articles of chapter 6

Will you go to heaven after you die?

 

 

Hope to get to heaven

2 Cor 5:1 “For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.

Apostle Paul writes of the hope of the resurrection, combined with the hope of entering God’s kingdom. Two thousand years have passed since the apostles, and the same hope equally animates modern man’s time. “The earthly house of our tent” means the physical body where people spend their time on earth.

Home to the Lord

2 “For also in this we groan, since we long to put on our heavenly dwelling.”

Paul is confident that believers, at some point, will be allowed to exchange their physical bodies for the “tabernacle in heaven,” that is, the spirit body … To put on their “heavenly dwelling” means a spiritual body

3 “if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked [be found without a body].

4 “For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”

5 “Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who has given us his Spirit as a guarantee.”

6 “Therefore, we are always confident, and we know that as long as we are at home in this body we are away from the Lord.”

The guarantee brought by the Holy Spirit comforts believers who long to reach the Lord.

7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

8 We are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.

9 Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him.

In Philippians, Paul suggests that he would like to die and thereby be with Christ, but for the sake of the churches, it is more necessary for him to continue to dwell on the earth.

Phl 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22 And if to live in the flesh is to me a fruit of work, then what shall I choose? I know not.

23 But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

24 Yet, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake.”

The Epistle to the Philippians was written 10-15 years later than the Epistle to the Thessalonians. Paul wrote the letter in prison in Rome. Perhaps the longing conveyed by the letter to come home to Christ has been emphasized by prison conditions.

Also 2 Cor 5:8 “We are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.”

It is at least clear that Paul and the other apostles longed for Christ, to the heavenly home. Is this sure proof that after death, the believer immediately enters heaven? Nothing is said in these verses about the time.

In another verse, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 it is expressed this way: “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”  Paul rejoices — not in going to heaven — but that Christ will return and that Paul and other believers will be meeting Christ and then always be with the Lord, on earth in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Paul and other believers eagerly awaited the Second Coming of Christ in their lifetime. After all, Jesus said he was coming “soon.”

 

No one has ascended into heaven, but Jesus! (Joh 3:13)

First, the resurrection and the last judgment

2 Cor 5:10 “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what he deserves for what he has done in his body, whether good or evil.”

Verse 10 sets out the principle of salvation; if you have done good, you will be saved; if evil, you will be punished.

Joh 5:28-29 “Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”

This speaks of the deeds on which the judgment is based and not of faith; those who do good will receive the resurrection of life, and the wicked will be have the resurrection of judgment.

James also emphasizes the importance of deeds: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so, faith apart from works is dead.”

I have picked out a few verses to show the importance of faith as a decisive factor of salvation:

Act 16:31 “They said, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Joh 3:36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys  the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Joh 6:47 Most assuredly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.”

Which is decisive, faith or deeds?

It all starts with knowing God. John tells in his gospel what is the foundation for eternal life. Joh 17:3 This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” – One must know God the Father, who alone is the true God and his Son Jesus Christ, whom God has sent into the world. Indeed, Jesus came into the world to denounce the way to salvation, to the God of heaven. “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (Joh 14:6). – Would I believe more in Jesus than the apostles? In that case, faith in Jesus is more decisive. It just so happens that Jesus has also spoken of the importance of deeds, as in John 5:28-29 above. Could it be that both are accepted? In other words, with the final judgment, a favorable judgment can be obtained based on either faith or deeds.

As a general rule, after the resurrection, all people must appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that every one may receive judgment for what they have done during their time in the physical body. When I wrote that, as a general rule, I mean that everyone except the Saints of the First Resurrection must submit to Christ’s judgment. The Saints of the First Resurrection will be tested and trained worthy in their lifetime. They are co-rulers of Christ and also participate in sharing the final judgment.

