A Few Thoughts about Heaven




A Few Thoughts About Heaven

Part 1

Some views of heaven

B1 Paradise, a distinct place.

B2 A planet that is in outer space that will be brought to earth for the saints to live on.

B3 The new creation.

B4 The Garden of Eden restored.

B5 A place beyond this universe where time and a spiritual realities as bodies and recognizing each other Do exist.

B6 A place beyond this universe where time and spiritual realities as bodies and recognizing each other do NOT exist.

B7 A floating of our spirit somewhere out there.

B8 Soul sleep until the resurrection.

B9 The Roman Catholics state:

C1 CCC# 1023: Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face:…

C2 CCC# 1024: This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity, this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

C3 CCC# 1025: To live in heaven is “to be with Christ.” The elect live “in Christ,” but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name. “For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.

C4 CCC# 1027: This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

C5 CCC# 1028: Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man’s immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory “the beautific vision”: [..].

C6 CCC# 1029: In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him “they shall reign for ever and ever.”

B10 The Orthodox

C1 First quote:

Contrary to Augustine’s ideas about Paradise and Hell, according to the other Fathers of the Church in both East and West, Hell and Paradise are the same thing. There is no difference at all. When someone sees God’s glory with unselfish love, he sees God as paradise, and this is paradise…”

“The uncreated glory, which Christ has by nature from the Father, is paradise for those who self-centered and selfish love has been cured and transformed into unselfish love. However, the same glory is uncreated eternal fire and hell for those who have chosen to remain uncured in their selfishness.

C2 Second quote:

For those who love the Lord, His Presence will be infinite joy, paradise and eternal life. For those who hate the Lord, the same Presence will be infinite torture, hell and eternal death. The reality for both the saved and the damned will be exactly the same when Christ “comes in glory, and all angels with Him,” so that “God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15–28). Those who have God as their “all” within this life will finally have divine fulfillment and life. For those whose “all” is themselves and this world, the “all” of God will be their torture, their punishment and their death. And theirs will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 8.21, et al.).

According to the saints, the “fire” that will consume sinners at the coming of the Kingdom of God is the same “fire” that will shine with splendor in the saints. It is the “fire” of God’s love; the “fire” of God Himself who is Love. “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12.29) who “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6.16). For those who love God and who love all creation in Him, the “consuming fire” of God will be radiant bliss and unspeakable delight. For those who do not love God, and who do not love at all, this same “consuming fire” will be the cause of their “weeping” and their “gnashing of teeth.”

Thus it is the Church’s spiritual teaching that God does not punish man by some material fire or physical torment. God simply reveals Himself in the risen Lord Jesus in such a glorious way that no man can fail to behold His glory. It is the presence of God’s splendid glory and love that is the scourge of those who reject its radiant power and light.

. . . those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God . . . But love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed! (Saint Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises).

C3 Third Quote: Many people think that heaven and hell are the places God sends us to either reward or punish us. But Orthodox Christians don’t believe in this “two story” model of the universe. We believe that God is “present in all places and filling all things,” and that what we interpret as salvation or damnation is actually our response to, and experience of, God’s unconditional love.

Part 2

A few verses and thoughts

B1 Questions

C1 After death

D1 Existence?

E1 We exist:

F1 The dead talk: Revelation 6:9-10 NIV When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?

F2 The dead see, feel, and communicate. Do the words of Jesus Christ have any meaning except the plain, normal sense? Luke 16:23-26 NIV In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

E2 We do not exist

D2 Conscious

E1 Yes as seen above

E2 No

D3 Some sort of body

E1 Yes as seen above

E2 No

D4 Sensation

E1 Yes as seen above

E2 No

C2 Resurrection

D1 Body

E1 Yes

F1 2 Corinthians 5:2-4 NIV Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

G1 The word clothed means (according to Vincent’s Word Studies) ependuo, G1902 a strengthened form of No. 2, used in the Middle Voice, “to cause to be put on over, to be clothed upon,” is found in 2Co 5:2, 4, of the future spiritual body of the redeemed.

G2 To be clothed upon (ἐπενδύσασθαι)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 5:4. Compare ἐπενδύτης fisher’s coat, John 21:7 (see note). Lit., to put on over. The metaphor changes from building to clothing, a natural transformation in the mind of Paul, to whom the hail-cloth woven for tents would suggest a vesture. [Source]

F2 Our present body is described as a body of death: Romans 7:24 NRSV Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

E2 No

D2 Eternal

E1 Heaven—Yes

E2 Hell

F1 Yes

G1 Daniel 12:2 NLT Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace.

