A Study of Heaven – Week 1
Three things occurred to make me want to study Heaven. First, in 2019 a mother came to me and said that her daughter asked her why she wanted to go to Heaven. Her daughter was studying the Book of Revelation at her Christian school and it had invoked fear in the girl. The thought of coming face to face with four winged beings with eyes all over them and with heads like a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle had scared her. Her mother asked me to explain why she should want to go to Heaven. I was not successful at removing all of the child’s fears about Heaven. The second thing that happened was Dr. David Jeremiah published his book on Heaven. After reading it, I realized as Pastor Larry used to say, “That will preach!” and I knew I need to teach it in Sunday School. God’s timing was perfect. Finally, last December 28th, I reached the exact age of my father when he went to be with the Lord. It made me aware of my mortality and I knew I had to study and teach what we can learn from the Bible about heaven.
In preparation for this study, I read or listened to the following theologians/pastors.
Chip Ingram – The Real Heaven, video series
David Jeremiah – Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven
Randy Alcorn – Heaven: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything the Bible Says About Our Eternal Home (Clear Answers to 44 Real Questions About the Afterlife, Angels, Resurrection, and the Kingdom of God)
Billy Graham – The Heaven Answer Book
Chip Ingram in his video series said that he recommended to his father who was terminal and had a fear of the afterlife read Randy Alcorn’s book. The outline for this study is based on Dr. Jeremiah’s book. I used many of their scriptural references in this study.
Why Study What the Bible Says About Heaven
The first step of going on an important vacation is to research your destination, Heaven should be no different. As believers, we all will go to Heaven, whether through death or the Rapture. We should learn as much as we can from God’s Word about our destination.
What do you think of when you hear the word, heaven? Or do you think about heaven at all? “Misconceptions about heaven are crippling us.” (Chip Ingram) When I thought about Heaven before this study, I thought it was mysterious. I can’t say that I knew much about it. I pictured angels floating on clouds, playing harps. We know that it is an unworldly place. We have seen movies about angels earning their wings. Based on parts of Revelation 4 and 5, it will be one very, very, very long worship service.
Another reason that we should study about heaven is that we are commanded to. Colossians 3:1-4 tells us “to seek those things which are above.” It says “1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (NKJV)
Chip Ingram says “A faulty view of heaven destines us to a wasted life on earth. . . A crystal clear view of what heaven is like, that new heaven and a new earth with real relationships would sustain them through the most difficult time in human history.” ”
John 14:1-3 says “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. “ If you don’t like “mansions” then the NASB uses the term “dwelling places” or other translations say “rooms”. At any rate, Jesus said it, so heaven is real and not someplace dreamed up by men to allow them to die peacefully.
The word “heaven” is used more than 500 times in the Bible. 33 OT books and 21 NT books talk about heaven. In Isaiah 57:15, God through Isaiah described Heaven as a high and holy place. There are other terms for heaven:
Psalm 23:6 The house of the Lord
Luke 23:43 Paradise
Hebrews 11:10 The city which has foundations, that is designed and built by God.
Revelation 14:1 Mount Zion
Revelation 21:2 New Jerusalem
Throughout the Bible there are 3 different heavens:
Isaiah 55:10-11 Atmospheric – sky, clouds, birds, oxygen
Genesis 1:14-17 Universe – Stars, planets, dust clouds, meteors, galaxies
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 Dwelling place of God or Psalm 115:16 (NIV) Highest heaven
Heaven is described in Isaiah 14:13 as up in “the farthest sides of the north.” Heaven is important because of the number of times that it is mentioned or its prominences. It is important because of its plurality. There are 3 heavens. As I said earlier heaven is a real or literal place. Finally, heaven is important because it is precious to God’s people.
2 Peter 3:11-14 (NIV) – “11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”
Peter says, “Look Forward” or anticipate the return of Christ, three times in these verses, so it must be important. When He returns we will see the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. We do this every year for 4 weeks during the Advent season. Verse 13 says that righteousness dwells in the new heaven and the new earth. Who is righteous and how did they obtain that righteousness? 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that believers obtain their righteousness by faith, the technical term is imputed righteous. We cannot be righteous on our own but get it through faith in Jesus.
As believers in salvation through Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the new heaven and the new earth will our eternal home. If you think about it since the new earth is our eternal home, those that die before the rapture will have two homes. These homes are the current heaven and new earth.
Heaven is important to human beings because it is in our DNA. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV), King Solomon told us that “. . . Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart . . .” King Solomon said that God has put a desire for eternity into our hearts, a desire to find heaven. If we look at the Muslims, the Vikings, the Greeks, the Romans, the Buddhists, they all had believed that our time on earth was not all there was. They believed in an afterlife whether it was a place with virgins or a hall containing gods like the Vikings’ Valhalla, they came up with something to fulfill that desire for eternity.
If we do as King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:11, then this world is not our home but heaven is our home. 1 John 2:15 (NIV) says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. – Do not love the world or the things in the world.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, “Everybody basically has an empty hole inside of them that they try to fill with money, drugs, alcohol, power – and none of the material stuff works.”
We can take a trip through the New Testament to examine why Heaven is precious to God’s people.
John 14:2-3 tells us the Heaven is a real tangible place. Jesus said “2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Matthew 6:9, Jesus taught us the “Lord’s Prayer”. He said, “Our Father who art in Heaven.” It literally means that our Heavenly Father is in heaven.
Hebrews 9:24, says that our Redeemer, Jesus is in heaven. This verse says, “ For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; “
Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 tells us that our relationships (loved ones) are in heaven. Either through the Rapture or death, all believers will be in Heaven.
1 Peter 1:3-4 tells us that our inheritance or our resources are in heaven. It tells us that “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, “
Paul told the Philippian church that earth is not our home, our citizenship is in heaven. Philippians 3:20 says, “ For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” So our time our earth is short and temporary, our permanent home is in Heaven.
In Matthew 5:12, Jesus tells us that our reward (5 different crowns) is in heaven.
Again Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-21, to lay up our riches (souls of others) in heaven.
1 Peter 1:4 says that we have a reservation in heaven. Our names are written in the Lambs Book of Life which is in heaven.
Finally, Revelation 21:4 tells us that sin, death and sorrow are absent. How much more precious could Heaven be?
Dr. Jeremiah says, “To dispense with belief in God is to relinquish hope.”
“The reason we have this inner conviction that death is not the end—and that Heaven exists—is because we were created in the image of God. We aren’t simply physical beings; we also have a soul (or spirit), and we bear within us the likeness of our Creator. That likeness has been marred and distorted by sin—but it is still there. And just as God is eternal, so we sense in our hearts that we too must be eternal.” Graham, Billy
I can’t believe that this life is all there is. If death is the end, then life would be truly hopeless.
A Study of Heaven – Week 2
An accurate view of heaven provides several things according to Chip Ingram. First, it provides us with a perspective in times of trouble. 1 Timothy 6:12 tells us to “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.“
2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;”
When difficult times come along we are to focus on what gets us into heaven which is our faith in Jesus Christ. As we will learn throughout this study, the things of earth are temporary compared to the things of eternal life.
Secondly, Chip says that an accurate view of heaven helps us to persevere in time of trials and temptation. In John 14:1, Jesus tells the disciples “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” When you have an accurate view of what is coming, it makes enduring the difficult times much easier.
Finally, an accurate view of heaven aligns our priorities under pressure. We are told in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” The old hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” says it best.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace”
Compared to heaven, all of the things of earth will seem unimportant. People put their money where things in things that they consider important. Unfortunately, the temporal or worldly things of this earth will remain here after you are gone. We should focus or spend our time on the things of heaven.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says,
“13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so also God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
These verses point to the Rapture. They also refer to death as falling asleep and “sleeping with Jesus”. In verse 18, Paul says that we are to “comfort one another with these words.”
