Heaven (Part 9) - Have People Died and Come Back?, Will We Have Bodies in Heaven?


Heaven (Part 9) 14. Have people died and gone to heaven and come back? A. There are 10 Biblical examples of people who have died and come back to life: i. The son of the widow that Elijah resurrected (1Ki 17:21-22). ii. The son of the Shunammite woman that Elisha resurrected (2Ki 4:34-35). iii. The dead man that touched the bones of Elisha (2Ki 13:21). iv. Jairus' daughter (Mar 5:41-42). v. The son of the widow from Nain (Luk 7:14-15). vi. Lazarus (Joh 11:43-44). vii. Jesus Christ (1Co 15:4). viii. The saints that arose from the dead after Christ's resurrection (Mat 27:52-53). ix. Tabitha whom Peter resurrected (Act 9:40). x. Eutychus whom Paul (possibly) resurrected (Act 20:9-10). B. In that the Bible teaches that the soul and spirit of the elect departs the body at death and goes to heaven to be with God (see Section X, 6: What happens at death?), we must conclude that all of these dead people were in heaven for the time that their bodies were dead. C. With the exception of Jesus Christ, none of these people are recorded as saying anything about heaven after they rose from the dead. i. If they saw heaven, they either never talked about it; or if they did, it was not recorded in scripture. ii. This tells me that God apparently didn't want us to know what they saw, if they saw anything and remembered it. D. What about people that have claimed to have died and had an out-of-body experience where they saw heaven? i. Given that all of the people who died and came back to life in the Bible are not recorded as talking about it, I am extremely skeptical of anyone today claiming to have died and seen heaven. ii. Any stories of heaven must be scrutinized with what the scripture says about God and heaven (Act 17:11; 1Th 5:21; 1Jo 4:1). iii. If a person's depiction of God, Jesus, or heaven is contrary to scripture, he is lying (Isa 8:20). iv. For instance, many people who claim to have gone to heaven say that they saw Jesus and they describe Him as having long hair. a. Jesus doesn't have long hair (1Co 11:14). b. Therefore, those people are either lying or they experienced a satanic delusion. E. What about people who claim to have died and had a bright light experience? i. Remember that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2Co 11:14). ii. Such experiences could be Satanic deceptions. iii. They could also just be made up to get attention. iv. We should be very skeptical of such claims and measure them against the scriptures. 15. If a person is "dead" and the doctor resuscitates him, did his soul depart and then return? (Don) A. When a person is resurrected from the dead both the spirit (Luk 8:55) and the soul come again into him (1Ki 17:21-22). B. If the man was truly dead, then his soul and spirit had departed the body (Jam 2:26) (see Section X, 6: What happens at death?). C. In such a case if a doctor resuscitates him, then yes, his soul would have departed and then returned. D. If the man was not truly dead, then the soul never left in the first place. 16. In what form will we be when we get to heaven (body or spirit)? A. Our soul and spirit will be in heaven immediately after death while our body goes to the grave (see Section X, 6: What happens at death?). B. It appears to me that we will be in a spiritual form in the present heaven until the resurrection. i. I will make my case for this in the remainder of this section. ii. It is not necessary to have a physical body in the present heaven to exist there as ourselves. a. The spirit and soul reside in the body (Job 10:11). b. The body, soul, and spirit bear the identity of a person: they are each "us" (Job 14:22). c. That identity remains and does not cease at death (Luk 16:22-23). C. Will we have a body in heaven prior to the resurrection? i. There are some that teach that we will be given a temporary body while we are in heaven prior to the resurrection. ii. They use 2Co 5:1-9 as support for this position. iii. A careful examination of 2Co 5:1-9 shows that it does not support this position. a. Our current body is a tabernacle which is a temporary dwelling for our soul and spirit (2Co 5:1, 4). (i) Tabernacle n. - 1. A temporary dwelling; generally movable, constructed of branches, boards, or canvas; a hut, tent, booth. 3. fig. In phraseology chiefly of biblical origin: A dwelling-place. c. Applied to the human body regarded as the temporary abode of the soul or of life. (ii) A tabernacle is not a permanent place of abode (Heb 11:9). (iii) Sojourn v. - 1. intr. To make a temporary stay in a place; to remain or reside for a time. b. Our body that we are awaiting is a building and a house which are both permanent structures (2Co 5:1-2). (i) Building n. - 1. a. The action of the verb build, lit. and fig. 2. That which is built; a structure, edifice: now a structure of the nature of a house built where it is to stand. (ii) House n. - 1. A building for human habitation; esp. a building that is the ordinary dwelling-place of a family. (iii) Buildings and houses are permanent structures built on foundations (Heb 11:10). (iv) Therefore, the body that we are awaiting in heaven is a permanent body, not a temporary one. c. Our future body (house) is eternal not temporary (2Co 5:1). (i) Eternal adj. - 1. a. Infinite in past and future duration; without beginning or end; that always has existed and always will exist: esp. of the Divine Being. 3. a. Infinite in future duration; that always will exist; everlasting, endless. (ii) Therefore, the body that we are awaiting in heaven is a permanent body, not a temporary one. d. When we die and go to be with the Lord we are absent from the body meaning we will be without a body for a while (2Co 5:8). (i) If we were immediately given a temporary body when we die and are present with the Lord, then death wouldn't be described as being absent from the body. (ii) We will receive our eternal, permanent bodies at the resurrection at the end of time (Joh 5:28-29; Job 14:12-15; Job 19:25-27; 1Co 15:50-53). (iii) Until that time we will be absent from our body while in heaven awaiting the resurrection when we are joined with it again. e. When we believed the gospel and were baptized God gave us the earnest of the Spirit (2Co 5:5 c/w Eph 1:13 c/w Act 2:38). (i) Earnest n. - 1. Money, or a sum of money, paid as an instalment, esp. for the purpose of securing a bargain or contract. Also fig. A foretaste, instalment, pledge, of anything afterwards to be received in greater abundance. (ii) The Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession (Eph 1:14). (iii) The purchased possession is our body which the Spirit will resurrect (Rom 8:11). (iv) We will wait and long for it until the resurrection (Rom 8:23). (v) We are not waiting and longing for a temporary body.
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