R.C. Sproul | – Do Christians go immediately to heaven when they die?

What happens to a Christian at the moment of death? From one of our Ask R.C. events, R.C. Sproul examines what it means for the souls of believers to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).

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Do Christians go immediately to heaven when they die?


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Ligonier Ministries Ligonier Ministries is an international Christian discipleship organization founded by theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul in 1971 to equip Christians to articulate what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it. Proclaiming God’s holiness is central to Ligonier’s purpose. Ligonier produces Renewing Your Mind radio broadcasts, the Reformation Study Bible, Tabletalk magazine, books through the Reformation Trust Publishing division, and various teaching series. It also offers academic degrees through Reformation Bible College. In addition, Ligonier hosts national and regional conferences, offers an online learning community through Ligonier Connect, streams twenty-four-hour Christian internet radio through RefNet, and makes available thousands of unique discipleship resources online at Ligonier.org. Ligonier Ministries

Comment (48)

  1. Jesus Himself said NO ONE has went to Heaven after they died in Jhn 3:13. So either Jesus lied or Churchianity is trying to make Him look like a liar. I'm willing to wager that the latter is the case, since the apostle Peter went on to confirm this in Acts 2:29,34 where he clearly says David himself is IN HIS GRAVE, not Heaven. Paul also goes on to state in the faith chapter(Heb. 11) that the named figures were STILL WAITING for their inheritance. That's not possible if a person can go to Heaven, nvm the fact that the Bible doesn't even legitimately teach going to Heaven is a Christian's reward in the first place.

  2. According to Hebrew thought, the soul is synonymous with the person. It is not a separate part of the person that can be detached like is portrayed in pagan mythology. It doesn't survive death. A person dies, their body goes to Sheol, or the grave, and the person is later resurrected to new life with a body suited for immortality. If the soul survives death and goes immediately to heaven and can exist in heaven independently as is so often taught, why does it need to be reunited to the body, any body, later on? Death as the enemy and resurrection as the hope of believer have no meaning if any part of man survives death. The immortal soul idea comes from Egyptian and Greek pagan thought and is part of the Lie, not the Truth.

  3. This mainstream "immortal soul" lie is not biblical, there is no separate "soul" inside humans that continues to live on after death. The confusion comes because Christians don't understand the biblical definition of what a soul is. Let's get back to the basics:

    Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man BECAME a living soul."

    Do you see this? Every creature that has received the breath of life is a living soul, no where the bible suggests that there is a human spirit inside of us. I will tell you where this immortality doctrine comes from, SATAN!

    Genesis 3:4 …'And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.'

    Life only continues to carry on after the first resurrection, this is what Jesus had to say:

    "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

    Now tell me why would Jesus need to say that when He returns He will get us so that we can be with Him if we are already with Jesus immediately after death? Makes no sense. That's because It is at the second coming that we go to heaven, not before.

  4. I really appreciate Sprouls and how God used him to guide me back into the Bible and a renewed relationship with Christ. However it is unfortunate that he starts out this video talking about classical Christian theology and not what the Bible teaches. The only text he refers to is Philippians 1:23 where Paul states that he would rather be with the Lord than to be here in the flesh. I can relate with Paul as I too would rather be with the Lord and escape the pain and suffering here on earth. The Bible states that “the dead know nothing” Ecclesiastes 9:5. In 1 Corinthians 15:52 Paul mentions the last trumpet in connection to the dead being raised. In Revelation we find the last trumpet in Revelation 11:15, and in verse 18 it states, “and the time has come for the dead to be judged.” This is a judgement of the wicked and the righteous. If the spirit of man went up to heaven the moment he died then judgment would have to occur the moment he died but the Bible does not teach that. For a clearer picture of death and resurrection look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. Also consider Jesus did not ascend to his Father during the three days he was in the tomb John 20:17. Neither did Lazarus’s spirit ascend to heaven during the four days he was dead in the tomb. Scripture does not support the belief that the spirit goes up to Heaven the moment you die. What Scripture supports is that death is like sleep. You go to sleep/or die and “in the twinkling of an eye” or what seems like no time at all you raise up, either to the resurrection resulting in life or the resurrection resulting in condemnation (see John 5:28,29). The intermediate state is like sleep.

  5. How does a man go to heaven when they die if they never knew heaven before they died? The kingdom of heaven is at hand and you people still don't know where it is? You are willing to die the physical death to try to find out? God is a God of the living not the dead. He dwells within you and you don't know that? Hypocrites! Let the dead in Christ rise to know their living God who dwells within.

  6. Heb 9:27-28
    (v.27) Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, (v.28) so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

    The Bible is clear (v.27) after man dies, judgment, meaning he either goes to heaven or to hell. And on the next verse (v.28), the destiny of man after death is connected to the one-time sacrifice of Christ. So for a Christian to question verse 27 is to question verse 28, which speaks of the one-time sacrificial work of salvation of Christ.
    So to those asking this question, how dare you question the wonderful work of salvation of the Lord! Read your Bible, believe in Christ not on mere men.

  7. Wrong.
    Humans does not have inmortal souls that fly to heaven, is not in the Bible.
    The only way to be with the Lord will be by resurrección, not by death. Read carefully, "to be present with the Lord" is a third option in the context of Paul’s discurs.

