Summary: Life, Joy, Sad, Bodies, Memory in Heaven you can listen to this message at www.preaching.co.nr (April 2008)
John Milton wrote the poem “Paradise Lost” it tells the story of Adam and his fall in the Garden of Eden. I have not personally read the poem (it is 12 books long) however, many criticise it for sympathising with Satan. My problem is in the title, because Paradise is not Lost.
Paradise is not Lost
Jesus said to the repentant sinner on the cross “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43) Jesus was clearly referring to the present heaven.
The word Paradise comes from the Persian word Pairidaeza which means “Walled Park or Enclosed Garden” the Garden of Eden is called Paradise in the Septuagint (Greek Version of the Old Testament) (see Gen 2:8, Eze 28:13) Paradise is not a wild natural area but a place that is managed, cared for and cultivated, a part of God’s original plan for a place of habitation.
God drove sinful man out of Eden/Paradise but he did not destroy Paradise/Eden, it remained as good as God had created it. Man’s freedom of entrance into Paradise has been destroyed because of Sin. God has set his Angels over its entrance. However, God has promised that those who overcome will eat of the Tree Life, so the Tree of Life must still exist somewhere. (Rev 2:7)
It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the Garden of Eden/Paradise and the Tree of Life is mostly likely part of the present heaven where departed saints dwell until their bodily resurrection. It is possible that there was a direct physical link between Heaven and Earth before the fall and the consequence of Sin was a separation between heaven, God’s dwelling place and Earth.
However, in the New Heaven and New Earth we will experience what Adam and Eve did, walking and talking with God in perfect fellowship without any hint of sin separating us from God.
Life in the present Heaven
The Bible gives us glimpses of life in Heaven. It is not as the popular song suggests “Going to the spirit in the sky.”
Heaven is our home a physical place created by God.
When we think of heaven and earth we think opposites, when in fact there are many similarities. Earth is referred to as a shadow of Heaven Heb 8:5. When you see the amazing beauty of creation or you are filled with awe at how the human body works remember it is only a shadow of the original thing in God’s heavenly design.
Bodies In the present Heaven
As we will not receive our resurrected body until after the Rapture and Resurrection it seems clear from the glimpses of Heaven that we will receive intermediate bodies until the resurrection. Paul was unclear what this body was like when he was caught up to the third heaven or paradise, maybe because he had never seen any thing like it before (see 2 Cor 12:3) There is clear evidence that those in heaven have bodies, the martyrs wear clothes Rev 6:9-11, John when in heaven speaks of eating, tasting, holding Rev 9:9-10, Jesus is seen standing on something Acts 7:56.
Enoch Gen 5:24, Heb 11:5, Elijah 2Kings 2:11-12, Moses Luke 9:28-36 are all revealed as having bodies.
As you read the story of Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 Jesus chooses to use terms that are familiar and physical and even personal.
Remembering in Heaven
Lazarus and the martyrs clearly have memory of life on earth Luke 16:25, Rev 6:9-10. In 2Cor 5:10 and Matt 12:36 we are told we will be required to give an account of every word and deed while on the earth, in fact our memory will be much better in heaven than it has ever been. Our reward in heaven is based on deeds done on earth which we will be required to give an account of Rev 14:13.
Memory is paramount to personality, when we go to heaven we don’t forget who we were on earth, we’ll remember our trials and victories.
Aware of Life on Earth
Rev 6:9-11, 18:20, 19:11-14 clearly reveals that martyrs, angels, and saints are aware of events on earth. Moses and Elijah were aware of earths events at the transfiguration Luk 9:31. Saints are watching our efforts from Heaven Heb 12:1. In Rev 2-3 Jesus is watching what is happening in His Church on earth. Angels saw Jesus on earth, and if angels know what is happening from Heaven and after their visits to help and protect God’s people on earth, then why can’t all heaven’s inhabitants not know what is happening on earth. (see 1Tin 3:16, 5:21, 1Cor 4:9.
Jesus tells us that in Heaven there will be rejoicing over one sinner who repents, but take note of what Jesus says, the rejoice in heaven will be done in the presence of angels, so who rejoice? God’s people. (see Luk 15:7-10)