The last chapter of Healing Hereafter I posted about concerned three people in the Bible who seemed to have been taken to heaven at some point while they were still alive. We discovered that none of these examples provided evidence that humans go there immediately after dying, and we can even biblically confirm that they didn’t. But what about those who were dying or already dead in the Bible and seemed to be headed immediately for heaven? The five cases to consider are a group of martyrs in the book of Revelation, Paul, Stephen, Elijah and Moses, and the criminal crucified next to Jesus (we address the beggar Lazarus in other chapters if you’re wondering about him!). Chapter 13 explores where these folks would have gone after physical death, why it wasn’t heaven, and why that’s so important. Here’s the chapter summary!
Does the Bible ever specifically tell us that any people went to the current heaven to be with God upon dying? There are five human parties in the Bible who seem to be headed for the current heaven immediately after giving up the ghost, so we evaluate their stories. We find that these humans could only be in the current heaven right now if it were a frustrating, sorrowful place of segregation, if we disregard biblical context, if we implement concepts that have no biblical basis, if we make judgment day purposeless, if we equate the desire to be in the current heaven with the immediate fulfillment of that desire, and if we ignore clear examples of the saved going somewhere besides the current heaven when they die. In many ways, the reasons people offer to argue against a distinct non-heaven, non-hell residence for humans between death and judgment actually end up confirming that such a residence is the Bible’s rule of thumb for them.