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Thread: Is heaven a place we go to after death or is it a present reality?

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    Is heaven a place we go to after death or is it a present reality?

    Many people believe that heaven is a place that people go to (either physically or spiritually) after death; But have you ever wondered why the Old Testament books never speak of an "after-life," and why the New Testament books are silent as to any details of what an "after-life" is like?

    Here are some questions to ponder on this subject:

    Do we go to heaven or does heaven come to us?

    Is there any place in scripture that says what happens after people physically die?


    Before Jesus died, why did He tell the Jews they could not follow Him to heaven?

    What does the bible mean when it teaches that we have eternal life?

    I look forward to hearing everyone's comments on this subject, thank you for your cooporation....

    countrypret
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2Peter 1:20)

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    Great quotation, kind of a side comment

    “The life in Christ originates in this life and arises from it. It is perfected, however, in the life to come, when we shall have reached that last day. It cannot attain perfection in men’s souls in this life, nor even in that which is to come without already having begun here. Since that which is carnal, the mist and corruption which derive from flesh, cannot inherit incorruption (1 Cor. 15:50), it casts a shadow over that life in this present time.

    “Therefore Paul thought it to be a great advantage to depart in order to be with Christ, for he says, “to depart and to be with Christ is far better” (Phil. 1:23). But if the life to come were to admit those who lack the faculties and senses necessary for it, it would avail nothing for their happiness, but they would be dead and miserable living in that blessed and immortal world. The reason is, that the light would appear and the sun shine with its pure rays with no eye having been formed to see it. The Spirit’s fragrance would be abundantly diffused and pervading all, but one would not know it without already having the sense of smell.

    “Now it is possible for the Son of God to make His friends to share in His Mysteries in preparation for that day, and for them to learn from Him what He has heard from the Father (John 15:15). But they must come as His friends who “have ears to hear” (Mt. 11:15). Then it is impossible to begin the friendship and to open the ear, to prepare the wedding garment and to make ready the other requisites for that bridechamber; it is this life which is the workshop for all these things. Those, then, who have not acquired these things before they departed have nothing in common with that life. To this the five foolish virgins and the man invited to the wedding feast are witnesses, since they came without either the oil or the wedding garment and were not able to buy them then.”

    --St. Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ.

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    Interesting questions, certainly.
    I want to think, though, that the distinctions you wonder at, are largely immaterial--parts of a semantic ordering geared towards our comfort, in a limited understanding of a divine metaphysic.
    Perhaps, like a parent's explanations to his or her child, God's message to us is meant to be kept as simple as possible.
    The key lesson in and around your questions just may be this--we're separated from God, by our sin; one day, He will restore the order that He meant us to exist in, and dwell among us, but until then, we wait.
    Does it need to be anything more specific than that? ...and if it does, is there any hope that we could understand it?

    pax,
    mark
    ><>always mindful<><

    ~mark

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    Originally posted by stupidestboy
    The key lesson in and around your questions just may be this--we're separated from God, by our sin; one day, He will restore the order that He meant us to exist in, and dwell among us, but until then, we wait.
    Does it need to be anything more specific than that? ...and if it does, is there any hope that we could understand it?
    Hi SB, Yes, we can understand it because the scriptures are very clear about heaven being a present reality. Scripture is clear that God already dwells among us in this life wouldn't you agree? I don't believe the bible teaches that it is something in our furture that we have to wait for.
    Romans 8:10, "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead [the body of sin, the old man] because of sin; but the Spirit is life [the spiritual body, the new man] because of righteousness."
    This verse says if we have Christ in us, then we have the Spirit in us, and if we have the Spirit in us, then we have eternal life in us! This is what Paul meant in Romans 10:6 when he explained that the meaning of the phrase "ascend into heaven" means to "bring Christ down from above." If we have Christ in us, we are in heaven! Therefore, heaven is a present reality now, and not a future hope. Heaven is within us! Is this reason enough to rejoice?! It should be!
    As a final proof that heaven is a present reality now, notice these words of Jesus. When speaking of the Kingdom of God in this passage, he explained both where it is and when it is. Notice he spoke of the Kingdom of God in the present tense, and not the future tense.

    Luke 17:21, "...for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

    Matthew 12:28, "...the kingdom of God is come unto you."

    Even the apostle John wrote that he was "in the kingdom...of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9); notice he spoke of the kingdom in the present tense, as if it was inside of him.

