John 3:13 “And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.”
Acts 2:29, 34 “Men [and] brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us to this day. … (34) For David is not ascended into the heavens…”
If David is not in heaven, then what is his reward? Acts 13:22 says that David was a man after God’s own heart. If David is not in heaven, what hope do we have of going there?
Galatians 3:26-29 For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you [be] Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
- Heirs according to what promise?
Genesis 12:1 Now the Eternal had said to Abram [Abram’s name was later changed to Abraham], “Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you:”
- So Abraham, Sarah (his wife), and Lot (his nephew) go to the land of Canaan.
(7) And the Eternal appeared unto Abram, and said, “To your seed I will give this land…”
Abraham and his offspring were promised the land of Canaan!
- Note that this promise was an everlasting promise: Genesis 13:15 “For all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed for ever.”
Notice that the promise was expanded to the entire world:
- Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
- Abraham is to be the heir of the world!
Revelation 5:10 And has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Psalm 37:9, 22, 29, 34 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Eternal, they shall inherit the earth. … (22) For [such as be] blessed of Him shall inherit the earth; and [they that be] cursed of Him shall be cut off. … (29) The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. … (34) Wait on the Eternal, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, you shall see [it].
The promises that God made to Abraham were, at first, conditional and were tied to Abraham’s obedience. To begin with, God required Abraham to leave the land he was previously living in.
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. (9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: (10) For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.
Genesis 22:1-2, 10-12, 15-18 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, “Abraham:” and he said, “Behold, [here] I [am].” (2) And He said, “Take now your son, your only [son] Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of.” … (10) And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. (11) And the angel of the Eternal called unto him out of heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham:” and he said, “Here [am] I.” (12) And he said, “Lay not your hand upon the lad, neither do you any thing to him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only [son] from me.” … (15) And the angel of the Eternal called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, (16) And said, “By myself have I sworn, says the Eternal, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only [son]: (17) That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (18) And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.”
Who Is Entitled to the Promises?
Galatians 3:13-14, 26-29 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, “Cursed [is] every one that hangs on a tree” [speaking of Christ’s crucifixion]: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. … (26) For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you [be] Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
If you are a Spirit-begotten Christian (baptized), you are entitled to whatever God promised Abraham, which we saw is the earth and eternal life because the promise of inheritance was to be forever!
Acts 7:2-5 And he [Stephen, a deacon] said, “Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, (3) And said to him, ‘Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and come into the land which I shall show you.’ (4) Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from there, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein you now dwell. (5) And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not [so much as] to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when [as yet] he had no child.”
Hebrews 11:8-9, 13, 39-40 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. (9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: … (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. … (39) And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (40) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
These verses are not difficult to understand, but they are foreign to a mind that has been deceived about heaven being the reward of the saved.
- The promise of inheritance was to Abraham and his seed.
- We are all called Abraham’s seed if Jesus Christ considers us His.
- Gender, race, bond or free, does not matter.
- The promise of inheritance was tied to eternity.
- What was promised was expanded to encompass the entire earth.
- We are all called Abraham’s seed if Jesus Christ considers us His.
The promise of inheriting the earth is tied to the “Kingdom of God,” which will be addressed in a future episode.
- Clearly, heaven is not where Christians go after they die!
- God has something much more grand and exciting in store for those who follow Him and it has to do with inheriting what was promised to Abraham (the earth and eternal life).
Scriptures Used To Prove That Heaven Is a Christian’s Reward
Luke 23:42-43 And he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (43) And Jesus said to him, “Verily I say to you, to day shall you be with me in paradise.”
- Christ did not go to heaven immediately! He was dead and buried for three days and three nights.
- The thief asked Christ to remember him when He came into His kingdom.
- If Christ and the thief were going to be in paradise that day, Christ would not need to remember the thief.
- “Paradise” simply means “a grand enclosure or preserve, park, shady and well-watered”
- This term does not refer to heaven.
- Lastly, the punctuation is problematic here. There are no commas in Greek.
- There are only two possibilities: Either the Bible contradicts itself due to all of the verses we’ve already read, or the comma is in the wrong place.
- The verse should read: Luke 23:42-43 And he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (43) And Jesus said to him, “Verily I say to you to day, shall you be with me in paradise.”
John 13:33, 36 “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, where I go, you cannot come; so now I say to you.” … (36) Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where do you go?” Jesus answered him, “Where I go, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow me afterwards.”
- Is this verse saying that the disciples would follow Christ into heaven later?
- Remember that the Bible isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if it contradicts itself.
- Christ simply did not say, “You will come to heaven later, which is where I’m going now.”
- The next thing that was going to happen to Christ was He was going to be put to death and be buried and in the grave for three days and three nights.
- Christ was speaking about his death.
- Christ was telling Peter that he would also be crucified, but later.
- These verses in John corroborate this explanation: John 21:18-19 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ‘When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry [you] where you would not.’” (19) This spoke He, signifying by what death he [Peter] should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, He said unto him, “Follow me.”
John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many mansions [abodes]: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] you may be also.”
- Mansions = abodes or dwelling places in the Father’s house, which is the temple.
- John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
- Christ says that He’s preparing abodes [places to dwell or positions], but, He says that He will come again to the earth with these abodes.
- Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”
Revelation 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
- No man = no one
- Other translations render this verse correctly.
- Revelation 4:4, 6 And round about the throne [were] four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. … (6) And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
- Your citizenship can be from another country while you live in a separate country. Think about a Canadian citizen living in the United States.
- The saints mentioned in Hebrews 11 looked for a city “which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” They considered themselves to be strangers and pilgrims on this earth(i.e., their citizenship was in heaven).
Revelation 21:1-4 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. (2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) 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. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
- This is the city that the patriarchs longed for. Notice how the city comes DOWN from God OUT of heaven!