Difficult Texts

"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."


The subject of conversation between Christ and Nicodemus centred in the mysteries of the Holy Spirit and the new birth. Nicodemus professed ignorance concerning the subject of conversion, and Jesus reacted with surprise. Then He said to Nicodemus, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." Verses 12, 13.

In other words, Nicodemus would have a harder time accepting Christ's words about heavenly things because no man had even been there to come back and report on it. Jesus alone had come from there to testify about those heavenly things, and Nicodemus would have to accept it purely by faith. The question was: Who is qualified to testify of those spiritual, heavenly truths? Jesus said, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, If I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven." Verses 11-13.

Throughout the chapter we are directed back to the point of His own authority and credentials as a faithful witness of heavenly truth. "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." Verses 31-34.

Jesus assured Nicodemus that He was a reliable and true witness of the truth because He came down from heaven with the Father's words. No man could make such a claim, therefore a man could speak only of earthly things. Some have used these verses to support a theory that no one has been, or ever will go to heaven. This could not be true because of texts to the contrary. The saints will certainly be there for 1,000 years before the holy city descends to this earth. Here's the evidence:

1. John 13:36-14:3: Here Jesus promised Peter that, afterward, he would follow Him where He was going. Then Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you." All the saints will follow Jesus to that place in the Father's house, when He comes the second time.

2. Matthew 5:12: Jesus promised a reward "in heaven" to those who were persecuted for His sake.

3. 1 Peter 1:4: Peter spoke of the incorruptible inheritance "reserved in heaven for you."

4. Revelation 19:1: The Revelator "heard a great voice of much people in heaven." This group of people in heaven is later identified as the bride of Christ, which is the church (verses 7, 8).

5. Revelation 4:1, 2 and 5:1, 9: These verses clearly describe a multitude in heaven who have been redeemed from the earth.