THE AFTERLIFE: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DIE?                                                        (Heaven or Hell? Rapture? Resurrection?)  – by Eric C. Wheeler

I realize that most of what I present here will counter traditional “Churchianity” doctrine.  But I will always speak what the Lord gives me and what He gives can always be supported by Scripture. I realize that many biblical topics have been explored by authors who all claim to back what they write from Scripture. However, the Bible admonishes us to “search the Scriptures daily to see whether or not these things are so” (Acts 17:11). Always test them (and me) to see if they address all Scripture and present “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Cherry picking Scripture and filling in the holes to fit your agenda is not acceptable. I won’t do that. I will cite Scripture throughout each spiritual building point which the Bible describes as “precept upon precept.” For it is written: “Whom will He teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand the message? Those weaned from milk! Those drawn from the breasts! For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little… For the Word of the Lord was to them, ‘precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’” (Isa. 28:9-10, 13). “For everyone who partakes of milk is unskilled in the Word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are mature – those who by reason of use [habitual practice] have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:13-14).

This, by necessity, is going to be a very bold and forthright message. The times are getting short. We cannot continue being spiritually immature children any longer. It is high time that we begin to understand the truth regarding important foundational doctrines. People have been dependent on their pastors and teachers for far too long, and as a result, “have come to need milk and not solid food” (Heb. 5:12). Because of this, most in Christianity have been led astray into false doctrines and complete biblical errancy and ignorance. The failure of Churchianity’s congregants to daily study and read their own Bibles, and to earnestly pursue a personal relationship with Christ directly themselves has resulted in most Christians sadly being void of any real biblical knowledge and literacy. This is especially true when it comes to knowing and understanding the basic elementary foundational doctrines specifically mentioned in the book of Hebrews: “repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrines of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:1-2). Yes, we are certainly called to fellowship together; but that can never replace the lifelong pursuit of zealously growing in Christ and our individual connections to Him through His Holy Spirit. Jesus told us to abide in Him and that He is the Word (John 15:4). God said that if we would pursue Him (“hunger and thirst for righteousness”) and seek after Him hard (“seek, knock, and ask”) that He would give us His Holy Spirit which would lead us into all truth, so that no man would need to further teach us (see Luke 11:9-13; John 16:13; I John 2:27).

I’m nothing special; yet God has graciously and mercifully granted me a tremendous amount of spiritual knowledge directly from Him, regarding the deep things of God’s Word as revealed by His Holy Spirit, just as He promised He would do for any and all who will earnestly seek Him and His ways (Matt. 6:33; 25:28-29). But in the past, the Holy Spirit has forbidden me to share many of these deep things, especially regarding the afterlife. Once, for example, many years ago, I was attempting to answer a sincere online question posted on an open Christian forum discussion board, when the Lord suddenly and instantly erased everything I had written the moment I went to publicly post it. My response just literally vanished into thin air with no record of it anywhere! I was extremely upset. I had spent a number of hours drafting it, and I knew it was the truth. I went to the Lord in prayer to complain, asking why He would not let me answer that public post. He immediately declared, “Unto YOU it has been given to know the mysteries [the hidden things] of the Kingdom of God; but unto them it has NOT been given!” (Matt. 13:11). Needless to say, I was shocked!

Recently, however, the Lord has given me a new directive: “Whatever I tell you in the dark, now speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be made known.” (Matt. 10:26-27). Therefore, He has charged me with a responsibility to address these long misunderstood, mistaught, and often completely erroneous, “Christian” doctrines and teachings that Churchianity has propagated for many centuries. We see business models and hierarchical power structures designed to keep people subject to their spiritual “authorities” which has caused (and is causing) a crippling co-dependance damaging to both teacher and student. As Jesus said, it is literally “the blind leading the blind” and they have both fallen into a ditch (Matt. 15:14). But now it is time! Time for the truth to be made known, and for the people of God to wake up from their drunken stupors, and to grow up, and to begin to make themselves ready “as a bride adorned for her husband,” so that they can rise to MEET Him in the air! It is time for the Elijah-types to come forth out of their wildernesses of obscurity and start to “restore all things” in spiritual Israel that the Great Famine and Apostasy of the last two millennia have taken away (Matt. 17:11; Mal. 4:5-6). It’s time “to make ready a people prepared for their Lord” (Luke 1:17).

In this writing, I am going to address and biblically explain a number of core teachings and doctrines of the Bible regarding the afterlife that Churchianity doesn’t understand and misteaches.

Is There a Rapture?

Let’s begin by addressing the subject of the Rapture. To be sure, there is a “rapture.” However, it is nothing like most churches and Christians understand and teach. In fact, for a time, I didn’t personally believe in “the Rapture” because of Churchianity’s false ideas and teachings. But one day, a number of years ago, I was reading Revelation chapter 11 verses 11 and 12, when suddenly I heard the Lord say to me, “There is your Rapture!” Astonished, I said, “What, Lord?! You mean there is ‘a Rapture’?”  The Holy Spirit rushed in to explain it to me. He also showed me how Christian leaders and churches have completely soiled the idea and doctrine through the trickery of Satan (see I Tim. 4:1; II Tim. 3:13; 4:3-4). Many of them erroneously teach that Christians are going to somehow be miraculously “whisked away” from Satan’s persecution and their possible martyrdom. They willfully forget the admonition of Jesus who explicitly told us: “Those who seek to save their life WILL lose it; but those who lose their life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25).