“For Christians, a cemetery is simply a dormitory where our bodies rest until awakened by Jesus at resurrection.” (David Jeremiah)
We will go into the “resurrected body” in more detail later but I want us to be on the same page. Since no one has come back to tell us what happens, the best we can do is try to understand what God’s word says to us. There are three schools of thought about death.
First of all, to someone who does not believe in a resurrection, the body and soul die. This belief provides no hope. They believe that a person that believes in a resurrection believes in order to ease the fear of death.
Secondly, there are people that believe that when we die, our soul and body go to sleep. Both will be resurrected in the event described here in 1 Thessalonians . This is referred to as soul sleep.
The third belief is that our body dies and is buried and our soul is taken to heaven, then our body is resurrected in this event in 1 Thessalonians. I personally believe that this is what happens when we die. Several scriptural references support it happening this way.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, when we die we are absent from the body and present with Jesus.
“6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
The third idea fits with 2 Corinthians 5:8 and the verses in 1 Thessalonians. In order to further prove the point I offer Luke 16:19-31. Jesus tells a story, this is not a parable. Stories have names but parables do not. In this story, Jesus tells us a lot about what used to happen after death. I say used to happen because things changed after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The table below summarizes the points Jesus made in the story which point out differences between what happens to the men in life, death and eternity.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, enjoying himself in splendor every day. 20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed from the scraps which fell from the rich man’s table; not only that, the dogs also were coming and licking his sores. 22 Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s arms; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 And in Hades he raised his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his arms. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who want to go over from here to you will not be able, nor will any people cross over from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I request of you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment as well.’ 29 But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Ate crumbs (food)
Covered in purple & fine linen
Covered in rags (clothes)
Had many servants
Only dogs cared for Lazarus (care)
Thrown in town dump (funeral)
Carried by angels to Abr.
Hades, the place of torment
Abraham’s bosom (where)
– Place of
Place of memory, misery &
companionship & fellowship
Jesus gave His listeners lots of information about death and what happens to the soul. I would like to point out that Lazarus did not get treated differently than the rich man because he was poor. He makes the distinction because typically rich men are so focused on worldly things, such as money and possessions. Lazarus must have been more focused on God. What do we learn about heaven from Jesus in these verses?
Angels take believers to heaven. Verse 22 tells us that Lazarus died and “was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s arms” Abraham’s arms or bosom was a place where the souls of righteous people that died was kept until the death and resurrection of Jesus. Going to this intermediate heave does not happen today.
Did you notice while reading this story that the rich man and Lazarus are depicted as having physical forms. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 adds that you will be ushered into the presence of God. As believers we are alive and on the earth or absent from the body and present with the Lord.
We will be able to recognize our loved ones in heaven. In Jesus’ story, Lazarus knows Abraham and the rich man and additionally, the rich man recognizes Lazarus as the beggar that sat at the gate. In Luke’s account of the transfiguration of Jesus, Luke 9:28-36, we are told that Peter, James and John knew Elijah and Moses without introduction. Revelation 4:8-11 that we will worship God in His presence. Revelation 5:6 adds that we shall see Jesus. Through John’s revelations, he did not have to be introduced to Jesus or God.
After we die, it is too late to change your final destination. From the rich man’s description, it is easy to see that we don’t want to go to Hades or Sheol or permanent hell.
Revelation 6:9-10 adds that we are aware of what is happening on the earth because from underneath the altar, the souls of those that were martyred are asking “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth?” They know that their deaths have not been avenged.
The table below compares and contrasts Hades and Paradise from the story about Lazarus and the rich man.
Not the ultimate hell
Heroes of faith are there
Unrighteous kept until
When Jesus ascended to
consigned to eternal hell
heaven, He took all of Paradise
and relocated it to a third heaven –
Not purgatory (Not in Bible. It
The highest heaven.
was a place saints went to get
prepared for heaven.)
Cannot be reversed, it is too late.
Now when we die our body is
in the grave and angels take our
Just before creation of a new
souls directly to heaven.
Heaven all in Hades will stand
before judgment of eternity and
God will give our souls “loner”
be consigned to hell forever.
bodies until resurrection day.
In this story, Jesus tells us a lot about what used to happen after death. I say used to happen because things changed after Jesus death and resurrection. Ephesians 4:8-10 tells us so. It says
“8 That is why the Scriptures say,
“When he ascended to the heights,
he led a crowd of captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.” (NLT)
This story tells us about what happens after death before Jesus. The intermediate hell or Hades are not an option today. Our option is heaven or hell. Hell is permanent. It is the Lake of Fire in Revelation 20:10. Randy Alcorn calls hell, “Heaven’s Awful Alternative.”
“It’s of paramount importance to make sure you are going to Heaven, not Hell. The voice that whispers, “There’s no hurry; put this book down; you can always think about it later,” is not God’s voice. He says, “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2) and “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).” (Randy Alcorn)
Jesus wants us to be all in. There is no fence sitting allowed. Jesus warns the Church of Laodicea not to be “lukewarm” Christians or He will spit them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:15-16). In Matthew 25:41 Jesus tells us, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. “
Hell will not be an enjoyable place. Look at how Hell is depicted in the following verses:
Matthew 13:42 – blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:50 – furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 22:13 – Darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 24:51 – He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
Matthew 25:30 – Darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke 13:28 – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets will not be there. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“It will be a place of conscious punishment for sins, with no hope of relief. This is why Dante, in the “Inferno” envisioned this sign chiseled above Hell’s gates, “Abandon every hope, you who enter.” (Alcorn, Randy)
A Study of Heaven – Week 3
Chip Ingram gives two important principles about heaven and eternal life. First, heaven is being with Jesus. In John 14:3, Jesus tells us “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be.” Also Jesus told the thief on the cross beside Him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
There are numerous other verse that tells the same thing. Some of the additional verses include: 1 Thessalonians 4:17. 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10.
Jesus’ great joy is to have us with Him. John 17:24 tells us so. It says, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
The second important principle about heaven and eternal life is that our faith decision is permanent. We must make the decision before we die. Remember in the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man wanted someone sent to warn his brothers but Abraham would not allow even Lazarus to go back and warn them. The decision must be made when we are on earth.
Will heaven be boring?
One of the most asked questions about heaven is won’t heaven be boring? Depending on how you view worshiping God will influence your answer. Let a pastor preach for more than 30 or 45 minutes and the church membership will start grumbling.
Look at the world before Covid 19 and compare it to the world during quarantining. If ever we have had an opportunity to see the negative effects of boredom, it is during this pandemic. Boredom can cause crime, infidelity and ruins retirement, just to name a few things. There is a saying, “The devil makes work for idle hands.”
Revelation 4:8-11 describes the throne room and what goes on there. It says, “8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
9 And when the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
Based on this description of heaven, some people think that heaven will be boring. It sounds like church 24-7 for eternity.
All of the authors that I have read or listen to cover the topic of a boring heaven. David Jeremiah and Chip Ingram give us 5 reasons why heaven cannot and will not be boring.
First of all, God is not boring. Psalm 16:11 tells us that there is joy in His presence, with pleasures forever. Consider just one of our senses, say Taste. God could have made everything taste the same. Why do we taste everything differently? God could have made everything taste like chicken. We can taste the difference between grain fed beef and beef that came from a cow that grazed in a field. Why? Because God is not boring and God does not want us to be bored.
