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Do we go straight to heaven?

Submitted: 5/25/2010
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Question: When we die and we are belivers in Christ, do we go straight to heaven? If so, will we be judged by God or Jesus? Also, when Jesus comes, why would the dead in Christ be lifted up if they are with Him already?

Answer: God told the first man that when he dies, he will return to the ground from which he was taken (Genesis 3:19). He never said that he would go straight to heaven. When a believer dies, he must wait until the resurrection before he sees Jesus. Of course, like being asleep, we will have no concept of the passing of time, which means that it will seem as though only a moment.

Romans 2:16 says that 'God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.' And Acts 17:31 says that God has 'appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.' Since the Man, Jesus, is God in the flesh, we understand that this is not saying that Jesus will judge us but God will not. These passages are simply telling us the means by which God will judge us. He will judge us, not from His place as God, but from His place as man; not as one who is superior to us, but as one who is one of us. This takes away all our excuses.

You are correct, of course, that if we go to be with Jesus when we die, then there would be no reason for Him to gather us unto Himself when He comes.