Part Two

Please refer to the definitions of God's absolutes in part one, and remember that we worship a God that does not change His absolutes (Mal 3:6).

  © Del Leger 

Answers to often heard "private" unbiblical views of life after death:

1.   Man has an immortal soul that cannot be destroyed.

See Absolutes 1, 5, 6 & 12 in part 1.

Answer: Martin Luther called this “a Catholic lie”.  No part of man is immortal; the spirit, of life that was given to him at creation belongs to God and goes back to God at death.

“Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?” (Job 4:17). 

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor 15:53).  We don’t have it yet.

2.  At death the body returns to dust, but the spirit goes to heaven (or hell) fully conscious.

See Absolute. 6, also Job 14:14-15.

Answer: As William Tyndale appropriately asked, why is there a resurrection if we are already immortal? The dead are not conscious until after the resurrection. Are you conscious when you are asleep? 

The spirit is awakened at the resurrection, which will be at Christ’s coming (1 Thes 4:16). 

3.   The spirits of the dead are conscious and are right now in heaven, hell or purgatory.

Answer.  Where does the Bible say that?  The Bible does say the dead are asleep; see Absolutes. 3 and 12.

4.  Since the resurrection of Christ, all the dead saints and all saints that die in this age go directly to heaven.  Answer: What about David? See Absolutes. 2, 3, 6, 12, & 13.

5. Those saints that were resurrected when Christ rose went with Him to heaven, never to die again.

Answer: They were resurrected to a physical life and died a normal death like all the other dead who were brought back to life mentioned in the Bible.

6.  All the dead are asleep, and at the return of Christ will be resurrected doing the very thing they were doing at death.

Answer: This is pure speculation, “--- the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we, which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4:16-17).

7. Under the right conditions, the dead can communicate with the living.

 Answer The dead cannot communicate with the living, but there is a spirit world that can. See Absolute. 6.

“Should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living” (Isa 8:19)?  

In the case of King Saul, the witch and the supposed appearing of Samuel (1 Samuel 28:11-19), if you choose to believe the apparition was really Samuel, then it would prove that Samuel’s spirit was not in heaven, the “ghost” made reference to being at rest. That doesn’t sound as though he was conscious, but it does describe sleep.  He also said “Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.”

 If good people go to heaven at death, as some claim, then certainly Samuel should have been in heaven, but the witch saw him “rising from the earth”. Therefore, we must conclude that Saul and his sons were going to be in the earth the next day. None of them were in, or went to, heaven. Neither did they go to a so-called, “fiery hell”.

8.  The thief on the cross went to heaven with Christ that very day.

Answer: The thief on the cross could not possibly have gone to heaven with Christ that day. “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43).

When did the thief ask to be remembered? Wasn’t it when Christ was to come into His Kingdom? Didn’t Jesus tell Mary that He had not yet risen to the Father, and that was three days after He was crucified (John 20:17)?  How could Jesus or the thief, have gone to paradise that day? 

Punctuation was not used until about the 14th century and was applied according to their understanding at that time. Why not put the comma where it makes sense, after “today” instead of “thee”? The thief is awaiting resurrection, along with everyone else, which will be at the last trump.

9.   Enoch did not die but went straight to heaven because God took him.

Answer: Enoch died and is in the grave; see Hebrews 11, all the patriarchs died.  Verse 5 explains that Enoch pleased God so that he should not see death. That’s future tense; Paul is speaking of the second death, which has no power over those in the first resurrection. 

Did you know that if you are among the elect, you have been translated, (the same as Enoch) and will not see death?  “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:12-14).  See Absolutes. 8 & 10.

10.  Lazarus is in heaven and the rich man is in hell. 

Answer: Many consider this a parable.  The point being that if they won’t believe Moses or the prophets, then even though one speaks from the grave, they still won’t listen.  Review parable definition in part one.

However, if one believes this is an actual event, and that the body returns to dust and the spirit lives on after death, why is the rich man described as having all of his physical attributes?

