The Righteous After Death

When a believer dies, his spirit goes immediately to heaven to be with the Lord. Paul made this fact very clear when he wrote of his own death:

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for this is very much better (Phil. 1:21-23, emphasis added).

Notice that Paul said he had the desire to depart and that, if he did depart, he would then be with Christ. His spirit would not go into some unconscious state, waiting for the resurrection (as some unfortunately think).

Also notice that Paul said that, for him, to die would be gain . That would only be true if he went to heaven when he died.

Paul also declared in his second letter to the Corinthians that if a believer’s spirit left his body, he was then “at home with the Lord”:

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord…and prefer to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6-8).

In further support, Paul also wrote:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. (1 Thes. 4:13-14).

If Jesus is going to bring back from heaven with Him at His return “those who have fallen asleep,” they must then be in heaven with Him now.