"Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.2 Corinthians 7:1 ... dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
Eternal life or everlasting life or heaven is the heavenly life that godly people will continue to have in the presence of God without an end. However, there are three levels in heaven and they are explained in their contexts. If we miss the context in our study, we will miss the different levels. As the scripture explains the requirements of the one level, we should not think of a different level. So, we must study with its own context. The three levels are, Paradise (new earth), Heaven (new heaven), and Bride of Christ (new Jerusalem). It is important that we should not confuse the requirements among them in our study. For an example: "Matthew 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?" This is the teaching of Jesus Christ to his disciples. If we read this passage only, we can conclude that no rich man will be saved or go to heaven. Now, let us look at the context. "16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 ... but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: ..." Please don't be swayed away to the gutters by preachers, but stick to the word of God. The man asked Jesus about the requirements for eternal life and Jesus told him what to do. The man told Jesus that he is doing all of them and Jesus neither refute him nor called him a liar. So, it is true that he was doing them. On that basis, he has eternal life in the first level, which is paradise that is new earth. Then the man asked Jesus: "20 ... what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." The man has secured paradise, please don't forget this. Then he asked, 'what lack I yet?', since there are more levels in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus told him "If thou wilt be perfect," go and do the rest of the things. If he want to be perfect means, that if he want the top level in the kingdom of God, do the rest. The rest of the requirements are to become the bride of Christ, which is new Jerusalem, "thou shalt have treasure in heaven:". Preachers condemns the rich man, as if he went to hell. He did not meet the requirements for the bride of Christ, but successfully accomplished the entrance to paradise. We know this by the context. Another man I remember, who did enter Paradise, who was just converted at the cross, just before his death."Luke 23:42 he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." It is the first level in eternal life. You may learn more about Paradise in this link: "Paradise"
I John 1 says "1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, ... 2 ... and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, ..." The eternal life was in God the Word, who was with God the Father. "1 John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." Let "that" abide in you, and what is the "that"? It is Jesus Christ, and also it is "the eternal life" that God has promised. "1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." That is, we shall be like Jesus Christ in all his glory, and the eternal life that abides in us is glorified to be the same as Jesus Christ, and that is the glorified eternal life, which is the eternal life in heaven. "Matthew 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." So, in eternal life we will shine forth as the sun and will be like Jesus Christ at his second coming. Opposite to this is everlasting or eternal damnation, destruction or death in outer darkness. Usually preachers think that eternal life is to escape hell and to have good food without hunger, plenty of water to drink, with a comfortable and safe life. It is an ignorant vision of eternal life. Eternal life is to shine with heavenly glory, and to be in the presence of God.
Next question is, how to receive this eternal life? Hebrews 5 says, "9 ... (Jesus Christ) he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;" So, according to this verse we must obey God. So, we must do what Jesus Christ tells us to do, to receive eternal life. God gives eternal life as the reward for how well we have done his commands. "Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." As we serve God with the evidence of the fruit of holiness in our life, then the everlasting life will be our reward. "Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." This is the Bible Truth, never mind what preachers say. "John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus Christ says that we should believe what he says, but not to believe preachers. Jesus Christ will lead them through righteousness and takes them to eternal life. Those who live in sin will find their way to eternal death. "Romans 5:21 as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." God wants sinners to confess their sins and to walk in the light as God is in the light so that God may forgive them and clean their unrighteousness. "1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
Eternal fire is the punishment from God. "Matthew 25:41 Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" God made hell to punish Satan and fallen angels. Christians think that Satan is the king in hell. No, he will be locked in hell as a prisoner. But if we live in holiness, the result is everlasting life. "Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." If Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life, you will obey him, his grace will lead you, you will live righteously and with holiness. This is the beginning of everlasting life. However, in the everlasting life, there are three groups. Those who have everlasting life, will be in their glory with God in New Heaven. Those who have fulfilled the high calling, will be New Jerusalem. Those who fall short, will find themselves on New Earth. For details you may click on these links:
God Bless You