by Jeannette Haley
“We are confident…and willing rather
to be absent from the body,
and to be present with the Lord.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:8
Most people, whether they are born again Christians or not, have their own idea of what heaven is like, or what it will be like for them personally. Muslims, who do not believe in original sin, believe heaven has seven different levels. As one advances upwards through each level, the closer you become to Allah. Keep in mind that Allah is the ancient moon god of Mesopotamia, not Jehovah God of the Christians and Jews. An excellent Web Site to check out is www.biblebelievers.org which is a great resource for study on the pagan ancient moon god worship, and is a wealth of other historical facts that most Christians are unaware of as well.
Mormons have their own convoluted beliefs about life after death that involve an elaborate, unscriptural explanation of what a person must do to work his or her way to the “third” or “Celestial” heaven. Roman Catholicism’s teachings, beliefs and practices come from Mithraism—a form of paganism that existed in Babylonian times. They also require extensive works as a requirement for salvation. In response to the question, “Do people go to heaven after purgatory,” Wiki.answers.com says, “Yes, when a soul enters purgatory it begins the cleansing process, (removal of sins) so the soul can be purely good and so worthy to be entirely in God’s presence (heaven). In other words a soul in heaven is guaranteed a place in heaven. Some churches believe that Purgatory is a temporary state before you can go to heaven. While some other churches believe that it is a place for those not good enough for heaven, but too good for hell; and once in Purgatory you remain there indefinitely. Other churches do not believe there is a Purgatory at all; they believe that after death people go directly to heaven or hell depending on how God judges them.” The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there are four different types of Purgatory within “Limbo”, one of which is the Limbo that infants who die before baptism go to for eternity.
Even though God strictly forbids praying to the dead, or trying to communicate with them (necromancy) it is no secret that Mary is considered to be a “co-savior” along with Jesus, and is prayed to daily by millions, making her an omnipresent, omnipotent goddess.
The fact is, every false religion, cult and New Age belief, and practice, on the planet originates from prehistoric paganism (both pre-Flood and post Flood) that culminated in ancient Babylon. Therefore, any belief, teaching, philosophy, or experience that people maintain is “the true way” apart from God’s Word is a lie from the father of lies. The Holy Bible alone stands, and always will, as the only standard of truth for lost mankind to cling to, depend upon, and believe. Nevertheless, there is an astonishing flood of apostasy gaining momentum within Christendom, especially throughout Western civilization which has historically championed the Gospel, and spread the light of Christ to the entire world. This evil tide of heretical poison is lapping at the doors of unbelieving and hardened hearts in these last days. Such are turning from God’s Word to cunningly crafted fables, witchcraft, vain philosophies of man, doctrines of demons and paganism, false science (evolution) and an endless presentation of heresies, such as Universalism which teaches that every soul, saved or not, will end up in heaven, completely doing away with what the Bible teaches concerning hell. We are warned, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” Ephesians 5:6, 7. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” Colossians 2:8.
Concerning heaven, God created three separate and distinct “heavens.” (For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens” 1 Chronicles 26:16.) These “heavens” are the atmosphere, or sky that surrounds the earth; the second heaven is the Universe or what we call Space, and the third is where God’s throne is located. In Deuteronomy 26:15 we read, “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.” This is one of many references that establishes that God is “above” the Universe, above the air around the earth, and above all the earth and all that lives upon the earth. God is “higher” in every way to His creation. 1 Kings 8:30 records Solomon’s powerful prayer at the dedication of the temple. Referring to God hearing from heaven, he prayed “And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.” In 2 Chronicles 30:27 we read, “Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.” In this verse we see that God dwells in His holy place, in heaven.
In Job 22:12 it says, “Is not God in the height of heaven? And behold the height of the stars, how high they are!” Consider that the Book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible, and these ancient people understood that God Almighty, the Creator of all there is dwells on high, even above the height of the stars. Asaph declared in Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” I think in modern terms, this wise man would probably ask, “Why should I settle for less when I can have the Most High God?” In Psalm 148:13, we read “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent: his glory is above the earth and heaven”. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory…” Isaiah 63:15a. From Genesis 1:1 through the last chapter of the Book of Revelation we can find hundreds of references to heaven, and God’s dwelling place above.
Heaven is a fact. It is also a fact that Jesus declared that He came down from heaven. For example, in John 3:13 He said, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” In John 6:32, 33 Jesus declared, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” In John 7:51 He declared, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat [believe and receive] of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, [on the cross] which I will give for the life of the world.” [Addition mine.] The Apostle Peter wrote, concerning the resurrected Christ, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” 1 Peter 3:22.
