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I just ran across your book as a gift attached to e-Sword, and it was a God Nod for me. Tonight, my daughter was asking me about when we get to heaven. I had been studying Revelation, and began to wo…

I just ran across your book as a gift attached to e-Sword, and it was a God Nod for me. Tonight, my daughter was asking me about when we get to heaven. I had been studying Revelation, and began to wonder, perhaps, if we actually don't go to Heaven, immediately, because of some passages I was reading.

I was wondering if you could help me understand what it means when the Bible says that Jesus will come back in the clouds, and the dead will be raised first, followed by the saints (Christians). This would seem to indicate that the dead weren't yet in heaven.

  • Also, how about, "Daniel 12 There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

  • Rev 6:11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. 

  • Rev. 20:5 says (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with

          him for a thousand years.

  • Rev 20:13 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

As a RN of 20+yrs, there is no doubt in my mind that the soul leaves the body prior to the clinical death - I have felt the peace and warmth in a room and just "sensed" sometimes, the moment it does. I have also felt the fear in a room and coldness, emptiness, at other times.

At the age of 41, I died of pneumonia (my lung collapsed, causing me to go into a respiratory arrest, then a cardiac arrest, and then a coma). I, too, am an organ donor and the papers were signed. Since the coma was so deep that I had no pain,  they assured my children (12 and 15 at the time) I would die or be in a vegetative state. Needless to say, everyone witnessed a miracle a few weeks later. This is not the same as your son - as I had not sustained bleeding into my brain. However, I do know that I felt no fear.

  • I know that on the Cross, Jesus also said to the thief that he would also be with Him in paradise that day. 

    So, how do I reconcile the verses that talk about the dead rising only after the Rapture (or possibly, the day of Judgement)?  I am confused and certainly want to be able to understand this better for myself and to help my daughter understand. Could you please help me process this?

     I applaud your courage and strength in writing this book. As I write this, a dear friend's daughter-in-law lies in a coma after a car accident, with only a broken collarbone - but a closed head injury. It's been about 10 days and she isn't waking, despite no more med-induced sedation. She is on life-support.  So, you can see why I thought it a God Nod when I discovered your book this evening. Thank you so much.  I would also like to ask you, if you would, please, to pray for her - Amanda, and her family.  She has 12 and 16 yr old daughters and a husband who really loves her, along with many friends and family, all of whom are praying fervently.  We have her on numerous prayer lists.  I just know the power of prayer, and if it is His plan for her to come back to us, we are still hoping for a miracle.

    Thank you again.  I have been blessed by what I have read so far. I do want  to extend my deepest regret that Siah cannot be with you here on earth, right now.  I know that even when things do not always make sense, you are so correct when you say to trust Him.  I could never have the intimacy with Him had I not walked in several very difficult circumstances.  We are truly blessed when we can see how God has used horrific events in our lives to His glory.  I do pray, selfishly, that He not ever bring this trial to me.  As a parent, I cannot imagine your pain.  I am so joyful that you have found the meaning and purpose of Siah's life.  When all is said and done, it is only about Him and furthering His Word.  He and you have done this.  I'll bet God told Josiah, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."  Blessings to you all.

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Comment by Truth Seeker on June 10, 2012 at 9:38pm

Sorry to say but there is alot of biblical confusion on this website. You're right to question some of the things that are said here. Paradise and Heaven are not the same thing. We don't go to Heaven immediately after we leave the physical world. No one can enter Heaven until after judgement day. 

Hopefully this will help clear some of the confusion on the subject.

The Believers’ Tour of Death


          In this age we are disciplined by our Father for our perfection (Heb. 12:5-10), and at the end of this age we will appear before Christ at His judgment seat to receive either a reward or a rebuke according to our living and work during our lifetime (Rom. 14:10-12; 1Cor. 3:10-15; 1Peter 4:17).  Our accountability is manifested in two stages: during our lifetime in this age and after either our rapture or our death and resurrection.  It is of great importance, therefore, to soberly examine the truth concerning the believers’ passage through death.  I will assert that when a believer dies, his spirit and soul go to Paradise, the pleasant part of Hades beneath the earth, not to heaven.  There he awaits the day of the Lord’s return when he will be resurrected to appear at the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may “receive the things done through the body according to what he has practiced, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Death came as a result of the original man’s sin.  To a believer however, death is not the victor.  By visiting those who sat in the region and shadow of death and by tasting death on behalf of everything, Christ nullified death (Matt. 4:16; Heb. 2:9; 2 Tim. 1:10).  Therefore, we are freed from the principle/law of death by the law of the Spirit of law, we reign in life over it, we are delivered and saved from it, and we are released from its fear (Rom. 8:2; 5:17; 2 Cor. 1:10; Jas. 5:20; Heb. 2:15)And though our body must pass through corruption, death is ultimately stripped of its victory and sting, and we are victorious over it through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:55-57).  In the end death itself will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).

