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  • "Going to Heaven" or "entering the Kingdom of God"

    Ok. I used to think I understood this completely. But after reading more I have become more confused.

    Where in the bible does it say we "go to heaven" when we die?

    I see many many passages where Jesus says we must do such and such to enter the Kingdom of Heaven or those who yada yada will not inherit the Kingdom etc.

    Now ignoring the debates about whether the Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are the same thing or not (I'm fairly certain they are), here is the question:

    Is "going to heaven when we die" as the church teaches the same thing as entering the Kingdom of God?

    Some additional points to consider:
    1. Jesus said "The Kingdom of Heaven is now". Obviously we are not in heaven now, so that almost answers my first question.
    2. Does our salvation give us entrance to the Kingdom, entrance to Heaven, or just save us from death?

    What is everyone's thoughts on this? I'm looking for scriptural answers.

    Please forgive me if I'm missing something obvious here.

    Legoman

  • #2
    You are right to observe that the Bible says far less about 'going to heaven when you die' than most evangelicals would assume. Most of the Bible's message is focused on how we should live TODAY, not what will happen the moment we die. Christianity is really a 3 stage process.

    1) Life before death
    2) Life after death
    3) Life AFTER 'life after death'

    The Bible talks about how we should live in phase #1
    Phase #2 is the least talked about in Scripture
    Phase #3 (resurrection & new earth) is the core of Christian hope

    We are part of the Kingdom already. When we die, we will be present with the Lord, but we won't be in our final state. We'll still be awaiting our resurrection bodies. The goal was never to stay in 'heaven' (if 'heaven' is thought of as a disembodied existence among the clouds). The whole point is to be resurrected (which means bodily) and to live forever on the new earth. This is why we pray, 'thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

    In Christ,
    matthew
    The Matthew Never Knew
    The Knew Kingdom

    Comment


    • #3
      Just as we are part of the kingdom of heaven now we also have eternal life now. Most folks think of eternal life as some future occurrence after their death, but the Lord Jesus Christ declared that those who know Him have eternal life presently.
      "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

      -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

      Comment


      • #4
        2 excellent responses. I would like to add to what they already said,

        you stated this:

        I see many many passages where Jesus says we must do such and such to enter the Kingdom of Heaven or those who yada yada will not inherit the Kingdom etc.
        as was said before. we are in the kingdom now. God wishes to give us much blessings while we are here, the things we do is to recieve those blessings. if we do not do them, or are in a state were we are not doing them, the blessings are cut off, and chasticement replaces.

        however, eternal life is gained by faith only in the work of Christ.

        we are saved, and Have eternal life here, our "position in christ" is eternal.

        however, this very moment, we may be "in the flesh", or "in the spirit" which would be our condition. and depending on what our condition is is whether we recive belssing or chasticement
        not perfect, Just forgiven

        Comment


        • #5
          The "Kingdom of Heaven" (as in the gospel of Matthew) and the "Kingdom of God" (as in the other three gospels) do not refer to "heaven" - the place you go (temporarily) when you die.

          They refer to the inbreaking of God's rule on the earth and what it will be like.

          Comment


          • #6
            Good answers so far, but I'm looking for more scriptural support.

            Specifically, where in the bible does it say "we go to heaven when we die"?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by legoman View Post
              Good answers so far, but I'm looking for more scriptural support.

              Specifically, where in the bible does it say "we go to heaven when we die"?
              From the following passages we see that upon physical death Paul found great comfort in the knowledge that he would be with the Lord. Since the Lord is in heaven, that's where Paul would go upon physical death.

              2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

              Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
              Php 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
              Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
              Php 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

              Many Blessings,
              RW

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by legoman View Post
                Good answers so far, but I'm looking for more scriptural support.

                Specifically, where in the bible does it say "we go to heaven when we die"?
                It doesn't!

