As we have noted before, IF THERE WAS VIRTUE IN DYING, OR THAT WE CHRISTIANS OBTAIN A HIGHER STATE OF SPIRITUALITY, WE SHOULD ALL HOPE IN A SOONER DEATH. Some have suggested that was Paul’s reasoning when he said of himself… “….to die is gain.” But let us remind ourselves that few of us may first say “For me to live is Christ…..” and fewer still have heard the personal witness of Jesus in our having obtained unto the Prize in finishing the course.

Josephus has been attributed for a written work on Hades to the Greeks. There is some evidence that it was actually written by Hippolytus of Rome who lived from 170-235, a church father being a disciple of Irenaeus, who in turn was a disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of John the Apostle, in his work entitled “Against the Greeks”. In either case, the relevance is significant for our consideration…. in the one, a witness to ancient Jewish Torah beliefs, in the other, maybe the most respected of our fore-fathers gives us the early Church’s  Scriptural view of after-death experience.

“And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which judges the wills and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Rev 2:23  WITH “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev 3:19 WITH “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10.

Judgement of the Believer is obvious from numerous Scriptures and should be of the greatest concern throughout this life on the Earth. And if understood and seriously considered, will have the greatest effect upon our motives in Christ-like living. This is contrary to the thinking of too much of Christendom, who resists the Word of a Believer’s punishment in an attempt to safeguard  the “Gospel of GRACE” known as Eternal Life assurance….. but understanding judgement of the saved actually strengthens our assurance of Eternal Life in Jesus the Christ.
For in the understanding of punishment of Believers, we disentangle the web of confusion in Scriptures of the GIFT of unconditional Eternal Life…. from those menacing and threatening Scriptures of conditional REWARD…. that they may both stand in their own clear Scriptural light. Then having understood being then freed from the fear of Eternal Wrath of God, we are then set free in heart to pursue God’s revealed Heart in true sonship.

NOTHING is more freeing in the pursuit of holiness than discovery in the Word of the separation of Eternal Life from Eternal Reward. In the one, that God has granted as a gift to the Believer, through the Atonement Sacrifice of Christ, the Gift of Eternal Life…. then that Eternal Life stands brilliantly in its own monumental light to God’s Eternal Loving Mercy. His Merciful Love having been thereby revealed for every man.
Now a Believer, having received that Love shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit, that special infusion of life, God intends to now share with saved man His Son’s Victorious Eternal Glory…. that being even a further and greater display of His Majesty… having revealed His Love and Mercy in Wisdom… now again in that same Wisdom, in Justice and Holiness, His unfathomable reward of first-born Son-ship.


This requires the correct God-like perception of the exceedingly sinfulness of sin and the need for holiness that can only be obtained through willing faith-filled suffering of the death of sinful carnal flesh nature. Romans 6,7,8.

This sharing in His Holiness….. without which no man will see Him, is conditional. Holiness is likeness to God. It is a priestly separation unto a priestly service.
The NC declaration is “Through The Blood of the everlasting covenant (that Blood then should be kept between us as dead unto sin and reckoned death unto the flesh and alive unto Christ to the end), make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ;……” In every arena of our being, spirit, soul and body… a putting on of newness of life and the putting off of the deeds of the flesh in the power of the Holy Spirit… that equals imputed holiness / the likeness of God…. should extend to every part of our being…. fills us up, spreads over our life, influences everything we are, or do, or think, or speak, or plan, small or great, and outward or inward, negative or positive, our loving, our hating, our sorrowing, our rejoicing, our recreations, our business, our friendships, our relationships, our silence, our speech, our reading, our writing, our going out and our coming in; our whole man in every movement of spirit, soul, and body.

He that would be holy and useful must keep near the cross and the grave.  The cross reminds us of Christ’s victory of our master sin, and our need to crucify the carnal soul…. and the grave reminds us of His resurrection that  in it we find the secret of power to fight and overcome.
For to him who first believes in the Eternal Life Atonement of Jesus Christ, to him only does He chasten that he ultimately may share in His Holiness. Holiness is to be the result of God’s chastening…. and shall not all that are to be accepted by God in His Eternal Kingdom be holy?

