Heaven…The Next Frontier (But Not the Last)

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Heaven…The Next Frontier (But Not the Last)
By Jack Kelley

“Be good, and when you die you’ll go to Heaven to live with Jesus.” I’ll bet millions of other little boys and girls have heard that same thing from well-intentioned moms. I didn’t realize until much later that I was getting some works based theology there, and I’m sure my mom didn’t intend it that way. She was just trying to get me to behave. But I woke up this morning recalling a dream in which someone asked me to write about Heaven and I remembered her instruction. I won’t claim the dream was a message from the Lord, but it did stick in my mind, so here goes.

I’m not going to spend any time on the theological orientation of her instructions. The Bible is clear: we get to Heaven by God’s grace, not our behavior. Even Jesus, who came from Heaven and was the world’s only perfect man had to sacrifice His life for us in order to get back. If being good wasn’t enough for Him, where does that leave us? No, hearing my mom’s voice again re-focused my interest in Heaven’s location and condition, not its price of admission. If we’re going there someday, then where is it? And more important, what’s it like?

Where Are We Going, Exactly?

Surprisingly, the Bible offers no clear answer to those questions. 410 references in the Old Testament and 273 in the New simply identify Heaven as God’s dwelling place. The Hebrew and Greek words rendered as Heaven in the English literally mean “sky.” In the Genesis creation account the Hebrew word for heaven refers to the earth’s atmosphere; the visible arch of the sky, where the clouds move. Same with the New Testament Greek. (Paul did use a form of the word that means “above the sky” to describe the extent of God’s influence over His creation in Phil 2:9). We’re told to store up treasure in Heaven (Matt 6:20), and that there is an inheritance reserved for us there (1 Peter 1:4). But no where is its location identified. Nor is there a description of its attributes or features.

Mansions in the Sky

We’re also told that Jesus went there (Acts 1:10) and that when believers die their spirits go to be with Him (2 Cor 5:8). He said He was going to His Father’s house to prepare a place for us and will return to take us there (John 14:1-3). That event is described in 1 Thes 4:16-17 where heaven, clouds, and air are all used. As in the English, three different Greek words are employed, and none of them tells us anything about our destination. The spirits of departed believers will be reunited with their newly perfected bodies, joining living believers (whose bodies are also perfected) all headed for this secret location. I believe we’re going there for 3 reasons:

1. To escape the Great Tribulation (Rev 3:10),

2. To receive our rewards (1 Cor 3:10-15), and

3. To practice using our new supernatural powers (1 John 3:2).

Meanwhile the Great Tribulation brings final judgment upon unbelievers and begins Earth’s restoration (2 Peter 3:10, Romans 8:18-22). The next time people on Earth see the Lord, He’ll be coming from Heaven with His armies (Rev 19:11). Since He promised that we’ll always be with Him (1 Thes 4:17), and since He’s coming here to establish a 1000 year Kingdom (Rev 20:4), and since we’re going to help administer His kingdom (Rev 20:6), we’ll be joining Him. This is born out in Rev 21 by the appearance of the New Jerusalem “coming down out of Heaven.”

Are We There Yet?

In reading about the New Jerusalem, we finally get a glimpse of our new home, and it’s a lot like the heaven we’ve heard about. Streets paved with gold, eternal life in the presence of the Lord, peace and tranquility forever. We read of it coming down out of Heaven, but never are we told that it actually reaches Earth. Apparently we come close but never touch down, perhaps like a huge low orbit satellite. People from Earth bring things to us, but no one impure can ever enter, even though our gates are always open. The Lord cannot dwell in the presence of sin, so only the perfected believers of the Church Age will live there (Rev 21:27). So New Jerusalem is the heaven promised us; the great “mansion in the sky” where we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Things will really change on Earth, too. The curse will end, restoring its “Garden of Eden” beauty, with long life again the order of the day. Folks there will work for a living (but enjoy it), have children, own their property, and live in peace, but even with Satan bound sin and death are evident, signifying natural beings (Isa 65:17-25). Sadly, as the 1000 years pass natural man’s sin nature causes steadily increasing decay and disobedience on earth, until at the end when Satan is released wholesale rebellion threatens the Kingdom. But Satan and his armies are destroyed, peace restored, and the Age of Man comes to an end.

And Then What Happens?

