Bible verses that say Believers go to paradise immediately to be with Jesus in heaven when they die
Paradise* or heaven is a “temporary place” for the martyrs, Believers*, those who have been set-apart. The “unsaved people,” (those who do not have Christ, wicked, and Unbelievers*) will remain sleeping on earth when they die.
First Resurrection takes place in various stages (Rev. 20:4-6). The body of a “Believer” in the grave will rise and reunite with its soul and spirit (see verses below). With a glorified body, they will meet Jesus in the sky (Rapture) and prepare for His Second Coming.
Second Resurrection is for the “unsaved people.” Their body in the grave, as well as soul and spirit, stays on earth, awaiting the Second Coming of Jesus and their Final Judgment. (Ecc. 12:7; 9:5; 1 Thes. 4: 14)
Luke 23:43 – The thief is in heaven.
Jesus answered him, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Other religions insist that “today” is not literal because Jesus didn’t go back immediately to heaven when he said, “you will be with me.” Jesus is “Omnipresent,” He can be at any place at any time. The word “today” (σήμερον, sēmeron) means precisely just that, “daily,” “always,” “this day.” (NASB)
2 Corinthians 5:8 – Christians who die are with Jesus.
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather, to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
In v5-6, God gave the Holy Spirit as a guarantee for what is to come. That is why Paul was 100% sure that as long as we’re alive on earth, our spirit is away from Jesus. Therefore it is with certainty that when Believers die, we will immediately be with God, supporting other verses.
Philippians 1:23 – Paul prefers to depart to be with Christ.
I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.
Paul would rather die to be with Jesus. But he still had a mission that’s why he’s torn. He said in Philippians 1:21, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Clearly, he favored dying to be in heaven. Unlike those who are NOT saved by grace and died, they will have to wait for a thousand years in the grave, where nothing is gained. Thus, Paul is torn.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 – Spirit returns to God, not stay on earth.
The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Categorically says “spirit returns.” Both Unbelievers and Believer’s Body returns to earth as dust. Their bodies will resurrect on the First and Second Resurrection, but the Spirit of Believers returns and stays in paradise, not on earth.
Acts 7:56-59 – Stephen is received by Jesus.
“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God… While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” …
Jesus was waiting for that moment to welcome Stephen in heaven. Stephen saw an open gate, not a closed one. He did not see a future vision. Also, he was speaking in the present tense, not in the future tense.
Revelation 6:10 – Martyrs in heaven.
They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
Clearly, the martyrs are with Jesus asking Him this question. It supports other verses that indicate the spirit of Believers goes immediately to heaven, though the dead body remains on the grave, awaiting Rapture.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 – People of the Old Covenant.
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.
Those who died in the OT were under the curse of death, except those God predestined. But God so loved the world that He gave His son Jesus to open the gates of heaven for those who believe. Christians live under this New Covenant.
1 Thessalonians 4: 14 – The New Covenant & Rapture of Believers.
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The body, soul, and spirit of Unbelievers who died will remain asleep on earth until the second resurrection. The body of Believers on the grave will be reunited with their soul and spirit (from paradise). While Believers still alive on earth will join the rest of Believers in the sky, upon the “Rapture of Believers.”