For a short, funny, and informative account on what the Bible teaches about where persons go when they die, check out the video below. Props to four of my undergraduate students (Josiah, Jacob, Andy, Brook) for their filming, editing, and acting expertise.
PS: the dead guy in the trunk of the car was an actor (not a real corpse).
For Jews and Christians, resurrection is a wonderful doctrine. Not only does it promise that we will be reunited with our loved ones when God breathes new life into their bodies, but it also give assurance that the unrighteous will not escape the day of judgment. Although one may be able to glimpse hints of resurrection theology in the Hebrew Bible, no passage is more explicit than Dan. 12:2, “Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to the life of the age to come, and others to shame and everlasting contempt.”
I wanted to draw attention to a few passages in the Septuagint which actually alter the Hebrew text into a more ‘resurrection themed’ theology. Consider the following examples:
If a man dies, will he live again? (Job 14:14)
If a man dies, he will live (Job 14:14 LXX)
Even after my skin is destroyed… (Job 19:26a)
[God] will resurrect my skin (Job 19:26a LXX)
And Job died, an old man and full of days. (Job 42:17)
And Job died, an old man and full of days: and it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord resurrects. (Job 42:17 LXX)
Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? (Hosea 13:14)
I will deliver them out of the power of Hades, and will redeem them from death: (Hosea 13:14 LXX)
One can only wonder if/how these texts influenced Jesus or even (especially in the case with the LXX) Paul.
1 Samuel 28:8-15 “Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you.”… Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”… He said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe… Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
Sometimes this passage is used to prove that Samuel, who was dead, must really be conscious in the afterlife since he was able to verbally communicate with King Saul. Some fundamentalists even presume that the deceased Samuel resides in heaven at this very moment.
Some considerations will easily dismiss these claims.
- The passage nowhere says that Samuel was in heaven. Rather, Samuel has come up from the grave in 28:8, 11, 13, and 15. The woman of Endor said that she saw Samuel coming up out of the earth. This seems to indicate that Samuel had died and was buried in the ground like virtually every other person in the Hebrew Bible before him.
- The earlier account of Samuel’s death clearly states that he was buried (1 Sam. 25:1).
- It is interesting that Samuel states that Saul and his sons will be with him tomorrow (28:19). This means that the wicked Saul and his sons will go to the same place where Samuel went, being the grave/Sheol. All come from dust and all return to dust (Ecc. 3:20).