Minister’s Forum: Heaven – Is It Real? |

Minister’s Forum: Heaven – Is It Real?

Thurston Ott

Trials, losses, tears and the grave create a longing for the land never ravaged by the sorrow and sins of this mortal life. Death, as it touches some loved ones of ours, turns our thoughts heavenward – perhaps more than any other experience. We wonder what our departed friend is doing in the life beyond the grave. We shall never know the full story until we arrive and see for ourselves.

The Lord Jesus Christ, following His death, burial and resurrection as recorded in John 14:1-3, removes all doubt about the existence of heaven. “Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many abiding places: if it were not so, I would have told you. 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.”

Can we know that there is a Heavenly City and life after death? Read II Corinthians 5:1. Paul writes, “We know.” Again, II Corinthians 5:6. “We are confident.” Also, II Corinthians 5:8 “We are always confident.” Twice the Lord Jesus called the eternal dwelling of redeemed ones “a place.” John 14:2-3.

Where is heaven? There are three heavens. First, there is the heaven where the birds fly, the winds blow and the rain is formed. Then, we have a planetary heaven where the sun, moon and stars are set. It is this heaven the Psalmist says: “declare the glory of God.” Now, we come to the heaven of heaven, the third heaven, God’s residence and the dwelling place of angels and of the redeemed. Here is the habitation of His Holiness, the place where His Honor dwelleth. It is here the redeemed of all ages, will by the grace of God, have their habitation in His Holy presence.

The scripture always speaks of heaven as “up” from the Earth. We read that Elijah “went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Again, “when he (Christ) had spoken these things, while they beheld, he as taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” Acts 1:2.

Paul, in his message to the Thessalonians writes, “then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.” I Thessalonians 4:7. Scripture implies that God’s heaven is in the north. North is the same direction from every point on our Earth, and north is always “up” from everywhere. Psalm 75:6 “For exaltation comes neither from the east. Nor the west, nor from the south.” Here it is implied that the throne of God where He judges uprightly is in the north, since it is not the east nor the west, nor the south, it must be in the north.

I can tell you more of what heaven is not. It is a place of “no mores.” The Apostle John gives us a list of “no mores.” There will be no more pain, no more night, no sorrow, no more crying, no more curse, no more tears and no more death. That heaven is an actual abode and not a mental state is proven by the fact that Enock, Elijah and Christ ascended from the Earth in bodily form. Heaven is a place of companionship of the redeemed of all ages.

Are all who die going to the place where the redeemed fellowship with God? I wish I could say yes, but I can’t and still be true to the Word of God. Jesus said in John 3:3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:10. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

You don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God? You don’t believe Christ died on the cross for your sins? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” John 14:6.

– Thurston Ott is pastor of Snowcross Baptist Church.

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