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Is heaven a place we go to after death or is it a present reality?

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by franklin, Aug 14, 2002.

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  1. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

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    Many people believe that heaven is a place that people go to (either physically or spiritually) after death; and that death and the grave are necessary factors in spiritual growth. But have you ever wondered why the Old Testament books never speak of an "after-life," and why the New Testament books are silent as to any details of what an "after-life" is like?
    What happens at death? Is there scripture that says what happens to us at physical death? Well, actually there is: Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." This passage talks of our physical body (dust) returning to the earth, it does not say our physical body will go to heaven or will be physically alive again after death. Our physical bodies cannot be resurrected in heaven because scripture says that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
    As for our spirit, Ecclesiastes 12:7 says our spirit will return to "God," but notice it does not say it will go to "heaven." God is not only in heaven, but in heaven and earth (Joshua 2:11, 1 Kings 8:23). God is everywhere. Did Jesus actually teach that nobody goes up to heaven?  John 3:13, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."  Before Jesus died, why did He tell the Jews they could not follow Him to heaven?  John 7:33-34, "Then said Jesus unto them [Jews, Pharisees, Chief Priests, Officers], Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him [God] that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am [Heaven], thither ye cannot come."

    What does the bible mean when it teaches that we have eternal life? In scripture, eternal life is defined as knowing Christ Jesus while in this physical body! Look at this definition of "life eternal":  John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."  The scripture says eternal life does not mean we become immortal (to live for ever and ever), it means to know God, and to know His Truth! In fact, the word "immortal" only appears once in the entire scripture!  Incredible, considering we hear the "immortal soul" preached all the time.  The term "immortal soul" does not appear anywhere in scripture. This word "immortal" is not in reference to any "soul," it is in reference to God, because only God is immortal, not us (1 Timothy 1:17). 1 John 5:11-12, "And this is the record, that God hath [present tense] given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath [present tense] life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have [present tense] eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. "

    Let's listen to the words of Jesus: John 5:24-25, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath [present tense] everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is [present tense], when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." Now, You might ask, "But, doesn't the bible say the body must die in order to receive eternal life?" Well, yes, the body must die first. But, not our physical body!  I look forward to us all having a great discussion on this topic.
     
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  2. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    Surely we have eternal life now but what is eternal life unless it is eternal? If it is not somewhat about having a living soul that goes beyond our bodies then how can anyone who has already died have salvation? And if there is no Heaven then where do all the spirits go? But you are saying that this "eternal life" we have is only temporary. That makes no sense to me. God fullfills all His promises right? Why can He not fullfill this one? That is if you say that the eternal life He promised is only temporary.

    I agree we get it at the time of salvation but i do not agree that some how the eternal life offered is only temporary.

    blackhawk
     
  3. Job_38

    Job_38 <font size="1"> In perfect orbit they have circled

    +1
  4. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

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    I explained this in my post about internal life does not mean we are immortal.....&nbsp; John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."&nbsp;&nbsp;



    The bible doesn't say our soul lives forever, go back and read my post! read 1Tim 1:17&nbsp; The Word of God tells us that the soul is what gives life to the body. Without the soul the body is dead. But where is the soul, the life of the body, the life of the flesh? the scripture says where the soul is located...&nbsp; Leviticus 17:11-14 says, "For the life (nephesh in Hebrew) of the flesh is in the blood…&nbsp; you can get out your bible and read the rest of the passage.....&nbsp; Our souls do not go beyond our bodies as you can see in these passages.....





    I never said there is no heaven....&nbsp; Actually I stated where heaven is in my post... God is everywhere, and the bible talks about 3 heavens .... God's throne is in heaven, the third heaven at the same time God is everywhere....&nbsp; Don't you believe that heaven is a present reality while Christ lives in you right now? That is what the Apostle wrote about and it applies to believers today also.... Paul said that God "hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies with Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). Paul said he was blessed in heaven with Christ! Paul felt heaven was a present reality while they believed in Christ.

    As for where do our spirits go?&nbsp; I think you need to go back and re-read my post!&nbsp; I'll repeat though.... Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."



    Well, BH, the word of God does not say eternal life is temporary or that&nbsp;God does not fulfill His promises.&nbsp; Actually the bible talks more about how we are to be living our lives while in this life and the fact of the matter is there is very little said about the afterlife.&nbsp; Except for what is described in Eccl 12:7 above.&nbsp; If you can find anything in the scripture that shows people&nbsp;living in the afterlife, by all means, share it with me.&nbsp;

    Peace brother........

