Christians Don’t Go to Heaven When They Die

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Yes, that’s right. Christians don’t go to heaven when they die. Allow me to explain. If you grew up in a religious background, you’ve likely grown up believing when a person dies, they either go straight to heaven or hell. A simple idea that many of us have been taught, but likely never investigated in scripture because it seemed obvious. However, if we investigate the scripture on where people go when they die, we might be surprised to find that it’s not as obvious as we’ve always been taught. Let’s observe what the scripture states first in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 states “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Now notice, it said the Lord Himself will descend from heaven, and then it goes on to say the dead in Christ will rise first, and then the rest who are alive will be caught up together with the dead in the clouds to meet the Lord. So according to this verse the dead aren’t already in heaven, otherwise it wouldn’t have said Jesus had to come down from heaven to get them. So then that begs the question, where are they? Well, let’s continue to look through scripture to get as many facts as we can to make an informed conclusion. Let’s see if the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 can help us.

Luke 16:22-26

Luke 16:22-26 states “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.”

Ok, so we see here that Lazarus died and went to Abraham’s Bosom, and the rich man went to Hades. How are these two places defined in the original Greek? Let’s review.

Greek words

Kolpos (bosom) – front of the body

Hades (hades) – the nether world, an abode for the wicked

Thoughts on these words

Now some argue that Abraham’s Bosom is possibly a metaphor for heaven, but still, the definition of bosom doesn’t say metaphor for heaven, and if it was then it would seem to be in contradiction to Jesus coming down to bring the dead with Him first in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. An interesting thing to note for that translation of hades is that it is NOT the same as the Greek word used for hell. In fact, there is a completely different word used for hell in the Greek, and that word is Geenna. The definition of that word is future punishment akin to the valley of Hinnom in South Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned. You’ll also notice that you’ll find the word fire or fiery next to the word hell frequently.

Rev 20:14 gives us the perfect illustration of this difference which states, “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” Now yes, in that parable, the rich man said he was in agony in a flame, but the distinction between that fire in Hades and the fire of Hell that people will be placed in during the final judgment, is they will be completely destroyed in the fire of hell. The rich man could still evidently talk in that Hades flame. Remember what Mat 10:28 states ““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.”

What does it all mean?

So how do we tie all of this together? Before I offer a conclusion based on all of these facts, it might be helpful to offer insight on two other verses that some say suggest that Christians are in fact going straight to heaven whenever they die. Philippians 1:23 states, “But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;” (2 Cor 5:8 states, “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Ok, at first glance it would seem as if this is evidence we’re all going to be with Christ in heaven as soon as we die, because that’s what the Apostle Paul just said his desire is, but there are a couple of things that also have to be recognized here.

One, the Apostles said this desire of themselves. The Apostles would seem to be in a different category from us as Christians. Remember what Jesus said about the vine, the branches, and the fruits in John. Following the context that Jesus was speaking to the Apostles when making this statement, He said He was the vine, they were the branches, and that they would bear much fruit abiding in Him (John 15:5). The fruit could logically be concluded to be us, the Christians. John 15:16 states, “You (apostles) did not choose Me (Jesus) but I (Jesus) chose you (Apostles), and appointed you (Apostles) that you (Apostles) would go and bear fruit (Christians), and that your fruit (Christians) would remain, so that whatever you (Apostles) ask of the Father in My name He may give to you (Apostles).” With that to consider, we also have to remember that those two verses (Phil 1:23 and 2 Cor 5:8), as all verses do, have to correlate with every verse in Scripture. So it would again still seem contradictory, to say Christians are going to be in heaven right after they die, when it’s stated Jesus is going to come down and bring the dead first in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

My scriptural conclusion

With all of that said there’s obviously a lot to put together here, but let’s try to see if we can. The dead according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16 are not in heaven yet.  Now the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a reflection of what happened when those two people died. Perhaps maybe that’s the reflection of what happens to all Christians when they die, and all the dead are in a resting place with Abraham right now. However, if the same fate of Lazarus is true of all people who lived life as Christians, wouldn’t they already be in heaven? According to Jesus, that’s where Abraham is. Mat 8:11 states “I (Jesus) say to you (the centurion was who he was speaking to) that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;”

Is there a separate resting place with just Abraham first? Another possible idea that we also have to keep in mind is that the parable never said Lazarus was a Christian. As we know from our studies, there were no Christians until Acts 2 when the first people got saved according to the Gospel of Christ stated in Mark 16:15-16. You might stop me here and say wait, are you saying there are non-Christians in heaven? Well, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not in the category of Christians. The command given for all people being able to come to heaven by becoming a saved Christian was given at the end of the gospels. So all those prior to the time the first people became Christians in Acts 2 that ended up in heaven were non-Christians. Now to be clear, Non-Christians can of course definitely not enter heaven now. I make the point to illustrate an alternative idea that it’s possible the parable is perhaps not necessarily a direct reflection of what happens for Christians when they die, but just a continuing illustration to the people around Jesus at that time that they needed to repent. I would say that I’m most inclined to settle my view on that conclusion. Though one other thing also for thought, if one were to believe the parable is a direct reflection of events after an individual dies, then as a result Non-Christians would be currently in Hades until Judgment day, and then they will be destroyed in Hell.

There’s a lot that can be speculated from these verses, and after I came to my own conclusions; I researched and discovered that theologians have had a number of different conclusions on this topic. One thing we do know for sure is that people who have obeyed the Gospel of Christ and remain committed to the faith will be in heaven with Jesus eventually, and I think we can all agree that’s the most important thing that matters. Any thoughts, questions, or comments are welcome as always. If this post enlightened you in anyway, I’d appreciate if you shared this across your social media by clicking one of the “SHARE THIS:” buttons below.  Peace to all those who are in Christ.

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79 thoughts on “Christians Don’t Go to Heaven When They Die

  1. The proof positive of what you state in truth, is found also in Revelation 20……The righteous awaken for the new Covenant:

    Revelation 20:4

    “And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. THEY CAME TO LIFE AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS.”

    NO one goes to Heaven after death! Bravo…

    • I am responding to the original blogpost here. I want to say thanks for liking my post on Flat earth. However, I respectfully disagree with your post here. First it starts with the term “Christian”. The term was first used by unbelievers in a derogatory sense towards followers of Christ. Acts 11:26: “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” The term Christian means followers of Christ. So guess what? People like Abraham was a follower of Christ even though the term Christian was not used yet. John 8:58, “(56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (58) Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Abraham had communed with Jesus on earth. Genesis 18:1, 13-14: (1) And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; (13) And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? (14) Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Read Genesis 18 for a more detailed lesson on when Abraham spent time with Jesus & two angels. Note: not ever person claiming to be a Christian are actually Christian. Some are actually unbelievers posing as believers. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” I posted that because I hope you are a believer and not an imposter. Your post contradicts scripture.

      Believers of Christ do go to heaven now. Ephesians 4:8-10: (8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9) (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) Before Christ died and rose, all people went to Hades (or Sheol) which was divided, one part like heaven or paradise (Abraham’s Bosom) the other part like Hell. When Jesus rose, He went there to carry believers of Christ to heaven. So now when believers die, they go to heaven. Unbelievers go to Hades which is now only like Hell and wait to die the second death in Hell (Gehenna). By the way two men went straight to heaven without dying Enoch and Elijah. Genesis 5:24 “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Hebrews 11:5-6: “(5) By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” 2 Kings 2:1, : “(1) And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. (11) And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” So there are two men in heaven right now, Enoch & Elijah, who did not die.

      You are unfortunately misguided and led astray by the spirit of confusion, a demonic spirit. You have misinterpreted bible passages like 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 for example. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17: “(13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) 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: (17) 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.” Yes the dead in Christ shall be risen by Jesus but you have misinterpreted death. Did you know that there are 3 immaterial parts of each person? Each person has a physical body, soul, and spirit. Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The point is when a person dies, their body is separated from their spirit & soul which is the 1st death. Most people will deal with this. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, the dead in Christ will rise, meaning God will reunite their bodies with their spirits & souls and give them new glorified bodies like Christ. Those who are alive are those who won’t suffer any type of death, but be given glorified bodies too. Remember God is a Spirit. John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” So when Jesus came to earth to live amongst mankind, He took on a physical body and when He died on the cross, His physical body was in the tomb, but His Spirit was in heaven at the same time. Why I say this? Luke 23:42-43: “(42) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
      (43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” When the thief asked Jesus to save Him He told the thief he would be with Jesus in paradise (heaven). Jesus is no liar. So yes the thief was with the Spirit of Christ in heaven that day while Jesus body ended up in the tomb. When Jesus rose from the dead His body & Spirit was reunited and Christ became glorified.

