Discourse 56 - Are Christians who have died already in heaven?




Last Days Mystery. / Website/Book Richard Perry, 2003-07-16

Rapture and end of the world. / Website/Book Richard Perry 2003-07-16

Are the souls of Christians who have died in heaven? / Lecture Jürgen Haizmann 00, 2003

Do the dead go to heaven immediately? / Posting Frankman 00, 2007-02-05


Richard Perry, an American visitor to Immanuel.at, invited us to pay a visit to his home page, “The Last Days Mystery”. In the course of this visit, certain statements made on the website prompted us to inquire more closely into the author’s opinions. One of the results of this was the following discourse.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Last Days Mystery / Website/Book Richard Perry 2003-07-16+))

Several years ago the Lord made it very clear that He wanted His Church to know the truth about His return. It was also apparent that most of what the Church was being taught about the Second Coming and the end of the age was false (unsupported by Scripture).

Then two years ago the Lord impressed upon me that NOW was the proper time for giving His servants the Word as it relates to His Second Coming. (…)

Immediately, I wanted to understand what He meant. Did He mean that His Coming was near? To which He stressed the importance of teaching our children to correctly handle the Word of truth, as an inheritance.

+) This extract has been taken from the website “The Last Days Mystery” by Richard Perry Richard Perry / http://www.lastdaysmystery.info



The author writes on his website that the Lord made it very clear to him, some years ago, that he wanted to let his congregation know the truth about his Second Coming - evidently through the author himself, Richard Perry.

In his explanations of this topic he then makes the assertion that on the Second Coming of the Lord - after the raising of the dead and their Rapture together with those who are alive in Christ (1The 4,13-18; 1Cor 15,50-53) - the Christian faithful will not ascend into heaven with Christ but will remain on earth.

But it is a difficulty with this view that then the judgment of desert (or judgment of reward) for the faithful in Christ - that is to say, for the dead who have been raised before the Rapture, and those still alive who will then be translated with them - could not take place, seeing that we are told in Rom 14,10 and 2Cor 5,10 that this judgment of desert will happen not on earth but in heaven, before the judgment seat of God and of Christ.

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Rom 14,10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Rom 14,10;

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

2Cor 5,10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2Cor 5,10;


On this being pointed out, the author now opines:

“As I read 1 Thess. 4:13-18 I do see that we are caught up into the clouds of the sky to meet the Lord in the air with the dead in Christ. However, I find no reference of us going into heaven. Actually, I have looked throughout Scripture and find no Scripture which states that those raptured will go to heaven.”


And this, now, is very surprising. The more so because Mr Perry at the same time also adheres to the perfectly correct view that this Rapture will take place after the Great Tribulation. For we have the totally explicit statement in the passage quoted below (Rev 7,13-15) to the effect that those Christians who have come out of this Great Tribulation (who therefore without doubt must also constitute a part of the Raptured, though our author denies them entry to heaven in the passage above) will after the Rapture stand before the throne of God. And not even Mr Perry, surely, will be inclined to dispute the fact that the throne of God is not on earth.

The ones who come out of the great tribulation are before the throne of God.

Rev 7,13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 7,14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 7,15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. Rev 7,13-15;


(See also Chapter 063: The Return of the Lord - part 3 / “The marriage of the Lamb.“)

But Mr Perry takes a different view, seeing that he writes as follows:

“I believe these who come out of the Great Tribulation include those that are killed during the GT. It may also include all the dead in Christ. 2Cor 5:6-8 indicates that to die in Christ is to be present with Him. And He is in heaven at the present time.
PS: I do not believe it means they came out of the GT by being raptured and taken to heaven, because there is nothing to indicate that possibility in Scripture.“


Well, let us attempt a summing up. We are agreed on the point that the raising of the dead and their Rapture together with those who are alive in Christ will take place after the Great Tribulation. And likewise we can agree with the author’s statement that those who, as Rev 7,14 tells us, come out of the Great Tribulation are all those who are dead in Christ who have lost their lives in this Great Tribulation. And only these, it must be said - unbelievers obviously would not find a place in heaven.

The difference in our interpretations thus clearly lies in the fact that Mr Perry takes the view that those who are dead in Christ are already in heaven before the Rapture: for the raising of the dead and the Rapture they come down from heaven into the air, to join the Lord and to be gathered there along with those who have been translated from the earth while still living.

