Why Doesn’t the Old Testament Mention The Afterlife?

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Why Doesn't the Old Testament Mention The Afterlife?

This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, host Dr. Josh Philpot talks with Dr. Richard Caldwell about hope in the afterlife. A listener writes sharing that they see evidence for Christian hope of an afterlife in the New Testament. However, they also share that they do not see evidence for it in the Old Testament. So, they ask, is it there? Did believers in the days of the Old Testament have hope for the life that extends beyond the grave? How do we know that there is life after death? Dr. Caldwell seeks to help Believers see the evidence for the afterlife in the Old Testament. He also seeks to encourage us in this hope that the New Testament makes even more clear.

Dr. Caldwell tells us we know there is life after death because the Bible tells us there is. The very One we trust in; the Lord Jesus Christ is He who was raised from the dead and lives forevermore. And, He has promised to return and receive us to Himself, that where He is, we will also be. So, you can’t believe the Bible and not believe in an afterlife because the Bible clearly speaks of it. Yet, it seems somewhat hidden, not overtly obvious or clear in the Old Testament.

Why is this? Dr. Caldwell says that many truths in the Scriptures are this way, they sort of receive increasing light as we move through the Scriptures. This is often referred to as progressive revelation, where more and more information is given as we go along. One example of this is the Trinity. The fullness of light is seen in the Lord Jesus and what follows. The hope of the afterlife is not absent from the Old Testament; it just isn't overly clear.

Dr. Caldwell takes us to Psalm 16 to give us an example of what he means. Then he turns in his Bible to Acts 2:22-35, first reading the Scriptures and then explaining what is being said, first by David, then by the Apostle Peter as he quotes verses from Psalm 16. As David writes in Psalm 16, he writes of something true in his life, but he also writes about someone greater than himself. Peter makes this clear in the sermon he preaches after Christ's resurrection.

He tells us that Psalm 16 is about the Messiah. It is about the resurrection of Christ because the body of David is still there in the grave. And what is true about Christ being raised from the grave and alive forevermore is true for Christ’s people. We will all be raised from the grave, including David. The New Testament epistles make it clear there is a great resurrection day in our future.

Dr. Caldwell reminds us that the Apostle Paul writes that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Physical death brings separation of the body and soul. The Believers soul goes immediately to be in the presence of Christ. But our bodies await their transformation until Christ returns. At that time, our souls will be matched with our new bodies, and we will live forever in the presence of God in body and soul. This is the promise of Scripture.

Therefore, the afterlife is revealed in the Old Testament, yet not as clear as the New Testament makes it. But, the Bible is very clear, there is an everlasting life for those who have trusted in Christ. Additionally, the Bible is also clear for those who do not trust in Christ for salvation.

Those who remain unreconciled to God, through Christ, upon His return will be judged and sentenced to everlasting death. Judgment will be executed, and anyone whose name is not found written in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. This never-ending death will be lived out in the confines of Hell. Their new body fitted to their soul for living out their eternal existence there.

John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. In Romans 10:9, the Apostle Paul tells us, “If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". There is salvation in no one else; there is no other name; and no other way for men to be saved. The gift of salvation leads to eternal life, so eternal life is a reality for all those who believe in Christ. But for those who don’t believe in Him, as the Bible states, the wages of sin is death. If they remain in their sins on the last day, there is no hope of eternal life for them, only eternal death. Both eternal life and eternal death are certainties. There is an everlasting existence both for those who are saved and those who are lost. The question for us is, do we believe these truths, and what are we doing with what we believe?

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 18 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Graphic Design
David Navejas


Special Thanks to
El Centro Network

Music by

Motion Graphics
Szymon Masiak

Set Decorator
Molly Atchison

Walking In Grace Produces The Straight Truth Podcast - The Best Christian Podcast On The Web

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