Sometimes we have to stop and take a hard look at how our beliefs affect what we claim. What do I mean by that?
Well, today the mainstream view is that when a believer dies, their body goes to the grave and their soul or spirit goes on into heaven. They also believe at one point in the future that same soul will leave heaven to join its new body in the resurrection. Some say the body goes to heaven to meet the soul. Some say the soul meets the body halfway, has a cheeseburger, and then goes somewhere for a while. But regardless of all that, we are going to focus on the soul or spirit for today. The fact that they believe the soul goes to heaven today when the believer dies. Does this belief actually line up and fit with the other things that they also believe?
For instance, the Second Coming of Christ.
The same mainstream view also teaches that the Second Coming of Christ is still future to us. He will return visibly and bodily on a cloud, when every eye will see Him. We will spare the rest of the details for now.
So we have the mainstream belief consisting of these 2 points...
1) When a believer dies today, their soul or spirit goes right to heaven.
2) Jesus is going to return in the future one day.
What if I told you that those two events are intrinsically associated with each other time-wise and absolutely CANNOT be separated? In other words, they would both happen at the same time in history. Clearly if we could prove this from scripture we would have some problems in the mainstream view. They affirm that one thing has already happened but the second thing hasn't. Let's have a look.
The first passage is Christ assuring that His coming would occur before some of the men standing in front of Him would die....
"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." Matthew 16:27-28
Some people try to argue that this coming He spoke of was just a coming in judgement and there is still yet another coming in the future but this is fatally flawed and cannot be proved with scripture even to the slightest degree. There is ONE coming referred to in regards to the end of the age and associated with the resurrection and judgement. Now let's take a look at what Paul said about the events that would occur at that Coming...
"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep....And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them" 1 Thess 4:15-17
Clearly here we have Paul speaking to the members of the Thessalonian church and telling them that those of them who were still alive when the Lord returned, would be joined together with the dead in Christ who have already been raised at that time. But the point is that we clearly have the resurrection placed right here at the Coming. We also clearly have a few time statements in the "we who are alive and remain". Does this not match perfectly to what Jesus said above about some standing there would still be alive when He comes. Now let's look at what the author of Hebrews says...
"so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation" Hebrews 9:28
Here we see that when He appeared a Second time, it would be for what? FOR SALVATION. There are at least a dozen passages in the New Testament which show that the believers in that period between the cross and the destruction of Jerusalem were still looking FORWARD to the day when salvation would be fully realized. It hadn't happened yet. In a sense it had because it was as good as done. But the overwhelming scriptural evidence shows that the reality of their salvation, the changing from mortal to immortal, would come at the end of the age. Now to pull this all together, let's look lastly at Daniel chapter 12 where Daniel speaks of the time of the end.....
"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. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. 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." Daniel 12:1-3
So we see a few things in the passage above. I have underlined them for you to review. We see clearly the great tribulation on the Jews, the resurrection, the judgement, and the saints inheriting and shining forth in the Kingdom. Remember, Hebrews chapter 9 says that the way into the Holy of Holies (heaven) was not yet made manifest while the first Temple was still standing. It would be when it fell, that the way into heaven would open up. But do we know when all of these events in Daniel 12 took place? We sure do because the answer is given to us a few lines later after one man asked the other when they would take place. His answer was...
"that it shall be for 42 months; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished." Daniel 12:7
The siege on Jerusalem took 42 months. The Jews power was completely shattered. ALL these things were finished at that time.
Therefore since the Lord did return and the resurrection did occur at that time and the saints DID already inherit the promise land and enter into the Holy of Holies for eternity, then thankfully all of our believing loved ones who have died indeed have entered into Heaven today. They are not waiting in Hades for the resurrection.
But remember, this cannot be the case according to the mainstream view. You can't have it both ways. Either Christ returned when He said He would and the resurrection occurred at that same time and since then all believing souls have gone into Heaven when they die...
If Christ has NOT returned yet, then the resurrection hasn't happened yet and all souls still go to Hades to await the day of the Lord and await their time to enter into the presence of God and not a single one has entered into God's presence.
Which one is it going to be?
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