          Because death and its effects lack finality, the Scriptures use a particular term for the death of the believers.  Those who are the Lord’s are said to sleep in Him. (Ps. 13:3; 1 Kings 2:10; 11:43).  See also (Matt. 9:18, 24; Jn. 11:11-14; 1 Cor. 11:30; 1 Thess. 4:14) 

Sheol Being the Place of the Dead in the O.T.

          The O. T. is clear concerning where the believing, faithful go when they die.  Psalms 6:5; 49:14.  Sheol in the Hebrew is the most common word used in the Bible to refer to the place of the dead.  It is uniquely biblical, having no equivalent in the other Semitic languages and being found in no extrabiblical myths as with certain other Hebrew figures (Freeman 101-102).

          Sheol is depicted as a place to which one “goes down” See Num. 16:30, 33; 1 Sam. 2:6; Job 7:9; 21:13.  Sheol is used similarly in Psalms 30:3; 88:3-5; Isa. 14:11; Eze. 31:15-17; and 32:27.  Sheol is also depicted as the lowest possible place.  In Isa. 7:11.  In the scriptures it is strongly contrasted with heaven being opposite to the extreme in direction.  Job 11:8 contrast deeper than Sheol with the height of heaven; Psalms 139:8 contrasts make me be in Sheol with ascend into heaven; and Amos 9:2 contrasts dig into Sheol with go up into heaven.  See also Psalms 86:13; Prv. 9:18; 15:24; Isa. 14:15; and Isa. 14:9.

          Sheol beneath the earth is the temporary abode of the departed spirits and souls of the human dead. Isa. 29:4; this is confirmed in 1 Sam. 28 vv 3, 8, 13, 15The departed spirit of Samuel, having come up to speak with Saul, must have been in a place below.  Sheol therefore it is the place where the righteous dead are kept, such as Samuel, Jacob, and David (Gen. 37:35; Ps. 16:10).  It is also the place where the unrighteous dead are kept, such as those who fought against Israel (Ezek. 32:31, 27).  Clearly then, Sheol is not heaven and neither is it the hell depicted in mythological and fanciful literature.  It is the place of all the dead, prepared by God and revealed uniquely in the Bible.  Thus, the O. T. gives no ground to the leavened, false teaching of going to heaven as it is popularly conceived today.


Hades in the N. T. Being Equal to Sheol of the O. T.

          In the Septuagint, Sheol is most often translated as the Greek Hades.  Hades appears ten times in the New Testament.  Hades is equal to Sheol; they are one and the same place where the souls and spirits of the dead are kept.  As with Sheol, one is brought down to Hades, and Hades is in contrast to heaven as the lowest place (Matt. 11:23; Lu. 10:15) scripture always locates it there and nowhere else. Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:29-34; 13:34-40


          It is a wrong concept to think that Hades is the hell of mythology and popular Christian tradition.  It is unfortunate that Sheol is translated in the King James Version as grave thirty one times, hell thirty one times, and pit three times, and that Hades is translated as hell then times.  At least one other N. T. term is translated as hell, ”Gehenna”.  The Greek of the N. T. distinguishes between Hades and Gehenna, the latter being the place of unquenchable fire. (Matt. 5:22; 10:28; 23:33; Mk. 9:43)Hades in contrast to Gehenna , is the temporary holding place of both the godly and the wicked until their resurrection (Acts 2:27; Lu. 16:23)


          That the godly go to Hades when they die is clearly seen in two cases, that of David and that of the Lord Jesus.  In Ps. 16:9-10, in Acts 2:27; 13:34-40; Peter repeats the same words on the day of Pentecost, using Hades for Sheol.  Since Peter uses this Psalm to testify of the death sand resurrection of the lord Jesus, his argument hinges on the fact that David, as well as the Lord Jesus, did descend into Hades, but this Jesus, Peter says “God has raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, since it was not possible for Him to be held by it” (v 24).  “Therefore, being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him to seat One from the fruit of his loins  upon his throne, he, seeing this beforehand, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was He abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption” (vv. 30-31).  According to Peter’s inspired utterance, it was Christ, not David only, who went into Hades.  Unlike David, however, Christ was raised up from Hades, and His physical body was resurrected from the tomb.

