The False Doctrine of Hell and the True Doctrine That Everyone Goes to Heaven

If you set aside two thousand years of church history and go back to the Scriptures on which that two-thousand-year-old church bases its authority – that is, the Old and New Testaments – you will see that everyone is going to heaven.

The way to see this is to start with the Old Testament. It is clear that the Old Testament teaching was that everyone who died descended to Sheol (Hades). Everyone. There was a hope of resurrection, but nothing more. Then the New Testament, in the story of Christ, explained how resurrection was going to work. The big surprise – even for believing Jews – was that resurrection led to heaven. They had been assuming that it led back to earth. Jesus shocked them with this revelation.

Once it was clear that resurrection led to heaven, the only thing left to ask was “Who would be raised?” The New Testament answer was clear: the dead.

Since everyone died and the dead would be raised and resurrection led to heaven, then it’s clear that everyone goes to heaven. Of course, there’s much more biblical corroboration of this but I’ve laid out the essential logic.

What people call hell (Jesus called it Gehenna) is the judgment for sin that consumes the earth. It is thus on this earth and in this life. It is not something that happens elsewhere after this life.  Hell is a real thing and it is an awful thing, but it is something the Lord gives us the means to escape.  And right relationship with Him is the means of escape.

The heaven-or-hell afterlife scenario under which the post-NT church has erroneously labored for almost two thousand years is a theological perversion of Scriptural truth. And the longer that error holds sway, the more frightened people are to challenge it. The way to challenge it is not with intellect or emotion, but with the Scriptures.

To God be the glory!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Luke 1:68

Luke 1:68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,

The Lord has indeed visited us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  And through the life He lived, the death He died, and the resurrection He achieved, He has truly accomplished the redemption of the people He created.

The Lord established a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).  These new heavens give us a place to go when life on earth is over.  During Old Testament days, all the dead went below to Sheol (Hades), but in the new creation there is no more such underworld.  This is the import of Revelation 21:1.  In our day, the dead all rise to heaven (the place He made for us – John 14:2).  Do not be among those who refuse to believe this great accomplishment of His:

Acts 13:40 “Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you:
Acts 13:41 ‘BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH;
FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS,
A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.'”

(The capitalized words are a quotation of Habakkuk 1:5.)

Our redemption is accomplished!  Past tense.  Therefore, let us rejoice in this day that the Lord has made.  There is no need to be afraid of death.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Jeremiah 51:44

Jeremiah 51:44 “I will punish Bel in Babylon,
And I will make what he has swallowed come out of his mouth;
And the nations will no longer stream to him.
Even the wall of Babylon has fallen down!

These words were fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ when the dead were raised to heaven.  Sheol (Hades) was emptied of its contents, never to have power over humanity again.

Satan was dethroned…and death lost its sting:

Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…

1 Corinthians 15:55 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

Revelation 18:2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!…

The close of the New Testament age marked the time when God brought in a new creation wherein death no longer reigned.  This is the eternal gospel.  This is the eternal age in which we live, and this is the eternal gospel which we believe.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 25:8

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.

Through Jesus Christ, God “swallowed up death for all time.”  This swallowing occurred in the Second Coming of Christ when he brought in the new heavens and new earth.  The dead were raised to heaven and Sheol (Hades) was done away (Revelation 21:1).

For this reason we can all say, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) meaning that there is no way to go but up when we die.

Having done away with death, we can now be free from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Humans need no longer bear the reproach of death, for our Maker has redeemed us from it.  Let us therefore live for Him!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Chronicles 11:7

1 Chronicles 11:7 Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore it was called the city of David.

This verse prophesies of Jesus’ ascension into heaven in Acts 1.  At that time, the Son of David took up residence in what had previously been the stronghold of spiritual forces arrayed against God (Job 1:6; 2:1; Ephesians 6:12).  Jesus thus began the cleansing of heaven (Hebrews 9:23ff).  The city of David – Jerusalem – thus became the Jerusalem of heaven (Hebrews 11:16; 12:22).

All those who follow the seed of David seek Him in that city above.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Standing in the Place of Jesus

1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

1 John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

We stand in the place of Jesus in this world.  He stood in a humble place.  He was not regarded by the elites of the world – just as they do not regard Him now.

Let us stand for Him faithfully, knowing that even if we are overlooked on earth, we are fully observed from heaven.  Therefore, let us bring glory to Christ that heaven might have something interesting to watch.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Psalm 98:2 – Jesus Christ Was Revealed in the Sight of the Nations

Psalm 98:2 The LORD has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth did not take place in a corner (Acts 26:26).

This is the salvation the Lord has provided for us.  It is the fate of all humanity to die, but the salvation of the Lord is that all will rise.

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

The greatest empire of its time – Rome – was present and participating in these events.  Indeed, they did not take place in a corner (Acts 26:26).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

An Upward Call or a Sideward Call?

Paul wrote in his letter to the believers in Philippi:

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

If Paul considered the call of Christ upward, why do so many today make a big deal about belonging to a local church?  Wouldn’t that be a lateral or sideward focus?

Christ is above – let us worship Him there.  There is no street address on earth given where He is to be worshiped.

As the apostle John records:

John 4:21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
John 4:22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Let us therefore be done with the worship of an earthly nature and instead worship Him who is in heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Kings 20:5 – Something Greater Than Hezekiah Is Here

2 Kings 20:5 “Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.

This verse foreshadowed someone far greater than Hezekiah.  As the New Testament put it, speaking of Jesus in a parallel situation:

Hebrews 5:7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

Did not Jesus “go up to the house of the Lord?”  Did He not do so “on the third day?”

