1 John 2:2 Says Everyone Is Going to Heaven

In this verse the apostle John states that Jesus Christ provides covering for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.  What sins therefore are not covered by His work?  None.

The notion of only certain human beings making it to heaven runs counter to everything God has revealed about His nature and His power.  Are we to believe that the devil is mean enough to tempt everyone to sin, but God is not kind enough to lead everyone to salvation?  And are we to believe that the devil is powerful enough to succeed in getting everyone to to sin, but God is not powerful enough to save everyone from sin?

It is foolish to believe that God’s righteousness is insufficient to redeem us from our sins.

Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Romans 11:32 Says Everyone Is Going to Heaven

How many people has God not shut up in disobedience?  That’s how many will not receive His mercy.

In other words, His mercy extends as far as human disobedience.  There is no disobedience that can exceed His mercy.  (Likewise, make sure no one’s disregard for you can exceed your mercy, for God would always have us to imitate Him as a child lovingly imitates a father.)

Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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1 Timothy 4:10 Says Everyone Is Going to Heaven

It’s hard to twist the clear meaning of Paul’s description of God as “the Savior of all men,” yet some try.  Ignore them.

Take the words at their plain meaning.  God indeed is the Savior of all men.  He is not one to show partiality, as Peter affirmed (Acts 10:34-35). 

As for the appended expression “especially of believers,” we may understand this as pointing out the fact that there is deliverance in this life for those who believe, in addition to the deliverance in the afterlife that is for everyone.  We could add that while everyone will enjoy the ultimate destination, only believers get to look forward to it (because, obviously, only they believe that it is coming).

Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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Many Who Are First Will Be Last

Even though Everyone Is Going to Heaven , don’t think that there won’t be an accounting in heaven for how we lived our lives on earth.  Indeed, there will be a re-ordering of humanity in heaven.  Many who enjoy prestige, power, and position in this life will be humbled in the next.  Conversely, many who suffer unjustly, live righteously, and show kindness to others will be elevated.

In God’s accounting, He does not care about your fame, success, monetary wealth, or any of the other measures that the world commonly applies to a person’s life.  He is concerned with how much you cared for others, helped the poor, turned the other cheek, and served those around you.

Let’s be as wise as the unjust steward in Jesus’ parable (Luke 16:1-13).  Face the fact that your life on earth, sooner or later, will be taken away from you.  Make sure you prepare for that transition by building up your heavenly account while you still have the chance.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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Stephen’s Last Prayer

At the end of the seventh chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, Stephen is being stoned for his testimony about Jesus being the Messiah.  Stephens’ last words were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  This is reminiscent of words Jesus Himself spoke as He was dying on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)

If Stephen could imitate Jesus and want everyone to go to heaven, can’t you?

Fortunately, God is pleased by prayers like this and indeed everyone is going to heaven 

By the way, there was a young man present at the stoning, fully approving of the execution.  He was known as Saul at the time, but came to be known far and wide after his conversion as the apostle Paul.  He, too, learned to think this graciously about those who opposed him.  In 2 Timothy 4:16 he asked regarding all those who had deserted him, “May it not be counted against them.”  All these prayers and expressions reveal, of course, the spirit of love, which does not take into account a wrong suffered (1 Corinthians 13:5).  If God is not counting people’s trespasses against Him (2 Corinthians 5:19), why should we count their trespasses again us or Him? 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

We Shall Judge Angels

In 1 Corinthians 6:3, Paul said that we would judge angels. 

How could human beings judge angels unless the words of Jesus were true – that is, those words He spoke about resurrected humans being like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30)?  Only if we were raised above angels in heaven would we be in a position to judge them.  Indeed, God has chosen to put all things (including angels) under the feet of man (Romans 16:20; Hebrews 2:5ff).  This is all accomplished through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Everyone Is Going to Heaven  and we shall have authority higher than that of angels.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Jacob’s Ladder

In John 1:51 Jesus alludes to Jacob’s Ladder (Genesis 28:12).  Of course, this was the dream that Jacob had about angels ascending and descending on a ladder that reached from earth to heaven. 

Jesus was the ladder.  The descending angels were Satan and his host who were cast down from heaven (Revelation 12:9).  The ascending angels were deceased humanity who were raised to be like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30).  Jesus accomplished this through His resurrection, ascension, and the establishment of His eternal kingdom – the kingdom of God. 

