Do Christians GO TO HEAVEN when they die? Are there really "MANSIONS IN THE SKY" waiting for you? Read the surprising PLAIN TRUTH about these vital questions in your own Bible!
"Going to be with the Lord," it is said of dead churchgoing people today. Is this literally true? Do people really GO TO HEAVEN when they die?
An Ancient Question
Men have puzzled over the perplexing question of what happens after death for many, many centuries! It has been somehow inconceivable to man, from his earliest beginnings, that death should end everything. Today, the modem world is divided into many major religions, each in its own turn being divided into many hundreds and even thousands of lesser sects and denominations. The ancestor-worshippers of the Oriental family believe in a life after death with one's own relatives. The Moslems visualize an eternity in beautiful desert oases, surrounded by babbling waters and dancing girls. Different schisms of Hinduism believe in attaining to a state of "great nothingness" in "Nirvana." Professing Christianity believes in going to "heaven." Either immediately at death, during the millennium, or at some other time. Everywhere, there is the HOPE of a life after death — of an eternal REWARD. But nowhere, it seems, is there any agreement on WHERE THAT LIFE WILL BE SPENT! Why such CONFUSION? Why such IGNORANCE?
Only ONE Source
You don't need to be in confusion — you don't have to guess at the outcome of such a fantastically important question! There is an infallibly accurate, factual, thoroughly proved SOURCE to which you can go! That source is YOUR OWN BIBLE! The Bible stands PROVED to be the inspired book of Almighty God — His written revelation to man. Paul wrote, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God [is God-breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16). Peter wrote, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Pet. 1:21). You need to know you can rely on the Bible! You need to know you can TRUST it. You need to know you can put your FAITH in what it plainly says, and reject "feelings" of your own. You need to KNOW you can trust the Bible instead of the teachings of MEN, the assumptions of relatives, or a death-bed vision of a dying loved one! If you are one who has always just assumed the Bible is true, but have never seen it infallibly demonstrated, then read our booklet The Proof Of The Bible!
Every error is based upon a false premise just carelessly TAKEN FOR GRANTED. Most professing Christians have just TAKEN FOR GRANTED "heaven" is the reward of the saved! They have never gotten around to PROVING whether or not this is so from the Bible — but have taken it for granted! Think for a moment! How many sermons can you recall attempting to PROVE heaven is the destiny of Christians? Probably you can recall MANY where heaven was mentioned, was contrasted to a supposed ever-burning hell, or was described. Probably, you have heard many hundreds of references to heaven as the final reward! But did you ever hear a sermon that PROVED it from God's own Word, the Bible? No! You never did! Do you know why? Because IT CAN'T BE PROVED! This doctrine — just like perhaps many others people "hold dear" — is merely ASSUMED by most professing Christianity. It is "par for the course," it is a common, unquestioned, basic assumption that is carelessly taken for granted! You need to quit assuming! You need to see it PROVED, one way or the other! You need to KNOW the truth — and to KNOW that you know, not just carelessly assume certain points to be true. Perhaps you feel it would be "settling" for a LESSER goal to "settle" for earth, instead of "heaven." Such sentiments are human ARGUMENTS which merely rationalize away, or reject a precious truth of God through RIDICULE, rather than carefully "searching the scriptures daily, WHETHER THESE THINGS BE so"! (Acts 17:11) Surely you know you can't afford to let preconceived ideas, the concepts of others around you, bias or prejudice, keep you chained with bonds of ignorance. Remember — the TRUTH of. God can be proved — it can stand on its own feet! God's precious TRUTH does not need lever "catch phrases" or plays upon words to sustain it. It alone stands the test of ALL searching of Scripture — of open-minded, earnest SEEKING for the truth! "SEEK, and ye shall find," promised your Savior!