“No, I don’t worry about boredom in heaven, because that’s where God is – and God is omnipotent, breathtaking, electrifying, exhilarating and inspiring. Almighty God is the unsearchable dynamic that sustains the universe and we were made by Him, through Him and for Him. Heaven will be just as intriguing as God Himself.” (Dr. David Jeremiah)
The second reason that heaven will not be boring is that WE are not boring. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-52 tells us, 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. . . 51 Behold, I am telling you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
Won’t it be like sitting around a nursing home? According to these verses, we will be radically changed at resurrection. These verses say:
Old body New body
Natural body Spiritual body.
Based on the changes to our body, it will not be the same as it has been on earth. After the fall, death, decay and deterioration of our bodies changed everything. Our new bodies will not wear out or run down.
Another reason heaven will not be boring is because our friends will not be boring. Hebrews 12:22-23 tells us that heaven will be populated by believers or the church, angels, God and Old Testament Saints. Wouldn’t it be amazing to while away the hours listening to stories from Moses or King David. Remember that our life in heaven will have continuity with our live on earth. We have already learned that we will know our loved ones that have passed on before us, as well as the Old Testament saints.
The fourth reason heaven will not be boring is that our work will not be boring. The Book of Revelation has numerous verses that tell us that we will be serving God with the angels. Revelation 1:1, 2:19, 6:11, 7:15, 15:3, 19:5, 19:10.
For example, Revelation 22:6 says “And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.”
Finally, heaven is the place we’ve always longed for. When we were successful on earth, it was never completely satisfying. But in heaven, we will be completely fulfilled. As Jesus told His disciples in John 15:11, one of Jesus goals was to make our joy complete. In heaven, the race is over. Our joy will be made complete.
“Earth is a tiny preview of heaven. I believe that Jesus gave us a glimpse of what He wants for us on the new earth and new heaven in John 10:10, when He said “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.“” (NASB) (Dr. Jeremiah)
Remember Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has also set eternity in the human heart.” We all have a yearning for heaven and that yearning will be fulfilled when we get to heaven. We will have arrived fully satisfied.
Imagine how different our relationships with others will be without sin. When you think of how relationships are today, after the fall of man, what negative behaviors will not be present in heaven? No gossips, no egos, no anger, no lying, stealing . . . The list goes on and on. Anything related to sin or man’s fall will not be in heaven.
Go even further, what things on earth will not make it to the “new earth? Consider Genesis 3:12-19, Psalm 16:9-11, Exodus 20, Revelation 21:1-4
No decay so there will be no flies, buzzards, No thiefs and robbers so no locks, no police, No more death so funeral directors are out. Weeds, thistles, poison ivy . . .
One of Satan’s tools is to instill in us the thought that heaven will not be perfect. Not only does Satan attack God but also Satan attacks God’s dwelling place. In Revelation 13:6, John tells us, “And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.”
Believing that heaven will be boring, is flawed thinking. It assumes that sin is exciting, fun and more enjoyable than righteous. 1 Corinthians 5:6 tells us that sin ruins everything it comes in contact with. This verse says “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” The leavening represents sin.
Randy Alcorn says it this way, “Those who believe that excitement can’t exist without sin are thinking with sin-poisoned minds. Drug addicts are convinced that without drugs they can’t live happy lives.”
What will we do in heaven? Here are some Scripture verses that give us some indication of what we will do in Heaven.
Ephesians 2:10 – Good works
Luke 19:11-27 – We will run the universe with Jesus
Revelation 7:15 – We will serve God.
Revelation 22:3 – Again we will serve God.
Genesis 4:20-22 – There will be music and physical work.
1 Corinthians 12:7 –Just as on earth, we will all have different gifts.
Psalm 104:33 – There will be singing in heaven
Revelation 15:2-3 – Again, singing and music
Jeremiah 31:4-5 – There will be dancing and farming
Luke 6:21 -Tthere will be laughing
1 Corinthians 9:24 – Since sports are not inherently sinful, sports may be in heaven.
“I can only imagine.”
“Our belief that Heaven will be boring betrays a heresy – that God is boring. There’s no greater nonsense. Our desire for pleasure and the experience of joy come directly from God’s hand. He made our taste buds, adrenaline and the nerve endings that convey pleasure to our brains. Likewise, our imaginations and our capacity for joy and exhilaration were made by the very God we accuse of being boring. Are we so arrogant as to imagine that human beings came up with the idea of having fun?” (Alcorn)
A Study of Heaven – Week 4
Your Future Super Body
Our life on earth is short compared to eternity with God. Remember the illustration that Anthony used to show this fact a few years ago. In the illustration, the short rope which was just a few inches is this life, and eternity is a long rope.
No matter how much man researches ways to extend life. They could double it but it will still be short compared to eternity. Even if we lived as long as Methuselah, our lives would be short compared to eternity.
Someone once told me that as you grow older, time seems to speed up. My time as a child seemed slow and my boys childhood seemed to fly by but my granddaughter’s childhood is even faster. The authors of the Bible had much to say about the passing of time. For each reference, how fast is our time on earth?
Job 7:6 – Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle._
1 Chronicles 29:15 – Like a shadow.
James 4:14 – Just a vapor that appears for a little while.
There are other verses, just like these verses throughout the Bible. (See Job 9:25, Psalm 90:10, Psalm 102:11, 1 Corinthians 7:29)
There are only two ways to leave this world, by death or the Rapture.
John 11:25-26 says, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”. After Jesus raised their brother Lazarus from the dead, Jesus told Mary and Martha that death on earth is not permanent but we will have to go through it. In order to be resurrected, we have to die. The following verses tell us about resurrection of our body. Job 19:25-26, Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12:2, Psalm 16:10,1 Thessalonians 4:16 .
Genesis 2:7 tells us that as human beings we are made up of two parts, physical and spiritual. The physical part came from God and the earth or dirt and the spiritual part was all God.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:8, when we die we are absent from the body and present with Lord.(from week 2) When we die, our physical body will be buried but our spiritual souls will be taken to heaven.
Randy Alcorn believes that since our soul requires a physical body to live in, then we will get loaner bodies. We know that eventually we will live in our resurrected bodies.
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the Love Chapter but go a couple of chapters further and chapter 15 is called the Resurrection Chapter. Paul has given us detailed information about our resurrections.
John 20:17 tells us that on the morning after Jesus was resurrected, He told Mary to stop clinging (NASB) to him because He had not ascended to the Father. He had not received His resurrection or glorified body. Eight days later, Jesus appeared to the disciples a second time, this time with Thomas present. Jesus told Thomas to touch His hands and his side. Jesus had ascended and this is His glorified body.
John 20:26 Eight days later His disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be to you.” 27 Then He *said to Thomas, “Place your finger here, and see My hands; and take your hand and put it into My side; and do not continue in disbelief, but be a believer.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you now believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
What do we see about the glorified body in the verses of John 20:26-29 which says? First of all, Jesus passed through walls. This shows that His resurrected body is spiritual. But then it says that the disciples could touch His scars or wounds. This shows that it is also physical. You can also read Luke’s account in Luke 24:39.
1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” This verse tells us that when Jesus returns, as believers our bodies will be like His body.
1 Corinthians 15:49 says when we are resurrected, we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly Man, that is Jesus. It says” And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man”
Last week we read about our glorified bodies in 1 Corinthians 15:42-45.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written: “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” The last Adam was a life-giving spirit.
It seems many pastors like to have all the teaching points have the same starting letters, in this case “I”. There are certainties of our glorified bodies:
Verse 42 tells us that our bodies will be raised in incorruption so they will be indestructible. When Adam and Eve sinned God told them that they would surely die. Our resurrected body will not have that same connection to sin so we are not subject to the same corruption thus “raised in incorruption”. Without sin Adam and Eve would have lived forever in the Garden with God. With our resurrected bodies we will have that same indestructibility.
