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Heaven is NOT the Bible's reward


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The Bible teaches that when you're dead, you're dead.

There is no living bit that goes to heaven.

But there is hope of being raised from the dead when Christ returns.

Published in: Spiritual
  • I'm not going to claim that I know all about the bible, or everything about the afterlife, and I was content to let this topic lay, however, when I read....

    ' basicly you can,t build a doctrine off from one passage.Take the bible as a whole and see what other scriptures teach,after all they need to agree with one another.'

    ...I felt compelled to respond. Please don't assume that your readers have NOT read the entire bible all the way through (i have multiple times) or that they hastily compile doctrine out of context. I have read several extensively on Heaven, the soul, death, Paradise, Hades, Sheol, and Hell.
    I'm not going to send you more verses. I respect everyones rights to believe once they have read and studied.
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  • Thanks again for your comment. I hope you don't mind me coming back one more time.

    Selecting a canon and translating the text into other languages is two different issues. I agree with you that we can trust the canon we have. There is a certain amount of evidence that the canon was established within a generation of Christ's death -- people were already choosing which texts to take seriously and quote in their sermons, letters, and other writings, and which to reject.

    So we can agree which Hebrew and Greek texts to use, and which to ignore.

    Translation is a different issue. There was no version of the Bible in English or any other common tongue for about 1500 years! There are some translations which definitely contain errors, and while some translators might have felt that the spirit told them to undertake the task, men like Tyndale had to reason carefully between alternative word choices and make tough decisions -- some of which were proved wrong by later scholars.

    And English has about the best available Bibles, apart from the Hebrew and Greek originals. I have done a limited amount of work preaching in Africa, and I know for sure that the people who translated Bibles into African dialects weren't guided by the spirit -- those translations have some really serious problems!

    Having said all that, the important thing is to keep studying and trying to understand the Bible that we have better. I do believe that God won't have made it impossible for people who honestly seek him to find him. Whichever translation we use, if we approach it with humility and an open heart then God will speak to us through it.

    God bless your studies.

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  • mniceman, thank you for your comment.

    When we try to understand what the Bible teaches, we should look for statements that apply to everybody. Taking a statement that applies to one person, such as the thief, and assuming that it applies to everyone is dangerous. Even if it's true that the thief went to paradise on the day he died, it might be that he is the only one! The places that talk about what happens to most people or to groups of people all agree with the points in my slide show.

    I hope you can see where I'm coming from with that. Passages such as Hebrews 11 talk about whole groups of believers, and it is clear that they are still waiting for their reward.

    Once we understand that most passages talk about the reward being in the future (God's kingdom on earth, and a resurrection), we can try to understand the few passages that seem to say something different. Sometimes we might have to accept that we simply don't understand them -- there are many passages in the Bible that I do not fully understand.

    Having said all that, let's take a look at Luke 23:42-43.

    First of all, the COMMAS are not present in the original Greek text, so the translators have to guess where they go. Because most translators believe the traditional Christian teaching that people go to heaven when they die, they put the commas in the place that suits them:

    'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'

    However it would be just as valid to say this:

    'Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.'

    In other words, Jesus could have been saying: 'I can tell you right now... you will be with me in Paradise'.

    This would seem a bit awkward, if it wasn't for the fact that the thief mentions a future time in his own question:

    'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'

    The thief is making a good 'confession of faith' here. He shows that he understands:

    1. That Jesus will come to the earth to set up a kingdom
    2. Therefore, he must have understood that Jesus would rise from the dead (because it was obvious that Jesus was dying)
    3. That Jesus had the power to forgive the thief, and thus to give him a new life in the kingdom
    4. When Jesus returns, he will judge people -- some will live in the kingdom, and some will be punished. So he wants to be 'remembered' at that judgement... remembered for good.

    You can learn a lot about the thief from just those few words.

    Jesus has compassion on this thief. In this context, Jesus's reply is saying: 'you don't need to wait until I return for the judgement... because I can tell you today, that you will be with me in Paradise'. He's not saying 'you can be in paradise today' but 'I am going to judge you today'.

    Thus this repentant thief could die knowing FOR CERTAIN that Christ would save him.

    It is a wonderful quality in the Lord Jesus that even when he was dying himself, he would show such concern for others.

    This ended up being quite a long comment and I hope it answered your question without boring you. Please do let me know if you have more questions, and feel free to email me directly if you prefer:
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  • Where did the other theif go who was dying next to Jesus?

    Luke 23:42-43
    42And he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' 43And he said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'
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  • @guest93232c, Thank you for the comment.

    Like other dead people, Samuel wasn't in heaven -- he was in the ground. That is why he talks about Saul 'bringing him up'. He was resting down in the ground (sheol) until Saul called him.

    The passage you quoted, of course, does not mention heaven. Nor does it imply in any way that Samuel was in heaven.