A Perplexing Dilemma
Jesus talked, as recorded in the inspired Word of God, of a coming resurrection. He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live" (John 5:25). He went on to talk of those who were still in their graves at the time of the second coming of Christ, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation ("judgment," margin)" (John 5:28-29). Very PLAIN, isn't it? Jesus said the hour was coming — very plainly referring to a yet future GENERAL RESURRECTION. He also referred to the resurrection of Lazarus and others in the New Testament when He said, "and now is." Reading on into the 11th chapter, you read of this miraculous forerunner of the great resurrection at the end of the age. Later, Jesus said, "... and every one which seeth the Son, and befieveth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40). Read the exact TIME of the resurrection in your Bible! "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I WILL RAISE HIM UP AT THE LAST DAY" (John 6:44). But what a PERPLEXING DILEMMA! If Christians GO TO HEAVEN IMMEDIATELY WHEN THEY DIE — IF they are ALREADY in heaven, where they have been living in beautiful mansions for hundreds or even thousands of years — WHY BOTHER WITH A RESURRECTION? If they have been released from this sin-sick world, from their old, worn-out, disease-ridden, corruptible bodies, and if they have been WITH Jesus Christ IN heaven — why would Jesus take them OUT of heaven, bring them back to earth, plunge them BACK INTO their graves, and then go to the fantastic, laborious effort of RESURRECTING THEM? Isn't this a little difficult to believe? Does it really make sense?
Never Promised Heaven
SHOCKING though it may sound — the Jesus Christ of your Bible never promised heaven as the reward of the saved! He promised something entirely different! Let's notice, FIRST OF ALL, the most often-quoted scriptures used by deluded men to preach the ancient, pagan doctrine of "going to heaven." Perhaps you, like hundreds of thou-'sands of others, have supposed Jesus said plainly, in the "sermon on the mount" that Christians go to heaven when they die. But He didn't! Let's turn to this beautiful portion of the Bible, the very heart and core of REAL Christianity — and see just what Jesus did say. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," said Jesus, "for theirs is the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" (Matt. 5:3). "Why, doesn't that SAY He promised heaven?" you might ask. No, it doesn't! What if Jesus had said, "for theirs is the Bank OF Morgan"? DOES THIS MEAN He promised the money, and the stocks, bonds, securities, the wealth of the bank which is IN — INSIDE OF — Morgan? Why, of course, this would be ridiculous! Notice the proof right in the same section. "Blessed are the MEEK," said Jesus two verses later, "for THEY shall INHERIT THE EARTH" (Matt. 5:5). Does this mean the "poor in spirit" (which merely means those who are truly HUMBLE) are to go to HEAVEN, while those possessing a very similar attribute of Christian character, that of MEEKNESS, are to stay here on earth? No! It means just what it says —that overcomers are to inherit the earth — the kingdom OF heaven — not the kingdom IN heaven!
What About Heavenly Mansions?
But what about the time-honored songs, the hopes of millions, the cherished "Christian traditions" of the "homes above" that so many have talked about, sung about, written about, all down through these years? Turn to this scripture. You read it in John, the 14th chapter. "In my Father's house are many mansions [margin, "abodes"): 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 14:2-3). Notice it — NOWHERE DID JESUS SAY SAINTS GO TO HEAVEN! He said, rather, there are PLACES, HABITATIONS, ABODES, MANSIONS, RESIDENCES which HE IS PREPARING. These "places" are NOW "IN" HEAVEN. But Jesus went on to say, "I will COME AGAIN." Come where? To THIS EARTH, as Jesus repeated so many times. He also said, "that where I AM, there ye may be also" (verse 3). Where will Jesus BE? If Jesus COMES AGAIN TO THIS EARTH — then He will BE ON THIS EARTH! The EARTH, and a definite, specific location ON the earth, will be where Jesus said He is going to BE. If we are to BE WITH HIM where He is to BE — then we, also, are going to BE ON THIS EARTH! What are the different "mansions" or places Jesus is now busily preparing? Read Luke 19! Jesus likened Himself to a young nobleman, who went on a long journey into a distant land to qualify to RULE A KINGDOM. At His return, He demanded an accounting from His servants. He then apportioned different responsibilities to them, according to how much they had overcome! Jesus said Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in the Kingdom of God here on this earth, and revealed the twelve disciples will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel! David referred to being a "doorkeeper" in God's Kingdom as being better than the highest