I hope over the next several blogs to stretch you in your ideas of heaven. There are a lot of things written about it, that are,…well honestly, just uncertain. Lets talk about what we know.
We know that there are millions of opinions of heaven. Every religion and philosophy had its theories and ideas. Many groups claimed it to be a place of pure spiritual existence, separated from the evils of anything carnal or worldly. Others claim annihilation. And others spoke of happy hunting grounds and virgins galore. What we see in every religion is the idea of what happens after death and where you go, thus, some form of heaven.
The Christian perspective must go back to our Jewish foundation received from scripture for our understanding of heaven. Heaven was here in the beginning. Here on this planet. Heaven and earth occupying the same space at the same time; they overlapped each other. They were one. Our ancestors believed this because of the reference in Genesis about God walking with Adam in the cool of the day. Heaven wasn’t the place of departed spirits in the beginning, but of the place where God was. It is God’s personal space, the zone, His kingdom.
Heaven and earth were made for each other.
When sin entered into the world through man’s disobedience, there came the great separation. The connection with heaven was cut and as a result the earth and mankind have suffered death and dysfunction. Romans 3:23 (NASB) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Some have suggested there was a compartment of heaven called “Abraham’s bosom” where saints of God went when they died during the time of the Old Testament.
We have a few references to heaven in the Old Testament, but nothing real detailed. Here is one from Daniel 12:13 (NASB) “But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into your rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.” Death was referred to as rest or sleep, making the idea of heaven very “dreamy”. The mind-set of this time wasn’t the goal of going to heaven. They believed that God would take care of them after death, whatever that would look like. They simply trusted when death came that they would be raised again in the last day and judgement would follow. God would put everything right in the end. The emphasis was on resurrection, rescue, and reward (or judgement)! Job 19:25-26 (NASB) “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my flesh is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.” They believed that God would come and redeem all His good creation and the victory would be here,…not there. Heaven would one day be here again with God dwelling with man. That is the picture we are given in Revelation 21. It is the summing up of all things in Christ!