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Heaven Is A Real Place


Q:

Dear Pastor,

I know people who don’t believe in heaven. Do we have proof of it?

A:

I’ve met those unbelieving folks, too. They are the same ones who don’t believe in hell either. Their belief systems allow them to live in a here-and-now reality where there is no afterlife and no eternity. No consequences of behavior either, of course. They see their lives as a finite existence that simply ends when they die. The great sadness here is that heaven is explicitly described in the Christian Bible (we even have the blueprints) and many people have experienced it and lived to tell us all about it. There are numerous proofs! Yet millions of people disagree.


Our brothers and sisters in Judaism (Jesus’ heritage) nix the existence of any afterlife whatsoever even though the Bible discusses “Sheol” in numerous places in the books of Moses. Sheol was a hellish, holding tank for non-believers until Jesus came and “set the captives free” (Luke 4:18, Ephesians 4:9.) Jews refute the belief that Christ’s sacrifice provided an entrance into heaven, leastwise emptying Sheol and shutting it down, so I suppose they ignore Sheol’s mention in their belief system since, perhaps acknowledging it prompts uncomfortable questions about salvation.


Scientologists also refute the existence of heaven and hell, which doesn’t surprise anyone familiar with their colorful doctrine that calls a human soul a “thetan” which supposedly comes from extraterrestrial beings in outer space. Right. Moving on.


Oddly, the folks who line up with the Christian understanding of heaven and hell are the Muslims. They believe in both places, using different rhetoric about it and of course radically different criteria for getting in (murdering Christians, for example, sends one to heaven.) Yet they do acknowledge a paradise afterlife, etc.


Before I delve into the detailed, biblical descriptions of heaven which reassures us of the place, size and purpose, I want to share a couple of surprising statistics I unearthed while digging into your question:


The Pew Research polls, which are routinely distributed among the population, discovered in 2014 that people who identify themselves as Christians don’t always believe in heaven. They asked 2,300 folks a series of questions about their Christian belief system which revealed that 37% of Baby Boomers (ages 65+) don’t believe in heaven. And Generation-X (ages 50-64) reject heaven’s existence at a rate of 27%. Of those percentages, 68% of them are white and 54% are male. Clearly this explains why our mainline churches are filled with women whose husbands are missing-in-action on Sunday morning. When a person cherry-picks God’s decrees; a general respect for the Almighty’s wishes usually suffers also. God did indeed establish a day of rest, but he said it like this: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, NASB.) I’m not so sure bass-fishing, coffee-sipping and hammock-snoozes are the only things God wanted accomplished on Sunday mornings.


Contrary to those hopeless folks who don’t believe what God promises us in heaven, the Bible explains it in detail. I’ll give you a smattering of the splendor:

“The city is pure gold, clear as crystal, and its wall is made of jasper. The twelve foundations of the wall are adorned with every kind of precious stone—the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh yellow quartz, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth green quartz, the eleventh turquoise, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates are twelve pearls—each gate made of one pearl. And the street of the city is pure gold, clear as crystal. The city has no need for the sun or moon to shine, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. Evil will not enter, nor anyone who does what is abhorrent or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Book of Life of the Lamb” Revelation 21:18-21, 23, 27 TPT.)


The Bible has plenty to say about this incredible location of reward and final rest. I’m planning to spend my life helping people get there.

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