                Firstly, for the record, the term 'soul sleep' is a biblical absurdity as 'soul' in the bible does not mean the immaterial part of a person that survives death, so the idea that either our souls are with the body in the grave 'asleep' or have gone to Heaven will not be found in the bible.

                Rather, the 'soul' in the bible is the life (life force if you like) that is bound up in the body transported by the blood in your circularity system.

                DT 12:23
                Lev 17:11

                Both state the 'nephesh' of the flesh is in the blood.

                At death, 'it' dies:

                Numbers 23:10..Le me (nephesh, soul) die the death of the righteous.
                Judges 16:30..Let me (Nephesh, soul) die with..

                At resuscititation, the nephesh 'returns', not that its gone somewhere else.

                The Hebrews believed at death, the were no longer 'nephesh' (souls as described in Genesis 2:7), but they were 'Rephaim' in sheol (the grave) where in death, they did not cease to exist, but were 'waiting' for resurrection as described in Psalm 88:10-12

                10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
                Do those who are dead rise up and praise you?
                Selah

                11 Is your love declared in the grave,
                your faithfulness in Destruction [d] ? 12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
                or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

                They are in the grave waiting for resurrection!

                Daniel 12:2

                2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

                So what about new testament times, did people go to heaven?

                John 3:13
                13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man

                This was written around 100 to 120 AD!

                Also in Acts, we read that David did not ascend either:

                Acts 2:34 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
                " 'The Lord said to my Lord:
                "Sit at my right hand

                So what happens to us?

                Read the whole of 1 corinthians 15.

                John 6:54

                54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

                That tells us 'when'!

                Why all the confusion about what happens to us between physical death and resurrection? Pagan Greek philisophical influences that has totally distorted the true Hebrew and biblical teachings and meanings of Hebrew ideas.

                Here is a link for the history of it all.
                http://www.jesushistory.info/cultura...ristianity.htm

                Here is something that Justin Martyr spoke about when attacking the myth of the immortality of the soul and that peoples' souls ended up in Heaven or Hell and a brief outline of how this debate is continuing to this day, even amongst my fellow evangelicals!


                The Old Testament closed with the book of Malachi about 425 B.C. Between the writing of the Old and New Testaments, Judaism became penetrated by the pagan teaching of the immortality of the soul. Two schools of thought developed in Judaism:
                1. A group that continued to hold to the Old Testament picture of man as a candidate for immortality who rested in the grave until the resurrection; and
                2. A new group arising around 150 B.C. who introduced the Platonic philosophy of the immortality of the soul into the Jewish community.
                Therefore, Judaism stood divided on this issue when Jesus came. He reaffirmed the Old Testament teaching that death is a sleep and man will receive immortality at the second coming. This was amplified and expanded by most of the New Testament writers. Thus the early Christian Church was brought back to the original teaching of the Old Testament. For over 150 years the early Christian Church held to the true Biblical picture of death as a sleep and the annihilation of the wicked. Notice the testimony of Justin Martyr (died, A.D. 165), one of the leaders of the Christian Church in the early centuries:
                "If you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this (truth) (of the resurrection), and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians." Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 80, in "Ante Nicene Fathers," Vol. 1. p. 294.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by legoman View Post
                  Good answers so far, but I'm looking for more scriptural support.

                  Specifically, where in the bible does it say "we go to heaven when we die"?
                  it does not. However, we see from Jesus words to the thief on the cross. and his parable about the rich man poor man, that there is a paradise. a place where the souls of Gods children await their final ressurection. in which then we will actually enter eternity in heaven..

                  remember a person who is 'asleep" as some put it, has no body. just a soul. it remains in paradise until god gives them their new body.

                  an unsaved person resides in hades awaiting their final judgment,
                  not perfect, Just forgiven

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bryan43 View Post
                    it does not. However, we see from Jesus words to the thief on the cross. and his parable about the rich man poor man, that there is a paradise. a place where the souls of Gods children await their final ressurection. in which then we will actually enter eternity in heaven..

                    remember a person who is 'asleep" as some put it, has no body. just a soul. it remains in paradise until god gives them their new body.

                    an unsaved person resides in hades awaiting their final judgment,
                    Hi,
                    There is no such teaching found the bible. There is nothing in the bible to support the view that people have disembodoed souls in paradise. The word 'soul' is simply not there!