          The Lord had prophesied His descent into Hades in Matt. 12:40, to prove that the heart of the earth is a place more profound than the tomb in which the Lord’s body was lain is born out by Eph. 4:9 the latter phrase in this verse is used in Ps. 63:9, clearly this is a reference to Sheol, or Hades.  These passages plainly tell us that after the Lord’s death and before His resurrection, His body was buried in the earth, but His spirit descended to Hades.  From the above cases we can see that the New Testament gives no ground for teaching of going to heaven after death.


Paradise Being the Pleasant Part of Hades

          In Luke 23:42 the repenting thief who was crucified with the lord said to Jesus “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  In verse 43 , Jesus said to him, truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”  The Lord said today, not many days from now, which was the very day of His crucifixion.  As we have seen, on the day of His crucifixion the Lord descended into the heart of the earth, the lowest parts of the earth, that is, Hades.  The Paradise spoken of by the Lord Jesus therefore is Hades.   It is erroneous to equate the Paradise here with heaven or to place it in heaven.  It is clear that after His crucifixion and before His resurrection, the Lord did not ascend into heaven above the earth.  Rather, He descended into Hades beneath the earth where He remained for three days

Luke 16:19-31 Lazarus and the rich man and their respective deaths.  In this story Lazarus died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom (v. 22).  Carried away here is the aorist infinitive form, implying no direction up or down but simply away from a prior location.  Abraham’s bosom is a rabbinical phrase, equivalent to being with Abraham in Paradise. (Vincent 1:398).  And the rich man also died and was buried.  And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham from afar and Lazarus in his bosom (v. 22-23).  This story brings us into a view of the state after death, in which both Lazarus and the rich man are found in Hades.  This has led students of the Bible to conceive of Hades as having two sections, a pleasant section and a tormented section.  Of these two sections only the pleasant section is given a name, which is Paradise.  Although some expositors believe that Gehenna is the name for the place of torment in Hades.  These two sections are pictured as being separated by a great chasm, yet they are close enough for the rich man and Abraham to converse   (Lu. 16:23-26). 

Paradise Not Being Transferred to Heaven

Up to this point we have seen that Sheol, or Paradise, is the temporary hold of both the saved and unsaved after their death and before their resurrection.  It is also divided into two sections, the pleasant section called Paradise and the unpleasant section of torments.  It is not the case then that upon death the saved go to heaven and the unsaved to hell, as is popularly taught and received in Christendom.  However, beginning from the early twentieth century certain post-Brethren teachers formulated the doctrine that at Christ’s ascension all the saved dead in paradise were led to heaven, where they now abide.  As a corollary to this teaching, those who die in Christ in the New Testament age now go straight to heaven and not to Paradise, which has been vacated and abandoned, while the unbelieving dead continue to go to the unpleasant part of Hades to await the resurrection unto condemnation.  This teaching is based on two passages.  The first is 2 Corinthians 12:2,4The third heaven, no doubt, is in heaven above the heavens, the highest heavens (Deut. 10:14; Psa. 148:4), where the Lord Jesus and God are today.  The question of course is related to Paradise in 2 Cor. 12:4

If viewed as two equal, parallel statements, verse 2 and verses 3 & 4 places third heaven & Paradise in the same vicinity.  However the conjunction and between these two statements is an important word.  And here indicates that what is mentioned in verses 3 & 4 and what is mentioned in the preceding verse are two different matters.  Verse 2 tells us that the apostle was caught away to the third heaven.  Verse 3 and 4 tell us something further, that the apostle was caught away also to another place, into Paradise.  This indicates strongly that Paradise is not the same as the third heaven in verse 2; it refers to a place other than the third heaven.

The conjunction and lends much insight to this passage, the verbal caught away gives us very little clue in itself as to what Paul experienced.  Although wrongly translated as ‘caught up’ in the King James Version and others, the Greek words in verses 2 and 4 are aorist form, meaning snatch or carry away.  It is the same word used of Philip in Acts 8:39 and carries in itself no meaning of vertical direction, either up or down.  In 2 Corinthians 12:2 it means caught away, and in verse 4 it means the same.  There is not linguistic ground to say that the implication of up with respect to the third heaven in verse 2 imposes the same meaning with respect to Paradise in verse 4.

The subject of this passage, therefore, is neither the third heaven nor Paradise but the visions and revelations of the Lord concerning the situation in the entire universe.  In the universe there are mainly three sections: the heavens, the earth, and Hades, which is beneath the earth.  See  Philippians 2:9-10 Those who are in heaven are angels, those who are on earth are men, and those who are under the earth are the dead.  In heaven and on earth and under the earth, therefore, is and all-inclusive term of the universe, encompassing all creationAs a man living on earth, the apostle knew the things of the earth.  But men do not know the things either in the heavens or in Hades.  The apostle, however, was brought away to both of these unknown regions.  Hence, he received visions and revelations of these hidden places.  For this reason he mentioned these two uttermost parts of the universe.  By bringing Paul to the third heaven above and to Paradise under the earth, God gave Paul the transcendence of revelations concerning the entire situation of God and man in the three main sections of the universeThe true meaning of         2 Corinthians 12:1-4 demands that the third heaven and Paradise be two places, not one. 

