Last Updated on : December 20, 2014

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You Will Never Go To Heaven

H.H. James, Simple Truth Series No. 23, New Zealand


"What an assertion!" "Preposterous!" How dreadful. Why should I not go to Heaven? We always believed that we would! All Christians go to heaven, do they not? Where else is the home of the righteous? Besides, Paul said, absent from the body, present with the Lord, and he desired to depart and be with Christ. Surely that means Paul is in heaven!

Pause a moment. Others have been told that they would not go to heaven. They tried to prove that they would. The following is an account of what they found to be the truth of the matter.

First of all, the words of Jesus call for attention. He said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5). What did he mean? His statement was taken from the 37th Psalm, where the same truth is expressed in the following verses:

"The meek shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" (v. 11);

"Those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth" (v. 9);

"For such as be blessed of Him shall inherit the earth" (v. 22).

It will not be disputed that the people described in the bold words are those three verses can appropriately be called the righteous, and if any readers consider themselves "good-living Christians" they should ask two questions. First, Have they ever inherited the earth? Second, If they go to heaven at death and remain there, as they expect to do, when will they inherit the earth? The answer to the first question is "No!" and to the second "Never."

What is wrong? Just this: that a false belief about the future has taken the place of the truth spoken by Jesus in Matt. 5:5, written in Psalm 37, and frequently elsewhere in Scripture. There is a collision between heaven going, heaven dwelling and inheriting the earth. The latter has to do with an inheritance, a future here, and hereafter here, on the earth, whilst the former denies it. When our attention is called to that fact, then we must learn what inheriting the earth means. It is useless to hold any belief contrary to the Word of God.

In Revelation 4:1, John was invited to be shown "things which must be hereafter," that is from then forward our day and beyond it. Among those things seen in vision was a scene in which the righteous sing of the inheritance about to be given to them. The song of the redeemed is recorded in Rev. 5:9-10:

"Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation, and hast made us unto our God, Kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth."

When these words are fulfilled Christ will be here in the earth, "come again," "returned," as he said he would (John 14:3; Luke 19:15). The song of the redeemed is addressed to him, "the Lamb," the one slain (Rev. 5:8-9), and where the righteous, the redeemed, are to reign, he will reign also. They are to reign on the earth, therefore he will too. It will be seen, then, that living with Christ in heaven cannot happen, for he will not be there in the coming days of Rev. 5:9-10. Although there now, he will only be away from the earth temporarily. The earth is to be his inheritance, as well as that of the meek.

An Inheritance Here

Scripture stresses this truth many times. In Acts 13:33, the Apostle Paul identified the one spoken of in Psalm 2:7 as being Jesus Christ.

"Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee."

"Ask of me (Yahweh) and I shall give thee the heathen (the nations) for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psalm 2:7-9).

Jesus has promised that the righteous will take part with him in this great work of the future.

"He that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers" (Rev. 2:25-27).

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in His throne" (Rev. 3:21).

"They shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6).

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him" (2 Tim. 2:12).

"Thou hast made us unto our God Kings and priests and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10).

"The Kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11:15).

"He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1st Cor. 15:25-26).

The reader is urged to read the foregoing passages carefully, to check them up in a Bible for they are conclusive and plain. They have never been fulfilled. They show that Christ and the righteous ("the meek" of Psalms 37 and Matt. 5) are to be a company of Kings ruling all the earth until every enemy, including death, has been destroyed. In no way can they be transferred to heaven to be fulfilled there. They mean what they say. "The Kingdoms of this world" are not in heaven, neither is "the last enemy," death. Both are here, therefore the work to be done in destroying them will be done here and those who are to do it must be here also. "On the earth" (Rev. 5:10) requires contact, presence, a being here and not away in heaven or even in the air. Meeting "the Lord in the air" (1st Thess. 4:17) does not mean staying there, or going from the air to heaven, since his destination is the earth and the Kings and priests of Rev. 5:9-10, are to reign on the earth over the nations, who will also be on the earth inhabiting it. Those Kings and priests will be taken from "the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him" (James 2:5).

"Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

"Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34).

Careful Notice Required

Several points are worth noticing carefully. First, when Matt. 25:34 is fulfilled, Jesus will be back in the earth again. Verse 31 makes it plain that "when the son of man shall come in his glory" to be "the King" (v. 34) he will do certain things, one of which will be to invite "the righteous," "the just," "the meek," "the sheep," to inherit the Kingdom (v. 34). Second, that the Kingdom promised to them that love him will be the Kingdom given to or inherited by the righteous at the time of Christ's second coming. Third, that previous to that fulfilment and during their lifetime, those who "inherit the Kingdom" are heirs to it and must be rich in faith, which means that they must be rich in their belief of the coming Kingdom, rich in hope of the things for which they wait, for faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).

Heirs of the Kingdom hope to be in the Kingdom as Kings and priests to reign with Christ on the earth when they shall "possess the Kingdom."

"The saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom and possess the Kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever" (Dan. 7:18).

"The Kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey him" (Dan. 7:27).

Not one promise is made in those verses of anything to be obtained in heaven, either at death or any other time. Nothing is said which can be construed into going to heaven or being in heaven to enjoy an inheritance there. The plain splendid truth is that the Kingdom is to be "under the whole heaven," or everywhere upon the earth, and not up in heaven, from which it follows that the earth is to be the inheritance of Christ and the saints, the righteous, and they are to have the practical work of ruling the nations to the blessing and benefit of mankind in "the age to come", the millennium. The earth needs such an administration. There will be "abundance of peace" then, in which the meek shall delight themselves (Psa. 37:11). The rulers will see the fruit of their work when "a King shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment" (Isa. 32:1).

"For nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:4).

"In his days shall the righteous flourish and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth" (Psa. 72:7).

Zedekiah Last, Jesus Next

Jesus was promised a throne on the earth -- "my throne" (Rev. 3:21). The last reigning King of Israel lost the throne which he had occupied, the throne of David, who ruled the 12 tribed nation of Israel in Palestine (2 Sam. 5:5). The prophet Ezekiel said to this ruler (Zedekiah),

"thou profane wicked prince of Israel whose day is come when iniquity shall have an end. Thus saith the Lord, remove the diadem and take off the crown. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it and it shall be no more until he come whose right it is, and I will give it him" (Ezek. 21:25-27).

Who is this? Let Luke 1:30-33 answer:

"He (Jesus) shall be great and shall be called the son of the highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever and ever and of his Kingdom there shall be no end."

The conclusions drawn from these two statements, Ezekiel 21:25-27, Luke 1:30-33, are instructive and fatal to a belief that Christ is to remain in heaven. They mean, first, that the throne lost to Zedekiah is to be restored to Christ; second, that it would not be continued anywhere else between the days of those two rulers. It was to be "no more" from Zedekiah's downfall to the enthronement of King Jesus. It had been occupied by a human ruler for the last time and no human ruler could occupy it in the interval where it had been or anywhere else, which means that the throne of the reigning British "house" today is not the throne of David transferred to Westminster. It was to be no more until! "Until he comes whose right it is and I will give it him." An immortal ruler, Jesus Christ, is the next King who will sit upon the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32).

Third, to occupy the throne promised to him, his by Divine right, Jesus must return to the earth to reign over the house of Jacob (the 12 tribed nation of Israel) for ever, to which end the throne and Kingdom of David will be re-established in the same city, Jerusalem, and in the same land. "Canaan" on the earth, Palestine the Holy Land, will be the centre where the scattered nation of Israel will be regathered to a permanent occupation of the territory promised to Abraham, extending from the Nile to the Euphrates and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf (Gen. 15:18; 13:14-15; Ezek. 47:13-21; 48:1-35; Amos 9:11-15). Around this land and centre the Gentile nations will be grouped to form a universal empire filling the whole earth, "a new world order" under a King from heaven.

Jerusalem, A World Capital

"The Gentiles shall come to thy light and Kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Isa. 60:3).

"The redeemer shall come to Zion" (Isa. 59:20).

"The Lord shall arise upon thee and his glory shall be seen upon thee" (Isa. 60:2).

"The nation and Kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish, yea those nations shall be utterly wasted" (Isa. 60:12).

"The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness and all Kings thy glory" (Isa. 62:2).

Thus the prophet proclaimed the glory of Jerusalem when, as "the city of the great King," it is established, a joy and a praise in all the earth (Psa. 48:2; Isa. 62:6-7). "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it" (Isa. 40:5).