    The reason the Kingdom of God is within us is because God dwells within us! (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Revelation 21:3).
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2Peter 1:20)

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    "Go to heaven?"

    <CountryPret>
    >>Do we go to heaven or does heaven come to us?

    <B>
    The christian hope in scripture differs from the historic hope of "going to heaven." The biblical hope is the resurrection of the dead and drinking the fruit of the vine anew with Abraham et al in the renewed heaven and earth. Ie: the kingdom comes to Earth.

    The idea of "going to heaven" is not scriptural.

    Bill Ross

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    Originally posted by countrypret

    Hi SB, Yes, we can understand it because the scriptures are very clear about heaven being a present reality. Scripture is clear that God already dwells among us in this life wouldn't you agree?
    Thanks for an informative reply, Countrypret; I appreciate insightful messages, especially ones grounded in scripture.
    ...as for understanding the nature of Heaven and earth, I think it goes much deeper than what has been discussed. I do agree that scripture is clear that God is with us--in addition to your citations, Matthew 18:20 also supports this, along with several other verses; I would also assert, though, that God knows what a literary device is, and how to use one.
    My point is only this--we're not nearly as cool and able as God is; let's not make pretenses of knowing too much of what God has created, and will create again.
    To counter me, one could easily remind me that all of the answers to your questions would come directly out of scripture, God's word to us; the Bible has got to be God's version of a children's book, and we should be able to learn from it. I just don't like making too much of what we're given. None of us could draw a diagram of our Heaven-earth sphere, or whatever you choose to call the system that we're speaking of, and the reason is that we can only draw in 3 dimensions. I'm sure that if God weren't perfect, he would find restriction to only 3 dimensions to be boring and unimaginative. His ways are infinitely greater than ours.
    (Romans 11:33-34)
    33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
    34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?"



    I don't believe the bible teaches that it is something in our furture that we have to wait for.
    Really? Reread Jesus' sermon on the mount, and get back to me about that. ...particularly Matthew 24 and 25.
    It was my impression that we're still remaining vigilant, because Christ could arrive again, at any moment, and that's when the Lord will rebuild Heaven on earth, making us like Him(not restricted by space and time, etc), and dwell among us unmistakably. I'm sure I've misinterpreted you on this one, but it seemed like you're saying that we're not waiting for anything...


    As a final proof that heaven is a present reality now, notice these words of Jesus. When speaking of the Kingdom of God in this passage, he explained both where it is and when it is. Notice he spoke of the Kingdom of God in the present tense, and not the future tense.
    The reason the Kingdom of God is within us is because God dwells within us! (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Revelation 21:3).
    Actually, he does use future tense, even in one of the sections that you cited--the very same verse, even. (Rev. 21:3 "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God" NIV--it looked like you used that translation, anyway)

    After all of this, I'll still assert that:
    1)You're right--we don't 'go to Heaven', when we die.
    2)We do wait for a new reality, though, and
    3)we shouldn't make too much of our knowledge--we're only children, after all.
    Perhaps, that's the reason that the scriptures are so reticent to provide details of an 'after-life'.

    ><>always mindful<><

    ~mark

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    heaven

    I have long wondered about the idea of a physical, geographical (if you will) location of Heaven. I absolutely DO NOT believe that the Scripture teaches that Heaven is ONLY a state of existence or that it is a "present reality", but I'm also not too convinced that it is a place in the normal, earthly, geographical sense.

    I wonder if C.S. Lewis was onto something when he described the interaction between earth and Heaven in the Space Trilogy. He described the angelic creatures (and all of Heaven) as "more solid" than things on earth, and they moved through us and everything on earth as if they were swimming in water. They were the solid ones, and we (and all things earthly) were fluid. In other words, Heaven and the physical universe as we know it co-exist in the same physical location, but perhaps have different rules. They can see us, but we can't see them. Etc.

    Obviously, I don't want to base my theology on a fictional book by a man from the 20th century (or any century). And that's not my point. But I think it's an interesting notion, to at least give us pause for thought.

    As for Scripture on the possibility of a physical reality of Heaven, and maybe even a physical location (and that it's not just a state of being or a "present reality"):

    Mark 16:19 "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God."

    Acts 1:9 "After he (Jesus) said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight."

    Romans 10:6 "But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down..."