The second portion of the Scriptures that is used is Ephesians 4:8-10.

There are two mains schools of interpretation of this passage, particularly as to whom ‘those taken captive’ refers in verse 8.  One interpretation is that those taken captive are said to be not the righteous dead but the devil, sin, and death.  Clearly this interpretation, gives no ground to the teaching of the translation of the believers . 

A better, more comprehensive interpretation, however, is that that captives are men, the redeemed ones, who were taken captive by Satan before being saved by Christ’s and resurrection.  In His ascension Christ led the redeemed ones captive; that is, He rescued them from Satan’s captivity.  In Christ’s ascension there was a procession of these vanquished foes, including Satan, his angels, and us the sinners, led as captives from a war, for a celebration of Christ’s victory.

Little or no ground is found in either of these two schools of interpretation to support that in Christ’s triumphal procession there was  an actual translation of the saved dead from Paradise in Hades to the third heavenThe principle is that through His travel from heaven to earth to Hades and back, Christ gained all His redeemed ones ad conquered Satan, who had usurped us and held us under his power of death.  He then presented His captives to His Father, who in turn gave them back to Jesus as gifts.  Then Christ gave all these captives as gifts to men, specifically as gifts in His body, the church.  It is important that we realize that the gifts given to men in verse 8 are men themselves.  As we shall see, the giving of these men as gifts to the church precludes the possibility that they are now in heaven. 

Those taken captive and led in Christ’s triumphal procession into heaven became the very gifts given to men, that is, to the church.  Some of these gifts are particular ones, and mentioned in v. 11.  For what God conquers, overcomes, makes His own, He does not wish to retain for Himself, but He transforms it, endows it, and makes it a gift;  His captives become His servants.  Saul himself was taken captive and led in triumph and became Paul the apostle, one of the gifts in Ephesians 4:11. 

Those taken captive and led in Christ’s triumph over His enemies are not the Old Testament dead kept in Paradise.  Rather, they are those who became gifts to the church such as Paul and the other apostle.  Clearly, Paul was not one of the dead in Paradise, nor were the other apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers of the New Testament era.  They had never been in Paradise and thus could not have been translated to heaven. 

The Righteous Dead Being in Paradise

Until the End of the Age

There is another crucial text on this subject.  In Psalms 16:10 as quoted by Peter in Acts 2:27, David declares that God would not abandon his soul to Hades nor permit him to see corruption.  This said Peter, was fulfilled in Christ in that He rose from the dead, & not in David, who at the time of Acts remained deceased and buried in his tomb.  Peter continues, “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, The Lord said to may Lord, sit at My right hand” (v. 34). 

It has often been asserted that when the Lord rose he released from Hades the godly dead and removed them to Paradise in the presence of God, and that ever since all His people go there at death.  The Scripture nowhere declares this, but is wholly against it.  It is known definitely that one of the most renowned of the O. T. men of God did not ascend to heaven with the Lord, for at Pentecost, which was after the ascension, Peter distinctly stated that ‘David has not ascended into the heavensActs 2:34.  Why was David left behind?  There was no reason to think he was; the other godly dead also stayed there, as far as scripture is concerned.

This proves that up to the time of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ and ten days after His ascension, David still had not ascended into the heavens.  This fact annuls the inaccurate teaching that Christ brought Paradise, with all the O. T. saints, from Hades into the heavens.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 With Him in v. 14 should not be misunderstood to mean that the dead in Christ, those who have fallen asleep through Jesus, shall accompany Jesus in his descent from heaven.  This is not possible since it is not until the Lord’s coming that the dead shall rise, as 4:16 says. When Jesus appears, the dead shall appear with Him, being raised at His comingVerse 17 says that we who are living, who are left remaining, “will be caught up together with them”; that is, the resurrected dead and the raptured living believers will be snatched away together.  To be sure, if the dead in Christ had been in heaven, there would be no need for them to rise and be carried away to be with the Lord at His coming.

