But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8)
SPIRITS OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS
QUESTION: When a Christian dies, do they go to “sleep,” until the time Jesus comes to rapture them, or does their soul or spirit go directly to heaven? Do they wait for their resurrection body while they are up there? Also, where does a non-believer go when they die? To “sleep” to await judgment? Thank you.
Non believers go to a place called Torments in Hades where they experience oppressive heat, thirst, and other discomforts until they’re brought back to life for the judgment of the unsaved at the end of the Millennium. (Luke 16:19-31 & Rev. 20:11-15)
WHAT ARE THE SPIRITS OF DEAD BELIEVERS DOING NOW?
QUESTION: I understand that when a believer dies the spirit goes to Heaven. Is our spirit already working for God? Are we like Jesus as he was when he revealed himself to the disciples after rising from the tomb? Is our spirit restricted from leaving the new Jerusalem before the rapture? I understand that at the rapture our new immortal bodies will join with our spirit that has been in Heaven. Thank you for your insight.
ANSWER: The Bible doesn’t say how the spirits of deceased believers are occupied while awaiting the rapture. Since time is a physical property that only affects physical beings, some believe the dead in Christ will not be aware of any passage of time between their departure from their earthly bodies and their reunion with their heavenly ones. But no one knows for sure. It’s one of the great mysteries that will be revealed to us after the rapture.
NEW BODIES FOR UNBELIEVERS?
QUESTION: I had a discussion today about the bodies of the wicked-dead. After reading Revelation 20, it wasn’t clear to me whether they receive bodies (some kind like our glorified ones?) or not, in which to spend eternity in the “lake of fire”. Perhaps I have missed other locations of Scripture that deals with this topic. In any event, thank you so much for your help.
ANSWER: There’s no specific mention of this but here is a hint. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), all the participants were in a fixed physical position. The rich man could see Lazarus across the chasm, he could feel the agony of the fire and the thirst he was suffering, he knew he had a tongue and Lazarus had fingers, and that a drop of water would be soothing to him. To me these indicate he was some kind of a physical entity. If he’s an example of other deceased unbelievers, then it’s possible they will stand before the Lord in their current form.
Also in Daniel 12:2-3 we find the first mention of 2 resurrections, some to everlasting life and others to shame and everlasting contempt. The first group will have glorified bodies that will “shine like the brightness of the heavens.” Perhaps the second group will have bodies that are shameful and contemptible.
(CLICK ON) LATEST DAILY NEWS CLIPS:
News Clips Obtained From Many Sources – Including
HEADLINES FROM TRACKING BIBLE PROPHECY
Rapture Ready News
Main News Channels
Other Christian Sites 20/03/2018
THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN IS “ANTI GOD” – (GOD WILL NOT ALLOW JERUSALEM TO BE DIVIDED).
1Th. 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION COMETH UPON THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape
- PA blasts American policy of ‘dictates’ – PA bureau in charge of foreign affairs says Washington is biased in favor of Israel and thwarts the efforts to achieve peace
- The Palestinian fuse is getting shorter – With an empty diplomatic toolbox, the Palestinians feel terror is the only thing they have left
- After 26 years, Argentine government joins ceremony to commemorate terrorist attack on Israeli embassy
- Former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky named Israel Prize recipient for ‘ingathering of the exiles’
WORLD TERRORISM – WARS:
GENERAL WORLD NEWS:
- James Comey warns Trump: The American people will ‘soon’ be able to judge ‘who is honorable and who is not’
- Facebook and its executives are getting destroyed after botching the handling of a massive data ‘breach’
- The Cambridge Analytica Files – ‘I created Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower
MASSIVE EARTH CHANGES/EARTHQUAKES/VOLCANOES ETC:
- As experts warn of global infectious diseases time-bomb, Colombia records its first measles case in years
CHRISTIAN WORLD NEWS:
EXTRA WORLD – ALTERNATIVE NEWS:
- ‘ARMY OF ISLAM’ WOULD BE WORLD’S BIGGEST MILITARY Turkey hints at forming 5-million-strong alliance against Israel
- CONCERT: Russian pyraylofora ships, submarines and strategic bombers get battle locations for Syria: NEXT 48 HOURS CRITICAL-THIS IS FROM TRANSLATED GREEK NON CENSORED SITE-BE IN PRAYER EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN THE LIVING GOD
- Will Turkey Lead An End-Of-Days Global Islamic Jihad Against Israel And The US? SQ-REMEMBER PERGAMOS (TURKEY) IS SATANS THRONE ON EARTH,AND ERDOGAN HAS STATED ‘ISLAM IS ISLAM’-CONQUERING BY THE SWORD IS THEIR DESTINY, AS HE HAS STATED SO
- World War 3 Is Approaching: The entire Western world is insane. As Michel Chossudovsky says, the Western politicians and prostitutes who serve them are driving the world to extinction
- Hillary Clinton’s Treason Could Lead To America’s Extermination As President Trump Admits Corruption Existed At Highest Levels Of Obama’s DOJ, FBI And State Dept
- Muslim Grooming gangs have become a pandemic in UK or new norm as ‘WORSE THAN ROCHDALE’ Telford child abuse ring: Horrors of Britain’s ‘worst ever’ grooming scandal revealed with up to 1,000 kids drugged and abused
- Illinois State Assembly approves gun confiscation bill :The government forcing people to forfeit or hand over weapons previously deemed legal is confiscation.