    2 Cor. 12:2 "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven."

    Philippians 2:10 "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth," (heaven and "under the earth" are placed next to earth as a comparison, which could be comparing physical realities...or it could be a figure of speech, or it could be a comparison of spiritual reality...)

    These are just a few. Though many can (and have, and will) argue that none of these verses necessarily infer a physical reality and/or location for Heaven, there is no strong reason from these (and other) verses to argue against that, either.

    Also, one must contend with the obvious physical descriptions of things such as the tree of life, the river of life, the streets of gold, the gates made out of single pearls, mansions in heaven, etc. Though it could be argued by some that these are all just figures of speech and not describing literal, physical realities in heaven, again, I would argue that at least there is a possibility that these are physical realities, in some sense or other.

    -Doulos

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    "Go to heaven?"

    <Doulos>
    Doulos, it looks to me that you and CountryPret have been looking at the scriptures with an open mind, which I greatly appreciate.

    In my contemplation of the scriptures it seems clear to me that:

    * the scriptures never speak of the christian hope in terms of "going to heaven"

    * rather they speak of:

    - the resurrection of the dead
    - the release of the body from corruption
    - everlasting life on Earth with God
    - specifically, in a renewed Earth

    Many people are confused by the verses that seem to indicate that our planet/universe will be destroyed, but what is really indicated is that it will be purged and made new.

    There is a technical term in scripture that is often overlooked and that is "the promises." This term is not just a generic term but refers specifically to the promises made to Abraham. Ie, the inheritance of the promised land. The writer of Hebrews assures us that these have not been fulfilled and will not be fulfilled until the heavenly city, New Jerusalem, descends from heaven and the saints inhabit the land.

    "The land" is a specific place. It is the land in which Abraham sojourned:

    Hebrews 11:
    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. [ie: the New Jerusalem]

    But, he never inherited it. It is still a future inheritance:

    Hebrews 11:13 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. [the land] {in faith: Gr. according to faith}

    Galatians 3:
    16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
    ...
    18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
    ...26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
    27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
    29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    The argument in Galatians is "who's going to receive the promises made to Abraham? The circumcised? Or those who are of faith?"

    Paul's answer? Those who are "in Christ" are the rightful "heirs." The circumcision is like the son of the bondswoman.

    2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new [renewed] heavens and a new [renewed] earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

    Bill Ross

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    Re: heaven

    Originally posted by Doulos71
    I have long wondered about the idea of a physical, geographical (if you will) location of Heaven. I absolutely DO NOT believe that the Scripture teaches that Heaven is ONLY a state of existence or that it is a "present reality", but I'm also not too convinced that it is a place in the normal, earthly, geographical sense.
    The Scripture mentions three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2), not just one! Did you ever realize the scripture says that we live in the first heaven? And guess what? God lives here to! Well, God is Omnipresent isn't He? The first heaven is earth's atmosphere where birds fly (Genesis 1:20, Jeremiah 4:25; 34:20, Lamentations 4:19, Zephaniah 1:3). One of the Hebrew words for 'heaven' is shamayim. This same word is translated as 'sky' in the Scripture, as can be seen by comparing Genesis 7:3, "fowls also of the air," with Genesis 7:23, "fowl of the heaven." The word 'sky' and 'heaven' are used interchangeably from the same Hebrew word (Psalm 8:8). So the first heaven is synonymous with 'heights' or 'elevations.'

    The second heaven is outer space where the planets and stars exist (Genesis 1:14-17; 15:5; 22:17; 26:4, Deuteronomy 1:10; 17:3; Psalm 8:3, Jeremiah 8:2; Matthew 24:29). Usually the term "host of heaven" or "firmament of the heaven" is used to describe this second heaven.