offices here on this earth. Jesus promises RULERSHIP over nations (Rev. 2:26) and offices of KINGS AND PRIESTS in His Kingdom! There are different PLACES, different ABODES, different OFFICES and POSITIONS in God's soon-coming Kingdom, for which individuals must qualify! That is what Christ is doing NOW! He is, working through His Church, preparing individuals for official positions in God's Kingdom! He is putting certain humans through experiences which will better fit them for a certain PLACE in the Government of God! How vastly misunderstood has been this important scripture! Notice plain truth of your Bible. "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee..." (Zech. 14:1). Then follows a graphic description of the accompanying SIGNS of the second coming of Jesus Christ! Be sure you read every word in your own Bible. Now notice verse four. "And his feet shall stand IN THAT DAY upon the mount of Olive?' (Zech. 14:4). Yes — it is called the SECOND COMING of Christ. His second arrival. He is COMING again! And He will arrive HERE, on this earth! The very first message God ever sent back to this earth after the departure of Jesus to heaven is recorded in Acts the first chapter. The disciples were looking up into the skies, where they saw Jesus disappear into a cloud (verse 9). "And, while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up FROM you into heaven, SHALL so COME [RETURN TO THIS EARTH] IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN" (Acts 1:10-11). Yes, Christ is to COME AGAIN to this EARTH! Now, for another surprise, turn to the well-known scripture found in I Thessalonians the 4th chapter. "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep [ARE DEAD — NOT OFF IN HEAVEN] in Jesus will God bring with him. 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 [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall DESCEND [come DOWN OUT OF] from [which means "away out of heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ SHALL RISE FIRST." No mention here of saints coming from heaven — but of DEAD saints RISING FIRST BEFORE THE LIVING ARE CHANGED! "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" (I Thes. 4:14-17). HOW PLAIN! Jesus is returning from heaven. The dead and living saints are to be caught up — NOT TO HEAVEN — BUT INTO THE AIR, INTO THE CLOUDS! This earth is composed of three "spheres," according to the sciences. The "lithosphere" or the solid earth, the "hydrosphere" or all the water on earth, and the "atmosphere." Each is a PART OF THE EARTH. The AIR, or the atmosphere, is as much peculiar to THIS EARTH as is the water, the rocks, and everything else on it. Simply scoffing at the real meaning of these plain scriptures will NOT CHANGE them. Not WANTING to 'believe' the precious, glorious, PLAIN TRUTH of the Bible will not do away with it! What you are reading in this article is directly from the sacred Word of God. Perhaps it sounds NEW — different to you from what you may have always assumed or taken for granted! You may have a natural, human tendency to want to cling to previous convictions — or what you have always heard. But what about it? Are you one who really zealously desires the TRUTH of God? If you are — you'll be looking up these scriptures IN YOUR BIBLE. You'll be reading the passages before and after them and any other related scriptures. You'll be striving to PROVE these things — however strange they may seem to you — and prove them from the Bible. Again we say — DON'T BELIEVE MEN. Don't believe this article UNLESS you check up and see it proved! This article is not written to ridicule, or try to prejudice your mind against a doctrine. Rather, it is written to point out to you where you may find the TRUTH of God on this very important question! May God help you to remove bias, to get your ideas in subjection to God's truth — and to BELIEVE what you see clearly PROVED! Remember, Jesus is coming to earth from heaven, as we have seen so plainly. He is returning after being away. He is coming back after a long absence. If YOU had been away on a LONG JOURNEY, of many thousands of miles, into a foreign country, and were going to return — and you wanted your family to MEET you, what would they do? Would your ship near the harbor, and then your family jump aboard the pilot boat, board your vessel, and all of you then GO BACK TO THE FOREIGN COUNTRY FROM WHICH YOU CAME? Ridiculous, isn't it? We are to MEET Christ as He RETURNS! And NOWHERE DOES YOUR BIBLE SAY WE WILL THEN GO BACK TO HEAVEN WITH HIM! Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "... ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son FROM heaven, whom he raised from the dead..." (I Thes. 1:9-10). He is coming here, and we are to go part way — only as high as the clouds — to meet Him, and then to come right down to this earth with Him! "So shall we ever be WITH THE LORD," says your Bible. But where will the Lord be? ON THIS EARTH!