                    Here is a link to the correct understanding of the word 'soul' as used in the bible!

                    http://www.drhoff.com/Writings/writings17.htm

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike CP King View Post
                      It doesn't!
                      Wow. Thanks for the in-depth posts Mike. I sort of had a feeling that this might be the case - it will take me a while to research what you have said, but I have seen some other writings (websites) describe how a lot of pagan teachings have infiltrated the early church. This is why alot of the teachings of the church aren't always consistent with what the bible teaches. People just take them for granted, but they are really trusting the traditions of man over God's word. It is definitely a big area for further study.

                      Roger, regarding the verses you posted: to me they aren't necessarily indicating what happens directly (immediately) after we die. Its more like Paul is debating whether it would be better to stay in this life, or go and be with the lord. Obviously he wants to be with the Lord, but he realizes the Lord has better plans for him to stay here. I think Paul is just speaking in general terms, not specifically meaning that when he dies he will be immediately with him heaven, because it doesn't appear to clearly say that. Or perhaps when Paul dies, from his perspective, his next waking moment would be with the lord.

                      Just found this again. There are some other verses that seem more clear on the matter in Ecclesiastes 9. Verses 1-12 are talking about a common destiny for all, namely death. It starts off saying all, righteous and wicked, good and bad, have a common destiny. Verse 5 is really telling I think:

                      Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing;
                      they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten."

                      The dead don't know anything, because they are dead. Until the resurrection that is.

                      I think Ecclesiastes 9 is clear enough that it should be our key for what happens at death. And as Mike posted, John 3:13 clinches it for me:

                      John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man

                      No one has ever gone to heaven except Jesus! Wow, that is profound! Given this verse, how can we claim that people go to heaven when they die?

                      Ok I just now reread 1 Corinthians 15 - very powerful stuff. Thanks for posting those verses Mike.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just wondering if anyone has any further comment on this? Especially John 3:13?

                        John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man

                        Any further ways to interpret this? Or shall I just say case CASE CLOSED and I can assume we all agree that no one is in heaven right now (except for God & Jesus of course).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by legoman View Post
                          Roger, regarding the verses you posted: to me they aren't necessarily indicating what happens directly (immediately) after we die. Its more like Paul is debating whether it would be better to stay in this life, or go and be with the lord. Obviously he wants to be with the Lord, but he realizes the Lord has better plans for him to stay here. I think Paul is just speaking in general terms, not specifically meaning that when he dies he will be immediately with him heaven, because it doesn't appear to clearly say that. Or perhaps when Paul dies, from his perspective, his next waking moment would be with the lord.

                          Just found this again. There are some other verses that seem more clear on the matter in Ecclesiastes 9. Verses 1-12 are talking about a common destiny for all, namely death. It starts off saying all, righteous and wicked, good and bad, have a common destiny. Verse 5 is really telling I think:

                          Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing;
                          they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten."

                          The dead don't know anything, because they are dead. Until the resurrection that is.

                          I think Ecclesiastes 9 is clear enough that it should be our key for what happens at death. And as Mike posted, John 3:13 clinches it for me:

                          John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man

                          No one has ever gone to heaven except Jesus! Wow, that is profound! Given this verse, how can we claim that people go to heaven when they die?

                          Ok I just now reread 1 Corinthians 15 - very powerful stuff. Thanks for posting those verses Mike.
                          Greetings Legoman,

                          Do we ever read of the dead in Christ being referenced as "the dead"? Ecc 12 also has something to say on this regard.

