(Which Realm Is the Kingdom of Heaven?)

The following is a question given to a person who believes that we are in Godís presence now in many ways, and yet he claims that we do not have it in another different way until we physically die.
[QUESTION]  I dont know what you believe, but from your posts, id assume that you believe that thre is a heavenly place (spirtiually) that we go to when we "die" physcially? I was taught that tradionally.... so if you have input, nows a good time for my "sake"
[ANSWER] Yes, (I) take the approach that we are in our physical bodies right now and living in a physical realm. Our souls/spirits have been regenerated by Christ and given immortality so that when we die (like the seed analogy in 1 Cor. 15:36-38) our souls/spirits rise into our new immortal bodies fitted for our heavenly existence with God in the heavenly realm forever.
My response to this answer is this: the problem I see here is that this idea promotes two resurrections. Notice the statement says that the souls were regenerated. Is this not the quickening or giving life to the soul?
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
quickened: 4806. suzoopoieo, sood-zo-op-oy-eh'-o; from G4862 and G2227; to reanimate conjointly with (fig.):--quicken together with.
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
raised: 4891. sunegeiro, soon-eg-i'-ro; from G4862 and G1453; to rouse (from death) in company with, i.e. (fig.) to revivify (spiritually) in resemblance to:--raise up together, rise with.
But the objector promotes:
"when we die (like the seed analogy in 1 Cor. 15:36-38) our souls/spirits rise into our new immortal bodies fitted for our heavenly existence with God in the heavenly realm forever. "
So then at physical death this idea is promoting a second "rising" as he states. I cannot see two risings of the soul.

He goes on to say:

"So, we do not have our immortal bodies yet, but we do have immortality in the inner man which enables us to receive or "put on" our immortal bodies immediately at death. We are not "in heaven now" in a physical sense, but only in a "positional" (in Christ), "spiritual", "covenantal" or "relational" sense."
My response:

Question: You say we are not in heaven in a physical sense, with which I would agree. Are you saying that you do believe we *will* be in heaven in a physical sense at physical death?

He ironically states:

"If we are "in Christ" (positionally or spiritually or relationally) we are symbolically or covenantally where He is, but not physically in that location where He is."
My response:

Again, the same question: First, is there any other way than positionally, spiritually, covenantally and relationally being in heaven? If so, what is that way? In other words, you have pretty much covered all the bases. If we are there in all the ways you have described, what other way is there and what Scriptures would you use to support the first ways we are there now and the other way you say we *will* be there?

This next statement he makes seems very good:

"Our souls/spirits are certainly in covenant with Christ and relationally "with Him" and "in Him" but we are not physically in His presence (visibly, audibly, tangibly) right now."
My response:

Again, the same question: are you saying one day we will be there physically? When you say "visibly" and "audibly" and "tangibly" do you mean physically? If not, what other way do you mean and what kind of vision is this?

What kind of audio is this? What kind of video is this? Physical? Spiritual? If it is spiritual, then as you have said, we already have it. If physical, then you would have to identify the Scripture that supports that. If not either one, then what other way would we have this audio/visual/tangible relationship to Christ and what Scripture supports your view that we have the spiritual now and the physical later (provided of course you are meaning audio/visual/tangible means physical)?

Notice the phraseology and the use of the terms "real sense" in this next statement he makes:

"We will not be in His presence in the real sense of the term (visibly, audibly, tangibly) until after we die and shed the physical body."
My response:

Which Scripture do you use to support being in His presence now in one sense and being in His presence later at physical death? How are we in His presence now? Spiritually? You seem to believe we are there spiritually? Is that spiritually in a "real sense" or in a fake sense? How will we be in His presence then? Physically? If we are in His presence now spiritually and yet you explain that the other way at physical death is not physical, then which way is that in His presence if we already have spiritual presence with Him now, but the presence we get at physical death is not physical presence? What other presence would it be and what Scriptures support that? It seems to me you are now turning a two-realm creation into a three-realm creation. But the Bible says nothing of this third creation.

Without a stable knowledge of Paulís intent of the seed analogy, he writes:

"We don't have two bodies at the same time. The seed analogy (1 Corinthians 15:36-38) shows that the seed doesn't get its new "plant body" until the outer shell dies and the inner man sprouts forth into its new body (at death). The folks on the SGP list seem to be totally oblivious to the significance of the seed analogy."
My response:

No, actually those on the SGP list are not oblivious to it. We are well aware of it and remain unconvinced by the arguments set forth by those who affirm what you believe both logically and biblically.

First, we all hold to a seed analogy. The problem is that your view of the seed analogy doesn't understand how a seed works:

A seed falls to the ground. Unless it falls to the ground and dies it will never bring forth fruit. The seed analogy was only given for the first century believers because Christ was the Seed who first fell to the ground and He was the Head of the Body.

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
The corn of wheath is the seed. It never immediately sprouts. It always grows gradually into a tree. That is precisely what was happening in the first century. They were all connected to the tree. Of course there were individuals. They all were a part of the huge tree that was blossoming and growing into a complete man. But the way you have it is that we are seeds and suddenly at physical death we get the immortal body. That reduces the logical natural/supernatural function of the seed. No seed ever just immediately sprouted during that first century period. It was growing into fullness or completion:
Matthew 13:31-32 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: {32} Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
We have to understand the first century application of the seed analogy. It does not apply to us. We are simply grafted into what was completed and joined with that body as those alive from the dead upon faith in Jesus Christ (The just shall *live* by faith).

He continues:

"I recommend you read Dan Harden's, John Noe's and my Gentry Response books again before you buy into the shallow reasoning of the "heaven now" and "Immortal Body Now" views being thrown around on the SGP list."
My response:

I find it interesting that you refer to it as shallow. Quite amazing actually considering the fact that the same questions posed on the RPG and SGP list were never Scripturally addressed. The only attempt was to isolate 1 Corinthians 15 apart from the rest of Scripture. The arguments against your view have been more than adequately addressed by Karen Boydston (and that very adeptly and biblically). I also have offered these arguments against your view:

In those articles I not only address the dilemmas of resurrection at physical death, I also show the inconsistencies of the view that we have presence with God in a sense, or hear Him in a sense or see Him in a sense now, but it will be real later. Scripturally you divide those blessings into having them, as you said,

"We are not "in heaven now" in a physical sense, but only in a "positional" (in Christ), "spiritual", "covenantal" or "relational" sense."
but not in a "real sense." Again, do we have them in a fake or unreal sense now? If it is not fake and it is not real, then in what sense is it?

You see, the Bible supports no other sense. So really, you have said it all in the above statement. But where is lacks scriptural support is when you preface the statement by saying "we are not in heaven now."

Again, you will be hard pressed to show how we have all those "spiritual, covenantal, relational, positional" blessings now, but find some other "sense" in which we will have them at physical death. I can only see you having to resort to the physical sense, even as you said "tangible." Is that tangible spiritually? Is that tangible physically? Does everyone understand the questions I am asking?

Not understanding the spiritual nature of the kingdom, he writes:

"All of this language is "spatial" implying an actual place is involved. We will be like the angels in our new glorified bodies. We don't have those kinds of bodies yet. Nor are we dwelling in the realm where the angels are active. We may be "positionally" or "spiritually" there in a "relational/covenantal" sense, but we are not actually there in the spiritual realm where the angels are with our "angel-like" bodies yet. Hope this helps. Feel free to share this with others who are confused about it."
My response:

First, you say that we are not dwelling in the place where angels are active. But the Bible says:

Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
The whole context is showing the blessings of being in the New Covenant. If we are not in the presence of the angels, then we are not in the blessings of the New Covenant. But the writer of Hebrews makes no two-fold sense of the passage. He simply declares that in Christ, in the New Covenant, we are there-with angels, with the spirits of just men made perfect, in Mount Zion, In the heavenly Jerusalem.

There is no confusion about our understanding of your view. The confusion is in the view itself, to which you hold. It doesn't figure logically or biblically. I do not think our view or your view is "shallow." I think both view require thinking. So I would hope you might rethink your view of our view as shallow when as yet our questions have not been answered. Even at the preterist conference the questions were not answered. But in the above articles I have written I think it will show that the thinking that accompanies the resurrection at death view is a thinking that is based upon the five senses, especially considering the fact that you have said we already have the other things fulfilled now, i.e. (spiritual, covenantal, relational, positional)--what else could there be?

Paul said they would "see face to face." I say that is spiritual. You might say we have this spiritually, but you definitely are saying that we will "visually" see Him later. Again, what kind of "eyes" will those be if we already have it spiritually now?

Where does the Scripture support a third set of eyes. Christ dealt with people in one of two planes-spiritual or physical. I see nothing in Scripture that supports anything of a third realm.

If any of you are still confused, feel free to really read those articles above. Read them slowly and carefully, and I hope you will find they are not shallow :o)