What did Paul mean by ‘seated together in the heavens?’
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
It has been argued that Paul’s words at Ephesians 2:5, 6 are proof that all those to whom he was writing were going to heaven. In the New King James Version, verse 6 says:
‘...and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’
Likewise, in this translation it says:
‘...and raised together then seated together in the heavens in the Anointed Jesus’
However, notice that Paul was speaking of something that had already occurred. He spoke of this being seated in the heavens in the past tense, as though it had happened to them while they were still on the earth.
So, what was Paul saying?
To get the full sense of this verse, you must consider the context. Notice that in verses 4 and 5, Paul had just written:
‘But, due to the love that He has for us;
God (who is so rich in mercy) made us alive with the Anointed One while we were still dead in our failings.’
As you can see, before they became Christians, these people had been considered figuratively ‘dead’ in God’s eyes because of their sins; but now God considers them as being ‘alive’ to (and in) Jesus.
So when Jesus was raised into the heavens, their life in Jesus was figuratively raised into the heavens along with him. Therefore, Paul doesn’t appear to be speaking of their literally going to heaven. Rather, he was saying that their hope for future life was then in the heavens with Jesus.
For a greater discussion of this topic, please see the commentary, God’s Promise of an Inheritance.