The actual word “rapture” itself is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible; however, the concept of it certainly is – just not in the way most churches teach it. The word translates into English from the Latin root word raptus and the Greek word harpazo, which literally means “to snatch or to take away.” Well-meaning Christians in the nineteenth century began using this term “rapture” in order to try and help communicate, in their thinking, what Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians was describing regarding how believers who are alive when Christ returns “shall be caught up” together with those who had previously died in Christ (I Thess. 4:17). Unfortunately, over the next two centuries, Christians and their leaders began creating entire fanciful and apocalyptic teachings and doctrines around this one non-biblical word. Thus, we currently have many different and erroneous ideas and concepts floating around that are completely unbiblical and even heretical. But rather than spend time examining these different errant teachings and ideas, and explaining why they are wrong, let’s just focus on what the Bible does teach on this subject.

As Christ returns, this is when the “Rapture” (being caught-up) will occur. The “Rapture” is merely the First Resurrection. Let me explain. As Jesus Christ is descending and coming in the clouds to take over the rulership of this earth as its King, the dead in Christ will suddenly “rise to meet Him in the air” as He is coming towards the earth. Those Christians who are alive when this happens and who have the Spirit of Christ (also called the Holy Spirit) in them will be immediately “changed” (given spiritual bodies), and rise to join Christ and these risen saints as they are descending to the earth. It’s really not hard to understand. The Bible calls it the First Resurrection: “Blessed and holy is he [or she] who has part in the First Resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). This thousand-year period of Christ’s rule on earth with His risen saints is commonly referred to as the Millennium. The rest of the dead – those who died but did not have the Holy Spirit living in them when they were physically alive on the earth – will not live again until this thousand-year millennium is finished (Rev. 20:5). Afterwards, the dead who didn’t know Christ or have His Holy Spirit dwelling in them during their lifetimes will be physically resurrected and given a chance to know Jesus, many for the first time ever.

There is much to explain here. Let’s break it down slowly and biblically (“precept built upon precept”). Please be sure to study and understand each biblical precept and spiritually-building concept before preceding to the next spiritual precept/concept. God wants us to seek Him diligently regarding these things, and that requires effort. Take the time to look up the referenced Scriptures as you proceed slowly, methodically, and prayerfully. Remember, these things are purposely called “the deep things of God” and “the mysteries of God” that only the Holy Spirit reveals, and that God has intentionally hidden from the world (I Cor. 2:6-14; Eph. 3:9).

PRECEPT #1:  Biblically speaking, who are the dead? And how does the Bible define being “dead”? The Bible has two definitions for being dead or for death. The first one is being physically dead – which by biblical definition is “a body without a spirit.” Notice this in Scripture: “For as the body without the spirit is dead…” (Jam. 2:26). This is the biblical definition of death: a physical body without the spirit of life (also known as “the breath of life”) inhabiting it. The second biblical definition for death is just like it, although this one is spiritual in nature: the Bible says that a person can be “dead in their sins and trespasses.” In other words, they are alive in the flesh, but spiritually dead. Note these examples:

“And you [brethren] He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loves us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” (Eph. 2:1-5)

“Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’” (Matt. 8:21-22)

The Bible describes anyone who is not living in a close relationship with Christ as spiritually dead. Thus, you have two different types of people who are dead: the one is missing the spirit of life in them; the other is missing the Spirit of Christ in them.

PRECEPT #2:  Christ is a life-giving Spirit (I Cor. 15:45). As fleshly human beings – which we all are – the Bible says that our life is in our blood (Lev. 17:11-14). But for those who are living now as spiritual beings – living in and by the Holy Spirit with their minds focused on heavenly things (see Rom. 8:5; Col. 3:1-4) – their lives are found in Jesus’s shed blood which has made atonement for them, and thus they are now living by the Spirit of Christ Who resides in them. They live because of Jesus’ shed blood which has made atonement for their souls, so they no longer live in and by the flesh (or according to the dictates of the flesh), but now live according to the dictates of the Spirit. Look at these Scriptures:

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11)

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation [atoning sacrifice] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24-26)

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7)

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh… For those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:16, 24-25)

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit… But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom. 8:5-11)

PRECEPT #3: Those who have the Spirit of Christ in them, though they may have physically died, are only biblically considered to be “sleeping” right now. When Jesus returns, those who are “asleep in Him” (had His Holy Spirit in them when they died) will be instantly resurrected in their new spiritual bodies as they rise to meet Him in the air. They will be immediately followed by those who are still alive and haven’t tasted physical death, and who have the Holy Spirit residing in them. The Holy Spirit (also called the Spirit of Christ) will raise these believers who are asleep in Christ from the dead, just as the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead with a new spiritually glorified body. In addition, those believers who are alive when this happens will be instantly “caught up” and changed (translated) into spirit beings immortal and incorruptible along with them. This is why the Apostle Paul explains: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (I Cor. 15:51). Notice these things in Scripture:

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thess. 4:13-17)

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His Coming. Then the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (I Cor. 15:20-26)

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom. 8:11)

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit…” (I Pet. 3:18)

“The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart. Merciful men are taken away while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds; each one walking in his uprightness.” (Isa. 57:1-2)

“Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (I Cor. 15:51-53)

“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’… The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption… It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body… As it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam [Jesus Christ] became a life-giving spirit… The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” (I Cor. 15:35-49)

Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, that You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, that You appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait till my change comes. You shall call, and I will answer You. You shall desire the work of Your hands.” (Job 14:13-15)

PRECEPT #4:  Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26).  This statement by Jesus is very profound and enlightening. Most people read right over it and don’t really perceive what it is truly saying. I personally believe it has a double meaning – not surprising, because it is written that the Word of God is “sharper than any double-edge sword;” and that out of Jesus’ mouth comes a “double-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16).

