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Heaven:  What will it be like?

Gary Googe Jul 19

Is this not something many wonder about? What does the Bible tell us about this? In answer to this question, one of the first things you need to know is that God has both a heavenly people and an earthly people.  Most people don’t realize it, but that was introduced in the very first verse of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [Emphasis added]

God is preparing an earthly people, but He’s also preparing a heavenly people.  As believers today, we are the heavenly people.  Israel of old and God’s people in the coming period of Tribulation are the earthly people.

One of the most important principles you’ll ever learn in studying the Bible is what is called rightly dividing the Scriptures

II Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

This is telling us that while ALL the Bible is FOR us, it is not all TO us or ABOUT us.  In fact, most of it is about God’s people Israel, and we today are not Israel in any way.  We who have accepted the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as the means to our salvation are certainly God’s people.  And we, unlike God’s regenerate people of Israel, have a heavenly home awaiting us.  But, again, we are not Israel in any way.  We are what the Bible calls the church which is the Body of Christ.

I Corinthians 12:27

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. [Emphasis added]

The eternal home we have to look forward to enjoying forever is in Heaven, not on a new restored Earth as it is for regenerate Israel.

II Corinthians 5:1

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [Emphasis added]

This “earthly house” we have is our earthly body.  It is called a tabernacle [a tent] partially because it is a temporary place of dwelling for us.  We have a perfect resurrection body like that of Jesus Christ awaiting us.  It is in that perfect body with all the wonderful features of His that we have awaiting us.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [POLITEUMA = citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile [TAPEINOSIS = low estate, made low, humiliated] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working [ENERGEIA = energy – speaking of the power of God] whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

We gained our citizenship in Heaven the moment we by faith received Jesus Christ as our Savior.  We certainly didn’t earn or deserve this.  It became ours by God’s grace and through our faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]

Those who rely on anything else outside God’s provision in Him alone will never get to enter Heaven and enjoy all the blessings it will provide.

Romans 4:4-5

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Emphasis added]

In a former time [before the apostle Paul’s salvation] and in the coming time of Tribulation after we’ve departed from the Earth, works were and will again be demanded as a part of one’s expression of faith [James 2:20], but such is not the case for us in this period of history spoken of as the time of The Dispensation of the Grace of God.

Ephesians 3:2

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me [the apostle Paul] to you-ward [believers in our time]: [Emphasis added]

So, what can we expect in this place called Heaven? What are its features? Does it have pearly gates? Are the streets paved with gold? They may be, but those verses in Scripture have to do with the people of Israel’s future home right here on a restored Earth, not ours in Heaven.

Revelation 21:21

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. [Emphasis added]

Again, this is all to do with the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes of Israel, not us as members of the Body of Christ.  The book of Revelation is all to do with Israel, not us.

So, what will Heaven be like for us?  As we study the writings of the apostle Paul, not a whole lot of information is provided.  A while back I obtained a large book that was supposedly about Heaven. But I immediately found that the book was not really about Heaven.  Instead, it pointed out and explained the features of Israel’s coming earthly kingdom.  Such is the case with nearly every book you’ll ever pick up that is said to be about Heaven.  While there are some general features the coming Earthly Kingdom and the Heavenly Kingdom have in common, they are by no means the same.  In other words, both will provide a wonderful environment for God’s people, but they are not the same.  But our subject in this article is Heaven.  That’s our eternal home.  What are its features? Well, I hope you won’t be disappointed, but, again, not much has been given.  I’ve often wondered about why that is.  But such is the reality of the matter.  My own opinion is, and that’s all it is—an opinion, if we knew the features of it, we might be in too big a hurry to get there.  For it will surely be a fabulous place for us.  I believe Heaven will be so good there’s no way to even describe it in terms we could understand.  We are familiar with things earthly, but we are not at all familiar with things heavenlyThe fact that we as members of the Body of Christ will gain a new and perfect resurrection body in which we will live in our heavenly home is clearly stated.  But the details about that heavenly home are minimal.  Most of what the apostle Paul tells us is about the kind of body we will have.

