What is Heaven?

What is Heaven?

Heaven is a place where time will not exist as we know it on Earth. This means life in heaven will be eternal; no more death. Heaven is a destination Jesus promised for all who put their trust and faith in him as their Savior. He is the only way to that eternal place of peace, joy, abundant love and eternal life. In John 14:3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be also.” That is one of the greatest promises ever made to mankind. It’s called God’s grace. God giving us something we did not deserve and never could earn by our own good works.

While heaven is a place where those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus will spend eternity, eternal life is much more than heaven. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ( John 17:3)  What this simply means is that when you have an intimate personal life with Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have eternal life here and now. Then you will experience an abundant and exciting adventure with the one through whom God created the entire universe.

As you let Jesus transform your life into his image you will see and experience life as you never could have imagined. Then you have eternal life and your spirit/soul will never die. It will go to heaven where one day you will get a glorious new eternal body. That is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you would like to be assured of participating in this eternal life, check out our post, How does one become a Christian? 

 

What is meant by the Rapture of the Church? When might it happen?

What is meant by the Rapture of the Church? When might it happen?

Since Jesus ascended into heaven, his followers–the Church–believed that he would visibly return as both judge and ruler of all creation. The earliest recorded creeds affirmed that Jesus would “come again to judge the living and the dead.” Additional confessions written since the Reformation continue that understanding.

The physical return of Jesus remains a central tenet of the church, but there has been much debate about when that will take place. In last week’s post we wrote about signs of the end times, but Jesus, himself, told his followers that God alone knows when Jesus will return.

What, then, is the rapture? The English noun/verb “rapture” comes from the Latin noun raptura/verb rapio that appears 14 times in the New Testament. It means “to remove suddenly or snatch away.” That’s the expectation–that all believers will be caught up to meet Jesus in the air just prior to the Great Tribulation.

In the book Daniel 9:24-27, we read about the angel Gabriel explaining the prophecy of the seventy weeks to Daniel. He describes a period of 490 years, the final seven of which will be a Great Tribulation for the nation Israel and the world. Christians won’t be subjected to this great tribulation since they will be snatched away.

Paul affirms this in his letter to the church in the Greek city of Thessalonika:

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1 Thess. 1:10

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thess. 5:9

Jesus says the same thing in Rev. 3:10.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

Rev. 3:10

Jesus promised to return and remove His people from the earth:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

John 14:1-3

This promise is reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thess. 4:16, 17

Since Jesus promised he will remove his followers from earth at an unknowable time before the earth plunges into a time of terrible tribulation, it only makes sense that each of us is ready for his return. If you would like to learn more about what it means to become part of the Church that will be raptured, please read our post, How does one become a Christian? 

Are we living in the End Times as referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24&25?

Are we living in the End Times as referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24&25?

For nearly 2000 years, Christians have been asking this question. Each generation has read what Jesus said and wondered if the end was soon. Here’s what Matthew recorded in his account of the life and teaching of Jesus.

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Matthew 24:3-8

The sinful nature of man assures us that there will be wars. Famines and earthquakes are common occurrences on this planet, so while modern communications makes us more aware of them, one cannot use them to define End Times. What Jesus next describes have been constants for two millennia.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Matthew 24:9-13

Persecution of Christians has gotten worse in many parts of the world, most notably during the past century in China, Cambodia, Burma, North Korea, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. For generations, Christians have been persecuted in majority Muslim countries as well as in India, a predominantly Hindu nation. What Jesus says next refers to something that is definitely taking place in our time.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Matthew 24:14

Today, as never before, electronic communications and global travel have made it realistically possible for everyone on earth to learn of Jesus. In the next 28 verses, Jesus describes what the end will look like and issues a warning to be vigilent because no one knows when Jesus will return marking the end of the world as we know it.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

Matthew 24:42

In Chapter 25, Jesus tells three parables to describe the End Times. So, are we living in the End Times? We can’t know for sure, but we are closer both in time and in fulfillment of prophecy with many signs that we must heed. More importantly, we can say with certainty that each of us is in our end times. We will either be alive when Jesus returns or we will be dead. Either way, we will have to answer for the decisions we make today. Will you be saved from eternal separation from God, or will you enjoy infinite peace and contentment beyond anything you can imagine? If you haven’t made a decision to follow Jesus, We encourage you to check out our post, How does one become a Christian? 

What is Eternal Life?

What is Eternal Life?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

John 5:24

Both of the above verses from John’s Gospel talk about eternal life. The eternal life referred to her begins in this life and continues on after death for those who believe in Jesus as Savior, repent of their sins and allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to guide them. This eternal life is ultimately in the presence of God, a place referred to as heaven. Another eternal existence is that which awaits those who reject Jesus and his free offer of salvation.

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:49-50

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:13-15

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Revelation 21:8

Heaven is a destination Jesus promised for all who put their trust and faith in him as their Savior. He is the only way to that eternal place of peace, joy, abundant love and eternal life. In John 14:3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be also.” That is one of the greatest promises ever made to mankind. It’s called God’s grace. God giving us something we did not deserve and never could earn by our own good works.

