Chapter 20

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Heaven

 

Will believers inherit heaven when Jesus comes?

 

Some people teach that when Jesus comes, the Church will rule on earth for a thousand years before they enter heaven to spend eternity. However, the following verses show that at the Second Coming, the saints will inherit heaven.

Consider the promises of Jesus: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am [heaven], there ye may be also” (John 14:3). At the resurrection, “they which shall be accounted worthy” shall obtain “that world [heaven]” (Luke 20:35). See also Mark 10:30. When Jesus returns, “many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11; Luke 13:25–29). “When the Son of man shall come in his glory,” then shall “the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” which is heaven—“life eternal” (Matt. 25:31,34,46). See also John 5:28,29.

According to the apostle Paul, when the Lord Himself shall “descend from heaven,” believers will be “caught up . . . to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord [in heaven]” (1 Thess. 4:16,17). He also wrote, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory [heaven]” (Col. 3:4). See also Heb. 12:28.

Consider also three examples in Revelation that associate the coming of the Lord with the saints in heaven:

1. “Hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne. . . . the great day of his wrath is come” (Rev. 6:16,17). “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. . . . And all the angels stood round about the throne” (Rev. 7:9,11).

2. “And upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. . . . for the harvest of the earth is ripe” (Rev. 14:14,15). “And I saw another sign in heaven. . . . And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire [a metaphor that refers to heaven]: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” (Rev. 15:1,2). See also Matt. 13:29,30,37–43.

3. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. . . . And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God” (Rev. 20:11,12). “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. . . . And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. 21:1,4).

These passages prove that when Jesus comes to gather believers, they will go to heaven to ever be with Him.

 

Where is heaven?

 

The Bible suggests that heaven is beyond the sky. “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11). When praying to His Father, Jesus “lifted up his eyes to heaven” (John 17:1). When returning to heaven, “he was taken up” (Acts. 1:9) and, when Jesus comes again, the Church will be “caught up together . . . in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).

 

What is heaven like?

 

Heaven is a place of such delight that the thought of it gives comfort and joy in tribulation. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John

14:1,2). When facing death on the cross, Jesus Himself was strengthened as He thought of heaven and its glories. “For the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). Persecuted believers received comfort with encouragements about heaven: “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward” (Heb. 10:34,35). See also Matt. 5:10–12.

Heaven is a place where we will have glorified, immortal bodies. “We know that, when he [Jesus] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:52,53).

Heaven is a place where we will behold the glory of the Lord. Jesus prayed, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me” (John 17:24).

Heaven is a place of everlasting joy where sorrow and sighing shall flee away. “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa. 35:10). “With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace” (Psa. 45:15). If believers on earth are able to “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” even when they are “tried with fire” (1 Pet. 1:7,8), how much more will they rejoice in heaven? See also Isa. 62:4,5; 65:17–19; Rev. 19:6,7.

Heaven will be a wonderful place—no more sorrow, nor crying (Rev. 21:4); no more pain (Rev. 21:4); no more tears (Rev. 7:17); no more curse (Rev. 22:3); no more night (Rev. 22:5); no more death (Rev. 21:4); no more corruption (1 Cor. 15:42,50); and no more hunger or thirst (Rev. 7:16). We won’t experience conflicts with sin because Satan, the tempter, will have been cast “into the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev. 20:10). We won’t fear anything or anyone because “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). See also 1 Cor. 6:9,10; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:5; Rev. 22:15.

Heaven is a place of perfect understanding. “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. . . . For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:9,10,12).

Heaven is an everlasting place. God’s people will have an abundant entrance into “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:11) and will reign for ever and ever (Rev. 22:5). They will enjoy everlasting life (John 3:16); everlasting salvation (Isa. 45:17); everlasting joy (Isa. 51:11); everlasting kindness (Isa. 54:8); everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24); everlasting love (Jer. 31:3); God’s everlasting covenant (Heb. 13:20); and everlasting consolation (2 Thess. 2:16). See also Psa. 145:13; Rom. 2:7; 2 Cor. 5:1; 1 Pet. 5:10; Rev. 11:15.