II Corinthians 5:1-2

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [Emphasis added]

The apostle Paul did get a preview look at the heavenly home we will occupy.  In his excitement about it he speaks of it as paradise.

II Corinthians 12:1-4

1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

The first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere and the second heaven is outer space.  Here he’s speaking of himself in the third person as having been caught up into this third heaven.

And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. [Emphasis added]

As you can see, he tells us it was forbidden of him to say much about it.  In the mystery program of which we are a part, God is forming a spiritual, invisible, heavenly people—although just as real as Israel. Again, the Bible calls it the Church, the Body of Christ.  We are said to be a people “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [Emphasis added]

In our time, God is not forming a literal, physical, visible group of believers.  Therefore, we are not to be looking for literal, physical, visible, earthly works of God.

II Corinthians 4:18

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. [Emphasis added]

One of these invisible [but can be made visible] spiritual blessings is a glorified body, “eternal in the heavens.”

 Again, Philippians 3:21

21 Who shall change our vile [TAPEINOSIS = low estate, made low, humiliated] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working [ENERGEIA = energy – speaking of the power of God] whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

People who claim they can heal serve to create doubt in people rather than faith.  They would have us to depend on sight and what we see to develop our faith.  But that’s not at all what we’re told to do.  Instead, we are told to focus on the unseen, the inner man and its development.

Ephesians 3:16-17

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, [Emphasis added]

Complete divine “healing” will occur for us at the Rapture, our time for receiving a new body with all the wonderful features of the resurrection body of our Savior.  It is in this new and perfect body that we will occupy Heaven.  God is not interested in temporarily restoring our aging, weakening bodies.  When the Lord Jesus Christ returns in the air to take us away to Heaven, we (the Body of Christ) will receive glorified bodies like unto Jesus Christ’s resurrected, glorious body.  Until then we can be confident that all the suffering we experience in this life is only temporary.  The day will come when all this temporal suffering will come to an end.

But what is Heaven going to be like? What information are we given about that? Answer:  precious little! All anyone can tell you about it has just been stated in this article.  Therefore, this is somewhat like wondering what you might get for Christmas.  You can be confident that you’re going to like it, but the details have not been provided.  Yes, we can say, just as it has been promised to Israel, that all the tears of suffering we’ve known will be a part of our past.

Revelation 21:4

 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

But as with everything written in the book of Revelation, even chapters 2 and 3 about the seven “churches,” it is ALL addressed to and about Israel, not us.  John, the writer, is an apostle to Israel, not the Body of Christ.

We also know God has special awards He will provide for us at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  But the exact nature of those awards has not been given.  In the ancient world and in the Olympic games of Paul’s day it meant wonderful material and temporal gifts and awards.  But our gifts and awards are said to be heavenly, not earthly. So, exactly what does that mean? Answer:  We don’t know! That information has not been provided anywhere in the Bible.  Again, there are only general principles that were given to Israel that we, too, can apply.  Here’s another example of that.

Matthew 6:20-21

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. [Emphasis added]

In this case, these laid up treasures in heaven will be provided for them on a new Earth, not in Heaven.  That’s because regenerate Israel’s eternal future is not in Heaven, but on a new restored Earth.  I know all this can be hard for some people to understand because they’ve never approached the Scriptures rightly divided.  But such is the case.  It is OUR future that is IN Heaven, not regenerate Israel.

In conclusion, we obviously don’t need to concern ourselves with what Heaven will be like.  If that’s something God wanted us to know, He would have revealed it.  We just need to be sure we’re going to be there, and we need to do everything we can to help others understand what they must believe to end up there.  Outside of that, we can just look forward to it because it will surely be far better than anything we’ve ever enjoyed while living in this world.

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