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Why... Heaven?
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Interpretum
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Post: #1
Why... Heaven?

Hi Folks

OK, this is a fairly simple question, although it might require a bit of an explanation.

Millions of Christians believe they're going to heaven. JWs are fairly unique in that they believe a limited number (144,000) go to heaven to rule with Christ, while everyone else lives on Earth.

Now, my question is addressed particularly to those who believe more than 144,000 go to heaven.

My question is: Why heaven?

You see, all through the Old Testament there doesn't appear to be much that implies heaven is a human's destination.

Adam and Eve were given the garden of Eden, and told to multiply on the earth. Abraham was given the Promised Land as an inheritance for his seed. Israel was given that land, and given no indication they were destined for heaven. Jesus said the meek will inherit the earth, and told us to pray for God's kingdom to come on earth, as it was in heaven.

OK, there are a few mysterious exceptions in the Old Testament... like Enoch, who is "transferred", and Elijah who is "taken". We aren't really given much in the way of details, as if we're not meant to know. Possibly we could include Moses, because God took his body.

Then, all of a sudden, the New Testament comes along, and it appears to be about getting to HEAVEN. While Jesus' words seem to be somewhat ambiguous about the general destination of humans, to his apostles he said his father's house had many abodes (although he did also say he'd be coming back, and that where he was, they would be... another ambiguity!)

Only with the apostle Paul do we get a real CLEAR sense of Christians going to HEAVEN. That certainly seems to be Paul's belief. And Revelation, as we know, alludes to 144,000 sitting upon Mount Zion with Christ. Again, the picture is somewhat ambiguous as to where "Mount Zion" is, but it could well be heaven.

So why the change? Why is the Old Testament almost exclusively about EARTH, while the New Testament (particularly Paul's letters) seem to be focused on going to HEAVEN... and why does Jesus seem to sit in the middle, somewhat ambiguously? i.e. the meek will inherit the earth, and yet his apostles will follow him later?

My personal view is that it's principally about Earth, but that Christ selected 144,000 (not necessarily a literal number) out of the Jewish Christians, who would be "firstfruits", and would be with him wherever he was... and that the seat of Christ's government would eventually be on Earth.

However, I appreciate most don't share this viewpoint... so I'm eager to learn from YOUR point of view... why HEAVEN? Why not EARTH?

What's goin' on? :)


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07-16-2011 09:31 PM
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digging
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Post: #2
RE: Why... Heaven?

Thank-you for starting this post and asking this question!

You are so very right in noting that the earth is the gift promised to Abraham and the nation of Israel and thus all of faithful mankind.

Here is a person opinion on where the belief might have come from.

It turns out the Egyptian believed in going to heaven. When they built one of thier pyramids they had this long chamber pointing up into the star to what they believed to be the center of heaven. They believed this tunnel would help aim the soul of thier dead king straight into the heaven and he would then unlock it and bring all of them with him.

There is much to think about with this topic!

Digging

07-16-2011 10:45 PM
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Interpretum
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RE: Why... Heaven?

Hi Digging

digging Wrote:
It turns out the Egyptian believed in going to heaven. When they built one of thier pyramids they had this long chamber pointing up into the star to what they believed to be the center of heaven. They believed this tunnel would help aim the soul of thier dead king straight into the heaven and he would then unlock it and bring all of them with him.


Now that is a thought I never expected to get into on this thread! You're right, and here's something else. The Great Pyramid had 144,000 casing stones. This is one of the reasons Russell believed it was the "Bible in stone".

Now, are you implying that Christians actually inherited their belief in going to heaven from the Egyptians? Or are you suggesting the later Church?

I suppose we need to clarify. I see Paul talking about heaven in a roundabout way. Personally, I think he was influenced by Jesus' own teaching, i.e. the gathering together of the chosen ones from the four winds... this seems to be what Paul was basing his ideas of meeting the Lord in the air. Are you suggesting Paul was influenced by Egyptian beliefs?


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07-16-2011 11:03 PM
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Seraphim
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RE: Why... Heaven?

The reason I think its heaven is due to several factors which are philosophical, anecdotal and scientific. Anecdotal is the wealth of people who have seen, felt or heard dead loved ones after their deaths. I used to think these were evil spirit as the WT said, but im not convinced of that any more. Much to say on that topic alone but philosophical reasons centre around free will and God not intervening in that. To freely choose good one must also be able to choose bad and so this universe is built with the possibility of both things occurring which explains human and also natural evil. Heaven then is a place that good people go to who have a track record of not using free will for bad, because even heaven itself must allow for the possibility of evil, else anyone in it cant do good because they choose to. This is why children are not born in heaven because they haven't chosen yet. Much more can be said on this also.

Scientifically its because there are to many reasons why foreverness in not viable for this universe. The moon is gradually moving away from the earth. The Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with our galaxy, and long before the sun dies it will get so hot that all life on the earth will be exterminated. Also entropy is going to gradually overcome all orderly systems in the universe, because to put it simply there are many more states of disorder than order possible.

