If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.
When a person dies, he is dead, that is, totally without life. A Christian has body, soul, and holy spirit, so we will look at what happens to each of these components if he dies. The body cannot live without the animating life force of the soul, so when the soul is gone, the body is dead. We have all seen lifeless bodies—the body is there but the soul, the life force, is gone.
Just as the body is not alive without the soul, so the soul cannot live on its own without a body. The soul is not a ghost that lives on after the body dies. Rather, it is the animating force that makes the body alive. God created the soul, the life force, for both animals and man, and it is passed down from one generation to the next. There was no “soul ghost” that God put into us when the sperm of our father and egg of our mother came together.
Every living part of a human or animal has “soul,” that is, life. Every cell of our body has soul in it, which is what makes it alive. A dead cell is a cell without soul—the soul is gone. As with every cell, the egg from my mother and the sperm from my father that became “me” each had their own cell-body and soul, and that soul was passed down to “me” when the sperm fertilized the egg. If the egg were “dead,” the lifeless egg-body would be there, but it could not be fertilized, and if the sperm were dead, it could not fertilize the egg.
When a human cell dies, the life in that cell does not go to be with God, it is just gone. Similarly, the soul that makes the egg and sperm alive does not live on in the presence of God if the sperm or egg dies. Men have millions of living sperm, sperm with soul, that die, and women have hundreds of thousands of living eggs, eggs with soul, which are never fertilized, and die. The soul in all those sperms and eggs does not “go” anywhere if the sperm or egg dies, and certainly not to be with God, rejoicing in His presence. As with the life in any cell, it just dies and is gone. On the other hand, if the sperm fertilizes an egg, then the life in them is passed on and becomes the life of the new baby. 
The Bible says that God created the same life force, called “soul,” for both animals and man, but it is hard to see that in most English Bibles, because the translators say “soul” when the verse refers to humans, but use other English words such as “creature,” “thing,” “life,” etc., when the verse refers to animals.  The soul, the life, in animals and in mankind does not “go” anywhere when the animal or person dies, it just ceases to be. Interestingly, most Christians recognize that about animals, and realize that animals do not go to heaven or “hell” when they die.  Their body decays, and their soul is gone. What we need to understand is that the Bible says people and animals are alike in that when they die, their body decays and returns to dust, and their soul dies too. That is one reason why there are verses, some of which we will see in this article, that say that when a person dies, his soul is in “Sheol,” the grave or the state of being dead.
Just as the soul gives us physical life, the gift of holy spirit from God gives us spiritual life. The holy spirit inside a Christian is not like a ghost with thinking capacity on its own. The holy spirit gives spirit life to the “person,” the body animated by the soul. Our holy spirit was not alive with God before we became a Christian, thinking and rejoicing in His presence, and then somehow came into us, like a ghost possessing our body, when we got saved. Rather, the holy spirit we now have was a part of God’s great reservoir of spiritual life, of which He gave us a part when we got born again.  The holy spirit is the spiritual life from God that infuses every cell of our body and, as our new spiritual nature, is part of who we are.
If we die, the holy spirit “returns” to God (Eccles. 12:7). Since God is everywhere, that most likely means that He remembers us and will re-energize our bodies with spirit at the Rapture. Another possibility is that God simply reclaims the spiritual life force He put in us. In any case, the holy spirit God gave us did not have a mind or memory before it was given to us, and it does not have one after we die. It is spiritual life, spiritual power, that we have from God. My “spirit” is not rejoicing with God after “I” die. A person is alive only as an integrated whole before he dies, and only as an integrated whole will he live again, when God raises him from the dead.
The Bible has a significant number of verses that let us know that when a person dies he is dead and awaiting the Rapture or resurrection.  Many are self-explanatory, while some need some explanation to get the most from them. It is not the purpose of this short article to replace much larger books on the state of the dead, nor can we mention every verse or argument that supports the teaching that the dead are dead, or give an answer to the more difficult verses on the subject.  In fact, we have tried to print only the relevant part of each Scripture section, saving space by leaving out parts of verses, so it will be helpful if you read these verses in your own Bible for a more complete understanding of them in their contexts. In this article we will give some of the important verses and pieces of evidence that the dead are not alive in any form, but are awaiting being raised from the grave.
The dead are in the grave, not in heaven or “hell.”
The verses that follow focus our attention on the fact that the dead are dead, “sleeping” in the ground and turned back to dust. They are not alive in heaven, hell, or Paradise. 
Deuteronomy 31:16 (KJV) 
And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers…
God told Moses he would “sleep” with his ancestors, not that he was going to heaven to be with God or his ancestors. God made it clear that Moses was going to sleep, a state that, for Moses, will end with the Resurrection of the Just.  “Sleep” is an excellent metaphor for death, because a sleeping person is not participating in life’s activities, but will wake up as the same person who went to sleep. “Sleep” is often used of death (Job 7:21; Ps. 13:3, 90:5; Dan. 12:2; John 11:11; 1 Cor. 11:30, 15:51; 1 Thess. 4:14, 5:10). The fuller metaphor of sleeping with one’s ancestors occurs in 2 Samuel 7:12, 1 Kings 1:21, and Acts 13:36 of King David.
Job 7:21 (ESV) 
…For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be.”
Job 14:12-14 (ESV)
(12) so a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep.
(13) Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
(14) If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come.
When a person dies, he “lies down” in death and does not rise out of that sleep until his “renewal” at the resurrection. Job’s saying he would be hidden in Sheol (the state of death) makes no sense if he believed that at his death he would be with God in heaven or in a good place.
Psalm 6:5 (ESV)
For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?
People who die are not in the presence of God. They are dead in every way, and in the sleep of death do not remember or praise God.
Psalm 16:10 (ESV)
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
Psalm 30:9 (ESV)
“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
When we die, we return to dust, and that dust does not praise God. The psalmist is asking God to keep him alive, and reminding God that if he dies, He will get no praise from “dust.”
Psalm 49:12, 14 and 15 (ESV)
(12) Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.
(14) Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning [at their resurrection]. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
(15) But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah
The “soul” in man is like the soul life in animals. It is not immortal, so it dies when the person dies. Christians who die remain in Sheol, the state of being dead, until God ransoms us from the grave at the Rapture. At that time God re-empowers our bodies, but not with the soul life we have now.
Psalm 89:48 (ESV)
What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
Psalm 115:17 (ESV)
The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence.
The dead are not in the presence of God praising Him. They are in “silence” until the Rapture or resurrection.
Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 and 10 (ESV)
(4) But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
(5) For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.
(6) Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
(10) Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
These verses are very clear. The dead are not celebrating in the presence of God. They are in Sheol, the grave, and there they have no knowledge, no love, no hate, no work, no thoughts, no wisdom.
Isaiah 26:19 (ESV)
Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.
Dead people are dwelling in the dust, not in heaven. But there is a time coming when the graves will open and the earth will give birth to the dead.
Thanks for reading.
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