Intro: The Three Heavens Mentioned in Scripture
A. The first heaven is the atmosphere.
Genesis 1:1, Genesis 7:11
B. The second heaven is outer space.
Exodus 32:13, Nehemiah 9:6
C. The third heaven is where God’s throne is.
2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (NLT) - This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.
I. Physical Heaven, Sheol and Spiritual Heaven , Physical Heaven and Hell.
A. Physical Heaven.
- We were totally integrated with the spiritual world prior to the fall.
- When God created Adam, there was no need for a Heaven. It was here. This was our Heaven.
- God was present. Everything we needed was present, and there was no suffering and sickness until the fall.
>>> After the fall, God used what the Bible calls the “Place of the Dead,” Sheol, as a holding place for mankind’s souls. <<<
B. Sheol. “The Place of the Dead”
- Was made up of two sides if you will. Hades and paradise.
Luke 23:43 (HCSB) - And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
- We get this from a story Jesus told. He said a “Certain” man. You kind of have to believe this was not a parable or it all falls apart.
Luke 16:22-26 (NLT) - “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. (Abrahams Bosom) The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
- Abraham's Bosom; only used once in the bible. But used in the Talmud as a reference for Heaven.
- I believe the souls who were justified by their faith prior to the final sacrifice, ”Jesus’ death on the cross,” went to the paradise side: the Lazarus side.
- Hebrews 11 walks us through the faith of the saints prior to the law and after.
Hebrews 11:13-16 (NLT) - All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:39-40 (NLT) - All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
- Souls without faith went to the rich man’s, Hades, side awaiting final judgment but suffer while they wait.
C. Spiritual Heaven
- After Jesus died on the cross and made His proclamation in the pit
1 Peter 3:18-20 (NLT) - Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.
- This is what is referred to as the bottomless pit that holds powerful fallen angels until the time Satan gets the keys and lets them out during the tribulation. (Revelation9:1)
- This is when some theologians believe that Jesus went to Paradise and grabbed the saints of old. They were kept there because Jesus had not made atonement for them yet
Ephesians 4:8 (NLT) - That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.”
- This is the Heaven we go to. In the presence of God. The spiritual heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:8 (NKJV) - We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
- This is where our souls go to wait for the final Physical Heaven at the end of time.
Revelation 6:9-11 (NIV) - When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
- Many believe our souls exist in a heavenly body until the Last Judgment
2 Corinthians 5:1-2 (NLT) - For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.
D. Physical Hell
- After the great white throne of Judgment where all of mankind will be judged, we will all be resurrected. That is when the Lost shall be thrown into The Lake of fire made for Satan and His angels.
Revelation 20:10 (NLT) - Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Revelation 20:15 (NLT) - And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
E. Physical heaven
Revelation 21:1-4 (NLT) - Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
- We will once again be totally integrated with the spiritual while being physical, like Adam and Eve. We call that SUPERNATURAL.
Revelation 22:1-2 (NLT) - Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life…
II. What is Heaven Like?
A. Does everyone get a mansion?
- That is right up the alley for us Americans. We even make up songs about our mansions. Jokes about the size.
John 14:1-2 (NLT) - “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
- The King James Version interpreted this scripture as many mansions. The best equivalent from the Greek to English is apartments or rooms.
B. The significance here is the fact we will all live together in Harmony. With God. There is room for everyone.
- We were created for community with Him and People. It’s something we crave.
- Remember the old Michelobe commercial. Here’s to good friends. Tonight is kind of special… We crave friendship with others.
- We were created to need community.
>>> The feelings that these images bring up to you. Wholeness, happiness, satisfied. Harmony with those you love. That’s what heaven will be. Do you want to go? <<<
III. Jesus is the way.
John 14:6 (NLT) - Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Acts 4:11-12 (HCSB) - This Jesus is the stone despised by you builders, who has become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
Romans 10:8-10, 13 (NLT) - “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”
- Heaven is a wonderful place.
- It's only for those whose name is found in the Jesus’ book of life.
- You put your name in through faith in Jesus.
- He will save you if you call on Him.