God Did Not Hold Back His Best When He Created The Earth
The earth that God created is not a functional, monochrome, utilitarian machine. It is full of beauty, color, and creativity. God declared it to be very good . God did not hold back when he created this world by keeping the best for heaven.
Of course, the world is not all that we would want it to be. Suffering pervades every part of our lives. But this problem is not because the earth is second rate. It is caused by the entrance of sin. Through the Bible God shows his commitment to fix this problem by descending to earth to address the issue of sin. This begins in Eden where he walks with Adam in the garden , and it continues as Gods glory is beheld in the tabernacle, in the temple, in the incarnation, in the crucifixion, in the resurrection, and in the gift of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus returns, it will not be just for a visit, to pick us up and take us elsewhere. He is coming to stay. The New Jerusalem will descend to earth , and the beauty of Gods creation will be restored and renewed.
The Tree Of Life In Heaven
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations .
In a world that is riddled with sickness and disease, the description of the tree of life in Revelation 22 is a beautiful reminder that there will be no more suffering or pain in heaven.
The fruit of the tree, which will line the center of heavens golden street, will be continuously available in abundance. There will be no more searching for the cures of diseases known to man. Every ailment will be remedied by the leaves of the tree, and the nations will be healed once and for all.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God .
Biblical Descriptions Of Heaven
There is a constant chant of holy angels that are continually proclaiming Holy, Holy, Holy over the throne of God. The Mercy Seat in heaven where God sits is surrounded by magnificent angels full of glory and power that proclaim and bless the holy name of God without ceasing. Some of these are described as beasts, full of eyes, with six wings and neither rest day or night in their proclaiming the holiness of God .
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Is Heaven A Literal Place Simply A State Of Mind Or Kind Of A Dream
Heaven is a literal place. It is not an imaginary world or fantasy land in which to dwell. God created Heaven with its vast array of authentic characteristics . Jesus did not ascend to a lofty dream world following His resurrection, but returned to sit at the right hand of God . Abraham didnt cling to the promise of living in a state of mind he looked forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God . The Old Testament heroes of faith longed for a literal place a better country a heavenly one for has prepared a city for them . Jesus told His disciples, You know the way to the place where I am going . That place is Heaven and Christ our Savior is there now, preparing for our arrival.
Having confidence that Heaven is a literal place is important, but even more so is that we know how to get there.
The only GPS that can give you flawless direction is the Gospel Plan of Salvation.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Excerpted with permission from The Heaven Answer Book by Billy Graham, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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We Will Have Work To Do
The idea of working in heaven is foreign to many people. Yet Scripture clearly teaches it. When God created Adam, he “took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” . Work was part of the original Eden. It was part of a perfect human life.
God Himself is a worker. He didn’t create the world and then retire. Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” . Jesus found great satisfaction in His work. “My food,’ Jesus said, is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work'” .
We’ll also have work to do, satisfying and enriching work that we can’t wait to get back to, work that’ll never be drudgery. God is the primary worker, and as His image-bearers, we’re made to work. We create, accomplish, set goals and fulfill themto God’s glory.
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Jesus Leads Armies Clothed In White On White Horses 1: 11
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses .
Rider on a white horse, Faithful and True the Lord Jesus will ride from heaven with His armies dressed in white. The King of Kings, wearing many crowns, will ultimately come to judge the nations. With eyes like flames of fire, His righteousness will penetrate every single heart.
There will be no mistake about who Jesus is or what He has done. His robe, dipped in blood, will be a testament to His perfect sacrifice on the cross. And every knee will bow, every tongue will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father .
Do Babies Go To Heaven
One of the primary arguments with the fact that not everyone will go to heaven is in regards to babies who pass away. Unfortunately, this is a very real issue. An incredibly sad reality, many children die each day. The Bible states that only those who accept Jesus as their personal savior. However, God is a merciful God.
Many scholars, pastors, and others believe that when a baby or child passes away, they are granted entrance into heaven. Because they have not had the opportunity to sin on this earth, God shows them His mercy and extends the gift of an eternity in heaven.
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Is The Hail Mary Prayer In The Bible
The prayer incorporates two greetings to Mary in Saint Lukes Gospel: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. and Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. In mid-13th-century Western Europe the prayer consisted only of these words with the single addition of the name Mary after the
Jesuss Proclamation About The Kingdom Of God Is Concerned With This World
When Jesus claimed my kingdom is not of this world , he was not referring to the domain over which he rules. Hopefully the kingdom of God makes an impact in this world! The Gospels clearly identify two kingdoms, but the division is not between sacred and secular the division is between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan . The ministry of Jesus disarms and defeats the kingdom of this world over which Satan rules. The day will come when heaven will declare that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ .
In the meantime, the division is not between a sacred kingdom and a secular kingdom. The effects of sin can be just as sorely felt in the church as in the workplace. Similarly, the effects of the kingdom of God can be lived out on Mondays as well as on Sundays. Jesus is Lord over all. He is committed to his creation.
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We Will Recognize One Another
Scripture gives no indication of a memory wipe causing us not to recognize family and friends. Paul anticipated being with the Thessalonians in heaven, and it never occurred to him he wouldn’t know them. In fact, if we wouldn’t know our loved ones, the comfort of an afterlife reunion, taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, would be no comfort at all. In heaven we probably won’t fail to recognize an acquaintance in a crowd or forget people’s names.
Heaven Will Be A City Built For Worship
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect .
This Bible passage is rich with beautiful and detailed descriptions of heaven. The city of the living God, will be a spectacular place according to Gods perfect design. And, as one writer put it, the heavenly Jerusalem will be a place of unimagined blessing.
Those registered in heaven, having been made perfect by Jesus sacrifice on the cross, will assemble with an innumerable company of angels before their most holy God. To try and picture the multitudes spread out before the Living God is amazing, and altogether incomprehensible.
Mount Zion, the city of David and the eternal possession of God Most High, will be the holy city where all will assemble to worship Him.
At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts .
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Jesus And The Kingdom
John the Baptist began his ministry announcing that the kingdom of heaven was at hand . Then Jesus took over: From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Jesus taught his followers how to enter the Kingdom of God: Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
The parables Jesus told illuminated truth about the Kingdom of God: And he answered them, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
Likewise, Jesus urged his followers to pray for the coming of the Kingdom: Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus promised he would come again to earth in glory to establish his Kingdom as an eternal inheritance for his people.
Jesus said in John 18:36, “My kingship is not of this world.” He was not implying that his reign had nothing to do with the world, but that his dominion came not from any earthly human, but from God. For this reason, Jesus rejected the use of worldly fighting to achieve his purposes.
Where and When Is the Kingdom of God?
Sometimes the Bible refers to the Kingdom of God as a present reality while other times as a future realm or territory.
Nevertheless, Jesus often spoke of the Kingdom as a future inheritance:
What Is Kingdom Of Heaven About
Still in grief over his wifes sudden death, village blacksmith Balian joins his long-estranged father, Baron Godfrey , as a crusader on the road to Jerusalem. After a perilous journey to the holy city, the valiant young man enters the retinue of the leprous King Baldwin IV , which is rife with dissent led by the treacherous Guy de Lusignan , who wishes to wage war against the Muslims for his own political and personal gain.
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New Jerusalem Dead Sea Scrolls
Discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls near Qumran, Israel, were fragments of a scroll which describes New Jerusalem in minute detail. The New Jerusalem Scroll appears to contain apocalyptic vision, although, being fragmented, it is hard to categorize. Written in Aramaic, the text describes a vast city, rectangular in shape, with twelve gates and encircled by a long wall. Similar descriptions appear in Ezekiel 40-48 and Revelation 21-22 and comparison to the Temple Scroll shows many similarities despite no direct literary links between the two.
It Comes Down Out Of Heaven
This New Jerusalem doesnt just appear: its brought to earth from the abode of God.
This is where maybe we get heaven right: if this city is being prepared, and if it indeed comes to earth from heaven, then its possible that the New Jerusalem is under construction in heaven now. That would mean that at least part of heaven may resemble Johns vision of the New Jerusalem but thats a bit speculative for my taste.
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Facts About Heaven That Will Surprise You
by Randy Alcorn on Monday, February 29, 2016 at 3:02 PM
In heaven, we’ll embrace God’s holiness and justice. God will be our source of joy. But will we miss things from earth? Will we become angels? Will we work? Author Randy Alcorn answers some of the common questions we all have about heaven.
When I anticipate my first glimpse of heaven, I remember the first time I went snorkeling.
I saw countless fish of every shape, size and color. Just when I thought I’d seen the most beautiful fish, along came one even more striking. Etched in my memory is the sound of a gasp going through my snorkel as my eyes were opened to a breathtaking underwater world.
As believers, I imagine our first glimpse of heaven will cause us to gasp in a similar waywith amazement and delight. That first gasp will likely be followed by many more as we continually encounter new sights in that endlessly wonderful place.
Though most of us are in no hurry to get to our final destination, we all have questions about it. After in-depth study of the Scriptures, here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
Humans Are Made In The Image Of God To Have Dominion
Genesis 1 begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth, but then narrows in to a particular garden called Eden. This garden is where God dwells with his people on earth. In the Ancient Near East, the home of a god was a temple, and Eden is presented in these terms. But it is a temple with a difference. It is not a static, lifeless building but a growing garden. God is not a lifeless statue within this temple, but he walks and talks within the garden . The images in the temple are not made of wood or stone, but are human flesh and blood named Adam and Eve .
All later tabernacles and temples within the history of the people of Israel are a reflection of Eden. The Garden of Eden is the exemplar of what it looks like when heaven and earth meet. Gods image bearers are given a purpose within the temple. They are bestowed with vice-regal authority to manage the development in Gods world, to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth . This is why humans were created. It goes to the core of our reason for existence.
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The Renewal Of The Earth Means We Are Committed To The Things Of The Earth
Creation and new creation are the bookends of the Bible. God is concerned for the renewal of this earth. Christian ministry is not just about telling people how to get into heaven when they die, essential though that is. It is also concerned for what happens in this world. Telling people the way of salvation is of foundational importance. Without repentance of sins and submission to the Lordship of Jesus, nothing else makes sense. But that is not the end of the story. If we acknowledge that the Christians hope is the renewal of all things, it gives meaning to life. Christian communities are commended for the way they bless the places where they live . If our lives are transformed by the power of the gospel, our workplaces, families, marriages, friendships, and world will be impacted. God is concerned for this physical world. A good question for every church to ask is, If our church were to close down, would anyone in our neighborhood notice the difference?
Ian K. Smith is the author ofNot Home Yet: How the Renewal of the Earth Fits Into Gods Plan for the World.
Ian K. Smith is the principal of Christ College, Sydney, where he also teaches Greek and New Testament. He has also served in parish ministry and as a missionary in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. He speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and other venues.