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Question and Answer

When Christians die, do they immediately go to heaven or do we wait for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

When Christians die, their soul and spirit (two aspects of our immaterial self) go immediately to heaven. Separated from their physical bodies, they will be in the immediate presence of God and in conscious and thrilling fellowship with Christ and the redeemed in heaven (John 11:25; Phil. 1:23; 2 Cor. 5:6–8; 2 Tim. 4:6; 2 Peter 1:12–15). Their physical body, the body we view at funerals, is left on earth. Resurrection, on the other hand, is the reuniting of the soul and spirit with the physical body. At the Second Coming of Christ for His people, the Lord will reunite the souls and spirits of departed Christians with their physical bodies. These bodies will be glorified forever for the full embodied enjoyment of God (1 Cor. 15:50–57; 1 Thess. 4:13–18). What a glorious prospect for the child of God!

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School. An ordained minister, Winfred has served churches across the city of Chicago, the near west suburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He is the author of How to Overcome Worry (Moody Publishers) and a contributor to the Moody Bible Commentary and Moody Handbook of Preaching. Winfred and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

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