The Saints on the Sea of Glass

by Kenneth V. Ryland


Not too long ago I was in a church service where I heard something brand new -- a "new truth." This was especially intriguing since I was sitting in a very traditional Sabbath-keeping group that has probably not heard any new doctrine in years. This comment is not intended as a slight, since most Sabbath-keeping groups tend to be very conservative in their beliefs and acknowledge only that which can be found in Scripture, which anyone can read and accept at face value.

The topic being discussed centered on the great tribulation and the protection that God will afford His people during that period of time. This is one biblical theme whose interpretation has always been in flux since 1) it is future, and 2) the Scripture is not at all clear as to the exact nature of the safety that God will give His people during that future period of trouble.

The basis for believing in God's protection during the tribulation is Christ's promise to the church in Philadelphia, found in chapter three of Revelation, verse 10: "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." Of course, I cannot ever recall meeting a Christian who does not assume that he will likely be in that Philadelphia remnant at the time of the end. No one, it seems, wants to be described as belonging to any of the other churches in chapters two and three of Revelation.

This new doctrine regarding God's protection of the saints during the great tribulation is based on a (partially) literal interpretation of Revelation 14:1-5 and a couple of other passages. The passage reads as follows:

Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

As can be seen from this picture of these 144,000 "tribulation saints," they are depicted as being in heaven before the throne of God playing their harps. That is the part that is being taken literally according to this new interpretation of the passage.

One additional wrinkle in this new teaching is that the saints will be safe and secure in heaven as a result of martyrdom. That is, their "place of safety" will be in heaven because they will be killed during the tribulation and resurrected immediately and taken to heaven where they will await the return of Christ and the "first" resurrection; i.e., the resurrection of all the rest of God's people who have died throughout the ages. (Why theirs is not the "first" resurrection was not explained.)

(A note of clarification: To be fair to those who hold this new interpretation, not all believe that Revelation 14 pictures "the" place of safety extended to God's people during the tribulation. All do agree, however, that the 144,000 are in heaven prior to the return of Christ.)

After the church service I asked one of the regular speakers at that congregation why this passage was now being taken literally. He stated that they were just reading the words of the scripture and accepting them as stated.

When I went home I gave this a lot of thought and prayer. After all, I too would like for my beliefs to be in line with the truth of Scripture. Once I had a chance to study through this subject and pray about it, there are several conclusions that occur to me, which I shall attempt to state clearly in the paragraphs that follow.

Before giving you my own view of this "new truth," let me add the other two passages in Revelation that bear on the fate of the 144,000 saints and the innumerable multitude that "came out of great tribulation." (See the note below the following passage.)

Revelation 7:13-17:

13* ¶ Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"
14* And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15* "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
16* "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17* "for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

[Note: Specifically, this passage has to do specifically with the "innumerable multitude" rather than the 144,000, and there is some difference of opinion as to whether this innumerable multitude is by inference included with the 144,000 in the prophecies mentioned in Revelation 14 and 15.]

Revelation 15:1-3:

1* ¶ Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.
2* And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
3* They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!"

[Note: In this passage the 144,000 are not directly referred to, but "those who have the victory over the beast" are assumed to be the 144,000.]

Looking at This from Other Angles

First, there are other interpretations of these passages that have merit. One is not my own, but was given to me by a caller to a prophecy forum in which I was a participant. It is very simple and believable: That is, the description of the saints before the throne in heaven portrays a time after the return of Christ and the resurrection of the saints. There is nothing in any of the passages in Revelation that forces us to believe that the time period of the "saints before the throne" must be prior to the return of Christ.

Some may contend that verse 1 of Revelation 15 sets the time frame before the resurrection; however, when the apostle John looks, he sees two different things. First, he sees the seven angels with the seven last plagues. Then the apostle says, "And I saw...," indicating that the apostle John saw two different events. These two views of heaven are not necessarily simultaneous in their relation to earth's history. They are two separate items seen by John, and they are not necessarily concurrent.

This particular interpretation seems both reasonable and plausible, and should not be dismissed out of hand.

