Thursday, March 1, 2018

Can Sin Be In Heaven?

I have often heard preachers say that one of the reasons you must accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior is that sin is not allowed to enter the kingdom of GOD. I’ve heard the example used multiple times of a paint can filled with absolutely white paint (the sinlessness of GOD’s presence in heaven) and a single drop of black paint (sin) being dropped into that white paint and making that absolutely white paint no longer white.

The problem is, that’s a false premise.

Pick your jaw up off the floor and follow me here and you’ll soon understand. Remember the story of Job (long “o”)? Check out what it says in Job 1:6-12:

“6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”
So if Satan was there with GOD in heaven and they were talking, then doesn’t that mean that – since GOD’s abode is heaven – Satan with all of his sin and pride and hate was also in heaven? Is that not correct?

Let’s go further into Job and see that it wasn’t just the one time that Satan was present in heaven with GOD. In Job 2:1-7 we see that Satan returned to the presence of GOD and did more talking to Him:

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. 4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life."
So that’s twice that we know of that Satan was in the presence of GOD in heaven. So sin, which we have been taught cannot be in heaven, it says in the Bible was in heaven.

Let us not forget that it was also in heaven when Satan became puffed up (conceited) and decided to lead a rebellion against GOD and one-third of the angels in heaven followed Satan into banishment. Read about that in Jude verse 6 (only one chapter, thus it is verse 6) we see

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
Their “first estate” was in heaven with GOD. Thus sin was in heaven during the rebellion. We also see: Luke 10:18:
“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”
2 Peter 2:4:
“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;”
Note that they sinned while in heaven and then were cast down. Sin was in heaven. Not only was sin in heaven, but it started there! (Pick your jaw up!)

Revelation 12:7-9:
“7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
The “dragon” here is Satan. So why do we so often hear preachers preach about heaven being “without sin”? Some say that the myth gets its origins from Habakkuk 1:13:
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”
But if you look at the fact that we know that GOD and Satan have had conversations about Job face to face, in heaven, then we know that it’s not that GOD cannot look at evil. Some of the other translations say:
“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor.” – New American Standard Bible
“But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil.” – New Living Translation
“But you can't stand sin or wrong.” – Contemporary English Version
I think that the GOD I serve is holy, righteous and good, but He is also able to look at whatever He wants to look at, but He can also overlook (look at and put on “ignore”) sin. GOD is GOD and there is nothing He cannot do except sin. To say that He could not look upon sin is to say that when He was speaking to Satan about Job He was looking a different direction while talking to Satan. That’s rude and I don’t think GOD did that. I think that GOD keeps an eye on His enemies because if He doesn’t then Satan may try to get an upper hand. We already saw that Satan was cast out of heaven by GOD and His Archangel, Michael. So why would GOD not be able to look at something He created even though that something (someone) sinned? Doesn’t GOD look at you and I daily?

“GOD is watching over you” is something we hear all the time. Do you sin daily? Perhaps you told a little “white lie” perhaps to save someone’s feelings, or had a little gluttony to help you through a difficult time (as did I when my cat died two days ago: chocolate helped)? It says in Psalm 121:5
“The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.” – New Living Translation
So, the answer to that is, “Yes. GOD watches over us.” So, does he see our sin? Yes. He must see our sin. Is He strong enough to handle it? Absolutely. Does He overlook it? Not in a non-judgmental way, but in a way that he puts your sin on “ignore” and he watches you without registering your sin. Have you ever had a time when you’re talking to someone, looking into their eyes and you don’t really see them because your mind is so out of focus or preoccupied? GOD does that. He doesn’t see your sin when He sees you. He waits patiently for that moment when you finally give in and accept Jesus Christ (His Only Begotten Son) as your Lord and Savior. If he weren’t watching for you to come home, the story of the “Prodigal Son” returning home in Luke 15:11-32 would be a totally useless biblical lesson.

Let’s look at the question considering this information: Can sin be in heaven? Yes! Absolutely yes! (Again, pick your jaws up off the floor.) However, the reason it can be there is that GOD is absolutely strong enough to handle it and He can overlook it, tune it out, whatever, for as long as it takes to get the job done that He wants done. In other words, it can be there long enough to suit His purposes: longer than that cannot be.

In the discussion with Satan about Job and how wonderful a character Job was, GOD allowed Satan to come in and try to cast aspersions upon Job’s character after which Satan was given permission to take all that Job had: children (he did), cattle (he did), property (he did that, too). When that failed, GOD gave Satan a second chance to do Job some damage, but this time allowed Satan to harm Job, just that Satan had to “spare Job’s life”. GOD wasn’t only strong enough to look at Satan, but to negotiate what damage Satan wanted to do to one of GOD’s most trusted servants.

No, it’s not that sin cannot enter into heaven, it is that sin is not allowed to stay in heaven. When we stand before GOD and we carry our sin up there with us to face judgment those who are not covered with the blood of Christ will still be covered in their sin. Thus, sin enters heaven that way, does it not? However, when it enters any which way, sin is not allowed to linger. It must move on to a more “appropriate” place: hell. We see in Revelations 20 the story of the Great White Throne judgment and how it says that
“12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
So we know that for that time of judgment, a person's soul and spirit (together as one) are standing before GOD, who is still in heaven, and thus, their sin is in heaven. Their deeds were all written in the books and those whose names were not written in the book of life were “cast into the lake of fire”. (That’s not what we want to happen to people so that’s why we tell people about Jesus and get people’s names into the book of life: so that they don’t get “cast into the lake of fire”.) After all, if you’ve sinned enough to be “cast into the lake of fire” and you’re standing before GOD doesn’t that tell you that your sin was there, too?

We see that:

1) Sin has already been in heaven during the rebellion, during the conversation about Job (twice) and probably multiple other times
2) Sin is allowed in heaven and it apparently does not affect GOD
3) Sin in heaven includes our sin on the great white throne judgment day
4) GOD is strong enough to handle looking at sin (He is omnipotent, after all!)

So if sin is allowed in heaven and GOD can handle it, why are we taught that sin is not allowed into heaven at all? That’s confusing, isn’t it?

I think it’s because heaven has already had one rebellion and GOD doesn’t want another one on His hands. He knows that if He allowed sin to enter and stay in heaven that it would not be good for heaven, for Him, for those who are there already. Sin has a way of oozing and sliming its way into hearts, minds, bodies, egos, and making itself at home and polluting and corrupting everything and everyone it has half a chance of touching. If sin were not just allowed into heaven, but allowed to linger and allowed to take root bringing disobedience, rebellion, hatred, lust, etc., into heaven as did Satan while he was up there, heaven would no longer be heaven, would it?
“1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

“5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
That’s the heaven we look forward to, those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, according to Revelations 21: 1-7. Those who do not have Jesus as our Lord and Savior have Revelations 21:8 to look forward to:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
If sin could stay in heaven, then the pollution that is sin (How far does a lie spread because people are willing to believe it, want to fit in, or whatever?) will destroy heaven. GOD will not – cannot – allow sin to stay in heaven because if He did sin would destroy it. GOD loves us too much to allow that. Sin not covered by the blood of Jesus Christ must be “cast into the lake of fire.” It is not just protecting those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ and will remain in heaven with Him, but it also allows GOD to keep His solemn, holy word. When GOD makes a promise, He keeps it. GOD promised those of us who accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior a “New Jerusalem” to live in:
“9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

“10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

“15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

“22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
That’s why GOD cannot allow the pollution of sin to stay in heaven. If someone without the covering of the Lamb were to stay it would destroy heaven, the New Jerusalem and all who were therein. Sin can enter heaven outside of the City, New Jerusalem, but it cannot stay. Is your sin covered by the blood of the Lamb and is your name in the Lamb’s book of life?


© 2018 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

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