Heaven?

Gates-of-Heaven

When you hear the word, “Heaven” what do you think? If you are like most people you think about a place that exists as a reward for a life well lived. You might have the mythical view of people floating on clouds with angel wings and halos playing harps. Others of you might think it is a place of unimaginable wonders filled with pleasures. Some people think of it as a place where they can indulge in Heavenly versions of their favorite pass times, like fishing, or football.

What if Heaven isn’t the way you have imagined? What if it exists in an ageless age of infinite instance? What if it is lit by the glory of God? What if your purpose for being there is to bask in and reflect the glory of God for that infinity? What if you couldn’t fish or enjoy football there? What if you aren’t going to be concerned about the pleasures you imagined? What if you are completely consumed with another focus?

Think about the fact that those in Heaven will have glorified bodies, versions of themselves without the effects of sin. These bodies will be able to experience all God has purposed for them. They won’t die. They live on. Try to imagine what it would be like to no longer sin.

Think about this, when we don’t thank God for every beat of our heart we are sinning. When we think, “I will do that.” What are we saying? Are we saying, “With God’s providence and in accord with His will I will do that.” Or are we saying, “In my own reasoning without the counsel of God or His providence I will do that.” If it was the second option, we are sinning. Do we look at things with sinless eyes and intentions? I know I don’t. I see something that I want that isn’t God or His will. Do we love God every second of the day all day every day? No, guess what… sinning. It is impossible to live in this life without sinning. We are so corrupted by sin that we don’t even see our sin. We actually think we are good people. We compare ourselves to others (sinful creatures) and see ourselves as better off. Some people actually think that by decision they can separate themselves from sin.

We go on thinking we aren’t that bad until we are forced to see how sinful we are. If you never take your eyes off of the creation and put them on the Creator you’ll be able to convince yourself that you are not that sinful. The more you see the difference between the Creator’s holiness and the impossibility of holiness for the creature you understand the need the creature has for an impossible cure. We need to be holy like God to enter in to Heaven. How can we have that kind of perfection? You can’t do it by force of will, you can’t earn it by self-abasement, and you can only get it if God Himself provides it for you. “23And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

Jesus provides His righteousness to the elect, predestined by the sovereign will of God to regeneration and justification by repentance and faith granted by God. “21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

This imputation of righteousness is the impossible cure for our dilemma. Our creaturely impossibility is dealt with supernaturally by the Creator’s lovingkindness and mercy. Because of Him we can come to Him in Heaven, glorifying Him in our justification of our salvation, sanctification, and glorification, to enjoy Him forever.

Justice is restorative to the victims, and punitive to the offender.

justice

 

 

 

 

 

Justice is restorative to the victims, and punitive to the offender.   All of us, before salvation are offenders. That is the part people skip. They think they are pretty good, and don’t deserve hell, like the Bible says they do. We deserve death and hell, every single one of us.  We are all sinners.  Those that God made, even knowing they would reject Him naturally will suppress the truth in unrighteousness.  (Romans 1:18-22) So if we all deserve hell, it is a miracle that God saves any.  God didn’t need to do anything.  He chose to create and demonstrate His loving kindness.   How can a fallen creature look upon its Creator, who perfectly defines all things by His very existence, and have the impudence to judge Him as evil? It is ludicrous.  Creations have no rights to their Creator.  He has all rights to what He has made.  God demonstrates His justice, by pouring out the rightfully deserved wrath, on the unrepentant sinners, in Hell for all eternity. This brings glory to God, because in punishing sin, He restores the victims. The victims are the people who have repented and put their faith in the grace of Jesus and His atoning work on the cross. The offense caused by sin would mar God if He did not punish it. The believers would be victims of this, if God did not punish the unbelievers.  They would be victims, because God would be unjust and unloving to not punish the unbelievers in Hell for all eternity.  So the wrath poured out on the offender restores that what would be done to the believer, by demonstrating that God is, in fact just, and will not let sin go unpunished. The fact that He is just, and restores those He has no need or obligation to restore, shows that He is also loving and merciful. God didn’t have to make anyone. He was perfect without creating a thing, but He did create, because He desired to do so. He is omniscient.  So in His all knowledge, if He creates people, knowing which ones will not repent, and knowing which ones will repent, and even still creating them all demonstrates that some vessels were made for wrath, and others honorable purposes.  Read Romans 9 for crying out loud people.  For those of you that claim to be Christian, READ YOUR BIBLE!!!  If He chose to do this then it is good because He defines good.  He is the creator.  We are the creatures.  Saying He is evil because He judges and punishes creatures He made, knowing they would be in rebellion demonstrates how little you actually know about your Bible and God.  You have believed the horrible Barney theology of, I love you, you love me nonsense.  Open theists and Universalists shouldn’t even call themselves Christian.  They are heretics.

