In Revelation 6:9 Christians slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held are described as being " under the altar " . They are not free walking around in heaven performing any duties as they some day shall be . They have not yet been judged by Christ , nor has anyone else .
As Abel's blood cried from the ground , their cries also echo vengeance upon their murderers . They are told they must continue " resting ", ( rest yet ) , for a little season until their brethren should be killed as they were , pertaining to the tribulation saints .
Though Stephen saw Jesus standing , not sitting at God's right hand just before his own murder , the Bible does not specify that Stephen immediately went to heaven upon his death . If he did this was a rare case such as in Enoch's .
God says that until you are resurrected you will remain asleep ; " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do , do it with thy might ; for there is no work , nor device , nor knowledge , nor wisdom , in the grave whither thou goest ....For in death there is no remembrance of thee : in the grave who shall thank thee ? "
I am cognizant of the events on the mount of transfiguration . Jesus said Elijah would precede his return to Earth . He also said John the Baptist was Elijah . Perhaps Jesus will send the old testament
Elijah back down here from heaven as Malachi 4:5 states ; ( one of the two candlestick witnesses ) .
Or perhaps , as in John the Baptist's case , God will raise up another Elijah . And God could have raised Moses from sleep for a while to speak to Jesus to encourage him regarding his crucifixion .
Maybe Moses has been alive in heaven for thousands of years now . And I know Jesus said that his Father was the God of the living . I might get a clearer understanding if someone can answer these questions ;
Please quote me chapter and verse which describes these people in Thesselonians 4:13-16 ;
" them which are asleep " , " them also which sleep in Jesus " , " them which are asleep " , " the dead in Christ " . Clearly these are Christians . Can anyone name any of them Biblically ?
1st Corinthians 15:18 mentions " they which are fallen asleep in Christ . " Though the book of Revelation says Christians other than the 144,000 will not be resurrected until after Christ's millennial reign , perhaps there is another verse which clearly defines those fallen asleep in Christ who have been resurrected prior to that time . Can you name anyone resurrected prior to that time ?
There seems to be about four major verses which people interpret to indicate that Christians will go to be with the Lord immediately after death . Using my 112 year old King James Bible , I will use its numerous cross references regarding this false premise in order to discredit it . The four verses are ;
" We are confident I say , and willing to be absent from the body , and to be present with the Lord . "
( 2nd Corinthians 5:8 ) ( This verse doesn't say to be absent from the body IS to be present with the Lord . The exact time for being with Christ is NOT stipulated . )
" For I am in a strait betwixt two , having a desire to depart , and be with Christ , which is far better ."
( Philippians 1:23 ) ( Again , the exact time for being with Christ is NOT stipulated . )
" In a moment , in the twinkling of an eye , at the last trump : for the trumpet shall sound , and the dead shall be raised incorruptible , and we shall be changed . " ( 1st Corinthians 15:52 )
( Incidentally, this verse says the dead WILL be raised , and Christians given new bodies which were corruptible . Surely something corruptible would not be allowed into heaven . And which dead will be raised ? How many ? And they will be raised at the last trump , the seventh trump in the book of Revelation . The Rapturists are oblivious to this Biblical fact .
And Jesus said unto him , verily I say unto you To day shalt thou be with me in paradise . " ( Luke
23:43 ) But Jesus said in Matthew 12 :40 ; " For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly , so shall the Son of man be three days in the heart of the earth . " Jesus went there to preach " unto the spirits in prison " . This was not paradise . Many who have trusted in Christ have felt as if heaven visited them . And when Jesus arose from the grave , he forbade Mary to touch him because he had not yet ascended to his Father . Jesus had told the repentant thief on the cross next to him that he would be with him in paradise that day . Jesus did not go directly to paradise . And the repentant thief did not accompany him to the heart of the earth . Surely , even in agony , the thief felt his sins forgiven . Jesus would not have been in heaven until three days after his death . He did not lie to the thief by telling him he would be with him in paradise that day .
Those are four major verses upon which the false church has rested its false premise that Christians go to heaven immediately after death . But this is what the Bible actually says .
Jews knew that they would not be resurrected until " the last day ." Though Martha was cumbered about serving in Luke 10 :40 , she seemed to have had a good understanding the resurrection of believers would not occur until " the last day " , the day Jesus referred to regarding the end of his thousand year reign . Martha discerned that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah .She went to meet Jesus when she heard that he was coming to visit her after her brother Lazarus had died . Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again. This was Martha's response ; " I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day . " Jesus did not refute her knowledge of the time of resurrection . Jesus told her that her brother was asleep , from which he awakened him .
Here are several other verses in which God states that death is a time of Biblical sleep .
