Will I recognize my parents in heaven?

Will I recognize my parents in heaven?

Many Bible scholars agree that Christians will recognize Christians who have gone to heaven before them. That assurance is based on the example of Jesus who, after his resurrection appeared in his glorified body yet was still known to his followers. In Matthew 17:1-3 we have the record of Jesus meeting Moses and Elijah while Peter, James and John watched and they recognized them. These examples give us great hope that we will definitely know those we do on Earth who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That is one reason why it is so important for us who believe to tell our loved ones and friends about Christ. 

What we will look like in heaven is somewhat a mystery. We are promised that we will have resurrected and glorified bodies like Jesus. But Jesus was killed in the prime of his life. He did not reach old age on earth as will many of us. So we don’t know what physical characteristics we will have in heaven. Will everyone be in the prime of life even though they died in old age? The Bible does not reveal this answer. However, in the book, Heaven is Real, a young boy’s near death experience suggests this as a possibility. And what about little children? Will they be children or have matured into young adults? Again, it is a question to which we will discover the answer once we are there. Certainly those who died as infants will be in heaven. While all who are born inherit a sin nature, infants, little ones, while in their age of innocence will be ushered into the throne of God. 

We will probably all be surprised at who we meet in heaven and who is not there. It is likely that Adam and Eve will be there. Others we might expect to meet would include Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, Moses, Joshua, King David, Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, the Apostles, the Prophets, and more recent persons like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Andrew Jackson, Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, John Knox, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, Chuck Colson and millions upon millions of others who have put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And finally and most importantly each believer will have direct face-to-face fellowship with God and with Jesus Christ. 

If you are interested in reading more about heaven, we suggest The Heaven Answer Book, by Billy Graham and Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven. These books by notable Christian authors offer Biblically-based insights into heaven that are realistic and dependable.

Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

What is the Millennial Reign of Christ?   When is it?

What is the Millennial Reign of Christ? When is it?

To fully answer these questions, we must review the sequence of end-time events as written about in the Bible and how they affect both believers and non-believers. Though Biblical scholars differ in their understanding of these complex issues, they agree in their understanding of the effects of these events on those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

We are now in what is called the Church Age which began following Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and the subsequent arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This Church Age will continue until what is called the rapture, when we believers and all deceased believers in Jesus Christ will be “taken up” from the earth and be forever with Christ. As to your question ‘When’, it would appear we are getting closer and closer to this event. As mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 and elsewhere in scripture, “…. sin will abound and man will deny and even mock Christ at this time.” 

Then a period of time known as the Tribulation will begin and last for seven years. During this period, there will be massive devastation and loss of life and there will be a world leader known as the Antichrist sitting on a throne in Jerusalem. It is described in the Book of Revelation.

Immediately following, a period known as the Millennium, i.e. 1000 years, will begin. It will be ruled by Christ and we as believers will be with Him as leaders. There will be also present those Jews and others who accepted our Savior during the Tribulation. This is generally referred to as the Millennial reign of Christ. Following this period comes the final White Throne Judgement by Jesus described in the Revelation to John at the end of the Bible. That ushers in the of the eternal dwelling for believers in the new Heaven and eternal separation from God (hell) for the non-believers.

While the exact sequence of the events I have just described may be debated, the important thing for you is to answer the question: Where will you be? Have you made your life’s commitment to Jesus?

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

The person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible differentiate Christianity.

The cross of Christ forever bridged the gap between sinners and a Holy God. The Bible, rightly called the book that made our world, has inspired the best of Western civilization: science, technology, education, and political and economic freedom. Because we are made in God’s image, Christianity values human dignity and liberates those who are often marginalized in other cultures: slaves, women, children and outcasts.

The founders of all other religions are dead. They have offered some sound platitudes for living a moral life, but no hope for eternity based on solid evidence. Theirs are religions of good works and self-sacrifice to gain a pardon for the worshiper’s sins.

