Where Were Their Spirits?

Q. This question came up in Bible Study today as we were studying being “asleep” in Christ in 1 Thessalonians. I understand that Lazarus was raised pre-resurrection of Christ so his spirit went to Sheol and was recalled, I guess. But the episode with Dorcas occurred post-resurrection. What happened to her spirit since she was a believer? Surely, she wasn’t recalled from heaven. I suppose the boy in the window who fell as Paul was preaching would fall into the same category if he was a believer. Your ministry is of enormous consequence. Please keep up the great insights.

A. You have the right idea. Lazarus died before the cross, had been dead 4 days, and was already buried when Jesus arrived. The Jews believed the spirit of a deceased person hovered nearby for 3 days before departing permanently. When Jesus raised Lazarus He called the spirit of Lazarus up out of Sheol to rejoin his body (John 11:36-44).

Dorcas (Tabitha), on the other hand died after the cross and had only been dead a short time before Peter raised her up. We know this because her friends had only washed her body and laid her on a bed. No attempt had been made to prepare her for the grave, even though Jews believe in a speedy burial. Her spirit had likely not departed yet when Peter began praying for her (Acts 9:36-40). The same would have been true of Eutychus who fell out a window and died while Paul was preaching. He was dead for only a few minutes. (Acts 20:8-12)

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