    The third heaven is what Christ calls his "Father's house" (John 14:2), and both Christ and the Apostle Paul calls it "paradise" (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Revelation 2:7). This is where God and the heavenly sanctuary exist (1 Peter 3:22). This third heaven is also known as the "heaven of heavens" (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Chronicles 2:6; 6:18, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalms 148:4), "The heavenly Jerusalem" (Galatians 4: 26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12), the "kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 25:1, James 2:5), the "eternal kingdom" (2 Peter 1:11), the "eternal inheritance" (1 Peter. 1:4, Hebrews 9:15), and the "better country" (Hebrews 11:14,16). The fact that there are more than one 'heaven' can be shown by Psalm 115:16, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S." There are obviously two different 'heavens' being addressed in this one verse.
    [i] As for Scripture on the possibility of a physical reality of Heaven, and maybe even a physical location (and that it's not just a state of being or a "present reality"):Mark 16:19 "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God."Acts 1:9 "After he (Jesus) said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight."2 Cor. 12:2 "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven."
    After Christ rose from the dead, he went to the right hand of the Father in the heavenlies. In other words, Christ was in heaven! At the time the apostles wrote the following verses, Christ had entered "into heaven itself," (Hebrews 9:24); Christ was "caught up to the third heaven." (2 Corinthians 12:2).
    In other words, only God, and the things of God, can ascend and descend from Heaven, whether it's God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or angels. Mere man cannot.
    [i]
    Also, one must contend with the obvious physical descriptions of things such as the tree of life, the river of life, the streets of gold, the gates made out of single pearls, mansions in heaven, etc. Though it could be argued by some that these are all just figures of speech and not describing literal, physical realities in heaven, again, I would argue that at least there is a possibility that these are physical realities, in some sense or other.
    Just about everything you are describing here is figurative symbolic language that John in Revelation is using in order to convey a spiritual message to those who heard the message first during the first century and he was telling them of events that were imminent for their lifetime. There is a lot of activity going on in what you are describing that if I start to go into detail would take us off course from the topic about heaven.

    CP
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2Peter 1:20)

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    3 heavens

    Countrypret- I am very aware that there are 3 heavens in Scripture...in fact, one of the Scriptures that I quoted mentioned the third heaven. Frankly, your replies (including the one instructing me (and all of us) about the 3 heavens) sound condescending, and reek of your assumption that everyone else is more ignorant than you of the Scriptures. I would ask that you be careful of that attitude, brother to brother. It's okay to think someone is wrong in their interpretation of Scripture (for instance, I think you are way off on many things), but I don't think it promotes healthy discussion if one assumes that another is simply ignorant, just because they have a different view. I would venture to say that most of the people using this forum are very well informed of the Bible, and have probably been taught much and are self-taught, as well. That is the case with me, for sure. But, it's very obvious as well that there is a lot of variance in doctrinal positions and approaches represented in this forum, even among those who profess Christ.

    And, getting back to your last post, I don't see clear evidence in Scripture that only God (and did you say angels?) can ascend and descend to and from heaven. You seemed to be saying that it was obvious by your reasoning and/or your Scripture references, but it was anything but obvious to me. Do you have any clear Scriptural support?

    -Doulos

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    Is there any place in scripture that says what happens after people physically die?

    Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
    Ecclesiastes 12:7 talks of our physical body (dust) returning to the earth, it does not say our physical body will go to heaven or will be physically alive again after death. Our physical bodies cannot be resurrected in heaven because scripture says that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2Peter 1:20)

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    resurrected bodies

    It seems to me that the Scriptures referencing resurrected bodies say that our post-death bodies are more than just spirit, that there is a physical dimension to them.

    What does everyone think about that?

    -Doulos

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    Heavenly Bodies

    <doulos>
    >>It seems to me that the Scriptures referencing resurrected bodies say that our post-death bodies are more than just spirit, that there is a physical dimension to them. What does everyone think about that?

    <Bill>
    Paul refers to the mortal body as the "seed" of the immortal body. Like a kernel of corn will become a corn plant, so a mortal Bill Ross seed will become a much more glorious Bill Ross plant. There is a relationship between the kernel of corn and the plant that is not evident until one dies (though it never really dies, but dies to its original form) and is reexpressed in a new, more glorious format.

    Paul contrasts the experience of the believer by saying that they are not "unclothed" - by "shedding the body" and becoming a "naked" spirit, but rather, the mortal is "swallowed up" and "clothed upon" by that which is immortal.

    Think of a moth/butterfly.

    But the notion of bodiless spirits is anathema to Paul.

    Shalom,

    Bill Ross

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    countrypret,

    You said something interesting a few posts back:
    This is what Paul meant in Romans 10:6 when he explained that the meaning of the phrase "ascend into heaven" means to "bring Christ down from above."
    By this particular line of logic, then, what must we make of the rest of the passage?

    Romans 10:6-7 But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the deep?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
    Does that mean that we are not only living in heaven right now, but also in hades? I'm not asking this in order to take a potshot at you. I do think you're out on a limb by claiming that Paul was explaining the meaning of "ascending into heaven."