Through Jesus the Ladder, Everyone Is Going to Heaven .

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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Satan Fell From Heaven Like Lightning

Jesus said (in Luke 10:18) that He was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.  This was a percursor to the great fall of Satan.

The great fall of Satan occurred when the dead were raised from Sheol (Hades) to heaven in the aftermath of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  This dragon was “thrown down,” as it says in Revelation.   The prophet Isaiah spoke of such a star that would fall from heaven (14:12). 

This fall happened in “the twinkling of an eye” when the dead were raised imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:52) at the coming of the Lord, which itself He compared to a lightning flash (Matthew 24:27; Luke 17:24). 

Satan was removed from heaven to make room for all of us (Everyone Is Going to Heaven ).  Blessed be our God who has been so gracious to us by sharing His home with us for all eternity.  Sorrow may be for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).  And this day that has dawned will never ends!

The proud always fall – even those who think that the judgments of God apply only to everyone else.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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The Dragon Has Been Contained

Biblical references to the dragon are usually to Satan, the Adversary, the devil.

As it says in Revelation, the dragon has been thrown down.  The one who exalted himself has now been humbled. 

Because Everyone Is Going to Heaven , the dragon no longer has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). 

The image of a dragon strikes fear.  And nothing on earth has struck more fear than death.  We, however, have overcome the dragon through Him who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood (Revelation 1:5).  (When I say “we” I mean the entire human race; not some subset of it.)  This dragon who has lived and reigned in the sea of death has been slain (Isaiah 27:1) and the sea of death itself has been dried up (Isaiah 51:10; Revelation 21:1). 

You need not fear the dragon.  Fear only Him who has power over the dragon.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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What the Serpent Meant for Evil, God Used for Good

The serpent I speak of is, of course, the devil, Satan, the Adversary, the dragon (Revelation 12:9 and elsewhere) – the deceiver and the tempter.

The serpent thought he was outsmarting God in the garden of Eden.  By successfully tempting Eve and Adam to disobey God’s direct command, he thought those two and all their descendants would remain under his power forever.  As God’s ruler of the world, Satan had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14).  Once a human being died, he or she was effectively removed from serving God.  As the Scriptures say, they “fall asleep” and “the dead do not praise Him.”  Therefore, the dead were made even more distant from God than the living. 

God, however, took upon Himself flesh as Jesus of Nazareth, and was killed that He might deliver all those who had died.  After rising from the dead, He emptied out the netherworld, bringing all of the dead to live with Him in heaven.  That netherworld was then abolished.  From that time forward, people would go to heaven to be with Jesus when they died. 

Thus the serpent meant for death to be a separation for us – separation from God and from each other.  Yet God has made death instead to be reuniting – with Him and each other.  What the serpent meant for evil, God has turned into a blessing.  You do not have to be afraid of the devil – God is smarter.

Everyone Is Going to Heaven  (though this wasn’t always the case: Jesus Punched a Hole in Heaven!).

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

God Turns the Curse to a Blessing

When Joseph’s brothers cast him into a pit and walked away, God did not try to stop them.  Instead, God turned it into a blessing by subsequently making Joseph ruler over Egypt and providing food and shelter for his entire family when famine came.

When Haman prepared gallows on which he would hang Mordecai, God did not prevent him.  Rather, God turned the tables and allowed those gallows to be used to eliminate Haman himself, a mortal enemy of the Jews.

When the leaders of the Jews and the Romans conspired together to crucify the Son of God, God did not stand in their way.  Rather, He used the event to execute a great deliverance for humanity.

God turns a curse into a blessing.

In a world of human freedom, many things occur that are not God’s will.  However, God will use those bad things and make them into good things.  Our faith gives us eyes to see this. 

Therefore, when death was pronounced as the penalty for our sin, it was only a matter of time before God would turn the curse of death into a blessing.  Through Jesus Christ death has become a blessing because it no longer leads us away from Him.  Instead, it leads us to Him in heaven. 

If you still think of death as a curse then you haven’t yet understood what Jesus Christ did to it.  Go back to Jesus Punched a Hole in Heaven! and follow each day’s post between then and now.  Also, be sure you read Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

The Last Enemy Has Been Abolished

In 1 Corinthians 15:26, Paul wrote that the last enemy to be abolished was death.  Death is no longer a doorway to oblivion, but rather a doorway to God. 

