Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion — God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written specifically to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.


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Theological Term of the Week

intermediate state
The condition or mode of being in which the soul exists between the time of death and the time of the resurrection of the body.

  • From scripture:

    For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.  (Philippians 1:21-23 ESV)

    So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,  for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:6-9 ESV)

  • From The Westminster Larger Catechism:
  • Question 86: What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death ?

    Answer: The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.

  • From The Christian Faith by Michael Horton:
  • In the intermediate state, believers are not simply in contemplative repose. Nor are they lost souls wandering throughout the realm of shadows or crossing back and forth over the river Styx ferried by Charon. Rather, they are made part of the company assembled at the true Zion, with “innumerable angels in festal gathering” and “the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God,, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus , the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Able” (Heb 12:22—24).

Learn more:
  1. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Intermediate State
  2. Blue Letter Bible: What Happens to a Believer after Death?Do Believers Experience All God’s Promises in the Intermediate State?
  3. Matt Perman: What do you believe about the intermediate state?
  4. Loraine Boettner: Death, Immortality and the Intermediate State
  5. Wayne Grudem: Death and the Intermediate State (mp3)
  6. Joseph A. Pipa: Death and the Intermediate State (audio)
Related terms:

Filed under Salvation

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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