The scriptures teach that at death the righteous don’t ascend to haven but that they sleep waiting to be resurrected at the Resurrection Day. The Bible resembles death as a state of “sleep” (John 11:11-14; Psalms 13:3; Acts 7:60; Job 14:12; Daniel 12:2). The dead sleep until the great day of the Lord at the end of the world. Jesus said, “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 5:25).
In death, humans are totally unconscious with no activity or knowledge of any kind. 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) until the Resurrection.
Paul adds, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51). Paul further clarifies, “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: Then 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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).
There would be no purpose in a resurrection if people were taken to heaven or hell at death. If a saved individual dies, the next conscious thought he has is to be with God. It’s like a moment, the twinkling of an eye, instantaneously he is caught forth from his graves to go to heaven.
And we read in Acts chapter 2:29,34 “David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day… David is not ascended into the heavens.” Although David is a righteous man he is not in heaven yet. David died 3 thousand years ago – for him it will seem like one second and he’ll be resurrected and caught up to heaven when Jesus comes.
For a Bible study of the State of the Dead, check: https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/112-the-intermediate-state/
In His service,