Summary: I saw the souls....and they cried..." Slain, dead, yet John sees them, hears them speak. Not enough to say, just a vision. A vision of realty, a miraculous vision in advance of the factor but of the facts therefore. Their being slain, not the end of th
THE SOUL AFTER DEATH
"I saw the souls....and they cried..." Slain, dead, yet John sees them, hears them speak. Not enough to say, just a vision. A vision of realty, a miraculous vision in advance of the factor but of the facts therefore. Their being slain, not the end of them. Death made them invisible to men in the flesh, but not invisible to God or to John in his supernatural, prophetic state. Scripture knows nothing of extinction, annihilation of the soul in death, Luke 16:19-26. Statements in OT depict the chaotic waste of death, of appearances. There is a life of the soul, an intermediate state, between death and the resurrection. The difference between soul and spirit is this: pure spirit has no relationship to a body. God is spirit and He has no body. Angels are spirits and they have no bodies. Satan is a spirit and he has no body. But, a soul must have a body. If a soul is separated from the body, if the soul is disembodied, it may be referred to as a spirit. But, that word “soul” always implies a body. There is no such thing as a soul that does not have, somewhere, a body. When your spirit is in your body, the soul lives. When your soul is beyond the body, disembodied, your spirit lives. But a soul must have a body. John says: “I saw their souls in heaven and I heard their cry.” One might say that this is an unreal situation. It is a vision. That is correct. But it is a vision of reality. It is a vision of fact. It is a supernatural vision of facts before the time, but it is a vision of the facts themselves. This is reality that John sees before the time. Then, in death, it is not the end of them.
Their bodies lie moldering in the ground. Their bodies lie corrupting in the earth. Their blood has been spilled out in the ground. But, their souls are still alive in conscious existence in heaven. They speak and they know what is happening here in the earth. And they live and speak unto God. Human eyes, eyes of the flesh, cannot see them. But they are known to the eyes of God and, in this supernatural prophetic state in which God elevated John and brought him up into heaven to see things that were to come, John says, “I saw them and I heard them”. Now, one of the common revelations throughout all Scripture is to be found in that presentation: that death is not the end of our life. But there is a conscious existence beyond the grave and beyond this day and this earth. Whether one be saved or unsaved, righteous or unrighteous, good or bad, wicked or holy, the soul lives beyond this death and this grave.
For the lost, the unbelieving. A state of torment of constant suffering. Luke 16:22-24. There was a certain rich man. There was a certain beggar. And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. And it also came to pass that the rich man died, and he had a funeral. The poor man didn’t have a funeral. They just dumped him out in some potter’s field. But the rich man died and was buried, sumptuously. And in Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, crying for Abraham to send Lazarus, the –
Servant. The rich man has been in the habit of ordering people around all of his life. Why not order them beyond? “Send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I’m tormented in this flame.” These men are what you call dead. But they are in a conscious existence in another world. The unrighteous, the unbelieving, the blaspheming, the repudiating and the scorning and the scoffing, they also live beyond this death and this grave. This man, who spurned the Word of God, who would not listen to the prophets, nor to Moses—this man, who refused to turn, to repent, this man who had all that life could offer—he lived in big houses, north and south. He had vast arrays of men he commanded. He lived sumptuously, but he was like the Book says. He didn’t repent. He didn’t turn. He didn’t look to God. He didn’t believe the Book. He didn’t accept the message of the prophets or of Moses. And in his sumptuousness, he died, as all inevitably die. But he is like all others who die like that, whether they’re poor or whether they’re rich, when they die in unbelief and in unrepentance and in unforgiven sin. He went into a netherworld that is filled with agony, and pain and torment. When he died, when he shut his eyes in the hospital, or shut his eyes between those sheets of silk, or shut his eyes on that down pillow, or shut his eyes in that palatial home—when he shut his eyes, he lifted them, he opened them, being in torment. What an indescribably horrible and awful and tragic thing! So, the soul of an unbeliever, of a man who dies without the atoning sacrifice of Christ, is in torment. He’s in misery. He’s in pain. He’s in agony. And so much in the Bible, if we had time, we could enter into that. Another thing about these who die unrepentant. They are in prison somewhere in God’s netherworld. They are in prison, awaiting the Great White Throne Judgment Day of the Lord. In 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 19, they are described as in prison: “The souls, the spirits in prison.” And these, referred to in this passage, are those that laughed at Noah when Noah for 120 years preached righteousness and called a vile and blaspheming world to repentance: to turn, to believe. They are in prison, waiting the great judgment day of the Lord. Now, that is referred to, again, in 2 Peter chapter 2, verse 4 and verse 9: