Once I die…I am off to Heaven like *Snaps fingers* that!

Posted: May 24, 2010 in Blessings, Christian Beliefs, From Adventism to Christ, The Bible

 

Did You Know: When a Christian Dies…they Go to be with Christ! And here’s how that works.

What if…no one were in Heaven right now?

 This last Saturday I attended concert for two awesome bands from my grade school years, Dude! and True Tale. To say the evening was righteous would be an understatement, the music was great and the atmosphere was electric and the music was as loud as it should be. Afterwards I mingled visiting with people I hadn’t been around in years; I shared pictures of my boys, found out how lives were going. As I was talking with some friends I made a forgetful mistake of saying the one child I lost was up in Heaven. To which the immediate response was: Ross, no one’s there yet.

It was an honest mistake; I’m so used to being around mainline Christians that I had forgotten my old beliefs. However hearing those beliefs from the perspective of one outside the Adventist Church I realized just how sad and hollow, I’ll even use the world hopeless those beliefs were. The idea that no one is in Heaven who died or dies right now is incomprehensible to me; I know such a stance would be incomprehensible to Jesus also.

Jesus and the thief on the Cross

40 But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. 41 We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” 43 He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”

Luke 23:40-43 (MSG)

Today.

The thief had been a fantastic convert and witness to Christ’s authority on the Cross and in just a few moments went from Damned to Saved for eternity. Jesus had said to Him that on that very day He would be joined by the thief in Paradise.

In case you’re wondering Paradise is another word for Heaven.

Before Christ was crucified Paradise was located below, in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus just 7 chapters prior Jesus had told the story of Lazarus a poor beggar who on death was carried away by angels to “Abraham’s bosom”. If you’ll remember not long after the rich man died and was buried in Hades. The rich man looked up and saw Lazarus in “Abraham’s bosom” (a figurative term for Paradise AKA Heaven) and asked for a drip of water. However Abraham said the following:

 26 Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

Luke 16:26 (MSG)

In other words at that time the Afterlife looked like this:

Abode of the Dead at the time of Christ's Death

So when Christ on the cross gave up His spirit it went down to Paradise and while in Paradise he was of course joined by the spirit of the Thief. So that very day their life continued in Paradise, it had simply switched from a temporal to a spiritual eternal life.

In Ephesians 4: 8-10 is states that:

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) Eph 4:8-11 (KJV)

Before Christ ascended to Heaven His Spirit went into the depths of the earth, to Paradise or Abraham’s bosom in other words and I’m quite certain He let it be known that He had done it and banished death.

When He had finished on the earth He returned to Heaven, and he “led the captivity captive” in other words He took with Him those that had died and whose Spirits had gone to Paradise. And Paradise and Heaven were joined if you will, from that day forth whoever died believing gave up their Spirit and their Spirit went RIGHT AWAY to be with the Lord.

The Division of Body and Spirit

 

The Bible is quite clear in that the Body does return to the Earth from which it came at death. It is however equally clear that the Spirit is ETERNAL and that not only did Jesus give up His Spirit on the cross but other believers also believed in the Immortality of the Spirit.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Phil 1:21-24 (KJV)

Here Paul is saying: “For me to continue living I would live for Christ, but to die would be better. If I live in the flesh I will continue to win souls for Christ and be here with you, if I had a choice it would be really tough. For I am torn between the two, I desire to leave and be with Christ always, for that is far better. Yet it is more important for me to be with you so I can teach you.

If you had this choice what would you make?

Which would you choose if it were up to you?

What would you choose?

Would you choose to die and let your BODY return to the Earth and your Spirit rejoice in Heaven?

Or…

Would you live out your mortal life on earth to enter into your Spiritual eternal life at Gods’ time for you?

I think it’s wise that God doesn’t give us that choice, I think if we had that choice we would all be clicking on the Be with Christ button.

Just to be sure we’re 100 percent clear once Jesus ascended to Heaven all of the Spirits of the Christians that died believing in Him went right to Paradise or Heaven if you rather to be with Him.

In other words at death your body returned to dust, but since Jesus, Paul and Steven believe the Spirit returned to be with the Lord your Spirit…the immortal part of you…goes to be with Jesus in Heaven!

The Body returns to the dust of the Earth and the Eternal Spirit goes to be with Christ in Paradise.

This teaching is not some rare arcane thing in fact it is one of the most joyous things that a Christian looks forwards to: it’s called to be very literal “The Loosening Time”.

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him

2 Cor 5:1-9 (KJV)

God knows our time to die, it is Him who loosens our tent around us, and it is Him who lets our Spirit free out of this earthly tent to be with Him eternally.

When God loosens our "Tent" at death our "Tent" returns to the Earth. Our Spirit to Christ in Paradise (Heaven)

The Ultimate Reunion

Had I not found a new hope through my Holy Spirit led Bible Study the loss of my eldest twins’ brother would have been shattering to me. The thought of David being asleep would not have brought peace or hope or contentment. Yet I found through gentle continual pressure, study and growth in my spiritual walk that with the Holy Spirit that as it points out so often in the Bible the Spirit of a Believer doe not die, or sleep, or go on vacation. It simply goes to Heaven to be with Jesus eternally.

The Bible says that:

Rom 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

Rom 8:39  nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

See when we’re dead we are not separated from His love. Some would say that simply means that God loves us even though our Soul is sleeping, but as I’ve already shown our soul or spirit doesn’t sleep it’s eternal. The real me is my Spirit which lives for a time inside my Body, and when my time is up God loosens my Body from around my Spirit and my Spirit goes to be forever in the presence of His eternal love.

We don’t go into suspended animation.

If you believe so I must speak frankly, you’re incorrect in your reading of the scriptures. In fact in 1st Thessalonians Paul unequivocally states the following at the great family reunion:

  1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;

1Th 4:17  then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Jesus when He comes to take up His Church to take them all to His Father’s House will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

A number of times Jesus made quite certain that His disciples knew that by fallen asleep He actually meant DEAD. The story of Lazarus being raised from the dead is one of those.

So what is Jesus then bringing?

He’s bringing with Him all of the eternal Spirits of those who have died, and He then places those Spirits into their eternal bodies. It is at this point that all Believers Go back with Jesus to a Specific part of Heaven called “The Father’s House”.

And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Tomorrow we’ll take a in depth look at The entire history of the Bible as a description of the Jewish marriage ceremony which should make things crystal clear.

 

In Conclusion

I know I was very unkind and sneaky with title of my teaching today, you see Heaven is a busy place. It’s not only filled with uncountable angels doing things beyond our imagination, it’s not only filled with the New Jerusalem (The Father’s House) onto which Jesus himself is adding on new rooms for each of us (more on that tomorrow) but there’s one other thing.

Heaven is filled with the Spirits of believers’ people who were loosed from their mortal bodies and went to be with Christ. It is a place of untold joy, praise, adoration, peace and worship.

It is a place I can’t wait to be, because my earthly tent is getting worn out and I’m not even 34! I can’t wait to enter eternity, for my spiritual eternal life in Heaven to begin. If I could push that be with Christ button right now I probably would, but God has us here for a reason, and we’ll be here until our reason for being here is completed. Some of us may never live in our Spirit form; Christ might come before we see death, and clothe us in our Resurrection bodies.

However you can rest is peace knowing that should you die you don’t go to sleep, or drop unconscious, or enter suspended animation. Your body certainly returns to the earth from which it came, but your Spirit, who you truly are, goes to be with Christ!

In Christ,

Ross

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