- Official Washington flocking to Doomsday Camps: A building network of backwoods doomsday camps around the country are pulling in members from affluent areas and even Washington national security officials as the threats grow from nuclear war,
- In Rare Interview Kim Dotcom Says Obama-Jarrett are Directing Shadow Government From Their DC Bunker (VIDEO)
- Abortionist Slits Babies’ Throats So They Can’t Scream–The babies can’t scream because she cuts their throats. Yet liberals puff themselves up with self-righteousness as they defend these inhuman procedures. BLOOD THIRSTY MONSTERS!
- Is California’s Governor Preparing To ‘Wage War’ On Conservatives In California? ‘Be Careful What You Wish For, Jerry’
- Indestructible Terminator-Style Cyborgs With The Strength Of 500 Men Will Become ‘Fourth Emergency Service’ … And Then They May Turn And Obliterate Mankind
- Brain Implants Are Happening — Are You Ready For Yours? I know it might sound like a cliché, but many of the potential ‘upgrades to humans’ will probably end up downgrading our lives in terms of health and happiness
- Mysterious sea creature washes ashore in St. Simons Island SQ-LARGER VERSION COULD BE THE LOCH NESS MONSTER!
- Exclusive: GOP Leadership Is Going To Fund Sanctuary Cities: You are talking about trillions of dollars that our representatives are spending under the cover of darkness. Their number one responsibility is to be stewards of taxpayer dollars.’
- Cambridge Analytic: Big Data and The Psychological Manipulation of Society – Information Warfare : Big Data spells the end of privacy for the individual citizen and details the value of your intellectual data.
- Supermarket Bankruptcies Are Beginning to Pile Up–‘ ‘Yes and there will be more’ inventory supply issues’ and more and more shelves will be bare and they will blame it on inventory systems for the shortages’ SQ-FOOD CONTROL IS PEOPLE CONTROL!
PROPHETIC NEWS ARTICLES:
MIDDLE EAST WAR LOOMING THE BUILD UP TO PSALM 83 AND GOG OF MAGOG WARS EZEKIEL 38:
‘Army of Islam’ would be world’s biggest military
TURKEY HINTS AT FORMING 5-MILLION-STRONG ALLIANCE AGAINST ISRAEL
WASHINGTON – When Turkey’s semi-official newspaper Yeni Şafak called for urgent action in forming a 57-nation “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack Israel, a suggestion undoubtedly approved with at least a wink and nod by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it would signal the possible intent to create the largest military force on the planet – one nearly as large as the total population of the Jewish state.
The report came just ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and was published under the headline “What if an Army of Islam was formed against Israel?” It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
But it wasn’t a rhetorical question. It was actually a suggestion to combine the military forces of all Islamic countries to overwhelm the Israeli army in manpower, budget and equipment – even boasting with statistics.
On Dec. 12, 2017, ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, which is close to Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party, published an article titled “A Call for Urgent Action,” which also appeared on the paper’s website under the title “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?”
The article called on the 57 member states of the OIC to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel. It notes that such a joint army will greatly exceed the Israeli army in manpower, equipment and budget, and presents statistics to prove this.
