Where Were Their Spirits, Follow Up

Q. I read in your answer to Where Were Their Spirits posted on 4-10 that you mention Tabitha’s spirit having not departed. And that Eutychus’ spirit also had not departed before he was raised from the dead. But I’ve always understood that (2 Cor. 5:8) “absent from the body, present with the Lord” meant just that. Once a believer dies their spirit is immediately transferred to Heaven and does not linger around for even one second much less a few days. Have I misunderstood this? And if I have where can I find evidence for this in scripture.

A. Paul’s statement in 2 Cor. 5:8 is simply an explanation that the spirits of deceased believers go directly to be with the Lord. This was a new idea in Paul’s time since prior to the cross the spirits of dead believers went to Sheol (Hades). It also refutes the concept of soul sleep, wherein a believer’s spirit supposedly enters some form of suspended animation awaiting the resurrection. But there’s nothing in his statement to support your opinion that this necessarily happens instantaneously. The truth is that no one knows just how long it takes for our spirit to depart after we die. But regardless of that, the Lord could easily have instructed the spirits of Tabitha and Eutychus to remain nearby knowing they would soon be resuscitated.

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