Jesus’ ascension to heaven

No one has ascended into heaven, but Jesus! (Joh 3:13) 

What is the basis for the generally accepted belief that good people get to heaven as soon as they die? Let us think about what would happen if that were the case. That would mean that there would not be a final judgment in which all the dead would be raised to participate. Who would qualify them for heaven? St. Peter should interrogate at the gates of heaven? Or should people then descend from heaven to join in the final judgment when its time sometimes comes? What about when Christ establishes the Millennial Kingdom on earth, will the people in heaven take back their physical bodies and descend to earth where Christ reigns?

When the first resurrection of the dead takes place, if God’s own, Abraham and King David, and many other Old Testament God-fearing men and women were in heaven, should they descend to earth to participate in the first resurrection and the Millennial Kingdom of Christ? But, after all, they lived in Old Testament times, so that they couldn’t be “Christ’s own.” Such strange situations arise if some of the dead have already ascended to heaven. Everyone must come to the final judgment! 2 Cor 5:10 “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what he deserves for what he has done in his body, whether good or evil.”

Child baptism has been defended, mainly because if a child is not baptized and dies, the child will not go to heaven but go to hell. Really? The Bible’s clear word reminds us of what Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” You will find that such old beliefs that are not based on the Bible result in quite a mess. Of course, it is understandable that people seek comfort, especially as death approaches, from the general beliefs about going to heaven.

The Bible describes and thus testifies to Jesus ascending to heaven. At the same time, the angels confirmed his return in the same way he ascended to heaven. 

Has Jesus come from heaven?

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary when God’s Holy Spirit had “overshadowed” Mary (Luke 1:35). Why did the Son of God have to be born a baby? Couldn’t Jesus have “come from heaven” just as angels came from heaven when God sent them to do a certain mission?

The coming of Jesus from heaven in no way indicates that he had been there before, quite the contrary. If one wanted to show that Jesus had been in heaven before and then came from there to earth, he would probably have come like angels, as a heavenly being. He came as a baby because the biblical account of the birth of Jesus from the Virgin Mary confirms the birth of Jesus from God the Father through the Holy Spirit.

What does the Bible mean when it says Joh 16:28, “I came out from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” The Bible says Jesus was born immaculately by the power of the Holy Spirit. It may also mean that Jesus was “born again” after John had baptized him, and God had recognized Jesus as his son (Mat 3:11). Jesus affirmed that “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). What did this mean? It means that they were of the same spirit. God is a spirit, and Jesus was given a spirit body after he died.

Reborn people are also one with God and Jesus. 1 Cor 6:17 confirms: “But the person who unites himself with the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”  – In this way, believers can also claim to be “from heaven”. And more: 15:47 “The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven.”

John the Baptist also came from God out of heaven and is sent by God as Christ. Joh 1:6 “There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him.”

John the Baptist, though “sent by God,” has never been in heaven. He has been sent from heaven. I interpret the Bible so that as John the Baptist, not even Jesus had been in heaven before coming to earth. Nor did the apostles come from heaven. Does it sound complicated when you hear that Jesus said that “I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (Joh 17:14). – It is just a matter of how it is expressed and how it is translated. “From heaven,” “from the world,” or “sent” are wordings that must be understood correctly and not as theologians and denominations say.

What is certain is that Jesus ascended to heaven as a human being, in the spiritual body. After all, Jesus was on earth, after his resurrection, in the spirit body, but could also take the physical body if he wished.

God gave Jesus eternal life. If Jesus had previously been in heaven as God, it would not have been necessary for God the Father to give his son the gift of eternal life.

Joh 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself. 27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.

Jesus Christ is also a man in heaven (1 Tim 2: 5). God has given him, a human, all the judgment. God apparently, in providing judgment to Jesus because he was the son of man, and wanted the sins of men to be examined and explicitly judged by a human, not by God or by angels.

It is claimed that Jesus has been in heaven, the Son of God for ages and ages (John 1). Then why didn’t God send ‘this’ Son to earth? At the beginning of the Gospel of John, he writes: 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.”  – These verses have been interpreted as meaning that the ‘Word’ means the Son of God Jesus. This is a misinterpretation at this point. The ‘Word’ was only in God’s mind, a plan. “The Word was God” is gross incorrect word order. It should read: God was the word. The Concordant translation says, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was toward God, and God was the word.” Textus Receptus… καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος ´,… and God .. Word.

