I believe that the flesh goes to the grave and rot and not our spirit. Genesis 3:19. “….and unto dust shalt thou return.” I believe God was talking about our flesh because of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” I believe here that Paul was talking about the spirit. If we are absent from the body and present with the Lord, where are we? Where is the Lord? We must be in heaven.
Let’s look at another verse. Jesus told the thief, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).” Christ here is letting us know that he was going to heaven. Jesus himself died on the cross and went. Jesus is letting us know that when Christians die, they shall go to be with him in heaven, and the unsaved have a chance to go to heaven too.
In Matthew 27:52 -53, When Jesus died, saints that slept arose. (52) And the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, (53) And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
In Philippians 1:23, Paul said, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better…”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep (died) in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.(16) 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: (17) 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. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” I believe that the people that died in Christ are with Christ and will return with him. Christians will get a new body when he returns. Our bodies will be like Christ’s. When Christ returns we will be glorified and our bodies will be physical. Christ’s body was physical when he arose because his disciples ate with him (Acts 10:41).
I believe that the spirits of the righteous men are already in heaven. Hebrews 12:22-23 But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect…”
In Revelation 6:9, There are souls in heaven. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.”
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told a parable about a rich man and a poor man name Lazarus. The rich man went to hell. Jesus even gave a name of a person in this parable which is Lazarus. To me this is more than just a parable. It actually happened. Lazarus went to heaven (verse 22). The rich man went to hell (verse 23) and was tormented in the flame (verse 24).
When Jesus comes, hell is going to be cast into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:14-15. There is no other place that unsaved people can go to after hell. The lake of fire is the last place for them to go when Jesus comes back. Sounds like there are people already in hell to me.
If your belief is different, that is alright with me, but this is what the scriptures are saying to me.