Monday, August 10, 2009

Where is Abel?

And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Genesis 4:8

Abel was the first person to die, where is Abel now. Is he in heaven or is he asleep awaiting the resurrection.
When we lose someone in death we are usually told that they have gone to Heaven. We may even know someone we believe might be in hell. Do Christians immediately go to Heaven and the wicked to hell. Is this what the Bible teaches?
Jesus refers to death as sleep. John 11:11-14 This He (Jesus) said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep." The disciples therefore said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Now Jesus therefore said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead."
In Daniel 12:2 "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the other to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Solomon tells us in

Ecclesiates 9:5-6 For the living know they will die, but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate, and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.
David tells us in

Psalms 115:17 The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence.
The Bible teaches that the dead sleep until the resurrection.

In I Thessalonians 4:14 we read For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
This is exactly what death is like. We go to sleep and rest until one of 2 resurrections. One for the righteous, and one for the wicked.
It is interesting to know that our judge is not the Father. We find that our judge is Jesus.

John 5:22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son."
In II Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

In I Corinthians 15:1618 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

If we go directly to Heaven why would Paul say that if there was no resurrection, those that have fallen asleep in Christ have perished? A resurrection would not be necessary.
In I Corinthians 15:50 Now I say this, brethren that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. We are told we will not have the same body in heaven.
Paul also tells us that there is a specific time for the judgment.

Acts 17:31 "Because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man (Jesus) whom He has appointed having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." How can anyone be in Heaven or hell if the judgment hasn't happened yet?
There are two resurrections. One for the righteous, and one for the wicked.
I Thessalonians 4:15-18 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, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words. This is the 1st resurrection, of those who died (sleep) in Christ, the righteous raised to immortality. This occurs at the 2nd coming of Jesus. The righteous living join Jesus in the air, not on the Earth.
Daniel 7:9-10 "I kept looking. Until thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days (The Father) took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, and the books were opened.

Daniel was in vision seeing the future judgment scene. Each of us has an angel that is recording our lives and all is written in the books. This scene takes place before the 4th beast is destroyed. There are 2 judgment scenes in the Bible. One just before the 2nd Advent and the other after the 2nd resurrection.
We see the 2nd scene in

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. Verse 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

This scene chronologically takes place after the 1,000 year rest.
Our space is limited, yet this study contains so much more. We hope that you will study not only these scriptures, but all that deal with this subject. It is most helpful if you use a Concordance in all your studies. We have study materials upon request for a more intense study. We will also try to answer your questions by mail.

But, keep this thought in mind that there is no need for a resurrection of those already in Heaven. There is no need for a resurrection of someone burning in hell only to burn them some more.

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