:52 says in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last Trump the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed and so the living also will be changed into an incorruptible body and then will be gathered before the throne of God after both the good and the bad have received a resurrected body we will stand before the throne of Christ and we will be judged Matthew 25 and verse 32 says and the nations will be gathered before him and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats and all humanity friends all humanity will be there on that day the rich man and Lazarus will stand before God to receive their eternal judgment Abraham Isaac and Jacob will be there a hab Jezebel and Judas will be there Romans 14:12 says so then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God 2nd Corinthians 5:10 says for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that which he hath done whether it be good or bad you know sometimes people will ask well what is the point of the judgment if people have already been in Paradise or torment it seems like they’ve kind of already been judged but you see the Judgment Day is not a day in which God has to make a judgment call it’s not like God has to weigh the facts in the figures and and figure out who is saved and who is lost he knows that at the very moment that you die in fact he knows before you die where you will be eternally Judgment Day isn’t a trial like we might think of and in fact you might call it the the pronouncement of Judgment Day it’s the sentencing day it’s the day that God states the reasons why you were lost or saved and then he pronounces your eternal sentence or reward now somebody says but you know it seems rather unnecessary since the righteous and the wicked already know where they will spend their eternity it seems unnecessary friends let me suggest to you that the Judgment Day is necessary for several reasons number one those who are still living they haven’t been assigned punishment or bliss and so it’s necessary for them number two righteousness must be displayed now listen to me the last time that the world saw Christ he was dying as a criminal remember he was only seen by his followers after his resurrection but on the day of judgment every eye will see him as the righteous judge number three the Judgment Day is necessary because it will be a day of exposure the reasons why a man is lost will be stated the reasons why a man is saved will be heralded number four it is the day when death is finally defeated you know for years I wondered about the meaning of first Corinthians 15 26 it says the lad enemy that will be destroyed his death and I thought to myself you know hasn’t Christ already defeated death did not he do that at his resurrection and so I was puzzled about this but listen to the context verse number 24 then comes the end when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father when he puts an end to all rule and all authority and power for he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet the last enemy that will be destroyed is death now friends this is talking about the day that the tombs will be emptied and the Hadean world will come to an end it is this day the Judgment Day is also very necessary now the next part of the chart we’re going to talk about is eternity in Matthew 25:46 the Lord said and these shall go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life eternal you no man has been created in the image of God and thus has been given an eternal soul and that soul will never cease to exist now the Greek word that’s translated as eternal means eternal everlasting without end never to ceased indeterminate as to duration now you’ll see in the chart there are two alternatives as to where we will spend eternity one is a place of eternal bliss that’s the destination of the faithful it’s heaven and to them the king will say on the day of judgment come you blessed of my father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world Matthew 25:46 he calls this place life eternal now the other destination is a place of eternal torment it’s hell it’s described in Revelation 21:8 as the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death is the place the Lord has in mind and the judgment scene in Matthew 25 where he says to the sinners and these shall go away into everlasting punishment how long then is the punishment in Hell going to last is the punishment in hell going to be temporary or are people just going to burn up and cease to exist no the Bible says it’s going to last eternally it’s going to be everlasting revelation 14:11 says and the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever and they have no rest day or night friends I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than that you know the man who dies and goes to hell he has tomorrow and the next day in the next year and the next 100 years and and a million years from now he will still be suffering in and burning and continuing to exist each day that passes he’s no closer to the end now you know we’re speaking rather accommodative lis because there is no time in eternity he will simply be suffering forever the soul of man enters the physical body at the point of conception and at death it goes into Hades where it remains as a spirit until the day of resurrection on that day it reunites with the body the new incorruptible body and then that soul and the new body will spend eternity in heaven or hell now we’ve been discussing the future of our souls but let’s bring the discussion back home to where you and I live if you go back to the beginning of the chart you will notice that on the earth there are two categories the saved and the lost and everyone on earth fits into one of these two categories you’ll also notice that the saved and the lost are traveling on different pathways notice that for the saved for the righteous the pathway representing death is very narrow now that’s because Matthew 7:14 says Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it notice also that for the lost their pathway for death is wide and that’s because Matthew 7:13 says why does the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction Chinn and there are many who go in by it and perhaps the most important thing to notice is that after death the saved and the lost end up in different locations and friends where you will go when you die depends on where you are heading while you’re alive every person alive today is on one of two paths it is either the narrow path that leads to heaven or it is the wide path that leads to hell if you died today what does eternity hold for you if you died in the next few moments where would you be when you opened your eyes what would you see seconds from now what would you see would it be angels carrying you to paradise or would you lift up your eyes being in torment

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2 Responses

  1. Hello
    I am a new christian and l saw this message on YouTube by chance.Can l please have the sermon “ Where do we go when we die” on word format. This is an amazing sermon which has transformed me.

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