Heaven is a holy place for a holy people. The Bible refers to heaven as God’s “holy dwelling place” (2 Chr. 30:27); “the holy city” (Rev. 21:2); “the holy Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:10); and as a place “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:13). Only the pure in heart will go there. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psa. 24:3,4).

 

What are other terms used to describe heaven?

 

• Father’s house (John 14:2)

• The kingdom (Matt. 25:34), the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:23), the kingdom of God (Matt. 19:24), His heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18)

• New heavens and a new earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1; Isa. 65:17; 66:22)

• The city of the living God (Heb. 12:22), the city of the great king (Psa. 48:2)

• Mount Zion; Zion (Heb. 12:22; Psa. 48:2,11,12; Isa. 33:20)

• The heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22), the new Jerusalem; (Rev. 21:2)

• Paradise (Luke 23:43; Rev. 2:7)

• Life eternal (Matt. 25:46)

• The world (or age) to come (Mark 10:30)

• A heavenly country (Heb. 11:16)

• A better country (Heb. 11:16)

 

Why is heaven referred to as “a better country”?

 

The writer of Hebrews compares “that country,” which Abraham and Sara left in answer to the call of God, with “a better country, that is, an heavenly,” which they desired (Heb. 11:15,16). Similarly, we receive “the heavenly calling” when we hear and obey the gospel. As a result, we should no longer desire to be “conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2); to love the “things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15); or to have “the friendship of the world” (James 4:4). That is, we should no longer “mind the things of the flesh,” but “the things of the Spirit” ( Rom. 8:5). As with Abraham and Sara, we should set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth because when Christ shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory (Col. 3:2,4).

The following comparisons show some ways in which heaven is “a better country”:

On earth, life is short and uncertain as a vapor (James 4:14), a flower (Job 14:2), a shadow (Job 14:2), and a tale that is told (Psa. 90:9); in heaven, life is forever and ever (Rev. 22:5).

On earth, life is full of trouble (Job 14:1); in heaven, life is full of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psa. 16:11).

On earth, our belongings and property can be plundered and confiscated for Christ’s sake; in heaven, we have “a better and an enduring substance” (Heb. 10:34)—an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 1:4).

On earth, the cities are built by man; heaven itself is “a city . . . whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10).

On earth, life is insecure because of thieves and the corruption of moth and rust; heaven is a place where “neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt. 6:20).

Indeed, heaven is a better country. God promises, “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places” (Isa. 32:18).

 

Will we recognize one another in heaven?

 

Yes, we will. King David expected to recognize his baby who had died (2 Sam. 12:23). The disciples recognized Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3,4). Jesus says that “many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11). This verse implies that we will recognize one another when we get there.

Here is an appropriate poem about heaven:

 

I dreamt death came the other night.

Heavens gates swung open wide

And there an angel stood.

God ushered me inside,

And there to my astonishment

Stood folks I had known before.

Some I judged and labeled as unfit for heaven’s door.

Indignant words rose to my lips,

But never were set free,

Cause every face showed stunned surprise—

No one expected me!

Author unknown

 

What will we do in heaven?

 

In heaven we will see God face to face. “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev. 22:4). God is pure and holy; none but the pure and holy shall see Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). “We shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2,3). Believers purify themselves by fearing God and obeying His Word (John 15:3; 17:17; 1 Pet. 1:14–17).

God promises the one who “walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; . . . that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil. . . . Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty” (Isa. 33:15,17).

In heaven we will sing unto the Lord a new song. “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne” (Rev. 14:2,3). See also Rev. 15:2–4.

In heaven we will fall down and worship the Lord, casting our crowns before Him. “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:10,11). See also Rev. 5:8–14; 7:9–12; 14:1–3; 15:2–4; 19:1–7.

In heaven we will rest from our labors. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).

In heaven we will serve the Lord. “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Rev. 22:3). See also Psa. 102:22; Matt. 25:21; Rev. 7:15.

In heaven we will enjoy holy fellowship. This fellowship will be with Jesus and our heavenly Father as well as with all the saints. They “shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11)

 

Will this fellowship include eating and drinking?

 

Yes. With regard to heaven, Jesus spoke of “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). He also said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15); “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna” (Rev. 2:17); and “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29).

For the following reasons, however, eating and drinking in heaven will probably be in a spiritual sense, which, of course, will be more glorious.

1. The apostle Paul said that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).

2. Jesus stressed the importance of spiritual food over natural food. He said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (John 4:32); “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:27). See also Isa. 55:2.

3. Jesus often spoke of eating and drinking in a spiritual sense, especially in John, chapter six. He said, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me” (John 6:56,57).

How did Jesus live by the Father, by physically eating His flesh and drinking His blood? Of course not! But by hearing and obeying His Word (John 5:19,20,30; 8:28,29; 12:49,50; 14:10). Likewise, believers dwell in Christ and live by Him through having His Word abiding in them: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

The Bible often typifies the Word of God as something that we eat and drink. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The angel of the Lord gave the apostle John “the little book” and said, “Take it, and eat it up” (Rev. 10:9). Jeremiah praised God saying, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jer. 15:16). David declared, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psa. 119:103). Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Pet. 2:2,3). Notice that we taste the graciousness of the Lord by feasting on His Word.

To further emphasize the spiritual meaning of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, Christ added, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). The flesh, or natural meat and drink, profits nothing. The words of Christ, however, give life. Peter received the revelation of this truth; he associated the words of Jesus with eternal life. “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Thus, eating the bread and the hidden manna, and drinking the new fruit of the vine in heaven could represent our continuing to partake of Christ and His benefits of salvation. Throughout eternity, His wonderful salvation will be the theme of our praise (Rev. 5:9; 19:1).

4. The Bible speaks of the water of life and the tree of life in a spiritual sense, which supersedes the natural. Heaven is described as having “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal” and “the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves

of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:1,2).

Jesus associated the water of life with everlasting life and His Spirit. He said to the woman at the well, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13,14). On another occasion, He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit)” (John 7:37–39). See also

Psa. 36:8,9; Isa. 33:21; Rev. 21:6; 22:17.

Solomon associated the tree of life with wisdom and understanding: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. . . . She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her” (Pro. 3:13,18). No doubt the tree of life represents Christ “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). See also Rev. 2:7; 22:14.

 

Will there be many people in heaven?

 

One of the disciples asked the Master a similar question. “Lord, are there few that be saved?” Jesus answered, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23,24). Verse 25 explains why many will not be able to enter when Jesus comes; it will be too late—the door will be shut.

In spite of the testimony of Christians and in spite of the tender pleading of the Holy Spirit, many persist on the broad, popular way that leads to destruction. Therefore, comparatively few will enter the narrow way that leads to life eternal (Matt. 7:13,14).

Still, as God promised Abraham, heaven will be filled with the redeemed of all ages, who are as many as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is upon the seashore (Gen. 22:17). In the parable of the great banquet, the king commanded his servants, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). In Revelation, John saw “a great multitude, which no man could number, . . . before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9). He also “heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia: Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God” (Rev. 19:1).

On the other hand, hell is very large in order to receive the millions going there. “Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it” (Isa. 5:14).

Souls are perishing, and the “night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Therefore, let us do the works of God while there is still time to spread the gospel everywhere. Paul said, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).

 

Can a person know that he is going to heaven?

 

Yes, to have the assurance of sins forgiven and eternal life is indeed God’s greatest blessing to man.

Paul wrote, “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” (2 Cor. 5:1). John added, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

In addition, Jesus assured His followers, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (John 5:24).

Salvation is the gift of eternal life that God gives by grace through faith. Those who receive this gift can know that they are saved and have eternal life. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

The epistle of First John emphasizes our assurance of these spiritual truths. The phrase “we know” is repeated at least ten times:

We do know that we know him (2:3).