Hezekiah is thus a type of Christ.

Paul therefore wrote:

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

God’s deliverance of Hezekiah was great; His deliverance of Jesus was infinitely greater…and not least because it included all of us.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

From a Vague Hope in Resurrection to a Clear One

Many of Jesus’ fellow Jews had a hope in resurrection prior to His own…but it was a vague one:

Mark 9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, [Jesus] gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead.
Mark 9:10 They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant.

Even when Jesus was descriptive about resurrection, it did not seem to take in people’s minds:

Matthew 22:30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Once Jesus was actually raised from the dead, however, that vague conception took definite shape:

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

That is, people knew they would be raised to heaven as Jesus was, to live as angels in heaven.  It was a staggering thought then; and it’s a staggering thought now.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ, however, was the point in time when hope for human resurrection crystalized into something specific.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

1 Kings 11:36 – As Jesus Was Raised Up, So Jerusalem Was Raised Up

1 Kings 11:36 ‘…Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name.”

When David was king of Israel, the Lord chose to establish His name in Jerusalem.  When Messiah came, God installed Him as king in the Jerusalem that is above – that is, in heaven (Psalm 2:6; Isaiah 2:2, 3; Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22, 23, 24).

From that point on, the throne of God and of Israel would be in heaven.  No longer would men worship at earthly thrones.  Thus Jesus said:

John 4:21 …”…an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”

In the administration of God, therefore, Jerusalem is forever a spiritual – not a physical – capital.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Messiah Would Rule from Heaven, Not from Earth

First-century Jews knew that Psalm 2 spoke of the Messiah to come.  This Messiah would be the king of Israel.  Being a descendant of David and an heir to more promises than anyone else in Israel had ever had (even more than Abraham and David), Messiah’s’ kingdom was sure to mark Israel’s most glorious days.

What these Jews did not know was that this king of Israel – unlike all the prior ones, great and small – would rule from heaven and not earth.  Jesus could have taken an earthly rule (John 6:15), but He knew that this was not the plan.  Messiah must complete His suffering first; then the glories would come.  Those glories would begin with resurrection, and this would be the very means of his installation as king.  As it says in Psalm 2:

Psalm 2:6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

Until the resurrection, the Jews thought this Zion was the one on earth.  Resurrection revealed this to be the Zion in heaven (Hebrews 12:22).  The concept of Israel’s king ruling from heaven was a novel one when Jesus presented it.  It did, however, cause the complex set of prophecies about Messiah to make a lot more sense.  For one thing, Messiah’s kingdom was supposed to endure forever (2 Samuel 7:16).  That seemed like nothing but hyperbole if one were thinking of it on the earth.  However, if it’s a kingdom from heaven, eternity begins to make a lot more sense as an appropriate tenure.

That Israel’s great king would rule from heaven and not earth changed everything.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Samuel 5:20 – The Lord Was the First to Break Through Death

Jesus was the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5).  As such, He broke through death.

2 Samuel 5:20 So David came to Baal-perazim and defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.”…

As a military man, David appreciated a Lord who could break through enemy lines.

Death is surely our enemy.  As Paul wrote long ago:

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Even today, death is the last enemy God abolishes for us because it is the last enemy we face in life.

In a more cosmic sense, Jesus has already defeated this enemy of death for us:

Hebrews 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Hebrews 2:15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Jesus defeated death by breaking through it.  He broke through it to heaven.  Because of this, we are free from slavery to the fear it can induce.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

Jesus was the first.  And because He was, He won’t be the last.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Opening the Womb That Had Been Barren

“Sheol” and “the barren womb” are mentioned in the same breath in Proverbs 30:16.  This is appropriate given that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Sheol became a womb opened.  Prior to that, it had been a womb – as well as a tomb – closed.  (For more on how God opened Sheol see this book.)

Jesus broke through death.  He made a place for us in heaven.  He went through death to get to heaven so that a way might be paved for us to follow.

Jesus thus became the firstborn of “many brethren” (Romans 8:29), because many brethren were going to die…and thus raised from the dead.  This is why Paul could say:

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

If Jesus had not paved the way for us, death would still be a dead end for the human race.  Because of Christ, death has become an advancement rather than a demise.  To enter into death means entering the womb that leads to new life.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Bless the Nations – Don’t Curse Them

Here is an instance of God’s promise to Abraham:

Genesis 26:4 “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;

Thus it is said that “in the seed of Abraham all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Acts 3:25-26).  Of course, we know that this promise applies first and foremost to Jesus of Nazareth, descendant of David, who was raised from the dead and installed as King of Israel and, subsequently, King of the Universe.  However, it also applies through Him to those who are His spiritual descendants.  Thus the apostles and the disciples they led in the New Testament church have been an untold blessing to the all nations and all generations.

How then can we be a blessing to the nations in our own generation?

Certainly not by telling those who don’t believe that they are going to hell.  That would be to curse them, not bless them.  We should bless them with the good news that everyone is going to heaven.

Let the seed of Abraham be a blessing – not a cursing – to all the nations.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Hosea 13:14

Hosea 13:14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O Death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion will be hidden from My sight.

Who was held by the power of Sheol?  Everyone.

Who needed redemption from death?  Everyone.

Thus when God removed the thorns from death, and the sting from Sheol, it was for the benefit of…everyone.

The New Testament gives more detail about this operation of God:

Hebrews 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Heb 2:15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

That is, it was Jesus our Lord who removed the thorns from death and the sting from Sheol.  For this reason, He is rightly called “the author of life” (Acts 3:15 NIV and ESV).

As Satan was the author of death, so Jesus is the author of life out of death.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Psalm 126:3

Psalm 126:3 The LORD has done great things for us;
We are glad.