    I believe that we are living in the realized kingdom of heaven here and now, which is the Church (past, present and future, all who are elect), but that our resurrection occurs upon the death of our mortal bodies. At that time we receive immortal, incorruptible bodies. Yet we have already been clothed with immortality (eternal life) from above, so that we could inherit this kingdom. (Yes, I hold to a full preterist eschatology.)

    Just some thoughts.

    -cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    Already clothed?

    <cm>
    >>I believe that we are living in the realized kingdom of heaven here and now, which is the Church (past, present and future, all who are elect),

    <Bill>
    The kingdom of heaven is here in seed form. The foundational truths of the kingdom were presented by Christ in the seven parables of Matthew 13 and provide insight necessary to understand all of the other parables:

    Matt 13:
    11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
    12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
    ...
    36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
    ...
    51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
    52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

    What are these foundational truths of the kingdom?

    18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower....

    24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
    25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
    26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
    27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
    28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
    29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
    30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
    32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

    33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. {measures: the word in the Greek is a measure containing about a peck and a half, wanting a little more than a pint}


    44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

    45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
    46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

    47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
    48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
    49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
    50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    So, the key to understanding the kingdom of heaven is to understand that:

    * it has a beginning in the gospel seed
    * it grows right along with the evil seeds of the world
    * there will be a harvest in the future - at the end of this world system

    <cm>
    >>but that our resurrection occurs upon the death of our mortal bodies. At that time we receive immortal, incorruptible bodies. Yet we have already been clothed with immortality (eternal life) from above, so that we could inherit this kingdom. (Yes, I hold to a full preterist eschatology.)

    <B>
    Paul taught that the resurrection/release of the body was a future hope.

    Bill Ross

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    Originally posted by countrymouse
    By this particular line of logic, then, what must we make of the rest of the passage?
    Does that mean that we are not only living in heaven right now, but also in hades?
    Hi CM, This is not saying that we live in Hades now; Hades refers to the "grave" at death our bodies return to dust in the earth.... Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
    [i]
    I'm not asking this in order to take a potshot at you. I do think you're out on a limb by claiming that Paul was explaining the meaning of "ascending into heaven."
    I know your not taking a potShot at me but if you are, go ahead, I'm used to it! : ) just kidding..... So are you saying that Paul is saying we will ascend to heaven after death? As a preterist I think you are aware of the figurative language Paul uses in relation to the spiritual realm? I agree with what you are saying, however, I think there is another meaning to what Paul is really speaking about don't you think? One of the points I'm trying to make in this thread is that I don't see where the bible teaches anything about the afterlife. I think it speaks more about how we are to live our lives while on earth. Do you think that might be the case?
    [i]
    I believe that we are living in the realized kingdom of heaven here and now, which is the Church (past, present and future, all who are elect), but that our resurrection occurs upon the death of our mortal bodies. At that time we receive immortal, incorruptible bodies. Yet we have already been clothed with immortality (eternal life) from above, so that we could inherit this kingdom. (Yes, I hold to a full preterist eschatology.)
    I agree with you that we are in the realized kingdom and I have to admit I have never heard it defined that way even as I have recently adopted the preterist view myself. I guess preterism can also be defined as "realized eschatology" or covenant eschatology. Anyway, I believe that when the bible says we have eternal life I don't think it is saying that we become immortal. Jesus died on the cross for those who choose to follow him and He promises eternal life. Does eternal life mean we become immortal and live forever in the afterlife? I would have to ask, what does the bible mean when it teaches that we have eternal life? In scripture, eternal life is defined as knowing Christ Jesus while in this physical body! Look at this definition of "life eternal": John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Correct me if I am wrong, but is Jesus saying in this passage that when we have eternal life we become immortal and live forever in the afterlife? It seems to me that the scripture says that eternal life does not mean we become immortal (to live for ever and ever), it means to know God, and to know His Truth! I'm like you, I'm still searching the scripture to see where it says that after death we live forever in the afterlife with immortal bodies. If we do, what kind of bodies will we have? I know Paul says we have spiritual bodies, but isn't he again using figurative language as regarding the present reality while in our physical bodies?

    CP
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2Peter 1:20)

  17. #17
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    A lot of talk about heavens is metaphorical. If you actually apply what you know of existence (in condition) and what this manefestation entails...and what your true nature is, then it become difficult to imagine a reality in which our gross selfs, personalities, concerns, or circumstantial character traits could survive in some other way other than in a body.

