Why is it that when people die we tell them that they are in heaven now. But it says in the bible that the dead are conscious of nothing. And also the last day is when we will be judged to see if we go to heaven or hell.
Consider Luke 23:39-43 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, TO DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.” Not in the future sometime, but THAT VERY DAY the repentant thief would be with Jesus in paradise. That is talking about heaven.
II Corinthians 12:2-4 tells us that PARADISE IS THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD, THE THIRD HEAVEN. “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to THE THIRD HEAVEN. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into PARADISE, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” For more information on this, please see the Bible Course on this Web Site called “Heaven.”
Revelation 2:7 also identifies PARADISE AS THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is IN THE MIDST OF THE PARADISE OF GOD.”
What you are getting confused is the death of the PHYSICAL BODY, and its inability to remain conscious after death, and the spirit of a person, which is always conscious. Ecclesiastes 9:3-6 says, “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and MADNESS IS IN THEIR HEART WHILE THEY LIVE, and after that they go to the dead. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For THE LIVING KNOW THAT THEY SHALL DIE: BUT THE DEAD KNOW NOT ANY THING, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also THEIR LOVE, AND THEIR HATRED, AND THEIR ENVY IS NOW PERISHED ; neither have they any more A PORTION FOR EVER IN ANY THING THAT IS DONE UNDER THE SUN.”
The context of that passage is dealing with the MADNESS, LOVE, HATRED, and ENVY OF THE LIVING UPON EARTH — “under the sun.” A person who has died is not able to show those emotions UPON EARTH any more. “Neither have they any more A PORTION FOR EVER IN ANY THING THAT IS DONE UNDER THE SUN.”
All people are fully conscious after death in their spirits. The saved, as we have seen in the matter of the repentant thief on the cross, and the saved and lost in the matter of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that THE BEGGAR DIED, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: THE RICH MAN ALSO DIED, and was buried; 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. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
Both the saved and the lost are fully conscious after death — the saved, in blessed peace — and the lost, in terrible torment.
As you can see from this passage, the last day is not the time when we are judged whether we go to heaven or hell. That is decided the moment that you die. There need be no trial, because God already knows whether you are saved or lost. If you have not yet received Jesus Christ, you do not have to wait to be condemned, because you are condemned already. John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” That is why it is so important to get saved today, because a person is already condemned and headed for a certain hell. Luke 13:3 says, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
The Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:11-15, is not to determine “who” is saved or lost. Everyone appearing at that judgment is lost. They are just receiving their eternal degrees of punishment there (because their punishment is based upon their works), and are then cast into the lake of fire. That passage reads, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
I would suggest that you print off the Bible Course on this site called, “Hell.” Look up every Scripture verse, and fill in every blank, and then you will see all of the Scriptures dealing with this subject. Then do the same with the Bible Course called, “Heaven.” Then do the same with the one called “Salvation.”
The important thing today is to repent and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. Every living person is only one heart beat away from heaven or hell. That is why the message is so urgent to receive Christ today. II Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”