I have come to the conclusion that the earth, and not heaven, is the future home of the redeemed. I will give you my convictions in this paper. This is in no way exhaustive. Could I be wrong? Sure.
If you’re looking for a “teacher” who thinks he’s always right, you’ve come to the wrong place. I am appealing to students like me.
Most won’t settle matters by the Word of God. Most have their favorite teacher’s quotes on their computer. When they deal with doctrinal matters they just hit copy and paste. That’s what passes off as Bible study today. The partisan followers delude themselves into thinking that this method is “giving adversaries a doctrinal whipping.” Being an expert in the writings of a monthly magazine is not the same as being a student of the Word of God.
The Hebrew word for heaven is: shamayim – it occurs 419 times (Youngs)
The Greek word for heaven is: ouranos – it occurs 284 times (Youngs)
By looking at the concordance you can examine every occurrence of the word and its context. It is my opinion that when you examine every occurrence of the word you will come to the conclusion that the teaching that heaven is our home doesn’t come from the Scriptures.
Let me repeat, the majority view, the popular view, held by just about every religion, isn’t found in the Scriptures. That’s according to my research.
God’s revelation is progressive. He’s revealed things line by line. There are instances where God’s past revelations were superseded by later ones. For instance:
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Then a few years later He said:
35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
Note the change. One revelation canceled out a previous one.
How does this apply to heaven? In Psalm 37 we read this:
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
In these passages God talks about the place where the redeemed will be blessed. Some say this only applies to Israel. Those who say that need to prove that those who aren’t part of Israel have a destiny that’s different.
What was Melchizedek’s destiny? How about Abimelech? How about Job?
The Psalmist says that those who are blessed of God will be given a portion on this earth.
I know the Lord will bless me in the future. Where will He bless me? I believe it’s on this earth. Many will have different blessings depending on their service. But that doesn’t mean certain ones will enjoy those blessings in a different sphere. No matter how great our blessings are, they will still be enjoyed on this earth.
Back to the matter of progressive revelation. Is Psalm 37 God’s final word about man’s future home?
Many years later our Lord spoke about this matter. But He never altered the words of Psalm 37. Listen to our Lord:
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
From Psalm 37 to Matthew 5 God never altered the future home of His redeemed. If nothing has changed since Matthew 5, we must say that earth is the future home of God’s redeemed.
Has there been an alteration since our Lord spoke? I used to think so. But then I studied the word “heaven.”
The Hebrew word for heaven means “height.” It’s something that’s over and above. Read Genesis 1 for the first occurrences. The Greek word has the same meaning.
These words are applied to any place, person, or thing that’s above. In Luke 15 we read,
“I have sinned against heaven.”
That meant he sinned against God. Heaven is put for God. He is above all. (See Bullinger’s Figures of Speech)
The Hebrew word “shamayim” is used for God and earthly rulers. It’s used for people in high places. The word “heaven” has more than one meaning. It refers to the place where the birds fly, where the sun is, to God, and rulers.
The Greek word “ouranos” means to “raise up.” It’s just like the Hebrew word. We saw how it was used for God in Luke 15. The man didn’t sin against the planets or the sky, he didn’t sin against the birds or Mars, he sinned against God.
Ouranos in the plural is used of celestial beings. In Ephesians 4:10 we read:
“He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”
If that refers to “places,” then Christ ascended outside all “places.” That’s a little strange, isn’t it? So what does this passage mean?
Man is a little lower than the angels. Read Psalm 8. Thus, it’s proper that angels can be referred to as the heavens, or the “raised up ones.” Christ ascended over and above the angels! This fits the context. Christ isn’t above all “places,” He’s above “beings.”
This word is also used in Acts 2:5 and Colossians 1:23 for earthly rulers. Read those passages carefully. Heaven is put for “men in high places.” See also Jeremiah 14:22.
Heaven has to do with that which is exalted. In Ephesians 1:4 we read:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
The word “heaven” here is an adjective with the prefix “epi.” This makes it more intensive. An Adjective gets its meaning from the word or words which it qualifies.
The KJV supplies “places.” The idea here is “high places” or “exalted beings.” We are blessed with every spiritual blessing among exalted beings. Believers are future aristocracy. It’s not about heading due north, but about position – in my opinion.
Our Lord said to Nicodemus:
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
I was taught that this meant,
“If I told you things concerning Israel and their earthly calling, and you don’t believe, how shall you believe if I tell you about things concerning heaven and the body of Christ?” No, that won’t do.
This passage can be paraphrased as follows:
“If I told you basic things, and you don’t believe, how shall you believe, if I told you more advanced things.”
Heavenly things here means “advanced things.”
This is food for thought. Get out the Concordance. There will be more to come in the future. I hope this stirs you to search and see.