Are My Husband and Father in Heaven Yet?

Question: I have been challenged on my saying that my husband and my father are in heaven.  I am being told that they will not go to heaven until Jesus comes back to earth.  But in reading some of the posts I see that it is mentioned that the spirits are in heaven and will be rejoined with the body when Jesus comes back.   Is there a biblical basis for my belief.  I know part of my belief comes from my desire and from songs and from things heard at church in my youth.

Answer:  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is one of the key passages in this matter.  Here Paul tells us that,

We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

If God is going to bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep (that is, those who have died), where is He bringing them from and what is He bringing?  Jesus is coming back to us from heaven.  Our bodies are not in heaven.  Our bodies are in the grave.  Jesus will therefore come back from heaven with that part of us that is in heaven, our spirits, and resurrect our bodies to be rejoined to our spirits.

Further evidence of this is found in 2 Corinthians 5:6,7, where Paul writes,

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

And again in Philippians 1:21-24,

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

For Paul, death meant the departure of his spirit from his body and the entering of his spirit into the presence of Christ in heaven.  This is in agreement with the teaching of Jesus in Luke 16.  In verse 22 Jesus depicts the death of the beggar Lazarus and describes the angels taking him to Abraham’s side.  Did they take his body or his spirit?  His body was in the grave.  So it had to be his spirit that they took.  When we did our spirits are escorted to heaven if we are followers of Jesus.  One day, our resurrected bodies will be rejoined to our perfected spirits and we will forever be the spirit/body persons we were meant to be.

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9 thoughts on “Are My Husband and Father in Heaven Yet?

  1. You can find scriptures to support many different beliefs about life after death, predictions about end-times etc. I am assured by women who considered they should be allowed to speak in Church or pray without their heads being covered that although Paul was right on many things – he did not always get everything entirely correct! (Am I allowed to say such things on the internet?)Because the statements about after-life and end-times all refer to things which cannot be verified by anything other than non-verifiable statements from elsewhere – and because some of the predictions have now passed use-by date and have been shown not to have come to pass (including I might add, a statement ostensibly attributed to Jesus by one of the gospel writers about what people listening to him would experience in their lifetimes).
    In any case the huge list of failed prophecies (which I collected for one of my posts) should at least make us a little less confident and a little more cautious about setting ourselves up as authorities on such matters.
    This being the case, why not simply admit the nature of things like who gets to heaven and when it will happen are simply beyond our ability to know… yet there are lots of great ideas that can be implemented in the here and now, ie the things that James called “True Religion”. Jesus instructions about forgiving our enemies, turning the other cheek, do unto others etc and Paul’s lists like Love being patient and kind and keeping no score of wrongs etc etc give us plenty to go on with in the meantime.

    • I very much appreciate your response and your focus on true religion. We certainly need to practice the heavier matters of the law and not forget the more minor ones, as well. I do take a bit different tack on the validity of the Scriptures in the areas you mentioned. I think interpretation may be the issue as much as anything.

      I don’t believe Paul was telling women they couldn’t speak in church or that head coverings would be applicable today in his view. I believe, if you are referring to Jesus’ statement that there would be those standing there that day who would not die before seeing the kingdom of God, that this was meant to refer to the experience Peter, James and John had with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. I would, however, be glad to look at your article on prophecies whose “use by” dates have expired.

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    They are very convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick
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    Thanks for the post.

    • Here are some outlines I have used to teach these concepts with more detail:

      YOUR PERSONAL ESCHATOLOGY

      If the rapture does not occur before you die, what can you expect?