      However, those who die not believing in Christ will die 2 deaths: the 1st death of their physical bodies being separated from their spirits & souls. Then they’ll face God at the Great White throne judgment to die the 2nd death, to be cast into the lake of fire for an eternal death. The 2nd death is complete separation from God forever: body, soul, & spirit. You also misinterpreted those going to Hell. While there is eternal life for believers the exact opposite will happen to those who die not believing in Christ, eternal death. Why I say Ithis? Matthew 25:41, 46: “(41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9: “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

      So yes Jesus has the power to destroy body and soul by casting it into Hell, but the destruction is an eternal destruction. God is beyond our comprehension. So if His Word says Hell is eternal then we must believe it is possible because He said so. Eternal life is to live forever and eternal death is to die forever. I pray for you factbasedtruth because you are confused and leading people astray. I hope and pray you seek the Holy Spirit for clarity on this and all other matters. Your post is not pleasing to God. I urge to remove this post for good or until you learn the truth about this subject. I’ll pray for you. God bless!

      • Hi Cordell79. Thank you for your comment. And yes, I did find your flat earth post intriguing, even though I didn’t necessarily support the conclusion. With regards to your assessment of my post, I think two people can respectfully disagree on this subject. I hope you, like myself, are humble enough to admit that neither of us know everything correctly of the scripture, and can only understand as much as our small minds can comprehend. Respectfully, while some points you state are accurate I simply believe the full conclusion you have is based on inferences you’re placing on the text that aren’t explicitly stated in the verses you make your conclusion. In my view of Ephesians 4:8-9, understanding it in context, the verses afterwards would seem to suggest something else being talked about in the present, with the Ephesians being designated as prophets, evangelists, etc in the next verses. 1 Thessalonians 4, others have suggested that conclusion you have made, but since there is no explicit statement of such in the verses, I opt for the simpler conclusion, which is people are simply at rest somewhere until Christ comes back for them to rise first. Finally, I do not conclude the thief’s experience can be generalized to the death experience of those who are saved according to the formula of salvation given by Christ in Mark 16:16. I think it’s okay if we agree to disagree, because we both agree that all Christians that continue in the faith are going to heaven eventually. Thank you again for your comment.

        Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  2. A good stab at the matter as always… But mightn’t be the last word on the matter..I was precisely wondering where 1 peter 3:19-20 fits into it….For what was the essence of Jesus descending into Sheol for 3 days??

    I think prior to Jesus’s Resurrection your assessment is accurate. For he was to be the 1st born among brethren…. But Post resurrection He led the ‘righteous dead (occupiers of Abraham’s blossom) into heaven and changed the path & journey afterwards for all under the new covenant.

    In reconciling 1 These 4:16 I’m of the opinion that its referencing a reconciliation of the corrupted body of the dead with their souls descending from above.

    I align with this view here: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/he-descended-into-hell & recommend you read it.

    • Hello Wale.

      Interesting you bring up Sheol. I thought about including that in this writing given it’s fascinating there’s really not any concept of heaven in the Old Testament. As the article you cited accurately pointed out, after death it appears the destination of the soul was Sheol, the abode of the dead. There’s an interesting episode in 1 Samuel 28 for anyone interested in reading where Saul uses a medium to bring up Samuel’s soul from below to talk with him.

      Anyway, let’s talk about that verse in 1 Peter. Let’s look at the verse before and after those two to make sure we’re understanding things in context. “1 Peter 3:18-22 states, 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the [p]water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God [q]for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”

      Okay, so Christ died for the sins of the unjust, so He might bring us to God. He was made alive in the spirit, and went to make proclamation to the spirits now in prison. The spirits apparently being referred are the ones that were disobedient during the time of Noah. I looked up the meaning of the word proclamation in the Greek and it means to herald divine truth (the gospel), preach, proclaim, publish. So Jesus went to those specific spirits to presumably proclaim divine truth, likely the gospel, to them. Then as we jump to verse 22 after Peter explains how salvation occurs now, he explains Jesus has gone to the right hand of God with angels, authorities, powers, subjected to Him. Now I’m not sure if your saying these verses confirm your conclusion that he led a group of righteous dead in Abraham’s bosom into heaven (correct me if not), but if that’s what you’re using to confirm your conclusion, I would be inclined to disagree because there’s nothing stated in this verse that he brought the imprisoned spirits in this chapter to heaven, or that where these imprisoned spirits were was even at Abraham’s bosom. Looking very closely, Peter states, “now in prison”. To this writer’s eye that sounds like those imprisoned spirits being referred to in this chapter are still there.

      With regards to your alternative conclusion on 1 Thessalonians 4:16, I would only say the verse doesn’t give the same detailed explanation as you have given, merely just stating “the dead in Christ will rise first”. It perhaps doesn’t necessarily mean their corrupted bodies reuniting with their souls, though I understand what would potentially give that suggestion credence since bodies are what die. We do know our bodies will be transformed to His glory, as to how the transformation process will occur, I’m not aware that we’re given full detail of that. I think then what we’re left to speculate here is what does the phrase, “asleep in Christ/dead in Christ” mean? And you have concluded it means saved souls already in heaven, while I am skeptical of that conclusion given the lack specificity stated of that, making me more inclined for the simpler explanation, being that these Christians who are dead are just simply at rest until Christ comes to get all of us. Curious, what do you make of humanity777 using Revelation 20:4 to make the same conclusion that Christians are not in heaven?

      The article you gave was a pretty good read. I think portions of what was stated presented some interesting speculations with regards to Sheol and different compartments, but with regards to the parts that dispute my conclusion, those spots I found the author made two leaps in conclusions that find to be too much of a stretch to be accurate in my estimation.

      Leap #1: “After his resurrection, Jesus ascends to heaven and brings the ransomed dead with him, so that now Paradise is no longer down near the place of torment, but is up in the third heaven, the highest heaven, where God dwells (2 Corinthians 12:2–4).” Okay, so the author is correct in understanding Paradise to mean the third heaven in this particular instance, as the verse seems to be making the same connection as well. However, where the author makes the leap, is assuming the person that Paul is speaking of is there right now. The verses only state that the person was caught up in the third heaven/paradise and heard inexpressible words. Paul never says that this man died and is resting in heaven currently or that this is going to be what happens with all Christians that die, as we seem to find in the more specific addressing of dead Christians in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. He only specifically states that he knew this man in Christ 14 years ago that got caught up in the third heaven and heard inexpressible words.

      Leap #2: “Now, in the church age, when the righteous die, they aren’t merely carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom; they depart to be with Christ, which is far better (Philippians 1:23).” The author is assuming Paul’s statement is reflective of the Christian experience, but I argued in my writing it’s specifically reflective of the Chosen Apostle experience since he is only speaking of what he’d rather have for himself, and speaks later in his writings to the Thessalonian church about the Christian scenario that Christ will come to get the dead first, which would seem to contradict Philippians 1:23 being the scenario of what happens to Christians after death if it were the case that verse was describing that. In the Gospels Jesus stated he was going to go away to prepare a place for the Apostles. John 14: 1-4 states, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” Now I know Paul and the Apostle they replaced Judas with were not there at the time Jesus made this statement. But He did make this statement specifically to the chosen Apostles that were there (Thomas and Philip for sure we know since they were named), Paul considers and proclaims himself as equal in authority to the original 12. You can find him defending that in Galatians. I would make the conclusion that this statement by Jesus in John 14 ended up applying to Apostle Paul as well which is why he stated what he stated in Philippians 1:23.

      So with those two scriptural conclusions by the author that I find to be too much of a stretch to be accurate conclusions, I’m still more inclined to think the more accurate conclusion is that dead Christians are not in heaven right now. But happy to listen to further thoughts and continue this good iron sharpening iron discussion. Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

      • Hi, I am trying to understand why you think that when Jesus said “you”, He was only talking to or of His Apostles? When He addressed His disciples, which He did severally, and He had hundreds of disciples, we know there were at least seventy plus the 12, He also said “you”. Consider when He told them that they will be persecuted, He didn’t simply mean the 12.

