Where We go when We Die

Practically every funeral you go to, someone is telling the remaining family that their loved one is ‘happier now – smiling down from Heaven’.  That’s not scriptural – and here’s the Biblical scoop on it.

On the cross, Jesus told the thief who’d repented and trusted in Christ that ‘today you will be with Me in Paradise’. (Luke 23:43) Paradise is where Christ and the thief went from the moment they died – note that He said “today” (Friday).  And Christ remained there until His resurrection (Sunday), ministering to those who’d gone before.  Why?  Because they had not lived long enough to recieve Him – He hadn’t died for their sins during their lives, so he went to teach them of His gift of salvation.  The saints were not in Heaven… ARE not in heaven.  They are in Paradise.

What is Paradise?  The word, paradiesos in the original text, means “a pleasure ground, park, or grove”.  This is NOT hell.  It’s another place.  And it’s not heaven, either – scripture proves it in John 20:17 when the resurrected Christ says “Do not touch Me, for I have not ascended to My Father yet.”  He’d been dead and His body buried, but during that three days His body was in the grave, He had not gone to His Father in Heaven.  He went to Paradise.

(Also, this is not ‘Purgatory’… which the RCC teaches. They teach that people have to spend time in ‘purgatory’ before being allowed to go to heaven because of their sins.  Catholics also believe that if they give money to the church, they can ‘buy’ a shorter sentence in purgatory for their loved ones.  This is NOT found in the Bible.)

It’s also important to note that Jesus Christ and the thief didn’t just lay in the grave in an unconscious state after they died.  Many believe that when you die, you just sort of cease to be, or lay in the grave unknowing.  Scripture proves this is not true.

In I Thessalonians 4:13-17 Paul tells us more about death:  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep… For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him… 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: 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. 

Thessalonians was written by Paul… after the death/resurrection/ascension of Jesus Christ.  So that word “will” is very, very important.  Until the second coming of Christ, no man will be brought before the Father.  Paul tells us that when Christ returns, the dead will rise first, and then those still living will be caught up in the air with them, and AT THAT TIME we will stand before the throne of judgement, and enter the gates of heaven.

Acts 17:31 says Because He [God] has appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man [Jesus] whom He has ordained… Meaning there is a judgment day appointed for the world, and until that day, we won’t go to heaven.  We can’t – we have no place there until our deeds are brought to light before the Father.

So… there you have it.  Hope this helped!

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