Where Do People Go When We Die Physically According To The Bible?
The story of the rich man and Lazarus after they died is found in Luke 16. Jesus talks about the place a person’s Spirit goes after physical death prior to Jesus dying on the cross; that is prior to the New Covenant. Prior to Christ’s physical death on the cross.
This place is called HADES in the Greek and is a holding place for human Spirits separated from the body at death. Hades has 2 container areas separated by a great chasm/divide.
One side is called ‘paradise’ (Abraham’s Bosom) where a believer’s Spirit Of God, before the cross, went at physical death. This is the place Jesus said to the thief on the cross who ended up believing on Christ for Salvation went at his death as Jesus promised.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43 KJV)
The other side of Hades is called called ‘torments’, where the unbeliever’s Spirit of Man went, and still goes today, at physical death. Those in this container are headed for the Great White Throne judgment of the unsaved. We see Jesus state that at this judgement seat,
“And death and hell (Don: in Greek HADES) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Rev. 20:14 KJV)
Before Christ, and before His death and resurrection as the final once for all sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10) for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), believer’s sins were only COVERED as they looked toward the Messiah to come. Jesus had not yet completed His sacrifice and so ‘paradise’ was a holding place for believer’s Spirits until Christ came.
Heaven is a perfect place without sin. Only perfection may enter. Now that Jesus came and fulfilled the final sacrifice for sins, believers today are immediately from the moment of belief on Christ, born again in the Spirit (John 3) and eternally sealed in Salvation (Eph. 1:13-14), recreated in the Spirit as the righteousness of God, in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Complete in Christ (Colossians 2). And seated with Christ (Eph. 2:6). All in the present tense!
So when a believer in Christ dies physically today, only their Spirit is with Christ. It is fully redeemed, right now! It is IN CHRIST, yet still tethered to our physical body, our ‘tabernacle’ , our ‘tent’.
However, our body is not yet ressurrected, still corrupted by this THING called sin. The body cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. It is still corrupt and stays behind at physical death; one day to also be resurrected either to Heaven at the Bema judgement seat of believers or the Lake Of Fire at the Great White Throne judgement.
When Christ ascended He took those waiting in Paradise to heaven with Him. He finally could because the final sacrifice for sins was PAID IN FULL in the cross.
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10 KJV)
Today, living in the New Covenant dispensation, the age of God’s Grace, a believer’s Spirit is SEATED WITH CHRIST. The ‘paradise’ side of Hades is empty.
Yet the ‘torments’ side in Hades keeps being filled with the Spirits of the unsaved dead. Reserved until bodily resurrected for eternal damnation at the Great White Throne Judgement.
Do not end up in ‘torments’ nor the Lake Of Fire. Jesus paid for your sins! But you have free will to accept or reject the gift He paid for (Eph. 2:8-9) by belief or unbelief.
Jesus says you must be born again in the present by accepting the gift of Salvation THROUGH BELIEF ON HIM; NOT BY GOOD WORKS NOR BY BEING A GOOD PERSON.
“…whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but HAVE eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but HAVE everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world THROUGH HIM might be saved.
He that BELIEVETH ON HIM is not condemned: but he that BELIEVETH NOT is condemned ALREADY, because he hath NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:15-18 KJV)