Through fear of death we human beings have been subject to slavery all our lives (Hebrews 2:15).  We can now cast off that yoke of slavery.  Because Jesus Christ has abolished death as an enemy, we human beings no longer see death as a limitation to life – rather, we see it as an expansion of life.

Everyone Is Going to Heaven  and no obstacle can keep us from it!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

The Gates of Hades Did Not Prevail

In Matthew 16, Jesus famously said that He would build His church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it.  If you have been reading this blog for the past couple of weeks you know that “the gates of Hades” would be synonymous with “the gates of death.”  Therefore, Jesus was saying that the church He was building would transcend death.  That is, death would have no power over its constituents.  It could not keep anyone from becoming part of it; it could not remove anyone from being a part of it. 

What you next need to give thought to is the word “church,” for many of you will imagine something with a human pope or pastor in charge of it.  This is because you are thinking of the word according to what it has come to mean in our day.  Yet the word did not have this meaning when Jesus spoke it.  Rather, church was a word for an assembly, a convocation, a congregation, a group or crowd called out – even a civic or political gathering.  Of course, Jesus was doing the calling.  In other words, Jesus was saying that His group would not be depleted by death – that death had no claim on the crowd He was assembling. 

Who then would be included in this group Jesus was claiming?  Only those for whom He died.  And for whom did He die?  For the whole world (1 John 2:2). 

Therefore, Everyone Is Going to Heaven – even those who had died even before Jesus came (Romans 14:9)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Sheol Is Hades…But Neither of Them Is Hell

In 1 Corinthians 15:55, the apostle Paul quotes from Hosea 13:14.  Hosea’s verse, speaking in the parallelism of Hebrew poetry, equates Sheol with death.  The Septuagint, being a Greek translation, renders Sheol as Hades in the Hosea passage.  Thus, Hades (Sheol) is the place of death, and the personification of death  (“O Death, where is your sting?”).  Hell is a completely different concept and is not therefore mentioned in this context by either Hosea or Paul.  (For an explanation why, see The Three-Tiered Spiritual Universe).

Some people, not trusting either Hosea or Paul, don’t believe that all the dead go to heaven.  They think some of the dead go to hell.  If Hades equates to Hell as some of those people say, how do they explain its “sting” being removed?

Moreover, if anyone is going to hell when they die, then death has not lost its sting – it has gained a far more powerful one!

Do not fear, however, for the Scripture is true: death has lost its sting.  Everyone Is Going to Heaven .

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

The Swallower Has Been Swallowed

Like a monster, death had been swallowing all of humanity, one by one – and sometimes, if a calamity occurred, in great numbers.  Yet the prophet Isaiah prophesied that one day death itself would be swallowed up in victory (Isaiah 28:5).  The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 that the time of fulfillment for Isaiah’s prophecy was approaching (verse 54).  Indeed, the prophecy was fulfilled not longer after Paul died.  The great swallower was itself swallowed (Out of the Eater Came Something to Eat) and the great monster of the deep was forced to disgorge its prey (The Sea Monster Had to Give Up Jonah). 

The meaning of all this, of course, is that Everyone Is Going to Heaven .

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

This Dungeon Has Been Closed Forever

A dungeon is a room or cell in which prisoners are held captive, often underground.  It is not uncommon for liberated societies to close dungeons which were used by the deposed regime to incarcerate its citizens.  The closed dungeon would thus symbolize the liberation of society from the previous tyranny. 

 As Isaiah said (in 51:14), the exiles (that is, those exiled from the earth by death – in other words, everyone who died) would not be left in the dungeon – they would be set free.   Satan’s dungeon of death (Sheol or Hades) has been permanently closed by Jesus.  Jesus’ victory over His enemies has been a matter of public display in the spiritual realm (Colossians 2:15).  The fact that there is no longer any world of the dead below is a tacit shout throughout the heavens concerning the liberation of the human race.  This dungeon has been closed by the new government – the kingdom of God.  A dungeon for the dead is no longer allowed.   (Everyone Is Going to Heaven )

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Walk on Water and Do Not Sink

Most people who know anything about Jesus know that He walked on water.  What they sometimes forget is that there was always something to be learned from His miracles beyond just the fact that He had the power to do them.  Whatever wonder Jesus performed was a sign of some eternal truth; that’s why what are called “miracles” are also called “signs and wonders.”

