Ten things we can gather about heaven from the Bible that you may or may not have been taught:
1. Where believers go when we die is not our final destination. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
2. Our final destination is here on a renewed earth. (2 Peter 3:13)
a. The earth was made for mankind. (Genesis 1-2)
b. The story of the Bible isn’t about escaping earth for a heaven somewhere else.
c. It’s about a paradise and blessing from God that was lost and will be restored.
d. If it were about escaping earth, then God’s first creation was not good and was a failure. (Genesis 1-2)
e. Heaven is God’s throne room. Earth is man’s dwelling place. God doesn’t want to transfer us from one to the other, but rather bring the two together.
3. God will renew the cosmos/universe (The Bible calls this a new heavens and a new earth).
4. Though in a much better place with the Lord, believers who have died still look forward to this final destination. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
5. The Bible doesn’t say that our loved ones who have died have new physical bodies.
6. They are awaiting their new bodies at the resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15)
a. Think of Jesus’ resurrection. This hasn’t happened yet for the rest of us.
b. Jesus dealt with sin and death so that God’s new creation could begin.
c. Jesus is the forerunner of that new creation. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
d. We have a taste of the beginnings of that new creation through the Holy Spirit.
e. One reason Jesus has not returned yet is because he wants as many as possible to taste and take part in this new creation.
f. When Christ returns, those who are in Christ will be renewed along with the earth itself.
g. We will be raised from the dead just like Jesus was.
h. “I am making all things new!” – Jesus (Revelation 21:5)
7. After this final resurrection and judgment, the dwelling place of God will be with mankind and there will be no more sorrow, suffering, or death. (Revelation 21:1-5)
8. Our eternal existence won’t be at a chapel in the clouds, but on an earth where we can work, play, create, discover and enjoy God forever!
9. This final destination is important to understand because it has been somewhat lost in our modern American Christian culture.
10. The “still future” new heavens, new earth and resurrection of the dead is the hope that the early church looked forward to and not simply dying and going to heaven.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)