        I think you are wrong to say that there is a different expectation after death for the Apostles, or that Jesus was only going to make a place for the Apostles, or that Jesus only said to the Apostles that THEY were the branches grafted in. Even if you read Paul’s writing, when he addresses the Believers, he told them that they too had been grafted in, and “if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either…” (Rom 11:21).

        When Jesus said “you”, He meant all of us who believe in Him, and so we are ALL called to bear fruit that will remain. I think what you have done with separating the Apostles from other Christians is dangerous, because you have exalted them, such that you believe that they are the only Jesus prepared a place in Heaven for (at least that is the message that comes across from reading your comment). It is good to remember that Jesus also said:

        “So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt 20:16).

        Cheers, Ufuoma.

      • Hi Ufuoma. Thank you for your comment. I would suggest to you there are numerous instances where Jesus was only speaking certain things to his 12 apostles. Matthew 10:5, Matthew 11:1, Matthew 19:28, just to name a few. Usually when there were other disciples with them, to my knowledge it was explicitly stated, Mark 4:10 would be an example.

        Now with regards to the verses I cite in John being specifically directed to the Apostles, it’s important to look at the previous chapter going into chapter 14. This was an extended conversation occurring with the Apostles because Jesus was specifically stating one of “you” (12 Apostles) will betray me, and he goes into detail about Apostle Peter being one who will deny Him three times. And in the chapter which I cite the verses I’m using in my comment to Wale., Apostle Philip is noted asking a question to Jesus. All of this leads me to conclude this was a moment Jesus was specifically addressing his 12 apostles. There are no explicit statements of any of the other followers being amongst Jesus and the Apostles at that time like you see explicitly stated in other verses.

        I would suggest to you Jesus is the one who made a distinction between the 12 Apostles and the followers of Christ. After the Lord’s Supper, with just the 12 there, he states in Luke 22:28-30, “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” To clarify, I’m not saying the Apostles are the only ones who are going to be in heaven, I’m saying Jesus stated specific things to them about what’s going to happen when they’re in heaven.

        I hope this helped expand more knowledge of my conclusion. I understand if you may still choose to disagree, but we at least agree Christians will all go to heaven eventually, which is the most important thing.

        Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  3. Some of this has to do with our spirit vs. body. Spiritually, we’re one spirit with the Lord. I don’t think physical death can affect that bond. Paul says we are raised in Christ now (Eph. 2) yet await bodily resurrection (Rom. 8). So I’ve concluded at physical death we continue a spirtual existence in Christ until bodily resurrection (in a new heavens & earth–not disembodied in heaven). But you’re right that the main thing is the ultimate salvation of believers, however that looks 🙂

    • Interesting chapters you referenced. I think it’s plausible to say even at death we are still with Christ in some sense going back to the phrase “asleep in Christ” stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Then those dead in Christ will rise first as the chapter goes on to detail. I think Romans 8:11 further solidifies this conclusion. Interesting blog post you shared as well. I didn’t know about the Gnostic’s theology on this topic. Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  4. I think you’ve made several good points, but in regards to 1 Thessalonians 4, I agree with many others that Paul is talking about the reconciliation of body and spirit/soul. In Luke, Jesus is crucified between two criminals. After one of them asks to be remember in Christ’s kingdom, Christ responds with, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43). The words today and paradise makes it seem like he is referring to the criminal going to be in God’s presence, or heaven. Also, in Revelation 6:9-11, the martyrs cry out for God to avenge their deaths. They are described as being “under the altar”. Heaven, where God’s presence dwells, is described using temple imagery all throughout Revelation (8:3-5, 9:13, 11:1, 15:5, etc.), the altar is in the very presence of God. I don’t think we should take this as they were literally under an altar, but that their souls were in the presence of God.

    Just a few thoughts. Really enjoy your blog!! God bless! 🙂

    • Hello Krystal. Thank you for your comment. With regards to the thief on the cross, I would probably include him in the same category of non-Christians that I wrote about in my scriptural conclusion. It’s possible what happened to him was perhaps reflective of his experience alone after he died, and not necessarily the experience of Christians after they die, given he was a non-Christian since the command of how one became a Christian was not given until after Jesus died and came back to life.

      With regards to Revelation, I’ll first be transparent in stating that I currently debate in my mind how much of Revelation is referring to things that already occurred in the past or things that are to happen in the future. Putting that issue aside for a moment though, I would first say the first verse you referenced does interestingly say in verse 11 in my translation “rest a little while longer”. Similar idea of resting to what 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states, “asleep in Christ”. Which would seem to return us back to the question again which I left in Wale.’s comment, what does “resting in Christ” mean? One could opt for the more cautiously simple explanation as I choose, or take an extra step further in something not necessarily explicitly stated.

      I do see your point within those verses though about the altars being before God, an angel throwing stuff from the fire of the altar down to earth in one verse, which if it’s going down, the angel has to be above it somewhere, and thus the altar as well. The verse in Revelation 6 says the souls are under the altar, so I can see where one would think in their mind, “therefore, the dead souls in Christ are resting in heaven”. But one thing to consider here, is it states specifically within verse 9, “the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;” Now this could go back to my debate in my mind currently of whether this is talking about future or past events because some people have the thought that Revelation has more to do with the destruction of the temple in 70ad than some future event yet to happen, which could potentially explain why it is specifically the slain souls that are under that alter in that verse. I don’t say that as a definitive conclusion that I hold, but more so just a thought. But let’s say one were to concede and conclude that thought is not accurate at all, I think one would still perhaps have to concede, the slain souls that maintained their testimony is again seeming to refer to a specific circumstance of a specific people much like the “non-Christian category” I highlight in my post, in which case, perhaps can not be generalized to the Christian death experience as a whole, given there’s no explicit statement concluding that to be the case.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and feel free to continue sharing, as this is good iron sharpening iron discussion. Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. We may be kindred spirits… (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Here are my two thoughts. One: The spiritual realm is a place, that no living person has seen. We have what the bible tells us, and that is about it. I wanted to add to your thoughts, Samuel’s spirit and the witch of Endor, Enoch, Elijah, and the transfiguration were Moses and Elijah visited Jesus. Also, another thing to add, Mt. Sinai, if we see God, as flesh, we die. This says to be if eternity was shown to us, or explained in detail beyond what the bible offers, we couldn’t handle it. Two: The heaviest focus of the bible is our interaction with others. I have a great fascination with the afterlife, and in recent years, I am really attempting to shift my focus on what I can do for the spiritually weary and wounded in the land of the living. Again, I really enjoyed reading your post. Well done!

    • Hi ZacharyWGilbert. Haha, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my post so much. Exactly. I think at times we can occasionally get in the habit of going beyond what we have in scripture rather than sticking with what we do have even if it doesn’t necessarily fully satisfy our own personal curiosities. As to your point on comprehension of eternity being beyond what we could possibly understand, that would seem plausible to me as well.

      That’s very excellent that you actually pay attention to what things are primarily emphasized in scripture. Whatever God emphasizes most in scripture is what we should all be emphasizing most in our thoughts, understanding, and actions as it relates to our faith. In one of my posts (I forget which one) I discuss how much of a theme connecting together as a group connecting with God is emphasized in scripture (Adam and Eve, Moses and the Israelites, Jesus and the Apostles, the church, etc.). I think unfortunately that’s something that’s been increasingly lost in today’s cultural Christianity, particularly within western culture that tends to be more individualistic in focus with regards to discussing Christianity.

      I’m glad to hear you’re focusing more on interacting with others, and I hope your interactions will encourage and inspire others to do the same.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  6. I thank you for visiting David’s Logical Lagoon and the like for “The will of God in a Godless nation”….As a Southern Baptist I am not in agreement with Christians Don’t go to heaven when they die…Scripture can be quoted and Greek and Hebrew words defined but the one overriding word is Faith…I am saved by Jesus Christ and my soul will go to heaven when I die…You have a very well done site…God Bless David

    • Hi David. You’re welcome. Thank you for your kind comments. I respect your difference of opinion.More importantly we agree that souls need to and can only be saved through Christ. Lord wiling, we’ll all hopefully help in guiding as many to salvation as possible.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  7. Wow! This is eye-opening. I can’t imagine how much we can see God’s thoughts expressed in His Word, provided we ask Him to open our eyes to see wonderful things in His Word. Thanks for revelation.

