Many think that all good people went to heaven when they died and all bad people when to a fiery hell of torment. Both these ideas are incorrect according to what the Bible teaches.
First of all the Bible does not teach that hell is a place of torment. The Bible teaches that the definition of death is a return to the “dust” and an unconscious state (Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 3:20; 9:5,10; Ps. 6:5; 115:17; 146:4; Isa. 38:18,19; 63:16; Job 14:21; Ezek. 18:4; etc.). Eccl. 9:5,10 explicitly states that those in “hell” (Hebrew SHEOL) are unconscious and that everyone who dies goes there.
So the Bible clearly shows that everyone, good and bad, go to the same place; "Hell" (HADES/SHEOL) (Job 14:13; Gen.37:35; Ps.16:10; Acts 2:27, 31). This fact is hidden in many translations like the KJV which translate SHEOL 31 times as "grave" and 31 times as "hell" due to theological bias.
Second, the Bible explicitly states that nobody went to heaven before Christ (Jn. 3:13). Jesus was first be to ascend to heaven. The way to heavenly life was first opened up to imperfect humans only after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:20; Acts 26:23; Jn. 14:2, 3; Heb. 9:24; 10:19, 20).
All those who have died, good and bad, are "asleep" waiting for the resurrection (2 Pet. 3:4; Jn. 11:11-14; 1 Cor. 15:18; 1 Thes. 4:13-17). But those unconscious in death are not forgotten. The Word of God explicitly says that those in HADES (hell) will come out in the resurrection and that Hell is not eternal (Rev. 20:13,14; 21:4; Ac. 24:15). God will empty the “memorial tombs” by bringing the dead back to life (Jn. 5:28).
Scriptures plainly state that the resurrection of chosen humans to eternal life with Christ would only occur after Christ's return. God did not promise anyone that they would be rewarded at death. Instead, when humans died they would be asleep in death (1 Ki. 2:10; Dan. 12:2,13; Jn.11:11; 1 Cor. 15:6,18) and only receive their reward at the time of Christ's second presence (coming: KJV) in "the last days" (Mat. 16:27; 24:3; Lk. 14:14; Jn. 11:24; 14:3; 1 Cor. 15:22,23,51,52; 2 Tim. 4:8)
We do not even have to worry about any who have died in the past because Acts 24:15 states that “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” The “unrighteous” individuals that will be resurrected include the billions who died without having an opportunity to learn about God (Acts 17:30,31).
In past centuries many people died who did not know how to read and who had never seen a Bible. But they will be raised from Sheol, or Hades. Then, in the paradise earth, they will be taught God’s will, and they will have the opportunity to prove that they really do love God by doing his will. For their resurrection to be everlasting they must accept Christ’s ransom sacrifice (1 Tim. 2:3-6) and prove to be obedient through the final test (Rev. 20:7-10).
All those living will then experience what the psalmist said of Jehovah: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:16). There will be no war, violence, or crime (Psalm 46:8, 9; Proverbs 2:22).
“[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Source: This is the Best Answer by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.
Resurrection (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses Category)
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