Heaven

     Heaven!!  The very word whispers peace to our soul.  This old troubled world has nothing for the child of God.  It brings no peace, no lasting joy, no fellowship – nothing but sorrow, heartache, disappointments…and death.  Ah, but Heaven!!  The place where we all long to be!  The lesson will give you an exciting overview of this grand place; however, heaven is not the eternal home of everyone – many people will live eternally in hell.  Hell was mentioned briefly in the Q lesson and will be covered more thoroughly here; then on to the glorious subject of heaven.  Belief that hell exists, in the traditional (Biblical) sense, is unpopular today.  Consider the following:

[For much of the 20th century hell didn't fare well.  Attacked by modern intellectualism and paled by the flames of Hiroshima and the Holocaust, hell's frightful imagery lost much of its fury. By most accounts, it has all but disappeared from the pulpit rhetoric of mainline Protestantism.  And it has fared only marginally better among evangelicals.  Even Kenneth S. Kantzer, a former editor of the evangelical magazine Christianity Today, confessed a few years back that he hadn't preached a sermon on hell in more than three decades.  A general neglect of the subject in theological discourse prompted Martin Marty, a chronicler of American religious trends and professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, to observe that “hell has disappeared and no one noticed. If people really believed in hell they wouldn't be watching basketball or even the TV preachers.  They'd be out rescuing people.”

U.S. News and World Report, March 25, 1991

“My congregation would be stunned to hear a sermon on hell.” Her parishioners are “upper-middle-class, well-educated critical thinkers” who view God as “compassionate and loving, not someone who's going to push them into eternal damnation.”

— Rev. Mary K., United Methodist Pastor

 

 

Hell is probably the hardest of all the doctrines of Christianity to be received.  Why?  Perhaps because people intuitively know they are sinners, and the subject of hell starts to awaken their conscience to it.  Some are repulsed by the idea of punishment and judgment, and to others the thought of future anguish seems utterly incompatible with the fatherly love of God.  But the future punishment of the wicked holds a prominent place in the Holy Scriptures – especially teachings by Jesus and John (the Apostle of Love).  What is between the covers of the Bible is the Christian’s message.  Believe it, and respond accordingly.

 

I.      WHAT IS HELL?

Hell is a place of banishment from the presence of God.  Of the 162 texts in the New Testament which speak of doom that awaits the unbeliever, 70 of them were uttered by Jesus Christ Himself.

A.     According to 2 Thessalonians 1:9, unbelievers will be “P__ __ __ __ __ __ __ with everlasting destruction from the P__ __ __ __ __ __ __ of the Lord....”

B.     Jesus said to those who have falsely professed knowing God...

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: D__ __ __ __ __ from M__, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).

C.     There are several terms for hell:

1.     Sheol occurs 65 times and refers to:

a.     The dwelling place of the body, or grave

b.     The dwelling place after death of all people

c.     The dwelling place of man’s soul

Could sheol always mean the grave as the Jehovah’s Witness Cult claims?

No! Several passages reveal that sheol and hell are used as places of judgment and punishment for the wicked.

 

 

(Psalms 9:17) “The wicked shall be turned into hell (sheol), and all the nations that forget God.”        Here sheol is the place prepared for the wicked.  It can't simply mean “grave” since the righteous and wicked will both go to the grave.

(Proverbs 23:14) “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (sheol).” Using the rod will deliver your child's soul from sheol.  No amount of parental discipline will keep a child from the grave.

(Luke 16:23) “And in hell (hades) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”  It is obvious that hades cannot simply mean “grave” here, for punishment following death is clearly in view in this passage.

The word sheol is a general word for the location of a person after death, whether the place of the body (grave) or the soul (saved or unsaved).

2.     Hades means hell and is the New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew term sheol.  All departed dead went to sheol or hades.  The word usage could emphasize the place of the body or the place of the soul.  If referring to the place of the soul, it could refer to the place of the saved soul or the unsaved soul.  The meaning is determined by the context.

3.     Gehenna Valley of Hinnom.  

A deep, narrow valley outside the south and west walls of Jerusalem.  A perpetually burning garbage dump. Carcasses of animals, bodies of criminals, and the city's garbage was dumped there. 

