Today's Foundations Devotional: Spirit awaiting judgement
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Yesterday we read how Solomon describes how the breath of man rises upwards, and that of the animals to the earth. What are we to understand by the phrase which Solomon uses concerning the spirit of man at the death of the body? He says: “the spirit of the sons of men ... goes upward.”
First of all we note that this is in accord with the account of man’s creation, which shows that man’s body came from below, from the earth, but that his spirit came from above, from God (see Gen. 2:7). Because at death man’s spirit is released from the body, the direction of his spirit is once again upward – toward God.
In Ecclesiastes 12: 7, Solomon returns to the theme of death and says:
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7).
Thus the teaching of Solomon in Ecclesiastes concerning the destiny of man’s spirit at death is brief, but clear, and agrees with indications given in many other passages of Scripture. At death, man’s body returns to the dust, but the destiny of his spirit is upward, toward God.
What takes place when the spirit of man, at death, is released from the body and is brought before God, the Creator?
There appears to be no definite revelation of Scripture concerning this point. However, Scripture does enable us to establish two definite principles in this connection. First, this appearance of the spirit of man before God is not the final judgement, which will take place only after the resurrection. Second, the spirits of the wicked and the ungodly can have no permanent access to the presence of God.
We may therefore conclude that this appearance of the spirit of man before God immediately after death is for one main purpose: to hear the divine sentence appointing to each spirit the state and the place it must occupy from the time of death up to the time of resurrection and final judgement. Thereafter, each spirit is consigned to its duly appointed state and place and continues there until called forth again at the resurrection of the body.
Father, thank You that not only for this life here on Earth my future is
certain, but that this also applies to my further future, namely that
after my death I may be in Your glory forever. Thank You that because
of that wonderful knowledge I can rest assured and look forward to
Your coming, Lord Jesus! Amen.