Heaven Fables

Heaven Fables which I embraced:

For most of my life I believed two very commonly accepted teachings about heaven… In upcoming posts I will address each of the following in detail with the relative scriptures.  (Click on the following links: )

 John 14: In Heaven or In the Father?

The first was the teaching from John 14 that Jesus was going to heaven, preparing mansions in heaven, coming back from heaven  and would take us to heavenBut that teaching was challenged in my own thinking at a Bible Conference where a brother from England made a simple statement about the Lord Jesus’ “going away” in John 14…. He said, “The Lord Jesus was going to the cross!”  As I searched John 14 with that thought in mind I was amazed to discover that “heaven” was not even mentioned but the Lord Jesus clearly said that where He was as He spoke to his disciples was “in the Father”!  He did not promise in John 14:6 that he was the way “to heaven” but rather the way to the Father!  So the doctrine stated above was another teaching which I had to repent of and reject for it not only contradicted what the Lords Jesus plainly said, but it created division and deception among the people of God.

– The second was the teaching that Christians Go to Heaven when they die & when the Lord comes again. But only when I began testing my own beliefs by the simple tests of scripture did I realize that this teaching was also false!  Without exception, every man mentioned in the Bible who went to heaven went there while his physical body was alive and well! Not one is ever recorded going to heaven when they died! Nor does scripture ever teach that people will go to heaven when the Lord Jesus returns from heaven! Rather scripture clearly teaches that all His saints will come with him to earth when He come from heaven! So you can see that this was yet another false doctrine of which I had to repent.

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6 comments on “Heaven Fables

  1. Curtis says:

    Thank you for dealing with these subjects, Brother. I’ve been challenged lately regarding my thinking in this area as well. That’s a very good point that everyone who “went to heaven” in Scripture was alive at the time! I haven’t yet done enough study to come to a full understanding of this area, but I think a good place to start is with words that we assume have the same meaning in Greek as in English – specifically in 1 Thess. 4:17, the famous “rapture” passage. The “catching away” in this verse is the word “harpazo” – which was also used of Philip when he was “snatched away” to Azotus, and of Paul when he was “caught up to the third heaven.” Of this, Paul added the caveat: “(whether in the body, I cannot tell ; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell : God knoweth)” (2 Cor. 12:2). Back to 1 Thess. 4:17, Paul says that through the “harpazo” we shall “meet” God in the air. The word here for “meet” is “apentesis” which from other usage in Scripture means to ‘meet in order to escort back with honour’ (as in Matt. 25:1 where the virgins meet the Bridegroom and escort Him back to the wedding feast, and in Acts 28:15, where certain brethren met Paul and escorted him into Rome, as if he was a visiting dignitary).

    So from those two words, it seems that we are suddenly “snatched away” to meet Christ (whether in or out of the body, God knows), and, as you indicated above, we escort Him back with honour… to the earth. Indeed, Jesus is the only way ‘to the Father’ (which, as you said, is where He said He was going). In this way, Jesus is the Ladder between earth and heaven that Jacob saw, with “angels ascending and descending upon it” (Gen. 28:12). In this way, Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). Here, heaven is “opened” and we see Jesus, as the Son of Man, interceding for us – between us and the Father – since He is our High Priest.

    Perhaps teachings about “going to heaven” have confused a ‘place’ with a ‘revelation’ of God to His people. In other words, perhaps He is bringing us into a deeper revelation of Himself and His relationship with us – rather than bringing us to a physically separate place altogether. We understand that “God is a Spirit” and that heaven is a spiritual reality – but that may not exclude it from being a spiritual reality within His Body in the earth. Indeed what has generally been understood as “going to heaven” Scripturally means ‘going to the Father’ (as you mentioned regarding John 14:6) – and the only way to the Father is in Christ Jesus – as part of His Body.

    Thanks again for bringing these issues up for study: I’m praying with you!