    &nbsp;
     
  5. eldermike

    eldermike Pray Supporter

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    Franklin,
    Who goes to the heaven you speak of here, the one with the throne of God?

    John 14:1-3 -- Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.


    Blessings
     
  6. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

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    I'm speaking of the heaven the scripture is talking about mr elder-mike.&nbsp; The heaven that Jesus is talking about.&nbsp; What makes you think Jesus is talking about the afterlife in John 14?&nbsp; When you compare scripture with scripture you will see the correct context. Compare John 14:2-3 with John 14:22-23. The word "mansions" in verse 2 is translated from the same Greek word as "abode" in verse 23! As a matter of fact, these are the only two places in scripture where this Greek word #3438, mone, appears!&nbsp;&nbsp; John 14:22-23, "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Jesus was saying that those in whom He would come to dwell in were the mansions in his Father's house. Believers are "God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:9), and "as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:5). This "spiritual house" is the "mansion, " it is the "place," that Jesus prepared for us in John 14:2-3. I realize all this might go contrary to what&nbsp;you have been taught,&nbsp;but the scripture doesn't say much if anything about the afterlife. (Eccl 12:7)
     
  7. eldermike

    eldermike Pray Supporter

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    I am ordained, eldermike is a screen name. I do serve as an elder. But you can call me eldermike or Mike.

    Franklin,

    We are not a building, we are a temple of the HS. God dosn't need a building. There is no question that John 14 was speaking of a place.

    Please, can you address my question. Who goes to the heaven where the Thrown of God is located? (asking in my best behavior)

    Blessings
     
  8. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

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    Mike, (I'm as humble as one can be without really knowing it myself, best behavior as well) The scripture I shared with&nbsp;you says we are a building as Paul refers in the passage in my last post to you.&nbsp; We are spiritual buildings.... (1 Corinthians 3:9)&nbsp; Yes, we are the temple of the holy spirit, is the temple a building?&nbsp; The bible uses symbolic language in order to convey a spiritual message.&nbsp; If you are the temple of the holy spirit, where does the holy spirit come from?&nbsp; It came from heaven.&nbsp; God's throne room is in the third heaven where only God and the things of God dwells, God and His Son Jesus.&nbsp; At the same time as I formerly stated in my first post, God&nbsp;lives in all three heavens that the bible refers to.



    God's throne (third heaven)&nbsp;is in the throne room&nbsp;where Christ is at His right hand, nobody but Christ and His heavenly Father dwell there.&nbsp; At the same time God is everywhere.&nbsp; The best answer to your question is found in the scripture: For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven[God's throne]itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us....&nbsp; (Heb 9:24)&nbsp;&nbsp; I hope this helps somewhat and that I've answered your question as best I can.&nbsp;
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  9. eldermike

    eldermike Pray Supporter

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    Franklin,

    Thank you for your answer. This is what I believe about heaven.

    I believe the third heaven was Paul's understanding of His personal experience meeting God. I believe He was speaking about this because others were boasting about spiritual experiences and making claims against His authority. It fits well with the context of all the text around it and that is an important factor.
    I believe that God lives in each of us in the person of the HS while we are on earth. I do not believe this earth is heaven. I believe that one day believers in Jesus (God the Son) will live with God in heaven forever.


    1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 -- For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
     
  10. drmmjr

    drmmjr Regular Member

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    As you can see in the following verses:

    1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 -- For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

    Jesus is descending from Heaven. We will be caught up to meet him in the air. Nothing is said about going back to Heaven. This is speaking of Jesus' Second Coming when He will establish the Kingdom of God on the New Earth.
     
  11. eldermike

    eldermike Pray Supporter

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    Drmmjr,

    What you say is missing from my perspective is equally missing from yours.

