A. When you die, you do NOT go to straight to eternal life or everlasting punishment. You go to a place which we know as hades (Luke 16:19-31).
- Though translated “hell”, hades [Strong’s # 86] is the place Jesus went when He died (Acts 2:22-31) and referred to as Paradise before His accession to Heaven (Luke 23:39-43).
- Eternal life or everlasting punishment are not destinations for people until the final Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46).
- No one, except for Christ, has ascended into Heaven (John 3:13).
- Jesus will return and this world will end (Mark 13:31-37).
- There will be a bodily resurrection of the dead and an ascension to judgment for the living (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
- At that point, life or damnation will be granted (John 5:28-29).
II. Body: What Should You Really Be Concerned With (II Peter 3:1-14)?
A. Many read Scriptures such as Revelation 21:4 and they then question how that could be if they’ll be separated from lost loved ones. They then question if God will wipe our memories in Heaven.
- First, CONTEXT… What Revelation 21:1-4 is talking about is something coming to earth, not anyone going to Heaven.
- A new heaven and earth, doesn’t necessarily mean eternal Heaven. Consider how Isaiah used such language (Isaiah 65:17) which, contextually, was about the restoration of the physical, Old Testament Israel (Isaiah 65:18-25; cf. Isaiah 66:15-24).
- We read in Revelation 21:2 that this bride, the holy city (hmm.. Ephesians 5:22-33 and Hebrews 12:22-23) will come down to earth… As we’ve already read, in the end, there will be no earth (II Peter 3:10).
- Remember, the book of Revelation is written to seven congregations in Asia, primarily of things shortly coming to pass (Revelation 1:1-4).
- The beautiful image presented in the remainder of Revelation 21 is a vision of a bride, the church (Revelation 21:9-10), coming back to earth. After a great apostasy, this is HIGHLY figurative language about the restoration. The congregations that were faithful had been told this time they were facing was brief (i.e. Revelation 2:10-11). These things are like Isaiah’s prophesies of the past concerning physical Israel.
- Even the language of Revelation 21:3 is not strictly Heavenly language (II Corinthians 6:14-18, I Timothy 3:15, and Hebrews 8:10).
- In Heaven, we will no longer be the bride of Christ. We will be joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
- Revelation 21:1-4 doesn’t FIT eternal life! It fits the restored church!
- When it comes to “no more tears”, keep it in context. The church was facing heavy persecution and apostasy (Revelation 2:1-3:22). Like Israel of old, restoration changed the emotions of those days (Isaiah 25:1-12).
- Furthermore, regarding these difficult contexts, remember that VISIONS [like John’s visions; Revelation 9:17] are not clear in meaning to those seeing them (II Corinthians 12:1-4).
- God has emotions in Heaven (Genesis 6:5-6, Isaiah 63:10, etc.).
- Joy is experienced in Heaven (Luke 15:3-7).
- The TRUTH is: “it doth not yet appear what we shall be” (I John 3:1-3).
- The Scriptures do not set our minds on “how beautiful heaven must be”. The Scriptures teach us to look forward to eternal life (I John 5:11-13).
- Regarding fearing Hell… Fear has its place (Philippians 2:12), but if fear of Hell is all that is keeping you faithful; are you really faithful (I John 4:18)?
- What should our relationship with our Lord be motived by (I John 4:19)? How would that help us (I John 5:2-3)?
- What would you say of a woman who is married to a man ONLY for the house he can provide, the wealth, etc. She only married him because she feared being homeless, hungry, suffering, etc. She is ONLY attracted to what he has to offer rather than to him at all. What is a woman who engages in a relationship for wages rather than the relationship itself? Think on those things (Proverbs 23:27-28)!
- If a person’s mentality is a carnally beneficial mindset, even towards eternal life, that person or group of people will ultimately fall as a whore looking for what she can gain better elsewhere (Ezekiel 16:1-58).
- Don’t get caught up in trivial questions about what is not revealed or hopes/fears that are not found in the Scriptures (I Timothy 1:3-4).
- Rather than avoiding Hell or getting an eternal vacation to the world of carnal beauty that many imagine, let your relationship with our God be rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17-19).
III. Conclusion: Live To Get There Where You Shall Be Made To Be Like Him (Philippians 3:7-21).
© 1999-2019 Brian A. Yeager