Salvation is Tied to Eschatology
Let me point out something from Scripture that is usually ignored. The truth is if Jesus hasn’t come again (“second coming”) salvation hasn’t come yet, and no one has gone to heaven, all the dead are still in Sheol/Hades awaiting salvation/redemption.
Salvation is tied to eschatology. If you were to die right now, where would you go? That depends on your eschatology. No one goes to heaven prior to the second coming. Look at what Jesus said:
John 13:33 — “Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ so now I tell you.”
John 13:36 — “Lord,” Simon Peter said to Him, “where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you WILL FOLLOW LATER.”
Jesus letting his followers know this time was near.
[Luke 21:25-28] — “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring sea and waves. People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the celestial powers will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because YOUR REDEMPTION IS NEAR!”
(see also Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:13,30)
[1 Thessalonians 4:13-18] — “We do not want you [Thessalonians] to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we [Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy] believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we [Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy] say this to you [Thessalonians] by a revelation from the Lord: We who are STILL ALIVE AT THE LORD’S COMING will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are STILL ALIVE will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we WILL ALWAYS BE WITH THE LORD. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
If the dead have not yet been resurrected, which happens at the Second Coming, then no one is yet in heaven. But where do most Christians believe that they go at death? Heaven! To be with the Lord.
Heaven was not opened until the Second Coming, because salvation was not complete until the return of Christ:
[Hebrews 9:23-28] — “Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the (((heavens to be purified with these sacrifices,))) but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these. For the Messiah did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a figure of the true one) but INTO HEAVEN ITSELF, so that He might now appear in the presence of God for us. He did not do this to offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, He would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But NOW He has appeared ONE TIME, AT THE END OF THE AGES, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, WILL APPEAR A SECOND TIME, not to bear sin, but TO BRING SALVATION TO THOSE WHO ARE WAITING FOR HIM.”
This is the only place in the New Testament where the return of Christ is called a “Second Coming”. His appearing is said to be “for salvation.”
Peter states that their salvation was not yet complete:
[1 Peter 1:5] — “You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Salvation was ready to be revealed, when? In the last time at the end of the age, which would happen at the return of Christ. If Christ has not returned, salvation is incomplete and no one has yet gone to heaven.