As for my own view of these passages in Revelation, I want the reader to understand how I have come to my conclusions. There has always been a very simple rule of Bible study that I have tried to follow: The clear, unambiguous passages of Scripture are always used to understand those that complicated or difficult; never vice versa.

How Does the Apostle Paul View the Subject?

As an example, let's look at the apostle Paul's very clear and straightforward statement concerning the coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the saints in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."

Now, how does Paul's statement in 1 Thessalonians compare to the passage in Revelation 14? First, the dead are raised at the return of Christ. He does not say that some of the dead are raised prior to Jesus' return. The apostle declares that the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of God's faithful saints are a singular event. Whether dead or alive, at the Lord's return the saints will meet Him in the air at that time.

When the apostle Paul wrote his second epistle to the Thessalonians, he was attempting to straighten out the Church's understanding of the events that lead to the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the saints, and to assure them that the resurrection had not already occurred -- a belief that was being spread by false teachers. In the second chapter he begins, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him,..." (1 Thessalonians 2:1). Note that the apostle is very careful to tie together into a single event "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him." He goes on to explain that the resurrection and the return of Christ will not occur until after there is a great falling away and the man of sin is revealed, "whom the Lord will destroy by the brightness of His coming." (verse 8) By the way the apostle Paul presents this theme, there is no mistaking that the resurrection of God's people takes place at the time that the man of sin is destroyed by "the brightness of his coming."

The apostle Paul makes his understanding of the resurrection of the saints doubly clear if we compare the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4 with his statement to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 15:50-52: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

Here again, the apostle Paul directs our attention to a singular event, signaled by the last trumpet. It is at that time, and not prior to it, that the dead will be raised.

There is another problem with the notion that the tribulation saints are the first to be resurrected and will await the return of Christ in heaven. How can this view be explained in light of the millions of Christians who have died a martyr's death over the past two millennia? Are they required to wait in their graves while the 144,000 martyred during the tribulation go to heaven into the Lord's presence ahead of them? The writer of Hebrews in chapter 11 gives us some of the great heroes of faith of the past, many of whom were martyred, "... not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection," (v. 35) and states that these great men of God must wait because "God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us." (v. 40) Again, it is clear that the most important event to every Christian of every age is the return of Christ at the last trumpet and the resurrection of His people at that time. If we take the view that those who die in Christ during the tribulation are resurrected ahead of the martyred saints of the past, then it appears that the "better resurrection" of those heroes of Hebrews 11 is not quite as good as those who die during the tribulation.

The Text Taken Literally

If we are to take the passages in Revelation literally, as those who espouse this new doctrine contend that we should, what does the text really say? One of the conclusions that we must accept is that no married man or woman will be part of this group of resurrected tribulation saints. Revelation 14:4 reads as follows: "These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins."

I can hear the protest now: "You can't take that literally; it means these people are virgins spiritually." If that is your objection to a literal interpretation of this one verse, then why must I accept as literal any part of this entire passage?

Let's look at the effect of taking literally some of the other words of this passage. "Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion," (verse 1). Did John see a lamb or Jesus standing on Mount Zion? If we are to take this verse literally, then we have to assume that he saw a lamb. When the symbols of visions are taken literally, some very "interesting" ideas and conclusions begin to crop up. Also, in this passage we see that the 144,000 have the "Father's name written on their foreheads." Is the Father's name actually tattooed on their foreheads, or is the apostle John seeing something in symbolic form?

This really brings us to the crux of the problem of interpreting the Bible's visions: Are we to take them literally, or are they symbolic? The fact of the matter is that visions are not literal events; otherwise, they would not be visions. They are visions precisely because they are allegorical in nature. They may convey certain truths to us in the form of pictures and concepts, but they are not the same as the literal, physical events they may allude to.

