We Do Not Know the Day

or the hour of Christ’s return at the Rapture. But one day billions of people will suddenly vanish from the face of the earth. Are you ready?

- Dr. David Jeremiah

Heaven 101: Getting the Basics Right

Heaven 101: Getting the Basics Right

Questions Answered in This Article

Where is Heaven located?

The Bible doesn't give us longitude and latitude for heaven, but we do know one thing—heaven is up!

Let's look at a few verses that mention heaven's location (emphasis added):

  • In Mark 6:41, Jesus received a boy's lunch of bread and fish, and "He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave themto His disciples."
  • In John 17:1, as Jesus began to pray, He "lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father.'"
  • At the very end of His earthly ministry, Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, and the Bible says, "He lifted His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50-51).
  • The book of Acts begins with the same event, telling us, "He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9).
  • As the disciples gazed into the sky, two angels appeared beside them and gave them a powerful promise: "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Is Heaven a real, physical place?

Heaven is no figment of the imagination; nor is it a feeling, a state of mind, or the invention of man. Heaven is a literal place prepared by Christ for a prepared people. In John chapter 14, Jesus Himself leaves His disciples with this promise:

In My Father’s house are many mansions; 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (v. 2-3).

It is interesting to note that the Greek term translated “place” in this passage is the word topos, which refers to a physical location.

From this promise we can have full confidence that heaven is a real, physical place—a place where believers will one day reside with their Savior!

When will we receive our new, glorified bodies?

When believers die, their body goes into the grave until the resurrection at the Rapture. On that day, Christ is going to come in the air, the trumpet will sound, and those who have died in Christ are going to be raised up first, followed by those who remain on the earth. In the process of the resurrection, at the last trumpet, the bodies of believers will be immediately transformed into their permanent, heavenly bodies—in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4).

Do Babies Go To Heaven?

If you believe in Jesus, you’ll be saved during the Rapture. But what about the young kids in your life, like your children or the neighbor’s child? Are they safe if they’re too young to decide about eternity?

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Will believers become angels in Heaven?

According to the Bible, angels are a created class of beings and are never represented as spiritually progressed men. In other words, people do not evolve into angels. Angels do not age, nor do they spend time trying to earn their wings. They were all created simultaneously—in a single moment. Their full number was created in the beginning, and there has been no increase in their ranks since that time. God’s angels exist eternally—as they were created.

Is there more than one heaven described in the Bible?

The Bible speaks of three distinct heavens:

  1. The first heaven is described in Isaiah 55:9- 10 and is the atmosphere surrounding the earth—the domain of the clouds and birds (Genesis 1:20).
  2. The second heaven is spoken of in Genesis 1:14-17 as the domain of the heavenly bodies: the sun, moon, stars, planets, and galaxies.
  3. Paul described in his second letter to the Corinthians being “caught up to the third heaven,” which is beyond the first and second heavens and is the dwelling place of God—where we will one day join Christ.

Is There an Intermediate Heaven?

The Bible teaches that every believer who died prior to the Ascension of Christ went to an intermediate heaven called Paradise, also called Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:19-23).

But when Jesus ascended after His death, He went into Paradise and took all who were there—all the Old Testament saints, all who had died and believed in God before the Ascension—with Him to the third heaven (Ephesians 4:8-10).

This means that believers no longer go to the intermediate heaven upon death. The soul and spirit of today's believers immediately rise to the third heaven because Paradise is no longer an intermediate place; Paradise is now with God (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

Are the Streets Really Made of Gold?

South of Cairo, travelers can walk about seven miles to a harbor on Lake Qarun. This little stretch of roadway has the distinction of being the oldest paved road in the world. People have been treading it for 4,600 years. It's one of several ancient roads that still exist and conjure up feelings of wonder. Think of the Silk Road that traversed Asia, the Appian Way outside Rome, and the Inca Road system that linked South America and created an empire. Civilization needs roadways, and some of them are breathtakingly beautiful and even enchanting.

But none of these roads are as beautiful, enduring, breathtaking, or dazzling as the golden boulevard that links the neighborhoods of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:18, we're told that the entire city is constructed of “pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, "And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass."

Those are visual terms, and the Lord revealed this information so we can begin to picture heaven in advance and anticipate its glories. If you're taking to the road today, look at that black asphalt beneath your tires and compare it with the glory to be revealed.

Will there be work to do in heaven? Will it be boring?

Be assured that we are not going to sit idly in heaven.

What is God going to say to us when we get to heaven? I don’t think He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you can have the rest of eternity off.” He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21). Now, that doesn’t sound like we’re going to be sitting around forever and ever—it sounds like there will be “many things” to do! For one, we know that we’ll be ruling and reigning with Christ over this renovated earth.

And Revelation says, “His servants shall serve Him” (22:3). God has a great plan for each one of us to be wonderfully, happily, excitedly employed—serving the Lord in Paradise. And we will be serving in the fullest expression of the capacity God has given us and using the giftedness He has placed within us.

What we won’t experience are the difficulties, pressures, stresses, and heartaches that accompany work down here. We cannot possibly comprehend all of the glorious work with which we’ll be occupied throughout eternity; but we know that our service will result in deep joy and fulfillment.

How Do We Get There?

Did you know that when a person says, "The angels came and took him," it's not just sentiment? It's based on Scripture. When the beggar Lazarus died, Jesus said he "was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22). Thus, we have it on the authority of Jesus Himself that God sends His angels to user believers into eternity.

The third heaven is an incredible stretch of atmosphere from the earth. If the believer's spirit is to return to God, then it must pass through this great expanse. Angels take us to heaven, so we won't have to make the journey alone. God sends his heavenly escorts to lead us home.

More questions?

If you have more questions about Heaven and God’s plan for the future, you’ll love Dr. Jeremiah’s teaching series, The Great Disappearance. Each message is filled with straight-forward answers from God’s Word that will enable you to understand and apply God’s Word to your own life. Learn more about The Great Disappearance here.

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