Five Statements About Heaven

There may possibly be more Bible study going on this week at the Clear Lake Church of Christ than ever before. One of the great strengths of our Restoration heritage is the call for people to lay aside preconceived ideas and simply believe what they can see being taught in their own Bibles. This series of lessons on the End Times will be challenging to a lot of assumptions that have been made. I think you will find, however, that what the Bible actually teaches is much better than anything we may have previously thought.

Please use this blog for questions and comments concerning this series. If you would like to talk about something privately contact me by visit, phone, or e-mail me at byron.fike@clearlakechurch.com. As promised here is the outline from today’s sermon with a list of all the scriptures used.

1. Heaven is God’s Dwelling Place (Deut. 26:15; Matt. 5:16; 6:9; 1 Kings 8:27, 30)
Earth will be liberated to enjoy freedom at the End – Romans 8:18-25
Heaven and Earth united at the End – revelation 21:2-3

2. Jesus Reigns From Heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Isa. 6:1; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 3:21)
Jesus is coming back to earth (Acts 3:21; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16)

3. The Dead in Christ are in Heaven (Luke 23:42-43; Phil. 1:22-24)
Jesus will bring them with him when he returns – 1 Thess. 4:14

4. Treasure Can be Stored in Heaven (Matt 6:19-20; Mark 9:41)
This does not mean we go to heaven to “obtain” or “use” it. The treasure is simply being stored so it will be secure when the End comes (1 Pet. 1:3-5)

5. Names are Written in Heaven (Heb. 12:22-23)
They are written in the Lamb’s book of life which will be in the New Jerusalem that comes down to earth – Rev. 21:27

I referenced 2 Pet. 3:10 as the place where we got the idea that the earth will be annihilated. The NIV reads, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” The KJV read “burned up” instead of “laid bare.” The comparison Peter makes is to the Flood, “By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed” (3:7). We know that the world was not annihilated by the flood, therefore when says it was “destroyed” he must mean something else. What Peter is saying is that in the End all evil will be done away with, just like in the Flood. We should not take the word “disappear” literally as he is speaking in an apocalyptic manner (similar to when Scripture says the moon turns to blood or mountains throw themselves into the sea). Peter adds to his thoughts, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (3:13). This is the re-newed earth of which we read about in Romans 8 this morning.

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

Comments

8 Responses to “Five Statements About Heaven”

  1. avatar Tommytwotoez says:

    Just a quick post from me here! I don’t want to post anything concrete until I review the “five Statements…”, but I will say that my assumptions about the “rapture” are being called to question. I personally assumed that when Jesus returned as a “thief in the night” he would call his flock to Heaven. I think it would be best to leave personal assumptions aside and look at this with fresh eyes. I wish everyone luck in this devour, including myself, the End Times have always been one of the hardest subjects to study.
    Keep you phone line open on this one Byron, I might need to give you a call on this!!!

  2. avatar JAPierce says:

    Mamma mia! Talk about sacred cows, it wasn’t just a BBQ, it was a buffet! You have given me a lot to chew on. I am like Tommy, I need to spend some time looking over those scriptures and some others I have in mind b/f I post some deeper questions and comments. Wow. That was challenging. And the teaching has far reaching repercussions as well. Just as David mentioned, the theology runs deep into our hymns as well.
    What an adventure!

  3. avatar Jeremy Fike says:

    This was a very interesting/thought-provoking sermon. I had quite a few school projects to work on this weekend so, instead of listening to music, I listened to the sermon twice (it was pretty short and I had some time on my hands!). I thought that your list of 5 things was very helpful. We know so little about heaven. It is nice to focus on the things that we can know as God revealed them to us, through scripture. For me personally, the most intriguing of the 5 points, is the point that was made about “storing up treasure in heaven.” I’d be interested to hear you elaborate a bit more on this. What is the treasure? What is it being stored for? etc.

  4. avatar Jeremy says:

    Okay, question: What about John 14? Isn’t Jesus going to prepare a place for us? And then he is going to return to get us and take us to that place?

  5. avatar Byron says:

    Really good questions from Jeremy F and Jeremy P. First regarding John 14. This is a bit if a troubling passage. The Greek word (monai) translated “mansions” in KJV or “many rooms” in NIV really means something like “apartments”. N.T. Wright has wrote in his book, Surprised by Hope, “the word for ‘dwelling places’ here, monai, is regularly used in ancient Greek not for a final resting place but for a temporary halt on a journey that will take you somewhere else in the long run.” He is thus not speaking about the final resurrection but the time before the End. For Jesus words on the resurrection in the Gospel of John go to 5:28-29.

    In regards to treasure in heaven; I once made a list of passages that make reference to this. Rewards are promised for those who trust Jesus enough to: “be persecuted for righteousness” (Mt. 5:10-12); “love their enemies” (Mt. 5:44-48); “give, pray and fast in secret” (Mt. 6:1-18); “sell their possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12:33-34); and on and on the list goes. God promises rewards to those who live a life of faith especially when they must make difficult choices that involve sacrifice or suffering.

    What those treasures might be are never specifically identified. I think perhaps they could simply be the ability to appreciate and enjoy the kingdom of God. The more one understands and has invested in something, the greater one’s ability to enjoy it. The less one is invested, the less enjoyment one has.

  6. avatar Jeremy says:

    So monai means a temporary dwelling place? Does that apply to 14:23 as well? Why not use the term for dwelling used he already used for a temporary dwelling or “tenting” that he used in John 1:14? Why introduce a new word? Perhaps to introduce a new (unique) meaning?

  7. avatar Byron says:

    You raise some good questions. Here’s the best I can do at the moment to answer them.
    1. John 1:14 is communicating that the Word “tabernacled” among us. It seems that John is wanting to draw a connection between God’s former dwelling in Israel with his new dwelling – the man Jesus. This seems confirmed by his use of the word “glory.”
    2. “Monai” is only used twice in the NT and both are in John 14. The Lexicon give two meanings for the word: one for each verse. For 14:23 it is “staying, tarrying” and for 14:2 it is “dwelling(-place), room, abode. It is possible that he is not using the word to mean exactly the same thing in both verses.
    3. Secular Greek uses the word with a variety of meanings including “a place of halt on a journey,” “an inn,” “a watch-house in a police district,” and “a hut for watching in a field.” (TNDT)
    4. Word studies can only take us so far in understanding a passage. I think one’s understanding of the final destination for those in Christ colors whether or not one sees John 14:2 as referring to a final destination or an abiding place until Jesus returns to earth bringing with him those who have previously died (1 Thess. 4:13-14) to participate in the final resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:51-53), and live forever on the redeemed earth (Rom. 8:18-21).

  8. avatar Jeremy says:

    Oh, yeah. That’s right, pull the “Let’s look at what the entire Bible says not concentrate on the obscure meaning of a ancient Greek word used only twice in the NT and only by on author” card.

    I hate it when that happens. : )

    Seriously though, that gives some perspective. I used to have a professor that told me that the best way to understand the text was to let the entire Bible interpret itself. That problem is that we have so much traditional baggage that it is increasingly hard to see the scriptures in a new light.
    It is also an issue of which way to go with the interpretation. Should we allow one, unclear passage dictate our meaning on several other, clearer passages? I fear that does happen at times.
    And if I recall correctly, isn’t Jesus talking directly to his disciples at that point in Jn 14? While I do believe that many things JC said to his disciples apply to us, I am hesitant to apply everything. Thanks for your thoughts.

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