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DO WE WAIT TO GO TO HEAVEN AFTER WE PASS AWAY OR DO WE GO THERE RIGHT AWAY?

When our life on earth is done,what do you suppose happens? In Luke 23:40-43 Jesus told the criminal that "today you will be with me in Paradise". The criminal was a sinner but because he BELIEVED he was saved and going to be with Jesus TODAY in heaven.
Yet John 6:40 says he will raise us up on the LAST DAY. Does He mean OUR last day on earth or does He me when He returns? I have heard many who think we will kind of just be "sleeping" after we have passed on ,until Christs return. If that is so then why did He say to the criminal TODAY?
What do you think,based on scripture as much as possible?

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Rock,

The Bible says absent from the body, present with the Lord. It sounds like you step from here to Heaven, to me.

Blessings.

Hi Nancy,
here is an article by Douglas Jacoby, hope it's helpful:


It feels like hundreds of disciples are asking about what happens after death! I wrestled with these questions for a number of years, resisting the view to which I have now come. (All of us must do our best to interpret the scriptures in a way that makes sense to us; this may involve a prolonged period of time, during which our views may go back and forth.) I finally published my view in 1997. Let me summarize, however, how I understand the sequence of events:

Death -> Hades -> 2nd Coming -> Resurrection -> Final Judgment -> Heaven/Hell

After we live, we die. (Once -- no reincarnation -- Hebrews 9!) If we die lost, we don't need to wait until Judgment Day to find out where we stand. John 3:18 says that those who do not believe already stand condemned. 2 Peter 2 speaks of punishment before judgment day yet after death. Yet for the redeemed, there is something awesome that happens after death. Like the penitent thief, we go to paradise. Not heaven! Jesus insisted that no one had gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven. Peter said that not even David ascended to heaven. (The term paradise occasionally refers to heaven, as in Revelation 2, but I believe the picture of the next world that emerges from Old and New Testaments forces us to distinguish paradise from heaven.)

One important reason I think no one has ever gone to heaven is that Jesus taught this was dependent on his coming again (John 14). He said he was going there to prepare a place for us. One day he will return to take us there; yet this return has not taken place yet! John 5 says that when he comes back, all the dead will hear his voice and rise from the dead. So this part of the sequence is 2nd Coming - Resurrection. Yet between death and our resurrection we are conscious. Sleep is only a metaphor for death (as in 1 Corinthians 15). The doctrine of "soul sleep" is a errant one. I believe Luke 16 supports this view. Lazarus is in paradise (the metaphor here is "Abraham's bosom," a term commonly used by the early Christians to refer to the good part of Hades) while the Rich Man is in agony. They can see each other. They are both in Hades. In older English, "Hades" was rendered "hell" -- a very negative word for us, but originally neutral. It was the underworld, with a "good" compartment and a "bad" one as well.

After our resurrection, we appear before the judgment seat of Christ. This judgment is declarative, not investigative. God is not trying to figure out whether we are going to be admitted to heaven; he already knows! He is merely declaring officially what our destiny is. The righteous will then (not before) go to heaven. The lost will be cast into the lake of fire.

So where are disciples who have died? They are in paradise; they're conscious and they're happy. And yet I do not think it is correct to state that they are in heaven. Not yet! Not until the Lord returns.

In Him,
Desmond

Good question Nancy - in all honesty I have not thought about this issue at all. I simply copied and pasted an article that I found interesting! 

It's interesting because some scholars think that during the 3 days between Jesus' death and resurrection he was in Hades. Maybe he visited paradise too? 

I honestly don't know Nancy - I hope you find the answer as you say "based on scripture as much as possible?"

Bible Talk,

I do not agree with Douglas Jacoby's understanding. Sorry. If that is true, who were the captives that Jesus led captive after His resurrection? 2 cor 5:5 talks of away from the body, at home with the Lord. As Christians, I don't think we will be at the White Throne Judgment. When Christ died for us, our forgiveness was complete for those who trust in Him. I think our judgement is complete because God says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I think as Christians we have already faced our final judgement.

 

Blessinngs,

Rita

I also agree, with you. 

God bless

 

Hi Rita,

I haven't really studied much about this issue but there are some interesting thoughts, eg what did Jesus mean when he said "My Father's house has many rooms;"? And what are we to make of Paradise and Hades? Who goes where and when do they go there? WHERE will the judgement take place (of all humans) AFTER death (Heb 9:27)?

I want to share something Rita and would like to hear your response to the question that follows:

Years ago when I was a young Christian there was a brother in our church who was a great guy and a spiritually mature Christian. About a year later he stopped coming to church and sometime after that I met him in a clothes store and started talking to him. He told me that he had no intention of coming back to church as he had converted to Islam.

If his judgement had been complete/final as a Christian, how will his judgement be viewed/considered as a Muslim?

 

 

In Christ,

Desmond

 

 

 

Desmond,

 

Do you think it is accurate to describe someone as "spiritually mature" who walked away from the church to follow the Muslim faith? The fact he walked away shows either immaturity or a lack of faith (Relationship with Jesus) all together. One may say he had solid head knowledge regarding the Bible and even appeared to walk the line of religion. These in of themselves do not defne spritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is gauged by one's personal relationship with Jesus and our response to Him. If the man had a true relationship with Jesus instead of a religous experience do you think he would be changing religions?

 

Lord Bless,

LT

Hi LT,

I have to say that at the time he was spiritually mature in my understanding. I agree with you about the points you make but I do feel that the points you raised are realized retrospectively.

It is difficult to understand exactly why people have left the Lord, and I have to say LT, I do not believe that they all only had head knowledge and/or did not have a genuine relationship with Jesus, but there are scriptures that warn Christians against falling away, and we know that it happened and does happen.

How can we tell if a Christian who is in a genuine and productive relationship with Jesus is going to remain faithful, or in twenty years decides to change to a different religion? After how long in a Christian's life can we assess whether their relationship with Jesus is sincere or not? How long before we can (if we can) evaluate their (degree of) faith? 

 

I agree with you LT - Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

 

In Him,

Desmond

 

 

 

 

Desmond,

 

Thanks for the positive exchange. We disagree whether a believer can fall away, but that takes us down another trail that has been discussed in length over the years and here on AAG as well.

 

The last couple of questions are answered for me in that fact that we are to follow Jesus and not man. If my eyes are on the Lord the falling of a man, as tragic as it is, will not detour me in my walk with Jesus.

 

Lord Bless,
LT

Amen LT - "Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest." Heb 3:1

You are a great brother in the Lord (*_*)

I found this on Gotquestions.org

First, for the believer in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that after death believers’ souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:161836). For believers, death is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8Philippians 1:23). However, passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies. If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22).

 

I hope this make my answer a little clearer.

Blessings.

Neat that this question came up, because we were just discussing it when one of our children asked. When I had my out of body tunnel experience years ago and had a little talk with Jesus- yes the Master and I stood at the gate of Heaven and had a discussion about what happens when a believer dies, my understanding was that at death believers fly right through the tunnel as I did, and in a twinkling of the eye, are with the Lord enjoying the peace and rewards of Heaven.The Master also told me that for believers, there will be no pain in death and to testify of this when I got back to earth.Yeah, pretty amazing I know, but I know it happened. Therefor, I would agree with Rita's version of events. If you do a search on this subject on the net, you will find that there are all kinds of views on this, but I know when I die I will fly back through that tunnel into the bright light of God's peace again forever to be with the Lord.

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