2 Cor. 5:8
2 Cor. 12:2-4
1 Thess. 4:17
2 Peter 3:10
- Colossians 1:5
- "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven . . ."
- This passage is cited by Evangelicals and Pentecostals to support their belief that heaven is the promised place of reward for the righteous.
- The passage does not say that believers go to heaven, it only asserts that the believer's hope is laid up in heaven.
- What is the hope which is laid up for believers in heaven? It is immortality which Christ will give to the faithful at their resurrection in the last day and his return. Consider the evidence:
- The "hope which is laid up for you in heaven" is the "hope of the gospel" (vs 23), "the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27), "For ye are dead [i.e., to sin], and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Col. 3:3,4).
- Paul elsewhere identifies this hope with the resurrection:
- "Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope . . . But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." (Rom. 8:23-25). See also 1 Cor. 15:19-22; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7; 1 Jn 3:2,3.
- "But this I confess . . . believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God . . . that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." (Acts 24:14,15 cf. Acts 23:6).
- The "lively hope" in "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter. 1:4,5). The "last time" is a Scriptural expression for the period when "the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matt. 16:27 cf. 2 Cor. 5:10; Jn. 6:39, 40,44,54).
- The hope of the believer is with the Saviour, Jesus Christ in heaven. (1 Tim. 1:1). But the believer is not going to heaven to see his hope fulfilled. The Scriptures make it clear that the hope (i.e., eternal life) is brought with Christ when he returns. Unto those who look for him, he shall "appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Heb. 9:28).