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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
September 9, 2018
A Future in Heaven
After last week’s sermon examining Jesus’ rebuke of the Sadducees for their lack of understanding of the Scriptures and the power of God because of their denial of the resurrection, (See: The Dead Still Live), I thought it would be a good idea to expand on the importance of the promise of the future resurrection of believers to life with God in heaven. What will heaven be like and how can you be sure that you will go there?
Confusion about Heaven
There is a lot of confusion about heaven because of the ideas generated by both false religions and the casual way in which the term is used as a general reference to something good. Included in the definitions for heaven found in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is “a place or state of supreme bliss.” From that definition heaven is used figuratively to describe the feelings of love (“I’m in heaven when I’m with you” ), express fictional desires (heaven would be eating all the ice cream I want and never gaining weight) and marketing products and services (after a good meal using a recipe from Food Heaven, you can put on your custom Sports Heaven brand athletic shirt and drive out to Dirt Heaven to race around their track, and after you crash, you can have the remains of your vehicle towed to Car Heaven for recycling).
The concept of heaven in other religions is quite varied, but some of these have become common in American thought.
In Eastern Mysticism (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.), heaven is not a place, but a condition called “nirvana” in which a person becomes one with the universe and self-consciousness ends. That is an attractive thought when the goal of life is to escape the pain of living in endless cycles of reincarnation.
In Islam, heaven is described with various words including paradise and garden and is a place of beauty and peace with rivers of incorruptible water, milk, wine, and honey, and full of fruits and fowl for food. For the men it is also described as a place where they will “recline on soft couches [drinking] cups of wine handed to them by the Huris, or maidens of paradise, of whom each man may marry as many as he pleases” (Anderson, pg 117). Paradise is attained by a combination of good works and Allah’s favor, but only guaranteed to those who die in Jihad.
Mormonism gets a little complex, but the good Mormon becomes a god him/herself. A man will get to rule over his own planet/world, and his wife gets to be eternally pregnant giving birth to the souls that will inhabit the planet.
In contrast to Matthew 24:27-30 and Revelation 1:7 in which every eye shall see Him when Jesus returns, the Jehovah Witnesses teach that the reign of the invisible heavenly King Christ Jesus began in 1914. Since they also believe that only 144,000 will reign with King Jesus in the heavenly spheres, then the earth must remain eternal for the rest of them to dwell on. That a contradiction to 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21 which describes both the destruction of the present earth and the coming of a new one.
These ideas are important because they affect the ideas about heaven that exist in our society. However, what is more important to us is the truth about heaven taught in the holy Scriptures.
The Heavens in Scripture
There are two words that are translated as “heaven” in our English Bibles. The Hebrew word is my3m1v9/ shamayim which means “the heights,” and the Greek word is oujranovV / ouranos which means “that which is raised up.” Heaven is “that which is above.” That is a good way to describe heaven because how else could something be described that is not located on the earth and is of more glory than the earth. It is above and beyond. It is something that is “higher.”
Scriptures speak of three things as “heaven,” something which is above. First are the atmospheric heavens which would be the air and sky surrounding the Earth. The Second are the celestial heavens which is outer-space where the sun, moon and stars are located. And the third is heaven (2 Cor. 12:2) is the dwelling place of God. This is defined more as a place of presence than a physical location (i.e. go the Andromeda Galaxy and turn left for 200,000 light years and you can’t miss it on your right with the tall towers). This third definition is the basis of the figurative usage of heaven as a reference for God and that which pertains to Him in phrases such as “Kingdom of Heaven,” and “sinned against heaven.” Since our interest this morning is what our future destination will be after the resurrection, we will concentrate on heaven as the dwelling place of God and the ultimate destination of the redeemed.
Before I focus on that, I must emphasize that the Scriptures make it clear that radical physical changes are coming in the future, for the present atmospheric and celestial heavens along with the present Earth will be utterly destroyed. 2 Peter 3:10-18 describes the future in a very concise manner starting with the coming of the Day of the Lord and then jumping to the consummation of the ages and the arrival of the new heaven and the new earth.
Verses 10 & 12 are very descriptive of the coming destruction. “10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” Verse 12 adds, “. . . the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”
The promise of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is a certainty. There is no doubt that the prophecies concerning it will be fulfilled. It will come and the judgment that it brings is as unavoidable as was the flood in the days of Noah. While there are many events that will take place from when Jesus returns for His church and this consummation of the ages, Peter emphasizes the destruction in order strengthen his call to holiness. He wrote in verse 11, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” He adds in verse 14, “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” In short, the Lord will return, and the present earth and heavens will be destroyed, therefore, with that in mind, you are to be prepared for it by living holy lives in peace and godliness. It is foolish to treasure the things of this world if they are going to burned up.
