Are people going to heaven today?
No, I do not believe this is true. I think many have an active imagination and convinced themselves of something special happening to them. Others may have had a counterfeit spiritual experience, or an occult experience.
It is very disappointing to hear how many gullible and na๏ve Christians there are that accept these stories. They hear a story of someone going to heaven and because the Bible speaks of a few people that went they believe these modern stories are just as true even when they contradict the Bible.
We have to look carefully at what the Bible teaches of those who went to heaven before we believe the numerous stories we hear today. Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven; but they did not return to tell their stories to the people.
Paul going to heaven mentions no angel or vehicle to take him. Where does the Bible teach such a doctrine that people go to heaven and come back? Those taken were a very unusual event, just as walking on water was unique, taken to heaven was more so.
These stories are a complete fabrication, a lie. Those who were taken were Gods chosen apostles to write in Scripture what God has allowed for us to know, while we see with the eyes of faith. If we can go to heaven anytime and see the Lord then what would be the purpose of Him coming back to earth?
To use the few who went in the Old Testament, there were two that never came back. They were not visiting, they were taken by God, as types of what will happen to the Church corporately on the day of the resurrection/ rapture. An there were three in the New Testament, two who both came back to write Scripture and one who is yet to come back - Jesus.
Old Testament - Enoch
Genesis 5:21-24 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
verified in the New Testament, Hebrews 11:5-6 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Jude 14-15 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
So Enoch speaks of those who are coming back with the Lord not those going to heaven. He is addressing the judgment as is spoken of in Psalms 58:9-11 and Isaiah 66:15-16 For behold, the LORD will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many.
As Elisha and Elijah walked together Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" So he saw him no more (2 Kings 2:11-12). Elijah is taken and it is seen by his prot้g้. There is no descriptions or communications afterwards.
Even when Elijah appeared with Moses with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration; but they spoke with him about his coming death at Jerusalem.
Jesus spoke about Heaven as His dwelling place but He gave no detailed descriptions.
Paul spoke of his experience in the third person so that he would not make of himself more than he should.
2 Corinthians 12:1-13 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
Paul was unable to communicate what was in heaven. Not because he was incapable by his speech or language, he was not able to because he called it illegal, a crime (unlawful) to speak about the things he saw. what cannot be spoken, or what ought not to be spoken. "unspeakable" Gr. arreeta. The word means unutterable, ineffable; 2 Corinthians 12:4 may either mean what cannot be spoken, or what ought not to be spoken (from Barnes' Notes)
The word is most commonly used in the signification of lawful. Thus, Matthew 14:4, "It is not lawful for thee to have her." Acts 16:21, "Which it is not lawful for us to observe;" 22:25, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman.
He waited 14 years to even mention it, and he only spoke because he had a purpose in doing so. Along comes all these false teachers today that speak freely when Paul was not permitted. It was for Paul's own consolation, not to communicate to others as we see so many do today. Why was Paul allowed to see the Paradise? More then likely it would be a support for Paul because of his various trials he was to endure more then any other apostle. It would give him hope where there may be only despair. Pauls revelation may have been for him alone, to encourage him through the great sufferings and that there is a reward. But he did not convey what the reward looked like.
This letter was written 55-57 A.D. Fourteen years before will bring the vision to 41-43 A.D., the time of his second visit to Jerusalem (Acts 22:17). He had long been dialoguing with the Corinthian church, yet had never mentioned it before: so it was not a matter to be freely spoken of.
Paul was given more revelation than any other apostle except John. There is no apostle that preached of pursuing a spiritual experience. It is for this reason why Paul spoke the way he did. He said to continue in the traditions you have been taught by the word, and not to go beyond the word by experience.
There have been millions through history who have been taken to heaven in death, no one has returned with a testimony, that is until now
It was John the last apostle who lived that was allowed to speak on what he saw there. And it certainly was not what some describe today. If the glory of heaven were revealed in detail it would certainly seem unbelievable, even to those of us that can read what little we have of it in Scripture. And I dont think the Lord wants this to be a motivation for doing what is right.
