When Jamie died, I became obsessed thinking what he was doing. I knew he was in Heaven, there was no question about that. However, it was not enough to just know “where” he was but I was desperate to know what heaven was like.
I soon realized that the only time I heard any scriptures about heaven was at funerals or grave sites. Never in a sermon.
I spoke to Mark Caulk, my brother in law who pastors Winding Creek Community Church in Stafford, VA after Jamie’s funeral. There were a couple of things that were confusing me.
“Mark, I’m confused, we know in the bible Jesus says to the thief on the cross, “TODAY you will be with me in Paradise.”
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)
However, the bible also says that when Jesus comes back to earth the dead in Christ will rise first and meet Him in the air.
“I don’t get it”
“How can we be with Jesus on the day we die, and yet meet Him in the air when we returns?”
“Is Jamie in heaven or in Oak Lawn Cemetery sleeping waiting the Resurrection”?
The Book Heaven
Two weeks after Jamie died, I was on my laptop, googling heaven. I came upon a link to a book, Heaven by Author Randy Alcorn. I quickly downloaded it on my Kindle and it became my constant companion and theology book on Heaven.
I learned that contrary to what has been portrayed in art and movies about heaven, it is not some ethereal, non-physical place where we float on clouds playing harps all day.
Rev 13:6-8 says that Satan utters blasphemies against God, His name, and His dwelling. His dwelling? I had not noticed that word dwelling before.
I knew heaven was God’s dwelling place.
I am convinced the blasphemy Satan has perpetrated about God’s dwelling is that Heaven is boring.
Theologians throughout church history, have recognized the place we go when we die, as the “intermediate heaven.” Like the thief on the cross we will be with Jesus in Paradise and we will be in a conscious existence with God our loved ones.
But… it not where we will ultimately live forever.
Can you imagine living on earth with all the original beauty God created without sin and decay? All the mountains, hills, lakes, trees, plants, flowers that never die?
Eventually will all live on the New Earth without the corruption from Adam’s sin. Peter in the book of Acts said, “Christ must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything that was promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:21)
Jesus told his disciples to pray,what is commonly referred to as the Lords Prayer. One verse says to pray,”Thy kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH, as it is in heaven.
Those who have gone before us, Jamie, “Lilly Bear”, my mom and dad, will one day rise from the grave, put on immortality and we will all live together on the New Earth without pain,suffering, selfishness,sin or the curse.
Can you imagine living with God and your family without bickering, or selfishness?
Now that is what I call heaven!
“God will make the new earth his dwelling place…Heaven and earth will no longer be separated as they are now, but they will be one.” Anthony Hoekema
God designed the Garden of Eden to be–a physical place of beauty, a relational place of harmony, and a purposeful place of meaningful, creative work with our family and friends forever. This is exactly what Heaven, on the New Earth will be.
Jamie, if your reading please make my mansion by a lake.
I’ve ask everyone I talk to now how many sermons they have heard preached on heaven? So far no one can recall any.
How many sermon’s have you heard on heaven? Please answer in the comments.
***I would be happy to send you a small book written by Randy Alcorn on Heaven if you email me your address. I have read many books on heaven but this book is the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched one I have read.***