Looking Down From Heaven Truth
Don

Are They in Heaven Looking Down? You Decide 

Heaven Looking Down

Looking Down From Heaven

Are they in Heaven looking down? That question about the dead has been answered in the affirmative many times. It seems that I have heard expressions to that affect all my life (I am now 80 + years old), and monitoring of social media in the current age provides ample statements of belief that upon death the soul is transported directly to Heaven to be with the Lord. During the very early years I pretty much accepted the statements as fact. However, as I advanced in age and study of the Holy Bible, my acceptance of the statements as supported fact began to change. I considered and accepted the statements as the sincere belief and opinion of the speaker about the dead person’s goodness and justification for Heaven and the presence of the Lord. Some have said “what difference does it make,” and I cannot disagree with that attitude because it is something we cannot control or prove one way or another. In pursuit of Biblical support for the belief of immediate ascent I found some support, some support for the opposing belief, and some personal confusion. Immediate ascent is in conflict with my long-held understanding of death, the second coming of Jesus Christ, judgment, Heavenly rewards for righteous living, and punishment for the wicked. When I become aware of important, conflicting information it instills an urge in me to try to resolve the differing opinions or versions. In this effort, regarding the current question, I recently went to an authority to find an address of this subject, the website of Dallas Theological Seminary.  My purpose in writing this article is not to prove my view, but to stimulate additional research and study by you, the reader, to form your own studied view.

Doctrine Statement from Dallas Theological Seminary Re: Ascension to Heaven Immediately at Death

Article XXI — The Eternal State

We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory; but the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power (Luke 16:19–26; 23:42; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7–9; Jude 6–7; Rev. 20:11–15).

Biblical References to Life after Death

The source for the following verses related to what happens after death are from the Zondervan King James Version Study Bible. Note that spelling, sentence construction, and punctuation does not conform to current standards and may appear to be in error. 

 Genesis 2:7

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.”

2 Kings 20:1 

1“In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”

Job 14:1-2 

1“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” 2“He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”

Job 14:12

12“So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”

Job 17:13

“If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.”

Daniel 12:2

2“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:23 

23”And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 4:12 

12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

2 Timothy 4:22 

22 “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.”

1 Peter 3:20

20”Which sometimes 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 were saved by water.”

John 5:25

25“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”

John 5:28-29

28 “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

John 11:11–14

11”These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”

John 11:25

25”Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

John 14:1–3

1“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” 

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

5“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6“Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 12:7

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Psalms 13:3

3“Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;”

Psalms 104:29 

29“Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.”

Psalms 115:17

17”The dead praise not the Lord, Neither any that go down into silence.”

Psalms 146:4

4”His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.”

Acts 2:29

29”Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.”

Acts 2:34

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,

Acts 7:60

60”And he 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 Timothy 6:15-16

15 “which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

Romans 2:7

“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:”

1 Corinthians 15:50–54

50” Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

2 Corinthians 5:8 

8“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:14-17

14“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  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: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

2 Thessalonians 1:7–9

7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

Luke 16:19-31

19 “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And 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. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Philippians 1:23

23 “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

Jude 6–7

6 “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance eternal fire.”

Luke 23:42

42 “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

Revelation 20:11–15

The Great White Throne Judgment

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” 

Resolution of the Subject Question

Are They in Heaven Looking Down?

On the basis of the above research, I say “no.” You decide on the basis of your own understanding of the Biblical references. I am certainly not qualified to override the opinions of the theological scholars. However, I believe the preponderance of the references do not support immediate ascent upon death. This is, I believe, supported by The Revelation to John (Book of Revelation) in the Holy Bible. I suggest a complete study of Revelation in order to digest the chain of events that are predicted in John’s dream of Revelation by God, to Jesus, to the Angel, to John, to the seven churches, to the messengers of the churches.

This takes us from the beginning:

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.”

To the ending:

Revelation 20:11–15

The Great White Throne Judgment

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

 

 

 

 

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