Now, we must realize that in order to be in this "3rd heaven," the person needs to be alive. God does not take dead people to Paradise. The hope for the dead is in a resurrection to life.
God refers to the dead in Christ as sleeping... waiting for the resurrection.
Let us see the examples:
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay.
1 Corinthians 11:30
That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:6
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Christ was raised from the dead. In
this we hope -- to be raised
from the dead just as He was. Jesus is the firstfruits of those that will
be resurrected to spirit.
The question remains:
What about heaven? Isn't this the place that has been promised for the faithful? What does the Bible say?
Here are the words of Paul, several years after the death of Christ:
And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if GOD DOES RAISE THE DEAD?
2 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
So the promise is to be raised to life from the dead. And when will we receive our reward -- the crown of life?
And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the TIME TO REWARD Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.
Behold, I am coming quickly, and MY REWARD is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
Therefore, Christians will be rewarded with eternal life AFTER the Wrath of God when Yeshua returns to this Earth. When He returns to the Earth, the nations will fight against Him causing the Battle of Armageddon. After the battle, the dead in Christ will rise, and the Christians who remain alive will be changed from a mortal body to an immortal spiritual body. At this time is when they receive their reward.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
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 not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the DEAD IN CHRIST WILL RISE first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:10
He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
The dead in Christ rise first. They rise from the tombs, where they have been in a state of rest all this time. In the graves the dead have no conscience of the elapsed time.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you are going.
Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all WHO ARE IN THE TOMBS will hear His voice.
The dead, as the Holy Bible shows, are NOT in heaven. Therefore, they do not come back from heaven as spirits. They are resurrected to spirit FROM THEIR GRAVES and then they go to meet Christ in the air.
The rest of the Christians who are alive at the time of Jesus' return are then changed to spirit.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
1 Corinthians 15:53
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
In conclusion, the sacrifice of Yeshua or Lord pays for our sins so we can obtain eternal life. Eternal life is the gift of God. Nobody has eternal life of himself. The reward of eternal life is given at the RETURN of Yeshua our Lord. At that time, the dead in Christ are resurrected to a spiritual body, and the Christians that remain alive are changed to spirit. Then the Kingdom of God is established on this Earth and the Millennium starts.
We pray that you will believe the words of Yeshua and obey YHVH so that He will grant you the blessings of His promise.
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