What is heaven like?
Rev 21:1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He *said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."
Heaven will be beyond what any human can imagine in grandeur, beauty, joy and peace. When God does something it is spectacular and beyond our comprehension. Look at the mountains, sky, sea and all that is in them to get a small idea. The greatest thing about heaven is that God himself will be there visibly present and that is what will make heaven so wonderful for those who have believed in Jesus.
John 6:47 “Truly, truly I say to you he who believes in Me has eternal life!”
Where is heaven? Is heaven real?
The Bible makes it clear there is a real place called heaven. Jesus said it is the place where God lives. The Bible is the only source of communication from God.
John 14:2, 3 “In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
"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.
Luke 23:43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
Rev 21:2-3 And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,
What happens after you die?
For those who have believed in Jesus.
II Corinthians 5:1,6,8 1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
The apostle Paul, as a believer in Jesus Christ as his savior, knew that the moment he died or left this body, he would be immediately in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He never speaks of an intermediary place or waiting in the grave. The soul and spirit of a person is what enters heaven now for those who have believed and are saved. At the second coming of Jesus they will receive a new body which will last forever.
Luke 23:42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"
And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. No waiting or maybe or unless you…. When the thief said, “remember me” he had believed that Jesus was his savior. He died a few minutes later and went immediately to heaven.
For those who have not believed in Jesus.
Luke 16:22-24 “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. "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.'
Jesus tells of the incident where a man dies and goes to hell. There are no safe places for those who die without having believed in Jesus. The only thing that awaits them is separation from God eternally. Jesus makes sure he warns us that we do not want to end up there. Then he makes it so simple for us to escape that horrible place.
John 3:17-18 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Who wrote the Bible, God, man or both?
2Tmothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2Peter 1:20-21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
When God wanted to communicate to man he used the normal verifiable way that men communicate. He used words that were written down by men whom He moved to write what He wanted them to say.
The words of the Bible were given to 40 various men to write 66 books. They were “God breathed” or exhaled by God to men who recorded these words using their own personality and literary style. The Bible is not just another inspirational book. It is the only book that claims to be inspired by God. Because of this the Bible carries power or weight or authority. It is backed up by the God of the Universe who created all things including man.
How do we know the Bible we have today is an accurate message from God?
Determining which books would be considered inspired by God took place over a period of time. The 66 books we have today are called the cannon (rule or principle) of scripture. There was a high standard set to determine which books were inspired.
Rules for entry:
1. The writer was a prophet or apostle of God or directly connected to them.
2. The book must be consistent with what had already been revealed.
3. The writing clearly evidenced the presence of God.
4. The book was widely accepted at an early date by the church.
No later than 150BC the 39 Old Testament books had been written, collected and recognized as canonical books. Jesus gave his approval to the Old Testament books in Luke 11:51, 24:44
The New Testament books were written by men in direct contact and eyewitnesses of Jesus. By 100AD these writings were complete and the early church considered them canonical.
Although men today write books that are inspirational there are no more books that have been written that are directly inspired by God Himself.
Rev 22:18-19 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
How do you correctly interpret the scriptures?
There are so many different interpretations of the scripture. How do we come to the conclusions we have regarding eternal life being an absolute free gift?
We are not to create our own meaning of a passage. We are not to read into a passage what we want to make a passage mean. We need to follow a process and ask certain questions to get to the truth:
1. What is the meaning of individual words, literally, figuratively and culturally?
2. Examine the historical context of the author, cultural setting, time frame, etc.
3. What is the context of the book, paragraphs, persons written to and the entire scope of the topic?
4. Understand the truth as it was written to the people of that time and then apply it to our lives today.
"I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels." Jesus Revelation 3:5
Are you a Church leader? Connect with us for Ministry support.