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Author Topic: Do we go to heaven as soon as we die?
phillip tidwell
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In a lot of obituaries and at a lot of funerals, we see and hear something to the effect that the departed loved-one has “left this world and gone to heaven” and/or is “with Jesus now”. Similarly, words of consolation are offered to the grieving that their loved-one is “in a better place now.” We’ve probably all also heard stories about how a person just prior to dying is quoted to have said they see a beautiful river and are going to cross it (or something to that effect). We’ve likely all heard or read stories about people who were clinically dead and came back to life to tell about seeing a glorious light or seeing long dead relative. Is it true that a person who is in Christ goes to heaven instantaneously upon their physical death?

1 Thessalonians 4:14-16 does not support the notion that those who are saved immediately go to heaven at the time of their physical death. Verse 16 in particular describes the timing of resurrection of those who are saved to be at the time of the Christ Jesus’ return.

But what about Luke 23:43 where Jesus tells the repentant thief on the cross that “today you will be with me in paradise”? Any ideas?

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Betty Louise
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Our soul (if we are saved) goes to be with God at the moment of death, the resurrection will reunite our souls with our bodies. The souls of unsaved go to Hades not hell to be resurrected and then thrown into hell at their resurrection.
betty

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Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

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The Beauty of Holiness777
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Well said Betty.

AS for as the thief on the cross.
Only Jesus (God) had and has the power to forgive Sin whether in His fleshly body which was before the New Covenant or in Spirit after His Resurrection. The Old Testament was a shadow of things to come, the New Testament just brings to fullness of the Old.

But who is it to say that the thief on the cross was not at one time saved and had been baptized. He may had been a believer at one time and knew that Jesus could save him just by speaking the Word. (He said on the cross "This man has done no wrong" He doesn't desire this punishment but we do.) He must have known something about Jesus.
Even though scripture doesn't say he was or wasn't a follower at one time one just have to wonder; because the other thief mocked Jesus no repentance whatsoever.

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In God I'am Complete.
I am a "Spiritual Being" living in a physical body.
{Prayer - a force that reaches people and places when we can't}

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sweetone
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Betty Louise...i sure felt alot better after reading your post!...i have been confused about this.....and you make sense....but tell me please, what supports your view?....thanks, sweet
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oneinchrist
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Since death is defined as the separation of the soul from the body...... I would find it hard to believe, that upon our death, that our souls would be following our bodies into the grave. I think that the assumptions that are made in funeral services that we know cant all be true is that everyone that dies goes to be with God in heaven.

With love in Christ, Daniel

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Betty Louise
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sweettone,

Sorry for the delay.
2Cr 5:8 We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
betty

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Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

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KnowHim
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quote:
Originally posted by Betty Louise:
sweettone,

Sorry for the delay.
2Cr 5:8 We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
betty

Amen!

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KnowHim
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The question of what happens after death can be confusing. The Bible is not explicitly clear on when a person will reach their final eternal destiny. The Bible tells us that after the moment of death, a person is taken to Heaven or Hell based on whether he or she had received Christ as his or her Savior. For believers, after death is to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). For unbelievers, after death means everlasting punishment in Hell (Luke 16:22-23).

This is where it can get confusing as to what happens after death. Revelation 20:11-15 describes all those in Hell being cast into the lake of fire. Revelation chapters 21-22 describe a New Heaven and New Earth. Therefore, it seems that until the final resurrection, after death a person resides in a “temporary” Heaven and Hell. A person's eternal destiny will not change, but the precise "location" of a person's eternal destiny will change. At some point after death, believers will be sent to the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21:1). At some point after death, unbelievers will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people - based entirely on whether a person had trusted Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of their sins.

http://www.gotquestions.org/what-happens-death.html


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Larry Parker
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SOUL SLEEP?
People, who assume there is no consciousness after death until the resurrection, are confused by the Bible’s use of the word ‘sleep’ for death, and call that condition, soul sleep. They are encouraged by a few scriptures that would seem to support this idea – but only if you don’t read other verses on the same subject. We cannot ignore what looks like conflicting verses. Remember, we need to include the complete word of God in order to understand a subject. These verses are only part of the account on death:
“...But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward (Ecclesiastes 9:5)
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
(Daniel 12:2)
“So man lies down, and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep.” (Job 14:12)

Let’s take a deeper look into the subject and find out what really happens when you die. Jesus said: “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.…”2 We know that Jesus is God, manifested in the flesh, and cannot lie. So how can that be? Don’t people who believe in Jesus die every day? What about Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”3 Wouldn’t that be the scripture that reflects what really happens to us? How can we, never die? The truth is we don’t die; it is only the physical body we live in that dies. The Apostle James defines physical death for us, “...the body without the spirit is dead.…”4 The spirit/soul is the conscious, us, that lives in a physical body. When we leave, the body it is dead. The following verses are another part of the narrative on death:
“And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died)...”
(Genesis 35:18, emphasis added)
“So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people...”
(Genesis 35:29, emphasis added)
“So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:22-23, emphasis added)
“And Jesus said to him, [thief on the cross] “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise,” (Luke 23:43)
“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
The scriptures quoted are talking about the death of the physical body. When Rachel died her soul departed from her body. The Bible is talking about the death of the physical body when it says, “So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.…”5 In the books of Genesis and Numbers we find that Ishmael, Jacob, and Aaron, were all “gathered” to be with their people after they died. God told Moses in Deuteronomy 32:50, “...die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people;”6 If these patriarchs were gathered to be with their people after they died, how could they be in soul sleep, waiting for the resurrection?

