Our study began with Irenaeus’ contention that the belief in an immediate removal of the soul to the presence of God and Christ at death was a stumbling block to orthodox acceptance of chiliasm, and with his counter proposal that the chiliastic hope was properly accompanied and corroborated by belief in a subterranean detainment for the soul until the time of resurrection.
Following this lead, we observed…the extraordinary regularity with which the doctrine of a subterranean intermediate state in fact shows up in the writings of other Christian chiliasts…often appearing as well with some form of polemic against the opposing view. The alliance between chiliasm and the subterranean view is developed most conscientiously by Irenaeus, with perhaps the best constructive integration by Tertullian and with the highest exegetical ingenuity by Victorinus of Pettau.
…The underworld as the abode of the departed was a common enough conception in antiquity, and by no means was it customarily joined with the hope of a temporary golden age to precede and an eternal ‘world to come’.
…The connection between soul-sleep and chiliasm has been maintained not only by individuals but was institutionalized in several 19th- and 20th-century Christian sects such as Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Time and again the validity of the doctrinal connection observed by Irenaeus in the late second century has been reconfirmed. The belief in an immediate experience in heaven at death was not only inimical to the original chiliastic eschatology but it has repeatedly proved troublesome for many chiliasts throughout Christian history.
—Charles E. Hill, Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Future Hope in Early Christianity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 178–81.