Do you believe that one must be born again to enter heaven?


I have looked at your website and I am wondering, do you all believe in the concept Jesus stated and Paul listed in Romans, that one must be born again in order to enter heaven? From your writings, it looks like you people plan on being here on earth during the tribulation period without being killed, and then being here for Christ’s reign on earth. Personally, I would rather be with Jesus in heaven.


Your question brings up several issues. Yes, we do believe that we must be born again before we can experience the immortal state, but we must be sure to read Jesus’ words carefully to understand what He means by that birth. Jesus said this plainly to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

What did Jesus mean by this statement? Why did he say that one must be “born of water”? In the next chapter Jesus offers the woman from Samaria spiritual, life-giving water, and tells her it is His to give. This very special “water” is the lifeline of spiritual life, the vital knowledge of God, as Jesus revealed during His ministry. We must be “born of” this water of life, i.e., learn the teachings of Jesus and become “new” in them, letting them remake our lives morally into “new creatures” (2 Cor. 5:17), then when Jesus comes He will remake our bodies to be like His own resplendent body, no longer subject to pain, sorrow, sickness or disease.

This second birth or physical making new, being born of the spirit, is the ultimate change to the immortal state. In 1 Corinthians, Paul said that “flesh and blood,” the mortal state as we know it, “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50). We have to be changed physically, and he explains this change in the next few verses: “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (v. 53). Jesus’ own comment indicates that it is a physical change of state. He says, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Those who are Spirit born will not be confined to the normal means of transportation that we know (walk, run) but will be able to move as freely as does the wind, because Jesus said: “So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

We are aware that many people believe they “are born again” when they are converted, but we do not find support for this thought in the Bible. Nor do we find support for the idea of entering heaven. The Bible promises that the faithful will “reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10). Six times in the 37th Psalm, it is stated that the righteous will inherit the earth (land), and dwell in it forever. Proverbs 10:30 tells us the righteous will “never be removed”—they would surely have to be “removed” if they were to be transported to heaven. Jesus said “the meek will inherit the earth”—a long-term possession. Jesus is coming to “be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9). In the prayer He taught His disciples to pray, He said, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

You suggest that you would rather be with Jesus in heaven during the time which you picture as the tribulation period. We would not have any objection to being with Jesus in heaven, if such were the plan, but we do not find anywhere in Scripture that Jesus offers us that opportunity. Nor do we find reason to fear the time of tribulation, because the Bible indicates God will look out for the good of His own, and they will be “delivered” (Dan. 12:1-2), “spared” (Mal. 3:16), and safely kept from harm (Joel 2:32). He said He would be coming back, so that we could be where He is (John 14:3). He will come and dwell among men (Rev. 21:3-4) but the location is always specified as earth, not heaven.

God has promised to watch over His own and keep them safe. He will “give his angels” this charge (Ps. 91:11). The promise is, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Ps. 34:7). His promise to His people is unconditional: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; see also Deut. 31:6, 8; Josh. 1:5).