Bible Articles on the Topic of Intermediate state

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.


In the [King James Version] of the Old Testament the word ‘hell’ appears thirty-one times: Deuteronomy 32:22; 2 Samuel 22:6; Job 11:8; 26:6; Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; 116:3; 139:8; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:9,15; 28:15,18; 57:9; Ezekiel 31:16,17; 32:21,27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Habakkuk 2:5.

Justin Martyr: Do Not Imagine That They Are Christians

Justin Martyr, also known as Saint Justin (100 – 165 AD), was an early Christian writer. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, he wrote,


In the Book of Job first the longing for a resurrection is expressed (Job 14:13-15), and then, if the Masoretic text may be trusted, a passing conviction that such a resurrection will occur (Job 19:25, 26). The older Hebrew conception of life regarded the nation so entirely as a unit that no individual mortality or immortality was considered. Jeremiah (31:29) and Ezekiel (18) had contended that the individual was the moral unit, and Job’s hopes are based on this idea.

Rich Man and Lazarus: An Intermediate State?

In dealing with this Scripture, and the subject of the so-called “intermediate state,” it is important that we should confine ourselves to the Word of God, and not go to Tradition. Yet, when nine out of ten believe what they have learned from Tradition, we have a thankless task, so far as pleasing man is concerned. We might give our own ideas as the the employment’s, etc., of the “departed,” and man would deal leniently with us. But let us only put God’s Revelation against man’s imagination, and then we shall be made to feel his wrath, and experience his opposition.

The Immortality of the Soul

It is becoming recognised that the doctrine that the soul of man is inherently immortal has intruded into the realm of beliefs supposed to be Biblical. The doctrine has, at times, crept in by the back door, or, at other times, been brought in with great pomp by philosophers as an aid to revelation. The history of this process has been carefully sifted, and the various forms assumed by the doctrine have been criticized by C. H. Moore, of Harvard University, in “Ancient Beliefs in the Immortality of the Soul with some account of their influence on later views.”¹ On the nature of the “soul” and the duration of its future existence, ordinary men have held, and still hold, the most divergent and the vaguest views. It is important, therefore, that we should know whence the beliefs we hold have emanated and what changes have occurred in them during the period of transmission.

A Brief Tour of Reformation Conditionalism

When John Calvin wrote the Orléans draft of his first book, Psychopannychia, in 1534, one wonders how much direct exposure he had, if any, with the radical reformation wing of the Anabaptists.¹ Calvin says that “pious persons invited and even urged” him to pick up his pen to refute “that absurd dogma” that he dearly hoped would remain confined to “a party whose camp and weapons and stratagems I [he] was scarcely acquainted with”.


The popular conception of hell is of a place of punishment for wicked ‘immortal souls’ straight after death, or the place of torment for those who are rejected at the judgment. It is our conviction that the Bible teaches that hell is the grave, where all men go at death.

Soul Sleep of the Swiss Brethren

During the period of Martin Luther’s challenges to the church, a somewhat parallel yet independent course of reform was taking place in Zurich. This Swiss Reformation led by Ulrich Zwingli was just as convinced as Luther that Scripture should take precedence over traditions, but how that worked itself out was very different. Both were strongly committed to ‘Sola Scriptura’ and both began to question some long standing practices. Zwingli had a freer hand in Zurich than did Luther, and wanted to implemented changes slowly in full view of Council. He thought he should preach only as much as the church was ready to absorb, but a group of young radicals, most notably led by Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz and George Blaurock, pressured for immediate compliance to scripture. We will look at only one aspect of this reformation movement; that of Soul Sleep.

Tyndale and His Purge of Purgatory

Four hundred years ago, England was suffering ecclesiastically under the grip of Papal tyranny. King and people were controlled by a system of authority so ingeniously contrived that it gave practically unlimited spiritual power over the bodies and souls of men and the wealth of the whole country.

Rich man and Lazarus

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (also called the Dives and Lazarus or Lazarus and Dives) is a well-known parable of Jesus appearing in the Gospel of Luke.

Heaven is Not My Home

This world is not my home I’m just a passing throughMy treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blueThe angels beckon me from heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at home in this world anymoreOh lord you know I have no friend like youIf heaven’s not my home then lord what will I doThe angels beckon me from heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

The Sleep of the Dead

What happens when you die? Is there an intermediate state? What does the Bible teach about the dead before resurrection? These questions are important for our study of the kingdom of God. If you go straight to heaven when you die, you’re not going to care very much about what happens when Jesus returns. You may find it marginally interesting, but it’s what’s next for you. In this way, the doctrine of heaven-at-death eclipses Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom. However, as it turns out, the Bible teaches that the dead are asleep until the resurrection on the last day. In this lecture you’ll learn the primary texts that support conditional immortality and you’ll see how this Hebrew notion compares to what other cultures and religions say about the intermediate state and afterlife.


hā ́dēz (Αἵδης, Haídēs, ᾅδης, haídēs, “not to be seen”): Hades, Greek originally Haidou, in genitive, “the house of Hades,” then, as nominative, designation of the abode of the dead itself. The word occurs in the New Testament in Matthew 11:23 (parallel Luke 10:15); Matthew 16:18; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13 f. It is also found in Textus Receptus of the New Testament 1 Corinthians 15:55, but here the correct reading (Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, the Revised Version) is probably Thánate, “O Death,” instead of Háidē, “O Hades.” The King James Version renders “Hades” by “hell” in all instances except 1 Corinthians 15:55, where it puts “grave” (margin “hell”) in dependence on Hosea 13:14. The Revised Version everywhere has “Hades.”


sōl (נפשׁ, nephesh; ψυχή, psuchḗ; Latin anima):


spir ́it (רוּח, rūaḥ; πνεῦμα, pneúma; Latin, spiritus):


In the theology of the Catholic Church, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the “edge” of Hell) is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned. Medieval theologians of western Europe described the underworld (“hell,” “hades,” “infernum”) as divided into four distinct parts: Hell of the Damned, Purgatory,, and . However, Limbo of the Infants is not an official doctrine of the Catholic Church.


In Christian theology, and especially in Catholic theology, Purgatory (Latin: Purgatorium, via Anglo-Norman and Old French) is an intermediate state after physical death in which those destined for heaven “undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven”. Only those who die in the state of grace but have not yet fulfilled the temporal punishment due to their sin can be in Purgatory, and therefore no one in Purgatory will remain forever in that state or go to hell. This notion has old roots.