Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Awakening on Judgement Day
At the moment of death, some souls go to heaven, and some souls go to hell. There is no intermediate state in the realm of the dead. The ones that go to heaven are the souls of people who believe in Jesus as their Savior. The ones that go to hell are the souls of people who do not believe in Jesus as their Savior. This is the Bible’s clear teaching.
On judgment day, the souls of believers will return to earth with Jesus, and God will reunite those souls with their bodies. It doesn’t matter how long those bodies were in the dust of the earth or whether they had become the dust of the earth. God will raise them as glorified bodies, unable to be separated from their souls again.
What will happen to the souls of unbelievers on judgment day? They will also return to earth, but their bodies will not be glorified. Instead, the souls of unbelievers will join with bodies that are shamed, condemned to everlasting contempt, separated from the presence of God.
It’s not a pretty picture. God sent his Son, Jesus, to rescue people from that fate. Jesus suffered hell in our place on the cross so that our sins do not condemn us to shame and everlasting contempt. Instead, trusting in Jesus, we look forward to awakening on judgment day to everlasting life.
Dear God, when I rise from the dead on judgment day, lead me to everlasting life through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.