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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Does a Christian go to heaven or to soul sleep after death?

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I have heard this argument before about Luke 23:43. I don't buy it...

It would be redundant to say "I say to you today...". No one ever says "I say to you yesterday..." or "I say to you tomorrow...".

Jesus meant what alllll of christiandom has believed it to mean... and that is that on that day that man was in paradise w/ Jesus.


 2010/5/11 15:19

Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
Pacific Ocean


Yeah Krispy, after I wrote that I thought that it makes no sense for Jesus to emphasize the day in which he is saying what he said. Who talks like that? It would be really weird if I told my wife...tonight I say unto you, we are going to brush our teeth before bed! And she derived that meant we were going to do it in 2000 years.

I guess if you think Jesus was all like mystical and held his hands in strange gestures, and had piercing azure blue eyes, well maybe then.

Thanks Krispy.

Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2010/5/11 15:30Profile

 Re: Does a Christian go to heaven or to soul sleep after death?

These are not my words, but part of an email bible study that I belong to. Only the names were changed.

Hi Bob, Please answer this question for me. When 'they' put the body of Bobby Purdy in a casket/urn and bury the body of Bobby Purdy in the ground -- where will Bobby be? And why will Bobby be there? Your brother Larry.

Bobby says: If my connection with Christ is "life," (and it is) then Bobby will always live. Physical death has no power to change what Christ has done for Bobby. Romans the sixth chapter explains that Bobby died with Christ. Bobby was buried with Christ. Bobby arose with Christ. And Ephesians says that Bobby is seated in the heaven-lies with Christ. This is a positional truth that assures all believers of victory over death in any form. This is the reason that Bobby can say that "all things work together for good for those that love the Lord." Even physical death works for good. 1 Corinthians 15 says that Bobby will leave the flesh body and exchange it for a spiritual body. Where will Bobby be?" you ask. Where ever Christ will be in the spiritual realm, there will Bobby be. I do not believe in reincarnation, where a person gets a second chance. I believe that the work of Christ completes us in the eyes of God and there is no labor from the cross of Christ. In His words, "It is finished." The last bit of debt is paid for once for all.

Brother Bobby, where is this "spiritual realm" now? Is Jesus Christ in that spiritual realm now or does He have to wait until you get there? Does the Bible describe this "spiritual realm? If so, how and where? Thanks, Bro. Larry.

Bobby says: From the beginning of time everyone thought in terms of reality as being dualism. That is, the spiritual and the physical. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus was with God and came to earth as the Logos or Word. He left one realm to enter into another. One has to distinguish the differences in the physical "heaven and earth" and the Mosaic Economy, which was also called "heaven and earth" when reading the Bible. Then there is the heaven of heavens or the heaven-lies. This is where Christ is. Paul admonishes us to put our affections on things above, where Christ sits. This is the spiritual realm. It is more real than the physical realm that passes away with time. In the physical realm, people are there and they are not there. For example, Fish are there and then someone eats them and they are gone. The spiritual realm is not like that. In the physical, there is time - the past and the promised future. In the spiritual there is only the NOW. Time is connected with matter and all that is physical. In the NOW, there is neither change nor growth. It is the NOW.

 2010/5/11 16:49

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4584


This is a difficult topic that I think might be next-to-impossible (and even unnecessary) to reach a definitive conclusion upon. I have heard various ministers preach entire sermons on this subject -- complete with Scripture passages meant to validate the point of the particular preacher -- only to find that each ministers' teachings often contradict one another.

I do think that it is important to remember that God is NOT confined to the laws of nature (including time -- which is even "relative" in our own universe). After all, God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He knew us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5). He knew and chose us before the foundations of the world were formed (Ephesians 1:4). After all, God knows the end of human history -- and even beyond -- and partially revealed it to John (via his Revelation). In fact, the Word says that God has raised us up so that we sit with Christ in "heavenly places" (Ephesians 2:6).

There is a lot of debate over how the end will come. Some people argue that we immediately leave our bodies when we die and face judgment (or containment in "Paradise"). Some argue that we "sleep"...but that the sleep seems to be instantaneous as we pass through all of human history and awaken at the sound of a trumpet. I have even heard preachers argue that Jesus died and went to Hell as a means to demonstrate what happens when we die and to get the "keys" of death and Hell from Satan (although I believe that Christ's work was finished on Calvary -- when He said, "It is finished"). Still, I think that it would be difficult to preach something in a definitive manner when it is obviously unclear from Scripture.

Paul spoke of a man he knew who was "caught up into paradise" (or the "third heaven") and beheld things that he was not permitted to speak about (II Corinthians 12:2-4). Many of the prophets of the Bible (like Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah and John) traveled through time and saw certain things that are included in Scripture. Jesus spoke of the future as if He had already seen it happen (such as in Matthew 24). When it comes to the exact timing and manner of events in the "future" (if such a thing even existed to God), I think that the words of Christ from Acts are an important thing to remember: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7).

