Heaven,let the picture develop 

At a Wednesday evening church meeting a very wealthy man rose to give his testimony.       “I’m a millionaire,” he said, “and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I can still remember the turning point in my faith, like it was yesterday:

      I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and had to either give it all to God’s work or nothing at all. So at that moment I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today.” 

             As he finished it was clear that everyone had been moved by this man’s story. But, as he took his seat, a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said: “Wonderful story! I dare you to do it again!”

The Bible does teach about storing up treasurers in Heaven (Matthew 6:20), so if we are storing our treasurers there, what is it like?

I remember in high school taking a photography class and learning to develop film. It was really fun. Remember the old “one step” cameras? We would take the picture and then watch as it developed. Today, I wish to develop the picture of Heaven.

My theme today is: Heaven is for real. As you look forward to Heaven, use your imagination, grounded with the Bible.

Let’s read Rev. 21:1-4:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 Let’s review:

We have talked about:

1) Heaven is for real.

a. The Bible talks about Heaven in many places.

b. Isaiah 65; John 14:1-6 as well as Revelation chapters 21-22 are all about Heaven.

2) Present Heaven versus future Heaven

a. We talked about the Heaven we enter right away and the Heaven for all eternity.

b. It is encouraging that there is no soul sleep. We go straight to Heaven when we die. (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21)

c. We can read about this in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) as well as Rev. 6:9-11.

3) Will we have homes in Heaven?

a. In John 14:1-6 as well as Isaiah 65:17-23 we read about homes in Heaven.

b. But we read about more than homes in Heaven, we read about whole estates.

c. We read about farms and orchards and land and much more.

d. In Revelation chapters 21-22 we read about a city and a garden.

4) Will Time exist in Heaven?

a. We know that we will not be God, only God is God.

b. There are many references to time in Heaven.

5) Will Heaven be boring?

a. Remember that we will have resurrected bodies (see 1 Cor. 15)

b. We will have purpose.

c. We will have jobs and hobbies; Heaven will not be boring.

6) Will we know everything in Heaven?

a. It seems that we will not know everything.

b. Only God is omniscient.

c. We talked about 1 Cor. 13:8-13 and knowledge. It seems that the gift of knowledge will no longer be needed. This is more about a spiritual gift having to do with knowledge. The spiritual gifts will no longer be needed.

d. If we knew everything, maybe Heaven would be boring, but we won’t.

e. I was at the Turnaround Pastors’ program a few years ago when one of the leaders suggested that I likely have the spiritual gift of knowledge. For me knowledge is like a drug. To me, it is addictive. I get a thrill out of studying and learning new things. It is as if something clicks in my brain when I learn new things.

f. Is seems evident that we will continue to learn.

7) Do dogs and animals go to Heaven?

a. We do see descriptions of animals in Heaven and Psalm 104:30 references animals being restored.

Now, take a moment and imagine Heaven. There is nothing wrong with that. In chapter 2 of Randy Alcorn’s book titled, “Heaven” he writes about imagination. We must be careful of thinking that Heaven will be whatever you imagine it to be, but we can use our imagination. God loves us and does want to lavish blessings upon us in all of eternity.

Randy Alcorn writes:

We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine. That’s why, I believe, God has given us glimpses of Heaven in the Bible— to fire up our imagination and kindle a desire for Heaven in our hearts. And that’s why Satan will always discourage our imagination— or misdirect it to ethereal notions that violate Scripture. As long as the resurrected universe remains either undesirable or unimaginable, Satan succeeds in sabotaging our love for Heaven.

 As C. S. Lewis said,

“While reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.” In the words of Francis Schaeffer, “The Christian is the really free man— he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”

Schaeffer always started with God’s revealed truth. But he exhorted us to let that truth fuel our imagination. Imagination should not fly away from the truth but fly upon the truth.

We have looked at Scripture, now let’s imagine:

 Ask the following as questions of the congregation:

1) What is your dream house? Do you want to live on a farm or in a city?

2) What is your dream job? We will work in Heaven?

3) What is your favorite hobby? If you could do anything in the world what would it be? Golf? Motorcycle riding? Running? Fishing? Hunting? Woodworking? Cooking? Bird watching?

4) What are your interests? History? Geography? Sports? News? Politics? Science? Philosophy? Art? Music?

5) What is the most beautiful things or place you have ever seen?

6) Other thoughts on Heaven?

Alcorn continues:

Schaeffer always started with God’s revealed truth. But he exhorted us to let that truth fuel our imagination. Imagination should not fly away from the truth but fly upon the truth. If you’re a Christian suffering with great pains and losses, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer” (John 16: 33, NKJV). The new house is nearly ready for you. Moving day is coming. The dark winter is about to be magically transformed into spring. One day soon you will be home— for the first time. Until then, I encourage you to meditate on the Bible’s truths about Heaven. May your imagination soar and your heart rejoice.

 I hope you can now picture Heaven, at least a little better.

 Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


Will we learn in Heaven?

Today we talk about learning so let’s start with fun:

What is a math teacher’s favorite sum?

Teachers who take class attendance are absent-minded.

*Teacher: ‘Craig, you know you can’t sleep in my class.’
Craig: ‘I know. But maybe if you were just a little quieter, I could.’

*Stressing the importance of a good vocabulary, the teacher told her young charges, “Use a word ten times, and it shall be yours for life.” From somewhere in the back of the room, came a small male voice chanting, “Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda.”

*Pupil: I don’t think I deserved zero on this test!
Teacher: I agree, but that’s the lowest mark I could give you! 

*What do you call a teacher without students?
Broke…oh wait, that’s a regular teacher

*Teacher: You copied from Fred’s exam paper didn’t you ?
Pupil: How did you know ?
Teacher: Fred’s paper says “I don’t know” and you have put “Me, neither”!

*The little boy wasn’t getting good marks in school. One day he made the teacher quite surprised. He tapped her on the shoulder and said …”I don’t want to scare you, but my daddy says if I don’t get better grades, somebody is going to get a spanking.”

Physics Teacher: “Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity. Isn’t that wonderful?”

Student: “Yes sir, if he had been sitting in class looking at books like us, he wouldn’t have discovered anything.”

How long are we supposed to learn?

We learn all of our lives, but do we learn in Heaven or do we know everything?

Let’s read: 1 Cor. 13:8-13:

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My Theme: Be encouraged we will continue learning in Heaven because we will continue having new things to learn. Also, our learning will not impair our ability to love.

