Scriptures and Thoughts on “Heaven”

What does the word heaven really mean?

Hebrew:
Shamayim – 1) the sky where birds fly, 2) the heavens where stars are, 3) the dwelling place of God, the highest heaven.
Marom – a roughly equivalent word to Shamayim

Greek:
Ouranos – the space above the earth, or the place where God dwells.

Other terms include: “eternal life,” “new heaven and a new earth,” “the heavenly kingdom,” “the new Jerusalem.”

Since in both Hebrew and Greek the same word was used to refer to both the sky and to God’s dwelling place, and based on art and literature throughout history, we can see that God’s people perceived of heaven as a place that is above us. (Genesis 28 – Jacob’s ladder, etc.)

Whether this is true in a literal sense or not, it is certainly true in a symbolic sense, because God is at the height of perfection, is in a place of absolute authority, and calls us to better ourselves as we move toward Him.

Heaven is where God is (Deuteronomy 10:14, Revelation 4:2) and when we go where He is to be with Him, we will be in heaven, too (Revelation 21)

Jesus must be referring to heaven when he speaks of “a place prepared for us” in (John 14)

 What will heaven by like?

There is much that we do not know… (1 Corinthians 2:9) But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

(Revelation 21) says God will be among men, and there is no pain or crying, and includes an extended description of many fine gemstones, pearly gates, etc. as well as streets of gold (Revelation 22) continues be describing the river of the water of life and the tree of life with twelve kinds of fruit and leaves with the power to heal, and there is no night.

(Isaiah 25:8) appears to be echoed in Rev. 21: “he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.”

Rev. 21 mentions a marriage feast. (Luke 13:29) “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

(Revelation 7:14-17) “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ ”

(Matthew 6:19-21) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

(Colossians 3:3-4) For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

How can heaven be perfect if not everyone will be there?

(Revelation 21:27) But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 (Matthew 7:23) “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”

This is a hard question to answer. But if we trust that God will do what is right, then we trust that we will agree with Him in His doing what is right.

Do we really get a mansion in heaven?

(John 14:2) My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

“Mansion” is an obsolete translation, the meaning is not specifically that of a giant, fancy house.

Will this earth be transformed into heaven one day?

Rev. 21 mentions a new heaven and a new earth…

(Romans 8:19-21)For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

(John 14:3) “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  This does not sound like a renovated earth.

(Hebrews 11:6) But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

(Revelation 21:1) “I saw a New Heaven; and a New Earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

(2 Peter 3:10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Will heaven be a physical place?

Some point out that Eden was both physical and perfect, but do we know enough about Eden to draw conclusions from it?

(1 Corinthians 15:42-49)  42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

I do not know the answer to this question. Are you aware of a clear answer in scripture?

Why is there no marriage in heaven?

(Matthew 22:29-30) Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

Will there be dogs in heaven?

(Isaiah 11:6-9) “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. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea”

(Romans 8:20-21) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

What do you think? If God’s plan of redemption is for God, wouldn’t that leave animals out of the picture?

Is there a hierarchy or various levels of reward in heaven?

(Matthew 5:19) Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven

(luke 13:29-30) 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

(1 Corinthians 3:11 – 15) For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

(Matthew 6:20) “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

 

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