There are a number of things that we are taught that aren't actually in the Bible. Feel free to look these up, but you won't find them in a scripture anywhere. For instance:
- Pray this sinners prayer so you can be saved.
- Believe in Jesus SO THAT you can go to heaven.
- Get forgiven SO THAT you can go to heaven.
- Confess and admit your sins SO THAT you can go to heaven.
- Ask Jesus into your heart.
Of course heaven is real, but the things we supposedly believe come from the Bible, aren't always there.
Whether you grew up in church or not, there is a good chance you can quote John 3:16 from memory. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him will not perish, but will have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Like most of us, you probably think that this "eternal life" is a synonym for "going to heaven when we die." But that would not be the truth.
Let's look at the word eternal for a moment. It is the word "aionios." Helps Word Studies defines it like this: Cognate: 166 aiṓnios (an adjective, derived from 165 /aiṓn ("an age, having a particular character and quality") – properly, "age-like" ("like-an-age"), i.e. an "age-characteristic" (the quality describing a particular age); (figuratively) the unique quality (reality) of God's life at work in the believer, i.e. as the Lord manifests His self-existent life (as it is in His sinless abode of heaven). It (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to. Thus believers live in "eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life" right now, experiencing this quality of God's life now as a present possession. (Note the Gk present tense of having eternal life in Jn 3:36, 5:24, 6:47; cf. Ro 6:23.)]
The word "eternal" actually refers to an age, or a quality experienced in an age of history.
But that word modifies another one, the word life, or "zoe":
Original Word: ζωή, ῆς, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (dzo-ay')
Short Definition: life
Definition: 2222 zōḗ – life (physical and spiritual).
So eternal life, which we thought meant going to heaven when we die, actually means, the life of the age and was being experienced already by believers in the NT.
You will not find a verse that says "eternal life" and "heaven" are the same thing. It is just not there.
On a quick note, remember that from the cross to AD 70 is a transition from the Old age of Law to the New Covenant age of the Kingdom. The end of the age, was the end of the Old Covenant age when Rome destroyed Jerusalem 40 years after the cross (within one generation).
WHAT IS PERISHING?
Well, let me define one more thing please, because there is a huge misconception about "perishing". We again are reading into a text what Evangelicalism has taught us. We think "perish" means "hell". (see Will God Destroy One's Soul in Hell)
The word "perish" isn't a spiritual term, but a literal term to describe the death associated with those Jews who would die in the fires of AD 70 if they didn't trust Christ and abandon the Old Covenant Law before it was too late.
Notice Jesus words to them (not us) warning them of perishing in a literal death just like the others: Luke 13: 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell YOU, no; but unless YOU repent YOU will ALL LIKEWISE perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless YOU repent YOU will ALL LIKEWISE perish.”
We see the same thing in Mark 4:38 when the disciples were frustrated with Jesus because they feared they would die. There is no sense here of them going to a place called hell. They feared drowning: and he himself was upon the stern, upon the pillow sleeping, and they wake him up, and say to him, 'Teacher, art thou not caring that we perish?' (YLT)
So what is this PHYSICAL and/or SPIRITUAL AGE of LIFE?
It is the age after the Law, after AD 70. The believers before were already experiencing it as they abandoned the end of the age of the natural Jerusalem and natural priesthood, and tasted the powers of the "AGE TO COME" (Hebrews 6:5). We live in the period of history now, and as we believe the truth of who Christ is and what he has accomplished for us, then we will experience the life of this age. Let's look a little closer...
From my new book, Beyond Your Wildest Dreams: Access, Activate and Achieve Your Heart's Desires I wrote:
"The origin of belonging isn’t in a golf club, a caste system, or hanging with the hipsters. The origin of all belonging is found in the concept from which it emerged. All belonging comes from the nature of God. Did you know God’s nature is community and belonging? God always existed in community where the Father delighted in the Son, and the Spirit honored the Father, and the Son loved the Father, and so on. The Trinity enjoyed mutual relationships of intense joy, perfect love, and peace beyond our comprehension.
So perfect was the communion, the interaction and connectedness that all creation came out of the desire for us to experience what Father, Son and Spirit enjoy in one another. It was God’s intention from the beginning to bring us into that circle of belonging. So this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, (2 Timothy 1:9).
John echos this saying, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1-3).
The word fellowship is the word communion or sharing. This belonging was the life of communion, sharing, fellowship that always existed between Father and Son. John saw with his own eyes the relationship Jesus had with the Father and Spirit. Jesus as the Son of Man included you in His death, His burial, resurrection and ascension in order to seat you together with him in the heavenly places. You died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Being in Christ means that we don’t need to wait until we die to relish the joy that the Father has for us.
In other words, it is as if we are so standing inside heaven’s Trinity that Jesus said the Father loves us the same profound way that he loves the Son (John 17:23). The way the Spirit honors the Father is how the Spirit honors you. The delight the Son has for the Father is the same delight he has for you! Take a moment to imagine that truth!"
The ETERNAL LIFE is the RELATIONSHIP that FATHER, SON, and SPIRIT enjoyed and which we NOW, have been brought into. This is what God wants us to KNOW by experience PHYSICALLY in THIS LIFE, and SPIRITUALLY in THIS LIFE which extends forever. This is eternal life, that you may KNOW him, the one true God and Jesus Christ he has sent. Our belief is the means of us growing in knowing him and experiencing the exact communion that Father, Son and Spirit have always known.
This is one of the grand truths from which our heart's desires can come true... because once you believe in, begin to trust how you are loved, it opens the channels of your heart to live the life you have always dreamed about!
I HAVE AN AMAZING OFFER FOR YOU! ON APRIL 27TH MY NEW BOOK WILL BE LAUNCHED, AND WE WILL BE HAVING A BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS BOOK PARTY!
I WANT TO GIVE YOU $100 WORTH OF RESOURCES FOR FREE!
For just this ONE DAY OFFER, April 27th, if you BUY THE BOOK, then THEN GO TO MY WEBSITE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU BOUGHT THE BOOK AND THAT YOU ENCOURAGED OTHERS TO BUY IT BY REPOSTING A FORTHCOMING AD... I WILL GIVE YOU MY 9 HOUR COURSE:
Download 9 hours of powerful audio teaching
How to Apply the Gospel to Every Person’s Life: Learn a simple definition of the gospel and keys to help people by sharing it in every area of life?
Psalm 22: The God Forsaken Son? Did God turn his back on Jesus at the cross and why does that matter?
Romans 5: Who is Included in Christ? Is the work of Christ for only a few, or only true if I believe it?
Isaiah 53: Is God a Child Molecher? Did God punish Jesus on the cross to avoid punishing us.
What was Jesus Doing for 3 Days in Hades? Discover what happened when Jesus tasted death for every man.
The New Man and The Faith of Jesus. Discover how the faith of Jesus gives you righteousness, redemption, reconciliation, and more.
The Ascension: War and Mercy. Did you know that God has never heard a word of accusation against you from the devil?
The Enthronement of Christ: What Does it Mean?