The Lord Jesus Christ has indeed done great things for us.  He has emptied Sheol (Hades) and opened heaven.  The breaker went up before us and made a place for us in heaven (John 14:2-3).  This is a great work, and we shall believe when it is described to us (Acts 13;40-41)!

The “us” in Psalm 126:3 is the human race, for who is there among our brothers that we do not love enough to reclaim?  Shall any be forgotten?  God forbid it!

“Not one of these will be missing; None will lack its mate,” is the way Isaiah puts it (Isaiah 34:16).

Therefore we shall be glad in the Lord, for who could not be glad at this wonderful news of restoration!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Isaiah 52:7 – Announcing Peace

Isaiah 52:7 How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

What could be a greater announcement of peace in our age than that “Everyone is going to heaven!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who  read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Coming in the Clouds

When Daniel 7:13-14, which is about the Son of Man coming, is invoked in the New Testament, we see its expression “with the clouds” rendered in various ways, such as:

“coming with the clouds” – Mark 14:62 and Revelation 1:7

“coming on the clouds” – Matthew 24:30 and 26:64

“coming…in the clouds” – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

“coming in clouds” – Mark 13:26

“coming in a cloud” – Luke 21:27

And all this variation is within just one translation (the NASB).  Nevertheless, as you can see, all the variation is minor in nature.  The general idea holds in every occurrence: that the coming of the Lord is associated with the clouds of heaven.  And heaven is, of course, out of our physical sight.  We must relate to it by faith.

Since the coming of the Lord, therefore, was to take place behind the curtain of heaven, why have so many for so long insisted that Jesus’ Second Coming would be an earthly appearance? After Jesus ascended into a cloud on His way to the right hand of God, the angels alluded to His coming which would similarly be “in a cloud” and therefore out of the apostles physical sight (Acts 1:9-11).  That is, if they didn’t physically see the first event why would they expect to physically see the second?

There is ample reason to believe that the apostles taught that the coming of the Lord would not involve Jesus making a physical appearance.  This is just one more of them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Mark 9:35

Jesus told His disciples that the way to be first or greatest of all was to be last and servant of all.  This was the very principle Jesus was employing when He died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2) – and not for the sins of a few.  Thus He achieved the highest rank (“the right hand of God”) precisely because He died for all.  (Thus, everyone is going to heaven.)

Again, don’t underestimate the correlation between Jesus “coming to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18) and the benefit of His work being “for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Paul outlines this same principle, and describes how Christ employed it, in Philippians 2:5-11.  Regarding everyone going to heaven, note that Paul says “every knee will bow.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Jesus and His Apostles Brought Order Out of Chaos

Prior to the time of Christ, the world dwelt under the dark cloud of polytheism.  For millennia, the ancient nation of Israel had been a lonely voice for the one true God.

The problem was that heavenly beings were fostering this polytheistic view of creation.  They reveled in distracting humanity’s attention from the Creator of all things.

By His resurrection, ascension, and the coming of His kingdom, Jesus Christ pulled down these dark powers of heaven.  Monotheism has been the order of the world ever since.

Genesis 1 gives us a visual for what Christ accomplished; it was a prophecy of Him.  The second verse of its first chapter says that the earth was “formless and void” and “darkness was over the surface of the deep” until the light came.  Prophetically speaking, Jesus Christ was that light.  Another translation of “formless and void” would be “waste and emptiness.”  The entire thrust of the first chapter of Genesis is that God brings order out of chaos.  Jesus Christ fully demonstrates that idea.

It wasn’t just the earth that needed cleansing of sin; heaven needed it, too (see Hebrew 9:23).  That’s why Christ is now the great light that rules from heaven, shedding light and providing the basis for order throughout the creation.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Death of Christ Was the End; the Resurrection of Christ Was the Beginning

The death of Christ marked the end of the old creation – the old heavens and earth.

The resurrection of Christ marked the beginning of the new creation – the new heavens and earth.

Because Christ came (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again), we walk on the new earth He had in mind.  And when we die, we go to the new heaven.  Let us therefore prepare ourselves.  See Judgment Is Upon Us and We Must Repent!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Are We Just a Bunch of Sheep To Be Slaughtered?

In Romans 8:36 the apostle Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 invoking the image of sheep to the slaughter.

What about the human race?  A generation is born, a generation dies.  Over and over.  Utterly predictable.  Is the human race nothing more than sheep to be slaughtered?  Paul goes on to say that “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

That is, through the evil of death God does us the ultimate good!  This is all because of the selfless sacrifice of love given by Jesus Christ.

Everyone Is Going to Heaven

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Biblical Cosmology Overturned!

The Bible has a cosmology.  That is, it has a way of perceiving the structure of the universe.

The Bible portrays creation with the heavens above, the earth here, and the seas below.

However, the Bible does not portray this as a permanent arrangement.  Quite to the contrary, it promises a new heaven and a new earth.  And the book of Revelation is quite explicit that there is no longer any sea in this new order of creation (Revelation 21:1).

Thus the Bible provides not so much a snapshot of cosmology, but rather a motion picture.  The motion in that picture has already taken place, and it is the latter state that applies to us today.

Therefore you can rejoice that the dead no longer descend, but rather they ascend at death.  This earth is merely a staging area for the life to come.

Therefore, when you look to the Bible for its cosmology make sure you are taking to heart its fullest expression of that cosmology…and not just the original order.  Blessed be our Creator who has done this for us!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Is There To Be No Year of Jubilee?

Yesterday’s post, Eighteen Long Years, made reference to Jesus’ viewpoint that suffering should not be allowed to go on indefinitely.