    It does show that Samuel, like a few other people in the Bible, was raised from the dead for a short time -- only to be returned to death later. Something similar happens to Lazarus and Jairus' daughter -- although they went on living for some time afterwards.
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Heaven is NOT the Bible's reward

  1. 1. Most Christian churches teach that when you die, the body and soul separate. The body disintegrates, and the soul goes somewhere else: heaven, hell, purgatory, wherever. These churches are wrong! What they teach goes against what God says in the Bible. Read through this easy, short booklet to find out why. Heaven is NOT the Bible’s reward
  2. 2. In the Bible, death means death We are dust Soul = living being When we die, we die, we are buried – not just our bodies When you are dead you are an ex-person Future resurrection is the only Christian hope The New Testament says that there is a future hope This is very different from what most churches teach Will you listen to God, or to man? To see what the Bible says about death, keep reading… That’s me, David Barnes, on the right. I’m with my wife on our honeymoon. We both believe the Bible, try to follow what it says, and look forward to Christ’s return – and eternal life in his kingdom. Email me: [email_address]
  3. 3. In the Bible, death means death! “ the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing” The dead are unconscious. They know nothing. “ dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” God says that men are dust, and nothing else. “ What is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” Life is temporary. When you die, your life vanishes away. It doesn’t continue elsewhere.
  4. 4. We are dust … And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground , and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul . – Gen 2:7 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground ; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art , and unto dust shalt thou return. – Gen 3:19 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: – Gen 18:27 WE are dust. That is all we are. We are given life temporarily, but once it has gone… dust is all that is left.
  5. 5. Soul = living being And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground , and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul . – Gen 2:7 Man BECOMES a soul once he is given life. When life goes, he ceases to be a soul. THE SOUL CEASES TO EXIST. The idea that a “soul” is immortal and can exist separate from a living body IS NOT IN THE BIBLE. Formed body + Breath of life = Living soul
  6. 6. When we die, we die, we are buried – not just our bodies “ So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” – Gen 50:26 When Joseph died, it was him that was embalmed and put into a coffin. Not just his body, while his soul went elsewhere. “ So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there, in the land of Moab according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley, in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor, but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day” – Deu 34:5,6 The same thing happens with Moses. He dies, and they bury him . There is no “soul” part of him that goes elsewhere.
  7. 7. You are an ex-person! When you are dead… None of these phrases or ideas are in the Bible. You are no more. You have ceased to be. You’ve expired. You’re a stiff. You are bereft of life. You (might) rest in peace. Your metabolic processes are now history. You have NOT gone to meet your maker. You have NOT shuffled off this mortal coil. You have NOT run down the curtain. You have NOT joined the choir invisible.
  8. 8. Resurrection is the only Christian hope Death is the end of life. When we die, no part of us goes on living. But! There is hope. For many, death will be like a sleep that they wake up from. And for the faithful, they will live for ever afterwards. Here’s what God said to his servant Daniel: … And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake , some to everlasting life , and some to shame and everlasting contempt. – Dan 12:2 For them, death is like a sleep. They wait to be made alive again, and then they will be judged.
  9. 9. This hope is still future, even for people who died long ago People who have died in faith did not receive their reward immediately. In the New Testament, we’re told to imitate the faithful people in the Old Testament – and share their reward. But they have not received their reward yet: “ [God’s followers] 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 . ” – Heb 11:13 The hope that God promises is not something people receive as soon as they die. Faithful people who died are still sleeping, waiting for the promises.
  10. 10. Hebrews 11 also says that every faithful person will receive the promise at the same time : “… 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 .” – Hebrews 11:39,40. God is going to make all believers perfect together , at the same time. With us, if we share their faith. All faithful will be rewarded together, at the same time
  11. 11. Most churches don’t teach what the Bible says If your church doesn’t teach these things, what should you do? Should you be surprised? You have to decide, will you investigate what the Bible says? Or will you stick with a church that teaches something else? The New Testament says things about what churches will teach in the time after the Bible is completed: “… the time will come when they (members of churches) will not endure sound doctrine ; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth , and shall be turned unto fables .” – 2 Tim 4:3
  12. 12. Will you accept what God says in his word? Or will you listen to “fables”, to what our ears want to hear…. to lies? Thou shalt not surely die!
  13. 13. What you should do next… Read the Bible for yourself… There is no substitute for understanding God’s message for yourself. If you want to seek God, the Bible is the best place to do it. If you need help reading, try Find a church that teaches the true Bible message … I am a member of a Christadelphian church. We do our best to teach the Bible message honestly. You can find out about Christadelphians, and discover a meeting place near you, by visiting: Contact me … If you have any comments or questions, please email me: [email_address] I would love to talk to you about these things, and the wonderful hope the God has given us.