Eternal Life and Eternal Death are both eternal existences…it is quality of existence that defines the experience.
There is a further obtainable promised existence beyond that of justifying Eternal Life. It is exclusive to that one judged by Christ as a  faithful and fruitful Believer, that of Glory.
Glorious being the Eternal state of existence of Christ, the First-Born of the firstborn from among the dead. That Glorious existence promised to Believers is not a GIFT, but is bestowed upon those who first must have been justified born-again through believing in Jesus Christ, who then are known as children/or family of God…. those then further judged worthy after having successfully overcome the flesh while living in this evil filled World will be raised in Glory. This glorious infilling is the REWARD FOR FAITHFUL AND FRUITFUL SERVICE after having obtained the GIFT of Eternal Life Romans 6 & Eph 2.
WORKS cannot and do not then obtain unto Eternal Life existence but faithful works bring forth fruit essential for the Glory-Filled Eternal existence that far exceeds the Eternal Life existence. Revelation 1,2,3,12,14,20,21,22.


God has tied Sanctifying Faith to Holiness, without which it is impossible to qualify for His Kingdom.
Holiness is contingent upon repented sin and obedience, a prerequisite of pleasing faith in a Follower of Christ in order to obtain the Reward/Prize of Resurrected Glory in the Kingdom of Christ.
In the World it is possible to please God with (un-seeing) (living) faith. This has great virtue and equates to holiness with promise of reward, this answers to His Justice and Holiness (as opposed to mere justifying faith that answers to His Love and Mercy).
This type of living faith cannot be exhibited in the seeing, knowing after-life experience… and there in Hades, the intermediate place of the dead.… is that type of order of existence.
And although holiness by suffering punishment, may yet be obtained there in Hades, it has not the virtue of living unseeing faith…. and is more on the order of paying every farthing due Him. Matthew 5:26.
The prayers of the living having no effect on this process, in that they had the Scriptures and the prayers of their loving ones and the counsel of the godly while alive. Here in Hades, it is not about repentance as that is accepted, but is more about paying of debt as it relates to unfaithful service after being freely received into the Master’s household. Matt 18:34.
Scripture reveals that God’s chastening for Christians then does not necessarily stop at our death.

Therefore, living faith works a greater virtue of Holiness upon the earth in the overcoming Believer and is the measure worked out in him (Phil 2:12) that accompanies a Believer into the grave that determines his appointed place of residence in Hades…in the one place, as having want of good things suffered evil…. Luke 16:25 or in the other, for surfeiting, exacting of every farthing owed and all that was due HIM (God).

Before all living Christians is set the promise to be among the worthy of the First Resurrection Glory, as it was set before Paul, who strove mightily and in single purpose for attainment Phil 3;11-14.
The hope of obtained holiness through faithful obedient service while living is in order that he, as well as we, may be found worthy at the Judgment Seat of Christ and receive the reward of GLORY in the out Resurrection from among all the dead of Hades.


1  THAT THE WORD DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY SPEAK TO THE EXACT TIME A (CHRISTIAN) MUST STAND BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST….AND SINCE THERE IS A JUDGMENT AT THE TIME OF DEATH, CLEARLY SEEN IN LUKE 16, WE HAVE PRESENTED THIS SCRIPTURAL FACT THAT MEN (OF COVENANT) were JUDGED BY CHRIST AT DEATH and it was for the way they lived upon the earth, and as (in the example Scripture) both were circumcised Jews, “….father Abraham…” says the rich man….. it is not the unbelieving Gentiles being pictured here but the family of Abraham, the covenanted with God. The point being that although both men had been judged according to the way they lived upon the earth at the time of death, and both were receiving “just” treatment…. Neither or none who had passed before, including Abraham himself, had received as of yet the promises to Abraham, that is in the fullness of inheritance, being resurrected from among the dead and ruling and reigning with Christ from a restored Israel. Nor does Scripture reveal that the pre-judgment at death guarantees the loss or gain of the First Resurrection… as to that Age and who will participate in it and in what capacity has not yet been revealed (save to some who were personally told in their faithfulness while living…. Abraham, David, Moses, Daniel and others of the OC, as were the Disciples and Paul and to some who were faithful unto dying, were told after they died, they had obtained unto the Promises. Rev 5).
What is being seen in Scripture is the saved are continually judged and disciplined throughout their lives on Earth and that accordingly, at death we are judged as to where in Hades we will be provisionally assigned. The future manifestation of the First Resurrection is reflective of the Judgment Seat of Christ in the revealing of the those who were determined worthy in running the race… (in type, in the Olympics after the events had been completed, there was a further tallying for qualifying or disqualifying, then finally the official presentation of the Prize) where reward and loss will finally be fully realized.
This understanding untangles much of the confusion seen in conflicting interpretations of Scriptures…. that at death, then immediate judgment, based upon life lived and extent of holiness obtained, one is assigned the suffering place for a purging resisted while alive in Christ….. although warranting a lesser degree of qualifying holiness…. another is assigned the comforts of Paradise, who had to some degree yielded the carnal soul unto a certain death while alive and was thereby imputed a certain holiness…. He now abides where now the instructing forces of love, hope and faith abide…..

