The Most Important Things You Should Know About Heaven!
(Ver 2.0) Today is a new subject for me, even though I have taught on parts of this subject in other lessons. I believe that it is so important for people to clearly know about heaven; that I have decided to talk about it again using new terms and perspectives to give people another chance to grasp these concepts found in the Bible. Does God exist and if so where does He exist? This of course is an extremely complex subject for humans to comprehend since we are a naturally born people limited to the constraints found within a physical world and the Bible clearly says that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). So how do natural people come to understand spiritual things? Spiritual things are not the same as natural things. God lives outside of time constraints and space constraints. There are many people in the world who do not believe there is a God. They base these beliefs on the fact that they have never seen God, cannot see God, do not ever hear from God or have any other proof or evidence that He exists. They further expound that since God does not do anything to stop the evil in the world, He must not exist. Of course, the flip side of this extreme is another extreme of people believing that God is causing all of the evil in the world and therefore they do not want anything to do with Him either. But, all of this is purely by God’s design in order to give man a free and fair choice. God purposely hides Himself from our view, if He did not do this you would have no choice but to believe that He existed. All of that said, God has spoken to us directly in a written book form called the Holy Bible. I have studied this book for close to 25 years and have determined that there is no way that this book did not come from God directly. There is just too much complex information for it not to have a very intelligent designer and an author who could be no one but God. However, there are certainly many others in the world that view this book as a collection of fantasy and made up stories because they do not understand anything that is in it. This is again by God’s design; and it gives people who want to see the truth the opportunity to know Him and those who refuse the truth the right to go to hell. It is a very perplexing method of operation, yet I cannot question God’s ways since He is entirely smarter than I am. So today I want to discuss some very important things found in the Bible about Heaven, what it is, where it is and what do we need to know about it? We might talk about some of the characteristics of heaven like the existence of many mansions being there and how the streets are paved with gold and God’s throne is surrounded by angels, but I do not think these are the most important things to know about heaven so if we do talk about them, they will be later or in another follow-up lesson. I want to start with a verse found in the N.T.:
1Pe 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
Why is it necessary for all the angels and spiritual powers to be made subject to Jesus, the Son of God? That is a very interesting question to consider. The Bible certainly has some very difficult statements to try to explain and this is certainly one of them. I will state what I believe and say that if every spiritual force and angel was already subject to God, I do not believe it would have been necessary for God to put them under His Son Jesus. Wow, I just got off the subject for a quick side trip to get you to think about something you may have never thought of before. So let’s go back to the beginning of this verse and notice that the Bible says that Jesus has gone back into heaven and is now located at the right hand of God. This verse very clearly informs us that there is a real place called heaven and that Jesus is there right now. We know from reading the Gospels in verses like John 3:13 and 6:51 that Jesus said before He was came to the earth that He came from Heaven. So heaven is where Jesus came from and heaven is where He went back to after He died and rose from the dead. Since the Bible says in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses let every word be established, I will give you another witness to this fact that we just read:
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus, again is very clearly described to be at the right of God at this moment in time. Where Jesus is now is also the location of the throne of God. A throne is always a place where a King rules His Kingdom. So heaven was the Kingdom of God, before Jesus came and died on the cross. However, God tells us that now the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21). So it appears to me that God is said to be moving His Kingdom location and I will talk more about this later.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
The word “heaven” appears in the KJV Bible more than 550 times. However, it is not always in reference to the spiritual location of God’s throne. The word “heaven” can refer to at the minimum 3 different realms or dimensions and you must be smart enough to figure out which one God is talking about by the context of the verse being read. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:2 that he was caught up to the “3rd heaven” where he saw things that he could not verbally describe to us with human words. That makes heaven sound pretty awesome if you can’t even describe it. We can see in this verse in Hebrew 8:24 that Jesus is said to enter into a “Holy Place” not made by the hands of men. So God is now telling us about heaven as a spiritual place. This verse informs us that heaven has a temple that is the original pattern of the objects made on the earth by the hands of men in Jerusalem. This heavenly temple is called the “true temple” which would imply to me that the earthly temple in Jerusalem must be the “false temple”. But, I guess I won’t go there either today!