Consider also that the Law of Moses (never noted for going easy on people) called for a “year of jubilee” every 50th year (Leviticus 25).  Even if a person had sold himself into slavery, he was allowed to go free in the year of jubilee.

If there was such a statute of limitations on bondage in the Law of Moses, how could the great Messiah Jesus not have such a statute of limitations in His own judgments?

People who say that God has planned an eternity of conscious torment called hell do not understand Jesus at all.

Judgment is indeed upon us (and for this reason we must repent), but everyone is surely going to heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Eighteen Long Years

In Luke 13:10-16, the story is told of how Jesus healed a woman who had been bent double for eighteen years.  A synagogue official took issue with Jesus, saying He should not have healed her on the Sabbath.  Jesus countered that the Sabbath was a particularly good day to heal her.  He also said that the woman ought to be loosed from her affliction to which Satan had bound her for “eighteen long years.”  Can the Jesus who so mercifully called attention to the length of her bondage be someone who would consign unbelievers to an eternity of torment?

Everyone Is Going to Heaven

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Work of Our Eternal Salvation Is Accomplished, and We Have the Written Record of It

Everyone knows what humanity’s biggest problem is.  Even people who don’t read or believe the Bible know.  Humanity’s biggest problem is, of course, death.

The Bible tells the story of how death came to be.  It goes on to set the stage for what God would do about this greatest of all our problems.  The Old Testament view of the afterlife was that all people, whether righteous or unrighteous, went to Sheol when they died. (Sheol is a Hebrew term; Hades is the Greek name for the same place.)  No Hebrew figure ever descended into Sheol and returned, although an apparition of the recently deceased Samuel briefly appeared to Saul when summoned by the medium at Endor (1 Samuel 28; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14).  The New Testament, with a great deal of help from the Old Testament, described how God was using Jesus Christ to alter this state of affairs – in effect, closing up Sheol and opening up heaven.  Thus, everyone is going to heaven, just as surely as everyone used to go to Sheol.

This is eternal salvation, because it deals with what affects us for eternity.  It solves the problem of death…permanently.  In this earth, there are many situations in which we require salvation or deliverance – and God is pleased to grant it.  But we should not allow our need for temporal help to obscure the importance of what God has already accomplished for all of us with regard to the ultimate “situation.”  How we get to heaven may vary.  It may be a long path or a short one.  It may be a crooked one or a straight one.  No matter the route, our destination is assured – for we were predestined for heaven (1 Corinthians 2:7 and elsewhere).  In biblical times, people had to wait in Sheol for the ultimate trip.  But we who live since biblical times go straight to heaven when we die for there is no longer a Sheol below.

The Bible records all of this for us.  It is so awe-inspiring and so satisfying to know that our eternal redemption has been fully achieved, and that the Bible sits as a clear, trustworthy, and eternal witness to that most wonderful fact!

It is written.  Amen.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If Jesus Didn’t Go to Hades, How Was He RAISED from the Dead?

Proponents of the heaven-hell theory of afterlife have a hard time explaining why the Bible speaks of the dead being raised, but never lowered.

Just think, if good people go up to heaven and bad people go down to hell then good people would have to lowered from the dead if they came back to life.  The Bible says, however, that even Jesus was raised from the dead.

Throughout Bible times, everyone who died went down.  Everyone.  Since then, and because of Jesus Christ, everyone goes up.  Everyone.  Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:22 that just as everyone died because of Adam, everyone will live again because of Jesus.  If you’re not sure about this and want to study more than that one verse, see The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Predestination Guarantees You a Place in Heaven, but Which Place Is Up to You

You may have read the posts from the previous two days: The Sense in Which Predestination Is True and The Sense in Which Predestination Is False.  If so, you know that Everyone Is Going to Heaven, but that we still have many choices to make in this life…and that those choices are important.  Let me be more specific.

Upon hearing that everyone is going to heaven, some people assume that it doesn’t matter how we live on earth.  On the contrary, it matters a great deal.   For one thing, the more morally we live here on earth the more protected we are from the evil consequences of sin.    For more on this, see Judgment Is Upon Us.

As for heaven, though our inclusion is insured, there can be a great deal of variation in what happens to us there.  As Jesus said, “Many who are last [here] will be first [there], and many who are first [here] will be last [there].”  There are many people who have lived lives that the world considers inconsequential, yet God takes great delight in them.  The One who sees every sparrow fall also sees every act of kindness even if no human eye ever took notice.  And, conversely, be assured that importance or celebrity status on earth is no guarantee whatsoever of the same in heaven.

Therefore, know that your eternal destiny is heaven – but that how you live here will impact the quality of experience you have there…significantly.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Sense in Which Predestination Is False

Perhaps you read yesterday’s post The Sense in Which Predestination Is True.  As for the sense in which it is false, there are those who teach a doctrine of predestination which says that only some people are  going to heaven.  (Of course, the “some” usually includes the people who are teaching this doctrine – how convenient for them!)  This doctrine is false, of course, because Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

This doctrine is also false because it is a form of fatalism.  That is, the supporters of this false doctrine believe that God has determined every aspect of a person’s life so that human beings are powerless to alter their direction.  God’s fundamental message to mankind is “Repent!”  This would be futile for Him to command if He’s the one controlling who can and can’t obey it.  Fatalism saps life and hope.  God, on the other hand, gives us life and hope.

