Before Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, what happened to believers upon death?
In Luke 16, Jesus tells a story of a rich man and Lazarus. In it, the rich man and Lazarus both die. The rich man goes to Hades (the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Sheol”). Across a great chasm, the rich man sees Lazarus by Abraham’s side. This passage indicates Hades is a holding place that contained sinners (in torment) and saints (in comfort). Jesus directly taught that Hades contained a place of comfort for saints.
Let me begin by stating, this writing is an exercise in theology. I am trying to document my understanding of the Bible’s teaching regarding speaking in tongues. My view on this issue may vary dramatically from yours, but my concern is not with invalidating your faith. If you are my brother (or sister) in Christ, that supersedes all. My convictions on this issue do not interfere with my commitment to you as my brother, or my respect for you in your faith. Many, of sincere faith and in honest devotion have come to fundamentally different views on the scope and application of the gift of tongues. I am quite comfortable with this diversity and still call you my beloved brother.
Within modern evangelical American churches, there are two competing philosophies of church organization: the traditional and the seeker-sensitive. The seeker-sensitive approach has gained significant momentum, but it has a difficulty that is often unacknowledged or neglected.