The songwriter has correctly written:
Heaven is a wonderful place,
Filled with glory and grace.
I want to see my Savior’s face,
Heaven is a wonderful place!
Yes, it’s true! And our curiosity has often been aroused to ask many questions about Heaven. We have, however, been left without full satisfaction and there are a great many things that we would still like to know. Much information about Heaven remains shrouded in mystery and confusion.
HEAVEN … REMEMBER TO RIGHTLY DIVIDE
Like many other subjects in the Bible, an understanding of what Heaven is like can be hopelessly confused if the dispensations are not recognized and the Word of God is not rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15). This is no small project! The believer’s hope of Heaven cannot be fully appreciated when it is described in simplistic and often misleading generalities, as is so often the case. For example: it was necessary in the course of developing this study, to identify, sort out, and then rightly divide the following information in order to make a determination concerning the real and final Heaven for which members of the Body of Christ hope. For example: we must recognize the distinctions between:
- The Three Heavens (Atmospheric, Stellar, and Paradise)
- The Five Jerusalems (Heavenly, Earthly, Tribulational, Millennial, and the New)
- The Six Temples/Tabernacles (Heavenly, Earthly, Tribulational, Millennial, Eternal (Eph. 2:19-22), and the Believer’s Body (2 Cor. 5:1)
- The Seven Kingdoms
(a) The “overall” Kingdom of God;
(b) The Old Testament Kingdom of Israel;
(c) The Future Kingdom of Isreal as announced by the Old Testament Prophets;
(d) The Kingdom that was offered to Israel and rejected at
Christ’s first coming;
(e) The Kingdom of which Christ was the personification (Lk. 17:21);
(f) The Millennial Kingdom; and
(g) The Eternal Kingdom.
Also, in addition to the above-mentioned information, we must take into account some other considerations; namely, the nature of Eternity Future. For both the angelic and human creation, Eternity Future is much more than a state of eternal bliss, but includes the state of eternal damnation. It is not difficult to make a determination concerning the eternal state of the unsaved (Rev. 20:11-15).
However, it is very difficult to treat the subject of the eternal bliss of the unsaved in such a way that will not give “offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32). In other words, our concern is how do the saved come into their eternal inheritance without destroying their identity or without their specific promises being compromised? Remember, there are two classes of men (saved and unsaved), and three groups of men (Jews, Gentiles, and Body of Christ), that must be dealt with in making this determination.
GOD HAS NOT TOLD US:
- The location of Heaven. The ancient Rabbis believed that Heaven was located above and beyond the North Star. This was because of Lucifer’s boast that he would conquer God and again rule from the Throne Room “in the sides of the north” (Isa. 14:13; cf., Ezek. 1:4). But since the root word for “north” (Tasphon/Heb.) means the “hidden or secret place,” as in Ezekiel 7:22 where it refers to the “Holy of Holies” in the Temple of Jerusalem, it is idle speculation to guess the whereabouts of Heaven, except to say that it is “up” and in the “Third Heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2-4).
- About the fellowship of the heavenly brotherhood. We can be reasonably sure that we will recognize each other and have enjoyable fellowship. The Apostle Paul said that “then shall I know just as I also am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
- If our glorified bodies will need to take in nourishment. The only food in Heaven we know anything about is the Manna that God gave the children of Israel in the wilderness. Will we be refreshed with Angel’s food (Ps. 78:25)? … Fruit and leaves from the Tree of Life (Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 22:2)? Who knows?
- What form or order worship will take? Will there be seasons more joyous than the rest? Will there be celebrations with feast days, festivals, and jubilees? What sort of music will come out of the Throne Room and fill the halls of Heaven? … “harps” (Rev. 5:8) … “a new song” (Rev. 5:9) … “the song of Moses” … “the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3)?
- What will we do throughout all eternity? (2 Tim. 2:12) … “judge angels” (1 Cor. 6:3)?
HEAVEN … WHY HAVE WE NOT BEEN TOLD MORE?
It may be that we are not told very much about Heaven because:
- God does not want, at this time, to detract our attention and interest away from the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that it has “pleased the Father” to have “all fullness dwell” in Christ, and that He desires “that in all things” Christ might have the “preeminence” (Col. 1:18-19). The Heavenly Father wants Christ to be number one in our thinking, and He wants believers to be occupied with our everyday duties as ambassadors for Christ in the here and now and not with the by and by.
- God wants Heaven to be a surprise! (2 Cor. 12:1-5). The Bible says there was a “certain man” who gave testimony (it may be safely assumed that this was the Apostle Paul) that he had been taken to the Third Heaven, the Paradise of God, and there he saw and heard things that were not “lawful” (i.e., not possible) to be spoken. Of such a one, Paul said, “I will glory” or (Kauchaomai/Gk.) … “rejoice out loud!” Oh, how exquisitely beautiful and wonderful Heaven must be!
Apparently, Heaven, with all its beauties and wonders, is so infinitely beyond our capacity to apprehend, God has decided not to tell us about it now but to show it to us later! He has promised that “in the ages to come,” He will show us “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
HEAVEN … WHAT WE DO KNOW!
Only a few men have ever been eyewitnesses of the rare times that the clouds and stars of the heavens have been rolled back and a “door was opened” (Rev. 4:1) into the Third Heaven. These revelations all bare the same testimony and compliment each other. Some of these glimpses into Heaven are:
- As seen by Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:3, 12-14, 26-28);
- As seen by Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-3);
- As seen by John (Rev. 1:12-17; 4:1; 15:5; 19:11; 21:1-2);
- As seen by Stephen (Acts 7:55-56);
- As seen by Peter (Acts 10:11-17); and
- As seen by Paul (2 Cor. 12:1-5, 7).
How appropriate to end this Bible Study on Heaven with the words of this little chorus:
With eternity’s values in view.
With eternity’s values in view.
May I do each day’s work for Jesus
With eternity’s values in view!