Also, if one believes that the soul goes to heaven or hell at death, it is apparent that they both are receiving their rewards at that time. Yet rewards are not given until Christ comes back (Matt 16:27); which suggests another view:

We read in Matt 13:49-50, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just (so wherever they are, they are all together).  And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: (this would have to be at the great white throne judgment - the final resurrection) there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Rev. 20:11-15).

Could it be that this whole scenario takes place at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, and the rich man has just awakened (to a physical resurrection) and is about to be cast into the lake of fire? He has no knowledge of the passing of time but does see the horror that’s before him. This would also explain the great gulf that was between them, he is physical and Lazarus is now spiritual.

11. Moses and Elijah are in heaven because Peter, James and John saw them talking to Jesus at the transfiguration. 

Answer: Peter, James and John saw a supernatural vision of the future, so stated by Jesus Himself (Matt 28:9). Peter saw a vision involving the sheet with the unclean animals.  Paul had a vision of the Macedonian pleading for the gospel to be preached to them. Daniel also saw visions of the future.  See vision definition in part one.

12. Elijah went to heaven without dying because Elisha saw him go up to heaven in a whirlwind. 

Answer: “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).  Without question Elijah went up to heaven, it says so right there, but how does that stack with God’s absolutes? 

Christ, himself, said, “no man has ascended to heaven”, and “it is appointed unto all man once to die”, death has passed upon all men, for all men have sinned.  Was Elijah special, something other than just a man?  James tells us that Elijah was a man of like passions just as we are (James 5:17).  In Hebrews 11:32 we read that all the great men of the Bible died, including the prophets. Certainly Elijah ranked as one of the greatest of the prophets.

So, we must conclude that either Elijah did not go to heaven and that he did die at some point, or that God’s word is not absolute and cannot be relied on, which I cannot accept. Of necessity, we must look deeper into scripture for obviously something is being overlooked.  

Are we sure that the heaven Elijah went up to was the heaven that no man has ascended to?  There are at least three heavens mentioned in the Bible. Paul speaks of a vision of the third heaven (II Cor 12:2-4), which he describes as paradise. We would assume this to be at or near the inner or outer court of God’s throne, as represented by the earthly temple, which was a pattern of the heavenly temple (Heb. 8:1-5). This would be the heaven that no man has ascended to.  How then could that be the heaven that Elijah went up to?  

Another heaven mentioned in the bible is the expanse of the vast universe (Ps. 8:3; Gen. 1:15-17). Certainly, this would not be the heaven he went up to.

But, there is yet another heaven mentioned. It is described as where birds fly, where the dew of heaven drops down, etc (Gen. 27:28; Deut. 33:28).  It is that part of our atmosphere that supports life (biosphere).  Could that be the heaven that Elijah was taken up to?  If so, perhaps he didn’t die at that time.  That would explain how it is that a letter could come from him about ten years later (II Chron. 21:12-15).

Apparently, it was no surprise to anyone that Elijah was going to be removed, since Elisha was reminded of that several times. Those who witnessed the whole event must have understood that he didn’t go up to the third heaven, because they went looking for him, (II kings 2:16).  That begs the question, why did all these things happen the way they did?  Could it be to verify and lend credence to a transfer of leadership?

Let’s review some other significant events that happened during that time. Notice that it was common knowledge that Elijah was to be removed from being the head, (leader) that day (II Kings 2:3 & 5). Obviously, Elijah was being retired and Elisha was to be the new leader. When Elijah’s mantle dropped and was picked up by Elisha; it gave visual evidence to those nearby, that the Holy Spirit of leadership had now been transferred to him.

One wonders why a letter should come from Elijah about ten years after he had been taken up?  Perhaps it was because Elijah was the prophet of God when this present king’s father was king, which would have lent more authority to the letter.  Certainly, knowing about a letter that came long after Elijah was gone has benefited us by helping us clear up a mystery of what really happened to Elijah, and thus proving that we can still rely on God’s absolutes.