What About the Thief on the Cross?
"But didn't the thief on the cross go immediately with Jesus to heaven?" some might ask. And it's a good question! What about the promise Jesus apparently made to one of the malefactors who was dying beside Him? Notice! The very same ones who believe the thief on the cross WENT INTO PARADISE WITH JESUS IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH ALSO BELIEVE JESUS DID NOT GO TO PARADISE, BUT WENT IMMEDIATELY INTO HELL TO PREACH TO DEPARTED "SPIRITS"! How could this BE? Many assume Jesus did not die on the cross! He said He was DEAD (Rev. 1:18). Unless He DIED for our sins, we cannot be reconciled to God! And yet — many assume Jesus was alive during the time in the tomb, but alive down in HELL, supposedly busily "preaching" to some departed souls! If Jesus promised immediate entry into PARADISE to the thief, and then spent time in HELL, AFTER which He appeared again on earth, and said to Mary, "TOUCH ME NOT, for I am not yet ascended to my Father..." (John 20:17) and did not have the thief with Him — then did Jesus LIE? No, Jesus did not lie — neither did He go into a burning HELL — but into "hades" which NEVER, by the wildest stretch of the imagination, has anything whatsoever to do with infernal fires, but means, simply, "the GRAVE." Check ANY reliable concordance, commentary, or lexicon for proof of this. Jesus was DEAD for THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS (Matt. 12:40). He DID NOT GO THAT VERY DAY TO PARADISE — as He, Himself, later said plainly! Then what happened? Notice it! The Greek language never included separation of chapter, verse, or punctuation marks, as commonly used in the English language today. Rather, it was written without any paragraphing, or punctuation. It was not divided into verses and chapters, as it appears in our English Bibles today, until many hundreds of years after the New Testament was written! Notice how the whole meaning of certain sentences in the English language can be changed by merely changing the punctuation marks! John might ask, "What's that up in the road, ahead?" And it may sound as if he were asking if he saw a HEAD, the head of a human or an animal, in the road. But if you put the comma in the correct location, the sentence would read thusly: "What's that, up in the road ahead?" and it would make sense. Now turn to Luke 23:43. Read it carefully. Jesus APPEARS to have said, by the placement of the comma in the English version, "TODAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE." And yet Jesus KNEW He was not going to enter into Paradise ON THAT DAY — or for the next THREE OR FOUR DAYS! Now put the comma where it BELONGS, to preserve the sense of this scripture as proved by all other scriptures on the subject (remember, the Bible interprets itself). "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you today, THOU SHALT BE WITH ME IN PARADISE!" Jesus said it THAT DAY, and promised the thief WOULD BE in paradise — but He most certainly DID NOT promise paradise to the thief that very day! If this could have been true, Jesus not only lied, but made an exception to all others, and became a respecter of persons. Also, He said He is the SAME through all ages (Heb. 13:8) and does not change! "Paradise" is commonly assumed to mean "heaven"! But again simply because this is assumed, and carelessly taken for granted does not make it so! The "paradise" will be on this earth! NOTICE WHAT THE THIEF ASKED! "And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me WHEN THOU COMEST [RETURNS TO THIS LITERAL EARTH HERE BELOW] INTO THY KINGDOM."
God's Kingdom on Earth?
