There are three heavens. There is the heaven where the birds fly. There is the heaven where the stars are and there is the third heaven where our Father is.
II Corinthians 12:2, “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.”
Whatever our Father does is forever. The earth will endure forever. It will be cleansed with fire.
New Jerusalem will come down from God, out of heaven, to the earth.
Revelation 21:1-3, “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.”
The heaven we are waiting on will be here on earth.
Do You Go To Heaven When You Die?
When you die your spirit returns to God who gave it and you are without life, dead until the resurrection.
Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
No one is sent to hell which is the second death until after the resurrection and the great white throne judgment.
Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
Study Revelation 20:11-14.
When unrepentant sinners die, God does not send them to hell, bring them back for judgement, and return them to hell.
Even mankind tries and sentences a person before sending him to death.
Death is the absence of life. Sleep in several instances in the bible means being dead.
The Lord told Moses that He would sleep with His Fathers.
Deuteronomy 31:16, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.”
The Lord told David that He would sleep with His fathers.
II Samuel 7:12, “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.”
When a person dies, he is dead, without life until the resurrection.
John 5:28-29, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the 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.”
John 6:54, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 11:21-24, “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Revelation 20:4-6, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Job knew that He would die and later be resurrected.
Job 14:12-15, “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep, 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! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.”
David tells us in Psalms that there is no remembrance in death. When men die, they return to the dust; on that day all their plans comes to an end.
Study Psalms 6:5.
Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes the state of the dead.
Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, “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. 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.”
If we go to either heaven or hell immediately when we die, then the resurrection would be unnecessary.
The Bible does not say anywhere in the New Testament that you go to heaven when you die.
Matthew 5:3 shows possession and not that you go to heaven.
Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
After the great white throne judgment the earth will be cleansed with fire.
II Peter 3:6-7,10: “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
The earth will endure forever.
Ecclesiastes 3:14: “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.”
Psalms 78:69: “And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.”
Ecclesiastes 1:4: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”
New Jerusalem comes down to earth from heaven.
Jesus tells us only He has ascended to heaven.
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.”
No one receives immortality before Jesus returns.
1 Timothy 6:16: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”
Peter tells us in Acts 2:34, David has not gone to heaven.
Acts 2:34: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,”
Paul tells us in Hebrews 11 that all people in the Old Testament with God’s Holy Spirit died in faith without having received the promises.
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.”
Paul tells us we will all receive eternal life at the same time.
Hebrews 11:39-40: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
In Matthew 4 Satan quoted scripture when he tempted Jesus. Jesus quoted scripture back to Satan telling him man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
The scripture quoted by Jesus has preeminence over the scripture quoted by Satan.
When the Bible clearly makes a statement and then other scriptures seems to contradict this scripture, this means we have to search all of God’s word and rightly divide the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Study Matthew 4:1-11.
Many people obtain their belief that you go to heaven or hell immediately after you die from the following scriptures.
II Corinthians 5:5-10: “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
To understand these verses, you have to understand that the subject here is ‘faith.’ It is not ‘Do you go to heaven or hell immediately when you die?’
John 3:13 plainly tells us that no one has ascended to heaven except Jesus.
Matthew 4:4 tells us that you have to live by every word of God.
This means we have to study other scriptures to rightly divide scriptures like II Corinthians 5:5-10.
Study II Timothy 2:15
These verses are about faith. We have faith before we have the Holy Spirit and then we are given the earnest (a portion) of the Holy Spirit.
Study II Corinthians 5:5.
Paul is willing to be absent from the body and be present with the Lord because he knows he will be accepted by his faith.
Paul knows that when he dies his spirit will go back to God who gave it and that he will be dead until the resurrection.
Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
We are confident we are accepted by God now by our faith and also confident we will be accepted by God in the resurrection by our faith.
These verses do not have anything to do with going to heaven.
Many Churches do not rightly divide Philippians 1:23-24.
Philippians 1:23-24: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”
When Paul speaks about having a desire to depart and be with Christ, he is speaking hypothetically.
