When Daniel Goes To Heaven Index

The last few lessons have talked extensively about the judgment. We have looked at the three phases of the judgment.

  1. The pre-advent judgment of the righteous (1844 to the second coming of Christ)
  2. The judgment of the wicked during the 1000 years
  3. The execution of the judgment at the end of the 1000 years

Obviously, judgment is necessary before rewards or punishments could be meted out. The reward for the righteous is everlasting life, while the reward of the wicked is eternal death (Matthew 25:31-41). This may have posed a conflict in some peoples' minds. If, as Daniel teaches, the judgment of the righteous does not begin until 1844, how could the righteous receive their reward and go to heaven when they die? Likewise, if the wicked are not judged till the 1000 years, how could they go to hell when they die, since they have not yet been to judgment?

The judgment concept in Daniel obviously raises the related question of what happens to a person at death. Therefore, it is important that we take the next two lessons to examine what the Bible says on the subject of death and the punishment of the wicked. To be consistent with Scripture , our understanding of death must be in harmony with the concept of the judgment that we have discovered in Daniel.

There are two basic teachings in Christendom concerning death. The first suggests that when righteous die, they go straight to heaven because they have an immortal soul. Thus they receive everlasting life immediately upon death. When wicked people die, they go straight to hell and spend eternity burning there.

The second teaching suggest that when people die they go into the grave and sleep, and know nothing until the resurrection. At that time they are resurrected and given immortality. Likewise, the wicked are resurrected at the end of the 1000 years to receive their punishment.

Let's see what Holy Scripture has to say:

Daniel's Concept of Death
1. What was Daniel told he wold do after he died? Daniel 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.  
2. When would Daniel be resurrected? Daniel 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. Daniel is clearly told in this verse that he is to rest from his labors until the end of the days. At the end of all of these prophetic time periods, at the second coming of Christ, he would stand in his lot and be resurrected with everyone else. Clearly Daniel did not expect to go to heaven until the second coming of Christ.
3. What word does Daniel use to describe people who have died? Daniel 12:2 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. To Daniel death was like going to bed at night and sleeping The next thing a person knows after death is the morning of the resurrection.
4. According to Daniel, when do the righteous and the wicked receive their reward or punishment? Daniel 12:2 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. Daniel's point is that people awaken (are resurrected), to either eternal life or eternal damnation at the resurrection, not when they die.
The Resurrection Hope
5. How important is the resurrection hope to Christianity?

I Corinthians 15:13-14 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

I Corinthians 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

I Corinthians 15:16-17 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

 
6. If there is no resurrection, what has happened to people who have died? I Corinthians 15:18 then they also which are fallen asleep in are perished. If there is no resurrection, there is no after life. The only way to life everlasting is through the resurrection. In fact, Paul knows of no everlasting life, except through the resurrection, for it is one of the most essential, pivotal doctrines of the Christian faith. Without it there could virtually be no Christianity. The doctrine of the resurrection is one of the unique doctrines of the Christian faith. The doctrine of the resurrection is one of the unique doctrines of the Christian faith. No religion but Christianity teaches the resurrection of the dead. The removal of this teaching from the Christian faith would virtually destroy Christianity. Yet if people went to heaven at death, why would there have to be a resurrection? The teaching that suggests that when people die they go straight to heaven destroys the need for the most essential of Christian doctrines, the doctrine of the resurrection.
7. Why is Jesus coming the second time?

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.

Jesus states categorically that the reason He comes back the second time is to take His people to His Father's house. Why would Jesus come back the second time to take His people to His Father's house if they immediately went there when they died? Not only does the teaching of consciousness immediately after death destroy the doctrine of the resurrection, but it also destroys any need for the doctrine of the second coming of Christ.
Is the Soul Mortal or Immortal?

Proponents of the teaching that when people die they go straight to heaven suggest that every person is born with an immortal soul. They teach that while the body dies and goes into the ground, the soul goes back to God, and therefore the resurrection is necessary to reunite the soul with the body. Therefore the question must be very clear in our minds: does man have an immortal soul?

The term "immortal soul" was very popular in the ancient world. The pagan Egyptians, the pagan Greeks, and the pagan Romans all taught the concept and used the terminology "immortal soul." The only religious literature from the ancient world that does not use the terminology and the concept of the immortal soul is the Bible. Doesn't it seem strange that the Bible never uses the term or the concept of the immortal soul if the Bible teaches the immortality of the soul?