To summarize what Scripture says about what will happen to a Christian when he dies…

  1. He will face the Judgment seat of Christ and will be assigned a place in Hades, the intermediate place of all the dead, according to his earthly service to Christ Luke 16:22,23; Luke 19:12-27; Matt 25:14-30; Luke 12:42-48; Matt 18:32-35.
  2. He will await the 2nd Coming of Christ to the Earth when he then will be either resurrected out from among the dead Luke 20:34-36; Phil 3:11; Rev 20:4-6; Matt25:1-12; Luke 14:14  (if alive, caught up from among the living Luke 21:36; Rev 3:10 as a worthy to rule with Christ forever) or alternatively as an unworthy Christian he will remain in Hades to await the 2nd Resurrection of all remaining dead after the 1000 year reign of Christ Rev 20:5, 11-13.
  3. At the 2nd resurrection, all remaining dead (Christians, Jews, Gentiles, Spirits [Jude 1:6]) will face a final judgment according to their works or deeds…. eternal existence is at stake Rev 20:12-15; Dan12:2. Christians are assured their names will be found in the Lamb’s Book of Life and will escape the eternal judgment of the Lake of Fire Rev 20:15; Luke 10:20; Roms 6:22; John 10:28; 1Cor 3:15.

Generally, the conflicting interpretations are:

  1. The greatest portion of today’s Christians believe All Christians who have been born again have received “grace” in Christ that covers them from any chastisement of God at death, where they will experience an imputed all purifying purging and are carried into the 3rd Heaven joining Christ, being glorified in spirit and soul…. they await with Christ to come with Him at His 2nd coming, where they then will be reunited with their glorified bodies and joined by all Christians then living who will be caught up alive and glorified, then all Christians will Rule and Reign with Christ in His (Millennial) Kingdom on the earth. (Many denominations teach here replacement theology, meaning Christians replace Jews as recipients of Abraham’s blessings…. as God has rejected the Jew and  blessed the Christian, both here and the hereafter).
  2. A relative few Christians believe all Christians go to Abraham’s Bosom/Paradise in comfort where they await the First Resurrection at His Return, where all Christians will be resurrected and stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ where reward for the faithful is awarded… then corrective and purging punishment for deserving Christians is administrated (where these go to be punished is not clear, if it is said lake of fire/Hell this could not be Scripturally possible as  the Lake of Fire is called the 2nd Death. If it is said the Place of Torment…… how peculiar would it be that upon death they were comforted in Paradise and upon His Return they were cast into a place of punishment??).
  3. All Christians go to Abraham’s Bosom/Paradise when they die and all Christians are Resurrected in the First Resurrection joined by all Christians living and are glorified at that time and all rule and reign with Christ (no selectiveness), albeit some in different capacities than others, depending upon having lived more or less Christ-like upon the earth and are Judged then at the Bema. Christians only suffer chastisement from God while alive, they will not experience any chastisement at all in the afterlife. Jews are rejected or at the least non-consequential.

SOME BELIEFS ARE CLEARLY SCRIPTURALLY UNBASED……. such as the thought that the Judgment Seat of Christ has nothing to do with punishment….. only reward.