That Jesus walked on water and did not sink illustrated that through Him we now walk in life without sinking into death.  Because there is no longer any Sheol (Hades below), we do not sink at death.  We only rise to heaven.  (If you don’t know the story of Sheol, see Everyone Is Going to Heaven )

This miracle of Jesus was also reminiscent of the Israelites walking across the Red Sea as if it were dry land.  Both experiences typify the magnificent deliverance God has given us into the world to come!

Don’t be like Peter who, though he had the courage to step out of the boat and walk on the water with Jesus, paid attention to his fears and lost his footing (Matthew 14:25-33).  On Christ the solid rock we stand.  There is no place to go but up!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

He Dried Up the Red Sea

This post builds on yesterday’s (The Two-Tiered Spiritual Universe).

When God dried up the Red Sea so that the Israelites could walk across it as dry land, He was foreshadowing the even greater spiritual work He would one day carry out.  That work was to “dry up the sea” of Sheol (Hades) so that humanity could walk across it as dry land into the promised land of heaven (Everyone Is Going to Heaven ).  This was God’s restructuring of the universe from having three tiers to only two. 

For this reason, Revelation 21:1, in declaring the new heavens and new earth, states boldly “and there is no longer any sea.”  By most reliable accounts, the book of Revelation was written in the late 1st Century A.D.  Repeatedly in its first and last chapters, the apostle John says that the book’s prophecies would happen soon.  Therefore, we – living some two thousand years later – may know of a certainty that these new heavens and earth are in place and well established.  Thus we know that all the dead have been going above to heaven ever since.  The three-tiered universe long ago passed away, and the two-tiered universe has eternally taken its place.

This is completely consistent with what Isaiah the prophet had said.  He had not only prophesied of the new heavens and new earth, omitting any reference to a “new sea” (in chapters 65 and 66).  He also prophesied (in 51:10–11) that God would dry up the sea so that the redeemed could cross over to Zion.  We know from the book of Hebrews and other places that the Zion prophesied was not the earthly Zion but the heavenly one.  The reason there was “everlasting” joy on the heads of those crossing over is that they were moving above to heaven (whether from Sheol or from the earth) – making heaven their eternal (that is, everlasting) home. 

How can we thank our Lord enough for the great change He has wrought in the unseen universe all for our sakes!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

The Two-Tiered Spiritual Universe

This post builds on yesterday’s (The Three-Tiered Spiritual Universe). 

How was Jesus going to get our dead ancestors – not to mention us – to heaven?  After all, every dead human being was consigned to the compartment below called Sheol (Hades) which was the designated abode of the dead.  The answer was that He was going to create a new heavens and a new earth.  Not a new physical heavens and earth (for there is nothing wrong with the space-time universe that we have), but rather a new spiritual heavens and earth.  Jesus would reconstruct the spiritual world so that it was two-tiered and not three-tiered. 

Why one less tier?  Since He was going to bring the dead to heaven, God no longer needed the compartment below.  Therefore, He eliminated it.  Notice that although Moses had said that “God created the heavens and the earth and the sea,” (Exodus 20:11, as well as Genesis) and although the prophets who followed him echoed this three-tiered view, yet Isaiah’s promise was only for a new heavens and new earth.  He made no mention of a new sea.  Likewise, 2 Peter and the book of Revelation repeat the promise of a two-tiered new creation. 

So, you could say that Everyone Is Going to Heaven because there is no longer any place below for them to go.  God has cast angels down from heaven so that He might bring humanity close to Himself.  Consistent with this, Jesus said that when were were resurrected we would be like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30), and thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  Blessed forever be the name of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

The Three-Tiered Spiritual Universe

Creation is both physical and spiritual.  That is, it consists of components that are seen and components that are unseen. (The Bible often refers to this distinction as flesh and spirit.)  Everything in the physical creation teaches about spiritual reality, often mirroring it.  That is, God uses what is seen to teach about what is unseen.  That’s why the Bible is so full of metaphors, similes, parables, analogies, and such.

Thus, when the Scripture says that God created the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, it is giving us a pattern or a likeness of the spiritual creation.  Specifically, heaven was created for God and the angels.  Earth was created for man.  And the sea – that is, the region beneath the earth, the netherworld – was created to house the dead. 

The realm of the dead below was called Sheol by the Hebrews, and Hades by the Greeks.  Thus the living were on earth, the dead were below. 

