On Heaven and Earth
Christians will live in Heaven forever.
That’s a myth.
Pardon? Isn’t that what we have been told? Many of us can put up with all kinds of things on earth because we know we are heading for Heaven as our final home. And even laugh along with the saying that “everyone wants to go to Heaven but no one wants to die”.
So as true believers, do we not go to Heaven when we die?
Yes we do. We are home with our Lord Jesus. Permanently. But we are in Heaven temporarily.
How so? Simply stated, God will renew the earth for our permanent habitation. There shall be a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and first earth will pass away. “He who was
seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”(Rev 21:5)
As Ian Smith explains, “When God created our earthly home, He did not give us second best in anticipation of Heaven. He declared that the earth was very good, or, as the Hebrew could
also be translated, very beautiful (Gen 1:31). The problems we experience are not because the earth is second-rate; they come from sin. God delights in what He has created and so should we.
At the point of death, Christians will be at home with Jesus as we await the general resurrection, but heaven is only a temporary home. In Heaven, the martyrs cry – “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10) On earth, all creation groans as it awaits its liberation from bondage to corruption (Rom 8:22). It is at the point of Christ’s return that the earth will be renewed and we will truly be at home.
When Jesus returns to the earth, He intends to stay.”
So, it’s a round-trip ticket for us? Looks like. We’re coming back to enjoy in full what Adam and Eve had before the Fall.
And it’s also a myth that we will have nothing to do in Heaven but enjoy quiet repose. “Rest In Peace”? A cemetery could have rendered that service effortlessly. From what I can gather, “up there” can be rather joyously noisy. There will be much singing of praises and giving glory to God. Unending. (Raising of hands, too?) And casting of crowns at His feet. Here’s a glimpse:
“And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Heaven is not an escape from hell. Or an alternative abode. It’s a myth that the place is the attraction (though I am sure it is wondrously attractive). It’s not the place, it is the Person.
And for good measure, Heaven is not an escape from hell. Or an alternative abode. It’s a myth that the place is the attraction (though I am sure it is wondrously attractive). It’s not the
place, it is the Person.
Matt Chandler expresses it persuasively, “Heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell; it’s a place for those who love God. You can scare people into coming to your church, you can scare people into trying to be good, you can scare people into giving money, you can even scare them into walking down an aisle and praying a certain prayer, but you cannot scare people into loving God. You just can’t do it.”
Heaven is for people who seek God first and His righteousness – pure and undefiled. And you always wanted, deep down, to tell Him how much you gratefully love Him without running out of words or feelings.
Now you can.
Do I hear an “Amen”?
Dr Andrew Goh is the editor of Impact magazine.
VOL. 45 NO. 2 of IMPACT Magazine
ABSORBED BY LOVE
... When time ceases to be by Robert Solomon
... We can only imagine by David Wong
NO MORE TEARS?
... Searching for answers in the midst of pain by Lynette Lim-Teagle
DO PEOPLE HAVE GUARDIAN ANGELS?
... What the Bible says by Leslie Chua
HEAVEN AND HELL
... Ask Pastor John
HEAVEN: GET IT RIGHT, GET IT REAL
~ The Impact panel responds ~
GOD IN THE MIDST OF ABUSE
... A story from life to life by Kelly Ng