 

 

Sulfur and brimstone were dumped in to increase the heat and fire.  The valley became synonymous with eternal punishment, the fire of hell.

It describes the punishment connected with the final judgment, a punishment that has eternal duration, not annihilation (Matthew 23:15, 33; 25:41, 46).

 

II.     WHERE DID HELL COME FROM?

A.     Hell was created by Jesus Christ.

(Colossians 1:16) “For by him were A__ __

T__ __ __ __ __ created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created B__ H__ __, and for him:”

B.     Jesus didn’t create hell for mankind.

In Matthew 25:41, who did Jesus say he made hell for?

                                                                                       

C.     Jesus should know about hell since he created it! He is the authority on the subject.

 

III.     WHAT IS HELL LIKE?

A.     Hell is a place of punishment.

In Matthew 25:46 Jesus said, “And these shall go away into E__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

P__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ : but the righteous into life eternal.”

B.     Hell is a place of T__ __ __ __ __ __ (Luke 16:23).

C.     Hell is a place of fire.

(Matthew 13:42) “And shall cast them into a

F__ __ __ __ __ __ of F__ __ __...”

(Revelation 20:15) “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the L__ __ __ of F__ __ __.”

 

 

 

(Matthew 3:12) “He will burn up the chaff with

U__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ F__ __ __.”

D.     Hell is a place of haunting memory and unfulfilled desire.

According to Luke 16:19-31, the rich man who went to hell remembered his life and relationship with Lazarus.  He asked for water to relieve his thirst, and it was denied.

 

IV.    WHO WILL GO TO HELL?

A.     It is the destination of the wicked.

1.     According to John 8:21-24, Jesus said that those who don’t believe in Him will die in their

S__ __ __.

2.     He also said that where He goes they

C__ __ __ __ __ C__ __ __ (verse 21).

3.     Where did Jesus go when He ascended?

·                   My F__ __ __ __ __’__ H__ __ __ __ (John 14:2)

·                   H__ __ __ __ __ (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:10)

4.     According to John 3:36, who has the wrath of God abiding on him?                                                        

5.     According to 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, who will God take vengeance on?                                                                                                                               

6.     God will punish these people with an “everlasting destruction from the P__ __ __ __ __ __ __ of the Lord” (verse 9).

Those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Savior will not go to heaven. They will die in their sin and be eternally separated from God.

B.     It is the “wages” of the wicked’s sinful life.

1.     According to Romans 6:23, what is the “wages of sin?”  D__ __ __ __

 

 

2.     Revelation 20:14 identifies this death with hell and the lake of fire.  It is called the S__ __ __ __ __ death.

What is the Second Death?

This death does not mean the cessation of existence any more than eternal life means the beginning of life.  Eternal life means to live in a state of blessedness with God forever.  The second death means to live separated from God in hell; it is the place God created for such purpose.  The second death does not mean cessation of existence, for the sinner is dead already, now in this life (1 Timothy 5:6; Ephesians 2:1; John 5:24-25).  Revelation 21:8 describes what this death is: “But the fearful and unbelieving...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

 

V.     IS HELL THE SAME FOR ALL SINNERS?

Emphatically NOT!  There are degrees of punishment in hell.

A.     According to Mark 6:11, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for what city?

                                                                                               

 

B.     Read Luke 10:10-13.  Why will Chorazin and Bethsaida have a harsher time in the judgment of God than Sodom?

                                                                                               

C.     Read Luke 12:41-48.

1.     In verse 47 who was beaten with many stripes?

                                                                                       

                                                                                       

2.     In verse 48 who was beaten with few stripes?

                                                                                                                                                               

3.     What shall be required from those to whom much has been given? M__ __ __

Note: Both servants in the passage were punished because they were “worthy” of the stripes (verse 48), but the degree of their punishment differed.

D.     The law requires that punishment fits the crime.

In Romans 2:11-16, Paul is discussing that God is impartial in His judgment of man.  Since God is “no respecter of persons,” His judgment is just.  How does this play out?

1.     In verse 12, those without the law (Gentiles) will perish without the law.

2.     Also in verse 12, those who have sinned under the law (Jews) will be judged by the law.  In other words, God will judge men according to the light they have received.  All will be judged, and all unredeemed people will perish.