8. The adjective "immortal" is used only one time in the Bible. Who does this text describe as immortal? I Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. This is the only time in the entire Bible that the adjective "immortal" is used, and it refers to God.
9. Who does the Bible say is the only one who possesses immortality? I Timothy 6:15-16 Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. If God is the only one possessing immortality, how can any person claim to have an immortal soul?
10. How does the Bible define the soul? Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Here is the Biblical definition of the soul. When God created man, He united the body (the dust of the ground) with the breath of life. When these two elements became united, man became a living soul. Please not that the Bible says the body is part of the soul. The soul is not part of the body. The soul is the whole being of a person, rather than a separate entity entombed in the body. There is a filament in a bulb that is connected to a power source. As long as the power is connected to the filament in the bulb, you have light. When you disconnect the power source, does the light trave back through the wires to the electric company? No! The light ceases to exist. The light only has existence when it is united with the power source. Likewise, the body only has life when it is connected to the breath of life given by God, the power source.
11. Can the soul die? Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Since all souls have sinned (Romans 3:23) all souls must die. Therefore, there can be no such thing as an immortal soul.
12. The word "immortal" means "not subject to death." When do Christians receive immortality?

I Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery, We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead hall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

I Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

The righteous do not receive immortality when they die. They are not born with it. They receive it from God at Christ's second coming.

13. Why did God send His Son? John 3:16 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.

The reason Jesus died on the cross was to give us everlasting life and immortality. If every person is born with an immortal soul, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to come and die on the cross. If people went straight to heaven when they died because their soul was eternal and immortal, there would be absolutely no need for the cross of Jesus Christ.

Amazing, friend! Think of it! This one teaching that says that when a person dies he goes straight to heaven destroys the need for the doctrine of the resurrection, the second coming, and the cross. Once these three great pillars of the Christian faith are destroyed or undermined, there is simply no need of Christianity. By introducing the concept of the immortal soul into the Christian church from pagan religion, Satan has virtually undermined the uniqueness of Christianity.

Where are the Dead Now?
What happens then to people in the interval between death and the resurrection? Let's discover what the Bible says about the period of time.
14. How did Jesus refer to death? John 11:11 These things said he: after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. The Biblical term for death is "sleep," and is used 66 times in Scripture. The only hope that Jesus held out to Mary and Martha (John 11:15, 26) was the resurrection hope. Jesus never tried to assure them that Lazarus was enjoying the bliss of heaven while he was dead, but He held out to them the great resurrection hope.
15. Do people praise God when they are dead? Psalm 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? Could you imagine people being in heaven and not remembering God or praising Him?
16. What happens to peoples' thoughts on the very day they die?

Psalm 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom thee is no help.

Psalm 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Could you imagine anyone being in heaven with no thoughts?
17. How much does a person know when he's dead? Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward for the memory of them is forgotten. Could anything be clearer than this verse? The wise man, Solomon, declares that the dead know not anything. Nowhere does the Bible say anything about people going to heaven at death. Instead, the Bible is unquestionably clear that when people die, they know nothing until the glorious moment of the resurrection. They sleep in the tomb until that glorious day.
The Christian's Hope
18. Who goes to heaven first, the righteous living or the righteous dead? I Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. The apostle Paul is very clear that the dead do not meet Jesus before the living. They meet Him together at the second coming.
19. How should believers comfort one another when they lose a loved one?

I Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

It is the hope of the resurrection at the second coming of Christ that is the Christian's comfort when loved ones die.
20. When does the apostle Paul say that both the dead and the living are given immortality and meet Jesus?

I Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

I Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Notice again Paul's usage of the Biblical term "sleep" for death. What glorious hope the apostle Paul holds out to believers. Death will be swallowed up in victory. Death is not something wonderful to transport us to the realms of bliss. According to the Bible death is an enemy that shall be destroyed. (I Corinthians 15:26)
21. What will be eliminated in the new earth? Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away. Thank God, death is forever eliminated from God's universe.
22. What kind of bodies will we have in the resurrection? Philippians 3:21 Who shall change your vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. Amazing truth! Our bodies will be like Christ's glorified resurrected body!
23. What was Christ's glorified resurrected body like?

Luke 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Luke 24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

Luke 24:38 And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

Luke 24:39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.

Luke 34:40 And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and His feet.

Luke 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

Luke 24:42 And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

Jesus's resurrected body was not a spirit body, but He possessed flesh and bones. He even ate before the disciples. Jesus had a real physical body in the resurrection. so will the righteous. Our hope in the resurrection indicates that for the Christian, life after death is not a spooky, spirit existence, but a real existence with a real body where Christians do real things in a real world. Thank God for the reality of the Christian's hope.
24. Are you thankful for the glorious resurrection hope of scripture?