Resurrection is not Ascension to Heaven

John 3: 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.

Christ is there, and in that sense absent from here, and we are not there or going there.

John 5: 24 “I assure you: As many as who hear My word and believes Him who sent Me have the lasting life of the age to come and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.

This is passing from condemnation to justification.

Romans 6 explains how Christ Himself began in condemnation for the imputed sins of the elect, and then satisfied for those sins, and was vindicated and justified—now dead to sin and death.

John 5: 25 “I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And the Father has granted the Son the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

This is passing from being unable and unwilling to believe the gospel to being born (from above)
If we say “born again”, the contrast is between our first birth in corruption, with no will to believe God.

Christ Himself was born as “also human now”, but never born with any possibility of not believing or doing what God does or commands to be done.

John 5: 28 Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out—

Notice that the text does not say that only our bodies (or souls) come out of the graves. We ourselves come out of the graves, on the last Resurrection day, when Christ comes to earth again a second time.

Christ Himself was raised in this way, coming out of the grave, as the first-fruits of we who will come out of the graves on that last day.

I Corinthians 15: 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished…. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep

I Corinthians 15: 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death.

Romans 5: 17 Since by the one man’s trespass,DEATH reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18 So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation …., so also through one righteous act there is LIFE-GIVING justification… just as sin reigned in DEATH, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in the lasting LIFE of the age to come through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Those who have now already been justified NOW HAVE the lasting life of the age to come, but they do not yet have immortality. Those who are born condemned into this world include the elect, but none of them has been given the “second death” yet. Those who are justified will never be given the second death, but those who remain condemned will not only be ruined or excluded but will terminally die, permanently perish. John 3: 16 “For God gave His One and Only Son, so that as many as who believe in Him will NOT perish but have lasting life. John 3:36 the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God REMAINS on him.”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and to the ages.”

I Corinthians 15:45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Romans 1 Paul a servant of Christ Jesus called to be an apostle set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Now Christ is seated in heaven (Acts 2:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:13). None of the justified elect are now in heaven.

Psalm 110:1–”The Lord says to my Lord; Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Except in their representative, the justified elect do not share God’s throne and do not sit at God’s right hand. The heavenly glory Christ had enjoyed in the Father’s presence before His incarnation has now been “crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death. (Hebrews 2:9)

Christ was first resurrected (the first-fruits) and then He ascended to heaven. Sitting there at the right hand, Christ does not simply wait but intercedes for the justified elect Romans 8:34–“What judge will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus who died, and more than that, was raised to life, who indeed is at the right hand of God, and who is pleading our cause?”

An ascent directly into heaven from the cross without a resurrection would be Plato’s pagan idea of death as the release of an immortal soul. But going to heaven is not resurrection. Gnostics teach going to heaven without resurrection. Gnostics teach that the only resurrection is going to heaven. Some of these gnostics are preterists, but most of them simply do not think straight about the need for the second coming of Christ.

They also hold onto unbiblical ideas about what “soul” is. Since they do not know that the living soul is body plus breath (Genesis 2:7), they tend to think of the “immortal soul” and they cannot deal with reality of Christ the servant pouring out His soul unto death (Isaiah 53). Since they change Christ’s death into “spiritual death”, they also tend to confuse Christ’s bodily resurrection with His ascension (“going to heaven.”)

Some “not going to think about it” preachers go so far as to say that Christ’s “spiritual death” (which some locate “in the time before time”) is the real and effective death. They say that the physical death is only a demonstration of that timeless before time “real spiritual” death. Other preachers do not go as far as that, but they prefer talking about Christ’s “infinite soul suffering” instead of the death Christ died in history which was demanded by God’s law for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ.

Acts 3:15–”You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead.

Ephesians 1:20 describes God’s mighty power “which He exercised in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and enthroned Him at His right hand in the heavenlies.” See also I Peter 1:21, 3:22; Ephesians 4:8-10; and I Timothy 3:16 (“He was taken up into glory”)

https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1116142239324

We are citizens of heaven who are not going to heaven, because heaven is coming here. Now we are a colony of heaven, with the law of Christ FROM heaven. To paraphrase George Steiner (My Unwritten Books, p 122): The Christian does well to keep a very loose relationship to any one place. If he is forced to resume his wondering, he will not regard this experience as a lamentable chastisement. It is also an opportunity. There is no society not worth exploring. And no nation not worth leaving if we need to. Exile means exodus, and new beginnings. Let us survive, if we survive, as guests among men. We will not kill them, but if they kill us, our hope is that the earth belongs to the Lord, and the Lord will resurrect us, even from death.

Updike, Self-consciousness, p 215—-Paul rejected the Gnostic idea that the resurrection had already taken place (II Tim 2:18) and in I Cor 15;14 rebuffed doubters within the early church—if Christ be not rise, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain, The church insisted no less firmly than modern materialism that the body is the person, and taught the resurrection of the dead.

Updike–If we picture the afterlife at all, it is heretically as the escape of something impalapable—the essential “I—from this corruptible flesh, occurring at the moment of death and not “at the last trump”. The thought of a long wait within the tomb afflicts us with claustrophobia and the fear of being lost forever. Where is our self during the long interval?. The winged heads on Puritan tombstones do not represent ascended angels but souls hovering in that abyss between death and resurrection. The idea that we sleep for centuries and centuries without a flicker of dream, while our bodies rot and turn to dust and the very stone marking out graves crumbles to nothing, is terrifying.

Updike–Every attempt to be specific about the afterlife, to conceive of it even the most general detail, appalls us. Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised evening news.

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One Comment on “Resurrection is not Ascension to Heaven”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    the prerequisite for going to heaven is having come from heaven

    John 3: 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.

    Genesis 28: 12 Jacob dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it.

    John 1: 51 Then Jesus said to Nathaniel, “ You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

    John 20:17“Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God

    But Jesus is coming back to earth.
    Hebrews 9:28 the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him

    Hebrews 11: 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did NOT receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for US, so that THEY would NOT be made perfect without US


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