It also advocates establishing joint bases for the army’s ground, air and naval forces that will arrive from all over the Muslim world to besiege Israel, while noting that Pakistan, as the only nuclear country, has “a special status” among the OIC countries. An interactive map provides information on military forces stationed in various locations and the role they can play in the potential joint Muslim attack on Israel.
Much of the information in the article was provided by Turkey’s SADAT International Defense and Consulting Company, which provides consultancy on defense and warfare, both conventional and unconventional, and on military organization, training and gear. The company promotes pan-Islamic military cooperation. According to its mission statement, it seeks “to establish defense collaboration and defense industry cooperation among Islamic countries, to help the Islamic world take its rightful place among the superpowers by providing … strategic consultancy and training services to the militaries and homeland security forces of Islamic countries.”
The SADAT company was founded by Erdoğan’s senior adviser on military affairs, retired Gen. Adnan Tanrıverdi, and is chaired by his son, Melih Tanrıverdi. Adnan Tanrıverdi served in the Turkish army’s artillery corps and is an expert on asymmetric warfare. He was dismissed from the Turkish military in 1996 for his Islamist leanings.
In the report, Israel is described as “the outpost of the new Crusade and a dagger in the heart of Islam,” and “the eyes, ears and fist of the Christian World.”
“If the OIC member states unite and form a joint military force, it will be the largest army in the world,” the newspaper report said. “These countries’ total population is 1,674,526,931. The number of soldiers in active service in these countries is at least 5,206,100. Their [overall] military defense budget, of $174.7 billion, is also worthy of emphasis.”
It continues by contrasting the size of this potential Islamic force with Israel’s military capabilities.
“As for Israel, it is significantly inferior,” the report said. “The population of this country, which attempted to occupy Jerusalem while surrounded by Muslim states, is 8,049,314. Note that the population of Istanbul alone exceeds 14 million. The number of soldiers in active service in the [Israeli] occupation forces is 160,000, and [Israel’s] defense budget is approximately $15.6 billion.
The report suggested the formation of a “Jerusalem Task Group” to take steps to form an Islamic army that would besiege Israel.
“In a possible military operation, the first step is expected to involve 250,000 soldiers, and the establishment of joint land, air and naval bases for use in the short term,” explained the report. It would include the mobilization of 500 tanks and armored vehicles, 100 war planes, 500 attack helicopters and 50 warships and submarines.
Interactive maps provided information on specific bases and operations against Israel.
“Turkey will serve as an important headquarters during the operation, due to its land, air and naval infrastructures,” the report continued. “The Turkish army, which carried out ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’ [in Syria in 2017] with great success, is now ranked the world’s seventh strongest army, and the second largest army among the NATO powers. Turkey has approximately 4,000 tanks and 1,000 war planes and other aircraft. Its navy made significant progress during the last years, with 194 vessels at its disposal.”
The report also noted Pakistan, with its nuclear arsenal, “has important status among the 57 Muslim countries.”
In a statement, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a blow to Muslims, and added: “The Malaysian armed forces are ready to fulfill their duty regarding Jerusalem.”
ISLAMIC ‘SULTAN’ RISING: WHY TURKEY’S PLAN TO DESTROY ISRAEL COULD LINE UP WITH END TIMES PROPHECY
The man who fashions himself as the new sultan of a revived Ottoman Empire has big dreams, and one of them could well be to build an Islamic army against the state of Israel.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports it’s the brainchild of one of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s closest advisors, and it looks like a blueprint for an Islamic military action against Israel.
CBN News has covered that MEMRI report which comes from a Turkish newspaper closely allied to Erdoğan and his ruling party.
The plan calls on the 57 Muslim nations to unite in a joint military operation against Israel. Such an army would be mammoth.
The strategy envisions staging areas near Israel’s border from which an initial force of 250,000 soldiers would attack Israel.
Some biblical scholars believe Turkey will be part of an End Times alliance against Israel, foretold in prophecy in the book of Ezekiel.
CBN’s Gordon Robertson cautions that Turkey’s Erdoğan has been signaling to the world that he wants to restore an Islamic caliphate to wipe out Israel.
“Well, you look at the Bible, and you look at Ezekiel chapter 38, it talks about things like this. When Israel is at peace, well that’s exactly the time when its neighbors will rise up to strike,” Robertson said on the 700 Club.
