Where Do Christians Go When They Die? (Can we live in Heaven now?)

12 Nov

Try this teaser question, “Where do Christians go when they die?”  Most people will answer, “To Heaven.”  So let me ask, “When do we get to go to Heaven?”  Of course, the traditional and predictable answer is, “When we die, of course.”  To which, I’ll ask, “Does our ‘ticker’ have to stop for us to die and go to Heaven?”  That’s what our churches have said for the most part, isn’t it?

Are you intrigued with this line of thinking?   If so, let’s unpack this fascinating idea.  I think we may be shocked at how much of Heaven is already available and waiting for us… even now.

We all agree that Jesus is our supreme model for how to live in Heaven and earth.  Did you know that as a man He learned to live in a dual-world reality?  His feet walked on terra firma, but His greater reality was one of living in Heaven.  Remember He said, “I can do nothing apart from my Father” (see Jn 5:19).  Not only was He good at ‘looking’ into the Heavens where His Father was, but He could actually ‘go’ there.  A crazy cool verse bears this out:

If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who IS in heaven.” – John 3:13 (caps and bold, mine)

Did you hear what He just said!?!  Where was He when He was talking to them?  He was in Heaven!  He had originally descended into the earthly realm to become a flesh and blood man.  And then He had ascended into the heavenly realms while he was still man.  Jesus, who set the standards for what we can do, said this while standing among them.  And just so we get it, remember that this is pre-cross, pre-resurrection and pre-glorification.  He was already in Heaven as a man!

Jesus said, “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (see Matt 5:48).  Could we say it another way, “Learn to live ‘perfectly’ in Heaven where your Father is?”  And just so we wouldn’t misconstrue this to apply to some code of ethics, instead of pointing at Himself, Jesus pointed to our Father who lives IN Heaven.  This Heavenly realm is to define and become our norm.  In other words, to live in Heaven is to live perfectly.

If the Heavenly realm is accessed through death, then when do we die and go to Heaven?  Well, let’s consider Jesus whose ‘death’ to His own will while living on earth AND in His death on the cross made His total life a perfect sacrifice for you and me.  Then He resurrected, was glorified and ascended to the right hand of the Father (see Eph 1:20; Heb 8:1).  Because of what Jesus’ perfect life and death purchased for us, He made a way for us to enter the Heavenlies.  Apostle Paul explains even further that we were also raised and seated WITH Christ.

“and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:” – Eph 2:6

Elaborating more, Paul says, “you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (see Col. 3:3) and “if you were buried with Christ shall you not also be raised with Christ” (see Rom. 6:4)… and just so we remember where we’re raised to, Jesus is now “seated at the Father’s right hand in heavenly places” (see Eph 1:20; 2:6).  Just as surely as Jesus died at the cross…. SO DID YOU!  We must not water-down the absolute work that Jesus accomplished at Calvary.  His death and resurrection IS our death and resurrection.  And so we are in the Heavenlies with Him… right now!  This is radical news and a radical new paradigm.  I’m telling you, we’ve got to know more about this reality of the Bible because this is VITAL in order to live in the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

Paul says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things (set your affections / attention on those things) which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (see Col 3:1).  This is our new M.O. – our new mode of operation.  Our affections must be for the Heavenlies.  We must live in the Heavenlies.  We must eat Heavenly food.  The more we do this, our old earthbound mindsets will fall away and we’ll find that we are transformed.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Roms 12:2.

Since this reality has rarely been preached or modeled for us, we need our minds renewed with the washing of the Word.  Even most of our preachers pray plaintiff prayers… not to fault them… it’s just the best they’ve been taught.  God is not looking for someone who will just give nod to some spiritual truth but for those who really believe that the moment we die, we ARE in heaven… at that moment we have access to what we have usually relegated to when our ‘ticker’ stops, or to the millennium or some afar-off date in the future.  God is giving much grace for revelation to live in a whole new dimension, now.  As we get this Heavenly perspective, it will qualify and empower us to reign in the Kingdom realm, now.  Yes, reign!

Speaking of reigning, did you know that we have been appointed to be co-rulers with Christ?  Here are just a couple verses to make that point.  “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (see Lk 12:32) and “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High” (see Dan 7:27-28).  I believe our inheritance in God, a large part of which is to be experienced in this life, is SO much greater than anyone has ever told us.  We’re on the cusp of breaking into a marvelous ‘new day’ as co-rulers with Jesus on the earth.