  1. We will not be omniscient.
    1. As we talk about this idea we must understand that in Heaven we do not become God.
    2. Only God is omniscient. Omniscient means to know everything.
    3. So, let’s take an excursus into the idea of love and 1 Cor. 13. In 1 Cor. 13:8 we read about knowledge being done away with. What this means is that the spiritual gift of knowledge or “Word of knowledge” will be done away with. Why do we need the spiritual gift when we are with Jesus in reality? Also, we must understand that the Corinthians elevated certain spiritual gifts above others. They liked the showy gifts. They liked tongues as it was a showy gift, they must have liked knowledge as it was a showy gift. I believe we still struggle with this today. I like the showy gifts as well. But Paul is saying they go away in Heaven, at least in the sense as being spiritual gifts.
    4. We can’t take this passage to mean that in Heaven we know everything. What we can say is that still in Heaven love remains.
    5. Love is most important. Love carries on for all eternity. The spiritual gifts do not need to continue in Heaven, but love will always continue.
    6. Paul is NOT talking about natural human love. He is talking about a love that only God can give. This is love that a human being can only express when he or she has been touched by God’s grace and enabled by God’s Spirit.
    7. Love in this special way will continue in Heaven.
    8. I like what the Life Application Study Bible says:
      1. When Paul wrote of knowing “everything completely, just as God now knows me completely,” he was referring to when we must see Christ face to face. God gives believers spiritual gifts for their lives on earth in order to build up, serve, and strengthen fellow Christians. The spiritual gifts are for the church. In eternity, we will be made perfect and complete and will be in the very presence of God. We will no longer need the spiritual gifts, so they will come to an end. Then, we will have a full understanding and appreciation for one another as unique expressions of God’s infinite creativity. We will use our differences as a reason to praise God! Based on that perspective, let us treat each other with the same love and unity that we will one day share.[1]
    9. Of course this may make us think about what the spiritual gift of knowledge is. I like what one wrote: The spiritual gift of knowledge is also known as the “word of knowledge” or “utterance of knowledge.”  The Greek word for this gift is Gnosis and it simply means knowledge and understanding.  The Scriptural emphasis in 1 Corinthians 12:8is on the ability to speak this knowledge to others in a given situation.  In the opening passages of 1 Corinthians, Paul spoke of knowledge and recognized that the highest form of knowledge among men is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (i.e. the testimony about Christ, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4-7).  What we can conclude then is the gift of knowledge is an understanding of the things in this world and in our lives that is founded in the Gospel and rooted in the Scriptures.  This gift is closely related to the gift of wisdom which is alluded to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.
    10. The Holy Spirit gives this spiritual gift to some believers to bring about understanding and to inform the church or individual believers.  The person with this gift is usually well-versed in the Scriptures and often has much committed to memory.  They can retain the truth and communicate it effectively at the appropriate times.  The gift of knowledge allows a believer to relate the Scriptures, and particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to all aspects of life in this world.  They can see how it connects to every situation and circumstance and how the reality and truth of the Gospel is to inform every decision a Christian makes.[2]
    11. There is more we could say about this, but let’s talk about Heaven.
    12. So, in Heaven we will still learn. We simply will NOT need a spiritual gift. Additionally, as we look at verse 12 Paul writes about Heaven like a mirror. Corinth was known for their Corinthian bronze mirrors but even the best mirrors were not a good reflection. Then Paul says we will know fully.
    13. Randy Alcorn gets into great detail writing: The apostle Paul wrote: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1   Corinthians 13: 12, emphasis added). The italicized words are based on two different Greek words: ginosko and epiginosko. The prefix epi intensifies the word to mean “to really know” or “to know extensively.” However, when the word is used of humans, it never means absolute knowledge.[3]
    14. I have to agree. We can look at other scriptures which talk of learning in Heaven.
  2. We will still learn
    1. Learning is not from sin. Sin and our fallen world may make it difficult to learn. Maybe our minds will work faster in Heaven, but there will likely still be a learning process.
    2. 1 Peter 1:12 shows Angels don’t know everything and they long to know more.
    3. Ephesians 2:6-7 indicates that God will show us more knowledge in Heaven: And God raised us up with Christand seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
    4. Think of how much we will have to learn being in the New Jerusalem with the new Garden of Eden and dwelling with God.
    5. Think of how much we can have to learn being with the prophets of the Old Testament.
    6. Think of how much we will have to learn being with your great great-great-grandfather and grandmother.
    7. Think of how much we can learn about each other when we do not have sin in the way impairing our thinking.
    8. Without learning it could be quite boring for us as we were created to have purpose and learning and purpose go together.
    9. Imagine studying history next to a historian or the people themselves. I love Revolutionary War history, imagine studying while talking to George Washington, or John Adams, or Patrick Henry. Imagine studying physics with Einstein or Isaac Newton. Imagine studying music with Bach.
    10. Or maybe you love to hunt or fish or play sports, I know there will be new techniques to learn.
    11. Maybe you love old cars or machines, I know there would be more to study.
    12. The Scriptures talk about books in Heaven as well as scrolls and so it seems that they will remain.
    13. I do come back to the beginning Most of all love always remains. We can learn without needing a spiritual gift. We can learn and love at the same time.


Be encouraged we will continue learning in Heaven because we will continue having new things to learn. Also, our learning will not impair our ability to love.

Martin Luther said, “If God had all the answers in his right hand, and the struggle to reach those answers in his left, I would choose God’s left hand.” Why? Because it’s not only truth we want, it’s also the pleasure of learning the truth.

We continue painting a picture of Heaven. Next week we complete the picture.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23


God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)




[1] Tyndale House Publishers (2011-08-01). Life Application Study Bible NLT (LASB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 154921-154926). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[2] http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gift-of-knowledge

[3] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 5951-5955). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Will be have time in Heaven?


Sometimes I get up to preach and I bet you look at your clock. We don’t have a clock in the sanctuary, but I can assure you I am also mindful of the time I preach. Before he was called as their pastor John MacArthur filled the pulpit at the church he currently serves. He preached something like an hour and a half that Sunday, or close to it. He thought he wouldn’t be invited back. The next Sunday he was invited back and he noticed a big clock on the back wall had been added. He has been there some 47 years, since 1969 and still preaches about an hour. You can hear his sermons on the radio or the computer called “Grace to You.” I know I have preached long, but never that long.

We are very mindful of the time; I know I am. I remember looking at my watch when I was at the orthodontist and they asked if I had somewhere to be. I was in seventh or eighth grade. I had nowhere to be. I began regularly wearing a watch when I was in 1st grade. My parents and teachers thought it was great that I was very good at telling the time and watching the time. Whether it was good or not, I don’t know, what I do know is I probably became obsessive about time. I am very detail oriented. I still watch the time, all the time. I still plan according to time, a lot. I have this mental plan, based off of the time, in my head.

So, when we think about Heaven, do you think there will be time? Can you imagine existence without time? From birth we are limited by time. Is time evil? Is time part of our existence because of sin?

Let’s talk more about Heaven and time.

My theme:

There will be time in Heaven but we will not be limited by it.

  1. Whether encouraging or discouraging, there will be time in Heaven.
    1. I don’t know whether you hate time or not. If you hate time, don’t be discouraged yet. If you like time, then maybe this is encouraging.
    2. Think about this, without time:
      1. We can’t cook, right?
      2. We can’t play sports because there is time.
  • We can’t play music because we must keep notes, right?
  1. There are other things that we need time for such as planting and harvesting and even assignments that have a due date. How many of us are procrastinators?
  1. It appears from certain passages that there will be time in Heaven. Let’s look at a few:
    1. Heaven’s inhabitants track with events happening in time, right down to rejoicing the moment a sinner on Earth repents (Luke 15: 7).
    2. Martyrs in Heaven are told to “wait a little longer” when they ask “how long” before Christ will judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge the martyrs’ blood (Revelation 6: 10-11). Those in Heaven couldn’t ask “how long” or be told “wait a little longer” unless time passes in Heaven.
    3. Paul spoke of Heaven in terms of “the coming ages” (Ephesians 2: 7). He speaks not just of a future age but of ages (plural).
    4. God’s people in Heaven “serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7: 15).
    5. The tree of life on the New Earth will be “yielding its fruit every month” (Revelation 22: 2). There are days and months both in the present and eternal Heaven.
    6. God says, “The new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure   before me.  .  .  . From one New Moon to another and from one   Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me” (Isaiah 66: 22-23). New Moons and Sabbaths require moon, sun, and time.
    7. God said, “Summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis   8: 22). This wasn’t the result of the Curse; it was God’s original design.
    8. We’re told that “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Revelation 8: 1).
    9. The book of Revelation shows the present Heaven’s inhabitants operating within time. The descriptions of worship include successive actions, such as falling down at God’s throne and casting crowns before   him (Revelation 4: 10). There’s a sequence of events; things occur   one after another, not all at once.
    10. The inhabitants of Heaven sing (Revelation 5: 9-12). Music in Heaven requires time. Meter, tempo, and rests are all essential components of music, and each is time-related. Certain notes are held longer than others. Songs have a beginning, middle, and end. That means they take place in time.[1]
  2. Some think we won’t have time and they think we won’t have time because God does not have time, but remember we will not become God in Heaven.
  • God created time in Genesis 1:1, long before sin entered the world.
  1. Be encouraged we will not be limited by time in Heaven.
    1. The discouraging thing now is that we are limited by time.
    2. Right now we have a certain amount of time for rest and a certain amount of time for play and a certain amount of time for work.
    3. We are watching the clock because we want to get our work done in time to play or spend with family before we must sleep.
    4. Honestly, there are many days, okay, almost every day that I look forward to my girl’s bedtime. They can be exhausting, they are exhausting. At the same time, I try to get home before their bedtime to spend time with them.
    5. We are also limited by death. Eventually, we all die. That is another limitation of time.
    6. In Heaven, we won’t have the limitation of death. Death shall be no more (Rev. 21:4).
    7. In Heaven, we will work and not grow weary. Working grew tiresome after sin (Genesis 3:19).
    8. Imagine, not having to think about being tired when we work. If you like cutting down trees you can do that as long as you want without being tired. We will have new bodies.
    9. Imagine having the benefits of time without the weaknesses. Imagine having the ability to MEASURE time, but not feel the negative effects of time?

So, in Heaven, we will have time without the limitations of time.

Rejoice, hallelujah, heaven will be beyond your greatest imaginations.

I have been watching time closely since first grace. But I have had the effects of time on my life for my whole life. In fact, sometimes, in the right lighting, you may notice my gray hair.

I have been painting a picture of Heaven. I hope your picture of Heaven is getting more focused.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 5042-5043). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Heaven will be home


Mr. Johnson, a businessman from Wisconsin, went on a business trip to Louisiana. He immediately sent an e-mail back to his wife, Jean. Unfortunately, he mistyped a letter and the e-mail ended up going to a Mrs. Joan Johnson, the wife of a preacher who just passed away.

 The preacher’s wife took one look at the e-mail and promptly fainted. When she was finally revived, she nervously pointed to the message, which read: “Arrived safely, but it sure is hot down here!”

Let’s continue talking about Heaven. Let’s talk about home.

Let’s think some random thoughts about home…

What is your dream home? Think about it for a minute. I have seen these shows on television where they show celebrity estates and they are absolutely huge. I have seen shows where they fix up homes. Mercedes actually likes the show Fixer-Upper which is about a couple who fix old homes and dilapidated homes for people. Most of us can probably think of the way homes have changed over the years. I grew up in a two story house with four bedrooms. I recently saw pictures of that house online and it has totally changed. The new owners have made the kitchen, dining room and living room almost like one big room. The fireplace has changed, everything has changed. It doesn’t seem like home to me anymore. What makes something home? Until I have five years old we lived in an old house outside of downtown Dayton. The house had beautiful woodwork and the rooms were so big, I was also so little, so they even appeared bigger! We had an incinerator in the basement. I remember watching my dad burn stuff in it and as a young child it was so cool! We had a front porch and could watch thunderstorms. It was a nice home, but if I went back to that house it would no longer be home to me. In fact, it has changed, the whole area has changed. We can all think of home. Think of your childhood home. Think of your favorite home. I remember talking with Dr. Chester Bartram’s family and they talked about a farm they would travel down to. Are there places that you can go and you know you are home? When I drive around Dayton, I still feel home because that is where I lived until I was twenty-five years old. But then I was in Cincinnati and it took awhile but then it felt like home. I have now been here for almost five and a half years and it also feels like home. I have an intimate connection with this area as it has become part of my life. Meagan and I have lived in our current house longer than any other house since we have been married. We moved five times in our first eight years of marriage. I remember driving to visit with people in this area and as I drive up and down the streets I can think of that. I remember jogging up and down the streets in a snowstorm, all covered with snow. I remember jogging with a church member and getting caught in a lightning storm. When I moved to Cincinnati I realized that when my memories of that area included, not just work, but time with my wife in that area, then it was home. When I could be driving to a hospital to visit someone and think about driving down that same road with my wife, then it was home. The memories had to include family. Some of you have lived in your same house for forty or more years. Some of you have lived in this area all your life and I am sure you would say this is home.

So, think about Heaven, will we have homes? Will we have our own homes?

I want to say, yes, and yes to an extent.

Theme: Heaven will have all the comforts of this world without the sin, pain and suffering. In heaven we will have home-sweet-home.

Let’s read Isaiah 65:17 and 21-22:

“See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.

  1. Yes, we will have homes in Heaven.
    1. Our homes will reflect this life without sin, trouble, hardship, pain and sickness.
    2. Remember that it seems there is some continuity between this life and Heaven.
    3. If you read the context of that passage some of it could have to do with the Millennial reign, though it seems evident that it for sure includes the eternal New Jerusalem as well.
    4. As I look at this it seems for sure that we will have homes.
    5. It seems that we may have land.
    6. Remember that if you read Revelation chapters 21-22 we see a huge city which is the New Jerusalem, but we also see a Garden. If you like the city, you got it. If you like the opened country, you have that as well.
    7. In the passage in Revelation it seems that we will be able to work the soil on our land.
    8. Work is not a consequence of sin. In Genesis 2:15 we see that Adam was placed in the Garden to take care of it and this is before sin entered the world. But Because of sin we work and grow weary. In Heaven we won’t. This doesn’t mean we won’t rest in Heaven.
    9. What will our homes be like?
    10. So, in Heaven we have homes and we have land and we can take care of the land.
    11. Will our homes be big or small?
    12. In Chip Ingram’s book The Real Heaven, What the Bible Actually Says, he has a chapter on our homes. He says that our homes will be a lot like the new bodies we have. Our new bodies are to be similar to our current bodies and our new homes will be as well, except they will not have all the limitations and illness, etc.
    13. There is only so much we can know, but I do think we can go a little deeper.
    14. Let’s read John 14:1-2: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
    15. Randy Alcorn helps us understand this: The Vulgate, the Latin Bible, used the word mansions in that verse, and the King James Version followed by using mansions. Unfortunately, that rendering is misleading if it makes us envision having massive lodgings on separate estates. The intended meaning seems to be that we’ll have separate dwelling places on a single estate or even separate rooms within the same house.
    16. New Testament scholar D. A. Carson says, “Since heaven is here pictured as the Father’s house, it is more natural to think of ‘dwelling-places’ within a house as rooms or suites.  .  .  . The simplest explanation is best: my Father’s house refers to heaven, and in heaven are many rooms, many dwelling-places. The point is not the lavishness of each apartment, but the fact that such ample provision has been made that there is more than enough space for every one of Jesus’ disciples to join him in his Father’s home.”
    17. The New International Version rendering of John 14:2 is this: “In my Father’s house are many rooms.  .  .  . I am going there to prepare a place for you.” Place is singular, but rooms is plural. This suggests Jesus has in mind for each of us an individual dwelling that’s a smaller part of the larger place. This place will be home to us in the most unique sense.
    18. The term room is cozy and intimate. The terms house or estate suggest spaciousness. That’s Heaven: a place both spacious and intimate. Some of us enjoy coziness, being in a private space. Others enjoy a large, wide-open space. Most of us enjoy both— and the New Earth will offer both. Heaven isn’t likely to have lots of identical residences. God loves diversity, and he tailor-makes his children and his provisions for them. When we see the particular place he’s prepared for us— not just for mankind in general but for us in particular— we’ll rejoice to see our ideal home.
    19. We will entertain in Heaven? Since we have homes I think it is likely that we will entertain in our homes just like we do today. This gets into a broader topic of feasts in Heaven, eating in Heaven, relationships in Heaven, etc, but it seems that we will have all of that.
      1. It seems that we will feast with people.
      2. Look at all the times Jesus ate with people.
  • Hebrews 13:2 talks about entertaining angels, so entertainment is important.
  1. We also know about the Marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19:6-9.
  1. Let’s take a moment to apply
    1. Why wouldn’t we have nice homes in Heaven?
    2. Why wouldn’t we have dream homes in Heaven?
    3. We will have real, resurrected bodies.
    4. We will have a real city and a real garden that will be paradise.
    5. We will have relationships.
    6. We will eat.
    7. Heaven will be what this life was and is meant to be. There will be no suffering, crying, pain, sickness or death, but there will be purpose and living.
    8. We can be encouraged that we will have some form of dwelling in Heaven.
    9. We can be encouraged that some things from this life will continue to eternity.
    10. We can recognize that we must live in community now, as we will later.
    11. We can serve and entertain now, as we will in eternity. “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13: 2).
    12. We can recognize that we must live for eternity now and be blessed later. (Matthew 6:19-20)


What makes something or someplace home?

Could it be that home is where your family is? Could it be that home is where your community is? Could it be that home is where you belong? Could it be that home is where you have purpose? Could it be that home is where you have memories? I believe you will have all that in Heaven and so much more. You will have memories and make new memories. You will have community and new community. You will have family and more family. You will have purpose. You will belong like you have never belonged before. You will have an estate, land and house. Oh, you will also have joy. You will have joy like you have never known before.

Heaven will be home! Home sweet home!


Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23


God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


Heaven will not be boring


A cleric found himself wondering whether there were any golf courses in Heaven. He even began to ask the question in his prayers. One day, in answer to his prayers, he received a direct answer from on high. 

“Yes,” said the Heavenly messenger, “There are many excellent golf courses in Heaven. The greens are always in first class condition, the weather is always perfect and you always get to play with the very nicest people.”

“Oh, thank you,” said the cleric, “That really is marvellous news.”

“Yes, isn’t it?” replied the messenger, “And we’ve got you down for a foursome next Saturday.”[1]

A few weeks ago I was running with Mercedes and we had an interesting conversation. Actually, we are having many philosophical conversations as we run. So, a few weeks ago she asked me if we will have to go to the bathroom in Heaven. I don’t have a good answer to that, though I understand the question. One of the major stressors of a five-year-old is to make sure she makes it to the bathroom in time. I remember being a child and thinking about how in Heaven I hope that we can have peanut-butter pie. I remember thinking that we could eat as much as we want without getting sick. Some of those thoughts have worn off as I’ve aged. Why don’t we think like children about Heaven anymore? Why can’t we use our imagination?

A common misconception about eternity surfaced in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. A member of the undying “Q continuum” longs for an end to his existence. Why? Because, he complains, everything that could be said and done has already been said and done, and now there’s only repetition and utter boredom. He says, “For us, the disease is immortality.” Finally he’s allowed to end his existence.[2]

Can Christians have fun? Why not?

I thought about this while reading the Little House in the Big Woods book to Mercedes:

Little House in the Big Wood Sundays chapter:

On Sundays Mary and Laura must not run or shout or be noisy in their play. Mary could not sew on her nine-patch quilt, and Laura could not knit on the tiny mittens she was making for Baby Carrie. They might look quietly at their paper dolls, but they must not make anything new for them. They were not allowed to sew on doll clothes, not even with pins.

They must sit quietly and listen while Ma read Bible stories to them, or stories about lions and tigers and white bears from Pa’s big green book, The Wonders of the Animal World. They might look at pictures, and they might hold their rag dolls nicely and talk to them. But there was nothing else they could do.

Laura liked best to look at the pictures in the big Bible, with its paper covers. Best of all was the picture of Adam naming the animals.

One Sunday after supper she could not bear it any longer. She began to play with Jack, and in a few minutes she was running and shouting. Pa told her to sit in her chair and be quiet, but when Laura sat down she began to cry and kick the chair with her heels.

“I hate Sunday!” she said.

Pa put down his book. “Laura,” he said sternly, “come here.”

Her feet dragged as she went, because she knew she deserved a spanking. But when she reached Pa, he looked at her sorrowfully for a moment, and then took her on his knee and cuddled her against him. He held out his other arm to Mary, and said:

“I’m going to tell you a story about when Grandpa was a boy.”[3] He then tells a story about his father being punished for fun on Sundays.

I don’t want to insult the past, I know they had reasons for what they did, but sometimes in our best efforts to be reverent we ruin fun. The problem with that is we make Christians look boring. It follows that we make Heaven seem boring.

Is Heaven to be boring?

Theme: Heaven will not be boring, Heaven will be fun. Heaven will have all the blessings of this life without the hardships, pain and suffering.


We will worship the triune God.

We will rule and administrate.

We will have different positions of authority.

We may rebuild cities.

We may build homes.

Some will compose and write music.

Some will play musical instruments.

We will serve.

Some will farm.

Some will cultivate orchards.[4]

  1. It seems that Heaven is a reflection of earth, or should I say earth is a reflection of how Heaven was to be.
    1. Things God created that have been distorted by sin will be made right and perfect.
    2. We live in a fallen world, but I believe the Bible shows that Heaven will be as God intended the Garden of Eden to be before sin entered the world.
    3. We can read Revelation 21 and 22 and see the comparisons with the Garden of Eden. In the eternal Heaven, in Revelation 22 it seems that that Heaven is a reflection of the first Garden of Eden. We will see a Tree of Life again in verse 2 as there was a tree of life in the first Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). We see a river in the eternal Heaven in Revelation 22:1. We see two rivers in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:10 and 13. It does seem that the eternal New Jerusalem Heaven is going to be like the Garden of Eden was meant to be, only much better.
    4. We have purpose now and we will have purpose for all eternity.
    5. Just think for a moment about your best moments on earth. Think about your most exciting times. Think about how you felt when you first found out you were going to be a dad or a mom. Think about how you felt when were first engaged or newly married. Think about the joy, comfort and excitement on a vacation. Just think about how excited you were to get a new job or do a certain job. Just think for a moment about how much you love a certain hobby. Now imagine that joy, those feelings, that excitement going for all eternity. Imagine for all eternity doing what you love to do, but without being tired, without sickness or pain. I wouldn’t limit eternity though. You may get bored fishing for all eternity, but why would you do the same thing? What if you fished for a while and then played golf and then accomplished a task? It does seem that we will have purpose.
    6. Look with me at Luke 19:11-17: While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ 15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
    7. This is a parable of Heaven and it seems that Jesus is saying that when we are faithful we will be blessed.
    8. It seems that He is saying when we are faithful we will be blessed by helping to run the universe. We can help Jesus run the universe.
    9. There are other passages: Randy Alcorn writes: Isaiah 65: 21 suggests that we’ll build houses and live in them on the New Earth. If so, we’ll no doubt decorate them beautifully. Buildings on the scale of the New Jerusalem reflect extensive cultural advancement. Human builders will learn from God’s design, just as Leonardo da Vinci learned by studying the form and flight of birds while working on his flying machine. What will clear-thinking human beings— unhindered by sin and the barriers that separate us— be able to design and build? What would Galileo, da Vinci, Edison, or Einstein achieve if they could live even a thousand years unhindered by the Curse? What will we achieve when we have resurrected bodies with resurrected minds, working together forever?[5]
    10. He continues: Some researchers suggest that we now use only 10 percent of our brainpower. Adam and Eve could likely use 100 percent of theirs— and their brainpower was probably far greater than ours… On the New Earth, God’s gifts to us will never be lost to age, death, pettiness, insecurity, or laziness.[6]
    11. It is quite likely people will continue to compose music, write stories, discover things.
    12. Suppose people continue to explore, but now they can explore all of these new oceans. Suppose people can explore outers pace and go even further than ever before.
    13. A major point to be made is that we will have resurrected-perfect bodies. In 1 Corinthians 15, the great chapter on the resurrection, Paul writes about our resurrected bodies. I don’t know if we will be able to, but Jesus was able to walk through walls (John 20:19), Jesus was not limited by gravity (Acts 1:9). That could be because Jesus is God, but who is to say that our resurrected bodies will not have more capabilities than we have now.
    14. Randy Alcorn writes: A disembodied existence would be boring, but the reality of our bodily resurrection puts boredom to death. Imagine the animals that zoologists will research and play with or the flowers that botanists will study. Gifted astronomers and explorers may go from star system to star system, galaxy to galaxy, studying the wonders of God’s creation. If we think life on the New Earth will be boring, we just aren’t getting it. Take a closer look at God and his Word, and all thoughts that we’ll be bored in his presence will vanish.[7]
    15. We will have fun. God created fun, we didn’t create fun. When we were children, we played— with each other and with dogs and cats and frogs. We enjoyed hiding, climbing trees, sledding, and throwing snowballs and baseballs. We played nonstop, never having to go earn a living. We played just because it was fun. Is God pleased by that? Yes, because he created and values a childlike spirit (Mark 10: 14-15).[8]
  2. Let’s apply this.
    1. Look with me at Revelation 14:13: Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lordfrom now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
    2. Did you notice that? Their deeds will follow them. What we do on earth will follow us so it is best that we store up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).
    3. Hebrews 6:10 tells us that God will not forget the good things we do.
    4. We can look forward to Heaven. Heaven will be greater than anything we can imagine.
    5. We can share the Gospel knowing that we are inviting others to paradise.
    6. We can also know that if we have extra suffering here and now we won’t have that for eternity.
    7. Some us would love to do certain things, but can’t because of health. You can do all that and more in Heaven. If you can’t go fishing anymore, you can in Heaven. If you can’t run anymore, you will be able to in Heaven. If you can’t play golf anymore, you can in Heaven. If you can’t read anymore or travel or hear in Heaven these things will be restored. In Heaven you will be able to be active without pain. In Heaven you will be able to have energy which you cannot imagine now.
    8. I am amazed by Mercedes energy. She can move so fast! I am amazed at my young age how sore I can feel in the morning. I cannot imagine life without having to think about energy levels, but in Heaven this will be fixed.
    9. However, our experience in Heaven is determined by our faithfulness to Christ now.
    10. Remember we are saved by grace, but we will have rewards for faithfully serving Jesus.
    11. So, just like how in this life the mistakes we make now catch up to us later, it is true for all eternity. Serve Jesus faithfully now and you will have more opportunities to serve Him forever.



Two Christians have lived very good, and also very healthy lives. They die, and go to heaven. 

As they are walking along, marveling at the paradise around them, one turns to the other and says “Wow. I never knew heaven was going to be as good as this!”

“Yeah”, says the other. “And just think, if we hadn’t eaten all that oat bran we could have got here ten years sooner.”[9]

I love C. S. Lewis’s profound perspective in his book Mere Christianity, when he writes,

The Christian says, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”[10]

We are created for another eternity. We are created for Heaven and it will not be boring.

Heaven will not be boring; Heaven will be fun. Heaven will have all the blessings of this life without the hardships, pain and suffering.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] http://jokes.christiansunite.com/Heaven/Golf_in_Heaven.shtml

[2] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 7599-7602). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[3] http://www.gutenberg.ca/ebooks/wilder-woods/wilder-woods-01-h.html

[4] Enns, Paul P. (2011-03-01). Heaven Revealed: What Is It Like? What Will We Do?… And 11 Other Things You’ve Wondered About (p. 153). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[5] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 7599-7602). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[6] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 7599-7602). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[7] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 7599-7602). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[8] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 7880-7883). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[9] http://jokes.christiansunite.com/Heaven/The_Healthy_Christians.shtml

[10] Ingram, Chip; Witt, Lance (2016-02-23). The Real Heaven: What the Bible Actually Says (Kindle Locations 1380-1388). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Will animals be in Heaven?

We have always had a love for animals, haven’t we?

I remember a Twilight Zone episode about a man and his dog.

Hyder Simpson is an elderly mountain man who lives with his wife Rachel and his hound dog Rip in the backwoods. Rachel does not like having the dog indoors, but Rip saved Hyder’s life once and Hyder refuses to part with him. Rachel has seen some bad omens recently and warns Hyder not to go raccoon hunting that night. When Rip dives into a pond after a raccoon, Hyder jumps in after him, but only the raccoon comes up out of the water. The next morning, Hyder and Rip wake up next to the pond. When they return home, Hyder finds that neither Rachel, the preacher, nor the neighbors can hear him or see him; they are under the impression that he has died. 

Walking along the road, Hyder and Rip encounter an unfamiliar fence and begin to follow it. They come to a gate tended by a man, who Hyder initially believes to be Saint Peter. Explaining that he is only a gatekeeper, the man explains that Hyder can enter the Elysian Fields of the afterlife. Simpson is appreciative, but disheartened to hear that neither raccoon hunting nor any of his other usual pleasures can be found inside. Told that Rip cannot enter and will be taken elsewhere, Hyder angrily declines the offer of entry and decides to keep walking along the “Eternity Road,” saying, “Any place that’s too high-falutin’ for Rip is too fancy for me.”

Later, Hyder and Rip stop to rest and are met by a young man, who introduces himself as an angel dispatched to find them and bring them to Heaven. When Hyder explains his previous encounter, the angel tells him that the gate was actually the entrance to Hell. The gatekeeper had stopped Rip from entering because Rip would have smelled the brimstone inside and warned Hyder that something was wrong. The angel says, “You see, Mr. Simpson, a man, well, he’ll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devil can’t fool a dog!”

As the angel leads Hyder along the Eternity Road toward Heaven, the angel tells Hyder that a square dance and raccoon hunt are scheduled for that night. He also assures Hyder that Rachel, who will soon be coming along the road, will not be misled into entering Hell.

The closing narration is:

“Travelers to unknown regions would be well advised to take along the family dog. He could just save you from entering the wrong gate. At least, it happened that way once—in a mountainous area of the Twilight Zone.”

I wonder if our love for animals is because God created animals and He created animals as part of Eden. Look at Genesis 1:30:

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. [1]

This passage references animals in the Garden of Eden and also references the “breath of life in them.” Animals were in paradise when God first created it prior to the fall of man. In the eternal Heaven, in Revelation 22 it seems that that Heaven is a reflection of the first Garden of Eden. We will see a Tree of Life again in verse 2 as there was a tree of life in the first Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). We see a river in the eternal Heaven in Revelation 22:1. We see two rivers in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:10 and 13. It does seem that the eternal New Jerusalem Heaven is going to be like the Garden of Eden was meant to be, only much better. It would seem that since animals were in the first garden they will be with us in eternity. Let’s talk about this for a moment.

My Theme today:

Animals were created by God as part of paradise and that will continue into the new creation.

I hope this is encouraging for you.

  1. Let’s start by talking about souls. Do animals have souls?
    1. When God breathed a spirit into Adam’s body, made from the earth, Adam became nephesh, a “living being” or “soul” (Genesis 2: 7).
    2. Randy Alcorn shares: Remarkably, the same Hebrew word, nephesh, is used for animals and for people. We are specifically told that not only people, but animals have “the breath of life” in them (Genesis 1: 30; 2: 7; 6: 17; 7: 15, 22). God hand-made animals, linking them both to the earth and humanity. Am I suggesting animals have souls? Certainly they do not have human souls. Animals aren’t created in God’s image, and they aren’t equal to humans in any sense. Nonetheless, there’s a strong biblical case for animals having non-human souls. I didn’t take this seriously until I studied the usage of the Hebrew and Greek words nephesh and psyche, often translated “soul” when referring to humans. (Nephesh is translated psyche in the Septuagint.) The fact that these words are often used of animals is compelling evidence that they have non-human souls. That’s what most Christians in the past believed. In their book Beyond Death, Gary Habermas and J. P. Moreland point out, “It wasn’t until the advent of seventeenth-century Enlightenment . .  . that the existence of animal souls was even questioned in Western civilization.
    3. So, it seems that they do have some sort of a soul.
  2. How will people and animals relate?
    1. It seems that we will relate similarly to the way we were to relate in the Garden of Eden.
    2. Randy Alcorn shares: God created us to be stewards of animals. He holds us accountable for how we treat them. “The godly are concerned for the welfare of their animals” (Proverbs 12: 10, NLT). We are caretakers for the animals, but they belong to God, not us: “For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me” (Psalm 50: 10-11, NLT). Some people regard emotional attachment to animals as a modern development. But many cultures’ historical records demonstrate otherwise. The prophet Nathan spoke to King David of the poor man who had a little lamb “who shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him” (2   Samuel 12: 3). There’s no suggestion this man’s affection for his pet was inappropriate. David, unaware the story was told to expose his own sin, angrily responded that the man who stole the precious pet deserved to die. We needn’t speculate how God might populate a perfect Earth. He populated Eden with animals, under the rule of people. God doesn’t make mistakes.
  • Will animals praise God:
    1. This is new to me. I never thought of animals praising God.
    2. Consider the psalms. Psalm 148 commands all of creation to praise the Lord, including the animals: “Wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens” (vv. 10-13).
    3. 10-13). If in some sense fallen animals, shadows of what they once were, can praise God on this fallen Earth, how much more should we expect them to do so on the New Earth? “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150: 6)
    4. We’re told eight times in Revelation of “living creatures” in the present Heaven: “Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’.  .  . The living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne” (Revelation 4: 8-9).
    5. Randu Alcorn writes about this: The word translated “living creatures” is zoon. Throughout most of the   New Testament the word is translated “animal” and is used to indicate animals sacrificed in the Temple and wild, irrational animals (Hebrews 13: 11; 2   Peter 2: 12; Jude 1: 10). In the Old Testament, the Septuagint used zoon to translate the Hebrew   words for animals, including the “living creatures” of the sea (Genesis 1: 21; Ezekiel 47: 9). In extrabiblical writings, zoon commonly referred to ordinary   animals and was used of the Egyptians’ divine animals and the mythological   bird called the Phoenix (1 Clement 25: 2-3). In virtually every case inside   and outside of Scripture, this word means not a person, not an angel, but an animal.
    6. In the book Heaven he gets into greater detail. It is amazing to think that animals will praise God alongside us.
    7. It could even be possible that in a restored creation animals can talk.
  1. Will animals be resurrected?
    1. I can get into greater detail about animals and pets, but we will stop with this part.
    2. Psalm 104 is all about animals and then we get to verse 30 and it references renewing them. This seems to mean that they are resurrected in Heaven.
    3. It seems that it glorified God more by restoring than recreating. When God makes things right in eternity it is as if God is saying, “I can show you things can be redeemed.” God will redeem all things.
    4. If animals are resurrected this means your pet may be in Heaven as well.
  2. A few thoughts:
    1. Heaven will be awesome with or without your pet.
    2. Heaven will be with God in paradise.
    3. Secondly: DON’T discourage people from grieving the loss of an animal. That is appropriate. God created animals for us and we are sad when they leave us.
    4. I believe the Bible teaches us not to abuse animals. We are to take care of them.
    5. Romans 8 teaches us that all creation is waiting redemption and this includes animals.


In many of his writings, C. S. Lewis commented on the future of animals. He said, “It seems to me possible that certain animals may have an immortality, not in   themselves, but in the immortality of their masters.  .  .  . Very few animals indeed, in their wild state, attain to a ‘self’ or ego. But if any do, and if it is agreeable to   the goodness of God that they should live again, their immortality would also be related to man— not, this time, to individual masters, but to humanity.” In The Great Divorce, Lewis portrayed Sarah Smith, a woman ordinary on Earth, as great in Heaven. On Earth she loved both people and animals. In Heaven she’s surrounded by the very animals she cared for on Earth.

In her excellent book about Heaven, Joni Eareckson Tada says, “If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn’t surprise me. It would be just like Him. It would be totally in keeping with His generous character.  .  .  . Exorbitant. Excessive. Extravagant in grace after grace. Of all the dazzling discoveries and ecstatic pleasures heaven will hold for us, the potential of seeing Scrappy would be pure whimsy— utterly, joyfully, surprisingly superfluous.  .  .  . Heaven is going to be a place that will refract and reflect in as many ways as possible the goodness and joy of our great God, who delights in lavishing love on His children.”[2]

Heaven will be more amazing than anything we can imagine. Look forward to Heaven.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 1:30.

[2] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 7430-7439). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.


Present Heaven (Rev. 6:9-11)

I want to share a story with you to set up why Heaven matters. As I share this I realize some of you have faced similar situations. This comes from Paul Enns’ book on Heaven.

[may summarize in my words]

After I had parked the car, Helen and I walked to the sanctuary, holding hands as we always did when we walked together. We had been husband and wife for forty-five years, yet I still felt like a newly engaged young man, smitten with love and thrilled by holding hands with the one he loves. Our pastor, Ken Whitten, became emotional and teary-eyed that Sunday evening as he spoke during the sermon of being with his father just before he died.

 Pastor Ken recalled how he told his father, “I’ll meet you at the tree of life.” I leaned over to Helen and told her, “I’ll meet you at the Eastern Gate.” She smiled and responded in agreement. After the service we visited with numerous people (as Helen loved to do) and finally walked to the car, hand in hand. I opened the car door for her, and soon we were on our way home. I was unusually tired that evening and headed for bed ahead of Helen.

 When she came to bed I was almost asleep, so I missed our nightly ritual. Before turning out the light we would clasp hands, and Helen would say, “Gutte nacht, mein schatz!” (“Good night, my treasure!”) I would respond, “Gutte nacht, mein schatze!” (“Good night, my little treasure!”)

 The next morning, as I was leaving the house to drive to Idlewild Baptist Church to teach an extension seminary class, Helen walked to the car with me—as she always did. She carried my mug of coffee, took a few sips (she wasn’t supposed to drink coffee since it made her heart act up), and then handed me the cup. She was wearing walking shorts.

“Go inside, it’s too cold,” I suggested. But I knew she wouldn’t go in. Whenever I drove away, she would always wave me off. I backed out of the driveway, and as I drove away she blew me some kisses and then waved to me.

 She was now in the street, and continued to wave until I turned the corner at the far end of the street. Our love was simple and sincere. We never got over the thrill and joy of the love we had for each other. That morning, as I taught about the bodily resurrection of Christ, I became emotional and began to cry. I couldn’t explain it. At two o’clock I finished teaching the class but stayed for another half-hour talking to the students. I arrived home about 2:45 p.m. to find the door was locked. That was unusual, since Helen would always unlock the door when she knew I was coming home. I unlocked the door and entered the house. “Helen,” I called. No answer. I called louder, “HELEN!” Still no answer. She must be working outside, I told myself. I put down my briefcase and walked into the kitchen.

 I screamed as I saw Helen lying face down on the kitchen floor. I ran to her, turned her over, but there was no movement.“HELEN, HELEN!” I shouted. I ran to the kitchen phone and quickly dialed 911, crying and screaming at the same time. The lady admonished me to calm down, so I could help Helen. I followed her instruction and gave Helen mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, pumping her chest as I was told to do. In a short time the ambulance arrived, and the men took over.

 For over an hour they sought to revive Helen. Finally, they came to me and said, “We could take her to the hospital, but the line is flat. She’s gone.” Words are incapable of describing my emotion at that moment. My beloved Helen was gone! I couldn’t begin to fathom that it had actually happened. Helen gone! I couldn’t fathom it. It’s not true! It can’t be!

 I had never gotten over the thrill of Helen. From the moment I laid my eyes on her smiling face and happy eyes, I was captivated by her. I have told people I was on a forty-five-year honeymoon. Now she was gone.

 Death is a harsh reality, one we don’t like to relate to ourselves. Helen and I had recently talked, and she had mentioned that we both have longevity in our blood, and we planned what we would do when we hit our eighties. But Helen was only sixty-five, and now she was gone from me. But death encompasses everyone. As someone has said, “Death is all-inclusive; it’s one out of one.”

 THOUGHTS OF HEAVEN That singular event has changed my life and my thinking. My thoughts are constantly focused on heaven. I’m absorbed with the thought of heaven. The thought of reunion with my beloved Helen! But that raises many questions.

What is heaven like…[1]

 That is the subject that we are going to continue. What is Heaven like?

Today, I want to talk about the present Heaven versus the eternal Heaven.

Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher, often spoke of Heaven. He said, “It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven . .  . to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?”[2]

So, let’s look at Heaven.

It is really difficult to talk about Heaven without looking up a lot of passages, but for flow I only want you to have to turn to one passage. I will have other passages in my notes which are in your bulletin. In Revelation 6:9-11 we see a scene of martyrs interceding in Heaven. This is a scene in Heaven and we can draw some conclusions from it.

Let’s read Revelation 6:9-11:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

  1. Let’s start by differentiating between the two Heavens.
    1. We find in Scripture that the future Heaven is not on eternal the end of the Bible. In Revelation 21 we find the reference to the future Heaven and that is the new Jerusalem. We find other references throughout the Bible to the New Jerusalem and that is the eternal Heaven.
    2. We also find through the Bible references to the millennial reign. We find this in Rev. 20:2-6 as well as Old Testament passages. This is not the New Jerusalem, nor is it the current Heaven.
    3. When we think of passages concerning the resurrection of the body, that will be for the new Jerusalem and maybe the millennial reign. When we think of passages about Jesus wiping every tear from our eyes and no more crying, etc. (Rev. 21) that is the New Jerusalem. A lot of what we talk about for the coming weeks will concern the New Jerusalem and eternal Heaven, so today I want to talk more specifically about the current Heaven.
    4. For the rest of the message I want to draw on 5 encouraging applications about the current Heaven. I will substantiate these applications from the Rev. 6:9-11 passage and a few others.
      1. We can be encouraged that we go straight to Heaven when we die. (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23)
        1. Heaven is where God resides and we will go straight to Heaven. We can know that we go to be with God because those saints are with God and they are interceding for others.
        2. We also know in Luke 23:43 Jesus told the thief that that very day he would join Jesus in paradise.
        3. In 2 Cor. 5:8 Paul wrote about being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
        4. In Phil. 1:23 Paul also wrote about departing and joining Jesus.
        5. We go to be with God in Heaven when we die.
        6. Now, where is Heaven? Scientists at Yale, Princeton, and Stanford, among others, postulate that there are ten unobservable dimensions and likely an infinite number of imperceptible universes.[3]
        7. I find that fascinating. Heaven is in a realm that we are imperceptible to, but God is there.
        8. We see it happen in Scripture, such as 2 Kings 6:17 when Elisha’s servant’s eyes are opened in order to see God’s angels all around him.
      2. We can be encouraged that we will have consciousness in the immediate Heaven. (1 Samuel 28:16-19; Luke 9:31; 16:19-31; Rev. 6:9-11)
        1. We see in Scripture that we will be conscious. If we simply think about this passage in Revelation, they are conscious and they are actually interceding for the persecuted church.
        2. We also see consciousness in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
      3. We can be encouraged that we will have contact with those who have gone before us. (Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 6:9-11: they worship, not one merged identity)
        1. In the Rev. 6:9-11 passage they are worshipping together. We see the people together again in Rev. 7:9-10:

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne,  and to the Lamb.” [4]

  1. We see a group of people together.
  2. There is no reason to think that our when people die they are not reunited with their loved ones as well.
  3. By the way, these Scriptural examples are specific cases, it seems that Heaven is far greater than anything we can think or imagine.
  4. Worshipping Jesus is exciting, standing before His throne, but Heaven will be more than worship.
  5. Heaven will be fellowship, we see that indicated in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
  6. Paul desired Heaven more than earth so it must be greater than we can think of.
  7. In 2 Cor. 12 Paul wrote of some type of near death experience and said that he saw things that he was not permitted to speak of. He also did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body.
  8. Now, is a good time for me to also say that it seems that the immediate Heaven is physical, not purely spiritual.
  9. Listen, the physical body is not bad, it is good. It is Christoplatonism to think that it is bad. Remember I shared that last Sunday. Greek philosophy, Platonism, impacted Christianity to think the physical is bad, but it isn’t.
  10. These descriptions in Rev. 6:9-11 and in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus give physical descriptions. They had voices to cry out. They were wearing white robes.
  11. “The rich man and Lazarus are depicted as having physical forms. The rich man had a tongue and a thirst that he wished to satisfy with water. Lazarus had a finger, and there was water available to him in Paradise, into which he might dip his finger. Of course, these references may be entirely figurative. But they might also suggest the possession of transitional physical forms, existing in a physical Paradise, to sustain and manifest human identity between death and resurrection.”[5]
  12. These bodies and this physical realm is still different than the New Jerusalem and the bodies are not our resurrected bodies, they may be temporary bodies, but it does seem physical.
  13. The physical can go in and out of the spiritual. We see that all throughout the Bible when God interacts with humanity. Of course God is spiritual. (John 4:24), but the angels are physical and the interact with our realm. (Hebrews 13:2; Genesis 18: The Lord’s appearance to Abraham; Genesis 19 the angels visiting Lot)
  14. We also know that God is unchanging, that does not mean that Heaven is unchanging. God can change Heaven as He sees fit. This means Heaven can be a certain way now, but then transition when the New Jerusalem comes down from earth.
  1. We can be encouraged that in Heaven we will have a memory of life on earth, otherwise we would be a different person. (Luke 16:19-31)
    1. In the passage in Luke 16:19-31 the rich man and Lazarus had memories of their life on earth.
    2. I like how Randy Alcorn points out that without our memories we would be different people.
    3. Also, in 1 Samuel 28:16-19 Saul wrongfully tries to bring up the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel and Samuel remembered Saul and really was alert to what was going on.
  2. We can be encouraged that it is likely our past family members and friends are interceding for us now. (Rev. 6:9-11)
    1. We see this in Rev. 6:9-11. They are interceding for the Christians on earth.
    2. Actually their intercession is more valuable than our prayers because they are with Jesus and so they are righteous. James tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective and they are righteous or they wouldn’t be in Heaven. (James 5:16)
    3. This means they ae interceding for us, but that does not mean we should pray to them. We can pray straight to Jesus, why pray to anyone other than Jesus Who is Lord and God. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
    4. Just imagine that your friends and family are up on Heaven interceding for you, isn’t that amazing?


So, we go straight to Heaven and then eventually to the New Jerusalem.

To illustrate, imagine you lived in a homeless shelter in Miami. One day you inherit a beautiful house overlooking Santa Barbara, California, and are given a wonderful job doing something you’ve always wanted to do. Many friends and family will live nearby.

As you fly toward Santa Barbara, you stop at the Dallas airport for a layover. Other family members you haven’t seen in years meet you. They will board the plane with you to Santa Barbara. Naturally you look forward to seeing them in Dallas, your first stop.

But if someone asks where you’re going, would you say “Dallas”? No. You would say Santa Barbara, because that’s your final destination. Dallas is just a temporary stop. At most you might say “I’m going to Santa Barbara, with a brief stop in Dallas.”[6] Similarly, the Heaven we will go to when we die, the present Heaven, is a temporary dwelling place, a stop along the way to our final destination: the New Earth. Another analogy is more precise but difficult to imagine, because for most of us it’s outside our experience. Imagine leaving the homeless shelter in Miami and flying to the intermediate location, Dallas, and then turning around and going back home to your place of origin, which has been completely renovated— a New Miami. In this New Miami, you would no longer live in a homeless shelter, but in a beautiful house in a glorious pollution-free, crime-free, sin-free city. So you would end up living not in a different home, but in a radically improved version of your old home. This is what the Bible promises us— we will live with Christ and each other forever, not in the intermediate, or present, Heaven, but on the New Earth, where God will be at home with his people.

On December 21, 1899, D. L. Moody awoke from sleep early in the morning and began to speak: “Earth recedes; heaven opens before me.” His son was at his bedside and thought he was dreaming and attempted to rouse him. “No, this is no dream, Will,” Mr. Moody replied. “It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.” Mr. Moody continued to talk as if from another world. “Then it seemed as though he saw beyond the veil, for he exclaimed, ‘This is my triumph; this is my Coronation Day! I have been looking forward to it for years.’ Then his face lit up, and he said, in a voice of joyful rapture, ‘Dwight! Irene! I see the children’s faces!’”—referring to the two little grandchildren God had taken from his life in the past year. Moments later Moody was gone. He had entered heaven.[8]

Paul Enns writes:


Our existence continues.

We shall never die.

We are in our new home.

Angels will escort us.

Christ will welcome us.

We will be with Christ.

We will be reunited with loved ones.

We will be home.

We will be where Jesus wants us to be.[9]

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


[1] Enns, Paul P. (2011-03-01). Heaven Revealed: What Is It Like? What Will We Do?… And 11 Other Things You’ve Wondered About (pp. 10-11). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[2] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 352-354). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[3] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 997-1005). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[4] The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Re 7:9–10.

[5] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 1443-1447). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[6] http://www.epm.org/blog/2015/Apr/22/present-heaven-future-heaven

[7] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 978-981). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[8] Enns, Paul P. (2011-03-01). Heaven Revealed: What Is It Like? What Will We Do?… And 11 Other Things You’ve Wondered About (p. 43). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[9] Enns, Paul P. (2011-03-01). Heaven Revealed: What Is It Like? What Will We Do?… And 11 Other Things You’ve Wondered About (p. 39). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.