Will Heaven be Boring?

February 6, 2019 at 10:20 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
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Question: My eight year old son knows that people die, and that if they are saved they go to Heaven, but he’s all mixed up on the eternal part of it. He said,” I just don’t understand how I’m gonna do it, live forever in heaven, like what am I going to do for that long?” What should I tell him?

Answer: That can be hard to explain, because I don’t think even the term “that long” will make sense in eternity. For one thing, there won’t be any “time” there, so all the joy and pleasure we experience won’t be tinged with the nagging thought, “yeah, but this is going to come to an end eventually,” that we experience with everything good here on earth. If he doesn’t like bedtime, you can tell him Heaven will be like never having a bedtime, but never getting sleepy either, or tired, or bored.

God is “infinite,” meaning that He goes on forever, so we will never stop learning new and exciting things about Him in Heaven, and He will have wonderful things for us to do which won’t be burdensome the way work is here on earth.

We will have perfect fellowship there with other believers, so everyone will seem interesting and no one will be unlikable or annoying.

Our glorified bodies will be able to do things our earthly bodies can’t – like move through space instantaneously, and possibly even fully access all our senses in combinations that are beyond our ability now. Tell him that in Heaven, we might be able to “see” music, and “taste” colors, and “hear” odors.

Most of all, tell him that seeing Jesus face to face will be the most joyful thing possible, and we’re not just going to do that once, and then leave. We’re going to be with Him forever.

How to Explain the Afterlife?

January 21, 2019 at 11:52 am | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: What is the best way to explain “the afterlife” to a very confused eight year old boy?

Answer: It depends on what he means by “the afterlife.” If he is talking about what happens when you die, then you can explain to him that those who have trusted in Christ will go to be with the Lord in Heaven (Hebrews 9:27; II Corinthians 5:8). I don’t have a ton of experience with boys, but I know that when I was helping in children’s ministry, they sometimes had trouble grasping the concept of having a soul or a spirit apart from your body. Boys tend to be more “physical” and girls tend to be more about “feelings.” So for the boys, they would think of someone dying and being buried, and they would think that the body was still the person. So, I would try to explain how, when a person dies, the thing that really makes him who he is – his thoughts, his consciousness, his “mind” – leaves the body behind. You can illustrate this by going up to a mannequin in a department store and slapping it in the face: no reaction. That’s how a person’s body will be when he dies. But the part that would have gotten mad or sad or hurt about the slap is now with Jesus, where there is no “mad, sad, or hurt.” Then, after Jesus comes back, the body that we left here on earth will be resurrected and made “super-powerful” (aka “glorified”) and rejoined with our spirit in Heaven.

Will We Know Our Loved Ones in Heaven?

November 30, 2018 at 9:57 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
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Question: In Heaven will Christians know and recognize other Christians to whom they were related in this earthly life?

Answer: I believe we will. In the Bible we see the phrase “he was gathered unto his people” when someone dies, meaning that his soul went to a place where his deceased loved ones already were. Genesis 25:8 and Numbers 20:24 are just a couple of examples. This indicates that in Heaven fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, even distant relatives and friends will know each other based on the earthly relationships they had. I don’t think that there will be the same familial, relational, or “legal” responsibilities and obligations between people in Heaven (such as mother-daughter, husband-wife) because Jesus will be the supreme recipient of all worship, affection, and adoration, but I Corinthians 15:49 seems to indicate that our resurrected and glorified bodies will carry with them enough of our physical resemblance and distinctiveness to make us recognizable to our loved ones.

Catechism Question 13

November 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism, Exodus | 6 Comments
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Question 13: Why can’t you see God?
Answer: God is too holy for me to see Him and live.
Prove it.

And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

Exodus 33:20

God’s overwhelming holiness is too great for sinful human beings to look upon His unveiled presence without being supernaturally strengthened. This will be one of the great benefits and blessings for Christians in Heaven. We shall be able to gaze upon our Lord in our glorified state without fear.

Other verses to consider:

God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24

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.

I Corinthians 13:12

The Prepared Place

September 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Do You Know the Way?, John | 14 Comments
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At the end of John Chapter 13 three very disturbing things have happened. One, Jesus told His Disciples that one of them would betray Him. Two, He told them that He would be leaving them to go to a place where they could not go. Three, He said that even Peter would deny Him.

This was upsetting, to say the least, and it was the backdrop against which He told them what we see in Chapter 14:

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. 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 14:1-3

Jesus let them know that He knew their hearts were troubled, but He gave them the assurance that He gives all throughout the Book of John. “If you believe in God (and I know you do), then it is safe to believe in Me, too, for I and the Father are one: I am God.”

