Ask Your Preacher
Where in the Bible does it talk about heaven on earth? Specifically, do we have bodies?
Flesh And Blood
Dear Flesh And Blood,
When we get to heaven, our loved ones won’t look anything like what they did on Earth. When we get to heaven, we will receive spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:44). On the Day of Judgment, in the “twinkling of an eye”, we will be changed (1 Cor 15:52). In heaven, we will all look different than we do here. For more on that subject, read the entire fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians. However, heaven will not be here on earth. The earth is going to be destroyed at the Judgment Day (2 Pet 3:10-11)
A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to put our twelve-year-old boxer to sleep. He went through a few months of suffering through inexplicable seizures and had apparently suffered brain damage. He had been in my life over six years. A week and a half ago, my fifteen-year-old cat died. The vet told me she had pancreatitis. She wasn't sick very long, but you could tell she was not well, and I knew in my heart she wouldn't be with me much longer. She was a very important part of my twenty-seven years here. I'm having a very difficult time dealing with it all. I think they will both be in heaven, and a lot of my friends agree. Is there something in the Bible that verifies (or disproves) this?
Dogs and cats don’t go to heaven, but we can really sympathize with your loss. One of our AYP writers still has pictures of his hunting dogs up in his office, and another is deeply attached to his family dog. Animals are a blessing from God (Gen 1:26). Animals have the “breath of life” just like humans do (Gen 2:7, Gen 6:17). This “breath of life” is also sometimes referred to as the “spirit” of a man or animal (Gen 7:22). Animals have spirits, and humans have spirits, but humans were also made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). Our spirits are eternal and will go up to be with the Father, and animal spirits are temporary and will return to the dust of the earth (Eccl 3:21). God made our spirit of a different caliber than He made those of the animal. This can feel like a very harsh truth after losing beloved family pets, but we can feel confident that God has decided wisely on this issue like all others. We may not always understand His reasons, but He always makes good decisions. We are so sorry for your loss, but we want you to know that God comforts us through all our sorrow… and He will bring you through this loss (2 Cor 13:11).
If someone said something bad about the Holy Ghost and did not know about the Holy Ghost and then later came to Jesus and found out about the Holy Ghost, would they be held accountable for an unpardonable sin?
Wondering About The Ignorant
Dear Wondering About The Ignorant,
Saying something bad about the Holy Spirit isn’t the “sin against the Holy Spirit”. Jesus says that any sin will be forgiven except for someone blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mk 3:28-30). Jesus said this to the crowd that accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Satan (Mk 3:23). That crowd could have been forgiven of any sin, but instead they rejected the miracles that testified that Jesus was from God. Contrast that crowd’s attitude with Nicodemus’ attitude. Nicodemus understood that the only way that someone could perform a miracle was if God was with him (Jhn 3:2). When that crowd rejected the evidence that the Holy Spirit provided (in this case, the miracles), they rejected any chance to receive the forgiveness found in Jesus’ teachings. When we reject the truth of God (the Bible), we reject the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit’s primary job is to bring the truth of the gospel to mankind (see the post “What the Holy Spirit Does” for more details). Someone blasphemes the Holy Spirit by rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit sent us in the Bible. Any sin can be forgiven if we will turn to God’s Word and obey it (Rom 10:17, Heb 5:9), but there is absolutely no hope for someone if he or she will not accept the Holy Spirit’s Bible.
Therefore, since it seems that you are actively seeking the truth and trying to study and learn what God’s Word is – you have not committed the unforgivable sin.
In previous posts, you said that you had to be baptized to be saved. What about the thief on the cross? Wasn't he saved? And what about those that accept Jesus by grace on their deathbeds? Are they in Hell today because they never were baptized? Isn't baptism a work? Then how do you interpret Rom. 11:6 and Eph. 2:8-9?
By Grace Alone
Dear By Grace Alone,
The thief on the cross is a bit of a different issue than Rom 11:6 and Eph 2:8-9. Read our post “The Thief On The Cross” for a full answer to the baptism issue in regard to the thief. Now, let’s address the issue of baptism being a “work”.
Baptism is a work – it is a work of faith. Romans and Ephesians are addressing people who think they can be saved by working hard enough to earn salvation. Rom 3:28 says that a man isn’t saved by the works of law, but Jas 2:18-20 says that there is such a thing as works of faith, and without works of faith we can’t be saved. Works of the law are when people try and earn salvation by living perfect or “good enough” lives. We are told that this won’t work because if we stumble in even one area of live, we are now sinners and guilty as law breakers (Jas 2:10). However, when we admit that we sin and seek to live a life of faith in Christ, we still must show obedience to what the Word of God says (Rom 10:17). The difference is that we aren’t expected to be perfect anymore, instead we are told to admit our sin and move forward (1 Jn 1:9). The Bible says that we must be baptized to be saved (1 Pet 3:21, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:37-38, Rom 6:4, Gal 3:27). If the Bible says it is a requirement, then we must each faithfully accept God at His Word. We should leave the deathbed confessions to God’s judgment and make sure that we are baptized and ready before it gets to that point. Thankfully, God is the final judge of such situations, not us (2 Tim 4:1).
You say you are a New Testament church and not a denomination, but isn't the Church of Christ just an offshoot of the Campbellite movement of the 19th century?
Dear Fess Up,
Historically speaking, the Restoration Movement (sometimes referred to as the Campbellite Movement because Alexander Campbell was a prominent preacher at that time) is a bunch of different churches that adhere to similar doctrines… biblically speaking, the movement to restore New Testament Christianity is a principle, not a denomination. The Monroe Valley church of Christ isn’t affiliated with any other congregation; we aren’t associated with a grouping of churches or national religious body. Our congregation is completely independent of all others – our responsibility is to the Lord and none other, just like the first-century churches (Acts 14:23).
In the darkest days of the nation of Israel, a young king named Josiah rose to power. The nation had reached such a state of wickedness that the temple was near ruins and in complete disrepair. Josiah made a decision to have the temple repaired (2 Kgs 22:3-5). In the process of repairing the temple, the workers found a copy of the Bible (2 Kgs 22:8). The Old Testament Law was brought to Josiah, and he read it for the very first time (2 Kgs 22:10). Josiah was mortified when he heard the words of the law; never before had he realized how wicked the nation was and how deeply entrenched in sin Israel had become (2 Kgs 22:11-13). Josiah decided then and there to simply return to doing what the Bible said. Josiah let the Bible be his guide in restoring the nation of Israel to what God intended it to be (2 Chr 34:30-31). That is the ideal of the Restoration Movement. Regardless of what man says, the church in Monroe is not a part of a denomination or some earthly hierarchy. We appeal to the New Testament as our guide and daily attempt to restore biblical Christianity in our little corner of the world. If other congregations around the globe take this same attitude, that doesn’t make us a denomination; that makes us brethren all serving the one true head, Jesus Christ (Eph 5:23).