Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13 - “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”
“Heaven” - Randy Alcorn
Rapture > Bema Seat Judgment > Seven Year Tribulation > Second Coming of Christ > Battle of Armageddon > 1,000 Year Millennium > The Great White Throne Judgment > New Heaven and New Earth
Does the Bible describe two different Heavens?
- The Here and Now Heaven
- What happens to us when we die?
Ecclesiastes 12:7 - “...and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
Philippians 1:23 - “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”
2 Corinthians 5:8 – “...and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 - “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- What do our bodies look like?
2 Corinthians 12:3 - “And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—”
- Will we remember life on earth?
Revelation 6:9-11 - “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before You will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
Matthew 12:36 - “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak...”
Malachi 3:16 - “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name.”
- Will we see what is happening on earth?
Hebrews 12:1 - “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...”
Luke 15:7 - “In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
- Will we be aware of the bad that happens on earth?
Revelation 21:4 - “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
“Those who live in the presence of Christ find joy in worshipping God and living as righteous beings in rich fellowship in a sinless environment. And because God is continuously at work on Earth, the Saints watching from Heaven have a great deal to praise Him for, including God’s drawing people on Earth to Himself. But those in the present Heaven are also looking to Christ’s return, their bodily resurrection, the final judgment, and the fashioning of the new earth from the ruins of the old. Only then and there, in our eternal home, will evil and suffering and sorrow be washed away by the hand of God. Only then and there will we experience the fullness of joy intended by God and purchased for us by Christ at an unfathomable cost.” (Randy Alcorn)
The New Heaven (The Ever After)
Revelation 21:1-5 - “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
- What will this New Heaven and Earth look like?
In the book of Revelation 21, Heaven is described:
- As a great city whose walls stretch 1,400 miles on each side and 216 feet high.
- The walls are made of jasper and are decorated with precious jewels of every kind.
- This great city has 12 gates each made of a single pearl. The streets of this great city are pure gold.
- The gates of the city will never have to be locked or shut because no will ever threaten them.
- The Bible tells there no sun and no moon. There is no need for either because God’s glory lights the sky like a lamp.
- The Bible says that in heaven wild animals, like lions, will get along with men.
- Revelation 22:1-2 describes a river that runs through the city. This river, the river of the water of life, is as clear as crystal.
What will life be like in the New Heaven?
Matthew 22:30 – “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
Matthew 8:11-12 - “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I Corinthians 2:9 - “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Why is it so important that we have an understanding of Heaven today?
- Heaven isn’t the end; it’s actually just the beginning.
- We were created for eternity.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 - “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
- We need to live in light of eternity.
Ephesians 5:16 - “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.”
“It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.” (C.S. Lewis)
I Corinthians 15:19 - “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
- With Heaven in mind, we need to be inviting as many people as possible to join us.
Romans 10:13 - “...for whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”