To begin, this statement by Jesus clearly shows two different groups of people: 1) those who believed but have physically died; and 2) those who believe but haven’t tasted physical death by the time He Returns. Paul said: “We shall not ALL sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (I Cor. 15:51-52). This first group of people are sleeping (have physically died) and are waiting for the First Resurrection when they will be changed and given new immortal spiritual bodies (“he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live”); and the second group who are living at the time of Christ’s Return (have not physically died) who will be instantly changed into immortal spiritual beings, (“whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die”). As Paul explained to the Thessalonians, those who are living will be instantaneously “changed” (translated, i.e., “caught up”), and will immediately follow those who have been sleeping in their graves. Both groups are saints – referred to as the firstfruits of God – and will have their place in the First Resurrection. Because the second group are still physically alive at Christ’s Coming, they will be the ones “caught up” (raptured/translated) together with the saints who had fallen asleep (died) as they are resurrected into immortality. The second group will experience what Enoch had experienced many thousands of years earlier as a prophetic prototype – he “was translated so that he did not see death, and was not found because God had translated him” (Heb. 11:5).

The second prophetic meaning of Jesus’ statement has to do with the good news of “the gospel preached to the dead” (I Pet. 3:19; 4:6) and the exciting hope of their future resurrection and promised second life. Let me explain. This mystery is going to be very good news to many – especially those who are lamenting the false teaching that their dead relatives and friends are “lost forever” because they didn’t “accept Jesus” while they were physically alive. This is an evil lie that has been permeating Christianity/Churchianity for many centuries. But now, it’s time for the liberating truth of God to be made known as revealed by His Holy Spirit, so that people don’t need to constantly live in fear and worry; but rather they may rejoice in the wisdom and love of God, giving praise to Him “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4); and “who is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Think of it. Our God and Creator desires that all be saved. Jesus, the Judge of the living and the dead, said of God, “Thy will be done!” And again, He said, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!” And it is also written throughout the Bible, “Who can resist His will?! And who is God’s instructor or His counselor that His purposes will not stand?! No one is able to withstand God or circumvent His will – no one! Everyone is going to eventually bend the knee and confess to God and Christ and submit themselves before Him – everyone on earth, in the heavenly realms, and under the earth. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living!” (see II Chron. 20:6; Psa. 33:8-11; Isa. 46:8-10; Rom. 9:19-21; 11:32-36; 14:7-11; Rev. 5:12-13). For God did not send His Son into the world to further condemn the world, but rather, to save it (John 3:17-18). The world was (and is) already in a state of condemnation when God sent His Son into the world because it hasn’t believed God from the beginning (John 3:18-19). As it is written: “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ ALL shall be made alive. But each one in his own order.” (I Cor. 15:21-23). Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that there is not going to be consequences and punishment for sin, rebellion, and disbelief. There certainly are and will be! Consider the plight of the rich man who lived luxuriously on earth while Lazarus suffered. As Scripture shows, his punishment was extremely unpleasant (see Luke 16:19-31). But what I am saying is there will be an opportunity for all people to get to know God in “the ages to come” (Eph. 2:7) – but each person in their own order (I Cor. 15:22-23). For Jesus said: “God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for ALL live to Him.” (Luke 20:38).

PRECEPT #5:  As described earlier, those who have the Spirit of Christ in them in this life will either be resurrected if they’ve already died or raptured if they are alive when Jesus returns. This is called the First Resurrection – and “blessed and holy is everyone who has part in the first resurrection; over such the second death has no power.” (Rev. 20:6). Conversely, those who didn’t have Christ’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them during their lifetime – which will be the majority of mankind – will remain in their graves until the “Second Resurrection” (also known as the General Resurrection) which takes place after the Millennium (Rev. 20:5,12,13). Remember, they didn’t have the life-giving Spirit of Christ in them when they physically died (they weren’t in an abiding relationship with Him when they were physically alive), so they are still considered “dead” – dead in their sins and trespasses. They will still be waiting in their graves until the thousand years (the Millennium) is over. Jesus said this very thing to the Jews of His day:

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I Am, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world… Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever… As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:32-58).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he [or she] who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…. 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…” (John 5:24-29).

Again, Jesus shows two different groups of people and two different resurrections. Note the first statement, Jesus says: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the [spiritually] dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” On the second statement He says, “for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth.”  Notice that in the second statement He doesn’t say “and now is.”

People who are alive now but have been spiritually dead in their sins and trespasses, but are now willing to hear and repent and believe on Him have passed from death to life in this life! They are now living a resurrected life by the Holy Spirit. Although their bodies may die (fall asleep), they will nonetheless be given a new resurrected body when Jesus Christ returns (this is the First Resurrection). Those who didn’t know Him when they were physically alive, and have since died, will hear His voice calling them in the future while they are in their graves. Then they will come forth and be resurrected in the flesh! They will not be given new spiritual bodies, nor will they have immortality. They will literally be given a second physical life! Let me explain.

