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This third and final contribution on this subject will, I hope, renew your conviction concerning the reality of heaven and our eternal hope. Please read on

What that life is like varies from person to person, culture to culture. On the one hand there are those who believe life beyond the grave is a replay of life here and now but without sin and sickness, suffering and pain. All the relationships we have known here will be transported to heaven and life will be the ultimate “and they lived happily ever after”!  These are the eternal optimists.

On the other hand, there are those who only believe that the life hereafter is a shadowy, vague existence that has no rhyme or reason. For them, life goes on forever in an ethereal pointless existence. These people are the eternal pessimists.

The only thing that these two groups have in common is the belief that there is life beyond the grave.

The critics of our belief in heaven are quick to point out that the only reason we hold on to it is because we can’t face a life here without such a belief. In my case, for example, they would point out that the recent loss of my wife would be unbearable if I did not believe in heaven. In other words, I embrace the reality of heaven and the idea of seeing her again because I refuse (or am incapable) to face the alternative (oblivion, annihilation, nothingness)

Now I can dismiss their verdict out-of-hand (because they may be right) or I can recall the reasons why I have embraced the doctrine of life everlasting.

The main reason why I believe in heaven is because Jesus Christ taught that there is such a place.

  1. Jesus repeatedly referred to God as “your Father in heaven” (Read through Matthew’s gospel)

  2. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

  3. Jesus constantly spoke of “the Kingdom of heaven. It was His primary theme.

In the epistles of the Apostle Paul, heaven is referred to at least 46 times. Here are three examples.

  1. For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 (NLT)

  2. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:20 (NIV)

  3. Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. 1:27 (NLT)

If you have read this far in this article (which began with some observations about John Lennon and his song “Imagine”), then I will assume that you are sufficiently motivated to pursue this subject yourself.

I would make one further comment. The teaching in Scripture concerning the reality of heaven not only gives us hope for the future but is a great motivator for Kingdom service now.  In fact, if the hope of heaven does not mobilize us now, then there is something defective with our understanding.
 
 

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