What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
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19-03-2012, 11:37 AM
What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
I know that nearly everyone on this forum rejects the truth of the Bible and what it teaches about heaven. But I also know that many of you have false ideas about the Bible's teaching on this subject. This Bible study site is starting a two week series on this subject.


On the Air
March 19-23: Heaven: Answers to Your Questions (Week 1 of 2)
Do you have questions about Heaven? Well, if you do, you're in good company! That's why we're devoting two weeks to a series that will pin down the biblical facts about Heaven. Join us as we dig in to scripture to get the correct focus on our picture of Heaven.

Monday, March 19th How We Get Where We're Going
Tuesday, March 20th What Happens at Death Depends on Who You Know
Wednesday, March 21st Getting the Right Conception of Heaven
Thursday, March 22nd Living Large on the New Earth
Friday, March 23rd The New Jerusalem

March 26-30: Heaven: Answers to Your Questions (Week 2 of 2)
If your idea of Heaven is sitting on a cloud and playing a harp all day, think again! The world is full of ideas about Heaven, but if you want to get the Biblical picture of the home God's promised us this week.

Monday, March 26th God's Presence Means the Absence of the Curse
Tuesday, March 27th God's Presence Means an Exciting Eternity
Wednesday, March 28th Answers to Lingering Questions about Heaven, Part 1
Thursday, March 29th Answers to Lingering Questions about Heaven, Part 2
Friday, March 30th Answers to Lingering Questions about Heaven, Part 3


If you listen to these studies you will at least be able to base your arguments against heaven on what the Bible actually teaches rather than making straw man arguments against something that the Bible doesn't really teach.

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.
Charles Darwin
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19-03-2012, 01:05 PM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
I think I spotted the problem here...

(19-03-2012 11:37 AM)theophilus Wrote:  biblical facts

you see, that's where you lost me.

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19-03-2012, 01:18 PM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
Just need the scriptures themselves, not a half-hour or an hour of exposition and lessons for each verse.
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19-03-2012, 01:46 PM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
Don't need assumptions about my debate style neither, o creator of strawman angry atheist who makes strawman arguments against Christianity Big Grin
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19-03-2012, 07:12 PM (This post was last modified: 19-03-2012 07:39 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
Heaven and Hell
One of the key concepts of Christianity is that God will reward the righteous with heaven and punish unbelievers with hell. Some Christians may be surprised to learn that heaven and hell are never specifically mentioned in the Old Testament. When the word “heaven” is used, it is only a place in the sky and the great space beyond, not a paradise where good people go when they die; and hell doesn’t even rate a mention. If there were a God and he had intended to reward or punish people after they die, he would surely have said so in some of the many thousands of conversations he had with the ancient Jews.

The Old Testament does teach that there is life after death, specifically that every single soul goes to a graveyard called Sheol. The wicked are there (Ps. 9:17, 31:17, 49:14, Isa. 5:14), and so are the righteous (Gen. 37:35; Job 14:13; Ps. 6:5, 16:10, 88:3; Isa. 38:10). It is not somewhere one goes if one has behaved badly. Sheol is sometimes incorrectly translated as “hell” in the Old Testament. Yet Sheol is a proper noun, that is, a name or title, so it should not have been translated but simply transliterated, as is done with other names. The literal meaning is simply “subterranean retreat.” Anything more is conjecture and speculation.

The ancient Jews did not invent the idea of an afterlife. That idea had been around, particularly in Egypt, for thousands of years before Jews first wrote scripture. But the idea of heaven as a place where the righteous go after death to live forever with God has always been a key concept in Zoroastrianism, practiced in nearby Persia since at least 1200 BCE. A Jewish version of heaven was only first raised perhaps a couple of hundred years before Jesus. What inspired them to (probably) borrow the Zoroastrian concept?

Many young Jewish men were dying in the Maccabean revolt. Priests found this easier to justify if there was some reward for losing one’s life. The author, writing in the second century BCE, in the book of Daniel (the last book of the Old Testament to be written), wrote the words he hoped would inspire his people to resist the pagans. Martyrs, he promised, would be rewarded for their faithfulness in a special way:
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:2–3). This verse didn’t specifically mention the existence of heaven, but was probably responsible for the idea.