Then He told them something about Heaven: Heaven is a real place. We know this is true because Jesus spoke of it as a real place. It is not a state of mind. It is not the accomplishment of inner peace. It is not a psychological bromide for those who can’t face the reality of death or the loss of their loved ones. It is “the Father’s house,” meaning it is the eternal home of Jesus, and it is Jesus – not streets of gold or the absence of pain and sickness or the reunion of loved ones or even mansions of glory – Who is its main attraction. That’s right, Heaven’s main attraction will be Jesus. If you do not love Jesus, you would not love Heaven.

Jesus spoke solemnly and reassuringly (“if it were not so, I would have told you”) when He told the Disciples that He was going there to prepare a place, and that they would eventually – not immediately – be brought there by Him (“I will come again to receive You unto Myself”) – to be with Him (“that where I am there you may be also”).

The word translated “mansions” has more of a connotation of permanence than opulence. It is from the Greek word mone: an abode, a permanent dwelling place, not a temporary stopover. Again, Heaven is the place where true Christians will be with Jesus, not a place where “lesser” saints will envy “great” saints who have better “stuff” than us. In other words, there will be no “exclusive” communities in Heaven. However, because it is a place that Jesus is “preparing” (and has been for over 2000 years), it will surely be far more magnificent than what we can imagine. The God Who spoke the unfathomable universe into existence in six short days has been preparing our eternal home for 2000 years! I don’t know if you’re ready “to go,” but surely we are all excited about seeing it

This was Jesus’s first assurance to soothe the troubled hearts of His Disciples. We don’t know everything (or even very much) about Heaven, but we do know “the Way.” Jesus Christ is the only Way to Heaven.

Next time, we will see that the way to the prepared place is the particular path.

Calling Witnesses (Part 3)

April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Luke, Salvation | 9 Comments
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The witnesses who have testified so far against the unconverted sinner have been:
1. True Christians
2. Praying People
3. Godly Men and Women of the Bible

Now I call:

FOURTH WITNESSES: DEPARTED CHRISTIAN LOVED ONES

These witnesses are called to rebut the claims that are often made by those who are unconverted: “My best witness could not be here. I had a friend or a family member who knew the Lord, and this person would vouch for me and tell you that I’m not so bad as to need a savior. But this person has gone on into the afterlife.”

Therefore, I will call such a person to testify now. This person will not testify in your favor as you suppose. This person wants very badly for you to come to Jesus. Your departed Christian loved ones are in Heaven now, and though they may have shed many tears for your condition while they were alive, they can not cry for you now. Surely they prayed for you often and fervently while they were in this world, but they have other, far more pleasant, occupations now. They are engaged in full-time worship of their Lord – in-person worship – joy unspeakable. It is not completely clear from the Bible if these loved ones will be present when you are called before God on the day of judgment, but, if they are, and if they hear God’s sentence that you are condemned, and if they hear God’s command for you to depart from His presence for all eternity, their response will not be the response they would have had while still living in this earthly realm. No, their response before the judgment throne when you are cast out will be, “Amen, God is good and He has done what is right.” You see, no one, having experienced God’s love, His unveiled presence in Heaven, the full application of His free grace, will take sides against Him. All tongues will confess that He is just. These people pitied you while they viewed you through the lens of God’s common grace, but if you remain unconverted, God will lift the restraining grace which you experienced in your earthly life, and you will be revealed for the monstrous rebel against your Creator that you truly are. As one preacher said, all of creation will stand and applaud that God has rid the earth of such a thing as you.

FIFTH WITNESSES: THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN IN GENERAL

These witnesses are in glory now. One instant after their very first glimpse of the glory of their Lord, they realized how foolish it was for them to have wasted any time whatsoever bickering and squabbling over who may or may not have wronged them while they were here in this world. It no longer matters to them in the least whether someone took something that rightfully belonged to them, or whether someone said something hurtful about them that wasn’t true. Those common worldly occurrences do not hinder their joy one bit. All their tears and regrets have been wiped away. When they appear before God for judgment, His beloved Son steps into their place, and says, “Father, this one has trusted Me – His sin was put to My account, and I have paid it all.”

I know that you would probably like the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses. “Aren’t you bored there,” you want to ask them, “just worshiping God for all eternity?”

How foolish your question seems to them! Their very first glimpse of God’s glory seemed to last an eternity of eternities and it was all pure bliss. And that first glance was just the start of the start. It only gets better and it never ends. There is no such thing as boredom in Heaven.