The following statement of our author confirms this view:

“Of course, the dead in Christ are already in heaven. But at the Resurrection they will be gathered with us in the Clouds of the sky to meet the Lord in the air. This also seems to me to be the same picture that Jesus described in Matthew 24:29-31. The dead are gathered from heaven and the living from earth to the Lord, who is in the clouds of the sky.“


The author, then, takes the view that those who believe in Christ are taken up into heaven after they die, and wait there until the Rapture. Where in Mt 24:29-31 should this be described? And this on the basis of his claim to have “looked throughout” Scripture.

For all his looking, it is evident that there are scriptural passages which the author has overlooked - like the following for instance:

An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice.

Jn 5,25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 5,26 "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5,27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 5,28 "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5,29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Jn 5,25-29;


The Lord speaks here in Jn 5,25 of the resurrection of the dead in Christ, at the Rapture, and in Jn 5,28 of the resurrection of the dead to the Last Judgment at the end of the world. He indicates that in connection with both events the dead in their tombs will hear the voice of the Son of God and will be raised. At the time of the Rapture only those who hear his voice (those who have died “in Christ”, as 1The 4,16 tells us) will be raised - the other dead will remain (this is also confirmed by Rev 20,5) in the realm of the dead. In the General Resurrection at the end of the world, however, all the dead - both the righteous and the unrighteous - will hear the voice of the Lord and be raised up to the Last Judgment. As for the “place of origin” of these dead, John refers (also and particularly with reference to those who “did the good deeds”, those, that is, who are saved and will enter eternal life) not to heaven, as Mr Perry’s remarks would lead us to expect: on the contrary, they come out of their tombs - from the realm of the dead, then, not from heaven.

(See also Chapter 062: The Return of the Lord - part 2 / “The Rapture.“)

(See also Chapter 12: “The Resurrection.“)

And now the author adduces 1The 4,16-17 in support of his argument:

The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them.

1The 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1The 4,16-17;


This passage is interpreted as follows:

“This means that the dead who are in heaven will rise first and then we who are alive and left until the end will be raptured up into the clouds and together all believers will meet the Lord in the air.
PS: And then I believe we all come with Him to earth for the wedding supper and to establish the Kingdom on earth.“


So the idea seems to be that on the one hand the dead - who are supposedly already in heaven - will first be raised (?), where they are, in heaven. Then the faithful who are still alive on earth will be raptured in the clouds of the air, and both groups will come together there to meet the Lord.

But is that really what this scriptural passage states? Far from it! For as the passage tells us:

”The dead in Christ (…) will be caught up together with them (the living ones) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.“

If then the dead are supposed to be caught up in the clouds together with those who are living, this implies that these two groups are in the same place at the same time. Otherwise they could not be caught up together “in the clouds” to “meet the Lord”. And here a parallel passage in Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians is also informative:

The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1Cor 15,50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,50-53;


So if the author’s view were really correct - namely, that dead Christian believers at the time of the resurrection and Rapture are already in heaven (and in some cases have already been there for millennia!), they would have to be already “imperishable”: they would not have to be raised, for this specific purpose, to “put on the imperishable”. Paul here also refers to the fact that we will not all sleep. Those who do sleep are Christians who have died. Sleep is generally used in the New Testament as an image for death (cf Mk 5,39; Jn 11,11). Moreover, according to the passage quoted above (Jn 5,28) they are in the tombs. But this points to the fact that the dead in Christ who are raised at this point are still in the realm of the dead, and so cannot already be in heaven.

Whether in the realm of the dead itself there are separate areas for the righteous and the unrighteous (as may be inferred from the Lord’s reference to Abraham’s bosom in Lk 16,22-31 and his words to the criminal in Lk 23,39-43 - and as is also hinted by Paul in 2Cor 12.3-4) is a question discussed in a separate Excursus.

(See also Excursus 09: “The Paradise.“)

And now, because our author is evidently aware of the fact that his statement “This means that the dead who are in heaven will rise first” entails the logical conclusion that the dead who supposedly were already in heaven and who then would have to be raised for the first time, would have been “asleep” up till this point - a rather unlikely scenario - he finds a new interpretation for the term “rise”:

“I believe ‘rise’ signifies the resurrection or the change in their bodies. I don't think that it must mean they will rise out of the ground and be caught up into the air. I really believe the Bible indicates that they are now with the Lord in heaven.

About this gather at the Lord's coming, check out Psalm 50:3-6, and see if it describes the same thing as 1 Thess 4:16-17 and Matthew 24:30-31.“


Here the author has again overlooked the fact that Paul has himself found a term to designate this “change in their bodies”; no way does he need Mr Perry to help him out. Paul writes in the passage I have already quoted (1Cor 15,51-52):

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.