    Curtis

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    • Hey Curtis,
      Thanks for stopping by and also for your excellent comments! I wish more be;lievers did word studies like you do! You are absolutely right about “harpazo” the Greek word translated “caught up” in I Thess.4. Most Christians don’t realize that there have been quite a number of historical instances of “raptures” or people being “caught up”, “caught away”, “snatched”, “pulled” or “taken by force” (all translated from this one Greek word).

      Here is quick summary of some historical events of this action and one which is yet future (the one which most people talk about).
      – A failed attempt to “take (the Lord Jesus) by force” in John 6:15,
      – An event that happens all the time for a lack of true shepherd care of the Lord’s sheep:
      Satan “catches” them and scatters them (John 10:12 (primarily by introducing false doctrines
      which this blog is all about!,
      – An action which is an impossibility: None can “pluck” one of the Lord’s sheep out of His hand
      or the hand of the Father (John 10:28,29),
      – A unique event when Philip was “caught away” from the Ethiopian in the desert to Azotus. (Acts 8:39
      – Used twice of Paul who was “caught up” into paradise or the third heaven. (II Cor.12:2,4)
      – Used once of the church being “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess.4:17) and
      once of the Lord Jesus’ ascension “caught up ” (Rev.12:5)
      – This is also what happens when lost people are saved! They are “pulled” out of the fire! (Jude 1:23)

      Bruce

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  2. esgatch says:

    What did Paul mean, when he said ‘To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’, or when he said, ‘Having the desire to depart and be wth Christ, which is far better.’

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    • Steve,
      An excellent question! My short answer is that Paul meant exactly what he said!

      My longer answer would note first of all that Paul never said, “To be absent from the body is to go to heaven.” Nor did he say, “Having a desire to depart and to go to heaven.”
      “Being absent” and the “departure” of which Paul in II Cor.5:8 and Phil.1:23 spoke is the departure of the spirit and soul of the believer from the body of flesh. At physical death, one departs from the body and thus is absent from it. But scripture does not teach that the spirit “goes to a different location” from where it was when the believer was alive in their body. From the day that you and I got saved, we have been “in Christ” (II Cor.5:17). That will not change when we die. We have been seated with him in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) That will not change when we die. And the Lord Jesus has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) That will not change when we die.
      Right now, while we are alive in our bodies of flesh and blood, we are limited to experiences that are related to our five physical senses (touching, tasting, hearing, smelling and seeing). None of those senses confirm for us the truths that we are forgiven, justified, indwelt by the Spirit of God, that we have eternal life etc. Yet we know in our spirits that those things are certain facts. So too we know in our spirits that we are in Christ and he is in us. But when we die and are absent from the body we will not be limited by those five senses but will be fully alive in spirit and will know as we have never “known” before that we are “with Christ”. We will not have “gone anywhere” but will simply “be” where we have always “been” since the day we got saved….i.e. in Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places.
      Does this help?
      Bruce

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  3. Galen says:

    Whatever “heaven” entails, it was never a mere consciousness, a dreamlike state, or faries floating about on clouds. Spirit is more real and hard than our own materials world. When we pass from this body, we wake up in a very real place. Much of what even Christians imagine remains a kind of christo-platonism. Eventually, following the first 1000 years of Jesus earthly reign, a huge, real, material city of God will descend down from “heaven” as the capitol of the world, heaven on earth. Jesus ascended into the heavens following his resurrection, and he will return in a manner simlar to his departure.

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    • Galen, Thanks for stopping by!

      Amen, brother… the Spirit is far more “real” than this material world in which we live in our bodies of flesh and blood! And, yes, the Lord Jesus return will; be in Like manner as His disciples saw him ascend into heaven…
      -He ascended from earth to heaven and will descend from heaven to earth,
      -He was received up in a cloud and will come again in clouds,
      -He ascended from the Mount of Olives and will return to the very same spot! (Zech.14)
      -He was seen by His disciples ascending and every eye will see Him when He returns!

      Like

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