For the author of Daniel, the goal of life was to live forever with angels. It was withheld from those who did not follow the prophet’s call, who were not in his judgment “wise,” and who failed to “lead many to righteousness.” This was a very novel concept for Jews; nothing like this had ever been taught before. But the idea had been born, and it caught on fast. Within a hundred years after Daniel was written, many Jews believed in heaven and hell. (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/20...aven.html)

The New Testament rambles on (ad nauseum) about heaven, primarily because it enabled the authors to control people's behaviour by promising a reward that never had to be delivered. Many of the uneducated commoners of the Roman empire were gullible enough to believe the spiel of the heaven story, and unfortunately, credulous Christians today, who should not be so stupid, still believe it.

No amount of discussion about scripture will change the fact that the idea of heaven is fabricated nonsense.

I think people who believe in heaven are doing themselves a disservice. One of the most unfortunate aspects of the promise of a future paradise is the way it can rob believers of the pleasures of living in the present. There is a better way to find happiness and meaning that doesn’t require a belief in half-baked mumbo-jumbo. Who remembers what it was like to be a young child? We rarely spent much time contemplating God and the afterlife or why we are here. We were too preoccupied with embracing the present, exploring every little nook and cranny of our new world. We were unhindered by our experiences and not worried about our future. We expressed ourselves openly and weren’t afraid of being judged. We were open to new ideas, did not deny our emotions, and we weren’t cynical or opinionated. We accepted life with wide-open arms. We loved and wanted to be loved. The point is we were naturally authentic and lived in the present, and were usually thoroughly happy as a result.

I suggest Christians should become a little more childlike again by embracing our life in the here and now and living it to the full. When we do that, life has more real meaning: the taste of food, a glass of good wine, a friend's smile, a string quartet, a Miles Davis ballad all can be enjoyed for what they are and because they are temporary. To truly experience the pleasure of living in the present can be like coming out of a trance, as all kinds of tastes, emotions and experiences are enjoyed. It is about being receptive to the full gamut of the human experience, and to do so definitely makes us feel more alive.

When it turns out there is no afterlife, it simply won’t matter because we won’t be alive to miss it! We were all “dead” for billions of years before we were born, and it didn’t bother any of us in the slightest.

Unlike the fantasy of dreaming about heaven, the important thing about life is the journey, not the destination. We don’t need gods, beliefs, and creeds; we need to let them go!

Here is what Theo's website is filling innocent people's minds with...

Jesus Who?
Who is this Jesus? Why do I need a savior? How must I respond to Him?
If you're like many people today, you've heard the name of Jesus. You may think of Him as a religious leader or perhaps as a really good man who lived 2,000 years ago. But have you ever wondered if He could possibly make a difference in your life today?

What God Wants
Did you know that God loves you and wants to have an ongoing relationship with you - one in which you both talk to and listen to Him? One in which you allow Him to be a part of your life decisions? He wants you to experience an abundant life [John 10:10], which He knows can be found only in Him. He wants you to be set free - free from your past, from guilt and shame, from bondage to sin, from addiction, from selfishness.

God's Plan
God has a plan to accomplish all of that. That plan is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the spotless, sinless Son of God. He came to earth to "rescue" us from sin. You already know that wrong-doing has a penalty. Well, the penalty for our sin is death - eternal separation from God. But since God loves us so much, He Himself took ownership of that penalty. He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus was crucified by people who didn't understand who He was or why He had come. Jesus willingly died on the cross in our place, fulfilling God's plan to redeem mankind - even the very people who nailed Him to the cross! Though He was perfect and sinless, He took our sins upon Himself so that we might have a restored relationship with our Creator [1 Peter 2:24].

But the story doesn't end with Jesus' sacrificial death. The Bible says that just three days after He was crucified on a hill outside Jerusalem, God raised Him back to life! Jesus is no longer in the grave - God raised Him from the dead just as He will raise us at the close of history. There is a day coming when time shall come to an end and all people will stand before God in judgment [Revelation 20:11-12].

You Choose

You can either accept Jesus' substitutionary death on your behalf, or reject it. If you reject it, you will stand alone before God on the day of judgment and give an account of your life. You will fall short of God's standards [Romans 3:23] and will have to pay the penalty yourself [Romans 6:23] by spending eternity in hell [Revelation 20:15], forever separated from God. But if you accept Jesus as your personal savior, God will accept His sacrificial death on your behalf. It's not a choice you can make on that final day - it's a choice you must make today - either to accept Jesus or reject Him.