1Cor 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1Cor 15,51-52;


Paul thus here makes a very clear distinction between on the one hand “being raised” from the dead and on the other hand - in the continuation of the passage - the “being changed” of their bodies from perishable to imperishable.

Let us here take a look, too, at the passages referred to by Mr Perry, 2Cor 5,6-8 and Ps 50,3-6 (without omitting to notice the context!):

We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

2Cor 5,4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5,5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 5,6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord - 5,7 for we walk by faith, not by sight - 5,8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 2Cor 5, 4- 8;


To make this easier to understand, here is another parallel passage which Mr Perry does not refer to:

I have the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.

Phil 1,23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 1,24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Phil 1,23-24;


Here Paul writes, both in his second epistle to the Corinthians and in his first epistle to the Philippians, that he desires to depart and to be with the Lord. These are certainly statements which, in the context of this complex of issues, must be examined very closely.

So we want to address, yet again, the fundamental question how we can determine, in the light of the Bible, whether all Christians (with the exception of those who are alive at the time of the Rapture) ascend to heaven immediately after their death, or whether this transition is only possible to them by way of the resurrection of the dead. And here we have in the Bible just one unique and objective report of an event of this nature - namely, that of the death of the Lord Jesus himself. As in many other respects as well, what happens here constitutes an example and a proof for us, as indicating the sequence of events that ensues - in the same way - on the death of the believing Christian.

(See also Excursus 07: “The resurrection body.“)

(See also Chapter 12: “The Resurrection.“)

Let us try, then, to follow the course of events in connection with the death of the Lord in the light of Scripture. First of all we have a statement made by the Lord himself about his imminent death and the events that would follow:

The Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Mt 12,38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." 12,39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

12,40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Mt 12,38-40;


And along with this we have another statement made by the Lord, this time after his death:

Christ will rise again from the dead the third day.

Lk 24,45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 24,46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; Lk 24,45-46;


And finally, here is the testimony of Peter and Paul on this point:

He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth.

Eph 4,8 Therefore it says (Psalm 68:19), "when He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men." 4,9 Now this expression, "He ascended", what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 4,10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. Eph 4, 8-10;

For the gospel has been preached even to those who are dead.

1Ptr 4:6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. 1Pet 4, 6;


And here we see that for us human beings as well, after our death, our immediate journey is “into the lower parts of the earth”. Only after that is it possible for the dead Christian faithful, through being raised from the dead and taken up in the Rapture, to reach heaven. This was the path that Our Lord had to take, and it is also the path prescribed for us by God: first being raised from the dead, then the ascent into heaven, where we will be with the Lord for all eternity.

So we can also understand Paul’s statements quoted above (2Cor 5,6-8 and Phil 1,23-24) in the same sense. Otherwise, after all, Paul would be contradicting himself, when he says on the one hand (Phil 1,23-24) that he desires “to depart and be with Christ” but on the other (1Cor 15,52) that in the Rapture of the faithful first of all “the dead will be raised”. Seeing that he died - contrary to his own expectation - before the Rapture, it follows that he too, on the evidence of his own words, must be among these dead who will be raised from the dead when the Rapture occurs, to be taken up, together with the faithful who are alive in the Last Days, to meet the Lord in the air.

We can see, then, that of the three possible alternatives

-  all dead Christian believers - including Paul - are with the Lord in heaven,

-  only Paul ascended into heaven after his death, and all the others who are “dead in Christ” must wait to be raised from the dead till the time of the Rapture,

-  all who are dead in Christ - including Paul - are in the realm of the dead and will be raised from the dead at the time of the Rapture,


the first possibility can be excluded on purely logical grounds, because the Christian faithful who have died would not have to be raised from the dead first, as Paul tells us they will be, if they had already been in heaven since they died. The alternative supposition - that Paul, as a special case, ascended to heaven after his death - is rather unlikely, for the reasons mentioned above. This leaves us with the only realistic interpretation, which is also in agreement with Scripture - namely, that all those who are dead in Christ, including Paul, are in the realm of the dead, and will only be raised and taken into heaven at the time of the Rapture.