The fact that Jesus was born on earth after having overshadowed Mary, the Holy Spirit of God, shows that in heaven, God did not have a son who could be sent to the world, but the Son was undoubtedly in God’s plan. Jesus was born on earth from God through the Virgin Mary. God was the father of Jesus. ‘Sending’ does not mean that Jesus was sent from heaven, but God gave his Son the task he was born to fulfill on earth. Jesus was the only begotten Son of God.

Joh 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” – Jesus says he is the living bread that has come from heaven. If anyone eats him, he may live forever. First, Jesus uses a figurative expression. “Living bread” and “eating it” means that whoever hears his word and believes it is true will have eternal life. He promises to give his life for the whole world. Jesus still goes on, and the Jews who heard were horrified to hear: 6:53 “Jesus therefore said to them, Most assuredly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves.  54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Jesus acted on earth entirely by God’s will. He had a connection to his heavenly father in prayer. As a reward for doing God’s will, God gave him eternal life and gave him all the power that he has, and thus exalted him above all, both in heaven and on earth.

When it is claimed that Jesus was already God when he ascended from heaven, it must be borne in mind that, according to the nature of God, God has eternal life and has always had it. Judgment is also an attribute of God. It does not have to be given by one divine person of heaven to another. However, the Bible testifies that Jesus did not have eternal life until God the Father gave it to him. Nor did he have any authority or power in heaven and on earth until God the Father gave them to him.

Remember that God created man in his image. It is not just a matter of appearance, but that man was created as a co-worker with God, equipped with many divine powers. This is still part of God’s plan and will come true when God descends to earth in New Jerusalem. Therefore, it is not strange that man reigns in heaven on God’s right hand and has been given all the authority in heaven and on earth.

The Bible testifies that Jesus is a man in heaven. 1 Tim 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. – Jesus is said, and it is thus decided in the Church that Jesus is God. Can a man be God? According to the Church, you can, because the Church has decided that Jesus was both a perfect man and a perfect God on earth. Did you just read what I wrote about the attributes of God? Although I believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit form the divine trinity, it is not the same as the traditional conception of the triune God. God is one, and this one God, is the Father.

What is heaven?

Heaven is the kingdom of God. Right now, in heaven there is God, the Son of God Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Further: In the kingdom of God, there are a large number of angels, good angels, and possibly even angels of Satan. This is on the condition that there has not yet been a biblical war in heaven, the result of which Satan and his army will be cast out of heaven.

It is easy to think that Christ, ascending to heaven and receiving all authority from God the Father in heaven and on earth, would have exercised this power and driven Satan and his angels out of heaven. The book of Revelation, which tells of the future, also speaks of this future event and what it involves.

Rev 12:10 “I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.”

When Revelation says “Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ,” then to what time does this statement refer? First, God’s kingdom has been valid forever and ever in heaven, so it must mean the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. When it is accompanied by “and the power of his Anointed One,” that is, the reign of the Millennial Kingdom led by Christ, it must be said that its time has not yet come. First, our God’s kingdom has been valid forever and ever in heaven, so it must mean the coming of the kingdom of God on earth.

Christ will come to earth for the second time shortly and establish the Millennial Kingdom. It is not heaven, although, in addition to Jesus, the kingdom is led by the apostles and many other ‘saints’ of the first resurrection. Preterists believe that Jesus has already returned around 70 AD and rules over his invisible kingdom.

All those forgiven by Christ in connection with the Last Judgment will enter the actual heavens. They are in the spirit body, receiving God descending on the New Jerusalem. Rev 21:2, “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.”

21:3 “I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

God Himself dwells among his own in New Jerusalem.

 

Death according to the Bible

Psa 90:10 “The days of our years are seventy, Or even by reason of strength eighty years; Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow, For it passes quickly, and we fly away.

Heb 9:27 Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment,

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything, neither do they have any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Psa 146:4 His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth. In that very day, his thoughts perish.”

