Posted in theology

Heaven Week #2: It’s a real place

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday I wrote about heaven and we defined terms and talked about how exciting the first space trips were when we got to look back and see earth from the heavenly perspective. How wonderful it will be to look to Jesus when we are all really in heaven and see the universe from HIS heavenly abode!

J. C. Ryle wrote:

There is a glorious dwelling place provided by Jesus Christ for all His believing people. The world that now is, is not their rest: they are pilgrims and strangers in it. Heaven is their home.
There will be a place in heaven for all sinners who have fled to Christ by faith, and trusted in Him : for the least as well as the greatest. Abraham took care to provide for all his children, and God takes care to provide for His. None will be disinherited; none will be cast out; none will be cut off. Each shall stand in his lot, and have a portion in the day when the Lord brings many sons to glory. In our Father's house are many mansions.
The very Bible itself only lifts the veil a little, which hangs over this subject. How could it do more? We could not thoroughly understand more, if more had been told us. Our constitution is as yet too earthly. Our understanding is as yet too carnal to appreciate more if we had it. The Bible generally deals with the subject in negative terms, and not in positive assertions. It describes what there will not be in the glorious inheritance, that thus we may get some faint idea of what there will be. It paints the absence of certain things, in order that we may drink in a little the blessedness of the things present. It tells us that the inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. It tells us that the devil is to be bound,-that there shall be no more night and no more curse,-that death shall be cast into the lake of fire,-that all tears shall be wiped away, and that the inhabitant shall no more say, "I am sick." And these are glorious things indeed! No corruption!-No fading!-No withering!-No devil! No curse of sin!-No sorrow!-No tears!-No sickness!-No death! Surely the cup of the children of God will indeed run over!

Did you ever think about that before, that the Bible speaks as much about what won’t be in heaven as what will be there?

The heaven we think of now, the place we saints go when we die, is not the permanent heaven. It’s a temporary heaven. The permanent heaven will be the New Earth. God will dwell with us here after the old earth is passed away, hell is thrown into the Lake of Fire, and all the judgments have been completed. (Revelation 21:1). One difference is that when we die in these present days, we go to where God is. But in the final heaven, God has come to us. It’s actually what Immanuel means, “God with us.”

The earth will have no curse. All graves will have melted in fervent heat when God recreated earth. (2 Peter 3:12). Death and hell will have been thrown into the Lake of Fire which will be at the outer edge of the heavens. The earth will be perfectly pure and holy, and God will be with us, here. Isaiah 65 and 66 give a longer explanation of what God has planned regarding the upcoming Millennial Kingdom (we know there’s an actual 1000 year kingdom and prior to eternity because Isaiah 65 mentions people who die), and then the New Heaven and New Earth of the eternal state.

The heaven that is in our future (and the one now) is a real, physical, actual place. It’s not a state of being. It’s not an ephemeral idea. It’s not a nebulous notion with us as spirits floating around on clouds. It is real and actual. Jesus said in John 14:3 that he would come back and take us there.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be. (John 14:3).

The word in the verse for place in the Greek is topos. It means an inhabited place or region. Jesus said ‘I am coming’, and ‘I will take’, indicating movement. He said, ‘there’ and ‘where’, indicating a location.

THIS is the Jesus of the now, not the bloodied, broken Man-God upon a cross, the reigning King, in His abode.

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And after turning I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and wrapped around the chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been heated to a glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. (Revelation 1:12-16).

Tomorrow, some details about what the Bible says heaven is like.

FURTHER READING

Heaven (book) Randy Alcorn

Heaven won’t be boring, blog post by Randy Alcorn

Heaven: Priceless Encouragements on the Way to our Eternal Home, JC Ryle

Heaven: online essay by JC Ryle

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

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

One thought on “Heaven Week #2: It’s a real place

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