    • Hi Prosper Anang. Thanks for your comment. Indeed, when we carefully follow what God has written in his Word and avoid adding our own presuppositions to the text, it’s amazing what knowledge we can discover that helps bring us in even closer connection to God.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  8. What about “We are confident, yet, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord,” in 2 Corinthians 5:8? And, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise” in Luke 23:43. And, when the dead in Christ are raised, it is their bodies that are raised. When we die, it is our spirits that go to Heaven until the reunion on the day of 1 Thessalonians 4 or if we are alive when Jesus returns.

    • Hi Martha. Thanks for your comment. With regards to 2 Corinthians 5:8, I believe that’s describing the experience of what the Apostles would have upon death rather than Christians as a whole. I think one thing that’s important to consider when reading scripture is considering pronoun designation. I’ll use an example from the chapter you cited. 2 Corinthians 5:12 “We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.” Consider who the “we/us” and who the “you” is in this verse. If you agree that the “we” in this verse is the Apostles speaking saying they’re not commending themselves to “you” (the Corinthian Christians), then it follows the rest of the pronoun designation has to be individually analyzed who is being referred to in each pronoun in the chapter and book as a whole through careful reading of the text, because sometimes a “we” and “us” does refer to the church as a whole. And thus I would suggest when the Apostles are saying “”we” are confident, yet, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord,” they’re possibly referring to what will happen of their own particular experience as Apostles when they would be absent from the body. I reference John 14 where Jesus states he has a place specifically prepared for the Apostles and plans to come back to get them. Even though Apostle Paul wasn’t present as an Apostle in that chapter, I think it’s possible that reward was extended to him as well when he became one.

      With regards to Luke 23:43 and the thief on the cross, since he was specifically a non-Christian, I don’t think his experience can be generalized to be describing the Christian experience upon death. Had this statement been given to a Christian, then I would probably give more weight to that verse as evidence of your conclusion. Other commenters of this post have made the same conclusion about souls/spirits going to heaven, and then bodies being risen at death. I myself see that as an extra step taken beyond what the text explicitly states in 1 Thessalonians 4, that the dead in Christ are at rest until Jesus comes back and they rise first. If there were a verse that explicitly stated the spirit/soul conclusion, I would agree with that position, but because there is not a verse that does, I choose to opt for the simpler explanation that Christians are asleep/dead in Christ as the verses state. One other commenter suggested they’re not in heaven but existing in some other spiritual existence with Christ, which could be possible, but I don’t see any definitive explicit statement of that in scripture to make that conclusion. But in the end of course, we can all agree that saved sin-forgiven souls will be in heaven eventually.

      Appreciate the iron sharpening iron conversation. Feel free to continue sharing your thoughts if you like. Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  9. You’ve got a very good blog page going, just a few thoughts on Heaven and Hell:

    1. God created the Heavens and the Earth both will be renewed, Heaven was created alongside the Earth. Heaven is the realm which God resides in now. See Genesis Ch1 v 1 & Revelation Ch21 v 1 from these verses it’s very clear that heaven and earth began together and will be re-created together.

    2. Earth – the renewed earth – is where the “reign” will take place, which is why the New Testament regularly speaks, not of our going to be where Jesus is, but of his coming to where we are.

    3. When people say why will God torture people, but there is a difference between tormented and tortured.

    4.On our Resurrection our bodies will be transformed, just like Jesus’ body was transformed.

    5. The early Christians believed that Resurrection would happen to everyone at the end of time not to one person in advance (Jesus). When Jesus raised people from the dead they would still die later on in life.  Resurrection is to live for ever in a new transformed body (still keeping our identity).

    6. When Jesus declares that there are many dwelling-places in his father’s house, the word “dwelling-place” is moné which denotes a temporary lodging.

    7. In 1 Corinthians Ch15 Paul is misunderstood  as people think he means our new bodies will be spiritual body (non-material) if this was the case Jesus’ tomb wouldn’t have been empty. Our new bodies won’t be like our current ones animated by the normal human soul but animated by God’s spirit which will be incorruptible.

    Just some food for thought.

    Look forward to receiving your blog posts in the future.

    • Hi dczy79. Thank you for your comment. Interesting thoughts. To point 1 and 2, those conclusions seem reasonable. To point 3, I’m not quite sure the point you were getting at in that statement, but feel free to clarify that one for me. Sounds interesting. To point number 4 and 5, I would say those conclusions seem reasonable as well. To point 6, I have to admit, I never did look into the Greek on that particular word. I’ll have to delve into that more. This is one of the reasons I enjoy when people comment with different thoughts than mind. It makes me think and consider things I may not have considered before. To your final point, I looked through 1 Corinthians 15, and I suppose when people see that word spiritual body in verse 44 if they’re using the translation I’m using, that’s where they make the conclusion. But I kind of misunderstood your assertion based off of Jesus’s resurrection. You’re saying Jesus’s tomb would have been full if it were the case that new bodies are transformed into spiritual bodies?

      Thanks! I hope to publish a new blog post this week. Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

    • Hi Maureen. Thanks for your comment, and I really appreciate you reblogging this. I’m glad that this post could be a thought-provoking experience for you.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  10. I agree with you that the ultimate goal is that Jesus will return and renew the Earth. However, the more I read the more I am convinced that there is a two-stage resurrection. The first is a waiting room in Heaven (if you like, but not in the throne room). Paul implies this when he says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Phil 1:21-23). The brigand on the cross is told, “Today, you will be with me in paradise. The Greek word for paradise is paradeisos. It comes from the Persian meaning enclosed, well watered park where wild animals where kept for hunting. By Roman times, it had come to mean a park or garden for travelers who had not reach their destination like our modern rest areas on highways. Therefore, Jesus is telling the brigand that today he will go to the rest area. So it seems to me that there may be a place where we wait our new bodies. Outside of most temples in antiquity there were large gardens before you entered the temple. It seems highly likely that we will be waiting in something like that.

    • Hi Jeff. Thank you for your comment. In the first verse you cited, I think it’s possible Apostle Paul was describing his own personal experience as an Apostle with what would happen to him upon death stating “I” rather than stating “we”, “us”, “all” or any form of group pronoun which would more plausibly convince of me of the conclusion you suggest. With regards to the thief on the cross, given he was a non-Christian, I don’t see it as plausible that his experience can be generalized to all dead Christians. I choose instead to opt for the more explicit statement of Christian experience upon death stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 as perhaps being more definitive. So these are the reasons why I don’t think these particular verses necessarily definitively prove that Christians that are dead will be in heaven or as you put it, in a waiting room in heaven.

      Quite an interesting topic of study this is. Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  11. Very good analysis and thoughts. I tend to think there are 2 comings. The first is the rapture when believers will be taken out of this world, and I assume would be in heaven. Then Christ will return after the 7 year tribulation to reign on earth for 1000 years and then the final judgement, final hell and the final version of heaven (a new heaven and earth). When Christ returns after the tribulation, we will all be reunited (church age, prior church age, apostles and prophets). I don’t know if the Bible is specific enough on whether we are all together before then, just as the Bible is not specific on exactly what heaven is like. But we do know that we are not in hell if we are believers, and that the prior church age was saved by faith in a Messiah to come. What about the verse on the cross where Jesus tells the repentant thief that he will be in paradise with him today?

    • Hi Life and Heart Matters. Thank you for your comment. I apologize that my response to you is a few days late. I must have missed it sifting through all the other comments I responded to. It’s my thinking that a lot of people make the heaven assumption because it’s the cultural tradition many of us have grown up with, and as a result, we tend to place assumptions on to the text based on the tradition. What led me to questioning that cultural tradition was reading that verse in 1 Thessalonians 4. In diving through the text, I could not find a verse that explicitly stated that when a Christian dies they immediately go to heaven. I would suggest that this is the same case with the verse you’re asking about with regards to the thief on the cross. He was not a Christian. So it’s in my estimation that his experience is not something that can be generalized as the Christian experience of what happens after death. I find it more of a solid footing to stand on to go with the more explicit statement stated of Christians after death in 1 Thessalonians 4, which is that they will be asleep in Christ, and when Christ descends from heaven with a shout, those who are dead in Christ will rise first. Because Christ is descending to get them and that the dead are rising first to meet Christ is what gives me the conclusion that they’re not in heaven.

