52. Where do we go when we die?

Under the Old Covenant the of Israelites in Jesus day believed that when they died they would all go to 'sheol'...the grave or the place of waiting. What they were waiting for was the resurrection of 'the dead' for judgment. This is not specifically taught but referred to by prophecies which Jesus and the apostles confirmed by quoting or alluding to in many places. The scriptures teach that in their future God Himself was to provide a seed who would crush the serpents head (Gen 3:15) ... and a Lamb for the sacrifice (Gen 22:14) to save the nation from its SIN (Mat 1:21 and John 1:29). They believed that the resurrection and judgment would then occur at the time known as 'the end of the age' at which time they would be judged for their adherance to the Law and be rewarded by being with God in His Kingdom when He himself would rule on earth though the coming Messiah.

 

Deut 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."  NKJV

 

The failure of Israel as a nation under the Law was that most focussed on the WORKS they had to do ...and FAILED to seek GOD Himself. (Rom 9:30-33, Rom 10:3-4) to find LIFE. Throughout history they apostacised and served false gods but God at the same time always had a 'remnant' of believers loyal to Him in the nation (Isaiah and other the prophets mention this as does Rom 11 vs 4-6) ... and this includes those who were sealed and came out of the great tribulation after forming the base of the early church (Rev 7:14)

 

John 5:39-40  You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.   NKJV
 

The great men of faith throughout Hebrew history are recorded in Hebrews chapter 11 as those who sought and found God by faith. From among the patriarchs it includes men and women such as Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Sarah and from those under the Law it includes Moses, the judges, David and Samuel and all the prophets along with all who believed. We are told these looked forward to time when God himself would rule... in a city whose builder and maker was God (Heb 11:10), a heavenly country (vs 16), where they would experience the riches of Christ (vs 26) and believed that they would obtain a better resurrection (vs 35) in future.

 

What persuaded them we might ask? Simply encounters with the living God who they had sought by faith (vs 6). Cain offered better sacrifices...why else? Enoch and Noah walked with God and they were warned ...they heard God. Abraham heard...he obeyed because he KNEW the voice of Him who called. They received promises ...how? Joseph got them in dreams and visions as did king David....but they KNEW who was speaking. 

 

David the king prophesied this hope in the Psalms

Ps 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope. 
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.    NKJV
 

Also other prophets promised it for Israelites

Isa 26:19 Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body they shall arise .
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead.    NKJV (Rev 20:13)
 
Dan 12:1   "At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt
3 Those who are wise shall shine 
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness 
Like the stars forever and ever.    NKJV
 
The Prophets spoke of a coming tribulation (aka ..the time of Jacobs trouble) which would be followed immediately by a resurrection of the dead, judgment and reward of the righteous AT THE SAME TIME.....a time Jesus described as "THE END OF THE / THIS AGE"
 
Jesus confirmed this would happen as he includes quotes from Daniel 12 in the following parable
 
Matt 13:36  And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 
37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.  39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.  40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,  42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!      NKJV
 
Please note that under the Old Covenant Jesus said that there were many 'sons of the kingdom' who would be CAST OUT of the kingdom.... they had not found the righteousness of God but had sought to establish their OWN righteousness instead. (Mat 5:28, Mat 13:47-50, Mat 22:1-14, Luke 13:23-30)
 
 
Paul preached the imminent expectation of God's day of judgment which would be preceded by the resurrection ...
 
Acts 24:14  But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will (SOON = mello) be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.    NKJV
 
Brethren, please get this LOUD AND CLEAR.....it is the LAW and the Prophets (of the Law) that promised the resurrection for JUDGMENT of the just and the unjust!  ...and it was promised for a time shortly after Messiah's death (Dan 9:26). This would result in them being granted eternal life with God in His kingdom This was 'the hope of Israel' which all 'the dead' (i.e. the righteous saints of the Old Covenant) were waiting for.
 
 
The timing had to be soon was because JESUS had said that ALL things that were written in the Law and in the prophets would be fulfilled WITHIN THAT GENERATION.
 
 
Luke 21:32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.    NKJV
 
Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."  45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. NKJV
 
 
 
Does something different happen to people at death today under the New Covenant?
 
 
Do all who die today still go to the grave and wait for a future judgment?
 
Well firstly we need to know that what the Law says, does NOT apply to us today. We are not 'under the Law' but under a NEW covenant of GRACE. (Rom 6:14)
 
Rom 3:19  Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law   NKJV
 
 
In the Old Covenant one became an Israelite by PHYSICAL birth and circumcision. Today God has no grandchildren....we all personally need to find Him and have a faith relationship with Him. The kingdom is now IMMATERIAL, INTANGIBLE and INVISIBLE. The Kingdom does not equate to 'church world'. Our parents can arrange for us to be baptised and sign us up for church membership but only our personal pursuit of God and His righteousness will result in us entering the kingdom (John 1:12-13, John 3:3-7). Today we are ADOPTED by God as His children when we are born of the spirit.
 
Those who do not believe in Jesus have NO covenant with God. They have nothing that would enable them to live beyond this life.The scripture speaks of the fate of those who do not have a covenant with God
 
Isa 26:14   14 They (heathen/unbelievers) are dead, they will not live;
They are deceased, they will not rise.
Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,
And made all their memory to perish.   NKJV
 
 
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. NKJV
 
 
 
According to the scriptures those who do not believe in Jesus are already dead spiritually (ie separated from relationship with God). When they perish or die physically they will return to dust UNLESS they find LIFE in Christ while on earth.
 
