Questions and Answers

 

DO WE GO IMMEDIATELY TO HEAVEN OR HELL AFTER DEATH

 

            I would say no we do not based on the fact that no Scriptures states that we do, but that we are in a place called Abraham’s bosom (Lk. 16:22-23).  Another place is called Paradise, where the thief on the cross went with Jesus (Lk. 23:43), it was where Paul went (2 Cor. 12:4) and is where the tree of life is (Rev. 2:7).  This carries the thought of a beautiful garden, with complete happiness.  But, this was not in heaven.  Jn. 20:17, after Jesus arose from the grave, he said that he had not yet went to his Father.  Thus, Hades or Sheol is divided into two areas: Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom) where the righteous are.  The other is Tartarus, which is a temporary place of torment.

            But now consider Jn. 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  Here Jesus seems to be saying that we just pass from death and that we go directly to be with Jesus.  But, Jesus is speaking about something from that point onward because “unto life” is in the present tense.  Consider, Rom. 6:3-4“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  Rom. 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  This is further pointed out in Jn. 5:24, “shall not come into condemnation”.

            We all need to understand that faithful Christians do not have to be worried if we will have eternal life someday.  While most people do not consider Jn. 12:31, which tells us that God is currently judging the world, in 1 Jn. 5:13, it shows that we “have” (past tense) eternal life, meaning we have it now: in hopes and promises.  Phil. 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”  Thus, we are already in the kingdom, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: “ (Col. 1:13).  This is not the church.

            But, before one enters heaven, they will come before God (Heb. 9:27-28).  In Matt. 25:34, Jesus speaks of the righteous coming to the Father.  It is as we go into a tribunal, but are already acquitted because we have been washed and are sanctified, justified in the name of our Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6:11).

Robert Notgrass

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