People in the Old Testament, when they died, they did not go to heaven. They went to the belly of the earth.

Luke 23:42-43: “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

When the thief at the cross asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus said that they would be in paradise in the very same day. Where did they go? 

Acts 2:27,31: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”

The above passage was for Jesus Christ who went to hell. His flesh did not get corrupted in three days.

Ephesians 4:9-10: “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)“

Jesus said to the thief that they would be in paradise, but we have evidence that Jesus descended first into hell. Surely, there is no paradise in hell?

That is because the Bible says that there are both a place of torment and a place of comfort within hell.

Luke 16:23-26: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

There is a great gulf between Abraham and the lost sinner. Abraham and Lazarus are in a place of comfort while the rich man was in a place of torment. They were both in hell, but a place was reserved for Old Testament saints.

1 Samuel 28:11,13: “Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.”

Notice that the witch had to bring Samuel up, which meant he was beneath us. The other description was “gods ascending out of the earth” which again referred to the dead saints underneath us.

Acts 2:34-35: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”

Even David was not up in the heavens. Samuel also was not up. 

John 3:13: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

This was during the time before Jesus died on the cross. John said that no man has gone up to heaven.

2 Corinthians 12:4: “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

When Paul spoke about this, the person was caught up into paradise. So, why is paradise now in heaven? It’s because after Jesus died, He went below the earth, then He and the Old Testament saints all finally went up to heaven.

Matthew 27:52-53: “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.“

The proof text is above. The saints were resurrected after Jesus’ resurrection. 

The people who do not like this doctrine will argue about Enoch and Elijah, who were “caught up.” There are two possible theories:

  • Enoch and Elijah were caught up into the air, but their souls later went to paradise in hell. This would be consistent with “no man hath ascended up to heaven” (John 3:13).
  • Enoch and Elijah were the exceptions to death. These were the only two people who did not die. It alludes to the both of them being “raptured” up. Satan tried to ascend high up (Isaiah 14:13) but did not manage to. Only God can catch people up.