When Will We Go To Heaven ?

 

 

 

 

 

The Miracle of Enoch;  “For God Took Him”

 

The bible tells us of a miracle that occurred in approximately  3107 BC.  The miracle is briefly described in  Genesis 5, verse 24,  where it says;  “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”   Evidently, life had gone on quite naturally for almost a thousand years, but then along came Enoch.   God was so pleased with Enoch, that He didn’t allow Enoch to live out his life naturally, but rather, God took him miraculously.   Obviously, Enoch displayed a sincere desire to be with God, that’s why the bible says;  “Enoch walked with God”.   Maybe God took Enoch because He didn’t want Enoch to have to labor for another 4 or 5 hundred more years on this earth.  Whatever the case may be, a miracle occurred.  

The story of Enoch brings up a subject that is surrounded by a lot of misunderstanding.  Everyone probably already has their own beliefs on this subject, but sometimes our beliefs don’t match up to what the bible teaches.  So let’s listen to what the bible has to say, and see if your belief agrees with the bible.

Genesis 5:24 says;  “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”  Here’s the subject that I want you to consider;  Where did God take Enoch?    Did God take Enoch directly to heaven?

It would makes sense to us, that God might take Enoch to heaven.  God might have wanted Enoch right there in heaven with Him.  And that would certainly be a great reward for Enoch, for his faithfulness.

However, that verse doesn’t SAY that God took Enoch to heaven, it just says, God took him.  However, wouldn’t you agree that the vast majority of people who believe in God, and who believe in heaven, believe that when a faithful person dies, their soul goes directly to heaven?  But does the bible actually teach, that the soul goes directly to heaven?

The bible states clearly, in  Ecclesiastes 12:7;  “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  Does THAT verse teach that every soul that departs their body at death goes directly to heaven?  No it doesn’t.  First of all, we know that every soul that departs the body WON’T go to heaven.  As a matter of fact, we know that MOST souls will go elsewhere.   Mathew 7:13  tells us that “many” will enter into destruction, and  verse 14  tells us that “few” will enter into life.  

Therefore, we see that  Ecclesiastes 12:7,  isn’t talking about heaven at all.  It simply says that “the spirit returns to God who gave it”.   And that’s exactly what  Genesis 5:24 says about Enoch;  that God “took him”.  It doesn’t say anything about heaven.

In  2 Kings 2, verse 11,  it says;  “..and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.”  That verse is talking about when the Lord took the prophet Elijah from this earth.  However, the word “heaven” as it’s used there, simply means the created heavens, in other words, the sky above us.   Elijah went up in a whirlwind, until he could no longer be seen.

 

When the Jewish teacher named Nicodemus came to Jesus alone one night, one of the things that Jesus said to him was;  “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out from heaven, even the Son of Man.”   John 3:13.  So then, no one has ascended into heaven, except Christ, who came from heaven.   Now, that’s not the only time that something like that’s been said in the bible.  

Proverbs 30, verse 4  says;  “Who has ascended into heaven and descended?”  And the later part of the verse says;  “What is His name, and His Son’s name?  Surely you know!”  In other words, only God and Christ, OR, God in the form of Christ, has ascended to and from heaven.  

Psalm 68:18  says;  “Thou hast ascended on high!”  Ephesians 4:8  quotes that verse, and then it goes on to say in  verses 9 & 10;  “Now the expression ‘He has ascended’, what does it mean, except that He also had descended, into the lower parts of the earth?  He who descended, is Himself also He who ascended, far above all the heavens (that means above the physical heavens) that he might fill all things.”  

All these verses set Christ apart, as the only one who has ascended into heaven.  Jesus said;  “NO ONE has ascended into heaven..”  except Him.

 

There’s a couple more scripture verses on this subject that I want you to hear also.  First I want to remind you that Christians have been given the PROMISE of eternal life.   1 John 2:25  says;  “For this is the promise that He has made to us;  Eternal life.”  This promise is also called an inheritance.  Hebrews 9:15  says;  “..those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”  And we know that this inheritance is in heaven, because  1 Peter 1, verse 4  says;  “..to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved for you in heaven.”  

So then Christians, have the promise of inheriting eternal life in heaven.  Now,  Hebrews chapter 11,  talks about several faithful people from the past.  It talks about Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and Sarah.  And then it says in  verse 13;  “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises..”

The promise made to each and every one of those people, was the same promise that God has made to us, namely;  The promise of inheriting eternal life in heaven.  And all those faithful people mentioned, are just a sampling of all the faithful people who have ever lived.  And they all died without having received the promises that were made to them.  In other words, they have not received eternal life, which is to be inherited in heaven.

And here’s the reason that they haven’t received the promise of heaven yet.  God says, in  Hebrews 11, verses 39 & 40;  “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did NOT receive the promise, BECAUSE, God had provided something better for US, so that apart from us, they should not be perfected.”   

Do you understand what God is saying here?  Eternal life in heaven is what has been promised.  But none of those faithful people mentioned, have received that promise yet.  They have NOT gone to heaven yet.  And God tells us WHY they haven’t gone to heaven yet.  The reason why they haven’t gone to heaven yet, is because (and I quote here)  “apart from us, they should not be perfected.”   To go to heaven, is to be “perfected”.   And they won’t go to heaven until we are perfected with them.

You see, they are not the only ones that God has “something better” in store for.  God has “provided something better for us”, also!   Therefore, those who have died in the past, will not be perfected in heaven, until ALL those who are going to heaven, can all go at the same time, and be perfected t the same time.  It doesn’t matter if that’s the way you or I would have done things.  That is the way GOD has done things!

Everyone who will be saved, will receive the heavenly inheritance TOGETHER!   That’s why it says in  1 Thessalonians 4:16 & 17;  “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout!  With the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then, we who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”   Everyone goes together!

Listen to this verse,  Ephesians 3:24;  “Knowing that from the Lord, you will receive the reward of the inheritance..”   God calls our future home in heaven, a “reward”.  It’s our “reward” for being faithful, and the reward is FROM the Lord.   Now listen to  Revelation 22, verse 12.  Jesus says;  “Behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me!  To render to every man according to what he has done.”   

Our reward is heaven, and when Christ comes again, He will have that reward with Him.  “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out from heaven, even the Son of Man.”  But we WILL all ascend to heaven, IF we remain faithful.  But we will all ascend to heaven together!

And God tells us in  1 Thessalonians 4:18;  “Therefore, comfort one another with these words!”   God is telling us that since we will all go to heaven together, those words should comfort us.   If those words don’t give us comfort, why don’t they?   Every faithful soul that has ever passed from this life, is in complete peace and safe keeping, kept by our almighty God.  And we will all be joined together to receive our heavenly reward, at the same time.  That is an absolutely wonderful thought.  How could there possibly be anything wrong, with what God has ordained?  

I trust God 100%, that His way is the absolute BEST way!   It’s impossible, for there to be a better way, than God’s way!

We, as human beings, are impatient, aren’t we?  You know we are.  We want things right away, and we don’t like to wait.  The bible actually illustrates that tendency, in  Revelation 6:9 & 10.  Now remember, this is a symbolic description, it’s not literally what will happen.  But listen..  “And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw beneath the alter, the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they maintained.”    It’s interesting that the souls are said to be “beneath the alter”.  They’re not pictured in front of the alter, or surrounding the alter, as if they’re in heaven, but they’re “beneath the alter”.  It’s as if they haven’t ascended to heaven yet.  

But listen to  verse 10;  “And they cried out with a loud voice; How long, O Lord, holy and true, will Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”   Even the souls of the slain are pictured as being impatient, waiting for the day of the Lord.

And do you know what happened next?  Remember, this is symbolic.   Verse 11 says;  “And there was given to each of them a white robe (that symbolizes the fact that they’re cleansed) and they were told that they should rest a little while longer, until their fellow servants, and their brethren, who were to be killed, even as they had been, should be completed also.”  

Even in a symbolic illustration like this, God stays true to the fact that those who have already died, will not enter heaven before the rest of their brethren who are yet living.  And God’s judgment, won’t come until that time is completed.

 

I’m sure that everyone would like to go to heaven, immediately.  And especially when someone who we love passes away, we want them to be rewarded right away.  And there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting the best for the ones we love.  And actually, they are rewarded right away.  They’re rewarded with rest.  Rest from the tribulation of this life.   The souls beneath the alter were told to “rest a little while longer..”  until the total number of the saved is completed.

And then when Jesus comes, the reward of our inheritance of eternal life in heaven, will be with Him.  “Behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me.”

 

But while we wait for that eternal reward, if we should pass away, we know from what the apostle Paul says, that we will still “be with Christ”.  He said in  Philippians 1:23;  “..having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is much better..”   He said in   2 Corinthians 5:8;  “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.”  

Most people think that these verses contradict the idea of not being in heaven immediately after we die.  But it’s not contradictory at all.  It’s simply saying, that when we die, and our spirit and soul leaves our body, that we go to a place that God considers to be “at home with Him”.  The scripture make it clear that we will not be in our “eternal home”, but we will still somehow be “at home with the Lord”, and Paul says;  “For that is much better”, than to be here on this earth.

We need to remember that being in our eternal home in heaven, is described in the bible as having been “made perfect”.   And as an example of that,  Hebrews 11:40  says;  “..so that apart from us, they should not be made perfect.”   In other words, faithful souls who have passed from this life, will not receive their eternal reward ahead of anyone else.  

The word “perfect” as used here, means..  “to be completed, to consummate, to reach the final stage”.   And the completed and final stage, is heaven.

Even Jesus Himself, the Son of God, didn’t go directly to heaven when He left His body, as it died on the cross.  But the last thing that He said before He died, was this;  “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.”  Luke 23, verse 46.   And His spirit DID return to God, just like it says in  Ecclesiastes 12:7.   But it didn’t go to the place of His eternal dwelling.  But rather, it went to an unseen realm that the bible calls hades, in  Acts 2, verse 27.   

But yet, when Jesus died, He committed His Spirit, into the hands of God.  Even in the realm called hades, Jesus’ Spirit was in “the hands of God”.  Paul refers to it as being “at home with the Lord”.   And he says;  “for that is much better”.  

I trust and believe, that when I leave this life, If I have remained faithful, that my spirit will return to God who gave it, and that it will be at home with Him, in His hands, and that it will be at rest, in a much better state than it’s in right now;  Just like the spirits of Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and David, and Peter and Paul and John, and all faithful children of God, who’ve passed from this life.  And I trust that when Jesus comes on the last day, that He will have my eternal reward with Him, just like He sais He would.  And that I will receive my inheritance, which is, the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life in heaven.

 

In the meantime, let’s all be like Job, who said in  Job 14:14 & 15;  “..All the days of my struggle, I will wait, until my change comes.  Thou will call, and I will answer Thee.  Thou will long for the works of Thy hands.”  

 

 

 

 

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