      THE UNBELIEVER

      1. Physical death of the spiritually dead = eternal death

      • physical death = separation of soul from body (the body ceases to function) Mt. 10:28; Jas. 2:26; Gen. 2:27; Ecc. 12:7 [includes the process of dying, i.e., aging, illness, injury]
      • spiritual death = separation, while alive, from vital union with God. Eph. 2:1-3
      • eternal death = separation of the lost soul from God forever. Rev. 20:11-15

      2. Consignment of the soul to Hades.

      • the OT counterpart is sheol = the grave, but by extension, the place of departed souls, viewed as being beneath the surface of the earth.
      • it is a place of punishing torment (Lk. 16:19-31)
      “flames” —
      “great chasm fixed” —

      3. Transfer of the unbeliever’s body and soul to Hell at the end of the millennium. (Gehenna, the lake of fire)

      • the terms – “Gehenna” Mt. 13:42,50; 23:15,33; 25:41,46; Lk. 12:5 (originally the valley of Hinnom, Jer. 7:32; 19:6f)
      • the time and place – Rev. 20:11-15; cf. Mt. 10:28

      THE BELIEVER

      1. Before Christ’s resurrection: 1 Sam. 28:7-15; Job 17:13f; Ac. 2:27-31; Lk. 16:23,26; 23:29-43

      2. After Christ’s resurrection: Ac. 7:56-60; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:22-23

      3. What happened? At His resurrection Christ transferred all believers from Hades (Abraham’s bosom to heaven where He is till He comes again to establish His kingdom. All who die in the Lord now go straight to heaven. (cf. Eph. 4:7-10)

      4. When Christ comes again, believers who have died will be reunited with their bodies in the resurrection/rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 5:1-8)

      WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE
      False Views the Soul’s Destiny

      Annihilation of the soul = “Couldn’t the soul just cease to exist at some point after God decides how much punishment is enough?”

      for: (1) The words used in Greek to express “eternity” or “forever” are aivwn (aion) and aiwnas twn aiwnwn (aionos ton aionon) which literally mean “age” and “the age of the ages”, suggest that a limited amount of time is possible.

      (2) Matthew 10:28 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9 speak of the soul being “destroyed” which suggests cessation of existence.

      (3) It seems too harsh of God to torment unbelievers forever.

      against: (1) Even though the Greek terms for “eternity” seem to have limits to them, that is not what is literally intended. There are other ways the concept of eternity is expressed which do not leave doubt. For example, Jesus says, “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’” Heaven is also said to be eternal, Matthew 25:46, where Jesus says, “Then they will go away to eternal (aionion) punishment, but the righteous to eternal (aionion) life.” If the one is limited, so is the other.

      (2) The terms “destroy” (Mt. 10:28) and “destruction” (2 Th. 1:9) must be qualified by the term “everlasting” (aionion). They cannot, therefore, mean “complete annihilation” or loss of existence, but something like “a state of utter ruin or spoil” (the Oxford American Dictionary defines “destroy” as “to pull down or break down, to reduce to a useless form, to spoil completely”, not as “to annihilate or cause not to exist”).

      (3) Though it is hard to feel the fairness of God eternally tormenting unbelievers, the truth is we do not often see and feel things the way God does. Jesus, whose compassion is undisputed, talked more about the torments of hell than anyone in Scripture. He was not ashamed of God’s wrath but saw it being just as glorious a part of God’s character as His love.

      Reincarnation of the soul = “What if we just migrate from body to body at death, living eternally but in different forms?”
      against: (1) Hebrews 9:27, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
      (2) What determines the basis for what form one’s soul migrates to? Good Works!? This contradicts the Biblical teaching of salvation by grace through faith alone apart from works.
      (3) It usually is accompanied by a concept of passive fatalism: Whatever happens is what happens, it is Karma, there is nothing one can do to change it. Human life seems to have less value.

      (4) Suffering is either viewed as unreality or as punishment for past and present failures.

      (5) The way out of the cycle of transmigration is attainment of non-personal existence in the Universal Self (the non-personal ground of everything, “God”). Heaven is the annihilation of personal identity.

      (6) It blurs the distinction between man’s soul (which the Bible says is made in God’s image, Genesis 1:26,27) and animal souls (since they may be human souls in animal bodies, a transmigration to an animal form).

      (7) It grossly complicates the problem of evil. Where did evil come from? Don’t we need moral failure in order to account for lower life forms which make life for humans possible? Is it ever then really conceivable that everyone could eventually progress to the highest form (non-personal existence in the Universal Self)? Why bother to live if I have already messed up in life (unless suicide is a further sin that will put me even lower on the food chain)?

