This post is one in a series of posts on a Bible study I am doing titled Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Dave McCleskey. The focus of this study is to get a Biblical view of what heaven is really like.
Click HERE to see the previous post.
How do you feel about heaven? Are you excited to go? Are you filled with anticipation to the point that you’d be willing to say “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”? (Philippians 1:21). Perhaps this describes you perfectly, and if that’s so, I want you to know that I envy you. Because I do not share these feelings. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have an unhealthy fear of heaven. As I stated in my introductory post about this study, my view of heaven has been that of a lonely, monotonous place to spend eternity – definitely not a place of joy and excitement that I look forward to. And you know what? It’s hard to live an effective life in Christian spirituality when you aren’t looking forward to the reward.
Thankfully, I believe I have held some very unbiblical ideas and deep misconceptions about what heaven is like and what life will be like when we die physically. Where do these misconceptions come from? Alcorn says that he truly believes that these misconceptions are the direct work of Satan. Jesus said that the Devil is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44), and one of the things he likes to lie to us about and convince us of are things dealing with heaven. In Revelation 13:5-6 it says “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.” (emphasis added). In the end times, Satan not only slanders the name of God, but also his dwelling place – heaven. This is in the Devil’s nature – if he slanders heaven then, he is most definitely doing it now. And he does it because when we believe his lies, that heaven is not a place worth living in, and that we won’t like it, it takes away all of the effectiveness of our Christian lives. Alcorn puts it this way:
“If we believe that lie, we’ll be robbed of our joy and anticipation, we’ll set our minds on this life and not the next, and we’ll not be motivated to share our faith. Why should we share the ‘good news’ that people can spend eternity in a boring, ghostly place that even we’re not looking forward to?”
So what can we do? We need to correct our inaccurate ideas about heaven. We need to see that Christ is preparing a place for us (John 14:2), and that this place is going to be well-suited for us. It’s a place that was designed for us, and a place in which we were design to live. This place is earth. Alcorn says that through this study, we’ll see “an exciting but strangely neglected truth – that God never gave up on His original plan for humans to dwell on earth. In fact, the climax of history will by the creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth, a resurrected universe inhabited by a resurrected people living with the resurrected Jesus.”
Now that’s an afterlife I can look forward to.
Click HERE to see the next post in this series.