By Elizabeth Prata
The unsaved man says, I am a good person, it’s just that the world doesn’t give me a chance to show how good I am.
The saved man says, I am no good. I was of the world and the world is evil.
This is why Jesus had to come from elsewhere than this world to save us.
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).
He is not of the world, because if He was of the world, the world would love its own. No earthly ‘savior’ will ever save us. Our hope does not lay in any political leader, any spiritual pioneer, any business innovator, any scientific genius. They are of the world.
When we are saved by His grace, we become not of this world, either. Our citizenship transfers to heaven. And no matter what the world thinks of us, this is a temporary stay. Anyone who has repented and fallen on Jesus as Savior, will be there. Either by death or rapture, we will leave this world and go to where all are good, because we will share in the Righteousness JESUS gave to us.
“I saw the holy city, the 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.” (Revelation 21:2-3).
This world is getting darker and darker. It will continue to be that way until it’s totally dark when the antichrist comes and takes over the whole world. (Revelation 13:7). During times of darkness, whether plague, war, or rising sin, whatever is making it darker and harder for us, it’s more important than ever to remember this world is not our home. Looking to Jesus and our heavenly home gives us relief, a refreshment for the eyes and the soul.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22 KJV).
Let’s define our terms.
“HEAVEN”… what is heaven? The Lexham Bible Dictionary says it is “the term used in the Bible to indicate the space where God and various spiritual beings reside. It is also used to speak of the area above the earth—the sky.”
For the ancient Israelite, the cosmos consisted of heaven, earth, and the lower waters (Exodus 20:4). In the Hebrew Bible, heaven is the location of the clouds, the atmosphere (Job 35:5), and the area across which the stars journey in their paths (Jeremiah 8:2). Various passages state that the heavens were created by the Lord (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 45:12) and that they could be opened at His bidding to bring rain (Genesis 7:12). The Israelites believed there was a vast body of water in the heavens that was the source of the rain (Jeremiah 51:16; Psalm 148:4). They thought there were vessels in heaven for the storage of the rainwater (Deuteronomy 28:12; Job 38:37). Source- Lexham Bible Dictionary.
The word “heaven” in the Old Testament usually designates the place of God’s habitation (Psalm 14:2; 1 Kings 8:30, 39). To differentiate between the visible heaven and the dwelling place of God, biblical authors often referred to Yahweh’s abode as the heaven of heavens or the highest heaven (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 148:4; Nehemiah 9:6). The Lexham Bible Dictionary.
So when we say ‘heaven’ singular, we are either talking about the place where God dwells and from which He reigns, or the physical heavens, plural.
I grew up in the era of space exploration. The world was fascinated with the photographs coming back from space capsule orbits, and then from the moon when man landed on it. Seeing the earth from a different, otherworldly perspective enthralled us. When Alan Shepherd made the first suborbital flight, leaving the earth in May 1961, it offered a view back to earth no one had ever seen before. In fact, the very first flight of any kind had only happened 58 years prior with the Wright Brothers’ first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Someone who was 20 years old when the Wright Brothers made news with their flight could have been 78 years old and seen the first space flight!
Holman Treasury of key Bible words says, "Today, we think of the “heavens” as the vast space above and beyond the earth—the universe and its multitude of galaxies and stars. For thousands of years, this space has enthralled, challenged, and lured mankind to investigate it—and even to worship it. The Hebrew Bible uses the word shamayim to express the concept of “heavens.” The word is plural and means “spatial expansion”—an expression that echoes the way modern astronomers describe the almost immeasurable stretch of space, sparsely populated with trillions of stars. This description also agrees with Genesis 1:8 where God calls the heavens, raqiaʿ—a word meaning the “separation” or “expanse” (see Genesis 1:6–7)." Source- In Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (p. 85). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Even though we know now that heaven and the heavens are expansive, larger than we can even comprehend, God is not contained with his heavenly abode nor contained within the universe itself. He fills and even overfills them. (Jeremiah 23:24). Our puny and finite minds have a hard time grappling with this, but we rest secure that heaven exists and it will hold a multitude of redeemed saints who will forever dwell there WITH Jesus, our faith having become sight. Be exalted above the heavens, God; May Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:5).
Tomorrow, more about heaven!
Heaven (book) Randy Alcorn
Heaven: A World of Love, Jonathan Edwards
Heaven: a sermon by Charles Spurgeon (written)
Heaven: a sermon by Charles Spurgeon (read aloud, audio)
Citizens of Heaven: a sermon by Alistair Begg