will i go to heaven when i die
Answer: The short answer is NO! The Bible is clear that
nobody goes to heaven when they die. P John 3:13 says, " No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. " Why don't we hear that scripture preached at funerals? We've all been taught that when we die we immediately go somewhere for some form of reward or punishment. That is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible actually describes death like sleep. The dead are all asleep in the grave awaiting the resurrection. In Ecclesiastes 9:5 it says, "For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. " P In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 the apostle Paul is calling us ignorant if we don't truly understand what happens at death. He says, "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. " As shocking as this may seem, the Bible teaches that when we die, we remain dead until the resurrection. Daniel 12:1-4 (KJV) "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. " The Bible never speaks of the dead as being alive in Heaven or Hell! Daniel confirms that those who die sleep in the dust of the earth only to be resurrected in the future.
The Apostle Paul refers to deceased Christians as those who sleep in Jesus. Sleep is used here as a metaphor for death. Think about this. If we all went to heaven when we died. Why would there be any need for a resurrection talked about so much in the Bible? Christ said in John 5:28-29, "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. " I know it's hard to digest but that is what the Bible says. Look at all of those gravestones that say RIP rest in peace. They got it right. ÁI canÁt bear the thought of my husband rotting in the grave, just waiting for Jesus to return. Á A friend of mine, a widow, was looking for some comfort. She had read that Áthe dead in Christ shall rise firstÁ at the Second Coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16 KJV). As she saw it, Christians who had died would remain dead until that moment. This issue was a new one for me, and as I scrambled to find biblical answers for her, I learned a lot about death, heaven, and eternity. I guess I had always assumed that a believer who died would immediately be with God, but why did I think that? DoesnÁt it say somewhere Áto be absent from the body is to be present with the LordÁ? Well, sort of. ItÁs a section where Paul is comparing earthly life to heavenly life. Our physical bodies are tents, our temporary homes.
As long as weÁre Áat homeÁ in our bodies, weÁre away from the Lord, but the apostle says heÁd prefer the reverse, Áto be absent from the body, and to be present with the LordÁ (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV). In Greek, the world-hopping missionary employed two corresponding words one commonly used for traveling away from home and the other for remaining at home. This world is not our home, he says; weÁre just a-passing through. And for my friend, thereÁs a strong implication that weÁre either home or away, one or the other, not in between. This, then, would concur with JesusÁ statement to the thief on the cross: ÁToday you will be with me in paradiseÁ (Luke 23:43 NIV). Yes, this statement raises questions. What about JesusÁ three days in the tomb? Was he in heaven at that time or breaking the captives out of hell or what? Scholars and artists have long tried to figure that out. For our purposes, letÁs just note that Jesus said today, not someday, not at the last day. There would be a reunion with this penitent sinner in the immediate future. As Paul contemplated his own death, he wrote, ÁFor to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Á As he riffed on the subject, he defined death as Áto be with Christ, which is far betterÁ (Philippians 1:21,23). There was no mention of waiting in the tomb for the rapture. And when we look at the original Ádead rise firstÁ passage that was causing my friend such heartache, we find the promise that ÁGod will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in himÁ (1 Thessalonians 4:14 NIV), suggesting that they are already Áwith Jesus.
Á IÁm not sure I can map out the precise geography of that event. I know some have tried. But might Paul have meant that the dead in Christ rise previously, are already with Jesus, and come with him to this party? Yet thereÁs another whole argument that blows my mind. Does God exist within time or beyond time? Clearly he is beyond time. ÁFrom everlasting to everlasting you are God,Á the Psalmist sings (Psalms 90:2 NIV). And the apostle writes about Áthe hope of eternal life, which God. promised before the beginning of timeÁ (Titus 1:2 NIV). These and dozens of other verses affirm that God existed before time and offers us life that extends eternally beyond time. Time is one of his creations. He is Lord over all forces, including time. So how does a life without time work? What will ÁeternalÁ life be like? If weÁre talking about being with the eternal God after we shuffle off this mortal coil, then there are no clocks or calendars, no yesterdays or tomorrows. Would we be in an eternal now? And if thatÁs the case, then all those promises in Scripture about the future kingdom of God, the Ánew heaven and new earth,Á are already happening in that eternal now. We are still waiting for all this, of course, as we pass our time on earth. ItÁs in our future. But waiting is something that people do within time. My friendÁs husband, who died trusting in his loving Lord wouldnÁt he be already in eternity, beyond time, dancing on those golden streets?
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