When in his presence, Christ will give new names to the righteous, known only between him and them Rev. This implies some level of privacy. The wicked, those whose sins remain uncleansed by the blood of Christ, will be excluded from heaven Gal. Heaven has not remained the same since its creation, but has undergone several phases, and will experience future change as well.
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At least five distinct phases of heaven seem identifiable. There was the pre-sin heaven, before Satan fell Is. Then came the current post-resurrection-of-Christ heaven, where Paradise seems to have been relocated from Hades, and where believers now come directly into his presence at death Eph. The millennial kingdom, where Christ rules over the earth with his redeemed seems to be a phase of Heaven Rev. Then there is the Heaven still to come after the final judgment, the New Jerusalem in the new heavens and new earth Rev.
Gaining Heaven's Perspective: A Guide to Hearing and Seeing the Voice of God - St Andrews
Similarly, what we now refer to as Hell the only compartment of Hades left since the relocation of Paradise to Heaven will, after the Great White Throne judgment, itself be relocated in the eternal lake of fire, the ultimate hell Rev. Note: Heaven is not yet as it one day will be. There is still sin and suffering in the universe which will not be relieved until after the present heaven and earth pass away, and the heavenly city is established Rev. He is not finally defeated until a thousand years after he is bound in the pit and then after one last rage of evil, thrown forever into the lake of fire Rev.
The resurrection of believers has not yet occurred, and will not until just prior to the new heavens and earth Rev. Hence, though the present heaven we enter at death is a wonderful place, it is not yet complete, not in its most glorious form. Heaven contains an actual sanctuary which served as the pattern for the earthly tabernacle Heb. In heaven there is a temple that contains the prototype ark of the covenant Rev. Christ promised his followers they would live with him in heaven John ; ; Jesus described heaven as having many rooms or dwellings, and promised that he himself would go there and prepare a place there for us John When we are in heaven, it may be possible for us to welcome others into our dwelling places.
In a nonparabolic context, Christ promised to prepare for us dwelling places in heaven John We will be capable of talking, walking, touching and being touched Luke 24; John Christ ate food in his resurrection body, and he and we will eat and drink in heaven Luke ; Yet there will be no hunger or thirst in heaven Rev. It would seem the resurrection body does not need what is now essential—food, drink, oxygen, covering, etc.
Between our entrance to heaven and our resurrection, we may have temporary pre-resurrection bodies e. Luke ff. This fits the notion that unlike God and the angels, who are in essence spirits though capable of inhabiting bodies John ; Heb. Hence, between our earthly life and our resurrection, a temporary body would allow us to retain the qualities of full humanity.
Note: Some Christians seem strangely repulsed at the biblical teachings of the tangible nature of our heavenly bodies and the heavenly state. But this teaching should not surprise us, since humans have both a spiritual and a physical dimension. We do not become inhuman in heaven, we become everything humans are capable of being by virtue of both creation and redemption.
Matthew , for instance, does not teach we will be genderless gender is a God-created aspect of humanity or otherwise non-human, but simply that there will be no marriage in heaven. This is in stark contrast to the biblical belief that God is the Creator of both body and spirit, both of which were marred by sin, but both of which are redeemed by Christ.
True, I need to be delivered from my earthly body, which is subject to sin and decay Rom. But the promise of the heavenly state is not the absence of body, but the attainment of a new and sinless body and spirit. In 1 Cor. If the body is not redeemed, then man is not redeemed, since man is by nature body as well as spirit.
A Guide to Hearing and Seeing the Voice of God
A spirit without a body, like a body without a spirit, is not the highest human destiny, but would be a state of incompleteness, an aberration from the full meaning of humanness. At death the believer is ushered into heaven by angels Luke Some angels are assigned to children, and they have special continuous access to God Matt. This suggests that ministering or guardian angels could be assigned to people even prior to their conversion to Christ, though this is uncertain. Note: Angels are individual beings who have their own names, and are capable of reasoning, speech and interaction Dan.
Angels active on earth are normally invisible to human eyes 2 Kings They are sent out by God in response to prayer, and wage war on behalf of God and men Dan. Angels can take on physical form and appear as humans Gen. We can respond to or interact with angels, unaware of their identity Heb.
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In heaven, we will worship God along with the angels and redeemed people from every race and background Rev. Communication, dialogue, corporate worship and other relationship-building interactions all take place heaven Rev.
Apparently saints and angels and God will all interact together, building and deepening their relationships. In heaven, we will exercise not only intellect but emotions Rev. Angels too seem capable of responding with emotion Rev. Heaven is described as a place where there is great rejoicing an emotional response over what God is accomplishing on earth Luke , Note: Some suggest there will be no emotions in heaven.
But emotions are part of God-created humanity, not some sinful baggage we are to be cleansed of. We should not expect the absence of emotion there, but pure and accurately informed emotions, emotions guided by reality, not easily misled and subjective feelings.
Gaining Heaven’s Perspective
The tears that will be wiped away are the tears of suffering over sin and death Rev. Since we are capable of now shedding tears stemming from joy, there is no reason to believe there could be no tears of joy in heaven. For instance, at meeting Christ or at reunion with loved ones.
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And since the loving acts of God for his people, including his death on the cross, naturally prompt the spiritually sensitive to tears and we will be more, not less, spiritually sensitive in heaven , it seems possible that there could be tears of sobriety and gratitude over the redemptive price Jesus paid for us. Heaven is a place from which God is said to exercise his wrath against godlessness on earth Rom. In heaven, we will have eternal rewards, permanent possessions and positions which vary from believer to believer Matt. Rewards will be granted in light of our faithfulness and motives 1 Cor.
In dispensing rewards, Christ will not overlook the smallest act of kindness done in his name Mark Note: Heavenly rewards are promised to those who endure difficult circumstances out of their trust in God Heb. A life of godliness 2 Peter and compassionate obedience Matthew , 21 will be richly rewarded by our Lord. Salvation and rewards are completely different. At least five different crowns are given as heavenly rewards : the crown of life James ; Rev. The crowns may relate to positions of ruling in heaven Luke ; Rev. As hell has different punishments Matt. Religions struggle to resolve their old doctrines that create tribal beliefs while the world culture simplifies spirituality into universal love.
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Humans are designed to wrestle with the big questions. We seek certainty in an uncertain world. We want the light of unchanging truth as we try to make good decisions in the dark. There are many big thinkers who believe that we are transitioning from a religious age through a secular age to a spiritual age.
Seeing Housework from God’s Perspective
Time will tell. But I believe what really matters is that each of us wrestle with our theory of life until we arrive at a world that helps us to be the best person we can imagine becoming. There is nothing more personal than our inner theory of the meaning of life. It is inescapable. So what is your theory of life? How do you derive meaning? Research suggests that there are three main theories:. So now some thoughts on the meaning of Christmas. For a minute let me separate the message of Christ from Christian religions.
But before I do, let me give you a few thoughts on religion. Contrary to popular belief most wars have been fought over land and money not religious ideology. Much, much good has been done by both individuals who are devoutly religious and by religions themselves.
However, when hard power, competitive people, who are almost always men, claim to have an exclusive relationship with God it brings out the worst in them.