Precept #6:  Jesus said, “No one can come to Me [know Me or have My blood atone for their sins] unless the Father who sent Me draws them to Me” (John 6:44). Again, He said: “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (John 6:65). Unless God the Father grants you the spiritual eyes and ears to receive Him and brings you to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness and remittance of your sins, you are still dead in your sins and trespasses. You have been blinded to the truth – either by Satan (II Cor. 4:4); by your own stubborn disobedient heart (Isa. 29:10-13; II Cor. 3:14; Rom. 11:25); by self-righteousness and pride (Rom. 10:3; Rev. 3:17; John 5:39-40); by God Himself (Exod. 4:11; Deut. 29:3-4; John 9:1-3; 12:39-40; Rom. 11:8); or it could be any combination of the aforementioned. But you are not eternally condemned – not at all. How can God condemn a person He has blinded or who is blind? He doesn’t. (The subject of punishment after physical death will be explained and addressed later.) The point here is that God is going to eventually call everyone to Jesus Christ – but each in their own order as God Himself determines. Some are being called in this life (the Bible calls them “the firstfruits” of the Harvest); but most will be called in the next life. Notice these verses:

“For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order.” (I Cor. 15:21-23).

“The queen of the South will rise up in the judgement with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.” (Luke 11:31-32).

“The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ So I answered, ‘O Lord God, You know.’ Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath [breath of life] came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!” Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’” (Ezek. 37:1-14).

Most people will be resurrected to a fleshly mortal body because they never really got the chance to know God (have His life-giving Holy Spirit dwelling within them) during their first lifetime. They weren’t being called yet, or they were spiritually blinded for whatever reason mentioned above. God has not condemned them! He once asked me, “Eric, which of your children (I have three) did you bring into existence in order to eternally condemn them?!” Shocked at the question, I answered, “None, Lord.” He then said to me, “If you being evil (speaking of all humanity) wouldn’t do such a thing, why would you believe that I would, being righteous?!”  I was speechless and amazed by His question and statement. He then asked me another question: “Eric, you see where it says that anyone whose name isn’t written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire which is called ‘the second death’” (Rev. 20:14-15)? “Yes, Lord,” I replied. He then asked, “How can anyone have a second death, without first being given a second life?!” I had never even considered that before! It was truly eye-opening. This message from God completely changed my entire paradigm and understanding of the afterlife. He has since commanded me to share everything He has told me with whomever will listen!

PRECEPT #7:  Knowing God IS eternal life! Jesus said: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3). You can’t KNOW someone until you actually personally interact with them. You can know ABOUT someone because of what you’ve heard, read, or seen; but until you’ve actually met them and spent time with them – you don’t KNOW them! The same is true with God. Have you ever literally conversed with Him or heard from Him? Very few people have. Most literally don’t KNOW Him. Therefore, they aren’t condemned. How can someone be condemned for something they don’t know?  How can a person be rejected by Somebody they’ve never met? God didn’t send His Son to condemn us to hell (the lake of fire/eternal death), but rather to save us from death. Remember, death is the absence of life. And knowing God is eternal life. Therefore, not knowing God is death. The Bible says that most people right now are “dead in their sins.”  They don’t know God. Although they are alive in the flesh, their flesh is going to die. Keep in mind, our flesh was made to expire – because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50) – and God is Spirit. The two are incompatible by nature (Rom. 8:7-8). However, when a person believes God by obeying Him and doing what He says, God gives them His Holy Spirit – which is literally Him in them – they become one. (Incidentally, this is what marriage was supposed to represent to us from the beginning – two opposing natures becoming one! That is why God gave us marriage of a husband and wife, as an example of “knowing” each other – being intimate with each other and thereby becoming one. “Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived.” And “these two shall become one.”) It pictures God becoming one with us, and us becoming one with Him. This is “knowing” God – which Jesus said, literally is eternal life (John 17:3).

God once asked me, “Eric, according to the Bible, what is the reward of the saved?” I answered, “Eternal life.” “That’s right,” the Lord replied, “so why then do you all say that it is also the reward of the damned?”  The point God was making was that some pastors and preachers erroneously teach that “death” somehow means “being cut off from God eternally” – still alive, yet eternally tormented and suffering – which is still “eternal life.” This is simply not true. Death is the opposite of life. You can’t have both simultaneously. You are either alive or you are dead. By definition, both can’t exist at the same time in the same realm. For example, you can’t be physically alive and physically dead at the same time. Neither can you be spiritually dead and spiritually alive at the same time. It is impossible. You can, however, be physically alive, yet spiritually dead. And conversely, you can be spiritually alive, but physically dead – which is what the Bible calls “asleep in Christ.” You can also be both physically and spiritually dead, which is the current state of most of mankind. The point I’m making here is, by definition, in the same realm (either physically or spiritually), you cannot be both alive and dead. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at eternity. God once asked me: “Eric, what does eternity mean?” “I don’t know, Lord.” I answered. “Eternity means outside of time and space,” God informed me. We humans (in fact, the whole physical creation itself) are stuck in a linear time and space dimension. God and the spirit realm are outside of this time and space dimension. They are literally outside of time – “in eternity.” When you die, your soul, being spiritual by nature, enters the spiritual realms – it goes into “eternity” – outside of this time and space dimension that we are living in. But your soul itself is not immortal. Let me repeat that: YOUR SOUL IS NOT IMMORTAL! It can and will die – just like our bodies do in this world (this age). This will happen – unless something miraculous occurs –and this is the point. Remember, what Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he [or she] who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24). And then Jesus further declared: “Knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent is eternal life!” (John 17:3).

