Where does your soul go when you die? Some say heaven (or hell) but if that’s true then the people that were raised from the dead were taken out of heaven and brought back to earth…? Jesus raised people before his crucifixion and Peter and Paul did too after Jesus died and rose again. So were they taken out of heaven?


It is a common belief among Christians that when we die we either go diredtly to heaven or to hell at that point.  What is more common than hearing at a funeral “person X is looking down at us in heaven.”?  Of course, no one ever says that someone is now in hell, (despite the fact that Jesus said the way to life is difficult and few find it, but the way to destruction is broad and most find themselves on this road)
Either way, the presumption that after we die, we go immediately to judgment, and then to either heaven or hell is simply not the case, if we take the Bible at face value.  In Daniel 12 and Revelation 20, the Bible describes a resurrection at the end of time, followed by judgment and the final disposition of souls. In the mean time we wail.  There are a number of biblical references to Hades/Sheol/Paradise as a sort of waiting place between this life and the coming resurrection at the end of time.  When Saul asked the witch of Endor to call forth Samuel, the witch was shocked that Samuel did in fact respond.  However, we can assume that Samuel was in Sheol (the Old Testament word) or Paradise/Hades (the New Testament words).  Jesus told the thief on the cross that “today, you will be with me in Paradise.”  He did not say he would be with him in heaven.  In 1 Peter 3 we have Peter telling us that Jesus, after he had died, but before he came back from the dead, spoke “to the spirits in prison.”  Again, this is a reference to this intermediate place that is called Hades. In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man is in the part of Hades that includes torment, whereas, Lazarus is in Paradise (not heaven).  This is a parable, but it also tells us about a place of waiting before final judgment.   Like I already said, the Bible describes a final resurrection at the end of time (Daniel 12, Revelation 20), at which all will be judged and sent to either heaven or hell.  I suggest you do a word study for the Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek words for Paradise and Hades.  These passages will be about the place we go when we die, but not our eternal home.  I suggest reading the short book by my friend Douglas Jacoby, “What Happens When We Die?”  It is at
By the way, a very minor correction.  Paul did not raise anyone from the dead, at least as far as we know from the Bible.  Also, a slightly less minor correction. It is not just our “soul” that goes to heaven or to hell.  It is ourselves, it is us, not just our soul that goes wherever we go.  Some people think of heaven as a place where free non-physical spirits float around.  The Bible talks about a place where heaven and earth come together.  It is likely that we will have some sort of bodies, not just “souls” in heaven.
John Oakes

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