For example, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said that "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out," and "if you right hand causes you to sin, cut it off." (Matthew 5:29-30) We all have sense enough to know that this is allegorical speech. The Lord was drawing our attention to the truth that sin will prevent us from entering into His kingdom, and that we must do whatever is necessary to get rid of it. Yet, when it comes to interpreting dreams and visions in the Bible, we don't apply the same standard. The events portrayed in Revelation are not literal, physical events; they cannot be because they have not happened yet. They are but symbolic pictures of things to come. The visions John sees are for the purpose of conveying to our minds in very vivid form the concepts of truth that surround the return of our Lord to this earth and the gathering His saints to Him at that time. If we do not accept this part of the Bible in the way in which it was written, then we come up with a world of contradictions -- ideas that are contrary to the plain statements of doctrinal truth pronounced in other parts of the Bible. Doctrines cannot be built on dreams and visions. They must be founded upon the Law and the Testimony of Christ, the apostles, and the prophets. (Isaiah 8:20; Ephesians 2:20)

The Scripture is replete with very clear doctrinal statements concerning the state of the dead, the resurrection of the saints, and the coming of the Messiah with His saints to set up His kingdom on the earth. "The dead know not any thing," as it says in Ecclesiastes 9:5, and that we shall be changed "at the last trumpet." (1 Corinthians 15:52)

What about Matthew 24:31?

One of the things that happens when one begins to build a case for a new interpretation of a Bible passage is that other passages begin to be reinterpreted in favor of the "new truth." This is the case with Matthew 24:31, which reads as follows: "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

Even though in the past this verse was taken simply to mean that the saints will be gathered from every point of the compass, it is now being reinterpreted as further "proof" that some of the saints are already in heaven at the return of Christ. Since this verse in now part of the argument to accept the new interpretation, let's take a careful look at it.

The word "heaven" in this verse is defined in Strong's Concordance: as follows:

3772 ouranos {oo-ran-os'}

perhaps from the same as 3735 (through the idea of elevation); the sky; TDNT - 5:497,736; n m

AV - heaven 268, air 10, sky 5, heavenly + 1537; 284

1) the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it

1a) the universe, the world
1b) the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced
1c) the sidereal or starry heavens

2) the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings

As you can see, only one of the common definitions of ouranos (heaven) refers to the realm where God dwells. All other meanings of the word have to do with the physical world, which has always been the accepted interpretation of this verse. And, there is a good reason why this is the correct interpretation.

Often in Hebrew thought and writing, descriptions of a thing or event are made in parallel statements. In this case, "from the four winds" and "from one end of heaven to the other" mean the same thing. "From one end of heaven to the other" is added as additional description to help the reader understand the concept the speaker, Jesus, is trying to convey: that the saints will be gathered from all over the entire earth at the time of "a great sound of a trumpet." To illustrate further this Hebrew way of describing things, take a look at the Lord's prophecy against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, when he came against King Hezekiah and Judah (2 Kings 19:20-34):

20* ¶ Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.'
21* "This is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him: 'The virgin, the daughter of Zion, Has despised you, laughed you to scorn; The daughter of Jerusalem Has shaken her head behind your back!

Notice the parallel statements in verse 21: "daughter of Zion" and "daughter of Jerusalem"

22* 'Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, And lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel.

Once again, verse 22 gives us parallel declarations: "Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?" and "Against whom have you raised your voice..."

I will not quote the entire passage, which would deprive the reader of the opportunity of discovering for himself this wonderful aspect of Hebrew thought and writing. Suffice it to say that the entire passage contains many other parallel descriptive statements that illustrate the way in which the meaning and color of Hebrew language were amplified. Understanding just this one principle of Hebrew writing can deepen the understanding that any Bible student gains from his Bible studies.

The whole point of focusing on this Hebrew method of describing things and events is to emphasize that there is a difference between the way we describe things in English and the way in which ancient Hebrew writers and speakers put their thoughts and ideas into words. We might say, "the dew-covered rose was wondrously beautiful." On the other hand, the Hebrew writer might say, "The dew covered the rose; the flower radiated its beauty." Put simply, in Hebrew the ideas rhyme. In English the words rhyme.

A Strange Idea

I will not attribute this to all those who hold to this new teaching, but there was one idea presented during the sermon I heard that struck me as truly bizarre. It was the idea that the "place of safety" was to be in heaven with Jesus as a result of our martyrdom. Pause and give this some thought. What this really means is that tortures, beatings, beheadings, and persecution are to be looked upon as a "blessing." If having bamboo shoots driven under my fingernail, as happens to Christians in some hostile countries, before being beaten and having my brains blown out is somehow a blessing, then what is a curse?

Jesus addressed this very issue in Luke 21:36: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." The whole idea of a "place of safety" means that the place is safe. And, don't forget the letter to the church of Philadelphia: "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." (Rev. 3:10)

The Great Tribulation is "the hour of trial" that will come upon all mankind, and Jesus says that some will be preserved alive during that hour. Our trial as Christians is something that we should prepare to survive. Although many will die a very honorable martyr's death, all Christians should prepare spiritually and physically to help others through that difficult period. It will be a time when many will seek God and look to God's people for refuge. It is a time we will be needed most, a pivotal moment in history when we must be ready to serve those that our Lord brings to us.

Philadelphia or Laodicea?

I recently asked a friend of mine, who happens to be a very good prophecy and Bible student, what he thought of the idea that there would be saints in heaven before the throne of God prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. He wrote me back a lengthy letter explaining his point of view, part of which is quoted below.

If the 144,000 (and the vast multitude) are people who were martyred in a literal, end-time tribulation, there is only one group of the latter-day saints that they can be: the Laodiceans. It is the Laodiceans who are told to buy "white raiment" in the "fire." They are "spewed out" by Christ prior to their being cast into the "fire," so they are not protected from the tribulation. Rev. 7:14 says that the 144,000+ are "they which come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white." One can see the Great Tribulation as "the fire" through which this group "washes" their robes. If they have to wash their robes to make them white, they were obviously "dirty" going into the Great Tribulation. If they come "out" of the great tribulation, they also obviously had to have been "in" it in their physical lives.

Notice also the 144,000+ are promised they will "hunger no more," "thirst no more," etc., and that God will "wipe away all their tears." (Rev. 7:16-17). This indicates that they had much hunger, thirst, and many tears prior to coming to that sea of glass. That sounds like the Laodiceans "going through the fire" to get their white raiment.

The Philadelphians are promised protection (Rev. 3:10) during "the hour of temptation [trial] to come on the earth," and that sounds like the group mentioned in Rev. 12:13-16 who are spared while on the earth. Satan then goes to make war with another group of saints in Rev. 12:17 who are not protected. That is the group that sounds like the 144,000+ who obtained white raiment through a process of hunger, thirst, and many tears in the Tribulation process.

Notice also the similarity in the reward of the Laodiceans and the 144,000+. Christ promises the Laodiceans that (after they receive white raiment in the fire) they "will sit with me in my throne." The 144,000+ will be "before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his Temple and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." This sounds, like the Laodiceans' reward to me, but simply described a little differently. The Philadelphians are promised their own "crowns" (i.e. thrones) in Rev. 3:11, but the Laodiceans apparently receive staff positions at the throne of the Lamb himself.

Bottom line: I think the 144,000+ are the Laodiceans who praise God after they are resurrected from their martyrdoms in the great tribulation (or ongoing suffering if they are alive at the time of Jesus' return). The Philadelphians are spared from the "hour of temptation," and do not go through the great tribulation, so Rev. 7 doesn't even apply to them. If the Philadelphians aren't included in the 144,000+, it means that the "saved" Israelites are not limited to a mere 144,000. The 144,000 is the number of Israelites who are purified through the Tribulation, not the total number of Israelites saved.

Well, there you have it -- another different and enlightening perspective on the events depicted in the visions of Revelation 7 and 14. Whether you agree with it or not, this interpretation does not violate our biblical understanding that "the dead know nothing," and that the "dead in Christ" are resurrected at the return of Christ.


