< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: What the book of Revelation has to say about Heaven

Friday, June 19, 2009

What the book of Revelation has to say about Heaven

Since I just finished teaching the book of Revelation from Anne Graham Lotz' book, "A Vision of His Glory, Finding Hope in the Book of Revelation" and also just finished 4 blog posts about Heaven and Hell, this seems like an appropriate time to post from my Revelation study.

When you think of the word “home” what does it mean to you?

Hopefully, it’s a place of love, acceptance, comfort and security. A place where your needs are met. A safe haven. A place where there’s a light left on for you and a warm hug at the door.

No matter if our home here on earth fits that description or not – we’re really not “home” yet and when we get to our real and eternal home it’s going to be so much better.

Jesus promised He is preparing a home there for us. That in His Father’s house are many rooms. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived” how good it will be.

Revelation 21:1-2
Jesus is preparing a place for us to live with Him. And He’s been working on it for over 2000 years. Revelation 21: 11 says its brilliance is like a precious jewel.

Remember God preparing our first home here on earth? After the first 5 “days” of creative work He planted a garden in the east, in Eden and put man there. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground. Trees that were pleasing to the eye. He created flowers and mountains and lakes and oceans and birds for us to enjoy.

But, our new home will be even better. “No eye has seen, no mind conceived…”

This new home – Heaven – The New Jerusalem – will be presented to His believers.

Revelation 21: 7-8
The invitation has been extended to everyone, but when it’s been rejected by some people – the door shuts.

Revelation 21: 27
The impure, the “evil doers” are ones who don’t know Christ. They may have been “religious” in their life times, but they never established a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith.

John 14:6
If you belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ, then you will be welcomed into His heavenly home, which He has prepared for you.

At the end of the 1000 year reign (the millennium) when Satan is cast into the lake of sulphur, the old heaven and earth as we know it will be destroyed.

2nd Peter 3: 7, 10
And Revelation 21:5 says God says, “I am making everything new!” You know if you live in an old house – no matter how much you repaint and clean and fix it up – it’s still an old house. Sometimes you just need to tear it down and start over! The planet earth is old! Its air is polluted, the water is polluted – we’re using up our natural resources. God’s going to give us a new heaven ad a new earth. And God’s going to live there with us.

Revelation 2: 3-4
Heaven is not only our home, but His! We will be with our loved ones and Jesus forever.

John alluded to this when he said in Rev. 21:1 “There was no longer any sea.” Anne wrote that the sea separates people, countries and land from each other. In Heaven there will be no separation. There won’t even be the separation of night and day because –

Revelation 21:23
Our heavenly home will glow and radiate light from within. There will be no darkness at all. God’s promises are true and we can count on them.
Revelation 21:5

As John goes on to describe Heaven he seems to emphasize it’s a literal, specific, physical place.
Revelation 21: 15

Heaven can be seen and felt and measured!
In Rev. 21:12 and 18 he sees the great, high wall made of jasper. The wall as described is 200 feet thick. And remember jasper is a stone like a diamond. The city and its streets are made of pure gold, as transparent as glass. That’s in Rev. 21: 18 and 21. He goes on to describe the foundation of the city.

Revelation 21:14, 19
The 12 foundations of rock have more than gems embedded in them. Each one is also engraved with the name of one of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. So John saw his own name engraved there. He saw that all of his life’s work did have eternal value!

He describes the gates in Revelation 21:21

Pearls are formed when a small grain of sand becomes embedded in an oyster, irritating it. To soften the irritation, the oyster coats the grain of sand with a smooth layer of what is called mother of pearl. As long as the oyster can feel the irritation, it continues to coat the sand with layers of pearl, making the pearl bigger and bigger.

What kind of irritation would have been necessary to form the pearls that make up the gates to our heavenly city where they are so large they can fit into a wall that is 200 feet thick? It must have been severe suffering. People have suggested that the pearl gates will be a reminder to everyone who goes in and out of the city of the suffering and great price Christ paid for us.

So it will be beautiful. And it’s a home. But, who else will live there?

Revelation 21:23
The Greek word used here for temple is the same as Most Holy Place – where God dwelled in the temple the Israelites built. Back then only the high priest could enter this area once a year to make atonement for the people. We are told in the book of Hebrews that today we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. We have access to the presence of God when we approach Him by faith and prayer. In our heavenly home we will not just have occasional access to His presence; we will be in the Most Holy Place and live in His presence.

Heaven will not only be beautiful – it will be totally, permanently happy.

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