According to the Bible, we must all die. Human age has been prolonged with suitable medication, but it is still deadly. What happens after death? How long must a person lie in a grave before the resurrection takes place?

Does man have an immortal soul?

Gen 2:7 “Jehovah God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” – What does this mean? It means in modern language: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. This is how man became a living being.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are ridiculed for speaking that the human (or animal) soul is in the blood. It is again a question of using the old saying. It would be correct to state that the vitality of man or animal is in the blood. I don’t think animals would even have the kind of soul that humans in the soul comprehend. Gen 9:4 “But flesh with the life of it, the blood of it, you shall not eat.” – The Jews understood that blood was not allowed to be eaten. Therefore, they carefully took care that the animal’s blood was drained. The ban on eating blood is still in force; Paul instructs Act 15:20 “but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.” – Here are, in fact, two guidelines for blood. First, avoid meat from which no blood has been drained. Second, abstain from blood. The instruction of Jehovah’s Witnesses on avoiding blood is based on this passage in the Bible. Therefore, for example, they do not accept blood transfusions.

How to understand Mat 10:28 “Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” – Has the same thing been talked about twice here? If you kill the body, then the life force of man will die.

I want to raise another concept related to human life, which is spirit. While Stephen was being stoned to death, he prayed in Acts 7:59, “They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”  – From this, we can conclude that at death, the human spirit ascends to heaven. Thus, the spirit — unlike the power of life — or soul — is not killable. Should Mat 10:28 include “fear him who can drown both spirit and body in hell?” Only God can do that.

1 Tes 5:23 “May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  – The Bible, when talking about the soul, can mean the entire person of a human being, which includes the whole emotional life and the human consciousness of the world around him.

When talking about the immortality of the soul, it might be better to talk about whoever believes in Jesus may live even after death. See John 11:25

Purgatory before ascending to heaven

Purgatory (lat. Purgatorium) is a concept belonging to Catholic theology. Catholics believe that a sinful person must submit to the burning of purgatory before reaching heaven. As the name implies, the human soul is cleansed of sins by fire before the dead enter heaven. Protestant churches do not recognize such a doctrine. At the time, the  purgatory doctrine had unpleasant additional features connected with its practical application; members of the Church were required to buy indulgences, give alms, and perform good works.

Catholics are not wholly wrong. The Bible does not speak of purgatory, but instead of God’s fire. God’s fire can be cleansing or consuming. The difference with purgatory is that immediately after death, each person is individually exposed to purgatory. God’s fire cleanses sinners as part of the last resurrection and final judgment of all mankind. All but perhaps a few saints are exposed to this fire. The treatment of God’s purifying fire is given to the sinful man, who, at least to some extent, has built his life on the faith of Christ. The full Gentile, therefore, cannot be cleansed.

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ perception of access to heaven

The view of Jehovah’s Witnesses on access to heaven is as follows. God promises most good people eternal life, but not in heaven but on earth. Psa 37:11 “But the humble shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, And live in it forever. 34 Wait for Jehovah, and keep his way, And he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.”

Only selected 144,000 people will have access to heaven. These, of course, are Jehovah’s Witnesses. The people who are sure to belong to the elect, the number of which filled decades ago, are also entitled to partake the Lord’s Evening Meal or Memorial in the spring on Nisan month on the 14th. Other Jehovah’s Witnesses may be present at the event, but they may not taste the Lord’s Supper.

The above descriptions of the Psalms are similar to Isaiah’s description of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, which will also be on earth:

Isa 65:19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying.
20 There shall be no more there an infant of days, nor an old man who has not filled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, and the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of Jehovah, and their offspring with them.
24 It shall happen that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says Jehovah.

God-approved people are allowed to fulfill God’s original purpose for mankind: they will live forever as perfect people in the land of Paradise. Only a small portion of mankind will go to God in heaven, others will share eternal life on earthly Paradise, but God will call them “their people,” “the elect,” and “blessed of Jehovah.” (Gen 1:28; Psa 115:16; Isa 45:18).