Do not buy in to a doctrine of predestination that limits heaven to a few and renders every human being nothing more than a robot controlled by God.  Instead, believe that all of us are destined to heaven but that we have millions of choices to make that will determine how we get there…and what our experience there will be like once we arrive.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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The Sense in Which Predestination Is True

Some form of the word “predestine” occurs in the Bible six times (Acts 4:28; Romans 8:29,30; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Ephesians 1:5, 11).  It speaks of God’s ability to make things happen for us independent of our decisions.  It does not mean that we have no choices to make.  On the contrary, just because the parent can control the environment in which a small child lives does not mean that the child has no ability to choose.  On the contrary, a small child in a playpen can make a great many choices even though he may not leave the playpen.  Thus, God sets the boundaries of our environment and takes certain actions of His own in it without removing our ability to make choices which improve or detract from our well being.  Let’s be more specific.

Prior to creating the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them, God determined that we would all go to heaven.  Thus our destination (heaven)…was pre-determined.  Thus, predestination – or, to remove the hyphen, predestination.  In other words, God determined from the beginning that though human beings would be born on earth, they would live ultimately and eternally in heaven.  (For more, see Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

So, the first aspect in which predestination is true is that all of us have the same destination in eternity.

The second way in which it is true is that it is only the destination that is predetermined.  The route to that destination varies by our choices.  That is, how we get to heaven and how soon we get to heaven is something that varies by every individual person.  Therefore, do not live under the falsehood of fatalism.  Your life is yet to be fully created and lived.  We have choices today.  Let’s make them wisely.  Your destination is secure, but you are choosing the route by which you get there.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Bible Prophesied That People Would Go to Heaven

I could have written the title as “The Bible Prophesies That People Will Go to Heaven,” but that would make it sound like heaven is not yet a present tense reality for those who die.  Therefore, the reason I wrote it the way I did is because shortly after the last books of the Bible were written, heaven did finally become a reality.  The Bible’s promise (which is the Lord’s promise) was kept.

Most people don’t know that the Bible never taught that people went to heaven when they died, except in this prophetic way.  On the contrary, the Bible’s teaching was that after people died, they descended to Sheol (Hades was the Greek term for the same place).  This was true for good people as well as bad people.  The Bible even taught that Jesus Himself descended to Sheol when He died – but He did not stay there long because He was resurrected from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion.  This set in motion the specific prophecies that everyone who had gone to Sheol, or would be going to Sheol, would soon be going to heaven.  But that “soon” hinged on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  The good news for all humanity is that the Second Coming has already occurred (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again), and so heaven is now the destination of the dead instead of Sheol/Hades (Everyone Is Going to Heaven).

It is fascinating to consider then that the Bible never actually taught or reported that people went to heaven – rather, it promised that this would be the case.  This doesn’t seem to be widely known – even among the more Bible-oriented churches. 

Also makes you wonder where the heaven-or-hell theory came from because it’s certainly not taught in the Bible. 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If Jesus Has Not Come Again, Then No One but Jesus Is in Heaven

If you think that Jesus Christ has not already fulfilled His promise of a Second Coming, then you have no basis for believing that anyone is in heaven besides Him (at least any human beings).  He said in John 3:13 that no one had ascended into heaven, and this confirmed Old Testament teaching which had made clear that Sheol (or Hades, as the Greeks called it) was the underworld where all the dead slept.  Paul made it clear in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 that no one would follow Jesus to heaven before those who had already died and he went on to say that this change in destination for the dead was tied to the coming of the Lord.  Therefore, if you don’t believe that the Lord has come, then how can you believe that any of us are with Jesus in heaven?

The good news is that Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again and now Everyone Is Going to Heaven.  Let us rejoice in our God!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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Jesus Was the Only Person Who Went to Heaven During the Biblical Age

No writings have been added to the Bible since the completion of the New Testament.  From the beginning of time until then, Jesus Christ was the only person who ever went to heaven.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David – none of these great men went to heaven when they died.  The Bible makes this clear.  But it also makes clear that Jesus Christ  paved the way so that they – and we – could follow Jesus there when we die. 

What changed?  When Jesus came again He took all the dead to heaven and ever since then, whenever someone dies, they go to heaven.  He created a new heavens and a new earth so that this could be the case (Isaiah 65:17).  He went to heaven to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-3) for, as I said above, there had been no place for humanity in heaven.  He abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10), took the sting out of death (Hosea 13:14), and thus delivered us all from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15).  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and the rest – they’re all there now with Him.  And we will all join them!  To Jesus Christ be the glory for the great things He has done!   

For more explanation see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again and Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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The Bible Reports Only One Person Ever Went to Heaven

If you read the entire Bible, you will see that up until the New Testament no one went to heaven when they died.  There was some speculation about Enoch and Elijah having gone there but Jesus dispelled that notion (John 3:13).  Even in the New Testament, the only person who was reported as having gone to heaven after death was Jesus Himself.  On the contrary, every human being that died went below to a place called Sheol (the Greeks called it Hades). 

The good news, however, is that the Bible promised what it could not report.  Indeed, it promises that the entire human race will go to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:22).  That process was to be initiated upon the Lord’s return from heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) .  That return occurred in the late 1st Century A.D.  (or C.E., if you prefer).   

For more, see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again and Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If the Heaven-or-Hell Theory Is True, Why Does the Bible Teach Sheol and Hades?

If people were going to either heaven or hell after death, why does the Bible teach that Sheol is the destination of the dead?  (Hades, by the way, is simply the Greek word for the Hebrew term Sheol.)  The good news is that while Sheol was the destination of the dead throughout the time period covered by the Bible, the Bible promised that afterward everyone would be going to heaven.  Since we live in the time after the Bible was written, if we believe the Bible, we know that everyone is now going to heaven. 

Just as surely as everyone was going to Sheol, now Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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If Some Go to Heaven and Some Go to Hell, Why Isn’t This Teaching in the Bible?