Verse 43 tells us that our new bodies will be raised in glory but they will be identifiable. I don’t know whether it will be our 21 year old body or our older bodies, the important thing is that they will be recognizable by others.
Verse 43 also tells us the our new bodies will be raised in power, so they will be incredible. As I age, getting out of a chair becomes more difficult. When I sit down on the floor at family get-togethers, my older siblings say “Now you are just showing off.” With age, things become more and more difficult, if not impossible. Not so with our resurrected bodies. They won’t tire. They won’t deteriorate. That sound incredible to me.
Verses 44 and 45 tells us that they will be raised as spiritual bodies, so they will be infinite. Without sin, our bodies will return to what they were meant to be, eternal or infinite or endless.
Our resurrected bodies will be Indestructible.
Romans 6:8-9, tells us that Jesus body cannot die. “Death no longer has mastery over Him.”
Hebrews 9:27 says that we are appointed to die once.
There is an old adage, “Know Jesus, die once. No Jesus, die twice.”
Our resurrected bodies will be Identifiable
Luke 9:28-30 is the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. James, John and Peter did NOT have to be introduced to Elijah and Moses. They knew who they were without being told.
Luke 16:19-31 is the story of the beggar (Lazarus) and the rich man. No introductions were necessary. The rich man knew Abraham and he could see Lazarus and knew him as the beggar that sat at the gate.
Our resurrected bodies will be Incredible
1 Corinthians 15:43 says (all versions) “It (our body) is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.”
John 20:26-29 tells us that Jesus passed through the door or walls . (Spiritual)
David Jeremiah says that our glorified bodies will be governed by the Holy Spirit. He says “That’s what a spiritual body is. The basic difference between a natural body and a spiritual body is that the former is suited for life on earth, and a spiritual body will be suited for life in heaven for eternity with God. In our current bodies, we couldn’t function in the realm of heaven.”
Our resurrected bodies will be Infinite
1 John 1:2 (NLT easiest to understand) tells us that Jesus is eternal life. He came to earth but returned to be with the His Father/God.
1 Corinthians 15:54 tells us that we will be immortal.
John 17:3 defines eternal life as knowing “the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Romans 6:23 tells us that eternal life is a gift of God.
John 3:16-17 tells that we get eternal life from God, through belief or faith in His only begotten Son, Jesus.
“And why should it not be as much in the power of God to raise incorruptible, glorious, lively, spiritual bodies out of the ruins of those vile, corruptible ones, as first to make matter out of nothing? To God all things are possible.” (Matthew Henry)
From all scriptural references that I could find, we will in heaven. Consider the following verses.
Matthew 22:2 – The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.
Revelation 19:9 – Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb
Luke 24:42-43 – Jesus ate fish with the disciples after receiving His resurrection body.
Acts 1:4 – Jesus ate fish again.
Acts 10:40-41 – We are told that Jesus ate and drank with His disciples after resurrection.
“We will stand on the New Earth and see it, feel it, smell it, taste its fruits, and hear its sounds. Not figuratively. Literally. We know this because we’re promised resurrection bodies like Christ’s. He saw and heard and felt and, as he cooked and ate fish, he presumably smelled and tasted it. We will too. Heaven’s delights will stretch our glorified senses to their limits.” (Alcorn)
A Study of Heaven – Week 5
Our Rewards in Heaven or Heaven’s Oscars
Roman 13:1-7 tells us that while on earth we should give to others what we owe them whether it is taxes, customs, respect or honor because God has put them in power over us.
More importantly, these things aren’t important. 1 Chronicles 29:15 tells us that this is because we are visitors in this world. Our home is in heaven according to Hebrews 13:14.
While visiting a Sunday School class in Tennessee a number of years ago, I was corrected by someone saying that I shouldn’t expect the blessings from God as a motivation. I believe that they were wrong because God uses carrots and sticks to try to keep us in line.
In His “kingdom parables”, Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a:
Matthew 13:44 – Hidden Treasure
Matthew 13:45 – The finest pearl
Matthew 13:47-49 – A dragnet – collecting all souls and the good and bad souls will be separated.
Matthew 13:51-52 – New and old household treasures
All of these things are rewards.
2 Chronicles 15:7 says be strong because our work will be rewarded.
2 John 1:8 warns us to make sure that we receive our “full reward”.
1 Peter 1:3-4 tells us that there is an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”
Mark 10:29-30 tells us that we will get one hundred times the return on our investment of work in eternal life.
Revelation 22:12 tells us that Jesus is returning and our reward is with Him.
Also Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 that we will also “receive compensation for the deeds done through the body”. It also says that we will receive this compensation “before the judgment seat of Christ.” It will be given for good or bad.
The reward is not to be our sole focus for getting into heaven but God tells us about them. As we have already seen our blessings in heaven will be amazing and we will be rewarded. So what are these rewards?
The Victor’s Crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 tells us about this crown. It says, “24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. So they do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as to avoid hitting air; 27 but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
Verse 24 – Paul is telling us to live our lives in such a way as to win the crown. Verse 25 says to exercise self-control (NASB) or disciplined.
Matthew 6:19-21 tells us that we are to store up or seek rewards that are in heaven because they are imperishable and incorruptible.
The Crown of Rejoicing
In 1 Thessalonians 2:17-19, Paul tells the Thessalonians that he was eager to see their faces. In verse 19, he mentions the crown of rejoicing.
Depending on which Bible translation that you are using it could be the crown of pride, crown of exultation or crown of boasting. It is sometimes referred to as the “Soul Winner’s Crown”.
According to Dr. Jeremiah, “this crown is given for playing a part in leading others to Christ”. Luke 15:10 tells us there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents.
When Paul and his companions arrived in Thessalonica (Acts 17), verses 2 and 3 tell us that Paul reasoned with the Thessalonians for 3 Sabbaths. He was trying to lead them to the saving knowledge of Jesus.
Crown of Righteousness
2 Timothy 4:8 says, “in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. This verse tells us that this crown is given for those that carry Advent further than just in December. It requires a life looking forward to Jesus’ second coming.
Peter, Paul and John wished for the Lord’s return.
1 Corinthians 16:19-24 – Thus, Paul with his own hand said, “O Lord, come!”
2 Peter 3:10-12 – Thus, we should be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,” (NASB) or “Look forward to and speed its coming.” (NIV)
Rev. 22:20-21 – Just as Paul said above, John said, “Come, Lord Jesus.” More and more, I tend to quote this one, especially with what is going on in the world today.
5 parables about being ready for the 2nd coming of Christ.
Luke 12:35-36 & Mark 13:33-37 – The Door-Keeper
Luke 12:39-40 & Matt. 24:42-44 – Owner Of The House
Matt. 24:45-51 & Luke 12:41-46 – Servant In Charge Of the household
Matthew 25:1-13 – The Ten Virgins.
Matt. 25:14-30 & Luke 19:11-27 – Proper Use Of Talents
Crown of Life
James 1:12 says that we are to persevere because we love Him in order to get this crown.
Revelation 2:10 tells us how faithful we must be to God, faithful unto death.
Dr. Jeremiah says that the “Crown of Life is given in recognition of enduring and triumphing over temptations and trials, even to the point of martyrdom.”
Crown of Glory
1 Peter 5:1-4 says, “Therefore, I urge elders among you, as your fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and one who is also a fellow partaker of the glory that is to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not with greed but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as domineering over those assigned to your care, but by proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
Dr. Jeremiah says “This crown seems especially designed for Christian leaders and for those who are faithful shepherd of the people of God.”
