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Are you looking forward to going on a summer vacation? Summer vacation is one of the highlights of most people’s years. We plan our vacation activities. We save our money. We count down the days. But then once the vacation arrives, it is soon over. Excitement is replaced by sadness.
The child of God has something better to look forward to than a vacation: heaven.
In theology textbooks, more attention is usually given to hell than heaven. For example, William G. T. Shedd assigned two pages in his Dogmatic Theology to heaven and eighty-nine pages to eternal punishment.
The Bible speaks of three heavens: (1) the sky, (2) space, and (3) the dwelling place of God (2 Corinthians 12:2).
Many questions about heaven are unanswered. (What about those who have claimed to have seen heaven during near-death experiences?)
[Read Revelation 21:1-5]
HEAVEN IS UNDER ATTACK
Lies about heaven:
• Heaven isn’t REAL.
Something always gets lost in translation, but usually not an entire city. “Jerusalem. There is no such city!” the Jerusalem municipality said in the English-language version of a sightseeing brochure it has published originally in Hebrew. The correct translation: “Jerusalem. There is no city like it!” Thousands of the brochures had been distributed before city hall realized its mistake. Some people question whether there is really a New Jerusalem. But, make no mistake, it is real!
• Heaven is BORING.
“You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 84:2).
• Heaven can WAIT.
• Heaven is the destination of MOST.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
A NEW EXPERIENCE
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5).
1. God will give us new HEAVENS and a new EARTH.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea (Revelation 21:1).
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17; cf. 66:22). “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13; cf. vv. 7-12). Acts 3:21 speaks of the “restoration of all things.” “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22).
Will the earth be renovated or replaced?
2. God will give us a new HOME.
I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband (Revelation 21:2).
“Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16).