HEAVEN ~ WHEN
Mr. Armstrong really nailed this down, but letís see if we can pull together some of the teachings about Heaven in order to see the whole picture more clearly.
†First, we know that Satan had been trained at Heaven, but was locked out after he committed the original sin. He then tried to take Heaven by force, but was thrust back in a titanic war with Godís Angels. That must have been quite a spectacle, and conjures up images of a more human dimension in Spirit; the ability to wage war. Satan failed to take the throne, but now he fosters the idea in worldly religions of people going off to live happily ever after in Heaven once they die. We understand that our spirit essence may well go to Heaven at death, but as Mr. Armstrong made clear, only for safekeeping, totally unconscious until being reunited with a new body in a resurrection to human life back on this earth.
†Clearly someday those few who have been called over the centuries will be changed into Spirit after the first resurrection. They will then ascend to Heaven for the purpose of a very unique ceremony, the marriage of the Lamb. At the close of that event, those individuals will come back to the earth and take up positions of leadership on the earth, paving the way for an orderly second resurrection of everyone else who ever lived. No more corrupt politicians, because the leaders in government will be spirit, who cannot be bribed, and who will not need to face reelection campaigns. Every leader will work for the good of the people, never for the good of special interest groups. So some will go to Heaven, once at death for the safekeeping of their Spirit essence, and then again briefly for a special wedding ceremony. The truth is often stranger than fiction, since we may be destined for two station stops at Heaven! But wait! Here is an even more marvelous vision to consider:
†We learn in the book of Revelation that the current Heaven and the current earth will both pass away and a new Heaven and a new earth will appear. This event will be after all men who ever lived will have been resurrected and given a full opportunity to experience Godís government at work in their lives, and to compare its relevance to the human governments that went before. Many will be changed into Spirit, and will take up residence at this new Heaven, along with Christ in the presence of God the Father. The time will have finally come for manís ultimate destiny, to embark on the mission of completing the expansion of Godís creation throughout the entire universe. This is much more exciting than simply wafting off to the present Heaven only at death. So, perhaps we are destined for three station stops at a place called Heaven, the last to begin expanding Godís work into infinity† not from the Heaven we think of, but from a brand new Spiritual Headquarters!