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After death, how long does it take for the soul to reach heaven?

What does the Bible really teach about life after death?

The doctrine that we live on after death as an immortal soul or spirit is a false doctrine, incorporated from Greek philosophy.

The Bible makes clear that at death we corrupt back into dust and cease to exist.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Psalms 104:29… thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

The hope of the Bible is that of resurrection from the dead when Christ returns.

Soul

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word translated ‘soul’ is ‘nephesh’.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Hebrew ‘nephesh’).

From this we see:

Body = dust formed into a physical frame of flesh and bones.
Breath = breath - breath breathed into his nostrils
Soul (‘nephesh’) = creature or being – man became a living being.

The same word translated ‘soul’ is used of animals

Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature (‘nephesh’) after his kind...

The Bible speaks of dead souls, but this is obscured by the translators.

Leviticus 21:11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body (‘nephesh’), nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body (‘nephesh’) of any man shall be unclean seven days.

God tells us unambiguously that souls die.

Ezekiel 18:4... the soul (‘nephesh’) that sinneth, it shall die.

Christ poured out his soul unto death.

Isaiah 53:12… because he hath poured out his soul (‘nephesh’) unto death:

In general usage the soul is understood to be alive.

Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls (‘nephesh’) that they had gotten in Haran...

The word is sometimes used to mean life.

Genesis 19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life (‘nephesh’) ...

In the New Testament the Greek word translated ‘soul’ is ‘psuche’.

‘Nephesh’ and ‘psuche’ are seen to be equivalents when Peter quotes Psalm 16:10.

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul (Greek ‘psuche’) in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul (Hebrew ‘nephesh’) in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Peter explains what it means

Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul (‘psuche’) was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Hell (Hebrew ‘sheol’ – Greek ‘hades’) is the grave; the tomb in which Christ was laid after his crucifixion. His body was not allowed to corrupt and his soul was restored to life.

Again in general usage the soul is understood to be alive.

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls (‘psuche’) were saved by water.

Matthew 2:20... for they are dead which sought the young child’s life (‘psuche’).

In Matthew 22:37 ‘soul’ is readily understood to mean with ‘every part of your being’

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (‘psuche’), and with all thy mind.

In Mark 10:45 ‘soul’ is readily understood to mean his ‘life’.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life (‘psuche’) a ransom for many.

The soul in the Bible is not immortal.

The soul is our whole being; when we die our whole being dies; we have no conscious existence after death.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing...

Psalm 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Death is spoken of as sleep; resurrection is the awaking out of the sleep of death.

1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

Acts 7:60 And he (Stephen) kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 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. 16 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:

The hope of the gospel is resurrection from the dead.

Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

No none goes to heaven at death. Jesus went to heaven after his resurrection to life.

Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Spirit

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word translated ‘spirit’ is ‘ruwach’.
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit (‘ruwach’) of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The Spirit of God was the Power of God used in creation.

Job 33:4 The Spirit (‘ruwach’) of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

The Mind of God, the Word of God and the Spirit of God are synonymous.

What God thinks and speaks is done.

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (‘ruwach’) of his mouth.

The Spirit of God acting upon men empowers them in different ways as God requires.

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit (‘ruwach’) of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

The word is also translated as ‘breath’, ‘mind’ and ‘wind’.

Genesis 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath (‘ruwach’) of life.

Genesis 26:35 Which were a grief of mind (‘ruwach’) unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

Exodus 10:13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind (‘ruwach’) upon the land...

It is also used to denote a man’s character or way of thinking.

Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit (‘ruwach’) with him, and hath followed me fully...

Psalm 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit (‘ruwach’) there is no guile.
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (‘ruwach’).
Proverbs 16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit (‘ruwach’) with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

In the New Testament the word translated Spirit (Greek ‘pneuma’) is used of the Spirit of God.


As in the Old Testament the word is synonymous with the power of God.
Luke 1:35... The Holy Spirit (‘pneuma’) shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

As in the Old Testament, the Spirit of God acting upon men empowers them in different ways as God requires.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit (‘pneuma’) is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

As in the Old Testament, spirit is also used to denote a man’s character or way of thinking.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit (‘pneuma’): for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 9:55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit (‘pneuma’) ye are of.

It is associated with the mind and the way we think.

Ephesians 4:23... be renewed in the spirit (‘pneuma’) of your mind;

Also with the way God thinks.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually (‘pneuma’) minded is life and peace.

It is in the sense of our way of thinking that we are told that man has a spirit which in its natural state finds the things of God unintelligible.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit (‘pneuma’) of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit (‘pneuma’) of God.

We have to change the way we think naturally to the way that God thinks.

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (‘pneuma’), perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The Bible gives us the information on how God requires us to live. It is up to each of us to make the effort to subordinate our will to the will of God.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The scriptures were written by inspiration for this purpose.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

This is what Christ means by being born of the spirit.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit (‘pneuma’), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

By changing the way that we think, we form within us a character or spirit acceptable to God.

It was his character (sinless), not his breath, which Christ commended to his Father when he died.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (‘pneuma’): and having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Greek ekpneo – expired).

Stephen’s request to Christ was that his character might be acceptable.

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit (‘pneuma’).

In this sense the spirit is the motivating force for life and independent thought which returns to God when we die.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (‘ruwach’) shall return unto God who gave it.

If our character is conformed to the image of his son we will be raised to eternal life when Christ returns.

In conclusion, neither soul or spirit continues in a conscious existence after death. At death our consciousness ceases and we remain in a state of corruption until the resurrection. If we are aware of this a lot of misunderstandings are removed.

Please read: After Death, What? (click on the title)

I hope you find this helpful.
God bless,
Glenn

 
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