The old testament hints that the earth is finite.

Psa 102:25 Long ago You established the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
Psa 102:26 They will perish, but You will endure; all of them will wear out like clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will pass away.

There are several options in my mind for the earth. In the mean time before it permanently dies it may well be what Catholics call `Purgatory`. A bit of heaven and hell rolled into one and a place where one can choose good or evil. If ones dies as an infant one might perhaps be reborn until one gets the chance to properly choose as a mentally competent adult. The bible doesn't seem to support or reject this view so its possible.

This is just a small sampling of why I think those in Christ go to heaven. `In Christ` being those who choose good.

07-16-2011 11:49 PM
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isomam
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RE: Why... Heaven?

hi interpretum! good topic. my personal belief?

'i know nothing except christ jesus -- and him crucified.'

otherwise stated, i am quite content to 'wait and see.'


Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am foremost.--1 Timothy 1:15.

Above all things, have INTENSE Love for one another.--1 Peter 4:8.

Sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts. ... Hold a good conscience.--1 Peter 3:15, 16.

TRUTH IS SIMPLE.
07-17-2011 12:04 AM
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digging
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RE: Why... Heaven?

Yes I'm saying the Church has been influenced by these pagan beliefs and thus have read into the scriptures this meaning. To be 'gathered together' could also simply be a way of describing how God might phyically gather believers together for a purpose. We fly in airplanes today, that's in the clouds how would that be explained 2000 years ago?

Yes there are a few vs's that this teaching can be read into like so many other pet creeds of the Church that has been past down to us. However the outstanding clear message about the earth as mankinds inheritance is very very clear.

To be clear I'm not talking about traveling to other planets in space, but the belief one turns into an angel like creature and dwells in heaven, no longer eating, sleeping, being human.

Digging

07-17-2011 12:28 AM
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grateful
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Post: #7
RE: Why... Heaven?

The Bible says there will be new heavens and a new earth. I've always interpreted that as being the old wiped clean and the new taking over under godly rule..:dontknow: I've definitely never had any desire to go to 'heaven' in the accepted form it is thought of today. I would most definitely want to stay on the earth, under new, Godly rulership.:thinking: Anyway, the 'tent of God will be with mankind' wherever that is.:dontknow:Doesn't make sense for God to create all this beauty, just to let it whither and die!? Whatever, as Isomam says, we'll just have to wait and see!:read:
agape,
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07-17-2011 01:14 PM
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wolfie
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RE: Why... Heaven?

what has always made an impression on me is that when people describe their perfect life in heaven it is always what we would think of as the perfect life on earth--a beautiful home, paved streets (even if they are paved with gold) flowers galore--fruit trees and water falls with their favorite pets in the beautiful vibrant backyard...That seems meaningful to me as in even if it is called ''heaven'' it is heaven on earth...:heartbeat:


''In the midst of winter I finally learned that in me there was an invincible summer.'' Albert Camus

''live simply, speak kindly, love unconditionally''
07-17-2011 01:24 PM
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gogh
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Post: #9
RE: Why... Heaven?

...time for a favourite:

"But as it is written, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him."

But God has revealed those things to us by his Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God.
Is there anyone who can understand his own thoughts except by his own inner spirit? In the same way, no one can know the thoughts of God except God's Spirit.

Now, we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we can understand the things that were freely given to us by God. We don't speak about these things in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual things to spiritual people.

A person who isn't spiritual doesn't accept the things of God's Spirit, for they are nonsense to him. He can't understand them because they are spiritually evaluated.
The spiritual person evaluates everything but is subject to no one else's evaluation.

For
"Who has known the mind of the Lord so that he can advise him?" However, we have the mind of Christ." (1Corinthians 2:9...)

:coffeeread:


"......."This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Keep listening to him!" Luke 9:35
07-17-2011 02:06 PM
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BruisedReed
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Post: #10
RE: Why... Heaven?

Hi br. interpretum!

Good topic!

Well, maybe I'll just throw these scriptural thoughts into the mix to add a little spice ... mmmm yummy ;);) :chef:

It would seem that the teaching of 'paradise' is throughout both the Hebrew (old) and Greek (new) scriptures (testaments)

ah ...

and he is maybe where the 'spice' comes in ... and maybe not ...

WHERE is 'paradise' exactly ... and COULD there be more than 'one'?

For example, we know that the word paradise means an enclose garden or park ... and that it would seem that the paradise that Adam and Eve walked in was here on earth ...

But doesn't also the scriptures say the God has a 'paradise' as well? And that one has to GO UP to get to it?

2 Cor. 12:4 ...

(ASV) how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

(BBE) How he was taken up into Paradise, and words came to his ears which may not be said, and which man is not able to say.


G3857 παράδεισος
paradeisos par-ad'-i-sos


Of Oriental origin (compare [H6508]); a park, that is, (specifically) an [b]Eden (place of future happiness, “paradise”[/b]): - paradise.

