ASK DON: What happens immediately after death?
Don Piper’s Answer:
Immediately following the crash, I was at the gates of Heaven. There was no intermediate step. I obviously was not planning to die that day, but like the people who met me at the gates had been when they died, I was ready to go when it happened.
There was no “weigh station” where I waited to earn my way in. My entry was not a question of worthiness. Like all of us, I was not worthy of entering the Holy City of God. But I was and still am a sinner saved by grace. Salvation and Heaven are not earned. We enter Heaven by the grace of God. Yet our rewards in Heaven are based on our lives and service here.
Another idea of what happens after you die is called, “Soul Sleep.” This idea implies that we go to a place of rest and stay there until everyone is resurrected together. The truth is, the bodies of those who are believers will be resurrected in a glorified state. We will then be reunited with our souls so that we may be perfected, as referenced in 1 Corinthians 15.
There are references in the Bible of people who appeared who had died such as Moses and Elijah. This would indicate that they could not have been asleep. Immediately upon impact with the truck, I was standing at the gates of Heaven; he did not experience “Soul Sleep.” I took my last breath and the bridge and my next breath at the gates of Heaven.