[quote=anthony flavell]“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2).
I often see this used as a "conclusive argument” that people go to heaven after death, as the witnesses are described earlier as characters from the OT,
To me this just seems like a very poetic but not a literal statement. Is this not simply an effective use of imagery to illustrate the legacy these people have left around us?
and Hebrews 12:1 which is the passge you quote about the clouds of witnesses.
These passages are not about Old Testament characters. You are missing the point.
All of the above passages imply interaction between those in heaven and those on earth and we should be aware of the presence and loving care of the saints. Those who are in heaven are close to the knowledge of God and therefore more aware of our needs and more devoted to us than when they were on earth. In other words we are never alone for we live in communion with the saints.