The Glorious Kingdom

Scripture: John 14:2, Revelation 21:10-12, Isaiah 35:5
Date: 02/14/2010 
Heaven will be a glorious kingdom.

Heaven: Is It For Real? - Paperback or Digital PDF

Heaven: Is It For Real? - Paperback or Digital PDF
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- Did you know about 5,000 stars can be seen with the naked eye, yet with a small telescope, you can see hundreds of thousands of stars? The largest telescopes on earth reveal millions of galaxies packed with stars, whereas the Hubble Space Telescope might be able to see over a billion galaxies. Keep in mind, it's estimated that each of these galaxies contain over 200 billion stars, and it's now believed over 2 trillion galaxies exist in the universe. Looking at the sky on a clear night, all the stars we see are in the Milky Way galaxy, a fiery spiral of stars over 100,000 light years across. Such awesome statistics give us a small concept of the greatness of God and it stirs within us a yearning for space travel. But did you know the Bible teaches that the redeemed will have this opportunity? Join me today as we look at some fascinating Bible facts about the incredible future God has planned for his people.

We get to talk about heaven tonight. And of course, that is a wonderful subject, something that you find referenced in the Bible over 500 times. So, it is a Bible subject. Some of the best material is found in the books of prophecy, namely the Book of Revelation, and also Daniel, Ezekiel talks about this kingdom that God has prepared. Our presentation tonight is dealing with the subject of the glorious kingdom.

You know, it's interesting that it seems like in North America, if you can believe the polls, that the number of people who believe in God is going down, but you still have about 75% of people in North America believe in heaven, whereas you only have about 23% that believe in hell. Isn't that interesting? And of the people that believe in heaven, 90% believe they're going there. Well, I believe the Bible teaches it is a real place. As I mentioned, it's referenced in the Bible over 500 times. Let's find out what the scriptures say about this subject and how it relates to Bible prophecy.

First question, what did Jesus promise his people? You can read in John 14:2, he said, "In my Father's house are many mansions, "and I go to prepare a place for you." So, one thing we learn about heaven, and the word mansion here is dwelling place. Jesus said, "I'm going to prepare a dwelling place for you." He wants us to be with him. It's a tangible place in time. A lot of misconceptions about what heaven is, and we're going to find out what the Bible says about that. He says he's prepared a mansion. You ever enjoy watching some of those programs about the homes of the rich? The most expensive home in the world is in Mumbai, India. And here, let me read you a couple of facts. I printed these off because I thought I might forget.

One of the wealthiest people in the world owns this house. It's called the Antilia and it was built by a multi-billionaire. He's worth about $45 billion, Mukesh Ambani. And it tells us that it's 550 feet high with 4 million square feet of interior space. How'd you like to clean that? But that's not a problem for him. First six stories will be dedicated to parking lots, 186 parking places to pamper all the imported cars. 600 workers in this house. And if the traffic is bad, which it is in Mumbai, he can land on the helicopter pad on the roof. Of course it's got the pool, it's got the palatial rooms, 20 floors of palatial rooms and a silver staircase. And if the guests get hot, which it gets very hot in that part of the country, there's a room that produces artificial snow to cool everyone off. So, you go into the blizzard room or whatever they call it there. And yeah, they've got a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea, and this house costs approximately or just under $2 billion, a home.

The sad thing is, you spend all that money on a home and you're going to still get old and die. Man, the mansions that we might build here, they're not going to last. You're just going to leave it to somebody else. Jesus is preparing a place for us that will last forever, amen.

What do we know about the place Jesus is preparing? Isaiah 65:17 says, "Behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth." I think most of us understand why we need a new Earth. Bible tells us this earth is waxing old like a garment. There's some serious problems. But a new heaven? What's wrong with the old heaven? You need to understand that when you find the word heaven in the Bible, there's three different ways it describes heaven. The word is used three different ways. Now, some of you have heard of seventh heaven. Person says, "I was in seventh heaven." There's no seventh heaven. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12, says that, referring to himself, he says, "I knew a man "that was caught up to the third heaven, "heard words that you're not even allowed to speak." And it's a real place, the dwelling place of God.

