When a believer arrives at the end of life on this earth, their body dies, but their life goes on (2 Cor 5:6-9). When they came to faith, they were born again of the Spirit. This is the first resurrection; their spirit has come to life.

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:21,24).

The first resurrection allows the person to live forever.

The person goes straight to Paradise to be with Jesus. He said to the penitent thief:

Today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43).

Christians have the assurance that their believing loved ones go to be with the Lord when they die, because they have gone straight to Paradise.

Paradise is an intermediate state, where God's people wait for the last judgment, at which they will receive their final reward. The Bible tells us something of what Paradise is like:

  1. Paradise is a conscious existence. Hebrews 12:1-2 speaks of a great crowd of witnesses, who are aware of our struggles on the earth. People who have died will be able to pray for those still on earth. In Revelation 6:9-11, the martyrs are heard crying out to God, and praying about events on earth.

  2. The lives of the saints will be made perfect in holiness. Hebrews 12:23 speaks of the "spirits of righteous men made perfect". Man does not become perfect by discarding his body. Both body and soul have potential for good and evil. The saints will be made perfect in Paradise.

  3. The suffering of life on earth will be ended (Rev 7:16,17).

  4. Paradise is a place of rest.

    Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labour, for their deeds will follow them" (Rev 14:13).

  5. Jesus will be at the centre of Paradise. All those who go there will have the privilege of being with him. They will experience all the glory and blessing that comes from being close to Jesus, who has gone to prepare a place for his followers.

  6. I am going there to prepare a place for you... I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:3).

  7. Paradise is in the third heaven. The apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven, where he had a foretaste of Paradise (2 Cor 12:2,4). The Bible does not tell us the location of the third heaven is, but all we need to know is that Jesus is there (1 Cor 2:9).

Paradise is a temporary dwelling place for followers of Jesus, where they remain until the last day when Christ returns.

There are two false ideas about the intermediate state. The first is called the sleep of the soul. This view suggests that the soul is an unconscious, almost non-existent state between death and the last judgment. The second is that the souls of the saints go to purgatory, and that people on earth can earn the right for them to be set free. If this is not done, it is thought that they have to pay the penalty for certain sins. Neither view can be justified from the Bible.

Return to After Death.