One thing that you will never find in the “real Bible,” (as opposed to many of the perverted ultra modern, so-called “translations”) is flippancy. Flippancy, however, abounds in the world around us, and makes no exception for such serious realities as sin and Satan, right or wrong, life or death, heaven or hell. Satan will use whatever means he can to undermine the truth and validity of the Word of God. It is obvious that one of his greatest weapons is the use of frivolity. We can see this portrayed in such things as ridiculous, and downright immoral, television series, Hollywood productions, as well as by the media, comedians, radio talk shows, video games, books, music and the arts, and advertisements, to name a few. Tragically, such levity and disrespect can be seen in certain religious leaders, seeker-friendly churches, and popular movements within Christendom that are “Christian” in name only. Such wolves in sheep’s clothing, with their cavalier attitudes, set up a blasphemous atmosphere for undiscerning souls—an environment that encourages demonic deception with devastating results. In Deuteronomy 32:15 God had this to say about this subject to Israel, “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness: then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” [Emphasis added.]
God never changes, so how can we expect Him to “understand” and overlook the lack of brevity and sobriety displayed by both the world and much of the Church when it comes to His Word, His greatness, His holiness, His judgment on sin, His great salvation, His ways, and His commandments (moral law)? How can He forgive the lack of faith, and the unbelief that is expressed through flippancy concerning such truths as heaven and hell? God declared through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:29-32. [Emphasis added.]
This brings me to the title of this article, “Heaven.” Heaven, where God dwells with all the heavenly host, and departed saints is a fact that needs to be expressed within the context of God’s Word in order to insure its truth and sanctity. What is troubling is the increasing flippancy about heaven, especially from both those who should know better (those with a Christian background) as well as those who think they are “Christians,” but aren’t. It is disturbing to hear people say such things about the dead as “My dad is watching me from heaven. I know he’d be proud of my success.” Or, “I know that my mom is always with me, wherever I go,” or “I know that so-and-so is protecting me…I talk to him/her all the time.” As innocent as this may be to many people, it dangerously borders on the evil practice of necromancy, or communication with the dead, and it is strictly forbidden by God. “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God” Deuteronomy 18:10-13.
Another flippancy about heaven is when people talk about the unsaved being “up there, watching what is unfolding here below.” We heard one such comment lately when watching a television documentary on the strange life (and unsolved disappearance) of a notorious wealthy fornicator. His life was one of flagrant corruption, yet the unsaved around him merely assume he is” up there,” watching them try to solve the riddle of his disappearance while searching for his illegitimate offspring in Asia.
Then there are those who believe that certain celebrities, who had no profession whatsoever of Christ when they were living, either in word or deed, are now carrying on with their “singing” or “acting” or “playing sports,” or whatever, up in “heaven.” Some Christians believe it is going to be one big “party.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! Yet, people flippantly continue on, trying to bring heaven (and God) down to the level of this fallen world, inserting their own take on how it could be based only on subjective feelings and imaginations garnered from this temporal world, in order to feel comfortable about heaven. In all probability, many people don’t honestly want to go to heaven if it doesn’t offer them what they imagine it should be, with such things as marriage (Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven, see Matthew 22:30), or a continuation of either the life they enjoyed on this earth, or a fulfillment of the life they wish they had enjoyed on this earth.
Finally, even Christians sometimes have a tendency to believe that those whom they have admired for their good deeds, clean, honest living and generosity to others must surely be in heaven. In their mind, because God is loving and kind, His grace must somehow overlook the fact that these people never came to Christ to receive His forgiveness for their sins, and to make Him Lord of their life. Even the most well-meaning and sincere Christian is still human, and it is a very human thing to want heaven to include those people, places and things that we love and enjoy in this present world. However, God’s Word is clear that this verse (1 John 5:12) “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” still applies regardless of how much we may love certain “good” individuals, or how wonderful we think they are. Knowing these things should fan the flame that burns in our hearts with God’s love to pray for, and reach out to those who are lost by any means available. God has provided the way to eternal life, and heaven, through His Son Jesus Christ. He calls us to be co-laborers with Him in the great harvest field of the world, winning souls to Christ, teaching them to obey His commandments through discipling, and also teaching them to follow Him all the days of their life.
When it comes to heaven and hell, people need to be aware of the slippery slope of the aforementioned belief of Universalism, which the fathers of the faith have fought against for centuries. According to Wikipedia, “Christian Universalism is a school of Christian Theology which includes the belief in the doctrine of universal reconciliation, the view that all human beings and all fallen creatures will ultimately be restored to right relationship with God in Heaven.” Students of the Bible will readily discern the grave error in this vain, and fast growing, philosophy.
Those of us who “know that we know” that our names are written in the Book of Life rejoice with great joy, and comfort believing Jesus’ promise, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” John 14:1-3.
Are you ready?