Jesus Christ, King World Wide

"All Kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him" (Psa. 72:11).

"His enemies shall lick the dust" (v. 9).

"All nations shall call him blessed" (v. 17).

"He shall judge thy people with righteousness and thy poor with judgment" (v. 2).

"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end" (Isa. 9:7).

"The work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever" (Isa. 32:17).

"The Lord shall be King over all the earth, in that day shall there be one Lord and his name one" (Zech. 14:9).

These verses belong to the thousand years reign of Christ and the righteous over the nations on the earth. They are gems of testimony picked out from a mountain of truth. Believing them, enlightened men and women can pray, "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth" (Luke 11:2). That prayer will have a significance, a meaning which it never had before and cannot have for those who expect to go to heaven. No one can accept the foregoing testimony and continue to do so.

The Earth, The Father's House

And this is not all. The glories of the millennium will truly be splendid, but when the work of Christ is done and he hath reigned here, where his enemies are, until he has destroyed them all, there is still a greater glory in the eternity ahead. The curtain has been drawn aside far enough for finite minds to catch a glimpse of the perfect day, the "morning without clouds," when "God shall be all in all." With the Apostle Paul, we are privileged to look into the great beyond, the consummation of God's purpose on the earth. "Then cometh the end" (of the thousand years) "when he" (Jesus) "shall have delivered up the Kingdom" (all the earth) "to God, even the Father, when he" (Jesus) "shall have put down" (here) "all rule and all authority and power. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the son also himself be subjected unto Him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (1st Cor. 15:24-28). The Kingdom of God in its perfect phase will then begin. The Father's "house of many mansions" (John 14:2), begun when the Kingdom is established, will then be completed. It will be the earth, where immortal people, abiding people, the righteous, who have occupied "abiding places," the thrones of the millennial age (Rev. 20:6) will live on eternally when the work done during that age has removed every enemy, including sin and death.

"He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1st. Cor. 15:25-26).

Jesus and the righteous are to inherit the earth. They must therefore live where their inheritance is located. Why prepare a place in heaven when Jesus will not remain there (for he is coming again), and why expect to obtain a prepared place in heaven when the righteous will never go there? Jesus said, "I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am" (when I come again) "there ye may be also" (John 14:3), a promise which means a definite fulfilment here, at his return and not in heaven at the death of each believer. The work of Christ and "the saints of the Most High" (Dan. 7:18), "the righteous" (Matt. 25:31-37) during the 1000 years will result in the "house" completed, the earth made new in being cleansed from sin and death, when no one living then will have our flesh and blood nature.

Into this "house," splendid and perfect, the Father will come to take His place as head of a glorious "household", the redeemed of all ages.

"They which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27).

"They shall see His face and His name shall be in their foreheads" (Rev. 22:4).

"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).

"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. 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." "Behold I make all things new" (Rev. 21:3-5)

Did Paul Go To Heaven?

A reader may be thinking of Paul's desire to depart, and being absent from the body, present with the Lord. Wondering also how those statements harmonize, if at all, with what has been read, for it does appear that Christ and the righteous will live on the earth. But Paul did not say what he is misquoted to state. It is usual to leave out words which make all the difference. This has been done purposely in the references made previously, so that the contrast may be plain, when the verses are properly read. Quotation points have not been used above. Phil. 1:23, reads:

"having a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better."

2 Cor. 5:8 reads:

"willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

Here are two verses with two events in each, begun with the word "to" -- "to depart," "to be with Christ," "to be absent from the body," "to be present with the Lord." Does it follow that the first happening should be succeeded by the second immediately? The belief in going to heaven at death requires that it shall. It will be best to let Paul speak for himself and not put a construction on his words, by misquoting them to suit a going to heaven belief which he never preached, because he taught the return of Christ and his reign on the earth over the nations. A glance at Acts 17:31; 1st Cor. 15:23; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 9:28, will prove that.

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31).

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1 Cor. 15:23).

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2 Tim. 4:1).

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb. 9:28).