Notice some conclusive scriptures. In the mysterious vision seen by Nebuchadnezzar, and interpreted by God through Daniel, it is revealed the Kingdom of God will be ON EARTH! Read the entire 2nd chapter of Daniel. "Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (verse 35). Now notice the INTERPRETATION of the dream in verse 44. "And in the days of these kings [shown by the ten toes, which were smashed by the Stone from heaven) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." God repeatedly uses the type of a mountain as a symbol of a nation or a kingdom. The Kingdom, or the Nation, of GOD will consume, destroy, supersede all these worldly kingdoms — and will RULE them ON THIS EARTH! Describing the events surrounding Christ's return, and the setting up of His world rule, Isaiah was inspired to write, "And it shall come to pass, in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for OUT OF ZION [on this EARTH] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from JERUSALEM [on THIS EARTH)" (Isa. 2:2-3). Micah was inspired to write the same thing in his 4th chapter. Read each of these other vital scriptures! "... When the Lord of hosts shall reign IN MOUNT ZION, and IN JERUSALEM, and before his ancients gloriously" (Isa. 24:23). "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous BRANCH, and a KING shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice IN THE EARTH. In his days JUDAH shall be saved..." (Jer. 23:5-6). This PROVES this scripture is for the future, and refers directly to the SECOND coming of Christ, since it describes the salvation of the JEWS — a yet future event! "The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar OUT OF ZION, and utter his voice FROM JERUSALEM... So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God, DWELLING IN ZION, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be HOLY" (Joel 3:15-17). "... for the Lord dwelleth IN ZION" (Joel 3:21). "And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign Dyer them IN MOUNT ZION from henceforth, even FOR EVER" (Micah 4:7). "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for lo, I COME, and I will DWELL IN THE MIDST OF THEE, saith the Lord" (tech. 2:10). Is this enough? God says OVER AND OVER AGAIN that Christ is coming TO THIS EARTH! David is to be resurrected (Ezek. 34:23; 37:24) to be KING over Israel, ruling under Christ. Think of it! David, a man after God's own heart, "IS NOT ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS" (Acts 2:34) but is dead today — awaiting a glorious resurrection to RULERSHIP with His Lord! These are only a few of the plain scriptures showing Christ is to reign on this earth!
Your TREMENDOUS Reward
Salvation is GOD'S FREE GIFT! You can only be saved by the LIFE of Christ (Rom. 5:10) after having been reconciled to God by His death (same verse). But after God's loving PARDON for your past sins — there is something you can EARN, believe it or not! Jesus said, "To him that OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also OVERCAME, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3:21). Overcoming means GROWING in grace and knowledge (II Peter 3:18). It means growing in ability, in stature and character — becoming more and more LIKE CHRIST! "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). When we have clearly demonstrated Our OBEDIENCE to God — our FAITHFULNESS to His authority, His RULE, His GOVERNMENT in our lives — HE WILL THEN APPORTION POSITIONS OF GOVERNMENT TO US! "Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou AUTHORITY over ten cities" (Luke 19:16-17). Yes, Jesus PROMISES A BUSY ETERNITY! He promises RULERSHIP over His world! He guarantees an active, busy, constructive, scintillating, interesting, absorbing, satisfying, happy eternity of RESPONSIBILITY — of worm! Think of it! INSTEAD of a lazy, BORING, INTERMINABLE, EMPTY ETERNITY ON A CLOUD — NOTHING TO DO JESUS SAID, "And he that overcometh and keepeth MY WORKS unto the end, to him will I give POWER OVER THE NATIONS [ON THIS EARTH]: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father" (Rev. 2:26-27). The saints are to REIGN ON THIS EARTH (Rev. 5:10). They are to be kings and priests of God for ONE THOUSAND YEARS — RIGHT HERE ON THIS EARTH (Rev. 20:4). What a tremendous opportunity! What a GLORIOUS hope! Notice it WE ARE NOT GOING TO GOD IN HEAVEN — GOD IS COMING HERE! "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, COMING DOWN FROM GOD OUT of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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" (Rev. 21:1-3). How PLAIN it is! No amount of "rationalization" or of arguing, or of merely "supposing" can change these plain, straightforward truths of YOUR OWN BIBLE! You need to KNOW the wonderful reward God promises those truly living lives of overcoming — and you need to be STRIVING to enter into His glorious Kingdom that is going to be set up HERE ON THIS EARTH!