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

   This question is asked often and the simple answer is “yes.” Of course, there are lots of people who have made that claim throughout history. Stories abound of institutionalized mental patients claiming they were God. So we’ll examine the significance of Jesus making that claim and why we do not believe that what Jesus said was not something cooked up in a delusional mind. First, the claims as recorded in the Bible:

“…he who has seen Me has seen the Father…”   John 14:9

“…I and The Father are one…”     John 10:30

Jesus repeatedly referred to himself as “I am” (John 8:58) which in the Hebrew tradition amounted to a declaration that He was God. It was these repeated pronouncements that infuriated the religious authorities in his day who called for his execution via crucifixion. Death was the prescribed punishment for the sin of heresy, and Jesus’ assertion that he was God would have been considered the ultimate heresy thus the demand for capital punishment.

Besides his direct assertion that he was God, the Bible relates stories where Jesus demonstrated that he was God. On one occasion, Jesus invited three of his disciples, James, Peter and John, to accompany him to Mt. Tabor to witness Him being transfigured to the Majesty He had before coming to earth. There Jesus was joined in midair by Moses and Elijah and the witnesses heard the voice of God saying,

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”    Matthew 17:5

Furthermore, Jesus raised several people from the dead including Lazarus, a man who had been dead three days and was starting to stink of decay. There were many witnesses to these events. Most significantly, Jesus, himself, rose from the dead, one of the most documented events of the ancient world. Following his resurrection, Jesus appeared in bodily form to hundreds of people and during this period he would suddenly appear and disappear thru doors and walls in a locked room.   

The evidences are many and clear. His coming to earth, living a perfect life, performing many miracles, suffering a terrible death for us on a cross and rising from the dead that we may be forgiven and enjoy fellowship with Him now here on this earth is sufficient to confirm that Jesus is indeed God.   

All it takes is for you and each of us now is to say YES I BELIEVE and TRUST in HIM. How about you? Have you? If not, why not? If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

What does it mean that the wages of sin is death?

What does it mean that the wages of sin is death?

​First, we need to remember that God is holy and will not have sin in any form in His presence. Basically, sin is disobedience. Breaking God’s commandments and laws is sin. Jesus even went further; he said that hateful thoughts and the like are also sin.  So, by these standards, all have sinned and fallen way short of God’s standard of perfection.
Consequently, with sin came death to mankind. This is the ‘price to be paid.’ Death is universal. All men and women die. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment.”

There is no purgatory and there is no reincarnation.
It is important to remember that death separates but does not annihilate. In other words, when a person’s body dies, it is not over. In fact, there are three deaths as a result of man’s sin. This is important to understand.

  1. Spiritual Death: 
    The original sin happened in the garden of Eden. It separated man, Adam, from God spiritually; this is spiritual death.
  2. Physical Death:  
    Adam’s sin brought about natural death which separates the spirit and the soul from the body.
  3. Eternal Death:  For the unsaved there is final death which separates man from the mercy of God forever.

This eternal separation means that man will continue to exist but without hope and without ever experiencing God’s love again. He or she is then condemned for all eternity; condemned to a place where Jesus said, “there is utter darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth; a place from which there is no hope of escape.

It is clear from God’s word that death is certain and without faith in Christ it is the worst possible outcome a human being could ever experience.

Finally, one last thought on death to keep in mind. God sends no one to Hell. Actually, people choose to go there when they reject God’s loving offer of grace and salvation in Christ. The good news is that in Christ we have passed from death to life. (John 5:24)  

What is meant by Intelligent Design of nature?

What is meant by Intelligent Design of nature?

Intelligent design is the theory that there is a guiding force behind the creation of the universe and everything in it. The first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, posits a created universe. Subsequent verses describe the work of a creator who rationally designs the solar system, the earth, and all living flora and fauna. It provides a basis for understanding science, mathematics, genetics, and man’s ability to think and reason. Intelligent Design presupposes a designer and therefore suggests that there is a purpose to the creation. Since we’re talking about creating something out of nothing, the “intelligence” behind the design must be a transcendent being, one that is not made of the same matter of its creation. That transcendent being or intelligent designer is called God.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:1-10
Image by John Hain from Pixabay
What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

The simple answer is, Jesus! Why? Because he alone saves.

When Jesus was comforting his disciples, he explained:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Only Christianity offers absolute assurance of eternal life as it is a gift of God’s grace for all who by faith trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Ephesians 2:8). Christianity is about Jesus, the Cross (forgiveness of sins) and his Resurrection and Ascension, and his second coming.

