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          There are many who teach that all the dead holy people are up in Heaven right now, and all the dead unholy people are burning in the Lake of Fire right now.  But, is that true?  If you are saved, do you instantly go straight up to heaven when you die?  And if you’re not saved, will you instantly be cast into the Lake of Fire?  To answer the question, ‘Where are the dead?’, you must look to the Holy Bible.  Notice that I didn’t write that you must look to your church, because there is a chance that your church teaches this subject in error.  Remember, only the scriptures contain the truth, and we shouldn’t believe anything other than what the Bible declares.  We can’t just believe what men have told us, whether they are your parents or relatives, your preacher, or anyone else claiming that they know where the dead are.  No, mankind’s opinion is biased concerning this subject, because we all know people that have died, and some of them we loved very much.  Those are the ones that we want put up in heaven.  And there are other men who have passed away, who, when they were still living, hurt us greatly.  Those are the ones that we often want to see suffer, so we stick them in the Lake fast!  No, no, no!!!  The only way you can believe what a man says, is if what he is saying is the same as what God says.  So, what does God’s word say about this subject?

          Before I tell you where the dead are, let me first explain where they aren’t.  The dead aren’t in Heaven, neither are they burning in the Lake of Fire.  I know, the chances are very high that that’s where you think they are, but the Bible does not uphold that belief.  First, let’s prove that the dead are not in Heaven.

          In St. John 3:13, the Lord himself clearly states, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, save he which came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven.”  This means, there is only man in heaven, and that’s the Son of Man, which is the Lord himself.  He is the only man that came down from heaven, and he is the only man that has ascended up to heaven.  And, realize that the Lord said this before he ascended back up to heaven, so it was a prophecy.  So basically, what the Messiah was saying is this, Adam’s not in heaven yet, Enoch’s not in heaven yet, Noah’s not, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (they’re not!), and everyone else written of in the Old Testament that you may esteem as being ‘heaven bound’, still isn’t there yet!!!  I’m the first man to ascend up to heaven!  Everyone else will have to wait until the Day of Resurrection!!!  Every man in the Bible that man has assumed went straight up to heaven, DID NOT GO!!!!  You know, like Enoch, Moses, or Elijah.  Yes, they may have been caught up in the sky, that kind of heaven!  But, they never went to HEAVEN HEAVEN, that spiritual place where God dwells.

          Remember what the Lord said to Martha in John 11:23-24, before he raised Lazarus from the dead.  He “saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  You see, the original disciples knew and understood that all the dead would rise on the Last Day, which is the Day of Resurrection!  That’s the day that when all the righteous will get to go to Heaven!  We don’t get to go ‘one at a time’.  1 Corinthians 15:20-23 says, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made aliveBut every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

          Now, let’s talk about the Lake of Fire for a bit, and how no man is there yet, either.  Yes, the Lake of Fire is a real place, just like Heaven is.  Are the evil dead eventually going to be cast in there?  Yes, of course they will be.  But they haven’t been cast in there yet.  Revelation 20:11-15 states, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  Now, there’s a lot in these verses, so let’s break it down a little.  When the Lord returns to judge the world, the whole universe will be dissolved and melted, and the only thing left will be the spirits of all the dead which ever dwelt upon the earth.  Now, the first thing you must learn is this, Hell is not the same place as the Lake of Fire.  They are completely different.  Hell is not a place of torment and agony, but the Lake of Fire is!  No, Hell is a place of peace and quiet and rest.  How’s that, you may be wondering?  Well, ‘Hell’, also known as ‘the grave’, is where the dead are kept in a sleeplike state, awaiting the Day of Judgment.  In fact, the Bible often refers to the dead as being ‘asleep’.

