Article of the Month

November 2011

 

HEAVEN ISNT ABOUT SALVATION! 

 

What? Wait a minute! It is very clear from Scripture that going to heaven IS a salvation. Philippians 2:12 is only one of the many texts that links those going to heaven with the word “salvation.” But this is not our point. Nearly all of Christianity has missed the CORRECT PERSPECTIVE about a heavenly salvation. And because of this, many have ERRONEOUSLY concluded that heaven was designed for the purpose of saving mankind. It wasn’t. If God had wanted the human race in heaven, He would have put them there in the first place.

 

—  Resulting Confusion  —

 

A recent newspaper article dealt with the OPINIONS of Christians regarding who will go to heaven. The extremes of belief are ENORMOUS. Some sects believe that only their adherents will make it to heaven; Universalists believe that EVERYONE will get there. (Knowing about earth’s many scoundrels makes this concept a bit uncomfortable!) Some believe that only Christians will go there; others are willing to think that “many roads” lead there and that exemplary non-Christians will end up in heaven. All of these positions are, of course, the products of prejudices, lies, confusion, reasonings, hopes, and political correctness. None, however, seems solidly rooted in the Judeo-Christian Scriptural doctrine.

 

—  Mankind’s Salvation Is on Earth  —

 

Forget for a moment everything you have believed about an after-life. Forget about heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo, reincarnation, etc., etc. Consider instead the simple, BASIC, concept of salvation. Man was designed for the earth; and the earth was designed for man. Through an action of disobedience to God, man began to die and has been dying ever since. Death was, and is, simply EXTINCTION — the absence of life. Man’s disobedience did not condemn him to GOING any place — not to torment, not to paradise. It condemned him to total oblivion. How simple!

What is the way out of this disaster? The Judeo-Christian answer is RESURRECTION — an AWAKENING and a RESTORATION to favor with God. How simple! WHERE does that PUT mankind? It puts him right back here where he started — ON EARTH where he was designed to be! Again, the simplicity of the matter is at once rational, Scriptural, and appealing. The Scriptures which fall into harmony with this doctrine are many and are frequently quoted. Perhaps you remember: “The meek shall inherit the earth.” “Thy Kingdom Come; Thy will be done in earth.” “Peace on earth; good will toward men.” You could, no doubt, add MANY others!

Two paragraphs earlier you were asked to forget temporarily about heaven, hell, reincarnation, limbo, purgatory, etc. But now it’s time to bring them back to mind and to deal with them briefly. Reincarnation, purgatory, and limbo are products of man’s imagination. They do not occur in Scripture; they do not exist. Heaven and hell do occur in the Bible. Both have been subjected to gross misinterpretations.

Hell is the condition of oblivion we call death. It is not torment; it has no consciousness; and it is not eternal.  Its final mention in the Bible states that it GIVES UP THE DEAD WHICH ARE IN IT. There goes any concept of its being eternal! The very first time it is mentioned in the Bible is more than two thousand years after the Garden of Eden (more than one-third of mankind’s Biblical history!) — seemingly a rather significant oversight for a teaching many see as so vital! 

 

—  A New Creation  —

 

So, what about heaven? If it’s not there as the destination for saved mankind, what IS it for, and why does the Bible clearly teach that some men will go there?

Sometimes (because of how we have been taught, or because of how we think) we fail to note the importance and significance behind some words.  Faithful Christian disciples are Biblically called “New Creatures” or a “New Creation” (depending on varying translations). [See texts like II Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15.] It is important to meditate on the meaning of these words. If something is a NEW CREATION, it is manifestly NOT part of the OLD CREATION — mankind. But what does this mean? One thing we shall see that it means is that heaven is for this “New Creation” — not for humanity.

 

—  Before the World’s Creation  —

 

Matthew 13:35 says that when the world was founded, certain items of truth existed but have been “kept secret” from mankind. The context points out that Jesus began to reveal these secrets to his disciples. One of these secrets is about this “New Creation.”

Matthew 25:34 shows that, at the close of Jesus’ thousand-year reign, mankind would “inherit the Kingdom” prepared for them “from the foundation of the world.” This is that earthly paradise which was lost in Eden but which shall be RESTORED to mankind through the resurrection process. (Acts 3:20, 21) But note carefully, this RESTORED kingdom was prepared in concept when the world was founded. But some things were well-established BEFORE the world was founded. For instance, John 17:24 clearly shows the love of God for His son “BEFORE the foundation of the world.”   

 

—  What a Concept!  —

 

Ephesians 1:4 mentions something else which was clearly planned BEFORE the foundation of the world. The Apostle Paul’s words are these:

“…He hath chosen us in him

before the foundation of the world.” 

What is this saying? How can Christians be “chosen” in Christ before there were Christians? — before there were people? — before there was a world??! This is where we need to pause and catch the power of the doctrine of the “New Creation.” 

 

—  Planned First; Developed Last  —

 

In the remote recesses of time when God was planning His creation, He determined a number of things. Perhaps one of the dearest plans to Him was that He would create an intimate “family” of His own — creatures which, unlike all other creatures, would have “life within” themselves — the TRUE meaning of “immortality,” and the nature of God, Himself. (John 5:26) This was God’s grandest intention, but it had built into it a very serious problem. If God gave immortality (INDESTRUCTABILITY) to any being, that being would be in the universe ETERNALLY. God realized that a being MUST BE TESTED before receiving LIFE IN ITSELF in order to insure that the universe would not have any indestructible rebels.

We can see that God’s grandest creation — His own intimate family that would share heaven with Him in a very special way — had to exist somehow BEFORE it could receive its very special nature of immortality. This is a creation UNLIKE every other creation — a creation which would experience a CHANGE OF NATURE. Thus, God determined that He would make this “new creation” OUT OF the “old creation.” In other words, (mystery of mysteries!) God’s intimate family — planned BEFORE the world — would first be people! He would work with a small number of humans, testing them to the utmost degree, to make His “new creation.”

So, heaven is NOT a place to save humans. Humans were always meant for the EARTH. But some humans become part of a special salvation, PLANNED BEFORE HUMANITY WAS PLANNED, to be God’s intimate family. These are the EXCEPTION TO THE RULE. These are not a part of God’s plan to save humanity; they are a part of His process to develop His greatest creation. He needed to make this greatest creation FROM a lesser creation so that it could be tested before being given indestructibility. Even though this creation was planned first, it comes into existence last, and it is thus called a “new” creation. So, as says the title of this article, HEAVEN ISN’T ABOUT SALVATION! It’s about a special creation. And any humans who make it there don’t make it because it’s God’s way of saving good humans; they make it there because God calls them to be part of His NEW creation.

Yes, they ALL will have been Christian. But being Christian won’t get them there! Being CALLED and being faithful to their testings is what will get them there. Heaven isn’t about saving them; heaven is about God’s NEW CREATION. Heaven isn’t for mankind; EARTH is for mankind.  And all of mankind (from all or from no religions) will awaken to enjoy, learn, treasure, and prosper in a restored earth upon which they will live FOREVER.

 

                         

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