The founders of all other religions are dead. They have offered some sound platitudes for living a moral life, but no hope for eternity based on solid evidence.They are religions of good works and self sacrifice to gain a pardon for the worshiper’s sins.

Why do people resist the loving grace of God?

Why do people resist the loving grace of God?

​ Some Bible scholars think today’s resistance to the Gospel has always been due to the “hardness of men’s hearts”. (Matthew 13). Also an obstacle is delay…people just put off until later to even think about their relationship to God.

Though people refuse to acknowledge it, much of society (humanity) worships idols. They may not be carved images, but are idols, nonetheless. Materialism has replaced spirituality as a driving force in our society. That has led people to resist the loving grace of God.   

One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the need for instant and tangible gratification and pleasure. For example, we are bombarded with electronic media designed to address our every desire. Movies, TV programs, sports, news, advertisements and social media provide an endless array of distractions. Another reason is the growing need to compete for bigger and better everything which feeds the need to purchase unnecessary items and which drives financial decisions.

Lastly, society makes idols of celebrities and sports stars. (Exodus 20:4). Sadly worshiping these idols brings brief satisfaction and distracts people from seeking and knowing the loving grace of God.

As COVID-19, massive demonstrations and violent protests seem to be undoing the foundations on which our nation was founded, some people are rethinking their lives and the assumptions on which they have been built. When man-made idols fail to deliver the physical, emotional and spiritual relief that men and women are seeking, will people turn back to God and discover his loving grace? Perhaps. Throughout history, when people’s idols failed to deliver, many began searching for the one true God who is ready to help them find peace.

If you are wondering what a relationship with God might do for you, take a look at our Next Steps page.

Is Evil an Illusion or Reality?

Is Evil an Illusion or Reality?

Some religions suggest that evil is just an illusion. That it is a condition of the mortal mind. Others have said it is a result of ignorance and superstitions and if you don’t think about it evil will go away.

Our life experiences argue otherwise. We lock our cars and houses. We have security systems. We have laws against murder, rape, child abduction, lying under oath, etc. Yes evil is real.

It came about when Adam and Eve used their gift of free will to disobey God. There was only one commandment and they chose not to keep it. At that moment the human race and the earth began to experience the opposite of God’s goodness, evil.

Evil is the absence of God. We see it expressed in pain, suffering, discord, war and death. The ‘good news’ is that God reigns and one day evil will be overthrown. All those who put their trust in him will live eternally where there is no pain, no suffering and no death.

Photo copyright: verkoka / 123RF Stock Photo

Does sin matter if I’m basically a good person?

​​ This answer requires us to define two words, SIN and GOOD.

The Bible defines sin not as a bad deed, but rather anything that we do that separates us from an intimate relationship with God. We can recognize how adultery destroys the trust between a husband and wife often leads to separation. That’s what sin is like, an action that seems to be good, or one that we rationalize as good can cause a break in a relationship. Stealing items of value, or lying, or saying something that damages the reputation of another person are all acts that destroy trust and break relationships. We may not feel it at the time, but sinful acts often create feelings of guilt and shame and can lead to depression or worse.
 The second definition we have to consider is “good”.  What do you mean when you say that you are “basically good”? What is your objective standard for measuring goodness? In the Bible we are reminded that no matter how good or righteous we think we are, by God’s standard of holiness and perfection our righteousness is like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) So, it is clear by God’s standard that you are a sinner even when you believe you are a “good” person. You don’t get to place all of your goodness on one side of a scale and expect it to outweigh your sin on the other side of the scale. No matter how much good is attributed to you, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will not be able to experience God’s love and forgiveness.
The good news is that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Jesus paid the penalty for our sins at the cross. So now we can experience forgiveness and relief from sin that God offers when we put our trust and faith in Him. That also means that when we stumble into sin again we can seek God’s forgiveness and restore our relationship with Him. When we abide in Christ and walk in the light of God’s Inspired Word we are able to overcome sin and its power in our lives. Are you a follower of Jesus so you can enjoy God’s forgiveness and the abundant and eternal life that is available only in Him? If not, why not do it today.