I not too long ago received a letter from a visitor to our web site who was writing mainly because an short article conflicted with what they had been taught. She wrote, “Jesus stated ‘I go to prepare a spot for you. And if I go and prepare a spot for you, I will come once again, and obtain you unto myself that exactly where I am, there ye might be also.’ I’ve generally been taught that spot would be in heaven. But your short article leads me to feel eternity with Jesus will be right here on earth. Am I understanding you appropriately? If so, that brings me to the query of close to death experiences — which generally appears to take spot in heaven. Can you clarify the considering procedure behind your short article?”
I thank all the readers of my articles for their comments, emails, and letters and I appreciate the believed they place into attempting to piece collectively what I imply, no matter if their response is “for,” “against,” or just “questionable.” But a suitable answer to the inquiries the writer raised, needs additional than a rapid, quick statement, so I decided to place my thoughts into a new short article specifically directed to her inquiries.
My method to God’s word has generally been in attempting to adhere to the logic behind his program and I’m properly conscious that several men and women will reject some concepts on the topic. I am not attempting to modify anyone’s thoughts, but only give meals for believed, so they can choose for themselves. Anyway, let us investigate the writer’s two inquiries. Initial, following death, will we go to heaven, and second, will men and women in fact see heaven or heavenly beings in the course of a “near death expertise?”
Will we receive a spot in Heaven?
The writer’s quotation of Jesus’ words was taken from John 14 in the King James Version. The New Revised Typical Version states, “In my Father’s residence there are several dwelling locations. If it had been not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a spot for you? And if I go and prepare a spot for you, I will come once again and will take you to myself, so that exactly where I am, there you might be also, (John 14:two-three).1
Numerous men and women attempt to use these verses to prove that we go to heaven, but hold in thoughts that “Jesus stated practically nothing about the nature of the spot exactly where he was going. It is adequate that believers will be with the Father and Jesus.”two And from that scripture, they make other assumptions, such as understanding the Father’s residence only as a dwelling, rather than as a loved ones or dynasty. They also narrowly define spot as an ornate abode, a mansion, or a palace, as an alternative of a position, an workplace, or a part.three“They gloss more than the truth that Jesus says straight in this context that he would ‘come again’. Exactly where? To earth! He then says he will obtain the saints to himself. If he remains on earth to rule the nations, then the saints will rule with him on the earth! Numerous scriptures show pretty plainly that God’s Kingdom will be on the earth (Psalm two:six-eight Jeremiah 23:five Daniel two:35, 44-45 7:27 Zechariah 9:9-10 Revelation 11:15).”four So, this scripture says practically nothing about us going to heaven, though most men and women assume it does. Jesus is not referring to a specific place for us to reside in heaven he is referring to a spot becoming “prepared” whilst he is in heaven. Let’s take into account two scripture quotes.
The very first, Matthew 25:34 says, “Then the king will say to these at his correct hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom ready for you from the foundation of the planet.’” And Revelation 21:two-three says, “And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, ready as a bride adorned for her husband And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the household of God is amongst mortals. He will dwell with them as their God they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them.’”
The Jerusalem Temple in Jesus’ time was symbolic of the Kingdom of God and the city of a new Jerusalem. So, Jesus was preparing a spot for Christians in the Kingdom and in the new Jerusalem. The Kingdom of God/New Jerusalem will be on earth. It does not say we will go to heaven, but that Jesus, as promised, will return to earth. Retain in thoughts the element of the Lord’s Prayer, when Jesus stated: “Your kingdom come. Your will be carried out, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew six:10). And recall, Jesus also stated: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew five:five).
Jesus is returning to earth exactly where Christians will enable him rule more than the nations. The spot becoming ready is not an apartment in which to reside, but a position or spot inside the government of the Kingdom of God. The position we will hold depends upon several issues: how we have been faithful and served God, how we have overcome the evil we faced, how honorably we have lived our lives and treated other individuals, and a great deal, a great deal additional.
What about Close to Death Experiences?
Contemplating ‘near death experiences’ (NDE), the Bible says practically nothing about this notion and only speaks about actual death. It mentions a metaphorical “sleep” of deathfive till the resurrection, which is however to come. “For as all die in Adam, so all will be created alive in Christ. But each and every in his personal order: Christ the very first fruits, then at his coming these who belong to Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:11). As it says, this will be following his return. There is no activity or life in between death and resurrection: “The living know that they will die, but the dead know practically nothing they have no additional reward, and even the memory of them is lost,” (Ecclesiastes 9:five).
What is it that men and women expertise in NDE? Some say they saw Jesus, or angels, or dead relatives to guide them on their journey, or some other heavenly occasion. Some say they heard heavenly music or voices of their households. But what do they truly see and hear? I do not know it could be a lot of issues, I guess. Possibly the expertise is brought on by the side effects of a physique and thoughts preparing to shut down, or the scrambled voices of men and women close to them, or music from a radio, or a deep memory from extended ago. Possibly the particular person sees mental pictures of issues they have been taught to count on, or, possibly it is the impact of drugs upon the physique and thoughts. Possibly it is some mixture of these issues.
Just how a great deal faith can you place into what a particular person says when their physique and thoughts are so badly afflicted and distressed, that they are dying? Apart from, ‘near death’ does not imply ‘actual death’. From my point-of-view, actual death is the final occasion in our existence right here — one particular that absolutely everyone will expertise. The greatest difficulty is that we know tiny about death, except by observation, for it is not possible to receive statements of experiences from the victims who are in fact dead.six
Even ancient Greek literature includes details of heros possessing NDE, but as pagans, would they have been experiencing going to heaven to reside with God? From study in the literature, they believed it was to be a descent into the Underworld,7 not some heavenly realm above. Also, various cultures appear to have various experiences in NDE, as properly as do various time periods in history. “The mechanism of judgement, the nature of the barrier, and the part or character of the guide are clearly shaped by sociocultural context. . . .”eight
So, what is God’s actual guarantee?
One particular point we can be positive about is that till Jesus’ new Kingdom arrives upon his return to this planet, we will all die and our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and our spirit will be returned to God for secure maintaining. “The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it,” (Ecclesiastes 12:7, ESV).
No human, having said that, goes to heaven, for the Bible tells us that no one particular has gone to heaven except Jesus. “No one particular has ascended into heaven except the one particular who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (John three:13). In the promised resurrection, our awakened spirit of life will be united with a new great physique right here on an earth beneath Jesus’ rulership. It is right here that we will reside.
The Bible teaches us that we will not travel up to heaven, but that heaven will come down to us. “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling spot of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his men and women, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away just about every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no additional, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor discomfort any longer, for the former issues have passed away,’” (Revelation 21:two-four).
Copyright © 2019, Dr. Ray Hermann
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References & Notes
- Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are from the New Revised Typical Version Bible (NRSV), ©1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Utilized by permission.
- Blum, Edwin A., “John,” in The Bible Know-how Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, (Eds.) J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), vol. two, p. 322.
- Ritenbaugh, Richad T., “Caught Up in the Rapture,” in Forerunner Commentary, (Bible Tools, retrieved 29 September 2019), https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/26672/eVerseID/26672
- metaphorical “sleep” of death – suspended consciousness an abrupt, but restricted, cessation of activity a short-term loss of consciousness resembling death.
- Hermann, Ray, “The Grim Reaper & the Bible,” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 18 September 2019), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/the-grim-reaper-the-bible/
- Brueggemann, Dale A., “Descent into the Underworld, Vital Challenges,” Lexham Bible Dictionary, Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.)
- Shushan, Gregory, Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations, (London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2009), pp.38-40.