SIXTH WITNESSES: UNREDEEMED SINNERS IN HELL

These witnesses are the opposite of the previous witnesses. They have gone to the grave without trusting Jesus. Their pain and torment will make it difficult for them to testify.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Luke 16:22-24

As an unconverted sinner, their testimony might shock you. Jesus used Gehenna to illustrate something of the nature of hell. Gehenna was the dump outside the city where the fire was not quenched and where the worms that lived on the garbage never died. It is not a place of relief for unconverted sinners – not a place where you will be able to say, “At least I don’t have to listen to preaching there – no more ‘holy rollers’ to invite me to church. No one trying to tell me about Jesus – none of those ‘religious hypocrites’ there.” That is not the testimony of these witnesses.

Instead, their testimony is “Oh! – how I wish I would have believed God’s Word! How I wish now my idiotic pride would not have kept me from admitting I was wrong and God was right! How I wish I hadn’t believed the evolutionists and the agnostics – they supported me and encouraged me when I was alive – but where are they now? Where are the people who told me, ‘Everybody gets to come to God in different ways?’ They told me that it was silly to think that Jesus of Nazareth was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that nobody would come to God the Father if they didn’t come through Him. Now, I am separated from God, I am in darkness – I am trapped – I will never get out… and I am in torment.”

If you are an unconverted sinner, even those who sided with you to their end are now testifying against you.

SEVENTH WITNESSES: THE ANGELS

Next, I call to the stand the Heavenly host of ministering spirits that we call angels. They are servants of God. They are His messengers and His army. They also minister to living Christians. Now, however, they will testify against the unsaved.

These angels are not the red-faced little babies playing harps that you may have seen in greeting cards or curio cabinets. These creatures move among the spirit world. Whether they are on an errand for God, engaged in battle against Satan and his minions, or protecting one of God’s servants in his ministry at any given time, we do not know. However, we do know that they rejoice in Heaven when a sinner is saved. Their testimony is most likely going to be that there are times when they pass by an unsaved person who suddenly uses God’s name as part of a curse word, or who utters the precious name of Jesus Christ because he is exasperated or frustrated over something. In righteous outrage the angel lifts his fiery sword to take vengeance on behalf of the Almighty, and it is only the loving longsuffering grace of the Almighty that restrains him. These angels have not disobeyed the Lord since the rebellion of Lucifer caused the banishment and condemnation of one-third of their number. They must find it almost unthinkable and immeasurably horrible that you would rebel daily against your Creator, and even more so that you would then reject His Son Who bled and died for your soul!

You have heard the testimony of a number of witnesses. They are all against you, and yet they plead with you to turn to Christ. You might say, “I’m not in any kind of shape to come to Jesus… I don’t dress like a church person, I don’t talk like a church person, I don’t even think like a church person…” My friend, that is irrelevant. The issue is not what you look like – it’s Who you look to. God in His grace and mercy has allowed you to make it this far. Do not turn away from the testimony you have heard with the poison of unforgiven sin still in your system. Look to Jesus today: LOOK AND LIVE.

If you’ve already looked to Christ by faith – if you’ve already trusted and received Him as your Savior – what a world of good it will do you to look again – look often – look every chance you get! There’s nothing more encouraging for a Christian who’s on a long arduous journey home than to look upon the One Who saved him to begin with.

When Time Shall Be No More

August 13, 2009 at 7:51 am | Posted in Eternity | 9 Comments
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Our souls were created by God to last forever. Every person who has ever lived will exist for all eternity in either Heaven or hell. Hell is reserved for those who say “no,” to Him Who said “yes” to the Cross. Heaven will be the home for those whom the Lord has graciously saved from their sins. The thought of hell lasting forever is understandably horrible. But what about Heaven?

Sure, Heaven will be a wonderful place, but, to our finite minds, eternity seems so long. Anything that lasts forever is bound to get boring after a while. But it is not so with Heaven. For in Heaven, those who belong to the Lord will never tire of marveling at His glory, of exploring the endless mysteries and majesties of His Gospel, of fellowshipping with His saints, or with discovering the unending truths of His Word. That’s right, the Bible will be in Heaven (I Peter 1:25).

When the Lord Jesus asked His disciples, “Have ye understood all these things?” it amazes me that they answered, “Yea, Lord.” (Matthew 13:51) We might excuse them for their enthusiasm, but our understanding of the depth and richness of God’s Word should remind us that every one of us who has been taught from the Scriptures, and would teach others in turn, “is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52) It is always good to remember and repeat the lessons we have learned from the Bible, but we must be constantly digging deeper to bring out the treasures which God has given us from the foundation of the world, but which ever seem new to us.

Jonathan Edwards Was a Heavenly “S.W.I.M.”mer

April 8, 2009 at 11:24 am | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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There in Heaven this fountain of love, this eternal Three in One, is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it. There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love; there the fountain overflows in streams and rivers of love and delight, enough for all to drink at, and to swim in, yea, so as to overflow the world as it were with a deluge of love.

Jonathan Edwards


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