“Reward, not of debt, but of grace, shall be given to the most obscure and unknown of you, who for his sake have sought to teach little children or to reclaim the adult who had fallen into sin. Take courage – your work of faith and labour of love are not in vain in the Lord, and will do wonders yet to the praise of His grace.” (Spurgeon)
The Greatest Reward of all
The greatest reward is not the crowns. Mike and I have often talked about heaven, just to be in heaven and be with Jesus. Just to be on the positive side of eternity. There are numerous southern gospel songs about being in heaven with Jesus. One of my favorites is a song by the Booth Brothers, “Look for me at Jesus feet”.
“Let me tell you where I’ll be.
I’ll be thanking Christ, my Savior
For saving a wretch like me.”
In our study of the Book of Revelation, we came across the twenty-four elders in the throne room of God that were wearing crowns. Revelation 4:4 says that they “were clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.” Revelation 4:10 tells us what they did with their crowns. They cast their crowns before the throne of God and worshiped Him.
We will be in heaven not because of what we have done but because of what Jesus did. What do these verses say about what we must do to receive these rewards?
Hebrews 10:10 – Sanctified or made holy
Romans 8:1 – No condemnation because of Jesus
1 John 2:12 – Our sins are forgiven because of Jesus
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 – Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection
Galatians 1:3-4 – Jesus gave Himself
Ephesians 2:8-10 – Grace through faith in Jesus, a gift
Matthew 25:23 says that because of what Jesus did and because we have grace through faith, then He will say to us “Well done good and faithful servant . . . enter the joy of your master.”
Our crowns are not to be used to glorify ourselves, they are to be used glorify Jesus for what He has done for us. There is only one who walked on this earth that is to be glorified above all and that is Jesus, Revelation 5:12 tells us so.
Being with Jesus will be our greatest reward!!
A Study of Heaven – Week 6
The Heavenly City
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Last week we learned that we will have a resurrected body. We will have a new and improved body. Just as our body will be made new so will the earth be made new. It will be better than ever, more like Eden. In Genesis 1 and 2, Adam and Eve were created and placed in Eden.
Eden was what God considered to be perfection. In Genesis 3, we all know the story of Adam and Eve’s fall. Everything on earth was impacted by the fall. God’s relationship with Adam and Eve was perfect before the fall.
Genesis 3:17-18 tells us that even the earth was affected by man’s fall. “17 . . . Cursed is the ground because of you; with hard labor you shall eat from it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; “
I believe that the New Earth and our relationship with God will be made perfect again.
There is very little information about the New Earth except Revelation 21:1-5 and Isaiah 65:17-19. God says that He will create a New Earth. If Eden was perfect. Below is a table from Chip Ingram which is an overview of heaven.
A Biblical overview of Heaven
Genesis 3-Revelation 19
Some believe and are transformed
Fallen Earth with glimmers of original
God delegates Earth’s reign to Mankind
Disputed reign with, and mankind. God, Satan and fallen
God delegates Earth’s reign to Righteous Mankind
Creation and mankind are perfect
Creation and mankind tainted by sin
Creation and mankind restored to perfection
Mankind is in Ideal place
Mankind banished, struggles and wanders, and in fallen places
Mankind restored to ideal place, but much improved
God’s Plan for mankind and Earth revealed
God’s plan for mankind and earth delayed and enriched
God’s plan for mankind and Earth realized
Reprinted from “The Real Heaven” Chip Ingram
Chip Ingram says, “
As Man was, so was the Earth,
As Man went, so went the Earth,
As Man will be, so will be the Earth.
Chip also says that there are 3 facts about the new earth.
“New earth will be a lot like the new me.” 1 Corinthians 15:40-53
“New earth will be a lot like the original one.”
“New earth will be a lot different and infinitely better.”
“As human beings, whom God made to be both physical and spiritual, we are not designed to live in a non-physical realm—indeed, we are incapable of even imagining such a place.” (Alcorn)
There is significantly more information in the Bible regarding the New Jerusalem.
Read Hebrews 11:10-16.
“9 By faith he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore even from one man, and one who was as good as dead at that, there were born descendants who were just as the stars of heaven in number, and as the innumerable grains of sand along the seashore.
13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country which they left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”
These verses tell us that Abraham was looking for a city with foundations whose architect and builder was God. If the city has a foundation, then it is a physical city.
In verse 16, the writer of Hebrews is speaking about Abraham and Sarah. Since they lived as nomads in tents, God would give them a “better country, that is, a heavenly one. God has prepared a city for them.”
In chapter 12, the writer of Hebrews writes about all believers that claim Jesus as the Savior. He says that we will go to a heavenly Jerusalem and see everyone that is living there. There will be angels, general assembly (NASB) or assembly of God’s firstborn children (NLT), God, spirits of the righteous made perfect and Jesus.
Hebrews 12:22-24 – “22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
Revelation 21:2 tells us that John saw new Jerusalem coming down from God. It was for believers by God.
Revelation 21:1-2 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
David Jeremiah calls the new Jerusalem the capital city of heaven. Every city currently on earth or that has ever been on earth pales in comparison to the New Jerusalem described by John. Revelation 21:16 tells us the dimensions of new Jerusalem. It will be a square that is 12,000 furlongs or stadia on each side. The NLT says that it is approximately 1500 miles, or 1 furlong = approx 220 yards) which is an area of about 2 million square miles. Since it is as high as it is wide, then it is a cube. This new city is about half the size of the United States. Based on these dimensions, one theologians speculates using the population of London that the new Jersualem could house 70 x population of world today.
David Jeremiah believes that since this cube design is like the (2 Chronicles 3:8) Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and again in the Temple, new Jerusalem will be like an immense Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was where God lived when He was on earth. Revelation 21:3 says “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them.”
John does his best to describe this city. He gives us seven (7) features of New Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:2 – Holy City (Other references include Revelation 21:10 Revelation 22:19)
Revelation 21:17-21 – It has 12 Gates, each made of a gigantic single pearl
Revelation 21-19-20 – It has a foundation of Precious Stones
Jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysprase, jacinth, amethyst.
Revelation 21:18 and 21 – The streets are made of Gold and these streets are like clear glass.
Revelation 21:11, 23, 24, and 22:5 – The Lamb that is the light
( also prophecied by Isaiah 60:19)
Revelation 22:2 – We will see the Tree of Life. Since the tree was on both sides, it sounds like multiple trees, fruit each month, sounds like Eden.
These trees will be for healing leaves – heaven’s therapy for improved well-being.
Revelation 22:1-2 & Psalm 46:4 – River of Life, it will be clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God.
Read Revelation 21:7-8, 25-27 22:14-15 – What do these verses say about entrance into the city. It will be controlled. Some will be denied entry into the city. I struggle with these verses because I don’t understand where these “cowardly, and unbelieving, . . “ souls come from? I am guessing these verses are pointing out that New Jerusalem is only for those that claim Jesus as their Messiah and confess their sins.
Revelation 21:7 The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Revelation 21:25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life, and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral persons, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
A Study of Heaven – Week 7
Worship in Heaven
Each week we come to church and worship. According to Dr. Jeremiah our worship can be broken into 3 parts.
Praise (missing during the pandemic)
In Revelation 4, we read about worship of God in heaven. In Revelation 5, we read about worship of Jesus in heaven.
Will prayer be useful in heaven? Some types of prayer will not be necessary. Any prayer about our needs will be unnecessary. We will be satisfied. Any prayer of forgiveness regarding us will be unnecessary. Prayers of healing, nope. Prayers of regrets, nope. I see only prayers of thanksgiving and prayers for loved ones on earth. We will be in the presence of God.
How about preaching, will we need preaching? We will be living in a state of perfect spirituality.
Psalm 145:1-2 says:
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
King David says he will praise God forever and ever. Dr. Jeremiah says that true worship “survives eternity”. The Psalms are full of examples.
Worship and praise should be inseparable. They should be voluntary and “from the heart”. If you come in ready for worship to be over, then you will not experience true worship.