 
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. NKJV
 
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus   NKJV
 
 
We as believers in the New Covenant, do NOT have to wait to have to wait for a judgment to see if we have been good enough to be rewarded with eternal life.
 
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. NKJV
 
Condemnation is that those who have chosen NOT to seek for life ... get what they want. At the end they PERISH...they are not tormented forever.
 
 
Unlike Old Covenant saints, we as believers today, do NOT have to wait for a judgment at the end of our age...or the end of the world. This is EMPHATICALLY the teaching of Jesus for the New Covenant.
 
John 5:25  "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. NKJV
 
John 8:51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death."  NKJV
 
For US as believers today, physical death is no more than a gateway into the manifest presence of God...our spiritual LIFE which is the Spirit of God Himself living in us, ensures this. 
 
 
If we do not believe, we are DEAD spiritually already.... and just waiting for the batteries to run out (death scripturally is a result of separation from our life source...i.e. relationship with God)
 
John 5:21  For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.  NKJV
 
Eph 2:1   And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins   NKJV
 
 
John 16:8 And when He (the Helper or Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment :  9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me;  10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;  11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.  NKJV
 

The only sin which keeps mankind dead today is the failure to believe in Jesus....as the one who was sent by God to reveal his love for us by dying for us. Jesus is God's judicial basis for forgiving ALL sin in those who believe...and qualifying and cleansing us so that we can be His children. Our sole role is to seek, come to or believe! 

 

Those who die today BELIEVING IN CHRIST, live on in Him ETERNALLY

John 11:24 Martha said to Him,"I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"     NKJV
 
 
John 10:27   My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perishneither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.     NKJV
 
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV
 
 
Brethren, look at the change that JESUS brought about. Martha (in vs 24) and the Jews knew only of a physical resurrection and judgment that was coming soon. What Jesus came to intoduce was a NEW covenant in which there is no judgement awaiting believers....IF you believe in Jesus you HAVE eternal LIFE. If you don't believe you remain dead and perish when your time on earth is done.
 

Do you believe Jesus?

 

So now when we look at Revelation 20:13 and we see that the judgment for each one was 'according to works' ...we can conclude that this passage applies to the Old Covenant.
 
 
Rev 20:14  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  NKJV
 
Hades ...'sheol' as the place of waiting for the dead under the Old Covenant ...was emptied and destroyed in AD70. Death itself was destroyed when the Old Covenant came to an end because it was the LAW which caused sin to be imputed....and it was SIN which bought death.
 
 
Brethren for us, as NEW Covenant believers, DEATH is over....yes we physically pass from this temporal world into eternity but according to Jesus we do NOT DIE.... ie we will NEVER be seperated from His presence.
 
 
Do you believe Jesus?
 
 
 

Does Revelation Chapters 21 and 22 describe 'Heaven'....or the New covenant?

 

Some look at the world today and say that this cannot be 'the New Jerusalem' thinking that this description refers to heaven iteself. The scriptures tell us that the Kingdom of Heaven which was ushered in by Jesus and that this IS THE NEW COVENANT.

 

In the resurrection (for the believing Jews) or when today we pass from this world into what many refer to as Heaven itself, we are told by Jesus that we will all be 'like the angels'.

We are clearly not there yet in a physical sense.

 

Brethren, we need to realise that the kingdom of heaven is 'not of this world' ... it is in the spiritual realm... the realm of God, where He dwells in the hearts of His children throughout the generations.

John 4:21-24  Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."   NKJV

 

So what is being spoken of in Revelations 21?

Rev 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husbandNKJV
 
Brethren, Paul tells us clearly that the Bride is the Church... (Eph 5:25-32)
 
Paul tells us that the Jerusalem above, which is free, refers to the New Covenant (Gal 4:22-26). Hebrews 12 tells us what the heavenly Jerusalem is...
 
Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. NKJV
 
Brethren in the New Covenant God now dwells on earth in HIS CHILDREN...not in buildings made by human hands (Acts 17:24, vs 1 Cor 3:16&17)
 

Brethren in the New Covenant, we as believers ALL have direct access to God through Jesus ...in the new heavenly city. We are now part of the church UNIVERSAL...that which is registered in heaven and which comprises believers from throughout history.....and we ALL have direct access to Jesus as our High Priest IN THE NEW COVENANT today. 

 

Brethren in the Kingdom of heaven itself, today on earth, there is no sin. Yes there are sinners all around us BUT some have their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb and have been made perfect in Christ (Heb 10:14)...and then there are those who choose to remain outside. 

 

Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments (NU 'wash their robes'), that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. NKJV
 
The Kingdom of Heaven is NOT a physical place on earth (i.e. like any church organisation)....it is the SPIRITUAL reality of the New Covenant. (Gal 4:23-26) (Heb 12:22-24)
 
Those who follow God's commands and accept Jesus death for their righteousness are those who have 'washed their robes'...and can partake of the TREE of LIFE
 
But OUTSIDE there are sinners and those who love and practice a lie ... i.e. they deny God the Father and Jesus
 
 
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. NKJV
 
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. NKJV
 
John 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." NKJV
 
 
This is the world in which we as believers live today. It does not matter if we belong to any worldly church organisation. What matters is that we have our names written in the Lamb's Book of LIFE...and our robes washed in His blood...and that the fruit or the reality of our new birth is manifested in our lives.
 
 
2 Tim 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."   NKJV
 
 
 
 
General Articles
User login