God loves you and wants you to spend eternity in heaven with Him. Make the decision today to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior. Here's how simple it is.

Come to Him just as you are (don't wait until you feel "good enough")
Admit your need (I am a sinner)
Be willing to turn from your sins (repent)
Believe in your heart and mind that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for you and was raised back to life (accept Him as the only way to God)
Talk to Jesus and invite Him to come into your heart and life and save you from your sins (receive Him as personal Savior)

IE make people feel small, threaten them with hell, propose an imaginary friend, and then.....

Milk them for all they're worth....

Dear Friend,

Sharing good news with great friends is always a joy ... so I couldn't wait to let you know the latest.

You see, some very generous friends of the ministry have again stepped forward with a matching gift. From now through March 31st, every dollar you and others give to Back to the Bible--up to $150,000--will be matched with another dollar!

This news could not have come at a better time. January was a tough month for Back to the Bible; as I write February is still a question mark. Income was down, budgeting remains tight. Funds are urgently needed to stay on the air to reach as many people as possible.

That's why we are so grateful for this offer, which will ensure that every gift you give will be doubled to impact more lives with the Word!

Consider this note that just recently arrived:

"It is very hard to wake up after 42 years and see the shattered pieces of the life I used to live, which was dead without Christ. I love what your ministry does and will continue to help, for the Lord saved me."

Think of it. Your gifts to help ensure people hear the Word of God are helping the hurting to heal. And now, any investment you make will be multiplied to reach still more!

Remember--it costs just 10 cents to reach a listener with a Back to the Bible radio program. Just one dime. So with this matching gift, your dime to reach one listener with God's truth and encouragement will become 20 cents to reach two ... $40 to reach 400 people will become $80 to reach 800! Imagine the impact you can have.

As in the past, whatever is not matched will be lost ... if we only raise $100,000, only that $100,000 will be matched; we would leave behind $50,000 that could be used to spread God's Word! Please act as soon as possible in order to meet the March 31st deadline.

I thank you for your partnership and your prayers. I pray you realize that you are impacting lives all over this nation and around the world; many individuals and families have been transformed because you care enough to give so that they might hear from God through His Word.

By His Grace,

Woodrow Kroll
President, Back to the Bible

* To give a gift by phone, call us at 1-800-759-2425 (M-F, 8 am-4:30 pm Central Time)
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19-03-2012, 08:27 PM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
About the same thing as Greek mythology teaches us about Mt Olympus?

Where are the anonymous guys when we need them?

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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20-03-2012, 02:25 AM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
What I don't get is where Christians got all this "pure bliss with chocolate and foods and pleasure and all your favorite things, etc." Heaven is only ever described as a place where you can be with the God. And by being with God, Revelations made it quite clear that you would be bowing before God reverently, not hanging out with him all buddy buddy.

As for the rest of the nature of heaven I turn to atheism.about.com:

Wars in Heaven

And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.
Rev. 12:7

And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
Rev. 19:14

Violence in Heaven

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
Matt. 11:12

Class & Status in Heaven

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Matt. 11:11

Clearly, the "kingdom of heaven" has levels of status: some are least while others are first. Although God can create any sort of class system it wants, does that really describe your idea of a "perfect" existence?

Heaven is Not Eternal

Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Matt 24:34-35

So heaven is a place of wars, violence, grovelling, and class discrimination. I'm all set on your paradise, thanks.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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20-03-2012, 02:31 AM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
Am I mistaken if I say that the Divine Comedy has a more accurate depiction of heaven and hell, as we understand it today, than the bible?

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20-03-2012, 12:10 PM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
Love these posts. People always trying to convince you that in order to know what the Bible "really" says you have to listen to their 4 hour explanation of it, not actually read the bible.

Thanks but, the Bible says what the Bible says. Reading comprehension is enough, there are no spasms of logic contortion or spin doctoring needed, and I'm afraid the Bible comes out pretty poorly if you actually read it.
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20-03-2012, 01:03 PM
RE: What does the Bible actually teach about heaven?
Never having much bothered with the bible since I was a kid, I am grateful to you guys who have. Saves me a lot of time and - boredom. With the exception of the occasional - "Whoa, look at that shit" I find it just too boring to spend the time.

So, thanks to all the atheists who actually spent the time on this. Shy

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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