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You are here: Home Common Q&A When will we be judged? Is it right when we die or do we wait somewhere until Christ returns?

When will we be judged? Is it right when we die or do we wait somewhere until Christ returns?

The Bible tells us that when we are dead we know absolutely nothing.
Here are some Scriptures to support this belief: (all from the NIV)

Ecclesiastes 9:10
"Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."

Ecclesiastes 9:5
"For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten."

Psalm 6:5
"No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave?"

Isaiah 38:18,19
"For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those that go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living - they praise you, as I am doing today."

Psalm 88:5
"I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care."

Psalm 28:1
"To you I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit." (grave)

The state of the dead is just nothing. Time stands still for someone who is dead, and it will make no difference to them if they have been dead 2 days or 2 thousand years, it will just be like waking from a night's sleep. When Jesus went to Martha and Mary, he described their dead brother Lazarus as being 'asleep'. (John 11:11-14)

The first thing anyone who has died will know, is being resurrected to stand before the Judgment seat of Jesus Christ.

"Multitudes that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake; some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt." Daniel 12:2
"....Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom," 2 Timothy 4:1 That is when people will receive eternal life or eternal death .

Being with Jesus 'spiritually awake' is nothing more than an idea and has no Scriptural basis. A lot of confusion has arisen on the point in question, really because of a misunderstanding of what the word 'soul' really means. The original word in the Hebrew means 'a breathing creature' and comes from the root word which means 'to breathe' or 'breath'. The 'soul' or 'spirit' does not continue to have a personality or to know anything, it is just the power of life which is best described as the difference between a living person and their dead body, nothing more.

"The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" Genesis 2:7.



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# john 2012-09-18 21:11
So if we get our judgement on the day of the lords return why did Jesus say to the thief on the cross .today you will be with me in heaven . Can someone help me out with this
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# Jason 2012-10-01 15:48
Quoting john:
So if we get our judgement on the day of the lords return why did Jesus say to the thief on the cross .today you will be with me in heaven . Can someone help me out with this


Verse 43 of Luke 23 reads:
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Now, very strangely, neither Justin (AD.100?–165. The books ascribed to Justin with certainty are the two Apologies for the Christians, and the Dialogue with Trypho the Jew) nor Irenæus (wrote AD.170–190. As a child he heard Polycarp, who was a disciple of John) cite this verse, though these two writers had quoted almost every verse in Luke’s Gospel that related to the crucifixion. Neither does Tertullian (about AD.220) quote the verse, although he wrote about the intermediate state, and cited almost every text.

Why would these writers have omitted quoting Luke 23:43, a verse so important to their message? Why would Mathew, Mark and John forget to mention this amazing act? Was it a later addition?

The verse was lacking from the copies of Marcion (about AD.140) and other ‘reputed heretics’ of that time; and was wanting from the older copies at the time of Origen (AD.155?–222?).

These facts raise doubt that the verse under consideration is an authentic part of Scripture, but added in the third Century to allow for the possibility of deathbed repentance.

Such a scenario would account for some apparent inconsistencies resulting from the present text.
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# Marty Hansen 2014-04-07 22:18
Quoting john:
So if we get our judgement on the day of the lords return why did Jesus say to the thief on the cross .today you will be with me in heaven . Can someone help me out with this


Has been approx 5 yrs but I came across (finally, no minister or priest has answd my lifetime question. I have assumed for last 30 yrs that "instant heaven" was a comforting tool; "she is now in a better place etc,." A leading Biblical scholar (doctorates in theology and languages including Aramaic (the tongue of our Lord.) Aramaic has no commas, signifies pause in another way. She contends that taking Aramaic text; the pause (comma) falls after today, not before. Changes it entirely---"ver ily i say unto you today, you will be with me in Paradise."
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# Jason 2014-05-09 14:11
Quoting Marty Hansen:
Quoting john:
So if we get our judgement on the day of the lords return why did Jesus say to the thief on the cross .today you will be with me in heaven . Can someone help me out with this


Has been approx 5 yrs but I came across (finally, no minister or priest has answd my lifetime question. I have assumed for last 30 yrs that "instant heaven" was a comforting tool; "she is now in a better place etc,." A leading Biblical scholar (doctorates in theology and languages including Aramaic (the tongue of our Lord.) Aramaic has no commas, signifies pause in another way. She contends that taking Aramaic text; the pause (comma) falls after today, not before. Changes it entirely---"verily i say unto you today, you will be with me in Paradise."


