By Elizabeth Prata
I love to linger in thoughts of the supernatural. God is supernatural, of course. He is above us here in the natural world. The Trinity is supernatural. Who can understand it? The creation in 6 days is supernatural, and amazing too. His omnipotence is surely on display right from the first verses of Genesis.
Angels are supernatural. Sometimes invisible hordes are all around us (2 Kings 6:17). And demons are supernatural. They are real, led by satan, the former highest angel. The Bible depicts demon possession. Jesus spent quite a bit of time casting them out. Just because 2000 years have gone by does not mean the demons are gone. They are still around, and will make an even more prevalent appearance during the Tribulation. (Rev 9:3, Rev 16:14, Rev 18:2, Matthew 24:37).
Do you ever wonder where heaven is? Is it right there, in a nearby dimension we can reach out and touch? The unseen gathering chariots at Elisha’s battle were there and became visible after Elisha prayed and God graciously opened his servant’s eyes. (2 Kings 6:17-20).
Heaven is absolutely a real place, it has physical properties, inhabitants, and activities within it. Bible verses say that it is above the earth, or people are called to ‘come up here.’ Or that they ‘went down’ from heaven to earth. But that could be language indicating that its heights are gloriously high because of the One who dwells there.
On the Mt. of Transfiguration, Jesus was changed as His glory shone out, and ‘suddenly’ He was speaking with Moses and Elijah personally and bodily. Is heaven parallel with us, alongside with us the whole time? After all, Jesus is omnipresent, and always ‘near.’ As Daniel was praying, before he even finished his request, Gabriel appeared. (Daniel 9:21). Is heaven that close?
Or, is heaven not yet physical and only a spiritual place where souls dwell, and God as Spirit dwells? That it will only become physically real after the New Jerusalem is completed and descends to earth? However, Jesus as God-Man IS physical, so how could He as a Person with physical properties dwell in a non-physical place?
Ow, my head hurts.
Thee is a story told by Dr. David Leininger at The Presbyterian Pulpit about heaven.
I love the old story of the rich man who, on his death bed, negotiated with God to allow him to bring his earthly treasures with him when he came to heaven. God’s reaction was that this was a most unusual request, but since this man had been exceptionally faithful, permission was granted to bring along just one suitcase. The time arrived, the man presented himself at the pearly gates, suitcase in hand – BOTH hands, actually, since he had stuffed it with as many bars of gold bullion as would fit. St. Peter said, “Sorry, you know the rules – you can’t take it with you.” But the man protested that God said he could…one suitcase. St. Peter checked, found out that this one would be an exception, prepared to let the man enter, then said, “OK, but I will have to examine the contents before you pass.” He took the suitcase, opened it, saw the gold bars and asked quizzically, “You brought PAVEMENT?”
Certainly this cute story makes the point to us that what we value here on earth will not be what we value in heaven, wherever heaven may be now or in the future. We will value Jesus above all, His glory, His ways, His nail-scarred hands and riven side. We will value each other as HIS trophies of grace, having no pride, love and care for our brethren as Jesus cares for us. We will value past salvations borne from His grace, the cross, His plans and ways.
The most precious commodity currently on earth, gold, will then be just dusty matter under our feet, our eyes not upon its glitter any longer, but upon the glorious Light shining from ever corner of the Universe, Jesus.
These are fun things to ponder. One of our Elders always says ‘Think Eternally!’
My essay was just a few thoughts, not an exhaustive or scholarly treatment of the location of heaven. Others have written aobut that, in the following links that may be of interest to you:
Grace To You: Where is Heaven?
Randy Alcorn at Ligonier: Heavenly Mindedness
Alistair Begg: Our Heavenly Dwelling