Do Christians Go Immediately to Heaven After They Die?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Where do Christians go the moment after they die?  Is it immediately to heaven and for the unsaved, immediately to hell?  Does the Bible say where the dead go and when?

One Second After Death

What happens in the very next second or less after a person dies?  The destination clearly depends upon whether a person has repented and trusted in Christ or whether they have rejected their only hope of eternal life (Acts 4:12; 16:30-31).  Paul seemed certain that after he died he would be present with the Lord.  To be present with someone obviously means that they would have to be with them.  When I got married, my fiancé had to be present with me or we could not have gotten married.  I know that is a poor analogy but what I am saying is that Paul says to be absent from the body (dead) is in the next moment to be “present with the Lord.”  In 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 Paul wrote that, “We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”   I see nowhere in this text where there is a time differential between death and being in the presence of the Lord.

Do Christians Go To Heaven At The Moment of Death

For those who bend the knee, repent of their sins, confess their sinfulness and desperate need for the Savior, and then put their trust in Him, there is a joyous destination awaiting you.

Pauls’ Final Days

When Paul wrote his letter to Timothy he understood that the time of his death was near.  Whether he had overheard this from the guards, an angel of the Lord or Jesus Christ Himself we cannot tell but Paul seemed certain that he was going to die very soon.

In 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul writes:

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

There are a few things that are important to note in Paul’s words here.  First, he says that his “departure is near.”  This departure being near is written within the context of this paragraph where he says that “there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.”  What day!?  It seems clear that Paul’s departure is near and that then there will be awarded to him “the crown of righteousness” on that day!   Do you see that?  He is near his earthly departure and what awaits him is a crown of righteous to be given to him on that day!  It appears to be the same day that he departs that he will receive this crown. He could have modified this sentence to the effect of saying, “Then, at the Lord’s return, I will receive the crown of righteousness” but he doesn’t. He says that it will be awarded to him on “that day!”

It’s important to note that the books of the Bible are not in the order in which they were written…that is, they are not in chronological order.  This is true of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.  There are many books in the Bible that are in the order in which they were written, but certainly not all of them and so when we see that 2 Timothy is followed by Titus and Philemon, which were also written by Paul, this doesn’t mean that they were written after 2 Timothy.  Most Bible scholars believe 2 Timothy was Paul’s last letter and this may be why he is giving Timothy departing letter.

Lazarus and the Rich Man

When Jesus mentioned what happened to the rich man and Lazarus after they died, there was no mention of a holding period or an interval of time between their death and their destination.  Lazarus lived in poverty and want while the rich man lived in splendor and plenty but when they died, they went separate ways.

In Luke 16:22-24 Jesus said

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” 

  • There is no mention of the false idea of a “soul sleep.”  When the Bible mentions that they slept with their fathers or they had fallen asleep, that meant that they were dead…but not gone (John 11:1-14).

Two important things are in this story.  One is “when they died.” What happened when they died?  The rich man went to “Hades, where he was in torment” while Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom.  The place that Lazarus was at seems to be what is called in the Jewish vernacular, “Paradise.”  Paradise is thought to be the abode or dwelling place of the Old Testament saints.   Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Truly I say to you.  Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 223:43).   Any time Jesus says “truly” or “surely” as some translations say, you can be certain that Jesus was putting an exclamation point on what He was saying.  Jesus said surely or truly the thief would be with Jesus in Paradise.  When would the thief be in Paradise and when?  It would be “today” and he would be with Jesus.  That very day Jesus promised the thief would be with Him in paradise.  After Jesus’ death, Paradise may have been changed into being in the presence of the Lord or in heaven because of the atoning work at Calvary so that the Old Testament saints and those who died in the faith will be present with the Lord (2 Tim 4:6-8).

Another related reading:  What Does The Bible Say Heaven is Like?

Stephen Sees Jesus in Heaven

When Stephen was stoned for proclaiming the gospel, he sees the Lord, Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God in heaven.

We read this account in Acts 7:55-60:

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Again, there is no mention of soul sleep.  As Stephen was dying, he actually saw heaven open up and there was “the Son of Man (Jesus) standing at the right hand of God.”  Stephen must have known that he was going immediately into the presence of the Lord for he says “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Here is a dying Stephen, seeing Jesus in heaven and asking him to receive his spirit.”  That sounds like he is immediately being “absent from the body” only to be “present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6).  How clear that is.

Interesting reading: What is a Spiritual Body?  (What is your body going to be like in heaven?)

Conclusion

If you are not born again, then you will have no opportunity to go to heaven when you die but will the very next moment be in torment.  You will wait in torment, like the rich man is still waiting today.  You will await the Great White Throne Judgment where all who are in their graves and those unbelievers still living at the time of Christ’s return will be judged (Rev 20:11-15) but God has provided a way for you to be redeemed.  For those who bend the knee, repent of their sins, confess their sinfulness and desperate need for the Savior, and then put their trust in Him, there is a joyous destination awaiting you.

For the Christian, death is not a problem because we know that 2 Corinthians 5: 1- 6, 8 speaks about our eternal destination:

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” and “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 

That is where you’ll be one second after you die…that is if you are born again.  A person that’s born twice (born again and a natural birth) will never die but a person who is born only once (a natural birth but not born again) will die twice; once in their mortal body and then in the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15).  I pray you choose the former.

Related Post: Where Is Heaven? Where Is Hell? Does The Bible Say?

Resources: New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide



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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry Garrison November 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Good teaching brother jack I had not seen that about pauls departure and crown tho I may have read it many times before – thanks for revealing that .

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Jack Wellman November 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Thank you so much sir. I truly thank God for you sir…I often see that you share these articles and I am so grateful to call you…more than a Facebook friend but a godly brother in Christ. I so appreciate your kind words and think you have the same gift of encouragement that Barnabas has.

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Peter November 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Hey Jack,

Just want to clarify one thing in your conclusion. You say “You will await the Great White Throne Judgment where all who are in their graves and those unbelievers still living at the time of Christ’s return will be judged (Rev 20:11-15) but God has provided a way for you to be redeemed……….” — are you saying those who go to torment can actually be redeemed after death while in torment if they repent and bend their knee? That’s how it reads to me?

Thanks
Peter

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/do-christians-go-immediately-to-heaven-after-they-die/#ixzz2lFn6VrWZ

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Jack Wellman November 21, 2013 at 9:49 am

Thank you Peter. The Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:11-15 shows that there is no other chance to be saved at this point and you can read these verses to see that their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and so no, there is no chance for redemption if a person doesn’t repent and trust in Christ before death or before Christ comes again. I am sorry. Apparently I didn’t word it very well and so my apologies to you and the readers sir. It is clear that Heb 9:27 says as much as the writer says “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

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Peter November 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Jack,

Thanks for the prompt answer.

Peter

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Jack Wellman November 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm

My good pleasure my friend.

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Linda November 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Hello Jack, I was so happy to see your headline as Ive always struggled with this. I agree too after reading Pauls departure umpteen times, but then when I get to the section in John 11:11-13 where Lazarus is sick and dies and is dead for 4 days and Jesus says he is only sleeping. So did he not seconds after he died go to heaven? Again Jesus brought back the little girl who also died, and Jesus said she was only sleeping. I get confused, could you clear this up for me once and for all so that I can move on. As always, love your articles, Thank you so much Jack.
Yours,
Linda

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Jack Wellman November 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Hi Linda…if we back up in this story, we see what Jesus meant when he said that “he sleeps.” In John 11:11-13

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Sleep is a synonym for death and that is the way Jesus used it and this is the way the Jewish culture says it when the kings of the Old Testament speak of death, i.e. in 2 Kings 2:10 “Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.”

Cleared up? Hope so Linda, Thank you.

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Linda November 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Absolutely, nice and clear, thank you Jack,
Linda

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DocReits November 23, 2013 at 12:30 am

Hi Jack,

I have always believed, as you, that the saved will go into the presence of the Lord at the moment of death. Having said that, I certainly understand those who suggest that there is a wait until “That Day”… meaning the consummation of the age when Christ returns.

Prominent folks like Martin Luther believed in “Soul Sleep”. I think there is a better Scriptural case though, as you have shown, which argues more for the believer’s immediate presence with God upon death and the un-saved in the torments of Sheol OT) or Hades (NT) (being that place within the depths of the earth).

I know the following are more controversial portions of Scripture, but they are major proof texts(for me) for the position that our souls do not sleep.

Sheol was that place reserved for the souls of the righteous and unrighteous dead prior to the death and Resurrection of Christ. It was there where your referenced parable took place between Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man. They occupied different sections of Sheol or Hades, the two in the part of Sheol referenced “Paradise” and the rich man on the side of Sheol reserved as a place of torment.

Luke references Jesus’s own visitation to Hades when he, in Acts 2:31, quotes the Psalmist as saying:

“he, foreseeing this… concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption” (NKJV).

When then did Christ’s soul go to Hades?

“Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.”
(When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended[, into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)”(Eph 4: 8-10)

Jesus did this after His death. His Blood allowing access to the Father and His Resurrection destroying death and the grave. “O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory?” (1 Cor 15:55)

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Rev 1:18)

Christ’s Blood secured access to the Father and He led the captive’s including Abraham and all of the believers, (banished since Adam’s sin from heaven), into God’s presence, from Paradise(Sheol), forevermore.

The unbelievers are still filling Hades today, joining all of the OT unbelievers, until Hades shall give up her unrighteous dead (Rev 20:13).

Finally, continuing on this same theme, Scripture makes very clear,

“then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous UNDER PUNISHMENT for the day of judgment”(2 Pet 2:9)…(emphasis mine)

Now, how will(has) all of the above, the leading of the Righteous captives into heaven, and the continuous keeping “under punishment” of all of the dead unbeliever’s souls(until the day of judgment), take place…. while they are asleep?

Thanks for another thought provoking article Jack! You always make me think…;-)

DocReits

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Jack Wellman November 23, 2013 at 8:42 am

Thanks my brother. I wish you a blessed and most Happy Thanksgiving.

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DocReits November 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Thank you Jack! I pray the same for you and yours.

DocReits

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John Harris (UK) November 25, 2013 at 5:19 am

Hi Jack,
I have heard and read convincing arguments on both sides of this issue. I am not disagreeing with you but there are some practical difficulties with what you say. For instance, where was Lazarus and others while they were “dead”? If we go immediately to heaven, one by one as we die, we are separated from our loved ones if we die first. Would this make our joy less than perfect. I think the problem here is trying to comprehend the difference between time and eternity. Whilst we live on earth, we are in a capsule of time in which change takes place and we progress through our lives. But then we enter a state of eternity where there is no time. God himself is outside of time. He is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. That is why He knows everything from the beginning to the end of time. I know He is Alpha and Omega but that is as far as our human existence is concerned. The more you think about the time related practicalities, the more you can get confused. I always think of the disciples and Thomas in particular wanting to know the practicalities of getting to the place Jesus was going to prepare for them. In effect Jesus says to them “Don’t worry about the details, trust me. I am the Way.” As christians, I believe that is exactly what we should do. Not worry about what might or might not happen when we die but have absolute trust in our Saviour.

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DocReits November 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Hey John,

I’m sure Jack will respond to your question but here are a few thoughts. (Jack, please do not reply to my remarks as I know you are busy with school and these are just my speculations).

I agree John, with what you wrote and I have often thought the same….ie, “God made us and He is able to make all things good for the believer, so no worries” but I have been questioning my previous notions of God being outside of time.

In the cosmological notion of first cause, there was a beginning of creation and God “began” our universe. It makes rational sense that He did not make something He was already “in”, so He must have been outside of what He made….ie outside of our universe. Since all things begin at some point in time and since our universe began, it must have begun at point T = 0.

My previous thinking was , as you said, very difficult to even try to comprehend…. a world in which time did not exist, since every aspect of our existence is shrouded in time. We are always(a time word) in this pool at the bottom of the waterfall of time. The water, right before it hits our face being the future, as it hits us, the present, and as it leaves, the past. Sometimes it is hard to separate the droplets as they become the not yet/present mixing with the present/past.

We know how God invaded our world in the form of the Incarnation which we will celebrate next month. We know that God likewise poured out His Spirit at Pentecost to inhabit believers. God is present in our time/space. The Father is Spirit. He is a personage of the Trinity and is in a place Christ refers to as Heaven. “Our Father who art in Heaven…”

The angels exist there also. They worship before His throne. Satan was thrown out but has access to this “place” of God(Job 1:6,7). The demons (fallen angels) wage war in our heavens(sky?) with the good angels(Dan 10:13), in time(days ibid). Even though these angels have taken on human form throughout the OT and NT we cannot see them at most times because they are invisible(Col 1:16)…we struggle not against flesh and blood…but against evil spiritual forces(Eph 6:12).

My point, these invisible angelic beings are invisible, occupying our time and space, yet having access (the good angels and Satan) to the Father’s location of Heaven. My thought(speculation) is that God the Father is not in a timeless void but in a sphere that is in a different dimension or universe from our own.

His immortal angelic creation I believe has access between these dimensions and come into and out of our time. How else could they access the Father’s presence and our world? This is just speculation. I believe this dimension is the location of both Heaven(God’s presence) from which He made our world and perhaps a different dimension where Hades is at and all the unfaithful departed souls. Do they sleep there? Who knows. As I said previously, it would be hard for them to be suffering torment until judgment day if they are asleep.

Regards,

DocReits

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John Harris (UK) November 26, 2013 at 4:13 am

Hi DocReits,
Wow! To quote an American politician, “There are things we know we know and things we know we don’t know”. To me most of this speculation about what exactly might happen to us when we die comes firmly into the “don’t know” category. Maybe God in the form of Jesus wanted his disciples and wants us to trust him without knowing the details. Surely that is where real faith comes in.

with every blessing,
JOHN

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thanks again John. There are some things we don’t know but those things revealed in the Bible we can know so what did Paul mean when he wrote, “2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 Paul wrote that, “We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Deuteronomy 29:29 The Secret Things Belong Unto The LORD Our God: But Those Things Which Are Revealed Belong Unto Us and so what is revealed, i.e. in 2 Cor 5:6,8 and the other Scriptures we can believe John, right?

