What does Scripture teach about Heaven? Part 1

 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” Revelation 21:1

Heaven is not where believers spend eternity. Contrary to the popular misconception, we do not spend eternity off in space somewhere separated from our body and the rest of God’s physical creation.

When Christians die, their spirit goes to Heaven to be with Jesus.76 Thankfully, we will always be with Him.77 Subsequently, when He returns to earth, we will come with Him.

God creates the heavens in Genesis 1:1 and the new heavens in Revelation 21:1.78 These heavens are the place where the sun, the moon, and the stars are;79 they are also the place where the birds fly.80 These created heavens are not the dwelling place of God.

There is another Heaven that is the divine throne room;81 this is the place where Jesus currently dwells at the right hand of God82 with God and the angels.83 This is also called the third Heaven.84 To show the multiple meanings of the word Heaven, it is helpful to remember that Jesus will come from heaven85 and will appear in Heaven when He returns.86

Most people use the word Heaven to refer to a condition or place of great happiness, delight, or pleasure where people go when they die. For this reason, Heaven is described in funeral eulogies as the place where the dearly departed will enjoy to a fuller extent the same pleasures they knew during their earthly life. It is described as the place where the golfer never slices a drive and the fisherman never misses a cast.

According to the Bible, our eternal home will be on the new earth, a time-space place, where we will live forever. The heavenly city of Jerusalem will come down out of Heaven and God will dwell with His people. We will always live as human persons, with our spirits combined with resurrected physical bodies perfectly suited for this perfect place. This is the Edenic project come to completion as the world is restored to the way that God made it before sin ruined it.

76 Luke 23:43; Acts 7:59; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Rev. 6:9–11.
77 John 14:3, 17:24; 1 Thess. 4:14, 17.
78 Isa. 65:17–25, 66:22; Rom. 8:19–22; 2 Pet. 3:10–13.
79 Gen. 1:14–16, 26:4; Pss. 33:6, 19:1.
80 Gen. 1:20–22.
81 Pss. 2:4, 11:4, 103:19, 110:1–2; Dan. 7:9.
82 Acts 2:34, 3:21, 7:56; Heb. 8:1, 9:24; 1 Pet. 3:22.
83 Revelation 4–5.
84 2 Cor. 12:2.
85 1 Thess. 1:10, 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:7.
86 Matt. 24:29–31, 26:64; Acts 1:11.

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