My Thoughts. . .
When Jesus returns, the dead will be resurrected. Where have the dead, both righteous and wicked, been? My parents died in the same year. Where have they been since their demise? Some would answer that they have been in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-23). Yet that passage does not mention a resurrection nor a future judgment to separate. Paul states that we will appear before the judgment seat of Jesus but does not inform us where the dead are who await that judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). Some believe the righteous go to Abraham’s bosom until the judgment takes place. If so, the judgment is not necessary because those with Abraham are the faithful. They are not waiting to be identified as such. Those in torment were not waiting to find out where they would go. Some believe the faithful will go straight to heaven and be “with the Lord” (v. 8). So, if one is “with the Lord,” why is he waiting for the judgment since his position already shows he is saved? Will the Lord change his mind and weed out some of the faithful? If one is “with the Lord,” will he be wondering if at the judgment he will be sent to hell? Perhaps Jesus will congratulate those with “Well done” who already know their condition because of where they are? If one knows where he will be throughout eternity by where he is before the judgment, is the “Well done” or “Depart from me” not redundant? Will the judgment see some who were being tormented have a reversal and be pardoned, apologized to, and released to go to heaven? Will some in heaven be dragged from the celestial presence of God and cast into hell because they were mistakenly allowed into the wrong realm?
So, where do the dead go from death until the judgment? Are the dead, both saint and sinner, not raised until the trumpet sounds and all stand before Jesus? Death is referred to as “sleep.” When I had surgery, time meant nothing to me. I was out several hours. However, it seemed that I closed my eyes and immediately opened them and was still waiting for surgery. If that happens when we die, then the passing of an hour or several thousand years will mean nothing. What is important is what state we were in when we closed our eyes! Will I awaken to hear “Well done” or “Depart from me”? Whether your faith was in Jesus or not will answer that question.