Luke 16:23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ (NASB)
One of the biggest hoaxes that modern churches have thrust upon us is concerning the disposition of the soul after death — aka the afterlife. Almost universally, Christians will vehemently state the souls of deceased believers immediately go to Heaven, but that is NOT what the Scriptures state. So, if not Heaven, then where (if anywhere)?
Most Christians believe they belong to “New Testament churches;” therefore, they have no use for the Old Testament (OT). But, what did Christ say on this subject? Examine Matthew 5:17-19. Is He a liar? Have all things been fulfilled? If you think so, then why is there a need for His Second Coming?
In fact, this ALL revolves around His Second Coming and the appointed times (Heb. mo’edim) in the Fall — known by the Jewry as the Days of Awe. So, where do ALL souls go after death — both the righteous and the wicked? The Bible calls this specific place by three names:
- Sheol (65x in the OT);
- Hades (10x in the NT; 4x in Revelation); and
- Paradise (3x in the NT; this portion of Sheol/Hades is for believers in Christ only; see where Lazarus went in Luke 16:19-31).
This is what the Bible states, and this is but a sampling of each:
- Numbers 16:25-35 (concentrate on vv 30,33 as well as the footnotes);
- Job 7:7-10 (notice that it’s always DOWN to Sheol); and
- Acts 2:22-36 (concentrate on vv 27,30-31,34-35).
The passage in Acts 2 is important as even Christ’s soul descended into the netherworld of Sheol/Hades/Paradise. Recall that He was dead and buried for THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS (15-17 Abib) in accordance with the sign of Jonah. [Note: The source passage is found in Jonah 1-2.]
Examine the Greek word translated as “Paradise” again; it is a park, a garden, an enclosure! The souls of both the righteous and the wicked DESCEND to the netherworld — using whatever name desired: Sheol, Hades, or Paradise.
Those who are TRUE believers in Christ will be given Grace, which is a judicial pardon/clemency on Judgment Day at His Second Coming! His First Coming — incarnate — was as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who brought salvation to the world. His Second is as the conquering priestly king of the order of Melchizedek (Heb. Malki-tsedeq; =my king is righteous[ness]) vanquishing all evil and establishing His Kingdom — where believers will ultimately reside — on the New Earth.
Only three people, who were born incarnate on Earth, are currently in Heaven: 1) Christ, who was resurrected, transfigured, and ascended to the right hand of the Father; 2) Enoch; and 3) Elijah. The latter two are the witnesses (or the metaphorical lampstands [representing the Light of the Word] and olive trees [representing the anointing of the Word]) of Revelation. As ALL humans MUST die (i.e., the first death), the two witnesses will as well in Jerusalem; see Revelation 11:3-13.
Note: Jerusalem is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt in this passage. She is also called Mystery Babylon as rabbinic Jews follow the Babylonian calendar in which the fourth (or tenth!) month is named after the Babylonian deity Tammuz, put more faith in the Talmud Bavli (=Babylonian Talmud) than they do in the TaNaKh (OT), and recite Adonai for the Tetragrammaton which invokes the Greek Adonis and Babylonian Tammuz. That’s why it’s necessary for an undefiled New Jerusalem to descend from the New Heaven to the New Earth. Also, the two witnesses are taken back up into Heaven after they are resurrected. Their bodies/temples were specially prepared (or at least Enoch’s was documented as being so); in the Book of Enoch, what appeared to be a hot coal was pressed to his lips to purify him. Focus on Revelation 11:5 if anyone desires to harm them before their time of prophesying is completed. They are no longer normal human beings as we know them.
To recap, this is the order of the resurrection that will occur just before Judgment Day; see 1 Corinthians 15:20-58. But, to reiterate the central theme of this discussion:
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. (NASB)
So, there you have it, folks… The souls of the deceased — even the righteous/elect — are certainly NOT in Heaven. Not Adam, who was a literal son of God (see Luke 3:38); not Abraham; not Moses; not David; not Mary — NO ONE save Christ at this time.
Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)
Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.