“Knowing” someone means being intimate with them – being one with them! They in you; and you in them. Jesus said that when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are then one with Him and the Father – they are literally in us and we are in them (John 14:20; 14:23; 17:21-23). Those who have physically died and who are still spiritually “dead in their sins” don’t have eternal life dwelling in them. But they are not condemned! Their souls are being held in spiritual holding places which the Bible mentions, and they are waiting for the General Resurrection (referred to as the Second Resurrection) which comes after the First Resurrection which is immediately followed by the Millennium (Rev. 20:5-6,12,13). Because they didn’t know God/Jesus Christ in this life they currently don’t have eternal life dwelling in them, therefore their souls are not immortal. They can and will die eventually – permanently, if God doesn’t do something. They will literally cease to exist – which is what the “second death” is. This is why Jesus said: “Don’t fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna/lake of fire).” (Matt. 10:28). “If your hand makes you sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go to hell (Gehenna)… And if your foot makes you sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, than having two feet, to be cast into hell… And if your eye makes you sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire (Gehenna)” (Mark 9:43-47). Notice the contrast between the two places – it is either LIFE or DEATH (Gehenna hell/lake of fire/second death) – not both! It is NOT having eternal life being cut-off from God living in torment forever and ever! It is literally death – ceasing to exist.

PRECEPT #8:   Where do our souls go when we die? To answer this, and the many questions that undoubtedly will follow, let’s first look at Jesus. He came here to BE the Way for us, and also to SHOW us the Way. Jesus is called “the firstborn from the dead” (Rev. 1:5). As it is written: “Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor. 15:20). He is our example, being the One sent before us to show us the Way – that is, to show us how things are going to go for us. The Word of God (who would become known as Jesus Christ) came down from heaven, “taking the form of a servant and being found in the likeness of men,” was born of a woman, lived out a human existence and experience, died, and then three days later was resurrected, and eventually ascended back to heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God, waiting for God to put all enemies under His feet (Phil. 2:7; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 2:9-18; Acts 2:32-33; Heb. I:3; Rom. 8:34; Cor. 15:20-28). So let’s Scripturally examine what happened to Jesus when He died because He was sent before us as our example to follow.

The Bible says that each of us has “a body, a spirit, and a soul.” Notice this: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thess. 5:23). So, let’s see biblically where Jesus’ spirit, soul, and body went when He died – after all, He came to SHOW us the Way – the Way to Eternal Life!

His body: His body was placed in a tomb hewn out of a rock (Mark 15:45-46); but His flesh did not see corruption (Acts 2:31; 13:34-37). It laid in state for three days in the tomb. But after three days, His physical body was resurrected into a new spiritual body – no longer mortal or corruptible – yet one that could also eat, drink, walk, talk, and be touched. At the same time, He could also now pass through walls, appear and disappear at will, and manifest to others in different bodily forms. Notice this in Scripture:

“He is not here [in the tomb]; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead… And as they went… Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ And they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him.” (Matt. 28:6-9)

“After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.” (Mark 16:12)

“Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:31)

“’Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet… He said to them, ‘Have you any food here?’ So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.” (Luke 24:39-43)

“Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20:26-27)

“Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.” (Acts 10:40-41).

“Until the day in which He was taken up [into heaven]… he presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:2-3).

“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

His spirit: When Jesus was on the cross, He died, and His spirit (also known as the spirit of life or breath of life) immediately went back to God. Notice:

“And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.’ And having said this, He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:46)

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)

“Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit.” (Matt. 27:50)

“And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.” (Mark. 15:37).

“Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7).

“If He should set His heart on it; If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” (Job 34:14-15).

His soul:  Jesus’ soul went to Hades when He died. Three days later, His soul (and spirit) returned to His body, and He was resurrected and given a new spiritual body. Notice this:

“Moreover My flesh will also rest in hope, because You will not leave My soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Acts 2:27)

“Therefore, [David] being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:30-32).

“…made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient… For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (I Pet. 3:18-20; 4:6).

PRECEPT #9:  What is Hades and Gehenna? Hades and Gehenna are two Greek words that have completely different meanings. Unfortunately, they were both translated into English using just one word – “hell.” This is the main reason there is so much misunderstanding in Churchianity regarding the afterlife and eternal punishment. And many church leaders, both past and present, have certainly exploited this lack of understanding, intentionally or not, to scare people into attending their church and keep them captive in the pews. Understanding the difference in meanings of these two Greek words, especially when Jesus is speaking of them in the Gospels, will bring incredible relief and joy to people who are scared of death and afraid for their loved ones being eternally damned who have already passed from this life without knowing God/Jesus.

There are a number of places mentioned in the Bible where the souls of the dead go upon death. Let’s look at the ones that are specifically mentioned in Scripture:

“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God… The Sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.” (Rev. 20:12-13).

“I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” (Rev. 6:9).

“So it was that the beggar [Lazarus] died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’” (Luke 16:22-28).

These verses show us that we have at least five different places mentioned in the Bible where the souls of the departed have gone. (Obviously, there could be more places that God hasn’t yet told us; but it is my goal to only share what the Bible says, and not to add or subtract anything.) These five places are: the Sea (not to be confused with the sea/ocean as in being buried at sea/water versus being buried in the ground), Death, Hades, under the altar, and Abraham’s Bosom. One place (Hades) involves torment and flames; two of them (the Sea and Death) seem general in nature; and two of them (under the altar and Abraham’s Bosom) house the souls of the righteous. The Bible doesn’t give us much information regarding any of them; for it is written that God has purposefully made death a mystery (I Cor. 15:51; Ecc. 3:20-21; I Cor. 2:9; Isa. 64:4-5). Yet, we have enough, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to understand some things regarding the afterlife and what is true and what is not. This is what this writing is about – to give the truth regarding what the Bible does say as opposed to man’s erroneous teachings and traditions. Notice that Gehenna (hell) is not a holding place for souls. It is a final execution place – where both body and soul are extinguished. This is why it is accurately called “the second death.” It is final.