G2 Matthew 25:41, 46 NLT “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. … “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

F2 Sorta yes which some groups believe. 7th Day Adventists believe this. A former 3rd generation Adventist writes: Of course I knew Jesus rose from death on that first day of the week, but I couldn’t see anything about that resurrection that was important for me now. It was the evidence that one day all of us would be resurrected—a dubious promise because none of us knew whether we would be raised to eternal life or to everlasting annihilation after a temporary burn. Nevertheless, Jesus’ resurrection was the event that confirmed we would all rise one day. [Source]

F3 Temporary

F4 No

B2 Interpretation

C1 Methods

D1 Some depend on the “Father”

D2 Some depend on the organized church

D3 Some depend on a Systematic Theology

D4 Some depend on aberrant interpretations as symbolic, allegorical, typical, moral, mystical, etc.

D5 Some depend on the plain, normal reading of the Scriptures.

C2 Thoughts

D1 If God is truly omniscient and omnisapient, then He knows how to communicate perfectly. Perfectly in the sense that people can understand it.

D2 If there are symbolic or communicative types, then it will be understood by the context or if prophecy, then by those living at that time.

E1 The Lord Jesus says: Luke 24:25-27 NIV He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

E2 The Jewish leaders did not understand the concept of a suffering Messiah.

E3 The Suffering Messiah as read in Isaiah 52:13-53:12

E4 The King Messiah as read in Zechariah 14

D3 Also consider Revelation 9 with descriptions of locusts from the pit. I do not know what these are, but I do know that God communicates perfectly, and John wrote perfectly, being under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, on what he saw. This is what he saw. I do know that this is a judgment affecting an unbelieving humanity.

D4 If God can communicate perfectly, then what He states in the Scriptures whether prophecy or not prophecy is also perfect. We do not need a early church father or saint or triple doctorate to inform us. We are priests (both brothers and sisters) to God. Both brothers and sisters have the same Holy Spirit.

C3 Examples

D1 Luke 23:40-43 NIV But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

D2 Orthodox interpretation:

E1 The passage: The Son of Man will send His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father (Mt 13.41–43).

E2 Orthodox view: According to the saints, the “fire” that will consume sinners at the coming of the Kingdom of God is the same “fire” that will shine with splendor in the saints. It is the “fire” of God’s love; the “fire” of God Himself who is Love. “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12.29) who “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6.16). For those who love God and who love all creation in Him, the “consuming fire” of God will be radiant bliss and unspeakable delight. For those who do not love God, and who do not love at all, this same “consuming fire” will be the cause of their “weeping” and their “gnashing of teeth.”

E3 Plain, normal sense view (because God can communicate perfectly):

F1 Sin (breaking God’s law) will be punished. The punishment is torment in fire for eternity. Implication is this: repent and believe the Gospel.

F2 Those who believe and those who do NOT believe are separated from each other.

F3 Those who believe are in God’s light:

G1 Revelation 21:23-25 NIV The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

G2 John 8:12 NIV When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

F4 Those who refuse to believe have no light. Why should we be forced to believe anything but the obvious?

G1 2 Peter 2:17 WEL These [people] are like wells without water, clouds blown around with a storm, to which the darkest of darkness is reserved forever.

G2 Matthew 8:10-12 NIV When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Part 3

Some facts about heaven

B1 God lives and rules in heaven and from heaven.

C1 2 Chronicles 20:6 NET He prayed: “O LORD God of our ancestors, you are the God who lives in heaven and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you.

C2 Matthew 6:10 NLT May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

B2 Heaven is not in this universe.

C1 Acts 7:55-56 NET But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look!” he said. “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!

C2 2 Corinthians 12:1-2 NET It is necessary to go on boasting. Though it is not profitable, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven.

C3 John 3:13 NET No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven – the Son of Man.

B3 Heaven and God

C1 He lives there.

C2 He rules there.

C3 His throne is there.

C4 He can see earth from there.

C5 Jesus descended from heaven, then ascended into heaven.

C6 Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

C7 Jesus will come back from heaven.

B4 Heaven and activities

C1 There God is worshiped.

C2 There the holy angels and the believers live.

C3 There God’s will is done perfectly.

C4 There we will serve Him.

C5 There all is safe and secure.

C6 There is an inheritance.

C7 There will be rewards there for His people.

C8 There we will have a new body.

B4 There is no more pain, suffering, abuse, night, persecution, worry, heartbrokenness, depression, sickness, tears of sorrow, death, temptation, war, false gods, blasphemy, dishonor, suspicion, murder, sexual sins, stealing, courteousness, rebellion, fear, anxiety, hunger, insomnia, etc.

B5 There will be joy, love, fellowship, comfort, rest, light, peace, grace, happiness, justice, guidance, wisdom, hope, life, etc.

A Few Thoughts About Heaven

Heaven


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