Does the Word of God actually reveal to us that those who qualify, or anyone else for that matter, will be going to heaven when they die?
This is one of many reasons why it is essential to understand the meaning of God’s annual Holy Days – They reveal to us the framework of God’s Plan. Unfortunately, many churches do not respect these holy days, or teach the meaning of them.
Jesus spoke to the apostles on this subject:
John 13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
V.36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
The last few words of verse 36 are assumed by many to mean that the apostles, and all future true believers in Christ, will follow Him to heaven on death. However, that is not what this verse says – it actually means that they will follow Christ later, when He returns to earth.
The apostles and those who have qualified in this lifetime are to be resurrected as SPIRIT BORN in the first resurrection. Rev. 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
There are those who sincerely believe that those who have qualified in this lifetime and have died before Christ’s return will be in heaven with Him until that day comes.
What do the Scriptures say?
Eccl. 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Psalms 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
Psalms 6:5 For in death [there is] no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
The above verses give a little gloomy picture, but let us remember that TIME as we perceive it in the physical world only began when the Universe came into motion.
God’s (spiritual) measurement of time is somewhat different:
Psalms 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterday when it is past, and [as] a watch in the night.
2 Peter 38 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Father’s House
Returning to John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.
Is not the Fathers House His temple? – A temple has many rooms and Christ tells us that He is going to prepare those rooms to be occupied by those who qualify for positions in the temple WHEN HE RETURNS. Jesus on His return will be the head of Gods Temple – the High Priest, and those that are resurrected in the first resurrection (on Christ’s return) will have various positions of authority with Him in Gods Temple on this earth – Not in heaven.
Matt: 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Does the Bible tell us of anyone who has ascended to Heaven?
John. 3: And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.
No person has ever ascended to heaven
There are those that refer to Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.- as proof that we go to heaven on death
Did Jesus promise the thief that was crucified next to Him that he would join Him in heaven?
The word used here is Paradise – but is Paradise heaven?
Strong’s # G 3857 – Paradeisos
1) among the Persians a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting ground, park, shady and well watered, in which wild animals, were kept for the hunt; it was enclosed by walls and furnished with towers for the hunters
2) a garden, pleasure ground
2a) grove, park
3) the part of Hades which was thought (they did not know) by the later Jews to be the abode of the souls of pious until the resurrection: but some understand this to be a heavenly paradise
4) the upper regions of the heavens. According to the early church Fathers, the paradise in which our first parents dwelt before the fall still exists, neither on the earth nor in the heavens, but above and beyond the world.
In some elements of first-century Judaism, this word Paradise described the heavenly abode of the soul between death and the resurrection. After Jesus rose from the dead, He stated that he had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17); therefore, Paradise cannot be identified as the final abode of the blessed – and it cannot be heaven.
However, the soul and the human spirit are two different entities – the former physical and the latter, as its name implies, is spiritual (invisible). We do not have a soul, we ARE a LIVING SOUL (physical and material – Genesis 2:7)
Jesus did not rise to heaven on his physical death – His body lay in a tomb for 3 days and 3 nights – not one and a half days as the Easter celebrations would have us believe.
Jesus did not rise to heaven until He resurrected in spirit form.
If we take a look at Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
Jesus has yet to return to claim His Kingdom – He has already qualified to remove the ‘god of this world’. The Paradise mentioned in Luke is on this earth – Not in heaven.
There are so many examples one could mention but take a look at what those who ‘wait upon the Lord’ will inherit:
Psalms 37:9. What will ‘the blessed of God’ inherit? – Psalms 37:22. What will ‘the righteous inherit’? - Psalms 37:29 – They shall inherit the earth
What does the Lord’s Prayer say -…thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
Much more could be written on this subject, but there is enough here to perhaps open an avenue of new thought for some. However, we are expected to study for ourselves what the Word of God reveals to us. We are expected to ‘prove all things’.
A good many people may well be surprised and not a little disappointed in what God’s Word actually reveals about the coming future.