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“As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.” Daniel 12:13 NLT
Notice the angel did not tell Daniel that he would die and go straight to heaven. He clearly told Daniel he would rest and then would rise again at the end of the last day, and then and not before then would receive his inheritance.
Yesterday morning in my personal Bible study I ran across the passage.
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. Hebrews 11:4 NLT
Notice Paul does not say that Abel has gone home to be with the Lord, or Abel is in heaven now. No, Paul clearly says Abel is long dead. As a matter of fact nowhere in the Bible do you read Paul or Jesus or anyone else saying that anyone has gone home to be with the Lord or has died and gone to heaven. The notion that dead loved ones are in heaven is another myth from the dark ages, when human tradition and theories replaced plain and simple Bible teachings.
But wait a minute? Doesn’t the Bible say,
For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7 NLT
Indeed it does. So we need to see how the Bible defines the word “spirit.” Job defines it for us.
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; Job 27:3 KJV
As long as I live, while I have breath from God, Job 27:3 NLT
By comparing Bible versions we see clearly that the word “spirit” simply means breath. So in Ecclesiastes 12:7 it is simply our breath that returns to God. Noting living our conscious returns to heaven when we die. It is simply our breath. David clarifies this for us.
When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. Psalms 104:29 NLT
By the way the word “spirit” in Job 27;3 in the original manuscripts is the word “pneumo” where we get the word “pneumonia” which is a breathing disorder. So the word “spirit” in the KJV of Job 27:3 is correctly translated “breath” in the NLT version of Job 27:3. Another example is in 2 Chronicles 9:4 the KJV versions says when the Queen of Sheba saw all of Solomon’s riches there was no more spirit in her, meaning it was breathtaking.
While we are speaking about Job let’s take a look at a question asked in Job 14:10.
“But when people die, their strength is gone. They breathe their last, and then where are they?” Job 14:10 NLT
We don’t have to philosophize or make up theories to answer this question. The Bible answers the question for us just two verses later.
People are laid to rest and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep. Job 14:12 NLT
Job, like Jesus and Paul and everyone else in the Bible never say the dead have gone home to be with the Lord or have gone straight to heaven. King Solomon is in total harmony with the rest of Scripture when he wrote,
The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NLT
As already noted, Jesus Himself never mentioned anyone dying and going home to be with the Lord, or going straight to heaven when they died. In John 11:11 Jesus said Lazarus was asleep. Jesus did not say Lazarus had gone home to be with the Lord or was in heaven. He said he was asleep. In John 11:14 Jesus clarifies that Lazarus is dead. Jesus calls death sleep. So why is it today that so many Christians use the term “Gone to be with the Lord” which Jesus never used or anyone else in the Bible for that matter, instead of using the term “fallen asleep” which is a term Jesus and other Bible authors used?
Paul tells us,
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 NKJV
Paul refers to the dead as fallen asleep. He does not want us to be ignorant about what happens when we die. So he gives us the total truth.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 NKJV
Paul plainly and clearly tells us the same thing the Angel told Daniel. The dead in Christ will be raised at the second coming. Once a protestant minister told me that there could be more to death and life after death beyond just what the Bible tells us. But if that was so then Paul would have left us ignorant, and in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul tells us he is not leaving us ignorant. Besides, in John 16:13 we are promised the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth not just partial truth. 2 Peter 1:21 tells us the Holy Spirit moved the Bible authors to write everything they wrote, and 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us all our doctrine must come from Scripture.
Someone may ask, what difference it makes knowing that we go to heaven at the resurrection and not when we die. One reason is when we claim the soul is immortal we call the Bible a liar. 1 Timothy 6:16 says only God is immortal. Even worse we call God a liar like the serpent did when he said, “You will not surely die.” See Genesis 3:4. Another reason is it makes God seem unfair. I once attended a funeral of a small girl who was hit and killed by a car. The preacher talked about how happy Jesus was having fun with the little girl in heaven while the mother sobbed on the front pew uncontrollably. Jesus, who tenderly regarded his own grieving mother while He hung on the cross, would not tear another mother’s heart apart so He could have fun with her daughter while she grieves uncontrollably. Jesus will see the girl at the resurrection along with her mother. But maybe the most important reason we should know the truth about death and the resurrection is that the truth closes the door to spiritualism that Pope Leo X opened during the dark ages.
My heart breaks for people who tell me they would give anything to be able to speak with a dead loved one again. At the same time, while I dearly loved my mother and look forward to seeing her in the resurrection, I feel no need to talk with her right now. I need to talk to Jesus, and I can any time anywhere! While my mother and other loved ones rest, I find strength and even joy to continue living knowing that I don’t live for family and friends alone. I live for Jesus! I don’t need spiritualism. I don’t need to talk to dead loved ones. I am more than happy to live every day with joy talking with Jesus, until He returns and I will see Him face to face along with my mother and Daniel-never to part again!