The keys of the kingdom of heaven

Many people imagine they will get to heaven immediately after they die. Many people  imagine that St. Peter will hold an interrogation at the gates of heaven. What happens to the person Peter does not let into heaven? Where are they sent?

These people do not understand they cannot get to heaven without a final judgment. Jesus is the one who decides. People remember from the Bible what Jesus said to the apostles, and especially to Peter: Mat 16:19 “I will give to you [Peter] the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will be released in heaven.” Notice that Jesus’ promise is in the future.

Mat 18:18 “Most assuredly I tell you, whatever things you will bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever things you will release on earth will be released in heaven.”

Joh 20:23 “Whoever’s sins you forgive, they are forgiven them. Whoever’s sins you retain, they have been retained.”

When Jesus gave Peter and the apostles power over the “keys of heaven,” an important point must be remembered: the apostles could decide for some man about his future. However, the decision-making power of the apostles was limited to their worldly lives. They could not determine the fate of the people after the apostles themselves had died. Thus, Jesus did not mean to let the apostles decide the lives of men for all humanity’s future, only during the apostles’ lifetime in individual cases.

Has anyone got to heaven besides Jesus?

The Bible says: Joh 3:13No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” 

 

The Apostles. Did Jesus promise the apostles’ access to heaven?

Surely they will get to heaven? The following Bible verse is presented as evidence: John 14:3 “Joh 14:3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.

Jesus promises, “I will come back” and continues after this: I will come again and receive you to myself. Let us look at the fulfillment of Jesus ’promise in practice. Jesus promises to come back to earth. When Jesus is on earth, what does he promise to do then? He promises to receive his own on earth, that is, where he is. Many misread this promise of Jesus so that Jesus would promise to take his own to heaven. On closer examination, it is clear that this is not the case. Jesus seeks His own to rule the earth with the Millennial Kingdom.

Jesus promised the apostles the right to rule with him. The answer is found in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus says: 19:28 “Jesus said to them,  Most assuredly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”– The apostles will rule over the tribes of Israel under King David. The apostles will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel on earth in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.

Other resurrected saints will also reign as kings and priests, depending on how they have cared for their ‘loaves.’ Some ‘five cities’, others ‘ten.’ The ‘king’ in biblical language did not correspond to the same as the modern king. During the Bible, each city (a small city-state) had its king and the great kingdoms. Instead, reigning saints are “local leaders” as co-heirs with Christ.

Rom 8:17 “Now, if we are [God’s] children, we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if, we share in his sufferings so that that we may also share in his glory.”

Men of God, according to the Bible. Haven’t even biblical heroes like Abraham, Moses, Job, and David got to heaven? God called Abraham as his friend, and the Bible says that all the earth nations will be blessed in him. Moses was the great hero of Israel’s people, leading them to the Promised land from Egypt’s bondage. Moses passed on the Ten Commandments of God to the people of Israel. God severely tested Job, but Job maintained his faithfulness, and Satan lost.

 

Abraham.  Gal 3:29, “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants and heirs according to the promise.” What would the descendants of Abraham inherit?

Gen 12:7 “Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said, I will give this land to your seed.” He built an altar there to Yahweh, who appeared to him. – That is, the earth, not access to heaven.

And even more: Gen 13:14 “Jehovah said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.”

2 Cro “20:7 Did not you, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it to the seed of Abraham your friend forever?”

Rom 4:13 “For the promise to Abraham and to his seed that he should be heir of the world wasn’t through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”

God also confirmed this promise to Isaac, saying: Gen 26:2 “Jehovah appeared to him, and said, Don’t go down into Egypt. Dwell in the land which I will tell you of.  3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

 

David. What does the Bible say about David? Act 2:34 “For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, … Act 2:29 Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.”

Act 13:22 “When he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, to whom he also testified, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.

But the time of David will come as the prophet Jeremiah says, Jer 30:9 “And they have served Jehovah their God, And David their king whom I raise up to them.” – King David’s awaikening takes place in the first resurrection. Ezekiel says the same thing, Eze 34:23 “I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 I, Jehovah, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Jehovah, have spoken it.”

One more; 37:24 “My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them.”