These apparently contradictory statements of Paul’s can both be seen as being right in their own way, as was pointed out by a a recent reader of the Immanuel.at Discourses, Ms Erika Tinhofer of Vienna:

“Seeing that Christian believers who have died sleep in the realm of the dead, we can assume that the time between death and their being raised from the dead for the Rapture - like the time for us living beings between going to bed at night and waking up the following morning - constitutes so to speak a quantité négligeable. When we are asleep, we do not have any perception of the passage of time, and the dead, in the realm of the dead, may well be in a similar position. So when Paul says in Phil 1,23 that he desires to depart and to be with Christ, while in 1Cor 15,52 he says that on the Second Coming of the Lord the Christians who have died must first be raised from the dead for the Rapture, he is implicitly indicating this very circumstance - that on his physical death he will be with the Lord, and so the temporal interval between his dying and his being raised does not have to be registered consciously.” (Erika Tinhofer, Vienna)


And so also Paul's groan would be understandable as he says above in 2Cor 5,4:

“For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.”


Here he points to this very difference which exists between these believers who die and will be raised and “changed” at the Rapture - as Paul it says in 1Cor 15,51 - and the other faithful who will be “unclothed” alive and so this mortal will be swallowed up by live without dead and without stay in the realm of the dead.

The second passage referred to by Mr Perry, in connection with 1The 4,16-17 and Mt 24,30-31, is Psalm 50,3-6. In the interest of completeness we should also take a look at verses 2 and 7:

Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you.

Ps 50,2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.

50,3 May our God come and not keep silence; Fire devours before Him, And it is very tempestuous around Him. 50,4 He summons the heavens above, And the earth, to judge His people: 50,5 "Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." 50,6 And the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is judge. Selah.

50,7 "Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you; I am God, your God. Ps 50, 2- 7;


And here we can see that it is not the Christian faithful who are being gathered here (as we might be inclined to suppose if the citation were limited to verses 3-6): on the contrary, this is a judgment proceeding from Zion on “His people”, that is to say God’s people of ISRAEL. The passage therefore has no connection at all with the Rapture of the Christian faithful.

In fact these texts do not belong together in any way, and we feel obliged to point out that the Bible is not a quarry where you can break off passages like chunks of stone and put them back in a different place. We have to take the context into account. And when this states that the matter at issue here is the judgment passed on Israel by its God, it is no good trying to claim that it is talking about the raising from the dead and Rapture of those who are dead in Christ.

And then Mr Perry quotes the Lord’s parable about the tares of the field, commenting on it as follows:


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Rapture and end of the world / Website/Book Richard Perry 2003-07-16+))

Matthew 13:37-43:The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears let him hear (Matthew 13:37-43).


Jesus clearly states, “The field is the world.” He then explains that the wheat symbolizes the righteous and the tares are the unrighteous, which must grow together until the “harvest” at “the end of the age.” “The harvesters are the angels” who will separate the wheat from the tares at the “harvest.” We also notice that the angels of God are mentioned in association with the return of Christ. Compare the verse above with the corresponding verse below from the Olivet Discourse. Both are referring to the time when Christ returns to establish the Kingdom at the end of the age.

Matthew 24:31: And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other (Matthew 24:31).

Jesus tells us that at the end of this age He will return with His angels and gather the believers. We see the reward of the righteous, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43). He also tells us that the angels will separate out the unbelievers for punishment, “They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42). On the day the Son of Man comes there will be deliverance for the righteous and punishment for the disobedient. Notice the similarities between Matthew 13:43, above, and Daniel 12:3, below, as they describe the deliverance of the believers.

Daniel 12:3: Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3).


+)This extract is taken from the website “The Last Days Mystery“ by Richard Perry Richard Perry / http://www.lastdaysmystery.info



We notice several misinterpretations in the author’s account here. The critical error is his taking Mt 13,39-40 as referring to the “end of the age” - that is to say, the time of the Second Coming of the Lord before the Millennium - rather than to the “end of the world” (in Luther's and the King James Bible perfectly accurate translation of the phrase), that is to say, the time after the kingdom of a thousand years.

The harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. So shall it be at the end of this world.

Mt 13,37 He answered and said unto them, He that sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 13,38 The field is the world, the good seed are the children of the Kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one.13,39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. 13,40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be at the end of this world. Mt 13,37-40;


It may well be the case that for some (the Jehovah’s Witnesses, for instance) the Greek expression aion is somewhat confusing. But if we examine the way in which the term is used in Matthew, we quickly realize that it cannot be referring to a time before the establishment of the millennial kingdom. So for instance we have the Lord’s saying in Mt 28,20:

I am with you always, even to the end of the world.

