I found a Blog on the Internet that I feel clarifies from sound biblical teachings what happens to believers at the time of death.
WHEN WE DIE DOES OUR SPIRIT GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN?
By Den Borg • Source Holy Bible
If we are already in heaven what happens to us when Christ comes back?
We are not already in heaven. That is why He promised in John 14:1-3 that He is going to prepare a place for you, and then He will come back so that you and He can then be together forever. This promise would be meaningless if we are already with Him at death, for then He would not need to come back for us (because we're already there, if that were true).
When we were created, God formed our body from the dust of the ground, then breathed into us the breath of life, and man BECAME a living soul.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Please notice that God did not GIVE us a soul ... we BECAME a soul. The word (in the original language) that is translated into our English word "soul" is "nephesh" and means "living creature".
Also, the word for "breath of life" is translated from the Hebrew word "ruach", which means "wind, breath, spirit". It does not mean "soul" or some immortal immaterial ghost of the person.
SOUL = BODY + BREATH OF LIFE
Think of a light bulb. LIGHT = BULB + ELECTRICITY
Death is creation in reverse.
Again the light bulb, when "death" happens, the power returns to the battery and the bulb is lifeless, and the light ceases to exist. The same is true with the soul as it is with the light. The power of life returns to God who gave it, and the soul ceases to exist; the body is lifeless.
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
At creation, we become a living soul. At death, we don't have a soul that departs from the body and goes to heaven or hell or anywhere. The breath of life (the power of life, the spirit) returns to God, and the body returns to dust. Creation in reverse.
The soul perishes. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, . .” (James 2:26)
There is no consciousness in death.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 . . . but the dead know not any thing, .
Psalm 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Lazarus was dead four days, yet he gave no report of any “life after death” experience. (John 11:39)
The Bible calls death a sleep.
John 11:11 . . . Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; . .
Psalm 13:3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Acts 7:59-60 And they stoned Stephen, . . . Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
2 Peter 3:4 . . . the fathers fell asleep, . .
But death is not the end for those who believe in Jesus.
Jesus said in Revelation 1:17-18
. . . saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Jesus said in John 11:25
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
God will raise His people from the dead, to live with Him forever.
Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: . . .
Daniel 12:2 . . . them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake . . .
There will be 2 resurrections, the resurrection of life, and the resurrection of condemnation. (in the resurrection of condemnation, the wicked will be judged and then receive their final punishment, which is eternal death)
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-28 gives us the hope of the resurrection of life
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Jesus is the ONLY way to eternal life. He paid the penalty for all of our sins when He died on the cross and by His resurrection made possible our resurrection to eternal life. By His indwelling Spirit, we can live a righteous life and forsake our former life of sin. We can have the assurance of eternal life now.
We can, through prayer, have this gift of eternal life and freedom from sin by inviting Jesus into our lives and experiencing His resurrection power for daily living.
We don't have to fear death, but we must be ready for it. For it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
The best way you can prepare for death is to get to know Jesus right now by prayer and Bible reading, and inviting Him into your life.
You could pray this prayer right now –
"My Father in heaven, I am a sinner & need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus died for my sins; I want to turn from my sins & I invite Jesus into my heart and life. I want to trust Jesus as my Saviour and Lord. By Your power in my life, I am a new person, free from the condemnation and power of sin.
Source(s): The Bible
Footnotes: 1. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091214084219AA2VF0P