For Paul to depart he would have to die by some means. Here Paul is expressing his feelings. Paul knows it would be far better for him to pass away now than to endure the death which was prophesied for him in Acts 21:10-14.
Acts 21:10-14: “And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.”
Paul knows he will receive his crown at the resurrection.
II Timothy 4:6-8: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
This is the resurrection. Everyone receives their crown of righteousness at the same time.
All members of God’s Church receive eternal life together at the resurrection, not separately when we die.
Lazarus and the rich man.
Luke 16:19-26: “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
In these scriptures Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees. Jesus is showing the Pharisees the two resurrections.
Revelation 20:4-6: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Lazarus will be in the first resurrection. The rich man will be in the second resurrection a thousand years later. He will look up from the grave (hades) in torments, and see the gehenna, hell fire, which he will be cast into. He is a physical man about to be burned up. If he were spiritual the fire would not hurt him.
Hell (hades) Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #86, Greek: “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls: grave, hell.
Hell (gehenna) Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #1067, Greek: used as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: hell.
Torments-Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance # 931, Greek: Remotely from the same as #939 (through the notion of going to the bottom): a touch-stone, torture: torment.
The rich man was at the bottom or in the lowest state of despair and mental anguish a man could possibly be.
He is about to be cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:30, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Touch-stone-The New International Webster Comprehensive Dictionary: a fine-grained dark stone, as jasper, formerly used to test the fineness of gold by the color of the streak made on the stone. A criterion or standard by which the qualities of something are tested.
The rich man says he is tormented in this flame.
Tormented-Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #3600, Greek: to grieve, sorrow, torment.
The rich man is in the grave (hades) in the second resurrection and lifts up his eyes. He is not burning in fire. He is mentally grieving and sorrowful.
Lazarus will have eternal life which is the great gulf between Lazarus and the rich man; neither can cross over to the other.
The rich man will go to the second death.
Revelation 20:6, 14: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Jude 12,13: “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
II Peter 2:10-22
What happened to Elijah?
Elijah was getting old. A new king came to the throne.
The Lord was going to replace Elijah with Elisha and He did not want to disqualify Elijah in the eyes of the people. The Lord took Elijah up in a whirlwind and moved him to another place.
II Kings 2:11, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
After Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven, the sons of the prophets went to search for Elijah. They knew that he had not gone up into the third heaven where God rules.
Study II Kings 2.
Ten years later Jehoram of Judah set about to build high places to worship and to introduce pagan customs.
At this time, ten years after Elijah is taken up in a whirlwind, Elijah sends Jehoram a letter telling him the word of the Lord. This letter from Elijah shows that he was still here on earth and not in heaven as many churches teach.
II Chronicles 21:11-15, 18: “Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto. And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself: Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day. And after all this the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease.”
Elijah had been moved to another place by God.
Only Jesus has ascended up to heaven.
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.”
Genesis 5:18-24: “And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”
All of Enoch’s days were three hundred sixty five years. About twelve times in this chapter it talks about ‘all the days’ of someone and it means the person died at the end of these days.
In Hebrews 11:5 we have Enoch being translated twice.
Hebrews 11:5: ” By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
Enoch was translated by the Father into the kingdom of His Son so he would not see the second death. Everyone must see the first death.
Colossians 1:13: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
Enoch was not found because God had translated Enoch elsewhere, most likely to his place of burial.
What happened to the thief on the cross?
The malefactor was crucified and buried. He is dead and will be resurrected when Jesus returns.
Luke 23:43, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Placing the coma before or after the word ‘today’ in the above verse (Luke 23:43) determines the meaning of the verse.
Jesus was crucified and was in the grave three days and three nights. After Jesus was resurrected He told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him for He had not yet ascended to His Father.
The malefactor could not have gone to paradise to be with Jesus the day they were crucified because Jesus Himself did not go there at that time. He was in the grave three days and three nights.
The two witnesses.
Where did the two witnesses go after they ascended up to heaven in a cloud?
The witnesses ascended up to the heaven where birds fly. The Lord probably moved them to the place of safety where the Elect will be at this time.
Revelation 12:14: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”