                          Ec 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

                          It's true there are many passages of Scripture that speak of those dying in unbelief. These die and are remembered no more, but what of the one dying in Christ, in faith? The same fate awaits them physically, after all our bodies are made of the dust of the earth, so our bodies (all of us) go into the grave to await the bodily resurrection in the fullness of time, to receive Judgment and condemnation or a glorified body and everlasting life.

                          What about the spirit of the one who dies in faith? According to Jo 3:13 only the Son of man has ascended into heaven. But Christ here is speaking before the cross. When OT saints died, they went into Abraham's bosom or under the altar (Rev 6), having been marked for eternal life (Eze 9). Abraham's bosom, or under the altar is that part of the grave, prior to the cross that separated believers from those who died in unbelief, who went into the deepest abyss of hell or the grave (2Pe 2:4; Jude 1:6).

                          What happened when Christ died on the cross? When Christ ascended into heaven He didn't go alone. He first descended into hell; i.e. the grave, Abraham's bosom to set the captives free. This is what it means that He led captivity captive. The OT saints were held in captivity to death and the grave until they became captives of Christ after He defeated sin, and death.

                          Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
                          Eph 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
                          Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

                          Prior to the cross no one could go to heaven upon death because Christ had not yet defeated death and the grave, nor had He yet gone to prepare a place for them (Jo 14:2,3). So they waited in the grave until Christ led them in spirit (the rational life essence) to heaven. Now all who die in Christ since the cross go immediately to heaven and the presence of the Lord.

                          John shows us these OT saints in the Revelation when he says, "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Rev 6:9-11

                          Souls or the spirit of the person; i.e. mind, rational etc. are under the altar, not the whole person. These faithful died for the Word of God, and being under the altar is to be under the sacrificial blood of the Lamb. I believe this is akin to being in Abraham's bosom.

                          The souls under the altar had been killed for the Word of God and the testimony they held, but there is no mention of Christ. Why? Because these are OT saints who prophesy of His coming, but died in faith without having received the promise. Others must also die, but those testifying after the cross die for not only the Word of God, but also for the witness of Jesus.

                          ..."the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God" (Rev 20:4)

                          At the end of the thousand years (I am amil and believe the thousand years symbolizes the fullness of time) the souls who died in faith prior to the cross, and the souls who die after the cross will be bodily resurrected together to receive their immortal, uncorruptible bodies to reign with Christ forever as a whole person, made perfect and complete.

                          Many Blessings,
                          RW

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for continuing the debate Roger. This stuff is complicated.

                            I'm not sure I'm convinced on the idea that people stayed in their grave before the cross, but people who died after the cross, go to heaven. Where does it say this exactly?

                            I don't see how the scriptures you referenced (Eze 9 & Rev 6) show OT saints went into "Abraham's bosom". Rev 6 doesn't make mention of Old Testament only does it? The saints in Rev 6 are all saints (called/chosen) throughout all time. I thought Abraham's bosom was not a real place, but only described in the parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus. I believe that the Rich Man & Lazarus is a parable, and not a literal description of the afterlife. There are a few different studies of this on the web if you do a google search.

                            Regarding Ecl 12:7. When we die the spirit returns to God. We have a body, and we have a spirit. Only when they are together does that make the soul. So on death, the body returns to where it came from (dust), and the spirit returns to where it came from (God). And the soul is no more. Without both body and spirit, there is no soul. Without a soul we don't know anything (the dead know nothing... Eccl 9:5) ie. we are not conscious when we are in death (hades). Note: the soul is not a synonym for "spirit". The soul only exists with both body and spirit. I believe this is what Mike CP's study was showing.

                            Regarding 2 peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6, this is talking about tartarus which is different than hades I believe.

                            Peace,
                            Legoman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Joh 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
                              Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
                              Joh 11:26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

                              Believest thou this?
                              Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
                              C. S. Lewis

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