From this life we begin the Second Stage of Existence. This is not the Hereafter, it is the near Hereafter called in the religious community the “intermediate state”. This term is used for an arena of existence between life on this planet and life with the Lord. Second Corinthians 5:8 Waiting souls and spirits are separated from this life in every respect unless a report comes from home by one KNOWN who has departed this life. Ecclesiastes 9:6 This state and life, before the resurrection, is in two places. One is in the heart of the Earth, a place called in the Greek tongue Hades. This word is by definition “unseen”. It had two spheres. A place called Paradise and another called Tartarus. Dividing these places was a great Gulf that could not be bridged. Here, the saint and sinner resided until the coming of Christ to redeem those held in the bondage of sin in Paradise. When Christ “entered into the strong man’s house”, He spoiled his goods and took Satan’s captives held captive. Revelation 6:10 Because sin was so damning, there was no sacrifice God the Father would accept that would be considered worthy to remove sin. Matthew 12:25-32, Ephesians 4:8-10, Hebrews 2:14-15, Isaiah 14:9-20, Hebrews 10:4 Following death, Christ entered Hades. “He who knew no sin became sin” and because God “laid upon Him the iniquity of us all”, Isaiah 53:6, Christ, with His angelic guard, Matthew 26:53, approached the kingdom of Satan. Luke 10:18, Revelation 12:7-14. At His coming to the Hadean World “all Hell was stirred up”(the part where the righteous abode), Isaiah 14:9. Christ overthrew Satan, took Satan’s bounty held captive and resurrected. Those with Him came back to our arena of existence. Here, they waited for Christ ascension to the Father. Because of Christ, the perfect sacrifice, they, as well as we who are in Christ, are to reside and be with those who had died and had never sinned. Ephesians 2:10, 3:10-14, Matthew 16:18 They, as well as we, who are in Christ, will await the final Resurrection in Paradise, the third Heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:3-4 Ascended with Christ, some of them, whose bodies were not spoiled, would testify of His victory in the Hadean world. Matthew 27:53. Christ stayed on this Earth 40 days before ascending on a cloud to the Ancient of Days. Daniel 7:13-14
When our Lord said to the Thief; “Today, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise”, He was speaking of the intermediate state in the heart of the Earth He was about to re-arrange. He was not speaking of the third Heaven, the abode of the sinless dead.
The wicked dead? They too have a temporary and eternal abode. Temporary, wherein is great pain, suffering, and thirst always conscious of their anguish, 2 Peter 3:7, a conscious reprieve at the Second Coming, then, a return to something worse: Eternal Damnation!!
This place is called Tartarus.. In Tartarus there is vivid remembrance, feeling, comfortless existence, where time is not counted. The rich man of Luke 16 keenly felt misery. The damned have a conscious and vivid existence, it is not a sleep of non-existence. (Death does not break our consciousness for there is no cessation of life). Jesus said; “I Am the God of the living, not the God of the dead”. Matthew 21:31-32 Paul said: “I knew a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I knew not.” Second Corinthians 12: 1-40. Death made no difference in consciousness. Again, Abraham lectured the rich man such: “Son, remember”. How could one unconscious know anything? Death provides no chasm of memory but proves that memory is something more than impressions on the gray matter of the brain!! Memory leaves with the soul. Death breaks no covenant with memory, pain, joy, or consciousness!!