From the above-mentioned places, we know that the souls of the righteous (those who know God and Christ and who have the Holy Spirit in them) are waiting either “under the altar” of God and/or in Abraham’s Bosom. Remember, Jesus said that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of the living not the dead, and that these patriarchs/saints are spiritually alive before Him waiting for the First Resurrection (Luke 20:37-38; Heb. 11:35,39-40). The souls of the majority, who weren’t really good or bad during their lifetimes (the general public per se) who didn’t have the Holy Spirit in them when they died, I believe, are currently being held in one of the spiritual holding places loosely referred to here as the Sea and Death, whereas the wicked are being held in Hades, a place of torment, anguish, pressure and flames. This holding in Hades is a form of punishment, correction and reformation – much in the same way and for the same reasons we send people to prison. This is apparent in the following passage:

“For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [the Greek word Tartarus] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment… then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.” (II Pet. 2:4-9).

Notice that the angels who sinned are being held in Tartarus (another spiritual place translated as hell in our English Bibles). It is a place of restraint – a prison-type holding place where angels wait for their future time of judgment. Hades (another word translated as hell in our English Bibles) is apparently where human souls go who were wicked during their lifetimes as a form of punishment and correction until their day of judgment. Remember, Hades is where the rich man went after he died – which is described as a place of torment (Luke 16:23-25). It’s absolutely critical to understand God’s purpose here. Both the angels that sinned and wicked humans are already experiencing punishment. Our merciful Lord is correcting them. Imagine His ability to rehabilitate souls. I’m quite certain He will do a much better job at reforming people than we do with our earthly prisoners. They are not going to be resurrected in order to condemn them to further punishment. That makes no sense. Yet, this is exactly what most Christians erroneously believe. The problem is, they don’t realize the Biblical distinction between “judgment” and condemnation. They have two different meanings. Let me explain.

PRECEPT #10:  Judgment in the Bible is about evaluating and critiquing, not condemnation and passing a final sentence. For example, “Judgment is on the House of God now” (I Pet. 4:17). The House of God is not under condemnation, but rather evaluation (Rom. 8:1; II Cor. 13:5). Because we, as believers, claim that our spiritual eyes are open, we are the ones being critiqued now as to whether or not we are completely living according to God’s Word. Remember what Jesus said: “’For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’ Some Pharisees who were with Him heard Him say this and asked, ‘What? Are we blind too?’ Jesus said, ‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.’” (John 9:39-41). When a person thinks that they are spiritually enlightened (have their spiritual eyes opened), they put themselves under judgment (evaluation). Believers desire “to see,” and truly “seeing” (being enlightened) is the goal; but claiming enlightenment also comes with heavy responsibility and judgement (evaluation). A person is responsible for what they know; and that responsibility is to live in accordance with God’s full Word. As it is written: “Man must learn to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God!” And “to whom much is given, from him much is expected.” (Luke 12:48). As Jesus mentioned above, in one sense, it is better to be spiritually blind, so that you still have a cover for your sin; otherwise, if you claim you are enlightened, you are truly accountable and open to judgment (evaluation/critiquing).

Christians are being critiqued and evaluated (“judged”) at this time. The non-believing world is not. As previously explained, most of the world has been blinded to the Truth of God’s Word (Isa. 29:10-12; Matt. 13:14-16; John 12:39-40). God is not judging them. Even Jesus, as the righteous Judge of both the living and the dead, said He’s not judging unbelievers at this time: “If anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” (John 12:47). That is why, in the future, at the General Resurrection, “the books [the Bible] will be opened” and “the veil will be removed” for the first time to the eyes of the resurrected dead who will be physically resurrected so that they can now see and understand; and then the dead will be judged [critiqued/evaluated] according to their works, by the things which are written in the books [the Bible] (Rev. 20:12). They will have their first real chance at knowing God and the Truth. Jesus even reaffirmed this by saying: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges [evaluates] him – the Word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48). Likewise, to the disbelieving Jews of His day, Jesus declared: “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you – Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47). Even Moses declared to the Israelites during his day: “Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.” (Deut. 29:4). Paul also affirming “that blindness in part has happened to Israel… but then [eventually] all Israel will be saved.” (Rom. 11:25-26). For the most part, God has not opened the eyes of the masses to know Him yet! Therefore, they aren’t condemned by Him either; neither are they currently being judged by Him. That is for a time yet appointed, as I will explain in the following precepts.

PRECEPT #11: Most Christians have sadly never been taught that they are destined to reign and rule with Christ on this earth! Instead, they are strangely taught that when we die, we somehow “go to heaven” and maybe “float on a cloud playing a harp.” The Bible never teaches any of that. It doesn’t say anywhere that when we die we go to heaven! Not once does it make that claim. What it does say is that the righteous who have died (called saints sleeping in Christ) and the righteous who are alive when Christ returns (also called saints) will be resurrected and raptured together at the last trumpet. Collectively, along with Christ, they are all called Firstfruits! That is, they are the “firstfruits of His Harvesting of the world!” Notice these verses:

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep… For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet… Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (I Cor. 15:20-28).

“For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Rom. 8:22-23).

“Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” (Jam. 1:18).

Jesus Christ is the Firstfruits of the firstfruits of this harvesting. That is why He is called only “the Firstborn of many sons to be brought to glory” (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:6; 2:10-11). If we are only the firstfruits (which is typically only a small percentage of the harvest), imagine the numbers of people who will be called later! Very exciting, indeed! Getting back to these firstfruits (also called saints) who are going to be ruling with Christ. Let’s see them described in Scripture before continuing on:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment [rulership] was committed to them… And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years… This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he [or she] who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:4-6).

“Grace to you and peace from Him… and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priest to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Rev. 1:4-6).

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” (Rev. 2:10-11).

“But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations – ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter’s vessels shall be broken to pieces’ – as I also have received from My Father.” (Rev. 2:25-27).

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:21-22).

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28).

“But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:28-30).

“And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him… And he said to the first one, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ And to the second one, he said, ‘You also be over five cities.’” (Luke 19:15-19).

“I watched till thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days was seated… A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened… I was watching in the night visions and behold, one like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed… I was watching until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom… The court shall be seated, and they shall take away his [the beast/the Anti-Christ’s] dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” (Dan. 7:9-27).

“Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet. And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’… Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Rev. 11:15-18).

“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters [of today]? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life? (I Cor. 6:2-3).

Clearly, those who are resurrected and/or raptured at the First Resurrection when Christ Returns will be set up as rulers, judges, kings and priests. They will reign with Jesus ruling over the nations and bringing them into submission. These saints will also be evaluating (judging) angels, and helping to bring all powers, principalities, and thrones into subjection to Christ: “To make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Church [the Firstfruits] to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” (Eph. 3:9-12). So “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11).

PRECEPT #12:  When will the rapture occur? The Bible clearly states that it will occur “at the last trump!” This “last trump” is the seventh and final trumpet that sounds in the Book of Revelation announcing the takeover of the world by Jesus Christ and His saints! He is going to raise these saints up (resurrect/rapture them) at the time of the last trumpet while it is being announced that “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15). Notice prior to this that the Biblical text describes how there had just been a time of great martyrdom of His people after they had given a worldwide witness, and the whole world was now celebrating their deaths: “And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets [Moses and Elijah types – see verse 6] tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after three and a half days [probably prophetically represents three and a half years – a day for a year principle (see Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:5-6; Dan. 9:24-27)] the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.” (Rev. 11:10-12). Note that the twenty-four elders before the throne of God are glad because “the time of the dead” has come that God “should reward His servants the prophets and the saints – those who fear His name, small and great” (Rev. 11:16-18). All this takes place during the time of the seventh and last trumpet (Rev. 11:15). After these saints of God are resurrected and raptured, He will begin to pour out His wrath (tribulation) upon the nations in judgement. One of the things that most Christians and churches don’t realize is that there are two tribulations mentioned in the Bible. One is the wrath (tribulation) of Satan; and the other is the wrath (tribulation) of God.  Christians will be exempt from the wrath of God (I Thess. 5:9-10); but will literally be the targets of the wrath of Satan (see Dan. 7:21,25; Rev. 6:9-11; 11:7-9; 12:11-12,17; 13:7). I think this is where most of the “Rapture” confusion lies. Many Christians and their churches erroneously teach that “the Tribulation” – as they call it – lasts for seven years. The Bible never says that. That is purely speculation. I am only interested in what the Bible DOES say. It mentions that there will be a time of unhindered worldwide “witnessing” and preaching of the Gospel for “1260 days” (which equals three and a half years); after which, there will be a time of worldwide martyrdom for “three and a half days” (could also prophetically represent three and half years). Notice these verses:

“Then the angel… said, ‘There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as He announced to His servants the prophets’… And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth… These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy [just like Elijah did]; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood [just like Moses and Aaron did], and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here,’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them…. The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever!’” (Rev. 10:5-7; 11:3-12)

“I was watching, and the same horn [of the beast] was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them; until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.” (Dan. 7:21-22)

“He [the little horn of the beast] will speak pompous words against the Most High; shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, times and half a time [three and a half years]. But the court [of the Most High] will sit, and his [beast’s] power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him.” (Dan. 7:25-27)

PRECEPT #13:  Notice that after this seventh trumpet has sounded – when the dead in Christ have risen to meet Him who is coming in the clouds and in the air along with their fellow “raptured” brothers and sisters – Jesus Christ and the saints will take over the world and begin setting up His governmental Kingdom over the whole earth for His Millennial reign! Remember, Scripture says they will rise “to meet the Lord in the air” (I Thes. 4:17). You MEET someone as they are coming to you! This is the very definition of MEETING someone. They are coming towards you. Jesus – the King – is coming to this earth! We are not going to heaven to be with Him THERE. Jesus is coming HERE! Saints will meet Him in the air and come back with Him – literally escorting the King of the universe to His rightful throne here on earth and we will reign with Him! What a glorious honor and time of joy and rejoicing this will be for the believers! But the whole world will mourn because they don’t want Christ’s rulership over their lives – they won’t want to submit. This is when the wrath of God and the Lamb will be poured out upon the nations to beat them into submission! This is the tribulation for the world – the time when the wrath of God is poured out on the nations in judgement. The risen/raptured and now immortal saints will be with Him ruling over the nations with a rod of iron just as He promised (Rev. 2:26-27). Notice what Scripture says:

“Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgement on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14-15)

“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt. 24:30-31).