      Apologies again for the late response, and peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  12. Hi, I really liked this read! I have pondered and pondered this very same thing.
    The only thing that still challenges my brain is this…. and I apologize if someone in the earlier comments already mentioned these verses. I haven’t read all of the comments.

    2 Corinthians 5
    1For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
    6Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

    What are your thoughts on the absent from the body at home with The Lord portion?

    And then another scripture that follows along with your writing is when Saul consults the medium. This clearly goes along with it.

    1 Samuel 28:3-25
    11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”

    And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”

    12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!”

    13 And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?”

    And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit[a] ascending out of the earth.”

    14 So he said to her, “What is his form?”

    And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down.

    15 Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

    It all comes down to trust and lean not on our own understanding. But I still can’t help but ponder it.

    • Hi gloryguides. Thank you for your comment. It’s okay. This is what I wrote in response to another comment that brought up 2 Corinthians 5:8.

      “With regards to 2 Corinthians 5:8, I believe that’s describing the experience of what the Apostles would have upon death rather than Christians as a whole. I think one thing that’s important to consider when reading scripture is considering pronoun designation. I’ll use an example from the chapter you cited. 2 Corinthians 5:12 “We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.” Consider who the “we/us” and who the “you” is in this verse. If you agree that the “we” in this verse is the Apostles speaking saying they’re not commending themselves to “you” (the Corinthian Christians), then it follows the rest of the pronoun designation has to be individually analyzed who is being referred to in each pronoun in the chapter and book as a whole through careful reading of the text, because sometimes a “we” and “us” does refer to the church as a whole. And thus I would suggest when the Apostles are saying “”we” are confident, yet, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord,” they’re possibly referring to what will happen of their own particular experience as Apostles when they would be absent from the body. I reference John 14 where Jesus states he has a place specifically prepared for the Apostles and plans to come back to get them. Even though Apostle Paul wasn’t present as an Apostle in that chapter, I think it’s possible that reward was extended to him as well when he became one.”

      With regards to your reference of 1 Samuel 28, it appears in the Old Testament after death the destination of the soul was Sheol, the abode of the dead. Many verses in the Old Testament reference this place. It would seem to fit with Samuel being stated in this episode as having been brought up by the medium, because Sheol is the underworld. Job 7:9 states of Sheol “When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up.” Interestingly there’s no mention of Sheol in the New Testament. I presume because after Christ’s resurrection souls no longer went to Sheol, but instead as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 indicates, are just asleep in Christ.

      Indeed, it all comes down to trusting the Lord, which consequently means trusting His Word over any traditional or cultural teachings one may have been taught, which is the main thing I challenge people to do with everything I write in this blog. I hope I was able to give you some deeper understanding, and please feel free to ask any further questions or share any other thoughts you may have.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

      • HI thank you for replying. I agree we have to dig in a little deeper and not be so quick to jump to an interpretation. Thank you for your insight. its definitely important to stick to the word and decipher it carefully. Its so easy for people to be slighted and swayed by a feel good pretty picture. They see a quick half truth and jump. I appreciate that your writing challenges people to take a closer look. Thank you for boldly tackling the gray.
        May God Bless

    • Hi godschildshari. I hope to eventually get around to creating a contact e-mail for this blog at some point. Until I do, you’re welcome to pm me on my twitter account that I use (@Noneother_EO).

  13. Reblogged this on ProphetPX on WordPress and commented:
    This article was decent and getting good UNTIL HE BORKED IT ALL with the last 2 paragraphs (which DO NOT give any conclusive answers and the end result is nothing more than a confusing frazzle of bizarre PRO-DISPENSATIONAL GARBAGE and ignorance) 😦
    But i am sharing this because everything until the last 2 paragraphs is worthy of discussion (even if the DARKENED end result conclusion, and FALSE DOCTRINE at the end, is CRAP).

  14. This article was decent and getting good UNTIL HE BORKED IT ALL with the last 2 paragraphs (which DO NOT give any conclusive answers and the end result is nothing more than a confusing frazzle of bizarre PRO-DISPENSATIONAL GARBAGE and ignorance) 😦
    But i am sharing this because everything until the last 2 paragraphs is worthy of discussion (even if the DARKENED end result conclusion, and FALSE DOCTRINE at the end, is CRAP).

  15. AND HERE, EXACTLY, is why this post and article GOT “BORKED” — this writer shows a lurid ignorance of the principles of COVENANT THEOLOGY and shows an OBVIOUS SKEW or BIAS towards FALSE, HERETICAL, barely 170 year old DISPENSATIONALISM, with implications that no Old Testament believe can be a Christian because such people never existed until “after Acts chapter 2″…. SMH

    Behold, the NON-REFORMED and pitiful BORKING:
    “Another possible idea that we also have to keep in mind is that the parable never said Lazarus was a Christian. As we know from our studies, there were no Christians until Acts 2 when the first people got saved according to the Gospel of Christ stated in Mark 16:15-16. You might stop me here and say wait, are you saying there are non-Christians in heaven? Well, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not in the category of Christians. The command given for all people being able to come to heaven by becoming a saved Christian was given at the end of the gospels.”

    Covenant Theology teaches that EVERY SINGLE believer since the time of Adam (more accurately stated: starting with Abraham, really, since he was the first one to have any redemptive faith) until the very last Christian saved right before Judgment seat of Christ — that ALL are Christians, and there is NO (FALSE) difference between Christians and those who lived under the sinking sands of the constantly apostasizing kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

    sigh

    i wish this had been a better blog. 😦

    • Hi Ryan. Thank you for your comments and re-blogging my post. Could you give me some scripture references with regards to your points on “Covenant Theology”? I’d greatly appreciate whatever knowledge you can pass on to me.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  16. I spent many years fixated of death, because my best friend committed suicide in 1984. I was fourteen then, and my only source of God at that time was my father and his wife. I made the mistake of asking them if I would see my friend again in heaven. I was told no, that he was burning in hell for killing himself. It sent me into a depression where I nearly did the same thing. Fast forward to 2016, where I was led by the Holy Sprit to discover he had a brother and what his brother’s name was. it turned out he was a pastor at a church in Houston. He corrected the damage done to me by my father’s wife by giving me this verse: “…God is not god of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32). He did not pump me full of unknown garbage of where he is, other than he is alive somewhere. Truth be known, he didn’t know either, other than that he is alive. He gave me hope, that he is still and will arise in one of the resurrections. For this, I am thankful.

    • Hi tvmasterc. Thank you for your comment. Can’t imagine how devastating of a loss that would be, and also how crushed you would feel after what your father and his wife told you. I’m glad that you were able to find out of your best friend’s brother who was a pastor and he could give you some hope in the midst of the loss of your friend. I appreciate your sharing of your personal story that can hopefully give comfort to those who see your comment that are dealing with a similar situation.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  17. I have only heard the truth, that Christians don’t go to Heaven when they die, taught by one particular Christian faith group. After reading scripture and asking God to help me to rightly divide His word of truth, I agree with that teaching. It is interesting to find that there are other Christians out there who also believe the same. If I happen to mention my belief of this particular topic in my regular Christian circles, I always feel like they are looking at me as if I had two heads and came from another planet!

    I appreciate the thoughtful manner in which you respond to those who don’t agree with you.

