There are those who say the Tanakh*, the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, doesn’t speak of an eternal afterlife. And while the idea of heaven and hell isn’t as clearly stated in the Old Testament, as it is the New Testament, there are clear references to be found. Remarkably, many of these Old Testament afterlife verses, indicated in bold type below, are echoed in the New Testament!
Consider the following Old Testament Bible verses and their New Testament echoes. I hope these verses encourage you!
"Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" Genesis 5:24.
"By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God" Hebrews 11:5.
"Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people" Genesis 25:8.
"The LORD told Moses . . . There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people" Deuteronomy 32:48-50.
Jesus said, “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us’” Luke 16:19-26.
"He will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces" Isaiah 25:8.
Do you hear the echo of Revelation 21:4? "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
"But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself" Psalm 49:15.
Do you hear the echo of John 14:3? "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."
"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" Isaiah 26:19.
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
"Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace" Daniel 12:2.
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" Matthew 25:46.
"And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" 2 Kings 2:11.
"Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave
it" Ecclesiastes 12:7.
"Then Jesus called out in a loud voice, 'Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.' And when He had said this, He breathed His last" Luke 23:46.
"While they were stoning him, Stephen appealed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit'" Acts 7:59.
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up" 1 Samuel 2:6.
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" Matthew 10:28.
“What is this you have done?” his servants asked. 'While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but when he died, you got up and ate.' David answered, 'While the child was alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let him live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me'" 2 Samuel 12:21-23.
"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him" 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” Hosea 13:14.
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55
"For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever" Psalm 37:28-29.
"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells" 2 Peter 3:13.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” Psalm 23:4.
"So we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?'" Hebrews 13:6.
“And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever" Psalm 23:6.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look God's dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God" Revelation 21:3.
Have you found other Old Testament afterlife verses? Please share them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2023 S.A. Keith
Photography by Mike Haupt @unsplash.com
*Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) is Judaism’s foundational text. The word “Tanakh” is an acronym of its three parts: Torah (The Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). It contains stories, law, poetry, and teachings about God and humanity.
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