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.” (Mark 13:26-27)

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [the redemption of your bodies – Rom. 8:23 = resurrection/rapture] draws near!” (Luke 21:27-28)

“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.” (Rev. 1:7)

“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming… for I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem… Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west… Thus the Lord my God will come and all the saints with Him! … And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be – the Lord is one, and His name one… And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet; their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord will be among them… And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts… And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do no come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up.” (Zech. 14:1-18)

“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Rev. 6:15-17)

“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete… Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested… Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth…’ You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.’… Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl… and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds… Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl… so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared… [and] the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty… And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” (Rev. 15:1-8; 16:1-16).

“I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgement with them there on account of My people… Behold, I will raise them out of the place to which you have sold them, and will return your retaliation upon your own head… Proclaim this among the nations: ‘Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men; let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears.’ Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. There You, Oh Lord, will bring down Your mighty ones – Your warriors! Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow – for their wickedness is great!” (Joel 3:2-13).

“And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle… So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel… thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.” (Rev. 14:14-20)

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war… And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (Rev. 19:11-15)

“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints!” (I Thes. 3:12-13).

PRECEPT #14:  In closing, I want to address a couple of questions readers might have regarding some of the things I’ve written here. I said earlier there is no Scripture that says we go to Heaven when we die. This is true. Jesus said, “No one has ascended to heaven, but He who came down from heaven [speaking of Himself]” (John 3:13). The Heaven He was speaking of referred to God the Father’s Throne (Matt. 5:34). Nobody has gone there, Jesus said. But throughout his letters as Scripture the Apostle Paul revealed to us that heaven has a number of different levels to it, and that there are many heavenly places and spiritual realms (see Eph. 1:3,20,21; 2:6-7; 6:12; Phil. 2:10; Col. 1:16). Paul even referred to a “third heaven” which he called “Paradise” (II Cor. 12:2,4). He told us that “absent from the body, is present with the Lord.” (II Cor. 5:8). As mentioned earlier, our bodies return to the earth (the grave); our spirit of life returns to God who gave it; and our soul enters the spiritual realms. We are “present with the Lord” because God is Spirit (John 4:24), and He inhabits “eternity” (Isa. 57:15) – that is, He inhabits the spirit realms outside of time and space. This is an important distinction because many pastors erroneously teach that when we die we go to Heaven (God’s Throne). This is simply not true. Jesus said no one has gone there but only He Himself (John 3:13). We enter into the vast spirit realm with its many different levels and holding places; in some cases, we will actually be able to see each other but will not be able to cross because of the great spiritual gulf(s) between us (see Luke 16:22-31). These are all temporary holding places for human souls waiting for their time of resurrection – “each one in their own order” (I Cor. 15:23).

In addition, lest anyone get the wrong idea that because there is going to be “another opportunity” for people to live again, it therefore doesn’t matter what we do in this life: I want to assure you that nothing could be further from the truth! The majority of mankind will get a second chance at redemption but there are still serious consequences for what we do in the flesh during the present time. As Paul said: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” (II Cor. 5:10-11). “For through us [God] diffuses the fragrance of knowing Him in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life.” (II Cor. 2:14-16). Everyone will give account of himself or herself to God (Rom. 14:12). As Peter warned: “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (I Pet. 4:5). Our judgement (evaluation) will be based on what we know and what we don’t know; but we will all be held accountable before God. As the Bible says, those who know the Law (the Word of God) will be judged according to the Law; and those who don’t know the Law will be judged apart from the Law, according to what God has given us individually. God, through Jesus Christ, has personally given to every human being who has ever existed, a certain level of spiritual enlightenment called a conscience, so that we all are without excuse before Him and accountable. Notice these verses:

“All things were made through Him [Jesus Christ], and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… He is that true Light which gives light [enlightenment] to every man who comes into the world.” (John 1:3-9).

“And that servant who knew his Master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47-48).

“For as many as have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and as many as have sinned in the Law will be judged by the Law (for not the hearers of the Law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the Law will be justified; for when Gentiles who do not have the Law, by nature do the things contained in the Law, these, although not having the Law, are a Law to themselves, who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also being witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel… For we have previously charged both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’… Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 2:12 – 3:19)

“For the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Gal. 3:22)

“For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all!” (Rom. 11:32)

I realize this material that I have presented here is extremely comprehensive and very deep. It has taken me over thirty-five years to understand some of these biblical truths. Readers will need to take their time in studying these things. I encourage everyone to proceed slowly and methodically, looking up each and every Scripture referenced. Continually pray to the Holy Spirit for understanding. God will lead all who sincerely ask Him. He wants His incredible truths and hidden mysteries to be made known to those who are truly hungry and will diligently seek to understand them. Please feel free to contact me directly at if you have any questions or would like more clarification on anything I put forth here. You will notice in this writing there are many more of His words than there are of mine. It has been my earnest goal to illuminate what God says in His Word, and not what I or anyone else says or thinks. We must all constantly strive for a closer relationship with our Creator by earnestly studying His Word, reading our Bibles daily, and continually praying to Him without ceasing. Be sure to put into practice what you learn. Be willing to humbly renounce false teachings and beliefs as you continue to learn and grow; repent and change your belief system whenever and wherever is necessary; and God will always guide and lead you into all truth continually. He loves all of His children and is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and to the knowledge of the truth” (II Pet. 3:9; I Tim. 2:4). God bless you in your pursuit of Him.

May the Lord hasten the day of His Return! Even so, come Lord Jesus! Amen.


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