So the question may be fitly put: When did Paul expect to be with Christ? When did he expect to be present with the Lord? His answer was, when the Lord is here again. One plain passage from him proves this conclusively:

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

Are we to believe that Paul is in heaven now, without a crown of righteousness, that all others like him are there too, without theirs', which cannot be given until Christ comes? "Laid up for me" means not given immediately but later on, the time of which is fixed by the words "his appearing." So Paul did not expect to receive anything in heaven at death, but he did love the "appearing" of Jesus, because then he would obtain the reward for all that he had suffered, "a crown of righteousness." Not a literal crown to wear on his head, as the righteous are mistakenly said to do in heaven, but "a crown of glory that fadeth not away," just as Peter did "when the chief shepherd shall appear" (1 Peter 5:4) or "a crown of life" after being faithful unto death, as Paul was (Rev. 2:10). What will it be?

"Our conversation is in heaven from whence also we look for the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Phil. 3:20-21). That is the way in which Paul and others will be given "a crown of righteousness," "of glory," "of life." He will be made a glorious body, which will never grow old, never decay, never fade away. What a contrast to what he was and what we are! "We know that when he" (Jesus) "shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is" (1st John 3:2). "Alive for evermore" (Rev. 1:18). The apostle expected to obtain this perfection of body through resurrection, judgment and immortalization at the Lord's return. "Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's" (or belong to him) "at his coming" (1st Cor. 15:23). He taught others what he believed and hoped for himself so that his doctrine of the resurrection and the return of Christ was the accepted belief of converts to the early Christian faith. Today the position is reversed, in that it is hoped to go to Christ in heaven at death, instead of him coming here to meet his people. And resurrection is not an essential event to anyone who expects to be alive in heaven, having a body there. If that were so, and all that lives anywhere does so bodily, what need of another body at the resurrection, seeing also that the body hoped for in heaven is said to be a perfect one? A belief in going to heaven at death cancels out the Bible doctrine of the resurrection.

But hear Paul and share his hope, although it may mean giving up a present belief. "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead" (Phil. 3:11). "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ," that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).

Note that Paul wrote this to "believers," the word "we" including himself. He said also that the Lord Jesus Christ would "judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom" (2 Tim. 4:1), from which it follows the some will require resurrection, being dead at Christ's return, no one will have been in heaven, where resurrection and judgment would not be required, and nothing has been done in the way of an "investigative judgment" previous to the advent.

"This corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality," which when accomplished will mean that death is swallowed up in victory (1st Cor. 15:53-54).

How, When and Where

From these passages it is clear how, when and where Paul expected to be with Christ. When he wrote "the time of my departure is at hand" (2 Tim. 4:6) he did not look for an instantaneous arrival in the presence of the Lord. With him "absent from" did not mean "present with," without and before the return of Christ, whereas "heaven at death" for him or anyone else reverses all that Paul hoped for and makes the resurrection unnecessary. He therefore knew the course his "departure" would take. First, his death; second his "sleep in Jesus" (1st Thess. 4:14), which to him would be no time at all as there is none in sleep, because "the dead know not anything" "in the grave," where all go at death (Ecc. 9:5-10; 3:20); third, his resurrection or wakening "out of sleep" (John 11:11); fourth, his appearance before Christ for judgment (2 Cor. 5:10); fifth, his acceptance and immortalization, the summit and consummation of his hope, a "glorious body," mortality "swallowed up of life," and a place in the Kingdom of God with Christ on the earth (Phil. 3:20-21; Matt. 25:31-34; Rev. 20:6).

Apostles Promised Thrones On Earth

Not only will he have the company of Jesus then, but the Apostles, who preached "the gospel of the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:1) with Christ during his ministry, will be there also. Jesus promised them thrones in that Kingdom. He said, "Verily I say unto you that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19:27-28). With that promise before them, Peter and the other Apostles did not expect "to live and reign with Christ in heaven", and those who contend that natural Israel will not be regathered to the land of their fathers would do well to reverse their belief.

The Prophets In The Kingdom

The words of Jesus were equally plain when he spoke of the future of the prophets of Israel and those men who were the great ancestors of that nation. In Luke 13:28-29, he said, "Ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east and from the west and from the north and from the south and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God."

There are three reasons why those words cannot be fulfilled in heaven, which no one has attempted to locate between the four points of the compass. First, when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God he knew that it would be a future Kingdom, established on the earth, in which he would reign as King over all nations. It would be contradictory of that fact for him to mean that heaven would be the Kingdom of God in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets would spend their future, for if they were there, and he is to be here, then he and they will be separated, a calamity instead of the blessing of being together on the earth.

