A number of times I have written on the subject: “Where do people go after dying?”  When I write a blog on the end-times or the Tribulation, people want to know what happens to those who die.

There are many different beliefs but I believe Scripture makes it very clear.  Whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian your soul and spirit leaves your body at death.  For those who teach that your soul sleeps while your body is in the grave miss Scriptural teaching.

I Kings 17:21 – 22 – “And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.”  The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived.”  His soul had to be gone in order for it to return.

Philippians 1:23 – 24 – “I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.  But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”  His body remains in the grave but his soul will be with Christ immediately. Would Paul be satisfied with dying and his soul being asleep with his dead body?

I Thessalonians 4:13 – 14 – “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.”  They have to be with Him for Jesus to bring them back.

The question is where does one’s soul and spirit go once they die?

Luke 16:19 – 26 – “Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury.  At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.  As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.  “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead.  There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.  “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’  “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.  And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’”

Prior to Christ’s resurrection those who were God fearing, their souls went to Paradise.  Those who were not God fearing went to Hades a place of torment.  Scripture says as the poor man died, angels brought him to Abraham’s bosom or Paradise.  We are then told they can remember what transpired while they were on earth.  We have learned that those in Hades are tormented by flames.

When Christ was crucified He went from the cross to Sheol or Hell.  Matthew 12:40 – “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  Those who died under the Old Covenant could not enter Heaven because the sacrificed blood of animals could not forgive their sins.  Sinners, not having been forgiven, could not enter the presence of God.  Christ, taking the thief on the cross beside Him, went to Paradise where God’s people were being held.  All those who had been waiting temporarily in Paradise were forgiven of their sins by Christ and then ascended to Heaven.

Acts 2:34 – “For David did not ascend to heaven”   John 3:13 – “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.”  Ephesians 4:8 & 9 – “This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men. (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?)”

Paradise is no longer in Hell.  We believe Scripture says that Jesus descended into Hell to release those saints who were waiting to enter God’s presence and that He also gave the gift of salvation to those still alive by grace through faith.  After Pentecost those having received the Holy Spirit, at death, go to join those Old Testament saints in Heaven where Christ remains until His second coming.

Revelation 6:9 – “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.”  Many Christians will be martyred as the Antichrist comes to power and their souls will go to Heaven.

Those in hell and those who will go to Hell will be there until the Day of Judgment when they will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire.

Revelation 20:14 – 15 – “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

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