Heaven

There is not much said about Heaven anymore, or Hell either.  The promise of Heaven though, is at the very core of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Bible though doesn’t say much about what Heaven is like.  Jesus never sat down with His disciples and explained the glory and majesty of heaven.  He did say to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” but, He didn’t say what it would be like.  “For now we see through a glass, darkly;  but then face to face.”  I Cor. 13:12

The apostle Paul refers to heaven when he speaks of being taken up into paradise.  He says he saw and heard things there that so staggered his mind he had no language to describe it.  You get the idea from Paul’s description that, even if he could explain what he saw, our human minds couldn’t comprehend it.

Whatever Paul witnessed in heaven so impacted him that for the rest of his life he longed to be there.  Paul was thankful for his life, his calling, his ministry.  I believe he loved God’s people with  a passion.  But throughout his years of ministry, Paul’s continual desire was to go home and be with the Lord.  His heart was simply anxious to be there.

So, where is heaven?  We don’t know.  We do know that a new heaven is coming, as well as a new earth.  And this new planet won’t merely be the old earth as refined by fire but something entirely new.  At its center will be the capital city, the New Jerusalem.  We do know that the throne of God is in Heaven.  Likewise, Jesus is there, as are the angels of the Lord, in innumerable multitudes.  Moreover, Paul says that once we’re there, we will behold Jesus “face to face”. 1Cor 13:12.  In short, we’re going to have immediate, personal access to the Lord throughout eternity.  Evidently, we will learn things there that simply can’t be contained by the human mind here on earth.  We’ll have access to the mind of Christ himself, which is unlimited.  And I believe he’s going to teach us about all things eternal.

The Bible tells us that in heaven we will rule with the Lord as “Kings and priests: a nd we shall reign on the earth” Rev. 5:10 We’re going to act as his servants there and “shall serve him” 22:3.  This tells me we’ll be given thrilling blessed assignments int his new world to come.  Scripture speaks again and again of the roles angels have played throughout history, ministering even to Jesus.  Whatever our thrilling work will be, we can know will continue for eternity, because God’s worlds are without end.  Consider for a moment the seeming infinity we see in space.  Our own solar system is said to be at least five billion miles in diameter, and yet it’s a mere dot in the universe.  Scientific discoveries show there is system after system, apparently, without end.  It is all so staggering to the mind.

The Hebrew scholars of Paul’s day taught there were tghr4ee layers of heavens, first the physical atmosphere we inhabit, then the second heaven, where the stars are , and finally the third heaven, where God and paradise are.”  quote Dave Wilkerson, The World Challenge Pulpit Series.

From Ed Young, Winning Walk Ministries:  ” Concerning 3 Heavens – Created Order.  1st Heaven consists of our planet and all of the universe.  All of 1st Heaven is created!  It includes the stars of the Heavens and magnificence of the 1st Heaven.  2nd Heaven is spiritual – not tangible…like perfume still in the air.  This is where the angels and Michael the arch angel dwells as well as evil spirits John 3:5 born of water and the spirit..he can not enter the Kingdom of Heaven , in verse 6.  Speaks of flesh verses the spirit, ‘must be born again spiritually.” John 3:;8, 12, 13. The 3rd Heaven is where God abides.  Our ultimate destination is to get ot 3rd Heaven, the throneroom of God.  Relations between body and spirit. The soul is the spiritual part of us….thought patterns located in the spirit is the supernatural part of us when we are saved.  The body relates to body and 1st Heaven, Soul the 2nd Heaven, Spirit 3rd Heaven.  Heaven is not just a Christmas pageant.

