Who really looks forward to Heaven anyway? Give me an answer about something...Do you ever seriously think about...Better yet... Ever seriously ANTICIPATE...WITH EXCITEMENT...Leaving this world and going to Heaven?! Many if completely honest, would have to confess "NO!" That is... Until you begin to get to MY stage in life! And you begin to feel age creeping up on you...And things stop working as they once did...And you CAN'T do all of the things you'd like...And you begin to see your friends and family going Home one by one...And you've experienced many of the things you've wanted in life...
But, with the exception of those of us growing older, or with debilitating or terminal illnesses...
The MAJORITY of people would have to say "NO!"...Because most feel they have so much they still want to see, and do, and experience here! Right? Young people wanting to do things before God comes... (I understand that) And the Heaven we usually hear about and visualize may be better than going to hell... But let's be honest... It sure looks like we will be giving up some amazing things to get There!
If we all just wander about as disembodied spirits...Knowing all, acting perfect, and singing hymns 24 hours a day...With none of the sweet experiences of...Summer breezes, tanning at the beach, swimming, campfires... No bike riding, baseball or football, no campfires... No fishing! No drawing, sculpting, writing, learning, inventing, exploring...Gosh, we won't even be thirsty or hungry again, right? What kind of Heaven doesn't crave awesome food and drinks?! Eating and drinking are one of our most wonderful experiences now! Some cannot imagine a world with NO COFFEE!
With these ideas and images of Heaven...
It makes sense that many do not feel Heaven is going to be such an "OUT OF THIS WORLD" experience…To look forward to!!! The problem is...ALMOST ALL OF THIS COMPLETELY WRONG!!! AND THIS IS WHY WE NEED THIS STUDY SO DESPERATELY! Most people... Most Christians have a totally misguided perception of almost every aspect of the True Heaven of Scriptures! Myth... Hollywood... Story-telling... Comedy and comics...And a complete lack of understanding Truth in the Word...Have caused us to have a very inaccurate and "ho-hum" mentality towards the very Gift Christ died to bring to us... An eternity with Him in Heaven! I believe this is a literal part of Satan’s plan…To make us lack any excitement… Almost dread…One of the greatest events of our existence! (Like saying your wedding day will be a let down!)
THINK ABOUT THIS...Heaven will be EVERYTHING the God of the Universe has planned for our joy & entertainment...Everything that reflects HIS Perfect Love, His Creativity, His Wonder and Imagination! It is HIS Perfect Gift to us...That HE LITERALLY GAVE HIS VERY LIFE as payment to get us to!! How can we think for one moment... That Heaven will be a LOSS in any way?! How could it be less? How could it be the simple, pitiful existence many imagine?! For the next several weeks, we will go on a quest...To discover everything Scriptures tell us about the REAL HEAVEN... Just as God has prepared it for us! We will consider common questions such as:
I hope you can stay with us through our journey of discovery! Really... It's Not So Out of This World! (NEW BODIES) Let's begin today... At the beginning... And discover one of the most shocking, but clear Truths about Heaven! Can we KNOW where Heaven will be? YES! When I said most of us don't see Heaven as being, "So out of this world!”...It is one of the only things that some DO get right about Heaven...Where is Heaven right now? And, what do those passed on to Heaven look like at present?
Luke 16:20-22 (NKJV)
This story is NOT taught as a parable…No where else does Jesus actually give names to characters in a parable! When this man died” Did he immediately get carried away?” Yes.“Was his body carried to Heaven?” No. When the thief on the cross died…”Did he go immediately to be with Christ?” Yes! “Did he go in his earthly body?” No. So, the beggar & the thief are in Heaven, which is somewhere other than here!!! And they are both in a spiritual state, not a body of flesh!!!So... Doesn't that mean Heaven is a faraway place...Where spirit beings exist forever?! (YES & NO!)
This is where so many people get completely off base with what God has in store for us!!! Listen closely to God's BIG PICTURE!!! Some may get worried or skeptical here! But listen closely to the end and you’ll unmistakably see! What was God's original program? In Genesis... In the beginning...Where did God intend for us to dwell in Paradise?
What was the place specifically designed for us to live and reign? The Garden of Eden! Where was this Garden located? On Earth! Did we have bodies, or were we spirit beings only? Bodies! Did we get to explore, discover, rule over, enjoy, eat, drink, breathe the wonderful air?! Yep!
But then, sin cursed everything and God's "Heaven on Earth" was tainted! So sin has separated us...And God DOES dwell in another place called Heaven right now...And when we die, our spirit DOES go there to be with Him, for a time!
But, this is NOT God's final plan for Heaven or us!!! God's Plans were not so fouled up by Satan...That He had to change everything...And come up with a totally different... And lesser "Plan B!" The current condition of the deceased...And Heaven as a whole...Are but ONE PART of God's Redemptive DESIGN to…Restore all things! He reveals this whole, beautiful, logical design to us in Scriptures...But most do not study God's Word closely enough to get the BIG picture!
So, let's FIRST see God's Plan…For exactly WHAT Heaven was meant to be... And WHERE it will EXIST when all is said and done! Just as Scriptures reveal it...Then, we will look at all of the AWESOME details we can uncover!
To put it in one overall descriptive statement: God plans to RESTORE His ORIGINAL CREATION...
NOT come up with a different plan!! If that is true... It means that...We must enjoy eternity in a perfect body... Made of flesh and bone...Just as originally designed... Not as a bodiless spirit !
But these bodies have been corrupted by the curse of sin, so they cannot see Heaven...
Well, just because we are raised new and incorruptible...DOES NOT mean we will have bodies of flesh as we do now! Well, let's look at a couple of other verses describing our new bodies...
Philippians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
Like HIS Body... What is Jesus' new, glorious Body like?
Luke 24:36-40 (NKJV)
He is the First Resurrected... In a New and Perfect Body... Who will live in forever with His people! And we are restored back to the original plan...With a perfect, incorruptible body of flesh and bone! Wow... So, won't we fall through the clouds now? ;) Here is where it gets really exciting to me!!!!! Really... It's Not So Out of This World! (NEW EARTH!) NOW... THINK ABOUT THIS...Where did God originally plan for us to live and reign?! On a gorgeous, perfect planet earth! Here is where you need to drop preconceived ideas…And not see me as a strange cultist...Until you hear everything from Scriptures!
There is NOT a single scholar... Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc... Who has studied God's Word thoroughly...Who does not teach this often known FACT! Most people, without question...Believe that we are all destined to go, "Up Yonder" somewhere...To spend eternity in another place in the Universe...Or in another spiritual dimension... (Get this answer ALL the TIME!)
But, what does SCRIPTURE clearly say? There are MANY Old and New Testament Verses openly explaining...Old Testament...
Daniel 7:13-14 (NKJV)
Isaiah 66:22 (NKJV)
(New HEAVENS, not Heaven! Why would He remake Heaven?)
2 Peter 3:13 (NKJV)
Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)
Sounds like Jesus is suppose to set up His eternal Kingdom of Heaven here on earth... If that is the case... Then the Book of Revelation should surely spell it out for us then, right?!! Because after all... It IS about the COMING of Jesus' Kingdom! Let's take a look...In Revelation Chapter 11, there is a proclamation of Jesus' reclaiming of His lost Kingdom... Listen...
Revelation 11:15 (NKJV)
And in Chapter 21... When it is finally time to "MAKE ALL THINGS NEW AGAIN...Look how God starts...
Revelation 21:1, 3-6 (NKJV)
OK... But if that is the case...How do you possibly explain this well known verse?
John 14:1-3 (NKJV)
Easily... Because it PERFECTLY fits the Plan! You just have to listen to the WHOLE Plan... Jesus said His Father's House had a place for us...And that He was going there... To Heaven... To PREPARE this Place for the disciples! Doesn't that mean they were to live in Heaven? NOT AT ALL!
We purposefully left out one part of Revelation 21 about the New Heaven and Earth... Listen again!
Revelation 21:1-3 (ESV)
The Holy City, already built... Prepared in Heaven... By Whom? !! Coming down to be occupied on the New Earth...As Christ comes to live WITH His people!!! Do you see the seamless, awesome consistency of the Book written by God?! The Gospels not only showed us...A Savior Who came to earth so He could become Human...To take away human sins... To Personally feel what humans feel...But a Savior that was resurrected in that same Human Body!! To forever be like the people He would love and lead... Because He had plans to one day raise us up with the same new bodies...And live WITH HIM on this New Earth...Created for us from the beginning!!! And some think men wrote this Book! So, we see that Heaven really won't be…"So out of this world!!!"
Because it WILL BE THIS WORLD... Made fresh, new and beautiful! This goes along with everything that the laws of science have shown us about our earth, and the entire universe we have discovered thus far...
Everything in the known universe is deteriorating irreversibly...
Romans 8:19-22 (NKJV)
How... Thousands of years before we knew of this Law, did Paul write these words about Creation?! Subject to the curse of DEATH as we are! Every time we see something deteriorate, or grow old and worn out...It is a reminder that soon we will be on a new earth...With a new glorious sky above us...That will all be as young and eternal as our new bodies!! So... We will be on a new and perfect earth...With new and perfect bodies...Accompanied by brothers and sisters reborn in perfect love...Is THIS beginning to look like the original blueprints again?! Our Hearts Desire! Now you know...
Why a part of you has dreaded to say goodbye to this creation... No matter how awesome Heaven may seem!
Because we were made to live in, long for, and love this creation... This is our home... Prepared for US! Just tarnished by sin! Jesus... Since before time, has seen this final picture of a perfect world again! Knows better than us...The excitement, wonder, and joy it will bring! It has been part of His Driving Passion to do anything He had to do... To bring us home in joy! TO ME... THIS IS THE GREATEST PART OF HEAVEN...When you return home after a long trip away... It is the people you return to, not the place... That make it home! Just knowing how Someone so Powerful, so Intelligent, and so Holy... Could still care enough to do ANYTHING to have me with Him...
Would make me feel like a tree house on a deserted island could be Heaven as long as He is there with me!!!!! One day, much sooner than most of us truly may believe...Reality will hit with the sounding of a trumpet...
And everything we have known will change in a heartbeat...Just as we have seen our reality change in the past few weeks! And this awesome new Heaven on Earth that Jesus creates...
Which He suffered so much in pure love to win back for you and I...Will be your eternal Home...
Or will never even be seen!
"God is going to invade this earth in force. But what's the good of saying you're on his side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else, something it never entered your head to conceive comes crashing in. Something so beautiful to us and so terrible to others… That none of us will have any choice left. This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love, or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down, when it becomes impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realize it or not. Now, today, in this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever; we must take it or leave it." - C. S. Lewis
We SHOULD ANTICIPATE the exciting Heaven on Earth to come!
But if you DON’T KNOW that is where you are headed… Time is short!
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