We know that . . . we shall be like him (3:2).

We know that we have passed from death unto life ( 3:14).

We know that we are of the truth ( 3:19).

We know that he abideth in us ( 3:24).

We know that he hears us ( 5:15).

We know that we have the petitions that we desired of him ( 5:15).

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not ( 5:18).

We know that we are of God ( 5:19).

We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life ( 5:20).

 

How can a person know he is really saved and has eternal life?

 

The assurance of salvation rests in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only Savior. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Many today base their hope of salvation in water baptism, in church membership, in religion, in good works, in sacraments, in keeping the traditions of men, or in the Lord’s supper. But Paul testified, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12). He trusted in Christ and Christ alone. John stated, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).

Salvation is a gift of God that is received when one, with godly sorrow and faith, repents and turns from every known sin, idol, and evil association, and completely surrenders to Jesus Christ to live wholly for Him. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10). God promises, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17,18).

A person’s greatest assurance of salvation is the reality of knowing that his life is completely changed from the love of self to the love of Jesus. Christ does not save a person in his sins, but from his sins (Matt. 1:21). Someone has said, “No change, no conversion.” The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). Here are ten biblical results of salvation whereby a person can know that he is saved:

1. Freedom from the power of sin—“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). “Sin shall not have dominion over you” (Rom. 6:14). “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (1 John 5:18).

When a person has real salvation, he is set free from sin and avoids it. If he should slip and fall, he will be miserable and will not remain in sin. He will repent and go on with the Lord (1 John 2:1,2). When a sheep falls into the mud, he struggles to get out; it is not his environment and he’s not happy there. It is not so with a hog. When he falls into the mud, he likes it and wants to stay there. A saved person behaves like the sheep; a lost person behaves like the hog. See 1 John 3:5–10.

2. Peace with God—“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” ( Rom. 5:1).

3. A love for brothers in Christ—“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14).

4. The joy of salvation and a desire to tell others about Jesus—When a person is a new creature in Christ, God commits to him the ministry or the word of reconciliation, making him an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:17–20). David said, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Psa. 51:12,13).

5. The witness of the Spirit and a desire to pray—“And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24). “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13). “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6). When Ananias visited Paul, the new convert, he said, “Behold, he prayeth” (Acts 9:11).

6. A desire for the Word of God—“As newborn babes [in Christ], desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). “He that is of God heareth God’s words” (John 8:47). See also Matt. 5:6; Luke 6:21,25; Psa. 42:2.

7. Keeping the Word of God—“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him” (1 John 2:3–5).

8. Doing good works—“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him” (1 John 3:18,19). See Heb. 6:9,10.

9. Being persuaded of Christ’s keeping power—“For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). See Heb. 7:25.

10. Having the hope of our Lord’s Second Coming—“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 appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2,3). See also Titus 2:11–13.

Do you know that you are in Christ Jesus and have everlasting life? If not, salvation can be yours. Come to Jesus in repentance and trust Him to forgive you of all your sins and to save you now. Confess your sins directly to Him: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Jesus promised, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37) and “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is past from death unto life” (John 5:24).

 

How does the Bible contrast heaven with hell?

 

The following chart illustrates the stark contrast between heaven and hell:

 

 

Heaven

Hell

 

 

A place of eternal joy and bliss— Matt. 25:23.

A place of immeasurable suffering, of “everlasting burnings” (Isa. 33:14), without hope of escape—Mark 9:43–48.

 

 

A place where men drink the new fruit of the vine with Christ—Matt. 26:29.

A place where men drink the wine of the wrath of God—Rev. 14:10.

 

 

A place inhabited by God, Jesus, the angels, and the righteous—Heb. 12:22-24.

A place inhabited by the devil and his angels, the beast, the false prophet, and the ungodly—Rev. 20:10,15.

 

 

A place where the inhabitants will not suffer any heat—Rev. 7:16.

A place where the inhabitants will suffer intense heat, fire, and brimstone—Rev. 21:8.

 

 

A place of light. Jesus is the light; there’s no darkness—Rev. 22:5.

