Category Archives: Heaven

OUR FATHER’S HOUSE

I don’t know about you, but I want to go to heaven. In heaven there will be no more tears, pains, sorrows, or even death (Rev. 21:4). There the faithful will serve God eternally without the obstacles we face in this life. In the fourteenth chapter of the John’s gospel account, Jesus paints for us a beautiful landscape of heaven upon the canvas of revelation with the pure words of inspiration. In the first four verses he paints a portrait of heaven as (1) a place of peace, as (2) a place of preparation, as (3) a place of possession, and as (4a) a place of a plan. I want a place in heaven because it is a …

Place Of Peace

In verse one, Jesus presents heaven as a place of peace or rest. The word “trouble” is the word which means to agitate, stir up, or unsettle. But the Lord said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Why? Jesus had just said that he was going to be glorified with His Father. This occurred when He was raised to sit at the Father’s right hand in heaven. He further said that His disciples could follow Him afterwards. The fact that the Lord is in heaven and that we will one day follow Him there should comfort the most anxious of hearts (I Thess. 4:13-18). Heaven is a place of peace and great comfort. Indeed, of rest (Heb. 4:9-11).

We have no right to rest yet, however. We must work. Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Our work will not be finished until we leave this earth, until the toils of life have ceased. Revelation states, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13). It is only after we have finished our gospel endeavors on this earth can we hope to enter into that heavenly rest (II Cor. 5:1-10). Heaven is also a…

Place In Preparation

Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you” (14:3). This does not mean that Jesus will have to build more mansions. No, there are plenty. He has already said that in His Father’s house are “many mansions.” This word “prepare” means to make ready. The Bible teaches that heaven has been prepared for us by God since the beginning of time. Jesus said, “And then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). We are further told “but now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16).

Too, notice that Jesus said there are “many mansions” in His Father’s house. On another occasion, Jesus said that “few” would enter into the straight and narrow path that leads to heaven (Matt. 7:14), but heaven is big enough for all men who will obey God. Jesus further assures us that if it were not the case that heaven was big enough for us, He would have told us. God does not keep anyone from heaven. He has not predestined some to be saved and others lost. It is man that deceives himself. If any man does not make it to heaven, he will have only himself to blame. Heaven is also a. . .

Place Of Possession

Heaven is also a place of possession. Jesus said, “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.” Jesus here makes a promise to his faithful disciples: I will come again. We must know that “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Regardless of what the critics may say, Christ will return. Regardless of how many false predictions of His return are made, Christ will return. He has made a promise.

However, the Lord promised also to receive us unto Himself. This is what makes the Christian life so special: we are close to God. The apostle Paul taught that we are no longer our own masters when we obey the gospel of Christ. Christ lives in us (Gal.2:20). We divorce ourselves from our own wills and begin to do the will of Him who owns us. When the Lord returns and we are taken to glory, we know that we shall be as He is (I John 3:1-3). Finally, heaven is a . . .

Place Of A Plan

Most every successful journey we take to new lands requires us to plan our route. There must be a road to where we wish to go. The journey to heaven is no different. To get to heaven we must follow the Master’s Plan–the Bible. The Bible plainly tells us that there is a correct way to go heaven (Matt. 7:21-23). In fact, the Bible teaches there is only one way to get there. All other ways will lead to hell (Matt. 67:13,14).

God has always had a plan. The church of Christ is God’s plan to save man from the consequences of his sins (Eph. 5:32). This plan was not the last minute decision of deity, as the millenialists say, but the eternal plan of God (Rev. 13:8). The church of Christ is God’s eternal plan (Eph. 3:10,11). While in ages past the plan was not made manifest Paul states that the Old Covenant was “imposed” on the Jews till the time of reformation, when Christ would show the path into the Holiest of all–heaven (Heb. 9:8-12)! When Christ did enter heaven after His triumphant resurrection from the grave, He obtained eternal redemption for us (Eph. 1:3-13). We now have access into the Holiest of all through Christ.