Now, the New Heaven and New Earth we will either come with him when we die, spiritual and physical when all Heavens come togeth4er in the Rapture, forever and ever and ever. John 14:2 From the Beatitude 7 was like a trumpet.  It reverberated, and later Jesus teaching was sober, softer.  ‘In my father’s House are many mansions.’ John’s view in Revelation…like Jesus went up to this mountain and saw the other side. ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ Those of us that are born again spiritually.  Everything there is being prepared for us.  We will be totally at home . AT HOME!  Where I am so will He (Jesus ) be also!  ‘ Eye has not seen nor ear hared what God has prepared for us…the perfection , the magnificence of Heaven.”  Note, John wrote Revelation about 94AD in Patmos in Turkey.

Back to Wilkerson’s study.  “We begin with the apostle John’s vision in Revelation 21.  John tells us, we won’t find the following things in heaven:  1. There will be no more seas.  ‘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’ Rev. 21:1” (Now that breaks my heart! However:) “John isn’t saying th4re will be no water.  He’s stating that there won’t be any more threats from the earth’s large bodies of water, no more hurricanes, typhoons or killer tsunamis.  In fact, the only water that’s mentioned concerning this new earth will be a river of gladness that flows through the streets of the New Jerusalem.  ‘He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 22:1’.

2. There will be no handkerchiefs in heaven.  We won’t have any need for such things, because Scripture implies we won’t even need tear glands.  “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” 21:4.  According to John, tears simply won’t exist in Heaven.  Likewise there will be no more funeral parlors, caskets or cemeteries.  Why? ‘ ‘There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying’  or mourning, because in heaven we will never die.  Once we have been raised from the earthly  grave by Christ’s resurrection power, we can never die again.   3. There will be no more drug stores, hospitals, doctors, nurses, ambulances, painkillers or prescriptions.  John writes, ‘ Neither shall there be any more pain.” 21:4.   John’s verse has a special meaning for me; ‘Neither shall there be any more pain. ‘ Rev. 21:4  We can rest in the knowledge that our saved loved ones who may have suffered so much on earth, with illness, and maybe cancer, are now with Jesus, where there is no more pain.  Amen!

4. There will be no more fear and no unbelief, no more abomination, murders, lies, or witchcraft.   The Bible tells us, that all who practice such things will be cast into the lake of fire.

Paul sums this up with an admonition for all of God’s people.  Paul exults, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through  our Lord Jesus Christ.’ I Cor. 15:57.  Many Christians quote this verse daily applying it to their trials and tribulations.  Yet the context in which Paul speaks it suggests a deeper meaning.  Just two verses earlier, Paul states, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ 15:54-55. Paul was speaking eloquently about his longing for heaven.  He wrote, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.’ I Cor. 5:1-2.  Then he adds, ‘ We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the godly, and to be present with the Lord’, 5:8.  According to Paul, heaven being in the Lord’s presence for all eternity, is something we are to desire with all our hearts.

Maybe this all sounds far fetched to you, but, Paul himself testified about it.  When the faithful apostle was caught up into heaven, he ‘heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter’ 2 Cor. 2:4.  Paul said he was staggered t what he heard there.  I believe these were the very sounds he heard.  He was given a preview of the singing and praising of God by those who will be rejoicing in his presence, the bodies made whole, their souls filled with joy with joy and peace.  It was a sound so glorious that Paul could hear it but, not repeat it. So, make heaven your earnest desire.   Jesus is coming for those who long to be with him there!” From D. Wilkerson World Challenge.  Other scriptures:

Ikings 8:27, 2Chr 26:6, 18. Ps 103:11, 115,:16, Prov 25:3, Isa.66:1, Jer. 31:37, Hag. 1:10, Luke 15:18, John 1:51, Acts 3:21, Ps 73:25, Eccl 5:2, Heb. 10:34, IPet 1:4, Ps 8:3, 19:1, 89:11, Is 65:17, 2Cor. 5:1, Eph 4:10, 2Pet 3:12, Mat 6:14, 26:32, 15:13, 18:;35, Luke 11:13, John 3:12, ICor 15:48, 49 , Eph 1:3, 20:26, 3:10, 2Tim 4:18, Heb. 3:1.

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