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Between Death and the Resurrection
2 Corinthians 5:6
When speaking of the believer’s death, the Word of God always represents it as an immediate entrance into heavenly blessedness. Actually, for the believer, death is not death at all, but the beginning of life. God’s elect never die (John 11:26). The death of a believer’s body is the liberation of his soul. And as soon as our souls are freed from this body of sin and death, we enter heaven. This is the doctrine of God’s Word.
(Isaiah 57:1-2) “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.”
When the righteous perish from the earth, they live in uprightness forever. Those who have been made righteous by the grace of God, having the righteousness of Christ imputed to them in justification and imparted to them in the sanctification of the new birth, when they die, are taken away from evil. They enter into a world of peace. They rest in their beds, their bodies in the grave and their souls in the arms of Christ. And they live in the uprightness of glorified spirits forever.
(Luke 16:22-25) “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.”
As soon as the believer dies, he is carried by the angels of God into heaven, “Abraham’s bosom,” the place of endless comfort. At death, every repentant sinner is taken to be with Christ in Paradise. Paradise is Heaven, the Garden of God (Revelation 2:7; Luke 23:43). It is that place of assured blessedness promised to sinners who seek the mercy of God in Christ. Our Savior said to the dying thief, “Today,” immediately, “shalt thou,” assuredly, “be with me,” in endless company, “in paradise,” heavenly glory.
Death for the believer is infinite, immeasurable, immediate gain. Believers, upon leaving this world, lose nothing but sin and sorrow, and gain everything good and glorious (Philippians 1:21, 23).
What is the state of the saints’ life between death and the resurrection? I will not say more than God has revealed. But we are assured that God’s saints are not floating around in the sky sleeping! They have gone to a specific place called Heaven, where Christ is. There they are assembled as a glorified church (Hebrews 12:22-23). And their souls exist in a recognizable form (Luke 16:23; Matthew 17:3). Do God’s saints have a body between death and the resurrection? A physical body? No. A spiritual body, a heavenly form, a house for their souls? Most definitely! (2 Corinthians 5:1). Every believer, as soon as he leaves this body of flesh, enters into heaven with Christ. It is this assurance that makes death a desirable thing for the believer.