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Thanks John. No, it wouldn’t make our love less perfect for we will be finally perfect in heaven with all vestiges of sin gone and all sorry removed. Please forgive me, I had two 11 hour days the last two days. you said “where was Lazarus and others while they were “dead”. Where was Lazarus and the others while they were dead? God is the God of the living and not the dead. We have eternal souls and we are not really dead but removed from the body for a time but we do not cease to exist. I am sorry if I am not understanding your question. We are IMMEDIATELY with the Lord at the split second after death. That is what all these verses in this article testify to my friend. I am sorry, maybe I have a thick head and am dense at times as I work, pastor a church, write for this site, am in seminary, and have a family too so please forgive me.

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John Harris (UK) November 27, 2013 at 9:28 am

Dear Jack,
I am amazed that you are able to reply so quickly to all of us who comment so please don’t apologise. I am sure your other duties are more than enough to keep you very busy. Of course we can and do believe scripture but the point I was really trying to make was that dwelling too much on the detail of exactly what might or might not happen when we die is not particularly helpful and could be confusing. Yes, whatever the means we shall be with the Lord forever. That is our faith. Thomas said “We do not know where you (Jesus) are going so how can we know the way?” Jesus said “I am the way”. That’s all you need to know.
Thank you again for all your hard work Jack.

with every blessing,

JOHN

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Jack Wellman November 28, 2013 at 10:10 am

Thanks again John. I do agree that we should not be wasting a lot of time dwelling too much on what might or might not happen after death but we have had so very, very many ask about their dearly departed ones who died in the faith and we thought it was appropriate to answer this to those who wondered where their loved ones are now…the same reason that Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about their loved ones who died. They mistakenly thought that they’d miss Christ’s appearance and be lost because they died before Christ came back.

We have so many who click on “Contact Us” with the question of what happens to their beloved friends and family…i.e. husbands, children, mothers, etc. after they die in the faith and wanted to know where they are at now that we thought it important to address this. Thanks John.

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Nicholas November 27, 2013 at 3:35 am

I SEE WHERE IT SAYS THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST , AND JESUS TOLD THE THIEF THOU SHALT BE WITH ME IN PARADISE , IS THE SOUL SEPERATED FROM THE BODY — A NEW BODY , CHRIST WAS HARD AT FIRST FOR TO RECOGNIZE — BUT HAD THE SCARS — I HEARD DAVID JERIMIAH HE WOULD HAVE THE SCARS AS A CONSTANT REMINDER IN HEAVEN AND WE WOULD BE COMPELLED TO WORSHIP HIM …….

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anna October 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

i really want to know

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olufunke January 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm

hi,

can i just ask a simple question as i am yet to really agree with this issue of going to heaven or hell immediately u die. the question is this – so what is Jesus Christ coming back to do then? if the people that died in him have all gone to heaven to meet him?

Seconndly, why would Jesus in John 14 vrs 3
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3″If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4″And you know the way where I am going.”

Note the word i go and prepare a place and i will come again take you to where i am going?

What would also be the place of the white throne Judgement then? if people have reached their different destinations already. no more judgement?

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Jack Wellman January 22, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Thank you my friend. The Great White Throne Judgment is for all those who refuse to repent and trust in Christ. So where do you think babies go if they die?

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numberonebrokenbubblegummachine January 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

jesus says no one goes up except the one that came down then 1sam28,11-15 n.l.t. then absent is present im confused!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jack Wellman January 26, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Great question friend. Paul wrote “to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8) so we are present with the Lord after we die so “as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6). Notice what Jesus said “no one goes up except the one who came down” from heaven. In other words, only Jesus Christ has both descended and ascended up to heaven. The fact is that heaven comes down in the form of the New Jerusalem as you can read in Revelation 21, 22. This verse is somewhat difficult to interpret and is often misunderstood. It is also frequently used by those who want to find contradictions in the Bible. We must keep the verse in context. In verses 10-12, especially, we see that Jesus is talking about His authority and the validity of His teaching. Jesus tells Nicodemus that He has been teaching what He knew firsthand: “We speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen” (verse 11). Then, in verse 13 Jesus explains why He is uniquely qualified to teach of the kingdom of God—namely, because He alone came down from heaven and possesses the knowledge to teach people about heaven. Jesus alone has seen the Father, and He alone is qualified to declare God and make Him known (John 1:18).

The bottom line of John 3:13 is this: “None of your earthly teachers can really teach you about heaven, because none of them have actually been there. However, I have been there. In fact, it is My home. I have come to you from heaven, and I have brought with Me experiential knowledge of that place. My testimony carries weight; I can tell you the truth about salvation.” The NLT brings out the meaning well: “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.” In claiming a heavenly abode, Jesus was claiming deity. Nicodemus himself had already admitted that Jesus was extraordinary when he said, “We know you are a teacher who has come from God” (verse 2). Jesus was not teaching that no one had ever gone to heaven before. Obviously, the Old Testament saints had gone to heaven (or paradise) when they died (Mark 12:26-27), and Enoch and Elijah had been taken there without dying (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:11). Rather, He was teaching that, of all rabbis, He had the best credentials. Jesus has direct contact with heaven; He is an expert on the subject. I pray this helps you understand better my friend.

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Don. M May 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

Jack I have 2 questions .
1. In relation to John 3:13 verse that you mention here. In reading the KJV, the scripture states “and no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven”. Now with Jesus being the only person to fit the criteria as “he that came down from heaven”, could one interpret that he then is the only one that has been to heaven? Now, the NLT that you reference states……. “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned”. This seems to be saying something different. The KJV seems portray Jesus saying, “No one has been to heaven but me”, as he is the only one that can fit the criteria as “He that came down”. This would lead me to believe that no one else is there now. But reading the NLT, “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned”, seems to portray Jesus saying, “Of all those who have gone, I’m the only one who has come back. There seems to be a discrepancy here between the Translations. Can you clarify?
#2 In regard to the 2 Cor 5:8 scripture: (KJV) “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”. Is this only speaking of death as the absence from the body, or could this also relate to being absent from the temtations of the flesh, and being in right standing with God? Thanks

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Don. M May 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

Sorry Jack,
For the second question, I meant to say: To be absent of conformity to the temtations of the flesh, and to be in right standing with God. Could that 2 Cor 5:8 verse be referencing this as well, or is it solely speaking of death? Thanks

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Jack Wellman May 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

Thank you sir. Good question. Let me say this; that the original Greek for 2 Cor 5:8 where Paul says to be “absent” is the Greek word “ekdēmeō” and means “to go abroad, to emigrate, depart to be with or live abroad” and where Paul uses the word “at home with” is the Greek word “endēmeō” means to “be among one’s own people, dwell in one’s own country” so and the word “with” is “pros” which is Greek for “at” so taken in the original Koine (or common) Greek that Paul wrote this in was to have 1 Cor 5:8 read “Yes, we are of confident (assured) and we would rather be among one’s own people “at” (pros) or with the Lord.” Whether this is Paradise or the heaven where God dwells is debated. Jesus did say that the thief on the cross would be with Him (Jesus) in Paradise so the point is that heaven or Paradise is anywhere that Jesus is, right? I don’t see the context fitting that it’s to be away from the temptations of the flesh because this paragraph (2 Cor 5:1-`0) is about our being with or in the presence of the Lord. Yes, sir, it is speaking of death but after death, like the thief on the cross, we will be with Jesus in Paradise or heaven. I suspect that doesn’t necessarily mean the throne room of God in heaven but in Paradise where Abraham was said to be in the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. I believe that heaven is not so much a place as it is a Person, and that is Jesus Christ. Make sense sir?

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Don. M May 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Thanks Jack that makes sense.
Any ideas or clarity that you can provide on the first question??

Izzy March 25, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Dear Jack;

All the info on here is awesome and super helpful, can you just go over quickly so in the rapture the dead rise first how does that work if the dead in Christ are already there in the Lord’s presence. Thanks a lot your awesome and God greatly bless you.
Brother in Christ.

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Jack Wellman March 26, 2015 at 8:24 am

Thank you my friend. We have an article on the rapture here and hope this answers your question my friend and here is the link for the article on the rapture at: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-is-the-rapture-a-look-at-the-different-views/

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Elly April 18, 2015 at 11:23 am

So is there heaven and can we go there if we’re Christians or not?
I’m sorry, I think I have a lack of understanding :( thanks!

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Jack Wellman April 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Thank you Elly. You must believe in Christ alone (Acts 4:12) and there is no other way to go to heaven (Acts 16:30-31) or a person has the wrath of God on them (John 3:18; John 3:36) and their is no way for an unbeliever to go to heaven once they die (Heb 9:27) or if Christ returns before they make such a decision (Rev 20:12-15). Does this help you my friend? See why we must be saved today (2 Cor 6:2)?

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Elly April 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm

So you must believe in Jesus Christ. Right?

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Jack Wellman April 18, 2015 at 5:25 pm

True. Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

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Elly April 18, 2015 at 5:27 pm

tjhank you!

Elly April 18, 2015 at 5:26 pm

So we must believe in Jesus Christ, right?

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Kim April 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Hello, I’m Korean and this Korean people are saying when we die there’s no heaven or Jesus Christ and God and I believe there is. What do you think? I feel kind of sad right now :( thank you.

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Jack Wellman April 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Hello Kim. People might say that in Korea but what does the Bible say? Read Revelation chapters 21 & 22. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8 “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Believe the Bible and God and not any one else. Does this help?