The first time you find the word heaven or what the Bible calls the first heaven is the atmosphere around the earth where the clouds float and the birds fly. And when the Bible says, "The rain comes down from heaven," it's talking about the envelope of air around the earth. When God separated the waters above the earth from the waters below the earth in Genesis, it's talking about the atmosphere. When Captain Kirk, what, a couple weeks ago, went to space, he had to escape the atmosphere around the earth, get out of its gravitational pull. So, that first envelope is the first heaven. The second heaven is when you talk about the stars that God made in space in the cosmos, in the universe. The third heaven is referring to the dwelling place of God, paradise. And so, this is when Paul says, "I was caught up to the third heaven." It's talking about there is an actual place where God dwells. Says he's prepared for them a city, "He's prepared a city for them."

Now, when I first read this and I thought God's going to take us to a city, that didn't really float my boat because I've always wanted to run to the country. I've been in most of the major cities in the world, and born in Los Angeles, grew up in New York City, lived with my mother for a while in England, lived in Boston, in Miami, been to Singapore, and you name it, all over the world, Mumbai and Moscow. Karen and I have traveled all over the world and I just don't like cities. This week, we had a day off. Karen and I went up in the country where we were the only people probably in 10 miles. It was really nice to get out there in God's nature. But the reason that cities have a problem in this world is because in this world, you get people, and people sin. And where you got a lot of people, you got a lot of sin, and there's crime and there's evil and there's selfishness and fighting and murder and all these problems. That's why cities are so bad here. But in heaven, you're not going to have those problems.

So, when people get together there, it's going to be beautiful, pure rejoicing. No evil, no problems, no sin, no filth, no dirt. He's prepared a city. The media enjoys talking about heaven. Does heaven exist? And some people, when you say, "Picture heaven," you know what they see? They see little chubby naked babies with wings sitting on clouds, playing harps or shooting Cupid's arrows. You know what I'm talking about? You got all these medieval pictures of people and say, "Yeah, I'm going to die "and I'm going to go be a fat naked baby in heaven." And the media almost makes it sound like hell is more interesting. Trust me, it's not. I hope to inspire you first with a place where we want to think about, which is going to heaven. "Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth." "Now, wait a second, Pastor Doug. Here it says, 'The meek will inherit the earth.'" It's because He's making a new heaven and a new earth. We're going to spend time with the Lord in these mansions He's prepared and He's going to bring the new Jerusalem down from God, you read this in Revelation 21, out of heaven to the earth.

But now we're getting ahead of ourself. What more do we know about the holy city that God is preparing? You read, and there's a lot of details. Notice, this is Revelation 21. It says, "The city is laid out as a square, "and he measured the city with a reed." This is like, we have tape measures, they would measure with a reed back then. "12,000 furlongs." The measurements are given in this English equivalent or biblical numbers. By our standards, that would be the city is about 1500 miles around, or you can figure 375 miles on each side. It's about the size of the state of Oregon. And so, if you've got a city that's 375 miles on each side, is there room for you? Some folks have actually thought, "No sense trying to go to heaven. "I'm just too late in line. "There's just so many people, "how God going to fit me in there?" I promise you, that will not be the problem. The harvest is great. The laborers are few. The Lord wants people to enter the city. "The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal." And so, it's almost like it's a cube.

Now, the height of it equal to the length and the breadth? When you look at that, and this is something of a puzzle for theologians, does that mean that in the middle of the city, it sort of goes up like shaped like a pyramid where it's 375 miles jutting right out of the atmosphere of the earth? That's hard to imagine. Revelation 21:10 and 12, "He carried me away in the spirit "to a great and high mountain, "and he showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem."

Now the word Jerusalem, jeru-shalam, it means city of peace. The earthly Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt 27 times. And when you go see Jerusalem today, they still have the ancient wall that is full of pockmarks from bullet holes and arrows and missiles and stones that were thrown against the walls. You get the evidence of war everywhere. And the people in Jerusalem today, you've got the Jewish quarter and you've got the Muslim quarter and you've got the Armenian quarter and you've got the Christian quarter, and everybody's got their space and there's incredible racial tension in the city. But the new Jerusalem is going to be very different from that. Everybody's going to be part of one family and we'll all love each other.