 

VI.    WHAT IS HEAVEN?

A.     The Bible refers to three heavens.

1.     The FIRST heaven

Read Genesis 1:8, 20; Jeremiah 4:25; and Daniel 4:12.  In these Scriptures, the heaven referred to may be called the first heaven.

 

 

Describe this first heaven in your own words?

                                                                               

2.     The SECOND heaven

Read Genesis 22:17; Nehemiah 9:23; and Psalm 19:1.  In your own words, what is the Second Heaven?                                                                        

3.     The THIRD heaven

Read 1 Kings 8:27, 30 and 2 Corinthians 12:2.

a.     These Scriptures refer to a heaven which is the abode of God.

b.     What is this heaven called?

                                                                               

c.     This heaven is the home of the God.

Matthew 6:9 records, “Our Father, which art in H__ __ __ __ __...”

This is where God has established His throne.

The remainder of the lesson will discuss this third heaven – the place where God dwells.

B.     What is ZION?

Zion is another name for Jerusalem.  It is also used three ways:

1.     In 2 Samuel 5:7, Zion is called “the City of

D__ __ __ __ .”  This is the actual city of Jerusalem (specifically, the lower portion that is south of the Temple mount).

2.     In Isaiah 2:2-4, Zion is the Jerusalem of the Millennium (the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth).

3.     In Hebrews 12:22, Zion is called the city of the

L__ __ __ __ __ G__ __.  This is a reference to heaven.

In this lesson, the Zion to which we refer is the last of those above – the New Jerusalem of Heaven.

 

 

 

VII.   WHERE DID HEAVEN COME FROM?

A.     It was created by God in the beginning (Genesis 1:1).

B.     It will abide forever.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:1, heaven is a “house not made with hands, E__ __ __ __ __ __ in the

heavens.”

 

VIII. WHAT DOES DEATH MEAN FOR THE CHRISTIAN?

A.     Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-8.  These verses teach that:

1.     To be at home in the body is to be

A__ __ __ __ __ from the Lord.

2.     To be absent from the body is to be

P__ __ __ __ __ __ with the Lord.

B.     Read Philippians 1:23-24.

If Paul was to D__ __ __ __ __, he would be with

C__ __ __ __ __ .

These Scriptures clearly teach that when a Christian dies his soul is immediately transported into the presence of Christ (the body returns to the dust, awaiting its resurrection).

C.     Read Hebrews 12:22-23.

This passage teaches that in the city of the living God (heaven) is:

1.     An innumerable company of A__ __ __ __ __

2.     The general assembly and C__ __ __ __ __ of the firstborn

3.     God, the J__ __ __ __ of all

4.     The spirits of just M__ __ made perfect

This last group are believers who have gone to heaven after death.

D.     Read Luke 16:22.

How was the soul of Lazarus transported to paradise?

                                                                                       

 

 

These Scriptures contradict doctrinal errors such as:

Purgatory – a temporary “holding-tank” for believers who aren’t righteous enough to immediately go to heaven after death.

Soul Sleep – a temporary “holding-tank condition” for departed believers (Jehovah Witnesses) awaiting the resurrection by Jehovah God.

Reincarnation – an eastern religion and New Age teaching that the soul of the deceased is reborn in a new body; the soul comes back to earth to inhabit a new body.

If Christ’s return does not occur in your lifetime, be assured of this, when you die you will go to heaven.

You will go home to be with the Lord!  Death is but a graduation to glory!  The words of Psalm 23:4 will be a sweet reality:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of D__ __ __ __ , I will fear no E__ __ __ , for T__ __ __ art W__ __ __ me.... “

In London, England, a tombstone has an unusual epitaph.  A man named Solomon Peas gave instruction before he died to put these words on his tombstone:

 

Beneath these clouds and beneath these trees,

Lies the body of Solomon Peas;

This is not Peas; it is only his pod;

Peas has shelled out and gone Home to God.

 

Solomon Peas had an unusual way of saying it, and he described it correctly.  When he died as a believer, he went straight to heaven!

 

IX.    WILL WE KNOW ONE ANOTHER IN HEAVEN?

The Bible indicates that we will recognize each other – our loved ones, friends, and saints throughout the eternal ages.