Hell has nothing to do with this.  Hell was called Gehenna, which was a burning trash heap outside of Jerusalem originally called Ben-Hinnom.  It is a biblical concept but has nothing to do with the dead.  It speaks of life outside of God’s blessed presence.  The metaphor works like this: Jerusalem symbolizes life with God, Gehenna represents life outside His presence.  That’s the contrast.  But, again, it’s not speaking to the abode of the dead.  In terms of the three-tiered universe, it’s speaking to life on earth: that is, it’s lived either in the blessedness of God’s presence (Jerusalem) or in the cursedness outside of it (Hell). 

This view of a three-tiered spiritual universe permeates and undergirds all the Old Testament writings.  Note well that it does not allow for the idea of any human being going to heaven!  For humanity to ever get to heaven, God would have to reconfigure the entire spiritual universe.  In fact, that’s exactly what He did through Jesus Christ.  And that’s why Everyone Is Going to Heaven .

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Writing Out the Story of Heaven in Consecutive Order

It is no trouble for me to lay out clearly and sequentially the order God followed in achieving our redemption through Jesus Christ.

First, there was the evil that existed in heaven before this creation.

In response, God created the world that we know in six days, resting on the seventh.

Satan, the source of the preexisting evil, tempted humanity and succeeded in getting them to sin, the penalty for which was death.

At death, each human being gave up his or her body with the remaining spirit being consigned to the world beneath the earth (called Sheol, or Hades) – far from God.

On the third day after the death of Jesus Christ, He was raised from Sheol.  Within a matter of days, He ascended into heaven.

Subsequently, within a generation, all the dead were brought to heaven and the underworld was destroyed.  Satan was thrown out of heaven and cast down to earth.  Thus he no longer stands between God and His people.  Now he is the one far from God.

From that time forward, every person who dies goes to heaven.  (Everyone Is Going to Heaven )

Satan still exercises power on earth but the power of human beings through God is greater.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

We Will Sing for Joy at the Works of Your Hands!

Through Jesus Christ, God burst through the trap that was death.  Jesus went to Sheol (Hades) below where all the human dead resided.  From there He was raised all the way to heaven.  Heaven had been His starting point (John 6:62), so the purpose of His round trip was not for Himself but so that those who had previously been consigned to Sheol could henceforth move their residence to heaven with the living God.  Jesus then shut up Sheol forever so that all those who died going forward went straight to heaven with no waiting period.

Before Jesus, there was no place for the dead to go but Sheol below.  Since Jesus, there’s no place for the dead to go but heaven above.  Blessed be the name of Jesus who has, out of love for sinful humanity, restructured the universe to give us a future and a hope. 

We will sing and rejoice forever for what He has done for us.  Let every tongue give Him praise for He is worthy.  Who could have imagined the greatness of His work on our behalf!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Psalm 111:2 (Studying the Works of the Lord)

When we study the works of the Lord we deepen our relationship with Him. 

Consider His great work of victory over death.  What can compare with it?  He rendered powerless Him who had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14).  He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through His gospel (2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:26).  The half of the story of His work has not been told.  We must spread the word of His great work of redemption! 

I have been describing it to you, but I must say more.  His work is worthy of so much more description and praise!

Consider this:  He has shut the door of Sheol (i.e. death) and no one can open it.  He has opened the door of heaven and no one can shut it.  (Revelation 3:7)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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A Work Some of You Will Not Believe

In the past couple of weeks of posts I have been describing to you the work of Jesus Christ in which He abolished death and reordered the heavens and earth.  By this work, people no longer descend at death.  Rather, they ascend.  To heaven. 

He accomplished this work because of His great love for us.  It is all laid out in the Bible.  I have given you chapters and verses.  (At Everyone Is Going to Heaven you will find a link to a book-length treatment of the subject.)  Do you believe the description?

Take care that the warning of Acts 13:41 (Habakkuk 1:5) does not apply to you.  if you think it might, repent to God.  (Even though everyone is going to heaven, Judgment Is Upon Us and we should seek to avoid judgment by repenting.)  Live in His light and He will give you all the understanding you need.  Blessed are those who have believed.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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Death Is Not the Same

Through Jesus Christ, death has come to mean something entirely different than its original conception.  In the ancient world, it was something to be feared because it meant the end of conscious, visible existence.  It meant sleep below in Sheol (Hades).  Jesus eliminated Sheol and made heaven the destination of all those who pass from this earth.