Did you notice from the previous verses that King David will be resurrected and become King of Israel. On earth, not in heaven. David is the king of Israel, but Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

David was king of Israel. Although he had murdered Bathsheba’s husband to have this beautiful woman to be his own, God thought David was “a man after my heart, who will do all my will” (Act 13:22) Still, nonetheless, David did not ascend into the Heavens… ” (Act 2:34),

 

Chosen strangers. What, then, has God reserved for “chosen strangers” among different nations in the future? 1 Pet 1: 4 “to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn’t fade away, reserved in Heaven for you. – Believers do not have to go to heaven to redeem this indestructible legacy because Christ promises to bring it (wages) with him when he comes the second time. Rev 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.”

 

Mary, the mother of Jesus. Jesus was totally sinless on earth and was taken to heaven by God. Catholics are absolutely certain that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is in heaven because she was declared entirely sinless in 1950 and therefore taken directly to heaven after her death.

Is the Catholic perception of Jesus’ mother at all correct? What do we know about Mary, according to the Bible?

Catholics have decided that Virgin Mary has maintained her virginity throughout her life even though the Bible testifies that Jesus had siblings: Matthew 13:55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary, and his Brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?” – Matthew testifies of the loss of virginity: 1:25 “He did not have marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.” – Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, Joseph and Mary did not have sex until after the birth of Jesus. After the four sons, Mary could no longer be a virgin.

Read more in my article. 

The following verses also mention Jesus’ brothers or sisters in Matthew 12:46, Mar 6:3, John 7:5.

In support of the Catholic argument, it is stated: “The brethren” of Jesus mentioned in some places in the Gospels therefore refer to the relatives of Jesus in general, not to the other sons of the Virgin Mary…. the word ‘brothers’ was commonly used to refer to relatives. It would also be strange that Jesus showed on the cross John to take care of Mary if she had other sons.

One Catholic site says of Mary: God exalted Mary into a unique relationship with Himself — she is the Father of God’s daughter, the mother of the Son of God, and the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Suppose Jesus wanted to be so close to Mary that he shared the same humanity with him. In that case, it is very understandable that Mary also shares with Christ, for example, the status of sinlessness, heavenly glory and kingship, and intercession.

“One of the most important starting points of Catholic Mariology, or Mary’s Doctrine, is Mary’s innocence. It has long roots in the history of the Church, although it was not confirmed as an official dogma until 1854. According to doctrine, Mary had conceived and given birth without original sin, and she was a virgin all her life. In 1950, the Vatican also reaffirmed that people had lived for centuries that Mary was taken directly to heaven when she died.”

The Second Ecumenical Ecclesiastical Council of Constantinople spoke of Mary as the “everlasting virgin” in 553, and the Lateran Council of 649 further defined the doctrine: According to the Ecclesiastical Council, Mary had retained her virginity even after the birth of Christ.

Assumption of Mary. The Catholic doctrine, defined in 1950, outlined: Finally, the spotless Virgin, whom God had protected from all the stains of original sin, was taken to the glory of heaven with her body and soul at the end of her earthly journey, and the Lord exalted her as Queen of all to become more and more like her Son, who is Lord of Lords and winner of the sin and death. Virgin Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven upon completing the course of her earthly life was declared a dogma in 1950 by Pope Pius XII in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus. The titles “Our Lady of Assumption” and “Queen Assumed Into Heaven” derive from this. The feast of the Assumption of Mary has been celebrated since the Council of Ephesus in 431. Since the 7th century, it has been in the Western Church on August 15th.

Mary was a young girl when she became engaged to Joseph and gave birth to Jesus. She lived a long life as John cared for him according to Jesus’ call on the cross. Thus, the apostles had tens of years to bring forth the ideas of Mary’s exaltation as Queen of heaven, but nothing like this is recorded in the Bible. Indeed, it took many hundred years before it was noticed to begin to elevate Mary to the divine estate. Now, according to the Catholic view, Mary is the Queen of Heaven (Regina Coeli) and the Mother of Christ (Theotokos Θεοτόκος, literally “God-bearer”) as well as countless other titles. I also read of something like the “God the Father’s daughter” and the “Spouse of the Holy Spirit”, but I have not found confirmation for these. I understand and accept the Mother of the Son of God, but the other titles just mentioned go beyond my understanding and would be a real sacrilege.

