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John 14:2-3 KJV

2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 1:12-13 (KJV)

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And how to reconcile the above verse with the verses below.

Matthew 5:5 (KJV)

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Isaiah 45:18 (KJV)

18 For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.

Psalm 37:9 KJV

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

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    (-1) This question feels like it's carrying in a lot of theological baggage - the terms 'Christian' and 'heaven' don't even appear in any of these texts except one. I feel like the logic behind it hangs on a particular conclusion on whether 'inheriting the earth' is a present or eternal reality. – Steve Taylor Feb 1 at 12:13
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    What do you mean by a Christian? Is that any person who believes in Jesus Christ? Or is it a person who has experienced the new birth (John 1:13), and they have been adopted into God's family? As for "heaven", surely that is where God and the risen, resurrected and glorified Jesus are to be found - which is not on planet Earth. Would you please clearly define what you mean by "Christian" and "heaven"? – Lesley Feb 1 at 14:06
  • “To inherit the earth” has to be what Rev 20 touches on. All the martyrs who have lived throughout world history will at the end of this dispensation be raised to life again to inherit the earth for a thousand years. – Constantthin Feb 1 at 23:53
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    I don't see how this is a hermeneutics question and not one of doctrine. In particular, there's nothing in any of the quoted verses that says anything about anyone going to heaven. It's also not clear what it is that needs to be "reconciled". The Title question presupposes some knowledge that isn't stated anywhere in the body of the question. – Ray Butterworth Feb 2 at 1:53
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The old earth and old heaven will pass away and merge into a new reality:

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ b or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Our new address is in New Jerusalem with God.

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  • Exactly. The concepts of heaven and earth merge into one, as heaven is brought into earth. – Anthony Burg Feb 1 at 17:13
  • 'Merge into a new reality' has no scriptural text to support it. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away – Nigel J Feb 1 at 19:32
  • @NigelJ The heavenly city descends down into the new earth = merge. No? – Anthony Burg Feb 1 at 22:03
  • @AnthonyBurg Yes, I would agree with that. Indeed. But the new city is a concept and it consists of persons who are redeemed. It is not a material thing scavenged from the first creation. – Nigel J Feb 2 at 6:44
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The NT data about heaven is non-existent. Heaven is never described except in symbolic language. The whole idea about "Christians going to heaven" is never stated and is based on early traditional expectations. The NT only ever discusses the "Kingdom of Heaven" or the "Kingdom of God", never heaven itself.

Before proceeding further, we should observe that whole denominations' existence is based on some of these ideas about heaven that do not exist in the NT. The idea about the saints going to heaven are so deeply ingrained in some that a discussion about this is near impossible.

Here we want to discuss the idea of heaven as the destiny for the righteous; that is the “third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2-4). The very scant Biblical data on this idea is found in:

  • 2 Peter 3 describes three “worlds”. The first was the antediluvian world which was destroyed by water. The second is our world which will destroyed by fire to be replaced by the third world consisting of a new heaven and new earth.
  • Heb 11:16 talks about a better country, a heavenly one, that is, designed and constructed (perfectly) by God. However, the location is not disclosed.
  • John 14:2, 3 talks about rooms in the Father’s house but does not mention heaven. However, Jesus says He came from heaven (John 3:13, 1 Cor 15:47, John 6:41) and this passage tells that Jesus returning there to prepare a place (in quintessential wedding imagery) and will come back to take us there.
  • Col 3:1-4 discusses Christ seated at the right hand of God and the saints appearing with Him in glory. Again, heaven is not mentioned explicitly but implied.
  • 1 Thess 4:16, 17 promises that the Lord will descend from heaven and the saints will be caught up to meet the Lord, in “clouds”, “in the air”.
  • Isa 65:17 promises unmitigated happiness and joy of a great and noble kind because former problems will not be remembered. Matt 5:12. However, whether the saints will be in “heaven” or on earth is not stated.
  • Rev 20:1-6 gives a further hint by promising important things such as the saints reigning with Jesus (where is not stated) while the wicked are dead on earth. Following the 1000 years (Rev 21:1-4), the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to earth. In this act heaven and earth are merged.