Then of course we have the reference at Rev. 2:7 ...

(ASV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.

(BBE) He who has ears, let him give ear to what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give of the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.


“Paradise,” ?AVgSyhJ11-13,16; J17,18,22, “garden.”

Paul also speaks about '3 heavens' ... and there are other writings that speak about at least '7 heavens' ...

Is this then maybe a 'key' that 'heaven' as we have come to think of it is MORE that just ... 'up there'???

Just some scattered thoughts ...

Luv as always BR sheepette


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07-17-2011 04:25 PM
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Seraphim
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RE: Why... Heaven?

Good thoughts BruisedReed .

I think its worth bearing in mind that Genesis can be taken as a model for the Jewish mind which originally was racially hierarchical. Everyone else is a little dog with the kings and priests all being Jewish. We see it reflected in the two seeds, one leading to Jewish people and the other to everyone else, and we see it reflected in the idea of land, and some being seen than more than mere dirt but where God lives and therefore where his racially chosen people should live. At the same time we see the clear view in the old and new testaments that God doesn't look at race or what a person looks like, but rather the heart, which creates a tension between the two exclusive views. We see Christ asserting such things like that worship will not forever be confined to a temple or mountain, or any literal place, but again the heart. It seems clear that literal land and literal race means nothing to God but has used such very human ideas as a means to teach a real deeper truth. The idea of such progressive revelation sides with the prophetic class of person that didn't see truth as once and for all delivered to the saints as one gets with the priestly class of things, and a complacently over the statuesque, but rather a ever evolving progressing understanding leading to real ever increasing understanding without throwing away the baby with the bath water, that is until that baby has grown up.

It seems clear now to at least some Christians that God doesn't care one bit about race or land, but about all people on an equal basis as any good parent would. That picture becomes increasingly clear as one looks at the progressive picture of the bible as it moves forward. So the tension in the bible between such things like heaven or earth is not limited to just that, but many things besides. If anyone saw the film I Robot or the book it was based on, this idea of progressive revelation is seen and why it is seen very clearly. I love my scifi. It seems to me that heaven is in fact probably in modern language anther dimension which is part of a greater multi-verse. Seeing how certain understandings once thought absolute and once and for all delivered to the saints as it were is not the whole picture, and considering many other things as well, as in my previous post on this tread, heaven for want of a better word is where we are going. It may be there is no final destination when it comes to infinite time because Gods purposes never in fact end. Its the ride that counts and how we respond to it.

07-17-2011 05:23 PM
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Beau Wetini
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Post: #12
RE: Why... Heaven?

LOL....why would I want to go to Heaven, when I could go to Makena Beach, on Maui, Hawaii....




LIVE THE KINGDOM NOW!!


07-18-2011 08:14 AM
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Seraphim
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RE: Why... Heaven?

Well because your gonna have make room for the next generation to enjoy it. Might as well get used to the idea because all living fleshly creatures and plants for that matter have all died.

07-18-2011 08:23 AM
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Willa
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Post: #14
RE: Why... Heaven?

Hey sis BR - there are only 3 instances of the word 'paradise' in the NT [NASB]-
Luke 23:43
And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

2 Corinthians 12:4
was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

I too, like Brian and others, am thinking (not knowing, lol) that 'heaven', or 'paradise', may be other-dimensional. Then in the end, the establishment of the new heavens and earth with Godly rule will bring it all together as it should be.

I would be happy if, when I die, there is a 'resting phase', like the wt teaches to be 'asleep in death', and await the appointed time of the grand resurrection... and I would be ecstatic to find, upon death, that we really do 'depart' immediately to be with Jesus... it's all I want to do, and as the apostle Paul said, "very much better"!!
So I've always wondered at his words here: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Philippians 1

I guess this is one of those things we won't know absolutely until it happens to us. I don't know anything for sure, but faith and hope put longing in our hearts for such 'paradise' and the Kingly rule of our Lord - and faith and hope in Him does not disappoint! I don't care where or when it is - I just wanna be with Him!

Peace and love to all ya'll deep thinkers. :))


:heartbeat: You are my friends! I don't think it just by chance, but by God's Grand Design, that He has guided both our steps... to let your paths cross mine. :heartbeat:
07-18-2011 08:51 AM
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Beau Wetini
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Post: #15
RE: Why... Heaven?

Seraphim Wrote:
Well because your gonna have make room for the next generation to enjoy it. Might as well get used to the idea because all living fleshly creatures and plants for that matter have all died.



LOL - you mean all living fleshly creatures, and plants have all died in one more generation?

Gee Brian, when did you become a doomsday dude?


The notion of going to heaven (to the spirit world, as being the eventual destination for mankind) is nothing more than a glorified version of Reincarnation.


LIVE THE KINGDOM NOW!!


07-18-2011 09:39 AM
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