Family Bible Study for Jan. 26: The Promise of Heaven
January 10 2003 by John S. Pond, Jr. , John 14:1-4; Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5; John 14:2

Family Bible Study for Jan. 26: The Promise of Heaven | Friday, Jan. 10, 2003

Friday, Jan. 10, 2003

Family Bible Study for Jan. 26: The Promise of Heaven

By John S. Pond, Jr. John 14:1-4; Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5; John 14:2

Frederick Buechner wrote in his book, Longing for Home: "No matter how much the world shatters us to pieces, we carry inside us a vision of wholeness that we sense is our true home and that beckons to us"(p.110). The life of each person has a purpose, a goal that is best understood in the light of eternity.

We are in transition. The apostle Peter described us as pilgrims and strangers scattered in the world (1 Peter 1:1). We are looking for a place and an eternal home, and will not be satisfied until we have found it.

A place prepared by Jesus

John 14:1-4

The disciples' world was about to cascade into a morass of confusion and disbelief. They could already sense that something was not right with Jesus. He told them that He was going away, and they could not follow yet.

Their hearts were churning. Their faith and confidence tossed about like a paper cup in a massive storm. Jesus encouraged them: "Don't allow your hearts to be tossed about like waves in the wind. Keep on believing in God; keep on believing in Me!" He told them to stubbornly hold on, to trust in God and in Him regardless of what might lie ahead.

The reason to go away is to make ready a place of promise; in fact, many resting places. In the Father's home (heaven) there exist many abiding places or rooms. Someone has written that "heaven is as wide as God's heart and there is room for all!" In order to reassure His disciples, Jesus affirmed its reality; "If it were not so, I would have told you!"

If it is a certainty that Jesus is leaving, then it is just as certain that He will return. And when He returns it will be to take His followers home with him. Thus, for the believer, heaven is to be where Jesus is and to be with him forever (Barclay).

A place where everything is new

Revelation 21:1-5

Paul described the experience of salvation as "a new creation; old things passing away, all things becoming new." In the end of time, creation itself will experience a new birth.

John watches as the old dissolves and a new heaven and new earth appears.

With this new creation come new blessings. The believer will enjoy unhindered, direct and unmarred fellowship with the Lord. God will "tabernacle" with His people and remain with them.

By His constant presence, all human sorrow, tragedy and evil are left behind. Everything that formerly burdened and cursed mankind will flee from His presence. There will no longer be anything that causes tears, sadness or disappointment. Heaven is not only where Jesus is, it is also where God dwells.

It is a certainty that God's divine plan is to make everything new.

A place of serving and seeing God

Revelation 22:1-5

Jesus told His disciples that He came to bring life, more abundant life. Furthermore, He identified Himself as THE LIFE. Faith in Christ brings life eternal. With the creation of a new heaven and new earth, redeemed humanity will have perfect access to eternal and abundant life.

John was shown the miracle of eternity. He saw life-giving waters flowing from beneath the throne of God and the Lamb. This is a picture of eternal life that flows from the presence of God. On either side was the life-giving tree - a picture of the blessed, abundant life. Rather than being a medicinal tree bearing fruit to cure illnesses, it was a tree that bore health-giving, energizing fruit.

In heaven the redeemed will experience the impossible. The curse of sin will no longer contaminate the world with pain, sorrow and death. Instead, God and the Lamb will reign.

In heaven, service will no longer be arduous and toilsome. It will be blessed and invigorating for it will be as the service of priests that seek only to glorify God.

Finally, faith will give way to sight. The truly impossible will become possible. The redeemed will see God's face without being consumed by His holiness and will bear the markings of His possession upon their foreheads. They will have immediate access to God and the Lamb. The promise of Christ will come to pass: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matt. 5:8). "The supreme felicity is reached, immediate presence with God and the Lamb" (Beckwith, as quoted by A.T. Robertson).

The way is clear and plain; follow the light, not the sun or a lamp, but God Himself.

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1/10/2003 12:00:00 AM by John S. Pond, Jr. , John 14:1-4; Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5; John 14:2 | with 0 comments
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