 

A.     David expected to rejoin his deceased child (2 Samuel 12:18-23).

B.     The believers in Thessalonica would see loved ones again.

These Thessalonians were sorrowing over the death of friends and family members.  Paul wrote the great passage on the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) to inform them that those pre-deceased believers would also resurrect and rejoin them.  This resurrection and reunion is the comfort spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:18.

C.     Peter, James, and John recognized M__ __ __ __ and E__ __ __ __ in their glorified bodies on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-4).

D.     In heaven, each believer will receive a glorified body.

According to 1 Corinthians 15:35-53, this new, glorified body will be received at the rapture.

E.     What will this glorified body look like?

Consider the resurrection body that Jesus Christ received.

 

John 20:20

Was He recognizable?

¨ Yes  ¨ No       

John 20:27

Was He touchable?

¨ Yes  ¨ No       

Acts 1:3

Was He able to communicate?

¨ Yes  ¨ No       

John 20:19

Luke 24:31

Was He physically restricted?

¨ Yes  ¨ No       

Luke 24:36-43

Was He able to eat?

¨ Yes  ¨ No       

 

F.     In John 20:15, Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize

the resurrected Christ.  She thought He was a regular man – the G__ __ __ __ __ __ __ .

 

 

G.    In Luke 24:15-18, Jesus joined the Emmaus disciples.  They walked and talked for eight miles; the disciples thought he was just another man.

H.     According to Philippians 3:21, what will happen to our body at the moment of the rapture?

                                                                                               

I.      (1 John 3:2) “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall A__ __ __ __ __, we shall be L__ __ __ H__ __; for we shall see him as he is.”

 

X.     WHAT IS HEAVEN LIKE?

Who can adequately describe what heaven will be like?  

1 Corinthians 2:9 says our E__ __ __ haven’t S__ __ __, our

E__ __ __ haven’t H__ __ __ __, and it hasn’t entered into our H__ __ __ __ the things that God has prepared for us!

A.     The very P__ __ __ __ __ __ __ of G__ __ is in heaven (Hebrews 9:24).

B.     J__ __ __ __ is there! (Luke 24:51; Acts 3:20-21)

C.     S__ __ __ __ is NOT there! (Revelation 20:10)

D.     What is missing in heaven?

In the book of The Revelation, chapters 21-22 give us the most detailed description of our future home.  But like any real estate advertisement, you have to actually see it before you can fully appreciate it!

1.     No more D__ __ __ __ (21:4)

2.     No more S__ __ __ __ __ (21:4)

3.     No more C__ __ __ __ __ (21:4)

4.     No more P__ __ __ (21:4)

5.     No more T__ __ __ __ __ (21:22)

6.     No more S__ __ or M__ __ __ (21:23)

7.     No more N__ __ __ __ (21:25 and 22:5)

8.     No more C__ __ __ __ (22:3)

E.     Heaven is a perfect place!

Revelation 22:1-5 describes it as a place of perfect

 

 

satisfaction, perfect provision, perfect sinlessness, perfect government, perfect service, perfect communion, perfect possession, perfect glory!

 

XI.    WHAT IS THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM GOING TO BE LIKE?

The “Centerpiece” of the Eternal Heaven is the Holy City of God, The New Jerusalem.  After the millennial kingdom and the great white throne judgment, God destroys the heavens and earth and creates new ones.  We move into God’s eternal state.  According to Revelation 21:3, God will dwell with us, and He will be our God.  This is reminiscent of God’s relationship with Adam and Eve before the fall.  Man will see God in His glory and know the Lord as never before. Out of this heaven comes the holy city, the New Jerusalem.

(Revelation 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.”

A.     Who occupies this heavenly city?

It is the dwelling place of God and His holy angels.

In Revelation 21:9-10, this city is called the

B__ __ __ __ , the Lamb’s wife.  It is the dwelling place of the bride of Christ, the church, that is, the saints of God.  All saints of all ages will be there.

1.     In Hebrews 11:10, 16, whose hope was it to dwell in this city?                                                                

2.     In Revelation 21:24, the nations of them which are S__ __ __ __ shall dwell there.

3.     In Revelation 21:27, they which are written in the L__ __ __’__ B__ __ __ of L__ __ __ are there.

B.     How big is the New Jerusalem?

Revelation 21:16 records it is a cube that is 12 thousand furlongs each way.  A furlong is one eighth of a mile.  What would be the city’s dimensions in mileage?

