"Where I am going, you cannot come." (John 13:33)

"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come." (John 13:33)

Where is Jesus going? 

Here Jesus is talking to his disciples as he is awaiting his arrest. He is explaining to his disciples what is to take place in the coming days.

When Jesus says, "just as I told the Jews," he is referring to this exchange between some Pharisees who came to one of his talks:
"I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come." This made the Jews ask, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, 'Where I go, you cannot come'?" But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world." (John 8:21-23)
Jesus is clearly referring to the spiritual realm. "This world" refers to the physical dimension, while "above" refers to God's spiritual world.

What does Jesus mean by 'this world'?

This is the reason Jesus refers to "this world" as "below" in John 8:21? It is because the physical world is the world where we seek our own self-centered pleasure. This is the world where we self-centered souls go to act out our desires - and learn.

We might compare this to a father building a treehouse in the backyard for his son. The treehouse is a separate quarters where the child can pretend that he has his own separate house. The child can pretend to have his own lifestyle in the treehouse. The child can play with his toys and be seemingly independent of his parents. 

This doesn't mean the child is independent, however. The treehouse was simply set up so the child could have a facade of separate-ness - to allow him to pretend. Because the treehouse is hidden from the house up in a tree, the child can have a pretend life in so many ways without the parents interfering: That is, until it is time for dinner.

This physical world is similar: Here we can pretend we are the center of the universe. Here we can pretend there is no God. We can pretend that we are the identities of our physical bodies.

In one lifetime, we can pretend that we are children, then teenagers, then young adults. From that point we can pretend to be so many different occupations: We can pretend to save people as a fireman, a policeman, a doctor or a soldier. We can pretend to create people by being a father or mother. We can pretend to be famous by being movie stars, business tycoons, or hold a big political office.

In any of these positions, we can pretend to be the best. We can pretend that we are successful and everyone loves us. In other words, here in the physical dimension, using our temporary physical bodies much as a child puts on a Halloween costume, we can pretend to be the center of attention. We can pretend to be the supreme being. And if we are not the center of attention for everyone else, at least we can be our own center of attention.

Even though Jesus is clearly indicating to the Jews that the physical world - "this world" - is "below," some institutions teach the goal is for us to "inherit the earth."

Won't we 'inherit the earth'? 

"Inherit the earth" is a misinterpretation (and mistranslation) of a teaching of Jesus from Matthew:
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
Actually, Jesus is quoting David's Psalms:
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37:11)
This means that this phrase, "inherit the earth" did not start with Jesus. It was already taught by David, and Jesus was simply quoting David. This concept was related to not only being humble, but being devoted to God. Consider another use of this phrase by David:
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:9)
The word "LORD" comes from the Hebrew word הֹוָה (Yĕhovah). This is God, also called Jehovah. David is not referring to Jesus. He is referring to God, and those who take refuge in God will inherit something. What is it?

The phrase "inherit the earth" is being translated from the Greek words κληρονομέω (klēronomeōto) and γῆ (gē). Klēronomeōto can mean "to be an heir or to inherit" according to the lexicon. But it can also mean, "to receive" and "to receive a portion." 

But γῆ (gē) can mean "arable land" according to the lexicon. Also "territory" or "region."

Note arable land in the context of where Jesus was teaching from - dry and desert-like - would be considered an "oasis" or "paradise."

Jesus and David were referring to a special region or territory. A paradise. They were referring to the spiritual realm.

This is consistent with other teachings of Jesus:
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3-4)
Jesus did not teach that his followers would inherit the earth. He told them that if they were humble and worshiped God, they would be eligible to enter the "kingdom of heaven." 

These physical bodies are temporary, and when they die, they decompose into the dirt of the earth. They cease to exist.

The person who is operating the physical body leaves the body at the time of death. This is why the physical body is lifeless after death: Because the person - the personality - has left the body.

Why is life after death is so controversial?

The reason there is such a controversy surrounding this - and why so many people will even proclaim there is no life after death - is simply because our physical eyes are not equipped to see the person within the body. This is because the substance that the person is made of is not physical. The substance of the personality that occupies the physical body is spiritual.

This doesn't mean that the personality temporarily occupying the physical body is formless - like some vague 'spirit' that merges into a great cloud of spirit stuff.

Just because our physical eyes cannot see the form of the personality that occupies a body does not mean the form doesn't exist.

We can quite simply understand that the personality within does have form. This type of 'seeing' is knowledge.

There are many things we understand that we cannot physically see. These include the very small and very large things that make up the physical world. We cannot see sub-atomic particles per se, but we know they exist because we have deduced their existence based on their effects. We see the effects of sub-atomic particles as we collide them in mass accelerators. We then see their effects and understand they exist.

In the same way, we can 'see' that the personality within the body has form simply because we understand that we constantly seek activity. We seek activity whether within a body or outside of a body.

We can see this quite simply when we see a person in a paralyzed physical body, or an older body ready for death. There is very little physical ability to be active, yet the personality within is still very active. He/she is seeking to communicate with relatives and friends, and maintains goals and objectives regardless of the body's lack of activity. This is evidence that we remain active regardless of the status of the physical body.

We also see evidence in clinical death research, where the personality remains active outside the body even though the body and brain are dead.

These indicate that activity is a constituent of the personality within the body. The only way we can be active separate from a physical body is if we have an active form that is not physical.

Can there be relationships without individuality?

We seek constant activity - relationships, goals, objectives - these are all confirmations that we are inherently active, regardless of the status of the physical body. Jesus' teachings emphasized that we are spirit, not the physical body.

We can also 'see' that we have an active form by Jesus' statements. When Jesus says "Where I am going..." there are two clear statements here: "I" means that Jesus accepts that he is not only an individual now, but he will remain an active individual where he is "going."

Secondly, if Jesus is "going" somewhere, and he is going without his physical body (because his physical body died), then he must have an active non-physical form. Only an active form can be "going" somewhere.

Jesus further elaborates on the spiritual realm:
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)
Jesus is clarifying that the spiritual realm ("my Father's house") has many "rooms," which indicate there are various sections of the spiritual realm. This also indicates that there are different activities within the spiritual realm, and there are various forms that occupy the different "rooms" or sections of the spiritual realm.

The citizens of the spiritual realm are active, and there are many activities. These are centered around their relationships with the Supreme Being. While our activities in the physical world are centered around selfish goals to please ourselves and our families or groups, the citizens of the spiritual realm are all engaged in activities centered around pleasing the Supreme Being and the Supreme Being's other caregivers.

What happens eventually? 

First, we find out that these occupations or positions are temporary. We lose them all. The teenager turns 21. The fireman, doctor, soldier and policeman must retire. The movie star must get old and not get the parts anymore. The business tycoons and political stars lose their money or office. 

Everything changes here. And then, of course, we lose everything - our money, fame, reputation, physical identity and family - when the physical body dies.

It is all temporary here because it is not just a fun escape. It is also a rehabilitation center. The physical world is set up to rehabilitate us - assuming we want to be rehabilitated. If we want to stay here, the system is set up for us to continue our hellish physical existence within other temporary physical bodies. But if we become serious about leaving, then the Supreme Being gives us a method to return home to the spiritual realm and our eternal activity in our permanent identity.

But isn't Jesus saying that no one can go where he is going? He is, after all, saying "you cannot come" to those who are resistant to his teachings.

We find clarity in statements that follow:
Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later." (John 13:36)
and later:
"You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:4)
So Jesus is not saying that his disciples can never follow Jesus to the spiritual realm. He is saying that since he will be leaving his body in the coming days - as it will be crucified - he is returning now.

He also indicates that his disciples know how to get there: "You know the way...." What is "the way"?

"The way" is by following Jesus' teachings.

And what are Jesus' teachings?
"'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)