Further, while heaven as a place is described in many Bible passages, especially Revelation, all such descriptions are clearly quite symbolic. Thus, we know very little of heaven, presumably because it is beyond description!

However, there is one very important piece of information about which there is no doubt. The reward of the righteous is to be with Jesus 1 Thess 4:17, Rev 21:4, 5. Indeed, it is this very prospect that so fills the righteous with unspeakable joy (Isa 25:9) and the wicked with so much anguish that they request destruction (Rev 6:15-17). Both groups have their wish granted.

The Bible appears to be far more concerned about the character of the inhabitants of heaven than the details of heaven itself.

  • God is present personally, Rev 21:1-4, John 14:3
  • People commune directly and personally with God, Rev 22:4.
  • Only Righteous people live in heaven, Rev 21:7, 8, 2 Peter 3:13.
  • Nothing impure or unclean enters the New Jerusalem, Rev 21:27.

Thus, heaven will not be a repeat of the imperfect governments on earth. Heaven is ruled by a perfect and benevolent God who is kind, gracious and omniscient. Rev 11:15.

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One of the comments correctly noted that this question potentially carries a lot of ‘theological baggage’.

This is the way I ‘see’ the answer to whether “all Christians” are destined to go to heaven. Yes. But, .... only temporarily.

Man was created for the earth. To exercise dominion over it, and its creatures.

GEN 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

And, Gods word, his intent, does not change. Believers will live forever on [ the new] earth. That is, on this earth, until it is renewed (REV 21j.

The verse you quoted.. John 14:2-3, is a rapture verse. Believers are raptured, taken from the earth, to Heaven, to the ‘place’ prepared, but, will return back to earth with Jesus at the designated time. So the experience in Heaven will be short. But! Importantly, on earth it will be ‘heaven on earth’. This was always Gods plan.

Note, this is an interpretation, but it won’t be everyone’s. Although I accept this is the answer to your Q, I don’t claim it is the answer.

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  • Dave: In the Judgement Mt 25:31-26 NASB the parable reveals three groups.In addition to the sheep and the goats, the Son of man adds the third group whose identity is pivotal to identifying the sheep and the goats. Jesus calls this third group his spiritual brothers.(least brothers) (Matthew 25:40, 45 NASB) God's chosen are the least brothers of Christ, or holy ones Col. 3:12, Eph 2:19-20, 1 Peter 2:9, Acts 2:1-4 – Who do you believe are the sheep and the least brothers of Christ? – Ozzie Ozzie Feb 1 at 19:05
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    @Ozzie Ozzie Does your query relate to this answer? If so, can you expound a little? – Dave Feb 2 at 3:31
  • Dave: Understanding the parable is pivotal to answering the above question, who do the sheep represent, and who are the least brothers of Christ. The sheep represents those meek that will inherit the earth and the least brothers those that have the heavenly calling. Revelation 20:1-6 – Ozzie Ozzie Feb 2 at 17:24
  • @Ozzie Ozzie (Thanks). It all comes down to interpretation, which often differ. My answer (interpretation) is, here, (Mat 25:31-46) nations are being judged, after the Millennium rule has ended. The ‘sheep’ are the ones that acted ‘righteously’, so yes, the meek. Apart from the ‘goat’ nations, the third group are those raptured believers who have returned with Christ to rule the earth. – Dave Feb 2 at 19:03
  • Dave: you're basically correct, for greater understanding, the Least bothers of Jesus Mt 25:40,45 NASB are also referred to as the Little flock Luke 12:32, and Israel of God Gal. 6:15-16 – Ozzie Ozzie Feb 2 at 19:32
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Jesus spoke a great deal of 'entering the kingdom of heaven' but I am not aware of a single place in which he speaks of 'going to heaven' (other than, of course, his own ascension). He says that some shall 'inherit the earth'.

Elijah also was carried up into heaven but that is not what is commonly meant by the expression. People speak of 'going to heaven' when they die, that is to say when their body is in the grave.