Assuredly the young lady in Luke 8:52 was dead . But Jesus said , " Weep not ; she is not dead , but sleepeth . "
( Matthew 27 : 51, 52 ,53 ) ; " And behold , the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom ; and the earth did quake and the rocks rent ; and the graves were opened ; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose , and came out of the graves after his resurrection , and went into the holy city , and appeared unto many . "
( Acts 7:60 ) ; " And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice , Lord , lay not this sin to their charge . And when he said this he fell asleep ." ( This pertains to Stephen's death . )
(1st Thesselonians 4:13 -16 ) ; " But I would not have you ignorant brethren concerning them which are asleep , that ye sorrow not , even as others which have no hope . For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again , even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him . For this we say unto you by word of the Lord , that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of our Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep . 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 ; "
Again , the Rapturists pay no heed to the trump here , which is the last trump .
These verses , which apply until Christ returns , say that Christians are all asleep . If they are up in heaven , they are sleeping . They have not yet been given their resurrection bodies . Souls must have bodies . Even the legion of demons hated to be without bodies to inhabit . It is unbiblical and illogical to think your spirit is alive in heaven without its new body . Again , these verses say that Christians are asleep . They were 2000 years ago , they are asleep now , and will remain to be until Christ's return . And God's word says that their resurrection hasn't taken place yet , for it says in these verses ,
" WILL God bring with him , " implying future action .
This is what Jesus says about those who are asleep in him ;
John 5:25-29 ; " Verily , verily , I say unto you , the hour is coming , and now is , when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God , and they that hear shall live . For as the Father hath life in himself ; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself ; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man . Marvel not at this : for the hour is coming , in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice , and shall come forth ; they that have done good , unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil , unto the resurrection of damnation . " They that have done good are obedient Christians . This verse says they are still in their graves .
1st Kings , 2nd Kings and 2nd Chronicles are peppered with the phrase , " slept with his fathers " , referring to death . And the Bible says King David himself is not yet ascended into heaven in Acts 2:34 . God does not contradict himself , and this verse has not been deleted or changed in 2,000 years . Psalm 13 : 3 states ; " Consider and hear me , O LORD my God : lighten my eyes , lest I sleep the sleep of death . " The Hebrew and Chaldee meaning of death's sleep , ( to die ) was the same word that God used in Genesis when God caused a DEEP SLEEP to fall on Adam .
Paul said in Philippians 1:21 , " For me to live is Christ and to die is gain . " But Paul doesn't say
here that the gain will be immediately after death . That would oppose the previous Biblical verses that refer to a resurrection at the last day .
Revelation 20:4 and 5 are the most significant verses that makes it clear where the dead will be and who will be resurrected first . They read ; " And I saw thrones and they sat upon them , and judgment was given unto them : and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus , and for the word of God , and which had not worshipped the beast , neither his image , neither received his mark upon their foreheads , or in their hands ; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished . This is the first resurrection . " Only the 144 ,000 Jewish believing tribulation saints will be resurrected before Christ's 1000 year reign . No other dead saints will accompany them . They will only be resurrected after the millennial reign when Christ will make a new heaven and new earth at the last day . There is no other way to interpret this . It is basic and concise .
Here are some other verse pertaining to " the last day " ;
" And this is the Father's will which hath sent me , that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing , but should raise it up at the last day . And this is the will of him that sent me , that every one which seeth the Son , and believeth on him , may have everlasting life : and I will raise him up at the last day " , ( John 6 : 39,40 ) . Verses 44 and 54 also mention , " raise him up at the last day ."
In John 12 :48 Jesus said , " He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken , the same shall judge him in the last day . " This is his judgment day . Jesus described that day in the Bible . Here are some more insights into that predestined time .
" But I say unto you , that every idle word that men shall speak , they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment . " ( Matthew 12 : 36 )
" Every man's work shall be made manifest : for the day shall declare it , because it shall be revealed by fire , and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is . " ( 1st Corinthians 3:13 )
" Because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained ." ( Acts 17 : 31 )
" As also ye have acknowledged us in part , that we are your rejoicing , even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus . " When will that rejoicing take place ? In " the day of the Lord Jesus " , which will come " as a thief in the night " according to 1st Thesselonians 5:2 .
" Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed . " ( Luke 17 : 30 )
" The Son of man shall send forth his angels , and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend , and them which do iniquity , and shall cast them into a furnace of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth . Then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of their Father . Who hath ears to hear , let him hear " ( Matthew 13 : 41-43 ) . Ephesians 1:10 states that all will be gathered at one time ; " That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ , both which are in heaven and which are on earth ; even in him ." Those in heaven will be angels which he will bring with him . And if there was a time before judgment day that believers " shine forth " it wasn't in any of these cross references . Remember , the wheat and tares grow together until the harvest .