Second, one reason why Jesus said that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob will be in the Kingdom of God was that that Kingdom had been promised to them. Jesus knew this and his gospel was the "good " of the same Kingdom, which was consistent with what had been promised to these men centuries before. It is written of them in Heb. 11:13, "these all died in faith, not having received the promises." Had the promises related to heaven and they had gone there at death, then they would have received them, but the record goes on to say, "having seen them" (their fulfilment) "afar off and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." By why "afar off" if fulfilled at their death? And why "strangers and pilgrims on the earth"? Was it because they hoped that they would live away from the earth? Those questions are answered in Heb. 11:8-9. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in the land promised to them, but they never inherited it. They were sojourners in a land which they should afterward receive for an inheritance. They were heirs to the things promised. Anyone looking closely at Heb. 11:8-9, cannot claim that heaven was promised to these men, for it cannot be suggested that a sojourn there, "as in a strange country", would be followed by receiving it as an inheritance. What land was promised to Abraham? "All the land which thou seest" (Gen. 13:14-17). "This land wherein ye now dwell" (Acts 7:1-5). The land of Israel where the descendants of Abraham lived at the time when Stephen declared that "He (God) gave him (Abraham) none inheritance in it" (the land wherein ye now dwell), "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." The Apostle Paul defined the full scope of the Divine promise to Abraham in stating that "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" (Rom. 4:13-25).

Abraham To Inherit The Earth

In other words, Abraham, and with him Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs to the same promise (Heb. 11:9), are among the meek who "shall inherit the earth." They desired "a better country," that is "an heavenly", which is not heaven, but like heaven as the earth will be when it becomes the "Father's house of many mansions" (abiding places) after Jesus has blessed all nations during his thousand years reign on the earth and destroyed (possessed "the gate of") every enemy, including death (Heb. 11:13-16; John 4:2-3; Gen. 22:15-18; Gal. 3:8-16).

Third, "Where is now the prophet Daniel? Safe in the promised land." Those words of an old-time hymn are directly opposite to what Jesus said about the prophets. "Ye shall see all the prophets in the Kingdom of God" (Luke 13:28-29). He did not say they will be seen in heaven. They, too, predicted a "promised land" upon the earth, so that Daniel is not yet "safe," nor did he expect to be in heaven, for he was told, "Go thou thy way until the end be, for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Dan. 12:13). What that "lot" or portion will be can be seen when it is recalled that he wrote the beautiful inspired words of Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14, which predict a Kingdom "under the whole heaven," or everywhere upon the earth. To be consistent with what he predicted his hope of being "safe in the promised land" would not be a place in heaven, but on the earth when Christ returns to reign.

Daniel--David To Inherit The Earth<

David also was a prophet (Acts 2:29-30) and he has "not ascended into the heavens" (Acts 2:34). On the contrary, "he is both dead and buried" (Acts 2:29). He "fell on sleep and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption" (Acts 13:36). Psalm 72, when read will provide conclusive proof that he did not expect to go to heaven. His words are descriptive of a great future for the earth and its people. It is a "Kingdom of God" (Psalm) in which David hoped to have a personal part when the time comes for its fulfilment. That he will is indicated by Heb. 11:32-33, where he is spoken of among those "who through faith" did the things described in vs. 33-38. Of them the Apostle Paul wrote, "And these all" (including David, vs. 32) "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" (v. 40). It is plain that had any of them departed to heaven at death they would have been made perfect then, and before "us" (those to whom Paul wrote).

Seeing then that they have not yet been made perfect, none of them are in heaven and none of they are alive anywhere else. Where are they? David, "both dead and buried" (Acts 2:29); Daniel, "thou shalt rest" (Dan. 12:13); Abraham and the prophets "dead" (John 8:53). They, like all men, "are of the dust and all turn to dust again." "All go to one place," the grave, where "the dead know not anything" (Ecc. 3:20; 9:5-10).

What then is their future? They must be made alive again or be raised from the dead. Resurrection is the essential event which will end the "sleep" of David, the "rest" of Daniel. Wakening up time will come when Christ returns, who is "the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).

Resurrection, Not Heaven At Death

Listen to the hope of resurrection which the prophets expressed in language so plain that it rules out an immortal soul (a phrase not found in the Bible) living on in heaven after the death of the body.