Is it possible that we leave our bodies and go straight to Heaven when we breathe our last breath. Yes. Is it possible that we "sleep" in our bodies until the trumpet sounds? Yes. Ultimately, I suppose that I don't even care HOW I finally am able to see Jesus's face. I just look forward to seeing His face when the time (or lack thereof) comes!


 2010/5/11 17:14Profile


Chris writes......

" This is a difficult topic that I think might be next-to-impossible (and even unnecessary) to reach a definitive conclusion upon.'

I agree with that sentiment, yet I am glad the quesstion was asked and Frank

 2010/5/11 18:04

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2012
Joplin, Missouri


It has been said that this notion is unique to or at least most prevalent in cults such as SDA. It might come as a surprise to some that early pentecostals (1901-?) and some today still hold to the idea that the soul sleeps until judgment. The problem I have seen is that they use the book of Ecclesiastes very prominently in their doctrinal stance. I am not so sure this is the proper use of the book. Other than that their only argument from the NT that I have heard often is that Paul did not say that the spirit goes to the Father immediately upon death but that he would rather be with the Father than in this body. There is some technical merit to this argument as that scripture can easily have that interpretation applied.

This is my opinion, but I am not so sure you can use the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in this discussion. I believe to do so is to make the supporting details of the story the story itself. That parable is speaking directly to the Jew's rejection of the Messiah though He come back from the dead.

It is interesting to note that judgment is the phase of the trial where the verdict is already in and the defendant has sentence passed on him. I see no conflict in those who are believer's going immediately into the presence of God and returning with Him to obtain glorified bodies at the day of the Lord. But I am not sure you can become too dogmatic about it.


 2010/5/11 18:26Profile

Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
Pacific Ocean


Yeah, Chris, when I tried to resolve all of that I almost lost my mind like people do when they contemplate pi. Relativity ended up being my safeguard. I totally agree that there is a great mystery in the whole thing that people have really cracked their teeth on. It was actually this discussion that got me questioning a lot of commonly held eschatology statements. It is just like Paul Washer said, "when the end comes you will know everything you need to know about the return of Christ." Or he said something like that. It is kind of the same with the idea of resurrection.

Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2010/5/11 18:28Profile

 Re: Lk. 23:43

If we are to take that verse from the Greek, granted there are no punctuations marks, however, the order of the sentence is different than the first Anglican Bible (aka:KJV).

It reads like this:

Lk 23:

43 And said to him Jesus(,")truly i say to you today with me you will be in paradise(".)

That kinda' alleviates the question of where the comma should be, however, another important question is what does the word paradise really means.

Jesus was speaking of what Jewish culture considered the abode of the dead, Sheol. It was also thought to have an expanse dividing the rest of the wicked and those in "Abraham's Bosom"- those who were of Isreal's Theocratic Commonwealth, walking in the covenant with YHVH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

From other scriptures in the N.T. we find Jesus went to Hades, which is the Greek word for the abode of the dead, paradise being the short term for what the Jews and Greeks alike considered the side of Sheol for the righteous (aka: Abraham's Bosom).

This abode of the dead is the setting for Jesus parable of Lazarus and the rich dude.

This all makes the most sense as to where the thief would be with Jesus as:

1) Jesus was not resurrected until after three 24 hour days;


2) When Jesus appeared to Mary after His ressurection, He told her not to touch Him, because He had not yet ascended to Heaven.

Jesus' resurrection changed everything, but not for those who continue operating according to this time continuum. Walking in (His) Faith(fulness), we function above these laws by the Law of the Spirit of (resurrection) Life in Him.

The devil is still the god of this world. Beyond that is beyond hir jurisdiction, being cast down to earth, stuck here until the end of this kosmos (aka:age).


Most all cultures have a similar conception (with variation in specifics) of what has been termed Paradise/Abraham's Bosom, the good side of Hades/Sheol in the previous paragraphs.

Acts 20:32

p.s. there is nowhere in the Bible that it says we 'sleep' in our bodies until resurrection. It says our bodies, if we are saved, indeed do sleep.

edited: airer in one lil' frase at the end of a sentense.

 2010/5/11 19:01

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7512


Krispy wrote:
I treat visions like I do mushrooms. Some are poisonous, some are good for you... I prefer to avoid both.

Krispy, you sure are missing some ggggooooooodddd eatin' if you refuse to eat mushrooms because some are poisonous!


Sandra Miller

 2010/5/11 22:23Profile

Joined: 2009/5/13
Posts: 74


I treat visions like I do mushrooms. Some are poisoneous, some are good for you... I prefer to avoid both.

"Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21

"Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order."
1 Corinthians 14:39-40

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
1 Corinthians 14:29-33

 2010/5/12 0:23Profile

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