1st Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
This passage of scripture tells us plainly that the dead, whether wicked or righteous remain in their graves until the voice of the Son of God calls them to life again. The Bible nowhere teaches that a good person goes to heaven at death, nor does it state that sinners go to a burning hell after their demise. After the attacks on 911, several prominent leaders of different religions were interviewed by then CNN anchor, Larry King, who asked each of them specifically about the whereabouts of those who had lost their lives in such an untimely manner. Every religious leader on that interview, without exception, stated that the deceased were in heaven.
This view is nowhere supported in the scriptures, and must of necessity be addressed in the wake of increasing calamities and fatalities by air, sea, and land. As always, we turn to the Bible for answers to our most perplexing questions, so that our hopes may be built upon what God has plainly stated.
After the death of Lazarus, four days had expired before Christ arrived on the scene to perform one of His most prominent miracles. Martha, who together with Mary her sister had been hoping that Jesus would have arrived before Lazarus died, remonstrated at the command of Christ for the stone to be removed from the door of his grave, the reason being that decomposition of his body had already begun to take place. Let's read:
John 11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
But Christ was about to set the record straight as it pertains to the truth about death. For many years, pagan philosophies and teachings had taken deep root in the minds of the people, darkening their understanding about this important issue. Jesus was now going to demonstrate in the most public manner that the dead remain in their graves until He calls them forth, and that no "spirit" of the deceased floats around anywhere in the heavens, as is taught by so many prominent religions, including many modern day Christian sects. Let's read:
John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Lazarus was no where even close to heaven or else Christ would have said, Lazarus come down, but instead He said "Lazarus come forth". The scriptures teach that the righteous dead await the voice of Jesus to come forth from their dusty beds, and any other doctrine that teaches differently causes people to have unrealistic expectations, not only in this present life, but also for the world to come. In another instance on this very same issue, the Bible tells us what became of David after he had died. He was not in heaven as the false doctrine of natural immortality teaches, but was in his grave, like all others who die in Christ. Let's read:
Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
It then behooves us as Christians to make thorough investigation into our belief systems so that we may ascertain that they are founded on a "Thus saith the Lord" and not on the traditions and teachings of men. We therefore end with a passage of scripture that should give us hope once we have given our lives to Christ. The Bible tells us that there is no need for us to sorrow as do others, for all those who die in Jesus will certainly be raised to immortality at His second coming. Let's read:
1si Thessalonians 4:16 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Let us not then base our faith and hope on a popular delusion, but rather let us give our lives entirely to Christ while probation lingers, so that the gift of immortality may be ours when He comes again. "Good night" and God bless!