“Lots of biblical scholars say that Gog and Magog list in that chapter (Ezekiel 38) is not Russia, it’s Turkey,” he said.
While Erdoğan has been increasingly open about his plan to reshape Turkey into an Islamic state, former Turkish Parliament member Aykan Erdemir told CBN News he’s skeptical Erdogan could pull off a united Islamic attack at this point.
“Erdoğan is a very complex individual and when it comes to Israel he compartmentalizes. On the one hand Israel is often at the top of his targets, rhetorically. But at the same time Erdogan manages to continue bilateral relations and trade,” said Erdemir, who is now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Erdemir says Erdoğan is riding a populist wave based in part on scapegoating Israel and the United States for political points in his own country.
“Erdogan knows these kinds of stunts work really well at home,” he said. “When we take a look at Turkish dailies and Turkish outlets that’s where we see this egregious targeting of not only Israel but of Jews and Christians and other religious minorities.”
After the Trump administration’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Erdoğan turned up the anti-Israel rhetoric, calling Israel “a state of occupation and terrorism.”
He has also turned on a fellow member of NATO – the United States – especially over US support for the Kurds, warning the Americans could get the “Ottoman slap.”
“Erdogan continues to make threats against the US, accusing the US of being kind of the mastermind of a global conspiracy alongside Jews to undermine Turkey,” Erdemir said.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan’s regime has held American missionary pastor Andrew Brunson for more than 500 days on charges he was one of the masterminds in the 2016 attempt to overthrow the government.
The American Center for Law and Justice, which is assisting Brunson, calls that claim “ridiculous.”
Erdemir agrees. “We argue that Pastor Brunson is basically a hostage, and Erdoğan uses him as a pawn. And so we are seeing the emergence of hostage diplomacy between Turkey and the US,” he said.
Erdoğan’s anti-US campaign has worked. Most Turkish citizens now believe the US is the number one threat to Turkey, just as an overwhelming majority are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
Whether or not the plan for an Islamic Army to move against Israel is a serious threat at this point in history, the fact there are voices calling for such action is alarming.
And the fact that it comes from persons close to Erdoğan is even more alarming. Those voices in the Islamic world are not likely to go away.
WATCHMAN WARNING: WAKE UP!
By Hal Lindsey – https://www.hallindsey.com/ww-3-16-2018/
People often complain that Bible prophecy is too complicated. Why can’t it be simple? They want a single chapter or verse that explains it all. Why isn’t there a John 3:16 of prophecy? John 14:3 comes close. It says, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (NASB)
Jesus is the primary message of the Bible. He is also the primary message of prophecy. If you know Jesus personally, you have received the main message of God’s word. But to skip or dismiss anything further would be insulting to Him. Can you imagine a bride never reading letters from her groom? “No need,” she says glibly, “we’re already engaged.” No. She wants to know everything about him – especially his thoughts toward her.
So, don’t just say, “I’m saved and that’s enough for me,” or “I know Jesus will come again, and that’s all I need to know.” There’s more! All of God’s word, including prophecy, holds treasures, insights, empowerment, and joy. And it’s all there – waiting for you right now. So, dig in!
- S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are not simple. They look simple, but they are not. The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of – all about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and what they do to the optic nerve and what it does to my brain – and, of course, you find that what we call ‘seeing a table’ lands you in mysteries and complications which you can hardly get to the end of.”
Don’t be angry with God because His word is not simple. Realize that, like looking at a table, it is both simple and complex. A surface understanding is possible, but endless wonders wait just beyond that surface.
One of the Bible’s amazing features is that it can simultaneously communicate to people of vastly different IQs and levels of education. It communicates with people from different cultures, different centuries, different races, and different levels of interest.
The Bible scholar spends a lifetime “rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV) A small child might hear a verse and know in a moment what the professional theologian spends months confirming. But that does not diminish the work of the scholar. Nor does it mean that the child has gained it all and should stop studying.
When you receive redemption in Jesus, you have received the most important message in God’s word. But don’t stop. Keep learning. Work to increase your understanding. The Author Himself has promised to help you, but anything more than a child’s understanding of God and His word, will often require real effort. Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
He wants us to dig deep into His word – to study it, and to learn. And a major feature of His word is prophecy – something we especially need right now. Jesus said to stay on the lookout for His coming. He said, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is.” (Mark 13:32-33 NASB)
The words “be alert” are a translation of the Greek word, “agrupneo.” It literally means “be constantly awake.” Jesus is not talking about skipping your eight hours of sleep every night. He means we are to be ever watchful for His return. To be alert includes having the ability to know and recognize the signs of the times. So, study prophecy.
