From heaven or from men

The Tuesday before his crucifixion Jesus made his way into the temple. He was approached by Jewish leaders who questioned his authority, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23).

It was a good question, though obviously not born out of sincerity. The need for authority in religious practice often is regrettably ignored, forgotten, or abused. Continue reading “From heaven or from men”

Isaiah’s New Heavens

Everyone knows what Isaiah’s new heavens and new earth is all about, right? Spoiler alert! Some regard Isaiah 65:17-19; 66:22 as referring to the end of time. Others understand it to have been a prophesy informing post-exilic Israel how God would rebuild worship in Jerusalem in their time.

Why such divergent interpretations? The short answer involves assumptions, methods and goals. Whether we realize it or not, this is also why we hold onto whatever views we might have.

Continue reading “Isaiah’s New Heavens”

Giving up glory

Heaven is the place we all want to go. Heaven is the greatest place imaginable because it is the dwelling place of Deity. Why would anyone willingly leave heaven?

I once had a discussion with someone who feared sinning and being cast out of heaven. I suggested that while angels were cast out (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6), it was not possible for us to sin and thus be banished from God’s presence.

Sin requires temptation (James 1:14, 15). There will be no temptations for us in heaven, and thus no possibility to sin. This is a great comfort to me, for I desperately want to live forever with my Lord. Once my glorified body is taken to heaven I can not imagine ever wishing to leave. Continue reading “Giving up glory”

What and who will be in Heaven

If in Heaven we’re going to play harps for all eternity, I don’t want to go there, said a woefully uninformed person. This perspective reveals that people must be careful not to think of Heaven in earthly, carnal concepts, far from God’s revelation in Scripture. This is also a problem for one masculine-centered religion which sees Heaven in terms of access to hundreds of virgins.

What is going to be in Heaven that motivates everyone, men and women, rich and poor, to make every effort to get there? Here’s a short list. Continue reading “What and who will be in Heaven”

Heaven is like an egg

During our family devotional time, my five year old, with bright eyes remarked, “Heaven is like an egg.” I was bewildered. How could heaven be anything like an egg?

Perhaps you clicked this article simply because the strangeness of the title. You don’t have to read to the end for an explanation. What he meant is that heaven is perfectly suited for us, like an egg is for an unhatched chick. Continue reading “Heaven is like an egg”

Thoughts on heaven

The word “heaven” appears some 50 times in the book of Revelation, in the original language. It is fitting that the last book of the Bible contains the second highest count of the New Testament. Yes, sometimes it refers to the sky or physical space above us, but even then our attention is directed upwards.

The Great Revealing shows “God in heaven” directing all events as the Sovereign King, Revelation 16.11, and to whom people give glory, Revelation 11.13. The great throne is in heaven, Revelation 4.2. Continue reading “Thoughts on heaven”

God’s dwelling place

I want to go to heaven, how about you?

Each day here only further reinforces my desire. But why? What is the motivation? Why is heaven so wonderful?

We find glimpses of heaven throughout scripture: the garden in Eden, the tabernacle/temple, and the church. What do these seemingly disparate places have in common? The common theme running through these places is God’s presence. Continue reading “God’s dwelling place”