Catholics believe that Mary acts as a mediator between God and men. According to the Bible, if Mary were in heaven, she could not be such a mediator because the Bible affirms: 1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

The first resurrection and the second coming of Jesus

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul describes the tribulation and persecution experienced by the local church. He believes that Christ when He appears on earth from heaven with his angels in flames of fire, will avenge those who do not know God and do not follow Christ’s gospel. The coming of Christ means vengeance and punishment. Punishment is said to be everlasting destruction from the Lord’s presence and the glory of his power.

2 The 7 “… when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven
8 in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ;
9 Such people will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction by being separated from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious power,”

10 “when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day. 11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power.”

The Second Coming of Jesus takes place during the Great Tribulation. It is a spectacular event; people mourn in their distress, but many would instead blaspheme Jesus than repent of their sins and ask for forgiveness. While Jesus and the angelic hosts will take vengeance on all worldly people who have chosen Satan’s way of life, Christ will also generously have mercy on all who ask for it.

The 1 st Epistle of Thessalonians tells who will receive resurrection.

1 Tes 4:13 “But we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don’t grieve like the rest, who have  14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever.”

When the Lord comes from heaven (v. 16), the trumpet will sound, and those who have died in the faith of Christ will rise first. Then the living of Christ’s own will be taken together with the dead against the Lord in the upper air, and so the two groups of ascended may always be together with Christ.

1 Cor 15:51 “Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
53 But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: Death is swallowed up in victory.
54 But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?”
All change, and will put on immortality. Transformation means that all who participate in the resurrection will receive the spirit body and become immortal co-rulers with Christ. 

The most significant event in the future is the first resurrection and the accompanying second coming of Christ. Of this Revelation says: Rev 20: 6 “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years.”

There are many misconceptions about the first resurrection. It raises those dead who are Christ’s. Second, those who are alive, who belong to Christ, wíll participate in it. Both of these groups form the “little flock,” which is small compared to the second resurrection later. This small flock gets spirit bodies and ascends into the clouds (not heaven) to receive Christ. This group of ‘saints’ (apostles, King David, those who died for Christ, etc.) will rule with Christ in his Millennial Kingdom until the second resurrection occurs, and the final judgment is given. This Kingdom’s leadership is in a blessed position that they do not have to attend the final judgment.

Joh 5:24 “Most assuredly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” – This verse says that a believer receives eternal life from God and does not have to be judged. Probably, this means that the born-again ones who are still in faith will partake in the first resurrection and will be co-rulers with Christ.

The ‘saints’ involved in the first resurrection will rule the earthly kingdom. The kingdom they rule is, according to my interpretation, a precursor to the Kingdom of God, though its subjects do not belong to it; they, being mortal and in the physical body, unlike the leadership of the kingdom, which is in the spirit body and has attained immortality. The fact that the leaders are in the spirit body does not mean that they could not take a physical body just as Christ did after the resurrection before entering heaven.

The most important thing to understand is that the Millennial Kingdom subjects are not in heaven but on earth. 

 

After the last judgment

God descends from heaven to earth.

Isa: 65:17 “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”

Rev 21:2 “I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.” 3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.” 5 He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.” 6 He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.” 

 

What are the new heavens?

Are people there in the physical body or the spirit body?

What are the new heavens? Are people there in the physical body or the spirit body? I have kept it for granted that God descends from heaven to earth; people would be like God, in the spirit body. When people are resurrected from a dream they have awaited to the final judgment, they will be resurrected in the spirit body. At least the first resurrection participants have been in the spirit body as they ascend to Christ. So why wouldn’t those involved in the second resurrection be in the spirit body when they are resurrected?