Mt 28,20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Mt 28,20;


Here too “the end of the world” (as the King James Bible also translates it) represents the “end of the aion” in the original Greek. But if we were to take this as referring to the Second Coming of the Lord, before the Millennium, we would be faced with a peculiar state of affairs: the Lord would be telling us in this passage that he will only be with us for the time preceding the Millennium. Seeing, though, that he will also - and above all - rule over the world as king in the kingdom of a thousand years, and so will likewise be “with us” for this time and until the actually end of the world, the correct translation here plainly has to be the “end of the world”, that is to say, the end of the first creation.

A similar picture meets us in another of the Lord’s sayings:

In the world to come, eternal life.

Mk 10,29 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 10,30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the world to come, eternal life. Mk 10,29-30;


In Mk 10,30 the phrase which the King James Bible also correctly translates as “in the world to come” appears in the original Greek as “in the future aion”. But in view of the Lord’s indicating that they will here receive “eternal life”, it is plain that what is meant here must be eternity, the New Creation, the heavenly Jerusalem - not some future point of time in this world we inhabit today.

And so it is absolutely plain when we look at the passage (Mt 13,37-43) quoted by the author above, together with its context, that what is referred to is the end of the world and the Last Judgment or Universal Judgment, and not the Second Coming of the Lord at the time of the Rapture before the Millennium, as Mr Perry would like to think. But just as the disciples did not at first understand this parable, and asked the Lord for an explanation (“Explain to us the parable of the tares in the field”), clearly Mr Perry has failed to understand the parable too, even in spite of the explanation the Lord provides.

(See also Chapter 13: “The Last Judgment“)

Let us take a look at the original parable. Here is how the Lord tells the story:

Allow both to grow together until the harvest.

Mt 13,24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 13,25 "But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 13,26 "But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.

13,27 "The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 13,28 "And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 13,29 "But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.

13,30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."‘". Mt 13,24-30;


If we exercise just a modicum of intelligence here, we can recognize what lies behind these statements. The Lord does not want to judge any man before his time. Every individual human being is to have the opportunity of choosing Christ while still alive. Anyone who does not take advantage of this opportunity will have to answer for it at the end, at the time of the “harvest”. But this “end” is not the Second Coming of the Lord before the Millennium, when he comes to take up his rule of a thousand years over the world. In these thousand years, after all, people will still have to decide for or against the Son of God. And there will still be many at this time who decide against him, as Rev 20,7-8 tells us:

The number of them is like the sand of the seashore.

Rev 20,7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 20,8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. Rev 20, 7- 8;


And so the “harvest” in this parable does not refer to the Rapture before the Millennium, but to the Last Judgment at the end of the world, after the General Resurrection of all human beings from the realm of the dead.

(See also Chapter 12: “The Resurrection.“)

So anyone who wants to see this “harvest” as taking place before the Millennium will have to explain what is supposed to happen to all those people who die during the kingdom of a thousand years; and how it is that a proportion of them, both the righteous and the unrighteous, are supposedly judged before the Millennium (in Mr Perry’s account of the matter), that in spite of what the Lord says in Mt 13,29: ‘No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them’ - an explicit indication that judgment is to take place only at the end of the world, in the Last Judgment, and not before.

(See also Excursus 04: “Is there a judgment upon nations?“)

Moreover, if we take a closer look at the Lord’s explanation of the parable in Mt 13,36-43, we find the Lord’s indication in verse 41 - “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom…” - while he subsequently says (verse 43), “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. With “His kingdom” the Lord is referring to the Millennium, the kingdom of a thousand years, at the end of which - and thus also at the end of the world - the General Resurrection and Last Judgment will take place. From this judgment the righteous now proceed into “the kingdom of their Father”, that is, into the kingdom of God in eternity. This transition is likewise indicated by Paul, with great clarity, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:

When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the Father.

1Cor 15,25 For He (the Son of Man) must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet (Psalm 110,1). 15,26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 15,27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet (Psalm 8,7). But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 15,28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. 1Cor 15,25-28;


And if Mr Perry then supposes that the text quoted earlier (Mt 13,24-30) “corresponds” with the following passage (Mt 24,31), where we are told

And they will gather together His elect from the four winds.

Mt 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,31;


then he is wrong yet again. For this passage, now, really is referring to the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture, and not to the Last Judgment at the end of the world.

