Read Luke 23:42-43
42 Then he said,”Jesus,remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
43 And Jesus replied,”I assure you,today you will be with me in paradise.” (NLT)
When we raise the issue of what happens when we die,this text is quoted as affirming our immediate entry to heaven. But others might argue that elsewhere in Scripture we don’t get our new heavenly bodies till Jesus returns. So who is right?
Perhaps both views are right. The new heavens and the new earth will be inaugurated when Jesus returns. And yet those who have died till now enjoy heavenly life without having to wait around for this event.
The key might lie in how we view time. Let’s say I sleep for 8 hours. Someone observing me will be aware of the elapse of that period of time. But I will not be aware. I will merely be aware of going off to sleep and waking up again. Perhaps this is what happens when we die.
I die,and my next conscious recollection may be of perfected life in a perfected body in the new heavens and new earth. Long ages may have passed in the meantime but I would not have been conscious of it.
Admittedly,this must be speculative. But those in Christ need not be concerned. However we understand such things,we will be with Christ. And that will be enough.