Are You Going to Heaven?
ARE YOU GOING TO HEAVEN?
By Kenneth M. Hoeck
What does the Bible say about heaven??
- Most people if they were asked this question would say that heaven is the place “up there somewhere”, the place that “the people who are saved by Jesus will go and spend eternity.” Is this true? That is what so many people, religious people, believe…. so it is hard for many to imagine it being anything else.
What happens when we die? Some think that you become an “angel”. What does the Bible say? Is heaven a place where we will sit around on clouds all day and play harps? Is this “doctrine” biblically sound? Have you ever proved , from the pages of your own bible, that people go to heaven when they die? Let us guide you through some scriptures that may help you be assured of what happens to a person when they die, what is heaven, and where the Kingdom of God is going to be set up.
IS MAN IMMORTAL?
Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” Notice that man BECAME a living soul…..not HAD a living soul. The Hebrew word translated by the King James Version translators as “soul” is NEPHESH. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #5315 defines this word as ” a breathing creature”. It goes on to include “any beast, body, breath, creature” as also being called a “nephesh” -besides just man.
This SAME WORD “nephesh” is translated as “creature” speaking of animal life forms in the following passages: Genesis 1:20,21,24; Gen.2:19; Gen 9:10,12,15,16; and twice in Leviticus 11:46. It is also translated as “life” in Gen1:20,30; Gen 9:4,5; Gen 19:17,19; 32:30; Gen 44:30; Exodus 4:19,21; Leviticus 17:11,14; Numbers 35:31; Deuteronomy 19:27,Deut 24:6;and in Joshua 2:14. In fact ,the Hebrew word “nephesh” is also translated in the KJV as lives, persons, lust, one, body, heart, beast, will, and even as the dead. This word does not mean “soul” as in an immortal soul that lives on after you die….in fact, Ezekiel 18:4 and 20 tell us “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
God gave man the breath that is life and man became a living, breathing creature. Ge 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Man does not have an immortal soul…in fact the term immortal soul cannot be found in the entirety of the Bible! It is a man-made myth….a lie taken after the schemes of Satan when he told Eve “Ye shall not surely die”…..”ye shall be as gods”. The Bible teaches us the truth of these matters and backs up this proof that man is just a living, breathing, fleshy creature and does not immediately “continue on” as some spirit being after death. Let us read on in God’s word!
Job 34:15 “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” Job 7:21 “And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.” “Sleep in the dust” is referring to the unconscious sleep of death. Death is likened unto a heavy sleep because there are no conscious thoughts.When we die our fleshy bodies decay and we eventually become ashes and dust. Bear with me as I show you quite a few scripturesto show that the bible is quite clear on this subject.
Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Psalm 104:29 “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.” The scriptures clearly state that we are likened unto dust for from dust were we created. Job 17:16 “They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.” Ps 103:13 “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” Psalm 88:3 “For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. 4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: 5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. 6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.”
Psalm 6:5 “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” Our memory CEASES at death. Ecclesiastes 9:3 “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.”
Notice that the dead do not have a continued consciousness. The dead have no memory, no hate, no love, no anything! They are dust and return to dust and none of their thoughts continue….we all cease to exist at our death. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul is false….it is non-biblical…..and utterly satanic! Why do you need a saviour if you are an immortal spirit? Satan has deceived many people with this lie…..but let the truth be told!
Known as the world’s “oldest” book the Book of Job offers some ancient insight on God’s planned way for man. If we are to just die and cease to exist then our faith would be based on nothing. The Bible does tell us of the dead being raised. Job 14:10 “But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: 12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Job says he’ll wait in the “sleep of death” until the appointed time of his change should come. Just when this appointed time is we shall soon see.
I Corinthians 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Dan 12:2 “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” As we can see, the Old and new Testaments coincide in this revelation of truth. We live…and when we die…we cease to exist…until we are changed….and made incorruptible.