" For what is our hope , or joy , or crown of rejoicing ? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? ( 1st Thesselonians 2:19 ) . " When does Paul say rejoicing over his flock will occur ? At Jesus' coming , in his presence ! " 2nd Corinthians 1:14 iterates this point ; " As also ye have acknowledged us in part , that we are your rejoicing , even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus . " The day of our Lord Jesus is also stressed in 1st Corinthians 1:8; 5:5 , and also Philippians 1:6,10 . It is a time following the revelation of the antichrist in 2nd Thesselonians 2:2-4 .
It is the day Joel described as ; " a destruction from the Almighty ... a day of clouds and of thick darkness ...great and very terrible and who can abide it ? " Joel adds that it is Revelation 6:12's day when " the sun shall be turned into darkness , and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the LORD come . This is the day of Revelation 6:16's " wrath of the Lamb " , and Revelation
16:14's " the great day of God Almighty . "
" Holding forth the word of life ; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ , that I have not run in vain , neither labored in vain ", ( Philippians 2:16 ) . Paul's rejoicing will come " in the day of Christ " ,
which will be after his 1000 year reign and Gog and Magog are subdued .
" And when the chief Shepherd shall appear , ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away " , ( 1st Peter 5:4 ) . Christians will receive no crown until judgment day , mentioned in Hebrews 9 :27 , which reads ; " It is appointed unto men once to die , but after this the judgment . " There is only one judgment of the good and evil , not two judgments at the last day .
Paul said , " For I am now ready to be offered , and the time of my departure is at hand . I have fought the good fight , I have kept the faith : Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness , which the Lord , the righteous judge , shall give me at that day : and not to me only , but unto all them that love his appearing " , ( 2nd Timothy 4 : 6-8 ) . Paul knew that he would not be fully dressed in heaven until he was given his crown , which he stated he would receive only after Christ's judgment . He too will cast it at Jesus' feet .
" For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ ; that every one may receive the things done in his body , according to that he hath done , whether it be good or bad " , ( 2nd Corinthians 5:10 ) . Deceivers tell Christians that they will not stand in judgment before Jesus , but this verse proves them wrong , as do many others .
" For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels ; and then shall he reward every man according to his work " , ( Matthew 16 : 27 ) . When will rewards come ? After Christ's return and judgment occurs . How shall he measure rewards unless he judges you ?
" And I saw the dead , small and great , stand before God ; and the books were opened : and another book was opened , which is the book of life : and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books , according to their works . And the sea gave up the dead which were in it ; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them : and they were judged every man according to their works . And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire . This is the second death . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire " ,
( Revelation20 : 12-15 ) . This is the eternal single judgment of everyone who has ever been born .
Paul had said ; " Therefore judge nothing before the time , until the Lord come , who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness , and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts : and then shall every man have praise of God " , ( 1st Corinthians 4:5 ) . Christians will not receive God's praise until Jesus judges them . God will seal each one of them unto the day of redemption awaiting their new bodies ; " And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God , whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" , ( Ephesians 4:30 ) . Christians will not actually be fully redeemed until they are given their new bodies . (The word sealed in the Greek came from : to stamp ( with a signet or private mark ) for security or preservation ( Lit . or fig. ) by imp. to keep secret , to attest . ) " And not only they , but ourselves also , which have the firstfruits of the Spirit , even we ourselves groan within ourselves , waiting the adoption , to wit , the redemption of our body " , ( Romans 8 : 23 ) . This infers the necessity of a new body to house a new spirit . And when will that redemption take place ? ; " And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory . And when these things begin to come to pass , then look up , and lift up your heads ; for your redemption draweth nigh " , ( Luke 21 : 27, 28 ) . The Christian's redemption will not occur until Jesus returns and final judgment takes place and he is given his new body . " But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept . For since by man came also the resurrection of the dead . For as in Adam all die , even so in Christ shall all be made alive . But every man in his own order : Christ the firstfruits ; afterward they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING " , ( 1st Corinthians 15 : 20,21,22,23 ) . When will all be made alive ? Afterward they that are Christ's at his coming . Again , if Christians are in heaven , they are not alive , but asleep in death .
For non-Christians , judgment day will be the day of wrath ; " In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel . But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God " , ( Romans 2:16 , Romans 2:5 ) .
God has priorities in heaven and earth. Jesus had favorites . Angels have differing duties and ranks .
Christians will judge angels by the way . Mine deserves all the credit for me . Until Jesus judges you and gives you your crown as a Christian you will not know your proper place in heaven until " the last day " when earth will be dissolved and forgotten .