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Kim April 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm

So these Korean people are saying everything is made up including heaven. So I shouldn’t believe in them, right? Only the bible and God

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Jack Wellman April 22, 2015 at 5:48 pm

I know you can believe God. Do you know Jesus? Do you have a Bible? Read the gospel of John to know Who Jesus is. If you repent (turn away from false religions and your sins) and trust or believe in Jesus, you WILL go to heaven, no doubt about it.

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Kim April 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Yes I believe in God and Jesus. Please help me, what can I do to not believe or ignore these false sayings that Korean people are saying? I’m young and I don’t know what to do. :(

Jenna. April 22, 2015 at 8:53 pm

i saw this text and it said that this girls friend was dead for a few minutes then came back alive and said death feels like nothing…i truly believe in God and Jesus and i dont think this is true…i know there is heaven…

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2015 at 8:12 am

Hello Jenna and thank you for the question. The Bible says that its appointed once for us to die and after this, the judgment (Heb 9:27). I have to believe the Bible and not what people say. If they died according to a doctor and corenor, then I might believe it but yes, you are right, we know there is a heaven (Rev 21,22) so believe God and His Word, and not what people say. If your girl’s friend was not saved, she may have been sparred from God’s judgment (Rev 20:12-15) so maybe this was person’s second chance to hear the gospel. Thanks.

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Jenna. April 23, 2015 at 5:45 pm

so if that text is true the girl mightve not been saved and was given another chance? i believe there is heaven and God…

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Yes, even IF it were true, she was sparred by God for God knows the very day of our death and God is merciful, not willing that any perish, including her for I should be going to hell but Jesus died for me while I was still His enemy (Rom 5:10) and a wicked, even sinner (Rom 5:8) dying for the ungodly like me (Rom 5:7).

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Jenna. April 23, 2015 at 9:51 pm

oh okay thanks. i also have another question. do you know angelica zambrano?

JY April 23, 2015 at 11:24 pm

Hello Jack. Thank you for your article :)
I heard sleep is like death.
But there is heaven right? I know heaven you don’t sleep…it’s where God and Jesus Christ is there.
thank you for your time.

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Jack Wellman April 24, 2015 at 8:14 am

Thank you JV for your comment my friend. The New Testament mentions sleep like it does death but it is death of the physical body. I suggest you read John chapter 11 to see why I can say this. The Bible is clear that it is appointed once for us to die (Heb 9:27) and then comes the judgment. Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8) so believe the Bible, not me or what others say. Does this help?

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Jenna. April 25, 2015 at 12:44 am

Thank you for clarifying my questions! I’m looking for a church that believes in the Bible, thank you :)

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DocReits April 25, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Jenna,

You ask, “how can we not love the world if we live in the world? i love God more than the things in this world but i still love things in this world…”

God made this world for us to “enjoy” and life is indeed good. We enjoy family, friends and material possessions. I think what the Scripture means is that we are not to “love” these things at the expense of loving God. That is why Jesus said that hard thing to his followers that “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison–your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”(Lk 14:26)

Well, Jesus was not saying to hate your parents, but He was saying to hate them in comparison to your love for Him. Do you see that difference?

Here is a blurb from John Piper,

“Verse 15a: “Do not love the world or the things in the world.”

According to verse 15 in our text, if your love for God is cool this morning it’s because love for the world has begun to take over your heart and choke your love for God. The love of the world and the love of the Father cannot coexist. And every heart loves something. The very essence of our nature is desire. There is nobody…who doesn’t want something. At the center of our heart is a spring of longing. But that’s an awkward image isn’t it? A longing is a craving, a desire, a want, a need. But these aren’t very well described as a spring. A spring of needs is a contradiction in terms. Springs bubble up; needs suck in. A longing is more like a drain—or a vacuum. At the center of our heart is a sucking drain—like at the bottom of a swimming pool. We are endlessly thirsty. But we can’t suck water and air at the same time.

If you try to satisfy your longing by sucking in the air of the world, you will not be able to drink the water of heaven. And eventually your motor will burn up because you were made to pump the water of God not the air of the world.”

Hope that helps,

DocReits

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Jim Hall April 25, 2015 at 7:41 pm

I have a question that is now causing me great concern. As you say and I too believe, to be present with our Lord and absent from our bodies, it worries me that I always pray to The Lord to heal me, keep me healthy and allow me to live a long life here on earth. I certainly hope this does not mean that I would rather be in my body here on earth rather than absent from my body and present with the Lord? I certainly like and enjoy life on earth but am eager to be present with the Lord. This sounds like I should be wanting to end my presence in my body as soon as possible to be with the Lord. Help me understand this.

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Jack Wellman April 25, 2015 at 8:00 pm

I know what you mean Mr. Hall. I have children and grandchildren and would love to be here for a long time but we have no control over the day we’ll be with the Lord so my concern is to take as many of my family members, friends, and even strangers to heaven with me as God would grant. You have no concern to pray for healing for that is what James commands us to pray for healing (James 5:14-16) “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” So praying for healing is biblical and God is not concerned that you are wanting to stay on earth for a while or to be healed….Does this help Mr. Hall? Thank you sir.

