Friday, May 24, 2013

What Happens After Death

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 .


  1. In the end, true saints believe along a number of different interpretive lines at this point. The Christian's solemn and joyous duty then is to allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves. But as this is not a matter of division, every Christian should allow his brother some breadth in his interpretation, always maintaining godly fellowship borne in love and charity.

  2. If soul sleep was really true, why would Jesus provide a different illustration of what happens to the soul after death in His parable of "The Rich Man and Lazarus" in Luke 16:19-31?

    If the prophet Samuel was asleep until the future body resurrection, why could his spirit be summoned by the witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28:7-20?

    Bear in mind that the Hebrew/Aramaic language is not as refined of a language (as in diversity of expression) as say English is, but it has more depths. One same word used can differ significantly in its intended sense and is entirely understood by its larger spoken context. The word "sleep" or "asleep" may have been used simply to refer to state of the body, and not of the soul. After all, the body is the component that will be resurrected when Jesus returns again, and not the soul.

    How about passages that indicate that Jesus "preached to the spirits in prison" (1 Peter 3:19; 4:6) after his crucifixion and before his resurrection? No matter how you understand these verses, they don't prevent Jesus in the Spirit from ushering the thief into heaven.

    How about the Apostles' Creed which states, "He descended into hell" based on Acts 2:31; Matthew 12:40; and Romans 10:7? Philip Schaff observes that the phrase "descended into hell" is a later addition, and that the translation "hell" is "unfortunate and misleading." The original Greek term hades (Latin infernus) is much more comprehensive than "hell" (Greek gehenna), and refers to the place of the dead.[6] The Apostles' Creed affirms that Jesus actually died and was buried, in contrast to the Gnostics who taught that he only "appeared to" do so. There is no conflict with the Apostles' Creed and the belief that the thief was with Jesus in paradise immediately upon death.

    Further resource:

    1. About Luke 23:43 — Did Christ err when He told the thief on the cross that he would be in paradise the day Christ died?

      Problem: If Christ did not go to heaven until at least three days after His death, how can the thief be in paradise the day Christ died?

      Solution: Christ’s soul went immediately to paradise, which is the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2–4), but His body went to the grave for 3 days. Jesus said on the cross, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit” (Luke 23:46, NIV), which indicates His soul went to be with the Father in heaven the very instant He died. When Jesus said to Mary after His resurrection, “I have not yet ascended to My Father,” He was referring to His body ascending into heaven 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1), not to his soul going to heaven between death and resurrection.

      Again, "sleep" refers to the state of the body at death, which is to be awaken to a new reality at the resurrection, but not to the state of the soul/spirit. This is in keeping with Jesus' parable in Luke 16:19-31 about the state of the soul as well as with Paul's own witness "I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." in 2 Corinthians 5:8.

      By the way, all the bible passages quoted in the blog above that mentions "sleep" or "asleep" can be easily understood in the sense of "body sleep" (or bodily death).

      Further resources:

    2. One more reference: