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The intermediate state describes the period between death and resurrection. Because it is intermediate there is an aspect of incompleteness, and all of the promises of God are not fully experienced. What the intermediate state consists of is still debated, but a few main views persist:
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Without a body
One theory states that when a person dies they will be without a body. They also propose that we will still be conscious, and will be waiting for the final resurrection where we will receive our bodies at that time.
A spiritual body
Another theory believes that a person will have a kind of spiritual body, however that may look. At the time of the resurrection this spiritual body will be lost, and the soul and original body will be reunited (2 Corinthians 5:1-4).
No intermediate state at all
Some simply believe that there is no intermediate state, and that when a person dies he either immediately goes to heaven or to hell. They will be without a body, but will receive it after the resurrection. One of these proponents is John MacArthur.
Proponents of this view believe that after a person dies their soul goes into a state of sleep or unconsciousness. They come out of this sleep at the final resurrection.
- See main page: Purgatory