What follows the Millennium? God only knows. The Bible, being the handbook for the Age of Man speaks neither of events before its beginning nor after its end. It instructs us on only three things of eternal duration. God Himself (Isa 43:10), life for believers (John 3:16), and punishment for unbelievers (Matt 25:46). The rest is left for us to wonder about, and for God to reveal as it suits His purpose.

https://www.raptureforums.com/bible-study/heaven-the-next-frontier-but-not-the-last/
 

Endangered

Well-Known Member
If I interpret the story of Creation in Genesis correctly God created the materials that he would use to create the universe on Day/Age 1. Then he turned his attention to Heaven on Day/Age 2. Heaven appears to be out in Space somewhere nearby but maybe in another dimension. It is a real place but not visible to us on Earth. My guess is that Angels were created at the same time. It wasn't till Day/Age 3 that God started on our planet.
According to Jack Kelly we RFers will spend the Millennium in New Jerusalem. And after the millennium, no human knows.
God is full of surprises.
 

Rocky Rivera

Well-Known Member
What happens after the Millennium?? First the Great White Throne Judgement, where the unbelievers will be judged to determine how hot the fire and how much pain they will endure for all eternity. After all, Hell won’t be the same for everybody. He who knew his Master’s will and did not do it will be beaten with many stripes, while he who did not know yet committed things worthy of stripes will be beaten with few.

After THAT will come the New Heavens and the New Earth, where the fun really begins. God’s promise of “No more tears” and “No more curse” will finally be realized. Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be his people. God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things have passed away.
 

Kem

Citizen
Even Jesus, who came from Heaven and was the world’s only perfect man had to sacrifice His life for us in order to get back.
I really wish Jack would not say things like this. Maybe I've missed something in the Scriptures that indicate this but it is my understanding that Jesus came to save us and had he not died and rose again, we would have no chance of salvation but that would not have prevented the Lord's return to heaven. If there is some Scripture that indicates Jesus could not have returned to heaven, I would appreciate it if someone would point it out to me.
 

Batfan7

Well-Known Member
I really wish Jack would not say things like this. Maybe I've missed something in the Scriptures that indicate this but it is my understanding that Jesus came to save us and had he not died and rose again, we would have no chance of salvation but that would not have prevented the Lord's return to heaven. If there is some Scripture that indicates Jesus could not have returned to heaven, I would appreciate it if someone would point it out to me.
I didn't take this to mean that Jesus couldn't have returned to Heaven, but rather that even the most perfect human didn't avoid dying (and thus neither can we... Except for those who are Raptured, of course). But I can see where it seems like the author is implying something else.
 

daygo

Well-Known Member
I wonder if the new Jerusalem will be in orbit if so imo it could be about half the distance as the moon is now and probably look the same size as the moon iS at present , so looking out at the moon I imagine a square instead of a round moon, then thinking what it'd look like, makes you wonder doesn't it.
 

DanLMP

Well-Known Member
I wonder if the new Jerusalem will be in orbit if so imo it could be about half the distance as the moon is now and probably look the same size as the moon iS at present , so looking out at the moon I imagine a square instead of a round moon, then thinking what it'd look like, makes you wonder doesn't it.
Everytime I think of the New Jerusalem as a cube the other vision that always comes into my head is a Borg Cube ship.

I am not specifically against a cube shape but I think a sphere would be more elegant.

Of course the Borg used spheres too.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
I really wish Jack would not say things like this. Maybe I've missed something in the Scriptures that indicate this but it is my understanding that Jesus came to save us and had he not died and rose again, we would have no chance of salvation but that would not have prevented the Lord's return to heaven. If there is some Scripture that indicates Jesus could not have returned to heaven, I would appreciate it if someone would point it out to me.
Perhaps the answer is in Hebrews

Hebrews 9:11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

The above may not exactly allude to what Jack wrote, but its close and a closer look at Hebrews 9-10 might have the answer.
 

Love His Appearing

Well-Known Member
“Be good, and when you die you’ll go to Heaven to live with Jesus.” I’ll bet millions of other little boys and girls have heard that same thing from well-intentioned moms. I didn’t realize until much later that I was getting some works based theology there, and I’m sure my mom didn’t intend it that way.
Oh, how many times I have uttered things to my kids with the best intentions that made them feel judged. Never, "be good and you will go to heaven" but it was taken as such. Most of my kids are Kidults now...22, 21, 18 and my baby 15) but often if there is a raunchy or scary show on TV when I walk through the room, they pause it. Which, of course, triggers my spidey sense to know something is not right. So, I say "Is this show lovely, praiseworthy, pure and admirable?" They reply with a guilty chuckle.

I can't even count the times that one or another of my kids has come to me with feelings of overwhelming anxiety and I have quoted Phillipians 4:6. Instead of feeling comforted by that, they feel convicted. Like they must not have enough faith because even when they DO take their concerns to the Lord, they still feel anxious.