We still don’t know where he went, and probably won’t know until we can ask him personally.  However, these are things we do know.  He did not go up to the heaven of the throne of God - for only Christ has ascended to that heaven.  At some point, Elijah did die; Hebrews 11 says so.  We know that God’s word can be trusted; He does not change (Mal. 3:6).  We know that God is true and His word is justifiable. 

“For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Rom 3:3-4). We have been judging God’s word and have found them to be true, reliable, consistent and therefore justified.

13. Paul said, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, therefore we are conscious and with the Lord at death. 

Answer: Just a little tweaking, but it changed the timing of being “present”. The verse has been misquoted, “and” was replaced by “is”. If you are sleeping the sleep of death, you have no consciousness. Certainly you are in God’s hands and protection, but you have no knowledge of the passing of time. See Absolutes. 3, 5, & 6.

14.  God is not the God of the dead, but the living. Therefore, the dead are alive in heaven. 

Answer: God, who knows the end from the beginning, considers the future and his promises as though they already exist. See Absolutes. 3 & 15.

15. The saints under the altar that cried out to God prove that the dead are in heaven and are fully conscious (Rev 6:10).

Answer: The book of Revelation was written in symbolic language and one must look beyond the obvious. John was in the spirit and saw the future in a vision. One doesn’t expect the horseman of the first four seals to be literal and ride through the earth at the time of the end?  Why would you think the fifth seal should be literal? It is symbolic of the saints that have been and are yet to be killed.  Remember that Abel’s blood cried out from the ground when Cain killed him.  His spirit wasn’t in Heaven; he was simply dead and in the ground as all who have died and are awaiting the resurrection. 

16. The dead are unconscious; the spirit (breath) of life has returned to God, their bodies have turned to dust; the next instant of their consciousness will be in the resurrection.

Answer: This is the Bible definition of the state of the dead and conflicts with none of God’s absolutes.  

We are sealed with the promise unto the day of redemption, (future) the purchase price has been paid and our names have been written in God’s book of life.

 (Christ) “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, (future).  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until (future) the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:13-14).

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30).

“And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life” (Phil 4:3).

James tells us how to obtain true wisdom:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8).

Knowledge is not intelligence for even the ignorant can be taught things by rote; nor is intelligence wisdom; brilliant minds have often tendered ludicrous opinions and conclusions. Wisdom is granted by God to those who humbly and sincerely approach Him with singleness of purpose and a mind toward obedience.

If you disagree with my opinions, I am open to discussion and correction.  We are all learning.

Del Leger, Pastor, Christian Church of God, ã1/3/08, (970) 249 6857,

Article Notes:

Others Who Chose To Believe Their Bible Over The Traditions Of Man.


Bishop N. T. Wright of the Anglican Church, the fourth most senior member of the Church of England has challenged the belief that Christians go to heaven when they die.  In his new book, “SURPRISED BY HOPE” Bishop Wright quotes the Bible as saying that man enters an intermediate state between death and the resurrection described as sleep.

He states that much of “traditional Christianity” has been influenced by pagan philosophies. He cites Dante’s “A Divine Comedy” in particular, (which was written as a mock of the ridicules traditions of Christianity) as setting up a heaven, hell and purgatory immediately after death.   


Even Martin Luther believed that there was no consciousness after death until the resurrection, and stated that such a belief was just another Catholic lie.  However, the Lutheran Church of today has chosen to follow the traditions of man.


“When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, or a dogma, we become automatons and cease to grow.” Anais Nin


William Tyndale, who printed the first New Testament in English wrote:  “In putting departed souls in heaven, hell, or purgatory you destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection….  The heathen philosophers, denying that, did put that souls did ever live…. If the soul be in heaven, tell me what cause is there for a resurrection?”  

Why check our brains at the church door.  Listen to some good advice from Buddha:

“Believe nothing just because a so-called wise man said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held; believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it.  Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.”  Buddha.