    • Hi godschildshari. Thank you for your comment. I applaud you for studying the issue of the Christian life after death for yourself, and coming to your own conclusion not based on what tradition has always taught, but what scripture seems to teach. It’s refreshing for me as well to see others such as yourself and the other commenters in this post that hold similar conclusions. Hopefully with those who have never encountered our particular belief, it encourages them to review scripture for themselves. Hence why I try to do my best to engage people thoughtfully and respectfully rather than be argumentative.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  18. Christians will see heaven, and will be caught up into heaven at the ressurection, but not before then. And we don’t know what part of heaven, as the bible indicates several heavens—Paul was caught up to the 3rd heaven. A short 7 years after that, we shall return with Christ along with the armies of heaven (angels), to earth, when Christ shall destroy the armies of the Gentiles who will at that time be surrounding Jerusalem and they are led by AntiChrist, and two thirds of the Jews will be killed. Then Israel, as a nation shall cry out to Jesus, finally accepting Him as their long awaited Messiah, and Jesus returns at that time to physically stand upon the Temple Mount and Mount of Olives. We shall reign as Priests and Kings upon the earth with Christ, and then Satan will be loosed from his 1000 year bondage. He and all the lost shall then be dealt the final blow and stand before the Great White Throne judgement, and Jesus Himself shall divide the sheep from the goats.

    • Hi Sheldon. Thank you for your comment. Indeed, when Jesus returns, then Christians will see heaven. The descriptions in Revelation are quite fascinating . I can’t say I’ve come to a full understanding of what it all means myself (if one could ever), but nonetheless, it’s an astonishing read.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  19. Hello,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Heaven and death. I remember studying about the timing of the story of Lazarus and the Rich man. Yes, it could have been a parable or a real story. At that time, before Christ opened to way to Heaven through his blood, the dead were in Paradise or in Sheol. When Jesus died and went into the realm of death, he cleared that place out of believers. The souls of those who trusted God by faith, what your referred to as “non-Christians” met Christ. Just like we look back to Christ for our salvation, they look forward to His coming as the Messiah. So, in many ways all the Old Testament symbols that they knew and loved, how they put their faith in God and salvation, were fulfilled in Christ. Now, the door is opened and of what I read, when we die we are absent from the body, but our soul, our real self, is with the Lord. When the Bible refers to those who have fallen asleep, their bodies are dead in the grave. When Christ comes again, he resurrects those old bodies into something brand-spanking new and puts our souls back in a everlasting body. I tell friends all the time that I am thankful the body I am in is the first test model. The real is coming later that won’t age, will be young, and do all the things that we can only dream of now. All of this is Biblical and part of our hope.

    Thanks,

    Gary

  20. Hi Gary. Thank you for your comment. I chuckled at your “first test model” line. I’m assuming with regards to your conclusion of Jesus taking the unbelievers from the realm of death to heaven you’re referring to 1 Peter 3:19-20, but please correct me if you’re basing your conclusion off of a different verse. If you don’t mind me borrowing from another comment I responded to, this how I addressed this point.

    “1 Peter 3:18-22 states, 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the [p]water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God [q]for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”

    “Okay, so Christ died for the sins of the unjust, so He might bring us to God. He was made alive in the spirit, and went to make proclamation to the spirits now in prison. The spirits apparently being referred are the ones that were disobedient during the time of Noah. I looked up the meaning of the word proclamation in the Greek and it means to herald divine truth (the gospel), preach, proclaim, publish. So Jesus went to those specific spirits to presumably proclaim divine truth, likely the gospel, to them. Then as we jump to verse 22 after Peter explains how salvation occurs now, he explains Jesus has gone to the right hand of God with angels, authorities, powers, subjected to Him. Now I’m not sure if your saying these verses confirm your conclusion that he led a group of righteous dead in Abraham’s bosom into heaven (correct me if not), but if that’s what you’re using to confirm your conclusion, I would be inclined to disagree because there’s nothing stated in this verse that he brought the imprisoned spirits in this chapter to heaven, or that where these imprisoned spirits were was even at Abraham’s bosom. Looking very closely, Peter states, “now in prison”. To this writer’s eye that sounds like those imprisoned spirits being referred to in this chapter are still there.”

    With regards to the absent from the body verse you cite, I question whether the Apostles were simply speaking of themselves given you see other verses within that passage where they say “we”, and it’s clear they’re referring to themselves, and not Christians as whole. I think it’s very important to pay careful attention to whom certain pronouns are being attached to. And I also think back to the verse where Jesus said he had a specific place He planned to prepare for the Apostles. Apostle Paul of course wasn’t there when He said that, but I suggest perhaps that statement could have been applied to Paul too. To your last conclusion, while that could be possible, it’s not explicitly stated to be the case, so it’s in my personal estimation the more plausible conclusion is the simpler conclusion that as the verse in 1 Thessalonians 4 states, people are simply at rest in Christ. I understand the desire for wanting heaven to be the place we all immediately go after death. Certainly that would be quite nice. We may not agree on how the process happens, but the more important thing is we agree that those of us who endure in the faith will be in heaven in the future.

    Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  21. C.S. Lewis wrote that we are amphibians. That is that we live in our flesh and in our spirit at the same time. If our spirits have been reborn by the work of the Holy Spirit it seems logical that when we die our spirits go to heaven while our dead bodies (empty shells subject to the vagaries of nature) remain behind. Judging by Revelation it seems our spirits either join the heavenly choir or, in the case of martyrs, exist under the throne of God. At the end of time we will receive resurrection bodies (presumably related in some way to our physical bodies), eat at the wedding feast of the Lamb and go to live forever in the New Jerusalem. Hallelujah!

    • Hi waltsamp. Thank you for your comment. With regards to the verse you reference about martyrs, if you don’t mind, I’ll quote to you an excerpt of my response from another comment that brought up that point.

      “But one thing to consider here, is it states specifically within verse 9, “the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;” Now this could go back to my debate in my mind currently of whether this is talking about future or past events because some people have the thought that Revelation has more to do with the destruction of the temple in 70ad than some future event yet to happen, which could potentially explain why it is specifically the slain souls that are under that alter in that verse. I don’t say that as a definitive conclusion that I hold, but more so just a thought. But let’s say one were to concede and conclude that thought is not accurate at all, I think one would still perhaps have to concede, the slain souls that maintained their testimony is again seeming to refer to a specific circumstance of a specific people much like the “non-Christian category” I highlight in my post, in which case, perhaps can not be generalized to the Christian death experience as a whole, given there’s no explicit statement concluding that to be the case.”

      With regards to the choir, I’m assuming you’re citing Revelation 14:3 which states, “And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.” As I expressed in my full response I quoted the excerpt of to you just now from another comment, I have my questions about how much of Revelation is referring to future events vs events already happened. But putting that issue aside, there are two specific things in the next verse that seem to make it unlikely for one to conclude this is referring to the Christian death experience as a whole. Revelation 14:4 states, “These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.”

      1. These are all men. 2. These are men who have not been defiled by women. The Greek word translated to defile is molyno, which means “to pollute, stain, contaminate, defile, used in NT of those who have not kept themselves pure from the defilements of sin, who have soiled themselves by fornication and adultery.” So in my estimation this verse is not an indication of Christians being in heaven after death given this verse negates women, and negates men who soiled themselves in adultery or fornication with women. All that said, while we may agree to disagree on the process by which Christians eventually end up in heaven, we can agree that all Christians will go there one day.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  22. Hi dear… I agree with you based on Paul’s teaching about the rapture. However, I was hoping your post would have addressed what Jesus said to the criminal who was crucified beside Him, that TODAY you will be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:43). I think that is majorly where the belief that we will go to Heaven when we die comes from.

    Cheers, Ufuoma.

    • Hi Ufuomaee. Thank you for your comment. If you don’t mind, I’m going to quote from a response I gave to another comment asking about the thief. “In diving through the text, I could not find a verse that explicitly stated that when a Christian dies they immediately go to heaven. I would suggest that this is the same case with the verse you’re asking about with regards to the thief on the cross. He was not a Christian. So it’s in my estimation that his experience is not something that can be generalized as the Christian experience of what happens after death. I find it more of a solid footing to stand on to go with the more explicit statement stated of Christians after death in 1 Thessalonians 4, which is that they will be asleep in Christ, and when Christ descends from heaven with a shout, those who are dead in Christ will rise first. Because Christ is descending to get them and that the dead are rising first to meet Christ is what gives me the conclusion that they’re not in heaven. ”

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  23. This post was interesting. I agree with a lot of what you said but some of it I wonder if it has to do with pre new covenant and post new covenant. Also Hebrews 11 talks a lot about the believers in the Old Testament and how though faith it was accounted to them as righteousness or a right relationship with God which is the basis for Christianity through the sacrifice Christ made on the cross and by defeating death with the ressurection. There are many passages in the Old Testament that point to the same belief in that sacrifice and victory that Christiand hold today it was just a this is going to happen vs. it has now happened: David and Isaiah are the ones I can think of that best display this. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi littlemissbearpaw. Thank you for your comment. I’m not quite sure I’m understanding the point you’re making. Are you suggesting in the Old Testament that there are verses showing people professing a belief in the sacrifice of Christ to come? And if so, what point are you making with this conclusion in relation to this post?