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Anonymous April 25, 2015 at 7:49 pm

I have a question. How do you know if you are born again?

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Jack Wellman April 25, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Amen my friend to your precious comment and our question too. This comment/question reveals that you desire to know whether you are a child of God and have a hunger for God and to learn from Him. If you read the book of 1st John chapter you can see more about how you can know you’re born again. John 3:3 and John 3:7 says you must be born again but the translation is really saying “born from above” and that it fully a work of God. We actually have an article that is called “7 Sings of a True Conversion which can answer this in a much more comprehensive manner and I think it will help at this like: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/7-signs-of-a-true-conversion/ Thank you so much…I am actually glad you are concerned for no concern would be concerning to me.

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Jenna. April 29, 2015 at 9:21 pm

can i ask you one more question? is it true that if u dream about going to hell youre gonna die soon? i didnt have this dream but i had this dream yesterday ( i dont clearly remember) but i had three dreams. first and third one was i guess just normal weird dreams but the second one im not sure at all but i THINK it was related to hell…im not sure. and this christian on the internet said you never know when ur gonna die, but he/she listed some experiences (i dont know if its true) and their mother’s friend died after dreaming about heaven/hell, grandfather died, and his/her elementary classmate died after getting hit by a soccer ball by the stomach. my hearts beating fast right now and im really worried…or they said its that God might be calling u through weird dreams to come to church…i dont know for sure if its true though cause i dont know them personally…please help :(

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Jack Wellman April 29, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Hi Jenna…no, dreams are too random but the only real truth is found in the Bible. Dreams mean nothing and they might be God’s way to trying to tell us something but we can’t compare them with Scripture at all. That Christian on the Internet is right that we cannot know the day of our death but “their mother’s friend died after dreaming about heaven/hell, grandfather died, and his/her elementary classmate died after getting hit by a soccer ball by the stomach” means nothing. God does not determine the day of our death by our dreams….He had made an appointment based upon His purposes (Heb 9:27) and by human means like dreams. Even the statement “they said its that God might be calling u through weird dreams to come to church” cannot be proven to be true because human wisdom is foolishness to God. Now if you don’t have a church home, why don’t you but you said you already did, didn’t you?

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Jenna. April 29, 2015 at 9:44 pm

i have another question to ask…is it true that if u dream about going to hell that youre gonna die soon? i didnt have this dream but i had this dream and had 3 different dreams. first and third one i didnt really care but the second one im not at all sure but i THINK it was something about hell but i dont remember…and so i asked this christian online and she/he said you never know when youre gonna die (and i agree) but then they listed “examples”: her/his mother’s friend died after having a dream oh heaven or hell, grandfather died, and his/her elementary classmate died after getting hit by a soccer ball in the stomach. i dont know if i should believe in this or not because it doesnt have any proof that its true… but then she/he said God might be calling me…and go to church…i should ignore the experiences that might not be real and not worry right? im only 14 years old please help :(

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Ken Rosbotham May 25, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Hi Jack
First time on this site I to was confused about do we go to heaven when we die. I believed totally we did as Christ said to the thief on the cross today you will be with me in paradise. I believe that lazarus and the guys daughter died so Christ could show that he is the only true God and that he has the power of life and death. I think if we were able to interpret the bibles mysteries what need would we have for the saviour. Instead we are weak he is strong thank God for his saving power and grace.
Your Friend in the lord Ken

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Jack Wellman May 25, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Amen Mr. Rosbotham…well said sir. Thank you sir. I have feet of clay but our God is a mighty fortress.

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Jack Wellman April 18, 2015 at 5:29 pm

My pleasure Elly.

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Jack Wellman April 22, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Stay in the Bible every day. Find a Bible believing church. There are several in Korea. Are you in South Korea? Stay reading your Bible every day and in prayer to God for help. Do you have a BIble?

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2015 at 8:14 am

Hello Kim. If you are in the U.S. and believe in Jesus, find a Bible-believing church and hear the truth from a Bible teacher during a sermon and get a Bible. Many churches offer free Bibles. You may have to avoid unbelieving people that say false things about God and Jesus. Find a pastor, talk with him and you’ll feel more sure.