2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
As we have seen Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection and is now at the right hand of God. However, the Bible informs us very strongly that Jesus is coming back very soon. Not long from now this Jesus who went up to heaven will come back down the same way that He ascended, the angels told the disciples this in Acts 1:11. This verse in 2 Thessalonians tells us that when Jesus returns He will bring with Him many mighty angels. So we have just discovered a revelation that heaven is the home or a house that is full of the angels of God and that these spiritual entities are not insignificant beings. They clearly are said to be very mighty, meaning they are very strong. Here is another witness to this fact:
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
So heaven is not described to be a small place. This place also has a very specific name and is called the “Heavenly Jerusalem”. This spiritual place is described to have a mountain named “Zion”. This place is clearly described to be the “City of the Living God”. This does not sound small or insignificant either, especially since you cannot number the population of this city. This city “Heavenly Jerusalem” is said to be the home of an innumerable number of angels. This is the mighty spiritual force army that will return with Jesus when He comes back. It is also critical that you note the name of this spiritual city. This city is called the “Heavenly Jerusalem”. Did you know that heaven had a name? This is another reference to the “true” heaven that we just read about previously. Why does God have another city called Jerusalem? I guess I should ask, why did God name the earthly city Jerusalem the same as His heavenly city Jerusalem? You do understand that the heavenly city Jerusalem certainly existed before the earthly city came to be. Isn’t that an interesting question to consider? This spiritual city seems to be called the real or true city of God. This is what I believe, God created a covenant with Abraham to bring forth a natural nation called Israel who would build God an earthly city that would be a pattern of His spiritual city Jerusalem in heaven. I believe that God did this for several reasons and I will probably not be able to get into all of these today. But, one of the reasons I believe was to show us a city that was like another city that we can’t see. Why is there just one city in our entire world that has the focus of every eye on it? Why does this city “earthly Jerusalem” gain so much attention? It is because it is a pattern of the “heavenly Jerusalem”. Just as the earthly city Jerusalem has had numerous attack and people come against it, I believe the heavenly city of Jerusalem is being attacked. Just as the earthly city of Jerusalem is being forced to stop building and expanding, so the heavenly city of God was attacked in the same way by Satan and his army. The majority of the world governments are proposing that the earthly Jerusalem be divided. If you study the Bible, God is also being forced to divide His heavenly city. So let’s look at another witness to this heavenly city of God called Jerusalem:
Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Here is another verse of scripture in the Bible that describes Heaven as a place that is somewhere above. Again it specifically names this city and calls it “Jerusalem”, but this time it qualifies it by calling it the Jerusalem Above! So we automatically know that it is not the Jerusalem that is on the earth or the Jerusalem below. Heaven is again said to be a city called Jerusalem, where the throne of God resides with an innumerable number of angels. But, this verse in Galatians tells us another major clue to a puzzle we didn’t even know was a puzzle. This city is called the Mother of the church. You do not understand yet how important that statement is, unless you understand God’s spiritual family structure. What we have just learned, is that the Heavenly Jerusalem is called the “Mother” of all of those in the Church of Jesus Christ, so this means the heavenly Jerusalem is not the Church! Did you understand what I just said? I’ll show why this is important to note very soon. What is a mother? A mother is a woman who has had a child or children. Wow that is one of the most important things you can learn today, if you can grasp this concept. A city is a woman, a woman is a city. A spiritual city is a spiritual woman and she can have spiritual children. But, remember that this heavenly city Jerusalem was comprised of a spiritual nation of angels which included Satan. Uh oh? I just let you in on some more information that I’m not ready to discuss yet. Let’ me shift gears and talk about another woman briefly that is said to also come from heaven:
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
