Q. My friend has a new pastor who commented that currently there is no one (believer/unbeliever) in Heaven or Hell. He also believes that there are 3 raptures. I know what I believe, but how would you respond?
A. Being a Pastor does not automatically make one an expert on the Bible. This is why Paul advised us to search the Scriptures daily to see if what we’re being taught is true (Acts 17:11).
Paul said when believers die our spirits leave our bodies and go directly to be with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6-8, Phil 1:23-24). Most people assume that means heaven.
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) Jesus said upon dying the rich man went to hell (literally, place of torment). This is not the ultimate destiny of unbelievers, but it’s where they all go to await the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:11-15).
The Bible also describes only one rapture of the Church (1 Thes. 4:16-17, 1 Cor. 15:51-53).
It’s not for me to say whether your friend should respond to this pastor. But you can convey the need to be on guard and personally confirm that what he teaches is Biblical. It’s something we all should do anyway.