I’ve heard a variety of opinions on this, but I’m curious to what happens specifically after we die if we are a believer. Like if in ten minutes I’m hit by a car, what would happen immediately after? And if Jesus is coming again down to earth, then we’re all brought again to another level of heaven or is it the same place?
If you’ve received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Bible says in
Philippians 1 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So
the moment that your body ceases to exist, the moment that you die physically,
you will immediately be with God in heaven in his presences for the rest of your
life for the rest of eternity. That’s what’s going to happen to you if you’ve
truly received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
1 Thessalonians 4 says, “those who are alive and remain shall be caught up with
Him in the air and we shall ever be with the Lord.” So if we are alive and
remain, we shall be caught up with Him. And then He will descend back onto this
earth for a thousand years millennial reign. And we will be with Him for those
thousand years and then we’ll be with Him forever and ever. So in either case,
whether you’re alive when Jesus returns or whether you’ve already died, you will
immediately, either the moment He returns or the moment you die, you are in the
presence of God if you are a believer.
What happens when you die?
First, we’re all eternal beings. We will all live forever. When we physically
die, we will go to one of two places, heaven or hell.
Let’s talk about getting into heaven. The only way to get to heaven is to accept
what Jesus did for you and for all of us. The blood of Jesus that was shed on
the cross is the only thing in the universe that can cleanse us from sin. And
when we receive that cleansing, when we put our faith in that blood, put our
faith in His death, burial, and resurrection, then we are saved. Indeed, at the
very moment that we put our faith in the blood of Jesus, we receive eternal
life. And when the time comes for us to enter into heaven, we will be in the
presence of God forever and ever . . . to worship Him and serve Him.
Now, it’s true that we don’t know everything about our life in heaven. But we do
know, from the Bible, that we will recognize people and that we will recognize
Jesus. It will be a place to live with God because He’s making mansions for us
in heaven. It will be truly incredible. Everything that we could possibly
imagine and well beyond.
Sadly, it’s going to be equally as bad for those who do not accept Jesus. And
yet the fact that hell is burning and fire is actually minimal compared to
hell’s real punishment: the complete absence of the presence of God. That’s the
worst part of hell! Heaven is ultimately the fullness of the presence of God in
physical manifestation to us. And while I’ve tasted and felt the presence of God
at times, none of us has ever been saturated in the fullness of that presence.
When we do, it will be joy forever. The Bible says that in His presence there is
the fullness of joy, in His presence the times are refreshing, in His presence
the mountains melt like wax. And so the greatest benefit of heaven is being in
the pure, unadulterated, unhindered, unlimited presence of God for all eternity.
The question that I have, I think it comes from Corinthians and it’s in regards to being absent from the body means to be present with God. I have some confusion on that. When it says that, does it mean that immediately at the time of our death? Do our spirits rest or do we immediately stand before God for Judgment? Are we judged at the time of when Jesus comes back and takes everyone back or is it immediately at death?
We have to let the Bible answer the Bible. And the one thing that I can say
for sure from that verse is that we know when He says “to be absent from the
body we are present with the Lord,” that tells me that yes, we immediately, our
spirit immediately goes to be with the Lord in heaven when our bodies physically
Now, that is not when the judgment takes place. It will be when Jesus returns,
He will judge the living and the dead, meaning those who are alive and those who
are already in heaven, and not judged for salvation because we’re already saved
through the blood of Jesus, but our works will be judged. Now, I don’t know. I
don’t think that we have scriptural evidence to validate whether when we get to
heaven immediately God judges our works and says, “Okay, you did good. Well done
good and faithful servant.” We don’t know that, but the implication is that
since He says “well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your
Master,” chances are that as soon as you get there, there is some sort of
evaluation of what you’ve done and an evaluation of how you lived and how you
But we know for sure that when we die, we’re going to be present with the Lord.
Then we’re going to be given a new body. Jesus is going to give us a new body
when the corruptible puts on the incorruptible in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and I
believe that that happens at the resurrection. At the time when Jesus actually
comes back to the earth is when we’ll be given a new body. And He’ll bring us
back with Him with a new body and we’ll meet those who are raptured up at the
same time. We’ll be caught up together in the air according to 1 Thessalonians
chapter 4. I know that that may not answer all that you’re asking, but I can
only answer what I know for sure and that is that yes, as soon as we die
physically, we are at home with the Lord, and we are present with Him.
When Jesus was on the cross, He told the thief next to Him "today you will be with Me in paradise." But elsewhere in the Bible, it states that the "dead in Jesus will rise first" (at the Rapture). So, my question is, when we die, are we promised to immediately go to heaven or does our spirit lay 'dead' until Jesus returns and then go to heaven?
Well, let’s start with what we know in the Bible. It says in Philippians 1 that to be absent from the body is to present with the Lord. So the moment our bodies die, if we’re saved, if Jesus Christ is our Lord, we are going to be in the presence of God forever the moment our body ceases to exist, if you’re a Christian. As far as the dead being raised, God is going to give people a new body, a resurrection immortal body when Jesus returns, and we’re going to rule and reign with Him for a thousand years with those new bodies. That’s what He means when He says the dead in Christ shall rise. They are dead in Christ, but they are alive and present with the Lord, spiritually. Now God is going to give us a brand new body and we’re going to come back with Him to rule and reign with Him for a thousand years.