First and foremost, I wish all Nigerians and their friends a happy 56th Independence anniversary, today!! We pray for a better Nigeria, strength for our dear President and courage to do justice for all.
We have an eternal hope, a glorious place for us after all these life trials.
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…
Let us look at our inspired topic for today: Heaven!
Heaven, O , Heavens! When you eventually die, where will you go? Are you sure of heaven? My dear friend, death is not the end or terminus of your life! It is simply put, biologically, separation of your body from your soul! Theologically, death is a temporary end to this body, an earthly casket, a provisional home while the soul goes to its maker either in condemnation to hell or in eternal bliss in paradise with God.I believe, it is appointed unto human beings to die once, after which is judgment. See, The Holy Bible, Hebrews 9:27. But just what will the judgment be fir you after this life? My dear friend,you do have to prepare your case if you have a judgment to face, don’t you?
Where is heaven? Where is the way there? I believe some of you FaceBook friends or readers may find this message weird or senseless or even superstitious.But it is evidently clear and a settled fact that you have to die at best after 100 years of your birth on earth. Most Nigerians hardly make 100 years on earth. If they live to be 85 then they are considered lucky and believed to have reached a ripe old age at 90 years.
There are only two ways for your soul after death: Heaven or hell. The choice is yours. But you have to make the choice right now , if you have not yet done so.
Even those who go to Church how many times have you heard a sermon entirely dedicated to heaven or eternity? Are your pastor’s sermons not based on prosperity, good living, good jobs; all earth- bound, or at best deliverance from demons? since 1993, in Brasilia when the Lord reminded me of this serious shortcoming in sermons if churches, I seize opportunities to preach about heaven whenever I have it.What is heaven?The Webster dictionary defines heaven as, ‘the place where God lives and where good people go after they die according to some religions, something that is very pleasant or good: the sky’
Now, what does the Bible say about heaven? The word ‘heaven’ occurs 583 times in the English Bible. In Hebrew, the original language of the Bible, it is, שׁמה / שׁמיםshâmayim / shâheaven, heavens, sky, visible heavens, sky, as abode of the stars, as the visible universe, the sky, atmosphere, etc,1b) Heaven (as the abode of God)
John Hagee in his book, The Three Heavens, Angels, Demons And what lies Ahead( Tennesseee: Worthy BOoks, 2015 ) says about heaven, ‘Use the word heaven and it evokes images of a paradise, a place of eternal bliss and perfect happiness . . . but there is so much more!
Let us begin our supernatural journey through the Three Heavens by first exploring what the Word of God and science say about the First Heaven. Then we will expose Satan’s diabolical tactics in the Second Heaven and how they impact each one of us. Finally, we will reveal the deep riches of the Third Heaven, which in the end will be the eternal home of those who choose Christ as Savior and Lord. Most people believe there is only one heaven—the place where God lives with His holy angels. However, the truth is that our God has no limitation on earth or in heaven. He is omnipresent and omnipotent and has universal power and supremacy over all of His creation—which includes all three heavens!
Now you see, that our earth is only a very tiny speck of the universe created by God.John Hagee, op cit, further says, ‘The First Heaven contains the sun, moon, and stars, yet it is a minuscule glimpse of God’s creative majesty (Genesis 1). It was this majesty that inspired the songwriter to pen the words of one of the most celebrated songs in the history of Christendom, “How Great Thou Art”: O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made . . .
…We have all observed the splendor of the First Heaven and probably wondered about its origin. Although there are many scientific theories regarding the formation of the sun, moon, and stars, we have only one eyewitness account—that Eyewitness is the Great I AM.
When I listened to this bit by John Hagee, I was inspired, knowing that I am the adopted Son of the Sun of Righteousness and I am expected to rise and shine! ( Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee )! Mat 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I was inspired to put this together for you to read. We have a lot said about heaven in the Bible . But let us just look at the following aspects: Creation by God. See, Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.Inhabitants of heaven. There are hosts of heaven. The Trinity: God the Father, Son and and tge Holy Spirit. Read,Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven [the First and Second Heavens] and the heaven of heavens [the Third Heaven] cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built. (1 Kings 8:27)
Remember God also created hell but for Satan and those who would follow him.( see, On the endorsement of the Book, All You want yo know about Hell by Steve Gregg (Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson ,2013.) Danny Lehmann says, ‘ the reader is that if he/she is a good Berean and checks Steve’s treatment of the subject with Wesley’s Quadrilateral of Scripture, Reason, Tradition and Experience, they will acknowledge in humility that the issue is not only eternally significant but is also not easily given to sound bites, one-liners and cavalier dismissals, regardless of the view that one might hold.’ Here we intend to follow in part the Wesley’ Quadrilateral: the scripture, , Orthodox Tradition, Experience and Reason.
Of course, I believe and affirm that, Wesley insisted that scripture is the first authority and contains the only measure whereby all other truth is tested.
We shall be looking at the aspects of:
1.The church and other orthodox traditions.
2. Testimonies of those after life or near death situations.
3. Why heaven is important to you.
(To be continued)
Lawrence Olufemi Obisakin, Ph.D. DCE(c)