How does Stephen reveal his faith that his soul will be immediately with the Lord after his death?
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
-II Peter 3:12-13
UNSAVED SOULS ARE CONSCIOUS IN THEIR INTERMEDIATE
STATE IN HELL
1. Enter and live in hell
The rich man also died, and was
buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes.
3. Experience torments and terrors
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
2. Experience the unchangeable hopelessness of ever escaping
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
While the souls of the saved enjoy a perfectly sinless existence with God in heaven, their intermediate state is temporary. It is not the final, fully-restored state of God's child, church, and creation.
God's child is spiritually restored in the intermediate state, but not bodily. His physical being is also part of his created personhood, for God created us with both a soul and body. Therefore the complete restoration of God's child will not take place until his bodily resurrection.
God's church is only partially restored or glorified in this time state. Until the end of time, some of God's church will be saved, and others will be living on earth and therefore not yet be glorified. The entire church family gathering and worshipping together will not take place until Jesus' second coming.
God's creation is not fully restored. Until the end of this world, the entire creation will continue to groan and suffer under the curse of sin (Romans 8:19-23). God's heavenly Paradise is being prepared, but it is not yet revealed. God's complete restoration of a new heaven and a new earth will not take place until after the end of time (II Peter 3:12-13).
While the intermediate state is not the final state of the saved and unsaved, it is closely related to it. The souls of the saved experience heavenly joys, and the souls of the unsaved experience