    Blessings
     
  12. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

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    drm,&nbsp;I agree with this part of your quote, nothing is said about us going back to heaven[third heaven, God's throne]in this text.&nbsp;These passages in 1Thess 4 have been taken so much out of it's proper biblical hermeneutical historical setting and context. 1Thess 4 has been labeled the traditional rapture verses.&nbsp; Ask yourself a question: Is&nbsp;Paul conveying a physical message or a spiritual message?&nbsp; When you compare scripture with other scripture 1Thess 4 will become easier to understand.&nbsp; Paul is&nbsp;conveying the same message&nbsp;Jesus spoke in Mt 24, in the Olivet Discourse.&nbsp; Just look at the figurative and symbolic&nbsp;language&nbsp;Paul is using in this text.&nbsp; Both&nbsp;Jesus and Paul do not contradict each other as they speak to those who heard the message first. They were speaking of the&nbsp;"Day of the Lord"&nbsp;which is to mean judgement.&nbsp; Jesus and Paul was not speaking of people being physically raised off the ground or the earth and levitated into the third heaven where only God lives!&nbsp; They&nbsp;were speaking to them about the judgement that was imminetly coming upon the Christ rejecting nation of Israel, the ending of the OC age and the&nbsp;beginning of the NC eternal age.&nbsp; The&nbsp;NC&nbsp;age is the new heavens and the new earth that Christ is now reining in&nbsp;now&nbsp;in the lives of all believers who have put there trust in Him.&nbsp;The bible is clear that the first heaven is where we live now on planet earth.&nbsp;The first heaven&nbsp;is earth's atmosphere where birds fly (Genesis 1:20, Jeremiah 4:25; 34:20, Lamentations 4:19, Zephaniah 1:3). One of the Hebrew words for 'heaven' is shamayim. This same word is translated as 'sky' in the Scripture, as can be seen by comparing Genesis 7:3, "fowls also of the air," with Genesis 7:23, "fowl of the heaven." The word 'sky' and 'heaven' are used interchangeably from the same Hebrew word (Psalm 8:8). So the first heaven is synonymous with 'heights' or 'elevations.'&nbsp;The second heaven&nbsp;is outer space where the planets and stars exist (Genesis 1:14-17; 15:5; 22:17; 26:4, Deuteronomy 1:10; 17:3; Psalm 8:3, Jeremiah 8:2; Matthew 24:29). Usually the term "host of heaven" or "firmament of the heaven" is used to describe this second heaven.&nbsp;The third heaven is what Christ calls his "Father's house" (John 14:2), and both Christ and the Apostle Paul calls it "paradise" (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Revelation 2:7). This is where God and the heavenly sanctuary exist (1 Peter 3:22).&nbsp; There are other passages as well that speak of the third heaven: Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Chronicles 2:6; 6:18, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalms 148:4;&nbsp;Galatians 4: 26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12; Matthew 25:1, James 2:5; 2 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter. 1:4, Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 11:14,16; The fact that there are more than one 'heaven' can be shown by Psalm 115:16, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S." There are obviously two different 'heavens' being addressed in this one verse.&nbsp; This is the reason I posted the thread on heaven is a present reality while we are still alive in our physical bodies and Christ is reigning in our hearts now as we live out our lives in the first heaven here on earth.&nbsp; I hope this clarifies some of your questions as we both seek the truth that is only to&nbsp;be found in God's inspired word and not the in the imaginations and speculations of men.

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;

    &nbsp;
     
  13. Chili

    Chili Member

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    What if heaven is a state of mind wherin the ego has been crucified and placed subservient to our true identity?&nbsp;

    What if the present moment is a conscious exptrapolation of the eternal moment and we are temporal only because of this (or these) series of extrapolated moments wherein we claim existence as individuals?&nbsp; May I add here that in our right brain "time as such" is not known and if we are temporal in our&nbsp;conscious left brain we may be eternal in our subconscious right brain.

    The problem we have is that if heaven is a place on earth, hell must also be a place on earth and now the question becomes: who is in heaven and who is in hell (or are we all being purged in purgatory after all?).

    Interesting post Franklin. Hats off to you.
     
  14. Chili

    Chili Member

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    Could it be that the first death is the death of our ego consciousness after which time we become eternal and eternity ends with our second death&nbsp;(which is the death of our corporeal body)?
     
  15. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

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    Hi there chili, well, like I said in my original posts and the ones that followed, I believe what the scripture teaches, that heaven is a present reality and the bible doesn't say much about the afterlife and that after we die we continue to keep on living with all consciousness and brain waves active and functioning as is so commonly taught.&nbsp;If that is in the scriptures, by all means, I would like for you to steer me in that direction as I am still searching the scriptures myself but I do not see it anywhere in the bible. The fact is, the bible teaches more about how we are to live our lives while&nbsp;we are&nbsp;still in our physical bodies here and now.&nbsp; As for hell as you mentioned in your other post, maybe I need to post another thread on what the bible really teaches about that also.&nbsp;Thank you for your comments.

    FR &nbsp;
     
  16. Chili

    Chili Member

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    Hi Franklin, I had hoped that your post was an invitation to venture into the heaven and hell thing but I do not wish to lead you there.

    The book of Revelation deals with heaven and hell and please take a good look at Rev. 14 where the first beast comes out of the [celestial] sea while the second beast comes from the [old] earth.

    &nbsp;
     
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