Summary: A brief Bible Study Lesson on when do we go to Heaven or Hell and what will we do.
Before we get into what we will do in Heaven let's briefly consider exactly when do we go to heaven or hell.
When do we go to heaven? As with numerous Biblical topics, many diverse church groupings under Christianities umbrella believe differently.
As a believer, as soon as you die you go to heaven. The briefest and most precise biblical verse addressing this issue is Luke Chapter 23, verse 43. Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Truly I say to you. Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
As a person not saved, as soon as you die you go to Hell. This is described in Luke Chapter 19, verses 22-23. “The time came when the beggar (a believer) died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man (non-believer) also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
Possibly, the Biblical verses causing the most consternation's is John Chapter 5, verses 25-29. “Verily, verily I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself, and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth — they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
This particular passage allows some to purport that we will be bound in our earthly graves until the resurrection. Based on this and other passages, Seventh-Day Adventists teach that when believers and nonbelievers die they are in an unconscious state until the resurrection of the dead. Most of Christianity, however, does not agree with this philosophy. Southern Baptist, as do most Protestant Churches, believe those that die in Christ go immediately to Heaven. Many students of the Bible believe that “those in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth” refers to those in the grave until Jesus was born to his ministry here on earth.
Let Scriptures Enlighten Us. When Jesus was on the cross He promised one of the thieves, “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23, verse 43). Not to be flippant, Jesus did not say, “Just wait until I come back two more times and I will give you a new body.” He said, 'TODAY!'
Hebrews Chapter 12, verses 22-24, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to a place where thousands of angels have gathered to celebrate. You have come to the meeting of God’s firstborn children. Their names are written in Heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all people. And you have come to the spirits of good people who have been made perfect. You have come to Jesus—the one who brought the new agreement from God to his people....”
Within these few verses we are told that in Heaven today, there is a general assembly of angels, God's firstborn, and the believing women and men who are made perfect. These individuals are not decomposing in some grave awaiting their resurrection, but have preceded us to Heaven and await us to join them.
Are We Spirits In Heaven Or Do We Have Bodies? Luke Chapter 16, verses 20-24 “There was also a very poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus’ body was covered with sores. He was often put by the rich man’s gate. Lazarus wanted only to eat the scraps of food left on the floor under the rich man’s table. And the dogs came and licked his sores. “Later, Lazarus died. The angels took him and placed him in the arms of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. He was sent to the place of death and was in great pain. He saw Abraham far away with Lazarus in his arms. He called, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to me so that he can dip his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am suffering in this fire!” One was in Heaven and one was suffering in fire.
Both men were dead to the world. But now, seemingly, Lazarus, the 'Rich Man', and even Abraham, were alive and conscious. Thus, when we presently die, we who trust in Christ go to be with Him in a conscious state. At that moment, we are embodied beings. As Paul states, we have a spiritual body, eternal in the Heaven. Based on those verses, I believe even our Spiritual Bodies have some sort of form or materialization. Abraham had arms. The “Rich Man” (eyes?) saw Lazarus and just wanted Lazarus to dip a finger in water to cool his tongue. Those seem like attributes of our bodies.