Descending out from heaven from God, it had a great and a high wall with 12 gates. Number that's going to continue to appear as you look at the new Jerusalem is the number, who knows? 12. You've got 12 gates, 12 foundations. You've got Tree of Life has 12 kinds of fruit, 12 times a year. It's 12,000 furlongs. Now, why the number 12? 12 is a number that God uses for his church. He had 12 patriarchs in the Old Testament, 12 apostles in the New Testament. There are 12 minor prophets in the Old Testament. 12 is also mathematically an excellent number for builders. Any of you men or women, if you've done any building, 12, there's a reason it's 12 inches in a foot. By the way, the fun fact, for years, the measurement of the foot changed every year. It depended on the size of the king's foot. It so happens my foot is exactly one foot. And so, when I go measure anything out and someone says, "I wonder how far that is," I say, "Wait, I'll tell you." And I just go like this and it's right on every time.

So, when they got a new king, if they had a king with a little foot, it messed everybody up. But they always tried to keep it where there are 12 inches in the foot because 12 is divisible by one, by two, by three, by four, by six, and by 12. And so, when you're building and you use the number 12, it's the perfect construction number. John's a fisherman, he wasn't an architect. He got this information from God, just like God gave no other plans for the ark and they found that the dimensions, the ratio of the ark, it's the same ratio they use for oil tankers. It's a very stable ratio. How'd Noah know that? They had no oceans back then. God is the master architect. Can you say amen?

Don't go anywhere, friends. In just a moment, we will return to today's presentation. If you're anything like me, you're reluctant to turn on the evening news and to hear about the never-ending evil, suffering, and misery in our world. We all long for a world of peace, security, and joy where you don't have to constantly worry about death and dying. But is such a life even possible? You better believe it. And it's not just some fantasy, it's real. And what's more, you can be assured a place in that kingdom. That's why "Amazing Facts" wants to send you a special free resource called "Heaven: Is It For Real?" Not only does it show from the Bible what heaven will be like, you'll learn how to be sure you're there. It even answers some of the biggest questions about heaven, such as, will we recognize each other in heaven? And what kind of bodies will we have, flesh or spirit? Friends, with all the bad news in the world today, you're going to really enjoy discovering all the wonderful things God has in store for those that love him. To get your free copy, call the phone number on the screen and ask for offer number 189, or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share the encouragement with a friend. Well, let's get back now to today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts from the Word of God.

Something else you'll notice as we look at the different minerals, and let's read Revelation 21:12, "And the street of the city was pure gold." You're still with me? You've heard of the golden streets? It's real. Now, that's why some people say, "Ah, now, this has just got to be a metaphor." Well, the Bible says it's better than you can imagine. I mean, we pave our streets with asphalt or stone. God has no shortage of gold. You realize he made it. He can make as much as he wants. He's got the factory. And so, it's not a problem for him. Don't underestimate what God can do. The other thing is that you want streets that are durable. One of the most durable minerals they have is gold. When they found King Tut's tomb in, was it 1922, Howard Carter, he looked inside and he shone a light in there and they said, "Do you see anything?" And he looked at the undisturbed tomb. The seal had not been broken to the king's burial, and the glint of gold was everywhere because even after 3000 years, the gold was still shining. It's an incredible material. You don't notice there's any wood. Nothing has to die in this city to build. God is making it out of minerals.

What does the Bible say about the city's water and food supply? Answer, "He showed me a pure river, a water of life." Now, Jesus, he offers us that water of life. He told the woman at the well: You're coming for this water, but you're going to get thirsty again. But the water that I'm offering you, you drink it and it will be inside you as an artesian well that will continue to spring up and satisfy your thirst. She said, "Oh, Lord, give me that water now." He revealed to her he was the Messiah. By the way, the Lord is offering you that living water. You can also read, even in the book of Ezekiel, it talks about a river. And now, how big is the river? You read in Ezekiel when he's describing the river in heaven, he says he walked out into it and he goes out 100 yards and it's up to his ankles, and he keeps going out and it's up to his knees, and he keeps going out and it's up to his thighs, and it just keeps going and going. It gets deeper and deeper. And then finally he said, "It's a river that one cannot cross without swimming."