So God is glorified in damnation by demonstrating His wrath for the purpose of His justice and He is glorified in salvation by demonstrating His grace for the purpose of His loving kindness.  This grace is not a violation of justice because He came down from majesty incarnate as Jesus to suffer the cross.  He had the wrath that you and I deserve poured out on Him on our behalf.  He paid the penalty and satisfied justice so that you could be saved if you would repent and put your faith in Him.  If you can’t then He didn’t die for you and you are not saved.  You are not one of the elect and will be in hell for all eternity.

Near Death Experiences

Near Death Experiences

1) Do people really see things prior to death (NDE’s)? Yes and no.

Many of the people claiming to have near death experiences are like the people who claim to see Bigfoot or a spaceship. Many of them are just faking it for attention. Some of them are not faking it though. For the ones that are not faking it we can rule out what they are seeing as the effects of the dieing brain. Brain chemistry and electrical activity causes strange subconscious imaginings. Some people do experience spiritual visions near death. It is important to note that they are not dead as science would define death. If a person is clinically dead and then comes back to life with a miraculous story it doesn’t mean that it is from God. The Bible says, “…Hebrews 9:27 NASB And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,..” People truly die once as a rule. Pro-NDE people will ask, “What about when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?” “…John 11:11-15 NASB This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.”(12) The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” (13) Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. (14) So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,(15)and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”..” So again as a rule people die once and then the judgment. So barring a miracle of Jesus when a person is truly dead they stay dead. Just because they have stopped breathing, pumping blood, and brain activity seems to have ceased doesn’t mean they are truly dead. Medical science says they are dead, but how many times have we heard of somebody waking up in the morgue or in a coffin? You are dead when God says you are dead. So people near death can have physiologically explainable visions.

2) Do some see angels while others see demons? Yes and no.

The Bible says nothing about NDE’s specifically. Some people abuse scripture and try to make Paul’s vision of the 3rd Heaven a NDE when it is obviously not. They are just so desperate to believe in NDE’s that they will pervert scripture to make it so. People can also experience demonic/satanic visions given to them to lead them astray and to misguide others. Anything a person claims about a NDE MUST NOT conflict with the Bible. If it does, it is from a lying spirit and should be discarded immediately as untrue. The person relaying the story must not be followed or believed.

3) Can this be scriptural? Yes and no.

The answer to this question depends heavily on context and claim. If the context is a vision or dream from God that someone experienced it must be accurate and consistent with the rest of the Bible. I don’t believe these types of things are happening right now in our time. Again, the Bible says nothing about NDE’s specifically. In the end times they are supposed to start back up. These are not NDE’s though. There is a big difference between an NDE and a prophetic dream or vision. You don’t have to be in a coma or nearly dead for a prophetic dream or vision. If God wants you to know something you are going to know it. Fortunately for us He reveals His will and word for us in the Bible and we don’t need to rely on dreams, and visions. Matter of fact the Bible is the primary way we hear from God.

To sum up I would say treat all NDE claims as nothing of consequence unless it meets the requirements of scripture. Here are some links to some very good articles from trusted ministries on the topic.

1. http://www.gty.org/blog/B121018

2. http://www.gotquestions.org/near-death-experiences.html

3. http://www.christianbook.com/heaven-randy-alcorn/9780842379427/pd/79422?event=AFF&p=1011693&

4. http://www.equip.org/articles/from-heaven-to-earth-with-a-story-that-sells/