14 For 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.
I am solely writing what I believe the Bible says about death and the after-life. This is my belief, and if you disagree with me, I am fine with that. In the comments, please be kind, but discussion is welcomed. With that being said, I will start.
Christians and Death
I have heard different perspectives on what happens when we die. The non-Christians believe we just die and become part of the earth. Other religions believe that when we die, we reincarnate to something else in the next life. There are many, but not all, Christians who believe that when we, Christians, die our soul goes to Heaven while the non-believers go to Hell. I respect all your eliefs, but I have a different view on death.
What I believe about death
I'm a Christian. I believe that all who died believing in God and all who died not believing in God are still dead; they are not in Heaven or Hell just yet.
They are asleep, and Christ is going to wake them up. Only until Christ comes back triumphantly will the dead in Christ go to Heaven along with the living believers of God. During this glorious event, the non-believers are still in their graves and they will be resurrected when God will judge them for what they had done. You can read about Jesus Second Coming in Revelation--the last book of the Bible. Right now,only Enoch(Genesis 5:21-24), Moses(Jude 1:9), and Elijah(2 Kings 2:1-12) are in Heaven with God.
Why do I believe this?
I believe this because I read verses in the Bible that referred death as sleep and there would be two resurrections (the Book of Revelation talks about the two resurrections) when Jesus comes back soon. In the story of Lazarus' resurrection, Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep"*, which referred to death. Christ came to resurrect Lazarus from death. The same way we will be resurrected and taken up to Heaven.
It is comforting to believe that our loved ones, who believed in Christ, are in Heaven. However, if all who died in Christ are in Heaven and the non-believers are in Hell, then why would there be two resurrections--one for the believers and the other one for the non-believers? Also, why would a loving God want to burn people up for eternity?
What I believe the Bible supports this
I believe that the Bible is only book where we can base our beliefs as Christians. I know there will be plenty of you who will disagree with me; I'm fine with that. You will say, "How about the thief next to Jesus on Calvary?"
"Jesus promised the thief eternal life, so he's in Heaven, right?"
Actually, the thief is not in Heaven at the moment, but he will be.
Did Jesus immediately go to Heaven when he died? Nope, he did not; only his breath left Him and then He was dead.This is the same answer for the thief. Christ died on Friday, slept on Saturday (Sabbath for me), and woke up on Sunday.Then after staying with His disciples for more than a month, Jesus went to Heaven.
What the Bible says
Paul wrote about death for the Thessalonians because they needed to be explained about death. Here is what Paul wrote:
"13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For 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. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV
This is my first serious post I wrote and I was little bit afraid to let the whole world know what I believe in. So, I hope this was a thought-provoking post for you.
God Bless you.
*John 11:11 NIV