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The Bible teaches that people do not go either to heaven or hell at death. They go to their graves to await the Resurrection Day. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28, 29).
Rewards or punishments are given only on the Resurrection Day when Christ comes and not at death. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). And He added, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
The righteous dead will be raised, given immortal bodies, and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, … and the dead in Christ shall rise … and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
There would be no purpose in a resurrection if people were taken to heaven at death. The believers will receive immorality at Christ’s coming “We shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, … and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. … For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
The dead will sleep until the great day of the Lord at the end of the world. After death a person: returns to dust (Psalms 104:29), knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), possesses no mental powers (Psalms 146:4), has nothing to do with anything on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:6), does not live (2 Kings 20:1), waits in the grave (Job 17:13), and continues not (Job 14:1, 2). Satan invented the teaching that the dead are alive. This teaching, however, is contrary to Scripture.