But it’s impossible to have confidence and rule with Jesus in this Kingdom realm if we still have an orphan spirit or beggar mentality (remember the beggar type prayers).  We have been raised to a much higher status than mere earth-beings.  We are kings and priests“…and hath made us kings and priests unto God”, (see Rev. 1:5-6), “and we shall reign (from Heaven) on the earth”, (see Rev. 5:9-10).  It’s not becoming of Godly ‘kings’ to beg… rather, they reign.  They have learned God’s nature and heart toward them and have learned who they are in Christ.  They know that reigning is so much more than quoting a few Scriptures.  And we don’t get there by just ‘taking thought’ or doing something harder.   This reality only comes through revelation.  This is so vital; we MUST search for it like silver or hidden treasure (see Prov 2:4).

OK, now the question is, “So where do we see ourselves?  What reality do we live from?  Do we really ‘see’ ourselves in the Heavenlies… or on the earth?  Are we living from earth toward Heaven… or from Heaven toward earth?  Do you wanna know where you see yourself?  It’s really quite simple to check out our reality in these matters; just listen to ourselves the next time we pray.  Are we praying plaintiff prayers… or declaration prayers?  Do we beg… or do we prophesy?  Do we pray from earth to Heaven… or from Heaven to earth? Are we beggars… or kings?

Here’s an example of how our perspective makes ‘worlds’ of difference.  Consider what we commonly call The Lord’s Prayer…

“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” – Luke 11:2

Most people pray this prayer by rote, not really grasping the import of the passage.  And others pray it as plaintiffs in beggar mode… hoping, almost beyond hope, for another morsel from Heaven.  But what if we prayed the same prayer with the same words from our Heavenly position and reality?  What if we prayed it as a prophetic declaration instead of a petition?  Listen to how the prayer now has authority and power.

Our Father (We’re so grateful to be able to call You Father) who art in heaven (where we are now), hallowed be Your name (May Your name be exalted forever!).  Your kingdom come! (I agree with You and prophesy Your desires) Your will be done on earth (down in the terra firma situations just) like it is (here) in Heaven (where we are with You).

You see, our perspective changes everything!!  From this vantage point and perspective (from Heaven to earth) we’re able to discover true wisdom from God and ply our influence in Heaven and earth.  Heaven’s full heart and mind on any matter is accessed here.  And listen to this!  The idea of living from Heaven toward earth isn’t just the current popular catch-phrase; even Paul is into living ‘from Heaven to earth’.

“For our conversation is in heaven; from where we also look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” – Phil 3:20

Praying from our Heavenly position gives us a whole new dynamic authority and power?  As kings, we begin to pray with confidence and from a position of ruling.  As we get the “mind of Christ” (see I Cor 2:16) our prayers become kingly declarations thereby fulfilling Jesus’ desire for us to be His ‘kings and priests’ reigning with Him here on the earth (remember our dual-reality of living in Heaven and on earth).  Friends, God’s Word is more true and more real than any doctrine, tradition, persuasion, circumstance or experience we may have had in the past.  True humility is not afraid to embrace divine reality.   This is Jesus’ passion and desire that He’s had for us from the beginning, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am…” (see Jn 17:24).  O, that Your joy may be made full, Jesus!

Taking this a bit further: Begging prayers discount Jesus’ magnanimous love to us.  You see, after Jesus has laid His life down and invited us into the royal status of being seated with Him, it is utterly inappropriate for us to look over to Him and beg for another comparatively small ‘crumb’.  He has already expressed His will about most of our requests, and so now our part is to agree and prophesy His will into those situations.  And what if we don’t know the mind of Christ?  We still don’t beg; rather, from a place of confidence in His abundant favor we ask for His mind on the matter, knowing that He’s good, all His thoughts toward us are good, and He’ll only do us good.  Then when we have His mind, we release, declare and prophesy… like kings do.

Friends, we’ve been invited to boldly go where few mortals have gone or even dared to dream.  The fact is, we’re discovering that Heaven truly is our home… now!  And we’ve discovered that our perspective is everything.  So if all this is true, then our journey begins by asking God to grant us the revelation of true Grace and our position in Christ.  Now we must listen to our conversations with God and with others in order to identify the telltale signs of what we really believe, because  we know that “out of the abundance of the heart (our) mouth speaks” (see Matt 12:34; Prov 23:7).

One last thing, since we know our Heavenly position and are committed to learn how to live in it, we may want to encourage each other with this cute, simple and powerful reminder: Keep looking down!

— MLH

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One Response to “Where Do Christians Go When They Die? (Can we live in Heaven now?)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Quote: Time To Use Your Authority | marklhen - April 1, 2013

    […] kingly prophetic declarations The Believer’s Dual Realities – (No More Pickle Juice) Where Do Christians Go When They Die? (Can we live in Heaven now?) Grace […]

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