(See also Discourse 05: “The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.“)

Finally the author states his opinion, still in connection with the Rapture:

“I believe that Scripture reveals that Jesus will come to earth on the Day of the Lord. ‘On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem’ (Zechariah 14:4).“


And here as well we find a confusion of two fundamentally different and temporally distinct events: on the one hand, the Second Coming of the Lord at the time of the Rapture (Mt 24,29-31; 1The 4,.13-18; 1Cor 15,50-53), and on the other the battle of Armageddon, with which the whole of Chapter 14 of the Book of Zechariah is concerned (as also is Joel 4).

(See also Chapter 07: "The Battle of Armageddon.“)


Misunderstandings like this generally arise from insufficient study of Scripture, and the failure to compare the different scriptural passages with one another. Such standard errors occur repeatedly, and it is an easy matter to correct them. But here we have to do with someone - according to the claims made by the author himself - to whom the Lord in person revealed, two years ago, the meaning of his “Word as it relates to His Second Coming”. And in that case such patent errors of interpretation ought not to occur.

Now it is interesting in this connection that another American author, Dr Jay Snell, asserts on his website “Abraham’s Blessings” - by contrast with Richard Perry, whose views we have been considering here - that the Rapture of the congregation will take place before the Great Tribulation, likewise backing up this assertion with the claim to have received a special revelation from God.

(See also Discourse 54: “Has Jesus to give us Christians today healing and success?“)

Here we are compelled to ask how it is that those people who claim to have been personally commissioned with a message by the Lord should on the one hand come out with contrary statements, and on the other - in the case of Mr Perry - even though the Lord revealed to him two years ago that “NOW was the proper time for giving His servants the Word as it relates to His Second Coming”, should nonetheless give us an interpretation of the relevant scriptural passages that is completely wrong.

We can only hope that such cases of the patent misunderstanding of the working of the Holy Spirit will be judged by readers and listeners at their correct value.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Are the souls of Christians who have died in heaven? / Lecture Jn 00, 2003*))


In the Rapture Christ will transfer the souls of the dead Christian faithful from heaven into the earthly sphere, because he will raise their bodies and their souls will then be reunited with their raised bodies.

*) This extract is taken from the recording of a lecture on the subject of “The Rapture” by Jürgen Haizmann, Munich.



In this explanation by Jürgen Haizmann we find the same attempt as in the views of Richard Perry, quoted at the beginning of this Discourse - the attempt, that is, to see the souls of the dead Christian faithful as coming from heaven at the time of the Rapture - though Mr Haizmann’s account is a somewhat more realistic version of the theory. In his view the dead do not come physically from heaven - it is only their souls. Their bodies will then be raised, and their souls will enter these bodies. Both interpretations, of course, are based on 1The 4,16-17 and 1Cor 15,50-53. To get a clearer view of the picture, we will quote the two passages once more.

The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive will be caught up together with them.

1The 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.1The 4,16-17;

The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1Cor 15,50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,50-53;


Now although Mr Haizmann’s interpretation sounds relatively complicated, this point of view does have something to be said for it. Both commentators are trying, at bottom, to interpret what Paul says, in such passages as Phil 1,23-24:

I have desire to depart and be with Christ.

Phil 1,23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 1,24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.. Phil 1,23-24;


Based on this, over the course of centuries the opinion has come about - one can almost call it a “dogma” - that all Christian believers go to heaven when they die. But seeing that the passages on the Rapture quoted above (1The 4,16-17 and 1Cor 15,50-53) do not offer any definite statement to this effect, and not wanting to go against this “dogma”, people quite simply invent the missing link.

Whereas Richard Perry here brutally asserts that the meaning of these passages is that the Christian faithful who have died are in heaven from the time of their death, and will be raised (waked up) in heaven and come down to earth for the rapture (if they will be waked up they had been sleeping and if they slept it is all the same if they do this in heaven or in the realm of the dead), Mr Haizmann’s more subtle interpretation tries to take account of the suggestion of the above passage that the dead are being raised (waked up) from their graves. Consequently he has just the souls of the faithful departed coming down from heaven, and leaves the physical husk on earth.

Both arguments, now, are open to the following objection: if the Christian faithful who have died are in heaven - in whatever state or condition - they cannot be supposed to be sleeping there, in the presence of God, and so there is no need for them to be waked for the Rapture. It is also written, in 1Cor 15,52, that “the dead will be raised imperishable”, and in the following verse “this mortal must put on immortality”. The faithful departed thus are plainly not immortal before this happens, and we would have some considerable difficulty in postulating the presence of mortals in heaven (with the exception of Elijah, who ascended into heaven while still alive).

But we have other scriptural passages too which unambiguously contradict the view advanced here. For example, Jn 5,25-29:

An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice.

