Will You Go To Heaven When You Die?
Most grew up believing that heaven is where one goes if they are “good.”
As we grew older, we discovered that people and churches had different ideas as to WHEN one went to heaven. Some said at death you went to heaven, and some said at the return of Christ. Then there are differences as far how long: some say 3 ½ years, some 1,000 years, and others say forever. Some say we shall go to heaven for 3 ½ hears before Christ returns in a “secret rapture.” The LENGTH OF TIME, and WHEN, is disputed: but 99% of Christians believe they shall one day get there, i.e., heaven. Getting to heaven is a universally accepted doctrine. We have been taught it from birth. We have accepted it as easily as we accept breathing. To even question it would seem like blasphemy.
If We Shall “God to Heaven” One Day: If this is a fundamental plain teaching of the Bible, then surely we should be able to find verses all over the Bible saying things such as: “When we get to heaven,” “When we see each other in heaven,” “They are up in heaven with God,” “We shall go to heaven at Christ’s return,” “We shall go to heaven at Christ’s return,” “We shall be in heaven for 3 ½ years.” BUT VERSES LIKE THIS CANNOT BE FOUND IN THE BIBLE. Christians use such terminology all the time. Preachers use it from the pulpit. Why, then, didn’t the people of the Bible use it?
Heaven...Heavenly...Heavens: The word “HEAVEN” is used 570 times in the Bible. “HEAVENLY” appears 23 times, and “HEAVENS” is used 121 times. Surely, somewhere in all those uses, we can find a statement: “When we are in heaven,” “We are going to heaven,” or “He has gone to God in heaven.” If you take a concordance of the Bible, you can find all the verses where “heaven,” “heavenly,” “heavens” are used. Look them up! See if you can find a verse that says: “We shall go to heaven” or any plain statement about Christians going to be with God in heaven for ANY LENGTH of time...There are over 500 places where “heaven” is used. Try to find it!
There are THREE HEAVENS mentioned in the Bible: 1). The heaven where the birds fly; 2). The heaven where the planets and stars are; 3). The heaven where God’s throne is, where God dwells: “I knew a man in Christ...such an one caught up to the THIRD HEAVEN...He was caught up into PARADISE and heard unspeakable words...” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) “To him that overcometh will give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE which is in the midst of the PARADISE OF GOD.” (Revelation 2:7); “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life...proceeding out of the THRONE OF GOD...in the midst of the street of it...was there the TREE OF LIFE...” (Revelation 22:1-2) The THIRD heaven is where God dwells!
Kingdom of Heaven: Some will say Christ talked about our being in the kingdom of heaven. Surely that proves we shall “go to heaven.” If it does then some will be in heaven while others are not. Read Matthew 5:3, 5: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” “Blessed are the meed: for they shall inherit the earth.” Will some then be in heaven, while others will be on earth? The word “OF” denotes ownership, not place. If I say to you that this house is “the house of Smith,” you instantly know I mean it is the house that “BELONGS” to Smith; not that it is the house INSIDE Smith. The kingdom OF heaven is the kingdom that BELONGS to heaven. It is owned and operated by heaven. The gospels according to Mark and Luke use “Kingdom of God;” the kingdom that BELONGS to God, not the kingdom inside God.
Reward is in Heaven: Is it not our reward to go to heaven, someone may ask? Are there not some verses that say something to that effect? Yes, there are verses that talk about a “reward in heaven.” Here they are: “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven...” (Matthew 5:12); “Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise you have no reward of your father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1); “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...” (Luke 6:23); “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4)
Now, let’s be honest. Do the above verses say: “Our reward is to get to heaven,” or “When we get to heaven we shall be given our rewards,” or “Our reserved inheritance is to go to heaven to be with God?” NO! They do not. Truly, Christians are to receive rewards and we are to inherit eternal life, but when? Eternal life comes at the RESURRECTION. (Read 1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8) Our rewards are to be given to us by Christ, at His return. “And, behold, I COME quickly, and MY REWARD IS WITH ME, TO GIVE EVERY MAN ACCORDING AS HIS WORK SHALL BE.” (Revelation 22:12) Our rewards and inheritance are reserved in heaven. THEY COME DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN WITH CHRIST AT HIS RETURN.
Named to Go to Heaven: Are not Christians named and written down to go to heaven one day? Are there not some verses that say so? “...but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20); “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven...” (Hebrews 12:23) Do these verses say “because you will go to heaven” or “the church of the firstborn will one day get to heaven? NO! Our names (God knows who are His) are written down in the book of life in heaven. But we receive life eternal at Christ’s return in the resurrection (John 5:25-29); 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; John 6:37-39) THESE VERSES DO NOT SAY WE SHALL GO TO HEAVEN!!!!
Our Hope...To Go to Heaven?: “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” (Colossians 1:5) What is the hope for Christians? Paul answers in another letter he wrote...: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain...then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished...For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, but every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits: afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” *1 Corinthians 15:13-23) Our HOPE is CHRIST, who has been raised from the dead and is now in heaven; waiting to be sent back to this earth when He shall resurrect the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16) This verse in Collisions does NOT say, “Our hope is to get to heaven,” “The church’s hope is to be with Christ in heaven.” It does NOT say WE are to be laid up in heaven. But our HOPE is laid up in heaven. That HOPE is CHRIST and His return and the resurrection.
Our Conversation: Is it to Go to Heaven?: Isn’t the verse in Philippians telling us and Christians are to talk about “going to heaven?” This verse reads: “Four our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) Does it say “our conversation is about being with Christ in heaven” or “our talk should be about going to heaven?” NO! This verse is not even talking about “words” we speak. The word “conversation” used here is a very poor translation of the original Greek. It should have been translated “citizenship.’ (See Strong’s Concordance) The “Amplified Bible” renders this verse, “But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven...” Notice! The STATE is in heaven that we are citizens of. If we be Christ’s, we belong to His FAMILY, His GOVERNMENT, which is NOW in heaven, not that we are in heaven; but this STATE we now belong to, is in heaven. “And,” the verse continues, “from it,” that is from heaven, “also we earnestly and patiently await (the coming of) the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, (as) Saviour.” (Amplified Bible) Yes, again Paul says we look to, wait, hope in Christ’s return and the resurrection.
No Man Has Ever Gone to Heaven: Here is a plain and easy to understand verse: “And NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13) Will you BELIEVE what Christ said? He should know. He was in heaven with the Father from the beginning. (Taken in part from Thy Kingdom Come, Canada, and Gospel Ministry News, Pastor Bob Hallstrom, P.O. Box 9411, Boise, Idaho 83707, Issue #9901, February-March 1999)