“Do You Believe in Heaven?” [Part 2 of 5]


Many years ago (in the early 2000’s), Newsweek Magazine’s front cover was emblazoned with the following theme, “Visions of Heaven: How Views of Paradise – Inspire and Inflame – Christians, Muslims, and Jews?” The story-piece within, asked, “How can the promise of paradise inspire so many to goodness, and a few to murder?”

Well, besides showing the irrationality of terrorism and its acceptable godless and barbarous conduct, which is based upon its erroneous view of heaven, the article also revealed the absolute confusion that exists today about Heaven. What is certain about this prevailing wide-spread ignorance, is that its view of Heaven is foreign to Holy Scripture. This phenomenon is represented by many confused people (60% to be exact) who are certain that all people will eventually end up in Heaven! Sincerity in regards to one’s religious beliefs, despite what the truth (John 17:17) portrays, seems to be the accepted norm and a sure ticket to glory. Yes, despite the moral decline of our culture, a number of years ago, Gallup found that 78% of Americans still believe that they will go to Heaven (This is the highest percentage recorded in well over forty years)! Against this staggering and unsupported presumption, only 4% of those polled thought that they would go to Hell? So, wrongly-held views about Heaven have been the sad story of the history of man. Why? Because they have an earthly Heaven in mind. Therefore, such views often lead to untold carnage on Earth. And, undoubtedly, lead untold numbers to a fiery Hell every second. Let’s now move on to more edifying matters such as considering and then building a right vision of Heaven. In other words, let’s derive our vision of Heaven from what the Bible says about Heaven. Namely, that Heaven proper has three distinct levels. The first level is the atmospheric Heaven. This is the realm which begins on the ground and then goes to six miles in the sky (Genesis 1:20). It is the place where the birds fly, the clouds move, the rain falls, the thunder booms, and where the lightening streaks. In this one sense all humans live in heaven, but only God’s people can have Heaven on Earth (1 John 5:13). The second level is the celestial Heaven. It is the realm from six miles up to the vastness of outer-space (Genesis 1:14,17). It is the place where the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies, and beyond exist. Last, the third level is Heaven itself or Paradise. It is the realm where all believers go at death (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4). This is the very habitation of God, Angels, and God’s people. We will learn more about this place in the weeks ahead…In conclusion, I leave you with the following encouraging thought about our blessed subject, from Bishop J. C. Ryle, “They that enter heaven will find that they are neither unknown nor unexpected.” O dear believer, it should be your aim, each day, to be thinking about and meditating upon this beautiful doctrine, longing to live in light of it, with joyful preparation for encountering our living God tomorrow morning in public Worship, through our participation in the praises and prayers of His people; and through our reception of the reading and preaching of His Holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! For today, the Lord’s Day, should be the peak of your week, a day that is emblematic of Heaven! Soli Deo Gloria! Amen and Amen!!


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