Do all dogs go to Heaven? Let's answer up front!
So far in our series we have discussed...That the final Heaven will be here on a New Earth!
That we will have new, earthly bodies, not bodiless souls...That there will, in fact still be- time, day, night, & seasons...And lastly, we have taken a close, glorious look at the New Jerusalem City that will come down to earth for Christ to dwell with man!
Who Will Live In The New City of Jerusalem? Let's start with a very good question that we began to touch on when we last talked... The perfect starting point..."Who will actually be living in the New Jerusalem?" Let's look at the verses describing this City briefly again...
Revelation 21:23-27 (NLT)
23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Revelation 22:1-2 (NLT)
1 Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
Notice that very clearly, these verses say a couple of things:
One - There will be nations of people outside of the New Jerusalem all over the earth!!
Two - They must be saved and belonging to God…
Because, "nothing evil will be allowed to enter... but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." -Revelation 21:27 (NLT)
They will have free access to the City…They will bring goods to the City in worship…And they will receive health and eternal life from the Tree of Life in the City! So, the obvious conclusion is this... There will be many "Blood bought" Children of God…Who are living with Him in eternity… That ARE NOT LIVING DIRECTLY IN THE CITY AT ALL TIMES!! They have unlimited access... Doors ALWAYS OPEN! But, it is NOT their place of residence!
All of Earth is Heaven!!!! New Jerusalem is simply the Capital of the world…Where Christ PHYSICALLY RULES forever! Physical Body, remember?! But we have the Gift of the Spirit FOREVER! (With Him!) And all the people and nations have permanent, constant, free access to Him at all times! So, the obvious next question is... "Who lives directly in the City?"
This question has one very clear answer...And one strongly implied addition to that answer!!
FIRST- It is absolutely clear the City of New Jerusalem Is the Capital City of Israel that comes down where Israel exists...And, it is emphatically CLEAR that Israel will dwell in THEIR LAND...
With God as their King, over all the nations of the earth, FOREVER! (LISTEN CLOSELY!)
Ezekiel 37:26-28 (NKJV)
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify ISRAEL, when My sanctuary is in THEIR midst forevermore.
Jesus will Rule over ALL of Heaven on Earth from THIS Throne...With all nations around the world, in their individual glory...Given free & open access to Him, the City, & the Tree! But, with Israel as the Capital of these nations! (Disciples on Gates/Tribes on Foundation) A logical and beautiful reward…For the trials, pain and persecution they endured…For the sake of His Word... And His Son... To save the World! (Chose least…)
SECONDLY - Scriptures are VERY CLEAR...There are levels of reward and position THERE…
Based upon your faithfulness to Christ here & now!
Matthew 19:29-30 (NKJV)
29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Revelation 22:12 (NKJV)
12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
And part of that reward will be ruling cities throughout the New Earth in Eternity!! Meaning again, saved children of God will be living in cities other than New Jerusalem!!!
Luke 19:17 (NKJV)
17 And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
But those rewards may also reap a very special benefit for many who are not Israelites as well... Listen...
Matthew 8:10-11 (NKJV)
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
Revelation 7:9, 14-15 (NKJV)
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands... 14 ..."These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. (Before New Earth- But principle!)
Here, Scriptures appear to reveal...Those who serve in great sacrifice & faithfulness...Receive a more prominent place of SERVICE in Honor, Glory and Intimacy near to Our King, as part of their reward! So New Jerusalem would seem to be the Capital of the New Earth... Resting in the Nation of Israel...With Israelites and select Gentiles living and serving their continuously...But belonging to... And accessible by...All of the tribes and nations of the World! With Gates that are always open...
What Are These New Bodies Suppose To Be Like? OK, so we are on our New Earth, in our new bodies...But what will these new bodies be like? Will we eat? Will we drink? Will we recognize each other? Will we look like we do now? Will we remember each other? Will we remember our lives? Will we get to be with loved ones there…Whom we’ve spent our entire lives with here?
Let's use only Scripture to pull a real and SOLID answer together! What will WE be like in Heaven?
Luke 24:39-40 (NKJV)
39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
Philippians 3:20-21 (ESV)
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Job 19:25-27 (NKJV) * One of the oldest Books in the Bible *
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
Isaiah 65:17 (NKJV)
17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
This verse is clearly continuing the thought started in the preceding verse, which identifies which, "former" things will be forgotten...
Isaiah 65:16-17 (NKJV)
16 ...Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My eyes. 17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Bad times will simply be lost in all the security and goodness we will experience!!! As Philippians 3:13-14 says, we will simply forget what is behind as we reach forward to what's ahead...
So far… Scriptures show seem to clearly show…
We have physical bodies...That have the same gender...That are still identifiable by all...That still possesses a recognition and connection to previous loved ones...That we still have memories of all experiences in this life...
And remember, when in doubt about how things will be in Heaven…Scriptures strongly point out that whatever you are questioning...Will always be better than now...Will always be connected to who you are, and the life you have always lived! There are NO Biblical passages to say anything contrary! So, if we recognize, and are with those we love now...
Will there be marriages in Heaven? Will there be sex in Heaven? First, will there be marriages?
The quick answer, based directly on Scripture, is "NO!"
Matthew 22:29-30 (NKJV)
29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
Now, this obviously doesn't mean we are like the angels in physical form… But in the area of marriage compared...So, why will we not still have this wonderful covenant? There is no literal, Biblical answer given...We would have to assume…This relationship has been to teach us the selflessness and love of Christ and His church...And that the perfect love in Heaven is beyond the marriage relationship…Or is replaced by a new, more perfect bonding! And we will all be a part of one big marriage with Christ! But, remember, if it changes it is always better…NEVER worse!
Without marriage, will there be sex? Though genders are shown as being unchanging...
Sex is unmentioned! Sex outside of marriage is wrong here on earth...But, we do not know what kinds of relationships may form in Heaven...So, that proves nor disproves anything. There are two possibilities, based on Scriptural principles. One, is to agree with Billy Graham in an interview with Larry King on CNN in 1998...
"It's going to be like paradise... everything that you ever wanted for happiness will be there. People say that the bible teaches there's no sex in Heaven. If sex is necessary for our happiness and fulfillment, it'll be there. And then, if certain other things that we think are pleasurable will -- it'll be there." - Larry King, Live Interview, CNN, Dec 25, 1998
Our sexuality is a natural drive, God created as an extremely intimate bonding…And it is a part of our identity that we keep...We continue to function in every other way in Heaven...Would this be different?
Either this will have a place we don't yet understand in Heaven... Or…Two, we will have a relationship so much better, and higher than the beauty of sexual relations…That we cannot understand it yet!!
- C.S. Lewis gives a very good analogy of the possibility for something so much richer & more awesome than sex, we cannot understand it! From his book, Miracles:
"I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer "No," he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality."
So, sex will either be incorporated into our new lives…Or replaced with an intimacy and pleasure beyond understanding! Remember, no worries… Only expectations… Always better!
Will we enjoy eating and drinking in Heaven as now? I don't know about you, but it would seem a little less "heavenly" without getting to sit in fellowship and "chow down" on some awesome cooking!
Yet, the idea that we won't eat or drink, often grows from quoting this verse out of context!
Revelation 7:15-16 (KJV)
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
This verse must be taken completely from it's beautiful and clear contextual meaning…To even hint that we won't eat or drink in Heaven! It is speaking about saints in Heaven that have suffered terrible hardships in the Tribulation for their faith...And saying THEY will never go through this abuse again- Including going without food, water and shelter! This verse says just the opposite… When read in its entirety, and in context... Listen next vs!
Revelation 7:17 (KJV)
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
It is not saying they won't eat…But that God Himself will be the One to provide!!
And, there is NO room to doubt eating and drinking in Heaven, when compared to the overwhelming verses related!
Luke 22:17-18 (NKJV)
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
Luke 14:15 (NKJV)
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
Luke 24:40-43 (NKJV)
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
Luke 22:29-30 (NKJV)
29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
And when we add this to the fact that Revelation speaks of The Tree of Life bearing fruit for the nations...What do we think that will be for, to throw at each other?!
Of course we will eat in Heaven!!! That brings ME to some good questions FOR YOU:
So, back to our conversation: Since we WILL eat... WHAT will we eat in Heaven? Again, Scriptures do not answer directly...So, we will piece together what we do know! Fruits, herbs, vegetables were all in Original plan! And Jesus said He would take of the vine in Heaven!!
Meat was approved on the old earth and possibly in the Millennium… Where sacrifices & death are prevalent. But, in the original creation, death was not known…Even animals had no tendency to eat one another...Since, we are going to be restored to a world of no curse, and no death... What does that lead you to consider about meat? But, if that is true... Have no fear carnivores!!! God will have a menu that makes bacon and roast beef look tame!! Beyond what we can imagine or hope for!!! Heavenly Bacos! Seeds for BACON TREES! ;)
WHAT ABOUT ANIMALS IN HEAVEN? We have much evidence to make a pretty rock-solid case! Animals are mentioned in Heaven before the New Earth is made... We ride from Heaven on what? White horses! Animals were created as a major part of God's original creation and He, "saw that it was good!" Animals are a major part of love, affection, discipline, responsibility and authority for man on this earth Scriptures say the entire creation (including animals) groans in anticipation of being made new again! If that includes planets, stars, trees, and grass...Why on earth, for one second would we assume it didn't mean animals? Animals are an irremovable part of the ecosystem that is of God's design, that is considered "very good!" They are a major part of the original world God created for us to rule and reign over! Animals are mentioned several times in the Millennium, after Christ returns...
As having been restored to their original perfection! (Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 65:25)
In light of all of this overwhelming Scriptural information... Why would we NOT assume that animals will be a major part of a restored Paradise on the New Earth?!! So, does that mean that we will have our pets in Heaven? First, in all honesty…There is not one Scripture that would begin to say such a thing, no matter how badly we would want it! But, there are many well known, Biblical teachers…Who emphatically say we will have our pets in heaven! Including C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham and Randy Alcorn...
Why do these men and others believe pets may be in Heaven? Because animals will most assuredly be there...Because they are a major part of many people's lives and happiness...Because it is a small matter for God, and He is a Father wanting to give His children the desires of their heart!
The bottom line is simply this...Either God will allow pets we've had for the enjoyment of His children, whom He loves dearly...Or, again, our new understanding and discoveries will replace any hint of sorrow with something so much greater that we cannot even imagine! New, better pets?! (BIG CATS!) When in doubt... (What class?) Know that it is every bit, if not better than, you can imagine!!
So, let's put this picture together, shall we? We will live on a perfect, beautiful earth...With perfect bodies...Friendly animals...Awesome food and drink...With all the goodness of today- seasons, nature, exploring, learning, games…With all the loved ones of our life today, and countless new friends...We will have Jesus Christ…Living, loving, laughing right with us! On His awesome Throne, in a City stretching 1400 miles...With Crystal Jasper walls to the sky, reflecting His Glory!!!
With people from all tongues, tribes and nations...Inhabiting ALL the New Earth, giving glory to Christ! A New Earth to have dominion over, rule in, create in, build in, write in, entertain in, play sports in, have hobbies in... (PROBABLY WITH PETS!!!)
And an ETERNITY to… Explore, learn, expand, and love one another under the loving protection our King!! Not at all the picture we usually get of Heaven! We know, even as believers... Especially as believers...We have problems, troubles, worries, heartaches in our lives right now!! Paul was definitely in a position that he could relate to hard times! But, Paul knew and believed everything we have discovered lately... And it put everything in perspective for him!
Romans 8:18-19 (NKJV)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
How awesome will Heaven be? So awesome, that your WORST TIMES here are not worthy to even compare to the goodness of our lives to come!!! This was a major focus for Paul, when he was weary and down in this world! As it should be for us! NOW WE HAVE A TRUE PICTURE OF OUR FUTURE TO THINK ON, AND ANTICIPATE WHEN THE WORLD GETS US DOWN! This should be the War Cry of every Christian living in this era... Listen!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 1 Cor 2:9 (ESV) ...as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him!”
If you don't know Him, can you not see what you are missing? If you do know Him, can you not feel the anticipation and motivation of what's to come?!
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