The heaven-or-hell theory of life after death has been around so long that no one ever questions whether or not the Bible actually teaches it.  People just assume it’s in the Bible.  It’s not.  You don’t have to take my word for it; you can search for yourself.  However, you won’t find it.

If you faithfully search the Scriptures, here is what you will find:  Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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If Christ’s Soul Was Not Abandoned to Hades, Wasn’t a Good Man on His Way to Hades?

In Acts 2, the apostle Peter says of Jesus that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, neither did His flesh suffer decay.  In doing so, Peter was speaking of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  By using this language, however, Peter makes clear that apart from resurrection, Jesus’ ongoing abode after death would have been Hades.  Indeed, as Peter indicates when he continues, this was the destination after death of King David long before.  If the Bible is thus teaching that good people go to Hades, how is it that some say it’s heaven or hell?  The answer is that just as all human beings used to go to Hades (the Hebrews called it Sheol) after death, all now go to heaven.

For an explanation, see Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If Christ Died to Deliver Us from Fear of Death, Why Would He Then Introduce a Fate Worse Than Death?

Hebrews 2 declares that Jesus died not just to deliver us from death – which was wonderful enough – but also to deliver us from the fear of death.  In other words, He wanted us to know about His successful mission so that we would no longer be subject to the slavery brought about by our fear of death.  That is, as long as we knew no solution to the problem of our impending deaths (for we all know that we are all going to die), we were enslaved to all sorts of temptations, fears, and other wrong thinking.

Since it’s Jesus’ desire to liberate us from the fear of death, why would He then introduce the idea of unceasing torture in a place call hell which occurs after death?  The fear of death would pale in comparison to the fear of this!  Did He deliver us from one fear only to hand us over to one even greater?  No, and a thousand times, No!

This hell you’ve heard about is not of God’s creation.  See Everyone Is Going to Heaven

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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If the New Heavens and New Earth Have Not Yet Come, Then Everyone Is Still Descending to Hades (Sheol) at Death

Some say that the new heavens and new earth are yet to come.  However, they have already come and we are living in them.  For more explanation, see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

More to the point of this post, if the new heavens and new earth have not yet come then everyone is still descending to Hades (Sheol) when they die.  If you do not know this, then you are unaware of the Bible’s teaching on afterlife and have accepted a man-made doctrine in its place. 

Search the Scriptures and you will see that Sheol (Hades), below the earth, was the abode for everyone who died.  (Sheol is the Hebrew word; Hades is the Greek word for the same place.)  You will need one of the more literal translations and a concordance to check this out because less literal translations tend not to preserve these words.  Rather, they tend to regard Sheol/Hades as a mere idioms for death and therefore translate them as “the grave” or “death” or “dying” or something similar.

According the book of Revelation, Hades would not give up its dead until the new heavens and earth came (Revelation 21-22).  Therefore, if you were to claim that the book of Revelation’s prophecies were still future then you would be stuck having to believe that no one other than Jesus has ascended into heaven (John 3:13; Acts 2:34). 

But the new heavens and earth have come, and everyone is no longer descending.  Rather, all ascend at death into heaven. 

Just as all of us die because of Adam, all of us will live after death because of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:22).  For Jesus is the Savior of the entire world, not some portion of it; believing does not make it so, but it does make you enjoy that it is so (1 Timothy 4:10).  When Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, He put Himself in a position to draw all the dead out of Sheol (Hades) by creating a new heavens and earth around Himself (John 12:32-33).

Be zealous for God, therefore, and repent of your sins.  Live for righteousness’ sake.  Seek our Savior’s kingdom!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Why Does God Call Us Gods?

In John 10, Jesus responded to a challenge by referring to Psalm 82 wherein God refers to human beings as “gods.”  Jesus’ point was that if the Scripture, which can never been in error, called humans gods, how could He be wrong by calling Himself “the son of God.”

Why did Psalm 82 refer to us as gods in the first place?  Because it was anticipating the resurrection in which Jesus says we will be like angels in heaven.  That is, the resurrection of the dead brings humanity to the heavens, in a place higher than angels.  For this reason also Psalm 8 extols God for the power and privilege He has given humanity.  He goes so far as to say that all things have been put under the feet of mankind.  The writer of Hebrews picks up on this theme and rejoices in it.

Mankind had authority over everything on earth in the original creation, but Psalm 8 is speaking prophetically of the resurrection which Jesus Christ has brought about.  In this resurrection, deceased humanity has been seated in heavenly places higher than angels.  Angels are under our feet.

For this reason we should not think that anything can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39).  Satan once stood between us and God.  No longer.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible.

 

 

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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John 11:25-26 (Never Die)

Even the faithful of ancient Israel knew that they would one day die.  They knew it without a doubt, and had no hope that it could be avoided.  Delayed, yes; avoided, no.

Death was for them a time of silence, sleep, darkness.  It took place in a region below called Sheol.  Sheol housed all the dead.  It was assumed that those who lived rightously enjoyed a better state than those who lived unrighteously.  Yet everyone was dead, and captive to that overall state.

When Jesus was raised from the dead and took all the captives to heaven to be with Him forever, it created a whole new way of looking at life and death.  It would take even believing humanity some time to adjust to so dramatic a change.

According to the New Testament, Jesus went to heaven immediately but the rest of the dead did not follow until approximately a generation later.  That was when all the messianic promises were fulfilled: the kingdom of God came, the day of the Lord dawned, the new covenant took effect, and the new heavens and new earth were established.  This new order of creation no longer had a need for Sheol (Hades) because the dead were all transferred to heaven (“He led captivity captive”) in the instant of transition.  Every person who died thereafter would no longer descend to Sheol but rather ascend straight to heaven.  There would no longer be a sleep of death.  Humans would simply undergo an immediate metamorphosis to the new body that would required for life in heaven.

