A.  Questions submitted:  “Where are the dead?  Already in heaven/hell?  Sleeping?
              Watching us as the rich man could see Lazarus?
        B.  We will focus on where a saved person’s soul/spirit goes at death.
              1.  In the KJV hades and hell are referred to as hell.  Hades and hell are actually
                   separate places.  I’ll use the NKJV.
    I.  Vital background information

         A.  Before the resurrection and ascension of Christ, the spirits of the “righteous” went to
               paradise in hades.  Luke 16:22-23 (768)  Abraham’s bosom or paradise was the blessed
               place of the “righteous dead and torment is the place for the unrighteous people.

               1.  The “righteous” who died before the sacrifice of Christ were saved on credit.
               2.  Christ had not paid the price for the sins of humans.
               3.  Because of their sins they couldn’t go into the presence of God in heaven.
                    Hebrews 9:6-15 (887)
                    V8-The way into the holiest of all (heaven) was not available.  See John 3:13 (780)
                     and Hebrews 9:15

          B.  After the resurrection of Christ, He emptied paradise in hades, transferring the saved 
                to heaven.  Ephesians 4:7-10 (865)
                1.  V8-Christ led captivity.
                2.  Vv9-10-Christ descended to hades and ascended to heaven (vv8-10).  See Psalm  
                     Psalm 68:18 (453); Psalm 24:7-10 (437)
                3.  2 Corinthians 12:2-4(558)-Christ moved paradise from hades to heaven.
                4.  The tree of life is in the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7,p 906) and the tree of life
                      is in heaven.  Revelation 22:1-2 (917)

     II.  Since the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when a Christian dies his spirit goes
           directly to heaven.

           A.  Proof  passages:
                 1.  Philippians 1:21-23 (867).  Where did Paul desire to go?  Christ is in heaven.
                      1 Peter 3:22 (896)
                 2.  Acts 7:54-56;59 (807).  Stephen said, “Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit.”
                 3.  Revelation 6:9-10 (908).  Altar is in front of God’s throne.  Rev. 8:1-3 (909)
                 4.  2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (854).To be absent from the body is to present with the Lord.
                 5.  1 Thessalonians 5:1-2,9-10 (874). 
                 6.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.  God will bring those who have died in Christ  Where
                       had they been?

  Conclusion:  The Christian (spirit/soul) goes directly to heaven when he/she dies waiting for the
                       resurrection of the body when Christ returns.