Eric L. Padgett

The Lord God Planted A Garden

What would it have been like to live in the Garden of Eden? The Bible gives us only a brief description of Eden in Genesis and in several other passages throughout God’s word and there is certainly much more we would like to know than what we have. Knowing and experiencing the wondrous beauty of this present world, even with it’s cursed condition (Gen. 3:7), suggests to us that it’s beauty must have surpassed our wildest imaginations. How wonderful it would have been to walk in the Garden in the cool of the day and to hear the voice of God (Gen. 3:8).

The very name “Eden” means “pleasure.” It was, indeed, a garden of pleasure, a paradise, if you will. Ezekiel refers to it as the Garden of God (Ezek. 28:13)! It was a garden that Lord, Himself, planted (Gen. 2:8). Like everything else that the Lord made it must have been “very good” (Gen. 1:31). It was designed especially for man, for there the Lord God placed the man whom He had formed (Gen.2 :8).

Some have tried to locate the Garden of Eden geographically on the earth. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Central Asia, Armenia and even the North Pole have been proposed as locations for the Garden. Most, however, will place it in the region around the Euphrates river because in the description given in Genesis, a river “Euphrates” is mentioned (Gen. 2:14). But it must be remembered that one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years after creation, the world was destroyed by a universal cataclysmic deluge. Before this time and since creation, the land mass was all together in one place (Genesis 1:9). After the flood, however, the geography and terrain of the world was altered significantly, so that the location of Eden was likely forever destroyed. Furthermore, the Lord God placed cherubim on the east of Eden to keep the way of the tree of life and would probably guard the secret to the Eden, as well (Genesis 3:24).

Moses described the Garden as containing every tree that was good for food and pleasant to the sight. It contained the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as well. A river went out of Eden to water the Garden and there it parted into four other rivers, one of which was the Euphrates. (This Euphrates may well have given rise to the present river of the same name, as Noah and his descendants would rename the new world after the old places). There were also beautiful and valuable stones and gems like bdellium, the onyx stone and gold (Gen. 2:8-14).

In Ezekiel’s description of the garden as he prophesies against the king of Tyre, who apparently likened himself to the perfection of Adam, He describes the garden as bedecked with every precious stone, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold (Ezek. 28:13). This coincides with Moses’ description. As many commentators point out, Ezekiel is likely also describing the temple, as well. The High Priest’s breastplate contained these precious gems (plus others) and the mention of the “cherub that covereth” may also refer to the cherubim on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. It may also refer to the cherubim that kept the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24).

Interestingly, Ezekiel describes the Garden of God as upon the Mountain of God (Ezek. 28:14). We normally think of the Garden of Eden as being in a valley or plain, but Ezekiel associates it with the mountains. Some commentators remark that this probably refers to the Mt. Zion and the temple. And well it may, but for the analogy to be vivid, there must be some correspondence, just as there was between the jewels on the High Priests breastplate and the gems which littered the ground of Eden, the stones of fire (Ezek. 28:14). To reach God and be in His presence we must go “up.”

The Lord God placed man in the garden and supplied man with everything that he needed. Most importantly, man was in fellowship with God. He could eat of every tree in the garden (except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), even the tree of life and live for ever. The garden was well watered by rivers and there were precious gems decorating the garden. But all this was forfeited by man because he chose to disobey a command of God and eat of forbidden fruit, thereby losing his access to the tree of life and his fellowship with Jehovah. It was only through sacrifices of animals that God allowed the further existence of mankind.

However, it is only through Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice, that we can regain that fellowship with God. In the Book of Revelation, when John describes the ultimate salvation of God’s people, he describes a scene which could very well be the heavenly Eden. There is a river that runs through it. Only now, it is the river of life and flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1). There is also found the tree of life which bears twelve manner of fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2). This heavenly home is found on Mount Zion, the mountain of God (Cf. Rev. 14:1), which is the church of God (Heb. 12:22-24). And there fellowship with God is restored as we shall see His face and there shall be no more curse (Rev. 22:3,4).

We will never walk in Eden again, but we may, if we are faithful, abide forever in the Paradise of God (Rev. 2:7).

Eric L. Padgett