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Kim April 22, 2015 at 8:56 pm

I don’t have a Bible but I’m planning to go to a church soon. I’m South Korean but lives in USA. Korean people are saying don’t believe in God and Jesus, if you die you just die, God isn’t real because he didn’t help when terrible disasters stroke, then people from the past didn’t know God so did they go to hell, etc :( I worry with such little things :( I know God and Jesus is there for us and loves every single one…

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Kim April 23, 2015 at 5:42 pm

I really want to avoid false things about God, but I don’t feel relieved :( people say there are no proof of God or heaven, you go to heaven if you believe is that people made it up, lots of things :( I don’t know what to do :,(

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

I already said Kim. Find a pastor, join a church, you must take action for whoever doesn’t choose to believe has God’s wrath on them…(John 3:36b). Bibles are on the Internet like at; https://www.biblegateway.com/ You believe people over God? really? You will always have doubt until you find a Bible-believing church, get a Bible or if you were to die without Christ, it is not going to be good at all (Rev 20:12-15).

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Kim April 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm

I will find a church that believes in the Bible, and believe in God and the Christ no matter what people bluff about it on the internet. Thank you for all your replies.

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Praise God. Jesus died for you. He wants to save you. The Devil uses people to keep us from Him. Thank you…Jesus is ready to save you right now.

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Kim April 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm

I saw this comment that said the Devil is trying to keep the people who believe in God away from God and Jesus using all the Devil can and it is true! I believe truly now without any doubt. Thank you so much again :)

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Yes, this woman speaks things that are not biblical and cannot ever be proven. I would avoid her at all costs.

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Jenna. April 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm

i was crying bc i was worried and many people were supporting her when i saw all of her videos about Jesus and God and said u go to hell for watching cartoons and listening to songs of michael jackson, etc. i was really worried…many people are believing she is a real prophet, but there is no exact proof that she met God and Jesus, right?

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Jack Wellman April 24, 2015 at 8:16 am

I believe in the Bible and what God says, not what some woman claims. Many people believe she is a prophet but many people once believed the earth was flat. Belief doesn’t change truth and she cannot offer proof that she’s been with Jesus. Stay far from this woman. Matthew 24 and 25 is where Jesus warns that “many” false prophets will come near the end of the age…and she is fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy.

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Jenna. April 24, 2015 at 6:07 pm

those many false prophets still exist currently i think? i want to stay far from her…many people believe her but i dont want to. i hope she can be proven false some day. so even if u listen to any songs u want and watch cartoons but believe in Jesus and God and repent before u die will still get u to heaven right? listening to michael jacksons songs and watching cartoons doesnt get you to hell right? i only believe in Jesus and God

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Jack Wellman April 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Jesus said that “Many” will call me “Lord, Lord” on that day but Jesus says “I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:21-23) so actually many believe they are saved when in fact, they are not. It is more critical that Jesus knows us than to hear someone say “I know Jesus” because that’s not found in the Bible. As for music, I don’t believe Michael Jackson will send anyone to hell but let me direct you to what the Bible says about music at this link: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-does-the-bible-say-about-music-what-should-we-listen-to/ because John warns “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). I would find a good Bible-believing church and seek out a pastor. Do you have a church home?

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Jenna. April 24, 2015 at 6:39 pm

I dont get what you mean by do not love the world…i especially like listening to kpop and i dont know if that is allowed…i also like classic music. i also watch cartoons and i dont know if that is a sin. :( so i shoudnt believe in angelica zambrano right? i read the kids version of the Bible.

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Jack Wellman April 24, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Do you have a pastor? Do you have a church home? Having a Bible is great but there are things you can’t get out of it by yourself. I thought we covered Angelica Zambrano…she is a false prophet giving people wrong information and teaches things not strictly from the Bible. Read the small book of 1st John to see why if we love the things in the world, we are an enemy of God. Again I ask, Do you have a pastor? Do you have a church home?

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Jenna. April 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm

how can we not love the world if we live in the world? i love God more than the things in this world but i still love things in this world…and im looking for a church! thank you for clarifying my questions too :)

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Jack Wellman May 26, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Sorry sir. I missed that first question. My apology. Where Jesus says that no man has ascended the word “ascended” is “anabainō” meaning “to go up” or “to rise” and He Who has descended (Jesus of course) is the Greek word “katabainō” for “to go down, come down, descend” or “the place from which one has come down from” but again, in the context we can’t say that negates the idea that He “is the only one that has been to heaven?” It could well be. I know a few Bible scholars that said this means that Jesus is the only One Who has both descended from and ascended (in Acts 1 this will happen) to heaven. Again, I think that heaven is where Jesus is…and I so long to see Him face to face, with the realization that I will fall on my face before Him. Did this help sir?

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Don. M May 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Thanks Jack,
Yes that helps. I guess in the end, the answers will be given when we meet him. But at that point, we wont even care. We will be so amazed of his Glory, and being in his presence, that nothing else will matter. It does make for interesting discussion though. I, like you, have an overall goal and longing to be face to face with him. Oh how glorious that will be. Thank you for responding.

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Jack Wellman May 26, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Thank you sir. Yes, we will find out someday…and what a day that will be my brother. I too am longing for that great day. I agree, we won’t care but we will stand in awe of our Great Master and Lord.

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