"I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving ..." (John 16:28)

"I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." (John 16:28)

Is Jesus returning to God?

To return to someone necessitates first having been separated from that person. A person cannot return to themselves. There have to be two individuals in order for one of them to become separate from the other.

The Greek word being translated to "came from" is ἐξῆλθον from the root ἐξέρχομαι (exerchomai), meaning to "come forth of" or "of the point from which he departs" according to Thayer's lexicon. This means Jesus is speaking of coming from and returning to a place. In this case, that place where God lives: The spiritual realm.

This is confirmed by Jesus' saying that "I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." Jesus can only be leaving a place, and "going back" to a place.

So how will Jesus be leaving them and returning to the spiritual realm? Will he float up in his physical body with the holes in his hands and feet as many imagine? No. Jesus is informing his disciples of this because he will soon be arrested by the guards of the High Priest and turned over to the Romans for trial and subsequent persecution - and the murder of his physical body.

At that point, Jesus' spirit-person - his spiritual self - will depart from his physical body. How do we know this?
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matt. 27:50)
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

Why did Jesus 'give up his spirit'?

To give up one's spirit means the spirit must be leaving the physical body. Since the person and the spirit of that person cannot be separated, we would appropriately describe this as being a spirit-person.

The fact that the spirit-person separates from the physical body at the time of death has been proven in hundreds of thousands of clinical death cases. 

In these cases, a resuscitated person tells of their experience leaving the body and looking down upon their lifeless body from above., then traveling outside of the body before their body was resuscitated. This means of course that we are not these physical bodies. Each of us is the spirit-person within, operating a temporary physical body as a person might drive a car.

And as we see from scripture, Jesus also was not his physical body, and he too left his physical body - his spirit-person separated from the body that became lifeless. This is how Jesus returned to the spiritual realm. He returned to the Supreme Being and the spiritual realm in his spiritual body.

This doesn't mean that we can compare our physical body with Jesus' physical body. His physical body was also spiritualized by his relationship, connection and service to the Supreme Being.

This contradicts many who speak about God as if He were a vague force, and Jesus is God incarnated.

This concept of a vague entity or force becoming Jesus is actually an impersonal view of God. This is diametrically opposed to Jesus' teachings.

Jesus taught of a personal God. He taught of a God who could be loved and served. We cannot love a vague impersonal force. We can only love a person.

Jesus taught:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
How could a person love someone with this kind of intensity without knowing that person? How could we love someone we do not know?

Was Jesus introducing his followers to God?

Jesus most certainly was introducing his students to God - πατήρ (patēr), which means "ruler," "creator," "guardian" and "protector" according to the lexicon.

This means that Jesus is not referring to God as some kind of vague force, but rather, as an individual person: Someone he knows. Someone he cares about. Someone he trusts. Someone he has given his life to. Someone he serves. And someone he loves.

God is the Supreme Being. He is the Source of everything. He is the most Intelligent Person. He is the most Beautiful Person. He is the Most Loving Person. The Most Caring Person. He is the Kindest Person. He is the Funniest Person. He is the Funniest Person to be around.

Jesus loves God. This is why Jesus was returning to Him. He was returning to God because he wanted to be with God. God is Jesus' Best Friend. Jesus relied upon God. He exchanged a relationship with God. This is why Jesus said:
"I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world." (John 8:26)
And Jesus loved God and wanted to please God. This is why Jesus said:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
Someone who does someone else's will is either acting as an employee, a slave, or out of love. Since God gives everyone the freedom to love Him and serve Him or not, we know that Jesus was serving God out of love. Jesus served God and his teachings were his service:
"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." (John 12:49)
Thus we can know that Jesus was sent by God and was going to return to God's side when he left this physical world:
But from now on, the Son of Man [Servant of humanity] will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."
A person who sits at the "right hand" of another is none other than that person's assistant or servant. Even today we use the expression, "he's my right-hand man" when we mean someone who assists us - a reliable aid or servant.

This means that Jesus is not God at all, but rather, God's messenger. God's loving servant. God's representative. Jesus refers to God as "the Father who sent me." When someone sends another, the person sent is a messenger of the sender. Therefore Jesus could not be God. He could only be God's representative.

In other words, Jesus is speaking of returning to the spiritual realm to be with God. Jesus is ready to leave hell and return to heaven.

And yes, this physical world is indeed hell.

Do the citizens of heaven love God?

Jesus is ready to return to that place where its citizens are engaged in loving relationships with the Supreme Being, and everyone is loving and caring for each other. This is the place where there is no selfishness. There is no hatred. There is no envy. This is that place where many of us strive to try to make this material world like. It is also the place people like to imagine - like John Lennon imagined.

But everyone likes to imagine a perfect place where there is no hatred and suffering, but they rarely if ever imagine God as the center in such a place. This is because we are in hell - and hell is a self-centered place. 

Hell is that place where everyone looks out for ourselves. Where everyone is seeking our own happiness at the expense of others. And this is why there is so much suffering in this world: Because this world is driven by self-interest. Self-interest is the nature of hell.

In the spiritual realm, God is the center, and love abounds. The interest is pleasing God and caring for God's children. God is always engaged in loving relationships with each person - exchanging caring and fun relationships.

The spiritual realm is not as Michelangelo imagined. It is not a bunch of nude people with long white beards sitting on seats of clouds playing harps. And God is not an old guy with an even longer white beard floating over them.

The spiritual realm is a place of incredible activity, lush beauty, laughter, games, processions, plays, community events, private moments, and everything in between. It is a place where each individual loves God, and everyone else is more important. God is their Best Friend and Companion. In the spiritual realm, most citizens do contemplate God as the Supreme Being. He is simply their beloved, best friend, family member, and companion.

This is the place where each person is completely fulfilled and completely happy because they are immersed in love of God.

This is our real home: this place is where Jesus wanted us to also return to with him:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'" (Matt. 22:37-38)

*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"I was dispatched by the Creator and have appeared in the material world. I will now depart the world and journey back to the Creator.” (John 16:28)