      PAUL AND THE RAPTURE

      I. 1 Corinthians 15:20 -28, 50-55

      A. The order of events surrounding the kingdom (20-28)

      1. Christ’s _________________ [RESURRECTION]

      2. Christ __________ until all enemies are subdued [REIGNS]

      3. Christ ______________ believers when he comes [RESURRECTS]

      4. Christ ___________ the kingdom to his Father [DELIVERS]

      B. The mystery of the rapture (50-55)

      1. _______________ humans cannot inherit God’s kingdom. [UNSAVED]

      2. Not everyone will have to ______ in order to gain resurrection bodies. [DIE]

      3. Some will be _____________ into imperishable, immortal bodies without experiencing death. [CHANGED]

      II. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

      A. The rapture in regard to those already dead and those still alive (4:13-18)

      1. The _________ of those who died will come with Jesus at his return. [SPIRITS]

      2. Their bodies will be resurrected _________ living believers meet the Lord. [BEFORE]

      3. Living believers at Christ’s return will be “____________ _____” to meet the Lord in the air and receive resurrection bodies without experiencing death. [CAUGHT UP]

      B. The relationship of the rapture to the day of the Lord (5:1-11)

      1. This event is a part of the day of the Lord (i.e., the time of His judgment and
      establishment of His universal kingdom).

      2. After a period of relative peace, unbelievers will experience God’s destructive
      wrath.

      3. Believers will not be caught off guard by this.

      4. Believers will not suffer God’s wrath but rather His salvation.

      III. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

      A. Believers should not be fearful believing that the day of the Lord has already come. (1-4)

      1. [pre-tribulation, mid-trib and pre-wrath rapture views: They would be fearful because it would mean they missed the rapture and were about to experience the tribulation]

      [post-tribulation view: They would be fearful because it would mean they were about to experience the tribulation]

      2. There must be two preceding signs…the rebellion and the revealing of the man of lawlessness.

      B. Believers must know that God is in total control of the events of the end of the age. (5-12)

      1. There is one who is holding back the man of sin until taken out of the way by God.

      2. When the man of sin is revealed Jesus will defeat him and all whom he deceived.

      Four Rapture Views

      The Pre-Tribulation Rapture: The church is not meant to experience the Tribulation because it involves an outpouring of _________ ___________, which is meant only for unbelievers. The Tribulation is also intended to fulfill God’s purposes for ___________, so the church is not meant to be a part of this aspect of God’s program. The church will be resurrected and transformed in the air with Christ and return to heaven until the Tribulation period is over seven years later. [GOD’S WRATH, ISRAEL]

      The Mid-Tribulation Rapture: The church is not meant to experience the Tribulation wrath of God but this does not really begin until the ______________ of the Tribulation period when the man of sin breaks covenant with Israel. The ______________ sound for the rapture (1 Thess. 4:16) is the trumpet sound of Revelation 11:15. All judgments prior to this (the seven seals and six trumpets) cannot be classified as divine __________. The church will be raptured to heaven and return with Christ after the last 3 ½ years. [MIDDLE, TRUMPET, WRATH]

      The Pre-Wrath Rapture: Christ will come in the air sometime after the middle of the Tribulation to begin the Day of the Lord. It is at this time that He will rapture the church, ________ in the air for the rest of the Tribulation as He pours out His __________ and then finish it off with Armageddon. This Day of the Lord begins after the ________ seal. [STAY, WRATH, FIFTH]

      The Post-Tribulation Rapture: There is only _______ coming of Christ predicted in the New Testament. It is unnecessary to assume a preceding, partial coming. There is no promise that the church will be spared ___________________, but just the opposite. However, the church will be miraculously delivered from God’s direct ___________, will be transformed at His coming, then immediately proceed back to earth from the air to battle Christ’s enemies. [ONE, TRIBULATION, WRATH]

    • I guess one way you could aid others is by being open to their questions and sharing the answers you have found. If you feel they would be helped by pointing them to this blog perhaps that would be a way of helping. I’m glad to hear that you were helped. Thanks for letting me know.

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