What happens after death? The common theory is that upon his demise, man goes either into an incredible paradise or a burning pit. For hundreds of years after the founding of the New Testament Church this theory did not exist. The early church, having been taught by men who had lived with the Master for 3 1/2 years and heard the Truth straight from His lips, knew that the righteous dead would remain in the grave until His return, at which time they would rise to meet Him and His accompanying angels in the air at which time they would be born again from physical to spiritual body composition. Christ, His angels and his resurrected saints would then descend to the Mt. of Olives and from there enter into Jerusalem where they would establish the Kingdom of God. Read The Kingdom of God. Key word–Kingdom. This Truth continued to be Truth until the 4th century when the apostate Catholic Church, backed by the Roman Empire, forced the masses within the empire to “convert” to Catholicism. One either converted or died. Tens of thousands of heathen joined the church. However, they were allowed to bring their beliefs and customs with them. One of those beliefs was that upon death one went immediately to either a very good place or a very bad place. In order to pacify the heathen the church fathers embraced many of their doctrines by making them part of the church’s catechisms. One such belief is the subject of this posting. The heaven or hell at death belief was one of many heathenisms that the church turned into “Bible truths.” When the so-called Protestant Reformation took place the “protesters” took many of the mother church’s heathen beliefs and traditions with them. As this ministry is commissioned to proclaim, many of those Babylonian “truths” form the foundational “sand” upon which the Catholic/Protestant Church System is built. Jesus prophesied that this globe-encircling abomination will fall, and “… great will be the fall of it” (Mat. 7:21-27). Please study this passage carefully for it voices one of the most powerful Truths found in the Holy Scriptures.
Question: If, as we are told, all of the Old Testament patriarchs, prophets and saints who died prior to Christ’s ascension were taken to heaven with Him, why did David–a man after God’s own heart–not go up with them? If it is true that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), why did Jesus leave David in the grave when He returned to heaven with all of the other saints? We know from Scripture that He left David behind from reading Acts 2:29; 13:36. Here we are told that, some 30 years after Christ’s ascension, “David IS (at that time) both DEAD AND BURIED, and HIS SEPULCHER REMAINS WITH US TO THIS DAY.” If Jesus took the “captives” (the righteous dead) with Him upon His return to heaven, why was David “left behind?” And let us not forget Elijah and Enoch who supposedly were taken to heaven during Old Testament times. Jesus Himself said in John 3:13: “NO MAN HAS ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN EXCEPT THE SON OF MAN.” Could Elijah and Enoch have been in heaven for hundreds of years without Jesus knowing it? We are not told where God took them. We do know that He did not take them to heaven where Jesus would have undoubtedly known about it.
Upon Christ’s death, what part of Him returned to Heaven and what part remained in the earth for 3 days and nights? In John 16:28 Jesus said, “I” (the man Himself) came forth from the Father and “I” have come into the world (Jn. 1:1-4,14). Again, “I” will leave the world and go (return) to the Father.” What was the “I” Jesus was referring to in Luke 23:46 where, at the point of death, He declared, “Father, into Your hands I commend (surrender) MY SPIRIT” (not Himself but His human spirit). Jesus was sending His man’s spirit back to God Who had given it to Him at birth, exactly as He gives to all who have ever lived, are living or who will ever have live. At the instant of death, Jesus relinquished (His) ghost (spirit) which returned to the Father, as does the spirit of every human who has ever lived upon his/her death. Jesus–the real man–would enter the grave and remain there until called by the Father to return to Him 3 days and three nights later. Notice that Jesus said that He returned His spirit to His Father. The man Jesus (his body) would enter the grave and remain there until His resurrection by the power of the Holy Spirit. Such is the case of everyone who has ever lived. Each body (soul–Eze. 18:4,20) will be resurrected, “each in his own time.” Each person/soul will rise from the grave at the appointed time, rejoin their human spirits and stand before God for judgment. Until the appointed time of their resurrection, those who are dead will remain dead. No one goes to heaven or hell at death. Read Life After Death and The Three Resurrections. Key words–Death and Resurrections respectively.
Christ’s spirit, having returned to God at His death, did not die because SPIRITS CANNOT DIE. Note that He declared several times in both the Old and New Testaments that HE (JESUS HIMSELF–NOT HIS SPIRIT) WOULD DIE. At death His human spirit returned to God. Upon His resurrection He (Jesus) united with His Spirit. Such is the case with every true saint upon the return of Jesus Christ to earth. In Luke 18:31 Jesus said that HE–THE SON OF MAN, THE TRUE MAN–would be put to death and that HE would rise from the dead three days and nights later. HE, the man Jesus, would not return to the Father immediately upon death, but would remain in the tomb for three days and nights. However, His human spirit would return to the Father at the moment of death. Such is the case with everyone who has ever or will ever live (Eccl. 12:7).
Humans go to neither heaven nor hell at death. Rather, they return to their original form–dirt. Upon their resurrection they will individually come back to life, join their respective spirit and stand before God Who will use the Holy Bible to render His judgment of their earthly lives (Jn. 12:48). L.J.