Because of this new order for us, Jesus could say that we would “live even if we died” and that we would “never die.”  The faithful of ancient Israel would understand exactly what He was talking about, for the arrangements for afterlife were different enough to justify such a dramatic description. 

Praise be to God who has delivered us from so great a peril as death – it no longer holds any power over us!

Jeremiah 29:11 (A Future and a Hope)

As human beings, we had no future beyond death.  We put death off as long as we could, but in the end…there it was.  Blackness.  No future.  No hope. 

Then God revealed His plan through His chosen people, the seed of Abraham, the nation of Israel.  Specifically, He revealed it through the most noble person that great people ever produced: Jesus of Nazareth.  That plan was that Jesus would die, but then be born again from the dead.  He would be born the Son of God.  He would be the firstborn Son of God who would open the womb of death.  Thus, He would be the firstborn of many brethren.  And the entire family of God would live forever in heaven.  What a future!  What a hope!

Do you wonder what people first thought when God promised through Jeremiah hundreds of years before Christ that He had plans to give them a future and a hope?  Could their expectations have been anywhere near as wonderful as what God ultimately revealed through Jesus Christ?  I can’t see how.  God has done exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think!

Humanity had no future and no hope beyond death.  It now has the hope of heaven with each other and with God.  If life on earth is interesting (and it was created by God), how much more interesting must heaven be!

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

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The Sons of God Were Made For Heaven

Everyone in the ancient world knew that heaven was the residence of deity. For the Jews it was the home of one God. For the Greeks and Romans it was the home of all the gods. Regardless of mindset, therefore, heaven was for deity and earth was for humanity.  The dead dwelt in Sheol (Hades) below; they certainly did not dwell in heaven.

If God intended for us to live in heaven, therefore, He had to have a way to make humanity into the offspring of deity.  Jesus was birthed from the dead that the rest of the dead might have a means of qualifying for adoption by God.  Otherwise, how could we live in His house? 

Consider the physical creation in which we dwell.  Every creature has its designated habitat.  Birds in the air, fish in the sea.  If a caterpillar is to become a butterfly, it’s habitat will change, for a caterpillar is designed for the land while a butterfly is designed for the air.  Therefore, while man is designed for the earth and angels are designed for heaven, God made resurrected man (that is, a human being born out of death – Jesus being the first) for the habitat of heaven – His home. 

Because Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29), we are by that fact sons of God and shall dwell in our rightful home with our heavenly Father for all eternity once our time on earth is complete.  “O Death, where is your victory?”  (1 Corinthians 15:55; Hosea 13:14)

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

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Jesus Was Born the Son of God from the Dead

Although Jesus is referred to throughout the gospels as the Son of God, there is a particular way to which His Sonship is tied to His resurrection.

The apostle Paul speaks of this in Acts 13:33 when he quotes Psalm 2:7.  In that psalm, God declares to the Messiah, “You are My Son; today I have begotten You.”  This, of course, attaches a day of birth to the Sonship.  Paul makes the point in Acts that it was through the raising Jesus from the dead that these words were fulfilled. 

Paul makes this same point in the opening of Romans when he writes that while Jesus was the son of David according to the flesh, He was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” 

Up until the resurrection, the arc of Jesus’ life was exactly like that of all other human beings:  conception, birth, life, death.  Jesus introduced a new step in the sequence by being born out of death (or you could say born again after death) to eternal life.  He was raised from the dead, past earth, all the way to heaven.  This was now to be the extended progression for all humanity. 

As the Son of God in this resurrection sense, He belonged in heaven for that is God’s home.  Thus He ascended there.  Because we are being conformed to the image of God’s Son, we shall follow.

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

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The Firstborn Among Many Brethren

In Romans 8:29 Paul says that Jesus was intended to be the firstborn of many brethren.  He was not speaking, of course, about Jesus’ earthly birth.  Rather, he was speaking about Jesus being the firstborn from the dead. 

Our modern minds must continually be brought to remember that before Jesus’ resurrection, no one expected the afterlife to exist above in heaven.  Rather, it was understood to exist below in Sheol (or Hades in the Greek language).  This was the case for everyone who died.  No one went to heaven when they died.  No one even hoped they would go to heaven.  It was an unheard of notion.  People were doing well just to hope that God would some day resurrect the dead to earth, yet they knew it would create complications.  For this reason the Sadducees parted company with the Pharisees, the former giving up on the idea of resurrection altogether because of such complications (e.g. multiple husbands for widows who had remarried). 

Out of this very uncertain hope of resurrection, God raises Jesus from the dead and brings Him all the way to heaven indicating that resurrection would not be to earth, but to heaven.  Jesus had already made this known during His earthly ministry (Matthew 22:30), but punctuated the lesson dramatically when He was lifted up in the sight of His apostles (Acts 1).  

The point of all this was not for Jesus to have this experience for Himself but that He might create a way for humanity to have a permanent and blessed existence after death.  Thus we human beings are the “many brethren” for whom He became “the firstborn.”

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

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The Firstborn Who Opens the Womb

Luke 2:23 explains that Jesus was brought as an infant to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord.  The Law of Moses (Exodus 13:2) had stated that “every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.”  Since Mary had been a virgin, Jesus was indeed the firstborn of her and Joseph’s family.