David: "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness" (Psalm 17:15)

Daniel: "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life" (Dan. 12:2)

Isaiah: "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust, for the earth shall cast out the dead" (Isa. 26:19)

On the basis of a resurrection, the Apostle John wrote: "We know that when he" (Jesus) "shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).

Paul also looked ahead. "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead" (Phil. 3:10-11). "Our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Phil. 3:20-21). "Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him" (Rom. 6:8; Rev. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:12-25).

The Apostle Peter looked forward to the return of Christ as the time when he and others would receive their reward. "When the chief shepherd shall appear ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:4).

A Glorious Prospect

What a grand company these and others of like faith and hope will be in the day of their glory, endowed then with bodily immortality, when Christ returns (1 Cor. 15:53-55). Under the leadership of the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" they go forth to rule the nations for 1000 years (Rev. 19:16; 20:6). Earth has never had such rulers. Read the Old Testament descriptions of the Kingdom of God, with all the changes toward perfection during that age of light! Follow the reign of Christ and the righteous during those years, and see the nations blest with freedom from fear, want and war. See peace and plenty descending in "showers" of blessing, righteousness flowing in healing streams in every land, and love for a righteous King binding the subject nations in one world family. "All nations shall call him blessed" (Psalm 72:17). And when the thousand years are ended, all enemies destroyed, the Father Himself will come to dwell on the earth, which will then be "filled with the glory of the Lord", a "house," a home fit for immortals to dwell in eternally. Heaven here, not heaven away from here (Numbers 14:21; Rev. 21:3-5).

Christ Away As High Priest

Jesus Christ is away now in heaven, not as a King, but as "a great High Priest" (Heb. 4:14-16) on behalf of his people here on earth. They are those who have believed "the gospel of the Kingdom" and associated themselves with his death, burial and resurrection, being immersed in water, to put on his saving name (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 4:12; Rom. 6). Briefly, they are all those who have complied with "the Truth" expressed in Acts 8:12, and who set out to follow Christ, moulding their lives by his example and obeying his commandments as expressed in the New Testament (John 14:15; Heb. 12:1-3).

Christ The Advocate

For them, his Brethren, he appears before his Father as their "Advocate," their "Mediator," "able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25). His brethren know "that" he is entered into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us", and rejoice that they have a representative there who was formerly "tempted in all points like as we are" (Heb. 9:24; 4:15). A sympathetic High Priest, who "once suffered, being tempted," therefore "able to succour them that are tempted" (Heb. 2:18). Strengthened by his example, they overcome temptation many times, but when they yield to it and become transgressors, then is still help for those who confess their sins, as John records. "If we say that we have not sinned we make him a liar and his word is not in us" (1 John 1:10). "If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (vs. 8). "If we confess our sins he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (v. 9). "If any man sin we (the Brethren of Christ) have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." "He is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:1-2) "sent by God, our mercy seat, through whom the Father forgives sins for his sake when his brethren have erred in weakness" (1 John 4:10). "I write unto you little children because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake" (1 John 2:12). "Our advocate abides in heaven that erring saints may be forgiven." None can succeed alone. "Without me ye can do nothing." Each must abide in him (John 15:4-5). For them the intercession of their High Priest prepares a place in the Kingdom which the righteous are to inherit on the earth at his return (Matt. 25:31-34), followed by the earth beyond the thousand years being their eternal home with the Father (Rev. 21:3). "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6).

The Personal Application

Reader! We had nothing of that in our old hope of heaven! We were not interested in the future of the earth. Nor had we very definite ideas of the heaven in which we believed. Its locality was unknown. Someone said that it was "beyond the bounds of time and space," which is nowhere. Its glories were shadowy and unreal. When it was spoken of as a "place" it was one to keep out of as long as human care and skill could keep us here. Turn then from the shadow to the substance. Leave tradition and superstitution for truth. Believe "the gospel of the Kingdom of God." Hasten to complete a change of life, which such a belief will bring. The time is short and there is much to learn. Many other truths are related to the "gospel". "Search the Scriptures" (John 5:39). Apply their teaching, and the old hope of heaven will vanish without regret in the rejoicing of heart that will come with the bright hope of being one of the meek who shall inherit the earth.