Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
1. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption: but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies. And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
2. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead shall be raised up, with the selfsame bodies, and none other (although with different qualities), which shall be united again to their souls forever.
3. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor: the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor; and be made conformable to his own glorious body.
1. God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
2. The end of God’s appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
3. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity: so will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.
WLC Q&A – 82-90
Q. 82. What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life, immediately after death, and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.
Q. 83. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
A. The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of; and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of glory; as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death.
Q. 84. Shall all men die?
A. Death being threatened as the wages of sin, it is appointed unto all men once to die; for that all have sinned.
Q. 85. Death being the wages of sin, why are not the righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in Christ?
A. The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it; so that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love, to free them perfectly from sin and misery, and to make them capable of further communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon.
Q. 86. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A. The communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.
Q. 87. What are we to believe concerning the resurrection?
A. We are to believe that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ. The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body; and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonor by him, as an offended judge.
Q. 88. What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
A. Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men; the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.
Q. 89. What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left hand, and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own consciences, shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them; and thereupon shall be cast out from the favorable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever.
Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men, and shall be received into heaven, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery; filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels, but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity. And this is the perfect and full communion which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.
WSC Q&A 36-38
Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.
Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.
Q. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.
Belgic Confession ARTICLE 37 – THE LAST JUDGMENT
Finally, we believe, according to the Word of God, that when the time, ordained by the Lord but unknown to all creatures, has come1 and the number of the elect is complete,2 our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly,3 as He ascended (Acts 1:11), with great glory and majesty.4 He will declare Himself Judge of the living and the dead5 and set this old world afire in order to purge it.6 Then all people, men, women, and children, who ever lived, from the beginning of the world to the end, will appear in person before this great Judge.7 They will be summoned with the archangel’s call and with the sound of the trumpet of God (1 Thes 4:16).
Those who will have died before that time will arise out of the earth,8 as their spirits are once again united with their own bodies in which they lived. Those who will then be still alive will not die as the others but will be changed in the twinkling of an eye from perishable to imperishable.9 Then the books will be opened and the dead will be judged (Rev 20:12) according to what they have done in this world, whether good or evil (2 Cor 5:10).10 Indeed, all people will render account for every careless word they utter (Mat 12:36), which the world regards as mere jest and amusement. The secrets and hypocrisies of men will then be publicly uncovered in the sight of all. And so for good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to the wicked and evildoers11 but it is a great joy and comfort to the righteous and elect. For then their full redemption will be completed and they will receive the fruits of their labour and of the trouble they have suffered.12 Their innocence will be known to all and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring upon the wicked who persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.13
The wicked will be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences and will become immortal, but only to be tormented in the eternal fire14 prepared for the devil and his angels (Mat 25:41).15 On the other hand, the faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honour. The Son of God will acknowledge their names before God His Father (Mat 10:32) and His elect angels.16 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Rev 21:4),17 and their cause – at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil authorities – will be recognized as the cause of the Son of God. As a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory as the heart of man could never conceive.18 Therefore we look forward to that great day with a great longing to enjoy to the full the promises of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:20).
1. Mat 24:36; Mat 25:13; 1 Thes 5:1,2. 2. Heb 11:39-40; Rev 6:11. 3. Rev 1:7. 4. Mat 24:30; Mat 25:31. 5. Mat 25:31-46; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5. 6. 2 Pet 3:10-13. 7. Deut 7:9-11; Rev 20:12-13. 8. Dan 12:2; John 5:28-29. 9.1 Cor 15:51-52; Phil 3:20-21. 10. Heb 9:27; Rev 22:12. 11. Mat 11:22;Mat 23:33; Rom 2:5-6; Heb 10:27; 2 Pet 2:9; Jude 15; Rev 14:7a. 12.Luke 14:14; 2 Thes 1:3-10; 1 John 4:17. 13. Rev 15:4; Rev 18:20. 14. Mat 13:41-42; Mark 9:48; Luke 16:22-28; Rev 21:8. 15. Rev 20:10. 16. Rev 3:5. 17. Isa 15:8; Rev 7:17. 18. Dan 12:3; Mat 5:12; Mat 13:43; 1 Cor 2:9; Rev 21:9-22:5.
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 57-58
Lord’s Day 22
57. WHAT COMFORT DO YOU RECEIVE FROM THE “RESURRECTION OF THE BODY?”
That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head, but also that this my body, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like the glorious body of Christ.
58. WHAT COMFORT DO YOU RECEIVE FROM THE ARTICLE “LIFE EVERLASTING?”
That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, I shall after this life possess complete blessedness, such as eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, therein to praise God forever.