I’ve been thinking a lot about Heaven recently. I’ve been hearing people talk about it a lot, too. But it seems there are many prevalent misconceptions about what it is. Is Heaven for real?
According to the Barna research group, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that there is a place called Heaven and a Hell, but what people believe varies greatly because they simply cut and paste their views from a variety of sources — television, movies, conversations with friends, etc. Everything from Tom & Jerry to a New York Times #1 Best-seller about 4-year old’s near-death experience have cultivated a highly subjective theology of the afterlife.
The Bible tells us that we have a spiritual enemy who wants us to be deceived about the reality of Heaven. Revelation 13:6 explains the satanic beast will “speak blasphemies against God: to blaspheme His name and His dwelling—those who dwell in heaven.” In other words, our enemy slanders three things: God’s Person, God’s people, and God’s place – namely Heaven. After being forcibly evicted from Heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15), the devil became bitter not only toward God, but toward humanity, and even toward Heaven itself — the dwelling place that was no longer his.
But Satan doesn’t need to convince us that Heaven doesn’t exist in his lies; He only needs to convince us that Heaven is an uninteresting, uncertain, and unearthly existence. IF we believe that lie, we’ll be robbed of our joy today and anticipation for heaven tomorrow. We’ll set our minds on this life without interest about what comes next. Also, we won’t be motivated to tell others about God or His wonderful love for us.
Another misconception about Heaven comes from our scientific, naturalistic culture. We’re taught that the world can only be understood in scientific terms (what we can see, hear, measure, touch, etc.) without considering spiritual or supernatural realities. We succumb to scientific, naturalistic assumptions that what we see is real and what we don’t see isn’t. If that’s the case, Heaven can’t be real because we can’t see it. But we must recognize our blindness. The blind must live by faith not only for this life (2 Corinthians 5:7), but also believe in the age that is to come so that they may take hold of life that is real (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
The Bible says that Heaven is a physical, tangible, real place. Jesus assured His devoted followers, “I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Where was Jesus going? Heaven.
The Gospel of Mark proclaims, “the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). The apostle Paul also declares that God demonstrated His power by raising Jesus “from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens — far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21). Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews declares that “After making purification for sins, He [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). Peter also tells us, “Now that He [Jesus] has gone into heaven, He is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.” (See also Colossians 3:1; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 8:1, 10:12, 12:2).
One day we’ll leave these physical bodies to go to this specific, physical, eternal home where Jesus is. The apostle Paul says, “We are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Being “at home with the Lord” implies not only a closer relationship with Christ than we experience now, but also a closer proximity to Him because we’ll be in the place where He is — Heaven
Yes, I believe Heaven is for real, but not because of what I think or because of the encouraging experience of a 4 year old. I believe Heaven is real because of the promises of my Savior, Jesus and Word of God, the Bible.
Follow Me… as I follow Jesus Christ.