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

      • So before Christ came there was the Abrahamic covenant with Jews this was the old covenant under the law. David under this law still wrote about a Savior who would suffer and die Isaiah the same thing thing. Jesus hadn’t come yet but that was the hope of their faith. From your points I would conclude that they went to the bosom of Abraham when they died. Once Christ sent the Holy Spirit back to the believers after his resurrection and ascension that established the new covenant all Christians live under now. I guess I’m just wondering if the transition between the two changes the point of destination when you die… If you before the new covenant was established people went to Abraham’s bosom and after now people do go directly to Heaven. I guess even now as I’m thinking about it, it doesn’t make a lot of that it would be that way either since there is still that bit about, “the dead in Christ will rise first” and there is the judgement before the White Throne judgement where the names are read in the book of life and each person has to give an accounting of their actions. So you’re probably right and this isn’t a real question but I still don’t like the conclusion that leads to. Like Paul I was and am VERY excited to see Jesus when I die. I want to go home! Not to some inbetweeny place. Also how does this relate to the Catholics’ Purgatory?

      • Thanks for the clarification. Yes, I’ve seen some make that assertion about people prior to Christ going to Sheol, which some conclude to have had two compartments, one being paradise which people suggest to have been located at Abraham’s Bosom, and for the unbelieving of that time, Hades. All quite possible, which I’m inclined to grant because there are verses that at least seem to explicitly state of a person having gone to these places. The only verse I can recall we have of in the time after Christ someone being stated as having gone to heaven is when Paul discusses someone being taken into the third heaven. As I mentioned to another comment that brought that point up, it never states that person stayed there, only that they were caught up there and heard inexpressible words. So I don’t see that as a strong enough point to conclude all Christians go to heaven upon death. It never even explicitly states that person even died.

        Which then leads me back to the simpler conclusion, that the Christians will rise and go to heaven when Jesus returns. But I certainly understand the desire people hold so strongly of wanting to believe after death, eternal joy immediately starts. I don’t know if we’ll just be in some inbetween place or just simply resting as some conclude. As far as Catholic’s purgatory I never really looked into that much before. Just from a brief glance of the theory of one being in a place of judgment prior to final placement, I don’t know. I can see where they would think that, but because I haven’t studied that deeply into the issue of what state one could possibly be in after death prior to heaven or hell, I can’t offer much of a conclusion for now. But I do find myself confident on the heaven point.

  24. Theologians speak specifically about an intermediate heaven and the eternal heaven where believers will spend all eternity. The eternal heaven–final destination of believers — will be on this earth, that is the New Earth when the New Jerusalem is brought down from heaven to earth. Until then, deceased believers are with God in heaven, temporarily awaiting their eternal heaven which is the New Earth (Revelation 21:1-3). Jesus told the thief on the cross, “today, you will be with me in paradise”. That certainly is where Christ is now.

    Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us clearly that “The dust [the body] returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God. This tells of the human spirit going to Heaven or Hell to await the final judgement.

    So the text in 1Thessalonians 4:13-17 speaks of the resurrection; the reuniting of the body with the spirits of departed souls for final judgement.

    Look carefully at v.14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus”. These people, spirits of death people will descend with the Lord in v16 to join with their bodies.

    Also, speaking of the Old saints before Christ, though technically they are not called Christians, they all believed in Christ for their salvation. For example, we are told that Moses “… considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:26-27). We are also told Noah “became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” ( Hebrews 11:7). The faith of the old Testament saints is a faith in Christ. The new testament believer and the Old Testament believer are all saved by faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:19).

    I think you must ponder your article again. I will recommend Randy Alcorn’s book titled Heaven(that is if you haven’t already read it).

    Grace to you.

    • Hi Enoch Anti. Thank you for your comment. With regards to the thief on the cross, I don’t conclude his specific experience after death can be generalized as the Christian experience. If Jesus or the Apostles went on to state such was the case to the early Christians at any point, I would be more inclined to that conclusion. With regards to Ecclesiastes 12:7, I would ask if your conclusion of that verse is the case, why is Sheol frequently mentioned in the Old Testament of where souls went? With regards to 1 Thessalonians 4 other commenters have suggested it referring to reuniting of body and souls, but I’ve reasoned that given 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 doesn’t explicitly state that being the process and simply states that those asleep in Christ will rise first, that the simpler conclusion of going with what is specifically stated is the better conclusion. They’re asleep in Christ and will rise first. But in stating Christ comes back to get them first with no mentioning of this process of soul and body reuniting, I can only conclude they’re not in heaven. I could certainly be wrong about all of this, and we may continue to disagree on the Christian experience after death, but the more important thing is that we agree that all Christians will eventually go to heaven.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

      • I don’t see any reason why the thief on the cross experience is any different from any Christian experience. He acknowledged he was a sinner, acknowledged Christ’s innocence and placed his trust in Him. Our conversion experiences might differ, but at the end of the day, it is faith in Christ which matters.

        Consider this thief’s experience today as a man who receives Christ on their death bed–just minutes before they passed on. Will you say their experience is not a Christian experience? I doubt.

        I think I can end on your last statement: “the more important thing is that we agree that all Christians will eventually go to heaven” That to me is important too and I can graciously spare any further discussions because of that.

        Bless you

      • For myself in my interpretation style, I’m very careful not to infer specific situations involving specific people in scripture as something that can be generalized to apply to all Christians unless it’s explicitly stated in teaching to Christians. It’s a contrast with a more eisegetical view of interpretation of scripture, and I respect if others find more confidence that style of reading. It’s always interesting trying to understand the meaning of what scripture is trying to get us to understand.

        With regards to the death bed scenario, I have to confess that I don’t believe one is saved until one is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. If you’re curious for my reasoning, you can see my post on the top of the front page of my blog.

        Always refreshing to have a respectful disagreement. 🙂

      • Yes you are right. We are not to build doctrines out of every incident of the Bible. But where an incident clearly aligns with biblical teachings, we have to give attention to it. Exegesis also demands we look at the whole context of the Bible.

        Baptism I believe is not a necessarily condition for salvation. The only condition for salvation is faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). The biblical testimony is clear. We are saved only by faith in Christ and the thief demonstrated that by asking Christ to remember him when he gets into His kingdom.

        If a man is not saved until they are baptised, then we will have to question the salvation of the thief on the cross. Now, to add to the death bed experience, assume a man gets converted in a meeting and on his way home, he is involved in an accident and dies; are you saying that man is going to hell because he was not baptised though he has been converted and placed his faith in Christ?

        I believe in baptism. I have been baptised. But baptism is only symbolic and an outward expression of what has happened to us. Baptism in itself doesn’t cleanse us of our sins. It is only symbolic of our death and resurrection with Christ.

        Do you believe in Justification by Faith Alone?

      • With regards to the thief on the cross, I would suggest to you that you’re using that example out of chronological order with the story of the Gospel. Jesus did not make the command of how one could become saved until after he resurrected and he states to His apostles in Mark 16:16 “”He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Had the thief on the cross been alive when Jesus made this command, he would have had to have been baptized. Furthermore I would suggest to you that Christian salvation did not begin until Acts 2 when the first people were converted to Christianity following Apostle Peter’s command “repent and be baptized for forgiveness of sins”. It would seem that it wouldn’t make sense for Jesus to state how one becomes saved mentioning baptism as a part of that if things were the case as you concluded on the basis of thief on the cross.

        With regards Ephesians 2:8-9, I’m going to quote to you a passage from my post, and also a response to a commenter who brought up this verse.

        “One of the verses that people will pull up often is Ephesians 2:8-9. It states, “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Now, there’s nothing incorrect about this verse, because all of God’s Word is correct of course. But what’s incorrect is the understanding of this verse being a denial of baptism as a part of salvation. Let me ask you a question. Where in this verse does it say baptism is a work? If we’re reading the same verse together, the answer is nowhere.

