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1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 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: 17 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 difficulty here arises from the false doctrine that we have an immortal soul or spirit which goes to live in heaven when we die.

The Bible teaches that when we die we really are dead.

We do not have an immortal soul or spirit which continues in a conscious existence after death.

When we die our faculties perish and we corrupt back into dust.

There is no consciousness in death.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing,

Our thoughts perish.

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

For this reason, death is spoken of as sleep.

1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

Acts 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

We all experience sleep so that we might understand what death is like.

Our awareness of the passage of time stops when we fall asleep, so that waking seems but a moment later. This is what death is like.

We die and seemingly the next moment we are alive again at the resurrection.

According to the Bible, no one except for Jesus Christ has ascended to heaven.

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

This is why resurrection is necessary if we are to attain to eternal life.

Until the resurrection we ‘sleep’ in the grave.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (condemnation).

This will be the fulfilment of that prophesied by Daniel:

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.

Those who are condemned will die again and perish forever, because the punishment for unforgiven sin is death.

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;

The doctrine of eternal torment in ‘hell’ is also false, because only the faithful will be given eternal life.

From this we see that none but angels will come down from heaven with Christ.

Christ descends from heaven with the angels of God to raise the faithful dead and gather them with the faithful living.

Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

You might like to read:

After Death-What?

I hope you find this helpful.

God bless,