Hi Marty,
Thank you for your question.
Firstly, on the matter of judgment, the issue is clear: it waits the time of resurrection, and that occurs at the time of the return of Jesus to the earth.
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom…” 2 Timothy 4:1 NKJV
This is common thread throughout Scripture.
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth --- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28–29
“Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." John 11:24
Probably the reason why you have not received a reply from any minister or priest is because it runs counter to “instant heaven” which unfortunately the Bible doesn’t teach. Our future life is wholly dependent on judgment, which is so logical. Why start enjoying eternity and then when Jesus returns and you are judged, you suddenly find you didn’t qualify in the first place!
Those that have died are all dormant [“asleep”] in the grave. They wait for Jesus’ return. The Bible is clear that there is a Day of Judgment, and that has not yet come.
So to return to your question: the placing of the comma after “today” is the only way that the words of Jesus can make sense, for the promise of eternal life is still future for anyone. That is why you have not had an answer.
Kind regards,
Jason Young
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# Thomas 2012-11-23 00:55
What Jesus said to the thief on the cross and what was recorded is the difeerence in punctuation. (commas and periods/full stops as they are known. Compare this I promise you, today i will be with you in paradise. and I promise you today, i will be with you in paradise. The bible does not contradict itself. the dead know nothing and the go nowhere, but remain in the grave until Jesus comes. fter Christ Ressurrection, He said to Mary Magdalene, do not touch me for i have not ascended to the Father. Evidence that the dead remain dead, Until ressurection.
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# Jason Young 2012-11-26 11:41
While accepting Thomas’ remark as a possible explanation, it is not a strong ‘proof’ of his argument. Although the Greek language lacked modern punctuation, it did have grammar, which favours the conventional punctuation, ie., a comma after ‘today’. However, this doesn’t exclude the possibility noted by Thomas, but it does weaken his argument considerably. That is why I did not offer it as an explanation. I feel that the possibility that it was not part of the original text is a stronger argument, though at this stage it is not with proven certainty. Textual corruption of the text by Christian copyists was unfortunately practiced as exampled by the inclusion of Acts 8:37 about 525-550AD by an English priest who considered that an answer was needed for the eunuch’s rhetorical question: “What doth hinder me to be baptised?” The Trinitarian clause introduced into 1 John 5:7 is another example.
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# diana 2013-01-16 05:16
Please explain Luke 16:19-end about poor man Lazarus and rich man. Here is sounds like they both immediately went to either being with God or separated from God after their death.
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# B Young 2013-01-22 15:54
We should understand that Jesus was speaking in a parable. In Luke 16:14 we see that the Pharisees were jeering at him, and this parable was spoken against them. It begins with describing ‘a certain rich man, clothed with purple and fine linen’ which identifies them. But, as with other parables, we cannot take each incident literally because the reason for telling a story was to illustrate a point.

Jesus used one of the Pharisees’ own fables as the basis for his story, so in a way he was jeering back at them and showing up the fictional nature of their belief. Evidence from surviving Jewish texts of the period show that what is described in Luke 16:19-30 is drawn from popular first century teachings concerning a division in the underworld between the fires of Hades and the paradise where Abraham and other patriarchs dwelt:
The "Bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (papyrus Preisigke Sb2034:11), was a specific concept in contemporary popular belief.
Jewish martyrs believed that: "After our death in this fashion Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will receive us and all our forefathers will praise us" (4 Maccabees 13:17
Abraham was believed to intercede for them to God. The description of events Jesus gave in the parable were drawn from the Jewish fables and not confirmed in any other teachings of Jesus. They are quite contradictory to them, and what Jesus described was never meant to be a factual description of the ‘underworld’.

A closer look at the details show that it can’t be taken literally:
Verse 22: And it came to pass , that the beggar died , and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom:
What was carried? We are told elsewhere that our bodies lie asleep in the grave until Jesus returns. In the parable Lazarus could see Abraham.
Where was Abraham’s bosom? Abraham was dead and awaiting resurrection when Jesus returns to the earth: “These all [including Abraham] died in faith… 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect “ (Hebrews 11).
Verse 23: The rich man was buried in hell (the grave) afar off, yet in verses 24 and 25, they could speak to each other.