What about the food? On either side of the river, now, notice carefully, either side of the river was the tree, singular, not trees, the tree of life. Always in the Bible when it talks about the tree of life, and it's mentioned several places, it's singular. A tree on both sides of the river. How do you reconcile that? Well, they actually have some trees that will grow together in their branches. I've seen it before. Trees that grow up, the branches touch, they actually graft themselves together. They grow together. And I picture this massive tree. If the river's 50 miles wide, you better figure a big tree. Of course, everybody in the world's got to eat from this tree, so it's got to be big. And roots probably go together under the river and it has the fruit that helps perpetuate life. Man has not eaten from that tree since God evicted Adam and Eve from the garden, but it will be restored.

One of the wonderful things about the Bible is in the first three chapters of the Bible, you learn how man lost eternity because he got mixed up with a snake in a garden. First three chapters, man is evicted from the garden. You get to Revelation, the snake is destroyed and man is restored to the garden and the tree of life in the last three chapters. The whole book is telling us how to get back to the garden, amen, and it's through Jesus. It says, "The seed of the woman "is the one who will destroy the serpent." That actually happens in Revelation. Tells us that this is some kind of tree. Each tree yields its fruit every month and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Well, first of all, it's fruit every month. And if there's 12 different kinds of fruit and there's 12 months in a year, how many kinds of fruit is that? 12 times twelve, 144. Another number you're going to find is the 144,000. I used to work at Baskin-Robbins. Baskin-Robbins is famous for what? 31 flavors. And they've got way more than 31 flavors. They promise to have 31 flavors at all time, at least they did when I worked there. They got hundreds of flavors. Whatever your favorite food is, there will be some fruit that you're really going to like there at the tree. The menu will never get boring. And we're going to gather and you're going to say, "Oh, try this, it's like salsa! "You're going to like this fruit!" Everyone's going to be, because I like salsa. You're going to be tasting all kinds of different fruit.

But then it says the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Healing? I thought there's no more sickness. Who needs healing? Does it say healing of sickness or healing of nations? Nations. Do you realize that people all around the world are divided now by nations? People are divided by culture, race, language. But as we all come together as the children of God redeemed by Christ around that tree and eat the fruit, all of the divisions that have separated us are healed at that point. Can you say amen? And so, it's a beautiful, poetic way of saying everyone is going to be healed of all the divisions from this earth.

How will living in heaven be different than living here on Earth? Has a lot of beautiful examples, here. Here's some specifics. Tells us in Isaiah 35:5, "Then the eyes of the blind will be opened." Blind people are going to be able to see beautifully. And in heaven, whatever your vision is now, it's going to be infinitely better. Eagles can see three miles away. they can see a mouse. They got telescopic vision. You will have much better vision in heaven. "The ears of the deaf will be unstopped." You'll be able to hear a rustle in the grass, like an elephant, from a mile away. And it tells us that the lame man will leap like a deer. They're going to have incredible strength and they're going to be able to leap and jump. You read also, it says, "And they will not hurt or destroy." Talks about the animals are going to all be kind to each other. A child will play on the hole of a venomous serpent and it will not hurt. The wolf will lay down with the lamb. You've heard these verses before, right, in the Bible? And nothing is going to hurt or destroy in all of his holy mountain.

Got a little amazing fact for you. Several years ago, some drug agents, they went into the apartment or the mansion of this drug lord, and he was busted. And in his basement he had a lion, a bear, and a tiger cub. He had a lot of money. I don't know if you know that Escobar, who is the drug kingpin there in Columbia, he had his own zoo. I don't know what it is with these drug guys. They liked animals. So, this guy, he had a cub, a bear cub, a lion, and a tiger, and they were in terrible squalor in the basement. But they seemed to get along with each other. And so, when they finally, they said, the police said, "What do we do with these?" There was a group that had an animal shelter called Noah's Ark or something and they took these animals in, and they remained friends. They called them BLT, for Bear, Lion, Tiger. Kind of like the Wizard of Oz, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" But it's real! And they play together, and they fight every now and then. They eat together. When they go to sleep at night, they all curl up together. And you think, well, normally in their normal habitat, they'd be enemies.

