- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions about Mankind or Humanity
- Published on Monday, 07 February 2011 10:20
Numbers 16:22; Numbers 27:16; Job 34:14, 15; Ecclesiastes 3:21; Ecclesiastes 8:8; Ecclesiastes 12:7.
When are the spirits of the unsaved dealt with?
It is a good thing to “purge our references.” I am not sure for instance whether Numbers 16:22 or 27:16 proves that “all spirits go to God.”
The expression in Job 34:14, however, “gather unto Himself man’s spirit,” describing dissolution, certainly favours the belief that at death all spirits go to God.
So in Eccl. 3. 21 the word “upward” points the same way. Eccl. 12. 7 is very distinct that “the spirit returns to God Who gave it.”
Hebrews 12:23 refers only to the spirits of just men. I do not think there can be any question that the spirits of all men are “dealt with” at death, as regards their final destiny, but the measure of reward or punishment awaits a later day. Lazarus of Luke 16 was at once comforted; the rich man was at once tormented, but at the great white throne he will be judged according to his works.
Paul knew for himself, and so did the saints in general, that “to depart” was “to be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). But I know no Scripture which describes this as having “gone to God,” and I think the propriety of anyone publicly pronouncing on the spiritual destiny of any man, who has died without giving satisfactory proof of repentance, may well be questioned. Certainly it is gravely wrong to speak of one who has led an ungodly life, and died without visible repentance, as “this our brother,” and assert he is now “at peace.” We may not affirm that such a one is saved, but is it within our province to affirm that such a one is lost?
God alone searches the beart and knows what has passed between a soul and Himself at the last. To anyone who had not heard what passed between our Lord and the repentant thief, he was clearly a lost soul, but we know that grace intervened and snatched him as a brand from the burning. Even of Judas, whose sin was manifested and his awful death a matter of common knowledge, Peter refrained from saying anything more than that “he went to his own place.” This, though it left no doubt of his fate, was said among the Lord’s disciples. As far as we know the apostles never referred to the traitor in public.