It is a fantastic tool for evangelism – today more than ever. Everyone you talk to these days is uneasy. People sense that something huge and terrible waits just beyond the horizon. In many areas of modern life, we seem to be reaching limits beyond which there is nothing but chaos.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons and ICBMs is just one example of a world drenched in gasoline and playing with matches. North Korea and Pakistan are nuclear powers. Iran either is, or soon will be. North Korea and Iran are led by the kind of people who would be all too willing to spark a global nuclear holocaust. Pakistan could be led by such people in the near future.
And now nuclear ambitions have spread across the Middle East. Saudi Arabia recently made it clear that it is in the market for nukes. Turkey obviously wants them, as well as several Asian and African nations. As these weapons spread, the probability of their use is slowly turning into an inevitability.
People don’t want to think about these things, but they know them. The fear lingers like a dark cloud over all their thinking. They read about brilliant men like Elon Musk and the recently deceased Stephen Hawking, warning of an “A.I. apocalypse.” They worry about their children. They fear the future. As a result, alcohol and drug use have reached epidemic proportions. People are looking for escape.
Through the millennia, many have pretended to know the future. But only one prophetic book can be fully trusted, and that’s the Bible. Previously-fulfilled prophecy proves its authenticity. Right now, the world is taking the shape that the Bible predicts for the end of this age. And, while the world is headed for some difficult days, these things also mean that Jesus is coming soon! That’s good news!
We need to spread that word far and near. To do that effectively, we need to know what the Bible teaches about Bible prophecy. We need to make it a major part of our study and understanding of God’s word.
We also need it for our own comfort in troubled times. 1 Thessalonians 4 ends by talking about the Rapture. Finally, it says, “Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NASB)
THE SWIDE AND NARROW GATES
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Here the Lord is teaching us that there are two ways and two destinations. One is heaven and the other is hell.
In the Old Testament we see Moses saying to the people, “See, I have set before you this day life and death, good and evil. Choose life that you and your seed may live,” (Deuteronomy 30:19). And God told Jeremiah “Unto this people shall you say, ‘Thus says the Lord, behold I have set before you the way of life and the way of death.’” (Jeremiah 21:8)
Joshua, who succeeded Moses, said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Elijah, told the people on Mount Carmel: “How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him. If Baal, then follow him,” (1 Kings 18:21).
As we see, the most important spiritual decision that anyone will ever make in life, is the decision regarding their eternal destiny, which far outweigh the trivial ones that most people focus on a day to day basis. As the word of God tells us, we will live forever and we have two options, hell and eternal punishment, or heaven and eternal joy.
Jesus is teaching us that there is a very serious choice that we need to make, a choice that renders an eternal finality. As we read our Creator’s words and teaching we still have a chance, but one day it will be too late; therefore His sermon leads to a choice that we need to make while there is still time.
There’s only one possibility for your destiny and there are only two choices, not many, just two. There is a narrow way with a narrow gate. And there is a broad way with a broad gate. Jesus is talking about two destinations – life and destruction; and two groups of people, the many and the few.
Verse 13 begins with a command, “Enter by the narrow gate.” The gospels itself is a command, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel always comes as a command to obey. It is not enough to study about the narrow gate, to admire what Jesus said, because hell is going to be literally filled with people who admired Jesus and His teaching but did not follow it.
You must go beyond being fascinated with the work of Jesus Christ and admiring Him, you must enter the narrow gate of salvation through faith in Him.
Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Me,” (John 14:6). And in John 10:1 Jesus refers Himself to the door: “I am the Door, if any man tries to come in any other way, he is a thief and a robber.”
In Acts 4:12 we read, “There is no salvation in any other name, for there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”There’s only one way to be saved, there’s only one Person who is the Savior, therefore, faith in Him and obedience is required for salvation.
