By   •   July 29, 2004   •   Topics:


Do you think we go to heaven the instant we die, or do we sleep (or something like that) until Christ comes again and we are awakened? We had a discussion about this in our Bible study, and I was surprised to find out how many different opinions there were.


Yes, Christians can sometimes sincerely disagree on minor matters—although you should never forget that all Christians agree on those things that are really important, such as the divinity of Christ, His death on the cross for our salvation, His resurrection from the dead, and our hope of heaven.

From my own study of the Bible, I’m convinced that when we die, we immediately enter the presence of the Lord. At some future time, we will be given new bodies, similar to the body Jesus had after His resurrection. But in the meantime, our souls are with the Lord, and we are fully conscious of being in His presence.

This certainly seemed to be the Apostle Paul’s hope. He faced many dangers, and he knew that at any moment his life on earth could end. But he faced death with hope: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).  Elsewhere he declared, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

Never forget that we have hope of life after death for one reason: Jesus Christ removed the barrier between us and God—the barrier caused by sin. Is your hope in Him?  If not, put your trust in Christ without delay.

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  1. Larry says:

    Jesus said unequivocally that when we die we will be with him in paradise. Luke 23:43. Jesus statement to thief on the cross. To be a believer in Christ you must trust love and obey HIm.

  2. teresa says:

    Thank you for that understanding. Said well enough for me to understand. The first time I read it.
    Very understandable

  3. Mark says:

    I think you have to keep on reading a couple verses down and you will get it..For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
    Now just ask yourself, when do we appear there? when you die or at the end as it says in Revelation? It’s quite obvious that we “sleep” until the coming of Yeshua.

  4. john says:

    i believe when we die we go to heaven if you trusted in christ,

  5. george says:

    It also says absent from the body present with the Lord.

  6. Akemi says:

    Can you give me some verse to prove this? Cause there is a lot of verse saying we will go to sleep. And if we go to sleep, will we know nothing and sleep or there will be something going on? So please answer these question.

  7. Joe Atkinson says:

    I do agree about “those things that I are really important” but respectfully disagree on this question. While the Bible never specifically says we go to heaven after we die it is plain about the resurrection. It also frequently describes death as sleep. Plus “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Paul also spoke of this being his goal Phil. 3:10-11 “10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Even if we sleep in Christ, as I believe, our next conscious thought will be seeing our Savior in the air. Comforting indeed.

  8. Sarah says:

    What about Job 14:12-14
    (12) So a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep.
    It sounds like we sleep tell Christ’s return.

    1. Akemi says:

      I think they are talking about the body

  9. Tom Hosier says:

    It is wonderful to read your message and perhaps it is because I want to believe what you say. I cannot understand how any Christian group regardless of denomination how they can overlook–at conception our names are writen in God’s book of Life and are removed ONLY when we sin against Him. In Christian love, Tom Hosier