Heaven Discovered - Part 1

Heaven Discovered - Part 1

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Revelation 22:1-2, John 14:1-3
Where is heaven? What is heaven? The Bible tells us many things about this wonderful place. There are actually three heavens that Apostle Paul speaks about.
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If you were to stop the first ten people you meet on a street and ask them, "Do you know where heaven is?" you would probably discover that they know very little about it and maybe nothing at all. Most of them, perhaps, would say, "Well, I know that it's up and that's about it." Now there's no good reason for such ignorance about heaven, friends. The Bible tells us many things concerning this wonderful subject. Today we plan to find out where heaven is and what it's like.

When the apostle Paul described his experience of being taken to heaven in vision, he said, "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, ... such an one caught up to the third heaven ... he was caught up into paradise." 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. Now Paul was taken to the third heaven or paradise as he called it; therefore, there must be three heavens in all. The first heaven is the atmospheric heaven above the earth where the birds fly and the airplanes travel and the clouds float. The second heaven is the starry heaven that David speaks about in Psalm 19:1 where he says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." The third heaven is referred to in the Bible as the heaven of heavens. This is the place where God's throne is located, it's the paradise of God. In this beautiful paradise where God's throne is located, we're told in Revelation 22:1, 2 that there's "a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

Some say the Lord Jesus is coming to take the redeemed to this wonderful place to live for all eternity and that's true, friends, He is. In Revelation 1:7 we read, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." And then in Matthew 24:30 we read, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Yes, all true Christians are looking for that event. Jesus promised to come again. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. ... 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. So Christ is now preparing mansions for us. He's getting that beautiful city ready so that we can have a place in His kingdom. Someday the heavens will split wide open and an innumerable host of angels will descend with God and Jesus Christ in the very center of them. They will come in a magnificent demonstration of power and glory to gather the redeemed. Won't it be a marvelous experience to be caught up with the angels in chariots of fire to meet the Lord in the air and to take that trip back to the Holy City, passing through the milky way system with the millions of blazing suns on all sides? The passage-way to paradise will seem diamond-studded. Beautiful colors like the rainbow will shine all about us.

In Revelation chapters 21 and 22 we have a description of heaven. If you want sweet dreams tonight, friends, read those chapters before you go to bed. I'll just read a little bit here. "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." Reading further, it says, "... he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel." Oh, isn't that a wonderful sight?! Walls clear as crystal; streets of transparent gold; the city sparkles with light as a stone most precious! The out-flashing splendor of God's glory shines through.

Again we read, "On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits." So the city had twelve huge magnificent gates, each one made of solid pearl. There are three gates on each side.

The city lies foursquare. The circumference is 12,000 furlongs. Now listen, friends, a furlong is one-eighth of a mile. Dividing 12,000 by 8, we discover that the city is 1500 miles in circumference. This would make it 375 miles on each side. To get some idea of the enormity of this city, let's consider some of the cities on our present world. There's New York City, for example, with its teeming millions. On the map it appears to be just a small spot. If the New Jerusalem were located where the city of New York is, it would not just be a small spot on the map but it would cover more than the entire state of New York. The city of London is just a wide spot in the road in comparison to this great Holy City. Why, friends, this tremendous city dwarfs anything we've seen in this world. There's nothing like it here. There are no homes in this earth that compare with the mansions of heaven. We may look yearningly at the beautiful estates of the wealthy here on this earth, but let's not forget there are more beautiful estates awaiting us in heaven than we can possibly see here if we're just faithful.

The wayfaring pilgrims that trudge through this world can't even imagine the magnificence and the marvelous sights that await the eyes of those who are saved. As we journey to this city, we shall suddenly see its rainbow glory and color way off in the distance, for the twelve foundations are made of twelve beautiful stones, precious stones of different colors. God has unlimited resources of precious jewels. I can just imagine as the saints come in view of the city, they're going to cry out, "Look! Look! There it is! The beautiful city of God. We're home at last!" Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." There will be flowers and trees of colors of the deepest hue and all in perfect symmetry. The flowers will never fade there. As we walk along the streets of transparent gold, they'll shine like mirrors. The reflection of the mansions and the beautiful flowers and trees will make us feel like we're just floating in the air in a wonderland of beauty.

I want to make it clear that there will be no cigarette stubs or tobacco juice spit on those sidewalks, friends. There will be no drunkards lying in the gutters. There will be no beer parlors or taverns. There will be no brothels or cheap show places along the streets of gold in the city of God. There will be no need for the sun to shine there either for we are told, "the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it." Revelation 21:23, 24. The light there will be brilliant but soft; it will never hurt our eyes; it will be pleasing and restful.

The greatest joy of all will be the privilege of living in the presence of our Saviour. In Revelation 22:3, it says, "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads." Our fear of catastrophes will be forever ended. In Isaiah 60:18 we read, "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise." We'll not fear wars, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, and atomic bombs; in fact, then we'll not know what fear is anymore. Animosities and hatreds will all be gone; there will be no violence in God's city.

Will there be children in heaven? Of course. In Isaiah 11:6 it says, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." Yes, there will be children in heaven. That will make heaven a happy place. We would miss the joyful laughter of children, and they'll have pets there, the magnificent lion, the king of beasts, will be a beautiful pet. The sleek leopard will purr like a kitten. These creatures will not be blood-thirsty; they'll be just as tame as a lamb. The instinct to kill will be gone. And friends, parents will never need to fear the speeding automobiles that we're often so fearful about here. In fact, children will never be hit or injured in the streets. The hit-and-run driver of this world will be totally unknown in the city of God. There will be nothing to hurt or destroy in the space city of the future.

Will children grow up in heaven? We read in Malachi 4:2, "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall." Yes, our children are going to grow up there. They'll not be dwarfed forever. They'll grow. In fact, we're told that the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations, and it seems that we'll all probably grow up. On the resurrection day those who have lived back in ancient times will be great giants in comparison to the present generation of our world. Men like Adam, Seth, Noah and others will surely tower above us like giants. Mankind has degenerated through the ages and has become stunted in growth because of sin, but in heaven we'll all grow up to our full stature,

Some people are concerned about what they're going to look like in heaven. The ladies are usually interested in their appearance and spend quite a bit of time in front of the mirror. But don't smile at that now, there are some men who spend just about as much time in front of the mirror also. Well, you don't need to wonder any more friends, what you'll look like in heaven because in Philippians 3:20, 21 it tells us that we are going to look like Jesus. It says, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Isn't it thrilling to know that we're going to look like Jesus!

When we reach heaven, wherever we may travel through the universe of God, through those unnumbered worlds, we shall be recognized by the inhabitants of those worlds as the redeemed of this earth, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, because we'll look like Him. Perhaps they'll say when they see us, "There are some of those people who were redeemed by the blood of the Son of God. Can't you see, why they look like Jesus!"

Some people wonder if we'll recognize our loved ones in heaven. Listen, tomorrow we're going to continue with this subject, friends, and we'll read some very plain statements in the Bible about how you will know your loved ones there, so don't fail to tune in as we continue to study into this tremendous beautiful subject of heaven and how to get there. n

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