Today's Foundations Devotional: The righteous separated from the wicked
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
What is the condition of departed spirits in this period that intervenes between death and resurrection? Doubtless there is much concerning this that God has not seen fit to reveal in the Bible. However, two facts are made clear: 1) After death there is a complete and permanent separation between the departed spirits of the righteous and the wicked. 2) The condition of the departed spirits of the righteous was different in the period before the death and resurrection of Christ from their condition now, in this present dispensation.
Over and above these two clearly established facts, the Bible does from time to time lift a corner of the veil between this world and the next, giving us a momentary glimpse of that which lies beyond.
An example isthe biblical account of God’s judgement upon the oppressing king of Babylon.
Hell [Sheol] from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. They all shall speak and say to you: “Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us?” (Is. 14:9-10).
This account reveals certain definite facts about the condition of departed spirits. It does not indicate that they have any awareness of events currently transpiring on earth. It does, however, reveal that there is at least some recollection of events that have transpired during the earthly lifetimes of these departed spirits.
Beyond this, it is clear that personality remains intact after death; there is recognition of one person by another; there is communication between one person and another; and there is awareness of present conditions in this place of departed spirits. Furthermore, there is a correspondence in some measure between a man’s state in this world and his state in the next. For those who were kings in this world are still recognised as kings in the next.
We are given a somewhat similar picture of the descent into Sheol of the departed spirit of the king of Egypt (see Ezek. 32:17-32).
Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, And cast them down to the depths of the earth, Her and the daughters of the famous nations, With those who go down to the Pit: “Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised” (Ezek. 32:18-19).
The king of Egypt was received by the spirits of other great men who went down into the pit before him.
This passage shows that it reproduces the same features already noted in the passage from Isaiah. There is persistence of personality; recognition of one person by another; communication between one person and another; and awareness of present conditions in this place of departed spirits.
Father I may not know how things will be exactly, but, with the
encouragement of Paul, as he writes to the Romans, I say: I am
assured that neither death nor life ... that really nothing can ever
separate me from Your love, which You through the sacrifice of Your
Son Jesus proved to me once and for all. Thank You Lord! Amen.