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  • What happens to a believer when he or she dies?

    If your answer is that he or she goes straight to heaven, can you back that with Scripture without contradicting other Scripture? If this is what you believe, is it because you have been taught to believe this, or because this is what the Bible teaches? I truly believe that if just one thing can be contradicted by another thing, then obviously one hasn't arrived at the truth. Can truth contradict itself and still be truth?

    I'm mainly interested in what others think happens to a believer at death, according to Scripture, and whether or not it causes contradictions in other Scripture.

  • #2
    I would have to say that upon death, a person no longer has an ability to interact with the world of the living. You may have a certain awareness but not for long. Quickly, you would be in a detached existence that has nothing to do with what we know of in this life.

    I think this is as far as you can go to explain it, without going into contradictions.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've always understood that believers go to "Paradise", which isn't Heaven, but an intermediate state. I believed it because no other optional interpretation was ever presented. I always had to do a mental "Huh?" at some point in order to accept it. While now I don't assert that is what happens, I do question it, and Scripture seems to be pointing to the fact that we're just dead--conscious of nothing--until the resurrection. I'm not thoroughly convinced either way yet.

      The two most common passages used to show that we go to an intermediate state are:

      Luke 23:43 - And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." Some scholars say the comma (in red) is misplaced--that if it's placed after "today", the meaning is the same as if He said, "...today I say unto thee...". Given that the interpretation of an intermediate state was arrived at well before the KJV, I think it's a distinct possibility that the comma's placement was unintentionally biased. If so, this verse does not, in fact, support an intermediate state.

      2 Corintians 5:6-8 - 6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. At first blush, this does seem to say that if we are absent from the body, we are immediately in the presence of the Lord. But it doesn't quite say that. It does say if we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord. The last verse is where potential confusion sets in. It makes the case that we are willing to be absent from the body, for the sake of being in the presence of the Lord--that, of the two, the latter is preferrable. It does not unequivocally mean that being absent from the body is equivalent to being with the Lord--Paul is merely saying it would be preferable to be in the presence of the Lord than to remain in the body. This doesn't necessitate an intermediate state, as it doesn't specifically say that to be absent from the body IS being with the Lord. He just says being with the Lord is preferable, given the two options.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment...

        2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

        Every man will go to heaven immediately upon death, but not every one will stay there: the wicked will be condemned while the righteous will be commended.
        To This Day

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by zombieCat View Post

          2 Corintians 5:6-8 - 6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. At first blush, this does seem to say that if we are absent from the body, we are immediately in the presence of the Lord. But it doesn't quite say that. It does say if we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord. The last verse is where potential confusion sets in. It makes the case that we are willing to be absent from the body, for the sake of being in the presence of the Lord--that, of the two, the latter is preferrable. It does not unequivocally mean that being absent from the body is equivalent to being with the Lord--Paul is merely saying it would be preferable to be in the presence of the Lord than to remain in the body. This doesn't necessitate an intermediate state, as it doesn't specifically say that to be absent from the body IS being with the Lord. He just says being with the Lord is preferable, given the two options.
          Goodness, I'm dizzy after reading that.

          How can you reason that being with the Lord is preferrable, but yet say that being absent from the body doesn't release us to be present with the Lord? Isn't that exactly what verse 6 states?

          The way this portion of reads is that once our flesh is dead, when we are finally released from it, we are free to be with God in spirit.

          Paul is torn though. He loves His ability to do God's work here, while in the body. Yet he longs to be with the Lord which requires dead. For him - it's a double edged sword.

          A portion of this passage is factual, and a portion is Paul's personal dilemma based on the fact that once our flesh is dead we go, in spirit, to exist with Him.

          And honestly, I don't much care how that all plays out. I'm with Him - there is no greater thing!
          Seek ye FIRST the kingdom.
          Not second or third, but first.
          Only when all else pales to God, when He receives all glory,
          when He is the source of all hope,
          when His love is received and freely given,
          holding not to the world but to the promise to come,
          will all other things be added unto to you.

          Comment


          • #6
            But what about passages like these?

            Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
            2 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.


            1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
            52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
            53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
            54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
            55*O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
            56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
            57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ


            1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
            14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
            15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
            16 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:
            17 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.
            18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.



            If the believer is already in heaven upon death, then who are all these passages referring to? Why would anyone need to be resurrected and put on immortality, and be awaken from sleep within the dust of the earth, if they're already in heaven? I guess my question is, what is being awoken from the dust of the earth? The physical body? The soul?

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi divaD,

              Ecclesiastes 9:
              5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
              6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
              7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
              8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
              9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
              10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

              These verses seem to indicate we are not aware of our state when we die. The dead know nothing, there is no knowledge, etc. in the grave. Not until the resurrection that is... then we won't be in the grave anymore.

              Another interesting verse:
              John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

              Of course there is debate whether that verse only means up to that period in time (when Christ was alive), or if it could apply right up till Christ's return.

              There was much discussion about these verses and others in this thread:
              http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=137483

              Cheers,
              Legoman

              Comment


              • #8
                When I was a kid, early teens maybe, someone blew up the corner newspaper box. We lived 3 houses from that corner. The bomb squad and about 47 million police cars, fire trucks and ambulances were there, sirens and lights and the whole 9 yards. I had no clue. I slept through the whole thing. Explosion, commotion. All of it. Guess I was pretty tired! My parents told me all about it the next morning and they couldn't believe I never heard a thing.

                It was like I was dead. I didn't know anything was going on. I had no knowledge of the chaos that reigned in the neighborhood. Not the scary stuff nor the sense of protection the public servants gave being there. Nothing.