Dr. Jeremiah says there are 5 elements to Heavenly Worship.
Context (He likes his points to start with the same letter.) The Cambridge dictionary defines “context” as “the situation within which something exists or happens, and that can help explain it.”
Revelation 4 and 5 tell us about heaven. Revelation 4:1 tells us that the door to heaven was open. For us it too will be open if we put our faith in Jesus.
When John arrives in heaven, he is in the throne room of God and there is a big celebration going on.
Center of Worship
John uses the word ‘throne’ 37 times in Rev. 4 and 5. The scene in the throne room shows:
Rev. 4:2 – God was sitting on the throne
Rev. 4:3 – A rainbow encircled the throne
Rev. 4:5 – From the throne proceeded lightings, thundering and voices
Rev. 4:6 – Before the throne was a sea of glass.
Rev. 4:6 – around the throne were four living creatures.
Rev. 4:10 – 24 elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne.
Rev. 5:11 – I heard the voice of many angels before the throne.
Rev. 5:13 – Blessings and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
The throne may appear to be the center of worship but it is God the Father and His Son.
In Revelation 4:8-11, the chorus is in praise of God the Father. In Revelation 5:8-10, the chorus is in praise of the Lamb, Jesus.
Dr. Jeremiah says the “You can feel the movement of worship through the book of Revelation building until there is a massive crescendo of worship to the Lord.”
Read the following verses and write down the words of praise.
Revelation 1:6 – glory and dominion (NIV & NLT power)
Revelation 4:11 – glory and honor and power
Revelation 5:13 – blessing (praise) honor glory power
Revelation 7:12 – blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power (5 fold)
Contrast of Worship in Heaven
Do you remember seeing the ocean for the first time or mountains or some scenic vista? On a smaller scale, that had to be what John experienced seeing heaven for the first time.
Dr. Jeremiah has 4 principles about worship
Worship is Not about us – It’s about Him.
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” William Temple
Think about your worship today. Is this the mindset that you have on Sunday morning? Don’t answer this question out loud. In the past I have talked to church members that were leaving our church. Some have said, “I am not being fed in this church.” If you come to church expecting to meet God, He will meet you there.
Worship is Not about Here – It’s about There
When we come into church our focus should change from our daily lives to the throne room of God. I have often said that during prayer time, prayer is the only thing that can take us to the “very throne of God”. We are to be in this world but not of this world. 1 John 2:15-17
In church, we should not be here but There (in heaven). – John 17:14-16. Heaven is our home.
Worship is Not about Now – It’s about Then
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NASB) – 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The outward man is perishing; the inward man is being renewed daily. The light affliction is today’s problems; the eternal glory is tomorrow’s promise. The things that we see today are temporary; the things that are not seen are eternal.
Worship is Not about One – It’s about Many
During this pandemic, we have gotten use to attending a worship service online. We get to hear the sermon but we miss out on praising God and fellowshipping with our church family.
Matthew 18:20 tell us that where two or more are together then God is with them.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us that we should make sure that we attend church, especially in person.
The following versus tell us how many will be worshiping the Lamb which is true worship. The following verses tell us that in heaven there will be large numbers worshiping. .
Revelation 5:11-12 says that there are “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands” worshiping in the throne room of God. Revelation 14:2-3 tells us that there were 144,000 worshiping the Lamb. And finally, Revelation 19:6 says that a great multitude said “Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God, “
There are times when we should worship alone but there are others when we should worship together.
A Study of Heaven – Week 8
The New Heaven and the New Earth
In the first week, we learned from Ecclesiastes 3:11, that God “has also set eternity in their heart”. We also know from Hebrews 13:14 that the earth is not our home “we are seeking the city which is to come.” There are numerous books and songs about being homesick for a Eden or Heaven. The choir sang an anthem called “Beulah Land”, it says “I’m kind of homesick for a country, to which I’ve never seen before.”
In week 6, I showed you Chip Ingram’s chart comparing Eden before the fall to the earth now and the future earth. Sin has ruined the earth and its inhabitants. We learned that as man goes, so does the earth.
Dr. Jeremiah says “This often unspoken yearning corresponds with God’s plans for the future, for everywhere we turn in the Bible we uncover prophecies and predictions about God’s true utopia – the new heaven and the new earth, wherein righteousness dwells.”
Promises of a New Heaven and a New Earth
What do these verses say about the new heaven and the new earth?
Psalm 102:25-26 – God will change the current heavens and earth
Isaiah 65:17-19 – God told Isaiah about the new heaven and the new earth and a new Jerusalem.
Isaiah 66:22-23 – God told Isaiah that the new heaven and the new earth and those that live there will live forever. And they shall worship God.
2 Peter 3:7-13 – Peter saw the destruction of the old heaven and old earth with a promise of new ones.
Revelation 21:1-2 – John saw a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem.
Purification (not Annihilated) of the New Heaven and New Earth
The current heaven and earth will be cleansed, glorified and equipped for our eternal use.
2 Peter 3:10, 12 some translations tell us that the earth will be ‘burned up’, the ESV and the NIV say that it will be ‘laid bare’. It will be a renewal or re-creation. It will be a purging of decay and sin.
Dr. Jeremiah says “As God created Adam out of the dirt of the ground, so He will recreate the New heaven and New earth from the elements remaining after the universe is destroyed by fire.”
When I think about the destruction of the earth, I think of Terry trying to keep our driveway clear of weeds. She sprays several times a year. It is because the weeds have gone to seed. To remove the seeds, it takes fire. If the New Earth is to be weed free, it takes fire.
Revelation 21:5 tells us God will make all things new. As man goes, so does the earth.
According to Walter Bauer’s, the word translated as ‘new’ is ‘kainos’ means new “in the sense that what is old has become obsolete, and should be replaced by what is new. In such a case the new is, as a rule, superior in kind to the old.”
Paul uses the same word in 2 Corinthians 5:17 which tells us that if we are in Christ then we are a new creation.
“The earth’s death will be no more final than our own. The destruction of the old Earth in God’s purifying judgment will immediately be followed by its resurrection to new life. Earth’s fiery “end” will open straight into a glorious new beginning. And as we’ll see later, it will just keep getting better and better.“ (Alcorn)
Revelation 21:1 says that the first heaven and earth have passed away. The Greek word for ‘passed away’ is ‘pa-rer-chom-ai’. It doesn’t mean cease to exist, it means changed from one state to another.
One theologian wrote, “The caterpillar passes away, and the butterfly emerges.” So it will be with the earth. Just as we will have new glorified bodies, so will the earth.
Like the Flood
2 Peter 3:5-7 – Consider the affects of Noah’s flood. It changed the earth but did not destroy it. It cleansed it. It purified it. It made it new.
John Piper says of this passage, “What Peter may well mean is that at the end of this age there will be cataclysmic events that bring this world to an end as we know it—not putting it out of existence, but wiping out all that is evil and cleansing it by fire and fitting it for an age of glory and righteousness and peace that will never end.”
Consider the flood, God passes judgment on the earth and removed all but 8 people and the animals on the ark. God promised He would not destroy the earth by water ever again. (Genesis 9:11)
Like the Resurrection of the Body – Redeemed, Renewed and Restored
Consider Jesus, His body broken and poured out for us. (Mark 14:22–24) He was beaten, He was sleep deprived, He was hanged on a cross until His body was lifeless. This isn’t the body that His disciples saw in the upper room after His resurrection. It was new. The same applies to the earth.
To deny Satan
Genesis 1:31 tells us that God was very pleased with His creation. God does not want to get any satisfaction from getting man and God to destroy His creation.
