Death Before the Return of Christ

April 10, 2015   |   Category: Ask Irvin   |  

Where Do We Go When We Die Before the Return of Christ?

By Irvin Baxter

Question: Suzie from Nevada called to ask Irvin, “If I were to die today before the return of Christ where would I be? Are we just asleep?

 

Answer: We don’t have a lot of knowledge about this but the Bible does say that when a person dies, their body goes back down to the dust, the spirit returns to Christ who gave it. We do have an example in Revelation 6:9-11, it talks about souls that are under the altar. This appears to be during the Great Tribulation time. The souls under the altar are able to communicate to God at some level and say to Him, “How long oh Lord till thou dost avenge our blood upon those who dwell upon the earth?” and the Lord said, “Wait just a little season until your brethren should be killed like you were.” So they were there and did not have their resurrected bodies yet. They were there in spirit form and they were able to communicate at some level. The apostle Paul said, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” However, beyond that we don’t really have a lot of information.

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13 Responses to “Death Before the Return of Christ”

    • Doug Norvell

      Hello Hallin,

      When Paul spoke of the third heaven, he was speaking of the Spiritual realm of Heaven. We can understand that in that time people spoke of the heavens as being our sky, space and then the Heavenly Realm of God.

  1. In John 3, Jesus said that no one has gone to heaven. Peter told the Jews on Pentecost that King David did not go to heaven (Acts 2:34).
    Job 14:12 – So men lie down and rise not again. Till the heavens are no more, they shall not awake, nor be roused out of their sleep.
    Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 that immortality for believers takes place at the last trumpet. He also tells us in 1 Timothy 6:14-16 that Jesus alone has been given immortality.

    • Doug Norvell

      Ecclesiastes 12:7 says that our spirit returns to the Lord at death. At the point of death some judgment takes place. We know this because in Luke 16:19-31 when the rich man died he was tormented by the flame and Lazarus was said to be resting in the bosom of Abraham. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 also teaches that if we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord. So it is apparent that once we die our body stays in the ground but our spirit either goes to be with the Lord or to hell. At the rapture the Bible says that the dead in Christ rise first. At this point the spirit will instantly be reunited with the body but the Bible tells us that instantly our bodies will be change and be immortal. This is when those in Christ receive their glorified bodies.

  2. Jesus told his closest followers in John 14,
    “ In my Father’s House there are many dwelling places; otherwise, how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you? I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me.”

  3. Ron Buzzell

    Where does the Bible show That apostle Paul said, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”? My KJV has “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” That is like saying, I would rather be dead and with Christ. NOT that when I die I will go straight to the Lord. If we go straight to the Lord, where and what is the grave?

    • Doug Norvell

      Hello Ron,

      Ecclesiastes 12:7 says that our spirit returns to the Lord at death.(v.7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.) At the point of death some judgment takes place. We know this because in Luke 16:19-31 when the rich man died he was tormented by the flame and Lazarus was said to be resting in the bosom of Abraham. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 also teaches that if we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord. So it is apparent that once we die our body stays in the ground but our spirit either goes to be with the Lord or to hell. At the rapture the Bible says that the dead in Christ rise first. At this point the spirit will instantly be reunited with the body (1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.) But the Bible tells us that instantly our bodies will be change and be immortal. This is when those in Christ receive their glorified bodies.

  4. William Gierhart

    Hi Irwin, we are new subscribers and started with Volume 6 (Nov and Dec). We have read every word and love it.
    Now for my question that has always puzzled me.. The Bible says “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”. Since we now have a new body and will be present with the Lord during His second coming, I assume that means we have a new physical in-corruptible body on arrival in heaven. I have also read that this body will be only temporary When Jesus returns to earth with his saints (us) and our old body is resurrected from the dust (or wherever) what happens then? If we already have a new body, why do we receive our old body?

    • Doug Norvell

      Hello William,

      The Souls of those that have died are with the Lord. When the rapture occurs 1 Corinthians 15 explains that we who are alive at Jesus second coming are changed into our immortal body, like Jesus had. And the souls of those that had died will receive their Heavenly bodies at that point. 1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.