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DOCTRINE QUESTION 23
We read in Ecclesiastes 12:7 that after death the spirit of man goes back to God who gave it. Does this mean that the deceased ceases to exist?
The Book of Ecclesiastes is about all the vanities (mentioned 29 times) under the sun, (mentioned 27 times). In Ecclesiastes 12:7, he is speaking about getting old and feeble and eventually dying. The word "spirit" in Ecclesiastes 12:7 is the same word for "wind, breath." He is saying that God who gave breath to man, (Genesis 2:7), takes it away and he ceases to breath any longer. This does not mean that his soul which is not his breath, but the seat of his personality which ceases to exist.
The Bible is clear in stating that the soul departs from the body in physical death (Genesis 35:18). This does not necessarily mean it goes to God. Read Luke 16:23-24, where it tells you it can go down into hell (hades), or into a place of comfort, depending on whether they are saved or not. Soul sleep is not taught here or else where in the Bible. When a person dies their breath goes back to God who gave it, "...for in Him we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28. The body goes back to dust from whence it came, (Genesis 2:7), but the soul of the unsaved goes down into hell (hades), waiting for the future resurrection of the body. (Luke 16:23). In the case of the saved, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). When the Lord comes for His own they will return with Him and their bodies will be raised to be with Him forevermore. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Where will you be in eternity? This is a solemn and important question. What you do WITH, and not FOR Christ, will determine your destiny. Trust Him and be saved. Reject or neglect Him, and you'll be lost. Will you make the right choice today?
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen