Heaven

“If I believed and behaved, would I go to heaven?” would be a good paraphrase of what most non religious people might say. Religions hold out this ultimate reward of attending to their ordinances or rituals. To alleviate their suffering and sorrow upon a loved ones death, some picture them in heaven looking down on them and awaiting their arrival after their death; heaven gives them hope. They picture going to heaven to meet St. Pete and being with Jesus, the Apostles, family and friends. Others look askance at going to heaven, dead is dead. Yes, there is a heaven, several, in fact. But, the Bible describes a very different heaven from most believe, or do not believe in.

The idea of going to heaven has been a powerful compulsion for people going back to days after the flood.

Gen. 11:4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Not withstanding the many interpretations of the verse, the intrinsic desire of people becomes apparent. God wanted people to fill the Earth, cultivate it and work hard; so He confounded their language. Being unable to communicate with other tribes, they moved and populated the Earth as God wanted. Yet, whatever the language, the idea of going to heaven remained strong. Today people ply the heaven and send rockets into space, which shows they reached some of the Biblical heavens. Lets us examine the real heavens.

The Bible talks about a first heaven, which we call the atmosphere; the second heaven is the area containing the solar and stellar systems; the highest heaven is above all of the lower heavens. To get a taste of heaven, take a deep breath from the lowest and life sustaining heaven and live because the highest heaven is God’s abode with the angels and Jesus. Indeed, God is the life giver, as we know when he breathed into Adam the breath of life, which we all now breathe from the atmosphere God created as our life sustenance.

Gen. 28:12  He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold,  the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Heaven on Earth

God dwells in the highest heaven beyond the planets in our solar system and farther above the stars; the entire universe is His because He created all. His presence radiates from His throne, except, at times, the Earth where those made in His image refuse to accept the true nature and prefer to live in the lies of the snake of Eden.

Soon after God brought people the land washed from sin, people endeavored to strive after another ruler exhibited by objects in the heavens. They wanted to become sycophants to the creature instead of the Creator. Their plan went awry.

After many years, a people, often wayward, believed in the Creator; so God brought His presence to the Earth He created for those made in His image.

Instead of people dying to get to heaven, God had Israel build a likeness of His heaven. The real and earthly heaven is a sanctuary set apart from all else in the world and on Earth.

Ex. 25:8   “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.  9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

In the sanctuary, God had them place the ark of the Testimony containing the stones which had the commandments written on them. These Commandments, that so few obey, duplicated God’s heavenly ark with the Words of Life kept in the highest sanctuary.

16 Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you.

God’s throne, the mercy seat, sits on the ark with the Commandments within. As our Eternal Judge, God makes adjudications based upon the Commandments. What God wants is people to keep these Words; so He can show them mercy and forgiveness for sinning against the Commandments. Furthermore, He will always help the willing to understand how to keep His Way and learn to imitate His lovingkindness.

21 “ You shall put the mercy seat  on top of the ark, and  in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you.  22 “ There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from  between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.

The following gives us a description of God’s abode.

Ex. 25:17   “Make an atonement cover of pure gold — two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide.  18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover.  19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends.  20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover.  21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. 

God meets with the high priest in this holy of holies. Back then the High Priest was Aaron and later his successors from the tribe of Levi. Later, the Levitical priesthood reverted to the Melchizedek priesthood of which Jesus is the final successor. As the High Priest, Jesus remains in the heaven sanctuary with Our Father in heaven.

22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

How does this biblical description of heaven compare to any beliefs held by those wanting to go to heaven. In the real heaven, only God, His angels and His  high priest can be in it, not Peter or any other dead souls.

The Bible continues to proclaim the fact that the universe including the highest heaven Is God’s.

Deut. 10:14 “Behold,  to the LORD your God belong heaven and the  highest heavens,  the earth and all that is in it.

Job 22:12 ¶  “Is not God in the height of heaven?  Look also at the distant stars, how high they are!

1Chr. 16:31  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;  And let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”

Job 22:14  ‘Clouds are a hiding place for Him, so that He cannot see;  And He walks on the vault of heaven.’

Psa. 103:19 ¶  The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,  And His sovereignty rules over all.

Psa. 113:5 ¶  Who is like the LORD our God,  Who is enthroned on high,

Psa. 11:4 ¶  The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven;  His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

Dan. 5:23 but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and your ways, you have not glorified.

God listens to those who call out to Him from His Mercy Seat, and He will listen and forgive all those who repent from the heart.

1Kings 8:39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, 

Psa. 20:6 ¶  Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;  He will answer him from His holy heaven  With the saving strength of His right hand.

Matt. 6:9  ¶ “Pray, then, in this way:  ‘Our Father who is in heaven,  Hallowed be Your name.

Mark 11:25 “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

As noted above, the follow show Jesus in heaven with Our Father in Heaven.

Mark 16:19 ¶ So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

The Bible give us insight into results and fate of the evil demons revolting against God in heaven even while it attacks with great deception and skill the people made in God’s image that refuse to live in the way they were created. God’s Word constantly delineates and wars the people of Earth about the powerful ways of evil and its consequences.

Matt. 3: 10 “The  axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore  every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11   “As for me,  I baptize you  with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals;  He will baptize you  with the Holy Spirit and fire.  12 “His  winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will  gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the  chaff with  unquenchable fire.”

Eph. 5:3   But  immorality  or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among  saints;  4 and there must be no  filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which  are not fitting, but rather  giving of thanks.  5 For this you know with certainty, that  no  immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom  of Christ and God.

Does it need to be said better?

 Gal 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:   immorality, impurity, sensuality,  20 idolatry,  sorcery, enmities,  strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger,  disputes, dissensions,   factions,  21 envying,  drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not  inherit the kingdom of God.

Evil results in an evil life leading to death. Even the demon will get its proper sentence.

Rev. 12:7 ¶ And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,
Rev. 12:8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.
Rev. 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

The alternative to enslavement to demonic ways are the ways of life coming from the Creator of life.

Rev. 22:14   Blessed are those who  wash their robes, so that they may have the right to  the tree of life, and may  enter by the  gates into the city.  15  Outside are the  dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Matt. 5:3   “  Blessed are the  poor in spirit, for  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:8   “Blessed are  the pure in heart, for  they shall see God.

The Word gives us hope and great comfort.

Col. 3:1   Therefore if you have been  raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is,  seated at the right hand of God.  2   Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Part of the hope within is the Word without as to the future of God’s Sons and Daughters.

Matt 13:43 Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears,  let him hear.

Here is a judgement ruling from Our Father sitting on His Mercy Seat.

Luke 15:7 “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The highest honor given tells of our relation with our Heavenly Father.

John 17: 22 “The  glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

1Th. 2: 12 so that you would  walk in a manner worthy of the God who  calls you into His own kingdom and  glory.

No matter what, our Father in Heaven constantly reiterates the hope He has for us.

 2 Thes 1:7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted  and to us as well   when the Lord Jesus will be revealed  from heaven  with  His mighty angels  in flaming fire,

On Earth, we have a temple of God in the assembly of the righteous.

Heb 12:22 But  you have come to Mount Zion and to  the city of  the living God,  the heavenly Jerusalem, and to  myriads of  angels,  23 to the general assembly and  church of the firstborn who  are enrolled in heaven, and to God,  the Judge of all, and to the  spirits of the righteous made perfect,  24 and to Jesus, the  mediator of a new covenant, and to the  sprinkled blood, which speaks better than  the blood of Abel.28 Therefore, since we receive a  kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us  show gratitude, by which we may  offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;  29 for  our God is a consuming fire.

Heb 13:14 For here  we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking  the city which is to come. 15  Through Him then, let us continually offer up a  sacrifice of praise to God, that is,  the fruit of lips that  give thanks to His name.  16 And do not neglect doing good and  sharing, for  with such sacrifices God is pleased.

1Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who  according to His great mercy  has caused us to be born again to  a living hope through the  resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4 to obtain an  inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and  will not fade away,  reserved in heaven for you,  5 who are  protected by the power of God  through faith for  a salvation ready  to be revealed in the last time.

2Pet. 1:1  Simon Peter, a  bond-servant and  apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received  a faith of the same  kind as ours,  by  the righteousness of  our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:  2  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in  the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  3 seeing that His  divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true  knowledge of Him who  called us  by His own glory and  excellence.  4  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent  promises, so that by them you may become  partakers of the divine nature, having  escaped the  corruption that is in  the world by lust.  5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply  moral  excellence, and in your moral excellence,  knowledge,  6 and in your knowledge,  self-control, and in your self-control,  perseverance, and in your perseverance,  godliness,  7 and in your godliness,  brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;  11 for in this way the entrance into  the eternal kingdom of our  Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be  abundantly  supplied to you.

Heaven on Earth
 
We make up the heaven being tabernacles, having God’s presence within. When the time comes no one will desire to seek to go to heaven because heaven will surely come to Earth in the most amazing way.

Rev. 21:1   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, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 

Rev. 22:1   Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

The tent of Moses will be transformed to His ultimate Temple enveloping the new Earth.

Rev. 21:22 ¶ I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Rev. 21:23 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.
Rev. 21:24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
Rev. 21:25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;
Rev. 21:26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;
Rev. 21:27 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.

Amen.

Gil Kovacs,

Pastor, Sabbath Christian Church

 

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