First take note of what this verse says. A city came down from heaven and this city is called a woman, a bride and the wife for a husband who we will see later in this chapter to be the Lamb. This woman has the same name as the other two cities that we have already been looking at. This name is of course the “New Jerusalem”. Why is all of this that I am trying to teach you important to know? Because it helps you to know who you are in Christ and where you fit in God’s New Kingdom which I am attempting to reveal to you. In Revelation 21:2 we either have the same city Jerusalem or a new and different city called Jerusalem being described to us. From my current understanding of the Bible this is clearly a different city than the one that I just showed you in Hebrews and Galatians called the Heavenly Jerusalem and here is why I believe that. First off did you notice that this woman in Rev 21:2 comes down from heaven? Did heaven come down or did the city called New Jerusalem come down from heaven? Wow, you see heaven did not come down it is still there. What happens when a woman gives birth to a baby? Does the baby come down the birth canal and out to the waiting doctor? So we just read in Galatians 4 that this heavenly Jerusalem is our mother, meaning she gave spiritual birth to us. Let me ask you a basic question, do you have babies first or do you get married first? I guess I should ask which one should come first and not how it works in our world many times. If the heavenly Jerusalem is a woman who gave birth in Galatians 4, then she should not logically be the woman who is getting married in Revelation 21. Get it? You see the woman called Heavenly Jerusalem must already be married in order to have had children. This is not rocket science so you should be at least following my logic a little bit. If you continue to read Galatians 4 and see what it is describing to us, you will hopefully see that it is using the life story of Abraham as an allegory for a type of God. So let’s review the story of Abraham. As you may or may not recall, Abraham had two wives and two sons. One was from the much younger Egyptian slave girl Hagar and Galatians says this is a type of Jerusalem on the earth (Gal 4:25). The woman Hagar is called a “bondwoman” and she gives birth to a slave son who is not the heir with the promised son. Sarah who is not named directly in Galatians 4 is the type of the “Freewoman” and is called the Jerusalem that is above. This means that Sarah (the Heavenly Jerusalem) existed prior to Hagar (the Earthly Jerusalem) and they both now have children, but Hagar’s son came first and then Sarah’s son came after. We should know that Abraham represents God in this allegory since the Bible tells us that He was married to natural Israel (Jer 31:32). What you must see is that both of these cities called Jerusalem existed simultaneously and are called women who are in covenant with and married to God. Why is God telling us this information? It must be very important for us to see and to understand clearly. What you should notice in Galatians 4 is that God is quoting an Old Testament prophecy found in the book of Isaiah.
Gal 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
As you can see God is quoting Isaiah 54:1 in this verse. This verse tells us that there are two women, one a barren woman (Sarah) and one a married woman (Hagar). As we have seen God is using the allegory found in Genesis 16 of Sarah and Hagar to reveal this information to us in Galatians 4. Sarah the older barren woman as we have seen is the one that is said to now have more children than the bondwoman Hagar. So the Bible tells us that these are two covenants and you automatically jump to the wrong conclusion that this is the Old Covenant between God and Israel and the New Covenant between Jesus and the Church. However, that just doesn’t make any sense based upon the information we have just read about these women. The Heavenly Jerusalem (Sarah) existed prior to Israel’s covenant with God on Mt Sinai (Hagar). This city had to exist prior to Jesus coming to the earth, dying and establishing a New Covenant. Then in Galatians 4:26 it says very clearly that this “Heavenly Jerusalem” is the mother of the church and not the church. So whatever covenant this is referring to, it is definitely not the New Covenant between Jesus Christ and the church and it is also not the old covenant between God and Abraham in the Old Testament. So that complicates things tremendously since no one has ever taught on the fact that the Bible mentions three different covenants and not just two. You see, this third hidden covenant has to be God’s covenant with the angels in heaven that existed before Adam ever came along.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
So let’s go back to Revelation 21:2 and notice that God is describing a city coming down from above that is called the “New Jerusalem”. What does the term “New” mean? It means it is not the Old Jerusalem. Which one was the barren old Jerusalem (Sarah), it was the Heavenly Jerusalem that was above. Are you beginning to see and understand the concepts being given to us? God has problems with the “Heavenly Jerusalem” and the “Earthly Jerusalem” so He creates a “New Jerusalem” to replace them both. Let’s look at the verse that comes right before this one in Revelation 21:
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Again why replace the old heaven and the old earth with new ones if there are not problems with the old? What you do not realize is that God is a just God. He does everything in a decent legal ordered way. If God does not follow strict rules He would be no different than Satan the thief who comes to kill steal and destroy what you have. I have often asked myself and God this question, “If you found sin in Satan why didn’t you cast him into hell and get rid of him?” The only answer that I got back from God was that He could not legally do this and I do not have time to try to explain that statement in this lesson. You can go read some of my other blogs where I give you some clues to the answers to that question. But, it has something to do with this hidden third covenant that God had with the angels and I’ll leave it at that for today.
