by Oscar M. Baker
“If a man die shall he live again?...” (Job 14:14). This is the Scriptural way of asking the question. But man persists in asking, if when a man is dead does he still live? Which is the proper question, that in the Word, or man’s word?
Adam was told in the day that he sinned he would surely die. Does that mean everlasting conscious torment or torture? If so, then how can a dead man be conscious? Satan said in Genesis 3:4 “Ye shall not surely die.” Who was right, Satan or God? Whom do you believe?
After we read all the theories and philosophies of man, about what a man is, we find Genesis 2:7 that he is a soul, that he was created a living soul. And it further states that this soul is made of the dust of the ground. Do we find anything, which is made of the dust of the ground, to be immortal or uncorruptible?
The inspired definition of death is that a man returns to dust from which he is made (Gen. 3:19). So then a soul that is made from the dust of the ground returns to dust. Death is not such a glorious thing at that!
For the believer, there is a period between death and resurrection spoken of as sleeping. See 1 Cor. 15:18,20, 51. This period is spent without being clothed upon with a body, hence a naked state or condition (2 Cor. 5:1-4).
Job realized that there was an interval between death and resurrection (14:12). So he asked that he might be hidden in hell until the wrath was past, and then when the Lord called, he would answer (14:13-15). Read this whole chapter in Job carefully.
Now you may note that Paul did not wish to go into this unclothed or naked state, but to be alive at the rapture and get a new body. See 2 Cor. 5:1-10. Has Paul appeared before the judgement seat mentioned here? Will he ever?
When Peter was speaking in Acts 2:25-31, he plainly said that David was still in hell, that the one spoken of there was the Lord who spent 3 days and 3 nights in hell. And it is clear that the Lord is the first one to leave that place or state for He is spoken of as the first born from the dead, the firstfruits of them that slept. Hell could not hold the Lord. Nor can it hold those that are His, for when He calls they will come forth and the gates of hell (the grave) cannot hold them. See Matt. 16:18.
But the expectation of David himself is expressed in Psalm 17:15, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake, with Thy likeness.” David had some wonderful revelations as to eschatology, but he never mentioned the immortality of the soul or that the dead might be alive (nor does any other Scripture).
So far as we can find in the Word of God, hell is just another designation of the dust of the earth, where all the dead have gone. Not all, just some, arise (Daniel12:2). Truth For Today Reprints Bk 5, pg, 37
by Oscar M. Baker