What you really to know about heaven, rapture and Jesus' second coming? Josimar Salum
It is urgent to say that we have a serious problem with the English language versions of the Bible. This happens actually in all the languages as you read all their different Bible versions. The differences that exist with each other are very clear. Some texts are even contradictory, and this is due to the theological doctrine or current belief of the “translators”. I personally have the privilege to consult the text in the originals that we have available and can determine which is the best version or how to translate the text correctly. Per example, Philippians 3:20 does not say that heaven is our homeland or our city. The text says that our citizenship is in heaven.
This text does not teach that we are going to heaven. The text reads as follows: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 NIV
Whoever died in Christ sleeps in Christ, and according to what Jesus said to the thief who invoked Him on the Cross, he goes to paradise. Jesus said that he would be with Him “today” in paradise. According to II Corinthians 12, paradise is the third heaven.
According to the story (not a parable) narrated by Luke about the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man died and went to a place of torment (Hades, hell) and Lazarus died and went to Abraham's bosom.
“Now there was a rich man, and he was dressed in purple and very fine linen, and he lived every day with great pleasure and splendor. There was also a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay full of wounds at his door.
And it happened that the beggar died and was taken by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades, he looked up, in torment, and saw Abraham and Lazarus in the distance in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Abraham, my father, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in the water and cool my tongue, because I am tormented in this flame.” Luke 16: 19-20, 22-24
Paul comforts those who died in Christ.
“However, I do not want brothers to be ignorant of those who are already asleep, lest you be saddened, like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so will those who sleep in Jesus also God will bring them back with him. We tell you this, therefore, through the word of the Lord: that we who remain alive for the coming of the Lord will not precede those who sleep. For the same Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and those who died in Christ will rise first; then, we who remain alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words. ” 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
Those who die in Christ go to heaven, from where they will come with Jesus at His coming. The text says that "to those who sleep in Jesus God will bring them back with him."
Note that the verb bring here does not refer only to those who remain alive for the Coming of Jesus. And the text does not say that we are waiting for the rapture that is the emphasis of most evangelicals, especially Pentecostals, but we are waiting for Jesus to come. It is not about rapture, it is about the coming of Jesus. The text says that both the living and those who sleep in Christ will come with Him, we will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord and thus we will be with the Lord forever. There is no reference to heaven.
Where will we "be" (as a place) forever with the Lord? In fact, translating the verb literally the question is this: Where will we BE (being) forever with the Lord?
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. Because the first heaven and the first land have passed, and the sea no longer exists. And I, John, saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, which was descending from God from heaven, addressed as a wife adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from heaven, saying, Here is the tabernacle of God with men, for he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and the same God will be with them and will be their God.” Revelation 21: 1-3
Watch! The City, which is the Church, the Lamb's Wife descends from heaven. The expression “the Bride of the Lamb” does not appear, it does not exist in the Bible. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory, for the Lamb's wedding is coming, and his wife has already made herself ready.” Revelation 19: 7
Many translate as a bride, but the Lamb never had a bride, always a wife. And the wife is not a literal city. The New Jerusalem is used to describe the Lamb's wife who is the Church. “But you came to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, to Jerusalem celestial, and the many thousands of angels, to the universal assembly and church of the firstborn, who are inscribed in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the perfected righteous;" Hebrews 12: 22-23 The Jerusalem celestial is the universal assembly and the church of the first born!
What is most glorious and wonderful will happen at the coming of Jesus: the transformation of our bodies. We will have the same glorious body as our Lord Jesus. And this body does not depend on space to be able to be. Before the creation of all things, God did not need a place. He was "independent" of any creation. God “lived” in the Kingdom that He prepared before the foundation of the world.
And finally, this is why we have always taught, God never promised heaven or that we will live in heaven forever. It is about a new dimension, the new creation, the Kingdom of God that we are already in, but it will manifest in its totality at the coming of our Lord Jesus.
“Then the King will say to those on his right: Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom which has been prepared for you since the foundation of the world;” Matthew 25:34
“See that you do not reject what you speak; for if those who rejected what on earth warned them did not escape, much less we, if we turn away from him who is from heaven, the voice from which he then moved the earth, but now he announced, saying: Yet again I will be moved, not only the earth, but also the sky. And this word: Once again, it shows the change of moving things, like things made, so that the properties remain. Therefore, having received a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us retain grace, by which we serve God pleasantly with reverence and piety; beca use our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12: 25-29
The Kingdom of God is greater than the entire universe and the heavens.
“And now, I say this, brothers: that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Here I tell you a mystery: In fact, we will not all sleep, but we will all be transformed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, before the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise incorruptible, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15: 50-52
“ Dr. Salum, you explain the whole Bible! 😃 Thank you! I always learn from your teachings,they are different to what our pastors preach,they focused on heaven, offerings and tithe. Please multiply such teachings through conferences especially in Burundi, because many pastors need to be transformed first and go to teach the truth of Jesus. Thank you for the team you work with in Burundi, and the team from USA, you and Dr. Paul, hope all nations will be affected with your teachings. God can do what the men can't do.” - NLT