The Intermediate State: Where do Christians go when they die?

2.What happens to the individual person between death and the return of Christ, in the case of Christian believers?

This exam response will briefly discuss what happens to a Christian believer after they die for the period of time between their death and the return of Jesus Christ. It is beneficial to understand that in the beginning humans where created by God made up from a spirit and body which were tightly joined together. (Gen 2:7) Death was not in God’s plan for the perfect creation, and is directly a result of sin. (Gen 2:17; Rom 5:12) The death of a Christian believer results in a separation of the body and soul.[1] (Ecc 12:7 & Luk 23:43). This time of separation is commonly referred to as the ‘intermediate state’.

From our earthly experience we can deduce that the body is destroyed after death. The question that remains is what happens to the human spirit. For the Christian believer, the bible’s emphasis of the state of the soul after death is always positive. There is no hint of suffering, evil, sin or persecution. (Rev 6:10 and 7:15ff).

While the scriptures don’t spell out in detail what the intermediate state will encompass, the focus is on the fact that Christian believers are going to be with Christ. The key term is ‘with the Lord’. (i.e. Phi 1:23)

Paul’s writings are often positive about the intermediate state and there is also a sense of incompleteness. The vibe is that there is still something incomplete. Despite this incompleteness the soul is undoubtedly in heaven, with God. (2Cor 5:1-10).

The bible doesn’t lead the Christian believer to expect a gap between earth and heaven. This would exclude the idea of purgatory of which the Roman Catholics petition.

The bible teaches that Christian believers are not conscience in the intermediate state, but does suggest that those who have died or ‘gone to sleep’ are in heaven with Christ. Christians are taught that Christ will bring them with Him when he returns for final judgement. (1Thes4:14).  This raises the question of what ‘joys’ the Christians will experience. J.N. Darby fervently advocates immediate joy for the Christian after death.[2] Darby is often criticised for his dispensational views, although this is the case he helpfully differentiates between the intermediate and eternal states of the Christian after death. He argues that the bible never talks about spirits or souls being glorified. He shows that the human soul is not fully glorified after death, but that glorification is saved for the final judgment and reuniting of body and spirit. Darby suggests that there is an immediate joy for the Christian after death.[3] Others would interpret ‘gone to sleep’ as a death with a lack of conscience and therefore no human emotion.

To what end the human emotions are experienced is open for interpretation however we can conclude that after death, the Christian believer’s spirit is in heaven, with the Lord, waiting for Christ’s return and the final judgement where he and his body will be reunited and glorified for eternity. (Heb 12:23, . 2CO 5:1, Phil 1:23; Acts 3:21, Eph 4:10, John 5:21-30).


[1] M. Driscoll & G. Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, (Crossway, 2010) pp.409-410

[2] J.N. Darby, The State of the Soul After Death, (T. Weston Publishers, 1910)

[3]J.N. Darby, The State of the Soul After Death, , (T. Weston Publishers, 1910)

Lecrae – A Rapper’s Testimony about Jesus Christ

I’ve been following this guy for a while now. While I don’t really rate RnB and Hip Hop music as a genre, I can appreciate the effort that Lecrae has put in to developing some really influential and inspiring Christian music.

This is a short clip of his testimony. Well worth a watch. As far as theology is concerned I think he is pretty well rounded. His music and lyrics are Christ and Grace focused with a push to live a life that responds accordingly.

Below the video is a link to one of his songs. Probably my favorite. Let me know what you think.

Le Crae – Just Like You

[Insert your deepest darkest thought here]

How would you feel if your deepest and darkest thoughts were transparently projected over YouTube. What would you do if your secrets were shown to your friends, family… to the world.

[Insert your deepest darkest thought here].

The bible shows that we all have inappropriate desires. You most definitely have desires and secrets that you try to hide from the world. What are your desires? What things have you done that you would do anything to keep secret?

Ten years ago, I felt helpless to control my desires. My need for self-gratification left me in a state of dis-repair. No matter how hard I tried too improve, I found myself in a downward spiral. Every time I thought I’d found a solution to my lack of satisfaction, I would find another way of hurting myself, or someone around me. In the time that I spent with a complete disregard for God’s purpose for my life, I collected physical, spiritual and emotional burdens which are still with me in today’s walk. Like me I’m sure there’s tonnes of solid Christians who would agree that the addictions, behaviours, and attitudes of their youth still weigh heavily upon them today.

So whether you are like me and are still dealing with the decisions you made ten years ago, or you are in the midst of making decisions that you just know aren’t right, now is the time to grasp to some truths that can potentially liberate you from the unhealthy desires of your heart.

Maybe it’s something that you haven’t done, but something that has been done to you. What is it that you couldn’t tell anyone because of shame, guilt or fear? Who hurt you so bad, that you feel guilty because of it?

Mike Wilkerson, author of Redemption, writes this:

“it’s not our raw experiences that determine our lives but the meaning we make of them – the stories we tell an the stories we believe. Out of those stories we live our lives”.

Mike encourages his readers to look at abuse, addictions and other assorted troubles through the lens of scripture.  The problem isn’t that God has abandoned us in our pain, but that sometimes we refuse to face it without him.

It’s important to know that God hasn’t just rescued us from our sin, but also our fear, our doubt and our guilt.

I’m not writing to give you the answers, but just to point lost people to the bible. It does have the answers.
A good place to start is to realise that despite how you feel, God loves and cares for you.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

What defines you? To whose family do you belong? Part 2

[Just a quick edit, if you didn’t read Part one, you can do so by clicking here ]

So, I was sitting in a chapel at the Army Recruit Training Centre in Kapooka, NSW. I was listening to the Padré retell a story of how Jesus and his disciples went from town to town sharing the good news about God’s Son. Read more What defines you? To whose family do you belong? Part 2