In heaven, the animals will not kill each other and everybody's going to be a vegetarian there in heaven. We're not going to be chasing down chickens and cutting off their heads and making McNuggets out of them. It says we're going to be eating from the tree of life. "The wolf also will dwell with the lamb "and a little child will lead them." So, nothing dies in this kingdom. There is no more death. "The desert shall blossom as the rose." There's going to be places that will be of intense beauty and there'll be places that will be of wonderful beauty. There'll be no deserts where there's no life. Even the deserts here will blossom as the rose. "The inhabitant will not say, 'I am sick.'" Say amen to that. We're just surrounded by news all the time of people being sick and being overcome by a disease or viruses or bacteria. Nobody's going to get sick, nobody will die. You'll be in perfect health and vitality all the time. Won't that be wonderful?

And the best news, it says there'll be no more death. No one needs to worry or live in fear about death. No more death, no more sorrow, no more crying. The former things are passed away. All things are made new. Who's going to be there? It says, "These are the ones "who follow the Lamb wherever he goes." Do you want to be in that kingdom? Who's going to be there? 144,000, it says they follow the Lamb wherever he goes. Now, here's a simple principle. If you want to follow the Lamb there then, you must first follow him here now.

- [Congregation] Amen.

- You will not be able to follow Him there then, if you don't learn to follow Him here now. Jesus says to each one of us what He said to the apostles, "Follow Me." Follow His teachings. He wants us to spend time with Him.

Will any sad or painful memories from this life trouble people in heaven? No. The Bible says, "The former will not be remembered, "nor come into mind." Now, that doesn't mean that God brainwashes us so we forget that Jesus has redeemed us. Even in the resurrection when Jesus showed Himself to His disciples, did He still have the scars in His hands? He did. So, there'll always be that reminder of what Jesus did to die for us and that He sacrificed His life for us. But we're not going to have any of the painful memories.

I don't know about you, but I frequently, my mind wanders and I go back, and sometimes I think about things that I've done and I just sigh and I have my regrets. And even though I know the Lord's forgiven me, I think, "Oh, Doug, what were you thinking? "Why'd you do that?" You still got it in your mind. As you enter eternity, how many of you know that it's true that time heals? As you enter eternity and you get away from the pain of this world, after the first million years, you're not going to worry about it anymore. You'll never forget that Jesus redeemed you.

Can we adequately describe God's new kingdom with words? No. "The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, "neither has entered into the heart of man "the things that God has prepared for those that love him." I just, last year, I read a book. I'd done it before, but I read a book on Marco Polo. And as a young man, he went with his father at 17 years old to China, which was this massive empire, incredible technology and millions and millions of people. And it was so much more sophisticated and bigger than what he had left in Europe. He came back after 20, 25 years living in the Orient and traveling the world, and he started to tell the stories of what was happening in China, talked about this wall that was a thousand miles long. They said, "A thousand miles! "You're exaggerating." Talked about gunpowder, talked about paper money, talked about all the incredible things and the inventions that they had. When he lay dying, it's true. He lay dying. The priest came to him and asked him to confess before it was too late. They said, "You're soon going to meet God. "You told all these lies about the land of China. "Don't you think it's time that you confess and repent?" And he sat up and looked at him and said, "Repent?" Says, "I've not told you the half of what I've seen!"

That's always how I feel like during this sermon, is I'm not able to tell you a fraction of what it's like. But we need to be excited about heaven, friends, because if you believe that's where you're going, for one thing, it makes the sins of this world less attractive. Everybody lives in a particular way when you're getting ready to take a trip. If you're getting ready to go to heaven, you know, they talk different there. You want God to sanctify your lips now, don't you? They dress different there. We should dress like Christians. They think different there. We should be pure in heart. And so, we ought to be preparing for that new kingdom, amen?

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