Tag: Heaven

When we Die — Do we Go Direct to Heaven or Soul Sleep

The Bible teaches us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Jesus told the thief on the cross, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus didn’t say today you will sleep. The confusion comes from the fact that sleep was often used as a term for death. For instance when Jesus spoke to the disciples about Lazarus: “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said,” Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead” (John 11:11-14).

At death, our spirit separates from our body. Our body returns to the ground and our spirit returns to its maker.

“and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

The apostle Paul said: “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23). “(I) would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Paul was not looking forward to soul sleep, he was looking forward to being with the Lord.

Without a body, there would be no need for sleep. Sleep is for our human mortal body to rejuvenate itself. The body is what requires sleep, not our spirit. The body will go into the ground and sleep, but our souls will be in heaven with the Lord (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Paul spoke of falling asleep instead of dying when he wrote to the Thessalonians.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15).

Notice in these verses, Paul says that Jesus will be bringing those that have fallen asleep with him, in other words, He will be bringing the saints that have died with Him. If He is bringing them with Him, then it is obvious that they are in heaven now and not in the grave.

In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Lazarus went immediately to heaven and the rich man went immediately to hell.

Finally, when John was given a vision of heaven, he described the Christians that were martyred as souls crying out for revenge, they definitely were not sleeping. In every reference in Revelation to human beings in Heaven, they are conscious, not sleeping. As Paul said, to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. The instant we die, we will be in heaven with Jesus! What a glorious time that will be!

Taken from the section on Heaven in “Things You Probably Learn in Church.” Things You Probably Didn’t Learn in Church is a book covering several subjects that are not usually not taught in church. Check out this book and my other books at: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B06XK4GJT1



Our Assurance of Heaven

Jesus is the only way.

Jesus alone paid the price for our sins and redeemed us from the death that we deserve. Because He loves us, Jesus paid for our sins with his blood, he is our Redeemer, and therefore he is our only way to heaven.  Nobody else, no other so-called god, gave their lives and shed their blood for our redemption.

   “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

   “I am the door, If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (John 10:9).

Because of Christ, we will one day be with God and the other saints in heaven. A place that Jesus said is more wonderful than it is possible for us to imagine.

   “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

  Don’t rely on your good works, your church, or your religion to get you to heaven. Jesus is not only the way to heaven, but He is the ONLY way.

   You can believe in parachutes, but unless you actually put it on, it will not save you. The same is true with Jesus. Knowing that He can save you is okay, but unless you put your faith and trust in Him, you will not be saved.

Thankfully Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. He redeemed us with his blood. Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. 

“In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). 

   “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

Jesus loves you! The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, (Jesus Christ), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  A complete life, full of purpose and joy. 

Because of His love for us, Jesus died in our place so we could have a relationship with God and be with Him forever.

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God’s guarantee to us.

When you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you will be sealed by the Holy Spirit. You can be sure you will spend eternity with the Lord.

   As believers in Christ, we are sealed until He returns.   

“The Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

   “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

    “God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come…..For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:5,7).

“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

   We have God’s word that He has sealed us until the day of redemption. This means that God has put His personal seal upon us through the Holy Spirit. We have His protection until the day Christ returns. The devil cannot touch us, for we belong to God. He can tempt us and he can make our lives miserable at times, but he cannot take our salvation from us. We can have that assurance that we will share eternity with Jesus. 

God guarantees us that when we become a believer and seek to live for Him, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and through the Holy Spirit we will be sealed as a child of God until we are taken to heaven.

We know that the Bible is true and is of God. Whatever is written therein, we can depend on. It is the divine word of God, and you have God’s written guarantee that you will go to heaven.

Be warned, this is one area of your life that Satan will attack you over and over again. He will try to destroy your belief in a home in heaven. He will sow seeds of doubt in you. Doubts of being worthy, doubts in God’s word, doubts that God is real. Satan will use anything that will cause you to have doubts about your salvation and an eternal home. 

Not sure you are a Christian? 

You can be sure. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty. You can pray the following prayer or something similar to accept Christ as your Savior:

“Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.

I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died

for my sin and that you raised Him to life.

I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,

from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer and meant it, then you are a child of God. It really is that simple. 

See you in Heaven!

The Thief on the Cross, entered Heaven with Jesus

How does the thief on the cross, fit into your theology?

As Christians, we all have our idea of how we should worship God, what we need to do to secure a place for ourselves in heaven, and what we need to do to be saved. Some of us worship very simply, while others worship very ritualistically. 

But what about the thief on the cross?  He wasn’t baptized. He never took communion. He was never confirmed. There was no speaking in tongues, no special prayers, no volunteering, and no special church clothes. He didn’t say the sinners’ prayer. He couldn’t kneel to pray. Jesus didn’t take his pain or heal his body. He was just a naked dying man on a cross that couldn’t even fold his hands to pray, yet he entered heaven along with Jesus, simply by believing. The only thing he had to offer was his belief in Jesus, that He was who He said He was, as the Scriptures show us:

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

There is nothing that we have to do before coming to Christ! There is absolutely nothing we can do to pre-qualify ourselves for Christianity. The one and only thing required of us is to believe. Many times we try to make Christianity more complicated for ourselves and others than we should. It is really very simple. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose again and is alive today; then seek His forgiveness. That is all that is required. Do that and you will be a child of God and you will secure your place in heaven. 

All God wants is for us to love Him as He loves us.