Isaiah 38:16 “O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live. 17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. 18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. 19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.” Hosea 13:14 “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” God declares that he will raise us from the state of death….but not immediately following our passing from this life. So when does God say that he will resurrect His followers?
All people who have ever lived ….have also died….including the man, Jesus…. but Jesus was resurrected as the Firstborn from the dead as we read in Col 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
If Christ is the first raised then when is it that the followers of God are to be changed? 1Co 15:18 “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” All of Christ’s followers to date have also perished and will not be raised until Christ returns to earth! Make no mistake about it! There is not a multitude of “souls” floating around in heaven. The bible clearly states that Christ was the FIRST…and that no one else can be resurrected until He comes again to this very earth! Can all these words of God be wrong? Of course not! So what, then, is all this heaven talk about?
WHAT IS HEAVEN?
The Bible does talk about heaven. In fact, it talks about three different places called “heaven”! Let’s look at some of the scriptures that mention these heavens. These first passages are a sample of what is called the first “heaven” which is the breathable atmosphere or air. Ge 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Ge 1:9 “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.” Ge 1:20 “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” Ge 8:2 “The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;” Re 19:17 “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;” Re 11:6 “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” These are a few of many passages that describe the first heaven which is the envelope of air around the earth.
The second “heaven” is above the first “heaven” and is space, or outerspace if you will. Ge 1:14 “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: Ge 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,” De 4:19 “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” These are a sampling of many such scriptures that define the second “heaven”. This is all easily understood and should become obvious to the reader.
There is also the third heaven which is described in these passages among others. 2Co 12:1 “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” De 10:14 “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.” De 26:15 “Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.” 1Ki 8:39 “Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)” Ps 11:4 “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” Ps 103:19 “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all..” This third heaven is the place where God’s throne exists.
See article on this subject…. Enoch and Elijah
DOES THE BIBLE PROMISE US HEAVEN?
“Don’t we go to heaven?” you will ask. Haven’t other righteous men of God ascended to heaven? Let the Bible answer for it is the word of God. Proverbs 30:4 “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” John 3:13 “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” This is very clear cut and needs no interpretation. Jesus said in John 7:34 “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” This phrase is repeated seven times in this book culminating here in John 13:33 “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” It is clear that the third heaven is not accessible by mankind as just yet. Heb 9:24 “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”
Read carefully here…you may find this interesting. 1Th 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (dead in Christ), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Notice that the Lord descends from heaven (third heaven) and his living followers will meet him in the air(first heaven). There is no mention of immediately going up to heaven or down to earth.
So where does God in the Bible promise that we will live after He gives us the gift of eternal life? Ps 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (nations) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Ps 37:9 “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.“ Ps 37:11 “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Mt 5:5 “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Mt 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” When His Kingdom is come to earth His will shall be done in the earth just as it is done in heaven…but realize that the kingdom is on earth! This is straight from your Bible!
The ancient patriarchs knew this truth and in it placed all their faith. Heb 11:8 “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (a holy city!)11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Re 22:14 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” The patriarchs knew…and the apostles knew….that the kingdom of their God would be among men…based from a great city on the earth. Re 5:10 “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
The following passages tell us about the holy city that we may inherit….where it comes from and where it will be set. Re 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Re 20:11 “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven (first heaven) fled away; and there was found no place for them.” Re 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven (first heaven or atmosphere)and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Re 21:2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Re 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
Revelation 21:9-10 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,”
So we can deduce that the saints live and reign with Christ over the earth from heaven during the 1,000 year reign of Christ. Then …. we see the “Bride” descending from heaven above to this earth. The holy city, New Jerusalem…is the capital city of the Kingdom of God and it comes down from God in Heaven to the earth! Re 21:10 “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,.” Micah 4:1-5 “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. 5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.”
What is the reward for the saved repentant sinners?….. we are promised a holy city….in which we can be His kings and priests….here on a renewed earth. Will you accept the truth about the true inheritance that the Eternal has prepared for you? Mt 25:34 “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come”