Shouldn't they be in heaven?
NLT - 19 But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!
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In speaking to the repentant thief while on the cross (Luke 23:43), Jesus assured him that he would be with Jesus in Paradise that very day. Since the bodies of both Jesus and the thief were physically lifeless immediately following their deaths, Jesus could only have been referring to a spiritual immediate post-death existence. When Jesus was bodily resurrected, He became the "first fruits" (as Paul referred to Him in 1 Corinthians 15:23) of those who had died (or who would die from then on) believing in Him. When Jesus returns in glory at the close of the present age, the bodies of all those whom He has redeemed -- even though they may have long been dead, and thus (as God said in Genesis 3:19) returned to dust -- will also be resurrected, reunited with their souls, and glorified by being made immortal (just as the resurrected Christ is immortal). Peter made this point in his sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:22-29) when he told the assembled crowd that David could not have been speaking of himself in Psalm 16:10 when he said to God, "(Y)ou will not abandon me to the realm of the dead; you will not let your holy one see decay", since (as Peter indicated) David had died and been buried, and his tomb (with his body) still remained in Israel to that day..
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