by Michael Lewis
May 23, 2021
A healthy faith is not afraid of hard questions.
Asking the hard questions should cause us to dig deeper into God’s Word.
Your questions about heaven:
1. Where do saints go when they die?
- Sheol (the place of the dead or the grave).
- Sheol is translated in the Greek, “hades.”
- Hades has two realms: a place of punishment and a place of reward.
- The place of reward is called “paradise.”
- So Jesus told the criminal on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (LK 23:43)
- The rich man and Lazarus (LK 16:19-31)
- The implication: Reward and punishment begins immediately upon our passing.
However, I do not believe paradise and heaven were the same thing before the cross.
I do not believe that Jesus went back to His Father in heaven between the cross and His resurrection.
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” -John 20:17 (NLT)
“But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” -Hebrews 10:3-4 (NIV)
Apparently, OT believers were in a good place, but NOT yet in the best place, until they were redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago…” -1 Peter 3:18-20 (NIV)
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” -Revelation 1:18 (NIV)
“When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives…” -Ephesians 4:8 (NLT)
“We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him…For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” -1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16, 17 (NIV)
The body decays and returns to the earth, but it is raised incorruptible. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
No where in scripture does it speak of the soul/ or spirit.
“Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)
2. Are those passed on aware of us of earth?
“They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer…” -Revelation 6:10-11 (NIV)
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” -Luke 15:10 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” -Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
3. Since heaven is a place of joy, will be aware of loved ones who are missing?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” -John 3:16-18 (NIV)
“…fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” -Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
4. Will we know each other in heaven?
“I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 8:11 (NIV)
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” -Matthew 17:1-3 (NIV)