So getting back to Revelation 21:2; we can review that this verse is also describing a city called “New Jerusalem” who is also described as a woman who is to be married to the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ). A marriage is also a covenant defined to us in the Bible, so we know this is God’s New Covenant with US! So what have I taught you so far? We have three women, three covenants, three cities all named Jerusalem. One is called “Earthly Jerusalem”, another is called “Heavenly Jerusalem” and the last one is called “New Jerusalem” or “Holy Jerusalem”. This implies that the other two women were not the Holy Jerusalem of God and were definitely older than the “New” woman Jerusalem. Why is this important? Because God tells us that this city will come down from Heaven to be reestablished back here on the new earth. In this new city, God tells us that there will be no unrighteous people, no uncircumcised people and no ungodly people, only those that have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb. Finally there will be no Satan, no hurt, no harm, no thieves, no robbers, no murderers and no rapists, no one to do evil. There is where the Bible describes that we will spend eternity with God.
2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
So even as Peter wrote about looking forward to this “New” heaven and “New” earth so we should also look for the coming new city of God that dwells only righteousness.
Many people want to know, where is this heaven that now is located? We have clearly seen in the Bible that it exists and that Jesus is there right now at the right hand of the throne of God. This place is large and holds an innumerable number of angels. It also holds the spirits of all of those righteous people that have died on the earth. They are there as witnesses (Heb 12:1) that are rooting us on in our spiritual journey. The people in heaven do not see what we see on the earth. Spiritual people are oblivious to natural things. Natural things are not important to spiritual people anymore. So people in heaven do not know what kind of car you drive, what kind of house you live in or how much money that you have in the bank. They do not know if you are married or single, and they do not care. The angels and people in heaven are only concerned with your eternal destiny. Have you made Christ your Lord and will you spend eternity with us. Whenever a sinner comes to know Christ, the Bible says that heaven rejoices. So heaven knows about spiritual things.
So where is this Heavenly Jerusalem located? The Bible actually does not specifically tell us, primarily because we would not really understand its spiritual location. As you recall this Jerusalem was said to be “Above”. But, since we live on the earth which is a round ball, every direction you are standing on has an up direction. So is heaven all around us? We are actually given some clues in the Bible and I will end this lesson with the information about the location of heaven:
Psa 75:6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
Psa 75:7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Many times God gives us direct information in Bible verses of specific things like God is a Spirit. However, other times God gives us indirect information and we learn from what is not given in the verse. This is the case here in Psalm 75:6. God tells us three directions that promotion does not come from. That only leaves one direction called “North” and that gives us an implied location for the direction of heaven. As you can see clearly God leaves this direction out of the statement and then in the following verse we have a contextual statement that God is the one that promotes one person and puts another person down. So I take these verses to indicate to us where we can find the location of heaven to be from God’s perspective. I assume this to mean you go to the North Pole of our planet and look straight up and this would represent the nearest proximity of the location of heaven.
Isa 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
So we have another verse in Isaiah that seems to indicate the direction of the throne of God to be an implied North. If you can see that the North Pole could be considered the top of our planet, the earth is said to be the location of God’s footstool. So God is sitting on the throne up above us.
I have covered a lot of new information from the Bible about this place called Heaven and shown you many things for you to think about. These are some of the most important things that I have found about this place in the Bible. However, I believe that if you read Revelation 21 you can see that heaven is not our final eternal destination. It would appear that God is preparing a new heaven and a new earth that we will live within eternity on. The Bible says that our eyes have not foreseen the things that God has prepared for them that love Him (1 Co 2:9). So it sounds like a really awesome time in store for us. I don’t know why anyone would not want to go to this place?
Posted on September 23, 2010, in Bible Study, Heaven, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Covenants, God, heaven, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.