There is not a shadow of doubt that the Bible declares that the dead in Christ will be raised at His return, at the sounding of the last trumpet, exactly as the apostle Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-52. This new teaching is clearly contrary to the plain statements of Scripture that the dead are raised at the return of Christ.

However, if this new teaching is allowed to stand without being challenged biblically, then the entire biblical teaching concerning the state of the dead is left open to question and reinterpretation. After all, if some are in heaven prior to the return of Christ, then why not others? And, to be sure, the question has already been raised. Never mind that Jesus said that no man has ascended to heaven, (John 3:13) and that the apostle Peter assured the new Christians in Jerusalem that David, a man after God's own heart, did not ascend to heaven. (Acts 2:34)

One of the inevitable results of trying to build doctrines on the symbolic details of visions is that there is always confusion among the proponents of the new teaching. For example, there is a difference of opinion concerning whether the "innumerable multitude" mentioned in Revelation 7 is to be included with the 144,000 that appear in that same chapter and in chapter 14. Also, there is a lack of agreement regarding the exact order of events laid out in the book of Revelation, and this should not surprise anyone since there has never been widespread agreement on the chronology of events that are described in John's vision.

Part of the problem with nailing down the details of prophetic language is that one prophetic verse can encompass centuries or even millennia. For example, Jesus declared in Luke 4:18-21:

'The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'

When He declared Isaiah's prophecy was being fulfilled in His ministry, He did not quote the entirety of the passage from Isaiah. Here is the entirety of Isaiah's sentence: "To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn," (Isaiah 61:2). The point here is that Jesus cut off the prophecy in midsentence because the last part of the sentence did not apply to His ministry at that time. The rest of the prophecy, that part pertaining to God's judgment, was for a time some 2000 years or more in the future. And, if we read two verses further in Isaiah's prophecy, we see a third distinct period that is yet to be fulfilled -- that of restoration after judgment. Isaiah 61:4: "And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations." Clearly, trying to nail down the chronology of prophecies is like trying to nail Jello to the wall.

One of the admonitions that our Lord gives in the final chapter of the book of Revelation is to remind us that He is coming soon and His reward is with Him to give to everyone according to his works. (Revelation 22:12) Clearly, He is not giving His reward to those who die in the faith until He comes. Revelation 11:14- 19 further buttresses this fact:

14* ¶ The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
15* Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
16* And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,
17* saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
18* The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."
19* Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

I have emphasized verse 18 to draw your attention to the fact that the dead in Christ are rewarded after the seventh angel blows that last trumpet, and that is the very time Jesus takes His great power and reigns on the earth. The Bible nowhere indicates an eternal reward for the people of God before that last trumpet call and the descending of our Messiah in the clouds.

One of the very clear warnings that Jesus gave to His disciples on the Mount of Olives was that we should be extremely careful not to be deceived. In fact, He repeats this warning several times. (Matthew 24:4, 11, 24) I firmly believe that it is inviting deception when we build doctrines on visions. It is truly an example of building one's house on sand. The interpretation of the details and symbols presented in visions will tend to shift over time and from individual to individual. Just look at the hundreds different books that have been written about the visions in Daniel and Revelation. The doctrines we believe must be built on the solid rock of the very clear, unequivocal declarations of the Word of God, such as "the living know that they will die, but the dead no nothing" (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and "... at the last trumpet, For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible" (1 Corinthians 15:52) The worth of all our ideas and convictions about God and our relationship to Him must be measured not by the ever- uncertain nature of the interpretation of visions, but by the immutable standard of "the law and the testimony." That is the only light that will make our path clear.

End of Article




For the sake of study, below are listed some of the very clear scriptures concerning the state of the dead and the resurrection of the saints:

Ec 9:5* For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ps 146:4* His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Da 12:2* And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Job 14:14* If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
John 3:13* And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
John 3:13* "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
Acts 2:34* "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: `The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand,
Heb 11:13* These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
1 Cor. 15:50 - 52*
50* Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
51* ¶ Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--
52* in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Rev. 22:12* "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
1Th 4:16* For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

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