Bobby D. Gayton
The Holy Spirit states, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. The “natural body” will be raised when Christ comes again because that is what is sown. The Holy Spirit said, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26. The body and the spirit are separated at death. Death of the body however, the spirit is alive. Death is not cessation of existent, it is not dissolution of the body, and it is not annihilation. Plainly stated, it is the separation of the body and the spirit. The reason the body is dead is that the spirit, which animated it and gave it life is no longer there. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7. In 1 Corinthians 15:21, the Holy Spirit said, “Behold, I shew you a mystery, We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed…” When death occurs, the body is buried and returns to dust. The Holy Spirit said, “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Ecclesiastes 3:20. He also said, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7.
Therefore, the body changes back to dust. However, the Holy Spirit said, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2. What about those who are alive when Jesus comes again? “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:52-53. Those who are alive will be changed. All, those had died before Jesus came and those who were alive when He came will have a body like Jesus!
Can the body be dead and the spirit be alive at the same time? In Luke 15 the father says, “This, my son was dead, but is alive again.” The son was described as being “dead” however he was not physically dead. He was dead in a spiritual sense. It is said of the Ephesians, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1. Trespasses and sins brought about spiritual death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. In speaking of widows, the Holy Spirit said, “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” 1 Timothy 5:6. Therefore, a person can be dead and alive at the same time. In Psalm 90:10 the Holy Spirit states, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; And if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, Yet is their strength labour and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” In Acts 7:59 states, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” The spirit survives apart from the body as a conscious entity. The Holy Spirit said, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord…and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. The original Greek says, “Those who dwell in the body are at a distance from the Lord: those who have traveled out of the body reside with the Lord.” (Translation by Guy N. Woods).
Read again, what Jesus said in Matthew 22:23-32. Jesus said that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had been physically dead for four hundred years, yet the entire passage, is arguing that God is the God of the living. The implication is that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive after their physical death took place. In Luke 20:38 the following words are added by the Holy Spirit, “For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.” In the Greek the pronoun αὐτῷ, ‘him’ in this phrase is in the dative case. The dative case could be rendered ‘by him’ (by his power), or ‘in him’, or ‘for him’ (for his honor, or for his thought or judgment, meaning that God accounts them as living). That is to say, that they are alive and have a meaningful existence beyond death. Where are they? They are in Paradise, which is the place where the righteous dead are until Jesus comes again.
Some would say that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable. Even if it is a parable, Jesus only uses real life accounts for illustrative purposes. Jesus did not make up lies for unrealistic events for parabolic purposes. If it is a parable, it is unlike any other parable in that proper names are given to the characters.