But Peter also gives the good news of hope too. In verse 13 he wrote, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” Our call to holy living in not based on just the utilitarian idea that the things of this world are going to be burned up so there is no sense in having our lives focused on the pursuit of them. Our call to holy living is also based on preparation for life in a place where righteousness dwells. The longing of the redeemed is not for the things of this earth. We long for a new heaven and a new earth that will not suffer the corruption that the present heaven and earth are under.
Our Longing for Final Redemption
The closer a Christian walks with Christ, and the more corruption he sees in this world, the greater the longing for Christ’s return and final redemption. Paul describes this in Romans 8:18-25 in which he also remarks that creation itself longs for its recreation which will be the final part of our redemption being played out.
“18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
Christians and creation itself longs for the corruption of our current world to end and for us to be changed. We yearn for the future when the sadness and tragedy that surrounds us will be gone and in which there will no longer be physical suffering caused by our deteriorating bodies. We desire for an end to the emotional turmoil of fear, rejection, grief and anguish of the present and to be where we will have the intellectual capability to understand the things that currently leave our minds baffled, confused, uncertain. We long for that place we call “heaven.”
Heaven is a real place
It would seem that the existence of heaven would be self evident, but in view of the teachings of other religions and cult groups let us start by affirming this truth. Heaven is not an existential condition of utmost happiness. It is not a figment of the imaginations in wishful thinking. It is a real place where real beings exist and serve the Lord God, Creator of everything.
First, heaven is a place that is described as real by both the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 6 and the Apostle John in Revelation 4. We will look at both passages in a moment, but I want to note here that both describe heaven as a real place with real creatures doing real things before God.
Second, heaven is a location that is traveled to and from. Angels come from heaven and proceed back there. In Daniel 10:12 an angel is sent when Daniel’s prayer is heard. In Luke 1 the angel Gabriel was sent from God who dwells in Heaven to the city of Nazareth in Galilee. In Matthew 28:2 an “angel of the Lord descended from heaven” and opened Jesus’ tomb. In Isaiah 14 (also Luke 10:18) Lucifer is seen as falling from heaven and boasting that he would ascend back into it.
Third, God refers to heaven in the same way as the earth. The clearest example of this is when Jesus calls Heaven God’s throne and contrasts it with the earth being His footstool (Matthew 5:34-35. See also Acts 7:49 & Isaiah 66:1).
Fourth, there are real creatures in heaven. Jesus Himself refers to “the angels which are in heaven” in Mark 13:32. Luke 2:13 describes a “multitude of the heavenly host praised God” at Jesus’ birth. Isaiah describes a specific type of angel called a Seraphim.
Heaven is not folklore or a figment of imagination. Heaven is a real place with real creatures traveling to and from it and it is referred to in the same way as the real earth. But because we do not yet dwell there and cannot see heaven as a physical place in the present, most people do not give it much thought, and consequently, their minds are set on the things of earth instead of the things above in contrast to the command in Colossians 3:2. The problem is not one of people being so “heavenly minded they are no earthly good,” it is that people are so earthly minded they are no heavenly good. Heaven is real! And longing for it will make a difference in how you live on this earth.
God’s Throne – The Visions of Isaiah & John
The prophet Isaiah and the Apostle John both had visions of God on His throne in heaven. We start with the description in Isaiah 6:1-7.
1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
This is an impressive description of the majesty of heaven and the creatures that are there. The Lord is in the prominent position of sitting high on a throne with the train of His robe filling the temple.
There are marvelous creatures busy about the business of worshiping God and smoke from altar filling the temple.
John’s description in Revelation 4:2-11 adds to Isaiah’s. 2Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. 5 Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; 6 and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. 7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “holy, holy, holy is the lord god, the almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” 9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
The book of Revelation describes even more as the chapters unfold. Revelation 5:6-8 describes the Lamb standing as if slain who is given great honor for it is Jesus. Revelation 5:11 describes myriads and myriads and thousands and thousands of angels. Revelation 8 describes articles in the Temple including the Golden Altar (8:3), a golden censer (8:3) and Incense (8:3).
These are all things that are part of heaven, the dwelling place of God. That is where the believer will be during the great Tribulation period and where the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place in Revelation 19. But lets now jump to Revelation 21, for that is where the description is given for what heaven will be like after the resurrection.
New Heavens, New Earth, New Jerusalem – Revelation 21 & 22
I will make some comments as I read through these chapters.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
It will be a place of peace and comfort in the presence of God
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
It will be a place for the righteous sons of God, and no one who is unrighteous will be there. The unrighteous go to Gehenna (20:12-15)
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, twelves thousand stadia ; its length and width and height are equal.
(A stadia = 202 yards. 12,000 stadia = 1,377 miles. That is a distance from Boston, MA – south to Santiago, Dominican Republic, west to Mexico City, Mexico, north to the Nebraska / South Dakota border. This is a cube, so that is 1,377 miles up too – 2.611 billion cubic miles)
17 And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. 18 The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Theoretically, gold can be transparent when pure and thin enough. At 5 nm it should be 80% transparent.
22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Continuing in chapter 22. 1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
Heaven will be quite a place! Its huge size, appearance and unequaled splendor make it magnificent, but more than that, it is a place of unequaled moral character for 2 Peter 3:13 states it is a place “in which righteousness dwells.” And related to that and beyond that, heaven is majestic because it is the dwelling place of God. That is the major characteristic of Heaven. That alone is enough to cause the Christian to want to be there even though there is much we do not know about heaven.
I mentioned last week that I do not find the idea that I will not be married to Diane after the resurrection to be attractive. I don’t know what my relationships will be like with other people, or how old I will look, or if there will be pets there, or what kinds of food there will be beyond the twelve fruits of the tree of life mentioned in Revelation 22. It is confusing to me to ponder what life would be like when there is nothing to repair because nothing breaks or decays? And beyond worshiping God, I do not know what I will do to occupy the time of eternity? What do you do when you have eternity to do it? Yet, I know without doubt that heaven will be good beyond my current ability to comprehend or even imagine because God is good and He is its creator and He will be there.
To make a weak and perhaps silly analogy, it is sort of like going to Lance’s house for a meal. You know it will be good no matter what he may serve because Lance is an excellent chef which is why he is an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. But heaven is far beyond that because with a resurrected body, you will not have any diseases, allergies or sensitivities to cause you to avoid any foods, and your taste buds will have perfect function to detect every nuance of the flavor of perfect food.
Heaven will be good because God is good and heaven is where He
manifests Himself. That is the central characteristic of Heaven. Related to that is the central activity of heaven which is the worship of God. We have seen that in the passages we have already read this morning. The various creatures in heaven worship of God.
In Isaiah 6 it is the Seraphim standing behind the throne of God and calling out to one another, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” In Revelation 4 it is the four living creatures around God’s throne calling out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” In Revelation 4:10-11 it is the twenty-four Elders casting their crowns before the throne of God and saying, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.” In Revelation 5:11-12 the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders are joined by myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands of angels saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” The overwhelming characteristic of heaven is the presence of God, and the overwhelming activity of heaven is the worship of Him.
Revelation also informs us of others that are in heaven. The martyrs are mentioned in Revelation 6:9 & 15:2-4. Revelation 19:14 describes the armies of heaven which will accompany the Lord when He returns to conquer the earth and establish His reign. Revelation 7:9 describes a great multitude beyond counting made up of people from “every nation and tribes and peoples and tongues.” That is a source of hope for us because it is the manifestation of God’s universal offer of salvation. But that brings us to our final point. How can you be sure to be among that multitude?
Assurance of Heaven
Most people have a wish and a desire for heaven even if it is simply that they want to avoid the only alternative destination which is damnation in eternal hell. The true Christian can have confident assurance that heaven will be his home. Why? Because it is the promise of God in Scripture. The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” This sure promise is based on the preceding verses – 10-12, “10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
Assurance of heaven an issue of having Jesus, the Son of God, which is based upon believing in Him and His promises. Having lived a sinless life, Jesus willingly died at Calvary as the substitute payment for the redemption of man from sin. His resurrection on the third day proved His claims and promises are true. His promises in John 10 is to give eternal life to His sheep, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of His hand. Those who repent from their sin to cast their faith on Jesus will have their name written in the Lamb’s book of Life. There is no longer a fear of judgment for there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). If you have not done that yet, today is the day of salvation. Don’t put it off.
Let me conclude with 2 Peter 3:13-14, “but according to His promise we are looking for a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless . . .” Those who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ desire His return and will live for Him now. May each one here be found heavenly minded so that on earth we are good.
Sermon Notes – 9/9/2018
A Future in Heaven – Selected Scriptures
Confusion about Heaven
Oxford Dictionary – this definition – “a place or state of supreme bliss” – is frequently used ____________
Eastern Mysticism – heaven is “_________,” a state of oneness with the universe & self-consciousness ends
Islam – Paradise of beauty, peace & bounty with multiple Huris for men. Need good ______& Allah’s favor
Mormonism – you become ________with your own planet & wife eternally giving birth to souls to inhabit it
Jehovah’s Witnesses – Only _______________ get to heaven, the rest stay on this Earth eternally
The Heavens in Scripture
my3m1v9/ shamayim & oujranovV / ouranos = “that which is ______________ .”
First = _______________ heaven – the air surrounding the earth
Second = ______________heaven – outer-space where sun, moon, and stars are located
Third = The __________________of God. Used figuratively for God and what pertains to Him
Verse 13 – there is also positive _____________ in His promise of new heavens and a new earth
Our Longing for Final Redemption – Romans 8:18-25
Christians & creation itself ________for the corruption of our current world to end and for us to be changed
We have confident assurance of a future that will be radically _____________ than the present
Heaven is a real place
Both the prophet Isaiah and the Apostle John describe heaven is a ________ place (Isaiah 6, Revelation 4)
Angels travel traveled to and from _______________called heaven (Daniel 10:12; Matthew 28:2; Isaiah 14)
God refers to heaven in the ____________as the earth (Matthew 5:34-35. See also Acts 7:49 & Isaiah 66:1)
There are _________creatures in heaven: Angels (the heavenly host, Seraphim), the 24 elders, the multitude
People tend to focus on the present with little thought for what they cannot see – so they are _______minded
God’s Throne – The Visions of Isaiah & John
Isaiah 6:1-7 _____________________________________________________
Revelation 4:2-11 _____________________________________________________
Revelation 5: The Lamb, myriads & ______________of angels. Revelation 8: the Golden Altar and Censor
Revelation 19: The _________is in heaven at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb during the Great Tribulation
New Heavens, New Earth, New Jerusalem – Revelation 21 & 22
Magnificent in size, appearance and splendor, but even greater is Heaven’s _____character of righteousness
Heaven is majestic because its greatest characteristic is that it is the ______________________ of God
There is much we do not know about heaven __________________________________________________
Yet without doubt we know it will be ____________because God is there and He is good
The central activity of heaven is the ______________of God: Isaiah 6 – the Seraphim.
Revelation 4 – the four living creatures & the 24 ___________ . Revelation 5 – myriads of angels join in
Rev. 6:9 & 15:2-4 – Martyrs. Rev. 19:14 – ___________ of heaven. Rev. 7:9 – the uncountable multitude
Assurance of Heaven – 1 John 5:10-13
Avoiding Hell motivates many to seek Heaven – but only true Christians are _____________ of going there
The issue of eternal life is determined by whether or not _______________ Jesus, the Son of God
Jesus gives __________to His sheep (John 10) so they no longer are under God’s condemnation (Rom. 8:1)
2 Peter 3:13-14 – Those who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ desire His ________and will live for Him now
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “heaven” is used. 2) Discuss with your parents about what heaven will be like and how to be sure you are going there.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What do you think of first when you hear the term, “heaven.” How have you heard / seen heaven used figuratively? What do you know about the concept of heaven in other religions? How do you think this has affected the ideas about heaven within professing Christianity? Within our society in general? What are the meanings of the Hebrew and the Greek words translated as heaven in the Bible? Paul speaks of the “third heaven” in 2 Cor. 12:2 – explain each of the three heavens. How is heaven used figuratively in the Scriptures? What will happen in the future to the present heavens according to 2 Peter 3:10-12? What should that motivate us to do? (2 Peter 3:11). What promise is given in 2 Peter 3:13? What should that motivate us to do? (2 Peter 3:14). Why do Christians long for heaven? Why does Creation long for its redemption? (Romans 8:18-25). In what ways is heaven described as a real place in the Bible? Read Isaiah 6:1-7 and Revelation 4:2-11. What is similar in these descriptions? What is different? What stands out to you as being important? Who else is heaven according to Revelation 4? What else is in heaven according to Revelation 5? Read Revelation 21 & 22. What is your impression of this description of the new heavens and new earth? How large is the New Jerusalem? The descriptions given are clear and direct, why then do they cause confusion and even unbelief? What would you like to know about heaven that is not yet revealed? Should those cause you concern? Why or why not? How do we know Heaven will be good? What is the central activity of heaven? How is that seen in the book of Revelation? Who will be in heaven? Will you be in heaven? Is that a wish or are you confident about it? What promise is given in 1 John 5:10-13? Do you meet the conditions of the promise? If not, what needs to change in you? What will you do to seek those changes? When will you start doing it? According to 2 Peter 3:13-14, what will those who look for the Lord’s return seek to do?
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