When the beggar and the rich man died they did not remain unconscious. The beggar was carried into Abraham’s bosom (paradise) by the angels, while the rich man went to hell. If Jesus told the thief, on the cross, that he would be with Him in paradise that day, he could not be unconscious in his grave as well. “And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”7 It is not reasonable, as some say, to believe the word “today” in this verse means, “I’m telling you this today.” What about Abraham? He could not be in soul sleep, and present in paradise too. From these scriptures we can conclude that when we die we leave our bodies and go to either heaven or hell. Paul tells us that the Christian goes to be with Jesus when he/she dies. In fact, it was more desirable for him to be absent from his body and present with the Lord.

A COMMON DENOMINATOR
In reading and understanding scripture, one rule is inviolate. God never contradicts Himself. We can feel that we are on the right track when we find interpretations that agree with all scriptures. We must find a common denominator that will harmonize God’s word, each scripture with the other. The common denominator in the issue of dying is the fact that man, created in God’s image, is a triune being. He is body, soul, and spirit. Paul points this out when he says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”8

When the psalmist says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.”9 he is referring to the physical body. When Jesus says, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die....”10 He is referring to the conscious (spirit/soul) of the believer. Contradictory? No! The physical death of the saint is precious in the sight of the Lord, because God knows the flesh will no longer be able to hinder us (spirit/soul) in our interaction with Him. We are free to see Him face-to-face and experience His love fully. The conscious spirit/soul of a man or woman is the person who lives in a body, and never dies.

HOW WILL THE SPIRIT/SOUL BE CLOTHED?
Believers in soul sleep say, “Our physical body is the ‘clothing’ for our spirit/soul. Because of that, we don’t want to be found naked when we die, so we sleep until the

resurrection. Afterward, we will receive our new, glorified, bodies.” They support their claims with the following Bible verses, which are only part of the account:
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
“Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh…” (Job 10:11, KJV)

The problem with the ‘soul sleeper’s’ conclusion is, if a Christian is naked, or unclothed between death and the resurrection, where would that person’s (spirit/soul) be? He can't be unconscious in the body, because James 2:26 says, “...the body without the spirit is dead….”11 Conversely, if the spirit were in the body it would not be dead. Therefore, if the Christian is absent from the body, he must be ‘present’ somewhere else; just as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8: “with the Lord.”

Before I come to a conclusion about a subject, I want to find out what the entire word of God says about it. Don’t forget, we must look for the whole council of God. In order to find out if it is right to say, “If we are not clothed with a physical body we are naked,” I need to find other scriptures that talk about how we are clothed. Can we (spirit/soul) be clothed in something other than the body? Yes! As Paul Harvey would say it, “Here is, the rest of the story.” In 2 Chronicles 6:41, I find that we can be clothed with salvation. Isaiah 61:10 shows us clothed in salvation and righteousness, “…For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” In Job 29:14, Psalm 132:9, and Isaiah 61:10, we can be clothed in righteousness. This ‘clothing’ takes the form of white raiment12 or, white robes.13 I find therefore, when we die physically the conscious spirit/soul leaves the body and we go to be present with the Lord, clothed in a robe of His salvation and righteousness provided by His shed blood. The Apostle Paul lets us know that we will not be naked when we die physically. He says, “For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”14 Bear in mind, the definition of physical death is when the spirit/soul departs from the body. Whenever the Bible talks about sleep in death, it is talking about the death of the body. When the body is dead, the spirit/soul (conscious person) has gone somewhere else. It is the body that is sleeping. We cannot be dead and unconscious in the body if our spirit is somewhere else; again, just as Paul says, “present with the Lord.”15

WHAT IS IT LIKE, TO SLEEP IN JESUS?
To ‘sleep in Jesus’ or to be ‘dead in Christ’ means that while the body is dead (sleeping) the spirit (conscious person) is present with Jesus. He will bring us (spirit/soul) with Him at the time of The Rapture, reunite us with our sleeping bodies, and change them into new glorified spiritual bodies. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus.”16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”17 How can Jesus bring Christians with Him if they are in soul sleep waiting for the resurrection?

What can we conclude from the appearance of Moses on the mount of transfiguration? Consider the following facts:
· MOSES DIED --------------------------------------------- (Deuteronomy 34:5)
· MOSES WAS BURIED---------------------------------- (Deuteronomy 34:6)
· MOSES APPEARED--------------------------------------- (Matthew 17:3)
If Moses appeared to Jesus on the mount of transfiguration he most certainly could not be ‘soul sleeping’ in his body, and waiting for the resurrection. To sustain a belief that when one dies one sleeps until the resurrection, you would have to say Moses was raised from the dead in order to make his appearance on the mount. I find no scripture to back up such a position. Jesus Himself said, “...have you not read in the book of Moses...God spoke to him, saying ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? “He is not the God of the dead, (unconscious spirit/soul) but the God of the living.…”18 I believe this study supports the following statements:
· We never die.
· Physical death is when a person leaves his body.
· When a Christian leaves his body, he goes to be with Jesus,
clothed in robes of salvation and righteousness.
· At The Rapture, Jesus brings the Christian with Him from heaven
and reunites his soul with a resurrected, glorified body.
We can be encouraged with the fact that our loved ones who have died have been gathered and are at this very moment with Jesus and each other. The fact is, they never did die, they just left their bodies to be in the presence of our Lord and Savior. Jesus says:
“…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25 & 26, emphasis added)

Blessings, Larry

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phillip tidwell
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Thank you and bless you so very much for your response, especially with respect to the provision of substantive scripture. You are a gifted writer and teacher. I think we'll agree there is only one source of unfailing absolute truth and that it is only revealed (seemingly in parts as we are permitted to understand) by God's holy word. I am continuing to study what you wrote and most sincerely appreciate the ministry you shared with me and all who are involved.
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