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The Bible talks about death as a sleep, refers to resurrections, the soul and spirit in death, and immortality. A SLEEP - In John 11:11-14 (NIV) Jesus compares death to sleep. "'…Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.' His disciples replied, 'Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.' Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead,.'" The Bible compares death to sleep over 50 times. We are told in I Thessalonians 4:15-16 (NIV) that those asleep in Jesus arise at His Second Coming. "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till 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." RESURRECTIONS - There are two resurrections-one to life and one to eternal condemnation. John 5:28-29 (NIV). "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." Genesis 2:7 (KJV) records the creation of man in the beginning. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." God did not put a soul into man. It is like an equation: Dust + Breath = a living soul. If you were going to make a wooden box you could say: boards + nails = a box. You take a few wooden boards and nail them together to make a box. If you take them apart again and pull all the nails out of the wood and put the nails in a pile and the boards in a stack. What happened to the box? It just ceased to exist until you put it back together again. That is the way it is with death. You take away the breath, that spark of life which comes from God and the body will return to dust (or sometimes to ashes in the case of cremation). What happened to the soul? It just ceases to be until God comes at the resurrection and puts it back together again. At that time the dust and the breath of life are reunited and then you have a life, a live person or live soul again. The interval between death and the resurrection is described in the Bible as "sleep." No consciousness of what is happening, or time passing, etc. Dying is like going to sleep and your next conscious thought-it will seem like the next moment-is when God resurrects you giving you back your life. SOUL AND SPIRIT IN DEATH - Ecclesiastes 12:7 says the body returns to the dust and the spirit [or breath of life] returns to God. Job 27:3 tells us that the spirit is the same as God's breath of life or His power. Psalm 146:4 (KJV) says, "When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing." The dead do not praise God, Psalm 115:17. The dead do not know anything, Ecclesiastes 9:5, "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing." IMMORTALITY - Human beings do not have immortality, only God does. (see I Timothy 6:16). We receive immortality when Jesus comes again. (see I Corinthians 15:51-54). When Jesus comes His reward of eternal life will be with Him. (see Revelation 22:12). The Bible says heaven is a real place in John 14:1-3 (NIV), "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
The short answer is no, no one upon death immediately goes to heaven or another place. The dead go to their graves in a state of unconsciousness, awaiting Christ's second coming and the resurrection (Eccl 3:19, 20; Daniel 12:2). In the very beginning, God told the first couple that disobedience, will bring death (Gen 2:17) The devil, told them that they will not die (Gen 3:4). Unfortunately, they sinned and they died. Immortal-soul doctrine is not Biblical and comes in conflict with many Bible teachings. “The soul who sins shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4, 20, as well as Jesus, clearly said that the soul can and will die (Matt 10:28). The Bible is clear “the dead know nothing” (Eccl 9:5, 10; Ps 115:17; 146:4).
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