Being Clothed Upon with a Transfigured Body

 In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul speaks of his aspiration for the redemption of his body.  Verse 1 speaks of two dwellings an earthly tabernacle dwelling and a building from God in the heavens.  The building from God which we have is our resurrected, transfigured body, the spiritual body mentioned in 1 Cor. 15., and is in contrast to the dying, physical, natural body that we have today.  Paul longed, if possible, to remain alive unto the Lord’s coming, but if his tabernacle were to be taken down, he possessed a building from God, a building with a foundation, in contrast to the tabernacle, which had no foundation.  Moreover, we have this building in the heavens.  In the heavens is in contrast to earthly, that is, on the earth.  Our glorified body is in heaven, and our possession of it, even at the present time is in heavenThis passage in 2 Corinthians must not be taken to construe the notion of going to heaven.  Rather, it is an expression of the apostle’s deep longing to meet Christ in his resurrection body.

A dead person, being disembodied, is naked, without a body as a covering before GodThe spirit of man appears to be by itself naked, as it were unclothed.  It is therefore incomplete before God until it is invested with a new body of spiritual power and light.  In the figure of the O. T., the priest had to be fully and gloriously clothed in order to come before God to serve Him; their nakedness had to be covered when they ministered that they might not bear iniquity (Ex. 28:1-3, 42-43).  In the fulfillment of the type, the disembodied spirit of a dead believer, as an incomplete being, cannot appear in full glory before God.  Therefore God has arranged a place for the dead to be kept until the time of their resurrection when they put on a glorified, transfigured body. As was seen, this holding place is Paradise in Hades.  It is not death, but resurrection or rapture that fits the believer for translation into the presence of God with the fullness of the indestructible eternal life inwardly and outwardly.  For a believer to go from death to glory diminishes the sense of need of resurrection or rapture, and consequently the return of Christ when these will take place.

2Corinthians 5:6-8 Here Paul speaks of being at home with the Lord.  Our body is in the material realm; the Lord is in the spiritual realm.  In this sense we are abroad from the Lord when we are at home in our body.  To be abroad from the body is to die, thus being released from the material realm to be with the Lord in the spiritual realm.  The apostles, who were always being persecuted unto death (1:8-9; 4:11; 11:23; 1 Cor. 15:31), were well pleased rather to die that they might be released from their confining body to be at home with the Lord in a better realm.  This is similar to Philip. 1:23.  To be with Christ is a matter of degree, not place.  His departure brings him into this higher life of fellowship with Christ, although he was already with Him constantly.  By this we can see that the emphasis of Paul’s word in 2 Corinthians 5 is one of condition and not location.


Our Need for Maturity & Faithfulness

Prior to Our Death

If eternal bliss in the heavenly realm is the portion of the believers, then what need is there for the judgment seat of Christ?  And what shall be the outcome of disapproval at the judgment seat if all is settled and secure upon our immediate translation into heaven? 

Matthew 25:1-13 may be the greatest parable in the Gospels concerning a believer’s passage through death and his portion afterwards.  In this parable the Lord tells us that the majority of the believers will sleep, that is, die, before His coming.  We may at once say that the parable applies to all of us throughout all the ages, during this entire time, at the Parousia each of us will meet the Lord in the very condition in which we were when death removed us from this world. 

Hebrews 12:5-10 tells us that the Lord chastens those whom He loves.  All of us who know the Lord have experienced his discipline but what assurance do we have that there is no possibility of chastisement after death and resurrection?  The parables of the Lord indicate to us that those who fall asleep in Christ in immaturity and indebtedness shall for a time rest in the bosom of Abraham, and then they shall awake in their immaturity and indebtedness to be judged by Christ.  Thus our complete portion and destiny are not determined immediately upon death, for neither the Old nor the New Testament gives any ground to the teaching of going to heaven as it is popularly conceived today.    Rather, Paul said that after death and resurrection we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  This is the clear word of the Bible, the word of righteousness.  May we be delivered from the erroneous teachings, purge out the leaven  and determine in the fear of the Lord, whether in life or in death, to be will pleasing to Him.


The Saints of God are His highest ranking officers

in & for His Kingdom to rule over the unseen realm

In Christ Jesus & by His AUTHORITY!!! Jn. 19:10-11;

Gen. 1:26-28; 1Cor. 6:1-3; 1Cor. 11:3-12; 10; 2Cor. 10:3-5; Acts 19:11-20  Heb. 1:13-14; 2:5-18; Eph. 1:2-23 ; 2:1-4; 6:10-13;

17-18; 3:7-13; 14-21 Col. 2:8-15; Matt. 18:18-23; Jn. 17:1-26; ; 1Pet. 3:22; Lu. 10:17-20; Col. 1:13;

In Christ we overcome the world 1Jn. 4:4-6 9; 5:4-5; 5:18-19

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