Do Christians go to heaven when they die? Paul said that when he died, he would go to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23). Since the Lord is in heaven, that is where Paul would go, too. Some people say he’s enjoying the presence of God. Others say he is unconscious. Either way, he is in heaven with Christ.
References to: heaven
Peter once asked Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” (Matthew 19:27). We might paraphrase it like this: “We’ve given up a lot to be here. Is it really worth it?” Some people today might ask the same thing. We have given up a lot — careers, families, jobs, status, pride — in our spiritual journey. Is it worth it? Is there some sort of reward in store for us?
Is “heaven” a place, a condition of existence, a close relationship with God, or something else? Do the righteous go to “heaven” (whatever it may be) at death or at the resurrection?
Scripture is vague on the details of what happens to the righteous at death; the church therefore does not have an official position on this subject. The church tries to emphasize topics Scripture is clear about.
Some people ridicule the idea of “going to heaven.” However, Paul says that we are already seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) — and he wanted to go to be with Christ after he died, and Christ is in heaven (Philippians 1:23). So it would not be unreasonable to think that Paul wanted to go to heaven when he died.
Shortly after you die, you will find yourself in a queue outside the pearly gates, waiting for an interview with St. Peter. If you pass muster, you will be invited in, given a white robe and a regulation harp, and assigned your own cloud. As you begin to strum, you may recognize a few (perhaps not as many as you’d hoped for) of your friends, and probably many people you tried to avoid in your lifetime. And so begins your eternal life.
Did Jesus Christ tell the thief on the cross that they would be together in Paradise that very day, or did he say on that day, that they would be together in Paradise? It has been argued that the Greek text is ambiguous on this point, and that the position of the comma (before or after the word "today") determines the sense of Christ's statement.