  8. I appreciated Spoul, and learned a lot from his lectures. But never did he get it more wrong. This was entirely unbiblical nonsense. I would admonish Bible-believing Christians to ponder the express terms of “the gospel” itself as concisely stated by Paul: death, burial, resurrection. THAT is always, and consistently, the EXPRESS view of the NT and its writers. Nowhere does any writer ever give the slightest “indication” that he conceived of a so-called disembodied “state” of continued, conscious existence. For anyone. It’s just not true. From the timeframe reference of each individual believer death will be followed by being in the presence of the Lord. But that is always clearly indexed to His Second Coming and the rapture/resurrection of the saints, ALL of whom will meet Him on the very same day. Not a personal attack on RC, but on the widespread, long held false conception of eschatology which he, and countless others have naively endorsed. A weak inference, never explicitly confirmed, from two random passages is simply insufficient to establish this notion. The essence of the gospel is always rooted in the hope of the resurrection from the dead.

  9. What a STUPID question. Why would "Christians" be any different from the other 3.2 billion people living on the planet? The title of the video seems to indicate that "God" only loves Christians and most especially fundamentalist Jesus freaks. Never mind the rest of the earth´s population. But dash off a few bible verses written thousands of years ago by ignorant scribes to make yourself feel superior. The title of the video should be Do PEOPLE go to heaven when they die? The answer: if a person has strong ties to the earth, dies in an accident or dies suddenly he or she is more than likely earthbound for a short period of time. But this is only temporary. There will always be others who will come and fetch him. If a person dies from a long illness like cancer or passes in their sleep it is likely they wake up on the Other Side immediately on passing and are met by relatives or friends. A good example to answer this question would be Terry Smith, a sailor who went down on the Hood, a battleship in WW2. There were no survivors. His recording to researchers George Woods and Betty Greene in 1966 is a remarkable account of life after death. He thought he was still on the ship. What is the most annoying is this idea that if you are a Christian that you are better than everyone else on this planet and that "God" has singled you out for some special place in heaven because of your beliefs and everybody else is just fucked.

  10. The Bible says in Psalms146:4 His breath goeth forth, he return to the earth. In that very day his thought perish. In Ezekiel 18:20 it says the soul that sinners it shall die. In Roman's 3:23 all have sinned…..so the soul not in heaven because it sinned.. in Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die. But the dead know not anything:. Take Lazarus. He died. He didnt go to heaven. Jesus called him out if the tomb where they place him. Enoch went to heaven. Elijah ent to heaven. It was no soul went there. No where in the bible you will find such teacihing.the only thing goes back to God is his breath he gave us. Tell the truth . Be on God side.

  11. So we can do anything we want and when we die we will go to heaven bcs Jesus pbuh died for us? Sorry but nonsense…we go to Paradise or Hell trough Gods Mercy or Punishment,and our good or bad acts. No one can save us from Hell expt the God Almighty One and Only the Creator of Hellfire!!!

  12. There is never a time when the soul has no body! Genesis 2:7 tells everyone that God formed a dead soul. Then God breathed life into the nostrils of His creation and it became a LIVING SOUL.

  13. —Ezekiel 18:20 —The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

    —What does the Bible say about soul that sins shall die?

    —Matthew 10:28 —28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
    —Ecclesiastes 9:5 —5 For the living know that they will die , but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.
    —Ezekiel 18:20 —20 The one who sins is the one who will die . The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
    —God formed the soul out of the dust then breathed the spirit of life to make the soul live!


    1. No part of you is immortal. (1 Tim. 6:15-16)

    2. The terms "immortal soul," "everlasting soul," and "eternal soul" are not in the Bible.

    3. You do not have a soul; you are a soul. (Gen. 2:7)

    4. No part of you is conscious after you die. (Ecc, 9:5)

    5. Elijah did not go to heaven. Enoch did not go to heaven. Moses did not go to heaven. Lazarus did not go to heaven. The thief on the cross did not go to heaven. Your deceased loved ones are not in heaven. Your deceased pets are not in heaven. And you aren't going to heaven when you die, either. (Jn. 3:13)

  15. I see a lot of comments on here about being in a hurry to see the Lord. It seems to me like you may be suicidal, let’s not be in that much of a hurry! Jesus said we are to remain busy at His work until He returns. You have work to do, no clocking out or retiring early!

  16. The bible teaches when we die we go into a dreamless sleep and we are not aware of anything that goes on in this life and there we remain until Jesus comes back one day. Then the dead in Christ will rise and those that are alive and in Christ will rise and meet up in the sky and be with the Lord forevermore. The dead are not in heaven or hell right now. If people take the time to read the bible and not accept all the false teachings out there, you will be surely blessed and can look forward to that day without fear.

  17. Im a bit confused. If our bodies disenegrate in the grave, and all that is left is skeleton, how can this become our New glorified body when God raises us from the grave on the day of Judgement. Also, what happens to people who are cremated?

  18. The Hebrew word for Soul is Nephesh and if you study that word you realize that the body and soul are one and not separate. Many times that our souls are immortal but the Bible doesn't teach that, it was only some Greek philosophers who made that up and was adopted into church tradition. When we are resurrected, only those in Christ are sustained by him to live eternally, those without Christ are destroyed both body and soul.

  19. We must all strive for that holiness without which no one shall see the Lord, ( Hebrews 12:14), for we shall each be held accountable for every careless word we have uttered on judgment day, and we shall each be judged as we have judged others, ( Matthew 12:36, Luke 6:37,38), for after death some shall suffer loss and be saved only as through fire, ( 1 Corinthians 3:15), where the spirits of the just are made perfect, ( Hebrews 12:23,24). Peace always in Jesus Christ our Great and Kind God and Savior, He whose Flesh is True food and Blood True drink