This earthly experience presaged the even more momentous experience that would occur in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead some thirty or so years later.  That is, Jesus would be the firstborn to open the womb of the dead!  The dead had simply been dead.  But when Jesus was raised from the dead, it was the first time anyone had been born from the dead…never to die again (Romans 6:9).

Through His resurrection, Jesus had turned the tomb into a womb.  Being the first, He had opened the womb.  And because He had opened the womb of death, the rest of the dead would follow.  Praise be to the name of Jesus, the firstborn who has opened the womb of death – let Him be called “holy to the Lord” for sure!

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

The Firstborn from the Dead

In the first chapter of Colossians, the apostle Paul refers to Jesus as “the firstborn from the dead.”  In the first chapter of Revelation, the apostle John does so as well.  This is a stunning description of Jesus, absolutely true and important in every way.

Death had been the natural course for human beings ever since the beginning of creation when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command.  No one had ever escaped death.  Everyone who died was held permanently captive by it.  God’s faithful hoped that He would do something about this dilemma, but no one knew His plan.  No one knew it, that is, until Jesus was raised from the dead, or should we say, was born from the dead. 

People had been raised from the dead before.  It was rare but it had happened.  Even Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  But Lazarus eventually had to die again; Jesus wouldn’t be there in the flesh to continue raising him.  God’s solution was to birth people from the dead so that they would never die again.  Jesus was the firstborn of this plan. 

One of the unmistakable implications of the term “firstborn” is that there would be others.  For if something is “first,” how can it be the “only”?  In fact, it was for the others (i.e., us – those who are subject to death) that Jesus Himself went through this process.  He did not need the redemption for Himself for He was the Author of life!

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

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David Led Captivity Captive

In 1 Samuel 30, we read of the Amalekites taking captive from Ziklag the women and children of David and his men.  David was particularly distressed because, in addition to losing his own family, his own men were threatening to stone him for having let this happen.  David inquired of the Lord and, having received encouragement, set about with his men to rescue the captives.  David succeeded in his mission, and brought back everyone single person who had been taken into captivity.  Thus we have in this narrative a type or picture of the deliverance that Jesus brought to those who had been taken captive by death.  (See the earlier post Jesus Led Captivity Captive and also Abram Led Captivity Captive.)

As a footnote, this story also relates how during the process of the mission, David had to leave behind 200 of his 600 hundred men because they were too exhausted from previous battles to go to this one.  When the 400 returned with the spoils and everyone was rejoicing in the victory, some “worthless and wicked” men of the 400 complained that the 200 should not receive a share since they had not fought.  David would have none of it, saying that since it was the Lord who had granted the victory everyone should share in it.  Even so, in our day some will complain the everyone who dies should not get to go to heaven.  Jesus will have none of this talk.  Everyone shares.  As to how big a share each should get in heaven, He will be the judge of that.

(For more on this, see Does It Bother You That Everyone Is Going to Heaven?)

Abram Led Captivity Captive

When King Chedorlaomer and his allies made captives of Lot and his family (Genesis 14), Abram set out to rescue them.  Abram was successful and brought back Lot and all that was Lot’s.  Thus Abram led captivity (Lot and his family) captive.  This was a type or picture of the rescue that Jesus would undertake on behalf of those who had been taken captive by death (see yesterday’s post: Jesus Led Captivity Captive).

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

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Jesus Led Captivity Captive

In Ephesians 4, Paul quotes Psalm 68 when He describes Jesus as having ascended on high, leading captivity captive in the process.

Who was the “captivity” He led?  Those captive to death – in other words, every human being who had died.  God had pronounced the sentence of death for sin in the garden of Eden.  Every human being who sinned, therefore had to die.  Every human being (except Jesus) did sin, and thus died.  All were thus held captive by death.  Their resting place was Sheol (or, as the Greeks called it, Hades).

This group then is the captivity that Jesus led captive into heaven.  They did not go with Him immediately, however, as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.  Though “captivity” had not yet made it to heaven when Paul was writing letters, they made it not too long afterwards.  Those who have died since have proceeded directly to heaven.  Thus you and I will go directly to heaven.  There is no longer any Sheol or Hades.  This earth is now as low as you can go in this creation (because we live in the new heavens and new earth that Isaiah, John, and Peter promised).

Those who had been captive to death would now be captive to heaven…because of the generosity of Him who led them!

(If you are unaware of the Bible’s teaching that we all go to heaven at death, see Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

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

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Jesus Punched a Hole in Heaven!

No one had ever ascended into heaven before Jesus Christ (John 3:13).

We should dwell upon the glory of His having done so.  It opened a way for all of us.  As it was prophesied in Micah 2:13, the Breaker went up before us.  He led the way.  He is our King, and He certainly went before all of us.  In fact, we know that He went to make a place for us (John 14:2). Had He not done so, the grave would still be our home, for there was no place for us in heaven apart from Him.  We humans were designed for earth and consigned by death to a pit below (which the Hebrews called Sheol and the Greeks called Hades).

The pit below was only for those people who had sinned.  The problem was, everyone sinned!  Therefore, everyone went below.  Jesus, because He did not sin, broke out of that pit not just back to earth, but all the way to heaven!

He “punched a hole” in heaven, if you will, that we might go in after Him!

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

The Second Coming of Christ Occurred Long Ago – A Book Explains

I have posted online a book – Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? –  which explains the Bible’s perspective on the Second Coming of Christ.  Contrary to current popular theology, the Second Coming of Christ does not lie in the future and does not consist of a return of Jesus in an earthly body.  This book allows the Bible to make its own case that Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

Jesus Christ is God.  His first coming was as a man (Jesus of Nazareth); His Second Coming was as God (Jesus Christ Is God).  This is True Christianity.