Heaven

1 Corinthians 2:9 declares: “But it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” We cannot imagine how good our future life with God will be. One aspect of our future life is living in heaven. Let us therefore look at what God has revealed in His written Word about heaven:

 

         God’s Presence is everywhere in the spiritual world and in the created universe (see Psalm 139:7-10 and Jeremiah 23:23-24). His Presence fills heaven and earth (see Jeremiah 23:24). But even the highest heaven cannot contain Him. 1 Kings 8:27 says: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built.”

         Heaven is God’s primary dwelling place (see Deuteronomy 26:15, 2 Chronicles 6:33 and 6:39). God is called “your Father in heaven” in Matthew 5:16, 5:45, 5:48, 6:1, 6:9, 7:21, 12:50, 18:19, Mark 11:25, 11:26 and Luke 11:2.

         God’s Throne is in heaven (see Psalm 11:4, Isaiah 66:1 and Matthew 5:34).

         God’s glory is greater than heaven itself (see Psalm 148:13).

         Because God is infinite and self-existent, He did not need to create heaven.

         There are 3 heavens:

 

(a)    the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). This is where God the Father has His Throne. The third heaven is called “the highest heaven” (see 1 Kings 8:27). 2 Kings 2:1, 2:11 and Acts 1:9-11 seem to suggest that heaven is upwards in direction.

(b)    the second heaven (see Genesis 1:14-18 and Psalm 19:1). The second heaven includes the galaxies and billions of stars. Nahum 3:16 refers to “the stars of heaven”.

(c)    the first heaven. This is the atmospheric heaven immediately above and surrounding the earth. 2 Chronicles 6:26 refers to rain coming out of the heavens.

 

         Innumerable angels live in heaven (see Mark 12:25, 13:32 and Hebrews 12:22). But as Genesis 28:12 shows, angels travel back and forth from heaven and earth.

         Jesus Christ promises to take His people to heaven. In John 14:1-2, Christ said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

         Believers are now citizens of heaven (see Philippians 3:20). Their names are now written in heaven (see Luke 10:20)

         One view suggests that Old Testament and New Testament believers are kept in a place called Paradise prior to Jesus’ Second Coming. This view regards Paradise as a part of Hades. But note Mark 13:27 and Philippians 1:23 teaches that some believers will already be in heaven at the time of Christ's Second Coming. It is possible that Old Testament believers were kept in a Paradise component of Hades prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection. But then again, it may be that 2 Kings 2:1, 2:11 and Psalm 23:6 reveal that even in Old Testament times, believers went straight to heaven.

         There is no evil or wickedness in heaven. This is because only God’s will is done in heaven (see Matthew 6:10). Those who live in heaven, totally love God and everyone else who lives there.

         God is keeping an inheritance for us in heaven (see 1 Peter 1:4).

         Psalm 16:11 promises that God will give pleasures eternally to believers: “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

         The greatest joy for us in heaven will be we will see His face (see Revelation 22:4). We will see in Him everything which is good and right. In Him, we will see perfect love, peace, justice, beauty, wisdom, truth and power combined. God Himself will be our greatest treasure, as Psalm 73:25-26 says: “ Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.”

         In heaven, we will be perfectly loved by God and other people. God is love (see 1 John 4:8 and 16). So we will never feel rejected or hurt ever again.

         In heaven, we will worship God with reverence and love (see Psalm 145:2, Isaiah 66:22-23 and Revelation 19:5) and worship Jesus Christ (see Revelation 5:13 and 15:2-4).

         When we go to heaven, we will remember God’s wonderful actions (see Revelation 19:1-2).

         God and His knowledge are unlimited (see 1 Kings 8:27, Job 37:16, Psalm 139:4, 145:3, Isaiah 46:9-10 and 1 John 3:20). So we will spend eternity learning about Him and His creation.

         In heaven, God’s people will exercise God’s delegated ruling authority forever. Revelation 22:5 declares: “…And they shall reign forever and ever.” Try to imagine what this may involve! Other related verses are Matthew 24:45-47, 25:21, 25:23, Luke 19:11-19 and 22:29-30.

         One view suggests Romans 14:17 shows there will be no eating or drinking in heaven. But another view says Matthew 22:4, 26:29 and Luke 22:30 reveal there will be eating and drinking in heaven.

 

Bible Study Questions

 

1.       Who will be in heaven?

2.       Compare God to heaven.

3.       Explain the differences between the first, second and third heavens.

4.       What things occur in heaven?

5.       What will be our greatest joy in heaven?

 

 


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