Going to Heaven at Death Is Not a Christian Idea

Dr. J. A. T. Robinson of Cambridge was fearlessly correct when he stated that "heaven is never in fact used in the Bible for the destination of the dying." [16] This powerful observation should point to the dire need for a careful examination of what we learned, uncritically, in church. The future of our blighted earth, and the promise of a state of international peace, when nations will "never again learn war" (Isaiah 2:2-4), when the Sandhursts and West Points of today's system will become curio museums, at the time when YEHOVAH God makes His spectacular return to this earth to rule as "KING of kings and LORD of lords," who alone can produce peace with the help of the Messiah who will occupy the Davidic throne and rule over Israel -- this is rather obviously the compelling goal of the biblical story from Genesis to Revelation. It is also the core of the Christian Gospel of the Kingdom which was preached in advance to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), who has never yet inherited the land promised to him personally, as well as to his "seed" (Acts 7:5; Hebrews 11:13, 39). But he will, along with all the faithful.

The land promise, Kingdom of God promise, is the theme which drove the Messiah and all the biblical writers. The vision of nations at peace I found rivetingly interesting as soon as I was exposed to Scripture.

The major teaching to be conveyed to children, and anyone who has an inquiring, Berean attitude is this: all the popular language about "going to heaven," "heaven" as the Christian reward, needs to be expunged from our vocabulary and thinking. The biblical goal is always about inheriting the Kingdom of God in the future when YEHOVAH God and the Messiah return in triumphant.

It is all about the enormous privilege of joining and assisting YEHOVAH God and the Messiah in the reconstruction of world government. A new society is going to be born at the return of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah (Revelation 5:10; 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:1-6; Matthew 19:28; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Daniel 7:18, 22, 27: "obey them," the saints).

A Gospel which does not have a strong Messianic flavor, as the Bible's Gospel has, loses its effectiveness. A "washed-out" Gospel lacks power to change our personalities and make us zealous for the Messiah and YEHOVAH God. If we talk about people who die as "passing on" or "passing away," we are misleading ourselves and those who hear us.

Meditation on Scripture means internalizing the basic fact of YEHOVAH's and the Messiah's great plan for a new world society on a renewed earth. When the Devil is bound (Revelation 20:2), society will function in a brand new, exciting way. The hopelessly broken systems of today will be repaired when YEHOVAH God assumes governorship over the entire world, and the Messiah the nations of Israel which are his by right of inheritance (Psalm 2:8).

[16]  J. A. T. Robinson, In the End God, Fontana Books, 1968, p. 104.

Hope of Israel Ministries
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Temple City, CA 91780, U.S.A.