Elder's Digest explains the Bible.

John 3:13

"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 centered 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" John 3:12, 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."

Throughout the chapter we are pointed back to the point of His own authority and credentials as a truthful 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" John 3:31-34.

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 only speak 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 (v. 7, 8).

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

John 5:24

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

The Christian receives everlasting life as a gift when he accepts Jesus. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish" (John 10:28). "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of Cod hath not life" (1 John 5:12).

Are these verses talking about temporal life or eternal life? Does accepting Christ save us from the first death or the second death? The answer is obvious. Jesus said, "He that . . . believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life and ... is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Please note that this death had to be the second death. Receiving everlasting life did not take away the first death only the second. Although Jesus had eternal life (John 5:26), He still suffered the first death. Paul said "It is appointed unto men once to die" (Hebrews 9:27). This is true of good or bad, saved or lost.

Please note that the eternal life received when we accept Christ does not save us from the first death, but only from the second. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death" (Revelation 2:11). Only the wicked will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8). Because the Christian has life through the Son he will never die the second death cannot touch him and he will live for eternity. Dying the first death will not take away that promise of life without end, which is the gift of God.

John 7:39

"But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Chost was not yet given; because that lesus was not yet glorified."

This does not mean that the Holy Spirit had not operated before Pentecost, but only that He had not been manifested in His fullness. Only after Jesus was glorified (ascended) were the assembled, praying, waiting disciples to receive the Holy Spirit according to the promise (Acts 2: 1 -4). The Holy Spirit had been manifested at the creation (Genesis 1:2) and just before the flood (Gen. 6:3). David prayed, "Take not thy holy spirit from me" (Psalm 51:11). The Scriptures record also that "the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Samuel 16:14). But only after tarrying at Pentecost did the disciples receive the promised blessing of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, time appointed by Christ.