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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Six Unscriptural Traditions, continued
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. (Revelation 6:9—NIV)
As far as I know, the only time the Scripture comes anywhere near describing the kind of paradise for which we hope occurs in the Old Testament. The passages do not have to do with the spirit Paradise but with the Glory of God filling the earth, especially in the location of Jerusalem. Actually Jerusalem is destined to be the Throne of God, the "Heaven" of the eternal age.
The references to the deceased saints in the New Testament never reveal the type of environment we expect to find when we die.
We notice Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration discussing with Jesus His death.
Paul sometimes mentioned his desire to go home to be with the Lord. This is completely understandable given Paul's circumstances. But Paul never groaned with a longing to die and go to Heaven. When Paul groaned it was for the redemption of his body, that is, for his resurrection into incorruptible life. This was so he would be released from sin, because Paul was a righteous rabbi.
The Book of Hebrews tells us we are surrounded with a cloud of witnesses. The dead are seeking to know what God is doing, because the revelation of God comes from the imperfect people of earth, not from angels in Heaven.
Revelation 6:9 informs us there are souls kept under the Altar of God in Heaven, probably the Altar of Incense. They are not at rest but are beseeching God to avenge them on those by whom they were martyred. They were given white robes.
Revelation, Chapter Seven tells of a special group—those who come out of the great tribulation. They are standing before the Throne of God and in front of the Lamb. The Lord comforts them.
And then there are those described in Revelation 5:9,10 who are looking forward to reigning on the earth.
There also is a group standing on the sea of glass mixed with fire who are singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, thus revealing the continuity of the covenants.
We see therefore that the Heaven of our traditions is not found in the entire Scriptures.
It appears likely, and the testimony of saints who have been brought back from death agrees with this, that when we die we will be placed in an area where there are people like ourselves. We will be "gathered to our people," so to speak.
The spirit realm is an area of rest for the righteous and of torment for the wicked until the Day of the Lord arrives. It is then our destiny is decided. It is then we are rewarded or punished, not after we die.
If we would be scriptural, let us from this point forward set our eyes on the resurrection from the dead. This was Paul's goal, his mark, his heavenly calling. It is not residence in the spirit Heaven that is our objective, the goal of our redemption, it is the resurrection from the dead and the resumption of life upon the earth.
This is where Jesus will be. This is where I desire to be with my family. What is your hope?
How did we ever get so far off the Bible track?
To be continued.