What would the new world God created be like? Why couldn’t it be physical, even if the people living in it were spirits? Believers are said to inherit the land. Could they not inherit the earth even if they were in the spirit body? Could humans be immortal in ordinary physical bodies?

When the new heavens have arrived, should the resurrected and accepted people into God’s kingdom return to mortal, earthly bodies? Even though it is impossible for me. Mark sheds light on the matter: 12:25 “For when they will rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” – Angels are spirit beings.

Romans says 8:10 “If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” – I interpret this as meaning that body, death and sin belong together, but when a person attains righteousness, his life is a spiritual life.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul considers the relationship between earthly and heavenly bodies:

15:40 “There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual does not come first, but the physical and then the spiritual.  47 The first man came from the dust of the earth; the second man came from heaven. 48 Those who are made of the dust are like the man from the dust, those who are heavenly are like the man who is from heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the likeness of the man who was made from dust, we will also bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 50 Brothers, this is what I mean: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay.

Flesh and blood, or physical man, cannot enter the kingdom of God.

According to the Bible, the second man, the new man (v. 47), is from heaven, and the new men are images of God, or the heavenly, (v. 49).

If the saved are the heirs of God’s kingdom, they cannot be in the carnal body, as verse 50 above says. In the new world, yes, there is talk of a tree of life that bears twelve fruits, that is, new ones every month. Those who “wash their clothes,” are born again, are allowed to eat from the tree of life.

Rev 22:2 Between the street of the city and the river there was the tree of life visible from both sides. It produced twelve kinds of fruit, each month having its own fruit. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
22:14  How blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city!

Eating from the tree of life is a figurative expression, as are the fruits of the twelve annual crops and the washing of clothes. If people in the new world were in the physical body, they would hardly be able to get along with fruit alone. Did you notice the tree of life? The same grew up in Paradise, where Adam and Eve also lived and were allowed to eat from it. I guess they were also in the spirit body until they were expelled from Paradise. But that’s a second reflection.

There were only good angels in God’s original heaven. It then appeared that Satan, a beautiful high-ranking angel, changed and began to covet a God-like position. He was attracted to a large crowd, perhaps about a third of the angels of heaven.

There will be left no such satanic angels in the new heaven. Satan has been destroyed, and Satan’s helpers, such as the Antichrist and the False prophet, have also been destroyed. Indeed, all the fallen angels have also been judged and all the demons afflicting the people have been destroyed. They have been condemned by the man Jesus Christ.

God’s plan was built on man. After all, he created man in his image. What part do angels play in God’s plan? The Bible indicates man’s future, but the lot of angels is not spoken of in the Bible.

In conclusion                                                                                                                 

Will you go to heaven after you die?

Can you, my good reader, get to Heaven to God and Jesus when you die? There are hundreds and thousands of sites on the Internet about biblical questions. You will probably find the answers to your question about going to heaven. Most of the sites I read respond positively. And that’s what people want. Expecting to enter heaven is a powerful desire for people, no matter their religion.

In my previous post, I did answer the question through different situations. The biblical answer is: no one has ascended into heaven except Jesus Christ! This answer is a couple of thousand years old. What if God and Jesus have changed their minds and allow entering heaven today? Wishful thinking.

It is possible to get to heaven. And it’s not hard either. One only has to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It will help even more if, in addition to faith, you strive to live the example set by Jesus and do good deeds in your life for your neighbors. The heaven you can reach, is the God-created New Heaven on earth. There God and Christ dwell and rule on their thrones.

There is another possibility. If Christ, when he comes to earth the second time, would appreciate you so much that he would awaken you to the first resurrection, you would enter the Millennial Kingdom led by Christ as a co-ruler. When that kingdom ends, you will move to the New Heaven as one of God’s fellow workers.

Most of Christ’s people, after their death, have to wait for the resurrection, sleeping in the grave unaware. The sleep is so deep that when you wake up, you don’t think you’ve slept for more than a moment, even if thousands of years have passed. The options for the believers, those born again, are just good or even better.

Don’t long to get past Peter to “Heaven,” but trust God’s and Christ’s promise for eternal life.

 

 

 

 

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