          Now, remember when the Son of God was hanging on the cross with the two thieves.  One of them began to believe in him, and asked the Lord, saying, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  Do you remember what the Lord said back to him.  He said, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”(Luke 23:42-43)  So the question is, where did the Messiah and the thief go that day?  Did they go straight up to heaven together?  He did say ‘paradise’, didn’t he?  But no!  The Bible says in Matthew 12:40 and 1 Peter 3:18-19 that he wasn’t in Heaven yet, but he was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, preaching to the spirits in prison.  My friend, the Lord, and both of the thieves that were crucified with him, all went to the same place, Hell, which the Lord referred to as being ’paradise’, because it’s a place of peace and rest, free from the troubles of the world that they two would soon be leaving.  Ecclesiastes 9:3-5 explains, “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.  For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing.”  You see, all men experience the same event, ‘Death’, and once a man dies, he doesn’t know anything anymore.  That’s why the scriptures refer to the dead as being ‘asleep’.  But the Son of God was, and still is, the only man that went down into Hell, but was still awake, because quickened him.  That’s how he was able to preach to the dead.

          Remember what else happened at the time when the Son of God died and rose.  Isaiah 26:19-21 declares this prophecy concerning the Lord’s resurrection, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”  Remember, Matthew 27:51-53 says, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”  Yes, the Bible says that many saints rose from the dead on that day!  But where did these resurrected saints eventually go to?  Did they ascend up into heaven with the Lord?  No, John 3:13 already answered that question.  So where did they go then?  Well, they went back to the grave.  They returned to Hell, so they can go back to sleep ‘til the Lord’s second-coming.
 
          Isaiah
continues on to say, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.  For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

          Now, back to Revelation 20.  When the verse says, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them,” it’s explaining where the dead were before they were brought to stand before God to be judged.  They were in Hell, not the Lake of Fire.  So, at the end of time, God will gather every man he created together to be judged.  The only ones who will escape this judgment are the righteous.  And after these wicked men are judged, then they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.  You see, they first have to be judged, and that won’t happen until the end of time!  So, ask yourself this question, if the dead are already cast into the Lake of Fire, then who is God going to cast in on that last day?  And what dead would the sea, and death and hell have to give up, if the dead have already been taken from them?  I trust your eyes are beginning to come open.

          So the question has been answered.  Where are the dead?  They are sleeping in their graves, in a place called Hell, where all the dead go, whether they are wicked or righteous.  And I’ll throw in a bonus question and answer, free of charge.  Where will the dead go?  When that great trumpet sounds, and wakes up all the dead, the righteous will be taken out of Hell, and they will be forever with the Lord.  But the wicked will be left in Hell, and Hell will surely be cast into the Lake that burns with Fire and Brimstone!!!

          Here’s two more verses, which say the exact same thing that was just opened up to you.  Read carefully, and remember what you’ve just learned.  On that last day, when the trump shall sound, first the dead in the Messiah shall rise, because that trump will wake them up!  Then we holy people that are still alive on the earth, shall meet all the saints that died, in the air where the Lord will also meet us.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Yahshua died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Yahshua will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”  See, God is fair and just.  Nobody get’s to go to heaven before anybody.  We all get to go together!  How’d you like it if you finally made it to heaven, and people were already there, messing up your excitement, volunteering to take you on a tour?!?!  No, you wouldn’t want that!  You would want it to be as new to them as it is to you!  Only the Son of God himself got to go first.  Don’t you think he earned it?  But he’s already been there before anyway, so God is still fair!!!

          Here’s the other verse, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”  So, when DEATH is finally swallowed up in victory, nobody will be asking the question, ‘WHERE ARE THE DEAD?’, because there won’t be anymore dead.  We will all be spirits!  Those that obeyed God will be glorified and saved!  And those that did not obey will spend eternity in pain that we can’t even imagine.  They will be partakers of the SECOND DEATH, which is not a natural death, but it is death to the chance of ever being at peace with the Almighty YAHWEH!  May the Lord touch your heart, and help you to see this truth.  In Yahshua’s name, AMEN.
Where Are The Dead?
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