Luke 20:36-38 "for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of Elohim, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls YHWH The Elohim OF Abraham, And the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob. Now He is not the Elohim of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him."
Recently I have had some discussions with various Christians about "the afterlife" and what happens after we die our first physical deaths. I define this death as the energy which is soul/mind/consciousness leaving the physical, biological body it inhabited. I am going to attempt to paint a picture of "the afterlife" using scripture in order to establish a clear biblical understanding of what is in store.
Jehovah's Witnesses have long claimed we sleep when we are dead, that we are unconscious. They claim the deceased doesn't even realize he is dead, and will awake one of the resurrections. This claim is unbiblical for these reasons. Reason one is in the Luke verse I quoted at the beginning of this article. Yahushua calls YHWH the Elohim of Abraham, who had been long "dead" yet claims is the Elohim of the living. This clearly implies Abraham is "alive" just not in a physical body.
The second reason this belief is unbiblical is found in 1 Samuel 28:3-25
1 Samuel 28:15 - Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" And Saul answered, "I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and Elohim has departed from me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do."
After Samuel's death he was still able to talk to Saul. He was conscious. The third pieces of scripture I'd like to reference is found in the New Testament. In Luke 16:19-31 we get a good deal of information on what happens after death
"Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day."And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores."Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried."In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. "And he cried out and said, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'"But Abraham said, `Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.`And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'"And he said, `Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house-- for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' "But he said, `No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' "But he said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.' "
Biblically right after death human souls are taken to a good place (the Bosom of Abraham) or a bad place (Hades). At these places it seems the human soul will wait until one of the resurrections. The very righteous will resurrected at the first resurrection, and the rest at the second.
Revelations 20:6 - "Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of Elohim and of Messiah and will reign with Him for a thousand years."
After the thousand years the rest of the dead will rise with physical bodies. I do not believe Matthew 22:30 applies to the first resurrection based on the fact in Revelations 20:7 this is said
"When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore."
Who are these people if not the descendants of the righteous who had been part of the first resurrection?
It all comes to a head in Revelations 20:11-15
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
Eventually the rich man from Luke 16:19-31 will leave Hades, to be judged according to the above Revelations verse. According to his deeds. This is where some may say I get unorthodox. Truthfully some have said I was down right heretical. I believe after spending some time in Hades the rich man could have been punished, and given the opportunity to repent. To me the personality of YHWH that the bible reveals is one of a loving Father. A Elohim who does not delight in punishing His creation, yet One who is just and must do the right thing. Consider 1 Timothy 2:3-4
"This is good and acceptable in the sight of Elohim our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
I asked people who have opposed the idea of repentance after physical death to provide scripture that states the concept is impossible. Even scripture that implies it. YHWH's love and mercy and proclaimed throughout the scriptures but one piece has always touched my heart. In Luke 15:11-32, the famous story of "the prodigal son" we are presented with the idea that YHWH is really a loving, and forgiving Creator.
It's my opinion (one based off of scripture) that only those who refuse to repent, and just don't want anything to do with Elohim are the ones who's names are not written in the book of life. I believe you can do much after death, before your judgement after the thousand year reign. Some humans will deny Him in spirit form after death, just as some angels did. It's possible for a being to be in the true presence of Elohim, and still deny Him. It's happened with angels, and I'm sure it has, and will continue to happen with humans. Perhaps the rich man was in purgatory in Luke 16, and Hebrews 12:6 is relevant
"For YHWH disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."
Does the idea of Elohim sending people to an eternal hell after seventy years of life seem odd? Doesn't it even feel contradictory to the personality of Elohim as described biblically? Can everyone who has never heard of YHWH have been created just to be destroyed? Just bad luck you were born on an island in 2500 B.C and never got the message? I don't believe it for a second.
Psalm 30:5 - "For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."