No ENTRY into HEAVEN!

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True Bible Teaching - Gods Word Explained

No ENTRY into HEAVEN!

No ENTRY into HEAVEN!

There’s a children’s counting song that goes like this:There is NO HEAVEN!

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, All good children go to heaven”.

It’s a good rhyme and might be helpful to teach children their numbers, but the theology is at best questionable ie. where are we taught this? and in reality it is clearly just wrong based on True Bible Teaching.

Bible Teaching

If you are up for a challenge, here’s one. Does the Bible promise believers that they will go to heaven when they die?

Anyone who cares to read the Bible objectively, with an open mind, will discover that there is no verse to be found throughout Scripture which tells us categorically and unambiguously we go to heaven when we die.

Instead there are many verses which tell us that we do not go there, but that death is an unconscious state from which some people will be awakened at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth. Consider some of the evidence:

“No one has ascended to heaven but he who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in Heaven” (John 3:13).

Only Jesus has gone to heaven, where he now sits in glory at his Father’s right hand (1 Peter 3:22), NO ENTRY into Heavenawaiting his return to earth. Not Abraham, not David, nor any of the people who are declared to be faithful followers of God. As the letter to the Hebrews explains, they are still awaiting their reward:

“All these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having providedsomething better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39–40).

The gift of everlasting life will be theirs, and could be ours, but only when the time is right.

Jesus did not ‘come down’ from heaven in a literal sense. He only came into existence when the action of the Holy Spirit upon the womb of the virgin Mary caused Jesus to be born as “the only begotten Son of God” (Luke 1:35, John 1:18, 3:16,18).

God had always purposed to have a Son who would save the world, for He foreknows everything from the beginning.

This is what Jesus meant when he said the Son of man had “come down from heaven” (John 6:38), in just the same way that Manna had been provided from heaven (6:48-51).

Heaven: God’s Dwelling

“Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Here is an unambiguous statement from the Old Testament telling us God lives in heaven and the earth is the place for mankind. That is a statement that is often made in Scripture. King Solomon could pray to God, asking Him: “Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive” (1 Kings 8:30). And the Psalmist declares:

“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16).

Earth Not Heaven

Heaven is where God, the angels, and now the Lord Jesus Christ live. It is not intended to be the future inheritance of mankind. Jesus is coming to earth to establish God’s Kingdom here and to make the world a beautiful place once again: an earth filled with God’s glory. As the Book of Revelation explains, heaven is coming to earth.

“I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1–4).

Jesus explained that to his disciples on the eve of his death:

“Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you” (John 13:33).

The disciples were to understand that heaven was not their intended destination, and they did understand it. For the apostle Peter was to declare a few weeks later that:

“David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand”’ (Acts 2:34).

David was a man after God’s own heart but he was both “dead and buried”, asleep in death until Jesus returns to awaken him, just as David expected. For the psalmist of Israel said this about his expectations:

In death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks? (Psalm 6:5);

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness (Psalm 17:15).

Times of Refreshing

What the apostle Peter taught was entirely in accordance with David’s beliefs, for this is the consistent teaching of Scripture. There is a time coming when people will be renewed and refreshed after the trouble and sadness we now see around us:

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19–21).

Jesus taught that believers should work to store treasure up in heaven rather than upon the earth, something that can only be done by living faithful, godly lives (see Matthew 6:19-20).

This does not mean, however, that we will go to heaven to get our spiritual treasure – the reward of everlasting life that God offers to His faithful followers.

Rather it means that a record of all things done will be kept in heaven.

God never forgets faithful service. Take the apostle Paul as an example of someone who gave up God will REWARD those who truthfully and faithfully believe in HIMeverything in the service of his Lord. What was his hope as he faced the prospect of execution at the hands of the Roman authorities?

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7–8).

This reward, for the apostle Paul and others like him, is to be brought from heaven by the Lord Jesus when he returns to the earth, as has been promised.

That reward will be eternal life in the Kingdom of God – on earth and not in heaven. It will be at this time that: “the meek … shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

Confusion?

So, given this clear scriptural teaching, where did the idea come from that we go to heaven at death? It originates from teachings of the early Church fathers such as Augustine of the fifth century AD. He had embraced the pagan philosophies of Plato and other Greek philosophers and taught them as though this was Biblical doctrine.

Thus the idea developed that human-kind has a natural immortality (an immortal soul), and because this was an appealing notion it ousted the clear Bible teaching that immortality is only to be given by Jesus to those who are resurrected and judged worthy to enter God’s Kingdom – on earth and not in heaven, remember!

The idea of inherent immortality led to equally false teachings about heaven and hell, purgatory, spiritualism and suchlike. Once you start to combine a pagan idea with God’s revelation in the Bible, you never know where it might lead or what confusion it might cause. But the truth is simple.

None of us can enter heaven, which is God’s preserve. But there is a real promise of life after death, by resurrection from the dead at the return from heaven of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s something not to be missed.

By  Grahame A Cooper

Glad Tidings Magazine of the Kingdom of God on Earth

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