The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”
 

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!

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Please Note: Nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth. Sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. Why isn’t my theology consistent throughout this website?

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Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Robert M. Bowman, Jr. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, p. 18.]
 

This article is included in the article “The True Gospel.”
For an excellent audio teaching by D. Thomas Lancaster, click HERE.

Is “Heaven” for Real?

The teaching of the Church that that the righteous go to “heaven” when they die has absolutely nothing at all to do with the Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom of God) as taught by Yeshua and documented in the Apostolic Writings. Because the Church has lost contact with its Hebrew origins, modern Christian teachers are, by and large, unaware that the Scriptures never speak of “heaven” as a place to which the righteous dead are transported.

The writers of all the Scriptures had a concept of three “heavens.” The “first heaven” speaks of the atmosphere in which the birds fly. The “second heaven” is the created cosmos, all the planets, suns, moons, and galaxies that God has created. Since the Creator must, by definition, exist beyond and outside of that which He has created, the “third heaven” is the realm outside of all created space and time, the dwelling place of HaShem Himself. The Scripture writers had absolutely no concept of “heaven” as it is taught by the Church. There is only the Olam Hazeh, the world which now exists, and the Olam Habah, the world which is to come, or the re-created “new earth” after “the first heaven and the first earth passed away” (Revelation 21:1).

Those who understand the Hebrew origins of the Church understand that the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” is a circumlocution, a way of speaking about the sovereign kingship of HaShem without referring directly to Him. Since well before the time of Yeshua, Judaism has had a tradition of avoiding direct reference to the Name of YeHoVaH, “the Name that is too sacred to pronounce” for fear of speaking it “in vain” as prohibited by the Third Commandment. HaShem revealed His “memorial name” to Moshe (Moses) in a four letter word called the Tetragrammaton (four letters), hwhy (yud-hey-vav-hey). Wherever this Name appears in the Hebrew Tanakh, the one translating or reading aloud traditionally substitutes for it the word ADONAI (in all capitals or small capitals), the Hebrew word for Lord. Most English translations have followed this example by substituting LORD or LORD for the Tetragrammaton. Most religious Jews will not even write His title (“God” is not His name, it is His title); they write it as G-d or Gd. Another circumlocution that I use very frequently is HaShem, which simply means “the Name” (referring to the Name that is too sacred to be spoken).

Another example of substitution of the word “heaven” for reference to HaShem is as common, or perhaps more common, in English as in Hebrew. “For heaven’s sake,” “Oh, my heavens,” and similar outbursts are substitutes for “For God’s sake,” “Oh, my God,” and so forth. Thus, in Hebrew (and translated into English), “the Kingdom of Heaven” is a circumlocution for “Kingdom of God.” Dr. Luke, writing to a greater Gentile readership, understood that non-Jewish readers might misinterpret what he meant, so he just came right out and wrote “the Kingdom of God.”

So what, then, is the Kingdom of Heaven if it’s not the home of the Pearly Gates, somewhere off in the sweet bye-and-bye? The Kingdom of Heaven, or Kingdom of God, is the rule of God on earth over his creation as promised through Moshe and the Prophets. It is the Messianic rule promised in Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36, and others of the Prophets. It is the Messianic Kingdom of the thousand-year earthly reign of Yeshua on earth, which continues into the Olam Haba, or the “new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away” (Revelation 21:1). All the tribes of Israel will gathered back into the Land where they will dwell in universal peace and prosperity, the Temple and Levitical worship will be restored, the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as the eternal capital city of Israel and of the the world, the throne of David will be restored, and the Messiah, the Anointed Son of David, will sit on his father's throne to reign over the entire earth, all nature will be restored to an Edenic state, and HaShem will enter into a new covenant in which He writes the Torah on all hearts, and all humanity will know God.[1]

But as for us, the disciples of Yeshua, we have the privilege of participating in the Kingdom in the here and now. We don’t have to wait until His return. We participate in spreading the Good News of this Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and in preparing the world to receive Him when He returns to reign. Those of us who surrender to the King and submit to the authority of His Torah, are now living under the King. We are already in the Kingdom!

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.’ (Luke 17:20-21)

This promise is for the Jewish people, and for their children, and for their children’s children, and for “all who are afar off” (Gentiles who identify themselves with the Messiah, the People, the Land, and the Torah of Israel), even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39) And the amazing new good news is that now even Gentiles can be a part of what was once a “Jews-only” Kingdom!

My View of “Heaven”

If “Heaven” is not the dwelling place of the righteous dead, then what happens when a righteous person leaves the body? I already described the concept of three  “heavens” held by the Scripture writers. The “first heaven” speaks of the atmosphere in which the birds fly. The “second heaven” is the created cosmos, all the planets, suns, moons, and galaxies that God has created. Since the Creator must, by definition, exist beyond and outside of that which He has created, the “third heaven” is the realm outside of all created space and time, the dwelling place of HaShem Himself.

The Scriptures are clear that the righteous dead are with Yeshua, wherever that happens to be (Jn 14:3; Jn 17:24; 2Cor 4:14; 2Cor 5:8), and that we will be like Him. (1Jn 3:2)

Since Yeshua is HaShem, and we have already shown that HaShem must exist outside the space/time continuum that He created, then I submit for your consideration that He presently sits on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and is ruling over His Mellenniel Kingdom right now. But because we in the flesh are bound by space and time, we perceive the Kingdom as being in our future. But to an eternal Creator, and also to an eternal creature (2Cor 5:17; Mk 10:30; Jn 3:15-16; Jn 3:36; 1Jn 5:11-13), the rules that bind us to space/time do not exist. So when a righteous person’s body ceases to function, he/she is immediately free of space/time.

I therefore believe (and this is only my considered opinion; please feel free to disagree and develop your own opinion) that the moment the body of a righteous person dies, the incorporial soul and spirit are immediately transported by Yeshua through space and time to the Resurrection (Matt 22:28-31; Lk 14:14; Jn 5:29; Jn 11:25; Rom 6:5; 1Cor 15:42; Rev 20:5-6). If this is true, then all the righteous dead in Yeshua are (in their perception of space/time) presently living under His reign and rule in the Kingdom Age, or the Olam Habah, and when we who are united with Yeshua leave these bodies, we will also immediately be there with them.

____________

 1. The Hebrew word for “Paradise” is gan Eden, or literally, Garden of Eden. When Yeshua told the thief on the cross next to Him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” what He literally said was “Today you will be with me in the Garden of Eden” (Luke 23:43) [RETURN]

 

Originally posted on Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Revised (minor) Friday, 12 June 2020
Revised (major) Monday 15 June 2020

Page last updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2021 01:19 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)