    Most of the quotes taken from the bible were originally said by people that thought the stars were pinpricks in the veil of night and that the earth was the center of the universe. There is not much satisfaction for our big minds in the bible. Not that intelligence is ultimate by any means, but I do not consider my own facilties"witchcraft".

    If you ever watch evangelical preachers on TV, you will get some hilarious senarios for what heaven will be like. My favorite was when Pastor Hagee (an obese and sickly looking man) is preaching loudly and enthuiastically about how when the rapture comes and "they" are swept away that he will be given a new body (and I am not making this up)...a new body like Arnold Swartznegger...some super heaven body that is immortal.

    This is a fanciful dream, especially for a man who can't take care of the body God gave him in this world. If you have honest inquiry and if you are blessed with true meditation, then you will understand that it simply doesn't matter what "survives". The very one that is seeking and hoping for heavens and prizes is the very one that will not survive. The gross self fears death...the ego fears death.

    Besides, religions need heaven. It can't be the opium of the masses if it doesn't have a prize. How are you going to tame people's frustrations in this life if you can't tell them to wait, because everything will sorted out after death. The bad will be punished and good will be rewarded.

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    Hi CP: you said:

    I agree with you that we are in the realized kingdom and I have to admit I have never heard it defined that way even as I have recently adopted the preterist view myself. I guess preterism can also be defined as "realized eschatology" or covenant eschatology. Anyway, I believe that when the bible says we have eternal life I don't think it is saying that we become immortal. Jesus died on the cross for those who choose to follow him and He promises eternal life. Does eternal life mean we become immortal and live forever in the afterlife? I would have to ask, what does the bible mean when it teaches that we have eternal life? In scripture, eternal life is defined as knowing Christ Jesus while in this physical body! Look at this definition of "life eternal": John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Correct me if I am wrong, but is Jesus saying in this passage that when we have eternal life we become immortal and live forever in the afterlife? It seems to me that the scripture says that eternal life does not mean we become immortal (to live for ever and ever), it means to know God, and to know His Truth! I'm like you, I'm still searching the scripture to see where it says that after death we live forever in the afterlife with immortal bodies. If we do, what kind of bodies will we have? I know Paul says we have spiritual bodies, but isn't he again using figurative language as regarding the present reality while in our physical bodies?
    I appreciate your response, and I apologize for not getting back to you earlier. I'm still asking plenty questions myself. No, the immortality I was speaking of (and which Paul spoke of) is not simply the "immortality of the soul." I believe it has to do with eternal covenant relationship with God. What exactly does Paul mean by "spiritual bodies?" I wouldn't venture to try to define that! He was at least, I think, drawing a contrast between the corruptibility of the natural body and the incorruptibility of the spiritual one. Beyond that, I tremble to venture!

    Grace and Peace,
    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    either/or fallacy

    i was just looking at the title of this thread and it seemed to fit as a fallacy of the excluded middle or an either/or fallacy. why does it have to be either one or the other? what about other options (e.g., heaven is a future reality)? what about a state of consciousness? the poster of the thread evidently thinks that heaven is something we experience right now. just noticed that and thought i'd mention it...

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    Re: either/or fallacy

    Originally posted by disciple
    i was just looking at the title of this thread and it seemed to fit as a fallacy of the excluded middle or an either/or fallacy. why does it have to be either one or the other? what about other options (e.g., heaven is a future reality)? what about a state of consciousness? the poster of the thread evidently thinks that heaven is something we experience right now. just noticed that and thought i'd mention it...
    disciple, you have consciousness now while your alive in your physical body, after you die you lose your consciousness. That is not a fallacy, that is according to scripture which makes that a fact!

    According to David; "In that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalms 146:4), and the other passages:
    Psalm 6:5; 78:39; 88:10:12; 103:14-16; 115:17; 146:4, Job 7:9-10; 10:18; 14:12,21, Ecclesiastes 3:22; 9:5-10, Isaiah 26:14; 38:18

    Look them up for yourself mr disciple and enjoy the truth of God's word. Does it bother you that you won't know anything after death? Why is it that if you hit someone in the head hard enough to knock them out they know nothing but when they die they know everything? Strange teaching ! Certainly not from the scriptures!

    Cheers

    CP
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2Peter 1:20)

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