In another sense, eternal life is much more than heaven. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ( John 17:3)  What this simply means is that when you have an intimate personal life with Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have eternal life here and now. Then you will experience an abundant and exciting adventure with the one through whom God created the entire universe. 

As you let Jesus transform your life into his image you will see and experience life as you never could have imagined. Then you have eternal life and your spirit/soul will never die. It will go to heaven where one day you will get a glorious new eternal body. That is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you would like to learn more about how you can know that you will enjoy this eternal life, we encourage you to read our post, How does one become a Christian?

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

John 5:24

Both of the above verses from John’s Gospel talk about eternal life. The eternal life referred to her begins in this life and continues on after death for those who believe in Jesus as Savior, repent of their sins and allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to guide them. This eternal life is ultimately in the presence of God, a place referred to as heaven. Another eternal existence is that which awaits those who reject Jesus and his free offer of salvation.

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:49-50

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:13-15

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Revelation 21:8

Heaven is a destination Jesus promised for all who put their trust and faith in him as their Savior. He is the only way to that eternal place of peace, joy, abundant love and eternal life. In John 14:3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be also.” That is one of the greatest promises ever made to mankind. It’s called God’s grace. God giving us something we did not deserve and never could earn by our own good works.

In another sense, eternal life is much more than heaven. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ( John 17:3)  What this simply means is that when you have an intimate personal life with Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have eternal life here and now. Then you will experience an abundant and exciting adventure with the one through whom God created the entire universe. 

As you let Jesus transform your life into his image you will see and experience life as you never could have imagined. Then you have eternal life and your spirit/soul will never die. It will go to heaven where one day you will get a glorious new eternal body. That is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you would like to learn more about how you can know that you will enjoy this eternal life, we encourage you to read our post, How does one become a Christian?

What is Purgatory?

What is Purgatory?

Purgatory is a false teaching that says that after people die they get a second chance to go to heaven. Supposedly, after death a person enters a state of limbo between heaven and hell where a purging takes place and that there are things a person can do, or that others can do for him, that will get him out of limbo and onward to heaven. This false teaching denies that only through the death and resurrection of Jesus, is there a pathway to heaven.

The bible says that after we die there are NO second chances. It is only by accepting the gift of the forgiveness of sin that can put us into a right relationship with God. That acceptance must come during this lifetime. There are no second chances. God gave us this life in which to make our decision and, as in Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16:19-31, we read that death is final.

Purgatory is never mentioned in the Bible. The false doctrine was introduced into church teachings 1200 years after the death of Christ and remains a teaching of the Catholic church. All protestant churches some of the major orthodox Christian churches reject the teaching of purgatory.

The bible is very clear, when we die, if we have believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we will be with Him in some new bodily form, recognizable, knowing others, and able to communicate and worship HIM for eternity.

How about you? Have you made that decision for a new joy-filled life here on earth and knowing without any doubt that you will be with HIM forever? Learn more at our post: How does one become a Christian?

In a world of disinformation, how do we know what is true?

In a world of disinformation, how do we know what is true?

Disinformation, also called lying, is as old as man…and woman.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,  but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-5

Unlike God who speaks only truth, the serpent (Satan, devil, evil one) spreads lies continually, the biggest of which is the same one he used on Eve in the garden of Eden:

You can be like God.

You are in control of your own destiny.

The pleasures of the world are yours to enjoy without boundaries.

What Satan cannot do is tell the truth: “If you do what I say you will never know peace, in this world or in the next.”

So then, what is truth?

This question has been tackled by man forever. Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato, sometimes called the sages of the ages, along with other philosophers spoke and wrote volumes about to how to know what is true. It wasn’t until Jesus Christ came to earth that it was answered clearly and directly.

Jesus said, “I am the truth.” (John 14:6) He is the embodiment of truth about all of creation and life’s really important and significant matters; life and death, heaven and hell, sin and righteousness, creation and evolution, good and evil and so many more including even the little things in life.

Webster defines truth as, “that which is true; that which conforms to fact or reality.” Jesus’ life is a fact and He is the ultimate reality. In order to know the truth one needs to know Jesus, not just know about Him.
A few of Jesus’ profound truth statements for you to carefully consider are:

  •  “You must be born-again to gain eternal life.” (John 3:3)
  • “No one comes to the Father (heaven) except through Me.” (John 14:6)
  • “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30)
  • “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born I Am.” (In this statement Jesus confirmed He was God, I Am, and eternal, i.e., He existed before Abraham in eternity past.) (John 8:58)

Remember, truth is always truth. Two plus two is always four. Jesus’ words are truth although many choose to believe otherwise at their own peril.

One final thought on truth. Every human being ever created that does not repent of his or her sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior when they die they will face God as Judge on Judgment Day. Since He cannot look on sin, he will turn away all who have not repented. They will live forever separated from the loving, compassionate God and will never find peace. Think about an eternity spent in fear, disappointment, unhappiness, pain and sorrow. That’s a sobering truth that needs to be remembered and considered seriously. It’s a truth that should be a life changer. The ‘Good News’ is that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Examine the Gospel of John to discover more of Jesus’ surprising truth statements. You won’t be disappointed.  

If you are ready to discover the truth for yourself, read our post:  How does one become a Christian?