Jn 5,25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 5,26 "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5,27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 5,28 "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5,29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Jn 5,25-29;


Here the Lord is speaking of two different occasions when the dead will be raised. He tells us that the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. And then he makes a distinction: first only those dead will be raised who “hear the voice of the Son of God”. This means that at this point in time his call will not be heard by all the dead. But those who do hear him will live.

This, now, is exactly the situation that we find at the time of the Rapture. Only those who are dead in Christ will be raised, and so they are the only ones who will hear the voice of the Lord. But this implies that in the place to which the Lord sends his call there are other dead - the ones, that is, who do not hear the voice of the Lord. And for this fact there are only two possible explanations:

1. In this place there are other Christian believers who are not raised at this point in time, or alternatively

2. This place contains not just Christian believers who have died, but unbelievers who have died as well.


In the first case we would be forced to assume that at the Rapture not the entire congregation, but only a select portion of it, will be raised and translated. This is not inconceivable, certainly, but it does seem relatively unlikely. But it is much more probable that the Lord is here sending forth his call into the realm of the dead. And in the realm of the dead there sleeps the spirit of every human being that has died - both believers and unbelievers - whose corrupt body lies in the grave, until the time when it shall be raised. This will happen for the Christian faithful at the time of the Rapture, but for all the rest of the dead not until the time of the General Resurrection, at the end of the world. It is to the latter, then, that the Lord refers in Jn 5,28-29, when he says, “an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment”. And here those who have done good deeds will of course come from the Millennium. So at this point all human beings - all the dead in the realm of the dead - will hear the voice of the Son of God, and come forth.

We still have to explain why the Lord, in speaking of the Rapture (which he here refers to when he says that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live”), prefaces this with the further indication that “the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God”. If the interpretation advanced here is correct, this statement that this hour “now is” - that is, in the lifetime of the Lord - would be telling us that even at that time a resurrection had already taken place. And indeed we do find such an event described in Mt 27,50-53:

The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.

Mt 27,50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 27,51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 27,52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 27,53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Mt 27,50-53;


It was immediately following on the death of the Lord that the very first resurrection of all took place. The tombs were opened, and many of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. This is what the Lord was referring to in saying that “the hour is coming and now is”.

As we can see, it is only by doing violence to all these passages that we can try to argue for a descent from heaven of the dead who are raised here. Their bodies were in the tomb, and their spirits were asleep in the realm of the dead. This interpretation is to be found in many Old Testament passages. But in the New Testament it is actually confirmed by the Lord himself:

Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.

Jn 11,11 This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep." 11,12 The disciples then said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." 11,13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. Jn 11,11-13;


The logical proof that Christian believers who have died are not in heaven therefore rests on the Lord’s saying in Jn 5,28-29. There we are told:

“for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”


If here both the faithful and the ungodly hear the voice of the Lord and come forth, to receive life or damnation, then they cannot have been in heaven. For in heaven, turn the argument any way you will, you will not find any of the ungodly - either before or after resurrection.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Do the dead go to Heaven immediately? / Posting FM 00, 2007-2-5)

ELIJAH (2 Kings 2:11) "As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind." Where did Elijah go?

MOSES (Deut.34:5+6) "And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is." Where did Moses go? His bones are buried somewhere on Mt. Nebo in modern day Jordan.

In Matt.17:3, some 1500 years later, at the Transfiguration, both ELIJAH and MOSES appear, talking with Jesus. "Just then there appeared before them MOSES and ELIJAH, talking with Jesus." If these men had not immediately gone to paradise, or heaven, then where else could they have gone in the meantime? How could they just appear in recognizable form if their souls were asleep in the grave?

King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes from a human point of view. When you die you go to the grave. The next day or year those who remain alive hardly even remember the name of the dead person. He is very rapidly forgotten. Life on earth is meaningless and vanity.

Paul believed the second he died he would be with Jesus in 2 Cor.5:8 "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."

Paul also states in 1 Thess.4:14 "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." If our souls don`t go to heaven immediately after this body has no more life in it, then how can Jesus bring those who have fallen asleep with Him?

So many questions, but the most important question is this; are we ready to meet our Maker when our days on earth are up?



"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isa. 40:8

Greetings- Frankman www.ibelieve.com



OK; Let's take a closer look at this argumentation:


ELIJAH (2 Kings 2:11) "As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind." Where did Elijah go?


Yes, Elijah went up to heaven. But we are not Elijah. Of us Paul says at the Rapture of the dead in Christ

The dead will be raised imperishable.