Christ and Christ alone is the gate. Without Him there is no salvation and no heaven. There is no other way in; all other ways, although promoted by false teachers as heaven end up in hell. Any deviation from the person of Jesus Christ, the work of Jesus Christ, or the gospel of Jesus Christ by faith and grace alone will lead you to hell. You must make a commitment to come to Christ because He is the only way.
When we continue reading Matthew chapter 7 we see Jesus making the comparison of the true and false disciples. The false ones are the ones who are on the broad way, and who have been lead astray by false prophets, doctrines and beliefs. They will tell Jesus one day: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name cast out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?” Then He will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you that practice lawlessness” (vs. 22-23).
As we are warned, when these, who are mislead, get to the end of the road, the news is not good as Psalm 1:6 says, “The way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Therefore, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Remember: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31); unless you have decided to spend eternity in hell and apart from Him.
ARE THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD STILL IN THE GRAVE?
QUESTION: Thank you for taking time to answer my question. I am gentile searching my Jewish roots. Recently I have attended a Messianic congregation with mainly gentiles.
At one of the Shabbats the subject of life after death came up. I was shocked to find that the majority believed the spirit stays in the grave. Any scripture I quoted they had an answer for it. The answer that shocked me most was that of Yeshua’s reply to the thief on the cross. Here are some of their replies as follows:” 1. There is no punctuation in Greek of the NT. The comma was placed by translators according to a source book and changed the meaning of “today you will be with me in paradise”. 2. Yeshua went to the grave and stayed three days and nights and that paradise didn’t mean heaven, but garden.3. The word for paradise was in the future.
Needless to say I was left reeling for it seems there was a response for all of the theology I was taught about life after death as related to the spirit. I honestly don’t know if this is a Messianic belief. I still believe the spirit goes somewhere to heaven or hell. Please help me get some understanding. I will greatly appreciate your response.
ANSWER: Having led a Messianic congregation for a time, I’ve come to the sad realization that there’s a fair amount of error being taught in the movement. Most of it involves some form of legalism. But this one is fairly common through out the Church.
The Greek word for paradise does mean garden and was meant to recall the Garden of Eden to mind. Before the cross, no one could enter Heaven because the perfect sacrifice had not yet been made. Both believers and unbelievers who died went to a place called “Sheol” in Hebrew and “Hades” in Greek. Both words mean “abode of the dead.” Sometimes these words are translated “grave” but that’s only accurate as far as the body is concerned. For the spirit, Sheol was a place of waiting divided into two sections with a wide gulf between them. One section was for the faithful and was called Paradise, or Abraham’s Bosom. It was a place of rest and comfort. It’s where both Jesus and one of the thieves went upon dying.
But after Jesus came out of the tomb, He brought the spirits in Paradise with Him (Matt. 27:52-53) and since that time the spirits of believers who die go straight to be with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:6-10) Paradise has been empty since the Resurrection.
Some teach that the word body in 2 Cor. 5 means the Church, but it can’t be so because the passage says that when we leave the body we’ll be judged for the things we did while in the body. It’s a reference to the Bema Seat judgment of 1 Cor. 3:10-15 that takes place in Heaven. If in fact the word for paradise in Luke 23:43 is future it’s because when Jesus spoke their arrival in Paradise hadn’t happened yet.
The other section of the Abode of the Dead was a place of torment. Unbelievers who die have aways gone there to await judgment and still do. It’s where the spirit of the other thief went. They’ll be brought to life at the end of the Millennium for their final judgment. (Rev. 20:11-15) You can get an understanding of Sheol straight from the Lord by reading Luke 16:19-31, the story (not a parable) of the rich man and Lazarus.
Unbelievers who have died are very much awake and alert. They’re in a place we call Hades or Hell, a temporary place of torment where they await their final judgment at the end of the millennium. Rev. 20:13-14 says that at the Great White Throne judgment death and Hades will give up the dead that are in them and then they’ll be thrown into the lake of fire along with everyone whose names are not found in the book of life.
The clearest picture of the state of unbelievers after death comes from Luke 16:19-31, where the context is Hades, the abode of the dead. The Rich man is in torment. He can see Lazarus and Abraham in Paradise and talk with them but can’t go where they are. He must know that he deserves to be in torment because he doesn’t ask for release, but begs Abraham to send someone to tell his brothers how to avoid winding up where he is. Being alone in darkness is usually thought of as part of the unbeliever’s permanent judgment, not the temporary torment of Hades.