        Next question, where in the Scripture does it say baptism is a work? Well, I don’t know about you, but to my knowledge it doesn’t. So what we have here is an assumption being made and no evidence to support this conclusion. Now secondly what I would want you to think about, is what are these “works” that Paul is referring to? Well, we don’t have to make an assumption about this because Paul already tells us what the works are that don’t save numerous times in scripture. But just to give you one example, Romans 3:20 states, “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” So here we see that the works in Ephesians 2:8-9 that are being referenced as not saving, are works of the Law. And to my knowledge, baptism was never a work of the Law.”

        Response to a commenter quote: “Something else interesting to consider is when Apostle Paul first visits these people of Ephesus whom he eventually writes this letter which you’re citing the verse in question from. Acts 19:1-5 states, “19 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” So Paul told them to believe in Jesus, and immediately after they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, following the same salvation pattern instructed by Jesus in Mark 16:16.

        I think a good question to consider is why does it not say, they believed after they heard Paul’s instruction to believe in Jesus, but instead it says after they heard this they were baptized? I would suggest to you because believe/faith is not merely a strongly professed feeling of something to be true. It’s an act based on something you firmly conclude to be true. This is the point I illustrated when I discussed Acts 16:31-34 in my post, where it appears to show the family’s belief was confirmed through their action, in Luke (the author of Acts) confirming their belief in God happened after they were baptized. In my estimation, the same thing is happening in this passage as well. Their belief becomes established through the choice of acting on it through getting baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and thus obeying the command that Jesus instructed the Apostles to preach to all creation in order to be saved.”

        With regards to your man dying before baptism scenario, I address this in a part 2 post I did on baptism. If you don’t mind, I’m going to quote to you from that as well.

        “Another common argument is really not an appeal to Scripture, but more so an appeal to emotion. What if a person dies before they get baptized, but they believed in Jesus Christ? Are you really saying that person who did not get baptized will be spending eternity separated from God and in hell? Well one, we should recall when belief is accomplished according to the sequence of occurrence in Acts 16:31-34 as I stated in my previous baptism post. But also my fellow students of the Word, obviously none of us want to see anyone spend eternity away from God and in everlasting destruction. It’s why we make it urgent that people obey the Gospel in order to be saved, in the same way that the people who protest against the necessity of baptism for salvation stress the urgency of belief before someone dies.

        So one could easily turn this respectfully flawed argument around and ask the protester, which atheists use this similar flawed logic to protest God’s goodness, are you really saying a person who dies not believing in Jesus in spite of how good and caring they were, they will spend eternity away from God and in hell? This is the same argument of emotion that the baptism protesters don’t fall for, and in the same instance, when they turn it around on those of us preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we should not fall for either. Let’s recall what we actually know about God through Scripture. Consider these descriptions in the following verses.

        Psalm 145:17 states, “The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds.” Psalm 18:30 states, “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 119:137 states, “You are righteous, LORD, and your laws are right.” Romans 2:5 states, “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” I think you get the gist here. God is perfectly righteous in who He is, what He commands in His Word, and how He judges. Therefore, God being the all righteous perfect distributor of judgment, would set up the most righteous perfect system for one to be fairly judged for eternity with Him or separated from Him, and thus found the belief and baptism formula to be a part of that perfect system.

        If God concluded belief and baptism was best to be a part of the process of the perfect right way for one to be judged on whether they were saved or not, then we need not feel too saddened by certain circumstances or situations. We can trust that in God concluding this would be the fairest perfect right way for salvation to be obtained, belief and baptism a part of the process (Mark 16:16), that He knew this would be the fairest way for everyone to have an opportunity to receive it. The harsh reality is, some people are going to be separated from God for eternity because they didn’t do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21-23). But we all will hopefully be a part of the cause in trying to help get as many people as we can to become saved according to Scripture, and committed to the faith according to Scripture, in order for as many of us to eventually reach the hope of eternity we’ve been promised through Jesus Christ.”

        I believe in justification by faith according to how scripture appears to desires of us to understand it, which is by obedience to the Gospel of Christ as referenced in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 which states, “8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”. Jesus states that Gospel to be obeyed in Mark 16:15-16, Apostle Peter teaches that in Acts 2:38, and every subsequent salvation in Acts follows that formula. I hope this helped answered some questions, and if you have further questions or thoughts, I’m happy to help, but if I may make one small request, I would ask that you please read my necessity of baptism post part 1 and 2 to see if I’ve addressed the points you may bring up in your next comment.

        Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  25. God is not bound by our concepts of time and space. When we awaken to see Christ in the resurrection, it will seem like the blink of an eye since we died. It is as J.B. Phillips said, our God is too small. We put Him in a box based upon our limited human understanding of experience. Someday we will see it all clearly.

    • Hi Zachary. Thank you for your comment. That’s true. With God’s vastly different concept of time and space, we may not even really be aware of how much time passes or what really happened when one who is dead rises to meet Christ. We only have what Scripture tells us, and what our minds are able to understand of it. It’ll be fun knowing all the answers by the end of all of this. 😉

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  26. I was expecting you to also cite Revelation 21 where it talks about the Holy City of Jerusalem, with God in it, coming down out of heaven to earth. God will reside with creation, not humanity being swept up to heaven. Otherwise, great stuff. Thanks.

    • Hi laceduplutheran. Thank you for your comment. I didn’t think about that chapter, but that does appear to show further that the Christian death experience doesn’t involve going to heaven instantly. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  27. Hey fact, interesting read. I was wondering how your musings might shift if you placed God and heaven outside of space/time so that people are simultaneously awaiting the Lord after death and yet already with Him in heaven. Is it plausible that He enters our space/time to interact with us here while we are already with Him because in His realm he has already gathered us? Food for thought.

    • Hey Turtle. Ah yes, another commenter (Zachary P. Hubbard) made a similar point as yours. That it could very well be the blink of an eye when one awakens to meet with Christ. That’s certainly possible and certainly none of us have minds big enough to put God in the box of our understanding of time.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  28. What do we do the with such passages as Luke 23:43 (this day you will be with me in paradise), or 2 Corinthians 5:8 (to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord)?

    When we understand the mind and context of the Jewish reader of most of the Bible, we begin to gasp the figures used. They viewed death a bit differently that we do – for example the concept of “Sheol” – literally the place of the dead. It was a literal place outside the walls of the city, but that isn’t the place actually where the dead go, it was used as a figure off speech. Just as the figure “sleep” was also often used as a figure for death (sleep with his fathers). Soul sleep, a doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, has no basis in Scripture, unless one plucks passages out of said context and twists them.

    Paul’s words to the Thessalonicans were, in context, reassuring words the they hadn’t missed Christ’s return. They saw brothers and sisters dying though the promise was that they would see Christ’s return. Their bodies are in the grave, but their spirit is not. When Christ returns, the dead in Christ will be reunited with their resurrected body.

    And the concept of “Abraham’s bosom” is yet another illustration. To the Jewish reader, being in Abraham’s bosom (literally in front of) would symbolically mean a place of comfort and peace. After all, Abraham was the greatest man in Israelite history, so being in the presence of Abraham would imply being in what is also known as Paradise or Heaven. But it is only your spirit there, as your physical body remains on/in the earth until Christ’s return.

    • Hi TheLonelyPastor. Thank you for your comment. I argue the thief’s experience was specific to him and there’s nothing to suggest it should be generalized to all Christian’s death experience given he was not a person saved under the barometers set for all people after Christ rose. We’re talking about specifically what happens to all people after Christ rose. To the other verse, I argue the Apostle is describing his own specific experience of what will happen to him after death given the verses surrounding that verse the “we” is them referring to themselves. In your view of Sheol being figurative, how do you explain the incident where Samuel’s soul was brought up from the dead by the soothsayer in 1 Samuel 28?

      To your explanation of the verses in 1 Thessalonians 4, it’s my view that that explanation is not specifically stated within the text, and I opt for the simpler explanation that they are simply at rest. I don’t necessarily conclude soul sleep, since one can be resting without sleeping, but just concluding what it specifically states, rest. Lazarus going to Abraham’s bosom I would conclude also was specific to his experience as well.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

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