“….we are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” 1 Cor 11

Rightly discerned, this Scripture verse gives us a correct view of the after-life chastisement judged necessary for stubborn, willful, or ignorant Christians who refused purging upon the earth while alive. Having left the arena where mercy and grace might have been obtained for the further work of Christ-likeness and to avoid further purging by chastisement, they then entered the realm of justice, where a higher degree of sowing and reaping are administrated. What is discovered is that Hades allows the merely born-again Christian the final opportunity to be purged in a justice that avoids being finally condemned with the ungodly. Only a saved soul can be purged by chastisement. No degree of punishment will improve the state of the dead. Corrective chastisements are for born-again sons (Hebs 12), and are granted and are effective only on those who have been previously judiciously  purged and infused with eternal life based upon the Atonement sufferings of Jesus Christ.
“For he that doeth wrong (in context an exhortation to Believers) SHALL RECEIVE AGAIN FOR THE WRONG THAT HE HATH DONE.” COL 3:25. To try to alleviate the weight of this Scripture by limiting the justice to the realm of the living is totally unwarranted. There is nothing in the text or context that would take away the intended expectation of although the sowing was here in this life the reaping would be in the life after.
“I will build my church; and the gates of HADES shall not prevail against IT (Matt 16:18) – shall not overpower, shall not master, the holy dead. THE CHURCH is being hewn out in the quarry of earth, assembled in Hades, to then be resurrected and filled with glory in the first heaven at Christ’s Return.
The Catholic denomination declared hundreds of years ago at the Council of Florence that “the spirits (souls) of believers are instantly received into heaven, and clearly behold the Triune God as he is,”  Protestant denominations having not wandered far from the errors of its predecessor, adopted the same view.
Both directly contradicting the Word of Christ…..
“I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go to prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF, THAT WHERE I AM THERE YE MAY BE ALSO,” John 14:2.  What Jesus declared maintains the Truth of all Scripture, in that when a man dies he, himself, goes to Hades, the intermediate place of the dead. He is not in the same place The Lord is, until Christ Returns. No dead persons are yet, or could be, in the glory of the heavenly world. Only by resurrection or translation can that be possible 1 Cor 15:50-55… pay particular attention to the word cannot and must.
Let’s ask the question… if Christians die and immediately are received into Heaven, or if you are persuaded in believing that all Christians go to Heaven in the First Resurrection… then why would it be necessary to open and examine “the Book of Life” at the 2nd Resurrection a thousand yrs later?

Paul declared the First Resurrection must be won…. if by any means…..attain(ed)…” Phil 3:11.
Revelation 20:4-6 states that those who are a part of the First Resurrection shall all be blessed and all shall rule….. Therefore not all Christians will be resurrected from among the dead …. only those who were previously judged (at the Judgment Seat of Christ) at the time of death will be found worthy and will be raised up from among the dead at the First Resurrection Luke 20:35.

The real possibility of Christians missing the First Resurrection and thereby the ruling and reigning with Christ in His Kingdom is clearly revealed in 1 Cor 6:9,10; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5.

The Bride must put on the fine linen of righteous acts…. not the imputed righteousness of Christ… who all who have received Christ as Redeemer in faith participate in…. but her own righteous acts. Rev 19:7,8

It should be noted also that the purpose of all Prophecy is the exhortation of development of holy character. The chief Prophecy of Scripture is the return and reign of Christ throughout OC and NC building to its zenith in the book of Revelation. This Book, more than any other, is appointed of God to spur or inspire that development of holy character and works for Christ.

The fires of the tribulation to the saved living are reflective of the fires of the Place of Torment to the saved dead. God removes some from the earth, not to abandon the work of holiness, but to secure it and set an example for the living. The cut branch which refused to bring forth fruit is cast into the ripening fire, that he should be brought forth finally in the fruit of eternal holiness.

The obscuring of the truth of Hades is the leaven of the false teachers…. for 5 centuries after Christ the Christians believed the Scriptures that ALL men, including Christians, descended into Hades…the leavening of that truth has stolen the weight and significance of the Resurrections and the Millennial reign of Christ and His faithful Bride. And that by simply annulling any real meaningful purpose, as they effectively preach that the Resurrection has occurred, Christians are in Heaven, having reached the highest state possible, into the holy Presence of God…. any further work is but a formality and effectively unnecessary. Thus the Truth in the exhortation to Christians to overcome or face the eternal consequences of loss is kneaded and meshed with lies.…“Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” That is to say, to diminish faith as regards to a living expectation of the first resurrection, of the command to be overcomers of the flesh, in order that we might be found worthy to be selected out from among the remaining dead in Hades to rule with Christ at the coming of the Lord in Glory.

This leaven included a reigning then of the Church over the earth apart from the Return of Christ and the resurrection of His ruling Bride. A false sense of reigning on the earth, before the time appointed (the rebuke of 1 Cor 4:8), has given the Church a false sense of Overcoming the world separate from crucifying the carnal flesh. This being then manifest in its infancy is realized in the (un)authorized current day living in splendor and prosperity that accompanies both historical and present Catholic and many Protestants leaders.

The doing away with the current relevance of Hades diminishes the vital importance of living in holiness and The Return of Jesus Christ.