What of John, he went to heaven? John 30-40 years later described what was in heaven and earths future in mostly symbols as it is all related to the tribulation period on earth and Christs return. What did John do when he met Jesus in His glory. He knew Jesus on earth but this was different. He fell as dead before him, seeing him in a glorified was far different, it was fearful.
John spoke more of Heaven in Revelation as he was told to write the things he saw. It would become our scripture and close the Bible that began from Genesis in the earths perfect state.
Not every apostle went to heaven. Only two did, and God had a purpose for picking them. Both Paul and John wrote of it and it became our Scripture.
There are those who claim they can travel to heaven anytime they want, not just those in an accident that are taken from their bodies. Rev. 4:1-2 "After this I looked and behold a door standing open in Heaven and the first voice I heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, COME UP HERE". And IMMEDIATELY John the apostle, was in the spirit.
In the middle of the Tribulation we read of THE TWO WITNESSES" And I heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them COME UP here and they ASCENDED UP to heaven in a cloud and their enemies beheld them (Rev. 11:3-12) But they did not come back. The Lord allows people to see some ascensions to Paradise but not communication afterwards.
Yet people want to believe others so called supernatural experiences over the Bible.
Luke 24:51-52 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And her Child (Jesus) was caught up to God and His throne. (Revelation 12:5-6)
Mark 16:19-20 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Acts 1:9-11 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
Notice what the angels say, the next time Jesus comes back it will be in glory and physically to the earth. We read of his coming into our atmosphere to take the church that is both dead and living to be with him, but this is not his coming back to earth. He doesnt travel the whole way down to touch the surface of the earth but enters our atmosphere. According to Zechariah 14:4, there will be a time (the Second Coming of Christ) when His feet shall touch down upon the Mount of Olives and it will split in two and he will reside on the earth as king.
In the meantime we are looking toward this event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:1 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The word "caught up together" is the Greek word harpazo. It literally means "to snatch out" or "to seize, by force" its like a thief grabbing a purse, he seizes it by his own power. The word Rapture is found in the Latin Vulgate Bible (raptus) verse 17, this is the ONLY place in the Bible where a group is "caught up" together.
In John 14 Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Jesus has been in heaven preparing a place for us. We meet the Lord in the air and He takes us to the Fathers house.
Not one in the Old testament has been permitted to return with a testimony of what it is like.
Most had visions of heaven that concentrated on the Lord. Isaiah describes his vision which is really of Jesus Christ (Jn. 12:37-41). Isaiah 6:5 So I said:"Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts."
When God appeared on earth in his glory it became holy ground, how much holier is heaven where his glorious presence fills the temple. Should we entertain the fables we hear today and make what is holy corrupt?
Why then are the sights and sounds of today's heavenly trips not only expressible for a growing number of charismatics, but they are expressed in vivid detail, down to the color of heavenly grapes, grass, trees, and mansions -- and even to the color of Christ's hair and his clothes?
The Devil convinces people by the unusual, he tells them their future, gives them some signs to confirm it, a few miracles and he gets them to walk on the road he has prepared for their destruction. We are told to wait to see him face to face - together. Paul does not say he saw the Lord in heaven, he was not greeted by him or given a tour like so many are today and then come back to sell their non biblical revelations.
Phil 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body
A complete transformation of the body is needed for one to go to heaven to live there.
While the Lord gave the apostles who he chose revelation that was to be written down as our Scripture for all generations until he comes again, we are to walk by faith not by sight (experience). God has already given us much information on what heaven will be like and he asks us to walk by faith. It will be without tears, sorrow or pain; no disease or death, without wrong, injustice, fraud, and sin. It will be pure and holy; a place free from evil.
Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, (by the Scripture) embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
Let us remind ourselves of 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
And the Spirit wrote the word. If people are not willing to listen to the truth already given, God will communicate no more. He has reserved this for those who have walked in faith.