God uses the same earth but it is made new. As 2 Peter 3:10 tells us, “10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”
Some of the things that will be missing on the new heaven and earth are:
Revelation 21:1 – Sea
Revelation 21:4 – Death, Mourning, sadness, pain
Revelation 21:8 – Sin
The Reversal of the Curse
Genesis 3:17-19 tells us that sin did not affect just mankind but God cursed the ground because of what Adam and Eve had done.
Revelation 22:3 tells us that on the new earth there will no longer be a curse.
Dr. Jeremiah says “God sent His Son into the world, not only to save our souls but also to redeem creation from the results of sin. The work of Christ goes beyond the incredible goal of saving an innumerable throng of blood-bought people. The total work of Christ is nothing less than redeeming this entire creation from the effects of sin.”
Romans 8:22-25 tells us that not only do we groan but so does all of creation groan. We groan because of the impact of sin on our lives and our world. We groan for NASB says redemption, NLT says to be released from sin and suffering.
The Restoration of All Things
Revelation 21:4-5 tells us that the former things will pass away and God will make all things new.
Ephesians 1:9-10 tells us that God had a plan from the beginning. His plan was to send His Son to rule and to reign forever.
Randy Alcorn says of these verses that “Heaven is God’s home. Earth is our home. Jesus Christ, as the God-man, forever links God with mankind, and thereby forever links heaven and earth.“
The veil separating God and man was torn down. There will be one universe with Jesus as the head. Revelation 21:3 – God and man will be together as it was intended at creation.
A Study of Heaven – Week 9
What on Earth is the Millennium?
What thoughts does the hymn, “Joy to the World” bring to your mind, a baby lying in a manger or the Advent (Christ’s second coming)? What do the lyrics “Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!” or “Joy to the world! The Savior reigns”
Revelation 20:1-7 mentions the 1000 years six times in the seven verses. Another word for the 1000 years is ‘millennium’.
What does Peter tell us about 1000 years in 2 Peter 3:8? One day is with the Lord as a thousand ayears, and a thousand years as one day. It has been two millennia since Jesus was born in a manger. It has been 4 millennia since Abraham took Isaac to the mountain.
When we studied the Book of Revelation we learned about the different ways of thinking on when the Millennium would occur.
The three views of Millennium are:
These people believe that Jesus will return to earth after the thousand years of kingdom living occur. They believe that we are living in the Millennium right now. They also believe that there will be a “Golden Age” that will lead to the return of Christ. Looking at the world today, is it likely that we are living in a time of where society is getting better and closer to God?
These people believe that there will NOT be a one thousand year reign of Christ. The events that we read in Revelation 20 are happening now. The Church is reigning with Christ over the earth. A-millennialists require many of the scriptures about the 1000 year reign of Christ be interpreted spiritually and symbolically and not literally.
These people believe that when we read about a 1000 year reign of Christ in Revelation 20, it is a literal 1000 year reign of Christ. This view most closely fits the Scriptures.
According to Revelation 20, the Millennium will end with a final rebellion of man against God.
Christ will exert His power and bring the old earth to its fiery end. He will condemn the unsaved and bring about the new heaven and new earth.
Dr. Jeremiah says that there are four purposes for the Millenium.
Isaiah 40:10 and Revelation 22:12 tell us that God will reward the people of God.
1 Corinthians 6:2 and Revelation 20:4 – Part of the reward will be to reign and rule with Jesus.
Randy Alcorn said, “Service is a reward, not a punishment. This idea is foreign to people who dislike their work and only put up with it until retirement. We think that faithful work should be reward with a vacation for the rest of our lives. But God offers us something very different: more work, more responsibilities, increased opportunities, along with greater abilities, resources, wisdom and empowerment. We will have sharp minds, strong bodies, clear purpose and unabated joy.”
The purposes of the Millennium will be to:
To Respond to the Prophets’ Predictions
What do the following verses say about the Millennium?
Psalm 72:11 – all kings will bow, all nations will serve Him
Isaiah 9:7 – He will rule with justice and righteousness (NLT)
Isaiah 60:21 – Those serving Jesus will be righteous and inherit the land forever, that He may be glorified.
Zechariah 9:10 – He will rule the entire earth
Luke 1:32-33 – He will reign over all the earth forever.
To Receive the Answer to the Lord’s Prayer
The Millennium will be a time when the Lord’s Prayer (Disciples’ Prayer) is fulfilled.
Matthew 6:10 says, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
To Reemphasize Man’s Depravity and the Necessity of Christ’s Death
Revelation 20:7-9 tells us that at the end of the 1000 yr reign of Christ:
Satan will be released
He will go out and deceive the nations
Battle of Armageddon
Dr. Jeremiah gives us 5 Profiles of the Millennium.
The Millennium will all be a prelude to the New Heaven and the New Earth. This is not heaven. It will be a time of:
Peace – It will be a time without war.
Psalm 72:7 – Righteous shall flourish and abundance of peace
Micah 4:2-3 – He will judge righteously. No more tools of war, nor training of war.
Isaiah 11:6-9 – Even the animals will be at peace.
Prosperity – It will be a blessed world.
Ezekiel 34:26-27 – There will be showers of blessings
Ezekiel 36:29-30 – Never again will there be a famine
Ezekiel 36:35 – The land will become the Garden of Eden
Amos 9:13 – “When the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested.” NLT
Isaiah 35:1 – Even the desert flowers will be blooming
Purity – It will be a time without sin.
Isaiah 11:9 – Man will have full knowledge of who Jesus is.
Isaiah 25:9 – Jesus will truly be known as God.
Isaiah 66:23 – All men will worship Jesus
Zechariah 13:2 – There will be no idols. Satan and his minion will be gone.
It will be a return to pre-flood time. Man shall live as long as Methuselah.
Isaiah 65:20 – No SIDS, Even at 100 yrs old, a man will be young.
It will be a time of happiness and contentment.
Isaiah 9:3 – Increased joy
Isaiah 12:3 – Man will have joy from salvation.
Isaiah 14:7 – The whole earth is at rest and quiet. Man will be so joyful, he will break out in song.
Isaiah 25:8-9 – God has delivered salvation. Pure joy.
Isaiah 30:29 – There will be joyful praise of God.
Isaiah 42:10-12 – Man will be so joyful, he will sing.
When Jesus came the first time, He came as a baby but when He returns He will come as a King. Consider the differences between the 1st and 2nd coming of Jesus using the verses below.
Jesus’ 1st Coming Jesus’ Second Coming
Swaddling cloths (Luke 2:7) Reign in majestic purple
Weary traveler Untiring God
Nowhere to lay His head Revealed as heir of all things
(Matthew 8:20) (Hebrews 1:2)
Rejected by tiny Israel Accepted by every single nation
(Mark 6:4) (Philippians 2:10-11)
Lowly Savior acquainted Mighty God anointed with oil of
with grief gladness (Psalm 45:7)
Wicked soldiers bowed the Every knee will bow and tongue
knee of mockery (Mat. 27:27-31) confess that He is Lord
Crown of thorns (Mat. 27:29) Crown of gold Rev. 14:14
Delivered up His Spirit in death He will be alive forevermore
(Mat. 27:50) (Rev. 1:18)
Laid in a tomb Sit on a throne
(Mat. 27:59-60) (2 Corinthians 5:10)
A Study of Heaven – Week 10
What About Children?
There are a number of reasons that God would allow children to go straight to heaven.
The primary reason is His character.
Which attributes of God are given in the following verses that would lead you to believe that children who die before the age of accountability are in heaven?
Matthew 6:9 He is our Father
Deuteronomy 1:29-31 He has the Father’s love
Psalm 86:15 Compassion and mercy, longsuffering (slow to get angry), unfailing love and faithfulness
Psalm 145:9 Goodness and compassion
Genesis 18:25 Fair and Just
The word ‘children’ is used almost 100 times in the Gospels alone.
