Answer: The short answer is NO! The Bible is clear that nobody goes to heaven when they die. John 3:13 says, "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven."
Why don't we hear that scripture preached at funerals? We've all been taught that when we die we immediately go somewhere for some form of reward or punishment. That is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible actually describes death like sleep. The dead are all asleep in the grave awaiting the resurrection.
In Ecclesiastes 9:5 it says, "For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten." In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 the apostle Paul is calling us ignorant if we don't truly understand what happens at death. He says, "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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 by no means precede those who are asleep."
As shocking as this may seem, the Bible teaches that when we die, we remain dead until the resurrection. Daniel 12:1-4 (KJV) "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
The Bible never speaks of the dead as being alive in Heaven or Hell! Daniel confirms that those who die sleep in the dust of the earth only to be resurrected in the future.
The Apostle Paul refers to deceased Christians as those who sleep in Jesus. Sleep is used here as a metaphor for death. Think about this. If we all went to heaven when we died…. Why would there be any need for a resurrection talked about so much in the Bible? Christ said in John 5:28-29, "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."
I know it's hard to digest but that is what the Bible says. Look at all of those gravestones that say RIP… rest in peace. They got it right.
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