A little off topic from the intent of the OP, but I couldn't get past the first paragraph without recalling these memories.
 

daygo

Well-Known Member
Dan the shape of the city being round wouldn't that make scripture wrong, same as some saying its pyramid shape, afraid I don't understand the reasoning and the logic behind this thinking.
 

Work4Peanuts

Well-Known Member
Everytime I think of the New Jerusalem as a cube the other vision that always comes into my head is a Borg Cube ship.

I am not specifically against a cube shape but I think a sphere would be more elegant.

Of course the Borg used spheres too.
It might be shaped like a city- square on the bottom with points where the buildings come up.

A novel idea, I know, but nothing in the Bible says that every square inch must be used by something.
 

Salluz

Well-Known Member
What happens after the Millennium?? First the Great White Throne Judgement, where the unbelievers will be judged [...]

After THAT will come the New Heavens and the New Earth,
I agree with Jack on the timing of the New Heavens and Earth. Read Isaiah 65 again and pay attention to the part that talks about life spans. People still die on the New Earth:

17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.


Since death still exists on the New Earth in some manner since some people will die at 100 years old (or else why talk about it?), the New Heavens and Earth have to come into play during the millennium, not after when death has already been thrown into the lake of fire. Since the timing is determined by Isaiah, and John uses similar wording to describe when the New Jerusalem comes out of heaven (ie New Heavens and New Earth) we can know John was talking about the same time Isaiah was, unless there is a New New Heavens and New New Earth, which doesn't seem logical to me seeing as though God tells us that "the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me” (Isaiah 66:22). Seems to me there is only one set of New Heavens and New Earth... if it still includes death at the beginning, it has to be at the start of the millennium that they are created.
 

Salluz

Well-Known Member
Dan the shape of the city being round wouldn't that make scripture wrong, same as some saying its pyramid shape, afraid I don't understand the reasoning and the logic behind this thinking.
Daygo, I think the idea is that the bible gives us measurements for length, width, and height for the city, which are all the same. The only 3D shapes that have those characteristics are pyramids or cubes, so it could be either one and keep with what the bible tells us about it's dimensions. With a pyramid, there would still be four sides along the base for there to be the 12 gates, foundations, etc. And if you measure from the tip of the pyramid to the base you could still end up with the same max height the bible describes. I don't have an opinion one way oranother, but I can see how a pyramid is still possible given the specifications we have...



b would be length and width, and h would be the given height

And since you mentioned that it might look like to moon to onlookers, I was thinking that since the nations will walk by its light, it would probably look more like the sun does now. Maybe people won't even be able to look at it without glorified eyes to take all that light in
 
Last edited:

Rocky Rivera

Well-Known Member
I agree with Jack on the timing of the New Heavens and Earth. Read Isaiah 65 again and pay attention to the part that talks about life spans. People still die on the New Earth:

17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.


Since death still exists on the New Earth in some manner since some people will die at 100 years old (or else why talk about it?), the New Heavens and Earth have to come into play during the millennium, not after when death has already been thrown into the lake of fire. Since the timing is determined by Isaiah, and John uses similar wording to describe when the New Jerusalem comes out of heaven (ie New Heavens and New Earth) we can know John was talking about the same time Isaiah was, unless there is a New New Heavens and New New Earth, which doesn't seem logical to me seeing as though God tells us that "the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me” (Isaiah 66:22). Seems to me there is only one set of New Heavens and New Earth... if it still includes death at the beginning, it has to be at the start of the millennium that they are created.
That's not the New Earth, that's the Millenium, which ends in rebellion and judgment. Revelations 21 states, "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” " There is no death on the New Earth.
 

Salluz

Well-Known Member
That's not the New Earth, that's the Millenium, which ends in rebellion and judgment. Revelations 21 states, "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” " There is no death on the New Earth.
You made a good point, and I was doubting it for a second there, but when I went back to read it over again... The New Jerusalem is what is being described in the passage you quoted, right? Since only the Church will be living in the New Jerusalem with our glorified bodies, it is accurate to say there will be no death there, even if there is death on the New Earth during the millennium. Since the resurrection has already happened for everyone that will live in the New Jerusalem at that point, it's like we have entered eternity earlier.

I don't know of quotation marks were in the original greek, but my bible translation has quotation marks talking about the New Heavens and New Earth, linking it back to Isaiah.

Look as well who is the one that shows John the New Jerusalem: it's one of the angels that was in charge of the bowl judgments during the tribulation. That would make sense if the New Jerusalem immediately follows the end of the tribulation (which ends with the bowl judgments), but not if John was seeing a vision of 1000 years after it.

There is also the matter of the tree of life being used for the healing of the nations during that time. In a world where there is absolutely no death, what would people need to be healed from?
 
Top