                But I, quite obviously, wasn't dead.
                Seek ye FIRST the kingdom.
                Not second or third, but first.
                Only when all else pales to God, when He receives all glory,
                when He is the source of all hope,
                when His love is received and freely given,
                holding not to the world but to the promise to come,
                will all other things be added unto to you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would also add into the mix the Fifth Seal of Revelation, where newly martyred believers apparently appear in heaven under the alter. It's difficult to say if that's what happens to all believers even before the Tribulation, but it is an example that shows at least one instance of newly dead believers going straight to heaven.
                  ----------------------------------------------
                  When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by threebigrocks View Post
                    When I was a kid, early teens maybe, someone blew up the corner newspaper box. We lived 3 houses from that corner. The bomb squad and about 47 million police cars, fire trucks and ambulances were there, sirens and lights and the whole 9 yards. I had no clue. I slept through the whole thing. Explosion, commotion. All of it. Guess I was pretty tired! My parents told me all about it the next morning and they couldn't believe I never heard a thing.

                    It was like I was dead. I didn't know anything was going on. I had no knowledge of the chaos that reigned in the neighborhood. Not the scary stuff nor the sense of protection the public servants gave being there. Nothing.

                    But I, quite obviously, wasn't dead.


                    When I was in my mid teens, I knew another teen in his late teens. He had just moved to the town I was living in. I figure he was 18, 19 at the time. He told me that about 2 years prior, he was riding a motocycle and had a head on collision with a semi truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene, but somehow they were able to revive him at the hospital. He was clinically dead for a good period of time according to his medical records. Well, he didn't recall one thing during that time. He was not aware of a heaven or a hell.

                    Right after he told me this, he got a job working for the railroad, in which it required him to drive to the Chicago area and back on occasion, which was approx 200 miles away.
                    Probably not even 4 or 5 months later, I read about him in the local newspaper. It seems, he was driving back home from Chicago, fell asleep at the wheel, and rear ended a semi truck. This time he was never revived. I always found it rather bizarre that he could live thru a head on collision with a semi, according to him, both he and the semi were traveling at least 60 mph, but fail to survive a rear end collision with one. And since this has been
                    30 some yrs ago, I guess I wonder if he's aware of anything this time around, such as a heaven or a hell?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      'Sheol' or 'Hades' - temporary holding place.

                      'Sheol' (OT) or 'Hades' (NT) - the 'grave'. This is the temporary resting place where the spirits of both the righteous and the doomed go. There they will remain until the final Day of Judgment. It is from this place where the resurrection of the dead will eventually take place. The Bible indicates that our souls will 'sleep' there until Judgment Day.

                      Sheol is a place divided into two areas by an impassable chasm. On the one side of this divide is a place called paradise, and it is here where the blessed dead await their resurrection. On the other side is an infernal place similar to hell, and this is where the spirits of the unforgiven are kept and tormented until they are judged.

                      If we look at the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lu 16:19-31), it is clear that the spirits in Sheol can recognize each other, and that they have memories about their lives before death.

                      Sheol is a prison with bars, and the disembodied spirits cannot leave it except when God allows it for a specific purpose, as was the case when the medium of Endor called up the dead prophet Samuel's spirit. This, however, will be an extremely rare occurrence. It means that there are no such things as ghosts bound to the sphere of the earth. Those spirits parading as 'ghosts' are actually not the spirits of the dead but demon spirits pretending to be the spirits of the dead.

                      After judgement the spirits of the dead will either go to heaven, or to hell.
                      Jeremiah 29:11
                      "For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." (NASB)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Literalist-Luke View Post
                        I would also add into the mix the Fifth Seal of Revelation, where newly martyred believers apparently appear in heaven under the alter. It's difficult to say if that's what happens to all believers even before the Tribulation, but it is an example that shows at least one instance of newly dead believers going straight to heaven.


                        Hi Literalist-Luke. I assumed this passage would come up. The question is, should we take it literally or figuratively? To show what I mean, I'm sure you recall this verse.

                        Genesis 4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground

                        Obviously we would take this figuratively, since blood doesn't really cry out, well at least not in the sense that we would understand. But even so, I do tend to take Revelation 6:9 literal, even tho it could merely be symbolic in nature.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by divaD View Post
                          Hi Literalist-Luke. I assumed this passage would come up. The question is, should we take it literally or figuratively? To show what I mean, I'm sure you recall this verse.

                          Genesis 4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground

                          Obviously we would take this figuratively, since blood doesn't really cry out, well at least not in the sense that we would understand. But even so, I do tend to take Revelation 6:9 literal, even tho it could merely be symbolic in nature.
                          What reason would there be for taking the Fifth Seal as being "symbolic"?
                          ----------------------------------------------
                          When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by threebigrocks View Post
                            Goodness, I'm dizzy after reading that.
                            OK, feel free to call me Vizzini

                            Originally posted by threebigrocks View Post
                            How can you reason that being with the Lord is preferrable, but yet say that being absent from the body doesn't release us to be present with the Lord? Isn't that exactly what verse 6 states?
                            No, that is not what verse 6 states. It says to be in the body means to not be with the Lord. I'll grossly paraphrase to clarify the difference:

                            • v6: If I am in LA, I am not in New York.
                            • v8: I would rather be in New York than LA.


                            Nowhere does it say the equivalent of "if I am not in LA, I am in New York."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              But the fact that Paul does not indicate that there is a third 'option' lends evidence to the idea that it's either A or B, and not that there are mysterious other options. May I ask your opinion on post 4?
                              To This Day

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