Verses 29- 31 show the message of what Jesus was saying, he made Abraham and Lazarus say words which were additional to their fable :
“29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent . 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded , though one rose from the dead.”

Jesus knew that even though he was going to be crucified, they still would not believe in him. They held Moses and the prophets in high regard but wouldn‘t believe their message, for they had prophesied regarding Jesus.
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# diana 2013-01-23 07:56
Thank you for your explanation. After further reading, though, I do still believers, not nonbelievers, their souls are immediately taken to be with their Lord Christ Jesus. I base this on the following Scriptures: Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8-10; Philippians 1:23; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 6:9,10 and 7:9-14.
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# B Young 2013-01-24 09:02
I will explain each quotation individually:
Luke 23:43
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
An explanation and comments on this verse are given by “Jason” answering an earlier query (see above)

2 Corinthians 5:8-10
8.We are confident , I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour , that, whether present or absent , we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done , whether it be good or bad.

No time period is indicated in these verses. Paul, the writer to the Corinthians, was well aware that all those to be judged, would be judged together at the same time.
“28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming , in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28
“27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. “ Matthew 16:27
Paul knew that he would be totally unaware of time between when he died and when Jesus returned and he was resurrected. Therefore he knew that his next conscious moment would be with Christ.

Philippians 1:23
“23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart , and to be with Christ; which is far better:”
Again, no immediate time period is inferred.
Paul was well aware of the writngs of Ecclesiastes that time stands still between death and resurrection:
“5 For the living know that they shall die : but the dead know not any thing” Ecclesiastes 9:5

Paul knew that judgment would be when Christ returns:
“5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come , who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” 1 Cor 4:5

Hebrews 12:23
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

There were some who had served God so well that God had already noted them and they had already been told that they would receive eternal life:
“But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest , and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:13
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8


Revelation 6:9,10 and 7:9-14.
6.And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held : 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying , How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

9 After this I beheld , and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number , of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying , Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying , Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered , saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they ? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest . And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The book of Revelation was written by Jesus and given to John in about 96AD. John was shown visions of what was yet in the future (Revelation 1:1)often from the point of view of the end looking back. They were symbolic visions of what would happen in the world from John’s time until the setting up of the kingdom on earth. There is little in the book which can be taken literally, and we should understand the whole in the light of what we learn from the other books of the Bible.
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# Guillermo 2013-11-07 06:28
Suffice it to say, I am terrified of death and what is to come, and the worst part is I know that these events are unavoidable and coming soon.
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# Paul 2014-04-26 02:52
Could it be that some scriptures are talking about a dead body which knows nothing and returns to dust , I believe we have a soul that leaves our dead body and is put in a new body by GOD who gave us ALL things. Thus we go to a temporary torment or Paradise place to wait Judgement.
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# Jason 2014-05-09 15:40
Quoting Paul:
Could it be that some scriptures are talking about a dead body which knows nothing and returns to dust , I believe we have a soul that leaves our dead body and is put in a new body by GOD who gave us ALL things. Thus we go to a temporary torment or Paradise place to wait Judgement.


Hi Paul,
Your belief is shared by many, but unfortunately it is not based on what the Bible teaches. Nowhere does it teach that we have an immortal soul—that belief has come through unfortunately from past paganism. The Bible is clear that the dead are no longer conscious.
“For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?” Psalm 6:5
“When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.” Psalm 146:5
When the Bible speaks of a ‘soul’ it is referring to a person, not a nebulous part of a person. We have an illustration of this in Peter’s speech to his hearers:
“And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.'” Acts 3:23
Our future life after death is dependent wholly on the resurrection from the grave, and this will occur when Jesus returns from heaven.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word…” 2 Timothy 4:1
Recall the death of Mary’s brother Lazarus. Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
“Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." John 11:24
She did not expect Lazarus to have a soul that would have fluttered to heaven a few days earlier, and neither did Jesus. They both knew he was dead.
Jesus had previously said to his disciples,
“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:28–29
Your idea does not really withstand logic, for if in this ‘temporary body’ provided after death one has already been assigned either to torment or Paradise, hasn’t judgment already taken place? The suggestion makes no sense, whereas the Bible teaching is fully logical—judgmen t immediately following bodily resurrection.
Regards,
Jason
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