The Intermediate State

Where does a persons spirit go when a person dies? Does it go directly to Heaven (which is supposed to come down to the new earth) or Hell, depending on a persons belief. Or does it go to some other place to await Gods judgment?
Charles Hodge has a systematic theology that has a section on this topic I find to be most encouraging and biblical. I encourage you to read his section on the "Intermediate State" if you want some of the best answers to your questions in the English language. It's in Section 4, starting on p. 712 of my unabridged copy published by Eerdmans.

But briefly, when you die, your disembodied spirit goes to heaven or hell (Luke 23:43). It awaits final judgment (Rev. 6:9-11) and the final destiny of the church. This final judgment will include your body and spirit being reunited (1 Cor. 15:35-42) and your full reward (1 Cor. 3:11-15) and your dwelling in that glorified body either on a renewed earth or in hell.

Concerning the new earth, the Scriptures teach:

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Pet. 3:13).

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God (Rev. 21:1-3)

Concerning hell, the Scriptures teach:

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. n

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. n

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where " 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched' (Mark 9:45-48).

Answer by Rev. Robert Barnes

Rev. Robert Barnes is a minister in the PCA and the Managing Editor for Bright Media.