Therefore, death is a graduation to heaven.  This requires a completely different mindset on our part.  Graduations require preparation.  If you don’t do the work required, you don’t have as happy a graduation.  On the other hand, if you work hard, you can graduate with honors. 

For this reason, Jesus said that we should not work for the food that perishes (John 6:27).  For reason He also said we should forsake greed and seek to be rich toward God (Luke 12:15-21).  For this reason He also said we should seek to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth (Luke 12:33). 

Many people are going to get to heaven and be full of regret for how they lived on earth (Luke 16:14-31).  Don’t let that happen to you.  Prepare for graduation!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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The Sea Monster Had to Give Up Jonah

In Matthew 12:40 Jesus used  Jonah’s experience to outline His own destiny.  He said that as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the sea monster so He would be three days and nights in the heart of the earth.

The sea monster was a type of death.  Like a monster, death had been consuming all of humanity since the beginning.  Yet, through Jesus Christ, God commanded death to give up all that it had consumed.   

We are no longer to be afraid of death.  It no longer consumes anyone.  Through what Jesus Christ did for the world, death has become simply the transition from our life on earth to our life in heaven.  (If you haven’t yet heard, Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

Blessed be our kind and generous Creator God!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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Out of the Eater Came Something to Eat

Out of the eater came something to eat,

          And out of the harsh came something sweet.  

This is, of course, a play on Samson’s riddle (Judges 14:14).  This riddle gives a pattern which, while it had specific and limited meaning in Samson’s day, has far greater import for the ages.  This is because the pattern speaks to the greatest issue a human being will ever face: death.

Death is the “eater” who with insatiable lust was consuming every human being.  Through the work of Jesus Christ, the monster of death was required to give up all that it had consumed.  The dead now live in heaven with God.  The Father thus feasts upon the sight of His children around His table (thus “out of the eater came something to eat”).  Therefore also, out of the harshness of death came the sweetness of eternal life.

You and I do not need to be afraid of being consumed by death.  Jesus Christ has transformed it into a gateway that leads to life everlasting.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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To Die Is Gain Even For 21st Century Humanity

Paul wrote the words “to die is gain” (the subject of yesterday’s post) in the 1st Century A.D.  He was speaking of the improvement in existence that occurred when one left this world for the one above. 

People today aren’t as clear about the improvement.  They often think of heaven as sitting around on clouds with not much to do.  This sort of vision has no appeal for a society steeped in the myriad pleasures of amusement parks, television, computer games, and more.  Indeed, for some of them, heaven could seem a disappointment…at least at first.

Heaven is not designed to be a pleasure palace.  Indeed, there are manifold pleasures for the righteous, but they are not of the same nature as the passing pleasures of sin we see on earth.

Heaven is a place where the will of God is done.  This means that love will be behind every thought, word, and deed.  That’s what makes it infinitely preferable to existence here.  Yes, it will be wonderful that we won’t ever get sick or die there.  Yes, it will be wonderful that no one will be missing there.  Yes, there will be innumerable wonders to discover just as there have been on earth.  Yet, the most important difference – and it undergirds all the other differences – is that the will of God is done there.  Our righteous souls will cease to be tormented (2 Peter 2:7-8) and there will be no need for repentance for no one will be sinning.

With that in mind, let us pray today and every day until we go to heaven, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  (See also Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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To Die Is Gain

Paul’s words “To die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) were radical for any time, but especially for the ancient world from which he came.

People might have hoped in a resurrection from the dead, but until the gospel of Jesus Christ no one had heard God’s plan for exactly what He would do about it.  The gospel made His plans clear, in terms more wonderful and more precise than anyone had expected. 

Leaving aside for the moment the mechanics of what would occur in the apostolic (i.e. the New Testament) age, let us dwell on how things would work for everyone afterward…including us, of course.  When we die, we immediately go to heaven to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).  We immediately receive new bodies which are suitable to life in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:35-44).  In those new bodies we are neither male nor female (Luke 20:34-36); that is, there is no marriage and thus no procreation in heaven.  It’s unnecessary because we will no longer be subject to death.  Thus we will live eternally in heaven with God.  Let your relationship with God be built on this glorious foundation of a secure future. 

No wonder Paul said that to die was gain!  The ancient world had seen death as a lifeless existence in a vague netherworld.  They could never think of dying as gaining…until they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

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