1. To lead us to a greater desire to be in heaven with our God. 2. To gain a true, Biblical understanding of heaven.
There is only one expert on the topic of heaven, and that is God.
The only true perception of heaven is what God reveals to us through His Holy word.
Let’s stay away from the “I thinks”….. And the “yea, buts”…….
“The place where God lives and where good people go after they die according to some religions.” ( merriam- webster.com)
Ancient Egypt- Paradise, or a place of splendor. Tuat was a place of darkness and torment (jou.ufl.edu) Babylonians - A dead person survived in the underworld in a form of a ghost. (Gidim) ( British Museum of the Ancient Near East)
American Indians- Some kind of after life. Dead would be buried with personal materials. “Happy Hunting Grounds” ( theosofy.org) Mayans & Aztecs - Xibalba. One of the three realms. A person that led a good life would go to Xibalba. (Thinkquest Education Foundation)
Hindu- The Bhagavad- Gita. Two paths a soul would follow. One path, the soul would go to the Sun and never return. The other path follows the path to the Moon. Where the ancestors are. On this path is where the soul is reincarnated. (hinduwebsite.com)
Islam - “Janna, The Garden”, “ Firdaws, Paradise” Muslims are waiting for The Judgment Day. The faithful will go to Janna, the rest will go to Hell Two exceptions to “The Judgment”. 1. Warriors who died fighting for the cause of Allah. 2. “Enemies to Islam” are sentenced immediately to Hell. For more information, see “Islam, The Quran, and Christianity” by David Miller, Apologetics Press
The Nordic Tribes, Vikings – Those that lived a good, positive life would go to Asgard, the home of the gods Heroes who died in battle would go to Vanhalla and live with the god Odin, king of the gods. (vikingship.org)
The Greeks ( pre-Christian) - The dead were brought to the underworld, where they crossed the River Styx conducted by the boatman, Charon. On the other side of the river, they were judged by a court. The guilty were sent to a dark place, Tartarus, which was a place for punishment. The pious were sent to Elysian Field, place where all is bright and beautiful.
It is as if humans have a natural desire to seek eternity and live with their creator. Ecclesiastes 3: 9- 11
Postmodernist- No distinct view of heaven because all views are correct. Postmodernism preaches tolerance as the highest virtue. Therefore there is no one objective way to go to heaven. (studyjesus.com)
Postmodernism - Truth is manufactured, not revealed. - Denies the reality of absolute truth. - Delights in the seed of doubt. - Loves the “cultural argument” - All truths are relative and subjective. No truth can claim to superior or exclusive. - Christianity is viewed as an enemy. - The only real sin is being controlling, exclusive, or judgmental.
Postmodernism Christianity claims to be exclusive. John 14:6, Acts 4:12 There is a broad and narrow way. Matt. 7: 13-14 Wise and foolish man. Matt. 7:24- 27 Belief in Jesus as the Messiah. John 8:24 Repentance and perishing Luke 13: 3, Acts 17:30 One true Gospel. Galatians 1: 6-9 The exclusive statements from Ephesians 4: 4-6 ( Phil Sanders – Affirming The Faith. Feb. 23, 2008)
Psalm 119: 140- 176 David uses these terms: Testimonies, commandments, word, statutes, judgments and precepts. Notice David’s attitude toward God’s word.
Atheist - There is no heaven There is no hell There are no gods positiveatheism.org
Unitarian Church- Unitarian Universalism considers heaven and hell to be a state of mind, created by individuals and expressed by their actions. (christinaity.about.com)
Baptist- “Baptist believe Heaven to be a real place existing in this reality or another reality. It is where God resides. It is where those that have trusted in in their Savior will go when they die. The belief in the absolute reality of this place is much of the motivation for Baptist.” (christianbaptist.com)
Pentecostals- Most Pentecostals believe that the descriptions given in the Bible about heaven should be taken literally including streets of gold, and mansions prepared for believers. (people.opposingviews.com)
Jehovah’s Witnesses “No soul remains after death. Soon Jesus Christ will come to resurrect the dead, restoring soul and body. Those judged righteous will be given everlasting paradise on Earth. Those judged unrighteous will not be tormented, but will die and cease to exist. “ “144,000 will be chosen to go to heaven. Most JW’s do not consider themselves a member of the 144,000 but believe they are a part of the Great Crowd.” (beliefnet.com, jwfacts.com)
Methodist- “ We believe all persons stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ, both now and in the last day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead; the righteous to life eternal, and the wicked to endless condemnation” (Article XII The Confession of Faith, The book of Discipline)
Presbyterians - Westminster confession: “the bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, return immediately to God” ( presbyterianmission.com)
Mormons- Sometime after death, the spirit and the body will be reunited.- never to be separated again. This is called the resurrection. Mormons consider eternal life to be a progression and development as we learn to become more and more like our Father in Heaven. ( mormontopics.org)
Catholics- Purgatory- The Catholic Catechism defines purgatory as purification as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven, which is experienced by those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified.
Christian Scientist- Heaven and hell exist not as places or as parts of the afterlife, but states of mind. Mary Baker Eddy taught that sinners make their own hell by doing evil, and saints make their own heaven by doing right. (christianity.about.com)
Very Large Community church- “ We believe Jesus is preparing a place for us and that He will literally come back again. We believe Heaven and Hell are real places. We believe those in Christ will live with Him forever and those who reject Christ as savior will be separated from Him forever.”
Poll of a congregation in the Bible belt. “If you died, would you go to heaven?” 9% said absolutely not. 50% said the are not sure. 40% said they would go to heaven. 60% knew they were lost, or did not know if they were saved.
1991 poll published by US News & World Report 78% of Americans believed they were going to heaven. Eric Lyons, Apologetics Press, 2001
2013 Poll from Debate.org 38% I deserve to go to heaven. 62% I don’t deserve to go to heaven. 1944 Poll from Gallup More than 90% believed there is a heaven.
-Mom, God’s so neat, and heaven’s suppose to be so great. Could me and Gloria go there Saturday for a sleep-over? - My three year old granddaughter, Morgan, came over one day and looked around the room and asked, “Where’s Grandpa?” I answered, “He’s in heaven” Surprised, she looked at me and said, “Still?”
- Our six-year-old, Rachel, prayed, “God, they keep telling us You love us kids. But I’m wondering; If you know my older bother, do You think he will ever go to heaven?”
When Jenny was four, she asked, “Does heaven have a floor?” I said, “Well, Jenny, what do you think heaven is like?” She looked up at the sky and clouds and replied, “Well, I can’t see any floor, so I guess people are just up there on coat hangers!”
I told my nine-year–old Heather that someday we would have glorified bodies. She asked, “Do you think we’ll look like Barbie?”