The Greatest Story Ever Told About
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
Do believers go to heaven immediately upon death or do they sleep until the resurrection?   I was
taught that they go to heaven immediately upon death, but after doing a study on this I found that the
Bible does not teach that.  Consider the following and decide for yourself.

No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven the Son of Man.  John 3:13

For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,  “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right
hand..   Acts 2:34

The meaning is clear, no one has yet gone to heaven.  

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise
them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him
shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”  John 6:39-40   “No one can come to me
unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.  John 6:44  Whoever
eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  John 6:54

Four times in these scriptures, Jesus says that he will raise up believers on the Last Day, not
before.   When is the Last Day?   It refers to the ressurection/rapture when Christ comes for all
believers.

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice  and
come out those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will
rise to be condemned.  John 5:28-29
 

Jesus is speaking of a future time when those who are in their graves will come out.   If we go to
heaven immediately upon death, then how could this happen?  Some believe that upon death our
soul goes to heaven and waits for us there and at the resurrection we get our glorified, eternal body.  
However there are no scriptures to support this view, and it would be incorrect to assume that at the
resurrection either our body flies up to meet our soul or our soul goes down to pick up our body
without any scriptures to confirm this.   If one believes this it would also be difficult to explain the
meaning of the scriptures that say we sleep until we awaken.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and
everlasting contempt.  Daniel 12:2

“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to
receive your allotted inheritance.”  Daniel 12:13

Daniel was told that he would “rest” after death and would not rise until the “end of the days” when
he will receive his allotted inheritance.  In the other verse, the Bible says that there are multitudes
who are now sleeping in their graves and they too will awaken.

“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”   His disciples replied,
“Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”   Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples
thought he meant natural sleep.   So then he told them plainly,
“Lazarus is dead...  John 11:11-14

Jesus tried to tell his disciples what happens to people when they die…they sleep, but they thought
he meant that Lazarus was taking a nap so he had to correct them and say, no, he's dead again
confirming that dead people sleep.

Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise again.”   Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the
resurrection at the last day.”  John 11:23-24  

How did Martha know that those who die will be raised “at the last day” and not before?   Why didn't
she say "My brother is in heaven.  Why don't we leave him there"?  Because she knew he wasn't.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash in a twinkling of
an eye at the last trumpet…  1 Corinthians 15:51
 

Paul is telling them that we will sleep until the ressurection/rapture when we will be changed.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then,
when he comes, those who belong to him.  1 Corinthians 15:22-23
  

Paul makes it clear that believers won’t be resurrected or raptured until Jesus comes for us.   Until
then we will sleep as he said in the previous scripture.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to
prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be
with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”  
John 14:2-4
   

Careful reading of this scripture makes it clear that Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for us
and one day he will come back (the resurrection/rapture) and take us to be with him.  Until then we
will rest, or sleep as stated in the other scriptures regarding this.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears,
then you also will appear with him in glory.   Collossians 3:3

This scripture tells us what happens to our "soul" after we die.  The spirit goes back to God who gave
it and our bodies back to dust where we came from (Ecc 12:7).  Then
"when Christ appears" we shall
also appear with him.....not before
.
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What Happens After We Die
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.  Revelation 20:5

If they did not come to life until after the thousand years, then where were they until then?   And
what were they doing?   They were sleeping in the dust of the earth as the other scriptures
indicated.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal
house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead
with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while
we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be
clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  
Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a
deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.   Therefore we are always confident and know that as long
as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we live by faith, not by sight.  We are
confident, I say, and would
prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So we
make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  
1 Corinthians 5:1-9

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean
fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I
desire to
depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in
the body.  Philippians 1:22-24

These are the scriptures that those who believe that we immediately upon death go to be with
the Lord use.  But it doesn’t say that.  Paul says that we
prefer to be away from the body and at
home with the Lord, and that he
desires to depart and be with Christ, and someday we will be, but
according to all the other scriptures, we will sleep first until the resurrection/rapture.   The same
Paul who wrote this also said this:  
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and
the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to
attain to the resurrection from the dead."
 Philippians 3:10-11   And he also said this:  "But our
citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a savior from there the Lord Jesus Christ....who will
transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
 Phillipians 3:20-21.  So you
can see that Paul was looking forward to the resurrection from the dead, otherwise he would
have said that he was looking forward to going straight to heaven.  
If we look at 2 Timothy 4:6-8
we see that Paul is saying that
"the time has come for my departure" meaning that he knows he is
going to die soon.  He says
" I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the
faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge
will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his
appearing"
.  What Paul is saying here is that after he dies, the Lord will give him his reward on
that day.
  Which day?   On the day he dies?  No, on the day of the resurrection.  And not only him,
but all those servants of God who have died and are waiting for the Lord's appearing.  Again, this
confirms that Paul was not looking forward to dying and going to heaven, but of dying and being
raised at the resurrection because he knew that no one goes to heaven until then as he stated in
several other scriptures.  

To understand what is taught, we must look at ALL the scriptures not just a couple of them and
base our beliefs on those scriptures.  Also, if Paul taught that we go to heaven immediately after
death, then he would be contradicting Jesus who teaches us that we sleep in our graves until he
comes for us.   

Because the Bible does not contradict itself, I could not form my belief on only those two
scriptures which do not even say that we immediately go to be with the Lord.   Therefore, I
believe that upon death we will sleep in our graves until Jesus comes for us like the rest of the
scriptures indicate.