Paradise And Torment

Q. As I understand it when we die (and this includes all who have died before now) our spirit leaves our physical bodies and goes to either heaven or hell.

When the ‘end of the days’ occurs we will get resurrected bodies. So this means, in the interim period, that we have no bodies in heaven/hell, just a spirit?

Also the bible talks about the ‘great white throne judgment’, for non-believers and the ‘bema seat’ judgment for believers, and the bible appears to state that these judgments also occur at the ‘end of days’. So does this mean that people who have already died (e.g. Hitler) who would appear to going straight to hell, are not there yet?

Also, on a similar matter, what are your views on people who have’ died’ and ‘gone to heaven’ then been revived? My view is that once their spirit actually leaves their bodies then they’re dead and will stay that way (unless God supernaturally revives them). So maybe what these people ‘see’ is some sort of vision, similar to those that Paul and John saw, rather than actually ‘going to heaven? After all, they haven’t been judged yet?

A. This has been a very popular question. Here’s everything I know about it.

Before the cross no one could enter Heaven because the Lord’s blood had not yet made atonement for our sins. Both believers and unbelievers went to Sheol (Hebrew) called Hades in Greek. The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) gives us the details on how believers were comforted there by Abraham while unbelievers suffered in torment a short distance away.

The pleasant side of Sheol became known as Paradise, or Abraham’s Bosom. When Jesus died He went to Paradise (Luke 23:43) and upon His resurrection took all the believers with him into heaven. (Matt. 27:52-53)

Since then when believers die their spirits go to heaven to be with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:8) Church age believers receive resurrection bodies at the Rapture of the Church. (1 Cor. 15:51-52) Old Testament believers receive theirs at the end of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:2) In the interim they all exist in spiritual form only. (Unbelievers still go to Hades where they’re held in torment.)

The Bema Seat judgment is for the Church and occurs right after the rapture. (1 Cor. 3-4) The faithful of Israel are judged at the 2nd Coming. (Matt. 19:28) The Great White Throne judgment is for unbelievers of all ages and occurs at the end of the Millennium. (Rev. 20:11-15). All unbelievers are in torment now awaiting their final judgment.

I think that so-called NDE’s or near death experiences are just that. Near Death experiences. They haven’t died and come back to life but have come very close to dying. Hebrews 9:27 says that it’s appointed for man to die but once and after that to face judgment.

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