A place of “blackness of darkness for ever”—Jude 1:13.

 

 

A place of life eternal—Matt. 25:46; Dan. 12:2.

A place of everlasting punishment, shame, and contempt—Matt. 25:46; Dan. 12:2.

 

 

A place of beautiful mansions— John 14:1–3.

A prison house of endless despair— Luke 16:26,28.

 

 

A place of eternal comfort— Luke 16:25.

A place of eternal torment— Luke 16:24,25,28; Rev. 14:11.

 

 

A place of everlasting joy where sorrow and sighing shall flee away—Isa. 35:10.

A place of sorrow where there’s weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth—Matt.8:12; 13:42.

 

 

A place where there’s a “blessed. . . holy” crowd (Matt. 25:34; Rev. 22:11). The poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the pure, and the peacemakers—Matt. 5:3–9.

A place where there’s a “cursed . . . filthy” crowd (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 22:11). The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars—Rev. 21:8.

 

 

A place of eternal rest—Rev. 14:13.

A place where there is “no rest day nor night”—Rev. 14:11.

 

 

A place of eternal fellowship with the Lord and His people—Matt. 8:11.

A place of utter loneliness in “outer darkness”—Matt. 8:12.

 

 

A place prepared for a prepared people—John 14:1–3; Rev. 21:2.

A place prepared for the devil and his angels—Matt. 25:41.

 

 

The destiny of those on the narrow way—Matt. 7:14.

The destiny of those on the broad, easy way—Matt. 7:13.

 

 

A place with “a pure river of water” —Rev. 22:1.

A place without one drop of water to cool the tongue—Luke 16:24.

 

 

 

Will our Christian conduct in this life make a difference in heaven?

 

Yes! The Bible teaches that:

• Greatness in heaven will be measured according to genuine conversion and childlike humility (Matt. 18:4) It is also related to our obeying the Lord’s commandments and teaching them to others (Matt. 5:19; Dan. 12:3).

• The mercy we receive will be based on the mercy we have shown to others (Matt. 5:7; Luke 6:35,36).

• Rewards and glory will be measured according to the suffering and losses we have endured for Christ’s sake (Matt. 5:10–12; Mark 10:29,30; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17; 1 Tim. 4:8–10; Heb. 10:32–35).

• Degrees of authority and rule will be measured according to our faithfulness to Christ, even in little things (Matt. 25:14–30; Luke 12:48; 19:12–27).

• Treasure in heaven will depend upon our laying up treasure there through faithfulness in giving and in doing kind deeds as unto Christ (Matt. 6:19,20; Luke 12:20,21,33; 1 Tim. 6:19).

• To have an abundant entrance into “the everlasting kingdom our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:11) we must obey God’s Word, which says, “giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Pet. 1:5–7).

 

How should the prospect of our inheriting heaven make us better Christians?

 

The prospect of heaven should motivate believers to do the following:

To rejoice when hated and ostracized for Christ’s sake—“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22,23).

To be free from worry, and to seek first the kingdom of God—“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:31–33). See also Col. 3:1–3; Phil. 3:7–21.

To serve God in practical holiness— “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:22). See also 1 Tim. 4:8.

To be unselfish and free from covetousness—“And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:19–21). See also Matt. 19:21.

To be faithful to Jesus no matter the cost—To the disciples who left all to follow Jesus, He said, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me” (Luke 22:28,29). “When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matt. 19:28,29). See also Mark 10:29,30.

In conclusion, consider the faithfulness and usefulness of other great men and women who were motivated by heaven:

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived as pilgrims and strangers on the earth because they “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10).

Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb. 11:24–26).

“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35).

The apostle Paul willingly suffered the loss of all things for Christ’s sake; he was a true citizen of heaven. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. . . . for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. . . . If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. . . . For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:7,8,11,20).

As Christians, we should also deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Jesus—ever looking for that city and refusing to set our hearts on earthly things. The Scripture says, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17).

“Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:13,14)—“the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” (Psa. 46:4).
 
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