The following verses tell us when God first knew us. How soon in our life’s journey was that and who is speaking in these verses?
Psalm 139:13-17 In the womb, King David
Jeremiah 1:5 At conception, God
Psalm 22:9-10 As a baby, King David
Deuteronomy 1:39 tells us that there is a point when a child knows the difference between good and evil. Because the Israelites refused to trust God, the adults would never enter it but the children were not held accountable.
God did not say that children are sinless, just that they are not held responsible for their sins. Children are not the same as adults who willfully and knowingly commit sins.
The Condition of Salvation
We have discussed the ‘unforgivable sin’ or the sin that will keep you out of heaven. I believe that it is rejecting the work of salvation and thus rejecting the Father and the Son even unto death. It is the foundation of the Gospel.
Dr. Jeremiah says that “Children too young to know and understand the Gospel cannot willfully reject it.” The same applies to people with mental disabilities who are unable to grasp the concepts of the Gospel.
John MacArthur says “Little children have no record of unbelief or evil works, and therefore, there is no basis for their deserving an eternity apart from God. . . They are graciously and sovereignly saved by God as part of the atoning work of Jesus Christ.”
Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon “The Way of Salvation”, “Are [infants] saved? And if so, how? I answer, saved they are beyond a doubt; all children dying in infancy are caught away to dwell in . . . heaven . . . But mark this – no infant was ever saved apart from the death of Christ. Christ Jesus has with his blood bought all those who die in infancy . . . They are washed from all original corruption which they had inherited from their parents, and thus washed and cleansed they enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
The Compassion of the Savior
The following describe Jesus’ love for children. What do we learn about children and the heaven in these verses?
Matthew 19:13-14 “The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:13-14 or Luke 18:15-16, they all say the same thing. )
Matthew 18:1-5 – The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are the children. We have to come like a child. Receiving a child is like receiving Jesus Himself.
Matthew 18:14 – God the Father does not want any child to perish.
Remember the child of David and Bathsheba that was conceived out of wedlock? 2 Samuel 12:15-23 tells the story. The last verse tells us what the “Man after God’s own heart” says about the death of a child. Where does this verse say that David and the baby will be together?
Regarding the age of accountability, it is not based on age. It is the age at which a child is able to understand the Gospel and understand what rejecting it means. Dr. Jeremiah believes that Jesus reached this age before 12 because in Luke 2:41-50, He told His parents that He “must be about My Father’s business.”
How old will children be in heaven (or us for that matter)? There is no information to answer this question in the Bible. Some believe that Jesus was 33 and Adam and Eve were created as an adult, then children will be in their 30’s in heaven. Other people believe that the babies will grow up on the New Earth.
A Study of Heaven – Week 11
Tough Minded about Heaven
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. What reasons does Paul give us for studying about what happens when we are resurrected, either raptured or death? We should get:
Knowledge of what is going to happen.
Encouragement v 18
Confidence to tell others
1 Peter 1:13 tells us to completely put our hope in the grace we will receive when Jesus returns. We received grace through faith in Jesus when we accepted Him. The grace is given when Christ returns is something more.
“Grace isn’t just for the past, when we first gave our lives to Jesus. It isn’t only for the present, where we live each moment standing in His grace (Romans 5:2). It is also for the future, when grace will be brought to us. God has only just begun to show us the riches of His grace.“ (David Guzik)
As we study Satan over the next few months we will realize that Satan is constantly attacking us. Peter is telling us to:
prepare your minds for action to combat Satan
keep sober in spirit (be disciplined)
set your hope completely on the grace
I know that “I Then Shall Live” is one of Mike’s favorite hymns. Over the last few months, we have read verses in 2 Peter 3 that tell us what will happen to the old earth. Because we know that the earth will be purified some day, how does Peter tell that we then shall we live?
(2 Peter 3:11-18)
V 11 – holy conduct and godliness
V12 – looking forward to Jesus’ return
V 12 – hastening His return
V 14 – be diligent to be found spotless and blameless by Him,
V14 – at peace
V 15 – patient
V17 – be on your guard
“We are puzzled at the longsuffering which causes so weary a delay. One of the reasons is that we have not much longsuffering ourselves. We think that we do well to be angry with the rebellious, and so we prove ourselves to be more like Jonah than Jesus. A few have learned to be patient and pitiful to the ungodly, but many more are of the mind of James and John, who would have called fire from heaven upon those who rejected the Savior. We are in such a hurry.” (Spurgeon)
Peter wasn’t the only on to teach about how we should live in light of the Second Coming of Christ. John and Paul also told how to live. In each of these verses what do they say about how we should live.
Colossians 3:4-5 – Get rid of our sin
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – increase and abound in love. Develop holy hearts.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 – sanctified completely (set apart), live blamelessly (spirit, soul and body)
1 John 2:28 – abide in Jesus, (Have a living connection with Christ, Dependance on Him and maintain them)
1 John 3:2-3 – Do our best to be pure.
“If my wedding date is on the calendar, and I’m thinking of the person I’m going to marry, I shouldn’t be an easy target for seduction. Likewise, when I’ve meditated on Heaven, sin is terribly unappealing. It’s when my mind drifts from Heaven that sin seems attractive. Thinking of Heaven leads inevitably to pursuing holiness.“ (Alcorn)
We are to study God’s Word. God has given us information about what heaven will be like, so God wants us to study heaven. 2 Peter 3:3-4 tells us that scoffers will come, isn’t that the way people are behaving or saying today. People consider the Bible a vending machine. “I like selection A7, Salvation but not selection B10, Obedience to God.”
What do these verses tell us how we should look to Christ’s 2nd Coming? We should –
Philippians 3:20 – Eagerly wait for His 2nd Coming
Titus 2:13 – Be looking forward to it.
2 Timothy 4:8 – Love His 2nd Coming
2 Peter 3:14 – Be looking forward to it.
Luke 21:28 – Lift up our heads to look for it.
1 Corinthians 16:22 – “Maranatha!” Aramaic for “O Lord. Come!”
A key word in being prepared for Jesus’ 2nd Coming is ‘DILIGENCE’. (See 2nd Peter 1:5, 1:10 and 3:14) Peter uses it several times in 2 Peter. Salvation isn’t just “I accepted Christ into my heart.” It requires ‘walking the walk’. It is staying the course. It requires Diligence on our part. And No, you cannot lose your salvation but if you are truly saved, you will work diligently to understand God’s will in your life and be diligent at do what He has for you.
Knowing that Christ is coming again, how should we work to grow as Christians? (David Jeremiah chose words that start with “W”.)
Growth comes through the Will of God. Philippians 3:12-14
Growth comes through the Watchfulness of Prayer 1 Peter 4:7
Growth comes through the Word of God. 1 Peter 2:2 Revelation 22:7
Growth comes through the Work of the Church. Hebrews 10:24-25
The message of Paul is this: we are to stand firm, grounded in the fact that we have the peace of God in our hearts. We know who we are in Christ Jesus. We don’t have to prove ourselves to anybody—we know we are assured of Christ’s forgiveness, we know we are loved by God, and we know that we have a secure home in heaven forever. (Charles Stanley)
One minute after an believer dies . . .
Angels usher your soul to Heaven (Luke 16:22)
You immediately enter God’s presence (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
You are conscious, in command of your faculties for thinking, feeling, speech and memories (Luke 16:19-31)
You participate in magnificent worship with angels and believers before the throne of God and Jesus (Revelation 4-5)
You are aware of some degree of activities and events on Earth (Revelation 6:9-10)
You will recognize and communicate with believers who preceded you to Heaven (Luke 9:28-36)