1Cor 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,51-53;


So, we other Christians will not go with a chariot of fire from earth up to heaven, but we will be raised from the dead at the Second Coming of the Lord and caught up to the Lord in the air together with those who are still alive.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1The 4,15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1The 4,15-17;


As Paul states, we - here he speaks of those who will be still alive at the arrival of the Lord - "will not precede those who have fallen asleep". And then "the dead in Christ will rise first". They will be caught up together with the ones who remain alive on earth "in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air".


MOSES (Deut.34:5+6) "And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is." Where did Moses go? His bones are buried somewhere on Mt. Nebo in modern day Jordan.


And where are the bones of Elijah? - We are neither Elijah nor Moses!


In Matt.17:3, some 1500 years later, at the Transfiguration, both ELIJAH and MOSES appear, talking with Jesus. "Just then there appeared before them MOSES and ELIJAH, talking with Jesus."  If these men had not immediately gone to paradise, or heaven, then where else could they have gone in the meantime? How could they just appear in recognizable form if their souls were asleep in the grave?


As quoted above, Elijah at least went to heaven in a chariot of fire. - The 24 elders who are already in heaven when those "in Christ" come in heaven after the Rapture, where have they come from ?


King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes from a human point of view. When you die you go to the grave. The next day or year those who remain alive hardly even remember the name of the dead person. He is very rapidly forgotten. Life on earth is meaningless and vanity.


Jesus had been three days and three nights in the "heart of the earth". Had he been in heaven or in the realm of the dead? Or is this to see from a "human point of view" too?

The Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Mt 12,38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." 12,39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

12,40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Mt 12,38-40;

Christ will rise again from the dead the third day.

Lk 24,45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 24,46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; Lk 24,45-46;


Paul believed the second he died he would be with Jesus in 2 Cor.5:8 "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."


Paul did not speak from the time, when this will happen and not at all he said that it will be in the second he died. He writes in 1The 4,13 from "those who are asleep". But "those who are asleep" would not have any time to be asleep after their death when they will be already in heaven and imperishable in the second they died.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep,

1The 4,13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 4,14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 1The 4,13-14;

The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1Cor 15,50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,50-53;


As you see it is very important to read all passages from the Bible concerning the subject.


Paul also states in 1 Thess.4:14 "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." If our souls don`t go to heaven immediately after this body has no more life in it, then how can Jesus bring those who have fallen asleep with Him?


Paul speaks here of the raising from the dead and the Rapture. And as he immediately adds in the above passage, 1The 4,15: “…we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep”. These people who have fallen asleep, then are the dead Christians of all times in the Kingdom of the Dead, whom the Lord raises to be raptured on his Second Coming and then takes to heaven, together with those who are still alive (1The 4,17, above). So this is actually a confirmation that up to the Second Coming of the Lord dead Christians are in the Kingdom of the Dead, and not yet in heaven.

And so here too Paul did not say the time when this will happen. God will bring the dead "in Christ" with Jesus. Some at the death of the Lord (Mt 27,52), some in the Rapture at the Second Coming of the Lord  in 1The 4,16 here below and the rest at the General Resurrection at the end of the world (Jn 6,40).

In 1The 4,15 Paul writes:

We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

1The 4,15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 1The 4,15-16;


As it seems the Thessalonians too believed, that they will go to heaven before the dead. But Paul confirmed it as a word of the Lord that at the Second Coming of the Lord the living Christians will not precede those who have fallen asleep. The dead in Christ will rise first.

And in Mk 12,25 the Lord says:

When they rise from the dead they are like angels in heaven.

Mk 12,25 "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Mk 12,25;


Have you ever heard, that the angels in heaven are "asleep"? If not, this means that the dead are in the realm of the dead and have neither risen nor are they in heaven.

So, according to Scripture after their death all Christians go to the realm of the dead (Paradise) and not to heaven. At the Second Coming of the Lord they will be called by the Lord and will rise and will be caught up together with the still living believers in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice.

Jn 5,25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. Jn 5,25;

The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them.

1The 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1The 4,16-17;


So many questions, but the most important question is this; are we ready to meet our Maker when our days on earth are up?


No doubt! This is the most important question! The answer to this question will depend on the fact if we have acquired the right knowledge and embraced and passed on the true faith in our days on earth.

No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.

Jn 3,12 "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 3,13 "No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 3,14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 3,15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. Jn 3,12-15;

(See also Discourse 104: “What is the point of life?“)