Summary: Before Jesus, where did the souls of those who believed in God go after death?
A Before the resurrection of Jesus, where did the souls of those who believed in the God of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.) go after they died?
1 When people died under the Old Covenant of the Law, the Bible describes as “gave up the ghost” and were “gathered unto his people.” (Gen. 25.8, 17, KJV; 35.29 KJV).
a “Giving up the ghost” is a phrase used to describe when the soul & spirit depart from the body.
b These Old Covenant saints were then ushered into a place where there people were already. Paradise.
2 Luke 16, tells us that prior to the resurrection of Christ the souls/spirits of all people (righteous & unrighteous) were carried into the Sheol compartment under the earth.
a Righteous in one section, unrighteous in another, separated by a “great gulf”, chasma (chasim).
b Read Luke 16, there are some startling facts about hell.
aa When Lazarus died, angles carried him to paradise to be w/ Abraham (supposedly others too) the rich man died & went to hell (lonely).
bb Hell & Heaven are separated & no one can cross the gap.
cc The Rich man & Abraham reasoned, communicated, and maintained their identities from earth. (As did Lazarus)
dd They had physical forms. (Rich man had a tongue, thirsty; Lazarus had a finger & water was available in paradise.)
ee The rich man remembers his lost brothers . . . possibly sees them. “Send Lazarus!” (Consciousness after death, clear memory of Earth/people.)
c There are numerous debates on these text, but undoubtably Jesus wants us to picture people in the afterlife as real humans, with thoughts & capacities (maybe w/ bodies)
aa All those thoughts can be suggested in Scripture directly or indirectly but none as graphically or memorably as Luke 16.19-31.
bb When people die on earth they go to one of two real places: Heaven or Hell.
d When Jesus told us this story, it was before the resurrection and souls who had faith in God we’re sent to paradise.
B After Jesus’ resurrection they were transferred from under the earth to a new location in heaven.
1 On the cross, one thief received Jesus as Savior by asking Him to remember him when He entered His kingdom, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23.43).
b Jesus spirit/soul departed His body & descended under the earth, chambers under the earth & preached!
bb I believe He preached to righteous souls in Paradise of God’s redemptive plan and reveled what He had accomplished on Earth.
cc Jesus may have said, “Do you want another testimony?” He then points to the repentant thief who died next to him, “Here is an eye witness who saw the whole thing!”
c The proof was what occurred the morning Jesus rose from the dead.
aa Matt. 27.51-53
bb The spirit/soul joined their bodies (how many, which ones is not known), but went into Jerusalem & were seen by the population.