But the emphasis of Jesus' words is that 'the kingdom of heaven is come among you' 'the kingdom of heaven is within' and 'the publicans and harlots enter the kingdom of heaven'.

He also speaks a great deal of a marriage between a bridegroom and a bride.

Later, Paul and Peter clarify these matters and it is evident that there shall be new heavens and a new earth, that the old shall pass away. It is clear that deceased 'saints' 'believers' 'faithful' shall 'sleep in Jesus' but shall return with him and shall be raised from the dead to inhabit the new heavens and the new earth.

The expression 'go to heaven' is not a helpful one.

It is better to use the words of Jesus regarding 'the kingdom of heaven'.

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  • Nigel J; Ascension of our Lord is not related as an event in the synoptic Gospels. . . . The only narrative of the Ascension as a separate event is found in Acts 1:6-11. – Ozzie Ozzie Feb 1 at 19:26
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    @OzzieOzzie I disagree. I regard Mark 16:19,20 as part of the canon of scripture, according to the Textus Receptus, (see Beza, Stephanus, Elzevir and Scrivener). Link to Textus Receptus Bibles.. – Nigel J Feb 1 at 19:30
  • "I am not aware of a single place in which he speaks of 'going to heaven'." Jesus explicitly talks about going to heaven in John 3:13. "No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven— the Son of Man." Perhaps you meant there's no place he speaks of others going to heaven? – Anthony Burg Feb 1 at 23:42
  • Your point taken @AnthonyBurg and I have made an edit. Thank you. – Nigel J Feb 2 at 6:42
  • Anthony Burg...Elijah clearly ascended to heaven in 2 kings 2:1 "Shortly before the LORD took Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind". Maybe I misunderstand what you mean by ascend? – Adam Feb 2 at 14:35
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John 14: 1“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."

I am quite comfortable interpreting this text exactly as it reads. God has a house in heaven, his own house.

Then in Revelation 22, John, i believe, is shown Heaven, and clearly the tree of life (the very same as the one that was in the garden of Eden and which people were stopped from partaking of by the angels guarding the entrance to it after the fall of Adam and Eve), is in heaven right now...

1" And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."

This residence has plenty of rooms for all of us after the living are gathered together with the dead in Christ who are raised to meet Him in the air at the second coming.

I Thessalonians 4 :16 "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. 17 After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."

After the thousand years is over, Satan and all evil is purged from existence, the earth cleansed, then we all live here for ever.

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Heaven is not a physical location. It is a state of communion with God. So yes, every Christian who is in a state of communion with God is in heaven.

But, Christianity is about heaven 'coming down' into earth. 'Earth' will be transformed, such that it is a (as @Tony Chan notes) 'new heaven and earth'. So it is not clear the passages you are citing are in conflict.

The original 'inheriting of the earth' was with the exodus from Egypt. The new 'inheriting of the earth' is meant in a spiritual sense (see Jesus' discussion of slavery to sin and Moses (John 8:33)). It is the new 'promised land', and is not a geographical location but a spiritual reality.

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  • Jesus retains his physical body while being in heaven now, so that's something that's hard to square with this answer. What's the basis for saying that heaven is a state of communion with God? – curiousdannii Feb 1 at 21:42
  • @curiousdannii Do you hold that heaven is a physical place, say above the atmosphere? – Anthony Burg Feb 1 at 21:48
  • To whoever put the label on the answer, can you say what you think isn't detailed enough? – Anthony Burg Feb 1 at 21:50
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    Hi Anthony, I didn't add the notice, but I agree with it - at present the whole answer comes across as opinion, with barely a single quote or reference. You've demonstrated very little of the hermeneutical process behind your answer, and haven't engaged with a single one of the source texts in the Question. – Steve Taylor Feb 2 at 10:22
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    @Anthony it's usually quite easy to present a view from our understanding and belief. It takes extra effort (sometimes a lot) to dig out the passages that support our view - often they help reshape and refine it - sometimes they alter it. It is this support that seems lacking and will serve well you and us to include it in your posts. Thx for your input. – user48152 Feb 2 at 11:10

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