 

 

C.     How is the city constructed? (Rev. 21:10-23)

1.     According to Revelation 21:21, the city has

                                 gates, and each gate is one

P__ __ __ __ .

2.     A great wall surrounds the city and is 216 feet high!

3.     The streets are of purest gold; the buildings are pure gold; the foundation stones are precious gems!

4.     According to Revelation 21:23, why is there no need for natural light?                                                                                                                               

5.     There is no temple in the New Jerusalem because God the Father and God the Son are the temple of it (verse 22).  A temple was to hold the symbol of God’s presence.  Symbolism isn’t needed anymore – He’s there!

 

XII.   WHAT WILL WE DO IN HEAVEN?

Don't be led astray by the common notion that we shall be floating around on clouds, dressed in white gowns, flapping a pair of wings, and strumming a harp for all eternity.  The Bible doesn’t teach this.

A.     We will sing praises to God.

According to Revelation 5:9, the redeemed of all ages will sing a N__ __ S__ __ __ .

B.     We will serve God continually.

See Revelation 7:15 and 22:3, 5.

C.     We will fellowship continually.

According to Revelation 3:21, we will S__ __ with the Lord Jesus Christ at His T__ __ __ __ __ .

 

XIII. CAN I HAVE “HEAVEN ON EARTH?”

 

 

The happiest, most memorable, most joyful and loving experiences on earth will pale into insignificance when compared with the bliss of Heaven.  Nevertheless, God intends for three things now to be a foretaste of Heaven to come:

·                   Your personal WALK with the Lord.

·                   Your HOME.

·                   Your CHURCH.

Each of these should (and can) be a little piece of heaven       on earth.

Do you want to go to heaven?  Are you preparing for it?  Are you saved, and are you laying up treasures in heaven?  Don’t wait with your preparations.  You are nearer heaven right now than you have ever been in your life!

Moving Day

After final papers are signed...pack everything...call the mover...have electricity and water cut off...phone taken out.

These were the instructions on a memo pad I had written two years ago when we were preparing to move from the state of Michigan to Tennessee.  I ran across the little memo pad while cleaning out a box of papers.  I had almost forgotten the many, many things there are to be taken care of, especially when you are moving to another state.  Last minute things: such as waiting to the very last to call the telephone company, because you need the phone for last minute turnings off and changing address.  A little tinge of sadness crept into my heart as I remembered going back into the house that day to see if I had left anything.  Yes, we were leaving years of memories of our boys growing up in that house.  The yearly birthday parties, the Christmases, the Cub Scouts.  I remembered that cold day in January when the real estate dealer handed us the key when we signed our name to final papers, and the warm spot in our hearts that day despite the zero cold day in January.  The little things I painted across my mind that day – the little

 

 

things I just couldn’t leave behind, the many days of packing, things we had accumulated over the years that we just couldn’t part with.  We were leaving our family and friends behind – friends who had shared our joys and sorrows over the years.  We were leaving the church where our children had grown up, and the many, many blessings in the fellowship around God’s Word.

The final change of address.

Reading over this little memo made me think of another move that we’ll make one Day – a move to my Home of many mansions prepared by my Heavenly Father.  There will be no need for a final signature then.  This was taken care of when as a sinner I came for salvation and my Father wrote my name in the lamb’s Book of Life.  My name is still there and will be there when I move to my Father’s house with many mansions.  We won’t have to pack clothes.  My Father will give me a robe of righteousness.  We won’t have to worry about the electricity being turned on before we arrive, because my Savior has given me living water so that I will never again thirst.  There will be no address to change. Heaven will be my eternal Home.  There will be no mover to hire, because my Heavenly Father will meet me in the air to escort me to my final Home.  There will be no ticket to buy. My Savior purchased my ticket by shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary for my sins.  There will be no tears when leaving.  God will wipe away my tears.  There will be no sadness in leaving my personal things, because my Heavenly Father will supply my every need.  I don’t know the moving date.  One day, though, my Heavenly Father will say, “It’s MOVING DAY.”

From a sermon on heaven by Billy Sunday