Q362 : Where do People Go When they Die?

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Q362 : Where do People Go When they Die?

Where does the spirit of a man go when he dies?

7 Then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to the Elohim who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

43 And Yahshua said to him, Truly, today, I say to you, you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

7 The one who has an ear, hear what the spirit says to the congregations. To the one overcoming, I will give to him to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of Elohim. (Revelation 2:7)

9 And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those having been slain for the word of Yahweh, and for the witness which they had. (Revelation 6:9)

A362 : by Tony Garland

Prior to the Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection, it would seem that Luke 16:19-21 (unless taken as a parable, as some do 1) indicates that the righteous who die—those exercising faith—entered a place Jesus referred to as “Abraham m’s Bosom” at death (Luke 16:22). Evidently, they did not enter heaven until after the cross-work of Christ was complete. Thus, the cross-work of Christ was a precondition for the saved dead to enter into the presence of God—just as it was a precondition for the Holy Spirit to take up permanent residence within sinful living believers (see John 7:38-39; John 14:16-19; 5:25; 16:7).

At the time of the cross, it appears the righteous dead were relocated to heaven so that believers who die since then are immediately ushered into the presence of God (Philippians 1:20-24; Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Revelation 6:9). Although their soul/spirit is presently with the Lord, their physical bodies await resurrection and glorification at the Rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18).

It would seem that the unrighteous dead remain in Hades (Luke 16:23)—as they did prior to the cross—the cross-work of Christ, accomplishing justification by faith, provides no benefit for them as unbelievers. Instead, they experience torment while awaiting the resurrection unto condemnation (Dan. 12:2; Luke 11:32; John 5:29; Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15:22; Rev. 20:5, 13) resulting in their final destination: the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

This is why the Bible solemnly declares that each person should consider their fate: "your time is always ready" [to repent and believe] because "now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2Cor. 6:2). After death, there is no recourse (Hebrews 9:27).

For additional background, see Q167a and the discussion in my Revelation Commentary concerning Revelation 20:11b and following.


1.Ref-1282, 51-52


Ref-1282Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (2nd ed.) (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2007). ISBN:978-0-8308-2807-4c.

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